Monday, August 25, 2008

Let's Beat Feet, Greenstuff

I was enjoying a tasty treat the other day and happened to glance at the nutrition specs on the back of the package. The scan is not the best but what really caught my attention is the part where it says:


Hmm. It appears that the good people at the FDA have lost their passion for their work.

Or maybe they just can't be bothered with little details like which continent your gummy bears came from because they are too busy being bedfellows with drug companies, inventing new ailments like restless leg syndrome.

Food news is boring: "Watch out for e.coli! The price of dairy has doubled!" But sicknesses and disorders are fun, especially when you get to make them up for the sake of selling unused pills that someone has sitting in a dusty warehouse.

And now a special message from a concerned doctor from a caring corporate conglomerate:

Do you feel healthy? Perhaps even a little TOO healthy?

Did you know that even HEALTHY people feel QUEAZY and SHIVERY from time to time? If it has been awhile since you have felt queazy and shivery, you may be suffering from Queazy Shiver Deficiency Syndrome (QSDS). QSDS is a treatable disorder and our doctors can provide a number of otherwise unusable medications to make you queazy and shivery to get you back in top condition.

Only a doctor can diagnose QSDS. Please call our number to find out what your disorder is:


Sunday, August 24, 2008

This is a tiny town and we don't want you comin' round

Mofo: "I have to drive across Nevada tomorrow night by myself. I'm scared I'll be abducted by aliens or something."

Me: "I've driven across Nevada plenty of times and I prefer to do it at night so I don't have to look at the place."

Mofo: "What the hell are those lights up there?"

Me: "I beleive that's Kennecott. Either that oooooor it's an alien spacecraft, cleverly disguised as one of the world's largest open pit mines, lying in wait for you to head out across the Nevada desert."

Mofo: "Shut up. I really am scared about that."

Me: "I don't think you'll be abducted by aliens. A guy like you should worry more about being dragged behind a truck and duct-taped naked to a fence post. That's the end I see coming for you."

Mofo: "Thanks. That makes me feel better."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Like Falling From Grace- I Could Do That

A while ago I told my wife about the American Writers Podcast and that Tom Ochipinti is a great teacher and puts together an interesting show. I told her that his fourth show was about "The Shadow in the Hero" where he describes that a good antagonist in a story is just the polar opposite of the hero of the story. The Shadow character (of Jungian psychology) is the hero's worst potential, the doubt in oneself. Darth Vader is so horrible because he is exactly what Luke would become if he turned to the "dark side," Gollum is so horrible because he is what Frodo would become if he tried to use the evil ring of power for good. It's the hero's internal conflict that makes the story interesting. Tom does a great job of explaining this and sums it all up by saying that, in essence, when a hero battles a shadow character he is actually battling himself.

I told this to my wife and she said, "That's the cheesiest thing I've ever heard!"

I said, "Yeah, it's cheesy but it's true. It's a model of story telling that works. And it only seems cheesy because you break it down to its cheesy elements. It's better when you just hear the story."

"I don't want to hear about how cheesy it is," she said.

The other night, we finally went and saw the new Batman movie. The Joker stole the show and of course Heath Ledger is dead now, probably because I admitted that I'm starting to respect him as an actor in my earlier review of Brokeback Mountain fatally mixed with the fact that everything I love turns to dust.

The movie probably wasn't as good as I expected but it was still in the "great" category. It seemed like the bad guys had more victories than the good guys. When the movie was over, my wife kept saying, "WHY didn't Batman just kill the Joker? He had several chances!"

I said, "Don't you remember Tom Ochipinti? The Joker is Batman's shadow character. Batman is crazy-good and The Joker is crazy-bad. Batman can't kill The Joker because it is completely against his character. He's a hero. He doesn't solve problems by killing people. If Batman kills The Joker than he has failed."

She said, "And what's with Two Face? What is he then?"

I said, "Two Face shows you someone that starts out good on the level of Batman and then descends to the level of The Joker. That's what would happen to Batman if Batman killed the Joker."

"Oh. Nobody would mind if Batman killed The Joker." Which is another way of saying, "You are no fun to watch movies with."

Friday, August 08, 2008

If you're that baby's daddy, where you been at?

This week I've been working at prisons, the tax commission and a certain giant "call center." When college didn't want us anymore, my wife and I got jobs at this certain giant call-center. That's when we started to get to know eachother and later got married.

