Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year Of The Selfie: Project Mustache

Since linguist Geoff Nunberg nominated the 2013 Word of The Year to be selfie, I decided to play my part in flighty puerile narcissism.

So over the holidays, I birthed, harvested, and slaughtered a mustache… on my face!  Its lifespan represented the duration of a six-week two-tailed double-blind randomized control trial.

(Day 1)
…My coworker, who has near-superhuman olfactory and auditory faculties, is particularly un-fond of mustaches.
She objected to mine, even in its fledgling stages.

Coworker (rounding the corner of my cubicle): “Eww. I knew it! Are you growing a dis-gustache for Movember?”
Me: “What’s Movember? And how did you know I was growing a mustache?”
Coworker: “I can smell a mustache from a mile away.” 
Me: “My mustache smells fine.”
Coworker: “I just knew one was in the building.”

One time she was listening to the Diane Rehm Show and she accurately determined that one of the panelists had a mustache—on the radio.
(On the radio.)

(Day 7)
 By now another friend referred to me as a
"1980s Porn Star, Turned Angry Porn Star Director."

I wish this had been my Senior Year Book picture… instead of this one.

(Day 14)
A friend of mine is dating my officemate who has the distaste for mustaches. Contrarily, he cheered me on, and wanted a growth update at 2a.m. on a Friday. I texted him that a tiny bat-shaped UFO was spotted flying around my bedroom, and it imbued my mustache with a telepathic messaging system. Benicio then made his presence known. Benicio The Mustache. 

(Day 15)
Weird shit afoot: the following night, a tractor beam manifested in my trophy room and began imputing modifications.

(Day 16)
The next morning, my reflection in the bathroom mirror revealed a terrible, terrible new wave album cover from 1983.
I wasn’t sure how to face the day this way…

(Day 20)
Benicio doesn’t say much. He tends to just leer and glower. Irritability and discontent are percolating, and I think my boxer briefs are riding up.

(Day 22)
Sometime during the night, my mustache suffered a sprain, and I didn’t feel so great myself. The dweomer of Benicio seems to have vacated the labial region. Admittedly, I was confused… and bereft.

  (Day 25)
Whilst driving today my mustache sprouted a pair of my uncle’s aviator shades, and a butt-cut. Terrifying.
Driving at dusk on these short winter days proved challenging. Fortunately, the shades were of the yellow night vision variety, As Seen On TV. Eventually I persuaded my mustache to loose its grip on the shades in exchange for a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.

(Day 27)
No new developments, except that my wife declared her resolve to shave off this atrocity in my sleep. I could only reply that she must refer to him as Porter, and Porter was not beruffled* by her threats.

*Totally just made up that word , Dr. Nunberg.

(Day 30)
A quiet evening at home with Porter.

(Day 35)
‘Stache holds steady. …Meanwhilst, hair on head develops an unruly
Conan O’Brien issue…

(Day 38)
Unexpectedly, Porter flew the coop. What remained became known as Calrissian, giving me an extreme sense of serenity and self-satisfaction. Unfortunately, culmination of the project is nigh.

(Day 41)
I really wish I had some leather suspenders, dirty jeans,
and a bored-looking broad with itchy gams.
I sooo wanted to be like this unemployed steel worker from 1937.

(Day 42)
Day of Reckoning/Final Phase
The Vincent Price rendition is a FAIL.

1 vote FOR; infinity votes AGAINST.

Apropos of nothing, two of these men are married—to women.
They even have children. The other is my sole champion of Porter and crew, who is dating my officemate, who hates mustaches.
NEXT PROJECT:  Soul Patch or Flavor Saver?

NB: All photos taken with iPhone 5. None altered with photo-editing software except Day 16.

-- ADDENDUM 1 --
[February 21, 2014]
In solidarity with an unnamed Division 1 men's college basketball team who incidentally won the 2013 NCAA Championship and is very close to my heart, a beard is happening.
[The coaching staff vowed no shaving
for the remainder of the season lest they lose.]

