Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top 10: Why I'm Single

Recently, I've been meeting a bunch of new women, including those that are completely new to me and others that just haven't really hung out with me very much in the past. Through most of these new interactions, I've been getting some very positive feedback, which is always good for the ego. I'm hearing comments like I'm "so much fun", "easy to talk to", "hilarious", "good-looking", "amazing in bed"...well, haven't heard that last one, but I'm sure it's a possibility.

Anyway, the culmination of this came just yesterday, when Danielle and I were hanging out at my place. I had just made some dinner, and during our conversation, she says that now that she knows me, she's actually kind of shocked that I'm still single.

Now, those of you that know me would probably think that the main reason for this is that I was involved in a 6-year relationship for most of my early twenties. However, I thought I'd give you the "real" reasons for my remaining unmarried.

Top 10 Reasons I'm Still Single

10) Justin Timberlake is always just one step ahead of me on grabbing my future wife. And I am not about taking his sloppy seconds...damaged goods, JT. Damaged goods.
9) I've taken the teachings that you must always strive for something better a bit too broadly.
8) I've found that pointing and clicking for sex is somewhat easier than poking and begging for it.
7) I'm still waiting to find a girl that finds farting, midgets, and nut shots hilarious. I mean really finds them hilarious. Not the "I want this guy to like me, so I'm gonna laugh at that midget even though I really feel sorry for the abuse he has to live with" type.
6) After having my heart broken by my only true love, my college girlfriend, I have protected myself from being hurt that badly by not allowing myself to truly bring anyone close into my life and by deliberately dating women that I know don't meet her level of greatness. Uh...or not. Thanks Freud.
5) Women can only stare at a dancing monkey tattoo while giving me head for so long.
4) My dog is secretly shitting in the shoes and purses of any woman that comes over.
3) Between three days of football, one night of bowling, and one night of basketball, where exactly does this "girlfriend" fit in?
2) Two words: Captain & Coke
1) This blog

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fuzzy Memories: You Did What?!!

So, in honor of my return to my old college campus this weekend for Homecoming, I felt it only appropriate that I recount the story that still amazes some people in the degree of stupidity involved in it. This is a story from my senior year, and once again involves that great past time of ours, "borrowing" golf carts. It is blog entries like this that I feel it is best that I refer you once again to my Disclaimer before you continue.

You Did What?!!
It's probably around midnight on a standard Spring evening on campus. My buddies and I have been doing some drinking with some freshman girls that we knew at our apartment, and the mood begins to turn to destructive behavior. For those of you that knew me in college, the mood seemed to turn to destructive behavior a little too often. Anyway, we had had limited success the last few attempts to locate and jury-rig a service golf cart for joyriding, so we're searching for possibilities.

It is at this moment that I make the decision that nearly (and likely should have) ended my relationship with my girlfriend at the time. She had recently had knee surgery after blowing out her ACL and MCL during a soccer game, and to aid in her ability to get around campus, the school had provided her with her own golf cart. But certainly, I wouldn't consider taking her golf cart for feats of destruction??

The whizzing of the engine as we pulled away signifies my lack of judgment, and yes, we stole her cart. I have told you on numerous occassions that I am not proud of some of the things I've done in my life, and this is one of them. But we're not done.

After cruising around campus with my roommate, my buddy, and three random freshman girls, we approach the main academic building on campus. As we pulled up, we noticed the new addition to campus...the handicapped ramps. Yes, campus had decided to make the place handicap-accessible, and with that, they had also given us an idea.

You know where this is heading...bear with me. We were ambitious. And we were stupid. A winning combo as we steered the golf cart up the first leg of the ramp. It is at this point that it made a 180 degree turnabout. Thankfully, my roommate played football, my friend played baseball, and I played with myself...often, so we were strong enough to lift and rotate the cart to its new direction. Oh my god, we might just be able to pull this off! We drove it up the second slope and sat at a 90 degree angle in front of the main doors.

Another quick lift and rotate, and the impossible was a mere two feet away. I sat down in the driver's seat as the handicapped doors opened like Shangri-La in front of us. And we entered the magical utopia of our main academic building while seated on our chariot. Flyers waved on the walls as we sped down the hall. It was surreal. It was amazing. And then it was over.

Did you ever realize how short a hallway is when you're driving along it? It is at this point, that the stupidest of all ideas crosses our mind. There, to our left, at the end of the hall, sat the hallway to the elevator. We knew we could turn this cart 90 degrees. We had conquered the first floor. What if we took it to the second floor?

