Monday, January 26, 2009

"Shenanigans Volume VIII"

As it usually goes...some random things I've been thinking about lately...hope you enjoy...

…IT doesn’t happen often, but once in a while I do run into people who have a kid. I know it’s hard to believe since not many children frequent dive bars and fantasy baseball drafts, but amazingly I do try to reach the surface of the real world for a breath once in a while. It is always the same thing when I ask their age. “Billy is 9 weeks, 44 weeks, 100 weeks, etc.” Would it kill them to just let me know their age, say Billy is 1, 2, or 50? I’m not a mathematician, nor do I carry around my abacus in my back pocket, so I would appreciate just hearing the age, nothing more, and nothing less, instead of tying my head in knots.

“Oh wow, Mikey is a beautiful child, so how old is he?”

“Mikey is 412 ½ weeks, yes he is lovely isn’t he?”

“Great so he’s like, uh lets see, 4 times 9, carry the one, subtract the 6, add 0, hold on I need a break, ok times the square root of pie, divide the 1, alright so he’s… uh 7?”

“Yup that’s right!”

Listen, I don’t go around telling people I’m 1,456 weeks old, so why should you? All I’m asking for is a fair chance here…

…LAST week while driving through San Francisco, lost, which often I find myself doing by the way, I unexpectedly happened upon the Castro – the homosexual area of the city for those who don’t keep up with their sexual orientation geography. This is a place free from most homeless, however the ones you see also seem to share the same orientation as the roof-covered area inhabitants. Immediately, I reacted and reached for my stereo, turning down the new Coldplay album that was blaring out of my speakers, just like a white guy driving through the heart of the ghetto turning down his rap music. In the ghetto this move is done in efforts to deflect attention from pugnacious gang members nearby, poised and ready to put their game of Craps game on hold, and make your trip to the ghetto your last. In this case, however, the terrifying gang member was in the form of a flaming transvestite dressed in butt less leather chaps poised and ready to take a run at my manhood as soon as the sounds of my far-from-manly Coldplay album entered his hearing vicinity. I think I’d rather take my chances with the gang member, and that is why I felt it was best to keep “Viva La Vida,” at it’s lowest decibel possible to remain inconspicuous and safe out of harms way. I’m not really sure what to do if I ever came across a transvestite gang member, but I suppose I’d just turn on some death metal or something, otherwise I’d really be in for it…

…DOES anyone know how seagulls make it up to Lake Tahoe, keeping in mind Lake Tahoe is 6,000 feet above sea level and the key part of their name is “sea”gull? It really is mind-boggling. Are these itinerant birds fighting wind, rain, sleet and snow to accomplish what the Donner party could not, leaving their life at sea behind? I’ve got to be honest I’m not even mad at these birds; I’m actually extremely impressed. Wouldn’t Lake Gulls be more appropriate though? These are the things I think about at night…

… IS there any reason that people are still wearing wristwatches? Have they not realized that they carry an apparatus that displays the time digitally for them, called a cell phone? I asked my buddy who wears a watch why he wears it and he said so he could tell the time. When I asked him what time it was he said he didn’t know because the hands stopped moving two years prior so he checked his cell phone… “So let me get this straight, the main function of the device is essentially rendered useless, but yet you still wear it,” I pestered him. “It’s a nice watch, ok leave me alone,” he responded, as he fiddled with the face of the watch and the cheap plastic covering popped off…

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"A Breath of Un-Fresh Air"

On the way up to Lake Tahoe a couple months ago I passed by a sign that was dedicated to a noble man of the law. Everyone has seen these signs- you know the ones cities feel that naming a freeway after their local hero is the appropriate tribute to someone who has given their life to defending the innocent? For example, Pablo Escobar Memorial Expressway?

Gymnasium for a famous athlete-ok I get it.

A firehouse after a brave fireman-yeah makes sense.

Even a garbage dump after a dedicated garbage man I can justify, but a freeway?

What is next; Paul J. McGuilicutty Memorial outhouse, for a famous plumber?

These disgusting, trash-infested, stress-causing concrete monstrosities spread out across America have been the cause of middle fingers, god-faring individuals turning into road rage maniacs, accidental deaths, decapitations and hair pulling, steering wheel head banging, dashboard smashing traffic, but yet towns feel freeways are the appropriate way to honor these vigilantes?

At least the sign on the 80 freeway on the way to Tahoe finally had things figured out. Instead of naming the freeway after their idol of the law, they named a bridge after him. The sign read “Richard “Fresh Air” Jansen Memorial Bridge,”- next exit. I’m not going to pretend to know what sort of man “Fresh Air” Jansen was, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the guy who drove around a twenty year-old Volkswagen van, seven years removed from its last smog check thus frequently sending massive pollution into the atmosphere.

A babbling brook, birds chirping, and a newborn fawn feeble enough to barely stumble to get a drink of cool, clear water is what I was picturing in my mind for the location of “Fresh Air,” Jansen Bridge. It brought an amiable smile to my face and butterflies to my belly. This would be a place where animals, humans, and an inebriated David Hasselhoff could come and enjoy nature in a harmonious blend of peace. It wouldn’t matter if you were a black, white, purple, green or a pantieless Lindsey Lohan high on narcotics and whiskey. “Fresh Air” Bridge would bring everyone together to forget their troubles and to a state of tranquility.

I was coming closer to the exit, and the butterflies raced in my stomach like a four-year old with ADHD in a candy shop. My window was down and the cool autumn breeze softly blew my hair, sending me to a state of peaceful comfort. Off in the West, the hot sun was setting behind a mountain, creating a magical picturesque array of light pink, blue and orange causing the air on my arms to stand at attention and send a chill of happiness down my spine. It was serenity at its finest.

Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked…

And then I saw it.

There in front of me, in all its glory and beauty was Richard “Fresh Air,” Jansen Memorial Bridge.

There were no newborn fawns to share in the excitement.

There were no pine trees blowing every so softly in the autumn breeze, to parlay my chill of happiness.

There was no crisp breathe of nature to inhale.

Instead, I inhaled the fumes from a Volkswagen van ahead of me as traffic slowed to a stop - not to get a better look at the bridge, but to check out some redneck who had gotten out of his pickup truck to take a leak on the side of road.

There, about ten feet from the freeway, and placed strategically under massive power lines stood Richard “Fresh Air” Jansen memorial bridge, so if one were to stop and actually visit the bridge they could place on bets on what would kill them first – car exhaust, or radiation from the power lines.

If there were ever such thing as a street gang of power lines, this power line would have been the Tony Soprano of the power lines. This thing stood about what appeared to be 1,000 feet in the air with lines heading to it from every direction. If anyone were to stand directly on the bridge they would probably start growing an arm from their earlobe due to the massive radiation emanating from these lines.

The bridge itself was about ten feet by ten feet, erected about one foot above brown, rat infested marsh lands.

My tranquility quickly dissipating and gave way to disappointment.

Somewhere in the distance a dog urinated on a tree…

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t what “Fresh Air” Jansen quite had in mind…