Sunday, June 30, 2013

This Just In!

So I was getting some editing done this morning (the story of my life recently) and my father came in, told me he was going out to cut the grass, and asked me if I could go to the trimming. Being a good and dutiful son that's just what I did. I took up the gas-powered edger/trimmer and went to work.

Now it’s a little warm this morning. Like 80 degrees in the shade at the moment, and most of the yard is in the sun in the AM. Some of you may know I have this little thing called Anhidrosis, which, in layman’s terms (and that’s how *I* understand it) means I can not sweat. I don’t naturally thermoregulate at the moment, and I can get heatstroke amazingly easily.

This is a thing it sucks to have in the summer when you work as a mailman, trust me. It’s actually somewhat dangerous.

So I slapped a well-vented hat on my head and went about my business. I worked as quickly as I could (while still doing the best job I can, this was for my Dad, after all) and tried to stick to what shade I could find, but I could still feel myself heating up as I worked. I was wiping at my eyes occasionally since for some reason, possibly the acupuncture I’ve been going to for the past 6 months, maybe some natural cycle in my Anhidrosis, no one knows, I’ve begun to perspire about my eyes recently. And the tops of my ears (yes, just the tips, and yes, it tickles. Ha-ha God, very funny). And under my arms seems to try to get damp occasionally, but not enough to really do anything for me.

When you get hot enough that you’re about to pass out from heatstroke, and then a little damp feeling happens under your arms, it’s really more of an annoyance than anything else.

But all of this is progress, right? I mean, a couple of months ago I couldn’t sweat at all, let alone be aggravated at my body’s seeming insistence that it tease me by reminding me there’s water in there, it’s just not doing anything!

So anyway, there I was, all done with the trimming and walking into the house to take a shower, wiping at my eyes and the side of my neck, and —

Waitaminute! Did I just say ‘the side of my neck’? I did! I did say ‘the side of my neck’!

So I was standing there, excited, trying to figure out whether the side of my neck was sweating or if I had just wiped sweat from my eyes onto my neck. Any sign that the sweating is spreading is a good one because so far this summer had been a little slice of Hell for me, and I’d love it if I could start thermoregulating without a cold vest or pouring water on myself...

Thinking quickly (well, quickly for me) I grabbed some paper towels and wiped myself dry, all over my head and neck — even got my chest for good measure. I wanted to see what spots on me, if any, would spontaneously dampen. But how to tell? Then I remembered an old, very off-color joke (which I will not relate here. If you know it you know it, and if you don’t... well, you probably will before you die. It’s that kind of joke.).

Two minutes later I was standing out in the back yard with a bag of flour I’d raided from Dad’s bread-making gear. Flour flew into the air and I wound up blinking and spitting, but lightly powdered.

              No, not like that! I'm 44 years old but I'd still get in trouble for wasting all dad's flour like that. With my luck he'd come in from riding that mower to suddenly be in the mood to bake a dozen loaves of bread and 'd be in the doghouse...

Nope. What am I, crazy? No, wait -- don't answer that.

Ah, no. And what the hell would I do with those eggs?

We're getting closer...

That's about right!

Then I scampered upstairs to the bathroom, flipped on the light and stared into the mirror.

Like the joke says... all I had to do now was look for the wet spot!

The upside is that yes, my neck was sweating. Sounds gross, I know, but it’s terrific news for me!

The downside is that my neighbors probably saw me and now think I’m crazy.

...alright, know. They know I’m crazy. But at least it’s funny-neighbor crazy, not bodies-buried-in-the-back-yard crazy. At least as far as they know...

Talk to you later!

Oh, George...

Greetings and salutations, WYMOP readers!

I sat mid-week to write a post for you all, and it occurred to me that the past couple of weeks (at least) you’ve been sort of listening to me complain. I’ve tried to be entertaining about it, but it’s still just me bitching and I can’t imagine a lot of you are all that interested in that. I decided that this week I'd shake that up a bit and relate an older story, something that’s pretty funny to me now, though I have to admit it wasn’t at the time.

And so, without further ado, (yes, I know, who talks like that anymore?), here’s the story:

Long ago and far away... well, alright, not that far away. Right here, in fact. But it was a long time ago, long enough that I was just a young man anyway, and I had (still have, actually) a friend, another young man I’ll refer to here as PC. PC had (still has, actually), due to the nature of mammalian reproduction, a father. PC’s father would occasionally get show tickets through his workplace. One fine day I got a phone call from PC.

“Hey. My dad got tickets to the show this Friday. Want to go?” 

“That depends,” I said. “What’s the show?”


“Wait,” I said. “George Carlin?”

“Is there another?” he said.

