The Unbearable Banishment: July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Poetry of Spam: You Are Inadequate in Your Pants

Here are some of my favorite subject lines from spam emails that I’ve received over the past several weeks. They are written by people who have, at best, a tenuous grasp of the English language. It’s the dubbed dialog from a Japanese monster movie. Most people dread what shows up in their spam inbox but I think that sheer poetry can be found within.

Your new weapon will remove her undies
Get armed with huge love cannon
No need to kill yourself over size
Grow your pole easily today
Get a rod of colossal measurements!
Feel yourself more manly
Amend your problem of small dimension
Gain a voluminous male package

From off the shelves of your local Home Depot:
Your tool is set to grow
More dimension and vigor for your love tool
Get the biggest tool in the town
Dating 101 made easy with large tool

Something I’ve always wondered:
Where do homosexuals get all their energy?

And, of course:
Jamie Lynn is a bigger slut than Britney

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


2-Year Old Daughter stuck a small bead in her ear. When they brought her to the emergency room, the attending physician who tried to pluck it out only succeeded in pushing it deeper into her ear canal. He pushed it so far in that it's now lodged against her eardrum. On Wednesday morning, they're going to put her under general anesthesia and surgically remove it. What a dickhead! What about his Hippocratic Oath? Perhaps I'll get litigious on his ass. Or perhaps I'll just kick his teeth in.

* * *

My cell phone jammer broke a little bit, so I opened it to try and fix it and I broke the damn thing permanently. What did I expect for $38? Longevity? I used it every day so it was only a matter of time. I feel like I've been stripped of my superpower. Of course I immediately ordered a replacement which is already speeding its way from Hong Kong across the Seven Seas. I'm not sure what to do in the interim if someones cell phone chatter starts to work my nerves. I might fill a sock with gravel and carry it in my travel bag. While not as elegant as an electronic jamming device, it's just as effective.

* * *

The European tourists in Manhattan have very, very peculiar tastes in eyeglass frames. They all look like they're trying to protect their retinas from space rays.

* * *

I got off the subway at the 42nd St. this morning and spotted a very hot girl standing in the middle of the platform. She pulled a deodorant stick out of her purse and slather some under each armpit. Hot AND doesn't reek of B.O.! What more could a man want?

* * *

I had another meditation class last night. What bliss! Those Buddhists really know how to embrace quiet. We are, all of us, filled with delusions. But you already knew that, didn't you? Before class, I traded up from last week's Big Mac and instead ate outside at Pershing Square. I had a buttery delicious lobster roll. It was 3x the price of a Big Mac but without the horrifying stench and after-bloat.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Tramps Like Us

This was going to be a post designed to make all of you jealous, jealous, jealous. It was going to be a nauseating brag about how Mrs. Wife and I got to abandon our children at their grandparent’s house for the night and go to the big Bruce Springsteen show at Giants Stadium. Mrs. Wife is related to him in a very roundabout fashion and we are always comped tickets and get to sit with the family in the best seats in the house. I married up!

We met friends about three hours beforehand and tailgaited in the parking lot. M, a manly son-of-a-bitch if ever there was one, cooked pulled pork sandwiches on a little camping stove that he uses when he’s out in the wilderness being manly. He brought some nice scotch, as well. It was a beautiful summer evening and there was liquor and weed and good feelings everywhere. Tra-la-la!

We picked up our tickets at the will-call window, walked down to our seats to marvel at their location and then Mrs. Wife’s cell phone rang. It was a call from home. 2-Year Old Daughter (this being her birthday, by the way) shoved a small bead deep into her ear canal and needed to go to the emergency room. 6-Year Old Daughter was dropped off at a neighbor’s house. Our neighbor, a lifesaver if ever there was one, is very, very pregnant, so we couldn’t say to her, “Thanks for watching our kid! See you when the concert ends at 1:00 in the morning!” We turned on our heels, got into our car and drove home, not having heard one bar chord. I understand he opened with Tenth Avenue Freezout.

