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Monday, September 30, 2013

Four Ways the Government Shutdown Will Affect Me (and Why You Should Care)

I am an employee of the federal government and, as such, on the verge of being laid off (or, if you want to play the government lingo game of trying to couch excruciating experiences with nonsensical words- sequestered or furloughed).
Depending on which news channel you happened to fall asleep in front of, this is either all the fault of the republicans (those money grubbing, free healthcare hating dinosaurs) or the democrats (those liberal, pot smoking hippies intent on bankrupting America all in the name of  pushing socialism on the country).
Either way, the one thing that is patently clear--both sides either have no clear understanding of how this will really impact the people who voted them into office in the first place, or they simply don't care (although, to be fair, it's difficult to care passionately about something and read Dr. Seuss at the same time. Scientific fact.). Obviously, I can't speak for every federal worker out there, but I'm guessing we share some commonalities. So, in keeping with the tone of this blog, I'm going to keep this me-centered and let you know how the government shutdown will affect me.
1. For the first time in my life, my bills may not get paid.
Sure, I've occasionally missed a credit card payment or been late on the gas, but that had everything to do with my systematic filing system of stuffing important letters in between my couch cushions than with not actually being able to pay them. Nothing is going to get shut off (though I'm sure others may face that), but it's a huge blow to my pride. I'm the provider. At work, I may have a ton of responsibilities, but at home my job is simple--provide. And if I fail at that, I've essentially failed at my whole job description. And unlike work where I could probably be replaced with a stapler and no one would notice, people are actually counting on me at home. Little people who shouldn't have to hear their parents discuss financial issues ever.
How the government offered to help- A letter will be provided to our creditors letting them know of the government shutdown (because apparently all creditors live in dank, windowless basements where they count their money by a dimly lit light bulb hanging from the ceiling and have no contact with the outside world). This letter follows the 'note from mom theory' that a child can pretty much get out of anything as long as he has a letter from home. This letter, unfortunately, will not be green and it most certainly will not contain a picture of a dead president on it. As a result, I may have to...
2. Get a part-time job.
In order to keep up with the bills (those things don't stop, you know) and to pay for other impending things like, oh I don't know, Hanukah and birthdays, I may need to take on a second job and that second job is probably going to be a minimum wage position seeing as how they're the only ones really willing to take on a new worker with the expectation that they'll be gone before the lunch rush. Or I could just participate in medical testing. Either way, I'm game. I can only dwell on my hurt pride for so long before I just do whatever the hell I have to do in order to provide for my family, up to and including taking hormone-unbalancing experimental drugs from Mexico while running on a treadmill. But unfortunately, that is not an option...
How the government offered to help- by pretty much prohibiting any federal employee from taking on outside work. In other words, not only isn't the government not going to be paying federal workers, they want to make sure we're not getting money from anywhere else. Fun fact: did you know that having a good credit rating is essential to obtaining federal employment?
3. I will not eat out. I will not splurge on funny t-shirts from ThinkGeek.com
The shutdown is going to force me to cut out all unnecessary spending (i.e., anything not related to eating or pooping). This means those shoes I have that absorb any liquid it comes into contact with will have to last another six months. I might splurge on duct tape, but that's about it.
I'm also not going to take the kids to the movies, or the toy store, or the local fair which just breezed into town, or do a million other things that go a long way to improving my family’s quality of life, but absolutely nothing for keeping my children alive.
Now multiply that reduced spending times 800,000. The shut-down will dramatically affect businesses that cater to government and government workers--this includes everyone from local restaurant owners, government contractors, to just about any retail store that a government worker walks into it. The pinch will be felt across the board.
How the government offered to help- by publishing a list of public services that would be closed or limited. No one gives a flying fuck if the Smithsonian isn't open on Sundays. We haven’t been able to barter with old whale bones in over 5000 years. They need to revise their list and include the long list of merchants who are getting reamed by proxy through this. Mark my words, I will get out of this with a few dings to my credit score, but other people will not be so lucky. Businesses will close.
Someone should buy the senate a damned calculator (you can have mine for a measly $10,000) so they can see just how economical this shutdown really is. But then it really isn't about saving money, is it? It's about pushing party lines and fucking the other guy.
4. My motivation is gone.
I joined the federal government fairly recently after a career of working as a contractor within the federal space. I finally made the jump for a number of reasons: security and benefits being the primary factor, but also because I wanted to affect change. As a contractor, there were always barriers to pushing change through, but those were gone when I began suckling at the government teat (enjoy that visual). As a result, I came in to my new position hungry and anxious to make a difference. I work hard. I am, in short, the exception to the rule when it comes to typical government workers.
I work in an older agency--for the most part, you'll find people who are simply biding their time until retirement. It's not unusual to see people conked out at their desks, in meetings, or in their car on the way to work. I assumed this attitude was just due to fatigue from being older than Methuselah (I doubt they would have been hired if they were that useless to being with). But now I'm beginning to wonder if it's simply just as a result of having weathered too much crap like this.
All of the reasons I first joined the government are being yanked out from under me overnight. Sure, there's been plenty of hints as to what's going to happen but I'm not going to find out if I still have a job until tomorrow morning. And then I get to spend a half day of closing shit out before I'm sent home. Gone is the stability. Gone is the benefits (especially if you consider getting paid a benefit), and gone is the desire to affect change. And it's probably going to take a long time to get that back. I can't imagine what this is doing to people who have been through this before.
How the government offered to help- early retirement was offered to tens of thousands of workers which is a classic example of the government's approach of getting rid of the symptoms without addressing the cause.

I’m hoping congress wakes up before they go off on fall break like a bunch of drunken college kids to Florida, but I’m doubtful. So while the Democrats are making donkey-comparisons to their junk and doing keg-stands in the corner and the Republicans are shaking their heads in mock disgust while still collecting a paycheck, the rest of us will be left how to figure out how to get through this. And we will. Just a little less trusting that our leaders have the ability to lead us.