So that was how I found myself sitting in the front row of the North Shore Music Theater watching the great George Carlin performing some of his Grammy Award Winning comedy. I was happy, excited... and also tired. It had been a long day at work. Luckily, though,  the Music Theater is a small, intimate setting with very comfortable seats. What with us sitting in the front row and all, I could even stretch out my legs and put my feet on the railing around the stage (the performance at the NSMT is in the round) so I was feeling pretty good when the show started.

Carlin was his usual self: smart, funny, and as sarcastic as they come. I was having a blast until...

… I opened my eyes. Less than twenty feet away, George Carlin was staring at me. Straight at me. And he did not look happy. I felt my eyes widen. I felt the cool wetness of drool on my chin. I tried to recall the last thing George had said, and came up blank.

I had been asleep.

In the front row.

Asleep in the front row of a George Carlin show, and I’d been caught!

Guys: You know that feeling you get deep in your belly when, as a youngster, you slipped off the pedals of your bicycle and came down on that bar they put there specifically for you to hit your nuts on? And rather than landing in that one-in-a-million position where you have one testicle to either side of the bar so you squish your scrotum a bit but manage to save the boys, you instead land in that other one-in-a-million position where you somehow manage to stack your testicles one on top of the other and squash the hell out of both of them in one shot and spend several minutes wishing you were dead?

It felt like that.

Gals: You know that feeling you get deep in your belly when you drive 75 miles to a store that has advertised a massive sale on the perfect pair of shoes for you, the ones that will change your life just as soon as you sock all ten little piggies home in those babies, and you actually have a coupon that can be used in conjunction with the sale to make the price drop so low the store winds up paying you to walk out the door wearing your new fabulous footwear... only to find they’ve just sold the last pair not two minutes before you walked in, forcing you to buy three pairs of other shoes at full price as a ‘recovery from grief’ purchase?

It felt like that, but before the other three pairs of shoes.

I don’t have any real memory of the rest of the show that night. What I do remember is sitting on the edge of my seat with my feet flat on the floor, my eyes open so wide I was in danger of one of them falling out in my lap. Two voices, both of them mine, wrestled back and forth in my head, each striving for dominance with their own little thought:

    1. Oh my God, I love this guy, he’s one of my favorite comedians and this is probably the only time in my life I’ll ever get to see him live and I think I insulted him, I definitely insulted him, oh Christ kill me now, kill me now, oh my God, I love this guy, he’s one of my favorite...

    2. I am about to have one of the world’s greatest comedians make me part of the show... and not in a good way.

It was one of the scariest moments of my life, and I drive in Boston.

Think about it.

The good news is I was not made a part of the act, or if I was then it was so horrible I’ve completely blocked it from my memory. Either way the net effect was to have me wake up in my own bed the next morning almost convinced it had all been nothing more than a terrible dream... except my testicles still hurt.

Man I wish I could have just bought the extra shoes!

Oh well.

Talk to you later!

~ ~ * * ~ ~

...aaaaaand the bonus video!

This week it actually has something to do with the post, which is a serious departure from my norm, I know. For those of you who are familiar with Carlin's classic work, this will be a giggling little stroll down memory lane. For those of you who read that post up there and said "Who's George Carlin?"... well, first of all shame on you, but second of all this little clip will give you some idea of why I love this guy (may he rest in peace).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Smoke and Mirrors

So as you all know (and if you didn’t, then you will now) I work for the United States Postal Service. For someone looking to tell humorous stories this job has provided me with plenty of blog-fodder over the past couple of years.

Today was no exception.

Here’s the story:

If you’ve ever seen me you may have noticed that I am white. Not merely Caucasian, but white. The kind of white that has a chance of bursting into flame every time it wanders into direct sunlight. The kind of white that can burn purple and then have it peel painfully off to reveal fresh, white, un-tanned flesh beneath.

True story. I’ve done it.

I am far too melanin-challenged to work outside every day as I do without using amounts of sunscreen that may well qualify for the term ‘massive’.

Massive amounts.

So this morning after I loaded my route into my mail truck I pulled out my trusty squeeze bottle of SPF 100 sunscreen. Flannel has an SPF rating of 50. Lead has a 75. With 100 I can actually walk on the sun without harm. Okay, that’s not true, but it damn well should be. What is true is that I was standing in the parking lot smearing myself with a white substance with the consistency of toothpaste.

Crest. With brightening formula.

I spread it on my face and neck, then both arms, making sure to rub it in well. Since I have to cover my whole head I have to be doubly careful to get it all rubbed in well. Many' s the time I've done half my route or more before finding out I had a glob of white too hanging off an earlobe like some 'What About Mary' wannabe. So I stood there rubbing and rubbing until my head and arms were all set, then I moved on to my legs. I squirted out a double-handful of the thick, white goo and started smearing it over my shins and thighs... then I stopped and stared.

