Thursday, August 31, 2006

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time....

Monday last, August 21st, my spouse and I observed our 24th wedding anniversary.

We woke up that morning, and damn if it wasn't right there at the foot of the bed. Wow. One shy of the Silver Anniversary. That's a trifle disturbing; not that I won't be happy upon the occasion, it's just that it doesn't seem like that long ago that you had to be "old" to have been married that long. Fortunately, I was myopically wrong, wrong, wrong. There is some validity to the claim: We've both put a lot of effort into not growing up.

Now, this aroused some curiosity in me; many people our age that we know have:

-Never been married
-Would rather be shot through both kidneys than be married
-Have been married, divorced, remarried, divorced, jailed, outsourced, and so on
-Married much later than we did (i.e., late 30s & early 40s), and won't be having children. Thus, they fail to truly appreciate our achievement.
-Married much later AND started a family. This means that a number of them won't have their kid(s) turn 18 until they're past sixty.

The latter group are perhaps my favorite. OK, I admit it, I'm occasionally obnoxiously smug about that. "Yeah, I'm gonna be laughing even harder when you guys are trying to deal with teenagers in your late 50s. You have no idea! You'll be old enough to have completely forgotten what it was like to be young, and are doomed to say 'When I was your age, I-' And it will be then that you will know, without a dram of a doubt, that you're old." Yet again, I see that as a valid excuse to be swept over by a tide of mirth.

Then again, by that time, the "G" word likely will have arrived. All I can say about that is that I don't care if our daughter IS 22, you'd better not mention the frigging "G" word around me. I am not reassured by the number of my compatriots in time who already are.... have.... you know, the "G" word. It's OK for them to be old. I refuse to go quietly, and you can trust me when I say that between now & then, I'll have invented some sort of sophistry to justify the contention that I'm still not officially "old".

Many of our generation, and indeed the one preceding ours, perceive us as a couple of freaks. There are a number of perfectly viable reasons for them to do so (after all, we work awfully hard to maintain some of them). What is it that they don't get?

How can we possibly have been married for 24 years?

The sad thing is, we are in the minority. I looked up some statistics, and they're kind of depressing. The average length that a first marriage from 1982 has lasted (to date) is only 7.7 years. 43% of said marriages didn't make it to 15 years. Only 33% of the group are still married. After that, I couldn't look at any more of them. It's just sad. I realize that every marriage isn't going to work out (and sometimes for very valid reasons. Some people just don't belong together and need to split & find someone better), but I wonder if some of those people are even trying? Even the Kansas City Royals have a better winning percentage than that, and they're THE suckiest team in baseball. They're so bad, even Charlie Brown's team could crush them. They have a little shrine in their locker room to the old Washington Senators team, and they pray to God that some day, somehow, they can be as good as the Senators.

So, how do we do it? People ask us this all the time. True, there are things about us that seem to contradict what happens to "normal people", whatever they are. Such as:

-We've been married for 24 years. They have trouble just dealing with the number.
-We're both people with strong and distinct personalities. So, how do we get along?
-Even our daughter has quite the conspicuous presence (Though generally, she is much better liked). How can three such people live together, especially when we're all theatre people? How can we not argue about who's "the best one"?
-Surely, any reasonable person would have killed the other one by now.
-My wife makes friends more easily with men than women; I make friends more easily with women than men. Neither of us has a problem with that, and we don't worry about it. That's what bothers people: we don't worry about it. "Come on, don't you think he/she has been cheating on you?" they ask with perfect seriousness. Statistically, they have the back-up to justify the question. This thing we call "trust" seems like a foreign thing. It's not like we invented it. However, it's become rare enough that we might be able to get away with patenting it and making ourselves some damn money.
-No matter how many rumors get started, no matter how allegedly plausible, they don't stir up trouble between us. We just don't take them seriously. In fact, once I found out about this one particular person who's at a theatre where I've performed probably 16 plays or more, who is an incurable and unrepentant gossip? I've been having a jolly good time with him ever since! According to him, "everybody knows" that I have boinked every single leading lady I ever worked with there. This includes breaking up one marriage, not to mention the statutory implications: The very first one was only 16, and another later one was 17. All of them?? I'd love to say that I have that much charisma, but come on! Ever since I found out, I've been playing him like a cheap kazoo. Oh, not just by starting counter-rumors.... I've conspired with a whole bunch of people, and actually staged scenes between myself and a leading lady just to mess with his mind. The very best of them was the time I was doing a play that only had one man, myself, and one woman. This fellow was hanging around the dressing rooms, just itching for something to grind at the mill. We acted out a vicious argument; after a bit of it, he disappeared. Moments later, the director came backstage, terrified that we were going to refuse to go on with each other. Thought I was going to die laughing!

But, I digress.

You want to know the real "secret", the rock upon which we maintain (and will continue to maintain) our union?

