Friday, August 28, 2009

Are You Aware Of My Cause? Wait! Get Back Here!

Like so many celebrities out there, The FooDaddy has decided to help raise awareness of a medical condition he didn't give two shits about before he found out he was afflicted with it.

That's, right! Time to buy some colored ribbons and read the Wikipedia article on hypertension, folks, because this is a serious condition that seriously affects at least one occasionally serious person.

See, hypertensive people are just like you. There is no need to fear them or to shy away from their touch. They're just a little saltier than you are.

They don't need your pity. Some of us will, however, corner you at parties and give you the spoken equivalent of a corny little brochure on the subject.

"Hi! I couldn't help but notice that you were looking at me like I might be salty."


"Oh, don't worry! I get it all the time. I'm used to it now. Did you know that famous actress Marilyn Monroe was hypertensive? That's why her boobs looked like that. And she was famous, so that's definitely a fact you might want to write down."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to stare. It's just that your fly is open."

"It's a side effect of my illness, you insensitive clod. Don't hate me because I'm salty! I deserve to be treated just like everyone else!"

After we deliver our "handi-capable" little speech, we will stomp off in a huff. We will spend the rest of the evening hanging out by a big box of Saltines and enlightening people by making them feel guilty.

So take up the cause. Be hypertensive and proud.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shopping for Ladypants

I think this is a place we have all been; in need of pants. Well, most of us. Not me. I don't believe in the things. Pants are just another way the government and the liberal media control us, and I have no truck with that.

The girlfriend, though. She still wears them, sadly. But that's okay. To each their own and all that rubbish.

It was a Thursday evening that found me in a little girly store no bigger than a hallway at Rivertown Crossings mall. I surveyed the place with a gimlet eye.

"What're you doing?" the Girlfriend asked. "Put that away."

"No," I said, but complied anyway. "This place has a lot of sparkly shirts in it."

She started poking through racks of jeans. "I promise this won't take long."

"That's okay," I said, edging back towards the entrance. "I'll just go wander off this way then."

She turned and regarded me with her little pouty face. "But I wanted you here for your opinion."

Oh! The pouty face! The Nice Guy's kryptonite! All the male neurotransmitters in my head fired at once, and I became duty-bound to help the damsel in distress.

"Girl jeans are usually tight, too," the neurotransmitters pointed out. Good point, guys. That's why I keep you around.

"Of course," I boomed, putting my hand over my heart and lifting the visor of my helmet so that she might gaze into my eyes. "I'll wait while you try them on."

She thanked me and scooted happily into the changing room.

This, of course, is when my troubles began. An agoraphobe by nature, I immediately became hyperconscious of the fact that I was the only male in the store. In the entire mall. In the entire county, as far as my brain was concerned.

If I hang out too close to the changing room, the locals will get spooked, and I'll look like a pervert, my brain reasoned. But if I take my post at the other end of the store, I'll look like I'm actually shopping in here and I'll look like a pervert.

"Sigh! Women sure do like to shop and take us menfolk along with them, therefore giving them a totally valid reason for being in stores like this!" I said very loudly and non-threateningly. I dug my cell phone out of my pocket so I had something to look at.

What the hell are you doing?! my brain yelled. Everybody knows cell phones have cameras in them now! They'll think you're one of those sweaty men they talk on the news about! my brain roared, giving me the mental equivalent of a smack upside the head.

"Oh hell!" I squeaked, dropping the phone like it was made of red-hot, acidic cat barf.

"Honey? What do you think?"

I whirled to see the Girlfriend modeling a new pair of jeans in the changing-room foyer. "I think they're swell!" I gasped. "A little long, though, heh."

"Yeah, I like these. Okay! Two more pairs." She ducked back into her changing stall. I turned exactly 180 degrees and stared precisely into the middle distance.

Shuffle through them clothes, my brain suggested. It'll look like you're helping her pick out jeans.

I surveyed the room; 6 or so women, customers and sales staff, were moving around and paying me absolutely no attention at all.

I reached out and touched some clothing as casually as possible. It didn't feel like denim. I applied the other hand for more detailed haptic feedback. Definitely not denim. It was smooth and almost plasticky. I looked down.

"Oh hell!" I squeaked, dropping a bathing suit top.

Nice one. I bet those women who weren't looking at you a second ago all saw you get to second base with that boob sling. What was taking her so--

"How about these?"

"Eeep!" I pin-balled around some clothing displays like a startled squirrel.

"Yeah," the Girlfriend sighed. "They carried the distressed look a little too far with these. I could just fall down in a cheaper pair and get the same effect. One more!"

"No, wait!"

It was too late. She may as well have been orbiting Alpha Centauri as far as making contact with her was concerned. Hurling a conversation at a group of ladies' changing rooms is a good way to get yourself pepper-sprayed.

