Archive for June, 2014

Water is vital to life on Earth. This is an undeniable fact. Even creationist-nazi-cyborgs can agree that water is kind of a big deal. Another fact: Water is a murderous motherfucker.

Our bodies are made up of like 98 percent of the stuff (google it, nerd). That being said, it has also killed more of us than dinosaurs and bears COMBINED. Hell, if there was a Bear-o-saurus species (and there most definitely was), water probably killed the shit out of them as well. Because water loves to make things extinct. If you or I were cocaine, water would be an Andy Dick of C’thulu-like proportions.

And this is where I tell you about how water snuck out of my pipes, partially due to a drunken plumber (more on that later), and murdered the shit out of my bathroom.

My bathroom was a nice bathroom. I liked to read the paper in it, and I liked to poop in it. I also enjoyed peeing in it. And occasionally, I even washed my hands in it.

Unfortunately for us, a moist monstrosity lurked inside of our walls. It was subdued and held in place by copper pipes, much like Zod and his cohorts were in the phantom zone. But soon enough, like Zod before it, water found an opening and made its escape.

This little jailbreak resulted in water damage, mold, and worse still, yours truly having to use tools… IN MY OWN HOME. We’re talking saws, big ass hammers, even a fucking nail gun. Water is a heartless bastard.

This is where I show some dick pics:

Mold is herpes on a home. And my home is into some kinky shit.

Mold is herpes on a home. And my home is into some kinky shit.

Prepare yourself for the twist: During demolition, I found nine old style cans from the 1970s. It turns out water had an accomplice all along, a drunken plumber.

During the construction of my home this beer-chugging plumber decided to take his lunch break, and see if he could knock down a twelve pack, with water screaming “Chug! Chug! Chug!” all the while.

I was surprised to be honest. I had assumed water would have cleaned up after itself. Hide the evidence and all that. Although, at this point I wouldn’t be shocked if water stuffed that drunken plumber’s corpse into my water heater, just for shits and giggles… Because water don’t give a fuck.

"He's right, bitch. I don't."

“He’s right, bitch. I don’t.”

So, yeah, we’re remodeling. I’m hiring contractors, and doing some of the work myself, and it all sucks very much. The good news is the pipes are fixed, and water is back where it belongs… under the thumb of its human overlords.

Being from the Chicagoland area, and having survived a winter of Roland Emmerich proportions, a summer day at the beach wasn’t something I could yet wrap my head around. But then my wife’s aunt called, and asked if we’d be interested in using their condo for the weekend. My head was about to do some wrapping.

The drive was a breeze, and we touched down on Friday afternoon. Their condo was the sort of place that offers a warm hug—the comfortable kind, not the drunken stranger ones. It also happened to be a block from the lake, so the bonus points were adding up. I contemplated purchasing them a trophy of some sort, to show our gratitude. Unfortunately, according to my wife, a trophy is not the type of gift you give to show your appreciation. I disagree, trophies are badass, no matter the occasion, but I digress.

With the kids in tow, we walked to the beach, to get a lay of the land, and a better idea of what tomorrow’s preparations would entail. Did I mention that we don’t do the beach that often? I took my mental snapshot. We would need drying materials, sun deterrents, hydration elixirs, digging implements, and of course, booze.

On the walk back, we encountered a group of what I suppose were college freshmen. Sophomores, maybe? Whatever the case, they were young, sunburned, drunk, and mildly retarded. One of these dudebros was shouting up to another small herd of dudebros that were residing on a rooftop deck. I couldn’t quite make out the conversation, but the dudebro nearest us, on the street, insisted that his dudebro brethren throw him down a beer.

I was fairly certain if they did, he would not catch it. He would be hit by the plummeting can, and end up even dumber than he already was. Thankfully, one of the smarter dudebros insisted he get lost. Our street level dudebro shouted “westsiiiiide!” and took off in a jog. At that exact moment, on some far off desert island, Tupac and Biggie collectively rolled their eyes, while Elvis ate pudding.