Now who’s jealous? Tramps like us, baby we were born to have our evenings wrecked by our kids.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Death in the Family

A few months ago, Dennis, 6-Year Old Daughter’s fish, quietly passed away in his sleep. They were very close to one another so there was a tremendous amount of weeping and sorrow and mourning. The only thing she didn’t do was sit shiva or wear black. We let some time pass in order to be respectful to Dennis and last month I bought Goldie, Dennis’s replacement. This morning I changed the water and we went out for the afternoon. I must have done something to the water because when we came home, Goldie was dead, dead, dead.

Mrs. Wife sat 6-Year Old Daughter down and said, “I have something to tell you and it’s sad. Goldie died while we were out.” “Oh,” was all she said. “C’mon,” I said, “We’ll go up to your room, get her out of her bowl, take her out back and bury her.” I took her hand, walked up the stairs, opened her door and she looked into Goldie’s bowl.

“Well," she said, “that’s certainly an odd way to float. Listen, can we get a cat or a dog this time? I’m sick of these fish dying on me.” I asked if she still wanted to bury her and she said, with very little enthusiasm, “I guess so.” I told her that we could just as easily flush her down the toilet and she said, “Yea! Let’s do that! But I get to flush her!”

She’s better at letting go than I’ll ever be.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Worst. Parents. Ever.

Yesterday evening I was walking across 33rd St. towards Penn Station for the long train ride home when I witnessed a horrible sight; thousands of people streaming out of Penn Station onto Seventh Avenue. The last time I saw a mass of people that large all pouring down an Avenue in one direction, a jet had just slammed into a skyscraper. Thankfully, it was nothing that serious. It was a train station power failure—every commuter's worst nightmare. The dumb masses scattered in search of a way home. There's a ferry across town that goes to New Jersey and there's always the lovely, dignity-sucking busses of Port Authority.

To hell with all that, thought I. These problems have a way of correcting themselves in two or three hours, so instead of running around town in the stupefying heat trying to find an alternate way out of the city, I walked around the corner to the Loew's 34th St. movie theater and saw The Dark Knight instead. It was quite good, although not as good as they say it is. I'll tell you what they're right about, though—Heath Ledger deserves an Oscar. Creepy x 1,000.

By the time I got to the theater the movie had already been playing for about five minutes. Under normal circumstances, that would have been a deal-killer for me. I HATE walking into a movie late, but these were extenuating circumstances and it couldn't be helped. I was a bit euphoric over the quick-thinking originality of my decision to not follow the masses and instead use that time in a more entertaining fashion. Good ideas don’t bubble up in my head very often so when they do, it’s something to celebrate. I flew up four flights of escalators to the theater, threw open the door, chugged up the ramp to the seats and at the top of the ramp, right before you turn left into the seating area, there it was:

A stroller.

What kind of fucking horrible shithead monsters would bring a little baby into a dark, noisy, violent, ugly movie like Batman!? It’s an act of absolute selfishness. A baby is like a sponge. They take in everything that’s going on around them. They were, of course, a very young couple who had gotten careless with their contraception and accidentally had a baby. Children with children. I gave them the hairy eyeball. All throughout the film you could hear the baby babble, cry and coo. I shouldn't judge. I am NOT the greatest parent of all time, that's for damn sure. There are times when I want to run and hide from the suffocating responsibility of it all. But JESUS CHRIST some people need to be STERALIZED. That poor kid doesn't stand a chance.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Planting a Seed

Stop your messing around
Better think of your future
Time you straighten right out
Creating problems in town

Stop your fooling around
Time you straighten right out
Better think of your future
Else you’ll wind up in jail

There ya go. If you know that song—a bouncy, cheerful melody wrapped around an ominous message to Rudy—it will now play over and over inside your head for the rest of the day. No need to thank me. Best trombone solo ever.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McMuzak Review

Before my meditation class last night I had dinner at McDonald’s because, as you know, I can’t do anything nice for my mind/body without first trying to sabotage my good intentions. I was hoping that during the opening mediation, the essence of my Big Mac would emanate from the pours in my skin and fill the air, making all of those closet meat eaters hungry.

