I’m not scarred

Like many of you, I went through the fourth grade. That was when I had my traumatic childhood experience. Everyone has the traumatic childhood experience. If you don’t remember yours, it’s because it was REALLY traumatic and you should seek counseling. Mine wasn’t that traumatic, but it’s really my only one, so I have to pin the brown and black ribbon on it.

Ms. Rice was a fourth grade teacher at Tallmadge Elementary School. She was not my homeroom teacher, so I only saw her for one period a day. I think it was for science. Now I remember it was science, because she gave me a C for my report on the planets that was copied directly out of the encyclopedia. I hate to think that my parents paid thousands of dollars for a set of books that only got me a C.

One day in science class, Ms. Rice asked everyone to be quiet. Everyone got quite. Which made it a lot easier for Ms. Rice to hear me ask the kid next to me for their scissors. She had just about enough. Ms. Rice told me to come to the front of the room. She instructed the other students, “Get out a piece of paper and write something you hate about Doug.”

They did.

“Now stand up and form a line in front of Doug and read what you wrote.”

Doug stinks.
Doug is ugly.
Doug is stupid.
Doug talks in class. (You got me there.)
Doug is smelly.

I don’t remember a lot of what they wrote. I definitely remember the Doug stinks. At first I tried to laugh it off. And then I cried. Come on, I was in the 4th grade.

The last person read their paper. I was sent back to my seat and we finished what ever we were doing. Everyone was told to throw their papers away. I went home and didn’t say a word.

Andy Friesner was a friend of mine at the time and he felt bad about it. Bad enough that he took several notes out of the trash and took them home to his parents. His parents called mine. Mine questioned me and then called the school. There was a too do.

I would have to call my mom to remind me of what happened after that. I’m sure she’d love to talk about it and get all fired up again. I seem to recall that the next day all the kids wrote nice things about me and I was to take the nice pieces of paper home and show them to my parents. Jamie Barnes (upon a proofread, I’m realizing that this might be a good point to preface that Jamie is a girl) asked me to be her square dance partner in Gym class. That might have all been worth it.

I’m not scarred. Thinking about it makes me sad. But mainly because I’m now remembering these people from my past. I haven’t talked to Andy in years. He is a great guy. And that my long lost love Jamie Barnes hasn’t thought about me in years.

Ms. Rice? My understanding is that she is now an educational administrator somewhere. I searched the internet for “Ms. Rice is a stinking filthy whore” but did not get any search results. I’m not scarred.

Saints vs Atlanta

I'm not a cartoonist, but I pretend to be one on teh intraweb. I thought of this one my drive into work this morning. (Click to enlarge.)

I started to redraw it, but I like the spontaneity of this one. (And I was too lazy.)

I'm thinking though that if I did re-draw it, I'd combine the 2nd and 3rd frame and then in the new forth frame have everyone come running back into the dome looking for shelter and blaming the Bush administration.

(Man, the #12 guy looks like a terrorist.) What kind of f'd up helmet is that?

God made fish. The devil made the deep fryer.

God made fish. The devil made the deep fryer. Let’s go eat in Purgatory!

There is a restaurant in Columbus called Old Bag o’ Nails. They have really, really great fish and chips. The slaw stinks. The tartar sauce is usually warm. But the fish and chips are perfect. The almost better part is that they give you a huge portion. Some have described the portions as big as a baby’s arm or like a big fish, but bigger!

I have never heard anyone say that the fish portion was as large as a #1 foam finger.

Please compare and contrast the following:

The first photo is that of an Ohio State University #1 foam finger.

The second is a camera phone photo of some fish and chips I ordered last week.

I rest my case. The Old Bag o’ Nail fish and chips portion is as big as a #1 foam finger.

Male and Female Numbers and Letters

Without getting into it, here is my list of boy and girl numbers and letters:

Girl Numbers

Boy Numbers

Girl Letters

Boy Letters

Both D and H are tomboy letters. Girl letters, but with a Peppermint Patty kind of boyishness. OK, they are dyke letters.

How to pay your mortgage in coins

We have a large jar of coins at home. I’m sure you do too. If you are like me, you call it the emergency fund. I’m not sure what kind of emergency you would need to have to carry that thing into Kroger’s the day after Shorty’s bachelor party and pour $250 worth of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters into a CoinStar machine and then deposit the cash into the bank and hope to God the money goes through before the mortgage check. I’m really not sure at all.

