Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lawn Darts and Land Rants

For my visit to Ann Arbor, I drew up an entire maize and blueprint of plans. Like a childless aviary activist, I wanted to take a generation beneath my wing and leave my imprint, all but guaranteeing their ejection from family circles and membership into my exclusive club. All my plans were vacuumed into an alternate reality, where vacuum bags are full of unmet potential, when we instead ended up “floating” down a pile of rocks - rocks with only the faintest trace of water flowing over them. These few droplets of moisture were enough, however, to convince someone adept at being incompetent to label the bastardized gash in the earth a “river.”

Ike (previously referred to as Kent) convinced us that during Spring term he took a lazy float down the Huron River, and that the float was relaxing and life-altering. With this simple story he convinced nine others to join him, myself included. After ten minutes of seeking bright lights at the end of dark tunnels, I had no skin on my hands, and Ben had been nearly impaled by an underwater logknife. Forty minutes later, no less relaxed, we emerged from the sludge and ordered an ambulance home. Forty-two minutes later, whether from the myriad moss injections or the garish stress and cold our bodies were subjected to, we all had The Sickness.

While in the Acceptance stage of recovery, I had a brilliant plan to get all of my sicknesses out of the way at once, so I posted the following on Craigslist:

Wanted: Swine Flu - Let's get this out of the way (for $3)

I figure that everyone is going to have to deal with this eventually. As I consider myself a go-getter, a Casanova of initiative, I would like to be an "early adopter" of the latest virus that Piglet technology has to offer. Pigs have had such a misunderstood image since Animal Farm, and I feel like things are finally turning around for them. I tote an "I support Porcine" reusable grocery bag, and this has garnered me the support of many in the community. If you even have to ask "what community?" then I'm not interested in further communication with you.

Now the logistics: I have been sleeping poorly and not drinking sufficient fluids for weeks in an attempt to lower the effectiveness of my immuno defenses, but to no avail. I am seeking someone who definitely has H1N1, but I don't really care if you have been “officially” diagnosed. I have always been told that the Proof is in the Pudding, so to start things off with forensick foreplay, I would like you to eat half a bowl of pudding. I will then take your spoon and finish the bowl. We don't need to kiss, probably shouldn't actually, so I will settle for a hug-and-sneeze combo. To finish, I will ask you to take a few drinks out of my water bottle. I should be able to take it from there.

Serious responses will receive serious consideration. Feel free to attach photos depicting various levels of your physical disarray.


Location: Chapel Hill

The post was deleted after twenty minutes. This highlights all that is right with America: you have a higher chance of contracting an unwanted STD from a 17-year-old online than a consensually downloaded illness. I was simply practicing my viral marketing skills.

To make up for my failed attempt at drinking piggy “cough syrup,” and for the group’s mishap with the Huron River, we bought pink floaties at a gas station and went to a lake deep in the Washtenaw County woods.

Conversation (while performing a real float):

Snack Snake: “Pyramid schemes are the lawn darts of our generation.”

Myself: “Who gave you the right to speak for our generation?”

Snack Snake: “I am the generation. I am the voice of our generation.”

Myself: “I don’t want you as my spokesperson. I’d rather have this floatie speak for me.”

Ike: “If Snack Snake is our voice, if he is right, then we are all drowned.”

Myself: “But if we drown the Snack Snake, we’re alright.”

At this point the Snack Snake thrashed around in such fear and was performing such advanced avoidance maneuvers that he almost drowned himself. Whether it is driving snakes at him through waist-high weeds, or driving fear into him in waist-high water, there is no better entertainment than a cornered Snack Snake.

When I returned home to the Triangle – wearing my Burmuda shorts and a plaid skirt as a shirt – my dad was waiting for me. He was here for my birthday, or at least this was his cover story. Really, he was here to help my murder the Intrepid. I went to work as normal, barely suppressing a smile, knowing what my dad and I were planning. The plan was flawless; not only were going to get away with murder, the endeavor was to act as a catalyst for father-son bonding.