While enjoying my fries, the McD’s muzak station played Love Is Like Oxygen by 70s British glam band Sweet. That song rocks! I love it! Who doesn’t? It’s one of the very first bar chord riffs I taught myself.

Love is like oxygen
You get too much it gets you high
Not enough and you’re going to die

I bit into my hamburger and suddenly realized that Big Macs are like oxygen as well. You get too much, they get you high (or sleepy or fat or constipated), not enough and you might as well die. After Sweet, they played More Than This by Roxy Music off of their seminal album Avalon, which is also a great song, but not in a jokey manner like Love Is Like Oxygen. It’s a great song in a serious manner. There’s nothing jokey about Roxy Music. I wish I were Bryan Ferry. I wouldn’t be sitting here typing in this idiot blog, I can tell you that much.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I went to sleep at 10:00 last night, woke up at midnight and have been up ever since. It doesn’t occur often enough to be considered an ongoing problem but it does happen on occasion. I’m scheduled for a workout at 5:00 and a meditation class from 7:00-9:00 p.m. There’s a fine line between being filled with meditative light and being passed out cold and I think I’m going to cross that line tonight.

* * *

During a portion of my train ride into the city we pass over a bridge that stretches across the entrance to Raritan River. It’s a pretty view, particularly at the hour I travel because I get to watch the sun come up on the Atlantic Ocean. The river is dotted with dozens of anchored sailboats, all of the occupants presumably still asleep. Everybody has problems, right? Nobody escapes the difficulties that are inherent in the human condition. But I wonder what the people inside those sailboats, gently bobbing in the morning tide, consider to be “problems?” How hard can life possibly be for them?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Unbearable Meal

The numbers of evenings during the year that Mrs. Wife can come into the city and join me for dinner are few and far between. It requires military-like planning. There are train schedules to pour over and children to abandon. Shoes and outfits must be selected and quickly rejected. A restaurant must be chosen. It’s a lot of work and these opportunities are not to be wasted. Fortunately, my food standards are so low that it’s almost impossible for me to have a bad meal. It’s the secret of life! Keep your sense of value low to the ground and almost everything becomes an unexpected treat.

So when she makes the effort to come into the city and we meet a few friends in an Italian restaurant and the food isn’t fit for dogs, it can be a bit of a disappointment. Italian! How do you fuck up Italian food? Aside from Chinese, Italian food in Manhattan is almost always a sure bet. Do yourself a favor and avoid Otto on 5th Avenue in the West Village at all costs. Undercooked pasta (should pasta be crunchy?), s-l-o-w (albeit pleasant) service and it’s not so cheap. Dinner for 4 was $120. That’s a lot of beans for causal Italian dining, don’t you think? Plus we had to sit through a story about a stolen car that went on twice as long as it should have. Mrs. Wife almost passed out into her glass of wine from the tedium.

The evening wasn’t a total bust. Mrs. Wife got into the city early, visited an old friend and had a pedicure at one of those little Korean joints. As I type this, I’m still picking undercooked bits of pasta out of the crevices in my teeth with my tongue. Vaffanculo!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Miley Cyrus Disrupted My Morning Routine

Morning is the best part of the day for me. I board my train at 6:00 a.m., meditate for a bit, read the New York Times and listen to Howard Stern. Once I get into the city I’ll either visit the gym, go to my diner and yuck it up with Miss Latino Spitfire or, if the weather is nice, I stroll over to beautiful Bryant Park, buy a cup of coffee from the java kiosk and bang out a blog entry or two on my laptop. It’s the only part of my day whereby I don’t have someone in my face asking for something. Perfect. After that, it’s all downhill.

