Friday, December 16, 2011

My Favorite Year

I generally feel that I’m a pretty good guy…other than the fact that I’m a complete idiot.

But, I cook, I clean up after myself, I’m fairly neat, I know how to do laundry, I open doors for the ladies, I don’t hate cats and I’m an above average Pictionary player. All of which, in my opinion, makes me a good catch for the ladies…or a serial killer. I can’t really decide.

I’m not sure that any of the above holds relevance to this article, I just thought I’d throw a little slice of randomness out there for my final piece of 2011.

Speaking of which, I receive critiques from time to time via reader mail and managing editor memos pointing out that my writings lean toward random and scattered at times.  I'm not random!  What are these people thinking???

Which reminds me…I really love the Muppets...and I believe that zoos pamper panda bears entirely too much.

Who wants to visit a zoo exhibit where you cant make so much as a peep, or a fart, so as not to disturb the delicate panda?  Besides, I love to peep...and farts make me laugh.

The helpful employees at the San Diego Zoo pointed out (just before throwing me out) that noise hinders the panda from mating.  There were even dozens of signs which pretty much made me feel that, if I so much as sneezed, the entire panda family would immediately die of massive heart attacks...thus killing the entire species on the planet!

Now that I think about it, don't pandas live in the wild???  Do the other woodland creatures know about this aversion to noise vs. mating? No wonder the panda is endangered. I LIKE noise when I’m mating…the more the merrier! What a bunch of divas!

So, I flicked my cigarette butt into the cage and made my way to the monkey exhibit.  Anyway, where was I?

Those hard working, kind and loving people (pronounced: evil) who edit my story lines and publish my writings throughout the year oftentimes shoot down ideas…especially when I try to write a serious piece.

I once submitted a treatment about a friend of mine who lost her job AND her boyfriend…all in one week. It included a healthy level of humor but it also included real life grit. I even made a joke about (according to her description) the size of his…uh, you get the picture.

It was shot down quicker than it takes Sarah Palin to make a stupid comment.

Since I’m perfectly comfortable with wearing the giant “random writing badge” here’s a small collection of random words from 2011 and some things that I’ve learned from time spent strolling through it, which might just validate that label.

I promise that it‘s Muppet-free. I may include the Pandas though…Just keep your noise level to a minimum…so as not to spoil the mating mood. (Cue the Isaac Hayes music)

On the surface, I found myself on numerous occasions wishing that 2011 would finally end...until I looked deeper to learn lessons and to find appreciation.

I moved into a new place, moved out and moved into another new place. Oh, in the interim, I gained and lost a girlfriend…which pretty much makes me a “carnie”…only I have all of my teeth and above average hygiene. And I don’t know the first thing about operating a roller coaster.

I finally let go of a 150-year collective pile of belongings in a storage unit that cost me approximately 8-million dollars per year.

The items belonged to my parents and grandparents. I remember, with vivid detail, how painful this day was.

To watch people pouring over one’s family heritage is not easy…until I came to the realization that the “things” don’t make the people…fond memories DO.  I suppose there are indeed some things which one can not purchase at a garage sale.

As I scan through some of my 2011 writings, there were encounters with people who exhibited hurtful behavior toward others...which provided several humorous passages in those stories.  

I discovered that Wendy’s “Natural Cut Sea Salt” French fries are absolutely deplorable.

I experienced situations where friends let me down...but realized that I've let friends down as well. 

In the entertainment world, I’m proud to exit 2011 successfully escaping “Bieber Fever.” Then again, I’ve always been leery of Canadians.

I came to the realization that, far too often, people speak and act before they think…myself included.

As a single mother friend of mine will readily attest, I learned that it is unwise to allow me to assist a young child with his homework assignments.  As a matter of fact, it will likely get him suspended from school for two days.**

**Note: I am NOT a role model for children.

I learned that love is hard to find and terribly easy to lose.

I also learned that Mike, the editor’s, favorite color is “sky magenta“…which confirms my suspicion that he’s clinically insane.

On the human relations front, I learned that far too many people have been in some form of a relationship where they’ve been told that they’re not good enough or have been made to feel insignificant at the hands of insecure, small minded people.

This creates a difficult playing field for the next person who becomes involved with this person.

