Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Electric Theater

Fear means something different when you’re dead.

Instead of the rubberstamped hallmarks that have been dramatically overused throughout the years, dark houses, vampires, werewolves, you know what I mean; fantasized ideas that a group of teenagers recite over the trailing embers of a campfire. None of those things are actually scary are they?

You tell me.

When you’re dead, you are the one who is in control of what brings fear. You are the one who decides what provokes terror into the hearts of those who are seeking it. You are the one who bangs pots and pans together in an abandoned warehouse. You are the one who wears a sheet and makes awkward noises parading around an abandoned mansion. When you’re dead, you are not the one who is a recipient of the bone-chilling moments. You are the instigator. You are the one who is in control of the fear.

Most of the others around here abuse those cliché effects. They play up the luminescent glows around an archaic headstone in the cemetery, or the creaking door banging back and forth on the doorframe. They sometimes even go for a much more disturbed effect, inspiring demented writers to publish screenplays about serial killers, or demonically possessed little girls. But that’s not for me. I try a more simple approach. I stick with the fundamentals.

I strike fear in the dark.

Everything is more terrifying in the dark. Your mind deceives you and makes things appear that don’t actually exist. The darkness elaborates on little white lies, producing colossally frightening objects that are normally just another daytime article, not something to be afraid of in any other given circumstance. At night, in the dark, is when boundaries are crossed; things are changed. As the mystery of the macabre envelops one’s mind, you can’t help but be paranoid at the surrounding conglomeration of horror.

I adore the electric theater in the town where I grew up. It had an Arcadian demeanor to it that would wrap its warm arms around me whenever I would stay after alone to rehearse the lines for the next show we would be putting on for the locals. That theater was my life. Everything about it; the ragged blood-red curtains drearily hanging on the walls, the polished brass guardrail next to the staircase ascending to the second floor, with the creaking oak steps that softly groan any time that you put them to work, the intoxicating aroma that was a combination of body odor, buttered popcorn, and eye shadow. I love every tiny detail about the theater.

On some nights, kids will come by and talk about me. Even talk to me. They try and get an amused arousal from the girl who haunts the electric theater. Sometimes they even go to great lengths, holding hands, closing their eyes, lighting a black candle, or scratching an upside down pentagram with chalk on the main stage floor to try and conjure my spirit back up to scare them. That’s just pure whimsical nonsense if you ask me. Again, I’m not into the typecast terror tactics that others like me so frequently abuse. I am into a more refined approach to scaring people. There are some nights, depending on the crowd, that I throw them a bone or two. I put on my red high heels and softly creep across the back of the stage, every step erecting a phantom image of a teenage banshee. I go into the makeup room and slam the door once or twice with echoing screams and trampling of feet to follow. If they’re lucky, I’ll even let out one of those dramatic moans, throwing in a few random names to see them rush out in a haunting bash of fear.

Some nights at the theater I see him there, that pompous putz; that pure curse word showing up unannounced, uninvited. I see him meandering through the lobby, down through the aisles, wherever he feels like roaming. He thinks that it’s perfectly fine to come into my domain and dance on my grave. That audacious oaf; he’s mocking me, egging me on, challenging me to scare him silly. Sitting blankly in the audience, dishonestly appreciating whatever performance is going on. I see him there with that smug look on his face. That unenthusiastic, unemotional, unloving plastered palate glazed over at whoever is reciting their lines for act two. For the longest time I was mistakenly smitten by him. I thought he was the man that I would wrinkle with.

But I was wrong.

Too often in life we create absurd expectations out of nothing, for situations that we have absolutely no control over. What will happen when they call us back? Where will we be moving once we get that dream job? When will he finally get over that hump and make it out of the ICU? How will we feel when the audience gives us a standing ovation for our performance? In our minds, we create detailed storylines for how events will play out once that hypothetical bridge is crossed. We begin elaborating on the reactions to the actions, actions that the majority of the time don’t go our way.

It is somewhat amusing how unstable our perspective is about how we think life is supposed to work isn't it?

How we think things will turn out and how they actually do unfold rarely coincide. They don’t call you back. The boss hires someone else. He decides to kick the bucket. You go flat on that last note, and they just sit in their seats muted. All of these victorious scenarios that we have in our minds never actually happen, and immediately we are dropped to an even lower level of despondency.

That’s how I felt about him.

As a heart throbbed teen I had all sorts of ideas about the life we would live together. I created hypothetical fantasies for how we would be attached for decades to come. I daydreamed up our wedding colors, wondered about potential baby names, imagined late night road trips with each other, all of the riff-raff that goes along with growing old with somebody. But all of that was flushed down the drain when he decided that there were greener pastures, despite the fact that he had been grazing in mine for over four years. Yes, the L-word is something that drives people to madness. That’s why so many people live in fear of it.

As he walks out of the theater, I trace my clammy dead hands across the back of his neck.

He keeps walking without blinking.

Everyone is afraid of something.

Fear is what prevents you from becoming something great. It’s what flashes despicable nightmares across your mind and shatters dreams that you have had about something that you wanted so very badly. Fear is what tells you that you can’t, that you won’t, that you never will. Fear is the mind’s greatest bully as you intellectually sit on the playground debating whether to stand up for yourself and hit him back. As children we all have fears. We are afraid of dropping from the pinnacle of that giant rollercoaster, or what lies beneath the surface of a shallow pond that to us is an infinite abyss. As we grow older, those things fade away when we understand the lack of logic in our emotion-driven fears. Fear happens when we create a false reality in our own minds about what will happen if we take high-risk actions.

One of the driving forces behind the idea of fear is that you are just slightly out of control with your surroundings. Not too much though, just a fraction. You don’t want to be completely overwhelmed and cast into fight or flight mode, you just want to have some inconvenient variables get tossed into the equation so that your envelope get pushed just a little bit further than you expected. That is fear. Things that you can’t control, that are controlling you.

I take pleasure in making people uncomfortable. Part of me thrives on provoking awkward feelings. There are the long pauses in the dark when a young couple anxiously stares each other down; mentally probing to see if they both heard the small rock I tossed at the rear window of their parked car. Or when a group of teenagers are sitting at a campfire telling scary stories and I scream into the ear of a crow, instigating its awkward caw at the plateau of the raconteur’s tale, creating the most dramatic of all bird cries, and causing the adolescents to look around and huddle closer together in the shadows. I love the uneasiness of the dark. It is what helps control people when they haven’t fully mastered their own fears.

Every so often I wander over to the cemetery and pace between the rows of graphite gravestones. That is where a large amount of us usually reside. It’s not that the creaking rusty gate at the entrance has a tender notch in our non-pulsating hearts. It’s that the majority of the ones that are here are geriatric fossils, and have nowhere else to go, almost instinctively thinking that a cemetery is where they are supposed to be. And given the decrepit state that they are in, they don’t want to do anything else than just wait. All they do is wait. Waiting as the hours go by. Waiting for the landscapers to come and clean up the teddy bears and trinkets dropped off in a hurry. Waiting for their loved ones to stop by, if they even have any. A lot of these people here don’t even have anyone who remembers them anyway. But they still wait for them. They wait for the ones that they have left behind. Sometimes a few people will stop by. People in black clothes holding cheap plastic flowerpots, sometimes almost stopping by just as a formality, as if they actually care about the people planted six feet below where they’re standing.

But they don’t.

