Notes From An Old Codger – Volume I

I swear, he sold me a bag of fried pork rinds and a bottle of Mountain Dew outside of Little Rock! (Photo from phojoe.com)

When I was young, just decades ago, I swore to myself that I would never become old and out of touch.  Little did I know that even as I made those solemn pledges to myself, the process had already begun.  I’d developed a fondness for types of music which would eventually be played on the Musak system at the supermarket.  I’d played outdoors and lived with grass stains and no seat belts, in a world devoid of video games and on-demand entertainment.  My favorite hairstyles would not hold up well to male-pattern-baldness.  The final straw was having children.  Those hyper-sensitive critics who would have a real problem with my trying to dress or act  like anyone but a Dad.

I read a post recently, where Life With The Top Down referred to a man she’d met.  She wrote that he reminded her of Cee Lo Green.  I have to admit that prior to seeing him in a soft drink commercial a few months ago, I had no idea that Cee Lo existed.  Once I did see him on that ad, I still had no idea who he was and had no desire to find out why 7-Up decided he was famous enough to represent their product.

My disconnection from popular culture has become disturbingly common.  As I wait in line at the supermarket, my cart packed with plenty of roughage, denture cream and a Valu-Pak of Depends, I glance at the tabloids out of sheer boredom.  The headlines scream for my attention as they always have, but using names I don’t recognize.  Apparently So-and-So has admitted to cheating on What’s-His-Name.  In another blockbuster chunk of news, Whosie Whatsie has gone back into rehab due to her dependence upon drugs which I haven’t even heard of.  While the infidelity and substance abuse issues of people in the public eye shouldn’t be my business to begin with, the fact that I don’t recognize a single name of any of the participants just gnaws at me.  In my heart of hearts, I know that as a good American, I should care about the trials and tribulations of these strangers, but I’ve never heard their songs or seen their movies.  At this point, it seems like too much work to learn who they are so that their addictions have meaning to me.

Besides, gossip and bad news don’t work that way.  You’re supposed to “know” the person first, then be surprised and concerned when you find out about all their problems.  If you know about the star’s crippling dependancy on lethal cocktails of barbituates, stool softeners and bath salts before you even know who they are, it just ruins the whole emotional experience.  It’s like putting the cart before the horse’s ass.

Once upon a time, the tabloids were simpler.  Superstars like Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Elvis were in almost every single issue.  Even in death, they showed up.  The formula was simple: take a really famous person with some peculiar lifestyle choices, and speculate about every single aspect of their bizarre lives.  If you had nothing to go with, just make something up.  Many’s the time where Elvis was resurrected from the grave and reported to have been sighted working at a mini-mart in rural Arkansas.  Michael Jackson giving you a slow week?  No problem, he can be abducted by aliens.  When Liz Taylor and Michael got together, the stories wrote themselves.

Now people who aren’t even through the 9th minute of their 15 minutes of fame are already all over the gossip rags.   I saw an article about a woman who had done something stupid.  For the life of me, I couldn’t begin to figure out who or what this woman was.  She may have been a singer, an actress or the newly discovered wife of North Korea’s President for Life.

Fortunately, I have a bevvy of younger, hipper people working around me who I can refer my questions to.  In a pathetic attempt to try to stay in touch, I approached one of my coworkers for info.

“Who the hell is {insert name here}?” I asked.

“Oh, you know, she’s one of the Real Housewives of {insert locale here}” my colleague answered, looking at me to see if I was seriously even asking that question.  “She’s the one who had the big fight with {insert second name here}.  She threw the {circle appropriate projectile – table / chair / Chihuahua / bottle of Cristal} at her!”

My colleague made a face of expectation, waiting for the light of recognition to flicker on in my ancient eyes.  I tried my best to fake it, closing my eyes as I rolled my head slightly to the side.

“Oh!  Right RIGHT!  The one who threw the thing at the other one!” I said, hoping she’d let this matter drop.

She looked at me with pity, pretending to be unaware that I was lying.

It’s no use, I’ll never keep up with a culture which changes at the speed of Tweets.

I guess I should accept my status and start mowing the lawn in loafers, dark socks and Bermuda shorts.  It’s clearly time to embrace my inner old codger.  I’ll regale anyone who’ll listen with stories about how football used to be a man’s sport, played without gloves or Darth Vader visors.  After all, football season is nearly upon us.  I saw a commercial for the NFL just the other day.

