I HAmsterdam

Dave – my oldest friend – and I have had a lot of adventures over the years.

 

In high school we would drive around in my sweet Mitsubishi Starion for hours, gas being around $1/gallon back then. When it rained, the car would stall out, which was entertaining in a McDonald’s drive thru. Or if parked, the headlights would flip up and down whilst the horn blared incessantly leading to finger pointing and laughing.

 

In college, well, there’s really not enough room here for that chapter. But we both made the trip on more than one occasion to visit our respective higher learning institutions. He at James Madison in Virginia and me at University of New Hampshire in said state.

A favorite memory would be a visit of Dave’s to UNH, hanging out in the dormitory lounge I lived in (because emergency housing) late one evening. Suddenly, the door burst open and a neighbor stumbled around until he found our garbage can. Which he promptly picked up and dumped all over my roommates desk, then muttered some obscenities and disappeared. No explanation, no context. I’ve never laughed harder.

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‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – An Ode To Good Beer

I wrote a little poem, in honor of Twas The Night Before Christmas, with a twist of beer. But since Google puts you on double secret probation for posting the same content in 2 places, I’ll just link back to where I originally posted it.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – An Ode To Good Beer

………He was merry and plump, a bizarre ballerina

And I laughed when I saw him, just like a hyena.

A Jack Nicholson eye and nod of his head,

Soon gave me to know the best was ahead………

twas-the-night-before-christmas

Erin and Tyler’s Wedding: A Tofino Adventure

Recently, Tyler and Erin got married (HOORAY!) in one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited – Tofino, British Columbia. It was such a great event all the way around with lots of fun memories. So I wanted to get a blog post written before all is forgotten in my goldfish style memory bank.

 

My trip began in Switzerland. We knew about the details of this trip far in advance and made the decision to have me go alone, without Sarah and the kids. Though we would have much preferred to all be in attendance, the planes, trains, automobiles and boats involved in getting there, along with the travel time made the decision easy.

 

And it was the right call. For one, we learned on our trip from the States to Switzerland that Maren, one of our 3 year old twins, gets air sick. The flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver was about 9 ½ hours. One can only bask in the aroma of vomit for so long. That being said, the flight was great. I flew Lufthansa which has now one-upped Delta, in my mind, for Economy Class Superiority. It helped that the seat next to me was empty. But where they really nailed it was the entertainment and food categories. I watched FOUR MOVIES and ate two reasonably tasty meals. It’s the little things.

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Life Instructions?

Life InstructionsI had a hilarious conversation with my brother, Tyler, the other day about glossing over details. He’s moving into a new place and was relaying to me the lease process. There’s always those nitty gritty details – who cuts the grass, who pays for sewage, where should I dispose of my beard husks.  Once it’s all wrapped up, the question posed to Tyler “Do you have any questions?” is then met with a blank look and something like “Uhh, nope, looks good to me!” Now, bear in mind, Tyler HATES to read so there is no way in HELL he gave this paperwork even a cursory look.

 

I suddenly realized I do the exact same thing, which I shared with Tyler. I thought perhaps it was some sort of genetic defect but he corrected me.  We are genetically defective but he traced the birth of this trait back to our childhood video gaming days.  Our parents forbade TV of any sort, video games included, during the week (I may have that wrong but it sounds right). So playing video games as a child is what stuffing my face with a double cheeseburger and chocolate porter is today as a large child – HEAVEN.

 

Whenever we got a new video game, there were of course instructions on how to play. Tyler and I would hold them up in the air, look at each other, shrug our shoulders and FLING them across the room.  “Just press all the buttons!” was our mantra.  This method of throwing the instructions away and winging it has mysteriously followed us throughout life.  For example:

 

When spending a summer in Hermosa Beach, CA, Tyler and I signed a 1 year lease even though we were only going to be there for 3 months. Did we read the fine print. Nope. Did the dump we lived in being the size of my left foot matter? Nope. Did it all work out? YES. We spent the summer there in a haze of Pabst and then subletted the joint to a local weirdo we’d crossed paths with.

 

When I went to Budapest to study abroad in college, I arrived in Hungary with no paperwork to guide me.  And guess what.  Neither did my partner in Moron Affairs, Kevin Phinney.  We had just flown to the Eastern Bloc, disembarked like a couple of boobs and were utterly clueless as to how to proceed.  Did we speak the language.  Not even close. Did we have cell phones back then.  Uh uh. Did we somehow make it our destination, albeit with a bar stop?  Oh yeah!

