Sunday, June 7, 2009

The New Roadkill

My life is a place where things come to die—plans, good intentions, potential, woulda-coulda-shouldas, great ideas, friendships—life in general, really. I was pondering this as something else wandered into my life for its demise: a cheeseburger. A fucking cheeseburger. I’d like to say it threw itself under the tires of my Monte Carlo, but I know better.

It fell out of a burger shop bag that lay on its side on the shoulder. I suspect it was fresh out of someone’s vehicle because I only left the apartment to get some MGD and put gas in the car. I couldn’t have passed that spot in the road more than 10 minutes earlier and it wasn't there then. The burger was probably still warm. Shit.

It could be a good thing to run the burgers down. Sometimes I swear those burger joints are out to get us. They’ll take our last dollar just as we clutch our clogged chests under the suffocating darkness of a fatal heart attack. They’ll take our children’s last dollars as the hospice nurse arrives to make us more comfortable during our last days with chemical-laden-beef-induced cancer. Is there even any dairy in those “shakes?”

But other times I want that cheap and easy satisfaction of the ever-unholy gutbombs. I want to be just pulling away from the drive-up window as my unoccupied hand—in sensual, nearly automated motion—unwraps the warm, waxy paper in peels of soft, reassuring crinkles.

I want the smear of ketchup on my knuckles and gooey American cheese in the tiny gullies around my fingernails as lift the sandwich to my mouth, just barely keeping the pickles securely pressed under the top-flap of a steam-soggy bun. And as I bite, the meat slides just a bit beneath the excess of mustard and onions. (I hope I didn’t drop any in my lap.) Fuck, it’s good.

I’ll just take one more bite and then shift gears, I say to myself. But, it’s so good I nearly finish the whole shit as I drive two miles down main street in second gear. The pistons are so hot and angry they threaten to swap cylinders. That’s a game of Wac-a-Mole that no one needs, but the burger is like a womb.

Then I nearly burn myself on the grease-fire-hot French fries. The salt is rough in the oil on my fingers but I’m shoveling them in; It’s a good thing I got the “large.” I bite open a couple of ketchup packets and squeeze them into the carton of fries. Some fries get covered, others get none, but I like the variety and surprise. I take another mouthful of shoestrings and double check with fatty, salted fingers that my seatbelt is secured.

And a Coke or a shake? Jesus! I can never decide, so I get both. Hell, they’re still cheap. What we don’t spend on this processed food will only end up in the doctor’s pocket anyway.

I lick the ketchup off my fingers and grab the ice-cold cup that drips with condensation. My fingers slide around the wet, now-slightly-greasy, wax-coated cup. I slurp some of the water droplets off the side of the cup before shoving the giant, Alaska pipeline straw in my mouth and sucking down about half the soda.

I’m a little bloated when I reach for the shake. Another giant straw slurp and the faux-vanilla, milk-syrup chemical spill coats my esophagus and stomach. I’ll probably develop type 2 diabetes before I get home, and I sure wouldn’t want to see what the mass of food in my stomach looks like. I’ll bet it’s an unappetizing and chunky brownish-pink sludge.

It was this meal experience that rushed through my mind in that split second that I drove over the cheeseburger. I know it was a cheeseburger because I recognized the paper. It was still wrapped and round and that soft crush was more nauseating than all the animals I’ve ever rolled over with a splattering crunch or crack.

The meal that could have been, but never would, dropped into the inky, empty depths of my soul without so much as a rustle. I thought about turning around to save the burger—it might still be in the paper—but I saw a car behind me. My heart sank. Fucker.

There could have been more food in the bag by the shoulder, too. How did it land there? Was it tossed out by ungracious and angry punk kids in the back of their abusive stepfather’s pick-up? Did it fall from absentminded person’s car roof? Did someone have a diet-related revelation before even opening the bag, swear off everything but tofu and righteously hurl the bag out the passenger window?

I will never know. I arrived home depressed and too ashamed to go back out. I sat on the couch with the six-pack. Nothing good was on television and, as the sun went down, the room darkened around me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Graham Seeks Additional Apologies

Following his controversial request for U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, to apologize for a statement she made about her ethnic heritage during a 2001 speech, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is now seeking additional apologies from other people he believes to be similarly “proud.”

In a press conference Friday, Graham said these people include, among others, “Blacks, Jews, ‘tee-pee Indians’” and his “Oriental dry cleaner.”

“Look,” said Graham, “I just want a fair shake—whether I’m in court, at the supermarket or at the local Taco John’s. I’m just worried that certain folks of color are more likely to look out for their own. It’s un-American and unfair. Besides, whites were pretty much here first.”

Civil rights groups are up in arms over what they say is Graham’s “reverse reverse racism.”

“This is unacceptable,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “This ain’t the way the script flips. And of course we look out for our own…we let whitey ‘look out’ for us for almost 300 years, and we know where that got us. Hell, he owes us an apology for that!”