There are a select few who stop by that actually do care about their fallen friends, but not many. Widows and widowers, who need to witness tangible proof that the person they loved is no longer around. They stand there next to the graves and sob. Sometimes even talk to them.

The reality is that those headstones don’t talk back.

Then there are the crazy ones, the mad ones. The ones who are delirious with lunacy, and wander around muttering foul phrases to themselves over and over again. We don’t talk to those ones. They drove themselves to this point, and are not getting out of here any time soon. Some of them are here intentionally; they put themselves here. Nobody can ever guess what drove them to this point. But there is a minority of souls who landed in this spot not by accident, or by illness, or pure old age, some of them are here because they wanted to be here. They chose to be here. They ran from their own fears and embraced the easy way out. Whether by a self-inflicted slash, or a refusal to resurface from the bottom of the pool, they are here because they decided when they were going to die. Not many are afforded that luxury.

The wrench that is handed to these mad hatters is that nothing really changes when you die. You are still the exact creature that left. There is a common misconception held by a majority of religious-minded folk that once you die, things will be different, things will change. You will be released from all sorrows and tribulations you had to impatiently deal with for the majority of your life. Death to them is the ultimatum of atoning actions. It is the warm blanket that they crave, amid the maelstrom of events smoldering around them. They have this illusion of death as if it were a moment of exaltation, and they think by tying that noose, or by stepping off of that ledge, that everything will be made better.

But it’s not.

I see him there again, at the electric theater. If he only knew what the visual perception of his face does to me. I hate him. I abhor him, that vile vermin, that detestable dirt bag, that pathetic waste of breath. It seems to happen every other Friday night around seven or so as the curtains are being raised. That annoyance rolls in and taunts me with his presence. If you want to know what Hell is, just sit in the same room as your ex-lover and watch him wrap his arm around another girl, having no regard or respect for anything that you ever did for him in your life. Watch him place his hand on her lap and dispassionately caress the inside of her knee. Watch her lean over and look him in the eyes, actually believing that he might be the one who she will soon be infatuated with. He doesn’t care. And at this point, I am the only one who can see that. One day she might. But until then, I’ll just sit here onstage in my ragged brown dress and ruby high heels and just watch him schmooze away some ridiculous love story that’s never going to have a happy ending for her.

The man who I adored is now just a despicable sickness who intoxicates any member of the opposite sex who is willing to divvy up her time for him. One by one they all fall for him. And he doesn’t care at all. This man hasn’t a single sensitive cell in his entire body. If I only knew then what is blatantly being painted before me now.

He brings her on to the stage after the play and sits her down on the dusty floor next to the baby grand piano. Everyone is gone home for the night by now. Polishing that debonair charm, he begins the recital of whatever egotistical swan song he relays that he has concocted “just for her”.

I drag my growing thumbnails across the treble strings.

He plays on.

I grab my high heel and throw it up at the catwalk.

He plays on.

I stand next to his lover and bawl out a high-pitched scream.

She lets out a small whimper and smiles up at him.

This is the part about being dead that I hate the most.

Sometimes I roam over to the hospital. All the way up to the fifth floor, where people are being prepped for what the next step is going to be on their journeys. Some of them make it out of here, but not many. I sit down next to an old man with a tube coming out of his trachea. On his withered left shoulder the word “colonel” has been tattooed. He’s only been in here a few days. Lung cancer, I think. Seems to be putting up a valiant fight though. Nobody has been in to visit the old man. I doubt they ever will. And so I sit and stare at him, yawning away at the ticking minute hands on the wall that are slowly dragging his soul away.

In the room next to him, a woman is on her way out.

Chagrin seems to be the word of the day for her family, as I vacantly look over at the freshly mopped talcum floor in the hall, leisurely intoxicating myself with the sterile surroundings. The brittle gray woman is softly moaning to the nurses that her chest hurts. She’s been in here a few days longer than the colonel has. The only difference is, she’s not progressing. Her physical body is gradually shutting down. Somewhere, a fat lady is starting to warm up. It’s going to happen soon enough.

Outside of her room a handful of red-eyed family members sit in limbo as to what will happen in the next ten minutes, next half hour, next nursing shift. They wait. Waiting for something traumatically relieving to happen, for their hallowed yet delusional mother, aunt, grandma, sister, friend, to be relieved of her difficulties; the difficulties of her physical body not being able to regenerate itself anymore, the difficulties of balancing pro-life and pro-death decisions, the difficulties of letting go.

Yes, that certainly is the toughest piece of life to chew on.

Deep down everyone is afraid of dying. Afraid of what lies ahead. Afraid that their faith in the afterlife will be shaken and stirred once their hearts have pumped out those few last beats. Death is one of the most constant uncertainties that we all have to face at some point in our lives, rather, at the end of our lives. Death is incessantly there. It is always with us. Sooner or later we will have to come to terms with the impending closure of our lungs, or the ceasing of neurons firing away in our brains. Our clocks continue to cycle down until the last granules of sand have passed through the hourglass.

Sooner or later, that day will come.

As the woman in the room next to me tearfully whispers the phrase, “just let me go” over and over again, with her supporting cast wiping away tears and hesitantly embracing the next step in all of their lives, I wonder about the inevitable future of the man lying in the bed two feet in front of me. These fools, if they only knew what was next. They make such a big deal about an event that climaxes this feeble speck of an existence. In a few minutes another set of expectations will be ruined by the reality of what death actually is. It’s just the next step, a step that everyone hesitates to take.

In the room next to me, the last step is being taken.

Well after the final curtain has come down a key opens up the main doors to the theater. I’m lying down in the orchestra pit wastefully staring away, my red heels tapping the floor in rhythm.

He walks in and slowly shuts the door behind him.

I rise to my feet, ready to hit on all cylinders and send him screaming into the night. That irreparable irritant, that foul-smelling buffoon, an excuse of a man with no soul, the man who caused me to be here. Doesn’t he know that if it weren’t for him I would be fine? And he comes waltzing in to my theater taunting me, jeering me on, asking for horror? This sinful sliver of a human being doesn’t deserve an ounce of good fortune for the pain that he put me through.

I hit the switch to the lights, enveloping him in the dark.

He walks down the aisle uninterrupted.

I reach over to the curtains and start swinging them back and forth in a metrical motion.

He sits on the front row.

I run up to the back of the theater and slam the oak doors over and over again until I’ve lost count.

His heart beats complacently.

Does this man not feel fear? Is he immune to the haunting that I have been destined to torment him with for however long I am banished to this to this isolated arena? Does he not understand the magnificence of torture that I have become so ingenious at by a barrage of nights scaring little kids half to death? Does he not recognize that I, I am one of the most horrific things that has ever been a part of his life, and am now so eloquently skilled at the art of deception and chaos and horror?

I look him in the eyes, staring down into his sunken skull, eyeing more than just the unflinching pupils mocking me back. But he doesn’t budge. He transparently stares through me to the back of the stage. Look at this disgrace of a creature, acting as if I’m not here. Abrasively mocking my own existence. Intimately leaning into his bubble, I place my cheek next to his.

“I know why you’re here.” I whisper into his ear.

A tear rolls down his cheek as he exhales quietly.

A wave of shock engulfs me as I sit back on the stage before him. Wiping away that isolated element of sadness, he stands up and begins slowly walking up the aisles.

This is my Hell.

The doors shut quietly behind him and I lay overwhelmed with the reality punch just delivered.

