How Married Life Is Treating Me

Take a look at my girlfriend.

Because I'm gross, I play video games on my cell phone while I'm sitting on the toilet (or, as we say in Missouri, "ter-lit"). When I'm playing Tetris while copping a squat my phone will automatically re-direct my calls to voicemail and hold my text messages. Honestly, I wish it wouldn't do that, but I don't get that many cell phone calls anyway.

For some reason, though, my phone decided to remind me of my father-in-law's birthday while I was attaining a high score. This reset the whole game and ruined the winning streak I was working on.

Also, while typing the previous sentence, I got another alert reminding me that I'm back from my honeymoon today. As if I didn't know it.

The person who sets these alerts is, of course, not me. It's my wife. The day we got married I was receiving a cell-phone-alert every 45 minutes reminding me that I was getting married. In retrospect, I'm glad I had those alerts because there were times when I forgot why I was wearing a tuxedo and had no money.

Since the wedding people have been asking me if I feel any different. My standard answer is no, but now that I have health insurance I hope to feel better. In reality, the only thing that's changed is the title.

Kim is now "my wife." I am now "her husband."

Those titles carry a different connotation than "my fiancee" or "my girlfriend." If I were to say to you, "My fiancee wants to have lunch with me," it'd sound sweet, romantic, even cute. But when "my wife" wants to have lunch with me it sounds like a hassle. If I, as Kim's "boyfriend," am too tired to make dinner, then it's because I've worked hard all day and I need to relax. If I, as her "husband," am too tired to make dinner, then I'm a lazy prick.

The reason for this, I suspect, is pop culture, specifically television. In the movie Knocked Up (which I bought on DVD last night) Paul Rudd's character compares married life to an unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond (as if Everybody Loves Raymond could be less funny). We view marriage this way because, increasingly, the TV is the family we have, thus the only thing to compare ourselves to.

Now, I'm not stupid enough to think that the antics of Ray Romano speak to my life in any way, but Everybody Loves Raymond, Mad About You, and similar TV shows do shape our societal opinion of what interpersonal relationships are supposed to be, especially when it comes to marriage. The wife is annoying, the husband is lazy, the kids are smarter than both of them, etc. Real life isn't like this (or, at least, I hope it isn't).

When it comes to Kim and me, the split is about fifty-fifty. Half the time I'm right, half the time she is. Half the time I'm annoying her, half the time she's annoying me. Half the time I start the fight, half the time she does. I'm no bumbling fool and she's no controlling shrew. We're just two normal people.

Anyway, I'll let you know how married life goes. Happy birthday to my father-in-law, John Lennon, and the oldest kid from Home Improvement.


Typing Pool


The head saleswoman at my office can't type. Apart from putting unnecessary ... ellipses ... and -- dashes ------- in the middle of every --- ... fucking ... --- sentence, she also ends every sentence with a string of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!She also doesn't put spaces between sentences or words when separated by things like commas,colons:and semi-colons;.

She speaks in odd fragments and generally does anything and everything in her power to drive me up the fucking wall. Sometimes, though, when typos do occur (and it's tough to tell sometimes because her spelling is abysmal) they are pretty funny.

Above, we have some copy that she submitted to me today to be produced. The full statement at the start of the commercial is supposed to be:

"This time of year means it's time to seal and caulk your driveway before the start of fall rain and winter temperatures."

What was written, as you can see, was:

"This time of year means it's time to seal anus caulk!!!!!!!! Your driveway before the start of fall rain and winter temperatures."

I'm confused as to whether I should seal my anus caulk or procure caulk that is somehow made from seal anuses (annui?).

That is all.

Self Portrait


Things you may care to know about me.

When I was eight years old, two bad things happened to my grandmother at the same time. The first was that she lost a tooth while eating black-licorice-flavored taffy, the second was that she died after a long, painful battle with lupus. Since the news of her lost tooth came within a few weeks of her being admitted to the hospital for what would turn out to be the final time, I assumed the taffy was the culprit. In my primitive, eight-year old mind, taffy gave you lupus, lupus killed you, ergo, taffy killed people, specifically, my grandma. I didn't eat taffy for, like, a month until someone explained to me that this was not, in fact, the case.