Saturday on the Beach. With good weather and lots of beachfront real-estate to choose from, we quickly set up our base of operations. Evidenced by my sweet pic:


Most of the day was spent on the beach. Sandcastles were built, the newspaper was read, snacks were eaten, our kids bartered, bickered, and frolicked, and a drink was created (pour half of a frozen margarita pouch into a cup, fill the remainder of the cup up with beer, and then repeat this process often).

A quick note about the lake. It’s chilly. I almost froze my nether regions during an ill-advised swim. On the plus side, this also makes jumping into it on a hot day, invigorating. The mistake I made was staying waist deep for too long. Finally noticing the error, I ran out of the lake, in what I can only assume looked like a hairless Sasquatch being chased through quicksand by hornets.

The pain in my frozen parts reminded me of a prank that I fell for in the eighth grade:

Prankster: “You know the capital of Thailand?”

Nik: “Why the hell would I—“

Prankster: “Bangkok!”

*nails me in the junk*

This was kind of like that, except this prankster was a giant lake, with anger issues, and really cold hands.

Moving on, for the sake of brevity (Not sure if this is a blog or a memoir at this point) I will wrap it up with some quick bits:

– We ran into another dudebro during a different walk. He was attempting to throw a football into a third story window from the street. Apparently, dudebros are fascinated by gravity.

– I forgot how to grill with charcoal. I hate to admit this, and I’m worried that all of my chest hair will now wilt, but it is what it is. This was especially pathetic considering I tried to Google it, but my phone service was sketchy, and my questions fell on deaf ears. I finally figured it out, but not before a neighbor observed my shortcomings as a man.

– Upon leaving town, I hit a pothole that was on its way to becoming a sinkhole, and a block later I passed a tire shop. This was no coincidence. Somewhere near Michigan City, a tire shop employee is using a jack hammer with a silencer on it.

– My wife told me a story of sleeping over at her aunt and uncle’s house when she was a child. In the morning, her uncle asked if the kids all wanted to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo. His children groaned loudly, apparently he took them to the zoo quite a bit. He clapped his hands together and said “Okay, that settles it. Maxwell Street it is.” He’s a man after my own quirky heart, I thought.

I had to delete that goddamn chain letter, didn’t I? The motel bathtub—or my new my bed, depending on how you looked at it—creaked against my aching back. With the way my luck was going, I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up covered in ice, and one kidney light. I rubbed my side and shuddered at the possibility, and then I wondered what twelve years feels like.

This Morning:
I sipped at the steaming coffee carefully, as I hid within the cubicle, checking my personal email. The traffic up and down the office halls began to slowly grow. The work day rearing its expressionless head, in minutes the place would become frantic, and we the sheep would flock to our specific herds—the high school class system still seeped deep within our psyche.

There were four unopened emails, two from my neighbor Pervert Dave, both of them containing attachments to video clips that I dare not open on the company computer. One was from Shelly—who worked down the aisle from me. She wanted to know if I would be attending our company’s Fourth of July barbecue.

The answer would be a resounding No. But Shelly was attractive, and showed an acceptable amount of interest in me (more than none), so I would skirt the issue, perhaps attempting to convince her that binge drinking at a dive bar near my dilapidated split level was the wiser choice. The fourth email appeared to be junk mail, its subject line read: Open me! And I did so without pause.

A graphic of a hideous leprechaun dancing appeared, and below the flamboyant troll, the email went on about the luck of the Irish, and how luck would be granted to all of those people smart enough to forward this email to twelve of their friends. I don’t have twelve friends to begin with, the fact that I had to be reminded of this in a chain letter was just plain cruel.

As I scrolled down further, I noticed the threat of twelve years of bad luck, and the word cursed appeared frequently throughout the body of the email. Not one to take kindly to chain letters, or idle threats, I forcefully slammed my index finger onto the mouse button, effectively erasing the ridiculous hindrance from existence. I was god.