Anyways, it was the day after Shorty’s bachelor party and I was at Kroger’s empting out the emergency coin jar into the change machine. The CoinStar machine takes all you coins, keeps 8% and spits out the rest as a receipt that you cash in at customer service. Through a slot in the front, the machine will kick out any wooden nickels, tokens, washers, NECCO® Wafers, Canadian coins, or anything else that is round but not a coin or is a coin, but not round anymore.

That’s where I found this token:

I’m not sure where it came from, but if it is a coin from some Asian country, I want to live there. It also reminds me of how I felt the night of Shorty’s bachelor party. The next morning when I woke up and looked in my wallet I felt more like “Unhappy No Wood.”

I’m saving coins up for when John gets married and we throw him a bachelor party. I’ll have about $12,450 saved up by the time that happens.

Finding My Inner Coil

We bought a mattress recently. We also had a baby. Purchasing the mattress was far more traumatic. Really.

With the birth of a baby, you have no control over the proceedings. The water breaks and you drive really fast to the hospital. Three or four different people wearing colorful scrubs stick ¾ of their arms in the mother to be. If you are the au natural type with a thing for extreme pain, the baby comes out with a whole bunch of screaming and yelling. If you believe in modern medical science, some dude sticks a needle in the mother's back and you can balance the checkbook as the baby comes out. They then give you a $45 Advil, several portions of dry chicken and kick you to the curb 47 hours and 59 minutes later. Pretty easy.

The purchase of a mattress requires so much more planning and effort. First off, you never know when a mattress is ready to be replaced (unless it’s a waterbed.) You’ll get a good idea once the springs start poking through or if you’ve worn it down so that you are sleeping on dust and the box spring.

Once you’ve made the decision to buy, you have to pick where to buy. When you are about to deliver a baby, you have two choices: the hospital or the back of a cab. There are over 106 places where you can pick up a mattress in Columbus. (You can sometimes find mattresses along the road for free as long as you can fit Various Stains Brown into your bedroom color pallet.) You’ll pick the wrong store to buy no matter where you go. You will overpay or buy something of low quality or find out another store had a better deal. (Please note: Never ever buy from a store that says they will take your old mattress away when they bring the new. Notice how they show up with a mostly empty truck, put your old mattress inside, close the door and five minutes later pull out the “new” mattress.)

Your purchasing of a mattress really isn’t based on wrapped springs or space age foam or Amish construction. It’s all about how far the salesman rolls his eyes back in his head. When you ask about the floor models, you might get a quarter roll. If you lay down to test a mattress for more than four minutes, you’ll get the full eye roll with the crossed arms and toe tapping. If you walk into the store and wave off the salesman while walking back to the “USED” section, you can get his eyes to roll a full 360 degrees and a sigh big enough to suck the oxygen out of the strip mall. As you walk around the store, watch his eyes and pick the mattress that causes him the least distress.

Once you’ve got the salesman’s eyes back in place and he finishes tacking on the stain guard and undercoating to the bill, he’ll ask about delivery. I highly recommend taking the mattress home with you right there and then for two reasons. The first is so you actually get the mattress you think you want. At the factory in Guam, they make one kind of mattress and 24 kinds of labels to sew on to the mattress (not including the "Do not remove under penalty of law” tag.) The second reason to drive you mattress home is the physics involved with a mattress tied to the top of your car. The tension of the twine. The power-to-weight ratio required to become airborne. Newton’s First law combined with the breaking power of the car behind you. The muscle mass required to hold the mattress on the top of the car with one hand stuck out the window. My buddy Russ passed his third quarter of Physics by showing up to the final with a king sized Sealy Posturepedic attached to his car with a coat hanger and sixteen feet of dental floss.

Your first night with the mattress is the most important. Mainly because the spider eggs hatch that first night after being distressed during transportation. Also be prepared with a good one liner to combat your buddies who ask if you have “broken in” the mattress yet. I suggest the following response:

“Broken in? You kidding? I got fucked at the store.”

(Actually, I am kidding. We just bought a mattress from The Mattress Firm on Morse Road. It was a very pleasant experience and the sales dude was a great guy. We had it delivered and I even tipped the two delivery guys. And no, we haven’t broken it in yet… assholes.)

What you shouldn't do when you are in the Secret Service

Oddly enough, I know a guy who is in the Secret Service. I know another guy who isn’t. Him first.

