I did something this weekend.

Something I’m not proud of.

Family vacation.

 It was as awesome as it sounds.

 You’re probably thinking of the time you went on vacation with your parents to North Carolina. Yeah, you know.

Along the way you detoured into Florida to stop at a strip mall. While your family shopped around the local Gordmans you and your brother wandered off into the toy section. That’s where you ran amock of the law.

 OK, maybe not really. But you did need the mall security guard to un-handcuff you from the pole in the toy section.

As the entire patronage of the store watched.

And laughed.

And some even pointed.

It was then that you realized that you couldn’t trust your siblings. At least not your older brother who liked to tease you into doing stupid things. Like eating radishes. And touching electric fences. You  should especially never trust him while on vacation.

While at the time it seemed as if the event would ruin your vacation, and possibly your whole future social life–or at least your future wife would get a huge kick out of the story, for many, many years– you never realized the trauma that your parents were going through.

 The trauma that sat in the front seat of the rented van.

 The trauma that came in the form of a slightly hunched, fairly well wrinkled old lady whose outer appearance and demeanor were as sweet as a Georgia peach.

But then that Georgia peach asked you to do something terrible, something awful… something that would shake your very understanding of the Universe:

Drive to Arby’s and obtain one sandwich for dinner.

 I know, I know. You need a minute to wrap your brain around the horrible offense to the very nature of the human soul that has just occured.

What?

You don’t understand what is so horrible abou going to Arby’s?
Well, obviously, you must know where an Arby’s is.

 Or do you?

Imagine, if you will, a town of say 51,387. And you have been given instructions to bring grandma an Arby’s sandwich. She has so been longing for one, but she doesn’t make it out of the house much anymore since dad died, and it could really make her day.

So you are given explicit instructions, seeing as how you don’t know your way around town…

West on Humes. South on Patterson. West on Dunn. Continue for 3 blocks. Arrive in the Schnucks shopping center, the Arby’s is on the north.

Upon your arrival at the slightly creepy strip mall, you see Schnucks, a tanning salon, a liquor store, a gas station and three (yes three) side-by-side all-you-can-eat chinese buffets. All of which carry some variation of the name combination of “Hunan,” “Palace,” “King,” and “Buffet.”

Your favorite one was “King Palace of Hunan Buffet.”

Coming in at a close second “Buffet Palace of Hunan King”

But despite your valiant knightly efforts, and your ability to manipulate time and space, there is no Arby’s. Only Subway.

So upon calling the great lonely homestead, you are informed that yes, a sandwich from Arby’s is the only acceptable food with which you may return. And don’t worry, you are reassured, the Arby’s isn’t really next to the Schnucks.

It’s just down the street. At the next shopping complex.

4 miles, 3 strip malls, 9 chinese buffets, 12 liquor stores, 4 tobacco outlets, 18 tanning salons, 5 gas stations, one place simply called “Store!”, and many swear words later, you still fail to find Arby’s.

Disgruntled, hungry, and feeling defeated you stop to ask the next overly cheerful gas station attendant where the nearest Arby’s is. Her response is an angels hymn:

Why, the Arby’s is just another three blocks down the road.

So you jump into the family sedan and speed off, leaving half of your tire behind in a smoky pile of melted rubber. Three blocks later you arrive…at a Steak-n-Shake.

Now it’s time to make an executive decision.

So you travel all the way back to where you started. Schnucks. You decide that everyone will have to suffer through Subway. Grandma will be disappointed, but somehow, SOMEHOW, she will live.

Upon your entry to the store, you become “jackass on phone while in line.” But that doesn’t matter, becuase you have to break the news to grams, and get her reluctant, second choice dinner.

You: Hi Grandma. I came all the way back. I couldn’t find Arby’s. I stopped somewhere else. What kind of sandwich did you want, I’ll get the closest thing I can.

Grandma: Oh, well I was really looking forward to Arby’s. Isn’t the Arby’s next to Schnucks still there?

You: No gammie. I couldn’t find it. Did you just want some roast beef? They can heat it up for you.

Grams: No. What I really wanted was a tuna sandwich.