There were shaking pom-poms on the screen.  I waited in eager anticipation to see who was behind them.  I hoped that it was Ann Margaret or maybe Raquel Welch. You can imagine my disgust when the pom-poms dropped to reveal the smiling mug of Cee Lo.

Blog-Garage Sale – A Call For Duds!

Look at all this great stuff! I wonder if I can get the smell of Indian food out of this cool crock pot. (Image from jobsallover.com)

I think most bloggers will tell you, we have lots of junk stored in our mental garages, or as WordPress likes to call them our “Draft Files”.

I’ll have a momentary spark of inspiration about a potential topic, scribble down a sentence or two, give it a title, then hit “Save Draft”.  Sometimes it’s the title itself, sometimes it’s the idea, but something in there merits my hitting the save button.  Subsequent revisits to the draft do not shed much light on why I ever thought that dog of a topic ever had any value.  So it sits in the draft file collecting dust like a singing big-mouth bass mounted on a plaque.

It’s time for a blog-garage sale.  Next Saturday morning, 7/14 around 8:00 AM Eastern time, I’ll put five of my drafts out on tables in the driveway known as my blog, in hopes that  someone will take these clunkers.  Shoppers will be able to get them for a fraction of what I paid (which was nothing), and save me the trouble of tripping over that pile of ideas on the floor by the back door.

The drafts, just like their snooty over-achiever cousins, the finished posts, are bargain priced at zero dollars.  Still, in my garage-sale state of mind, I just can’t bring myself to just throw the drafts in the trash.  If I can’t find someone to take these off my hands, I’m just going to have to throw these things out, along with this broken beach umbrella and that crappy old bureau that my grandmother said was an “original Chippendale” – Come on Nanny, I’m pretty sure didn’t have male strippers back in the olden days.

Everyone knows that the more people’s junk treasures there are at one of these sales, the more carloads of strange people will show up and browse.  Therefore, I encourage my fellow bloggers to bring out your duds.  Pick out a few lame ideas from your own drafts file and add them to the shady driveway also known as the comments section of this post, or email them to me at dlovett54@gmail.com.  I’ll post them all in next Saturday’s Blog Garage Sale post.  Once they’re on the comments section or in the post, they’re fair game for anyone who’d like them.  If you email them, I’ll be able to post them without attaching your name if you’re that embarrassed by them.  Think fondly of me as you hit the delete button beneath the draft, ridding yourself of those once sparkling ideas which are just depressing to look at now.

As for you non-blog writers, enjoy this creepy glimpse into the raw creative process of your writing heroes.  Be warned though – Seeing these turds before they’ve been honed and polished will undoubtedly take some of the magic away from your reading experiences in the future – kind of like seeing Johnnie Depp without his elevator shoes and make-up.

The first rule of thumb at blog-garage sales is not to wonder whether someone has some sort of mental disorder -“idea hoarding syndrome” or “bad taste” are two of the maladies which often spring to mind.  Just glance at the junk on the tables, and if nothing suits you, nod and smile then move along.  Be sure to check back later, I’m hoping more people show up and bring their garbage treasured ideas.

One last request.  In the event that you trash-pick one of the draft ideas from here and later write a post with it, let me know about it.  I’ll try to let folks know via my blog.  Who knows, you might end up with a Pulitzer, or at the very least, maybe snagging a few more readers.

Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island

I recently found myself commenting on two seperate blog posts, about two very different topics within a few days of each other and making references to Gilligan’s Island on both comments.  It occured to me that I learned many of life’s important lessons from watching any number of crappy sitcoms, and Gilligan’s Island is certainly no exception.

