Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shameful Pride

I realized last night that you can be proud of yourself and feel like a complete loser at the same time. It came to me as I was buying six boxes of cereal for four dollars. I had coupons, they had Honey Bunches of Oats (with almonds!). I couldn't pass it up. So I was proud of the deal I found, but also ashamed that I'd purchased enough cereal for a week at the Duggar* house. Pride and shame don't really seem like they'd go together. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that those two words go together a lot for me. In fact, I'm thinking they should probably go on my tombstone. Because I'm always doing really nerdy, dorky things that I am simultaneously proud of and ashamed of. Like watching all three extended editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in succession. (Yeah! I did it! It took me 14 hours, but I did it!... Wait... I can't believe I just sat on the couch for 14 hours.) Or like the time I saw the new Harry Potter at the first midnight showing (okay, the six times I did that). Or like the time I started a blog.

I usually end up deciding that I'm not ashamed of these kinds of things, but I keep them to myself in case other people don't think it's neat to memorize an entire Weird Al album. After all, it's better to be silent and perceived a nerd than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (And by "remove all doubt", I mean "get beat up".)

*For those who don't know, the Duggar's have like a million kids (okay, 19 kids).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rub His Nose In It

My older brother likes to compare having a dog to having a child. And being someone who's had experience with both, I get pretty mad when he tries to equate the two. So when I talk about how my kids made a mess, he talks about how his dog makes messes. Or if I say that my son is just trying to get attention by acting out, he says his dog has been doing that too. And it's really hard to talk to him about it because I have to fight off the urge to slap him. But I think he really needs to know that there is a huge difference between raising children and owning a pet. That's why they don't call it raising a pet, and I'm legally not allowed to call it owning a child.

Here's my main example. With a dog, potty training has a pretty good safety net. If all else fails, put the dog outside. But the neighbors give me dirty looks when I take my kid out on a leash to poop in the yard. So I have to deal with diapers and wipes and training potties and germs and emergency potty breaks that involve a game we call "don't-touch-anything-because-this-WalMart-bathroom-smells-like-bad-decisions-and-hepatitis." But dog-owners don't have all that. Worse case scenario for them is bagging up some doodoo in the living room and busting out the carpet cleaner.

So I yelled at my brother the last time he compared kids to dogs. But then I got carried away and swatted him with a newspaper and locked him in the laundry room.

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Crazy Kid

I've heard people say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I think it's usually attributed to Albert Einstein or Winston Churchill or Zach Morris or some other famous genius. And if I'm to accept this statement as true, then my son is insane. Because no matter what we tell him about his little sister, he thinks eventually it will be acceptable to tackle, push, pull, throw, shove, or dislocate some part of her. I assure you that it's not his intention to hurt her. He doesn't punch or kick her. He doesn't bite or slap her. But he does make her cry. I think his sense of curiosity gets the better of him. So he tries to see what will happen if he pulls her leg down while I pick her up. Or he wants to find out (for his research, I assume) if she falls the same way he does when pushed from behind. I'm sure it's all in the name of science.

But, the part that confuses me is that no matter what we do to him to make him stop (spanking, tasering, waterboarding) he continues to use her as a step, a shield, a chair, and a personal push tester. I've actually witnessed him "help" her walk by pulling her to the ground, then receive punishment, cry loudly, and then walk directly back over to her and pull her down again. And then he has the audacity to looked surprised when he gets in trouble again. Like somehow the rules have changed in the last 12 seconds. As if we, his parents, will realize the merit of making babies cry and apologize for not seeing the genius in his methods. And that's the single most confusing thing about parenting. Ignorance is easy. (You didn't know it was wrong, now you do.) Defiance is easy. (You're not gonna do it? Oh yes you are.) But he knows it's wrong. He can go from punishment to repeat offender in 3 seconds. It's like walking out of prison after getting paroled and breaking into the warden's car as you're being escorted out.

And usually, the only response I can muster is "Seriously?!" followed by a quick succession of exasperated sighs. Then I ask him why he did it again and all he can say is "I'nt know" which is his adorable little way of saying "I don't know." And when he says that, what he's really saying is, "This is why Mom's gonna live longer than you." Because the one thing that hurts my brain the most and inevitably drains years off of my life is people ignoring basic logic. So every time my son does something monumentally stupid (like his injury-inducing leaps from the coffee table), my life expectancy shortens. And since I have a death-defying stuntman toddler at my house, I expect I won't live past 30.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Don't Ewok The Boat

I was stunned to find out recently that my younger sister had never seen any of the Star Wars films. Not one movie, not one scene, not one classic moment ("I am your father."). So my quotes, references, and witty wordplay are totally lost on her ("What do you mean 'That's the way the wookie mumbles'?").