Easy: Without a doubt, deep in our hearts, our minds and our souls, we know that there's not anyone else in the world who could possibly tolerate either of us. That, and the fact that we spoke those vows 24 years ago. We're too bloody stubborn, either one of us, to admit the merest hint of the possibility that we might have been wrong.

Oh, yes, there is one other thing: Every day, we look each other in the eye (twice, actually, because we both have two eyes) and do something that, by the numbers, not a lot of people do.

We find ourselves falling in love with one another just a little bit more.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Spell Check? Check. Intelligence Check? Hello??

It used to be that newspapers had these people called "editors".
Oh, they still do; but they don't do the same things anymore. This gives them all the more time to make the staff miserable. One of the things that they don't do anymore is read the copy to make sure that it doesn't come across as stupidly as your average Congressional hearing. Sure, that's a tall order, but not as tall as the first example I'll give. Allow me to explain....

Every Friday, our paper generously allows people to post an ad on a special page in the Local section (it's not formatted like classified ads) if they have something they want to sell for $300 or less. (Timmy, this does not include people. Leave your sister alone! You and that loud-mouthed dog of yours....). They let these people write their own ads, and post them "as is". I'm starting to wonder if maybe this page is actually for entertainment rather than commerce.

I swear, I'm not making any of these up. "Reality" has become such a parody of itself, it can be awfully hard to find hyperbole that goes far enough.

Pet door; 8 ft. tall, never used, $80 - What the hell kind of a pet needs an eight-foot-tall door?! MY doors aren't even eight feet tall. I'm betting it's part of an estate sale. Because the animal was so big, it never got out the door. Neither did the owner, at least in an undigested form.

Thumb piano; carved hummingbirds $100 - I wouldn't worry so much, except that there's a semicolon between the two items. Still, you have to be impressed with someone who can find a way to carve a hummingbird. Where the hell is PETA in all this? Oh, spotted owls, fine, but screw the hummingbirds! On another tangent, I'd pay $100 to see a guy screw a hummingbird, PETA or no PETA.

I hope whatever that thing is that needs an eight-foot pet door is housebroken. And how big would the litter box have to be? You couldn't use that fancy "clumping" litter that supposedly absorbs & kills the smell immediately. One, where are you going to find a scoop that big? Two, it doesn't matter, because that load is going to be too heavy to lift, anyway.

Golf clubs; T-Rex driver, graphite shafts - Say.... maybe the pet was a T-Rex, and this item is supposed to be used to herd the thing to where you want it to go. Such as going through the 8 foot pet door, or heading to the litter box before it's too late. I don't think graphite is up to that. I'm betting this is from an estate sale, too.

Man.... if the eight-foot-tall-door-needing pet, whatever it may be, isn't housebroken, what are you supposed to do about it? It's not like you'd have the upper hand and could coerce the thing. "No, no, that's fine. Really, I don't mind; it's (gag) lovely, I wouldn't dream of moving it. The genuine Persian rug dating back to the reign of Xerxes? Yes, uh, that's exactly what it needed."

Oxygen tank; breathing type, portable, gauges, carrying case, like new - Uh, if it's "like new", it sounds like it might not work all that well. Somebody who was recently using it is now swutting well dead. Baaaad karma. And no, it won't help you get the smell out of the Persian rug.

Windsurfing sail; Neilpryde 7.0, w/ bag, clear, nearly new - Huh?? Well, the shark attacks have been pretty bad this year.... I guess the reason it didn't swallow the sail along with the board and rider is that it's clear and it didn't see it.

Land shark? Nah, couldn't be.

Marlboro miles; 1000 count, $.03 cents ea. - Yet another estate sale? Smoking enough Marlboros to collect 1000 miles is walking the road straight to lung cancer, my friend. Or, maybe the late smoker decided to switch brands and walk the 1000 miles for a camel instead. I try to stay away from asking about peoples sex fetishes. Also, if you're interested, stick it to them on the price. $.03" makes the addition of "cents" redundant, doesn't it? But.... taken literally, that's $30 instead of $300, and dammit, that's how they listed it! Now you can get those azalea seeds you've had your eye on!

Go ahead.... Tell your gargantuan pet that it can't smoke in the house. You know, like most houses, my ceilings are only eight feet high. To put a pet door that size in, you'd have to knock out a big section of an exterior wall. That's a pretty major piece of remodeling. "Adding on a new room?" asks Phil. "Nah, it's just a pet door." "Oh." Phil is fairly dense, and gets halfway back home before he thinks about it. "No," he thinks, "he must've meant something else." Naively, Phil visits on the day the "pet" is brought home. Maybe Phil is its first meal, and maybe it's what's left of Phil that's dissolving your Persian rug.

Day bed; blue frame, accepts twin-sized mattress - It doesn't come with a mattress? Well, it's not much of a bed, then, is it, no matter what time it is. Just as well; how much sleep are you going to get with "Spot" roaming around the house?

Fan; lavender, w/ 4 blades - A lavender fan?? Ah, that would go perfectly with-- a lavender fan wouldn't go with anything! But, if "Spot" likes it, be glad that it's only ten bucks. Hang it in the room with the desecrated rug, but I don't think it's going to help.