For a bunch of people stranded on an island with no way home, they look pretty damn happy – let that be a lesson to you!  (Image from dvdsetcheap.com)

1. Given the opportunity, people will use technology for the dumbest possible reasons.  Long before we learned this the hard way through internet porn and Facebook, Gilligan and the Professor were using the available technology of coconuts, bamboo and palm fronds to the fullest extent of the materials’ potential.  Rather than use the technology to fix the boat, or make a water purification system, they chose to create things like automatic hammock swingers and for making the Howell’s a stock ticker which printed the Dow Jones on banana leaves.

and on a related note:

2. When faced with dire circumstances and a poor prognosis, people may focus on the wrong priorities.  Long before people squabbled over the rights to use a given pop song as the theme for a presidential election instead of frivolously wasting time on silly things like issues, Gilligan and company had paved the way for wasting time and resources.  The gang on the island would use their valuable energy to put on a show.  They’d build a stage and props so that 4 of them could entertain the other 3.  This sort of thing is still fairly rare in the real world, but in the realm of show biz it’s commonplace.  Still, we can learn from it.  The next time there’s a natural disaster, instead of sending medical aid and supplies, we should send footlights, greasepaint and boomboxes for musical accompaniment.

3. Running fast doesn’t always get you there quickly enough.  Instead you need to speed up the tape and make it even faster.  To clarify, Gilligan and crew didn’t originate this concept, the Munsters did it years earlier, whenever Herman scared someone.  Irrespective of who invented this incredible strategy, the truth of the matter is this; there’s no point in being careful to trying to accomplish things in an orderly, logical manner.  Instead, just run around and around really fast and people will become distracted by your foolishness and laugh at you.

Good news Lil Buddy! The Professor finished making the hot water heater for the showers!  (Image from Timstvshowcase.com)

4. Having your heart in the right place counts more than actually accomplishing something and/or forgiveness is a noble thing.  Gilligan screwed up the group’s chances of getting rescued multiple times.  Though the Skipper would take off his hat and smack him with it, eventually, he would realize that Gilligan’s heart was in the right place and all would be forgiven.  So don’t worry about succeeding, just try your best for all the right reasons and some big Sandusky-looking guy will forgive you and call you his “lil buddy”.  Nothing creepy about that.

5. Change is not good – change sucks the big one.  Despite their time stranded on an island, not one of the castaways changed.  Ginger remained a primadonna, the Howells continued to value money and status over everything else, Maryann stayed the sweet, innocent farmgirl she’d always been and The Professor never got horny, no matter how hot Ginger looked in that shimmery, skin-tight dress.  Let this be a lesson to you.  If those people didn’t change why should you?  Keep being the same knucklehead you’ve always been, it suits you.  Besides, you only risk a drop in the ratings by trying to improve yourself.

6. As long as we’re on the topic of change, there’s no reason to change your clothes either.  A long sleeved red shirt and bucket hat is a good wardobe for the tropics.  Find a fashion which works for you and stick with it exclusively – don’t be mixing and matching like Ginger and the Howells, stick with your first choice.  Personally, I’ve been wearing these MC Hammer genie pants for going on 20 years and they still turn heads, so I know this one is a stone cold fact, yo.

7. Diversify, diversify, diversify!  People looked at Thurston Howell III and envied his massive piles of money.  A closer look revealed that that while the rest of the castaways were looking for pretty shells and running away from headhunters, TH-III was rocking out voice work for the politically incorrect, but always humorous Mr. Magoo.  Life lesson, if you aren’t happy with your station in life, get your ass to work at a second job!  Once you’re rolling in cheddah, go score some rich debutante like Lovey, then ride that gravy train straight down Easy Street.

8. Despite being seperated from loved ones and presumed dead, you can still have lots of fun. As detailed above, the wacky castaways wasted relatively little time trying to get rescued and finding food and shelter.  Instead, they focused on playing golf, putting on skits, and getting into all sorts of zany hijinx.  Gilligan’s Island taught us to be happy, regardless of the circumstances.  Now go back out there to your own miserable little island and try to have yourself a few good chuckles.  Be sure to wrap things up within a half hour or so, minus commercials and the credits.

A Deal’s a Deal

The pre-nup didn’t mention beheading specifically. I’d like to think our relationship is more civilized than that. (Image from weddingcakes.com)

You’ve probably noticed.  I haven’t been cranking out the hits as often lately.  I know, I know, calling those posts “hits” is a bit presumptuous of me.  Even so, I’ll admit that things have slowed down a little.  I’m sorry.  I realize that I’ve surely disappointed you, and to be honest, I’ve disappointed myself a little too.  As adults, we have to realize that things don’t stay the same forever, things change and that’s just part of life.

I thought this might be a good time to bring up the pre-nup we signed and the vows we shared when you first started following me.