“Graham is a putz and a shmuck,” said Stymie Neusbaum, spokesperson for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “Us apologize? That schlemiel can go straight to hell! Oy vey! I’d better sit down. I’ve got a pounding kopvaitik!

“I don’t even know what he [Graham] is talking about!” said Kamala Ho, owner of Top Hat Dry Cleaners, which handles Graham’s laundry “I always help him first and I never mention to anyone all the odd stains on his clothing. And I’m not ‘Oriental.' My family’s from Hawaii. Screw him and his apologies. He can get his shit cleaned down the street at Sid’s. Now that guy is totally Asian.”

Graham abruptly concluded his press conference after a reporter asked him if he had read the full transcript of Sotomayor’s 2001 speech with which Graham was taking issue.

During a May 31st appearance on Fox News, Graham called on Sotomayor to apologize for stating in her speech that she hoped a “wise Latina" judge would, in certain cases, reach a better conclusion than a white man.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Local Boy Fails Family Stress Test, Files for Bankruptcy

Thursday, May 7, 2009—At a press conference held in living room of the Johnson family’s Des Moines, Iowa, home, Abe Johnson announced that their son, Jacob, did not survive a recently completed, two-month-long stress test.

“We will be sorry to see him go,” admitted Abe tearfully, “but he just couldn’t cut it.”

The stress test was administered to all three of the Johnson children. Tina, 14, and John, 8, fared well and will remain with the family. According to Abe Johnson, Jacob, 11, will be filing for bankruptcy and liquidating his assets, which include a 10-speed bicycle and the entire Jonas Brothers catalog on compact disk.

“I mean, what if something really bad happened to our family?” asked the childrens' mother, Joan Johnson. “We know we could count on Tina and John, but Jacob would just be along for the ride and it doesn’t seem fair.”

The press conference outlined the measures that had been taken to accurately assess Jacob's solvency. They included withholding Jacob’s birthday gifts and a reduction of his allowance by 38 percent—actions supported by some very important economic experts, including U.S. Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner.

“Abe called me in January,” said Geithner. “We reviewed Jacob's assets, liabilities and capital, and we thought 38 percent was extremely generous, considering what a lazy, do-nothing that kid is.”

During the press conference, both of Jacob’s debtors gathered on the lawn of the Johnson home and demanded what was owed them.

“He still owes me 6 bucks from that last time we were at Chuck E. Cheese’s,” lamented Timmy Stringer. “How am I supposed to make ends meet without that capital?”

“And that’s my fucking 10-speed,” added Mitch Barger. “We never should have invested in that irresponsible dreamer.”

Jacob was unavailable for comment following the press conference, but spoke with our reporter while catching pond frogs in the woods near his home Friday afternoon. Much of what he said was unintelligible because he was crying so hard he got the hiccups.

One thing, however, was clear: he seemed strangely unconcerned about the impact of this devastating economic failure on his future.

“Why don’t they love me?” Jacob sobbed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Real Faggots

It’s an ugly word, I know. But I’m still attached to it.

If god is the supreme decider, why do the self-righteous dogma thumpers have to ride everyone’s cases? “Judge not lest ye be judged yourself”? Bullshit. More like: Judge not, and you risk being judged yourself. Amen.

It didn’t take long for me to reject the christianity with which I was raised. My parents were good to me, but the religion wasn’t. Even if its rigid and paranoid ideology had been a good fit for me, the “scene” wasn’t.

I spent too much time in catholic school as the target for the insecure, ass-kissing tattle tales; as the fall guy for the nuns desperate to make an example of someone; as the pariah who dared ask the reasonable questions of the cryptic and nonsensical passages. I’m over it...all of it.

So...the real faggots? The christians and other myopic, desperate zealots who want to misquote a political volume passed off as a spiritual text in order to stamp out everything pleasant about human existence.

Gays getting married? Not on the real faggots’ watch. But, it’s the real faggots who have our country’s divorce rate at about 50 percent. If they really hate the gays, they should let them marry and at least 50 percent of gays would be as miserable as half of the rest of us.

Or maybe it’s about semantics. Maybe those people don’t like “gays” because by name they’re gay, happy, jovial or just enjoying life. If I were stupid enough to be religious, I suppose it would piss me off, too.

And the zealots think they’re the experts, that they’ve got all the answers. Yeah—they’re experts...on being real faggots. Fuck them. Fuck them brutally hard. And fuck them without remorse or mercy.

This is what I was thinking about, stewing in and fuming over, as I listened to the radio news while driving to another job interview.

I was just glad I put on clean underwear; it’s more important than showering. The elasticated cotton of my boxer briefs was tight around my thighs and dry beneath my balls. As I stewed in frustration over news of the real faggots, my ball sweat was neatly wicked away from my skin, preventing bacteria and the subsequent odor—but more importantly, it kept me comfortable.

And comfort is paramount. Discomfort can drive a sane man to the sharp edges of his own soul. I’m pretty sure Hitler suffered from foot and ball sweat—serious foot and ball sweat. Wet feet and wet balls, like wet shoes and wet underpants are enough to turn a harmless German art student into a fucking murderous fascist. Well...that, and sucking at art.