The other guy was the perfect candidate for the Secret Service. He had military service. He liked guns. He was very smart, but just dumb enough to step in front of a bullet. Sadly, he did not pass a certain level of the Secret Service interview tests. I guess they hook you up to a machine and ask you various questions about morals and honor and if you would have sex with a chicken. Sadly, he failed this part of the test. I can almost (almost) guarantee that he wasn’t a chicken fucker, but he did take offense to the implication that he might be. He was not asked back to continue the process. He is now a professional chicken fucker on the internet.

The first guy (let’s call him Ralph) did make it past the chicken fucking question and is now an agent in the Secret Service. While Ralph was still being interviewed for the position, the Secret Service went out and questioned his friends and family. I was one of those people. The dude they sent out to interview me sucked every last drop of dirt I had on Ralph. I didn’t mean to rat him out on the drunken fun we had in college, but this SS agent somehow loosened my tongue and before I knew it I was relating stories about smoking pot and getting into fights and arrests for jay walking. After it was all said and done, I was sure that Ralph would never get the job. Perhaps my answers actually matched Ralph’s. He is a very honest guy.

After a few months, Ralph was assigned Presidential duty. I guess there is a lot of stuff the Secret Service does besides guard the President. Ralph wouldn’t say what, but what he didn’t tell me sounded interesting. What he did tell me was this:

Ralph was assigned to stand around the tarmac by himself, observing the herded crowd, while the President disembarked from Air Force One. He was watching for bad guys. He had the thing in his ear and a gun and sunglasses. He was very excited. The President walked out of the plane and waved to the crowd. Hurrah! He turned in Ralph’s direction and waved. Ralph was the only one standing there… so he waved back. Ralph suddenly realized what he was doing and put his hand down.

Later on, Ralph admitted to some other agents what he had done. In between fits of hysterical laughter, the got a hold of the video surveillance tape and confirmed the wave. I think most of the Secret Service has seen it now. I’m not sure as a joke or if it is being used for training.

The Power of Doug

You may recall my story about Stephanie and the Witch and how we went out one night and threw smoke bombs in cars and such. (In the photo above, the Witch is on the left, Steph is on the right.)

It seems that through the power of my writing that the two of them decided to cast aside their differences and get together in Denver. Stephanie flew in from Washington and the witch hitchhiked in from northern Colorado.

Click here to see the photos. They met at a really cool bar called The Cruise Room that was modeled after a lounge on the Queen Elizabeth. Steph took me here once and forced me to drink dirty Martinis.

The girls will deny it was a spontaneous visit, but I know that it was the power of my storytelling that brought the two together again.

They will also deny that they got hammered and went streaking past 1082 Broadway (now Club Vinyl) singing Nine Inch Nails songs at the tops of their lungs. Good times.

Go Buckeyes

The Buckeyes play Texas tonight. My prediction is Ohio State over Texas, 24 - 21.

On a different note, the over/under was at 14 days as to when I would be able to go out again to get a drink. At 6:18 today, it will be into the 14 day if you play by the Price is Right rules. Purists and people with common sense will tell you that it is still the 13th day.

Either way, at 7:00pm tonight, I will be watching pre-game from outside my home at The Rack with a chilly brew.

Go Buckeyes!

The Ohio University Marching 110 will be playing today in Northern Illinois. The pre-band warm up football game starts at 2:30 and the post-band football game will play for two more quarters after the band plays.

Damn! I hope it ain't skunk

I was looking for an easy way out of writing tonight and did so by sifting through a bunch of old crap in a file called “Comics and Keepers.” Within that horrible file folder I found one small nugget of gold.

This is an invitation to a party that Handsome Joe and I threw to celebrate our moving in together into 18 ½ Palmer Street, behind Mr. Fee’s house. It was a 40oz party. I remember putting the two Bs on the label in hopes of getting some B & B.

Little did Joe know that a week later I would move out to take an internship at Lyon Video in Columbus. Joe had to scramble to get another roommate. Scary Gary. Then Knitter. Joe has never really forgiven me.

That apartment had the warmest toilet seat in town due to the location of a wall mounted heating vent right at bowl height. I would go back down to OU to visit and Mr. Fee would get pissed that I was sleeping in the apartment that I ran out on and subsequently was not paying rent on. I had to sneak in and out.

That invitation was created on an Amiga 2000 that I bought from Acton, but I don’t think I ever paid him for it.

Wow. Turns out I am a real asshole.