Just stand still and don't touch anything, my brain ordered.

"But I'll look like a moron if I just stand stock-still and stare at the floor! What kind of Very Special Person does that?" I retorted.

The Very Special Person who talks to himself, that's what kind. You wanna get us killed? Shut up. If you want to make yourself useful, see if you can find your phone.

It was under a rack of skirts, horribly, so I decided to cut my losses and abandon it there. I could always get another one.

By now, I was feeling pretty haggard. I had grown some stubble and lost a shoe. I tried to check my cell phone to see what time it was, but of course I couldn't, so I just ended up patting my pockets a whole bunch. That couldn't have helped my image any.

"Alright, hon! I narrowed it down to the first pair. You liked those---are you okay?"

"Fine!" I blurted. "Super!"

"You look like you've been lost at sea for two days. Your shirt's all ripped up!"

"Nothing I can't handle, darling," I said, my suavity returning along with my girlfriend; my lovely tour guide through the Land of Lace. "I'm with her!" I announced, pointing. Then, in a whisper, I asked if she wouldn't mind leaving her purse with me next time. To serve as a sort of backstage pass.

"Promise not to eat all my mints?"

"I promise to try," I said, sealing the deal with a handshake.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No Moon Vacation?


Have ya heard the news? The folks at NASA say the United States can't afford to go to the moon by 2020. Evidently this kind of thing is extremely expensive (if you use rockets, of course it will be!) and whether you believe we should be spending money on the space program or not, money's just a little tight pretty much everywhere now.

I have to admit, this disappoints me. I really wanted to go to the moon. I know I'd probably get bored after a week or so, and that I'd most likely come home with a whole bunch of mosquito bites, but I think it'd be worth it. I've put up with that for much less-memorable vacations.

Plus, if the whole U.S. would be there, that means I could hang out with all of you! I guess I can understand how that could become a tad pricey. That's a lot of sunscreen and battery-powered fans to distribute.

Cost aside, busing all 300 million of us up there would probably take a long time just to organize. Everything being computerized, you'd think it'd be a snap. But if there's anything life so far has taught me, it's that there exists a very special type of person who takes pride in being monumentally unteachable. You know the type? They're the ones who stare at the big, bright touch screen displays, with the "Touch Here to Start" button on them, and start randomly deploying their finger everywhere but the button and then get mad when nothing happens. Imagine a whole country's worth of those people trying to purchase moon tickets on one weekend!

And you KNOW there'd be at least one fat kid who'd spill his milkshake before boarding and hold up the line until he got another one.

Once we all got on the bus, it'd be a little better. Except that half of the passengers would bring along giant bottles of water or energy drinks, and we'd have to stop all the time for them to use restrooms. And it's not like the moon just a couple hours away. We're all going to be on that bus for quite a long time, and those bathroom stops are only going to drag it out.

We'd probably have to switch drivers a couple of times too. As long as they don't ask me to drive and read the map! I'm sure I could handle a big bus, but I'm not exactly Captain Cook when it comes to navigation. I tend to daydream and miss exits and turns, so someone would have to keep an eye on those things for me. Otherwise, who knows where we'd end up?

I read somewhere that the moon doesn't have as much gravity lying around as the Earth does, so it'd probably be real nice to stretch in. I mean, when you're on a long trip, and you finally get to where you're going, doesn't it feel good to stand up straight and stretch a bit? I bet it'd be fun on the moon, what with the low gravity and all.

Of course, all of us who didn't go to the bathroom at every single stop along the way will all have to go when we get to the moon, and there'll be a giant line.

I'd probably take my camera and wander off from the main group. If you stick with the group on these things, you end up spending half your time just standing in line waiting to see whatever you're in line to see. And it's usually something you don't care about anyway, made even less attractive by all the sticky little kids who have touched it. The Apollo landers would all be covered with Jolly Rancher goo and ice cream dribblings within hours.

Forget all that. I'll be exploring some craters, thank you very much. Maybe I'll find one that looks like a little happy face, and I'll take a picture of it for my blog. Or I'll write "Ambient Moronics" in the lunar soil with a moon stick and take a picture of that. It'd make a good header, once I got back home to Photoshop it a bit.

I would also bring a pine cone to leave up there. I really don't have a good reason for wanting to do this. I just think it'd be funny to leave a pine cone on the moon. There probably aren't any moon squirrels to eat it, so it'd stay there for thousands of years. Maybe millions! I'd have to throw it pretty far though. Otherwise someone would find it and pick it up.

By the time we'd toured the place, it would be getting pretty late. We'd split into smaller groups, like by family or state or something, and probably have some bonfires. At least that's what I would do. We could have a bonfire and talk about things. People are weird, though. Even if they're on vacation, where they're supposed to be enjoying the sights and sounds and low gravity, they'd still spend most of their time complaining. They'd sit around the bonfire and exchange stories about how long the lines were and how the bathrooms needed more paper towels and fewer of those electric hand dryers.