This is what true fear is. The understanding that you are the one that is not in control, that is the ultimatum of fear itself. I, am now afraid. I am out of control. This is my sentence, my punishment, my penalty. This is what I get for deliberately stepping in front of a southbound bus to Decatur. At the moment, I wasn’t afraid of the consequences. But now, fear rules my life. I’m afraid because every time I see him, I am reminded as to how I got here. On those nights, I am not the one who is haunting him; he is the one who is haunting me. As he sits in the audience, coldly watching whatever performance is going on, he is invoking terror. He doesn’t know it, but at that point in time, he is the one who is scaring me. He is the one who makes me afraid. You see I am not the one who is controlling him.

He is controlling me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Display of the Dead

Walking around in a room full of dead people isn’t as creepy as you would think. Until you get to the part of the exhibit that shows the front torso of a woman bearing a 4½-month child, and then you start to get a bit squeamish.

Mind=blown, I know.

For full effect, download “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Walking through the Boise Discovery Center this afternoon, I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, ‘What freakshow of an entrepreneur came up with the idea to petrify dead people, cut them up into different pieces, arrange them in active poses, and then charge people $20 a pop to gawk at them all day long?’

Cue scientific egg being fertilized by both Dexter Morgan and Donald Trump: “This guy!”

Our body is one of the most repulsive, nauseating, tingle-taunting conceptions ever made; one of the most intricately laid out, most absurd organisms to walk the graces of this green Earth. For a person that has more than double-digit brain cells to think that this creation we are all sitting in at this very moment is a thing that evolved from a one-celled amoeba, anemically budding from a pot of goop 65 million years ago, HOW IN THE NAME OF HOLY HELL WERE YOU GIVEN ANY TYPE OF DEGREE CERTIFYING YOUR EDUCATION?!

Whew! Got that off my chest.

This exhibit was actually the best entertainment that $18 could buy this afternoon, as myself and two lovely ladies killed the few hours that we had in between sessions by gawking at lumps of prostate cancer, lungs with emphysema, and spleens. Sadly, some of the students that we all talked to this afternoon had less intelligence than the dead people who were on display.

Jane Doe: “Like, I know you’re a college in video gaming development, but do you have any culinary arts programs?”

John Doe: “St. George, Utah? Like, is that in Georgia?”

John Doe’s Dad: “So do you work for this college?”

Swamp Thing: “No sir, I actually am a hippie who beat up a very tall, very attractive, very intelligent man in the alleyway who conveniently was wearing my same exact size of clothes, got on Wikipedia, downloaded a crash course in the history of this random school behind me, memorized the school song, memorized the programs and degrees offered, meanwhile I luckily had business cards being printed off at Kinko’s that had both my name and phony title being printed on it, dropped those off on the table in front of you, stole a suitcase full of arbitrary flyers, broke in the back door of some huge convention center in Idaho, all of this being done just so I could STAND BEHIND A TABLE FOR SEVEN HOURS UNPAID AND ANSWER THE SAME REDUNDANT QUESTIONS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!”

Is what I should have said.

Swamp Thing: “Yes sir I am, and it’s a pleasure talking with great people such as yourself.”

Is what I did say.

Kill me now and ship me to the museum down the street.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Front Porch Test

In our lives we have different levels of relationships. There are the people we don't know about, the casual acquaintances, the stalking Facebook friends, the pals from the past, the family members that we're afraid of, and then there are the people who pass what is called "the Front Porch test."

Lily Aldrin: "When I picture the future, I picture us all together when we're older, playing bridge on the front porch of our beach house."

Marshall Eriksen: "Bridge! I win!"

Let me tell you about a couple who have passed my own front porch test.

I started hanging out with SuperBryce near the end of my senior year of high school. We were only friends by association, and for all I knew he was that one kid who would have micro machine drag races with some other weirdo who was obsessed with Japanese cars. Yeah I know, he was one of those guys. But time passes, we grow up, and it's rather interesting to see how some relationships deteriorate and others flourish by outside influences. And by outside influences, I mean spouses.

SuperBryce was dating the Nomadic Bronco just when I came home from my two-year hiatus in southern Virginia. I knew nothing of her, but I remember one night sitting at a Wendy's in Riverdale, Utah when SuperBryce told me over a double cheeseburger combo meal that he really L-worded the heck out of her.

It may not have been that big of a deal to him at the time, but I still remember that conversation.

We have had some good times over the years. There was the night when SuperBryce and I had batting practice with rotten peaches in Nina Doxey's culdesac, there was the pity blind date they set me up with who mid-make out informed me that she had mono, there have been the momentous games of Words with Friends that the Nomadic Bronco and I clash weekly over, and they were some of my most solid supporters when doctors sliced my head open a couple times, even though that dream companionship with the "stuck-up church girl" never worked out.

Earlier this afternoon I sat in church reading cartoon books about puppies and kitties to their 16-month old cuter than snot son Gavin and I'll tell you what, if you don't think that he is the most adorable thing ever made, well shame on you. I'll deliver a haymaker right to your ovaries if you don't agree with me. This kid would make Genghis Khan melt into warm butter he's that charming.

It's been over ten years since I graduated high school, and over five years since the two of them have been together, almost 2,000 days to be exact, and I kind of came to the realization that these are two people that I want to maintain a strong friendship with till I'm old and can't control my own poop. They are the reason that I was excited to come up to Portland and stand in a booth for seven hours. Ironically, it made me sick to my stomach that a sour sushi buffet kept me from spending more time with them and their son this weekend, they are that awesome. For them, I request the highest of fives.

Now there hasn't been any dramatic event, nor have there been any life-altering choices made that have solidified our friendship through the bonds of time. Nothing monumental, or outlandish by any means. The thing is that these two great friends have just been there, and so have I, and that's what makes our friendship work; that's what makes them pass the front porch test. They are the Marshall and Lily, and I am Ted Mosby.

Maybe one day, if I'm lucky, I'll find that girl with the yellow umbrella, and the four of us can enjoy late nights of bridge on our own front porch too.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


While recruiting my tail off at a college fair in Portland, this family came to my booth and tried to do the same for a school in Ohio. Props to them for being loyal Buckeyes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

You Make Me Vomit!

It is an extremely sadistic, yet satisfying feeling when your dinner violently rushes out of both ends of your body.

For full effect, read this entire blogpost in sexy sick voice. Wait, scratch that, read this entire blogpost in “I-just-threw-up-everything-since-last-Tuesday” voice instead.

It has been 1,217 days since I last upchucked my dinner. Scary that I know that so well, but I try and do a decent job remembering my heavings. The time before that it had been 1,939 days since I had thrown up. I’m kind of weird for tracking my throw up calendar, don’t judge. The actual reason that I remember these dates so well is because significant events happened around both of them. The first being the night before the 2004 Final Four, the most recent being the day that the King of Pop kicked the bucket, and the world was in a frenzy that we would never see the moonwalk again.

Nauseous Swamp Thing: “Hey Grandma, sorry if my throwing up last night kept you and Grandpa awake.”

Crazy Grandlady: “Shh, be quiet, Michael Jackson died, have some of that leftover Mac & Cheese for breakfast if you want.”

See the kind of abuse that I’ve had to put up with my whole life?

For the record, if you ever have that disturbed twitch to get Beto’s at one in the morning, eat half of a steak chimichanga, and put the rest in the fridge, do not go back and eat the rest of it 48 hours later. That steak chimichanga will kill you. True story. In fact, they almost had to put those words of council on my headstone three years ago I was that sick.

