A substantial amount of time has passed since I last contributed a writing to the fine folks at Pontchartrain Press.
I've been doing important things over the previous few months, such as devaluing the journalistic integrity of a New Orleans magazine via a few of my articles.
Actually, I blew off all writing deadlines and pretty much everything else upon learning that the Mayans had, somehow, developed a calendar with an expiration date- thus bringing about the end of the world.
Upon receiving this alarming news, I immediately did what any logical person would do...I finally proposed a sexual encounter with my next door neighbor and robbed a grocery store.
Now that I think about it, the Mayans were a relatively advanced civilization whose people demonstrated brilliant innovations in applied math and writing techniques; they created topless beaches in Cancun AND the bottomless margarita.
Constructing an incomplete calendar will forever cast a dark shadow over these impressive accomplishments as far as I'm concerned.
This lax work ethic should also serve as a stark reminder for those who consider hiring Hispanic "Day-workers" in front of the neighborhood Home Depot.
Example: The Mayans constructed pyramids (and my neighbor's house) which are referred to as "Ruins", while Egypt's pyramids proudly live on!**
**Note: Minor codes exceptions as it relates to Egyptian pyramids include isolated scorpion infestation and acts of deadly homeland terrorism in and around the neighborhood in which they are situated.
I squarely place blame for the Mayans architecture failure on the likelihood that they outsourced construction to illegal aliens...those lazy Americans constantly infiltrated their borders. Dick Cheney is also a likely culprit.
Before anyone hastily judges me as a xenophobe, or a Dick Cheney hater...I am NOT.
I absolutely love Hispanics...especially Salma Hayek.
I also fully appreciate and admire the rich legacy and history documented within Hispanic culture. They've blazed amazing and important trails across the board in society, while setting immeasurable standards in the art of landscaping, the Dirty Sanchez technique, car stereo equipment, drywall hanging, Rave parties, hotel linen service, the tasty breakfast burrito and flashy gold jewelry.
Since I really have nothing of measurable importance to contribute upon my return to Pontchartrain Press, I figured it to be acceptable that I simply offer the annual birthday rambling. The piece documents a 364-day journey of self-awareness and is titled:
"Things That I've Learned"
Also known as:
"I'm Glad That My Parents Aren't Alive To Witness This Shit-Show."
1. Gossip still amuses me, in that one can only WISH that half of it were true. Unfortunately, my "gossip" life is much more exciting. To clear the air, here is a typical day in my world, regardless of what one might hear through the grapevine:
Have some coffee and a smoke
Go back to sleep
Watch Judge Judy
Flip between Judge Nasty and whatever baseball game is being televised
Drift off to sleep
Wake up to find that the neighbor's cat has entered my house and is laying on top of me.
Think about writing
Go back to sleep
Wake up to learn that the Red Sox lost the game
Scrap plans for writing
2. As evidenced by an aggressive fly which has been dive bombing me in the house this week, stinging caterpillars on the sidewalk and a city-wide infestation of knife wielding mosquitoes, I've learned that even the insects are thugs in New Orleans!
3. I came to know three angry gentlemen this year who are age 74, 76 and 79 respectively. If I made it that far, I would be happy to still be ALIVE. If I were able to attain an erection at that age I'd consider it an added bonus.
4. I accept the fact that I'm far from perfect, as are we all...except for Ryan Seacrest.
Through the years in my life there have been missteps, mistakes, errors in judgement, approximately 4-minutes passed out (face down) in the snow, attending a Loverboy concert and downright stupidity.
The saving grace which illuminates the road before me is to work toward reconcile, to help others when I can and to recognize every experience (good or bad) as a learning curve.
5. My friend, Doug, has apparently mastered a gardening feat in that he has grown peppers in his back yard which are so hot that they could be weaponized and sold on the black market to North Korea.
