Wednesday, July 30, 2014

There's Nothing In The Purse! DON'T ASK!!!

I was going to write a romantic piece about the recent divorce from my Nissan Rogue, recounting all the memorable drives I had over the last few years and pull out some sentimental slop that turns most mothers mushy. But then I thought, you don't want to hear about my car. You want to hear about the time I sat on a bus next to a giant unconscious nose ring who was biting her lower lip in the middle of a dream about date raping a chicken.

Yeah, that will keep you more entertained than some ode over the last 103,675 miles I have logged with my ex-wife.

For full effect, download "Bus Stop" by The Hollies and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Currently, it's just after 1:38 in the morning and I'm somewhere in between Primm, Nevada, and Barstow, California. On a bus. Next to a sleeping nose ring. On guard so I also don't become a date raped chicken. I've done some crazy things in my life, everyone knows that. But this, this just might rank as one of the all-time nuttiest. Rather than bore you with the details of a wasted backstory, here are 24 words that explain how I got to this point over the last 24 hours: Sold my car on impulse, researched a California dealer, had a friend bail as my taxi, and hitchhiked my way on to a Greyhound. Go ahead, count them up. I know you don't believe me.

Now, back to the nose ring in the middle of the California desert.

I have ridden the Greyhound bus plenty of times. As a kid. Heck, this dump hole on wheels that smells like fermented urine used to be my personal chauffeur from SG to SLC when I was in college and experimenting with EEG's and psychoanalytic brain testing for epilepsy. Back then I used to fit on this mess of a vehicle. Back then I didn't have a semi-broken coccyx and had a hard time fitting into three cubic feet of space. But that was five years ago. This is now. Things are different. I'm a man. I file my own taxes. I have my own dental plan. I have no reason to be nervous, right?

Oh and for the record, might I add that I'm holding $20,128 in unmarked bills in a man purse, yes a man purse, forgot to add that little trinket in there.

Homeless man/potential drug addict at the bus station: "Hey man, you got a dollar?"

Me: "Not on me, sorry."

What? Is honesty REALLY the best policy in EVERY situation? I can't pull out a rubber banned stack of Ben Franklins and look to get change so this fella can get his fix and expect to make it ten more steps down the road fully conscious. I feel like Marshall Erickson in that one HIMYM episode that you never saw where he walked around Manhattan fearing that he was going to get date raped like a chicken by the public while holding on to $18,000 in his suit pocket.

Marshall Erickson: "$60, $80, $100, $18,000 in cash. It's nothing. I'll bring it home and put it in a safe place. Ok, I'm walking down the street with money in my pocket. DONT TOUCH THE MONEY! It's so obvious. Be natural. The baby is looking at me. Babies can smell money. He knows. THEY ALL KNOW! I AM CARRYING A LOT OF MONEY!!!"

That's exactly how I felt with my man purse full of moolah, which also goes to explain why I used that pic of some grunt falling asleep at the wheel. I expect this to be me somewhere off the side of I-15 tomorrow evening. Anyway, this is where I stand. Sitting on a broken bus with a bruised coccyx at nearly 2 in the morning about to be date raped like a chicken for 20 grand.

If I don't make it out alive from this kerfuffle, give my house to Trisha. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why We Need Women

Me: "Kaitlin Ruby, this Sunday School lesson is boring, I need a blog topic for today."

Kaitlin Ruby: "Hmm...I think you should blog about the importance of women, maybe even specifically about me."

For full effect, download "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

Me: "So seriously Kaitlin Ruby, why are women so important?" I know that question sounds like one of the most misogynistic statements possible, but don't assume that I don't know their value. I was raised by the double-X chromosome people, so before y'all tie me up in bondage and throw me to a pack of Oprahs, please understand that I was only asking this question to see what ideas she could feed me.

Kaitlin Ruby: "Let me think...women are like shoes. Yes! Shoes! Ermahgerd, I love shoes! I have so many pairs!"

It was at this point where she went into daydream mode thinking of what her closet looks like. In the midst of her blissful fetish, I did get to thinking about the value of the opposite sex. I started wondering about what they bring to the table in any type of relationship. And in between the foot blabber and my nostalgic train of thought, I began to unravel the importance of the female influence in our lives; I began to understand why we need women.