Please don’t try to play dumb with me.  I’ve got my copy right here.  If you choose to skip the fine print or to keep shoddy records, you have no one but yourself to blame.

Anyway, it says right here in the third paragraph that you pledge to follow me in good times and in bad, in periods of bountiful, hilarious posts and in times of minimal writing with infrequent pity-chuckles.

A few lines down it grants you permission to follow others, which I think was pretty progressive of me, especially since I’m writing just for you (those other followers don’t mean anything to me, you’re the only one who matters – you know that, right?).

To continue, if we scan down to the bottom of page one, there’s the clause for unfollowing.  You have the right to unfollow me, but I’m granted 2 weeks advance notice and the right to appeal your decision via repeated, whining emails and, at my discretion, small bribes.  This is only fair, as it gives me ample time to try to scratch out a new, funny post in a pathetic attempt at recapturing the magic which we shared just a few weeks ago when our relationship was fresh and new.

I realize that introducing legal documents into our relationship makes for some potentially hard feelings.  I didn’t want to have to do this, but dammit, I’ve been hurt too many times!  Besides, these papers don’t really leave you in a bad position; you’re still free to come and go as you please.  The rider regarding clicking “like” isn’t even in there anymore!

I think we need to put these papers aside for a minute and clear the air a little bit.  You might not realize it, but my dopey posts only look like the rambling thoughts of a stooge.  I actually go to great lengths to capture the innocent child-like literary voice of a simpleton for your amusement.  It’s hard work, darn it!   What do you bring to the table?  A promise to follow me?!  That’s it?!  I’m doing all the work and all you have to do is read?  Hell, you don’t even have to do that – just stay on as a follower and let me go on thinking that you still care!  I’ll try to amuse you when and if you deem my post worthy of your attention.

I’m sorry.  I lost my head for a minute there.  I’m just in a dark place right now.  I had this Justin Bieber piece almost done and The Good Greatsby beat me to the punch.  All that time and research down the toilet.  Now I’ve got photos of that little gnome Bieber in my media library, what the hell am I going to do with those?  That and the 7 Deadly Sins competition is tougher than I thought.  After I won the very first sin, it only increased the pressure to win again or risk being branded a one-post-wonder.

He’s mocking me. His recycling can has more followers than my blog. (Image from fanpop.com)

It’s a lot of pressure, because…well…because I want to do my best for you.  Because you believed in me and followed me when no one except those other 6 people did.  I know this line is corny, but by golly, you make me a better writer.  I want to make you laugh and write me cute little comments to make me feel better about my strange view of life.  Honestly, you don’t even have to write the comments if you don’t want to  (Actually, the paragraph requiring you to make comments was struck down by the judge weeks ago).

Excuses Excuses Excuses

No one, including me, likes to hear an excuse.  I’m fairly sure that reading them isn’t much more enjoyable.  Yet, here I sit, poised to write a post which is absolutely littered with them.

After a string of several weeks putting up 4 or 5 posts, I’ve fallen off the radar.

In truth, it’s not for lack of effort.  I’ve actually got a few things in the works, but none of them are quite ready yet.  The last thing anyone out there needs is an under-cooked blog.  They don’t digest well and will leave you readers with a funny taste in your mouths – bad funny, like getting hit in the privates, not good funny, like someone else getting hit in the privates.

Here are a few of the excuses I’ve been kicking around, followed by the reasons they suck:

Excuse  #1 – I’ve been really busy with work.

This excuse sucks because: Everyone gets busy at work, or worse yet, some readers may be among the scores of unemployed or under-employed and resent the hell out of me for having a job (actually, I have 3 jobs, but bringing that up won’t likely endear me to the unemployed)

Would it help if I mentioned that one of my jobs is working at a soup kitchen handing out croutons and extra napkins? (Image from untoldentertainment.com)

Excuse #2 – I’ve been saddled with family obligations.

This excuse sucks because: Everyone gets saddled with family obligations.  Feeling put-upon by the responsibilities of family life is one of the main reasons many of us write in the first place!  Writers in dry spells will envy my having family issues and obligations.  To be honest, my big family obligation was driving my daughter to Pittsburgh to help her move from one college dwelling to another. That’s not exactly like having a painful, dramatic intervention to get Aunt Tilly off the booze and pills.  Sorry Aunt Tilly, but making light of your addictions was for your own good (and it filled a void in my post)

Excuse #3 – I had to drive to Pittsburgh and back.