Then I realized that it might be a good thing that she hasn't seen them. Because she has this habit of destroying childhood favorites and ruining some of my cherished movies. And that's because finding logical flaws in fantasy or sci-fi movies is apparently her hobby. She kinda messed up Lord of the Rings for me when she pointed out that the orcs' teeth would make it impossible for some of them to close their mouths. So certain things they were saying were physically impossible since their lips don't touch. Now, every time I watch one of those movies, that's all I can think about. And it drives me crazy. She's destroying my suspension of disbelief!

I tried to do the same thing to her movies, but it's impossible. I pointed out that people don't randomly break into choreographed songs about day-to-day activities, but she said it was fine since Legally Blonde 2 was just a sequel. I tried to show her that movie plots are supposed to make sense and have a logical conclusion, but she said it didn't bother her because Mandy Moore had finally taught her "how to deal". And I tried to tell her that coincidences that keep happening with two people don't happen like that in real life, but she said that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan just belong together, so it works.

But somehow, she can cut through the epicness of my favorite films with one sentence and break my heart with a well-placed comment. So I'm sure if she saw the Star Wars movies, she'd tell me that Jar Jar Binks was her favorite character, Darth Vader's voice changed too much when his mask was removed, and Ewoks would be unable to sustain their own lives if their physical proportions were as depicted in the films. So I'm gonna make sure she never sees those movies. I don't want her to ruin them too. Plus, Ewoks are cute. So it works.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kinda In The Middle Of Something

I get some pretty random emails from my older brother. They're pretty entertaining because it's usually some revelation that he's had or "moral of the story" type discovery. See, he does the same thing in email as he does in person. He starts in the middle of a conversation that we haven't had. ("Well, it definitely wasn't a tick.") But I prefer them as emails because at least we're not in public when he says such random stuff. It makes it a lot funnier when I can laugh at my desk instead of standing mortified in a big group.

I got one from him recently that said, "I went ahead and used the nasty bathroom at work. Too much coffee. It was getting pretty dangerous. A sneeze or a hard laugh would have ruined my day... and my pants." And that's funny, as long as he doesn't say it at dinner with some friends. Luckily he sticks to email for the most part. Here's a few more, just to get the point across. Remember, these are the first words I read:

-"Shrimp and squirrel gumbo tastes a lot better than it smells. But it kinda had to... because it reeks."

-"Turns out, the terms 'uvula' and 'urethra' are not interchangeable."

-"But where did my Skittles go?!"

-"Well, I'm having something named after me. I just wish it wasn't a disease."

-"I love technology. I'm emailing you from my cell phone! In the bathroom!"

I guess a lot of them are jokes. I assume he was kidding about the disease thing (I hope so... because if not, then I'm a horrible brother). But like I said, I much prefer the email format. Can you imagine trying to play it cool when someone says "urethra" around you in public? I have to pretend I don't know him when he does that. Which is considerably harder when he's riding in my car with the windows down at a red light ("Why are you in my car? Please get out! I don't know you!")

I've found that my best defense is interrupting him abruptly and talking over him:
Him - "Dude, there's this red, itchy spot on my..."
Me - "Hey! Have I shown you my new watch?!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Very Special "My Older Brothers"

I always wish I had better reasons for staying up too late. But I've found that the older I get, the less cool the reason to stay up past my bed time. When we were growing up, my older brother and I would stay up as late as we could on Friday nights playing Mariokart on Super Nintendo. It was really fun and is still the best reason I've ever had to stay up late. My mom only let us sleep in on Saturdays, so that was our one night to really go for it. Then came college, where I would stay up to play more advanced video games, or to study for an exam, or write a paper. I remember writing a 20-page research paper in one night and getting an "A" on it. Yeah, I was that guy.

But nowadays, I stay up for such stupid reasons. I found myself recently staying up reading a book. For fun. On a Tuesday. What has happened to me? That's not fun or necessary. And then when people ask me the next day why I'm so tired, what am I supposed to say? "Yeah, I got to a really good part of my book and couldn't put it down!" I feel like such a nerd. I might as well say, "Yeah, I got to a particularly hard Dragoncube and had to power up my talisman before entering the Temple of Forbidden Wisdom. That's when I realized I was fresh out of damage crystals and Mountain Dew!" At least in school people assumed you were studying or doing homework. And you're expected to stay up late in college. But now, I kinda need a good excuse the next day for being so tired. And reading a book doesn't really cut it.