Gentlemen, we need them. We as a gender should unitedly agree on that point. Part of me wonders if the heavy influence of females in my life has helped me understand that policy, but we all have to admit that it's true. Go ahead and throw out the snide remarks about how we need them cooking meals in the kitchen and scrubbing down the toilets and every other sexist stereotype you can think of but the bottom line is this, we need women. Without them, we are fooked.

We need them to support our fragile, delicate self-esteems that we have buried underneath a pile of Chuck Norris movies and shotgun shells. Deep down below all of the manliest of our moments lies a weakened, humiliated creature who needs the approval of the outside world. In our own debilitated minds we long to have the endorsement of the rest of humanity that we still mean something. This oftentimes comes by having a pretty lady being the side candy adorned to our arms, and when that happens we as men get those feelings of confidence back, the feelings that we can do anything, the feelings that we rule the world. If we didn’t have those pretty girls holding us up by our britches we would never know what that feels like. 

This goes along with the idea that we need them to prove that we are in fact men. When a girl asks for our help when it comes to changing the oil in her Ford Escort, or putting together a dining room table, or taking the lid off of an extremely tight jar of pickles, we jump at the chance to prove that we are in fact men. We get excited at the falsehood that there are things in this world that a woman will need us for, that we are the ones that rule the world. But let’s face the facts gents; a woman doesn’t need us to change her oil. She’s only asking us just to reaffirm in our minds that we own a set of twig and berries.

We need them to be our friends. Guys, how many bros do we have on hand to laugh with, talk sports with, make fun of, and challenge one another to wrestling contests after we get dew-faced just after midnight? A whole Seattle Slew of them, I know. Bros are best friends in the most shallow forms possible. The depth to our relationships is only on the surface. We don’t talk about the meaning of life, or how we feel about past trials we have had, heck, some of the deepest conversations I’ve had with my brethren were about who was the hottest chick on Saved By The Bell. And that’s where the depth to our relationship with the opposite sex takes over. They are the thought-provoking questions that deepen our character. They are the ones who listen to us tell stories about what shaped our childhood. They are the best friends we will ever find.

We need them to be smart. Historically speaking, every man has done plenty of dumb things in their life. I think anyone who owns a manhood can agree on that point. I myself have ruined a karaoke night by singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” intoxicated by Nyquil, I have pretended to be a schizophrenic in a public setting, heck, I have ran down a set of railroad tracks buck-naked being chased by the police, all without the right shoulder influence of a woman to talk some sense into my half-empty brain. Women are the reason that we make smart decisions. They are the balance that ensures we don’t go too far off the deep end. They are the rationale and logic that makes the world go round, plain and simple.

We need them to have our kids. I don’t need to write any more of a witty explanation regarding the pain that passing an 8-pound 11-ounce kidney stone would cause. I think the great Marshall Erickson says it best by the simple declaration of “Lawyered!”

Guys, we need them. We must have them. They are a prerequisite to surviving life altogether. You may laugh when I tell you how I turn to see Kaitlyn Ruby still lost in her own dreamland, ogling over high-heels and stilettos dancing around in her head, but that’s neither here nor there. The bottom line is that women are what make men function, they are how we are able to understand life in general, heck, they are the inspiration for this entire website altogether.

Gentlemen you have to agree, women are what keep us together.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Damn You, Dalton Rosenberg

Text I received this afternoon: “Remember our friend ******? I just walked in my house and she’s on the floor spooning with some guy. And she’s being the big spoon. I’ll send her over to you next so you can get your little spoon fix.”
First of all, who the heck spoons on the floor, a floor with really ugly carpet nonetheless? Second of all, what girl in the history of her gender who is either A. shorter than 6½ feet tall or B. not a recipient of any type of NCAA scholarship to throw a javelin, discus, or shot, what girl in her right mind that doesn’t fall in either of those categories has ever consented to be the big spoon when two people decide to C-word?

Cue blank stares of silence because you can’t think of a single one.

For full effect, download “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

A few years back I took a weekend trip out to a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a random group of friends. We ate, we laughed, we wrestled in living rooms, and we played badminton. We played badminton for crying out loud kids. You can’t have a better weekend when you’re hitting a feathered shuttlecock back and forth between each other. As the night faded on we decided it would be best if we paired off in a rather sexist way and had a showdown guys vs. girls. Mano e womano. Twigs and berries vs. funbags.

Jess: “So what do you want to bet on this?”

Me: “That you will lose?”
Jess: “If that’s the way you want to think of it, then yeah.”