Friday, September 27, 2013

17 People You Find in Every Office

I've had a lot of jobs and I've worked in a lot of places. Well, not worked per se, but I've been at a lot of different companies. And regardless of where I've been (from the movie theater, IT company, to the gynecologist's office--I didn't actually work there, I just hung out), I always, without fail, managed to encounter the same people over and over again. Like these guys...
1. The Eater- this person's cube looks more like a WaWa with the added bonus of a hot plate. Strange smells eminate constantly from their walls. If you're unlucky to sit next to this generally overweight individual, you'll get to listen to the sound of chewing, scraping, and sobbing all day.
2. The Broadcaster- It doesn't matter what this person is doing--whether it's his latest project, meeting, or colonoscopy--he'll make sure that everyone hears about it. He thinks his phone is still operating on the same technology as two cans and a piece of string and only operates through shouting.
3. Bubble Boy- It's hard to tell what's worse--the smell of someone cooking two-week old fish on a contraband microwave in their cube (see #1) or the harsh chemical smells of bleach, hand sanitizer, and shame that emanate from the germphobe. If you ever run into them in the bathroom, be prepared for a routine straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
4. Captain Meeting- Wherever there is free time, he is there. Wherever there is hope for getting out of work on time, he will arrive. He is...Captain Meeting. Enemy of productivity. Destroyer of dreams. This man accomplishes nothing except looking busy and cluttering Outlook calendars everywhere.
5. The Groomer- Clip. Clip. Clip. That's the sound of the groomer cutting his fingernails, toenails, and hair all fucking day. Either he's got the pituitary gland of a gorilla, or he just reserves all acts of personal hygiene for work. You can lay money down that he's also got a toothbrush somewhere in his desk.
6. The Missionary- You know the type. Biblical passages posted thoughtfully all over her cube. She freely discusses religion with anyone who will listen and leaves little tracts all over the office in an attempt to save your miserable soul. If she doesn't have a sex dungeon at home, I will literally eat my shoes.
7. The Terrorist- Her choice of weapon is a permanent cloud of perfume that envelopes her in a cloud of malice and mothballs and dead flowers. You can smell her twenty minutes after she passes by. She should be reminded that perfume is a poor substitute for bathing.
8. The Lawyer- this person thinks being a useless pustule is constitutionally protected and will sue anyone that says otherwise. They sue their way to promotions, raises, and shorter hours. This is literally one of the worst people you will ever meet, right behind dog breeders and insurance agents.
 9. The Invisible Man- this guy does nothing (unless you count surfing the useless tide that is the interweb), but he has the good sense to do it quietly. You never see him in meetings or doing anything work-like. He keeps to himself, collects a paycheck, and probably doesn't even make a sound when he farts.
10. The Raging Bitch/Flying Bastard- if this person ever uttered a compliment, they'd break apart from the inside like that giant cockroach in Men in Black. It's against every fiber in their being. Every word out of their mouth is critical. And the worst part is that they'll get promoted quickly. Not because they're particularly good at what they do--just so management can stick them in an office somewhere out of the way.
11. The Quaker- the quaker shuns technology and change (i.e., progress) the way my kids shun homework time. Anytime something new is proposed, the Quaker gives a million reasons why it's the worst idea in the world. This person has all the fear and one-sided notions that are the hallmark of a sheltered religion without the ability to build sturdy furniture or churn butter.
12. The close to retirement guy- this man ran out of shits to give twenty years ago. Ask him how long until he retires and he'll give you the exact amount of days, hours, minutes, and seconds. You'll also get the same response when you ask him to do something. Compare him with...
13. The never going to retire guy- this guy's life has been one poor choice after another and now that he's near the age when most people are soiling themselves in a nursing home, he's realized he can't afford to check himself in. So he continues to show up for work every day, constantly bewildered at the fast pace and strange technologies around him. He is the suckiest time suck around. Do not, under any circumstances, think that you can explain something to him. He will destroy you.
14. Sleeps at his desk guy- there's usually some overlap with number 12 and 13 here.  All this person needs is some milk and cookies and a warm blanket. They nap in meetings and at their desk. On occasion, you've actually had to call their phone to make sure they didn't become 'dies at his desk guy'.
15. The Foreigner- His first name has 20 letters and they're all consonants. He's
probably brilliant, but you only understand every other word out of his mouth.
16. The Water Cooler- for whatever reason, this person is the center of the office's social structure. People are constantly stopping by his desk for advice on work, stock tips, a breakdown of the news, or to score some weed.
17. The intern- he doesn't have to be an intern. He could just be fresh out of school. He's young, eager to learn, anxious to make a difference and affect change. He is, quite simply, a complete moron. He'll learn soon enough and then he'll be jaded and spiteful, just like you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Five Signs the Zombie Apocalypse Has Already Begun

If my wife is correct and I am truly paranoid and deeply disturbed, then feel free to disregard this article. The dead are not walking among us. The apocalypse has not started. And no one is putting mood stabilizers in my Wheaties. Especially not her. So eat your breakfast before it gets soggy.

But if I am right, then the end of the world is near and I'm here to tell you it ends with neither a bang nor a whimper, but with an army of the walking, slouching, drooling dead. The signs are all there, cousins, just open your eyes. Consider the evidence that the zombie apocalypse has already started:

5. The CDC Got Involved

The CDC's next project will be lol catz memes.

Back in 2011, the Center for Disease Control published its own zombie survival guide. Ha, ha, the internet said, very funny, and the guide got passed around more than Pamela Anderson. A CDC spokesperson said they published the guide to raise awareness about their activities, and a disaster recovery expert added that, although meant to be humorous, the tips in the guide would get you through just about any unnatural disaster.

Ha, ha, CDC, good one. The guide was also first published alongside pamphlets on surviving an earthquake and influenza. Um, ha? The zombie guide was also released during the height of the Avian Flu epidemic, a disease which caused the following symptoms in humans: "fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases and other severe and life-threatening complications." Or otherwise known as zombie-itis. Crap, CDC.

