Tuesday, October 22, 2013


One day, I decided to stop letting myself get into "odd" situations all the time and start being as normal as possible. 

I rose from bed that morning giddy with a new sense of purpose, but I didn't let myself get too giddy because that wouldn't be normal.  I felt so good about the potential for a newfound normality that the new day promised, I began to skip merrily on my way to the bathroom to urinate.  But I held back and walked "normally" instead.  I was starting to feel more mature already!

Skipping merrily into the kitchen, I tripped over a toaster that I'd carelessly left on the floor the day before and crashed headlong through a bay window,  plummeting two stories into a duck pond that my landlady Mrs. Festermeyer had installed in a vain effort to get noticed by the local garden club.  The huge splash splattered her own kitchen window with enough force to apparently cause her to drop something big and crashy-sounding, and I could hear ear-splitting screams coming from somewhere inside her house.  Shaking my head to clear away the cobwebs, I sprang from  the duck pond and darted inside quickly enough to avoid being "identified" as they say in police parliance.

As I sat down to a large bowl of Post Toasties, I chided myself over having performed in a somewhat less than normal capacity since arising from bed.  Not only had I forgotten my new "no skipping" policy, but I had also clearly neglected to be on the lookout for errant toasters which could be tripped over.  This last mental observation struck me as amusing,  and I began to chuckle.  The chuckle increased into a guffaw until, before I knew it,  I was laughing my head off. 

Suddenly I missed my mouth completely and jammed a spoonful of Post Toasties into my left eye, causing me to scream "GAAAAAAA!!!" and fly backwards in my chair and knock my TV set right through a fish tank full of Sea Monkeys.  Lying there on the floor afterwards afforded me a chance to reflect upon the utter lack of normality in what I had just allowed to happen, and I vowed to be totally more normal for the rest of  the day.  I also realized that I hated Post Toasties and would no longer eat them simply because Andy Griffith had told me to way back in 1964. 

As I dressed myself, I found it difficult to restrain my excitement over how different my day would be today compared to the chaos and clutter of my former existence.  I was so excited, in fact, that I didn't notice I'd already dressed myself earlier and was donning another entirely new set of clothes.  Then I discovered that I had actually gotten dressed four times in a row without realizing it.  I started to get mad at myself until a thought occurred to me:  "Wait a minute...it's NORMAL to make mistakes!" 

With a cheery smile, I jauntily clicked my heels first one way and then the other, catching my foot in the mini-blinds cord and getting yanked off my feet upside-down as the cord suddenly reeled all the way in.  I hit the wall with a substantial thud, knocking down all my framed pictures in unison and shattering the glass.  Hanging there by my foot afforded me yet another moment of reflection, strengthening my resolve to pass the rest of the day in as normal a fashion as humanly possible, until finally the entire window frame gave way and collapsed in a heap of splintery wooden shards and twisted mini-blind slats.  Fortunately, my multiple sets of clothing cushioned the fall.

The phone rang as I walked normally toward the front door, and I picked it up.  "Hello?" I said, trying to sound like the most normal person I could think of at the moment, which was Raymond Burr.  "How can may I to help you?"  I winced at my error, which was due, in fact, to my trying TOO hard.  I would have to tone it down,  I told myself.  "How can...help...me you?  How--"  I sounded like Raymond Burr if he were playing Tonto on drugs.  Finally,  I just simplified it.  "How help?"

It was Mom.  "What's the matter with you?" she asked with her usual guarded concern.

"I'm being normal today, Mom," I replied, struggling to maintain a completely placid and mature demeanor.  My Raymond Burr voice, fortunately, had transformed into a  more functional combination of Merv Griffin and Julia Child.  "Normal as hell.  I'm going to be the King of Normal today if it kills me.  If it kills EVERYBODY!!!"  I held the receiver in front of my mouth and screamed into it.  "KILL!!!  KILL!!!  KILL!!!"  Then, in a dazzling display of my newfound maturity, I instantly reeled in this somewhat over-the-top outburst and regained my  former composure.  "Was there something you required of me,  Mumsie?"