This excuse sucks because: Pittsburgh is a happening city filled with a delicious mix of culture and kitsch.  Driving there and back actually got me out of New Jersey for 3 days.  By the way, if you ever want to kill your liver and gain 10 pounds all in one weekend, let me know, I have some Pittsburgh attractions you won’t want to miss.

Excuse #4 – I was busy begging people to vote for me to win the “Gluttony” chapter of k8edid’s 7 Deadly Sins Challenge

This excuse sucks because: Even though I was busy begging, and I actually succeeded at winning, I now have 6 more deadly sins to write about and I have to make a good showing or I’ll look like a one-post wonder.  (By the way – Thanks for voting everybody, I’ll try not to let you down)

Excuse #5 – I was busy watching the NCAA men’s lacrosse playoffs.

This excuse sucks because: It’s not entirely true.  While Pittsburgh has no shortage of trendy bars and restaurants, I couldn’t find any bartenders who wanted to change the channel from tractor pulls or the replay of the Penguins most recent Stanley Cup Championship.  Though its popularity is growing by leaps and bounds across all demographics, many people still consider lacrosse the bastion of affluent, snotty rich kids.  With that in mind, maybe you’d enjoy watching the guy who will eventually receive a 7 figure bonus for moving your job to Sri Lanka get cross checked into the turf.

When the dude in the red shorts reorganizes your company and you end up on the soupline, you can look back fondly on this humiliating hit. (Image copyright – Hung Tran Photography)

Excuse #6 – I was expending all my creative efforts writing my rant for the people in my Survivor pool at work.

This excuse sucks because: Writing this blog is the excuse I gave to my work friends for doing such a lackluster job on the Survivor rant!  Let’s be honest, this season pretty much went down the toilet once Colton had to quit with menstrual cramps.

Excuse #7 – The sun was in my eyes.

This excuse sucks because: Everyone knows I do the bulk of  my blogging under cover of darkness.

Excuse #8 – I’m a perfectionist – you just can’t rush true art.

This excuse sucks because: Have you read my blogs?  Perfectionist?  Seriously?!

Cheap Sentiments – Get ‘Em While They’re Hollow!

Apparently, I am far from being the only person to be annoyed by uber-cute posters like this. A quick internet search for this poster revealed tons of cynical and occasionally grisly remixes of this image.

As my loyal readers may know, I rejoined the bizarro-world better known as Facebook after a year away.  I went back for one reason only – to drum up some readers for my dopey blog posts.  At the time, it seemed a small price to pay for my own perception of popularity.

Many people will admit to a bit of sentimentality when it comes to catching up with friends on Facebook, I have to confess that it’s been stirring up a very specific piece of nostalgia for me (Cue the time-travel music and wavy-screen effect).

It was the carefree days of my freshman year in college.  The rigors of high school and  oft-embarrassing life history of my hometown were behind me.  I was a whole state away from those ancient gaffs.  My slate was clean and I was making the most of it.

I’d chat up some little cutie from the dining hall, and before too long, I’d be hanging around in her dorm room.  Her pleasant-but-dumpy room mate would be there as well.  While my amorous intentions were held in check by the presence of Mandy or Becky or whatever the hell her roomie’s name was, I would look around the dorm room, sizing the place up, hoping to spot some clues which might come in handy later if whatsername ever left.

There were two staples in any of these freshman girls’ dorm rooms;

The first was a prom picture of the girl in her gown holding a corsage with some dude in a powder blue tuxedo.  The size and display of the photo spoke volumes.  The bigger the photo, the more likely she was still carrying a torch for him.  If it was in a massive Rococo frame surrounded by a semi-circle of votive candles, that would usually be an even worse sign.  If, on subsequent visits to the room, you noticed that the picture was missing or face down on the dresser, things were looking better.  If on a later visit still, you noticed that she had cut him out of the picture or somehow mutilated his image, that was even better.  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep any photo mutilation in mind for the future in case things with this young lady actually proceeded into some sort of relationship.  Knives and razor blades in the hands of a scorned college coed can be hazardous to one’s health.  Still on the topic of one’s health, another good use of the prom photo was for reconnaissance, in case her knucklehead date turns out to be the possessive type and comes to visit some weekend, it was probably a good idea to know what this former all-county linebacker looked like.