I told my older brother about this and he (predictably) gave me some suggestions. And for some reason, his suggestions always include some form of lying. So he said I should start making up excuses for why I'm so tired. He recommended telling people I have a dermatological condition that prevents me from doing any outside activities during the daytime (which is actually pretty believable if you see how pale I am). So I should tell people that I spent a few hours mowing my lawn, weeding my flowerbed, and watering my plants. He also suggested I admit to people that I have an addiction to caffeine pills and then sob in their arms ("I'm so excited! I'm so excited. I'm so... scared!") a la Jessie Spano. That might be fun to try.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Got To Use The Term "Ninja Paparazzi" In This Post

I've had to start purposely noticing people's eyebrows. And I know that sounds weird. But I've been in way too many conversations that start with someone saying, "Wow, did you see that guy?" And I never have any idea what they're talking about. Then it's always too late because by that point all I can see is the back of their head. So I either have to run ahead of some stranger and look back to see what I missed, or I have to once again miss out on the fun in judging people. I really noticed my brow-blindness when I was watching a TV show the other day. There was this guy with bushy eyebrows, and the hosts both said "Whoa!" at the same time. And it wasn't until they started calling him "Brows" that I noticed the beasts riding below his forehead. So now I have a checklist of humorous things to look for when I see someone. Number one on the list is eyebrows. Then comes nose hair, teeth, haircut/hairpiece, clothes, and shoes (or lack thereof). I've had to start training myself to notice those key areas. And then I go practice at the most viable resource for crazy-looking people available to me... Wal-Mart.

That's good training ground, too. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Ernest Borgnine (<----) lookalike with silver caterpillars over his eyes? Yep, I saw him. Crazy lady with two different shoes trying to pay for a $2 barbeque sandwich with a personal check? Totally spotted her. Guy with combover consisting of three strands of hair with his "part" is directly above his ear? Saw him, laughed, snapped a picture with my camera phone (like a ninja paparazzi).

It's so much better this way. Now I don't feel left out when everyone with me starts laughing at someone. I can finally be part of the self-righteous elitism we disguise as "people-watching." See, peer pressure can be a good thing! I feel better about myself because I can insult strangers now! And noticing details makes me feel like I'm on CSI or something. I'm not sure if I could help solve crimes by pointing out the one guy in public who's accidentally wearing women's pants, but I'm guessing it couldn't hurt.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Next Time Just Pass the Buck

My older brother was driving recently in his small Honda CR-V (this is important later) with his wife in the front seat and two young children in the back (kind of important later). They were about halfway through their two-hour trip when something caught his eye on the side of the road. As he got closer, he realized it was a deer huddled down in the ditch. He u-turned and saw that the deer had been hit by a car. And a normal person would call the police to get in touch with animal control. And even an abnormal person, if they have a gun, might put it out of its misery and shoot the poor animal. But my older brother is apparently neither of those types of people. Because he went to the nearest house (200 yards away) and asked if they minded if he shot the deer and took it home. Unfortunately, I wasn't there for this conversation. Because I would have paid good money to hear what the person at the door said to this weirdo asking for roadkill.

So he put the deer down and loaded it into the back of his car. Here... read that again: He put the deer down and loaded it into the back of his car (the Honda CR-V). And if it wasn’t bad enough that he was hauling a carcass in an SUV, remember that his kids were in the back seat. So they rode another hour with a deer "resting in peace" a few inches behind them. If that doesn't result in therapy, I don't know what will.

The reason I know this story at all is because I went to his house for spaghetti with my family one time. And he and his wife are the kind of people who think you can substitute deer meat for beef in any recipe. So when I realized that the meatballs tasted funny, I asked if it was deer meat. I wasn't surprised that it was deer meat, because that's not unusual for him. But when he said "it's funny you should ask..." that's when I lost my appetite.

I don't think I'll ever eat deer meat again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coupon D'Etat

My wife and I always go to the grocery store together. We get to spend more time together, it's faster that way, and I can toss Fritos or brownie mix into the cart when she's not looking. It really is fun. But we've found out that there is a curse set upon every middle-class person. That you will become that guy or that girl that annoyed you when you were growing up. Since middle-class people don't exactly struggle very often, we are blind to certain things growing up. I didn't understand why people did what they did. And being a know-it-all from 6 to 21, I could obviously complain about whatever I wanted to. So when I would go with my mom to the store, I would quite vocally lament the presence of boisterous youngsters (say how much I hated loud kids being in the store), and I would be less than excited to see the frugal detail-attending women attempting to save money (hate those stupid coupon ladies) in front of us in the checkout.

