Well, the time has come to move on. Since all five of you that read my blogs have been so loyal/accidentally clicked on my page while shitting, I’m giving an exclusive preview to all of you.
He descended the stairs in the darkness, sweat covering his upper lip. As each board creaked, his heart pounded harder and heavier. If he awoke the baby, the tiny monster would murder…his 12 minutes of free time he had before work. He tried not to breathe as he heard a slight moan from the child’s lair. Then silence. Silence like the calm before the storm. JINGLE JINGLE JINGLE! The damn dog was up and shaking her head! Oh the fates are cruel, indeed! All time stood still as the mangy beast panted, expecting to be taken on a run. “Shut up, you big dummy! Don’t wake the baby!” There were still milk bottles to be washed. So many poor bottles, consumed by the growing monster and discarded, as though they never existed. Lost souls, bewailing the end of innocence and youth, now must be scrubbed, resurrected and again sacrificed to the terrible ravenous hunger, calling for more sustenance.
He turned the corner and stumbled over a true horror – an empty laundry basket! There were unfolded clothes…his heart sank like stone. Despair reached up her cold hand and pulled all his hope into the abyss. The end was soon nigh. He sighed, ever so silently. MEOW! MEOW! The stupid cat was screaming – this means she is hungry or…brought a dead mouse in the house! Death was not swift for the vermin and neither was cleaning it up. “Is it legal to punch a cat?” he muttered to himself. Just as he grabbed the rodent, still warm, with a paper towel, pain! Pain like a thousand needle pricks shot up his foot! He resisted the urge to scream with an inner strength he knew not existed within his heart. There, staring back at him, was a hard plastic Parasauralophus. The expressionless face of the overpriced toy cared not for his suffering.
Well, that’s what I have so far, I ran of time because my son woke up because he had to poop. I’ll save that for the sequel. Not the poop, the story.
I was recently taken back down memory lane seeing a wiffleball bat in a store. Not to when I played as a kid, but rather, when I played a true team sport, not for money, but for love of the game: Wifflepuke.
No one knows where this timeless battle of wills was first created, but they were surely drunk or well on their way. In college, I was introduced and fell in love. How does it work? Here’s the rules.
Rule 1 – Always have a beer in your hand. The only exception is when batting, you are allowed to bat two handed, but you can’t run to first without your ice cold, flat, cheap keg beer.
Rule 2 – You can be out by being hit directly with a throw and the head is not a safe zone, it fact, it is encouraged to target.
Rule 3 – In the event of a home run, every one on defense must chug his or her beer.
Rule 4 – If you strikeout, do a keg stand or funnel (bong) a beer. Your choice, loser.
Rule 5 – Every third inning, a bat spin race commences – three spins around the bat and run back. If you haven’t figured it out, that’s where the puke comes into the name.
That’s it! It’s up to old veterans of the game to pass along the knowledge to the younger generation. Pass it on, it’s perfect for so many outdoor summer events: kid’s parties, family reunions, Tuesdays, and more!
Several years back, I was hanging out with some friends and the question was raised, “Why were we fighting in World War 2?” I was a bit surprised, so I answered, “Short answer or long?” I think the explanation is even more important as more and more WW2 veterans are dying off and even Holocaust survivors and war crime victims age. A 20 year old who entered the war in 1943 is closer to 100 than 90. A ten year old who was in one of the Nazi death camps and somehow survived would be 85 today, past the life expectancy of every country on Earth.
The short, easy answer, without diving into WWI, was that extreme economic conditions and a power grab by fascists and oligarchs in several countries. An aversion to action by several democratic governments allowed these countries, Germany, Italy and Japan, to conquest with no resistance. By the time resistance was mustered, Germany was staging the conquest of France and planning the submission of Britain. Europe, North Africa and Asia were all under the boot of violent and oppressive regimes. The US jumped into both arenas following the Japanese ambush of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, a devastating one-sided battle they hoped would permanently cripple the US and give them a free hand in the Pacific. 77 years ago, the Battle of Midway would reverse the Japanese upper hand and begin a brutal island hopping campaign that would take longer than the European war. As for the other front, the Allies began pushing back in Eastern Europe, North Africa and later Italy itself would fall to the Allies.
D-Day was the planned invasion of France from England. The Alps in northern Italy prevented an assault on Germany from the South, the Soviet Army was taking the Nazi machine on slowly and brutally across the east, but a two front war would finally destroy Hitler’s armies for good. The issue was the application. 150,000 troops would be involved – paratroopers jumping in the night, getting lost, killed or captured were the first attackers. The bulk of the forces though, after a campaign of deception with false troop movements and fake messages leaked, came across on boats. The hit the shores of France as the German defenders opened fire onto them as the landing craft opened. Men were killed before they took a step. Those that made it off into the shallow sea were drowned by their own gear or shot as they swam ashore. I’ve read accounts of men sitting on the beach holding their own arm or leg, in shock, as they bled to death under machine gun fire.
Amazingly, all the landing points were ultimately successful. The fall of Nazi Germany was sealed, mostly thanks to the incredible courage of everyday soldiers willing to charge into the teeth of death itself. D-Day was and is still, the largest military operation in world history according to our records. For all that we remember, and for what history has recorded on film or paper, D-Day, like all other battles and wars, was fought by men who previously were school teachers, factory workers, fathers, husbands and sons. Some are now names on white crosses and star of Davids in Normandy. Some made it back, never to speak of what happened there and afterwards.
