Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You Know You Grew Up In The 80's When...

From my archive of random e-mails I've received throughout the years that I just had to save because they were so accurate...

You know you grew up in the 80's when...

> You know what "Sike" means
> You know the profound meaning of "Wax on, Wax off"
> You know that another name for a keyboard is a "Synthesizer"
> You can sing the McDonald's Big Mac, Filet-o-fish, Quarter Pounder
with some Fries song
> You know who Mr. T is
> You know who Fat Albert is, and who was old boy wearing the pink mask
> You remember watching Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, and The Electric Company
> You ever wore florescent neon clothing
> You rolled your jeans
> You remember Brittany, Christina, Justin, and JC on the "All new,
Mickey Mouse Club"
> At some point, you dressed "preppy"
> You ever wore the "hypercolor" shirts that changed color from hot
pink to orange whenever you stood in the sun or got hot!
> You felt cool when you wore 2 pairs of socks
> You could breakdance or wish you could
> You wanted to be The Hulk for Halloween
> You believed that "By the power of Greyskull, you HAD the power!"
> Partying "like it's 1999" seemed SO far away
> You though that Transformers were more than meets the eye
> You knew that knowing is half the battle
> You wanted to be on Star Search
> You can remember when Michael Jackson was black
> You wore a banana clip during some point during your youth
> You remember garbage pail kids and owned some
> You knew what Willis was "talkin" about
> You knew "Rut row raggy" and "Zoinks"
> You HAD to have your MTV
> You actually thought "Dirty Dancing" was a REALLY good movie
> You remember when ATARI was a state of the art video system
> You owned any cassettes
> You were led to believe that in the year 2000 we'd all be living on
the moon
> You remember and/or owned any of the Care Bear Glass collection from Pizza Hut or the Muppets glasses from McDonald's
> Poltergeist freaked you out
> You knew who Ben Stein was before you could win his money, "Bueller?"
> You carried your lunch to school in an ET, Gremlins, Dukes of Hazard, Knight Rider, Strawberry Shortcake, or A-Team lunch box
> You ever pondered why Smurfette was the ONLY female Smurf
> You know what leg warmers are and probably had a pair
> You wore biker shorts underneath a short skirt and felt stylish
> You wore your Izod shirt with the collar up
> You had a Swatch Watch with the Swatch Guard
> Your legos collection started with the free sets in a Happy Meal
> You remember when Happy Meals came in a box, not a paper bag
> You remember when Saturday Night Live was funny
> You had Wonder Woman or Superman underoos
> You know what a "Push Up" ice cream is
> You had to come inside when the streetlights came on
> You had to change into play clothes after school
> You owned or knew someone with a Commodore 64
> You hated Scrappy Doo
> You recorded songs off the radio with your boom box
> You wish you had a light saber
> Somehow, you still know all the words to songs played on VH1's "Big
80's" (It's been 7 hours & 15 days...")
> Your arm was full of rubber bracelets
> You know who Cobra Commander was
> You will not admit it now, but at some point, you listened to New
Kids on the Block or Tiffany
> You ever said, "Like, gag me with a spoon"
> You ever wondered what happened to Saturday morning cartoons
> You had to get up to change the channel
> You can still sing 1 to 12 from the Pinball machine on Sesame Street (or the Electric Company)
> You thought the "Thriller" video was pretty cool
> You remember the first time you went into a video store to rent a
> You wore those wide, colorful shoelaces
> You remember Gem
> Quiet Riot's "Cum on feel the noise" was the best song- ever
> You know where "I want my two dollars" came from
> You still cannot go into the water because of that damn movie - Jaws
> El Debarge's "Get a beat to the rhythm of the night" plagued the
radio every hour
> You remember life before minivans or SUV's when all large families
had station wagons!

If you can identify with at least half of this list then you, my
friend, are a "Child of the 80's"
Now how old do you feel?!?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My History (7th In A Series)

This is the story of my old loveseat, RIP, and how I acquired it via the first of many psycho white chicks I would encounter. I'll call this one "Sheila."