I consider my opinion of rap to be somewhat invalid because I immediately like every rap album I hear. I have a friend who is a huge fan of both Radiohead and the Flaming Lips, but every time one of these bands releases a new album, he immediately pans it because it's not as good as OK Computer or The Soft Bulletin. Eventually he comes around to the newer work, which makes me think his reaction to the new material is misguided at best, knee-jerk at worst, therefore, while I value his opinion, I don't always take it to heart. The same goes for me with rap; I loved As Cruel as Schoolchildren by Gym Class Heroes, Black Sunday by Cypress Hill, and Get Rich or Die Tryin' by 50 Cent. In fact the first two of these albums are good, but not great, and the 50 Cent one sucks ass. Anyway, what I'm saying is, if I offer my opinion on a rap album, ask me how long I've owned it. If the answer is less than two months, ignore whatever I have to say.

Inexplicably, about six months ago, I started hating McDonald's food. No, it's not because I watched Supersize Me! (which, honestly, only made me want a burger more), and it's not because I became a health nut (because I'm not), and it's not because I dislike fast food in general (I still go to Burger King, Hardee's, and the Jack-In-the-Box on a somewhat regular basis). I can't point to a particular incident, insight, or introspection that made me swear off the golden arches, but anymore the food actually makes me sick to my stomach to think about. This sucks because my fiancée loves Big Macs.

No matter how hard I try, I can't bring myself to drink more than a sip of tequila I'm not saying I should be drinking tequila, I'm just saying I can't. That's all.

Despite my disdain for all things reality TV, I really like America's Got Talent. Even though it features David Hasslehoff and Jerry Springer ... Even though it's a derivative of American Idol (a show that I can't stand) ... Even though the grammar in the title is poor, at best ... Something about this trainwreck of beatboxers, ventriloquists, and Boy Shakiras appeals to me.

"Always Be My Baby" is a fantastic song. If you disagree, go fuck yourself.

The older I get, the more I enjoy small towns. Sure, the citizen's can be dangerously conservative and the economy is always ripe for death at the hands of a big-box store, but small-town atmosphere (old brick buildings, decorated shopfronts, neighborly behavior) always charms me. When I was growing up in St. Louis County, I used to watch movies about people living in urban areas. Sure, St. Louis is a city, but it's not a city the way that places like New York, LA, or Chicago are cities. I always fantasized about moving to the cities I saw in Ghostbusters or Ferris Bueller's Day Off or whatever. At the same time, I was convinced that if I somehow made it to one of these places, I'd drown. Now, I feel neither way. I'm entranced by the charm of cobblestone streets and stores that sell angel dolls made out of rope. And I feel no burning need to make my home in any city bigger than St. Louis, though I'm not saying I won't. By and large, I've met far more open-minded, artistic, diverse people by living in small towns than I have by going to bigger ones. Of course, I have to ignore the bigots, but that's true of almost anywhere.

I never know where I want to sit. Going to the movies, going out to eat ... I never know where to sit. If you happen to be going somewhere with me - good news! - you get to pick where we sit. If you leave it up to me, we'll be in the back of the theater or near the window, mmm-kay?


Such a dirty screen.

I remember the sexiness of the laptop computer.

The concept, at least to me, was fucking crazy. The idea that a personal computer could be carried from place to place, plugged in, and fully functional was ludicrous at best.

I always feel old when I express sentiments like this; "Good gosh, those kids today don't know how good they've got it and whatnot." And I know I sound old when I talk about being fascinated by .mp3 players, camera phones, and things like that. I go to the Apple Store or the Sharper Image and stand, aghast at all the technology, like John Wayne confronting a horseless carriage or one of the apes from 2001 pondering a monolith that looks suspiciously like an iPod.