Besides, when you think of the words 'humorous', 'tongue in cheek', or 'creative', do 'large government organizations specializing in disease and death' spring to mind? Hell, no. This wasn't just a tongue-in-cheek article--this was just the first stage of public awareness for when, you know, all the face eating starts.
4. Facial Eating is on the Rise

Just for fun, I left this search open on my wife's computer. 

A quick Google search on the words 'face eating' reveals 423,000,000 hits. A search on my new book "Bud the Crud" reveals four hits and three of them are related to some very lazy name calling. One has nothing to do with the other, I'm just venting.
At any rate, zombie attacks are on the rise. Whether it's brain eating amoebae in Louisiana or face eating hobos in Miami, the hunger for flesh has never been higher. In fact, based on my non-existent research, I'd say we have reached the historical apex for zombie-related attacks. If only there was some kind of sign...
3. The Cataclysmic Triggers Have Already Happened

They walk among us.

Every zombie movie starts in frighteningly similar fashion-- a comet passes just a little to close to Earth, a toxic waste spill seeps into the water supply, a nuclear reactor goes up like a birthday cake, some weird military experiment goes awry, or maybe something demonic happens between a priest and a nun an unattended vat of holy water.

Having just learned that the internet contains other things besides porn, I turned again to Google for the top news stories of 2013:
  1. Chelyabinsk meteor
  2. Evidence for water on Mars
  3. Syrian Civil War
  4. Worldwide flooding
  5. Resignation Of Pope
  6. United States Ammunition Shortage
So there's that. Natural disasters, civil war, lack of defenses, loss of religious leadership all leave us vulnerable and lost. Let's toss in a possible alien discovery and a damn meteor and we've just given the Walking Dead four more seasons (or at least provided some more topics for the cast to discuss in the barn).
  
2. Preparation Drills are Already in Place

Braiiiiinnnnnns. Ow, my shin splints.

The above picture is not a still from Return of the Living Dead. It's a photo from one of many 'zombie runs' held across the country. Entrants cough up $60 for the pleasure of running while being chased by the undead through various obstacles. What about any of those sentences sounded fun to you? This isn't a whimsical little jog--it's a nightmare-fueled all out sprint through a wasteland while being pursued by hordes of flesh-eating madness. This isn't a race, it's boot camp. But at least you get a tshirt at the end.
1. "When there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."

The state motto is, 'Don't Blame Us.'
This line shows up in more zombie movies than the phrase 'brains' or 'I wouldn't go in there if I were you." And it's really a terrifying notion. What if the place where all the worst souls go was suddenly filled to the brim? What would happen? They would explode onto the whole damned world like a tsunami made up of nightmares and sodomy. But that could never happen here. Or could it?

http://nj1015.com/a-housing-shortage-in-jersey-experts-say-it-could-happen-audio/
Fuck.
So who's crazy now, Michelle?

Monday, September 23, 2013

I got nothing

So I was going to write a cool blog post about zombies today because zombies are awesome, but I have literally spent the last three hours working with my son on a ten question math sheet and my brain is far too busy dealing with the near lethal combination of liquor and anxiety medication to produce anything worthy of the genre. Hopefully I'll have something tomorrow.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

10 Terrible Things I Learned from Insomnia

Although I haven't yet knocked down the pseudo-death that is turning 40, my body apparently has aged in dog years. As a result, I often have to get up in the middle of the night for an assortment of reasons (e.g., to pee, scream in agony, or change the sheets). As a result, I spend a good amount of time in the living room aimlessly flipping channels until the family wakes up and I have someone to play with. During these sleepless nights I've learned some terrible, terrible things about myself, my neighborhood, and the strange and terrifying world around me. Like these:

10. After 2am, there is a lot of porn on TV. A lot. And not just where you'd expect it like HBO and Skinemax. I'm talking History Channel, Discovery. Hell, even Animal Planet gets in on the act.

How hot is that?

9. My next door neighbor who obsessively walks his dogs every hour apparently doesn't sleep. He either owns hounds with the tiniest bladder alive or he's serving some kind of cosmic-penance which can only be repaid by picking up fist-sized chunks of poop. 

8. My wife giggles in her sleep. I thought it was adorable at first, but now I'm beginning to think she's laughing at me. 

7. Sounds are amplified at night. Things like walking down the stairs or opening a door reach decibels only matched by sticking your ear against a Sonic jet engine. 

Granted, I could be a little more gentle.

6. I kick the shit out of video games in the middle of the night. Stuck on a level of Candy Crush? One bought of insomnia is enough to propel me 12 levels forward. If only I could somehow harness this power for good. 

5. Our yard turns into Animal Kingdom at night. Deers. Raccoons. Rabbits. Even a strange bi-pedal hairless creature who likes to press his junk against our window. This may or may not be our weird neighbor with the dog-walking fetish.  

4. Facebook posts do not stop. Even accounting for time zone differences, I am clearly not the only person I know who's awake at ridiculous hours. But probably the one who's up because he's waiting for the sheets to dry. 

The, uh, dog did it.

3. Paranoia sets in. I don't recognize that car out front. And he's been parked there for an awfully long time. What's more it looks just like my car. It's almost like aliens are planning a silent invasion and have begun swapping out everything we know with exact copies. Also, why is my wife giggling again?

No matter, I'm prepared for the alien invasion. In fact, I welcome it.  

2. During the day, I yell at my kids for leaving their toys on the floor. At night, I begin to realize the sheer genius of the arrangement of their junk--they are perfectly situated so that I step on every damn one of them in the dark.
It's like this, but the mines say 'I love you' when you step on them.

1. There is no going back. If I fall asleep now, I'm going to be woken by a small child somersaulting onto my junk. If I go back upstairs, I will only wake up my wife again and incur her wrath for the rest of the day. My only option is to watch some animal porn, knock out a few levels of Candy Crush, and lube up for incoming alien attack. Hopefully, I can squeeze in a nap before the probing starts. 



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Having Children Explained- A Primer for My Single Friends


Trying to explain to my single friends what it's like having kids is like thinking a pamphlet is going to prepare you for the sheer invasiveness of a colonoscopy. No matter how many times you read the words 'microscopic camera' and 'colon tract', it's not really going to sink in as to what's happening until the doctor tells you to relax and proceeds to do to you what only Turkish prison guards should be allowed to.