The loveseat is gone now. It had been sitting in the walkway between the front and back of the house I live in since I moved into the basement. I tried to take it with me into the basement, but there is a sink built into the wall right at the doorway, and the mini couch wouldn't squeeze past it. So it sat outside the door in the walkway until I felt like moving it to the garbage, but my aunt kept telling me to wait until specific days so that the weekly garbage men could scoop it the very next morning, but she never told me which days would be good. Finally, with me moving out of the basement and onto the first floor, my aunt's husband got sick of looking at the thing and set it on my back lawn for three days. I thought he was going to leave it there until I moved it, but when I came back from picking up my Memphis friend from the airport last week, it was gone. Guess he was waiting for that mythical garbage crew. I told my friend that it was a good sign that she never crossed paths with the loveseat because with all of the action on that thing between me, "Adrienne," The Co-Worker Who Must Go Unnamed, "Sarah" and her vibrators--not to mention it was where I sat when I gave that skank "Karen" her Christmas presents--it represented my old ways vanishing into thin air just before she came to visit me for the first time. But the story behind the woman who gave me the loveseat is funny. Oh, I was pissed at the time, but it's funny now.

This was late 1998, and I was working at CBOE, living in that roach and mouse-infested studio and about to move into my first one-bedroom apartment. But I was hurting for furniture, since I was throwing out the couch my uncle gave me for the studio because it was very uncomfortable. I happened to be in the company of a couple of generous people at my job. A blonde named Aiden who did her job basically a foot or so from me every day knew that I was moving to a bigger place, and her mother had recently died, so she gave me some of her mom's dishes and bought me my first cordless phone as a housewarming gift. I still have most of the dishes. I smashed the cordless phone after losing a bet, probably that jackass Keith Foulke getting lit up again back when he pitched for the White Sox. But anyhow, the other person feeling generous towards me was a woman who was very quiet and introverted and hardly spoke to anyone. Sheila caught my attention because she seemed to be, like me, socially awkward and much more likely to keep to herself at all times. I am the one who started trying to talk to her because she didn't seem to have any friends at all. She worked behind the electronic book at the station I worked at, but she floated around and helped at different stations, so I didn't see her all the time. Not only that, but if I talked to her for more than a minute or two, she would pretend like she had to wander over somewhere else and help out, even though nothing would be going on. But I kept trying to get closer. After all, she was shy like me, and she was thin and pale and a plain Jane, which has always attracted me.

Now, when I tell you about these two red flags, you're going to wonder what the fuck made me keep pursuing her, but I'm telling you, at the time my self-esteem was so low that I legitimately figured that the stranger she seemed, the better chance I had. The first red flag was that absolutely EVERYONE I talked to about her either said that she kept to herself and they didn't know much about her, or...they warned me to stay away. This old white man who never had a bad word for anyone even told me, "I don't think you wanna talk to this one, son." The general consensus was that she was either a little or a lot crazy. They cited episodes where she would start crying under the pressure of a lot of work, or start banging her head against the computer monitor, or start screaming. That was my second red flag--I witnessed her reaction once when the trading floor became active, and let's just say that it involved said head-banging as well as pencil-chewing. Her face turned even more pale than it already was, and at least one person tried to console her, to be rebuffed angrily. I think the traders in my crowd and Aiden all looked at me at this point, as if to say, "See? We told you she was crazy!"

Undeterred, I kept trying to speak to her daily, if only to say hi. One day, I was able to get enough of a conversation going to tell her that I had moved into an empty apartment, and without hesitation, she volunteered an old loveseat she had at home if I wanted it. I admit, I said yes more because I wanted to see her outside of work than because I cared about the loveseat. We played phone tag one weekend, with her not getting back to me on a Sunday until after I had bowled in my league, and I wasn't going to move shit at that point. But the next Saturday, I rounded up "Ronnie" and "Drew," got an older playcousin to bring her van, and told Sheila to hang tight at her apartment, which as it turned out wasn't very far from the place where I moved. When I went down to the garden apartment, it was about six o'clock in the evening, and it had been snowing lightly. So when she opened the door with her reading glasses on, in the twilight surrounded by the winter setting, my heart melted to butter. Sheila had always been polite and kind to me, nervously running away after a couple minutes of chatting, but she had never been crazy when dealing with me, and for some reason this scene made my imagination run wild, and I basically decided at that point that she was in my sights, no matter what. I even stifled a laugh when I saw the loveseat, which was--and you can't imagine how hideous this thing looked--orange with white swans all over it. Hey, it was hardly used, so what the hell. We moved it out, and I tossed some line upon leaving about how I should take her somewhere some time to make up for it. She giggled.