A brief satisfaction gripped me, unfortunately it vanished quickly as my computer screen blinked the numbers 666 rapidly, and then switched to a wallpaper of a grizzly bear having relations of a sexual nature with a man, who appeared to be in a great deal of pain. The computer speaker blared Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy”, as I jumped from my seat in horror.

The volume of the music began to attract some of my co- workers; they began to gravitate toward my cubicle, peering in one by one, watching as I frantically attempted to disconnect the computer. The bear roaring and pumping away, the man staring out at the viewer, grimacing, resigned to his fate.

I leaped under my desk and pulled the plug from the outlet, the music thankfully stopped. My co-workers snickered loudly to one another as they began to disperse back to their own work stations. I gracefully re-emerged from under the desk, bumping its edge with my head, knocking my coffee cup onto the floor, its steamy black innards splashing into the outlet that had just relinquished my computer of its power. A hiss was audible, and the power in the entire office went out. Just like that. Cut to black.

The next hour brought an onslaught of commotion. Managers, supervisors, and countless vice presidents, all of them desperately were attempting to remedy the situation. Electricians and building engineers were called in, none of them able to figure out what was wrong with the power. The only thing that everyone was certain of was that I was to blame. A brief meeting with my supervising manager, and I was on my way home.

Admittedly, chain smoking in my Camry was a welcome reprieve. Traffic began to bottleneck, as I glanced up at the digital traffic billboard that hung ominously over the highway. The traffic times switched off, leaving a strange rectangular blackness in its wake. Suddenly, the digital board came to life once more TWELVE YEARS it read. The shock of witnessing this impossibility forced my hands into spastic gyrations.

Veering into the left lane; I caught a glimpse of a mini-van, milliseconds before the impact. The collision was obnoxiously loud, as I stuffed my front bumper under the van’s back end. Quickly gathering my bearings, I hit reverse, pulled out from under the wreckage that used to be a minivan and my Camry, and pulled onto the shoulder.

Smoke generously poured out from under my hood. The mini-van followed suit, pulling over onto the same shoulder fifty or so feet in front of me. I emerged from the car, startled and jittery, pretending to inspect the front end. Looking up at the mini-van in front of me, I noticed all of the windows were tinted completely black.

The sliding door swung open with a thud, long peculiar pant legs connected to giant red shoes stepped from the vehicle. Standing in front of me was an angry clown, adorned in a sport coat, checkered pants, and those mesmerizing giant red shoes. His large frizzy orange hair was puffed on either side of his head with a hat much too tiny for such a large skull. His face was painted a stark white, with black eyeliner circling each enraged eye, blood red lipstick generously coating his nose and lips. Slightly shaking my head side to side, I attempted to rid myself of this very real image.

As I did so, another equally large and angry clown exited the vehicle, identical to the previous one, and yet another, and then another. They continued pouring out of the mini-van, as the first few walked menacingly towards me. All in all, there were about seven or eight of them, I couldn’t be sure.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” The first clown barked.
“I’m really sorry! I lost control! The traffic sign freaked me out, it was tellin—”

He skipped towards me and threw a punch, like a coked up prize fighter swinging at an unfaithful wife. The fist connected with my mouth, bringing my frantic excuses to an abrupt conclusion. I fell to the pavement in a broken heap. My legs not responding as I tried in vain to get to my feet and run. The enraged clown septuplets circled me, beginning to kick and punch my body and limbs, while I desperately tried to cover up. One of them grabbed my arms and pulled them back, forcing me to stand upright.

The crazed clown in front of me leaned in close, his booze soaked breath layering my face as he hissed,
“Do you think you can just go around fucking with our kind?! Do you?!”
“I’m sorry…puh-puh-please.”

The painted devil nailed me with a body shot dropping me once more onto all fours. They all laughed in maniacal unison as they walked back to their mini-van. The clown carrier peeled out as it fish tailed back onto the highway, an empty forty ounce beer bottle flying out from the passenger side window.