You:
(annoyed, comtemplative silence) Grams, Arby’s doesn’t have tuna.

Grammie: Did I say Arby’s? I didn’t mean Arby’s I meant that other place.

You: What other place?

Grams: You know that one, it’s right next to Schnucks. The place with the tuna sandwiches. I see their commercials on TV all the time. They have that guy do the commercials. You know the real nice one. He used to be so fat.

Whats his name?

The fat kid? 

And then you realize.

You realize why your parents never had fun on vacation.

Why they always came back looking more tired, frustrated, and angry than they were when they left.

You just passed through the doorway, not of sight and sound, but of mind.

The doorway that allowed life to enter and rip away your happy childhood vacation memories: Yellowstone, the Badlands, Jackson Hole, Myrtle Beach, that place in Nebraska with smelly carnies.

Because you realized just how miserable your parents were every time grandma wanted to eat at a Cracker Barrel. Back then detouring for 45 minutes to find one was just part of the fun.

But now you realize just how awful it is.

As you sit in traffic two days later, on your way back to grandma’s. And you notice, not 2 blocks from your hotel, where the Arby’s used to be. Next to a different Schnucks. With a sign on the door:

“Come visit us at our new location. Corner of Versailles and Patterson”

-or-

“Come visit us at our new location. Corner of Versailles and Patterson. You know, three blocks in the OPPOSITE direction you were told to go.”

And then you realize that it doesn’t matter anyomore. Because all she wanted was some of the tuna that fat kid sells.

How particular.

I’m going to be really bold here…put myself out on a limb, and tell you that your dog is not “your kid.” I could, in fact, almost guarantee that every person in history who had a real kid to raise wants to smack you just a little.

Or a lot.

In case you didn’t realize, that was the basis of the very first “zombie apocalypse” movie—entire generations of parents rose from the grave, not to dine on human flesh, but to let you know just how much they despise your comparison of a puppy to a child.

See, some of us can still see the world for what it is, and we realize that your dog looks and acts nothing like a child.

Do I let my child poop in your yard?

No.

Do I leave my kids at home alone, yelling and screaming loud enough for you to hear while I am at work all day?

No.

Do I let my kid hump your leg?

No.

Do I let my kid growl at your kid?

No.

Does my kid lick their butt, and then lick your face?

No. (In fact as a side note, most dog owners need to really think about that one).

Now, here is where the common sense comes in, see, your dog…oh, look, it’s spinning in a circle and barking. Cute…needs to be left in it’s proper societal place…oh, it’s spinning in a circle again. Neat. I thought it wouldn’t be great the second time around, but wow…. Your dog is not a child, or a person at all, and therefore…oh, sweet, another circle, that’s uh, that’s great, really…. should NOT be brought everywhere, all the time.

Why am I saying this?

Because as a society some of us (not me) seem to have lost the ability to leave things in their place. Under normal circumstances, i.e., taking your dog out for a ride, I would keep my mouth shut.

But then, you started to invade my space.

You brought your giant German Shepherd to my child’s preschool. It barked, it growled. You SWORE that it loved kids, and it didn’t usually act this way.

But it did. The first day, the second day, the third day, and the five subsequent days you brought it after you were asked not to ever bring it to the preschool again.

You also invaded my space when you brought your dog to a CHILDS FIRST birthday party. And it barked, and it pooped, and it scared the children. But that’s OK your dog is cute. Really. So I wasn’t that bothered.

Then you brought your dog to the park and let it run off its leash while my kids were playing. And it barked. And it pooped where they were playing. And they were scared. But that’s OK because you were there with your children too.

Wait, you weren’t there with your children? You don’t have any human kids? You just brought your dog to the park to let it “play” with the kids, because you are that sure that everyone loves your dog?

Wrong.

Seeing as how we are starting to reveal your border-line stupidity concerning an animal, allow me to preemptively answer your routine dog-owner questions:

No. We don’t have a dog at home.

No. My children do not want a dog at home.

No. My children do not want to play with your dog.

No. My children do not want to pet your dog.

No. We do not think your dog is cute.

No. We do not want to watch your dog do a trick…oh, look it spins in circles, yeah, it was great this time too, I guess it comes back around about the 50th time.