At this point, I was still Mr. Chickenshit and couldn't just step to her face and ask her out, so I asked a female friend who worked close to her to ask her for her e-mail address, and then give it to me so that I could ask her out by e-mail. Yes, I have no balls. I sent the e-mail, but I didn't have my own computer at the time, so for about three or four days I would come to work in the morning, say hello to her, wait for some kind of reaction to the letter good or bad, get nothing, run to one of the computers on the trading floor on my break, and check my e-mail to see if she sent a response there instead. Finally, one morning she continued to ignore me, but there was a response in e-mail form. I tried to save it over the years, but I lost it somewhere along the way, and I'm very mad that I did because it was so fucking funny. Basically, she said that she couldn't go out with me because we have "class issues," I guess meaning that she had it and I don't, and because I'm fat and she's skinny, and because her sister dated a Nigerian last year and her parents were very upset, and because she just came off a relationship with a younger guy and she didn't know if she wanted to go there again. (She explained that she was 40, which shocked me, because she sure looked much younger, that is until she stopped dying her hair black and the gray streaks multiplied daily.) It was a four-page e-mail. She shoved some bull about how I was a nice guy in there too, but basically she totally slammed the door in my face. I had my usual mature reaction, writing back, "Don't let your parents know that there was a black man in your apartment taking your furniture; they might disown you. I'm so sorry that I bothered to ask you out."

Cue the Fatal Attraction music.

Sheila called me the night that I left that e-mail in tears. I remember that I happened to be watching sports over the phone with Ronnie at about 10:45P, or else on a normal night the phone's ringer would have been turned off and I would be fast asleep. I clicked over on call-waiting, heard her sobbing, and clicked back and simply told Ronnie, "Um, Sheila's on the other end in tears. Let me talk to you tomorrow." Sheila then spent about 45 minutes bawling and apologizing for hurting me, and I don't remember much of the conversation because there wasn't much to it. She just kept crying uncontrollably and saying, "I didn't mean to hurt you!" And I just kept trying to calm her down and tell her that I didn't mean to react so angrily, but I was hurt. Basically, her excuses for not going out with me were total bullshit, so to this day I still believe that I didn't react as badly as I could have. But for the sake of ending that phone conversation and keeping the peace, I apologized for my e-mail, eventually we said no hard feelings, and I got the nutcase off the phone. We never spoke at work again, and a couple of months later, she was no longer working at CBOE.

I didn't learn any lessons from that episode other than when the WHOLE FUCKING WORLD is trying to warn you that someone's bad news, listen to them. But every time I laid some cow on that loveseat, I thought about Sheila and how I so wanted her to be the person I was with. I wondered what kind of incredibly melodramatic episodes I may have escaped by Sheila not being the person on the loveseat with me. I used to chuckle and think that I escaped some real crazy shit by not hooking up with her. But the last time I looked at that thing before it disappeared from my back lawn, I actually didn't think of Sheila at all. I thought of the women that I did have on that couch, and the black hole I fell into over the last couple of years as I ran around desperately looking for someone to love. And now I can't help but wonder if the hell I may have endured with Sheila could possibly have been worse than the hell I endured without her.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

And The ESPY For Worst Actor Goes To...

I'm watching the Cubs get butt-fucked on national television by the Mets right now, and after showing the classy Wrigley Field faithful litter the outfield with trash again, they showed a replay of Dusty Baker reacting with anger and frustration after another Mets home run. This was so hilarious that I had to write about it. This loser Baker doesn't EVER react when his team shits the field day after day after day. I listen to talk radio every day at work, and they love playing his postgame comments because they're so relaxed and calm that he seems resigned to the fact that his team sucks. He says stuff like, "Well, we can't do nothing till the injured players come back, I just want my team back," which is a nice way of telling the guys playing for him right now that they blow, and he takes a very lazy, California-cool attitude to everything, as if there's nothing he can do about it. And now that the ESPN camera is on him, he's putting on a show in the dugout as if he's really in a rage about his team giving up two grand slams in one inning, which is not easy. Pathetic.