We lifted the cart and had it in position. The doors to the elevator opened, and with a push of the accelerator, we were...BANG!!...oops. Apparently, the hallway got more narrow. Wish I had noticed that before I slammed into it and took a chunk out of the wall. However, I am thankful in hindsight that it was there, because I dare not think of the chaos that likely would have occurred if we had been able to get the cart into the elevator. I'm pretty sure the weight would have been a problem.

The obvious destruction of public property (remember the Disclaimer...this is not real) cleared our heads a bit, and it is at this time that we decided an exit was in our best interest. How would we explain this if someone of authority just happened to walk by?

Our exit was more Dukes of Hazard than our lengthy entrance, as I floored the accelerator and drove straight off the top level down the steps (dem damn der Duke boys!!), with a couple thuds. We made our way back to my apartment, locked up the cart to the lightpost out front, and as I returned to bed, I was greeted by my girlfriend and her not-so-friendly (though completely expected) reprimanding. After I explained what we had done, the shock in her eyes was only broken by her exclamation,

"You Did What??!!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stockpiling the Karma

I've been a bit slack on posting this week, as a Friday night of drinking turned into a 5:15 AM return to my bed (yeah, I thought I was 30 years old now too) and my body hasn't quite recovered with football and evening activities since.

Needless to say, I'm feeling a little under the weather today, which is not good since I'm flying down to Charlotte tomorrow night for a weekend with my old Fraternity brothers, celebrating Homecoming.

I'm sure I'll have some nice stories from that trip, given that the last two trips to Charlotte have included a one night stand with a cougar (one of these days I'll blog that story) and vomiting on a main street at only 10 PM (that one pretty much tells itself).

However, I'm not always up to trouble like that, I'm also there to lend a helping hand to those around me. And this was apparent last Saturday afternoon, as I left my football game (yep, played on 4 hours of sleep...and dropped every pass thrown to me like the "Thunderstruck" scene from "Varsity Blues") and headed over to watch Kevin's game, which started right after mine.

I arrive to the field to see Jen and Thor sitting down under a tree by the field. If you haven't seen Kevin's dog Thor before, he's a 1-year old English Bulldog, who resembles a small, 60 lb. tank, and weezes with every breath he takes. Despite his breathing issues, he's full of energy this particular day and is running around the sidelines on his leash chasing a ball and trying to go up to everyone who passes by.

I sit down for a bit and watch the conclusion of the first half. The second half begins and the other team has the ball. They complete only one pass leading up to a 4th down and 1 completion (it's a two completion co-ed league). Everyone gets set for the 4th down play and with the snap of the ball, all 16 players are running about.

This is apparently the last straw of excitement for Thor as he bolts for the field, reaches the end of his leash, and...SNAP! Yep, the leash broke. And the tank is in motion. For a thick dog, he moves pretty fast, but apparently steering is a different story when he gets that big body moving. Like a missile, he is targeted right at a girl on the field and with a perfect shot, he nails her in the back of the legs. She drops like a sack to the ground, up-ended by the collision. I would have laughed histerically at this point (other people's pain is always amusing to me), but I just feel so uncomfortable as Jen is yelling "Thor! Thor!" as he darts in and out of the groupings of people. The play concludes with an incomplete pass, Kevin chases Thor down with no assistance from any of the players already on the field, and an argument ensues as to whether the play should count.

Thor now has a 3-foot long leash part, a ton of energy after his jaunt, and I think he's worn out his welcome. So, I take one for the team. I'll take him home. I grab his short little leash and drag his stubborn self back to my car for the trip home. Once we're in my car, I have a few words with him and we're off.

While this was going on, up in Rockville, my other brother's wife is running into her own problems. She has gotten into the habit of using the Zip Cars at the metro, and is hoping to use one to drive some supplies to my older brother for an exhibit he's showing at a festival in Silver Spring. Unfortunately for her, the person before her is late in returning the Zipcar, and it's not there when she finishes walking to the metro from her house. She doesn't have her cell. phone, and the Zipcar people won't help you if you call from a different line, so she has to hitch a ride with a friendly mother-daughter combo back to her house to figure out what's going on.

After her phone conversation, they offer to get her a cab, which they claim will not arrive for over 1/2 hour. Thankfully, the Zipcar place calls her back when the person finally returns the original car to its spot. And then she places a second call...to me.

Yep, I'm sitting in my car with Thor, driving back from his mugging when the second call for help arrives. Pick you up from your place and take you to the metro? Sure.

So, ten minutes later, Sarah, Thor and I are sitting in my car, driving to the Grosvenor Metro so Sarah can pick up her car. My second good deed for the day. And Karma is good...for now.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Date-Time Continuum

For those of you that don't watch "How I Met Your Mother" or don't just happen to know this term, the "date-time continuum" basically states that you should not make plans with a current girlfriend/boyfriend that are further into the future than the amount of time that you have been dating.