It was another bright New York City morning, so I selected the Bryant Park option. Instead of the usual coffee-sippers, newspaper readers and early morning group Tai Chi Chuan session, I was greeted by this:

Miley Cyrus performed a free mini-concert in Bryant Park for Good Morning America. It was utter pandemonium. Psychotic parents camped out overnight on the surrounding sidewalks with their little girls! They wouldn’t have done that in “old” New York. In “old” New York, the denizens of Bryant Park would have torn the stage apart and sold it for scrap metal. How am I going to protect my daughters from this sort of pap? More importantly, I couldn’t get near my java kiosk, so Miley Cyrus owes me a cup of coffee.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

God Spoke

I attended an Open Forum with the CEO of Benevolent Dictators Inc. this morning. He is a very powerful and influential man who meets regularly with the heads of other countries to discuss the economic climate in their particular quadrant of the planet. People tremble when they find out he's in the building. I was ready to be numbed by a recitation of corporate clichés but was pleasantly surprised to find it all very interesting and cliché free.

I love listening to really articulate, intelligent people discuss the thing they're most passionate about. He gave us his current market theories and it didn't feel like a professorial lecture. I talk a pretty good game but I'm actually not all that bright so the fact that I "got it" is a testament to the clarity of his message. The best part was his discussion of emerging markets. He spoke of the importance of having "feet on the ground" (meaning "employees"—okay, so he indulged in ONE corporate cliché) in Sub-Sahara Africa, Brazil, China and the Middle East. He said there’s a historic shift of wealth out of the Western world and to these other areas. That would matter to me if I had any wealth that was about to shift.

At one point during the forum, the big video screen behind him flashed the following subtitle:

Lamp 1 is about to ignite.

An IT guy got up in a damn hurry to—I don't know what—blow on lamp 1 to cool it off, I suppose. I thought that was a fitting metaphor for the state of the U.S. markets.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Taking a Stand

I took visiting Bro and Niece on a walk though a nature preserve. The county maintains a series of beautiful walking paths that twist through some pretty thick woods. It was just two dads and their daughters out for an afternoon stroll. Tra la la. We were wondering if it was safe to let the girls get far enough ahead of us so that we could smoke some weed without them knowing, but decided that it might look really bad in a police report.

We turned a corner and a deer was standing in the middle of the path eating about 15 feet in front of us. It was pretty big and although I don’t think there was any inherent danger, it wouldn’t stop eating and move, so it made me nervous. It would occasionally look up at us but otherwise, it completely blocked the path and clearly had no intention of going anywhere. I started clapping and waving my arms. Then I sang Rush’s Tom Sawyer out loud and that didn’t do anything either! I wanted to get a pic of the girls standing in the path with the deer right behind them, so I pulled out my camera. The deer looked up, saw that I had something in my hand and took off. I’m not insinuating that the deer was photo shy, but it saw me pointing something metallic at her and that was that. I’ll always wonder what that was.

* * *

We dropped them off at Newark airport a few hours ago. I love hosting company. I got to show off my city, beaches and forest, but it’s also really nice to have my home back in order.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Somewhere My Nuts

I took visiting Bro and 8-Year Old Niece into Manhattan today. That place is better than DisneyWorld. It’s less real. I rowed them around on Central Park Lake. I love watching city folk attempt to row a boat. The preferred method for urbanites seems to be to sit facing the stern of the boat and then “pushing” the oars in the water. What a bunch of idiots!

We walked down the mall and over to the carousel. I love the Central Park carousel. I’ve been on that thing dozens of times. It was 90¢ for a long time but now it’s 2 bucks. Still worth it! There’s been a carousel on that site since 1871. The first carousel was propelled by a blind horse and a mule (much like the company I work for). There's a beautiful abstract illustration of the carousel on the first edition dust jacket of Catcher In The Rye.