Me: “Do you know who you’re challenging?”

Jess: “Some guy with a badminton racket.”

Me: “Not just some guy with a badminton racket, you’re talking to the badminton champion of Rod Bockwoldt’s 8th grade seventh period P.E. course at Roy Junior High. (For the record, I was never actually the badminton champion, I was the runner up. My skills in badminton only increased when that chumpsucker bully Dalton Rosenberg angrily whacked me in the butt multiple times with his racket during a match because I missed a shot. This led to me purchasing a personal badminton racket and shuttlecock and practicing in the backyard when the rest of my gym mates were out huffing potpourri.)

Damn you, Dalton Rosenberg.

Jess: “Alright, so put your money where your mouth is, what’s on the line?”

After examining and not being disappointed by the jelly donut hanging around my fellow teammate’s belly, and likewise surveying the potential physical action that might be created with two very attractive girls on the opposite side of the net, I threw out the one thing I could get that would lead me to eternal happiness, my long sought after crown that I had never grasped. My holy grail, my great white buffalo, my figurative girl with a yellow umbrella.

Me: “Alright, if we win, we shall receive an hour of solid C-wording.”

Jess: “Cuddling? That’s it?” (For the record, girls can say cuddling in dialogue, men cannot.)

Me: “I am not finished! This C-wording must be performed with you ladies playing the role of the big spoon.”

Somewhere a bolt of lightning hit the ground and a crow let out its caw to the world for a more dramatic effect.

Jess: “Are you serious?”

Me: “As a Republican.”

Jess: (shaking her head) “Alright, I guess this is a big-time wager. We’ll just take dinner at Olive Garden when we win.”

And with that the feather shuttlecock was launched over the net and the battle of the sexes began. Ten minutes later and the girls were shaking their heads in disbelief as a jelly donut and a 6’5” giant with potential psychological issues stemming from physical abuse as a child from Dalton Rosenberg, stood victorious on the badminton court, champions in the battle of the sexes for the ultimate prize of not having to play the role of someone’s backpack while engaging in a mild version of physical intimacy. 

Now you may be laughing at this turn of events, in fact I certainly hope you are. I’m not sure if it is the story in its entirety, that I can’t say the C-word and still feel like a man, or the fact that you have now read the word shuttlecock four times. Regardless of all of that, this has been a rather amusing tale that you have spent four and a half minutes reading and hopefully has put a smile back on your face. 

But brace yourself, because here is where I bring in the sadness to this entire chronicle: I never got to be the little spoon.

I know. Totally not cool.

You see, once the match was over and the ladies tucked their tails between their legs, it finally hit me that I would now have the privilege of not having to be the wrapping paper of a spoonage session. And so after the night had died down, once dinner was over and we were all lingering into the front room for some after hours entertainment on a 16-inch black and white television, I conveniently placed myself on the love sack, just waiting for their surrounding cuppage.

And the sad part was, it never happened.

Ok I lied, maybe it did happen, but for only like five minutes and then Jess got up and grabbed some Oreos and said she was tired or something, so I never really got to feel what it was truly like to be the little spoon.

It’s not fair. That’s all I can say. It’s not fair that I will forever be cursed to play the role of the human turtle shell. It’s not fair that my friend got to witness some random guy having the privilege of role-reversal on the ground of a cheap townhome. It’s not fair that my covert skills as a badminton player stemming from a junior high bully left an unclaimed prize sitting on the love sack of a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

That’s just life kids. It’s never fair. #C-wordproblems 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Now That's Teamwork

I have spent many years trying to uncover the mysteries of the L-word. These have been years littered with after hours conversations, behavioral observations, and repeated viewings of the television show How I Met Your Mother. Again, I say that I have spent years trying to understand what it means to be in true L-word, because it has been a monstrous puzzle in my eyes. It has confused me, astonished me, and pushed me to the point where I have no idea what the ultimate definition is for this four-letter curse word. 

All of that changed yesterday when I looked down the hallway in my gym and saw this couple in the middle of an intense workout. At first I thought this was a joke, some sort of comedic relief to the fellow gym patrons, but as their workout continued I began to wonder to myself, was this their misconstrued maternity version of Kegel exercises? I think it's safe to say that she is in fact pregnant, right? I glanced repeatedly and took multiple Instagram shots of this couple meanwhile a swirl of thoughts wondered what in the name of Morgan Freeman were they doing danced around my head. Suddenly, as he collapsed in defeat with her padded rear end smashing his face into the floor, I had an epiphany that rang clear as this redneck couple accidentally pinned themselves to the ground.  

