Archive for June, 2011
I get on the tram and it’s brutally hot. After tricking an old woman out of her seat with promises of duck liver, I sit down and take slow breaths in hopes of lulling my body into a false sense of temperate comfort. It doesn’t work. This is mainly because of the six Italian tourists who decide to keep me company by standing inside of my rectum.
Summer-time in Prague is a constant battle between my extreme hatred of the heat and my love of the minimizing effect it has on Czech women’s clothing. This lack of clothing is an enjoyable part of the Prague spring mating ritual.
Women dress to attract the opposite sex with their bare, life-sustaining breasts, tanned legs and displayed contraceptive patches. The men strut around with cocksure attitudes, biceps brandishing faded, hepatotoxic tattoos and dreaded mullets puffed out like peacock tails. I take part in the ritual, wearing glasses and holding a book, conveying: I am intelligent; allow me to fertilize your eggs!
To the grim delight of my neighbors, I started jogging a few months ago.
Let’s get this out in the open. I am one of the Fat People. There is no sugar-coating it with euphemisms like chubby, portly, husky or stocky. No need to delve into the world of PC terms. I do not challenge gravity. I am not big-boned and I am not horizontally-enhanced.
I am one of the Fat People.
I’m sitting in the back of the booth at the Krčma U parašutistů in Prague. The Paratrooper’s Tavern. As the pub’s only English speaking regulars, we call it The Troop. It’s Collin’s birthday. Somewhere between pre-dinner beers, during-dinner drinks and after-dinner shots he brings up the idea. Then there is the Absinthe.
“Next year,” he slurs. His eyes are the slits they become when he gets toasted. “Next year, I’m going sky-diving on my birthday.” This is okay, because Collin’s that guy. He’s tall, cool, serene and nonchalantly popular, so when this suggestion comes out of his mouth, it sounds natural. It’s the exact sort of sentence that people expect to hear from him.
It was on a flight into Goa that the man I’d been staring at finally looked up from his book. He was in the seat next to me and when he gazed into the ceiling and made a face as though he had just gotten a really bad pun, I knew we were in trouble. I took out my Moleskine with the intentions of writing my will. The airplane began making terrible grating sounds akin to those made by my Dodge Neon just before I left her on the side of the turnpike. The jabbering over the speaker and its frenzied effect on the others did little to quell my consternation. I wrote ‘Last Will and Testament’ at the top of the page, paused and then frowned as my forehead added several drops of sweat to my worldly belongings. Then, realizing that I didn’t own anything, I added a one word asset below:
I practiced my new phrase in the bathroom at work, furrowing my brow and emoting sturdy facial expressions in the mirror. I alternated between singing the phrase and declaring it with grave conviction. It was a dedicated practice, done in the midst of my morning routine of coffee, lesson-planning and avoiding the German teachers.
I checked the phrase again: Zvládnul to – It has been managed
Eager to use the phrase, I completed a minor task and stomped over to my boss’s office, which houses all the heads of the language departments at the university. I set my chin, knuckled the table and announced to the room, “Ja to zvadnul.”
I had dropped the L.
Everyone in the room, including one of my beautiful students who was having a consultation with her French teacher, erupted into laughter. In my patented method of self-defense, I began sweating like John Goodman and shifting towards the door. They finally regained their composure enough to tell me through teary eyes and red faces that I had just announced, in round about, grammatically poor Czech (insult/injury), that I had just gone impotent.
I had been rendered impotent by an L. This hardly seemed fair.
I have decided to join the dark side and start a blog. In development, I have realized something depressing – everyone in the world is better at stuff than I am. I have no tangible skills. At all. My advice is only useful if someone does the exact opposite of what I suggest. Nevertheless, I do have a cache of entertaining, often embarrassing, anecdotes and a somewhat humorous outlook on life.
There are three main reasons for this blog.
First, I love telling a good story and thought people might enjoy reading them.
Secondly, more than telling stories, I love being sedentary. I would wallow in procrastination if I didn’t keep putting it off. I don’t clean my flat (apartment) until an hour before company comes over. And then, only if that company is unrelated to me and female. If I don’t leave my house on any given day, you can guarantee that I won’t brush my teeth or change out of pajamas. If I had the opportunity, I would spend all of my time watching reruns, eating something that ends with the suffixes -ito or –pounder, and singing tunes that are half Johnny Cash, half gibberish to my cat. Forcing myself to write a blog means that I must put out work every Monday and Thursday.
The third reason, and the single greatest impetus behind most creative endeavors, is that I lost my remote control.
There are subsidiary reasons: nobody will be seen in public with me, I thought this might get me laid and the doctor suggested doing something creative to quell the ‘rage’.
So, if you’re having a bad day, maybe a quick read about expat life in Prague, travelling, fat man exercise, tall women, or my cat’s daily adventures battling the bathroom door will give you a chuckle. In a word, laugh at me, my cat, my journeys and the strange characters I have surrounded myself with in this Eastern European jewel of a city.
To get right into it, tune in tomorrow to find out how a missing letter (the sinister ‘L’, to be exact) made me impotent.