But I'm determined to try anyway because 1) I'm tired of the dead-eyed expressions when I try to describe to my friends why my iPhone is covered in Elmer's glue and glitter and 2) to warn them what their blissfully uninterrupted and guilt-free sex romps can lead to.


I've put my description of child-rearing into terms I know they will understand--drunkenness and it's many stages.


1. 20–79 mg/dL - Impaired coordination and euphoria

This is the first stage of drinking. You're at a bar with a few friends and you've had a couple of drinks. The night is young and there's a really hot blonde at the end of the bar who has glanced your way a few times. You're young, unattached, and riding on the high that only limitless possibility can provide. And Miller Lite. 



This is the newborn phase. You've just brought the baby home from the hospital. You feel so connected to your wife and are hopelessly in love with the tiny, helpless creature in your arms in a way that you never thought was possible. It's like your heart has grown three sizes. The world seems exciting and the future is bright and shining. The baby spends most of its time sleeping and cooing. When you do take the little guy out in public, people flock to you and fawn over the little guy. Why did you ever wait this long to have a baby?


2. 80–199 mg/dL - Poor judgement, labile mood

You're on your fifth drink of the evening. The music is too loud and you don't like the way the bartender is flirting with that blonde because clearly you saw her first. But then your buddy Tom has lit the wrong end of his cigarette and you can't stop laughing. You're indestructible.

The tiny baby who slept all the time is six months old and doesn't sleep at all. You feel dizzy and have a headache all the time. Last night you and your wife got into a fight over sea shells but you can't remember why. But your older friends with kids tell you this is just a phase. You'll get past this. And you know what, when you do see the little guy sleeping, you forget all the anger. He is the most beautiful thing in the world. If only you could get a little sleep.


3. 200–299 mg/dL - Marked ataxia, slurred speech, poor judgement, labile mood, nausea and vomiting

You're in the bathroom puking. The last shot of Jagermeister was a bad idea. So was trying to light your breath on fire. Most of your eyebrows are gone. But that didn't stop you from telling the blonde that she looked hotter from further away, but you'd still be willing to nail her. When you get back to your table, Chumpa Wumba is playing. You take this as a sign to order another round of shots and sing at the top of your lungs.

The baby is walking. And talking. You're participating in playgroups with other parents and, as a result, bringing home every disease known to man. You spend your time getting peed on and cleaning up your puke and your baby's. You order the entire safety section of the Babies R Us catalog and begin turning your house into a fortress. You can't remember the last time you showered or had sex. The last time you tried to masturbate, you fell asleep.


4. 300–399 mg/dL -Anesthesia, memory lapse, labile mood


You're lying on the floor of a bathroom. It's not your bathroom because you certainly would not have bought pink Star Trek towels. You get up. Your eye is swollen shut and you have a fat lip. There's blood on your shirt and you're not wearing any pants or underwear. A woman enters. She has blonde hair and weighs 400 pounds. She asks if you're ready to go again. You ask her if she has any alcohol.



The baby is no longer a baby. He's five years old and in kindergarten. Your wife has put on 30 pounds and hasn't bought make-up since the little miracle was born. But you're not one to criticize. You're balder than the tires on your 10 year old car and, speaking of tires, nice gut fat boy. Still, you both cry the day your bundle of joy leaves on the bus for the first time. At dinner, you wonder aloud if you should have another.


5. 400+ mg/dL - Respiratory failure, coma

You vaguely begin to wonder what happened to all your friends. But after three more beers, you're ready to get back on the horse. Or rather, the horse is ready to get back on you. You feel nauseous, but the only thing that's coming up is your own stomach lining. Somewhere in the middle of the blonde's aerobatic routine, you feel a tightness in your chest. You think might love this girl.

You realize you haven't seen your old friends in over a year. The baby is crying upstairs even though it's naptime and your oldest is screaming because you told him to turn off the TV and do your homework. You wish you were still single so you could go out for a little while, maybe have a beer or two. You begin to do the math of when the kids turn 18 and leave for college. It's a long, long way away and on top of that, how the hell are you going to afford that anyway? You start calculating the years to retirement instead and, when that does nothing to cheer you up, the average life expectancy of an adult male. Your wife tells you that it's a shame that the extra bedroom is going to waste, that maybe having a third wouldn't be so bad. You smile. They are cute when they're small and, plus, you haven't had sex in a really, really long time. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Deconstruction of My Son's Homework Procrastination Habits

My wife and I often marvel at how my son can drag out even the simplest task into a 2-hour long ordeal of tears, frustration and argument. Rather than continue to fight him on this, I've decided to try and understand him by applying tried and true scientific principles of observation. Only by doing so can we, as parents, ever hope to find a cure. 

Shown Above: The only photograph known to exist of Alex smiling in the same room as a book.


Wednesday, September 18th

4:05 pm The subject (i.e. my son Alex) arrives home. Immediately takes off shoes and socks, drops kick backpack across the floor. Asks for a snack and, without waiting for a response, disappears into the garage to rifle through the Costco-sized box of assorted chips.

4:15 pm My wife asks me where Alex is. I know where he is. She knows where she is, but neither one of us wants to start yelling at him this early in the day because we know we have to conserve our energy. Instead I send our daughter out to go look for him.
Our garage may or may not lead to Narnia. 

4:25 pm Both children have now been in the garage together for 10 minutes. My wife is staring at me waiting for me to do something about it. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom so I can hide and play Candy Crush. I fail to get past level 184 for the 12th day in the row and run out of lives. Wisely, I do not send my wife a request for more. I hear yelling downstairs so I turn on the bathroom fan to drown out the noise.
 
Seriously, if you have any tips, email me.

4:40 pm I return to the kitchen to find my son sitting at the table, eating chips and staring at the TV. It's Antiques Roadshow; a program designed to cure insomnia. The sound is muted. Alex is staring at it with the same rapt attention he would give, say, Explosive Robot Sumo Wrestling. His books are in front of him, but none are open. My wife is glaring at me.
 Just knowing that we live in a world where this exists, gives me the strength to go on.