Cookbooks; never used, Grande Diplome, 24 book set - Oh, right.... how are you supposed to tell that they've never been used? Anyone out there have the knack of being able to tell if a page is a "virgin"? It was close by, and I was curious enough to go investigate. They are so lying. Half of the pages are stuck together, that's all I'm saying.

Hey, I'll bet we've finally discovered an animal that Purina doesn't make a Chow for!

First Harley Davidson Hallmark ornament; "Heritage Springer", never used, 3 available, $25.00 ea. - Nothing says "Christmas" to me more than "Harley-Davidson"! This is great! Now I finally have the last figurine for my Nativity scene.

LOOKING FOR LOVE? Cat depot to the rescue! - Shouldn't this be in the "Personals" section? Besides, why the code? If you're looking for a woman to have sex with, just come out and say so. If she's a blonde, she may not catch the reference to a certain word that you can use instead of "cat"; that's a different animal altogether. Both carnivores, though.

Good God! What do you do when "Spot" goes into heat?? You know that you're going to have to find a way to deal with it, because there's not a vet in the world that would try to neuter that thing. However, perhaps you should get neutered. If you're stupid enough to buy a pet that needs an eight-foot-tall pet door, we want you out of the gene pool, NOW!!

2 lots w/caskets in Gulf Pines Memorial Pk in Englewood - Let me get this straight: You have to go out to Gulf Pines, dig up the caskets, put the deceased in the caskets, and then bury them again?? Actually, there's someone I'd recommend take the deal: the families of Spot's owner, and Phil. Seriously, the smell is going to make you want to jackhammer their remains off the Persian rug, and bury them as soon as possible.

As for the carpet, which will never be rid of the stain and the corrosive smell? I hear that the Oval Office could use a new rug....

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Friday, August 11, 2006


You were late, man, that's all I can say.

I haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth, but I plan to. Honest. And you don't have to convince me about global warming; I have a scientific background hidden in my past, and the evidence speaks for itself. I'm not saying that you shouldn't speak it.... I merely observe that you're not always the most electrifying speaker. No offense.

But, I'm still going to have to blame you for what just happened.

You see, I had a draft of another story that I was going to post here; it was saved on the Blogger and about halfway finished. Well, I'd opened the file up, intending to finish it, as I'm in a really snide mood. Finish it I did! But, do you see it here? DO you? No! And I'll tell you why:

Before I could hit the "publish" button, we had a momentary power failure. Since my computer went dead for that moment, Blogger assumed that I meant to log off and abandon my copy. It then deleted it, smugly assuming that it was a job well done. It's programmed to feel smug. Why? Because Microsoft wrote the program. Giving me another of my frequent opportunities to say "Bill Gates can bite me!" By the way, in case you missed it, Microsoft released ten, that's TEN criticial security updates for Windows & accessories yesterday. To you, I advise going to your "Windows Update" through your Control Panel, and installing them. Chances are really good that nobody notified you that there were ten, TEN new critical flaws in a program released four or so years ago. It's called "Beta Testing", Gates, look into it. Because we're looking into something called a "class action lawsuit". Officially, however, I am now inclined, nay, required to issue the clarion call, one for each of your latest screw-ups:

Bill Gates can bite me! Bill Gates can bite me! Bill Gates can bite me!
Bill Gates can bite me! Bill Gates can bite me! Bill Gates can bite me!
Bill Gates can bite me! Bill Gates can bite me! Bill Gates can bite me!
Bill Gates can frigging well bite me! !

But, I digress.

Al, if you'd managed to drum up more of this actual personality you seem to have developed a little earlier, then people would have paid more attention to global warming. We might then have begun efforts to reduce those foul gases that are heating up our planet. Incidentally, I've been meaning to ask, so while I have my hands around your throat (literarily speaking, of course): We know that cattle emit huge amounts of methane, which is one of the worst of the greenhouse gases. Two words, Al: Bovine Beano. I'll watch my mail for the check.

Anyway, we're in the middle of this national heat wave, and you and I both know that it's no coincidence. People are running their air conditioners overtime. This uses a LOT of electricity. This usage causes things like blackouts. Brownouts. Momentary power failures!! Before you say that it's probably people in my immediate area that are at fault, here's some news: It's 12:37 a.m., not the hottest part of the day, and we're not at peak usage. Take it like a man, Gore, it's your fault.

Because you were so wooden, nobody listened sooner. It was like being talked to by the trees, but they wouldn't listen to you (Clint Eastwood can bite me, too! Even though only about three people are going to get that reference). Now we have blistering temperatures, record demand for electricity, gas is $3.00 a gallon, people wasted huge amounts of energy recklessly for things that might have been prevented, like The Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Which reminds me.... you know what else is using up a lot of juice right now? Movie projectors. Movie projectors being used to show your movie. The movie that you put into circulation too late, too tragically late to save the rest of my story.

Damn your eyes!

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