I would roast marshmallows, of course, but I bet I would drop most of them in the fire. That always happens to me.

It'd be fun, though. The ride back home would seem to go a lot quicker because I wouldn't be so excited to get to a new place, and I would have all of my pictures to look over.

If I remembered to put my memory card in the camera, that is.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Moron Changes His Oil - Part Two

All is well and fine and all manner of things are spiff! The Moron thought to himself as he drove home from the auto parts store, the sweat born of his swashbuckling adventure therein still drying on his brow.

He winked at his sweaty reflection, exchanging with it the eyeball equivalent of the hi-five. He had deciphered the cryptic directions on the treasure map book; he had navigated the length and breadth of the oil filter aisle (taking in a rack of floor mats just in case); he had called Microsoft Office tech support for help, and he had wrested another ten minutes from the red-shirted men who tried to shoo him, empty-handed, out the door at closing time and won the prize! The elusive, magical and grippy-textured Golden Oil Filter!

It really was gold, too. Sort of. Most people would say that it was off-beige. The Moron decided that it was gold.

His vision blurred, and the final minutes of his encounter rewound, the image obscured by bars of white noise. It spun itself out again in halting slow motion, for the Moron's recall is not unlike the vaunted and distinguished format the cognoscenti call "VHS".

"You just makin' this purchase?" the red-shirted man behind the big counter asked.

The Moron eyed him suspiciously.

"Do you mean to tell me," he let one eyeball stray over to the man's name tag "William, that you can rent oil filters? I find that very suspicious indeed! That would be like renting bubble gum, sir!" The Moron reigned in his eyeballs, mustering them for a haughty sneer.

"No. No you can not. But if you don't need anything else, I need you to move over to the register at the end here so I can check you out."

The Moron posed. "You can check me out right here," he said. Rimshot!

"Ha ha."

"Okay. I shall abide your crazy rules," the Moron relented, drawing his wallet. He brandished a dollar. "And I shall fund my purchase with this and others like it."

The replay froze, the lower half of the screen rainbow-hued and vibrating. The Moron stopped playback altogether, and his mind's eye went blue.

"My finest moment!" he squealed.

He swerved off the rumble strip.

At home in his driveway, the Moron arranged all of his supplies in a neat little pile, as if they were nestled in their own little Excel cells. He ticked them all off his mental checklist: fresh oil, paper towels, a pair of pliers, a set of jeweler's screwdrivers, a pile of old newspaper, a little tin of mints, a Nerf football, an extra bowtie and of course the new oil filter. Check. He considered shading the filter's cell, because it was so important.

"Now to get the car up off the ground so that I may slither under it and wrench around down there!" he announced to a nearby pine cone. Fortunately, the Moron had planned ahead and purchased some ramps. (He had heard stories of people taking their cars to special buildings where men who lived in the floor changed your oil for you, but had discounted them.)

The ramps were made of stout plastic, about three feet long, sort of grayish in color and perplexing in nature. The trick, the Moron thought, was to align them in such a way as to cause the car to be on top of them. There were no instructions on them, and the paper they were wrapped in when he bought them was long gone.

He briefly considered fetching the sledge hammer and driving them under the car like the wedges they were, but realized that he did not possess a sledge hammer. The little ball-peen jobbie he found in the basement would take all day to get just one ramp under the car, and daylight was waning.

"I might save time by driving onto them," he suggested to the pine cone. The Moron thought he saw it out of the corner of his eye, nodding its approval. "That's all the go-ahead I need!"

What a great idea! This was going to be a large slice of real nice cake. Not that nasty cake with the artificial lemon goo between the layers. That stuff was crap.

The Moron set about his task with the vigor of a whole pile of toddlers. He made sure the car was on level ground and that there were no anthills under it. He threw the Nerf football onto the roof in a playful gesture he had planned from the outset. He scooted the tin of mints over to the left slightly. The ramps he pushed under the bumper, their pointy ends snugged against the car's tires.

Now the fun part! The Moron put the car in gear, gunned the engine, and the vehicle rose majestically into the air, like a jetliner if it were driving onto some ramps. He stopped at the peak of his climb, set the brake and hopped out.

Excellent. The Moron flashed a smile at the pine cone and giggled as his imaginary happy-hamster crawled up his sleeve. He walked around to the front of the car and was dismayed at how low the bumper was to the ground. It was only a couple inches off the driveway!

"These ramps must be defective!" he cried, booting the pine cone into a bush. He couldn't even see them! He stomped in an angry little circle.

Then he saw the ramps, lurking smugly under the car's rear wheels.

Sneaky bastards he thought. Now he'd have to start all over.