Thursday, February 26, 2009

Three Ring Circus

Come one come all, gather around! Come witness the Three Ring Circus! You know what I’m talking about. Get a group of parents and their kids together in a big room, or a huge social gathering. Birthday parties are prime-time real estate for a Three Ring Circus. The doors close, the lights dim and almost immediately, the show begins. Poor unsuspecting toddlers are commanded to start dancing, and dance they will! *cue circus music*:

“Where’s Mommy?!?”
“What does a puppy say?!?”
“Hug your sister!”
“Run in a circle!!!”
“Who’s got a belly button?!?”
“Buy drugs for Uncle Larry!”

The poor tots might as well be paraded around in a circle, with fancy hats and flashy clothes and rubber balls balanced on their noses or be made to walk backwards in awkward high steps. I’m not excluding myself from this behavior. “Judge not, lest ye be gathering moss” is an old family motto we live by. We’re all guilty, in one way or another. I once saw a mother throwing firecrackers at her two and a half year old son’s feet screaming “Dance midget! DANCE! *crack!* What does a DUCK SAY! *crack!* Where is your EYELID!?!? *crack-crack-crack* Touch your EPIDERMIS!!! *crack-sob*”

I mean, who do these parents think they are? Do they think it’s ok to hook up a wagon to their daughter’s back and make her pull a wagon all they way to Reno, Nevada?!?! (That never happened). I don’t think it is very developmentally healthy to take your 8 month old son’s hand and just smack it every time he gets the letters mixed up in the Greek Alphabet! (Doesn’t happen). Let them live their dream filled little lives, ringmasters! Stop putting your children on stage and making them act out Act 10, Scene 6 of Hamlet while wearing uncomfortable tights! (No such thing as Act 10 scene 6 in Hamlet, and none of this happens anyway).

If I seem a little sensitive on this subject, it is because it strikes close to my heart. I don’t talk about this often, but it can all come out now: My parents, bless their dark opportunistic hearts, made me dress up like Ronald McDonald when I was four and go door to door trying to sell French Fries to our neighbors. (Oh, come on…) I also had to sing a little jingle and do a brief tap dance. (No and no) I still remember the haunting strains of that sorcerer’s tune (what sorcerer?!?):

Hey buddy, what’s your name!
I bet you are hungry today!
Get in line and don’t be shy!
Have yourself some McDonald’s Fries!

McDonalds! McDonalds!
The Hamburglar will take your life!
McDonalds! McDonalds!
Mayor McCheese will steal your wife!
McDonalds! McDonalds!
I heard somewhere the Fry Guys are GAY!
McDonalds! McDonalds!
Just what is Grimace anyway?!?

It hurts my heart and soul to remember those days. Sweat running down my white and red painted face as I moved my floppy-shoed feet as fast as I could while singing that terrible song. Oh don’t get me wrong, I sold my fair share of fries. I was a pro, even then. I digress. Parents, let your children be children. Don’t make them your own personal performing Muppet Seal Babies! (What is a Muppet Seal? I have to call that headhunter and look into getting a new job…)

(The part of the author’s subconscious was played today by Parentheses.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

20 Questions

A man at the County Fair walks up to a booth in the far corner of the campgrounds next to a tall oak tree. The booth looks timeworn, encased in dirty red velvet fabric that listlessly moves in the late summer breeze. The sign above the booth says “20 Questions! Answer all questions honestly, and Comp-U-Tron 3000 will guess who or what you are in 20 questions or less! Only One Dollar!” The man starts to turn around but is drawn back to the old booth. Why not, he thinks with a shrug. He enters the booth and sits at a small desk that has headphones and a microphone resting on its surface. He puts on the headphones and inserts a dollar bill into a slot by his knee. As soon as his money disappears, the headphones fill with the sound of a robotic voice:

I am Comp-U-Tron 3000! I am always right! Please answer these questions with either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Let’s begin.