I'm usually not superstitious about this particular term, and in most instances I'm fine with a girlfriend inviting me to future events, as I would hope that they would want to be with me in the future, and most really good things require a couple months of preparation. Case in point, the cruise Jaclyn and I took after only dating for 3 months...great time.

However, I've had my fair share of downsides to planning ahead in relationships, regardless of the date-time continuum. Here's just a few examples:
  • I booked a flight to Pensacola to see Natalie for Y2K New Years. We broke up in October.
  • I booked rooms and a flight for Jaclyn and I to go to Vegas last December. We broke up 4 days prior.
  • I bought tickets to see the Lion King with Nicole in July, and ended up getting dumped by Lisa the day after the show (Yes, you read that right)

And so, like the fool I am, I pounced on pre-order tickets to see the Wizard of Oz at Warner Theater in December earlier this week. (Don't judge me, I'm cultured...bitches...and I like the Cowardly Lion)

However, I'm not going to mention this to Danielle. You see, Danielle and I have only been dating for about a month now (yes, I know some of you are shocked at the new girl turnaround, but do you really think I'm as big of a jackass as these posts suggest? Come on, women love me. And when a girl comes over, in her jersey, every Sunday because she actually wants to watch football and makes you taco dip, that's a keeper). Anyway, so since it's only been a month, that means I shouldn't plan anything more than a month in advance. I've had tickets to see Lavell Crawford at the Improv in mid-October for a while, and I just mentioned that to her last week. She wants to go to some cabin with her friends in late-October...so she just squeaked in. But then she mentions taking a trip to Disney World (where she knows people) and AFRICA! (where she also knows people who will let us stay for free) for January and February, and I think she's putting our relationship in jeopardy. Does she not know my track record?! Thankfully, none of these things has been booked.

However, the tickets to the Wizard of Oz have been booked. So for those of you who were putting the bets down as to when I'll be truly single again (don't worry, G-Man, I'll still wingman like the pro I am)...my money's on early-December. There's no guarantees it will be Danielle breaking up with me, but someone will. There's no fighting the date-time continuum or my "luck" with planning things ahead of time.

Speed Cameras

Since I'm a little drunk right now, and just drove from Virginia (wait, those two probably shouldn't come together...good thing all these posts are fictional), I thought I'd take a few moments out of my time watching the House premiere on DVR to bitch about something that's been bugging me for a while.

On Monday, I wrote a check to the Montgomery County police...my fourth in like the last 3 months. And why did I write this check?? Because a camera, not an actual policeman, said I was speeding. And there's a nice picture of my car to "prove" it. Actually there's two pictures, if you include the close up of my license plate.

Why the fuck are there so many stinking speeding cameras all over this area??!! There's one on Randolph road, just east of Rockville Pike, that is positioned at the bottom of a hill. The speed limit there is 30 mph, so unless you're riding your brakes down the hill, you're breaking the law. Fucking camera!! Which is better, people going 45 mph along a two lane street, maintaining constant speed, or random cars slamming on their brakes because they know there's a camera there and don't want to get a ticket, forcing those who are unaware to slam on their brakes or slam into them?

Here's my philosophy. If you're going a safe speed (speed limit signs don't know shit) and not weaving through traffic, making the roads unsafe for those around you, you're driving safely, and thus legally. Real cops can respect this fact, and will in most cases let you drive over the speed limit, even in excess of 10 miles above the speed limit. However, these cameras don't. If you're going 11 miles over the speed limit, even if that means a very controllable 41 mph, enjoy your $40 ticket that will arrive in 7-10 days.

If the county wants to make more money for the police, that's fine with me. But put the cameras at the intersections for people running red lights. At least I would consider them to be making the roads unsafe. Leave those of us that want to drive a safe, but faster speed alone.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10: What a Waste

In these tight financial times, everyone appears to be wanting to save money and minimize excessive spending. So, in an attempt to help those of you truly concerned with this, I have made the following Top 10 List. Having already brought up the wastefulness of greeting cards in a past post, I present to you:

Top 10 Things You Can Do Without
10. Soda at restaurants: I went to Wendy's last week and got a chicken sandwich for $.99, a Double Stack burger for $.99, and a Dr. Pepper for $2!! How is it that something that is mostly water is twice as expensive as meat products?
9. Underwear: It's under your clothes, nobody sees it, so who needs it? Let the era of free ballin and commando chicks begin.
8. CDs: There's still a ton of pirate programs out there like Morpheus, so why are you still paying for music? If musicians really want to help the country, they should stop saying this is "illegal" and make their money touring and selling merchandise.
7. Cats: They are creepy and don't bring anything to the table. They shit in a box in your bathroom, eat your food, and only come around when they feel like it. See you later, Garfield...you don't make the cut.
6. Hair Products: It's real simple. If everyone stops using hair gel and mousse and shit like that, then it will be a new style. You're already not wearing underwear, let's go au natural.
5. Nationals Tickets: Oh wait, you're already not buying them.
4. Greeting Cards: I already brought this up in the gift giving post I had a couple days ago. It's like putting money in someone else's trash can. Just write happy birthday on the back side of one of those credit card ads you get in the mail every day and call it done.
3. Art: I've been to some people's houses and seen the shit on their walls. They paid money for that?? Wow.
2. Big Screen LCD TVs: Wait. No. I was just kidding. Sometimes you just gotta make a stand...I'm helping stimulate the economy.
1. Condoms: I mean, seriously...who really needs them? That's why God invented pulling out, right Bristol Palin??

And now back to work, so I can make some money to not spend on these things.

Monday, September 15, 2008

So Sore

Due to the rain two weekends ago, my return to playing football (I only gave up my indoor league...come on, you know me) in my outdoor leagues was put off by one week, making this past weekend the start of the seasons.

As I've already mentioned in the last blog entry, this weekend also included a trip to AC. So, Saturday morning, after approximately 8 hours of sitting at numerous blackjack tables, 12 or more (who keeps count?) Captain and cokes, 6 hours of sleep, and 3 hours of driving, I stood on the fields in Bethesda ready to play.

Surprisingly, the haze of hangover and random pot smoking (you know I only touch the stuff very infrequently) does not affect my football play nearly as much as it did my driving to the field, as I caught about 8 of the first 12 passes of the game including our opening touchdown. Not too shabby for a 30-year old who hasn't played in over a month. Nonetheless, we're playing my brother's team, and they haven't lost a regular season game in 2 years...and that quickly appears not to change.

Let me explain why. You see, this is a co-ed league. On the field at all times, you are required to have five guys and three girls. Our girls, though talented from girl standards, are completely overshadowed by their girls, two of which are talented from guy standards. I ain't kidding. They beat our girls on routes by like 5-10 YARDS consistently. One girl caught a diving catch. Another got tackled by a guy on our team (by mistake) and got up and called him a pussy. Well, everything but that last part...but she did get up without a problem, and I'm sure she was thinking.

We're down a bunch quickly, it's like a thousand degrees in the sun, so I take myself out for a few drives in the second half and after the loss, I'm in bed, trying to rest my body.

Like an ass, I decide to go down to Adam's Morgan with Kevin, Jen and some of her friends on Saturday night, and after a couple drinks and a near fight with a shitfaced jerkoff who grabbed Kevin's pizza and took a bite (that's a story in itself, maybe I'll post that later), it's 2:30 AM and I'm just going to sleep.

My next football game is at 10:15 AM on Sunday morning in my men's league. Having not learned anything from the previous day, I carry my hungover self to the field, and the second 1000 degree day. Why is there no shade!??!

Since our team is lacking any real linemen, and most of our players are even smaller than me (and I only weigh 175), I take one for the team and decide that I'll play some line, knowing that I'll give it 100% to protect our QB or try to sack theirs. Within a matter of drives, however, I am dying, having been thrown around by guys that outweigh me by about 30-50 lbs. Kinda wish I hadn't lost all that weight a couple months back.

You see, this is when having a fat friend is useful. I need to find more fat friends. They're good to make fun of when hanging out, since there's a plethora of fat jokes out there, and they're even better when you need to play football. I guess I'll just narrow down my fattest friend right now, and constantly invite him to the chinese buffet and Cici's until he's ready for action.

We lose a close one, 6-13, and following my shower when I get home, I start to feel some tightness in my back. Then some soreness in my shoulder. Then an aching in my thighs. Within a couple hours, I'm having trouble standing straight up, as my lower back is tight as hell.

An afternoon of football watching doesn't help the cause much, and neither does a night of sleep, as I woke up this morning and literally felt like I could "feel" every muscle in my body working as I made even the slightest move. Good thing work is low impact...oh wait, it's not. I'm laying pipe at a pool in Virginia. Yep, laying pipe. That's what we pool guys do. Giggity giggity.

So, I get home tonight, and I make the executive decision. After taking my shower to clean the dirt off (laying pipe is a dirty job), I turn on the bath tub and take a soak. Yes, I used the bath tub for something other than having sex or a lead in to having sex...go figure. It appears to have helped somewhat, and I went the extra step of dialing up some internet porn when I got out (it just seemed like the right thing to do). And now, here I lay, in bed once again.