Here lies Brock
He shouldn’t have eaten Beto’s.

Yes kids, we all make mistakes in our lives, things that we’re not proud of. For some reason last night I thought that a massive plate of sushi and a maple bacon bar sounded appealing. If you’re just tuning in, a maple bacon bar is a solid choice of dessert served up by VooDoo Doughnuts up here in Portland, OR. I decided to walk a mile and a half into town and enjoy one of those last night. My throat and anus both feel that was the wrong choice to make.

SuperBryce: “Dude, what were you thinking? You got sick because those things have been just sitting around all day. That’s bacon that’s just been hanging out collecting germs.”

Swamp Thing: “I know, I know, but totally worth it.”

In hindsight, it really wasn’t worth it at all. I’ve been making hourly trips to the pottty, have had three showers, and have only been taking sips of Pedialyte and Seven Up all evening. A maple bacon bar and a sushi buffet was not the best choice that I’ve made in my life. But, that’s a thing of the past now. I’m back to Day One.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Welcome to: (Insert Destination Here)

Having to crouch while peeing in the lavatory of a Boeing 737-400C is not a skill that a man of my size has mastered just yet.

For full effect, download “Madness” by Muse and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Bonneville Senior: “You know the best way to sum up Idaho is that we have bi-polar weather; you never know what you’re going to get.”

Okay Forrest Gump’s soon to be mother, if bi-polar weather means a euphoric high for small doses of time, followed by psychotic depression, intermingled with guilt, isolation, anxiety, possible hallucinations and morbid suicidal ideation, then Idaho’s meteorologists have some messed up jargon. Trust me on this one, bi-polar weather is no stranger to my family’s forecast.

For the record, I do find it ironic that Forrest Gump was being shown on one of the random TV’s while I was wasting away at Boise International Airport.

Everyone is so defensive at the airport, it’s like the circle of trust has been violated and tossed into the gutter like used birth control, only to be replaced with animosity, distrust, and a cauldron of luggage, followed by death stares from fellow flyers if you’re caught looking anywhere close to where they’re seated. It’s a foreign world that has become so airtight ever since 9-11. And we, as a culture have evolved right along with the increased security and anal attitudes.

Airport Security: “Sir, can I please swipe the palms of your hands?”

Swipe the palms of my hands? With that magic square of cotton that is supposed to tell you if I have rabies, syphilis, C4, unfiltered money, or an illegal alien hidden in my grips? Or do you always swab down every handsome scruff who looks a little but suspicious because he’s 6 foot 5? I know, I get it, I’m a victim of profiling. Swab away.

I will say that this blogpost was started at one location, and completed at another, 554 miles away, that distance being traveled in just 90 short minutes. Mind=blown, I know. I’m used to traveling by now, I’ve been a traveling salesman for the last three years and counting. I should be used to it by now. Should be, I guess. The hassle of rental cars, boarding passes, jet lag, key cards, parking lots and palm-swabbing sometimes wears me out.

Tyler Durden: “Everywhere I travel, it’s a tiny life. Single serving sugar, single serving cream. Single pad of butter, the microwaved chicken cordon bleu hobby kit. Shampoo-conditioner combos, sample packaged mouthwash, tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight, they’re single-serving friends.”

This is my life as a salesman, and it’s ending one single-serving friend at a time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

They Call Me Tater Salad

Watching TV in this great nation you have more than likely heard the benchmark phrase for Dunkin' Donuts, "America Runs on Dunkin'". I think that slogan can be changed just slightly for this great frozen territory, which should say, "Idaho Runs on Potatoes."

For full effect, download "Hot Potatoes" by The Kinks, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

They absolutely L-word potatoes up here, more than they L-word cows, and that’s saying something. This vegetable is sacred to them, it's all that they've ever wanted, it’s the yin to their yang. You take potatoes out of the state of Idaho, and what do you have?

Good question. What would you have? I really don't have a clue.

For the record, if you haven’t voted already, or aren’t registered to vote, or don’t actually know what voting is, go do it RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND!!! A very intelligent, very passionate, very wise sage from the school with the W will swiftly snap your cervical vertebrae in a violent manner if you have not contributed to the democratic privileges that so many people take for granted every November.

In other news…

Idaho Counselor: "We're actually just gettin’ done with harvest break this week."

Swamp Thing: "I'm sorry, harvest break?"

Idaho Counselor: "Yeah, it's sort of like fall break for Utah, ‘cept up here we take a whole week off to do the harvestin'.”

Swamp Thing: "And when you say harvesting, you're speaking figuratively, right?"

Idaho Counselor: "Oh no, I really do mean that we harvest. We gotta whole lotta potatoes to bring in, so that break is usually for the kids to help their Dads harvest. In some of the rural schools, they e'en give 'em two weeks to bring in the crops."

This place just leveled up in awesomeness. Leveled up? What kind of a phrase is that? It makes me sound like a gamer or something. I’m not one of those guys, I actually speak to women face-to-face.

To my right is seated a group of very distinguished, very elegant, very moronic hair dressers, from a place my follicles have never even heard of before. They are by far, the loudest assemblage of estrogen this side of the Snake River, and could someone please give me something to grind my teeth on, I’ve been chewing a hole through my tongue in cynical rage just overhearing some of the things that they’ve said in the last 45 minutes.

DB Dresser 1: “This network won’t let you get on Facebook?! What the heck?! What else is there on the Internet?!”

DB Dresser 2: “Like how come this flyer says that tonight’s thing starts at 17:00? What the heck does that mean? There’s no such thing as 17:00. These people are like SOOO stupid.”

DB Dresser 3: “Ohmygosh! I just got the down low on Paul Mitchell. I saw their booth, and they are like, killing us. They’ve got like, ideas and stuff for kids, like to make ‘em think and stuff, ladies we’re getting scooped.”

DB Dresser 4: “You know what the best thing about pockets is? You can put like, trash in it, and you can like throw it away later.”

DB Dresser 5: “I LOVE their makeup. I want to learn how to look ‘beat up’ you know?”

DB Dresser 6: "Ooh, you guys, look at that guy next to us, like he's typing so FAST!"

Those are all exact comments, VERBATIM, from creatures seated next to me who are trying to sell the idea of higher education to the local potato harvesters. In the meantime, can someone please get a hold of the local Idaho Falls drug dealer? I’m going to need a shot of put-backed taters in my arm to keep me sane for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Freezing World of Wal-Mart

WTF is this white stuff falling out of the sky? And how come I can see my own breath in this hotel room? I’m going back to bed.

For full effect, download “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. Also, please go turn up the thermostat, because I’m freezing my Royal Rastafarian Nenes off in here. (LTT)

I should have known to pack more than just running clothes and short-sleeved polos for this journey into what I am nicknaming the arctic’s little brother. Maybe it’s my body temperature being accustomed to the glory of good old SG, or maybe I don’t have any Eskimo heritage in my unknown family tree, either way, I’m freezing my tail off in this spud-monopolized territory.

For the record, I would like to add that I have journeyed out into the cold, dark world, to a place that for me is now a palatial haven. (Like that new word? Yeah, GRE flashcards, thanks a bunch Jo.) Kids, I’m referring to Wal-Mart; that glorified glory hole for the inbred redneck inside every one of us.