I’ve recently learned that no truer words were ever written as those which hang over the facade of the U.S. National Archives building:

“Past is Prologue.”

It roughly means that, to get where you’re going, you must first UNDERSTAND where you’ve been so as not to repeat missteps.  It can also mean that one should repeat courses of action which bring about positive outcomes.

I discovered that my friend, Eric, has an odd obsession with midgets AND sexual relations with amputees.  Needless to say, he's a lot of fun to get drunk with.

I also learned that people talk too much...myself included. 

On a much deeper, personal note, I experienced finding love...and losing it.  Perhaps I can talk the great chick flick director, Rob Reiner, into making a movie about it.  The working title will be called: 

"2011, Jim Is An Idiot...A Carnie Love Story." 

Aside from all of the above, everything else is pretty much the same.  Which is to say that I still hate Nickelback and no one in New Orleans has yet to figure out how to use a turn signal.

2011 has taught me how to love, laugh, let go and...simply be quiet when necessary.

After all, it nurtures a better mating mood for the pandas.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Adults Say The Darndest Things

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'IS' is.”
                                     -Bill Clinton

Mike, the editor, often shoots down numerous writing treatments that I submit and I completely understand this.  Primarily because Mike is a mean and grumpy man who never has sex...with the exception of Internet porn chat rooms.  

Unfortunately, he never gets very far with his chat room trysts (pronounced 57-year old men, who pretend to be 19-year old girls.)  

I'm reasonably certain that Mike regularly slams into the cyber-sex brick wall because he corrects her...uh, him, for ending a sentence with a preposition. 

Factor in the forgone conclusion that I’m pretty much of an idiot, especially if Irish whiskey was involved in ANY way over the course of one of my writing sessions, and you'll have a crystal clear understanding of my working relationship with Mike.

I have so many writing pieces which have never seen the light of day. You see, I’ve long dreamed of writing about simple, real life topics...good, dark, uncomfortable, "feel-good" and X-rated (which will include a can of Dow Scrubbing Bubbles.)

I also want to incorporate the haphazard adventures of Skat the Flying Squirrel and a chronicle about former Senator and presidential contender, Bob Dole. 

If I can figure out a way to incorporate ALL of the above into one story I shall call it my "swan song" and die a happy man.

Indeed, I long for the day when I'm finally indentured from these writing shackles.  A glorious day it will be when I'll be free to write such stories which shall conclude with a "feel-good" socially responsible moral; much like that of “The Fat Albert Show” or the fabulous 70's sitcom “What‘s Happening”…only not as racially stereotypical.

Real life is funny, so long as one holds an open perspective...With the glaring exception of America’s Funniest Home Videos.

There was a popular broadcast segment, originally hosted by the legendary Art Linkletter, titled “Kids Say The Darndest Things.” It brilliantly illustrated the old idiom:

“Out of the mouths of babes.“

Translation: Adults have NO excuse.

If you listen closely in YOUR day to day life, adults can make kindergarten look like…well, child’s play. With that, I give you...

I live in an extremely interesting city where architecture, culinary fare and personalities are concerned.   Of course it's also a city with a celebrated history of people urinating on the sidewalks and where residents take traffic laws as a mild suggestion.

The colorful personality aspect is especially true as it relates to six particular gentlemen who live on my block.

With the exception of my friend, Cornell, I'm often amazed by some of the twisted life perspectives and logic which regularly spew from these guys.

Oftentimes I find myself walking down the sidewalk from the streetcar only to spy this “brain trust” in the distance solving the world's problems.  It's extremely important to note that several 40-ounce Budweisers are usually involved in their sidewalk logic.

As a side note, anytime that I see five drunk mental cases converging on ONE front stoop, I know one thing for certain...that it’s gonna be accidental and complete unabridged comedy at its finest!

Steve: I think Thanksgiving is TWO weeks from tomorrow bro

Evan: No, no, no…it’s three weeks from today

Eric: I think Steve's right.

Jacob: You just agreeing with Steve cause' he bought ya' that Budweiser.  DAMN!  Look at the ass on that little girl over there!

Cornell: Y’all are all stupid

Sammy: Yo’ Jim! What day of the week does Thanksgiving fall on this year?