Now, you’re probably having one of two reactions.

Either you’re the majority: Your jaw just hit the floor, eyes popping out of your head, gasping noises of disbelief as to how cruel I am for griping about a cute wovable wittle puppy.

OR

You’re the minority: You are laughing to yourself because you KNOW that I am right. You don’t like dogs, but you don’t want anyone to know, because if they find out, how will you be treated?

Like the Wicked Witch of the West.

That’s right the original cinema baddy. She wasn’t evil enough trying to eat the souls of a lost Kansas child, her mismatched group of ragtag friends, and an entire society of vertically impaired citizens. No, she had to try and get that little dog too. THAT is what pushed her over the edge. THAT is what made you not just be scared of her, but hate her. THAT is what changed her from a mean old lady on a broom into a full-blown witch. Her disdain for a little girls hairy, smelly, noisy animal that had no real place in OZ anyway.

So really, I ask you dog lovers to ponder this:

Was the Wicked Witch really so wrong? Have you really become so swayed by “puppy dog eyes” that you can’t see the legitimacy of her point? Is it not OK that the witch didn’t want an animal around that would poop on the Yellow Brick Road? Isn’t a poop-free Yellow Brick Road something that we should all strive for?

If you still think I am wrong about a dogs place, consider this as well:

When the evil flying monkey’s descended upon Dorothy and her friends, what did Toto do?

He spun around in circles and barked.

Helpful.

So really, am I so wrong for wanting you to leave your dog in its correct societal place?

OK, I want one.

Busted.

But that by no means should make you think that I am impressed with you on your motorcycle. It doesn’t matter what kind of motorcycle you ride, and here’s why:

  • Your Harley is too loud. Just like the guy with the glass-pack muffler, no one is impressed with the over-abundance of sound Harley thinks they should be able to patent.

  • Your crotch rocket looks like a moped, and it sounds like one too.

Yes it does.

It’s OK if you just cried a little; I know it’s like the time you decided to be edgy and wear a pink polo, and then you found out it was actually a woman’s shirt. Buddy, Lane Bryant doesn’t make clothes for men, and chicks don’t have an Adam’s apple.

There is no escaping it: your motorcycle has failed you.

Why did you buy it?

Oh, yeah, you wanted to “ride free”.

I see what your doing there; you got the wind in your hair… oh, wait you have a helmet on. No, you got the wind whipping across your… no you don’t, even though it’s 110 out your wearing a jacket, to prevent wind burn. So you bought it cause you liked the way the air blows across your legs… no scratch that too, you have to wear pants incase your feminine little calf muscles touch the tailpipe. Well at least you can enjoy the way the wind blows across your…neck.

Bravo.

So this fall, when the last of the seven days it was nice enough to “ride free” this year have passed, don’t just put the motorcycle back in storage… sell it to me. I’ll buy it from you cheap, and I’ll look good riding it.

I know your story when I see you; or rather I know your story when I hear you.

Four blocks away.

You’re coming my way and your car is rippin, roarin, and bangin hard on all four aluminum cylinders.

Life is going good. Mom and dad help you pay for college. That’s dope. You’re slidin by on a 2.1 GPA, high above the “academic probation” line. That’s dope. You just got the part-time shift supervisor job at your local Applebees—now you’re not just a waiter; you supervise the other waiters. That’s dope. You know you lookin smoove, you know the lady’s are interested; but somehow, you just weren’t making enough noise in life.

So last Saturday you and your best bruh decided to get crewin right. You went down to NAPA Auto Parts and you dropped Friday’s tips on a glass pack muffler for your ’03 Cavalier Sport. You went to the old mans garage, borrowed some tools and some space, kicked back a few Coors Lights and got that on right. Now you feel like you rollin on dubs.

Well your not, and I’m going to tell the top three reasons why your car isn’t as cool as you think it is:

1. Even though you just watched “Tokyo Drift” for the fourteenth time with your buds, your car is not a fine-tuned Japanese drift-racing machine. Nor will it ever be.

2. A glass pack muffler does not make your factory-stock car better, faster, or stronger; and no, they don’t have the technology, they can not rebuild it.