That being said, I'm no neophyte when it comes to technology. I understand the concepts of a computer well enough to articulate them to a child, which is more than I can say for some members of my family, but that doesn't mean that I'm without wonder.

Right now I'm sitting on the sidewalk, at a coffee shop a block up the street from my apartment, drinking coffee, listening to iTunes and typing these words. I know this is hardly innovative to anyone else in the world, but let me point something out: I've never used a laptop for its intended purpose.

Oh, sure I've used my fiancee's laptop before. Before we moved to our current place, the laptop was the only computer we used at home. It had wireless Internet, which was more than we could say for our desktop PC. The laptop was always positioned on the coffee table in our living room or on the kitchen table and it was used for everything - checking e-mail, paying bills, downloading music, playing games, consuming porn, etc., etc. - while the desktop was used mostly for burning DVDs and playing free cell. I used the laptop as a desktop, at home and rarely anywhere else.

But now that the aforementioned desktop is snugly connected to the Internets I find myself rarely, if ever, using the laptop. I do my writing at home, I do my work at work, and that's pretty much it. Honestly, I'm not sure that this computer has ever been used outdoors.

Until now.

And I'm deathly afraid a bird will shit on it.


Pumpkin Pie


One of my favorite things in the world is a neon sign on a cloudy day. Another one of my favorite things is pumpkin pie. This doubly explains what I was doing at Cowan's - the home of the mile-high slice of pie - this Saturday afternoon.

After having far too much discussion of my impending wedding I decided to leave the apartment for a while. Between my mother, my sister, and my aunt I had spent almost four hours answering questions I couldn't answer.

"What kind of flowers did you end up getting for the wedding?"

"How long an aisle runner do you need?"

"You do have a back-up plan in case of rain, right?"

After sitting in my bedroom with the shades pulled, I decided, around one o'clock to put some clothes on and head into the real world. I changed the outgoing message on my voicemail to reflect what I had to do. It took a few times to get it right. My voicemail kept cutting me off, making it sound like a suicide note:

"Hey, you've reached Ray's cell phone. Sorry, but I can't answer right now; the stress of my impending wedding has gotten to me and I'm walking down the street to ... "


How can you end that sentence?

"I'm walking down the street to the liquor store to drink myself to death."

"I'm walking down the street to the gun store and buying the biggest firearm I can find so I can shoot randomly into a crowd."

"I'm walking down the street to the Missouri River and throwing myself in! See ya never!"

Finally, after much frustration I figured out how to reset the record time. Then:

"Hey, you've reached Ray's cell phone. Sorry, but I can't answer right now; the stress of my impending wedding has gotten to me and I'm walking down the street to get some pie, some coffee, and some quiet time with a book. Leave a message, and I'll call you back as soon as humanly possible. Thanks."


At Cowan's I seated myself and ordered a cup of coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

One of my favorite television commercials is one for Campbell's Soup. It's a Christmas-y ad featuring a little snowman walking out of a suburban backyard during a blizzard. He comes into the kitchen and sits down to a big bowl of Campbell's Tomato Soup. As the coals on his face bend into a smile the snowman begins to melt revealing he's not a snowman at all, but a young boy. As he eats the soup a song plays about Campbells Soup warming the heart or something like that.

I love that commercial because I (and I suspect everyone else) can relate to sitting down to a homemade meal and letting the problems of the day fall down in clumps.

At Cowan's I sat down to a piece of cold pie and a cup of warm coffee and let my toubles melt away.

I'm getting married in a little over two weeks. I only have one paycheck between now and then. I have ten days til my bachelor party, sixteen days til my wedding, and seventeen til my honeymoon. That's soon. That's retardedly soon.

A few weeks ago my fiancee, Kim, asked me if I was nervous. Of course, no was the correct answer and it was the answer I gave, but it was also an honest answer. I'm not nervous, apprehensive, or otherwise afraid. I don't feel like I'm giving anything up by getting married.

She doesn't deliver any ultimatums, she doesn't issue any restrictions, and she doesn't give me any reason to doubt her motives. I'm as ready as ready can be to continue my life with her.