But now, we have become those people. Our first mistake is that we always forget to put long pants on our baby daughter. We live in a warm climate, so she wears onesies and shorts and such. And we fail to take into account the temperature difference between our home and the grocery store. And when we inevitably spend 75% of our time in the cold/frozen section, she gets "boisterous" and we hear many people vocally "lamenting" her boisterousness. And because of the combination of the economy, us being broke, stupidity of over-paying when coupons are so readily available, and the middle-class curse, we have a stack of slick paper cutouts to hand the cashier when we're done. Then it takes us a few minutes to figure out which ones we need to hand over. And that's because we have yet to find a procedure that keeps them neatly stacked throughout the trip so they're in perfect order at the register. Usually my son thinks they're for coloring and my daughter thinks they're for eating. So we get some strange looks from the workers when we hand over crayon-covered, slobber-soaked coupons.

But I don't really care all that much. I care more about saving a total of 15 dollars on those "stupid" coupons than people thinking I'm a weirdo. Yeah, I cut out a bunch of paper squares to save 35 cents on each can of vegetables we bought. I've got all the excuses I need: I'm broke, I can start any reason with "in this economy...", I'm supporting my family, every little bit helps, I'm cheap, and over-paying is stupid. So if I could spell the sound you make when you stick your tongue out and spit, I would ("Pbpbpblpbl"?)

And on a sidenote, does anyone else feel like a jerk when you use those order-separating sticks in the checkout. If I put it in front of my stuff, I feel like I'm saying, "Don't try to take my Fritos, man! These are MY Fritos! I picked them out and you can't have them!" But if I put it behind my stuff I'm saying, "Listen dude, I know you personally selected all this stuff, but I just don't believe that you're gonna remember that these are your pizzas once I walk down the row to sort through my 18 coupons. And I am not gonna get stuck with your stupid frozen pizzas. So I'm gonna mark my territory with this plastic baton to make sure you don't sneak anything into my pile. Because I'm not paying 8 bucks for a DiGiornio! I have a coupon at home that makes them 4 bucks!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Personal Space For Rent

I realized (or if you're from Great Britain, I "realised") that my last three posts were all about smells. And I want to shy away from that for a while. Although smells are funny, I don't want to be a one-trick pony. And I certainly don't want to be pigeon-holed as a smell-related blogger. So today, let's go back to the usual.

One of my older brothers has this habit of making other people feel really awkward. It's not intentional (I hope), but he does it all the time. I went to a restaurant with just him (I know... my first mistake), and we were given a booth. But instead of sitting across from me, he sat next to me. I felt like my head was going to explode (or "a splode"*, as it were). I was hoping there was some obvious reason for it. Like he was going to pull out a set of blueprints for us to look at on the table. Or he secretly invited two friends that were walking in. But no. He apparently just wanted the warmth of another person right next to him. And if he were actually my brother, it might be different. Because I could punch him and kick him out of my side and then leave the restaurant without him. But when it's not a relative, your options are limited. So I spend the entire meal trying to figure out why he sat like that and wishing he knew the rules about personal space. I had to turn in my seat just to look at him. Do you know how weird that is? It felt like we were sitting alone in the back seat of a car with no one in the front two seats.

This brings me to my main point. I think I'm gonna draft a set of rules. I'll call it The Awkwardness Avoidance Rulebook. It will include such chapters as "Seating Arrangements at Restaurants" and "Personal Space Limitations/Expectations." That should take care of the booth situation. And an equally important chapter will be "When to Hug vs. When to Shake Hands." But I'll have to find a guest author for that chapter because I'm hopelessly inept on that one. I can't figure out the rules. I tried to hug my grandfather a few weeks ago, and he leaned back and stuck out his hand. I tried to shake hands with a friendly guy I'd only met once, and he pulled me into a bear hug. And when I met my mother-in-law for the first time (when she wasn't my mother-in-law yet) I leaned in for the compulsory hug and got stiff-armed in the gut. Then she had a change of heart and leaned back for the hug, but we awkwardly tried to face the same direction. That's how I found myself in a cheek-to-cheek hug with a stranger while my girlfriend (future wife) fended off fits of laughter. So I may need some help with that one. I'm obviously clueless.

