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Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Gumdrops

As I was riding the subway to a running race early one Saturday morning, a homeless man sitting across me from me decided to strike up a chat. Morning communication is not one of my strengths so I really wasn’t in the mood but I reluctantly joined. There was nobody else within a reasonable distance, I was alone and he looked harmless enough.  I really couldn’t find an excuse to be rude.

He opened with the inquiry “Why is there a number pinned to your shirt?”

It wasn’t the brightest question since I was clothed in running attire and holding a water bottle so at first I felt no duty to dignify it with a factual answer. My initial urge was to sing the words “American Idol tryouts!”

Alas, that thought led me to questioning my integrity about reaching a point in life where I received pleasure from mocking a homeless man. My conscience persuaded me otherwise and I truthfully answered “I was off to Central Park for a 5k race.”

It was only a few miles of running but he seemed quite impressed and responded “Wow, I wish I could do something like that. That’s amazing.”

That seemed to satisfy his curiosity and he began to relax back into his seat. To my surprise, halfway through that process he jolted back with pure enthusiasm. A revolutionary idea must have clicked in his head and with a big smile he asked “You wanna know the best feeling in the world?” 

While I was slightly apprehensive to learn his greatest joy, he seemed genuinely excited to share and there was still plenty of time left in my ride. I was clueless as to what was going to come out of his mouth and that also aided me into saying “Please tell.”

He announced “A lot of times I wake up in the morning unsure of where I am but if I find food in my pockets, it makes me so happy and I know it will be a great day.” He then opened a bag of gumdrops freshly pulled from his pockets and offered me a handful.

Despite it being a bit gross and a peculiar breakfast meal, it was the sweetest thing I have ever witnessed. A stranger with far less in his life invited me to join in on their favorite moment.

I was tempted to pick out a green one because I didn’t want him to feel his food was inferior. Then I realized I’d never appreciate eating (or possibly fake eating) any piece of the candy more than he would. With a heartfelt grin, I told him “Thank you very much but I am not really hungry.”

After a few silent minutes of watching him enjoy his snack, my stop approached. I stood up and said “Thank you again, it meant a lot to me that you would offer.” I then handed him the $20 bill I always carry to races in case of an emergency and I thought to myself, maybe my trip home will be slower now but at least I have one to go to.

He looked shocked as he accepted it and I’m hoping it’s because he never once asked for anything besides conversation.

As I exited, he wished me good luck in the race and to have a Merry Christmas……. Okay those last 4 words are false since this actually occurred a few months ago. He wasn’t a lunatic and referenced Christmas mid-September. I admit my original scheme was trying to cheat this essay into the giving season and New Year's but I felt dirty lying around the holidays. The truth is, he said “Happy Labor Day”……..

Anyway, reflecting back on this piece, it has been selfishly written. It’s made me look at the bigger picture in life and become aware that I am not the only one with problems. Everyone has them and a lot of them are a hell of a lot worse than mine. It’s not always the situation to blame, its how it’s dealt with. In 2013 I’m spending more time eating gumdrops and I invite everyone who reads this to join.

Monday, October 15, 2012

If I Were in Charge.......

-If I was a pilot and air traffic control forced me to circle the airport until a runway was available, I’d order one of the flight attendants to cut the fuel line. Then they’d let me land

-If I was a soccer coach and my team was losing, I’d pull the goalie regardless of how much time was left. It doesn't matter if you lose 1 to 0 or a Million to 0, you still lose

-If I was a lawyer and needed to discredit the character of a witness on the stand, I’d claim they hated cake. Only someone evil would despise cake

-If I was a professor, I’d end all my classes by walking out and repeating “If anyone has any questions, I am sure they are great ones”

-If I was gay, my Halloween costume would be ‘straight male’ and I’d go around wearing relaxed fit jeans saying things like, “See that game last night?”, "That's what she said" and “I’d do her”

-If I was running for president, I’d spend my campaign budget on providing everyone in America with a free donut. That would loosen everyone to my abstract policies of converting the nations monetary system to Sam Adams Oktoberfest during the month of October and making it mandatory for all employers 
to make Monday a paid vacation day if it rained both days of the weekend

-If I was a store owner, I’d hold “3 for the price of 10” sales. Then my profits would soar

-If I was a NYC murderer, my spree would be by annoying people to death. I'd carry a bike on the subway during rush hour, hold up airport security lines by trying to smuggle snow globes and fiddle with my iPhone while slowly crossing intersections