Fall's coming and with it comes the promise of longer nights, colder days, and more pumpkin pie, and I can't imagine anyone else I'd like to share any of that with.


Just Gropin' You, Rolling In the Mud

Where my income goes.

You know what's hard? Trying to find an amusing anecdote from my day that I can somehow parlay into a dissertation about the Dave Matthews Band. I did this once by talking about strippers, but, sadly, there have been no strange naked women dancing in my home today and I have neither the energy nor funds to seek them.

You see, I've recently become addicted to the Discovery Channel, specifically the shows MythBusters and Dirty Jobs. This weekend I spent the good majority of my time watching Dirty Jobs with your host Mike Rowe (who has to be the most charismatic motherfucker this side of Xzibit), while I spent the bulk of my afternoon watching MythBusters.

With all this TV-watching, there is little that can surprise me, commercial-wise. I'm aware that there are at least two movies coming out this weekend, Good Luck Chuck (which I won't see) and The Brothers Solomon (which I might see*). I also know that Colgate can make my teeth whiter, Tide will make my brights brighter, and the iPhone will make me happier than I could ever possibly imagine.

Anyway, as I was watching MythBusters a commercial I had never seen before came on. It's Dave Matthews and his band sitting around some sort of warehouse talking about a contest. You see, if you win this contest, the Dave Matthews Band will come play a gig at your college.

OMFG, as the kids say.

Never before have I heard of such a perfect marketing ploy. College students are the only people who will ever pay money to see a Dave Matthews Band gig. Once, in high school, I had the opportunity to see Dave Matthews play. I opted to go to prom. Others didn't. But if I were in college and stupid and stoned and stupid and bored and stupid and hard-up for celibate relationships with faux-hippie trust-fund babies and stupid, maybe the choice would've been clearer.

Now, before I get accused of being a music snob, let me make a full disclosure: I like crappy music.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the cerebral sounds of Radiohead and the Beta Band. I enjoy the political bent of music from Arlo Guthrie to R.E.M. I love soul, R&B, and rap. But, on the other hand, I enjoy the sounds of Poison, Seal, and Garth Brooks. In fact, given the choice of any era of music to listen to, I'd probably pick the the 90s, hands down, every time.

Case in point; so far, while writing this, I've been listening to the Goo Goo Dolls, Prince, Ani DiFranco, Matchbox20, and the Foo Fighters on my iTunes.**

And, in spite of my criticisms, I actually like most of the Dave Matthews catalogue. Before These Crowded Streets is a fantastic album, and Under the Table and Dreaming is pretty good, too. I like a handful of his singles, like "Ants Marching," "Where Are You Going?," and "Everyday," but the fact that he's become the beacon light of almost a whole generation of privileged college kids and their moms (oh yes, I went there) means that I dislike his fans much more than I dislike him or his music.

Maybe it's the shotgun effect; maybe, since he has such a broad appeal his fanbase is bound to encompass people I dislike, and maybe I shouldn't damn him for that. I'm quick to point out that people who like country music aren't inbred hicks, people who like gangsta rap aren't menaces to society, and people who like Morrisey aren't gay,*** so maybe it's time I prove to myself that Dave Matthews Band fans aren't ... well, aren't all the nasty things I called them a few paragraphs up.

I was having a conversation with one of the women I work with a few days ago. This 40-something woman was going to see Nickelback and Puddle of Mudd with her 18 year old son. (Yes, I did, in fact laugh. Not at her or her kid, but at anyone who would see a Nickelback show.) As we talked we shared anecdotes of seeing different bands. I told her about my grandfather who, while on leave from his army base in Texas, saw Elvis Presley open for Hank Williams, Sr. at a county fair full of screaming, swooning, fainting teenage girls.