May we all be hirsute come April...

-- ADDENDUM 2 --
[March 1, 2014]
Rat farts. Team lost. Beard stays.
There is time left yet for redemption.
-- ADDENDUM 3 --
[March 26, 2014]
Aforementioned team went on seven-game winning streak.  
Apotheosis of beardage?
-- ADDENDUM 4 --
[March 28, 2014]

Persistence of beard hangs in a delicate balance.
Tonight, aforementioned team plays highly adversarial state rival team in

NCAA Tournament to advance to Elite 8.
Whatever the outcome, it remains unclear how the plight of a fledgling mustache can wend its way into the intricacies of March Madness…

-- ADDENDUM 5 --
[March 30, 2014]
Pressure's off.
State Rival Team proves its mettle and gives my guys the boot.
All that’s left to do is a grow a regionally appropriate Fu Manchu,
and maybe go hang out at the Flying J Truck Stop on I-65 South.

...In the end, it's good to know that I am like most other people in that I have vestigial memories and random thoughts. So while the connection to Project Mustache is tenuous at best, at the gym yesterday it occurred to me that the blow-up auto-pilot from Airplane! the movie
was the spitting image of my dad 25 years ago.
He really looked sharp in that uniform.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Surrre You Were Playing 'Grand Theft Auto V'...

Stumbled across this at www.ask.com...

I cannot help but read the asker's explanation of his question at the bottom, and become giddy at the human condition.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


     High school. It is Friday, and nobody really gives a shit about anything. TJ and I are on the baseball team together.
     TJ is my friend. As I follow him in to Ms. Howard’s class at the bell, he figures it’s a good idea to punch me in the sack with a closed fist. No one really notices or cares, but TJ thinks it’s a hoot. Son of a bitch.
Ms. Howard has enough trouble holding my attention teaching whatever it is she teaches, and now with a nagging scrote-ache and vengeance roiling in my soul, I have 49 minutes to scheme…
Tommy is also on the team, and he is my friend. The last time he smacked me in the goods was well over a month ago. It was a typical backhand, which is permissible in a Stockholm Syndrome kind of way.
So since then, I have forgiven Tommy, after of course executing a mild tit-for-tat. Now we’re all square, Tommy and me. As a fellow victim of TJ’s ball bullying in the past, he’s even willing to conspire with me. Chris saw TJ’s sneak-attack, too, and claims he’s onboard even though he has never been hit in the nuts by TJ. …Deep down, I think Chris is a sadist. But today he will take a lesson from my playbook.
In our school newspaper class, gaily titled, Chit-Chat, our three-man coalition feign field reporting to Ms. Draut and excuse ourselves to find TJ upstairs in Mr. Thorne’s class. Chris knocks politely. I crouch behind the end locker in the hall while my bros in arms smile through the wire-mesh glass part of the door at TJ, beckoning him out. Mr. Thorne answers.
“May TJ be excused for a moment, sir? I want to interview him about Thursday’s game.” Of course he can, says Mr. Thorne. The old boob.
TJ saunters to the doorway grinning. A proud jock summoned among the commoners.
He’s not even through the threshold when I make my move… My hand swooshes around the door, cupped with kung-fu ferocity, and I get a fleeting but deadly handful. There is a sweet smacking sound, like someone dropped wet bologna… TJ’s hips jut back; he buckles and grunts like a wild pig… His hair goes from perfectly combed to a sloppy mess… His chin hits the tiles first because his hands are busy clutching the kill zone. He bites his tongue and a satisfying glaze of sweat pops out on his reddening forehead.
“HaHAA-Haah! Didn’t expect that, did you!” I loom over him, seething.
Tommy and Chris cackle, celebratory-like, as if I’d just tattooed one out of the park. Then we run… Looking back, we see TJ writhing, groaning on the floor in a puddle of drool. Because it’s April of 1993, I inform TJ that, “You just got pimp-smacked!” Meaning I win.
But I know it’s not quite over. Minutes pass. TJ stumbles downstairs, knowing we’ll be back in the Chit-Chat press room. It’s about to become a situation room. Did Mr. Thorne bother to report the attack upstairs, encourage a counterstrike, or even show pity? No. (He told me later that TJ’s nutsack had it coming. Just out of general principle.)
Chris spots him in the corridor first and signals to me. There is a table near the entrance to the classroom with, inexplicably, an empty Styrofoam cooler on top of it. I mount the table and pick up the cooler. TJ staggers to the doorway, glassy-eyed with blood in the corner of his mouth, looking like he was picked up and set down by a tornado.
When his blonde, prematurely thinning hair pokes through the doorframe, I jump off the table and break the cooler over his head like Macho Man Randy Savage coming off the top rope with a match-ending chair shot. …Pieces of white foam explode on TJ’s head and rain down in slow-mo. The class roars. Tommy’s mouth gapes and he drops to his knees. A paroxysm of laughter. Even TJ has to laugh. This is proverbial insult to injury and I win again, at least until next week…