When you are willing to use your pregnant wife as added weight on your back in order to get a deeper workout on your pushups, well that certainly has to be the epitome of true love. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Don't Speak Baby

I don’t understand your baby talk. There, I said it.

For full effect, download “Walk Like A Man” by The Four Seasons and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

This afternoon while feasting over the American imitation of not-so-Mexican food with a couple of buddies, I felt like a sore thumb standing out in an Asian country unable to understand the discussion that was going on between them. You realize at this point in my life, almost all of my friends are either A. Married B. With children, C. About to get divorced or D. All of the above. These two chums fell in both categories A and B, and my confusion began to mount when I came to the understanding that I don’t speak baby. 

When I say I don’t speak baby, I’m not talking about the googoos and the gagas, and the “this little piggy went to the market” vernacular that most parents abuse in order to make sure their own offspring develop speech impediments before they turn three. No, that stuff is easy to figure out and decipher. What I mean is the lingo that my married mates toss back and forth with each other when discussing the tools to raising a child. And as one of them was balancing his four-month old son next to his pork salad, oh how their discussion started to flow.

Keith: “So have you got the bumbo yet?

Quin: “No not yet, he’s not really developed for it yet. He does well in his playard though.”

Keith: “That’s good. Is he still on Enfamil, or Similac? Which one do you use for him?”

Quin: “We haven’t weaned him off of those yet. He sure does love his binky.”

Binky? Wait, I think I caught that last one. That’s that little plastic thingy that’s shaped like a nipple that you shove in their face to get them to shut up at 3:20 in the morning right?

The conversation then shifted gears as they started discussing sleeping patterns, and naptime schedules, and little things that amuse the kid in three-minute increments. Again, all of their dialogue is foreign to me. I’m a single man whose life schedule is organized by primetime sporting events on ESPN. I have no idea what it’s like to have a four-month old poop pusher rule my life. I’m not saying I don’t ever want to be ruled by a poop pusher but at this point, a poop pusher doesn’t have a stronghold grip on my focus like he does on these guys.

Quin: “He has such as short attention span. Like I wish he could focus long enough to understand the storyline of Finding Nemo. But no, he gets bored and starts looking for my thumb to start sucking on.”

Oh the little joys in life, to one day have the privilege of knowing your child can have his brain repeatedly occupied by a Royal Blue Tang with A.D.D.

I think I’m a semi-intelligent guy, that’s safe to say isn’t it? I mean, I’m no brain surgeon, I didn’t graduate as a valedictorian at any level of education, and I can’t properly use words that have more than four syllables in them, but I think I can keep up with the rest of the world. Heck, if I can understand the plotline for the season finale of Lost, why can’t I understand what they’re talking about when they go all foreign on me with their babytalk?

Keith: “It’s because you don’t have one of these things yet Brock. And one day when you do, one day when you finally have a kid, all of this stuff we’re talking about will make sense.”   

One day, huh Keith? Alright, I hear ya. One day I just might be able to speak their language. I just might be able to know the definitions for Bumbo, and playard, and Similac. And maybe one day I just might be holding on to a little poop pusher sucking on my finger while I repeatedly doze off into a pork salad.

Yeah, that’ll be the day… 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

That Sure Makes Life Grand

Earlier this week the Rhinestone Cowboy spoon-fed me a piece of humble pie while standing in the lobby of a bigwig hotel.

"I like reading your blog, it's just...I think you could be more positive is all."

If you’ll excuse me sir, I will now tuck my tail in between my pissed off legs and kindly exit the premise.

For full effect, download “My Favorite Things” from the musical, The Sound of Music and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

I will admit this is not the first time I have heard these words in my career as a not even close to professional writer. Eleven years ago while working as a young, naive, inconsistent punk editor for my college newspaper my Grandpa offered the same constructive criticism in regards to my weekly opinion column, a column that more than likely had a whopping 15 avid readers, slightly more than this blog.

Grandpa: "See, I enjoy reading your articles every week, but do you have to be so negative and sarcastic? I think you could do a little bit better.”