But where I lack in hug etiquette, I think I make up for in conversation etiquette. I've learned when and with whom I can discuss bathroom humor or video games. Unlike the guy I talked to yesterday, who combined both discussions when he introduced himself at the urinals. That scenario will be covered in my chapter called "Introducing Yourself" and cross-referenced in the chapter titled "Bathroom Etiquette: Silence is Golden." I've also learned the rules of hallway eye contact. They're pretty simple. Just pretend to be reading something (a text message, a sign in the hallway, your own palm) until 7-8 feet before passing the person. Then make eye contact and nod quickly. Otherwise you give the courtesy nod from 75 feet away and then have to intentionally avoid eye contact with a fast approaching acquaintance for another 10 seconds.

Anyway, I'll be taking additional chapter suggestions and looking for my guest author in the near future (but not really).

*yes, that's a Strong Bad reference

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don't Ask, Don't Smell

So the other day, a friend of mine walked up to me, scrunched his nose and said, "Ew, what is that smell?" But I didn't smell anything. So I panicked. What I should have done is say, "Yeah, what is that?" That way my friend would think nothing of it, and I could have moved on with my day.

Instead, I sniffed deeply twice and said, "Hmm, I don't smell anything." My friend then became suspicious of my motives. I could see it in his face (Is he pretending not to smell it?). Then I'm pretty sure he became suspicious of my guilt (Is he the source of this foul odor?).

Then he said, "Really?" and I said, "Yeah, really. I don't smell anything." So then he lost his trust in me. (His inner monologue - "Okay, he either farted and doesn't want to admit it, or he's trying to make me think I'm imagining smells. Either way... not cool.") Then he left. And I'm certain that he immediately went and told all our our mutual friends ("Can you believe he did that? I mean, it was so obvious."). He probably insulted me ("He's such a flatulent liar."). Word then spread via Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter (even my mom unfriended me). Then my life collapsed in on itself like a dying star ("No one loves me!")

So now my policy is to always admit to smelling something. Even if I can't smell it. Even if I think it smells like strawberries. And even if I had the new cabbage-chili-salsa burrito from Taco Bell and I am the source.

Monday, September 14, 2009

$0,000 Blogfan Challenge!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Daily Motivational Thought and the My Older Brothers blogs are proud to present…

The $0,000 Blogfan Challenge!

For all you devoted readers out there, here’s a little treat. Over the next few weeks, be on the look out for clues. You’ll have to visit both blogs to find all the clues. The first person to correctly decipher the clues will win their choice of a year’s magazine subscription!

  • Find and follow all the clues.
  • Do not ask for additional hints or help from us cause that's cheating. (However, we do have a Cash 4 Clues program in which you give us each a $100 bill and we'll give you an extra hint.)
  • Family members of the organizers are welcome to play, but can not win. (That would be like Simon Cowell’s kid winning American Idol.)
  • Have fun

Grand Prize: Winner can choose a year's subscription from the following magazines:

Better Homes and Gardens
Parents Magazine
Ladies Home Journal
Traditional Home
Good House Keeping
Wired Magazine
House Beautiful
Popular Mechanics
Country Living
Smart Money
Golf Digest
Body and Soul
Everyday Food
Town and Country
Entertainment Weekly
Bon Appetit
Martha Stewart Weddings

Consolation Prizes: A warm fuzzy feeling that you tried your best.

Let the challenge begin!

Smell Ya Later!

I hate when a smell accidentally becomes associated with something bad. Like if you were eating peaches when you got the news that your dog died, you'd forever equate the smell of peaches with the death of your childhood pet. It's the same reason I can't be around buffalo wings. That's what I was eating when my favorite team lost the World Series. And I had a short aversion to barbeque because the smoky smell reminded me too much of the chain-smoking guy who always seems to be right in my face at work.

And I don't like holding my nose every time I hear the words, "I've got some bad news." So I keep a car air freshener close at all times. I just hold that up to my face when something bad happens. That way, I can just keep associating bad news with that air freshener smell. Let's just hope I don't meet someone that smells like that. We wouldn't get along.

Okay so speaking of smells, I have two really great ideas I want to put out there.

First, scratch-n-sniff t-shirts! They would solve the fundamental flaw in back-scratching. Everybody likes to have their back scratched, but friends don't volunteer very often, and it's awkward to ask strangers (trust me on that one). So let's put a giant decal on the back of a shirt that works like a scratch-n-sniff sticker. Then people can scratch your back and get a nice return on investment. You scratch my back, I'll... emit a strawberry aroma! Win-win!

Okay, second idea. Also smell-related. I say that retailers who sell video games (Best Buy, GameStop, Wal-Mart, whatever) offer a 20 percent discount if you don't smell bad when you buy the game. If they can see no visible dandruff, no stains on your clothes, and they can smell shampoo in your hair, then you pay 20 percent less. So GameStop won't smell like a SweatShop, gamers will be better groomed and save money, and I won't have to hold my breath when I'm looking for something in the electronics section with Greasyhair McLonely perusing titles next to me. Win-win-win!