"What the #$%&?"

The white crap that I'd just smeared across my skin didn't look white. I mean, it did in my hands, but not where I’d rubbed it on my shins. Where it was on my shins (and, I now saw, my thighs) it looked to be a sort of bluish purple. A very obvious bluish purple.

"Oh my God!"

I pretty much flung myself at my vehicle, nearly slamming my head into the window glass as I tried to get a look at my face in the wing mirror.

My regular old white face stared back, no hint of the odd tinge so evident on my legs. I breathed a sigh of relief. I'm no movie star, and I'll take all the help I can get. Not being covered all over with something that would have made me look like some sort of a Dark Smurf, that counts as help in my book.

I looked down at my weirdly colored legs again. Looked more closely. It looked almost as if my legs were covered with something that the lotion was picking up as I spread it on... but what? I wracked my brain trying to come up with something, but it was still early, and it wasn’t like I’d really done anything yet, except...

I stood staring down at my discolored shins, having one of those ‘Aha!’ moments.

One of the first things we do in the morning at the Post Office, after we punch in at the time-clock and start getting paid to breathe, is to go out and do an inspection of our vehicles, including making sure the damn things start. Seriously, one very sucky way to start your day is to go load your whole route into your truck and then find out the thing won’t start.

I’ve done it. The suckage is huge. The suckage was epic the day I had to move my whole route to a different truck because mine refused to start, only to have the borrowed vehicle run out of gas half-way through my day.


Anyway, that means that at roughly 8:05 in the morning there are about 30 mail trucks starting and revving in the lot behind the post office. If you live next to your local post office then my apologies to you and I suggest you maybe move somewhere it would be more quiet for you in the mornings.  Like right next to an airport, or maybe a bell factory.

So I clocked in this morning and collected my truck key from the pegboard, then strolled out into the rear lot to add my own particular brand of motor noise to the cacophony. My route’s designated spot is all the way at the back of the lot, so I usually just walk between the double row of trucks that get to park closer to the building, much as anyone does as they cut across a parking lot. I started to do just that when I looked ahead and saw one of my coworkers, DG, starting his truck.
DG was parked nose-to-nose with the truck I was standing next to, and he was revving his engine like he was at the starting line at NASCAR. The downside of this for the neighbors was the tremendous amount of noise this created. The downside for me was the tremendous amount of thick black exhaust that vomited forth from his tailpipe. As he pinned the gas pedal and left it
there I kept waiting for the exhaust to clear but it never happened. Black smoke poured out of his truck, heavy and low-floating, in an unending stream. A traitorous breeze pushed the noxious mess toward me, filling the space between the trucks with oily smoke so thick it roiled fluidly as it moved toward me in a too-solid mass.

“Nope,” I said. “Don’t think so.”

I took a quick left, skirting the back of several vehicles intending to move over several spaces before trying to cross toward my own truck again, avoiding the nasty fug entirely. I passed the tail of one truck and started past the second when that driver, as yet unseen by me, twisted the key and hit the gas.

Just as I was passing his tailpipe.

Hot black smoke exploded out against my legs in a concentrated stream, like Satan’s own blow dryer. The crap coming out at me was so thick I could feel tiny, individual spicules of stuff striking my skin with stinging force; the world’s nastiest hail storm.

I gave a yelp worthy of a dog who just discovered the folly of trying to lift a leg against an electric fence and high-stepped it out of the blast zone. The driver was apologetic — he just hadn’t seen me — and I’d moved fast, but apparently not fast enough. Though all morning my legs had looked just fine to me, they had been, in truth,
scummed to a uniform gray, like painted-on nylons.


A dozen blackened handi-wipes later my legs were almost clean. The surface was clean, but every pore between my shorts and socks had become a clearly defined black dot. My legs in this state looked suspiciously like a photo negative of a starry night sky. Very negative. While the night sky is a thing of beauty, my massively polluted legs were simply disturbing.

So the bad news is I walked around for the day with massively polluted legs. The good news is I’m not one of those people who panics about things like this, worrying about what that crap being on and in my skin is going to do to me.

Besides, those eyes that grew out of my automotively poisoned kneecaps are going to come in awfully handy when I need to watch my step. I wish I’d had those while I was playing soccer when I was younger.

Oh well...

Talk to you later!

....and this week's video is an oldie but a goodie. It's one of my favorite things to have found on YouTube, the artist known as "Snubbie" playing an instrument he built out of PVC pipe at a school. He tried out for the Blue Man Group when he was just seventeen years old. They told him to go to college... and then come back.

Check this out!