All-County linebacker?! From what county?! In which state?!!
(pic from piclab.com)

The other mandatory feature in all of these dorm rooms were the schmaltzy posters hung on the rather institutional walls.  There were two posters which seemed to be on nearly every freshman girl’s dormitory wall.  The first had a  kitten on it, clinging to a span of clothesline with the words “Hang in there, baby!” in jaunty letters somewhere on the image.  The second poster would have some saccharin sweet image of a mountain sunset or a horse and foal, with the words “If you love something set it free, if comes back to you, blah blah blah”  (I’ve finally managed to forget the exact quote, so “blah, blah, blah” is kind of nice for me).  As for clues, these posters told me next to nothing.  The kitten poster was there because the girl liked kittens or because she needed an emotional boost to help her get through those tricky freshman courses for Elementary Ed majors.  The “If you love something, set it free..” poster may have been there for any number of reasons.  It could reflect a deep, philosophical stance on love’s fleeting nature, or a taste for sunsets and horses with the sappy quote as a mere afterthought.

In any case, they bothered me.  Unlike the prom portraits, the posters had no redeeming value.  To be frank, once you’ve seen one kitten dangling from a clothesline, you’ve pretty much seen ’em all.  If there was any doubt as to the worthless quality of these posters, all one had to do was look at the dorm rooms of these same girls as sophomores.  There were typically no traces of these sickly-sweet bits of visual noise.

As the years marched on and I moved into what I like to refer to as the  post-college-freshman-phase of my life, I have been blissfully spared those horrible posters.  I don’t mean to imply that my life is without schmaltzy sentimentality.  The hollow sweet phrases are still there, usually sold for 2 or 3 dollars with color coordinated envelopes from Hallmark and other purveyors of prepackaged emotional kitsch.

For the record, I don’t mind receiving a greeting card, especially if the sender writes something other than their name inside it.  There is something which borders on insulting when someone sends me a greeting card and only signs it.  It’s as if they’re saying “I have incredible fondness for you and wanted to take a moment to let you know just how much I care about you on the special occasion of your birthday / death of your uncle / recovery from same-day surgery / loss of your job.  Luckily, the folks who make greeting cards wrote this particular one and it captures all of my emotions just so.  All I had to do was pay for the card at the counter and put the old John Hancock on it.  Thanks Hallmark!  P.S. I hope you can read my signature, I signed it in the car at a red light.”

Apparently Facebook has some kind of massive photo album of inspirational Hallmark-ish quotes.  They come in a wide variety of fonts and colors.  The quotes cover every emotion known to man (OK, every emotion known to woman and more than every emotion known to man).  A person needs only find the quote of their choice and click on it, and it will show up next to their name.  Other people, who are apparently even lazier than the original virtual-Hallmark poster, can then “like” the original poster’s post of an actual writer’s quote.  It’s quite convenient to be able to post your emotions by just clicking on an image of a dorm poster (Certainly it’s less labor intensive than, say, writing a massive blog post, then revising it, editing it and then hitting “publish” and regretting it).

Unfortunately, like everything else on Facebook, some people feel the need to overdo it.  I have several “friends” on there who regularly who post dozens of these little posters of deep-thoughts every day.  It’s like they have an all-you-can eat pass from the dorm poster store.  I can barely keep track of how my other friend’s quest for magic unicorn eggs in Castleville is going without these cloying posters popping up every 30 seconds.  The implied “cleverness” of the person who posted it is also kind of annoying, as they didn’t actually do much more than browse at a virtual card shop and click a key on a laptop.  Friends then “like” the little quote as if the person who clicked first had some sort of creative stake in the process.  The fact that this person clicks on more posters in a given day than most people even have time to read gives a more accurate reflection of how little they actually put into it.

So, after decades of not having seen kittens-in-peril posters, I’m now inundated with a new generation of feel good, pep-talks on people’s walls.  The difference is that now, I never even asked to hang out in their stupid dorm rooms in the first place.

Life On the Trail – True Tales from the Easter Bunny

Hippity Hoppity my fluffy white ass.  The trail is a bitch.