To me, the importance of this day is in remembering the tremendous sacrifice by individuals to resist oppression and as we came to find out, genocide. World War 2 was the most devastating time in world history for the incredible evil and it was overturned, not by words, sanctions or policy. It was turned back with human life and sacrifice by people from towns we have never heard of who fought in places we will never visit or know. That is the legacy of D-Day to me.
A post on Facebook reminded me of this, but once upon a time, in a faraway land called Indiana, I was in a gifted class called STRETCH – Seeking to Reach Educated Children. I’m forgetting a word, probably because I’m dumb or don’t care. It was OK, on occasion I would go to another school and do smart kid things. Once we had to computer program, so I painstakingly designed the Batman logo and programmed the 60’s theme song. The logo was on the level of a Colecovision or Atari on a TV with a broken vacuum tube, but the song was so bad, my one year old son could get closer banging his Melissa and Doug keyboard with his fist.
One day, we had to draw a spaceship. There was an award on the line – Most Elaborate. Much like a Japanese game show that punishes the losers, there was also a Least Elaborate. Almost every student drew the stock “flying saucer” spaceship and none was more basic than Jessica’s. She had a saucer, pink and yellow, with a (surprise!) green alien sitting in it. The one thing she did have, though, was tremendous artistic ability and she drew EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER WITH BIG, ROUND, WHITE CARTOON EYES. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
I threw myself into my work. In elementary school, I had made my own comic books and wrote my own stories. I had a line of ancient warriors brought back from antiquity mixed with cybernetics that fought each other – samurais vs. ninjas, knights vs. barbarians. I for sure was the most creative one. I drew a C shaped attack drone, with a mini gun on one side and huge claw for extraction on the other (the flight dynamics were bad, yes, but Earth must be subdued at any cost). It would be black and red, with cables and red lights running all over it.
The votes were cast by the class and the tyranny of the mob prevailed, Jessica won and I was presented with the Least Elaborate Award. My classmates began to openly taunt and mock me while my teacher stood there like Joker, with a devious grin pasted upon her face. I began to stammer protestations – “Hers is just a standard flying saucer, what’s elaborate about that? The alien is green – there’s an original idea.” That only amplified the mockery. Finally overwhelmed, I grabbed my chair and desk (one and the same) and whipped them sideways into the chalkboard where my “Least Elaborate” award was pasted onto my drawing. I stormed out in a rage fit.
Looking back, the irony is that I was basically recreating something I saw here.
My drawing was probably about 70% like this, but one claw instead of two. So I kinda borrowed an idea for the Elaborate Bowl, 1990. That said, this incident still bothers me to a very unhealthy amount. If I ever run into Jessica, I’m going to tell her she only won because she put dumb cow eyes on everything and because she was, you know, a much better artist than me. If I see Ms. Bowen, the teacher, I will openly spit directly into her face, one or twelve times and tell her I went on the write a book, do stand-up comedy for over a decade and spit in her face another one or thirty-six times until my dry mouth makes me stop. Then I’ll toss her love seat into her TV for old times’ sake and move on with my life, like a normal, stable, sane person.
When I started doing stand-up seriously and consistently 12 years ago, I had people coming to my shows I hadn’t seen in years. I didn’t even have MySpace or Facebook and I had college buddies and former drinking associates show up to open mics I said I had done before without even checking with me. My first paid show was a bringer show – I did a twenty minute set at a bowling alley and brought 37 people at $7 a ticket. I was paid $40, but that’s for another blog.
The irony is that I wouldn’t show my videos of me doing comedy in that first year to anyone today as I fear I would be brought up on crimes against humanity. I went back in 2011 and watched the videos I had uploaded to MySpace and deleted my entire account. I can’t get people out now unless I’m performing in their living room and even then it’s 50/50. HOT TIP: I love when people come to my shows, but don’t ever ask me when my next show is and then say “Hey, text me before your next show after that!” I have a website, we are Facebook friends and I just told you when my next show was. Want me to buy you a parrot that repeats my show lineup? Set up reminders in my phone so you can not come to any other shows?
I honestly think that’s why most comics quit after a short time. I had a pal who would only do stand-up when his friends or co-workers could come out, probably for the home team boost. When no one came, he wouldn’t perform. It’s waaaayyy harder to make strangers laugh.
Of course, when you have family come out, it affects your set. I’ve seen comics get nauseous realizing their mom is coming and their little filthy mouths can’t spit out their normal jokes. You also get this – try new jokes and people ask, “Why didn’t you do your “normal” stuff?” Or the converse, “Oh, you did the same stuff as last time.” DANCE FOR ME CLOWN! DANCE!
Again, I’m happy to see all comers, friend or foe, but it is nice to have your friends attend shows. After all, most of them saw me in 2007, I owe them big time. Probably 2008, most of 2009 and parts of 2010-13 also.
Once I had kids, I heard something I had never thought of before. “There’s nothing worse than your kids being sick.” It’s true. Both my kids got croup or croop or whatever in hell that vile barking cough virus is that kept them up all night hacking and snotting and oozing. So being sick with them is a walk in park, right?
When you’re sick and the kids aren’t, you are willing to offer a human sacrifice just so they will go to sleep. “Please let this be a day you just want to watch Toy Story on repeat, oh please God and baby Jesus…” “I want to go to the park! I want ice cream! I want to ride a horse and a cow!” “What? Who told you about riding horses? Son of a bitch!”
Of course, the whole debate is a moot one – WHEN THE KIDS ARE SICK, YOU’RE NEXT BRAH. Oh it’s coming and it’s coming for you. If you’re one of those parents thinking you are so cool telling everyone it’s worse when the kiddos are ill, put on your seat belt, the ride is just beginning; you are going to experience both, dummy!