I lifted 6-Year Old Daughter onto a horse, strapped her in and mounted the horse next to hers. The ride started and her face showed the kind of careless joy that is inherent in all children, but is beaten out of us as adults. The carousel has a great big Wurlitzer organ that started playing Somewhere My Love (Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago) and for some reason I got all choked up and almost wept. What an incredible puss, I am. Have you seen my testicles rolling around anywhere? They seem to be missing.

We gave the girls the choice of going on a sun-drenched boat ride in New York Harbor to the base of the Statue of Liberty or visiting M&Ms World in Times Square. They overwhelmingly voted for M&Ms World, which I took as a personal defeat.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Swamped Niece

M and C are here from Ohio for a vacation. Today, we took them to the beach. We have some spectacular waves and rip currents here today courtesy of Hurricane Bertha. Mrs. Wife, who is a Jersey Shore native and knows a lot of stuff about the ocean, told 8-Year Old Niece that rule number one when you’re at the beach is to never turn your back on the ocean. Well, she did, and a phantom wave snuck up behind her and knocked her down. M had to rush to her rescue and was also knocked over. Everyone is okay but M lost his $400 glasses. His glasses are sleeping with the fishes. The appeal of coming out here and staying with us was that it’s an inexpensive trip. That’s called an irony.

* * *

I was on the train the other night having a delightful time knocking out someone’s phone call when I glanced over at the reading material in his lap. Here’s what he was in the middle of:

New York Distinctions Supplement: Criminal Law

Does anybody know what that is? I suddenly felt the weight of the illegality of my cell phone jammer. I didn’t stop using it. It just made it all the more thrilling.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dinner and a Shoe

I had dinner in the West Village with H this evening. It was spectacular out. One of those warm, low humidity nights that make you want to walk the streets forever. I met her at Pearl River on Broadway. Pearl River is a bit hard to describe. It’s two floors of Chinese knick-knacks and clothing. Martial arts weapons. Imported foods. Dishware. Stuff. It’s great. You can walk into that place for a greeting card and end up spending $50 on nothing at all. I bought new Chinese house slippers for Mrs. Wife and myself. They have cloth bottoms and wear out pretty quickly, so I bought three pair each. Only $5.95 a pair! You can’t beat it! They are insanely comfortable and lightweight for the summer.

We walked across Broome through Soho, up Wooster and into the West Village. We went into three different restaurants and they didn’t feel quite right. Finally walked into Lupa and without even looking at the menu H said, “This is it. Let’s eat here.” Her feminine intuition was right on the money because it was one of the best meals I’ve had in quite some time. I had pappardelle with duck ragu. We split a prosciutto, parmesan and escarole croquette appetizer. They came in five small balls on a plate. I could have eaten 50 of them. Even the Italian beer was satisfying. A scoop of moose tracks on a sugar cone at the Tast-D-Lite on Bleecker for desert.

* * *

Visitors arrive tomorrow for five days. Brother and niece from the Buckeye State. I love showing off the city. When I take tourists into the city, I see it through their eyes and it reminds me of how lucky I am to live out here. I’ve never lost my appreciation for this place, but a fresh coat of paint never hurts. Oh yea, we’ll probably do some stuff in New Jersey as well.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Sally Field Day

I tend to live in a vacuum and sometimes think that nobody out there knows I’m alive. Well, here’s proof to the contrary. On my birthday:

I woke up and on the table where I have my 5:20 a.m. bowl of Sugar Pops were two cards; one from Mrs. Wife and a hand-drawn one from 6-Year Old Daughter. Nothing beats the artwork of a child.

Maria, my Puerto Rican waitress at the diner, asked why I had such a big grin on my face so I told her it was my birthday. I revealed my age and she said, “Aye! Jooo haf veddygoodskin!” When I left, she handed me a bag with three cookies in it, winked, and put her index finger to her lips—the international symbol for keep my mouth shut.

Boss lady at Benevolent Dictators Inc. brought in a truly scrumptious lemon mousse cake. There was no singing, thank god.