Hitler's shitty art and writing aside, sweat would, have in the least, ruined my job interview at a local restaurant.

Last month, the adhesives plant where I work cut my crew's hours back from five days to four days to three. I can see the writing on the wall and I’ve got cabin fever. I don’t enjoy time off. It’s just another chance for my brain to work me over like a sadistic, lobotomized prison cell mate. It’s a wonder I don’t drink more than I do. Hell, it’s a wonder I don’t just hang myself.

I'm desperate for professional vitality. I’ve sent out so many resumes and cover letters that I don’t know who I am any longer. I’ve tweaked myself for every job; I must have 30 different resumes. They’re all accurate, but each spins the information a bit differently.

It’s no different than how people are during the interviews or—if they get the job—at work. At work, we’re all tweaked versions of ourselves. We pass to get paid. We sell out.

“What is something you feel you need to work on, professionally speaking?” The woman asked me. She’s a manager of some sort, but not important enough to be anything other than the “weeder” for these corporate interviews. “If I can get past her,” I thought, “I might have a chance.”

“I work too hard sometimes,” I said thoughtfully, as if revealing a private sentiment and not simply saying what I know she wants to hear. “I try to tackle too much at one time. In fact, I have trouble leaving work because I know there’s always more that can be accomplished, and accomplishment makes me feel good because I’m helping the ‘team.’”

I offered her a little smile, raised eyebrows and a shrug as if to add “I’m just a company man, m’am.”

What I should have said is “If this company wants me to eat shit with a big fucking grin, sign me up. If you want me to slice the tires on your competition’s manager’s car, I’m your man. If you want me to fuck up the guys delivering food to the diner next door, I gotcha covered.” But, I thought better of it and just kept reading my script.

“I would absolutely travel.”

“I would be willing to relocate.”

“There’s always another way to cut costs.”

“I’m a manager before I’m a friend.”

“Blah blah blah fucking blah fuck fuck blah...” is how it sounded to me. I could spew this crap in my sleep. I should teach a seminar on how to apply for jobs, handle interviews, and then pick yourself up when they never call you. I’m great at that last part, but it usually involves a tranny hooker, some tainted hash and a lot of cheap whiskey.

I was trying to forget about the interview when I got home. I took off my shirt and tie, and checked the fridge for booze.

Marcy’s sister was in town, and the two of them were out somewhere. Though this sister is the older sister, she’s still not old enough to buy alcohol. As usual, she had drunk all my whiskey and beer. All that remained were the ingredients for Marcy’s drink of choice: a “Calimosa,” as she calls it. It’s the gayest drink I’ve ever halfway enjoyed.

I filled a pint glass half with ice, poured in about 4 ounces of Dr. Pepper and about 6 ounces of crappy red wine. I rummaged through Marcy’s sister’s suitcase and found a couple airplane bottles of vanilla vodka. I floated an ounce of that shit on top.

It worked. After three of those, my brain was pretty quiet. But I couldn’t watch the news; that shit would set me off again. I set the clicker beside me on the couch while Judge Judy gave the third degree to some poor sap with a shitty necktie. They were passing around Polaroids of his dented Tercel when I was fortunate enough to fall asleep.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vatican’s Ban on Condoms a “Godsend” for the KKK

Mt. Holly, NC—The ranking officers of the Ku Klux Klan gathered for their annual “G-Hate Summit,” and to draft a resolution supporting the Vatican’s recently renewed ban on condoms.

“I told you we was officers o’ God!” exclaimed KKK Grand Wizard Pro Tempore, Jimmy Griffin. “This proves it! And we don’t need no rope or a tree; just good ol’ fashioned AIDS.”

The global economic downturn has caused the KKK's overall membership to dwindle and the subsequent drop in dues had dashed any hopes of an imminent, full-blown race war. The organization, however, has been invigorated by Pope Benedict XVI’s reaffirmation of the ban.

“Look,” Griffin said excitedly, “the AIDS epidemic in Africa kills, like, two million niggers a year! And for free! Praise Jesus!”

National Klabee, Joe Purdy, agreed.

“This truly was some Godsend,” he said. “We couldn’t ask for no better support for our cause. Now, we know the Pope ain’t gonna mention the KKK, but we’re clearly on the same side. Under our robes, we white Christians are all equal.”

“You gotta hand it to the Germans,” admired Griffin, smiling. “The Pope will finally finish what Hitler started. All we do now is wait ‘em out. Those niggers’ll be dead in, like, 6 years, I figure.”

Despite this philosophical windfall, the KKK still faces tough times. The organization has enacted a nationwide hiring freeze and cut back on the purchases of everything from paper clips to giant, wooden crucifixes.

Group leaders are optimistic about 2009, though they haven’t ruled out seeking government bailout money.

“We’ll prob’ly just talk with Biden about that,” said Purdy.