Mom hesitated, then decided to plunge forward as if nothing had happened.  "I just wanted to remind you about Gramps' headstone.  You were going to get it redone, remember?"

"Who?" I started to bark, then suddenly remembered.  I had been in charge of ordering Gramps' headstone, and had somehow gotten the inscription mixed up.  Or rather,  had mixed up the slip of paper with the inscription Mom had written on it with my membership card in the "Beavis and Butthead" fan club.  Thus--and entirely inadvertently, I still maintain in my own defense--Gramps' headstone had been inscribed, Mom and I discovered upon visiting his final resting place,  with the words "Beavis and Butthead Fan Supreme-O!!!  Cornholio Rules!!!   Woo-Hoo!!!"  With some rather nicely-rendered (I thought) portraits of Beavis and Butthead picking their noses on either side.

"Yes,  yes," I snapped impatiently, rubbing my throbbing temples.  "I'll take care of it.  I'LL TAKE CARE OF IT!!!"  I had already wound myself up for a nerve-shattering scream of rage before catching myself just in time.  "Heh-heh.  Anything else?" 

"No, no, that's it," she said.  "Just try not to end up--you know--on the news or anything."  With that, she hung up before any further developments could ensue.  I looked at the phone and laughed.  It was suddenly the funniest thing I had ever seen.  I held it up, grinning like a loon, leering like Death-come-to-dinner, and laughed mightily at the trembling heavens,  my chest heaving like the bounding main itself as the Earth and its billowing bowels churned into a phantasmagorical frenzy of doomed hellspawn catastrophes colliding to shatter Eternity. 

Suddenly a canary chirped.  It occurred to me that I hadn't fed Waldo his birdseed,  and in an instant, everything was all right again.  Merrily, I skipped--no, WALKED, ha ha--to the birdcage with a box of birdseed in hand, and then,  and THEN, I suddenly remembered that I didn't HAVE a canary, and even if I did I wouldn't name it WALDO,  and I wasn't really holding a box of birdseed but a BOMB...a TICKING TIME-BOMB!!!  And it was set to EXPLODE in FIVE SECONDS!!! 

"BOOM!!!" I bellowed heartily, pretending that the explosion had blown me backwards against the wall.  Standing there, I giggled at how much fun it was to pretend.  But then, straightening up, I forced myself to be serious again and resume my wonderful newfound normalcy.  In an extremely dignified manner that I was certain even Mom would be glowingly proud of, I put on my brand-new Bozo the Clown outfit, picked up my "Trick or Treat" bag and my super-soaker filled with finely-aged wolf urine, and strode gracefully toward the front door. 

It would be the most normal Halloween ever.  Even if I had to KILL!!!  KILL!!!  KILL!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


"Here, kid...the first one's free."

Boy, I wish I had a nickel for every time I've heard that.  It's the classic "come-on" of the neighborhood "pusher" (dope dealer), heard on playgrounds across America every minute of every day.  Yeah kid, the first one's free, all right, but you pay a price just the same--your soul. 

I know, because it happened to me.  I was that kid on the playground, getting my first "taste" for free and getting "hooked" (addicted).  That's when I started hanging around different playgrounds.  Pretty soon, I was showing up at playgrounds all over town until the free samples ran out.  I became a master of disguise, passing myself off as different kids so I could keep getting that first "free one." 

It wasn't long before I was reduced to wearing wigs and dresses.  Ever run into a cute little blonde-haired girl named Sally Finkleman while you were out playing on the swings or the see-saw?  That was me.  It worked, too, until I was in my mid-thirties and the story about my "glandular condition" began to wear thin.  You can't fool anyone forever--not even "hop heads" (chronic drug users).

Pretty soon, the "high" simply wasn't good enough anymore, and I was just itching to make the leap from marijuana to harder drugs.  But then, it happened...the thing that changed my life.  Saved it, in fact.  While channel surfing one afternoon in search of something to "get off on" (enjoy) during my drug-induced "high", I saw my first episode of "Dragnet."