Our molecular bond began its rift when a third element entered the equation: such is the physics of mechanics. In order to officially declare the car dead, we needed to get it checked out by a grease monkey. Grease monkeys cost money. I wanted to hire a patsy… some pansy who would look the other way while I pulled out the vehicle’s Roveries, rendering it sterile. Instead, my dad wanted to take it to a licensed mechanic who was actually going to look under the hood. I said no. My dad said nothing. I should have looked him in the eyes. People say when you are lying, your eyes point a certain way. I’ve never understood this; when I lie, it is always on my back. My eyes always point at the ceiling. So does my nose, mouth, and sense of entitlement.

So while I was at work, smirking like a bondsman, my dad was out trading fiat for false securities; he was bankrupting our mutual fun and breaking my heart. After all the hard work I put in to poisoning the car – neglecting its maintenance, never locking it, telling it it was adopted – my dad was going to fix it so I could keep it. He called me in the early afternoon and said, “Pick me up at the shop. I’m just down the road.” I got in his car, a minivan, and drove to him, almost in tears. I had never wanted to see the Intrepid again.

When I pulled into the address he had given me, I was surprised at the amount of cars the mechanic had endeavored to work on. An entire field full of shifty excuses. Impressive. I pulled up to my dad, noticing as I put the van in park that he was holding a knife. I left the van on and motioned that he get in without ever meeting his gaze. I wanted him to feel my blazing scorn. I wanted his conscience to burn like discount popcorn.

Still standing, holding out the knife, he assumed nothing and thusly pushed all my buttons. I flung open the door, telling him he could drive. He turned the blade inward, presenting me the handle, and said “Do the honors.” It suddenly all made sense. The field of broken dreams. The knife. The forklift operator dragging cars into a huge pile and in turn dragging an entire pack of cigarettes into her. I was at a junkyard. I made my bed, and now I was to lie in it. I couldn’t bring myself to stab the beast; I wouldn’t do that to an old friend. I had no problem, however, leaving that same old friend at the mercy of the forklift driver, and treating the only father this kid’s got to a pork chop and pasta dinner.

Next time: my dad forces ice cream down everyone’s throat between tequila shots, and I try to play guide dog, but instead end up spraining my sarcasm on a misplaced and dangling modifier.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Deep Posits in Diver City

Reclyning, a recycled orphan stuck in “washed up” cycle, giving double the blood at triple the pleasure. Plasma, endemic to my veinity, drains into a machine from my left arm, while with my right I scroll through my phone looking at Oddly Enough, a news feed with strange stories from around the world. I’m still giggling (see My Experience Last Time), because giving blood puts me in a drugged state. I see a great story, it tickles me, so I call out to Zhang it!, “They discovered a new species of dinosaur in Croatia!” He responds, wondering if they called it a Zhangitasaurus. “Of course not,” I replied, with just the right tone of irk, “it’s a CarbamaRaptor!” Still giddy, but now all the nurses know. They eye me with a suspicion usually reserved for vegetarians selling lien pork; it’s like borrowing against the piggy bank…

I call Zhang it! the CarbamaRaptor because he is absolutely addicted to Irish Car Bombs, a type of alcoholic beverage. He drinks little else, even uses it with cereal. I am four hours from getting on a plane and ice is tiptoeing through my body; my blood is swirling and being dissected of red cells in a procedure known as Double Platelet donation. My head is still spinning and I am recovering from Decompression Sickness. It has been a rough day in Diver City:

I was on call, charting the chat lines with glossy confidence. Suddenly, my entire team is up and marching, shrinking into the distance. Over a shadowy shoulder, as an afterthought, I hear “Wes, meeting in building 5, ten minutes.” What what what what what can a man do, when on a call he can’t drop with a talker he can’t stop? I feel like a bucket with no mop, sliding up a mountain with no top. I become brusque with the custom here - not hearing the customer - and I am off the phone in just under ten minutes. I race to the right place, forgetting my laptop, rapturing their meeting in like a postscript apocalypse. Not only is there no seat for me, but the man who hired me, the man who decided to bring a Finance major to an IT company, is sitting in the corner with his daughter. Apparently it’s bring-your-precious to work day, and all I’m holding is the doorknob.

As I pull in a pilfered chair from a nearby cubicle, I notice that the man leading the meeting isn’t my manager; it’s his boss. The meeting picked up steam while I lost credibility, and soon the leader stood up, snapped shut his laptop, and was off. I started to stand up, but no one else moved. It was time for the Diver City townhall. Dr. Powerline, my “hiring manager,” takes over as the diving instructor. Keep in mind that at this point, I still have no idea what the meeting is about, and I am confused as to whether we are actually adjourned. Dr. P is quick to shock, “Wes, since you were late, why don’t you give us your definition of Inclusion and Diversity?”