Stammering back to my feet, I breathed in the lingering air of drunken clowns through a broken and battered sinus cavity. Dejected and beaten, I walked back to my car, dreaming of the sweet release my couch would no doubt bring me.

It didn’t turn over, my camry was dead. The accident must have severely screwed up something, because there was no starting it. The question now was would I remain here waiting patiently for help to arrive, or would I continue the trek home on foot. Seeing as I was just beaten in public by marauding circus folk, and no one came to my aid, I chose the second option. After all, the next ramp was my exit and I was only a couple miles from home.

The walking was hard to do as my bruised frame throbbed. I crossed the highway, and stumbled down the exit ramp, dodging down-on-their-luck veterans who asked for change. Maybe it was too many movies, but I felt as if the look they gave me was telling. As if they understood my current plight. As if maybe, once upon a time, in some distant past, they too wore the clothes of a clown beaten man-child.

My pace quickened to a brisk jog, and I came upon the local grocery store a couple of blocks from my home. It had recently been bought out by a large chain, and was now twice as bright and shiny as it used to be. I slowed back down to a walk, the all knowing bums far enough in my rear view for me to be comfortable with. There was some sort of commotion in front of the nameless chain’s front doors. Hundreds of picket signs which appeared to be held by hundreds of children, paraded in an energetic manner back and forth in front of the store.

I carefully walked toward the spectacle, slowly realizing that the children were actually little people. I had never seen a little person up close, let alone a hundred agitated ones with signs, my curiosity was peaked, and I felt the tinge of guilt as well. They chanted over and over in unison,

“Discrimination is wrong! We’re people too!”

I watched as they marched and repeated their mantra. A pretty blonde little person—who was watching the proceedings intently—stood next to me. I glanced down at her and nodded, as she glanced up at me and did the same.

“What’s this all about?” I asked.
“They refused to serve one of us, even after he showed them his i.d.”
“That’s weird, why?”
“Because they’re racist assholes.” She muttered matter of factly.

I looked down at her quizzically.

“Are you guys considered a race? I mean how does it work?”

The shock in her eyes told me all I needed to know.

“What did you just say?!” she growled.

I backed away slowly, my arms out in a “please, I meant no harm” gesture. Quickly turning, she screamed to the crowd of pint-sized picketers.

“This asshole just called me a midget!”

The crowd stopped marching, the chant with no rhyme scheme came to a screeching halt—imagine the record scratch, the bar full of angry patrons…yep, just like that.

“Whoah! Whoah! Whoah! I did not say that!”

The blonde kicked me hard in the shin.

“He’s a fucking liar!” She howled.

This lady was so fucking mean. I screamed like a six year old girl, and began to feverishly sprint away from the crowd, which only added fuel to the fire.

The mini-mob immediately gave chase; it was like when you briskly walk away from an over friendly, possibly horny dog, only to have it follow you even more aggressively. The mob mentality had grown roots in their collective heads, and there was no other option now. They were going to make an example out of yours truly.

Close behind me, I heard labored breathing and the rapid thuds of tiny feet racing closer toward me, cursing me all the while. Picket signs flew to the right and left of me, narrowly missing their target. I was gaining some distance on them now; I cut through some yards, and hopped some fences, making quick left and quick right turns along the way. Glancing back, I saw that the first fence had slowed the mob a great deal; they bunched up behind it, slowly climbing over, a few at a time. I stopped momentarily to catch my breath. Watching as they cursed and shook their fists in my general direction.

I continued on my way, free of the dangerous demonstrators but having learned an important lesson. Never ask a question to anyone, about anything… ever again.

Finally on my block, I smiled and walked to my front door. Upon entering, I crashed heavily onto my computer chair. The strange messages, the ferocious clown beating, and the angry protesters, were no coincidence, and I had to at least attempt to get that message back and send it to everyone I had an email address for, anything to lift its evil curse.