6. My neighbors are clinically insane...and usually drunk.
7. From an astute observation by my friend, John, I've learned that ANYONE can host a diner/dive show on The Food Network by dying their hair, driving a convertible and authoritatively asserting:
"That's the bomb! Tastes great! Mmmmm! The perfect mixture of crunchy, sweet and savory! You rocked it!"
8. The aftermath of hurricanes trigger incredible sale prices.
While waiting in line at the ONLY operating convenience store, thanks to generators, this is an actual transcript between me and a store customer. It's important to note that she is a known neighborhood prostitute:
Me: Hey how ya' doin'?
Hooker: Good...it's been slow since the Hurricane passed last night.
Me: I'm sure.
(Insert awkward silence)
Hooker: So...you want a quick Bl*wjob for $20
(Insert awkward silence)
9. Me and my friend, Cornell, can indeed solve the world's problems from his front porch...until his pint of Gin runs dry and/or his wife comes out to yell at us around 3:00am.
10. The most stupid name an automaker could ever give to a car is "Yaris."
11. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon attacks, many people, from first responders to everyday citizens, displayed remarkable acts of dedication, courage, tenacity and kindness. And...the New York Yankees are a class act for their tribute to an age-old rival. Even though I absolutely HATE the song "Sweet Caroline," it was a kind salute.
12. My friend, Todd, is still somehow married, which teaches me that...well, it actually teaches me nothing. Other than the fact that he's often quite intoxicated, is regularly forced to attend functions which include in-laws who are also regularly intoxicated as nephews and nieces run around in circles screaming as though they are running from the scene of an Al Qaeda attack.
13. Words are more powerful than many people realize. I learned that I need to measure mine more often.
14. The Hot Tamale candy machine at an establishment in New Orleans is broken and dispenses candy with no money required. I will NOT be naming this establishment in the interest of greed.
15. Mike, the editor, recently paid me a compliment! Which confirms that, no matter what YOUR doctor says, Adderall IS indeed right for him.
16. I learned nothing again this year about the rules of professional soccer...or HOW a tie can be claimed by a team as a win? Also, why is it that the wall surrounding a soccer field looks like the Las Vegas Strip with $7-million dollars worth of advertising scrolls yet the scoreboard is being held up by some random guy on the sideline?
17. No matter what you might think, there is absolutely NO way to look cool while driving a mini-van.
18. The easiest way to make a 13-year old kid stay out of your way is to purchase an X-Box. Of course, they also will never, EVER bathe, brush their teeth, do their homework, take out the trash, remember anything that you've told them for longer than 7-seconds, wash the dishes, witness the spectacle of grass, trees, sunlight or any semblance of human interaction...with the exception of a headset while playing against another kid 5-thousand miles away. I've never understood how a kid can forget why he/she went to the kitchen but they can tell you how to negotiate 900 levels of Halo as though they wrote the game program.
19. Creative appreciation is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, I recently suggested that a friend, who's trying to come up with a name for his band, call themselves:
"Tom Selleck's Moustache"
Against protest, my suggestion was flatly rejected.
20. All cell phones are different, so make sure to do your research before making the purchase. For instance, mine sends out random, idiotic texts after about 4 Irish whiskeys.
21. I learned that, sometimes, it can be an impossible mission to cheer up a friend or loved one and that it's best to leave well enough alone so that they might handle it in their own way, as painful as it might be.
Another year has come and gone and I meet the new year with renewed hope and tremendous optimism by focusing on memories from birthdays past...
Such as the time that I sat on Santa's lap on the front porch of my neighbor's house and felt that I was sitting on something funny. The fact that my birthday is in April should have been the first warning sign.
Then there's the time when I received a motorized 3-wheeler on my birthday, which my cousin crashed into a tree; he's paralyzed from the neck down to this day.
Or the feeling that I get since age 10 every time I get into a van that smells like cotton candy and cigars.
It wasn't easy being a kid...and not much easier as an adult, but growing older DOES bring one perk: discounts. I understand that the neighborhood "working girl" is running a birthday special.
copyright Pontchartrain Press, 2013