Cornell: Here we go…

Me: (Wearing an expression as though this is a practical joke) Uh, it's on a Thursday

Steve: That can’t be right dude! What day was it on last year??

Me: (Now thoroughly convinced that the “Punk’d” camera crew is nearby) Uh, Thursday.

Ernest: We celebrated on a Tuesday last year

Cornell: That’s cause’ ya' cousin had to report to jail on Wednesday last year.  How's he doin' anyway?

Steve: (Distracted by a woman approaching down the sidewalk)  Awww...look at this old scowlin' bitch comin' up here.

Cornell: That's your wife!!

Steve: I know...I thought she was gonna come home late tonight!  Now I gotta go inside and listen to a bunch-a bitchin'.

Me: I really need to go upstairs now. I’ll talk to you guys later.

As these things go, suffice it to say that, my tiny little block is never boring. Imagine how much fun Columbus Day is.  

From street sense to nonsense, silliness knows no matter who you are. 

Guys, allow me to confirm for you that any conversation initiated by your lady which begins with:


Is not going to unfold pleasantly for you...whether or not a 40 ounce Budweiser is involved.

As a matter of fact, if the word “so” is followed by:

“…I’ve been thinking…”

You should consider a mild plan of evasive action. Such as:

a) Rapidly consume a 40-ounce Bud
b) Shoot yourself in the face
c) Move to Afghanistan
d) Pre-meditated homicide 
e) All of the above

The office place is often filled with interesting characters. There always seems to be ONE socially awkward" co-worker.  Unless you work in the hospitality/service which case it's the entire establishment. 

I'm convinced that there must be some sort of "Parole to Prep Kitchen" program between mental institutions and the food and bar service industry. 

In a recent personal experience, our office misfit was a gentleman named William.

William was a nice guy who kept to himself and lived with his mother. Even though he was 45, I held an open mind.  He never bothered anyone;  Will was, as they say, the quiet type. 

Since his house didn't have a crawl-space, I wasn't overly concerned that CNN would be sending Wolf Blitzer down anytime soon to report the startling news of 50 dead tranny prostitutes resting in shallow graves beneath his house.

Will often exhibited somewhat of a peculiar personality in the office. For instance, he ate the same thing for lunch every single day.

Kraft Lunchables
Campbell’s Smokey Bacon & Bean soup 
Kit-Kat Bar

He also collected Star Wars action figures (dolls) and had an odd obsession with The Lion King Broadway musical.  

I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I’d often witness him yelling at his penis at the urinal in the employee restroom. Nothing too disturbing though.

Will was a hard worker, as evidenced by his regularly showing up 3-hours early for work and he often volunteered to baby-sit for the single mothers in our workplace.  He also held a summer job as a youth camp counsellor.

My co-worker, Trish, once exclaimed:

”Will is creepy! I think he’s gonna show up one day and kill us all. He’s a hard worker though.”

Now that I think about it, if I’m gonna be killed in a brutal workplace rampage, I’d take great solace in knowing that my executioner put in a hard day’s work before shoving the barrel of a semi automatic rifle up my anus, forcing me to sing the theme song to Three's Company before pulling the trigger. 

The knowledge of his strong work ethic would ease the humiliation for my family upon learning that, after shooting me in the anus, he engaged in sexual relations with my head, dismembered my limbs, lit me on fire with a Zippo lighter just before affixing an explanation note on the office door which squarely placed blame for his actions on the fact that his mother’s cat explicitly instructed him to carry out his mission.

I once worked with a guy who hosted a late night radio talk show…his name was Dan Davidson.

While Dan was a great “fit” for late nights, he was a bit socially awkward during the waking hours. We simply chalked it up to his, likely, habit of listening to Pantera CD's while torturing small animals.**

**Translation: He ingested meth on a regular basis

While most of our staff were accustomed to his randomness, he managed to catch me and one of my producers completely off guard one evening when we got off the air:

Dan: I saw the memo about the employee Christmas luncheon…You guys gonna go?

Me: No; I’ve gotta go out of town.

Dan: I never pass up free food.

Me: Normally I wouldn’t either.

Dan: Hey, do you know if the police can trace semen?

Me: (speechless…and, again, scanning the room for the Punk’d television cameras.)