Why do I put myself through this?...because I love it. It's good to be back at it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Say What?!

On Friday afternoon, Dave and I decided to head up to Atlantic City to get an evening of gambling in. I had gotten a comped room at the Tropicana, so we would be able to stay the night, and as the rain began, we got on the road.

We would have some time to kill as a 3 hour trip laid in our future, so Dave brought along some of the good stuff and we sparked that up as we approached 95 North. Add to that the eclectic mix of music that Dave had in his car, including Gorillaz, Damian Marley, and the Juno soundtrack, and the time is flying. However, I had gotten a Wendy's combo meal before we left and killed the entire Dr. Pepper, and that didn't bode well for me as the patter of rain kept reminding me that I needed to pee.

We made a stop at a rest stop, and that is where the first double take of my trip occurred. I'm standing at the urinal and there's probably about another three or four guys lining the wall of urinals, when I hear someone from a couple of spots down say,

"Can you reach over here?"

What did that guy just say!!??? Had my dick not already been out, I probably would have peed my pants. Bathroom etiquette prohibits me from looking down to see who said it (eyes front only), but as I go to wash my hands I peak back to see who was calling for some bathroom shenanigans.

It is at that point that I see the Asian man...and his short son...talking about the fact that the son was tall enough to reach the higher urinal and not have to use the lower, kiddie urinal. Ahhh, I get it. Still funny.

Fast forward to our arrival at the Tropicana. We've checked in and make our way to the elevators to drop off our bags. There's a group of about 6 thicker black chicks waiting there as well, and when we get into the elevator, Dave starts talking with them. He asks if they are here for the weekend, to which they reply that they are just there for the night. Another girl chimes in that they're going to have a girl's night out, to which Dave replies:

"That's what I'm talking about."

WHAT?? I bit my lip so as not to bust out right there, as they seem to have let that comment pass without any questioning. Did Dave turn into Moesha while I wasn't looking? What exactly was he "talking about?" We're two dudes. And we're white. Of course I couldn't let this slide, so from this point on, that was my new slogan for the night.

Wanna head back to the casino? That's what I'm talking about.
You see that USF game? That's what I'm talking about.
Matzoh ball soup at the diner? That's what I'm talking about.

Finally, it fit.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Today I got stung by a bee in my left arm. It probably wasn't a bee, it was more likely a yellowjacket or whatever bee-type thing lives in the ground. In either case, it hurt. It still hurts. Not badly, but it makes the hairs on my neck stand up when it does tingles. Luckily, I had baking soda nearby (we put it in pools) to put on it, but that's as useful as peeing on a jellyfish sting. Who really does that?

Fucking bee. I was just minding my own business. It was the f-ing landscapers that mowed past their hole in the ground and I feel their wrath. This is why landscapers continue to be the mortal enemy of the poolman. As if blowing leaves into the pool wasn't bad enough. The next landscaper I see, I'm gonna fling chlorine in their eye. Stings...doesn't it. Fucker.

That is all. I just wanted to remember this day, since the last time I was stung was like 15 years ago.

The Early Years: Kid Gangs

Like any good story, in order to understand the motivations of the main characters, it is important to know their backgrounds. While, these stories may not be helpful in understanding why I make fun of midgets and find racial humor and shots to the nuts hilarious, they are an entertaining look into the history of the J-Man. So, as a new repeating series, I bring to you the first installment of J-Man: The Early Years.

Kid Gangs
After having spent my entire life in the same house in Bethesda, MD, in May 1984, at the age of 6, I was forced to move to California. My dad had worked for an oil company that was headed by Palestinians, and once they had discovered that he was Jewish, they did not want him working there any longer. Rather than deal with a wrongful termination lawsuit, they told him that his position was no longer needed in the DC area. They gave him the offer of moving to California, assuming he would not move a family of five across the country, and they would be able to get rid of him more easily. They were wrong.

When you're 6 years old, you really don't know what moving means. This was the first time I had ever moved, and basically all it meant was that my 1st grade class was going to throw me a party and I was informed that I was going to be in the area where Michael Jackson was (Thriller was big at this time, and Jacko wasn't publicly touching kids, so I was a big fan...more on that in future Early Years posts). Both things seemed pretty positive, so I rolled with the punches.

It was Summer when we got to Chatsworth and our new home. It was not until many years later that I found out that Chatsworth is the porn capital of the United States, but perhaps the seed was inherently planted. Too bad we didn't stay here very long...more on that later.