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Wife Is Certifiably Insane

I'd like to apologize for the title. I'm actually trying to see how long it takes her to notice I wrote that. She'll probably see it the day I forget I did it. Anyway, moving on.

Last night, my son reached a milestone that I've been waiting a long time for. He'll be three this fall and last night he made his first sarcastic insult. I was holding him, trying to put him to sleep. I whispered something to him, probably to calm him down for bed time (but more likely to get him "riled up" with laughter) and he covered his nose all of a sudden. Then he said, "Your breath stinks, Daddy. Is it hot in your mouth?"

I was so proud! A little hurt, yes. But so proud! See, I've been worried that my son didn't inherit a good enough sense of humor. I always knew he'd be funny, but I didn't know if it would be on the level I hoped it to be. Until now, he's done funny things, but never really made jokes or delivered any zingers. And don't get me wrong, he's a funny guy. He "dances" to Black Eyed Peas songs, he says "Kung Fu Panda fight!" as he jumpkicks me, and he makes really funny faces on command (see right). But, until last night he was Jim Carrey funny. Silly, but no jokes. And he really sold it by putting his hand over his nose. My wife and I laughed really hard. I was secretly plotting my revenge for his little insult, but I still laughed. Then, as I was brushing my teeth 30 seconds later I caught myself thinking of ways to get him back. Then I realized that I was talking about a toddler. You can't insult a toddler! They don't understand the joke. So I figured I'd just trip him the next time he's carrying a donut or something. That'll show him who's boss.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scratch and Dent Center

My older brother is a pretty big guy. He's also a bit of an idiot sometimes. You've probably seen those shirts that say, "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups." My older brother always switches that around and says, "Never underestimage the power of large people in stupid groups." And that rings so true for him. If he's in a group of easily-entertained people, he always does something monumentally stupid.

When he was in high school, he found himself in just that situation. He was hanging out after marching band practice (I know, what a loser!) with a bunch of his trombone buddies, and he had the brilliant idea to take a running start and sprint over the top of his car. Forgetting the fact that he's roughly the size of a mammoth (and twice as hairy - although that's irrelevant), he planted a size 15 foot into the hood and then his other foot through the windshield. I don't know what he thought would happen. Maybe he thought if he ran fast enough, his weight wouldn't matter. Like those lizards that run on water. Or when you run your hand through a candle flame really fast. Then, because his brain apparently came loose due to his blinding speed, he stood on the roof of the car to survey the damage. So his giant feet added some denting to the top of the car too.

And of course, this was the 1994 Geo Prizm that I would later inherit from him when he bought his own car. He paid for the windshield, but my parents decided the dents were not as important to fix. So I had to tell people why my already busted-up car had weird, oval dents all over it.

Then one of my other older brothers decided it would be funny to do a Dukes of Hazzard slide over the hood while I was stopped in front of him at a red light. And having no experience whatsoever in "hoodslides", he slammed his hip into the side of the car and rolled down the hood onto the concrete, adding larger dents and possibly some blood. And if it hadn't been so funny, I'd probably be just as mad about that one.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Should Have Called In

You know when you set a standard (like 5 posts a week) and you realize it's too much of a commitment for it to continue?

And you know when you get sick and you start to talk to someone and then you realize that you're too tired to even finish what you're... uh... yeah.

I'm sick and I'm tired. And I'm having trouble thinking of anything funny to talk about. I'm using all my focus to not throw up, not fall asleep, and not... uh... yeah.

So here's some random stuff that's gone through my head recently that I think is funny:
-Always wait to pick your nose when you're safely out of the neighborhood. Neighbors think of the cruelest nicknames.
-I'm considering ways to keep my infant daughter fat forever so when she's a teenager, I won't have to kill her little "boyfriends."
-It's better to talk with your mouth full than to laugh really hard with your nose full.

Okay, I just fell asleep at my desk. I'm going home.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You Can't Sneeze With Your Eyes Open

My older brother seems to know everything. It always seems that I think I know something and I'm 99% sure about it. And if I'm arguing with him, then the one percent chance that I was wrong is pretty much guaranteed to be true. This happened this weekend:

Me - "Man, I go through toothpaste so fast."
Him - "Well you're probably using too much. My dentist told me that you only have to use about a pea-sized amount."
Me - "Uh, no. It says to use about an inch of toothpaste."
Him - "I'm pretty sure you're wrong. And you're an idiot."
Me (marching into the bathroom, walking back into the room with my toothpaste) - "Okay, it says 'Directions: apply a one-inch strip of toothpaste to a soft-bristled brush.' See?! I told you!"
Him - "Well of course that's what Crest is going to tell you. I was talking about my dentist. Not the suggestion from the company selling me toothpaste."
Me - "Oh. Well... but... whatever dude."