Are you female?
*man leans toward the microphone* No.
Are you male?
Are you smaller than a bread box?
Is your last name “Goldthwait”
Are you Bobcat Goldthwait?
Are you green?
Do you have a beard?
Are you sure you aren’t Bobcat Goldthwait?
Do you sing songs in the shower?
Are you Fidel Castro?
Are you Fidel Castro?
Do you have crossed eyes?
Does your voice have a gravelly tone, like a smoker’s voice would?
Are you the Marlboro Man?
*sigh* No.
Do you have any outstanding warrants for your arrest?
Do you have any outstanding warrants for your arrest?
How is that relevant? I thought this was supposed…
Please answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Do you like puppies?
Are you a puppy?
Are you a puppy?
Have you ever suffered from kidney failure?
Are you Jerry Lewis?
Are you Jerry Lewis?
Are you Jerry Lewis?
What is the meaning of these questions?
Please answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Does it sting when you urinate?
Please answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Are you Kelly Clarkson?
I said I was a man!
Please answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Please lower the volume of your answers. Thank you.
Does the pope shit in the woods?
What, are we telling jokes now?
Please answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Are you the pope?
Do you like to dance?
Look, I think we are way over 20 questions at this point…
Please answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Are you Tom Cruise?
Are you Tom Cruise?
On a clear day, does the sky appear to be blue in color?
Are you an Emperor Penguin?
*silence followed by the clicking sound of the man trying to get his dollar bill back*
Are you a Ham Sandwich?
*the sound of a man slamming his fist on the small desk in the 20 questions booth*
Are you a Billy Goat?
*ruffling sound of a man standing up quickly as the curtains in the booth are disturbed by the sudden movement*
Are you a Tree Sloth?
*the sound of thrown headphones and diminishing footsteps as the man leaves angrily*
Are you Jimmy Carter?
Please answer only ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Comp-U-Tron is now computing your identity. Please Hold.
*sounds of computer beeps and buzzes followed by the loud ‘ding’ of a bell. There is a pause while a cool breeze blows through the empty booth, ruffling the curtains at the entrance*

You are a small hummingbird. Comp-U-Tron 3000 is always right! Thank you for testing my knowledge. Have a nice day.

After a few minutes of silence in the booth, a small hummingbird flies in through the parted curtains at the entrance, hovering just in front of the slot that accepts the money for ‘20 Questions’. The bird appears to survey the slot, and then suddenly it throws itself against the machine repeatedly; almost angrily. After a few minutes of this, the hummingbird hovers momentarily over the desk with the headphones, and bolts towards the exit, knocking the microphone over on the way. A passerby sees the hummingbird jet out of the 20 questions booth and up into the clear blue day. He reads the sign over the entrance, hesitates, and then starts searching his pockets for a dollar bill. As he enters the booth, he glances up at the old oak tree next to the booth and notices hundreds of hummingbirds circling and hovering in the branches. They scatter as he enters.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Blog Titles

‘Millions of Atoms’ was kind of a spur of the moment decision for a title to this blog. I considered changing it to ‘Millions of Adams’, but I think that is too many Adams. So I started thinking of other potential titles. Here is what I came up with (I like making lists):

--Dead-On Balls Accurate: My Life and Times
--Goodnight Moon, Hello Heroin
--A Pen in One Hand is worth Two in the Blog
--Doctor Feelawful
--Fatty Fatty Hamburger Patty
--Blog Cabin Tales and Funny Slapdashery
--One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blog Fish
--Words in a Row (with occasional Punctuation to break up the long rows of words)
--Pimpmaster General Laying Down the Law
--Automatic High-Five Generator
--Distilled Awesome with a side of “Hell Yeah!”
--Lists of Things and Stuffs
--T.G.I. Shut It
--Aiming for Heaven, Shooting my Foot Off
--B.L.O.G. (Bullshit Legend Of God)
--10 pounds of Blog in a 5 pound Blag
--A Tale of Two Shitties
--The Really New Testament
--Absurdity 2.0
--Tripping on Daisies and Hanging my Hat on a Rainbow
--Reflections from the Lake of Wonderment and Beauty
--Bunny Tales and Puppy Years
--Millions of Apples
--The Guiding Force for All Existence in Every Universe
--Lipsmackin’ Fingerlickin’ Chicken Pickin’ Hoedown Shootout
--Cursing in English, Loving in Spanish, Writing in Latin and Eating Chinese
--Bologna Sandwiches; hold the Funny
--The Great Glass Blogavator
--Wish in one Hand and Blog in the Other, see which one fills up first
--It was the Blog of Times; it was the Blog of Blog
--Bloggie Jean is not my Lover
--Ye Olde Bloge
--Fifty Ways to Blog your Blogger
--Elemental Jackass: One man’s journey into the world of Forbidden Comedy
--Sequential Horse’s-Assery
--Climbing Mount Hilarious: A Journal of Comical Cuteness and Withering Death
--The Bible