I shook the mouse, waking the monitor from its slumber. A red glow came to the screen, 666 flickered in a horrifying manner on the screen. It faded, as an angry leprechaun appeared in its place. I sat frozen in open-mouthed horror.

“You disobeyed our request and now you will face our wrath! HAHAHAHA!”

The monitor began to smolder and melt, flames bursting upward. The fire quickly began to rise up the wall and spread throughout my living room. I fell backwards onto the floor, screaming and crying in frantic bursts. I ran out the front door and watched from the sidewalk as my home quickly became enveloped in the Leprechaun’s spiteful flames. Neighbors slowly began exiting their homes.

Pervert Dave ran over to me, shouting inaudibly as he shook me by my shoulders, his dildo-forehead attachment slapping repeatedly against my face, but I paid him no mind. I was too far gone. They were no longer my neighbors, no longer my peers, they were now simply the lucky ones, and I the cursed.

The only answer that came to me in those moments was pure and primal… run away. And I did. My world had transformed into something else entirely, and I needed to figure out what to do next, who to become, and how to survive.

Later that night, when my legs could carry me no further, and the general area I was in didn’t seem to be filled with imminent danger, I stopped running. As I stood there, sucking in the air, the lactic acids building up, I saw the motel 8 sign flicker, and for the first time since the incident, an electronic sign did not heap digital threats upon me.

I walked toward the motel hoping that it would become my temporary holy ground…and here I am. In a bathtub—the mattress had a stain that looked like a masturbating bear, so I didn’t want to risk it. Yeah, I’m sleeping in a bathtub. The boogey man is real, the creaks in the floor are Satan, the crawling in the walls are probably zombie vampires, and twelve years is a long fucking time.

I was in Nashville last night for work. Being in a new city usually brings out my inner explorer. Well, for the sake of honesty, more like causal stroller. Given the opportunity, I will walk.

It just so happened that my stay coincided with a Country Music Television thing. So, the people watching amp was set to eleven. As I walked Broadway amongst the legion of country music fans—another confession for the sake of honesty, I’m not the biggest country music fan. I do enjoy some of the older outlaw country artists and songs, but newer pop country tunes, the ones that feature lyrics about driving pick-ups under a big sky, on the way to drink a cold one, with a pretty girl dancing in the passenger seat, don’t really do it for me on a lyrical level.

That being said, I was amazed by the sheer amount of people on the streets, it brought a certain electricity to the night. From a people watching perspective, the experience was hard to describe. Well-dressed couples walking alongside cowboys and cowgirls wearing ten-gallon hats, Jeff Bridges looking dudes jamming recognizable songs on most of the street corners, giving a nod and a wink when you left a tip. South Beach meets South Texas? I don’t know. Something like that.

My first stop was Merchants, an architectural beauty that according to the bartender and its bio sheet has been around since the late 1800’s. And also happened to be a brothel, hotel, and prohibition-era gin joint, in previous incarnations. This time around it was a nicer bar/restaurant with local ingredients and fried green tomatoes. The only negative, a minor one, was that the Moscow Mule I ordered wasn’t served in a steel cup, but a glass. First world problems, blah, blah, blah.

After that it was Roberts, a legendary country bar, there I watched as a pair of musicians belted out a fantastic rendition of “They Call Me the Breeze”.

Knowing nothing of the music industry in general, I wondered how they’d be discovered. Would it be a music executive sitting in a dark corner, exhaling a plume of cigar smoke, sipping on a whisky, and nodding along approvingly? The duo stealing glances at him from the corners of their eyes, while simultaneously upping the intensity of their soon-to-be hit. Are they signed to a deal on the spot? Do they instantly skyrocket up the imaginary charts? The inevitable conflict? Perhaps they’re torn apart by a lover they both pine for? A battle with their demons? Booze? Drugs? Their fall from grace, the redemptive third act. Artistic integrity and love shall conquer all?

I hummed along as I paid my bill. Their song acting as a reminder, I had to keep rollin’ down the road.