4:43 pm I ask Alex if he has any homework. He casually says 'Oh yeah!" and opens his books. I look at Michelle proudly--I've done my duty as a parent. She does not seem to share the same opinion.

4:50 pm Alex is still staring at the TV, but he has a pencil in his hand. This is progress. I turn off the TV. He lets out an, "Awwww" and then glares at his books.

4:55 pm I am still on the couch. My daughter is sitting on me because she has no concept of personal space and I feel someone watching me. I look over at my son. "Hey," he says and smiles. "Hi," I say. "Do you need help with your homework?" I ask. "Oh yeah!" he says and flips through his books.

5:05 pm Somehow Alex has gotten hold of his iTouch. A moment ago, it was on the coffee table. The next it was in his hands. No one saw him get up. My wife snatches it out of his hands and orders him to, "Do his homework already." "I don't feel like it," he says, but it's under his breath and more to himself. We pretend we didn't hear it.

For my next trick, I will refuse to brush my teeth!

5:08 pm My son is now playing with the napkin holder and the salt and peppers shakers. As far as I can tell, the napkin holder is a boat and the salt and pepper shaker are drawing lots to see who will get to eat who. I really want to see this play out, but my wife has gotten up once again,  snatched the items out of his hand, moved everything else non-school related out of reach, and threatened an early bedtime if he doesn't write something down in his notebook. And now. She doesn't even care if it's his name. Just...write...something.

5:18 pm My son announces he is stuck. I get up, because my wife with a Masters Degree from Johns Hopkins, insists that she's not smart enough to tackle fourth grade math.

"What's the date? he asks. I sigh. "Do your homework," I tell him and begin to think of potential threats/motivators. I realize I've exhausted everything in my personal arsenal so I collapse back on the couch. My daughter immediately moves back to my lap.

5:20 pm "I'm still hungry, can I have another snack?" my son says. My wife has reached her breaking point. She has not yet learned to conserve her energy. She screams, "Have you done anything, anything at all, on your homework?" "No," Alex moans. "Then no snacks. You get nothing until you're done your homework." "Fine." He picks up his pencil and for the first time appears to be making progress.

5:23 pm My son announces he is done and is ready for us to check his work. My wife and I exchange confused glances. I look over his math homework. There are ten questions and he has gotten all of them wrong. Including his name and the date. For two of the questions, he just drew a doodle of two guys on a boat underneath. The rest appear to be a sequence of random numbers. "Every one of these is wrong. I don't even know where to begin." He lets out a sigh like I'm the bad guy, like I'm the one who wrote that 20 divided by 4 equals a picture of a shark. He angrily spends the next five minutes erasing his answers.

5:27 pm I am back on the couch. My daughter is now wrapped around me like a koala. Alex is still erasing. If I could reach my phone, I'd look up child abuse laws in Maryland to see what I can and can't get away with. "Do your homework already!" I shout. My wife is smirking.

I love you tree and I'm never going to let go.

5:36 pm My son actually appears to be making progress. My daughter's grip on me is cutting off my circulation so I get up to clatter around the kitchen under the pretense of making dinner. I do not know how to make dinner--this is just my wife's cue to get up and say, "Go sit down. I'll take care of it, you useless ass." She used to mutter this last part under her breath, but lately it's become more of a general announcement. Or a plea for help. It's tough to say at this stage of the game.

My son looks up, and asks, "Can I have--" But my wife cuts him off. "You're not eating breakfast foods for dinner again. We're having chicken." My son slams his pencil on the table and pouts. He's close to tears, but I've noticed the older he gets, the more and more difficult he finds it to work himself into a good screaming fit. My daughter does not have this problem. I ask Alex if he's done. He says, "Almost," and goes back to his homework.

5:43 pm My wife is sneaking swigs from a bottle of cooking sherry. And by cooking sherry, I mean a bottle of wine. My daughter is sitting on my head. My cell phone is dead. All hope is lost.

 The bottle is exactly this size.

"Done," Alex says. Thankfully, I shrug my daughter off to check his answers. They're all correct.

"Wonderful," I say. He happily packs up his books. All is right with the world again.

"Can I play the Wii?" he asks.

"Sure," I say and playfully muss his hair. I'm proud of him. When he buckles down and focuses, he knocks it out of the park every time. There just might be hope for my boy. It might be my imagination, but the sky outside looks a little bluer.

5:44 pm Alex has just turned on the Wii and has the controller in his hand. My daughter is now standing next to me holding my hand because apparently I didn't sit down soon enough. My wife, who had been safely insulated from all the madness in front of the stove, casually asks Alex if he also has any english homework. He groans and slams down the remote. I want to kill her.

5:45 pm The Wii is off. Alex is back at the table. His English books are open, but he is leaning on his arm and glaring at my wife's back. I'm doing the same. We were so close. So close. "What do you have left to do, buddy?" I ask hopefully. I want this over with as much as he does. If he goes quick enough, I can still catch the last of the Antiques Roadshow marathon.

"Just look up and write two definitions," he says. "Okay," I say, "Easy enough. Get cracking."

5:48 pm I tell my daughter to please get off me. She affects the type of hurt expression only seen on dogs after they've been kicked, but I hold to my guns. Circulation is returning to my arms.
 I kicked this dog solely to get this picture.

6:03 pm Michelle announces dinner is ready and ask us to clear the table. I ask Alex if he's done. He says, "No," and is near tears again. "What's wrong?" I ask. "I can't find any of the words," he tells me. "But it's in the dictionary. It's in alphabetic order. All you have to do is...you know what, it can wait until after dinner."

6:36 pm I am done with dinner. My wife is done. My daughter who rivals only the sloth in terms of speed, is finished. Alex, however, is still busy picking every trace of vegetable out of his meal. My wife tells him if he doesn't finish and get back to his homework he's going to have his iTouch taken away. This is a lie. Taking away his iTouch would punish us more than him.