In the end, I’ll probably just stick with what I’ve got; or maybe ‘Millions of Richards’.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Road Rage

Everyone has come across a driver on the highway that is clearly not happy to be driving that day. You can feel the agitation baking off of their vehicles from hundreds of feet away. The closer they get, the more you can see in detail the strained muscles in their neck, the veins popping off of their foreheads, their crazy eyes. Yes, I’m talking about Road Rage, one of the funniest things on the highway today. I have to admit, I love being the victim of Road Rage. I will freely admit if I’m driving like an idiot, and try to give the person I just cut off a little friendly half-wave followed by an apologetic shrug. However, I would say 90 percent of the time, the “rager” is raging away for no apparent reason, and these are the moments I live for. I am fascinated by the mentality of people that completely changes once they sit behind the wheel of a car.

One day, I was driving 40 mph in a 40 mph zone (That’s right on the money! Perfect! Thank you, I know.) I happened to glance in my rearview mirror and noticed that all I could see was the windshield of the car behind me, and a 40 year old man hunched over his wheel with his face almost pressed against his own windshield screaming silently. His arms were extended over his head, and both hands had their middle fingers straight up in the air while his face was scrunched into an unbelievable display of hatred. For me to see only his windshield in the mirror, he must have been centimeters from my rear bumper. I glanced quickly back down at my speedometer to make sure I wasn’t driving slowly, and I saw that I was actually up to 45 now (5 mph over the limit! Watch out!) Back to the mirror, and the kindly gentleman behind me is pumping his middle fingers back and forth, as though he’s trying to throw them through the windshield and hit me in the back of the head with them (and wouldn’t that be shocking?). At one point, he must have been yelling so loudly that I saw some spit come out of his mouth, and I think he actually stuck his tongue out. At this point, I had two options: Give the apologetic shrug with the universal sign for “what can I do?” by throwing both hands in the air briefly, or I could take another action. I wasn’t about to apologize for doing nothing wrong, so I did the next logical thing. I slowed down. Way down. Glancing at the speedometer, I noticed I was down to 25. That should do it.

Smiling now, I glanced back to the mirror and saw that I wasn’t getting the double bird any more. Mr. Cool and Easy Breezy was now pounding his steering wheel with both hands and continuing to silently scream. Oh, did I mention that we were in the right lane and the left lane was completely empty and available for cars to pass in? It was. I cruised along at 25 mph and kept glancing in the mirror not wanting to miss a minute. At this point, I noticed that his baseball cap was crooked, which made me laugh out loud because at some point he thrashed around so much that he knocked his hat loose. This. Was. Awesome. I couldn’t think of any form of entertainment I would rather be partaking in than this one. The thought crossed my mind that he may pull a gun and start shooting at me, he was that mad. I disregarded that thought quickly and continued my leisurely drive. He finally pulled around me and drove up next to me trying to get my attention. I serenely looked out my window and continued meandering along at 25 mph, just watching the ships roll in (and watching them roll away again).

This is where it gets interesting.

He sped past me in the left lane, got in front of me, and skidded to a stop angled across the highway about 100 feet in front of me. I hit the brakes and screeched to a halt inches away from his passenger side door. We sat like this for a few minutes, and then he got out of his car and walked around to the passenger side. I felt at this moment that he really was going to pull a weapon and attack me. I remained frozen behind the wheel, making sure my doors were locked and my windows were up. He looked possessed. His face was beet red; baseball cap completely missing now. His hair was stuck up in crazy tufts at strange angles and his chest was heaving. I thought he was going to kill me with his bare hands. Then, something amazing happened. He took a deep breath and began singing a song in the sweetest tenderest voice I have ever heard come out of a man. It was the most touching rendition of “The Rose” by Bette Midler I have ever heard. I couldn’t have been more surprised. I slowly opened my car door and got out from behind the wheel. I stood watching him sing this song with his eyes shut tight and his head turned towards the heavens; fists clenched at his sides in pure emotion:

“Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed”

I have never cried so hard in my life; just standing and sobbing into my hands. The world seemed to stop spinning for that brief moment in time. We were the only two human beings on Earth. When the song was over, he came to me and held me close, letting me cry myself to sleep. When I awoke, I was back behind the steering wheel of my car. His car was gone and other cars were driving past me in the left lane, honking at me for being stopped in the right lane. I looked around in a daze and found a note on my dashboard, with a solitary rose placed on top. The note said, simply, “You were right. Please take this rose as a symbol of my regret. We shall never speak again.” The note was signed Reginald.