I think that at some point in all of our lives, we have been to the website, If you haven’t, well then today is your lucky day. Go ahead, open a new tab and laugh yourself silly mocking the scantily clad, iron-fisted tweety-bird pajama wearing nutcases that somehow get their pictures posted all over the internet.

Go ahead, I can wait…

Statistically speaking, I’m willing to wager that 83% of the people plastered on that site come from the good old state of Idaho, and probably from the very same Wal-Mart that’s a good 100 yards away from the hotel room that I’m seated in, blogging away at this very moment. By the way, have I mentioned that it’s FREEZING IN HERE?! CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE START A BONFIRE IN THE WORKOUT ROOM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD?! I CAN’T FEEL MY THUMBS!?!

I have made a few pit stops over yonder in the world that Sam Walton created for all of us, and in those three journeys I will say that I’ve been clinging to my wallet and the inside of my coat for dear life and protection. There’s a smell drifting through the air when you walk in, so putrid, so foul, so alarming that your eyes start to water in pure fear. Plus, everyone is staring me down like I’m some odd man out, the brick that doesn’t fit. Maybe it’s because I’m not wearing black socks underneath my sandals, and look like I have shaved in the last month, I don’t know. Either way, I don’t fit in here. And why is EVERYONE IN THIS STORE WEARING COWBOY BOOTS?!

For the record, you’re not “Pulling. Them. Off.”

To be honest with you readers, I’m a little bit afraid for my life. Here it is three days in, and I’m already starting to question if I should make a legal will. Maybe that will be another post later this week. You know, now that I think about it, these are the kind of experiences that our Great-Grandparents use to scare the piss out of us when we think about what it was like growing up in the 1920’s.

Senile Grandma: “I remember the days when I used to have to walk to school, barefoot, uphill both ways, six feet of snow on both sides, and I never complained once. So you need to be grateful for what you’ve been given in your life thus far young man.”

When I’m that old, I’m gonna embellish the heck out of this one.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Sunday, October 21, 2012, 10:17 pm- This Idaho place is FREEZING! What was I thinking getting out of my car in just a pair of basketball shorts and a T-shirt? Yeah, sure I’ve been accustomed to the lovely weather of sunny St. George, but seriously, HTF can these people live up here?!

Monday, October 22, 2012 8:30 am- Whoever invented that annoying beep a.k.a. an alarm clock should have a bottle of Nair poured onto their unshaved back hair. Seriously, how do they think that a high-pitched squealing in F-minor will put a smile on my face whenever I decide to roll out of bed? I guess I could look at the bright side and realize that it’s just a resounding beeping noise and not a nine-month old screaming at the top of his lungs for a fresh batch of formula. #Kidsarenobueno.

9:58 am- I’ve always wondered why hotels give you a drool-sized amount of shampoo and conditioner no matter where you stay and think that it will satisfy your cleanliness. What if I’m a gigantic polygamist family of hippies with ridiculously long hair all staying in the same room? Hmm…well, now that I think about it, I guess hippies really wouldn’t be showering in the first place. Well played hotel shampoo bottles, well played.

11:41 am-Good old Rexburg, Idaho. I haven't been up here in over a decade. Come to think about it, I think the last time I was here was when Kristen Smart, Mckenna Miller and I all drove up for to audition for that performing show choir of Lagoon. What the hell kind of an acne-faced teen was I back in the day? Sometimes I wonder if I should slap my current self in the head so that future self doesn't have an abundance of shame and regret.

1:17 pm-So the most diverse restaurant I can find in this place is a 12-square foot rat’s nest that has a pineapple scribbled on the wall? And they call this the most happening sushi spot in all of Rexburg? How do these Idahoans endure food joints like this? That’s what they’re called right? Idahoans? Idahoites? Idahoes? No, that sounds a little too racy. Especially for a place that lives off of potatoes. Check please?

3:22 pm-If I’m not a hunter, gatherer, or big fisher, how would I survive in this place year round? Also, is it a state law that a pair of cowboy boots be added to the purchase of my mandatory Dodge Ram Diesel? It’s like everyone out here has a giant truck and an even more gargantuan pair of boots to go with it. It almost puts a paradox on the phrase “You know what big __________ means?” Big boots suggest that you have even bigger male organs, and quite the opposite if you have a big truck. I’ll never figure this state out.

8:06 pm-Olive Garden Waiter: "You see that table at the end there?"

Swamp Thing: "Yeah."

Olive Garden Waiter: "Well that kid, I went to high school with him, and he’s a total jerk. And tonight, he's proposing to his girlfriend right here."

Swamp Thing: "Seriously?"

Olive Garden Waiter: "Yep. He sure is. But I mean think about it, how lame is that? Who proposes to someone at Olive Garden, doing the whole cliché ring-in-a-champagne-glass trick. I'm telling you, that guy's a loser."

Note to future self-Don't EVER propose to a girl at Olive Garden.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week of Soggy Spuds

Brace yourself, this could make your pants messy.

Today kids, I have embarked on what will be the longest road trip I will ever complete in the history of my life. I will travel to far away lands, foreign worlds, uncharted territories, places such as Idaho and Portland.

For full effect, download "Across the Universe" by The Beatles, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Throughout my blogging career I have written some very significant posts, most notably are my "Week of..." posts in which I highlight a specific topic and cover it for an entire week. You all remember those, there was the week of dating, the week of ethics, and of course the week of sex. All you little perverts out there ought to have that one memorized.

This one, I think will be the best, longest, most intricately detailed blog post that I will have ever written in my life thus far. It's going to be epic...

Curse word! I used that stupid slang again. I am sooo... not trending right now. #Epicisawful.

This "Week of " blog will actually be a two-week long post, where I will relate to you my thoughts, my experiences, my ups and downs, as well as tell you about every bare-toothed knucklehead potato farmer that I dig up. And if you don't like it, if you're not entertained by my blog, well shame on you. That's your own fault, not mine.

I honestly have no idea what these next two weeks have in store for me. After all, Idaho is a pretty frightening place. If something does happen, if I don't make it back from the scary territory, be a good friend and donate my body to science. Also, buy my Grandma a puppy. That lady is losing her mind.

I'm just about to cross over into enemy territory, so wish me luck and enjoy the ride. I now present to you the "Weeks of Soggy Spuds." These entries will be awesome, amazing, they will be legen-

Wait for it…

Friday, October 19, 2012

The X-Factor

I got a text this afternoon letting me know about an epilepsy art show being sponsored in Salt Lake, inviting anyone affected by seizures to submit something for the gallery. I asked them if a canvas full of splattered paint would be the epitome of properly themed art. They didn’t think that was very funny.

What? I can make jokes like that, I’m one of them.

For full effect, download “Hey Ya” by Outkast and play Andre 3000’s line “Shake it” over and over again at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Actually, this post has nothing to do with seizures, I just thought that was an amusing text to get late this afternoon. Go ahead, laugh at me.

In other news, I had a rather in-depth conversation last night with a very lovely lady about relationships, communication, and deal breakers. Speaking of deal breakers, I would like to send out a formal apology to Kameron Perkins. never really hit it big buddy, but hey, at least we tried.

Last night Scary Gary’s Daughter and myself talked about plenty of things that in our eyes make or break a relationship with another person. Things like having kids, or being a closet schizo were obvious answers, but we both had things that were personalized deal breakers tailored just for us. Near the end of our discussion, she brought up a deal breaker that to me is basically the ultimatum for a couple to be happy.

Scary Gary’s Daughter: “My biggest deal breaker, I would have to say is the X-Factor.”