Now that Miss Sally and little Ann are spending a good amount of time together, Greg and I have become dependant upon each other. He used to request Miss Sally 75% of the time to read books before bed and tuck him in. Now he gets daddy 100% of the time. We are both geting used to it.

Children’s books are two pages away from being depressing stories of real life. Happily ever after glosses over therapy necessary to get over seeing a woodsman kill a talking wolf. They never go into that.

So here’s something to depress the shit out of you if you are familiar with the story.

**** *******


I opened the cigar box and it creaked as the duct tape hinge relented. It smelled of cigars and dust and oddly enough, fabric softener.

I didn’t mean to find the box and it didn’t need me to find it. The objects inside were used up; meant only to be used as fodder for faint memories or dreams that are gone by morning. There was a folded award for attendance. A snail shell filled with wax. There was the base of a trophy for bowling. There was a love note and a photo of a dog named Kid. A ball bearing and a marble, both the same size. A nail and a safety pin. A silver dollar with a bullet hole through it. Three buffalo nickels wrapped with yellowed tape.

These things removed with a shaky hand and set on the carpet of the closet. I am old now and have no use for such memories and I am grumpy that I ever opened the box. I tipped the box sideways to scoop back up the memories when the last something fell out.

The interior of the box was brown and matched the color of the darkish, lumpish thing. It was easy to miss. Held up in the 60 watt light, it looked like a ball of mud that had dried into a stone. It was warm. And then I remembered…

The Truffula seed.

I had always planned on planting it once I found a place. There was no easy place for the Truffula seed. But there were video games and football practice and girls named Stephanie and Angie. There was no time to look for the exact proper place and to spend the time watering and caring. I had apples to pick and houses to build and boats to carve. It was too big a task and easier to forget.

I pocketed the three nickels. Scooped up all the trash and closed the box. Then put the cigar box back up on the shelf behind the slide projector.

Unless. Useless.

Half Remember

There is something astounding about the human brain that not only allows us to forget, but also lets us half remember.

My buddy Conny was in town for a meeting and we went out after work/meetings, played 18 holes of golf and then had dinner at Hooters. In the good old days, Conny coming in town meant us both skipping out of meetings/work at noon, golfing, hanging out with some of the chicks at a bar who also were in town for meetings and who also bailed at noon to drink margaritas. Later on, we would go to the nudie bar. (If Conny’s wife is reading this, Conny would always go home before the nudie bar. If my wife is reading this, Doug would always go home before the nudie bar.) Either we are wiser now or they keep better attendance at those meetings.

It’s while we were eating wings that I was reminded about mostly forgetting. Or half remembering.

We had a job in Charleston, WV that lasted about six weeks. We’d drive down early Monday, stay for the week, and try to sneak out in the early afternoon on Friday. There were between 5 – 10 people working at a time. In those situations, you all end up waking, working, eating, drinking and sleeping together (not sleeping together, at least in my case.) Eating together is painful. I can eat the same thing at the same place every day. Other people have taste and require a variation in their diet. You also need to be able to eat quickly so that you can run back to work and watch your fabricator drop expensive stuff on other expensive stuff. Where variation and quick crossed paths was at a restaurant called Chef Dan’s. It was close to the jobsite, quick service and had a decent sized menu. Two items on the menu were wings and salad. Wings first and last with salad in the middle.

Wings First
I like chicken wings. There is such a variation in preparation and sauces that almost all wings are different. Most wings are pretty blah. Deep fry and dip in Red Hot. I like Red Hot, but it’s definitely a crutch in the sauce world. Arbuckle’s in Boston had good wings. Someday I’ll make it Duff’s. I’m no wing purist, but there are some “cooks” that think you can take baked chicken and dip it in BBQ sauce and voila!

Unless there is a picture in the menu or some other sucker close to your table who ordered them before you, you’ll never know what you are getting until they drop the plastic basket in front of you (with the bonus five rubbery celery sticks!) It’s a crap shoot.

At Chef Dan’s it was more crap than shoot when it came to wings. I actually asked the waitress if the wings were good. She enthusiastically said yes. I don’t know why I trusted her food knowledge. Especially since the Trevor salad incident.

Salad in the Middle
Trevor is a pacifist vegan with a hidden rage. His leftist political views are only out curdled by his deadly reaction to milk products. Trevor looked a lot like Jesus, spoke a lot like Jesus, but would rip out your trachea if you pissed him off. He would try to rip out your trachea, but mainly you just end up with some resin smears on your neck. Due to his diet of grass and dirt, he wasn’t a brawny lad.