6:50 pm Alex asks if he can be done with his meal. Aside from creatively moving around his food, it does not appear as if he's eaten anything. I tell myself I'll just give him extra money for lunch tomorrow--that'll even things out.

6:53 pm Alex puts his books back on the table and asks if he can have a snack. My wife and I both yell, "No!" at the same time, but at this point we are completely immune to the humor of the situation.

6:57 pm I realize it's bath night. That's another 30 minutes of arguing I'm not prepared for. I'm watching my evening disappear right in front me.

Michelle cleans up the kitchen and I offer to help Alex with the rest of his homework. And by help, I mean show him exactly where the words are that he needs to look up. All he has to do is copy them from the dictionary. How freaking hard is that?

7:16 pm He's still at it. I'm done. Done! I take my daughter upstairs for a bath. Let my wife deal with Alex.

7:23 pm Even over the sound of the water running and the bathroom fan I hear arguing followed shortly by the sound of stomping feet up the stairs. Alex has finally finished his homework, but he has run out of time to play the Wii even though 'we promised.' My wife has ordered him upstairs to take a bath. A whole other set of arguments are about to begin. I take consolation in the fact that in a parallel universe, I am childless and still have a full head of hair.

Total time elapsed: Three hours and 18 minutes (minus 47 minutes for dinner)
Conclusion: So what logical conclusions can we make from this? Arguing does not work. Threats do not work. Pleading obviously does not work. That leaves us with only two choices--drinking and surrender. I recommend both in large quantities. It's only going to get worse when he hits Middle School.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Four Very Real Problems Suffered by People with Large Penises

I would like to take a break from the usual light-hearted nature of this blog and focus on a serious, yet overlooked medical issue that affects hundreds of people worldwide. It’s also an issue that affects me personally. I’m speaking, of course, of long-dongitis.

Okay, long-dongitis is not actually the name of a real disease, but that only underlies my point—it’s a very real issue that has flown under the radar for far too long. It’s time we bring this stealth dong out from under the cloak of shame and into your living room.  Into your lap. Into you face.

Having a large dong, as I do (And it’s huge! If it were a city, it’d be Hong Dong. If it takes a village to raise a child, it would only take one dong to destroy that village. My dong. If the Japanese made movies about my dong, it would be called Dongzilla), is not all it’s donged up to be. The porn industry and Madonna have glamorized long dongs for so long that it’s easy to forget all of the heartache, pain (physical and emotional), and embarrassment that go along with it.

Presented, for the first time, is a comprehensive list of issues faced by the penile-enhanced based on exhaustive scientific research and of course my own ginormous dong-related experiences. Because I have a big penis. I just wanted to make that clear.

1. Lack of Sexual FulfillmentOtherwise known as Kenny Rogers Syndrome.
I'll see your $20 and raise you a gigiantic dong.

Picture it, if you will. The Gambler is seated at a table in the back of a dusty saloon. His Stetson is low over his eyes. The dealer calls and he smiles. He’s looking at  a straight-fucking flush. He slides his pile of cash into the center of the table and smiles that Kenny Rogers smile that used to make women throw their panties, but now just makes them want to buy chicken.

“All in,” he says. “I’m all in.”

That’s the kind of moment that makes you want to have a cigarette after. It’s just that good. When all those hours of training and losses and loneliness are about to payoff in a big, big way.

All in.

However, when you’re dong is plus-sized, you never get ‘all in’. Ever. You can train all you want, there’s never going to be a total payoff.

I completely lost track of this metaphor, so I'm just going to move on to the next issue.


2. Prejudice

I'll call this one the John Holmes Effect. I have a black friend who’s on the tall side. If I had a quarter every time someone wondered aloud if he played basketball, I’d have enough money to finally get to the last level of Ms. Pacman. I’m sure large Samoans, Jewish Bankers, and Jamaican bobsledders endure a similar kind of auto-prejudice.

The same can also be said of those long in the dong. I can’t uncoil my massive member at a public urinal without someone commenting, “Wow! You must be a porn star!” And I’m totally not. I gave that up in the 90’s.

But meanwhile the prejudice continues and we of long and schlong suffer it in silence. Where is my million dong march? When will someone stage a sit-in for my dong? Who will join me as I burn my customized underwear in front of the White House? Stand up my brothers!

Picured: The Million Man March. Granted, there would be some major overlap.  
3. Social Stigma and Repression of Dongedness
The world does not embrace the king-sized dong. No cup can contain my dong. No shorts are long enough. Speedos reject my dong faster than a midget hooker--only the Grand Canyon is a match to accept my dong.

Ambidexterity takes on terrible connotations when speaking of dongs.

Left-handed individuals face this on a daily basis. In a world where 90% of the population is right-handed, most tools and procedures are designed for the righties. But those with KDS (King Dong Syndrome) do not have to struggle with trivial things like mismatched scissors. We have to take extra cautions when using public toilets lest our dongs trawl the bottom of the bowl, which of course can lead to all kinds of medical issues.  

4. Medical IssuesI suffer fainting spells. If I so much as see a hint of side boobage, I swoon like Scarlet O'Hara. It's not that I'm prudish or pining for a large southern gentleman to break my fall, it's just simple laws of distribution at play. When a guy pitches a boner-tent, blood floods to his winkie. In most cases, we're talking a minimal amount of blood and the body hardly notices the re-distribution. But when your dong rivals the Jersey Tunnel, the blood loss is simply too great and I collapse like a sack of potatoes. If, you know, those potatoes were really big dongs. I also suffer back problems, chaffing, and vision problems (from constantly poking myself, not from furious masturbation).
Makes you rethink the whole character of Captain Feathersword, doesn't it?

And there is no relief in sight. If a woman is sporting massive mammary pillows that weigh her down, she can pop in to her primary care provider and get those babies sucked down to a pert B cup and be back in the mall for lunch at Chipolte.

But there is no such thing as dong reduction surgery. You can't my friends, chop down a redwood tree. At least, not without destroying the entire forest.