Swamp Thing: “The X-Factor? You like Simon Cowell that much? I mean, I hear that the show is good but not…”

Scary Gary’s Daughter: “No, not the TV show X-Factor, but the real X-Factor.”

Swamp Thing: “And that would be…?”

Scary Gary’s Daughter: “The X-Factor is just a feeling that sets in. You can’t explain it, you can’t really define it, it’s just there. When a couple really fits each other, they have the X-Factor.”

Swamp Thing: “I kind of see what you mean…”

Scary Gary’s Daughter: “It’s like when you’re with someone and you have the X-Factor, when they leave, you want to be with them. You miss them. You don’t want them to go. That’s the X-Factor. If you’re with someone and you enjoy being with them, but you don’t really mind when they leave, that’s a problem. A big one.”

Cue Swamp Thing’s stunned silence that there is actually another person in this world who has thought about the X-Factor.

This “X-factor” idea actually stems back to a conversation that I had months ago with The Rhinestone Cowboy when he asked me why I was about to end a very serious relationship with someone who everyone and their dog thought was a perfect fit for me.

Swamp Thing: “Let me ask you a question buddy, let’s say that the Mrs. Rhinestone Cowboy were to, heaven forbid, pass away, what would you do? How would you feel?”

The Rhinestone Cowboy: Cue emotionally long pause… “I would honestly be devastated. I don’t think that I could function as a human being, or survive, if I didn’t have her with me. I don’t know what I would do.”

Swamp Thing: “And that my friend, that, is what I want. That feeling, is something I’ve never felt before. I want, and I need to be devastated.”

Deep down, we all need that X-Factor.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

As Soon as it Left My Mouth...

A human’s ability to speak is something that I have had a monopoly on since I first started babbling out of my own mouth. With that being said, I will admit that I have been known to have a reoccurrence of saying very stupid things.

For full effect, download “Shut Your Mouth” by Garbage, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

I’m sure that there are a couple hundred people out there that can vouch for me being an oral moron. Chase Larsen, Mrs. Gooch, my sister Laura, the list goes on and on. I’m not proud of this, it’s nothing something that I brag about at parties, it is in fact my Achilles heel which has led me to be involved in more domestic disputes than your average double-wide Alabaman is a participant of. I could honestly start a separate blog that recounts all of the idiotic things that I’ve said over the years, and it would probably gain more followers, popularity, and hits than Randomity itself.

There certainly have been some lowlights over the years. There was the “that’s stupid” special ed mistake in 1993. Then, there was the weighty women whisperings of ’97. Most recently, there was the “Don’t curse word with me” error of the week of ROADS. Again, I’m not proud of some of the things that I’ve said, but life goes on.

This past week I have added yet another debacle into my encyclopedia of stupidity, which I will now share to put a smile on your face, dear reader. And honestly, the only reason that I’m blogging about this, is because I have to keep you entertained, and nothing else important has happened this week. Seriously reader, I’m relating an experience that is so boring, so trivial, so inconsequential, that it could… Eh, whatever, I’ll just tell the stupid story.

On a blustery Tuesday afternoon I was rounding the corner into a Taco Bell drive-thru where I would be indulging myself upon one of the finest fast food feasts an obese person could dream of. For the record, my eating habits of the past week and a half have been absolutely grotesque. In my mind, running a marathon justifies eating a double whopper and a five-pound bag of gummy bears all in one sitting.

For whatever chubby reason, I had decided that a Chalupa combo meal was my feast for the night. I went through the motions ordering my food, and was about to pull up and pay when at the last moment, the talking drone behind the mic asked me a question that was one of the most ridiculous, most absurd, most…alright, it wasn’t that big of a deal, I’m just trying to dramatize the story for your enjoyment, just hear me out.

Taco Bell Teen: “I have one Chalupa Combo #6 with a Mt. Dew, is that everything?”

Swamp Thing: “Yep, that should do it.”

Taco Bell Teen: “Alright sir, would you like make your drink extra large for just $.39?”

Swamp Thing: “Nope, I’m not that fat.”

Cue awkward long, long, long…pause.

Taco Bell Teen: “What. Did. You. Just. Say?”

Okay, maybe she wasn’t that firmly shocked in her response, I just figured the whole “period after every word” trend that all those idiots are using on Facebook would make you understand the significance of my stupidity.

Swamp Thing: “I uh… um… I meant…”

Taco Bell Teen: “Just pull up sir.”

I have never been more fearful of a drive-thru diner in my entire life as I was at that point. I wanted to back up and just drive home, but the line of cars prohibited that, and what looked like an F-350 Windstar parked in front of me, (I know, it was that beastly of a minivan) made sure that I wasn’t just driving on thru.

As I reached the second window, I was greeted by four teenage deathly scowls on overweight faces that were littered with acne. I know, we’ve all been through those points in our lives. No words were said the entire time I sat there. It was just a simple exchange of cash and a little plastic bag, all the while I was holding my breath in hopes that I wouldn’t be castrated and used in the next Grilled Stuft Burrito.

I grabbed my food, and got the heck out of dodge, ashamed at the cruel comment I made about my lack, and their potential abundance of obesity. Driving for what seemed like hours on end, I pulled off to one of the dirt roads in some foreign land, (again, exaggeration for dramatic effect). Looking inside the ticking Taco time bomb, all I found were three, warm, delicately wrapped burrito made out of plain old napkins.

Nothing else.

Well played Taco Bell, I certainly deserved that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When I'm a Professor

I think that when I'm the one who is handing out the exams, and not the student filling out the answer sheets, I will always use questions like this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Those Were the Days...

As a young lad, I dreamed of the day when I would one day have the privilege of wearing the sacred blue and orange, owning the rights to being a die-hard Mt. Crest mustang. But then for some reason my parents decided to relocate to Roy, and it’s all been downhill ever since.

Kidding. Come on Royals, take a joke.

It’s not that Roy is one of the ugliest places to live in the entire western hemisphere, it’s just that I didn’t want to leave Nibley/Hyrum. I had a plan for what I thought my life would be like in Cache Valley, and I didn’t want to have to miss out on so many great things happening to me.

For full effect, download “I Swear” by All for One and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of these posts. The background tones this week have been chosen from forged memories of bad 90’s music as far back as I can recollect. There’s a NKOTB song brewing somewhere around here.

I loved my childhood, I really did. I forged some great bonds and memories on the playgrounds of Millville Elementary. And yes kids, this place actually does exist. Let me clarify something, if you have had the privilege to be a part of the horrorfest storytelling hour that I resurrect every October to entertain my friends, you know all about the deathly hallows of Millville Elementary, and the Legend of Tara Turley.

For the record, every detail in the stories that I tell are hauntingly accurate. My best friends were Chuck Burtis and Tosha Welch. We did have a climbing club during recess. Tara Turley, Mrs. Cadez, Laredo Rich, all of the characters are real people. Aside from that, the rest is an elaborate lie. No Tara wasn’t a witch who wore black every day to school, no she didn’t bury a cursed oak box in the sand underneath the giant football-shaped jungle gym we played on, and no, Chuck did not have a seizure that morning and drown in a bowl of lucky charms. Those are all bits and pieces that I’ve added to instill fear in the back of your heads and make you afraid of the dark.

If you haven’t heard these stories, well, hit me up one day. I’ll scare your pants right off.