Marylyn, the grand old dame from Queens receptionist, keeps a supply of scratch-off lotto tickets in her desk and doles one out to people who are having a birthday. I won $20! I asked her how old she thought I was. She guessed way low! I said I’d tell her my real age but to please not repeat it to anyone. She said, “Well, then, you’d better not tell ME!” I didn’t.

Two of my colleagues went to Barnes & Nobel on their lunch break and bought me a $30 gift card. They put it in a birthday card that played a Motown song when I opened it.

I got an email birthday greeting from a friend in London whom I have not heard from in a very long time. Gone, but not forgotten!

I receive the green light from our hosts and the in-law-baby sitters to go ahead and book a trip to London in September. It’s payback to for DisneyWorld.

Someone at started a happy birthday thread for me.

In the evening, I attended another Buddhist philosophy/meditation class. It was very satisfying.

* * *
How the hell am I supposed to feel sorry for myself with all that going on? My curmudgeon cred is being compromised. Thank you, all.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pasties and a G-String

Mrs. Wife said that mother- and father-in-law asked what I wanted for my birthday. I told her that they should buy me a lap dance. I thought that was so funny but all I got was The Look. Truthfully, my in-laws lead fairly sedate lives and I don’t think they know what a lap dance is. And I wouldn’t really want one anyway. I’ve never frequented strip clubs and I’m not about to start now. When I lived in Phoenix, I lived right across the street from a very popular strip club but I never went. Not once! There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re just not for me. I’ve never enjoyed myself on the few occasions that I visited one. Strip clubs are like Las Vegas: they somehow manage to project an image of glamour and raw sexuality, but when you get up close and examine what’s under the rock, all you find are heartbroken and lonely people. And I mean the men and the women.

I could never buy into the fantasy. Most men (heck, probably ALL men except for me) have no problem imagining that these women—perfect physical specimens one and all—would like nothing more than to go home with them and head straight to the bedroom. No questions asked before, no obligations after. It's innocent enough. They know it’s all just a daydream, so they roll with it and have a good time. My experience has always been that as soon as my wallet was empty, I was persona non grata. It’s dating in New York all over again. I don’t need to pay someone to reject me because I ran out of cash. I’ve gotten PLENTY of that in the past for free and the less I dredge up those memories, the better.

I always end up feeling sorry for the girls. How detached do you need to be in order to be good at something like that? Have you seen what some of the men look like? They ain’t Richard Gere, although many of the girls are as beautiful as Julia Roberts. I listen to Howard Stern almost daily and he has an unending parade of strippers and porn actors on. He’s a master interviewer and in almost every instance, he’s able to extract some underlying sadness or tragedy that drove them to strip for a living.

M dated a stripper for a short time. Once, after he picked her up from work, they got into a terrible argument. She was sitting in the front passenger seat and kicked his windshield with the heel of her stiletto shoe so hard that it put a crack in it that slowly spread over the following months. So you have to be careful of strippers because they can have a volatile temper. Although, I hear the sex is phenomenal.

Clueless, In Many Situations

The New York Times called yesterday’s final at Wimbledon and “epic battle” and “one of the greatest tennis matches ever played…” I feel like I missed out on something really important but, I apologize Mr. Nadal, I just don’t care about tennis at all. To me, it’s no different than watching two people play Pong on an old Atari. I’m sure there’s more to it than that but it eludes me. I use to date a girl who played a lot of tennis and she tried to explain the scoring system to me on three separate occasions. My eyes glazed over each time and it never sunk in. When I put a wall up, I make a commitment to my detachment.

Speaking of detachment...

I am the world’s worst babysitter. I was simultaneously babysitting 2-Year Old Daughter and creating a set of back-up system disks for the new HP. I forgot about the babysitting part and snapped out of it just in time to see that she had colored her hands a deep blue with a marker and was about to color the new carpet in the office. I used my ninja like speed and snatched it out of her hand, causing her to let out a shriek, and then a screech, which was quickly followed by a wail.