So what can you do?God, I envy you--those of small in penis. You know who you are. By now you're probably putting on your tiny, tiny shoes and wondering 'What can I do to help? I had no idea it was this bad.' And those of us who must coil our anacondas around our legs to get our pants on appreciate your concern. The outlook, however, is grm. There really isn't a lot you can do. Don't stare. Don't whisper. Don't run screaming out of the bedroom. Wait until we fall asleep then leave a $20 on the nightstand before you go. Do what you can to make our torturous existence on this planet as comfortable as possible. For we are people, too. People with really big dongs.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Please Don't Make Me Go to Back to School Night

An open letter to my wife...

I can make a bong out of everything in this picture.


Dear Michelle,
Please don't make me go to Back to School Night. While I am deeply concerned about our children's education, I also recognize that participation in this event requires a certain level of maturity and solemnity which, as you know, I lack. I am, just to be perfectly clear, emotionally retarded. Just the fact that I would use the word retarded should at least be some kind of indication that I have no business discussing my children's education (let alone participate in any way). But just in case you forgot, let me give you a run-down of what happened last year (some of which may be new information to you):

1. I giggled uncontrollably whenever the vice-principal's name was mentioned. It practically has the word 'butt' in it, for Pete's Sake. This is not someone who should be working around children (or childish adults).

2. I openly suggested pushing our children down the stairs just so they could get into the special education class taught by that hot teacher. You probably blocked this out, but here's your reminder. And I was only half joking (It doesn't have to be the stairs, it could just be a ladder).

3. I brought gum with me just so I could stick it under a desk once we got into our daughter's classroom. Why? Because fuck the man, that's why!

Someday, archaelogists will discover this piece and know I was here.

4. When you weren't looking I drew a peace sign on a desk. I don't even know why.

5. I moved our daughter's self-portrait so it was more prominently displayed.

6. When I was in the boy's bathroom, I pretended I was a giant among the tiny toilets and proceeded to put out several pretend fires. The bathroom was unusable after. I know exactly why I did this.

Whooooo!

7. When the principal announced that there would be new testing this year, instead of being proud to be in a progressive school which embraces more rigorous standards, I groaned and thought about the additional work that would mean for me.

8. Do you remember that other parent you saw me talking to? He and I actually went to elementary school together. I asked him if he was 'cool' and if he wanted to go outside and burn one. Apparently, we were not on the same page.

9. I told the art teacher if he was planning on teaching drawing the human form, I would be more than happy to model, but I'd need at least a week's notice so I could manscape properly. I didn't want to frighten the kids, you see.
Yeah, it's that bad.

10. And finaly, being back in school made me feel even more like a ten-year old boy than usual. That's why I fought bedtime that night, snuck into our son's room to play with his Legos, and may or may not have wet the bed.

I'll leave the decision up to you, just as I do with everything else. But you should know that I'm all hopped up on Mountain Dew and I'm feeling feisty. Anything that happens tonight is all on you. Also, doesn't that hot teacher still work there?

Love and kisses,
Jamie

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Four Terrible Life Lessons I Learned from my 6-year old Daughter

I love my daughter, but she frightens, scares, and confuses me in exactly the same manner as my wife. And mother. And every other woman I've ever come into contact with. And can you blame me when I'm faced with such horrible life lessons as these:


4. Crying will get you your way.

But only if you're female. There is something in a woman's tears (no matter what age) that sends the male 'fix it' gene into overload. Our ears ring, we break into a cold sweat, and become nervous and panicky and we will literally do anything to make it stop, including but not limited to buying yet another hundred dollar American Girl doll, getting a pedicure, or enduring yet another Saturday at Chuck E Cheese.

Eventually, she was crushed under the weight of the toys she’d conned us into buying.

This is apparently something that women continue to get away with well past an age where they should really know better. Ladies and gentleman of the jury I submit to you this example--while driving in the car with a co-worker (we'll call her Shmennifer to protect her identity), she was pulled over for speeding. Before the cop came to our window, Shmennifer immediately burst into tears. What was the first thing the police officer said? Not, 'Do you have any idea how fast you were going?' like in every movie I've ever seen. Or even 'Did you know you just cut off an ambulance?' which she totally did. No, it was, "Are you alright?" followed quickly by an accusing look at me and, "Has he hurt you?" After several apologies (by me), a long-winded explanation, and what might be construed as a bribe, the police officer let me off with a warning as long as I promised never to upset this young lady again.

Likewise, my daughter continually plays the crying card. And she doesn't just reserve it for important things like traffic stops or $500 plumbing repair bills. It could be getting the wrong cup to drink out of, her brother sitting in a chair that she swears she was just about to sit in, or me not reading her goodnight story in the correct voice. And you know what? I totally cave every freaking time because 1) her tears confuse and frighten me and 2) once she starts it is damn near impossible to get her to stop--it's just easier to let go and give in and get it over with. I've also heard drowning described in almost those exact same words.


3. When in doubt, tattle.

I suspect that my forty-pound, blue-eyed daughter is some kind  of evil genius. Or at least a future dictator in training. There is no doubt she is going to make some man very miserable someday, and to my future son-in-law, I humbly apologize. I did my best, but I was blinded by a cloud of perfume, tears, and cuteness.

 Pictured Above: The face of pure evil.

My daughter loves tattling. LOVES IT. She takes a perverse delight in calling out my 9-year old son for sneaking a cookie, playing video games when he should be doing homework, or cooking up meth in his secret basement lab. And her evilness is not just reserved for him. If I so much as make a funny face behind my wife's back or let out a post Taco Bell toot, she's proudly pointing out my faux pas to anyone who will listen. She would have been perfectly home in Nazi-occupied Germany if, you know, she wasn't Jewish.