The reason I bring up this hoax of a horror story is that these things are all memories for me. Good ones, I might add. I L-worded my time as a mustang-loving, borderline A.D.D. little rascal who ran around pretending to be a ninja turtle. Some of my best memories happened during my time as a Millville Cougar. I remember when we all sat around and watched Cameron Bodily destroy the Number Munchers school record on our school computer. I remember when Danielle Hancey kicked a soccer ball further than her cousin Nick Ropelato and rubbed it in his face all year. Heck, I even had my first actual crush on a girl, Kasey Critchfield. Boy, those were the days.

All of this means absolutely nothing to you. None of this does. Heck, this entire blog is just a gigantic compilation of my entire life wrote with a very sarcastic, selfish tone. I honestly don’t know why you’re still reading this. It’s not your life, it's mine. I should offer you condolences for sticking with me 300 posts strong, and not a single post has been about you. So thank you dear reader, you do such an astounding job of making sure that I have an overly enlarged social media ego.

The point is this. These are my memories. And I L-word them, every single one. I truly tear up when I drive down Hollow Road and see the creek we used to ice skate on, or when I pass the mansion that my deranged piano teacher used to live in. Heck, I’m damming back an entire flood of tears every time I see the house I was raised in, the house my Dad built with his own two hands. These are my memories, and I L-word them to death.

At this point you’ll probably have stopped reading, have tilted your head just a bit to the left, stared up at the ceiling, and started reminiscing about your own childhood memories, (I also think that at this point of the blog, the closing chorus of “I Swear” should be just wrapping up, great timing, I know).

That’s great that you’re remembering all of the things that have happened in your life that have made you who you are. Those are YOUR memories. Not mine, not your cousins, not anybody else’s, YOURS! Those are some of the most important truths you will ever know. Make sure to hold on to those bottled up memories and value every experience that you have ever had.

Especially when they happen where you don't expect.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Week of Cache

I still can't feel my legs.

For full effect, download "Last Dance With Mary Jane" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. That is probably the first music video that I ever saw as a child.

Seeing as how I am still in the fetal position, and despite the fact that my boss has asked that I stand before a group of booger-eaters three hours a day, I will be composing a short "week of" segment during my stay in the valley of Cache. Now kids, don't get your hopes up, this isn't a full "week of" blog entry, only a few cynical days will be recorded.

This week's entry will have a little bit of sentimental value to me, due to the fact that I'm on the polar north end of the state; a place infested with treadmills, cheese, and Aggies, a place where I even learned how to tip my first cow and land my first round-off. (Don't judge, child gymnastics were a thing in the 90's. Back me up Chuck). You know where I'm talking about, good ol' Logan, Utah.

There are times when I sure do miss this place. The people, the smells, even the six-foot snowdrifts. And yeah, so what if I have to wear a parka in August to ward off pneumonia, I sure do L-word the town I was born and raised in.

Maybe if I'm not that big of a bastard, they feel the same.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wait...How Long?

Barney Stinson: “Here’s how you run a marathon. Step one, you start running…There is no step two.” And that kids was the best advice that I got in preparation for this madness. For humoring future generations, I would like to give you a mile-by-mile recap of what I was thinking about the entire race. And…cue the starting gun.

Mile 1: Alright, here we go. The next five plus hours of my life may turn out to be something I’ll regret long term, but so what? Chicks dig marathoners right? Hey, here’s a nice old chap that looks around 70 or so, I’ll just keep pace with him. If a retired geezer can do this, so can I. I just have to keep my pace and… HEY! GEEZER! SLOW DOWN! YOU’RE GOING TOO FAST!

Mile 2: How the curse word am I sweating right now? It’s 43 degrees and I’m wearing less clothes than you’ll see at a nude beach. I’m freezing, yet I’m dripping wet already. Curse my illegitimate genetics for making me sweat in the most unexpected situations. And please don’t tell me that my knee is starting to hurt…

Mile 3: Did that lady just take off her sweater and throw it into the bushes? Wait! Again! Right there, that long-haired hippie just took his pants off and tossed them in the dirt? Hey! Dude! Your pants! This makes no sense! Am I the only person that decided to shed my outer layers before the opening gun, or do marathons make you think that this entire road is the Deseret Industries outlets?

Mile 4: Hey! This isn't that bad. I'm feeling great. At this pace, I'll probably be able to be back in time for the second half of the Penn State-Northwestern game. People say marathons are so draining. HA! I’m doing fine. Look, I only have 22 miles to go. That’s a walk in the park. Isn’t it?

Mile 5: Why are random people running off into the bushes? Do they not see the gigantic closed off road right in front of us that was shut down for this whole event? Did they not look at the map once? Why is that woman squatting down? What is he... Oh, never mind.

Mile 6: Doing good. Feeling great. I’m actually liking this whole thing, keeping a good pace. Just enjoying…HEY! Is that a ten year old that just passed me?! What the curse word?! How am I getting out run by a kid who still thinks that girls have cooties?! HEY KID! SLOW DOWN! Alright, now my self-esteem has taken a hit.

Mile 7: So...this hill is much larger than I expected. I heard that annoying lady on the bus talk about how intimidating the Veyo Hill is, but I thought she was overreacting. Yeah, I’ll just walk. There’s no shame in walking is there?

Mile 8: I will say that I think I have the most awesome playlist ever designed that’s blaring into my ears. I don’t know how some people are running without music keeping them motivated. If it wasn’t for Linkin Park, Chevelle, Muse, and even a little Bieber, I don’t think that I would be able to stay pumped up for this entire thing.

Mile 9: Oh aid station, where have you been all my life? Give me your Gatorade, your oranges, your bananas. Rub my legs with icy hot. And why yes, I would love a stick of Vaseline to combat the chafage in my armpits. If it weren’t for you, I would be on the side of the road staring deliriously at the sky.

Mile 10: Sometimes I wish I had the physical strength and stability in my knees equivalent to that of someone my age, and not the same as a geriatric camel with osteoporosis. This joint on my lower left appendage may be the death of me. I wonder if there are any rural drug dealers out in the bushes that wouldn’t mind shooting me up with something to numb it out.

Mile 11: No pain. No pain. No pain. For some reason that angry bald black trainer on Rocky III is the one who’s keeping me moving. They say that this is all a mental game. That could be a problem for me seeing as how I’m missing a part of that brain stuff. Just gotta keep saying those words. No pain. No pain. No pain. That lady just gave me a funny look. Well, I guess I am just out here talking to myself.

Mile 12: How come that guy has those red blood spots on the corners of his shirt? That’s kind of weird. Did he get bitten by… wait a minute, those are in the same vicinity as his nipples are; which by the way why do men have nipples anyway, totally irrelevant if you ask me. No protection huh? What a novice. Where’s Quin Monson? I need to thank that guy and give him a huge hug for the nipple guards he gave me. Nipple guards, that sounds funny…

Mile 13: Halfway there and I'm just over two hours, I'm feeling great about this whole race thingy. Wait a second, now that I think about it, there are probably some seasoned vets crossing the finish line right now, at this exact moment. And I still have half the race left. Okay, maybe this marathon business is a lot tougher than I ever imagined.

Mile 14: For this entire morning, all I’ve been doing is staring at people’s butts. That’s the only thing in front of me. For the past two and a half hours multi-colored posteriors have been my source of entertainment. There’s the Texas flag butt, the Captain America butt, the “these-running-shorts-are-too-small-for-me” butt. Hey, she’s got a nice butt, maybe I’ll try and follow her for a while.