Babysitting a 2-year old is an acquired skill that I haven’t quite mastered yet. And don’t let Mrs. Wife—in fact, let’s expand on that—don’t let ANY wife catch you categorizing time spent with your 2-year old as babysitting. Their eyes roll up into their heads, they start to vibrate and their hands clinch and unclench in quick bursts. It’s not babysitting if it’s your own child. They insist on that distinction.

Sorry, ladies, but if it looks like babysitting and feels like babysitting then it is, in fact, babysitting.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We've Been Waiting For You

Former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms just passed away. Have a nice time in hell, Senator. Tell Jerry Falwell I said hello.

* * *

Back in March, I saw Ian McShane play Max, a rage-filled father, in Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming. Yesterday, I took 6-Year Old Daughter to see Kung Fu Panda. In it, Mr. McShane plays Tai Lung, a rage-filled snow leopard who was abandoned by his father. Wheels within wheels. Mr. McShane is gettin’ paid and bravo for him, I say. The movie was surprisingly satisfying. Those kids’ movies have a way of sneaking up on you.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Free Tips from the Buddha 5

It is necessary to cultivate some discipline of mind, for an undisciplined mind always finds excuses to act selfishly and thoughtlessly. When the mind is undisciplined, the body is also undisciplined, and so is speech and action.

-Anguttara Nikaya

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Rub Me

Every 6-8 weeks I change my routine at the gym. It’s important to work different areas of your body and it also helps to combat the excruciating boredom that is inherent in exercising. I design my workouts so that I put forth the absolute minimal amount of effort. I barely break a sweat. I just want to be healthy and eat an occasional Hostess Ho-Ho without penalty. I’ve never cared much about body building or any of that crap.

The unfortunate byproduct of a new routine is a whole new set of aches and pains. The remedy for that is a massage from the delightful Kelly. It use to be the delightful Jenna, but she unceremoniously dumped me a few months ago. Kelly isn’t quite as effective a masseuse as Jenna was, but she makes up for it in cuteness. Think that doesn’t count? Well, then, you don’t understand the psyche of men. Especially married men.

Can you imagine being a masseuse? Lord. You’re locked in a room with someone who, although is in the process of being pampered, spends an hour complaining (especially the men, according to Kelly), it looks exhausting as hell and god forbid you get someone who has hygiene issues. From a client’s standpoint, I have to say that it takes an incredible leap of faith to remove all your clothes for a complete stranger with whom you might or might not have chemistry with. It took me a while to become comfortable doing it, but I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten past my initial hesitation. Yea, right there. That’s where I hurt the most.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Watching Your Breath

Last year I developed a passing interest in Buddhism. I just attended a class on meditation and Buddhist philosophy. It was beautiful! I was raised Catholic and it seems to me that Buddhist philosophy is the antithesis of what I was spoon fed in parochial school. The Catholics pretty much knocked the spirituality right out of me. It all seemed to be a bit dictatorial. They’re obsessed with punishment and guilt. They beat you down in order to build you back up into what they need you to be. I was constantly being told that I was a sinner and wasn’t worthy of God’s love and I have to ask for forgiveness. But I was just a little kid! I had no idea what they were talking about! I stole a Hot Wheels from Topps once. Is that what they meant? And the church is absolutely terrified of sex. Buncha assholes. Scaring me like that.

I don’t pretend to know anything about Buddhism, but there’s a spiritual kindness and peacefulness that’s new to me. Guess what, everybody? All your troubles come from yourself. There’s no devil tempting you. You did it. Fortunately, all the answers come from the same source as the problems: yourself. The only person you should confess to is you. I love that. Christianity shouts: “YOU NEED US. WITHOUT US, YOU’LL BURN IN HELL. Oh, and by the way, GIVE US SOME MONEY!” Buddhism gently whispers in your ear: “You need you. Look within.” I think I might attend another class.