I also hear that he has high-ranking homies in the media here in Chicago and nationwide who have been receiving calls from Dust asking to put a soft light on him and not criticize him and call him a boob like most everyone else does. I'm thinking the two jags calling this game, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, are part of Dusty's posse. All they can talk about is how the wind blowing out is really helping the Mets hit those home runs. I guess this wind is supernatural and only works when the Mets are at bat, and I guess I'm just another bad guy ripping the Cubs for no reason because they're not really as bad as they look. I actually want the Cubs to fire Baker at this point for the same reason that I want the Knicks to get rid of Isiah Thomas ASAP--because the longer black men stay in such high positions with no fucking clue how to do the job, the worse it reflects on any other blacks who someday aspire to those positions. The rich white guys who own teams already are hesitant to hire us, as proven by the microscopic numbers. Zeke and In Dusty We Trusty don't help matters.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not Ready For Prime Time

My Memphis friend and I are taking things very slowly, and it's exactly what I need. She left today after spending two days here at a quaint little local inn near Ernest Hemingway's childhood home in Oak Park. We didn't check it out, though. She preferred to go into the city and see the sites downtown, such as the Art Institute. We were going to go to Sears Tower, but there was "no visibility" when I called yesterday, and there's no point to seeing the Skydeck with no visibility. I treated her and my family to dinner last night, and thankfully, my family did not embarrass me. Much. Of course, I didn't let her meet my dad yet.

But with her lack of experience in relationships combined with the horrible results in my past relationships, making the first move is going to be a laborious effort for whomever does it. There's a lot of trust to be built still before a physical aspect blooms. And that's what I want. Everything in the past has happened so quickly that I didn't have a chance to build trust with my partner. So this time, it has to be very slow. It has to happen this way, no matter how tempted I am to push further. Any future we have together depends on building a mutual trust, and we both have our reasons for taking it very slowly, but we have to. Oh, there were many chances I had to "bust a move," so to speak, such as standing under an umbrella in the rain, or walking through the city, or cuddling on the couch watching television, or hugging her goodbye at the airport. But it just wasn't quite the right timing. Not yet. When it's meant to happen, it will.

But God, I miss her terribly already.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Play It By Ear

The furniture company attempted to deliver my purchases this morning, but they could not fit my new couch or loveseat through my door. When my neighbor called me at work and told me this, I just shook my head. What are you gonna do, you know? I'm a little baffled because my neighbor has a rather large couch in her living room, and she said it wasn't a problem getting it into her house. These guys obviously don't know what they're doing. They were so worried that they might scrape the furniture that they didn't make an attempt. But usually they measure the doorway and the furniture and then give it one good shot. I'm told that they didn't measure shit, just decided that it couldn't be done. That sucks.

So I've got an apartment that reeks of new paint and is totally unfurnished except for the new bed and "lingerie drawer." There will certainly not be any entertaining done there by me tomorrow when my friend from Memphis flies in. We'll have to play it by ear, just kinda hang out around the city for the two days she's here chatting and chilling. Maybe we'll catch a movie in an actual theater instead of renting one. She's shown a great attitude through this whole thing. She's indicated that nothing is more important than just spending time with me, and she's understood that I don't place these arrangement problems as more important than her, just that I'm a perfectionist and I wanted everything to be perfect. I get the feeling that it's going to be raining, we will be talking about nothing, we're going to be aimlessly wandering around with no idea what's next...and only then will I realize what perfection really is all about.

Houston May Forgive The Texans, Someday, Eventually

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

No More Sleeping On Milk Crates For Me

It was a day of barbecues and fireworks for most everyone else, but yesterday I picked out over $3,000 worth of new furniture. I feel like such a girl.