And I really hate being wrong. It makes me feel like a complete moron. And you'd think with all the times I'm proven wrong that I'd keep my mouth shut, but nope. I just keep plowing through logic and spitting out ridiculous statements before thinking them through. I don't bother verifying anything. That's a job for NASA... or the Mythbusters. I just spout stuff off like I'm an authority until inevitably someone calls me on it. And then I'm the idiot again.

It all started when I was a kid.
"You know, you can spin all the way around the bar on the swingset if you get a good push?"
My source for this one was always a friend whose brother had done it. I didn't need silly physics for that. But my older brother recently showed me the Mythbusters episode that proved this wrong and killed one of my childhood dreams.

And now in the age of Youtube and search engines, I can be proven wrong quicker and more thoroughly than ever before. Impossible for a 400 pound man to dunk a basketball? Here's a video of him doing it. Dogs can't see colors? Here's a scientific study and doctoral thesis stating otherwise. No such things as vegans? Here's a website dedicated to them. I guess I'll just keep being wrong. Especially since the alternative would mean researching stuff before I say it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Isn't "Tired Old Cliche" One?

I've noticed recently that people are not really all that creative. In fact, they're downright predictable in certain situations. Here are a few examples:

If you see a cop with his lights on behind someone on the side of the road, noncreative people feel an uncontrollable urge to say, "Oh, he got somebody."

If your baby is really chubby or fat, people just have to say, "Well I guess you're just not feeding him enough, are you?"

If you're about to get married, people apparently are given a script. You'll hear three things:
"It's getting close! Are you getting nervous?"
"What's the date again? Are you excited?"
And to the groom-to-be, they say, "You sure about this? It's not too late to back out, you know?"

Then after the wedding you get, "So how do you like married life? Do you feel any different?"

The worst is with a baby. People hit you with some quickfire questioning. It's almost like they're trying to trip you up or catch you in a lie.
"How far along are you? What's your due date again? Are you excited? Boy or girl? Do you have a name picked out?"

And then they drill you again after you have the baby.
"Aw, boy or girl? How old? What's her name? She is so sweet!"

I really hate all the questioning so I don't play along. I just try to give ridiculous answers.
Them: "Aw, boy or girl?"
Me: "Well, I sure hope so!"
Them: "How old is she?"
Me: "186 days."
Them: "What's her name?"
Me: "Well, her human name is Madeleine. But her real name is Chosen Angel the Wise. The prophecy will be fulfilled in her 28th moon season."

Most people only ask my wife now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Caption Contest

"(whispering without moving lips) Don't move... he's right behind you!!"

AFWingMom is the winner of the caption contest! Her entry is above.

AFWingMom (if that's even your real name), you win your choice from the following items:

1. Burger King coupons I found in my desk drawer

2. "Leadership" Mousepad with Michael Scott from 'The Office'

3. Or if you have PayPal, you can have a cash gift of one dollar!

(Sorry for the lame prizes. I'm broke and I don't plan ahead!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just Run Next Time

I really hate when I run into somebody that I don't know very well. You know who I'm talking about. They're the "I-think-I-know-you're-name-but-I'm-only-98-percent-sure-so-I'm-gonna-just-call-you-buddy" acquaintances that you aren't really friends with. It's the people you work with or you've seen at the gym or waved to in the neighborhood. If you see them in the right setting, it's fine. Passing in the hall at the office? Nod and smile. Leaving the gym at the same time? Throw out a little "seeya next time" and get in your car. Driving past as they check their mail? Wave and nod. But when you find yourself waiting in line at the post office and they're directly in front of you? That's where it gets tricky. If you avoid talking to them, then you’re weird or rude for not wanting to. But if you tap them on the shoulder and say, "Hey fancy seein' you here!" then you're just a creepy weirdo. If I have the option, I usually just run out as quick as possible. Awkward silence and flimsy small-talk make me light-headed. If I don't leave I start talking really high-pitched and try too hard to act casual. Plus, I tend to say stuff without thinking.