I know now that I will never meet another man like Reginald in my lifetime. I keep his rose in a crystal vase on my desk. It helps me remember the special time we shared on the highway so long ago. It is now autumn, and each wind that blows through the dying leaves on the trees outside my window seems to whisper 'Reginald'. When I look at the rose he gave to me, I wonder where he is now. I hope he is living peacefully. I hope his hat is on straight. I hope his car has been impounded. I hope.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Letter to the Programming Director

To Whom It May Concern,

I remember a time when a man could watch a movie. During commercials, that man could be soothed by a commercial that would try to sell the movie-watching man a Compact Disc (which is a medium used for recording and listening to digital music) created by another man playing a woodwind instrument. That sweet woodwind was a flute; a PAN flute, if you will (Will you? Oh, you know I will!) Zamfir, where have you gone? Your woody uttering’s were like salve on a wound; like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day; like chocolate cake in a fat man’s bloated belly. The quieting nature of your wavering notes could bring an entire nation to its knees in awed reverence of your beautiful songs. Every song on that Compact Disc (CD, as the kids say) could be called “Shhhh!” and no one would question you. Even now, I’m trying to make less noise with my typing fingers in tribute to the beautiful music you once made and sold commercially on channel 11 during the Sunday Movie Matinee; and what better channel? There are 11 angels in heaven, as there are 11 reeds in a pan flute! The comparisons are never ending! (EDITORS NOTE: References to pan-flute structure and composition are purely fantastical.)

Zamfir, come back to us. The world needs a bard; a player of flutes. A panner of…pans. Channel 11 is a dark wasteland of hellish inadequacy and nightmare landscapes. (EDITORS NOTE: Writer was fired from Channel 11 due to a sexual harassment lawsuit (pending)). The “CD music” sold there now is nothing more than plastic bits of crap, imprinted with the muttered ramblings of disturbed teenagers and whored-up tramps looking to make a quick buck (EDITORS NOTE: Writer was fired from Channel 11 due to a sexual harassment lawsuit (pending)). Please shine your light on us once again, Zamfir, I implore you. From the depths of my own personal hell, I implore you. Take your pan flute and tap us all on the head in turn, and make us whole again. Only you can pull the earth from its current path of impending doom; you and your delightfully reedy notes of hope, optimism and longing.

If not you, Zamfir, who?

If not now, Zamfir the wise, when?

Zammy! Zammy!

A concerned citizen of “Planet Zam”

(EDITORS NOTE: Writer is currently in custody and undergoing psychiatric evaluation. Zamfir could not be reached for comment)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Urgent Questions: Volume 2

Do you ever climb a tree and perch on the highest branch with your hands shaped like claws pretending to be a vicious, vicious tree sloth (with claws) only to find that you are naked, and the tree you just climbed is actually your therapist?

Have you ever been given incorrect change at the grocery store and then swept the leg of the checkout girl? Do you then follow procedure and get her a body bag? Yeah?

Have you ever gone to the movies and softly hooted like an owl while eating popcorn like an owl would until someone shatters your owl illusion by taking your picture and showing you that you are in fact just a human being, admittedly with abnormally large eyes for a human, and not really an owl with owl feelings and owl dreams?

Do you dream in color? If so, can you adjust the color so the red isn’t so red? Thanks, it’s hurting my eyes and I’m mostly color blind anyway, so you can just switch to black and white if you wanted to. Nudity looks the same to me regardless of the color, know what I mean, wink, wink?

Did you ever try to roundhouse kick a daisy and then become frustrated at the sheer resilience and fortitude of such a pretty flower? Man, those beautiful Daisies really have it all figured out.