And for a while, she totally got away with this behavior (much longer than I care to admit). She was blameless, innocent, a saintly bastion of justice and sweetness rolled into the adorable packaging of a cute, little girl. Until one day, I happened to be standing in the kitchen watching the kids in the living room. I had just come from upstairs and they didn't appear to notice I was there. My oldest son was on the couch happily playing video games. My daughter was sitting on the floor looking at a book. She asked her brother if she could play, too. He grunted a 'Yeah, when I'm done,' because this is how all little boys communicate. She immediately burst into tears (see number 4 on this list) and began screaming for mom. I naturally assumed my daughter was having some kind of lady issues I was ill-prepared to deal with and would have called my wife, but this was the time she liked to lock herself in the bathroom and drink wine and I knew I couldn't interrupt her.

"What honey? What is it?" I asked.

"Alex hit me," my daughter said with the practiced, pathological coolness of a serial killer.

My son immediately affected the 'what the hell' look which I'd seen a hundred times before, but just naturally assumed was an admission of guilt.

"No, he didn't," I said, though with her crying I was no longer totally sure myself. "I was standing in the kitchen watching him."

She immediately stopped crying.

A mixture of emotions crossed her face. I imagine you would have seen the same look on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when the Mexican Army surrounded them. But, just like those famous outlaws, bravado, confidence, and practice kicked in and she went back to her go to escape route--more crying. "He never lets me play games," she added, hoping more tears would throw me off. And it totally did.

"Let your sister have a turn," I said, and went to knock on the bathroom door. My wife had been in there long enough.

Later, I thought back to dozens of other times when my lovely daughter called out my son for something and we immediately punished or yelled at him. It was like the moment in Sixth Sense where you finally find out that [15 year old spoiler alert] Bruce Willis is a ghost. All of a sudden you have to rethink the whole damn movie. Except instead of realizing that I'd just wasted two hours, I discovered that I'd really wronged my son and that no amount of toys was going to make up for it. But I tried anyway. You're welcome Toys R Us.


2. If you can't win, make them change the rules.

 Could you say no this face? Seriously, could you? I don’t know how.

My daughter lives in a family with two brothers and a sports-loving father. It's inevitable that she'll end up playing some kind of game with her siblings--whether it's football in the front yard, board games in the basement, or a race to see who gets the bathroom. Competition is just a given.

And in these competitions, my daughter usually comes up short. And it's not because she's weak or dumb, it's because she knows she doesn't have to put in the effort. See, the moment my daughter realizes she might not win, she resorts to tears or a look of hurt that would be more at home on Bambi's face after his mother [60 year old spoiler alert] got gunned down rather than on the face of someone who just got sent back to home in Candyland.

To stop the inevitable tide of tears (again, refer to number 4) or the crushing weight of female disappointment, I end up bending the rules in her favor. She's had more do-overs than Al Gore. More second chances than Lindsay Lohen. Um, more extra turns than, I don't know, something that makes a lot of turns. Jeff Gordon?

And yes, I realize this is just terrible enabling behavior because when she gets into the real world, my daughter is going to discover that life doesn't work like this. You don't just get things handed to you. You have to work your ass off to succeed. And even then success or rewards are not a given. Unless, of course, you're pretty.


1. Being pretty will get you everywhere.

My daughter is pretty. I say this, not with the blinded eye of a proud father, but with the impartiality of a man who knows his wife cheated on him, but isn't ready to
call her bluff.

And worse yet, my daughter knows she's pretty. And she's discovered that being pretty is enough to get her just about anything she wants. All she has to do is ask. Which she does. Frequently.

Even boys as young as two aren't safe from her charms.

Imagine walking into Outback Steakhouse, ordering the blooming onion rings, and asking if you could also have the rib eye for free. Imagine losing an event in the Olympics but asking if you could get a medal anyway. Or simply asking a neighbor you’ve never spoken with if you can go to their Super Bowl party (which you weren't invited to). These are the types of things my daughter routinely gets away with, albeit on a much smaller scale.

We're talking things like: extra ice cream toppings, free candy, free prizes at places like Chuck E Cheese, inviting herself over to people's houses, etc. At an amusement park, she was given a priority seating pass because she cried (see number 1) when she was too short to go on a particular ride.

I don't know if it's the fact that she's a kid, that she's cute, or that she's just brazen enough to ask for what she wants (think of just how difficult that is to do), or if it's just some magical elixir of all three elements that just opens doors for her. All I know is, my son doesn't get the same treatment and I've never had that and while that's not enough for a tight, scientific conclusion, I think it's safe to say that the reason for this is our penis-impairment.
  
There's a lesson to be learned from all of this, I just don't know what it is. I was close to figuring it out and making some great strides for all of mankind (emphasis on the man), but Shmennifer just dropped by and asked if I could do all of her work today so I have to go. Someday, we'll get there fellas.

Monday, September 16, 2013

10 Things My Wife Should Know


An open letter to my wife. The next time we have an argument, please keep these simple rules in mind. It will save us both a lot of time and shouting.
These are for you in advance, honey.



10. I wasn't ignoring you, I simply wasn't paying attention.


9. Yes there is a difference. I don't pay attention to anyone, why should you be any different?

8. If you don't want me to fix your problems, keep them to yourself. I don't ask you for sympathy when I break the mower. I simply hide the flowers and glass and call the repairman.

7. I do appreciate what you do around the house. I just don't say anything in the same way you don't rip off my clothes and jump me every pay day.

6. The traditional format for a story is beginning, middle, and end. A lot of your stories seem to be stuck in the author's foreword. Nobody reads those for a reason. Get to the point.

5. I secretly suspect that you carefully choose your friends based on how much they will annoy me.

4. You are not allowed to be mad at me for 1) snoring, 2) kissing someone else in your dream, or breaking your favorite dish, in the same way I promise not to get mad at you for 1) Watching Magic Mike or Top Gun for the 1000th time, 2) sharing the most intimate aspects of our relationship with your best friend (who I can't stand), or 3)throwing away my favorite t-shirt because it was "full of holes".

3. Yes, I am that dumb. No, I do not deserve you. And no, I don't know why you're so upset. Please just tell me.

2. If you and my mother could ever agree, I would be completely screwed.

1. And finally, please understand that you are the reason I get out of bed in the morning and the reason I rush home at night. I love you, even if I don't say it often enough.