My co-worker talked about seeing the Grateful Dead play in St. Louis weeks before Jerry Garcia died in 1995 and how the interstate was at a dead standstill with cars heading downtown to see the Grateful Dead play. The parking lot was full of everything from BMWs to minivans to VW microbuses and the seats were full of people from every age, racial, or income bracket. These people couldn't've known this show was one of Garcia's last, so it had to be the band itself that brought such a huge cross-section of people to one rock show.

Granted, the Dead had a full thirty years of exposure under their belt at this point, and they presided over some of the most tumultuous years of rock history, but I'd be remiss not to admit that the Dave Matthews Band is on the fast track to becoming the new Dead (and Matthews himself would be stupid not to recognize that he's the new Garcia).

How do I know this?

Let's go back to my iTunes; Currently, I'm playing "Happy" by Sister Hazel. Not a bad song; not their "hit," but their "other song." If you look at DMB's contemporaries, they all had their "hit," their "other song," and their "oh, that's them?" song. Sister Hazel made their name with "All for You" (you remember that one), then followed up with "Happy" (do you remember that one?), which was followed sometime later with "Champagne High" (which no one but me remembers).

The same line can be plotted for Fastball: "The Way" followed by "Out of My Head" followed by "You're an Ocean" followed by nothing at all.****

Or, consider the Wallflowers; "One Headlight" was followed by "Sixth Avenue Heartache" which was followed by "That One Song That Was the Theme Song to That CBS Show About a Lawyer Or Social Worker Or Something." With the exception of some sub-par covers of David Bowie and Van Morrison songs, there's little else to discuss about them.

My point is, despite being contemporaries of these groups, Dave Matthews has stuck around, and not because he's any better than them musically (the man's latest song is called "Eee-Hee," for Christssakes ...), but because his fans continue to perpetuate the idea that his songs and albums are "deep" (translation: better when stoned). There's nothing "deep" about Rob Thomas or Fall-Out Boy, let alone Jay-Z or Maroon 5 (although I think the chorus of "Makes Me Wonder" is about coming to grips with man's inherit atheism, but that's another story). Anymore, Dave Matthews' music is a rite of passage for college kids, a way of shaking off what you listened to at prom, a way of defining yourself as a "college kid." It's not unlike Bob Marley, the Doors, and the aforementioned Garcia-fronted stoner band (Jewel used to be on this list, too, but then she did a song for a Batman movie, thus "selling out.")

Honestly, the only thing more appropriate than a college concert with the Dave Matthews Band would be Kenny Chesney holding a private concert for my dad.

*I'm thinking about seeing The Brothers Solomon - which stars Will Arnet - and Superbad - which stars Michael Cera - back to back so I can pretend Arrested Development is still on the air.

**Side note: Is there a better pop single than "Big Me" by the Foo Fighters? Maybe "I'll Cry Instead" by the Beatles or "Young Folks" by Peter, Bjorn, and John, but that's quite a maybe.

***This is somewhat difficult.

****This actually isn't true. In 2003, Fastball put out Keep Your Wig On which was fantastic. I highly recommend it. Actually, I recommend all of Fastball's albums, especially The Harsh Light of Day.


How I Spent My Labor Day Weekend

Smoke from a distant fire.

Apologising for not blogging is as cliched as ... well, it's as cliched as apologising for not blogging, so I won't subject you to it (even though I did just kinda-sorta, backwardly apologise just now).

Over the long Labor Day weekend, Kim and I escaped the tentacles of Washington and headed into St. Louis. For the past nine years, I've made it a point to go to the Big Muddy Blues Festival on Laclede's Landing in downtown St. Louis. Before heading to the riverfront, Kim and I visited the St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park.

It was walking back to our car that we saw something on fire. It's not obvious from the picture, but since the smoke is coming from beyond the trees of Forest Park, it has to be a building in the Central West End area. All of this means nothing (or next to nothing) to non-natives, but, let me assure you that St. Louisans know that this is no good.

It's a credit to my journalistic ingenuity that I didn't bother to look up anything about the smoke (which appeared Sunday). In a day and age that allows me the privilege of googling anything at any time, I can't be bothered to figure out what was on fire in a picture I took.

