Archive for January, 2014

Hypothetical Job Search

Permanent would be badIt happens every January. There have been 200 test graded. Two afternoons of interviewing study abroad candidates. Outlines. Syllabi. Mock tests. Essays. I am hunched over my desk glaring into essay number 18. My eyes have stopped working. At first I think a deity has taken pity on me by blinding me; it turns out that I’m crying.

And then it happens.

I decide to quit my job.

I stand with a manly squeal of triumph and move to the couch, where at the very least I can avoid essays that have no thesis statement. I daydream whole new career opportunities.

Today there are some really good ones.

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My First World Problems

2014-01-27 14.13.15We all know about the first world problems: I have too many bank accounts! I don’t like my gardener’s mustache. The bank accidentally gave me $1,000. Ugh! And I know they are joke in comparison to more disturbing problems like: My mother is dying of cholera or Boy does that hyena look hungry.

My first world problems are the same as most others: All of my technology is beeping at me. Four cheese pizza my pasty white ass! My inbox says one email, but I can’t find it.

What makes me worse than your average first world complainer is that I not only suffer first world problems, I suffer the first world problems of a middle-aged man with no kids, wife, or car payments. And whereas our first world complainer needs a third world problem (hyena) to put his ‘problems’ in perspective, I need only compare my problems with those of a married friend.

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A Taste of Thy Liver-Flavored Medicine

858 EyesIt’s 1 a.m. The only two living beings in my house – me and the cat, I exclude spiders and silver fish – are on the couch. The B Monster is curled up, one of her paws covering her eyes so that she can snore away and blissfully dream of liver-flavored mice and the days when she had genitals. There’s nothing as comforting and heart-warming as the sight of a sleeping cat. A sleeping cat exudes absolute comfort. 100% relaxation.

So, I start messing with her. I stick my nose as close to her face as I can and blow a thin line of air at her.  She peeks open an eye and looks confused. “What are you doing, fat man?” I pull on her ear. Pinch her tail. Stick my butt in her face. She closes her eyes, a low moan in her throat tells me in kitty language, “Fuck off, fat man.”

But I don’t. It’s just starting.

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21st Century Breakup

That Awkward Moment When...A friend was recently dumped via Facebook. In his ex’s defense, she did write him a personal IM and didn’t post it to his wall.

Cindy > Gary

Hey, we’re through. So long and thanks for the two years of your life.

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Gary:   I’m keeping the jewelry.

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Bringing the Sex Back to Short and Stocky

a little breakOn Tuesday night, I saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Extraordinarily Abrupt Endings. It was in 3D and there was a dragon, so I was pretty happy, nonetheless. Also, the film was filled with action, adventure, and wizards.

Plus, all the sexy short people.

It occurred to me about half-way through the film that all of the protagonists were short and stocky men. Dwarves. A Hobbit. They were killing orcs and battling dragons, scaling mountains and running river rapids. They weren’t beautiful. They weren’t slender. They weren’t tall.

So. This was new.

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52 Book Challenge

Day 106 - I am a librarianI blame gin. Again.

It seems that every time I sip the juniper juice, I agree to something that I later regret. Consequences have included sewing classes and spiders, races and nude swims in public. Last time it was a zumba lesson.

This time it’s an ill-advised bet with a bookworm.

I don’t know when it all started exactly. There wasn’t too much gin (my face wasn’t red yet) but there was enough to set off some IM smack talk about who the bigger reader was. Before I knew it, I was agreeing to a yearlong battle of the books. In the morning there’s that post-gin feeling: a mixture of thirsty, sad, and vague regret. A note in my Moleskine and one final IM from the arch-rival – “I’m gonna kick your ass!” – refreshes my memory.

The goal is fifty-two books; the winner will have read the most pages. Each book will be accompanied by a short report. I am a 39-year old man doing book reports. The last one I remember writing was for Tic-Tac-Terror, a riveting Hardy Boys mystery (A-).

My arch-rival in this challenge is a 21-year old Russkie who drinks in books the way the she drinks in wine. She has the advantage of youth, energy, good eyesight, and a comfortable onesie. She is single and has no cat, and therefore fewer distractions.

I must win.

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Story Time

At Risk of the White Plague: Children at the Preventorium (1925)I came into my office on Monday morning, January 6th, 7:45 am. It was my first day back after the holidays. I was so jetlagged that I had begun understanding Radiohead lyrics. I wanted to be dead. Coffee.

It was still dark. I could hear the occasional student shuffling into our classroom next to my office with all the vigor of a Walking Dead extra. I booted up the computer, which groaned to life and started crying. My mind was only consoled by the fact that this is the last week of classes before our exam period. One more week.

I opened my university email: 19 messages.

Sigh. So, this year it’s illness.

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Resolutions Shmesolutions

10/52 Guess who party (happy new year!)So, it turns out I have menopause. Well, jetlag really. But research suggests I am suffering menopause. I am achy and having mood swings. I have chills, hot flashes, and I am scattered. Also, my uterus has an out-of-service sign hanging on it.

As I suffer this new and exciting condition (mainly the mood swings), I am trying to conjure a blog about New Year’s resolutions that won’t be totally offensive. But that’s out the window since I just mentioned my uterus. Maybe I’ll resolve not to offend you in this blog post. Or maybe my resolution should be to offend you more today…

It doesn’t matter, as on the whole I find New Year’s resolutions useless. They are little statements to show what people want to change about their lives with no intention of following through on it. When I hear a resolution, I think: I’ll respect this if you’re doing it in six months. Til then, stop talking and do.

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The Speakeasy Trail

NICE 1The bar is downstairs and beneath a stairwell. Chris and I get a rush of excitement – our first speakeasy on the speakeasy trail. I knock at the door, a move for which I am mocked by my brother. I suggest that if this were a speakeasy in 1929 I would have to knock. Still, the door is heavy and metal and other than not needing to knock, it’s lending perfectly to my imagined scenario.

I wonder about the other side of the door. I imagine flappers and bobbed hair, large men in double-breasted suits you didn’t antagonize under any circumstances. Dances from another era, smoke, low conversations at poorly lit tables, jazz.

We push through.

The plan was simple: dress up, eat burgers, drink strong cocktails in unusual locales. We are dressed well: suits – no ties. Polished shoes, gelled hair, mankerchiefs, though we may look cool we sweat. It’s Village Whiskey for burgers and then the speakeasy trail. Three throwback bars from Philadelphia’s own prohibition past: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, The Ranstead Room, and Hop Sing’s Laundromat.

Right now, we go through the unmanned door at The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company. The décor is cool. Plush brown chairs, sofas, and seats, and a slick bar tucked against the far wall. The lights are low and we find a table. So far it’s meeting my expectations.

Our server comes by; he’s wearing tight brown corduroys, suspenders, a short-sleeved plaid shirt. Black rimmed glasses, a bow tie, and too-neatly combed hair. Bobby. I suddenly realize the music possesses the whiney quality of a band named something like Sadness Café or Emotional Waffles. We look around and understand with horror that we are surrounded by hipsters. They are everywhere. I have doubts.

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