But hey, it was needed. I'm trying to plan the move into the apartment on the other side of this house so that it's completed before my friend from Memphis comes to visit next Tuesday. That meant that I had to get, you know, things to sit on besides milk crates. So my aunt drove me to Wickes Furniture and I picked out a 5-piece living room set (I finally have a real couch now instead of an old loveseat), a sturdy queen-size bed, and a cute little "lingerie drawer," as the saleswoman called it. To which I could have replied, "Hey, I don't need a drawer for my lingerie," but my aunt was there, and I didn't want to alarm her. It's all scheduled to be delivered next Monday while I work, so hopefully that will come off without a hitch. Even if problems arise with moving my DirecTV to that side of the house, my friend and I can spend two days sitting on real furniture and enjoying each other's company while gorging on some Giordano's pizza. I still have to go somewhere and find a TV stand and computer desk for a decent price. But I can do that later. What I really wanted was to have a presentable home for my guest, and that has been taken care of. This was big for me. I never got new furniture for my previous apartments because I wanted to wait until I settled into a place that I was going to stay in for a while. So as a result, what I presented to all those, ahem, ladies that I hosted over the last couple of years was a shitty apartment with shitty furniture and a mattress balancing on eight milk crates. Ooh, sexy. But it was perfect because I felt like shit at the time, so I presented an accurate portrayal of myself. And now, for my Memphis friend, I will be presenting a home that I can be proud of, an actual place that I would want to host company in. And that's an accurate portrayal of what I feel inside right now, because I am proud of myself and I feel that I am worthy of presenting to the world as is, not a perfect man, but doing the best I can. And it feels so good to know that someone else sees me that way, because my harsh judgment of myself has always been rooted in what I feel people see when they see me. Not my friend. She sees a good person trying his best, and that pushes me every day to keep doing the things I have been doing so far this year to stay on the right path. And when she steps into my home next week and doesn't have to step over newspaper and garbage and doesn't have to sit on one side of the loveseat because the other side is broken and doesn't snag her jeans on a broken chair that I didn't throw away because I was trying to save it, it will be one of my proudest moments because for the first time, I will open my door to someone and welcome a guest into my home...and not cringe at the thought of what she must think of me based on the filth that I live in.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Things Guys Wish Girls Knew

From my archive of random e-mails I've received throughout the years that I just had to save because they were so accurate...

Things Guys Wish Girls Knew

Please note...these are all numbered #1 ON PURPOSE!

1. If you think you are fat, you probably are. Do not ask us. We refuse to answer.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.

1. Do not cut your hair. Ever. Long hair is always more attractive than short hair. One of the big reasons guys fear getting married is that married women always cut their hair, and by then, you are stuck with her.

1. Birthdays, Valentines, and Anniversaries are not quests to see if we can find the perfect present yet again!

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to; expect an answer you do not want to hear.

1. Sometimes, we are not thinking about you. Live with it.

1. Do not ask us what we are thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as navel lint, the shotgun formation and monster trucks.

1. Sunday = sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is not a sport, and no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really.

1. You have enough clothes. You have too many shoes.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Your ex-boyfriend is an idiot.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work. Strong hints do not work. Obvious hints do not work. Just say it!

1. No, we do not know what day it is. We never will. Mark anniversaries on a calendar. Remind us frequently beforehand.

1. Most guys own three pairs of shoes - tops. What makes you think we'd be any good at choosing which pair, out of thirty, would look good with your dress?

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Foreign films are best left to foreigners.

1. Check your oil. Please.

1. Do not fake it. We would rather be ineffective than deceived.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

1. Let us ogle. We are going to look anyway; it's genetic.

1. Don't rub the lamp if you don't want the genie to come out.

1. You can either ask us to do something OR tell us how you want it done not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions, and neither do we.

1. Women wearing Wonderbras and low-cut blouses lose their right to complain about having their boobs stared at. More women should wear Wonderbras and low-cut blouses. We like staring at boobs.

1. The relationship is never going to be like it was the first two months we were going out. Get over it. And quit whining to your girlfriends --- like THEIR relationship is SO MUCH better.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched.

1. If it is OUR house, I do not understand why MY stuff gets thrown in the closet, attic, basement or worse, the garbage.

1. We are not mind readers and we never will be. Our lack of mind-reading ability is not proof of how little we care about you.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. What the hell is a doily?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ah, Those Classy Cubs Fans

That's just part of the crap thrown on the field by Cubs fans after my favorite player, A.J. Pierzynski, jacked a home run to put the White Sox over the Cubs on Saturday. The local and national radio talk show guys said that there were blue and red jackets and jerseys and caps being thrown around as well, apparently by Cubs fans who quit being Cubs fans on the spot. Don't think I've ever seen that before, a group of fans spontaneously standing up at the team's stadium, stripping themselves of the colors, and walking out on the team forever. I was going to write a joke about the garbage on the field being outweighed only by the garbage they swallowed from their boyfriends' cocks that night, but I'll leave that out. It's hard enough on them rooting for a team that will never win. Suddenly, I actually feel a slight twang of pity for Cubs fans.