I’m down at the Pinewood, sipping on a short, dirty glass of cheap Canadian.  My beer back-up is looking a little flat.  This place is a long way from the Ritz, but you’d still think they’d wash the glasses a little more often.

The Round Man is sitting next to me.  Got himself swiveled on the stool while he’s chatting up some bimbo.  He’s jolly alright, but for all the hype about his taste in behaviors, he definitely leans more toward the naughty girls than the nice ones.  Next to him are three of the wee ones – two of Round Man’s best workers plus Irish.  That little dude is a mean SOB when he’s gettin’ his drink on.  I’m glad he’s four seats away from me.  You never know when some drunk college kid will come in and call him Chuckie or Lucky Charms or something and next thing you know, the cops are comin’ in and somebody’s gonna need stitches.  Still, I gotta admit, the three of ’em look cute sitting up there on barstools with their little feet so far off the floor.

The trail can wear a bunny down, make him cold, drive him into questionable locales. (Illustration by the author - That's right, I'm a freakin' Renaissance Man!)

We don’t always hang out like this, but sometimes I like to chill out with a few of my buddies who understand life on the trail.  There used to be better attendance at these get-togethers, but some of the usual crew’s drifted apart.  The T-Fairy prefers a different kind of bar, and that’s fine by me – to each his own right?  Jackie Frost, may he rest in peace, is gone but not forgotten.  Freakin’ global warming pretty much did him in.

Let’s not get it twisted, I aint no retiree in a Bunny suit down at the mall gettin’ my pic snapped with your brat for five bucks a throw.  I’m talking the real deal here – these ears aint clip-ons.

Like I said at the start, life on the trail’s a bitch.  I smell like freakin’ Hershey, Pee-Ay 6 months out of the year from all the crap I’m delivering.  Don’t think it isn’t a little weird to be spending a large part of my life carrying around giant, hollow chocolate replicas of myself.  Then droppin’ em off only to have the parents of these kids eat the ears off a day or two later.  It’s a heavy load knowing I’m guiding the youth of the world down the path toward obesity and diabetes.

I had to get therapy for that crap.  I finally gave up on talking to the shrink.  He blamed my issues on my father.  That was the last straw for me.  My father!?  How much of a presence in your life can your father be when you have 237 brothers and sisters?  Besides, the mental health waiver on my insurance sucked.  I’d rather spend that co-pay money on shots and beers and get my counseling from the Round Man and maybe one of his naughty girls if she has a friend.  You know what I mean?

Don’t get me wrong, the trail isn’t all sore paws and nightmares about waking up with my ears bit off.  I’ve had some good times too.  Some wild crap goes on out there.  This one time, outside of Dubuque, Iowa, this chick walks in on me when I’m hiding eggs and filling baskets.  She’s half in the bag and reeks of Malibu rum.  Anyway, she must be on her way to the head when she sees me standin’ there with a handful of Marshmallow Peeps, and she just goes nuts.  You know the whole “I can’t believe you’re really really real!”  song and dance.  She goes on to tell me how she always hoped I was real, but findin’ out -well that’s somethin’ special.  Then a little light goes on in her drunken head and she realizes that she aint wearing much more than her hubby’s Drake University T-shirt and a pair of fuzzy socks.  Well…one thing leads to another and let’s just say I didn’t do nothin’ to hurt the stereotypes about the bunny nation, if you follow my drift.

Stories like that, they happen, but it aint the usual.  The usual is more like people with hi-tech security systems and Rottweilers.  Bratty kids whose parents have convinced them that Easter aint nothin’ but Christmas in the Spring.  Chocolate and malted milk candy eggs can weigh a rabbit down, but they don’t compare to Nintendo Wii’s and bikes.  I got a couple dentists I play golf with in the off season and they aint too happy with that trend – believe you me.  My chiropractor – he’s happy as crap.

So in a few days we’ll close up shop and I can try to relax and enjoy the off-season.  Me and the Round Man are gonna hit the links and maybe do some fishing.  The trail aint no easy time, but fishin’ for wahoo and throwing back a few frosties can help me forget my tender paws and aching back for a while.

Uh oh.  Looks like a couple of frat boys are startin to bust on Irish a little.  It might be time to hit the bathroom until the smoke clears.  I’ll see you kids next year, okay?