-If I was a comedian, I’d be an elevator standup comic in a medium rise office building. I have about nine floors worth of quality material before I start repeating or become annoying

-If I were an Olympics judge, I’d miss something like a gymnast pommel horsing because I was too busy texting or sexting.  Then I’d have to whisper to the judge next to me “Let me copy your scores”

-If I was a waiter and assumed in advance that a party was going to tip poorly, I’d spit in their food. If I was wrong and they ended up tipping well, I’d offer a coupon for a free meal out of guilt. When they returned I’d spit in their food again because obviously they like that

-If I was to marry a lady with the last name Lee, I’d let her carry the family name instead. Then I’d choose names for our boys like Diabolical, Erroneous and Fearless and Waver, Cost and Pleasant for the girls

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Dozen Moon Unfacts

A Dozen Moon Unfacts

-During daylight hours, The Moon is usually off running errands for other planets or watching soap operas

-Neil Armstrong’s real motive for rocketing to The Moon was to prove his theory that it was flat

-In contrast to the Sundress, women use to sleep in a Moongown until the pajama was invented

-The Moon was a free agent satellite until it was selected in the 2nd round by Earth in the 1972 Planetary Draft

-Gravitational forces from The Moon are the reason for ocean high tides… haha, just kidding, that’d be ridiculous

-Las Vegas odds favor a cow jumping the moon 3-1 over the dish running away with the spoon. Many believe the fork and the silverware mafia intimidating the spoon is why

-It’s a myth that The Moon is made of cheese but it does go just as well with wine

-During 5-7pm orbital rush hour, The Moon’s velocity slows due to asteroid congestion

-The Moon was originally referred to as The Object until MoonPie purchased its naming rights

-Babe Ruth once hit a baseball that ricocheted off the moon, it was ruled a double

-It’s possible to leap over The Moon but the length of the running start needed to generate that height is tremendously far, just ask the cow

-Since a body weighs less on The Moon that Earth, the population there drinks sodas larger than 16oz’s and wears skinny jeans

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Life Evens Out

Although it would be meaningful to pen an essay warning about global warming, tackling the troubled economy or requesting donations for the “Running Against Scissors 5K” charity run I’m doing but meaning is not where I excel.  Attempting significance would lead to suffering for me, anyone who reads and the millions I pretend who read.  Since that’s pointless, at least let me entertain myself by composing a piece exaggerating an inconsequential encounter I had years back and then twisting an obtuse moral out of it that rationalizes being lazy.

To set the scene, I was entering my apartment lobby carrying a bag of clean laundry when I heard the ding of the elevator.  I sped up my walk hoping that the person waiting would hear my footsteps and be compassionate enough to hold the door.  Fortune was on my side and to further my delight the young lady even offered to press the button of my floor since my hands were occupied.

While replying “23 please”, I noticed that floor 27 was already lit so after a short pause I continued with “And 24, 25 and 26 as well.” 

A laugh was then shared after she realized my light hearted attempt for her to unnecessarily stop at 3 floors.  This breaking of the ice led to more chatter and I used laundry as the topic of conversation.   I explained how all my clothes were sparkling and I now had a full wardrobe at my command tomorrow. Even outfits I had forgotten so it was almost as if I was returning home from a shopping spree. 

After listening she replied “Thou art the handsomest and wittiest gentleman that dwells upon this kingdom and as not a combination of thee two. Hence thou art the apex in both categories.”

Okay, I confess that I’m unsure of the exact verbatim she used because I was too busy basking in the glow of being incredibly amusing to actually listen.  Clearly I inserted some Shakespearian English and consulted a thesaurus because nobody would’ve spoken “apex” in that context.  Although I do admit my interpretation isn’t word for word, I assure its merit lies within the same ballpark.

Anyway, as my momentum slowed and the subject of laundry drew thin, luck was on my side. The elevator door gradually opened at my destination and I exited with a smile speaking “Have a lovely afternoon.”  

As I strutted into the sunset of the hallway while my shadow was gently crushed by the elevator doors, I was positive there was now a person who felt that every word I shared was worth the price of gold. I was content with what conspired and put our relationship to rest.

Fate on the other hand had a plan of its own.  Later that evening as I headed out for a trip to the grocery store, I bumped into the same female on the subway.  This encore gathering was not supposed to be in the cards.  It caught me off guard and I felt intense pressure to not only replicate what happened earlier, but to trump it. 