Thanks to Joe Friday, I learned that LSD makes you want to paint your face yellow and blue and bury your head under a vacant lot.  Or that people who are "high" often slur their speech so badly that they begin to talk exactly like Merv Griffin's former bandleader, Jack Sheldon.  Or that frequent drug users usually become addicted to other things, such as lava lamps and sitar music.  And they dress funny, too.

"Dragnet" gave me a lot to think about, but I wasn't ready to give up drugs just yet.  Not until the night I dreamed that Joe Friday and Bill Gannon showed up in my livingroom.  It seemed as real as anything.  There was Joe, in his suit and tie, glaring down at me like I'd just officially announced my membership in the Communist party or something.  I knew why they were there, and began my feeble protest.  "Look, Pops...I like drugs, and nothing you say is gonna--"

"Listen up, punk," Friday interrupted in his no-nonsense monotone, "because this just might do your sorry ass some good.  You think you're unique, special, one-of-a-kind, 'hot stuff'... a young kid, up and coming, fairly good-looking, moderately talented, could probably find his way out of a paper bag, if it were a small bag and he had a map...he gets a break, hits the big time, gets himself invited to the parties, the coffee joints, the opium dens, the rave-ups, the 'love-ins', the turn-ons, the bashes, the crashes, the bath houses...the 'pleasure pits' where the love is free and the only price you pay is your eligibility to become a mailman..."

"...and then one day you get 'turned on' to your first taste of pot, grass, reefer, dope, gage, loco weed, Mary Jane, Lincoln's Birthday...you try a few puffs of 'joint' and then suddenly you go from being an up-and-comer to a down-and-outer...hopped up on happy weed and headed for a one-way trip to Nowheresville on the next cheap bus outta town..."

"...and pretty soon you're a familiar face in every back alley in town because you spend all your time turning tricks with winos for nickels so you can afford your next 'fix'...doing things that would make a dog throw up his guts for just a few more uppers, downers, bennies, dexies, hexies, Richard Nixies, Pixie Stix...boopies, floopies, fuckles, chuckles, schmuckles, feckles, grackles, pickles, poppers, boppers, floppers, door-stoppers...scooters, pooters, freakies, squeakies..."

"Stop it!  You're scaring me!" I screamed.

"Yeah, I've seen your kind, kid, I've been a cop long enough to see 'em all...the jerks, the punks, the creeps, the gang-bangers, the pill-poppers, the pud-knockers...not to mention the certified public accountants...and they all had one thing in common."

"What...what's that?" I stammered.

"They all got the first one free."  With that, Joe looked over at Bill.  Bill nodded, and Joe nodded back, and they both looked at me.  I woke up screaming.

And that's why I'll never take another drug.  Because I've been there, done that, and suffered the consequences.  Oh, I didn't quite hit rock bottom...thanks to a guy named Jack Webb.  But I came close enough to feel the fetid breath of doom in my face.  And that's why, as I write this, I am totally drunk on my ass on Old Crow Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.  Man, that is some good stuff.  And better than any "high" you can get from drugs, let me tell you.

Friday, October 4, 2013


(NOTE: This is an old one so most of these shows aren't even on anymore.  So just think of it as a nostalgic trip down memory lane blah blah blah.)

I haven't had cable-TV for two years, and I can't pick up local stations either, so I have no idea what the hell is on TV these days.  I haven't even seen a single episode of most of the newer shows.  So I've decided to tell you why I hate them anyway.

"American Idol":  I hate this show.  I actually watched a couple of episodes when it first came on, and it made me want to go on a tri-state killing spree.  It's embarrassing to see people get up and try to sing in front of everybody, with the naive idea that they'll sound just like they think they sound when they're singing in front of the mirror at home, which they don't.

Watching them glance around nervously as this realization begins to sink in and the flop sweat starts gushing out of their armpits is just painful, especially when Simon Cowell starts giving them that look that says "I hate you and you should die horribly for wasting this valuable minute of my precious life with your wretched presence, you worthless piece of human garbage."