It caught me off guard to be tossed the same tokens of wisdom about my writing over a decade apart from one another. Have I not developed my verbiage skills at all over the last ten years? Am I still the same 18-year old punk-nosed, arrogant-snorting Homestar Runner writing columns for the Dixie Sun? I know my young affinity for the comedy of David Spade and terminally depressing events in my life have perhaps hardened my pessimistic shell, but am I still a cynical ass who thrives off negativity?

I’m not sure what the correct answer is to that rhetorical question, but either way I decided to take a step back from my on-schedule rants, exploit the words of wisdom given to me by my Grandfather and the Rhinestone Cowboy, and tell you about some of the positive things in life that I L-word.

Being lulled off into hypnosis by the smell of a new T-shirt coming out of a freshly delivered package. I swear there is nothing better than tearing off the plastic tags, and dwarfing yourself in its erotic aromas. The smell of a new T-shirt is the pinnacle of perfume, without question.

When you wake up after what seems to be an undercut night of rest and brace yourself for yet another long day at the office. Rolling over, you look at your iPhone and see the digits 3:17 am staring you back from your screen. “Dear Lord, I have four more hours in this comfortable blanket fort? My life could not get any better.”

Sitting down for lunch at Pier 51 in Chicago and ordering a plate of carrot cake. For those who have heard of this delectable goodness, I don’t need to say anything more. But for those who haven’t, this dessert would get Bugs Bunny arrested for sexual misconduct it is that arousing.

Driving home from work and having a DJ toss out the phrase, “Here’s a classic for ya from one of the greatest bands of all time.” On cue, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen comes over the airwaves and you have the privilege of harmonizing with Freddie Mercury for five minutes and fifty-eight seconds while everyone else and their boring lives drive by you in envy.

Pulling into my house just after 3:30 am after being gone for two weeks and walking into a hotel-mimicked bedroom with a freshly made bed. Laying my head down on pillows scented with Cheer Fabric softener I sleep just a little bit better, grateful that the last thing I remembered to do before I got on my flight was wash my bedding, and play the role of Consuela from housekeeping.

Getting a phone call from a long lost college buddy who was a bastard on the basketball court but a teddy bear inside, and reminiscing about life and the direction everyone is headed for over two hours. Not having to play catch up, filled with awkward pauses and repeated glances at the hours of your clock because when you’re connected with them, you pick up right where you left off.

Having a best friend give you honest advice that rights your rudder and puts your blogging career back in the black. The same advice your Grandpa gave you over a decade earlier. Knowing that you have people in your life who care about you, and want the best for you.

Yeah, that sure makes life grand.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

That Will Burst Your Bubble

I feel very fortunate that I am not in possession of an addiction to coffee.

For full effect, download “Don’t Kill The Magic” by Magic!, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

For the record, the current post you are reading is being written while I am sitting through an academic education session being hosted by a Math teacher from South Florida who has told our audience repeatedly that she has an obsession with Winnie the Pooh. I am not joking, I am being instructed about having a successful career in higher education by a 55-year old loony who is holding stuffed animals of both Eeyore and Tigger, and she is asking us to respect her opinion.

Part of me thinks I’m secretly being taped for a reality show about potential insanity in higher education.

Kids, at the moment I am in Chicago, one of the most famous cities in the entire world. I’m at the home of MJ, Walter Payton, and Harry Caray. I’m surrounded by pizza places and hot dog stands. Chicago is a place that was made famous from movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Fugitive, and of course, Best Picture winner Chicago. This is a place that is actually the hometown for Linka from the TV show Captain Planet, despite the rumors about her heritage being from the Soviet Union. And if you didn’t get that last joke, she was the Planeteer for wind.

Go ahead, exhale heavily out of your nostrils at this point.

Aside from being lectured by a fruitbasket who is now pouring sand, pebbles, and water into a mason jar to accentuate her point that we need to have our priorities in line, by the way have I mentioned she has a pair of jumper cables draped around her neck to help “jump start” the audience, aside from her shenanigans I must say that being 1,600 miles away from home has helped me see the pros and cons of my life, the ups and the downs. It has helped me see where I stand compared with the rest of the “real world” outside the bubble of Washington County.

Which brings me back to the opening line of not being a closet addict to Starbucks.

