Monday, November 24, 2008

Out of breath and close to death

I told this story at a dinner party last weekend and my friend Lisa P nearly pissed herself. So now that I've put it on a pedestal...

Freshman year at Ithaca College, and I'm really trying to stay fit. Except I'm not, since I have 8:00AM classes and I can eat all the Cap'n Crunch I want. So one Sunday night, I go to bed IN my shorts and hoodie so that when I wake up at 7, I can work out before class.

The alarm wakes me up. I roll out of bed. I step into my shoes and I am out the door in less than 10 seconds. I run down the hall. I run across the parking lot. I run along the large power lines that cut a path up the forested hill. The hill's getting steeper, the snow's getting thicker, and I start to run up on all fours like the training montage in Rocky IV.

A coupe months ago, my wife told me something about how you shouldn't work out, like, half an hour after you wake up because your lungs can put the right amount of oxygen into your blood. Something like that.

Which would have been nice to know on this morning, because as my run up the hill turned into a crawl, the crawl then turned into a belly flop onto the ground. And I passed out.

I woke up an hour and a half later. I missed my philosophy class because I was unconscious, alone, and in a snow bank for 90 minutes.

I gained a lot of weight that year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The differences

I don't know the difference between drunk and sleepy anymore. I mean, I know the difference between TRASHED and sleepy, but it just occurred to me that I have no idea what my tolerance is like because if I drink, it's always near my bedtime. So, either beer makes me very tired or just very bored.

I also don't know the difference between a sugar high and a caffeine high.

Or a bad day at the gym and malnutrition.

Or a girl who wants to be my friend and a girl who has sex for money.

It might be time for a doctor.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Haircut down to size

I hate making smalltalk with my barber. I prefer to spend the time in silence and just watch my hair in the mirror. But if the person cutting my hair does get me into a conversation, I also feel compelled to tip higher. Like they did me a favor by talking to me. Here's a little extra for asking what I do for a living.

And it's not just that I don't like to talk to this stranger with scissors. It's that I don't like the people next to me to listen in. Because then they judge me.

Yesterday, I had an argument with the man who gave me a haircut. A song from the management's mix tape came over the PA system, and the first thing the guy said to me as he put the cape around my neck was "How 'bout that Neil Young?"

It took me a moment to respond, because it was absolutely not Neil Young.

If I said nothing, that would mean that I've accepted his stupid music knowledge but I might get a better haircut. It would also mean that everyone within earshot would know that I'm an idiot too. So I decided to say something. A man's gotta have priorities.

"It's Tom Waits," I winced.

He insisted it was Neil Young. And as he insisted, his cutting got more erratic. He couldn't spit in my food, so he hacked at my head.

"No, no, no," I said. "Neil Young is Sugar Mountain. He's Rockin' in the Free World." I even did a little high-palate impersonation. No one came to my aid. I was alone in this soft-rock battle. Everyone chose to spectate.

Nothing was resolved. And I unfortunately got what I wanted in the first place: a silent haircut. He didn't even offer to show me the back. My sideburns were intentionally cock-eyed. I still tipped him way too much.

Then I got home and discovered it wasn't Tom Waits. It was Lou Reed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

So wonderful

Thanks, Jessica!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


What is with me and mortal enemies? At every stage in my life, I've managed to hate one person so much that I can't look them in the eye. Last week I discovered a new one.

And I'm not going to get into who he is or in what capacity I know him in. All I want to say is that I saw him last night, which was the day after the elections, and he was still wearing his "I voted" sticker. Should that really bother me?

Oh, and he/she has the face of a 60 year old with the haircut of a 15 year old. And he/she has a creepy smile. And tapered pants.

Somehow, I have the reputation for loving everyone and yet I don't. This must be how Jesus feels.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's in the box?

I finally cleaned out our garage yesterday. I had been avoiding the work because for one, it's a spider sanctuary--including many a black widow--and two, because since we moved in 5 months ago, we've heard strange rustling sounds coming from one dark corner.

The mysterious corner, in fact the whole garage, contains years of home-improvement leftovers. Twenty cans of paint, stains, sealers, and one large box of shingles. The sound was definitely coming from the shingles. I hadn't prepared myself for what was in that shingle box...

A dozen black widows wasn't even the scariest part, even though they scurried very close to my juicy fingertips when I peeled back their shingle front door. The cardboard top to the shingle box turned out to be an inedible wall for a colony of termites. Thousands of termites. With the top gone, it was like looking at...well, an ant farm. These termites had almost entirely devoured a bag of shingles. That's like 70 pounds! And I thought shingles were made of tar! Rock! Asphalt! Well, the box was nearly empty. The sound that we'd been hearing for months was that box of shingles caving in on itself.

After I disposed of the box like it was a bio-hazard (shovel, long gloves, lotsa termite poison), I called K to tell her we were safe now. She was very afraid that I had been bitten by a black widow, but hadn't realized it yet.

Like a zombie.

God, can that happen?