Even the people who are pretty good are just average.  I mean, Kelly Clarkson?  Clay Aiken?  I could throw flour tortillas at my turntable and it would sound just as good.  William Hung?  Ha, ha, that was funny for about as long as it took me to start projectile vomiting all over my livingroom.  Listening to this crap instead of my very own record collection full of great music would be like saying "T-bone steak?  No, thanks--I'm going to fill up on this delicious Halloween candy corn instead."

Simon Cowell is a colossal horse's ass.  In fact, I'd love to see his entire head forcibly shoved up an elephant's asshole during halftime at the Super Bowl.  Randy Jackson--is he like, the guy from the Jackson Five?  I swear I never even made the connection until about two hours ago.  He looks like what would happen if Gary Coleman turned into the Hulk.  And Paula, I kinda liked that song you did that time.  Now go pose for a bunch of naked pictures while you still look good so we'll have them to enjoy after you old out.

"Lost":  I hate this show.  I've never seen it, but I hate it.  "Lost" is the show everybody mentions whenever the conversation turns to television.  "Have you seen 'Lost'?"  No, I haven't.  "Well, you should watch it."  Well, you should go have sex with your dog.

I think "Lost" is about some people whose plane crashed on a remote island or something.  Gosh, that's original.  Except for that show back in the friggin' 60s called "The New People" about some people whose plane crashed on a remote island.  Or that show called "Gilligan's Island" about some people whose boat set ground on the shore of a remote island.  Or that other movie or TV series about some people who got stranded on a remote island.

Maybe somebody should start "The Remote Island Channel"--they would never run out of programming.  "But this show is different", I can hear you saying.  Oh my god...I'm hearing voices.  I knew this would happen eventually.  What was the sales pitch for this thing anyway?  "It's CASTAWAY meets AIRPORT meets TWIN PEAKS!!!"  Well, how about "me" meets "you" meets "shut up."

"CSI":  I hate this show.  Or rather, these shows, since this is one of those concepts, like "Law and Order", which was just so great that a single series couldn't contain it.  I hate "Law and Order."  Somebody should've dropped Shelley Winters on Jerry Orbach while they still had the chance.  "Law and Order" is produced by a guy named Dick Wolf.  I'd love to see him filling out one of those forms where you have to put your last name first:  "Wolf, Dick."  He sounds like a gay monster in a porno horror flick.  "Oh my god, it's DICK WOLF!  RUN!"

Anyway, I watched "CSI" once, so I know that the big draw is that it's about dead people and stuff.  Oh boy, can't get enough dead people.  Hey, look--dead people!  Let's examine them!  The star of the show is one of my favorite actors, William Petersen, from two of my favorite movies, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. and MANHUNTER, which most idiots have never even heard of.  Now, instead of being known for these great movies, he will be forever known as "the CSI guy."

If I try to mention one of these movies to someone and say that William Petersen is in it, they will invariably say "Oh yeah...he's the guy from 'CSI'" and I will say "SHUT UP!!!" and try to kill them.  Until it occurs to me that if I kill them, then a CSI team will be sent out to investigate, which would be genuine irony and not just Alannis Morissette irony like "rain on your wedding day" or something.  And I hate irony.  It's fun in the movies, but if something ironic happens in real life, it usually sucks.

"Desperate Housewives":  No.  Just no.

"Dancing With The Stars":  I hate this show.  This is another one I've never seen, and it makes me glad that I don't have TV and can watch only DVDs and videotapes, because I have a whole bunch of DVDs and videotapes that don't have stars trying to dance, and I can watch hours and hours of fabulous entertainment without even once seeing a star trying to dance.

And if a DVD actually does contain footage of a star trying to dance, there's usually some indication of this on the cover so that I'm forewarned and can run outside real quick and toss it like a Frisbee as hard as I possibly can and try to hit my neighbor's front door across the street so they'll think someone's knocking on their door and go answer it, and if the DVD somehow survives the impact they go "hey, free DVD" and take it inside, and then they have to decide whether to watch the DVD or "Dancing With The Stars" that night, right before I burn their house down.  And then a CSI team is sent out to investigate the next day, and I scream "IRONY!  YAAAAAAA!!!" and it's just like being in a story O. Henry might have written right after somebody dropped Shelley Winters on him.