This morning I got up to be edjumucated about higher education with my first session starting at just after 8:30. I think I was one of a handful of people lining the escalators at the Sheraton Hotel who didn’t have bags under my eyes and clinging on to a double latte mochaccino. Out of all of the facts that I have learned at this conference, one of the most notable is that in order to have a successful career in higher education, a staple is that you have an unbearable addiction to coffee. Despite the fact that we are heralded as overly educated individuals we are stereotyped to be flat-out morons when it comes to our personal sleeping habits.

I am lucky to not go into withdrawals when I don’t have an IV of Folgers injected into my left forearm to combat my hangover symptoms from last night’s drinking binge after work. I am lucky I don’t rely on a combination of Disney characters and jumper cables to give a successful presentation to a group of “highly educated” people. I am lucky the good man upstairs gave me the life that he did, the job that I have, the friends that surround me, I hit the jackpot on nearly every point in my life, true story.

However being on the road all summer, traveling to the tips of Mexico, to the Northwest corner of the country, and now to the windiest city in ‘Murica, I feel like I am unlucky on certain aspects of my life. I haven’t been exposed to a diversity of people in my life, rather I have been smothered by Utah culture for 27 years running. I haven’t been fortunate to work at a flagship top-tier University firing on all cylinders. I haven’t been lucky enough to have fresh sushi at my fingertips #Japanesefoodproblems. And as The Rhinestone Cowboy and I went on a run this afternoon I was caught in a semi-humbling/penitent moment on the running path when I began to wonder about things in my life I may have missed.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world, that’s for certain. And as I took a few steps back on that running trail and looked out at Lake Michigan, a phrase my Grandpa taught me to help get through the hard times in life suddenly sprang into my mind: “It could be worse.”

Now that is certainly true. I could be a Cubs fan.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

That'll Shut A Kid Up

So my cousins were in full blown five-year old mode running and yelling and terrorizing every living thing within their sight. Their motives were only to push the envelope of annoyance as far as they could. Trust me, I remember what I was like when I was five, I know exactly what their intentions were. 

Rather than scold them or yell at them or tell them to quit acting their age so the rest of us big-kids could focus on things like engaged conversations about the weather or news updates about Obamacare, I simply put down my computer, reached into my pocket and pulled out two pennies. Walking them both over to the hallway I told them that they were now going to be in a competition with each other to see who could hold their penny to the wall with their nose the longest, and whoever won, I would give them a secret prize. 

They've been standing there quietly with their snouts on Abe Lincoln for 35 minutes. 

I think I might be on to something here.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Love Is...