Trevor was with us on the installation in Charleston. He worked with us, but due to his strict diet, he requested a room in another hotel with a kitchenette so that he could prepare his own not meat, not milk, not tasty food. What this meant was that we didn’t see that much of Trevor outside of the job site. He’d wisp in at dawn and fade away at night. At lunch, he would sulk off with his camping mess kit that I assume was filled with green and brown stuff.

On day, Trevor went with us to lunch. Perhaps the Co-op was closed in honor of Howard Lyman’s birthday or maybe Trevor left his Swiss Army Knife with spork attachment in the kitchenette at the hotel. Either way, he joined us for lunch at Chef Dan’s. Trevor grumbled and sighed through the menu. I don’t blame him. Everything was coated or dipped in or wrapped or soaked in a meat or milk product. (I’m not completely insensitive. I think vegans that don’t eat meat or milk for social/political reasons are idiots. If your body can’t process milk or meat, I feel bad for you (as I suck the ice cream out the bottom of a bacon wrapped cone.)) Trevor questioned the waiter about the salad:

“Does this salad have cheese on it?”
“No, sir.”
“No cheese at all?”
“No cheese.”
“Sir. There is no cheese on the salad.”

Fifteen minutes later, Trevor’s salad came out, covered in Parmesan cheese. Trevor was pissed:

“Excuse me. What is this white stuff?”
“That is Parmesan cheese.”
“You said there was no cheese on the salad.”
“Sir, that is dry cheese. It’s not real cheese.”
“Dry cheese?”
“Is there milk in it?”
“I would guess so.”
“Then it’s fucking cheese!”
“But it’s dry.”

Trevor got a new salad with no wet cheese or dry cheese and he never went out to lunch with us again. The moral of this middle part is never trust the wait staff at Chef Dan’s.

Wings Last
So I trusted the waitress’ judgment about Chef Dan’s wings and ordered six of them to go with a BLT. I ordered the wings to come out first. As the basket dropped in front of me, I knew I was screwed. They were small, scrawny, un-breaded and drenched in some industrial canned version of sickly sweet BBQ sauce. I was disappointed, but starving. I’ll eat anything. Or so I thought.

I took a few bites from the first wing. The sauce was horrible. And the breading had a very odd texture. My brain played connect the dots with my tongue for a few seconds as I chewed the wings and swallowed. My eyes were included in the dot connecting and they were instructed to look at the un-breaded wing for the stuff that was giving it such an odd texture that might trick my mouth into thinking they might be breaded. Partial breading? Burnt outer skin?

Feathers. My half eaten wing had feathers on it.

I’m not talking about A feather or A COUPLE of feathers. IT WAS ALMOST FULLY FEATHERED. The wing sauce had coated it enough to hide the feathers. In an instant, I went from starving to nauseous. I dropped the half eaten wing and spit the remnants in my napkin. I poked around in the basket and saw that the other wings were covered with feathers as well. Deep brown BBQ sauce and feathers. I don’t know how I could have missed them. When the waitress came back we spoke as such:

“Um, Miss? These wings are bad.”
“Oh, what’s wrong?”
“They are covered in feathers.”
“Oh, really.” (She didn’t even look at them.) “Do you want me to get you some others?”
(gag) "No."

I didn’t eat much of the BLT I ordered. I looked on the inside for feathers to amuse my lunchmates and my stomach. It didn’t help.

After that, I didn’t eat wings for about three months. I couldn’t get the texture out of my mind. I also couldn’t eat anything with sweet BBQ sauce. But, after those three months, I only half remembered the incident. I remembered it happening. If I thought about it really hard, I’d feel sick, but when I was eating wings, I would just choose not to not fully remember the feathers. Our brain is a wonderful creature. There are many things in life that if we were forced to fully remember them that we’d never function. Too many heartbreaks and deaths. There are a shitload of injustices and murders and rapes going on right now and if you tried to comprehend it all, you’d never get out of bed. (I guess there are people who don’t get out of bed. Maybe that’s why.)

In the end, we half remember or mostly forget, and get out of bed, get in the shower and go to work.

We then leave work. Meet Conny for golf. Go to Hooters. Order wings.


In three months it will be November and maybe by then I will half forget again. Until then, I’ll be in bed.