3. Even though you just watched “Tokyo Drift” for the fourteenth time with your buds, your car is not a fine-tuned Japanese drift-racing machine. Nor will it ever be.

Would like to go to work—your chest freshly waxed, the top two buttons of your company polo unbuttoned, flaunting your sexy—and then, LOSE CONTROL OVER THE VOLUME OF YOUR VOICE?!?

No buddy, that’s just not right. What would all those 16-year-old girls you smile and wink at for better tips think?

See what I’m getting at?

The rest of us are wondering why you try to make your car look good, but sound like crap.

Do me two favors: treat your car like you treat your semi-doughy physique—do a couple sit-ups, wash the car; run a mile, get a door ding fixed; step in the ring and get whooped, buy some real dubs (you get points for stepping in the ring, I feel sorry for your arrogance). But don’t try and change the way the car sounds.

Then: when you come to your senses and realize that you were making enough of a roar before—and you decide to leave the glass-pack in the trash where it belongs, with your Carrie Underwood album you think no one knows you own, and your light-blue Crocs you wear with khaki pants—don’t crank the factory stereo, that doesn’t sound good either.

If you found this educational, then allow me to explain to you why no one is impressed with you on your motorcycle.

There are some things in life that are just fundamental, we eat, sleep, breath, and eventually die… that is if you have an incredibly dismal outlook on the biology class that is your life. Not me. At least not today when the self-medication is working.

I had always felt that there are some other things that are fundamental to the way people live life. It would seem that we all pursue happiness—again, at least when our medication is working—we look for meaning, association, connection, companionship, and yes, we all lick the 9-volt.

You know you remember the first time it happened, just as well as you remember so many other firsts (I’ll let your imagination run wild with that, I’m trying to keep my blog somewhat classroom acceptable).

But this experience was probably over just as fast as the “first” you thought of, and whole lot less elbowy and awkward.

I’m talking about your first dance with a girl. Why? What are you thinking of?

Maybe it was a sibling, older and vindictive; maybe you did it too impress that little girl you had a crush on in third grade, what with her pigtails and missing tooth; or maybe one day you went down the street to your friends house, the one that ate (clean) toilet paper to be weird, and he and his mom pressured you into trying it (the 9-volt, not the toilet paper). Yeah, that probably happened to you too; because apparently you give in to peer pressure a little too easily. Don’t brag about that by the way, no one looks good in sheep.

Now, if you are reading this and thinking “What is wrong with you? I’ve never licked a 9-Volt!” then it’s time to “stuff your sorry’s in a sack mister.” You know that you were offered the opportunity several times. Maybe in high school you went to a party and some friends were passing an Energizer around, you wanted to try it, but you didn’t.

And why didn’t you?

Because you were afraid of peeing your pants a little?

Don’t worry that doesn’t happen. It’s not like the time you accidentally grabbed a rather high voltage electric fence on your grandparent’s farm. And you cried. And you peed your pants just a little. And then your cousin laughed because you peed and cried.

You see what I’m getting at right?

Every day I see and meet people, people who are afraid. They are afraid to live beyond the biological—breath, eat, sleep, die—and grasp the true fundamentals of experiencing life. They just can’t accept that there are things that we all need to do, even if sometimes they make you pee your pants just a little.

I figured, in good measure, that a blogger should introduce himself (not because I’m sexist, because I’m a man) as a first post.

You may be wondering what this is going to be about.

Frankly, so am I.

Lets just say that I have insomnia and this is part of an exercise in self-medication.

Good times.

I write about what needs to come out—my incredibly poignant thoughts on family, friends, music, food, you, the things that bother me (also you), whatever my brain thinks about when it wants to sleep but can’t.

Want to talk to me about something? Drop a comment, I’ll read your idea, like it, then delete your comment and pretend like I didn’t get the idea from you.

You’ll probably notice a lot of this –or- that titles. I never did really like Rocky and Bullwinkle as a kid, but I always liked the double titles of the episodes. So here’s to Rocky and Bullwinkle, the best animated show about a flying squirrel and moose being chased by Russians ever produced. (See I’m kidding, I always give credit where credit is due.)