Here’s a recent favorite life or death question…

Shelly: Hey…which cord on the ceiling fan shuts the light in the guestroom off?**

Note to Mike, my editor:  Notice that young Shelly ended her sentence in a preposition. 

I helpfully pointed out to Shelly that she had a solid 50/50 shot…and further offered comforting words, assuring her that there was no trap door beneath her feet if she made a mistake.

My ex provided a moment of comic levity late one evening as we searched for an agreeable dinner option.

I’m convinced that the Apollo astronauts reached the moon faster than we settled upon a restaurant choice.

That being said, I’m also convinced that the Titanic rescue operation went much more smoothly than our evening. To reinforce my theory, witness the following exchange:

Me: We’ve been looking for dinner for an hour…so far you've shot down every single place.  

Ex: Oh...I've got it!!!  Let’s go to Damon’s! I should've thought of that earlier.  I love that place!!

Me: Okay.  Damon's sounds good to me.

Ex: I just don’t want steak, Italian food or seafood.**

**Note: It’s important reference information to understand that Damon’s sign reads as follows:

Seafood, Steak & Spaghetti!!

We ended up eating at Taco Bell as I recall...and I slept on the sofa.

Guys, here's a bit of advice which I hope helps to keep you safely and soundly in the bed and off the couch…

When it‘s THAT time of the month for your lady (Pronounced: WHEW!!!!) You should consider moving out of the house as a preventative measure so as not to say or do anything stupid (Pronounced: being a guy.)

Girl: I’ve got my special visitor…ugh…can we just go to sleep?

Dumb Guy: (Slyly rubbing his guy parts against the girl…acting as though it’s an accident)

Girl: I’m really ready to sleep…And I’m not feeling well. Please put your boxers back on.

Five minutes later...

Dumber Guy: Well…there’s no need for ME not to release a little bit of stress. Can't you just touch it for a little bit??  It won’t take long…I promise I'll make it quick. 

One time, at a bar tending job, I encountered a woman who entered the bar and asked the following:

Me: Can I help you?

Woman: Do you work here?

Me: Nope…I'm wearing this bar towel under my belt-loop and carrying this beer bottle speed opener because I'm a professional alcoholic.  And, I just murdered the real bartender.  He's on the floor behind the bar if you wanna go check it out. 

Before writing this story today, I visited a with friend who shared the following fun little story about the time when she witnessed a young mother who was breast-feeding her 3-year old son at the table of a Mexican restaurant.

My friend is a server and arrived at the table to take the order just in time to witness what I can only describe as a special bond which only a mother and son can share.  Of course, I asked the logical question on anyone's mind:  Did she have big boobs?

My server friend offered an interesting angle which I never considered:

"If your kid is old enough to eat a quesadilla...he's too old to be sucking on your boob."

I hold a different perspective in that I'm a grown man and I LOVE quesadillas AND, uh...never mind.

On a personal note, ANY story that includes boobs and a quesadilla is worthy of my FULL attention.

I flatly avoid any and all political, religious or racial discussions which come up at the pub.  For the record, I also avoid a young woman named Maria at the pub...but that's an entirely different story.

As a case in point example, I submit the following transcript:

Pamela: Isn't there a bowl game at the Super Dome this weekend??

Ed: Yep, it's the Bayou Classic.

Pamela: Who plays?

Jeff: It's always Grambling and Southern.

Pamela: Who's that???

Jeff: It's two predominately African-American universities.  Big rivalries

Ed: Yeah?  Well if white people held a predominately "white" sporting event we'd be called racists.

Me: (Quietly switching the pub television to the Sunday NASCAR race.)**

Note: I'm told that this is a classic example of what my former teachers described on my report cards as "mischievous"

The list of adult verbal stupidity goes on and on and on and on (As evidenced in Nickelback music...and anything that Lindsay Lohan says.) 

I love witnessing and sometimes engaging in silliness and stupidity because It keeps me young at heart in a sometimes troubling world.  Plus, it's fun.

Hey, Hey, HEY!!!  That sounds like an excellent storyline for a reunion broadcast of the Fat Albert Show!!

One final, and favorite, example of those fun loving kids trapped in adult bodies.  It's borrowed from an old joke..."What's the last thing a redneck says before he dies?"

Hey y' this!!
copyright Pontchartrain Press 2011