 

One day, I suddenly had a wonderful daughter.  While her car seat came with instructions written by the CEO of NASA, she in fact, did not. To make matters worse, my wife, Sarah, and I were lulled into a sense of “this is pretty easy” during our 3 days in the hospital after her birth.  The nurses were so NICE.  They come in and check on you.  If you’re overwhelmed, they’ll just HANDLE it. Then it’s time to leave.  And you have to strap in your suddenly VERY dependent infant into her space shuttle captain’s chair and GO HOME.  Oh. Sh*t. How to manual? Yeah right. Clues on what to do? Few to none. Did we make it? You know it! We even had 2 more 18 months later!!  If that doesn’t prove you don’t need instructions on life, what does?

 

Where does this innate feeling of knowing it’s all going to work out come from? It must have come from our parents.  I’d say they imbued us with the kind of confidence required to handle situations such as these.  More than likely, they hoped it would serve us in important life decision ways – like having kids of our own. I doubt they connected the dots of this madness when we hopped in the old Suburban and drove 3,000 miles with 4 surfboards on the roof and NO plan.  But hey, it worked just the same!  I think the parentals get a point on their scoreboard for this one – maybe two.

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Kids Win Every Time

This conversation, noted by my wife Sarah, pretty much sums up the ability of kids to be so outrageously persistent that your mind ends up in knots as you attempt to “win” the conversation.  Trust me, you never will.

  • Sarah:  Peanut, please don’t ask me to watch Dora again.
  • Milan:  Momma, want to watch Dora PLEASE.
  • Sarah:  Milan, since you asked me to watch Dora again after I asked you not to, it means that you won’t be able to watch it.
  • Milan:  Momma, you need to say sorry.  Momma, don’t tell me no.
  • Sarah:  Milan, I’m not going to apologize for asking you not to do something.
  • Milan:  Momma, you have to be nice to us kids.  We can’t be mean to the kids.  Momma you can’t say no because that’s mean.
  • Sarah:  OK Milan.  But you need to listen to mommy when I tell you no.
  • Milan:  Momma, you need to say sorry to me.

From Sarah to me: How is it that she wins all of the time?  She’s 2!!!!

Persistent Peanut

Persistent Peanut

Answer: When she puts on a snow suit that’s 12 months too small and butterfly wings on a 70 degree day while walking around licking a spoon, it’s pretty tough to keep a straight face and say no.

The Boogeyman

The other day, I was talking with my sister Caroline and we ended up on the subject of sprinting up the stairs.  Why would anyone sprint up the stairs?  From sheer terror of course.  Terror of the BOOGEY MAN.  As we laughed at ourselves for the individual quirks on this topic, I realized there a few versions of the Boogey Man that required sharing.

 

We’ll start at the top with the Fred also known as Dad, Richie, Poop A Doop and other words that are NSFW.  He didn’t share this story with us children until we were adults (which we’re not really) so we find it hilarious – now.

 

GremlinThe house he grew up in was, I’m going to say a Cape Cod?  The attic had been renovated into living quarters for, I want to say his parents?  To get up there required a steep climb ending at a landing with a window right in front of you.  Now I’ve never heard him say anything about sprinting up stairs from Boogey Man terror but when you hear his tale, you might wonder.

 

I’m going to flat out make some of this up because, ask anyone, I have a terrible memory.  But climbing those stairs as a small Richard, he would swear to seeing a tiny gremlin – outside the window – looking at him.  I don’t believe the gremlin ever came inside or chased Richie around – just looked at him.  But I’m getting creeped out just thinking about it.  I don’t see a crazed, gooey, monstrous goblin.  More of a small, weird, green thing with an unsettling smirk.  Whoa.

 

Caroline didn’t give me a specific Boogey Man or gremlin from her memory.  But we both share the deep seated need to race up the basement stairs with complete disregard for life or limb.  I’m not talking about taking 2 at a time or hustling.  This is flat out, terrorized BOLTING.  Heart POUNDING, get the EFF out of my way NOW.  Which ends with looking over your shoulder, verifying no one SAW what just happened.  And then laughing at how completely absurd it is to be over 30 years of age and running around like a maniac with a chainsaw is after you.