My childish idea of avoiding the situation by staring at the emergency procedures sign quickly failed and we made eye contact.  My next thought by default was to open my mouth and pray something witty would come out.

Unfortunately, silent separated lips changed the scene to awkward.  In panic, my mind scurried through pathetic salvation options only to dismiss them….. 

Compliment her shoes? No those shoes are average at best and with
those sporty laces, they could be considered sneakers. 

Mention the weather? No that is too generic and there’s nothing 
noteworthy about partly cloudy. 

Offer a hand shake? No that’s stupid, it’s not a business meeting 
and the subway is unsanitary 

Revert to the laundry joke and say you have on your favorite shirt?
No, you’re wearing a shirt you hate because you didn't want 
something favored buried this early in the laundry cycle. 

That’s when the white flag was waved and I began doubting my assessment of the original meeting.  Was I merely imagining how charming I was? I had to escape but my mind only offered questionable exit strategies……..

Close your eyes? Fake a heart attack? Scramble under the seats
looking for a marble? Jump off at the next stop despite the grocery 
store there having mostly rotten vegetables? Yell we need to see 
other people?

Well, what ended up happening was at the next stop I rode a wave of entering people to the opposite side of the subway car.  After being a comfortable distance away I reflected back in dismay as to what occurred.  Not only had my mythical stature vanished, she probably pondered why I was allowed to roam free without adult supervision.

I began the day charismatically but by nightfall it was balanced out by behaving like a social misfit.  Life is fair.  The higher you climb, the further you fall so it's best to just to lounge around in middle ground. Sure I could get up off the couch and try to do some pleasant deeds to make the world a better place but ultimately they’ll be canceled out.  Let’s say I plant a tree or help an old lady cross the street.  Eventually the tree will kidnap an innocent child’s kitten or kite and the old lady will attempt to rob a bank on the other side of the highway.  The overall benefit to society will be exactly the same as if I continue to do nothing.  Without further regret or hesitation, let me proceed to an afternoon of relaxing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Favorite Shape

On the chance I’m ever blindsided into a geometric debate, I’ve decided to have my favorite shape predetermined. A person without preferences is the lettuce of a salad, the packaging peanuts of a shipment or a three leaf clover, they just occupy space. Playing favorites helps distinguish individuality and makes someone memorable. I never want to be referred to as “That generic guy who likes all the shapes, What’s His Face?”

Now that leads to the question of which figure best symbolized me. Throwing my support behind one with curves seemed feminine, the standard rectangle was too conservative and dead body chalk outline had too many inconsistencies to be narrowed into a distinct shape. There had to be one that better represented my character.

Then a moment of clarity struck me during a round of poker. A diamond is a gemstone formed from pressurized carbon and a girl’s best friend but not an actual shape. The King of Rhombus was in my hand and starring at me in the face. That was the ideal figure to be my best friend.

It has portions of symmetry but lacks the strict confinements of the square. Its slanted sides portray a relaxed image like loosening up the tie while sipping a glass of whiskey. Refusing to have right angles radiates a sense of nonconformity and playing by its own rules. The rhombus is a rebel with a splash of drunken uncle. It has the box like outline required to fit into the parallelogram family but it’s a different pedigree than the straight edged perpendicular members.

That is the impression I want to be associated with. I don’t have a militant posture and my corners aren’t neatly tucked in. My attitude is more carefree and I enjoy the freedom to rearrange my appearance. With a short attention span, I’m always adjusting the length my sleeves are rolled, the notch used in my belt and the angle that parts my hair. I would never prosper in a regimented environment which enforces discipline and uniform.

Well that settles my case and I declare the rhombus as my favorite shape. My “all shapes are drawn equal” belief has been overthrown and I now have a geometric identity. Whenever people are tossing the ball around the baseball rhombus, skiing down the double black rhombus course or winning a game of Blackjack with the Ace of Rhombus, they will instinctively be reminded of me.

That’s why announcing favorites plays an important role in developing an interesting personality. Taking it to the next level, selecting a preference in a topic that’s borderline idiotic allows me to shine like a rhombus in the rough. To become fascinating you’ll need either one phenomenal rationale about why you love vanilla ice cream and wearing blue jeans or you can do what I do, simply fancy something senseless. Tune in to future essays where I construct illogical explanations to my favorite vice-president’s wife, Stevie Wonder song and my obsession with the Equator.