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sister, I'm No Poet

William Carlos Williams’ minimalist work of early 20th century literature titled This Is Just To Say is considered a piece of found poetry. The story goes that Dr. Williams* left his wife a note that later he published, which the American literati deemed a classic. I love the work of Dr. Williams but in today’s world of incessant communiqu├ęs delivered willy-nilly on touch screens and discovered instantaneously—or ignored and acknowledged later—it seems by the law of large numbers theorem we are bound to accidentally produce something akin to this particular poem. Something which doesn’t necessarily convey a profundity, nor which is particularly artful. 

My recent text to a friend might fit these two criteria (not profound but found, and certainly not particularly artful). So, in spite of their mundane topics, are the samples below more alike than antithetical?

This Is Just To Say   
by William Carlos Williams (1934)

This is just to say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This Is Just To Text You
by Waarlowe (2013)

This is just to text you
that I am pinching a loaf
and it got me to thinking about
how many loaves I've pinched today.
I have pinched a total of five loaves,
all completely healthy and firm loaves, too.

One loaf was delivered at home this morning,
and then the second loaf came along at Panera.

Back at home I pinched a late afternoon loaf after feeding the dogs,
and myself.
(I watched them loaf around in the yard and then... guess what they did?)
Then I found myself in the evening at a different Panera where, by golly,
I pinched a loaf!

So now it's 11pm and I find myself pinching the conclusive loaf of the day
or at least I hope so.
What does all of this mean?
Three loaves came into the world at home,
while forty percent of my loaves were set free at a place where they sell...
loaves of things!
Also, not one of these loaves was pinched at a strip club.

Sent from my iPhone
*William Carlos Williams was a practicing physician.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"HE ORT" (The Worst Day)

Throughout elementary and middle school, each person in my class was forced to come up with a story for the Young Authors program. It had prizes, which I never won. So I wrote at least eight of these terrible things.

My eighth and final attempt was wrought in rebellion. I decided to ditch the languagey part of storytelling and make a picture book. Basically a 72-frame comic strip. Surely my peers
the rightful judges of this contestwould appreciate not having to actually read anything else forced upon them in the halls of Westport Middle. Consequently, I produced the only book I cared to keep for prosperity on my bookshelf. But it didn't win shit either.

While it bore the dazzlingly original title The Worst Day, it became known by my sister and I as "HE ORT" because most of the construction paper lettering fell off.

Because I wrote it in February of 1989, I was extremely pleased by the subsequent release of one of my favorite films of all time, Falling Down, which screened in the winter of my senior year of high school (1993). I won't say my little book was exactly a crafty portent of the movie, but, you know, there is a shotgun and a briefcase in the movie poster.

So here's a story from the mind of a healthy 13 year-old, who may or may not have known what S&M stood for (see penultimate page) at the time. Maybe that part was portentous.