My wife is well aware of my cubicle-induced 'Nam Flashbacks (Johnny? JOHNNY!!!!!) and when I told her I was working at the call center (even in a construction related manner) she asked, "Are you going to be okay?"

I tried to make the most of it, "Call centers are usually full of hot chicks aren't they?"

And since I got to know my wife at this particular call center, my wife answered, "Yes! Yes, call centers are full of hot girls." She was talking about herself, of course.

I feel so bad for the cubicle people. It's the opposite of the world I'm trying to create. And today, me and a buddy realized that most of the girls in the call center were far from hot. Chilly, even. We played foosball against some of the cuter girls in the breakroom but I looked at them and thought, "My wife is way cuter than these girls."

Last week, a little old lady knocked on our door at 10 pm and our five year old let her in the house. My wife and I were given no information regarding this and were surprised to find a very elderly woman planted firmly on our living room couch a few minutes later. My wife started talking to her and I assumed that it was someone she knew from the neighborhood. I went somewhere else to watch tv while they had girl talk.

Moments later my daughter told me my presence was desired and when I returned my wife made some facial and finger gestures to tell me, "She's crazy!" but the words that came out of her mouth were, "This is Ester, WHO I JUST MET. She doesn't want to go home because she isn't treated very well."

My wife told me later that the woman kept going on and on about how we seemed nice and how the lady wished we could get to know her and let her stay with us. It was geting late into the night. The kids were in their pajamas. But Ester was sitting on our couch and she intended to stay where she was.

We asked her if we should go talk to her family or if she had any other family members that may be able to help her. No. We asked if she would like us to call the police, we could all talk things out and make them better. No. Because no matter who we talked to, Ester knew they would just send her back home to live with the tyrants with absolutely no concern about her feelings or her reasons to want to live elsewhere. But unless I could conjure up some new CARING relatives or something, Ester was determined to stay on our couch.

Ester couldn't tell us where her house was. Ester didn't know anyone from church who could help her.

There is this guy in our neighborhood. He's in his forties. He's nice and well meaning but also annoying. He's annoying because he wants to be my friend. He knows almost nothing about me, but he wants to be my friend. He brings community related stuff to my house for me. He plans barbecues around my schedule. He always wants to get together. With me. My wife tries to assist him because he's nice. She goes to the barbecues without me. Every time I see the guy approach our house, I get annoyed. I probably say things like, "That dork is pissing me off."

My wife says, "Why? He's nice."

I say, "It's stupid to pick a house and say I'm going to be friends with whomever lives here! He's trying so hard to be friends with someone he doesn't know. He keeps popping in."

My wife, "He just comes by to say hello."

Me, "It's the pop-in! Most people hate the Pop-In. I'm not alone. Anyway. That is not how I make friends and that guy needs to leave me alone."

My wife said, "You used to be nice. You're not nice like you used to be."

I wanted to say, "You mean I'm not nice like I was when I met the girl of my dreams and we quit our jobs at the giant call center together to travel around and live off my credit cards and had a great time? For some reason, I work my hands till they bleed so I can buy endless crap for four unnamed people who are not me and I'm not nice and happy like I was before as evidenced by the notion that I don't want to be friends with some weird dude in his forties who lives down the street? Some wicked thing has wrapped it's vines and tendrils round my heart and squeezed it until it was cold and hard and black as midnight?"

But instead of performing a soliloquy worthy of Hamlet, I just stared my wife in the eye and said nothing because I thought it was all ridiculous.

But my wife suggested calling the Pop-In guy to help us with Ester because he's always sniffin' around the neighborhood, seeing who's who and what's what. I said, "Yes. Call that guy."

That guy came right over and he knew who Ester was and where she lived. He told her he wanted to take her home. She said, "No. There are two sides to every story and nobody ever listens to my side. They'll just send me home and forget about me and nobody cares about my situation."

And the guy said, "Well. You can't stay here." And he grabbed her elbow and we all got up and walked out of the house. Right outside our house were two police cars and Ester's family. They were all searching the neighborhood for her. They were all so relieved. They put Ester in the front seat of their minivan and let her sit there alone for half an hour while they told us pointless stories about the neighborhood.

Everyone seemed happy and everyone went home. I said, "It's weird that everyone is so happy about it all. Ester just kept saying over and over that she didn't want to be swept under the rug but all we did was sweep her back under the rug. And then we all go on living like we did before."