Have you ever opened a book expecting a horrible demon head to pop out, and then laugh when the only thing that pops out is a little leprechaun scolding you about his tiny pot of gold, which you have yet to return (and really, he’s never going to see any of that gold again, because you blew it all on candy and nuts)?

Have you ever conspired against your dog with your cat? If you haven’t breached the subject yet, your cat would totally be up for whatever you have planned, I swear.

Have you ever used dog excrement like shampoo, just rubbing it and massaging it into your scalp while you let the water pour over you, forgetting all of your troubles while you whistle “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, until you are kicked out of the main fountain in the park for generally acting like a public spectacle and smelling like dog excrement (not to mention frightening an entire busload of Japanese tourists)?

When you do heroin, do you shoot it directly into your veins, or just eat it spread on a piece of bread mixed with peanut butter? Everything tastes better mixed with peanut butter, doesn’t it?

If a question ended with an exclamation point instead of a question mark, then wouldn’t it just be you up to your old tricks, yelling out silly things while high on Vicodin and wishing the clouds were made of whipped cream instead of whatever clouds are made of?

When you drive through a toll booth and throw your change into that large white basket, do you ever have the urge to throw yourself into that basket to see where the change goes (and to maybe beat the system and get that
70 cents back)?

Did you ever want to learn how to play the violin just so you can accompany all the miserable minutes of your life with appropriate music?

If pink is the new black, shouldn’t green be the new who gives a crap?

Do you ever use your elbow to painstakingly type out an email, and then slowly bow forward and send the email using your nose and then sit back and laugh out loud at the wondrous hallucinogenic properties of mushrooms?

If a single blade of grass represented our universe, and each blade of grass in your front lawn represented other universes out in the cosmos, and every lawn on your street represented tiny cosmoses that are part of a bigger cosmos, then shouldn’t you just get a job already and stop getting high all day?

When Lobsters beg for their red-shelled lives in a boiling pot of water, do you put your face real close to the pot and tell them in hushed tones how delicious they will be once they shut up and die already?

If I decided to name my Son “Boy”, would he grow up thinking his father is way too literal? Consequently, if he ever brings it up, I could always tell him that I could have named him “Male Human Being with testosterone generated from his male testicles” which would have been WAY more literal, thanks for asking, next subject.

When babies laugh, does it make you sad to think about all the times you used to laugh until your house was carried away by a giant ant and thrown into the river while you screamed for someone to save your house, but the only creatures nearby were other giant ants that were kind of shrugging and saying “That’s what you get for building your house so close to a giant ant farm dude.”?

Did you ever knock out a punk-ass sucka only to find that they stole your weed earning them another beat down at a later date? Aw yeah, baby.

Have you ever done a baseball slide into your cubicle at work screaming “SAFE! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”? If so, make sure you take out some of your coworkers so they can’t tag you out. That’s Baseball Strategy 101, man. Get your head in the game.

Would you be guilty of murder if you stole an entire sandwich from someone and just killed that sucker?

Is it crazy to build a giant birdhouse where your garage used to be, or just smart planning in case your distant bird relatives come to visit? Trust me, you don’t want them flapping all over your guest room leaving feathers and bird crap everywhere.

Did God invent questions so that inquiries wouldn’t feel so stuck up and important?

If you took the time to point out to every driver in America how much better their lives would be if they saved the environment by driving a hybrid car, would you be surprised if I kicked you in the back of the head with a giant clown shoe?

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, could you please be under it when it does? You have really gotten on my last nerve today.

Have you ever eaten a dog biscuit only to find that it actually tastes like a dog? And now doesn’t your dog’s goofy smile seem so much more sinister?

How many times have you walked into a room, forgotten why you walked in there, and then urinated in the fish tank to show those goldfish who the real head of the household is? I knew there was a good reason you walked in there.

Have you ever run into a deli screaming like a banshee, just to see how many people drop their sandwiches so that you might get a free sandwich out of the deal?

Do you ever fall to your knees and scream up at the sky “Why, God, Why?” until you remember that YOU were the one who decided to voluntarily get your hair cut like a game show host from 1976.

Do you ever spin in a circle as fast as you can shouting “I’m a deadly tornado!” until you fall on the ground puking your lunch all over an entire bed of beautiful spring lilies, and then sit up laughing saying to yourself “Wow, how ironic, I did manage to destroy an entire bed of lilies, just not in a very tornado-like way”?
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