I had my own room again, having shared my room with my older brother since my younger brother had been born 2 years prior. We also had a swimming pool and a "fortress," which was basically this hill next to the pool that was covered with small bushes and a waterfall, but gave a great view of the neighborhood. We would play fighting games in the fortress as if we were He-Man, fighting invisible monsters (or trees) around the backyard. Don't mock my young self, you know you did this shit too. My older brother and I quickly bonded with our neighbor Michael, and in playing these games, we became a little gang.

When you're 6 years old, it seems like forming a gang is pretty standard stuff. I remember being in many "gangs" growing up. We wouldn't wear bandanas and shoot people and shit, these were just a group of kids that hung out together and by traveling in numbers, you were cooler. The great thing about being in a gang is that you always have people to play with and laugh at your jokes. Being the jokester, even at a young age, this was always nice. The downside to being in a gang, however, is that one person's beef magically becomes yours.

So, it's the Summer of '84 and my brother, Michael and I are all in a camp together at the local park. We've got some other people as a part of our gang, and being as I talk to much, I find myself as the "leader" of this gang. The other big thing when you're 6, is the enemy...girls. I'm not sure why this was the case, but for the better part of three years, stemming from Kindergarten through 2nd grade, girls were "evil" and therefore you were supposed to chase them during recess and make them cry. Not sure where I learned this, perhaps it is an inherent characteristic that I was born with. Seeing their underwear was also cool, but rarely occurred, so we stuck with the chasing.

But I digress. As expected, there was a gang of "evil" girls at this camp as well, headed by a girl named Bria. I remember her name because we used to call her dia-Bria, which sounded like diarrhea, which still makes me laugh today. This likely made her cry on many occassions, much to my 6-year old delight, though I don't really remember it. What I do remember was the day our conflict went a bit too far.

The girls had done something bad to my brother (you'd think I'd be able to remember what that was since he's my brother) and we needed to get them back. It was time for revenge. Retribution. Strike Back!! And when one of the guys in my gang got a colored marker of one of the girls, our opportunity arose. The marker passed from this kid, to Michael, to Glen, to me. Gulp. Now what do I do? Throw it in the toilet!! Yeah!!

Like I said, the bad part of being in a gang was making someone else's beef your own. I needed to do something, for the group. For myself, to show that I was fit to lead. I was holding the marker, I needed to put it in the toilet. But I had never done something destructive before. In fact, I had never actually "caught" a girl after all of these years of chasing. To be honest, I'm not sure what I would have done if I had. And here I was, having caught their marker.

I ran to the bathroom and stood at the shitter with several of the guys standing around me. Throw it in!!! Yeah!!! Who is that guy who keeps saying, yeah?? Whatever, I've got to do it. And then I did. The bathroom went silent as the blue marker floated in the toilet bowl, some of the blue ink leaking from it, changing the color of the water. It was like we all were expecting something much cooler to have happened...like fireworks or a giant chorus of cheers, chanting "men,men,men!!" for our triumph over the girls. Instead, the marker just sat there.

Should we flush it? I guess. It was at this point that the camp counselor came in and saw what we had done. Bria's friend was apparently crying (mission accomplished) and he had come in to lay down the punishment. We explained the situation and then I was asked to wait outside of the counselor's office while he spoke with other members of the gang. While standing out there, an older boy who was in the camp came over to me.

Older kid: Did you take one of those girl's pens and throw it in the toilet?
Me: Yeah
Older kid: Well, that wasn't very nice. For that, you need to be punished.

And at that moment, he punched me square in the chest. Right in the sternum. I had never been punched before, except for the minor scuffles with my brother. It hurt. It knocked the wind out of me, and I fell to my knees. Shocked and confused, a few tears started to well up. (Don't mock little J-Man...I was six)

But I guess I deserved that. My conscience told me not to throw the marker in the toilet, but the gang mentality overwhelmed my better judgment. Lesson learned...or was it?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Gift or No Gift?

Last night, my family all went out for my brother's fiance's birthday. Her birthday technically isn't until tomorrow, but we figured she'd be spending that with her own family, so my mom decided we'd do this instead. However, with a birthday dinner comes that awkward decision leading up to the event. Do I get this person a gift?

Now, most of my friends have wives or girlfriends who inherently know the answer to this. However, some of us aren't so fortunate, so I've decided to help break down a few key points that I feel are helpful in deciding in the future whether I will get someone a gift.

Point #1: Do you know what this person really wants?
If you don't know the person well enough to get them something that they really are going to enjoy, why buy them anything? You're only going to force the person to lie. Oh, great, a baseball that tells you how fast you threw the ball. I haven't thrown a baseball in over 7 years...but I love it. I'll go to the park tomorrow and try it out. What kind of gift is that? The gift of lies and deceit. I still have that stupid baseball (did you think that was an arbitrary gift example) sitting in my closet.