*The attached quadrilateral family tree picture in no way reflects reality. It simply symbolizes the author’s opinion of which personalities may mirror a particular shape. By no means does it project that I fathered a nerd child with my brother that joined the Army. There is no way my genes would ever give birth to a loser child

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Dozen Cases of Lotto Fever

Now with the drama of the Lotto jackpot finally over I've decided to reflect back on my weekend. I had highs, lows and moments of pure ridiculousness. Now in random order and blatantly all over the map, I present to you a dozen cases of lotto fever........

I- Is 10 bucks worth of losing lotto tickets a quality gift? I mean, I tried to give someone 620 million in cash for their wedding. I put in more thought then giving a blender

II- "Yeah that deadline seems pretty stupid now boss, kiss my 620 million dollar butt" - something everyone thought but only a couple people got to say

III- Just put my out of office on for eternity. I'm a positive person, I'll worry about the consequences of Monday work morning on the slim chance I don't win the jackpot

IV- I can’t decide to take either the lump sum or invest in 120,000,000 Subway foot long subs if I win. Both seem like a winning idea 

V- If all the coworkers next to me win their office lotto pool they won't shutup about and I don't get promoted, I am quitting this job too

VI- So I have joined lotto pools with family, friends and enemies. It’s not the holidays that brings everyone together, it’s remotely small chances on winning an obscene amount of money that does

VII- There is a 99.999% more of a chance that you will hear Riana’s "Hopeless Place" while waiting on line to play lotto than actually winning lotto

VIII- They should add much more gambling to large lotto jackpots, like betting the race, sex, location, favorite color or how many teeth the winner will have

IX- I once read that the lottery is a tax on stupid people so go ahead and waste your dollar people. I’ll just enjoy the 4 extra quarter peep shows I use mine on even more

X- I wonder if the amount of bank robberies skyrockets the day after a huge jackpot is won. If people are like me, they prematurely spend the winnings and then are stuck with some debt that cannot be easily repaid

XI- If you got struck by lightning and shot accidentally by a crossbow in the pinky finger by the Pope at the stroke of midnight on Leap Day there is must be some sort of percentage of that equating to winning the lottery. Maybe it's higher maybe it's lower, what the hell do I know, I’m no mathematician

XII- Excuse me Deli Cashier, my lotto tickets are broken. These numbers are wrong, please give me a refund

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Dozen Invaluable Job Tips

I-  When the boss is out, only accomplish the bare minimum. Management will feel a sense of worthlessness if productivity occurs when they are not around to motivate. The last thing you want is a superior feeling irrelevant

II- Consistency is more important that timeliness. Showing up sporadically late to work proves unreliability. Always arriving late lets fellow employees prepare to not rely on you for a morning crisis

III-  Never start a new job at your maximum capability. Setting the bar low makes it easier to show improvement throughout the course of employment. Example, Manager says “I am so proud of Pete, his odor is less potent and he hasn't visited the nurse for stapling his finger in weeks, a raise is in his near future”

IV- Always have two tasks on your plate that need to be completed. If a coworker asks why one isn't finished, you can reply you were working on the other. The other one is always more urgent

V- The first time you get sick during employment, don’t call out. Arriving ill proves initial toughness so that when you falsely call out in the future for amusement park and ski trips, nobody will question your health

VI-  If you wake up in someone else’s bed or in the gutter after staying out all night and need to head straight to the office, don’t worry about your pants. Unless have on clown pants, nobody in the office will notice a repeat performance. Focus on changing your shirt and if you are still nervous about your appearance, add a fake accent

VII-  This is more for the cold weather but skipping a coat makes it much easier to sneak into the office late. Nobody will think you were idiotic enough to travel in absolute zero conditions without one. Everyone will just assume you were already there

VIII-  Agreeing to unfeasible deadlines and offering false promises is a much more mature way of temporarily solving office disputes as opposed to hiding in the bathroom stall

IX-  When you get confirmation that you send a successful fax, point up to Jesus. This shows gratefulness about your job and everyone appreciates someone that looks thankful

X-  If you are covering for an absentee coworker make sure you take a separate lunch for both you and them. Ordinarily that person would have taken a break and that company time should never be compromised

XI-  While in the office, always be a constant professional. Only be seen drinking virgin bloody marys in the morning and non-alcoholic beer in the afternoon. Save the real alcohol for post work, smoke breaks and from a flask while in the bathroom hiding from problems and phone calls

XII-  The supply room is an economical way to get all your holiday shopping done. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a red stapler or Valentine’s Day like writing “I love you” on a post-it and sticking it on your lover’s forehead as they sleep