But, it's also late at night, so I think I've earned a pass.


Transmissions From a Bloated, Pasty, Hairy Torso

Dead leaves and the dirty ground.

When I left for work today, I was all set to drive. I got out of bed, showered, got dressed, grabbed my keys, and walked down to the street with my truck key singled out, in my had, ready to unlock my door, get in, and drive to work. Then, I opened the door and walked into the cool of the morning and the bright sun.

Okay, I'll openly admit that I'm exaggerating. I say "cool of the morning" like it's a crisp sixty degrees. In all honesty, it was more like a kind seventy-five, but it was nice nonetheless, especially after considering we were under a "heat advisory" for the bulk of last week.

I did, in fact, open my truck and I got out my headphones and walked to work listening to the latest episode of Skepticality on my iPod. Somewhere between Michael Shermer saying something and Phil Plait saying something else, I saw the leaves in the above picture.

I realize it's not autumn yet. I realize autumn won't officially come around until sometime next month, but seeing dead leaves lying in the gutter gave me hope.

Like most fat people, I hate the summer with a passion. I hate sweating, I hate feeling obligated to be outside all the time, I hate people wanting to go to the beach and go swimming and then questioning me as to why I won't take my shirt off and expose my bloated, pasty, hairy torso to the world.

But I like the fall.

I like jackets, scarfs, and long pants. I love walking through leaves, I love cool breezes, I love opening the windows of my house and letting the clean air in. I like Thanksgiving and I love Halloween and I can't wait to wear my winter hats.

I'm ready for cool weather and cool jackets, and today, the sight of dead leaves on the ground gave me hope that the hot weather shall someday pass and I'll be living in a fall wonderland, bracing myself for a long winter of wishing it were summer.


Kissin' Cousin Itt

Neat, sweet, and petite.

Yes, today I took a picture of my TV, and yes, I'm going to write about this picture, but first I want to make something clear: I generally dislike people who try to enforce certain behaviors on subcultures they don't like or understand. Not that they're a subculture, per se, but earlier tonight I had to entertain a conversation with someone who didn't understand why he, a white guy, nor I, a white guy, could call someone a "nigger" or a "nappy-headed ho." I detest people who make broad sweeping statements like, "Why can't all black people act like Bill Cosby?" or, "Why can't all lesbians act like Ellen?" or, "Why can't you kids behave more like Lloyd Braun?"*

Now, knowing that, please indulge me when I ask, why can't more goths dress and act like The Addam's Family?

Obviously I realize that the goths aren't accountable to me or anyone else for the way they look or act, and the current incarnation of goth culture doesn't confuse or frighten me. Two of the best critiques of goth culture, written by outsiders are "American Goth" by Sarah Vowell and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Chuck Klosterman. I count both of those pieces as some of the best works by their respective authors. I also cite them as one of the reasons I'm so sympathetic to the goth culture.

When I was in high school (which wasn't very long ago, unless you factor in how much things have changed since I graduated in 2001) I hung out with a wide array of people. Nerds, drama club geeks, mathletes, punks, skaters, freaks, potheads, hopheads, deadheads, etc. Of course, these rings are all part of the "unpopular" tree, so maybe my social circle wasn't as diverse as I imagined. In spite of all of this I can't think of anyone I hung out with who was truly "goth."

I had metalhead friends who wore dark clothes and wallet chains, but they didn't seem to embrace the darkness of metal culture as much as they embraced the loudness; I had pothead friends with long, dark hair who listened to the Smiths after the Smiths were popular and before the Smiths were popular again; and I had a friend who was obsessed with Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and tried to kill himself by drinking anti-freeze, but now that I think about it that was more pre-emo culture emo than actual goth.

By and large most of these people shed their dark, rebellious skin as they went through college and the workforce, which is fine. I think it's a sign of maturity when you walk by Hot Topic and you get a little annoyed. Of course, a lot of these folks are still going strong with their black eyeliner and their tiny notebooks, and that's okay, too. In my own mind, I've always likened it to the BUG phase lots of college girls go through.