Point #2: Buying someone a gift means they feel obligated to give you one in return.
Now, instead of just giving this person the need to lie, you are also giving them guilt. Especially if your birthday just passed and they didn't get you anything. And as was the case with Point #1, if you don't know what to get them, they likely don't know what to get you. So, by buying this person a crappy gift they'll never use, you have doomed yourself to their fate, and can await the pain of having to lie when your birthday rolls around. And thus the vicious cycle continues.

Point #3: When in doubt, get a gift card.
When you do know (or should know) someone well enough to get them a gift, but you're not sure what to get them and don't want to fall victim to Point #1, go with a gift card. I find that this is the best non-gift gift ever. Perhaps it's not all that personal, but isn't gift giving about the thought. I've given gift cards to restaurants, malls, and even Target (everyone loves Target). With the gift card, you know you're at least giving them something that will get some use...well, if they actually remember to take the card with them. I still have a Nordstroms gift card from like 3 years ago. I hope it still works.

Point #4: Going to dinner counts.
I'm gonna make it official, right now. If you invite me to dinner for your birthday, my presence is gift enough. True, I will likely end up splitting the cost for paying for your meal, but honestly, two hours of my company is a timeless gift. All kidding aside, some of my best birthdays have been those when my friends have come over and just hung out or gone out to dinner. It doesn't happen all the time, especially as we are all getting older, so for people to take time out of their lives to spend time with me, that's a gift in itself.

Point #5: Is a card really a wise investment?
I ended up getting Kevin's fiance a card, as she did not fall into Point #1 and I didn't want her to have to lie or feel the guilt of returning the favor with a crappy gift come December. It was a piece of cardboard with a picture of a bulldog (they have a bulldog...see, that was clever of me) and some funny jokes or some shit. It cost $4! Yes, $4! I signed it, put it in an envelope, handed it to her, she opened it, and it is likely in the trash now. (That's what I do with card, anyway). So basically, I threw $4 in their trash can. How did the world come to this? Is everyone so uncreative that they rely on pictures of dogs and clever wit written by someone else. I am embarrassed with myself for having gone this route, and I will never do it again. The next "card" I give to someone will be a piece of paper (like, $.01) with the words, Happy Birthday, written on it, and perhaps a little joke like, "You know you're getting older when you're eating at 4 PM and you're in bed by 9 PM. Be glad you still have control of your bowels." Belly laughs for all.

So, as you can see, those of you that know me can expect a gift card, my presence, and a piece of paper making fun of you when your birthday rolls around. And I would expect no less in return.

Happy Birthday, you old pieces of shit.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Brain Farts 11

Here's some really short thoughts and stories that I thought I'd throw out there. So, as usual, it's another installment of Brain Farts...not quite as satisfying as the full shit, but still humorous.

  • Does anyone else think that Sarah Palin is somehow related to Tina Fey?
  • The other night, I was at my older brother's place and my younger brother and his fiance and dog were there. Midway through a conversation, Kevin's dog, Thor, walks over to me, sitting on the couch, and pees on my foot. Apparently, I got owned.
  • I went to the Chinese buffet for lunch today. Literally 2 minutes after I got back to my office, I had to take a shit. How does it work that fast?
  • If you've never swam for four hours in one day, let me give you a bit of information...your extremities are going to turn white. All of your extremities! However, as I've always suggested, internet porn cures everything.
  • I got the new Madden for PS3 this past weekend, my first new Madden game in 3 years. Apparently, playing Madden is not like riding a bike, as I am miserable. They have a new feature that gives you your "Madden IQ" and I'm pretty sure that I'm the Madden equivalent of Timmy from Southpark right now. Stupid games...always judging me.
  • How awesome would it be if there was a city named Tina, and Hurricane Ike kicked the shit out of it.

And you are all now stupider for having read this. Enjoy the return of football. Go Skins.

My pick: Skins win, 20-10.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Goin' Swimmin

I guess I have to temporarily put a pause to my excessive partying and generally self-destructive behavior for a couple weeks now. You see, while the Labor Day weekend allowed me an extra day of rest and relaxation over the weekend, it also signifies the start of closing season in the swimming pool world.

Much like your local community pools, most residential pool owners like to have their pools shut down for the Winter just after Labor Day, as the weather is getting cooler (though not today) and the kids are back at school. This year, for some reason, more people than ever are closing promptly after Labor Day. I can only assume it is a cost savings move for people affected by the cost of gas to run pool heaters and general cost concerns with maintaining the pools electrically and chemically. In any case, work has remarkably picked up since last Friday.