 

Now, in fairness to Caroline and myself, this ludicrous act has subsided some over the years.  And frankly, it’s not as common in our respective homes – today.  The same cannot be said, however, for ye olde homestead in unassuming, happy Fanwood, NJ – site of The Basement.  This is where we grew up.  Where we lived in fear of GOING INTO THE BASEMENT.  It is here that we both learned the art of going up 17 stairs in 0.3 seconds.

 

You see, this wasn’t any old basement.  THIS basement contained an old closet with a DOOR.  And this closet was in the far, back CORNER.  What little light there was in this terrifying space shone NOT in this corner. When you OPENED the door, there was an old, defunct TOILET.  Ok, ok, I may be overdoing it a HAIR but when you hear what else resided in this old bathroomy closet, you’ll be on my side.  A POSTER OF WALT WHITMAN!

 

Walt WhitmanNow, I can’t find the exact poster online but it was a profile of the MAD MAN you see here plus a poem running down it.  Just look at this guy!  He’s got Appalachian Cannibal written over his face. Which, based on my extensive research is not too far off the mark.  He is credited with some prose containing the words, and I quote “our very flesh shall be a great poem” – CANNIBAL!  Imagine, being around 6 years of age, opening a creaky old door and discovering this mug looking down at you.  SCARY. AS. SHIT.

 

Ok, I’ve caught my breath and am no longer writing this from inside a closet.  It’s now clear where this primal urge to bat-out-of-hell it up the steps originated.  Because Walt Whitman.  So what about the real, actual Boogeyman?  My vague memory of this scary fellow involved a guy with some kind of cloak rising out of a vacuum cleaner – which thanks to The Google is not so hard to find.  Because when you search The Boogeyman, one of the options is a movie from the 80’s.  Sounds about right.  Until you click on it and realize it’s some gruesome, supernatural fright fest.  Pretty sure we didn’t watch that at the age of 6.

 

A little more digging yielded this GEM – Mr. Boogedy.  I found some lengthy clips from this DISNEY film but the one below is far more entertaining.  I didn’t see anyone coming out of a vacuum cleaner but the absurd BOOGEDY! BOOGEDY! that everyone is saying rings a strong bell.  And I think the weirdo with a green force field is my vacuum guy memory.

Moral of the story?  It’s Walt Whitman and a gremlin that are at fault, not The Boogeyman.

photo credit: Inti via photopin cc

McDonalds Ran Out of Paper Towels

Paper TowelsMy cousin, Todd, shared this story with me a ways back and I would be remiss in not sharing it with anyone else.  It involves his mentor, we’ll call him Ned for now, and the famous restaurant McDonald’s.  Todd was on the phone with Ned talking about the pile of Mickey D’s hamburgers being smeared upon his face for lunch. He and Ned share a love for this king of fast food – or used to.

After Todd finished describing the melty goodness of his meal, Ned shared the details of a recent excursion to the Golden Arches.  He approached the counter and after ordering his burger was told to step aside and wait.  No smile, no thanks for your order – just wait until your order appears on the monitor and BEAT IT.  Ned also observed the awesome lack of intelligence required to operate the cash register.  Just press HAMBURGER – no thought, no math, nothing.

Finding this amusing Ned snarkily remarked “You’re losing your human touch.”  He was greeted with a blank stare – totally uncomprehending.  Realizing his humor was lost on this button punching goofball, he headed for some relief in the restroom.

After finishing up, Ned realized there were no paper towels.  It was at this point that he, and I quote, “went bananas.”  Walking back out to the counter, Ned proclaimed “There are no paper towels for me to wipe my penis!”  To which he was greeted with the same blank, intelligence free stare.

At this point in the conversation with my cousin, I am laying on the floor in fits of uncontrollable laughter. Todd required 3 tries to complete the sentence.  Naturally, he wanted to know WHY Ned needed to wipe his penis after visiting the urinal and was told “Once you get to my age, sometimes you need to clean up after using the john.”

A.      There is nothing more amusing than attempting humor with someone that is utterly incapable of understanding the humor.

B.      The only thing funnier is when it’s attempted an older gentleman that could not care less what the buffoon on the other end thinks of the whole situation.

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