No. I can’t do this. I shun situations like this. There is a reason that I always stand with my back to the wall; I can’t be stabbed in the back and I can’t be snuck up on. I wasn’t sure which this was, but I knew it was one of the two. My mind, my greatest curse, whispers to me, Tell him you’ve always thought Diversity is the city where divers are born. I will absolutely not do that. I am not dumb, neither dim nor uneducated, but whatever I am has shrunk into a conch shell and conked out for the afternoon. Say it. Say Diver City is a great place to be a kid. Diver City is where Greg Lugayness was born. Instead, I say the following, verbatim: “I think inclusion is being part of a team. Like, knowing you are on a team and that everyone has your back. Or, you have their back. Knowing you can count on someone else… And diversity – well, for example, I went to school at Michigan. We have 13% Chinese people.” I should have said Diver City.

Dr. Powerline visibly regretted hiring me, then went on to give an awesome presentation about diversity at our company and how to foster ideas from dissimilar cultures and backgrounds to make a difference in the marketplace. I went on to fish a knife out of my pocket, and continually jammed it into the nearest socket in an attempt to destroy what my parents should have never created, me.

So, it was with great relief that I reclined on an uncomfortable cot with a needle hovering over my left side like a shard of some tasty spacechip. I watched it slip into something more comfortable - my arm -and laughed at the nurse. A concerned look only made me laugh harder, and she asked if I was on laughing gas. “I’m a diver,” I said. She asked no more questions.

Zhang it! had to leave early, because they missed his vein, hitting ivory. This caused quite the commotion; no one likes an angry CarbamaRaptor. The nurses escorted him out with oatmeal raisin reasons. Wisconsin and I sat the table, content in our colossal loss of blood, eating Oreos and sipping apple juice. We discussed death and cars, and the death of cars. I had only just taken my car into the shop, the judgment being that it had weak bones; the frame was about to snap. Afterward, I took a shot of milk to commemorate its loss, and to care for my own brittleness. The repairman asked what I was going to do with the beast. It took me less that a second to reply, “I think I am going to take it out to the woods and shoot it.” He thought this quite intriguing – the personification (and slaughter) of transportation – and walked back into his shop, howling about it with his mateys.

Wisconsin and I then jetted to the airport, walked the plank to our departure, and were off to visit Michigan: home to millions of people and the birthplace of Gracelessness. But I heard she had a French father and a British mother; you can’t help where someone is born.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'll take a B.J. (Brake Job)

I realize the last post was terrifying, and had an abrupt ending, but I wanted you to know what it feels like to be dragged into a dark corner with the bright lights at the end of the tunnel flashing before your eyes. Like red-eyed rats holding pitchforks over the gravel graveyards we call alleyways, I hold dearly the cubic space around my fleshy frame. I advise you to practice positioning yourself as far away from Cougars as the great taxidermist in the sky will allow you. We are so much stuffing; hackers raised to raise our own hackles.

In lighter news, my friend Summertime Susan killed a kitten. It is buried in the bushes behind an apartment complex in Raleigh. The kitty’s world collapsed in the following manner: One (1) freshman, origin of species uncertain, began to talk about how he loved and lived in Chapel Hill. I began to think about formulating a response, when I realized that he was as young as my brother, and I should not be socializing regularly with people who share a birth year with my brother. I stepped outside, and took one (1) brisk walk about the building to clear my head. On said walk, I discovered the remnants of an ancient pine’s seed; a cone of coprolitic proportions. I marched it back inside with me, and began to assault Zhang it! on the shoulder while he played Beer Pong. It is a well known fact that I refuse to take drinking games seriously, so my conic probings went largely ignored.