Add to that the fact that one of my employees is out for the week on a family vacation, another was in a car crash on Friday and totalled his car...and his back, and now my brother has a sinus infection, and suddenly an increase in business just turned into chaos. And where must I go in these times of chaos...


Well, actually I'm forced to get out of the office, temporarily suspend future selling, and try to help promptly complete what is already booked. But in the case of today, that meant swimming. Alot of swimming. Here's how it went down.

First thing in the morning I went and closed a pool in Silver Spring by myself. It is a small pool, so this was not too bad, though most closings require two people. The main reason for that is that the covers that go over the pools are heavy and so are all of the pieces of equipment we need to take poolside for the job. It was my first job of the day, so I had the energy. Unfortunately, a garbage truck broke down in the street right in front of these people's house, so the whole place smelled like a dump. Well, isn't that pleasant. I'm off to a good start.

My next stop is McLean, VA. Usually jobs are closer together but when I go out on the road, I try to take on the more difficult or detail oriented jobs. And nothing is more detail oriented than trying to find a leak in a pool that has about 300 feet of caulking under water. Yes, for the next hour after my drive, I was underwater with syringes of dye, squirting them along the joint, hoping to see a current out of the pool...yep, technical stuff. Good thing I grabbed Wendy's for lunch on my way over. Oh wait, that wasn't a good thing.

What are you supposed to eat on a day when you're going to be swimming? Fish? Because they're used to being in water? Soup? Since it's liquid too? Certainly not a grilled chicken sandwich, large fries, and Dr. Pepper. Live and learn. I wasn't looking forward to all this swimming anyway.

But, J-Man, you do this for a living, you must like swimming. Were you a swimmer growing up?

You don't know how many times I hear this. Does that really have to be the case? Does a proctologist really loves assholes? There's the answer to your logic. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good dip in the pool on a nice hot day with my friends. However, it's a whole different story when I roll up in my work truck, go into someone's backyard who I don't really know, and strip down to a swimsuit and dive about for an hour in my snorkel mask, in search of a problem. Today, I had the 20-year old daughter staring out at me like I was some sort of intruder. There's really no way to look official when you're wearing a swimsuit and nothing else. When I finally went to the door when I was done, she had this blank look on her face, like "did you really just do that??" And of course, I couldn't find the needle in the haystack, and I left my towel there. Things aren't going so great. On to Georgetown.

Yes, Georgetown. They actually have pools in Georgetown. In fact, I had two stops in Georgetown today...the first involved once again jumping into a pool and scraping globs of mortar that fell onto the pool surface during our recent construction project. Yes, I dove underwater with a chisel and a wire brush to remove mortar. For almost 2 hours! And then the homeowner came outside and wanted to discuss it with me, while I'm dripping wet (had to air dry since I left my towel in VA) and not wearing a shirt. She didn't seem to mind, but I felt uncomfortable. The people who really felt uncomfortable were the passers by on P Street when I ran (actually ran)out to my truck, dripping wet, jumped in the back, and came out with a hoe. The gardening type...though the other would have been a classic scene. They definitely would have thought we were making a porn.

And to continue, after scraping for 2 hours, I then raked the grounds of all the rubble left behind from our work, so the place didn't look like a bomb went off in this lady's backyard. At least this was the conclusion to an almost $40,000 job...so you do what you gotta do. After a quick stop at the other house in Georgetown (the guy that grows his own weed) to drop off some chemicals, it's on to the AU area...staying more local.

I get to this pool, which has also started losing water, according to the owner, and don't know what to expect. What I find is a half empty pool. There's only three places the leak could be and all will require me to swim once again. And in I go. This one is the toughest, as I have to swim to the bottom of the pool, undo the drain cover, and squirt the dye while trying to hold myself still. Add to that the fact that the top of the pool is almost three feet above the water line, so I have to jump to grab hold of something. No easy feat...so I guess I am a swimmer after all. This one only takes me a half hour before I find a giant leak down at the bottom. Fixing is just as much of a pain as I'm diving up and down trying to seal it with a silicone putty. It's hard to say whether I fixed it 100%, as I was so exhausted by this point, I was having trouble staying down long enough to watch for more dye. And I'm pruned like a 43-year old man's balls. (Inside joke) I got out, marked the water, and we'll see tomorrow if it worked. And on to my last job in Tenleytown.

That was a quick stop, requiring no swimming. After that, I calculated that my whole day entailed 10 hours of work, about 2 hours of which was driving, and of the remaining 8 hours, I was in a pool for about half of it. Thankfully, I don't think I have to do any more swimming tomorrow.

Is it too late to switch jobs and become a gynecologist?