BUG (or, "Bi Until Graduation") girls are the type to make out with other women at bars and frat parties, but then abruptly stop once they have diploma in hand. Now they're going out to conquer the real world and need to convince men that they're one of the boys; strong, heterosexual, etc. Real lesbians stick with it, and I admire that. That's personally why I don't trust lesbians under 25.

Anyway, back to goths. Like college graduation for BUG girls, college itself is a way of separating the wheat from the chaff in the goth world, the real ones stick with it, the rest either tone it down, save it for the weekends, or give it up all together.

I would like to suggest a fourth option: The Addams Family Goth. Not too odd, not too crazy; more "kooky" and "ookey."

Over the weekend I caught about fifteen minutes of Addams Family Values and today I caught the actual TV show, and I realized something: Gomez and Morticia were always regarded rather well, mainly because they presented themselves well. Honestly, the only people who were afraid of them were the incredibly uptight squares that confused them with someone else. Most of the time they were regarded as quirky, but well-to-do members of society who happened to have a hairy cousin and a pet hand in a box.**

Plus, while I was watching them I got a feeling I rarely get anymore: Envy. Maybe it's me maturing, getting married, settling down and all that nonsense, but I found myself wishing I could be like Gomez Addams - well-dressed, well-spoken, cultured, wise, and confident - when I become the paterfamilias of my little family. That's something I've rarely wished from the goth camp, but, by my own admission, I don't know them very well. The goths have always seemed a little gloomy for my taste, but the Addams family was always optimistic, wild-eyed, and awestruck with the world around them. Perhaps that's what happens when your house is a museum.

*Bonus points if you got that reference.

**By the way, if and when I ever develop any type of musical acumen, I hereby reserve the band name "Hairy Cousin and the Hand In the Box" for myself. Thank you for your understanding.


Old Ladies' Bras

Going down?

Since the Minnesota bridge collapse, there's been a lot of talk about our country's "aging infrastructure" (for whatever reason, that phrase always makes me think of old ladies' bras). The bridges, roads, and buildings are all in such disrepair - usually because of the government, the liberals, or the Mexicans depending on who you ask - that we are taking our lives into our own hands by simply waking up in the morning.

Americans like this feeling. Like we're somehow taking a risk by leaving our homes, subjecting ourselves to harm. Harm from illegal immigrants, the bird flu, Osama bin Laden, gay marriages, and the road falling out from under us. The only thing holding our hearts above those of others is our unshakable faith in the Almighty White Heterosexual Christian God.

However, unlike illegal aliens and Adam and Steve nuptials, bridges falling down is kind of a problem, inasmuch as it's happened in the recent past and the Department of Transportation is trying to do something about it.

Now, Washington, Missouri may be behind the curve on lots of things - our public schools don't have air-conditioning and every TV in McDonald's dining room is tuned to Fox News - but this ain't one of them. You see, last December, one of the buildings on Main Street fell down. The details are sketchy (or, rather, I don't remember them all), but the building didn't fall because of some sort of controlled demolition, but rather because it was old and in disrepair. After the smoke cleared and the street re-opened, the fathers of the community decided it was time to do a little maintenance. Since then the buildings, streets, and sidewalks of this tiny little river town have been busted up almost every day.

The building pictured above, the old Bank of Washington building, is right around the corner from my apartment. In fact, if you make a left at that "Road Closed" sign, you could ring my bell. As I was leaving for work (at 8:17 this morning) I saw this angry customer taking a bite of the brick wall.

I've seen buildings go up slowly. I've seen sledgehammers tear through drywall like it's paper. I don't know that I've ever seen a brick wall actually crumble until this morning on my way to work.

Of course, I've never seen a man shot and killed, either, nor have I seen a person suffer from bird flu or have the sanctity of their marriage eroded because a couple of gay guys want to be happy.*

All in all, I've been pretty lucky, and that is that.

*Take it from me, gay guys, if you really want to be happy, you'll find a way to get married without having a wedding.