                  This is the part where you want me to tell you that this is going to be a romantic love story drawn out where I, the main character find the girl of my dreams, the girl out of my league, the girl who I have been pining over for the entirety of my young adult life. The part where I long for her, I work for her, I play the romantic games of cat and mouse, jump through the hoops doused in fire and ultimately get the girl to fall in L-word with me in the end.
                  Cue curtains, roll credits, it’s been great. Thank you, and come again.
                  This is also the part where I tell you that none of that will ever happen. If you clicked on this hoping for me to tell you a romantic story about two star-crossed lovers finally ending up together, well I’m sorry, you wandered on to the wrong site this evening.
                  Because this is not a story about two people falling in love.
                  For full effect, download “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
                  It’s a funny thing, you know? That L-word. It makes people make rash decisions, do stupid things, hold stereos above their heads in 80’s movies in hopes that Huey Lewis and the News will get the girl next door to fall head over heels for you. 
                  Love is emotion.
                  Love is euphoria.
                  Love is elevation.
                  Love is doing stupid things at stupid times for stupid people.
                  Cue Foreigner breaking down on VH1 in 1984 begging the crowds, “I want to know what love is!”
                  I look at the waiter standing like a penned up yak counting down the seconds on the front of his eyelids until his shift is over.
                  “You know on second thought, I’ll just have the pear salad.” She says.
                  Why? Why do we do it? Why do we make dumb decisions? Decisions strictly motivated by a killer instinct or an infatuation. Why do we write songs, and letters, and poems, and hang decorative pictures above our closet doors about the day when two people fell for each other? Why are the plotlines of daytime dramas anchored by this four-letter word? Why are these emotional infatuations at the root of nearly all of our problems? Why do people die for this word? What drives them to want this so badly?
                  Men ache for it, women long for it. People start wars and catastrophes and launch a thousand ships over it. Blind Greek poets write thousands of lines intermingled with death, dishonor, deception and deceitful wooden horses that lead to mass murder, all because of it. This four-letter word, this curse above all curses, the root in the heart of the box from Pandora, this disgusting, foul, self-centered, crisis-causing calamity is something that everyone wants, everyone needs, everyone craves late into the night when they lay in Queen-sized hotel bedrooms in Tacoma all by themselves.  
                  Love is a craving.
                  Love is a longing.
                  Love is cancer.
                  “It’s like, the only real thing I learned from him was that guys can be real jerks, ya know?” she says.
                  I nod my head.
                  “I mean, who sits there and likes a post from their ex right in front of a girl they are taking to dinner?” She says.
                  She looks at me. She looks up and to the right, remembering word for word, scene by scene the moments of that dinner. Conversations like these make me want to shove an extra handful of buttered up oat bread down the back of her throat.
                  It spreads. It infects. To the point of no return. To the point where people make ludicrous decisions. To the point where people bend down on one knee and beg to go the altar wearing the $.16 ring they just pulled out of the Cracker Jack box. Love is a plague that turns good people bad, and bad people worse. Love can’t be cured. Love can’t be fixed. Love is a closet obsession that drives people to madness.
                  Love is cocaine.
                  Love is heroin
                  Love is what Walter White makes in a trailer in Albuquerque.
                  It is an addiction. Once you have it, you want more of it. It is maniacal. It causes you to lose your sanity. You sacrifice things just to have a taste of it. You risk your health, your sleep, your money, your career, your own life just to have a glimpse of it. Love is your obsession that is worth more than the processed drugs junkies snort in back alleyways.
                  Love is intoxication.
                  Love is obsession.
                  Love is desensitization.
                  “There are times that I sit and wonder, ‘why did I spend so many months with him’?” She says.
                  “Months?” I say “How many?”
                  She looks up and to the right again, calculating in her head the moment she was first smitten to the time he broke her heart and asked her to take him back.
                  And again.
                  And again.
                  And again.
                  “Total, it was somewhere around 19 months or something like that, not that I kept track or anything.”
                  “19 months huh?” I say.
                  “Yeah… about that.”
                  “Hmm…how’s your ravioli?”
                  Love is a game.
                  Love is a tactic.
                  Love is dishonest.
                  Love is not true, and I say that because in order to get a girl to fall in love with you in today’s world, in the modern day society, in a world littered with hashtags, to get a girl to be swept off her feet, you must first put yourself into a category more pathetic and ungentlemanly than Kanye West and Pauly Shore combined. The way to get girls is to be a project.
                  “You know, in hindsight, I am really glad we dated for so long. In those 19 short months, I really came to understand who I truly was. And that’s what is really important to me.” She says.
                  “So if he came crawling back to you at this point in time, you wouldn’t take him back?”
                  She pauses.
                  The fact that she didn’t answer before I could complete the question tells me exactly what would happen if her phone vibrated with his face on the screen.
                  “No, I don’t think I would. I...”
                  “You don’t think?”
                  “No, I’m pretty sure I’m past all that.”
                  “You’re pretty sure?”
                  She looks again to the right of the arch in the background. “Enough about him, let’s talk about you. Where do you work?”
                  I raise my hand in defense interrupting the man in the apron’s conversation, signaling I’m ready to hand over my money.
                  Why do women do this in their pecking order? Who knows? Why do high-class gents who have careers, educations, high self-esteems, low debts, good workout routines, clean cars, funny jokes, common courtesy, great ambitions, aromatic cologne, ironed shirts, and clipped fingernails get shut down? Because they are in fact, not projects. And women want nothing to do with a self-dependent creature that will treat them like a queen. They want the grime and filth and abuse that will come in years of frustration, hoping that some day their projects will change into the man they want him to be. 
                   “Thanks so much for dinner.” She says, reaching her arms above my shoulders and pulling me in for the kill. “I had a really fun time tonight.”
                  “Yeah it was great.”
                  “We should really do this again sometime.” She steps back and stares at me in silence waiting for my confirmation.
                  We should, but we won’t.
                  The door shuts behind her as she goes in to check her text messages and verify the project hasn’t called in the last two hours. This girl will go to bed a little less full because she doesn’t have someone to work on. Because she doesn’t have mental disorders to unravel. Because she doesn’t have an abusive prick waiting at her fingertips.
                  You want to talk about love?
                  Love is searching for a yellow umbrella at a train station.
                  Love is a suicidal pact between the children of two conflicting families.
                  Love is never letting go of Jack.
                  Love, is a project.