-"Hey, fancy seein' you here!" Man, why did you say that? He didn't even see you!
-"Oh hey Taylor."
-"Hey... uh... buddy. Whatcha got goin' on today?" Oh no! What's his name?!
-"Well, I gotta mail this package to my sister in Omaha."
-"Gotcha. Yeah, I'm mailin' a package too. Sendin' my mom some stuff." Why am I not pronouncing the g's?! I sound like an idiot!
-"Cool. Nothing like the post office on a Friday afternoon."
-"Yeah." Okay, leave it at that. Don't say anything else, and you can just deal with the awkward silence. Just last a few more seconds and you're free to... "So you got any plans this weekend, buddy?" What am I doing? I didn't mean to say that!
-"Uh, no. We're just gonna stay home and relax. What about you guys?"
-"Oh nothin'." Seriously! Where are my g's?! "I got a new grill. So we'll probably grill some burgers and stuff."
-"Oh, that's cool. Hope you guys have fun."
-"Yeah, it'll be good. Hey..." No, don't do it! You're almost clear! "Why don't you guys join us?" You idiot!

And that's how acquaintances become your fake friends. So like I said, I usually just run out as quickly as possible and hide in the backseat of my car (where the windows are nicely tinted) until they leave. Or I find the closest piece of paper I can that has writing on it and study it without raising my head until I know he's gone.

Okay, I gotta go. What's-his-name and his family are coming over for a barbeque. I have to go buy a new grill.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"I Will Never Love Again"

So my older brother finally got a job. It only took six months, the threat of eviction, and the possible repossession of his truck. But he finally got hired on somewhere. But what I don't understand is that they hired him and gave him a start date for three weeks later. And it's not like a teaching job or something like that where you have to wait until school starts. It's just a regular job without any weird time constraints. It seems odd that they would make him wait when they know he's hurting for employment. Why make someone sweat it out like that if you're already giving them the job?

I actually got to thinking about why a company would hire someone like that and then wait almost a month to let them start. And I think it must be kind of like a new relationship. They probably really liked the last guy in the position and thought he'd stay forever. And they had this great working relationship that both sides agreed was the perfect match. Then one day, they found out he was working another job on the side and wasn't as happy with the company. The spark had gone out. I'm sure they got resentful and wanted some reassurance that he wasn't going to leave them. Then he couldn't look them in the eye anymore and he stopped saying he loved his job. So they probably worked with a strained relationship until finally he just walked out.

I imagine that would make it hard to replace him. Maybe they want to give it some time before getting back out there. Or maybe they want to make sure that hiring my brother is not just a rebound from the last guy. My brother will probably never live up to their inflated expectations. And they’ll always compare him to the one they let slip away. I'm sure they blame themselves. I mean, who wouldn't? But it's just going to sow discord among the other workers and bitterness will surely follow. How terrible to lose so much and never be able to get over it. No closure, no peace. My brother is doomed to failure because the company will never be able to move on from their ideal employee.

Or maybe the person who does the training is on vacation this month.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Past, Presents, Future

One of my older brothers does some pretty odd stuff sometimes. He always has what he thinks is a good idea, but it just comes off as strange. One time I caught him putting a 20 dollar bill in his jacket pocket as he was hanging it in his hall closet. I asked him why he was doing that, and he said, "Oh, that's just a gift to future Me." He figured that if he put the money in his jacket and stored it away until next winter, he'd have forgotten about it and be pleasantly surprised when the next cold front blew in. So my older brother likes to leave presents for his future self. And you may think that's really weird, but let me assure you... it is really weird.

I mean, I understand the concept. I love finding money I didn't know about. It's like a miniature Christmas gift. ("Hey, what's that in my back pocket? Five bucks? Sweet! Taco Bell, here I come!") Just last month my wife found a Target giftcard in a baby bag from when our son was born three years ago. We felt like middle-class millionaires, buying whatever we wanted without a second thought. So I know how cool it is to find something like that. But to leave it for yourself on purpose? That's weird. I guess it's the same concept as a savings bond, but you don't hide savings bonds in your jackets. But if you're gonna do it with money, why stop there? Why not have a coworker hide a candy bar in your desk after you leave one day? Or put some potatoes in the oven at 3:00 in the afternoon, just in case you have a craving for baked potatoes in a few hours. So, I guess I've convinced myself that it's a good idea, now. I'm gonna hide a bunch of stuff in random places, so I can find it later and be pleasantly surprised.

I guess the only real problem with that is if you're too forgetful. I know that my brother is really forgetful, so I just went through his hall closet the next time I was at his house and cleaned him out. I found 120 dollars and an almost expired Butterfinger. And he never found out. It was like robbing an amnesia victim. He did once ask how I paid for my new shoes, but I just told him it was a gift from past Taylor.