Mile 15: I think an eco-friendly park ranger would want to shoot us all for the amount of littering we do at every aid station. I feel sort of lazy just throwing my cups on the ground. But hey, everyone else is doing that too. When in Rome, I guess.

Mile 16: Alright, you're in uncharted territory here son. Think about this, you have never before in your entire life gone further than the steps you are taking right now. Are you sure you can do this? Do you want to do this? Were you under some kind of hallucinogenic influence way back when the Rhinestone Cowboy talked you into this?

Mile 17: I don’t know how these people are just sitting on the side of the road cheering us on. Now that’s dedication, I’ll tell you what. Heck, they only know probably a handful of the 7,000 people running. And yet they’re out here yelling, and cheering, and clapping, keeping us going. Hey farmer’s boy, more cowbell!

Mile 18: I think that the last ounce of toughness that I thought I had just went down the drain as that Great-Grandpa just passed me up. Yeah, this may be his 148th marathon, but still. He’s closer to kicking the bucket than I am to the finish line. Maybe this is that wall thing that runners always talk about.

Mile 19: I wonder if it’s a moral transgression to think the F-word to yourself. I mean, I’m not really saying it to anyone else, just screaming it over and over and over in my head every time my left leg takes a step. I’m close to dropping 300 mental F-bombs by now. Is my knee going to be offended at the amount of cursing I have thought to it? Okay, now I know I’ve lost it. When I’m having a moral argument with my knee and asking my patella for forgiveness…

Mile 20: Seriously, you’re in the twenties now, almost there. At this point, it’s starting to feel like a reality. You will complete a marathon. Only about an hour or so more to go… wait, an hour? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Where’s the aid station?

Mile 21: What’s the meaning of life? If a deaf person swears, does his mother wash his hands? If one synchronized swimmer drowns, what happens to the rest of them? Shouldn’t hemmorrhoids be called asteroids instead? Why have I had that group of vultures circling over my head for the last mile or so? Why am I thinking random thoughts in the desert…?

Mile 22: I’m done. This is it. This is that wall thing. No, I’m not moving anymore. Go on without me. I miss Dad. I miss Grandpa. I miss a lot of things. Why do I have this sudden urge to just start crying right now? And not just crying, bawling. Is this how all marathons are supposed to end? I don’t care anymore. I really don’t. I can’t move anymore. Literally, I can’t. My legs are cramped, my knee has thrown in the towel, I’m done. I can’t see anything motivating enough to drag me to the finish line. Maybe I’ll just start walking west until they pick me up in a few hours stranded in Snow Canyon.

Mile 23: Wait, is that civilization? Is that St. George? Are those actual buildings, and vehicles, and people? Is this close to the end? Am I almost there? I started blacking out back there, how did I stay on this road? Okay, if I can walk the last three miles. I just might make it.

Mile 24: There’s Maddie Morrell and the other ambassadors at the aid station. Yes, please rub me down with icy hot. I have no shame at this point. And yes, I will eat the three bananas, down 11 cups of Gatorade, and splash water all over me. I don’t care at this point. Is that a popsicle? Yes! GIMME! This tastes like crap! Never mind, it’s Vaseline.

Mile 25: ...

Mile 26: What? Where am I? Did I just black out? Oh hey, the diagonal! Hey, a marching band! Hey, people cheering! Hey, I can do this! I just have to finish strong. No pain. No pain. No pain. F-word you knee! Yes, Bieber on my playlist. Hey, we’re turning left. I see a bunch of balloons. Hey, there’s Jess, and Bryan, and Trish, and C.J. Everyone’s clapping! Am I crying? I don’t care, I see that ticking clock. If I pick up my pace just a bit I can make it under five hours! Almost there! I don’t feel the pain anymore. Are these those endorphin thingys kicking in? Almost there! And yes, I am crying. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! That’s it! It’s over. I can collapse now! Where’s the nearest massage table?

Honestly, this was probably the most idiotic decision that I have made in a long time. Turns out Barney Stinson was right from the get go. Just start running, and don’t stop. As the 5-Dollar Crocker so accurately put it yesterday, "It's like pregnancy. You say you will never give birth again then you forget the pain and have another one."

It wasn’t just me who finished the race, it was everyone. And it was amazing. So what if I have been laying in the same position in my bed for the last 19 hours, it’s finally over. And boy am I glad for those nipple guards.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Who's the Man?

Growing up I was overly misconceived with the falsehood that I would get more chicks if I could tell you the starting line up for the 1992 Portland Trailblazers.

Apparently, that is not the secret to winning a girl over.

For full effect, download “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

In my research as a single white male, I have come to the conclusion that there are four types of males that exist in this world, and women have the option to pick and choose which one of these “projects” that they would love to try and “fix”. True story, that’s why she’s dating you. Not because you’re hot, not because you’re talented, but because you have issues and she wants to change you.

Guy A, The Mechanic: This man has the same amount of brain cells firing in his head as a Ford Pinto has in horsepower. He is demented, diluted, dimmer than a pet rock, but has the ability to change out a transmission in under an hour. He compares engine sizes with his competitors that he attempts to blow out with his exhaust on main street. He loves vehicles more than he loves life itself.

Guy B, The Hunter: The amount of head trophies that are lining the inside of his garage would make Sarah McLaughlin want to vomit. He has more guns than he has pairs of underwear and a wardrobe consisting of strictly camouflage and bright orange vests. He never forgets to tell you about the night that he sat in a treestand for 81 consecutive hours to which he brought down that monstrous beast in his front parlor (which by the way looks like a doe with golf tees glued to it’s scalp).

Guy C, The Gamer: The least sociable of the four compadres, this creature is obsessed with things that can be configured into a 64-bit system. At times he speaks in a foreign language, calling out nerdy lingo such as NUB, or PWNED (don’t try and interpret them correctly, just say them phonetically). This creature also has difficulties with hygiene, bathing, and pure cleanliness, often losing track of time due to leveling up.

Guy D, The Jock: Statistically, the dumbest of the four organisms, mainly due to an accumulation of concussion-related injuries from athletic participation. This man lives and dies at the gym, and lets nothing get in his way when it comes to improving his physical appearance. Oftentimes, this man goes back to his room to polish his high school J.V. best bench player award he received for the men’s water polo club. His low self-esteem derides from the concept that he is no longer on the field competing.

Guy D-2, The Junkie: An appendage to Guy D, this individual is actually obsessed with keeping track of statistical information that has accumulated over the course of any team’s history, or a person’s career. They value the lifetime batting average of Derek Jeter over a potential date, and will make sure and explain the Broncos Cover 2 defense to a date that can’t tell who’s wearing what uniforms. Interestingly enough, usually a man of this caliber also lacks an extreme amount of social-self worth and confidence, and is often seeking out shallow compliments from his peers (i.e. Thunderstruck).

Men often fall into one of the four categories, with our motivational reasoning being that if we supremely excel in one area, our masculinity will be validated, therefore she will fall head over heels for us. That’s not the case. As a delicate beauty Miss OC Adele once said, “We do think it’s cool if a guy knows his sports, but what else can he do? If I see a guy who’s a really good ball player, I’m like, okay, yeah, you’re a man. What are you going to do next? Fix my car?”

May I put out the stipulation that it is very difficult to find a breeding of man that is overly dominant in more than one area, those do not exist. The bottom line is this: we are simple, stupid creatures.

Always remember that.