Summertime Serious, however, jokingly threatened to crash the pinecone’s adventures by claiming she was going to take the seed outside and toss it into the bushes. Finally, after several attempts, she was able to wrest the cone from my grasp and bound through the door and into the night. I followed, but too late. I arrived at the hedge just in time to hear a loiterer say “What did you just throw into the bush?” Before Summertime could open her guilty mouth, I informed the crowd that my former friend had just blasted the delicate body of one (1) baby kitten into a dark lake of leaves. The inky-skinned and small-brained group was nearly moved, in unison, to tears. Summertime went back inside, scared of an uprising. I knelt over the bush, prying at it with my digits and holding back tears. I asked the crowd to leave, using something like “Get out of here, loitering is just littering with your bodies.” They obliged, not because my comment made sense but because you aren’t allowed to take pleasure when a man can’t find his pussy.

Fudge left for South Korea, and to celebrate I set up a “Fudge and Chicken” event at a local park. Our volleyball team (3-2 on the season) held an extended match, and by the time we finished handing the other team brochures for PTSD, the Fudge had melted and the chicken was cold. In recompense, we went to Chili’s, where over a basket of unlimited chips, I found out what Man U. really thought of me. During a discussion over how big my ears are, Man U. chipped in with the following compliment, “I’ve never actually noticed his big ears… How can you, with THAT CHIN!” When this wasn’t taken as an insult by me - I’ve got a quick and quirky chin – Man U. attacked the fact that I refuse to get a new car. I told him that I would rather pay child support than make a car payment, because at least my kids would appreciate in value, even while deflating my bank account. Seeing as our arguments were caste in different lighting, we agreed to disengage. Fudge was happy to have lobes to poke fun at, and I think her last night in America was a good one.

I had dinner with Rachel Peachpit, her boyfriend, and several of his Duke Theology allies. God blessed them with a purpose, the ocean with a porpoise (apropos), and me with an undoubtedly idealistic view of life as a limited opportunity to make discontented people feel otherwise. As I was on my way home from the lovely meal, I slid up squeaky style at a red light behind a car that I’d assumed was going to go though and violate law but not protocol. When the car’s inhabitant heard my Intrepid’s shrill pleas(e) to get new brake pads, the door swung open and a face assaulted my vision with its appalling grace. A human growl, a metal moan, as the car’s frame shifted; “Did you hit me?” both asked, in different languages. I answered in the negatory. The question was repeated, I remained upright and seated, and my answer didn’t change. The light changed outfits, and directives. The car’s frame cried again, the door was sucked inward as if some inner obsidian gargoyle had suddenly sprung to life. The door then flew fully open, the bowling ball rolled out into the passing lane, and my mind climbed out of the gutter and into a bubble, waiting for something or someone to burst.

Thundering like my worst atmos-fear of liquid nitrogen, she performed one of the well-known but naught respected “Let me pull up my pants before I bend over” move. She inspected her bumper, and my teasing grin, then flipped me off and melded into her driver’s seat. The beast rode away with its burden.

Later in the weekend, I went running with Zhang it!, and he showed me how badly it hurts to run a 6.5 minute mile. Chris Candlewick dealt me a quadriceps contusion during basketball, and I was so hobbled that over the next two days in the office, I fell over twice while standing and working on my model poses. I had an older co-worker come up to me in the break room and say, “Saw you get up from your chair and walk away. You looked like I do when it’s about to rain.” He has a metal hip and a grin that rivals Creed’s.

A couple great compliments were paid me during calls over the last few weeks. First, a man named J.J. said he would name his first boy after me, after I helped him recover an important presentation that he had deleted from his computer. A few calls later, I was presented with a situation in which a lady was not showing up anywhere in the company’s system. She wasn’t able to do anything productive and I decided to help, even though I didn’t have the resources or permission to help her. I contacted a friend on the backend (did you just touch my ass?), and he was able to get some dirty laundry ironed out. The next day, her manager called me during an online meeting she was holding, and told the whole meeting that I had done a great job and deserved their praise. Half the people thanked me by name - though I had never met them and they all lived in California - and the manager gave them all my e-mail address and told them to call me with their issues. She said that if she came out to North Carolina on any business trips, she would take me out to lunch. That is the third person since I’ve started that has propositioned to buy me a meal over the phone.

Next time: blood drips from the CarbamaRaptor, a car dies in the forest and no one hears a sound, and I buy a Michigan football ticket with a dirty quarter…

P.S.: this post will be published to, in the Humor section, so by referencing it here, I might break the internet. It's like looking into a maze of mirrors, or Google searching "Google search."