After Roberts, I began the walk back to my hotel. On the way there, I encountered the Budweiser Clydesdales, and they had seen better days. Their cages (Pens? Whatever) were barely large enough to fit the enormous horses. You can get an idea of it in the two photos at the bottom of this blog. You’ll also notice the giant piece (i.e. diiiick) on the horse in the second photo. One can only hope he will get an opportunity to smack his jailer in the face with that equine dong-hammer.

The trip, while more work than play, was an enjoyable one. Nashville is indeed a groovy town. Blog updated.



Epilogue: I lost my favorite old pair of sneakers in my hotel room. This was disappointing. I also feel for the hotel and its staff. That place will never smell right again. Prediction: Hazmat suits.

During a conversation with a friend the other day, a question came up. What are some of the funniest novels you’ve ever read? We quickly made our lists, and they were surprisingly short.

At the time I was able to come up with three off the top of my head, novels where I actually laughed out loud while reading:

1: How I Became a Famous Novelist
2: Confederacy of Dunces
3: Money

My friend followed suit with his list:

1: Catch 22
2: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
3: Lamb

After whispering a curse to my failing memory (Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore have had me in tears, and deserved better), we came to a not-so-funny conclusion. Neither one of us has read that many funny novels, and the ones that we both really enjoyed were all at least five years-old, some closer to forty-five.

This realization stayed with me. Later, I decided to look back on what I’ve read in the last year or so.

Out of all the books I’ve either listened to or read, about 1%-5% of them could be considered a comedy, or at least comedic in tone. This percentage pales in comparison to my taste in television and film, where I hover closer to the 40-50% mark. Or life in general, where a dick joke, pratfall, or bit of sarcastic flare, can really put a spunk in my step. That’s right… spunk.

Anyhow, I decided to go back and review my overall reading trends in the prior year. Between audible, kindle, and actual print, I read fifty-nine books last year (this is not a humble brag, I swear). Fifty of these books were fiction, nine were nonfiction. To break it down further, fourteen of these books were literature, eleven were thrillers/mysteries/crime, nine were sci-fi, four were westerns, and three were fantasy. Of the nine nonfiction books, most were memoirs, none were self-help (I can neither influence people nor make new friends).

After looking back at this list, I was able find four books that I would consider comedic in tone and funny as a whole. Those would be I Wear the Black Hat, Chuck Klosterman’s meditation on villainy in pop culture and our attraction to it. Bossy Pants, the story of Tina Fey’s rise through the comedy kumite. This Book is Full of Spiders, the funny dystopian sequel to John Dies at the End. And Agent to the Stars, an amusing Hollywood meets E.T. romp.

For the sake of clarity, Both Bossy Pants and I Wear the Black Hat are not novels (I’m talking fiction, yo). So, they’re immediately scratched off this list. Plus, Bossy Pants is at least a couple of year old. Though Agent to the Stars is fiction, it’s also close to ten years old. So, it’s out as well.

This leaves me with one novel out of fifty that I read this year, which I could say was a comedy at its core.

I’m sure many other books came out this year that could be considered comedic novels. I know the aforementioned Christopher Moore had a novel released a few months back (It’s entitled Fool, and I’ve heard it’s hilarious), but there’s only so many hours in the day, and I already spend too many of them reading, listening to, or looking for a book.

I was under the impression that my random tastes in fiction, and my proclivity toward silliness would steer my reading habits to the funny, but apparently it hasn’t. I’m not sure if this is because of my investigative shortcomings, a subliminal change in my tastes when looking for a book, or a scarcity of comedic novels being published. Whatever the case, I assumed the percentage of funny novels I had read in the last year or so, would be much higher, and for some reason I’ve found that it is not. This strikes me as peculiar, and a bit worrisome.

So, I guess what I’m saying is:

Does anyone have a suggestion for a funny novel? One caveat, it has to have been published within the last two years.

If so, let me know. I’m looking for one.