Words to Grow On

Thursday, September 27, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

When most people find out i'm a psychologist, they assume that I am a clinician.  I am not.  Because of this assumption, the first question they usually ask is some form of: What advice do you have for me?  Thankfully for them, I love giving advice.  i like being helpful.  Additionally, if i happen to know this person in any formal sense (often not the case), i usually have at least some insight to share with them.

But often the person is a total stranger.  And when a total stranger asks for generic advice, this is what i often reply:

Tell those you care about that you care about them as often, and in as much detail, as possible.

We spend so much time outlining the in's and out's of our problems: tales of those who have affronted us, the depths of our personal woes, back pain.  And that's understandable.  We need to vent.

Unfortunately, we often skip over the highlights of our days with a "thank you" or a "that's nice."

We need to expand our thank you's.  We need to indulge our gratuity.  expound on elation.  share the love.  The 'good stuff' should never be the words left unsaid.  Save that for some leftover angry words or perhaps some words that are more about your own insecurities than blaming your partner.  Save those words and leave them unsaid in the attic.  But tell the people you love that you love them.  And, moreover, tell them why.

I promise you that person will remember the conversation you had with them.  And it will be meaningful for them.  And you.  And when all is said and done, when the money's all paid in full and the games all played out, those are the memories that will keep us smiling on the inside.

My Fashion Tips. Just the Tips. Just to See How They Look.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

On wednesday mornings I drive the 10 minutes across the river to Northampton.   This morning I went into Bruegger's Bagels to get change for my meter, and i had to giggle when i saw the Western Wall of Bagel Bags in the back of the shop.  Dozens of dozens.  All in their own brown bag, stacked atop one another, waiting for hungry jews to come pick them up later this afternoon.

I've been trying to diversify the blog a bit.  You know, appeal to a bigger audience.  Maybe rake in my 1st advertising check (almost to the minimum threshold after 3 years!!!).  So I thought for today's blog i would focus on menswear.  To give you an idea on how far from my general areas of expertise this subject is, you should all know that I just spell checked "men's ware".  This should be transcendent.

I don't shop regularly.  It is not a regular thing for me.  This is actually a good thing because I am a compiler, which is a socially acceptable way of saying that I don't throw anything out.  Most of my t-shirts I had in high school.  Ok, maybe just half.   When I do shop, I find myself drawn to one of two locations.

The first is in Cambridge, MA, about 3 blocks from my old apartment.  It's called the Great Eastern Trading Company, and as far as i can tell it is owned and operated by an eccentric women in her late 50's who is part hippie, part theater queen, all amazing.  She will harass you if you carry drinks into the store (which i always always always forget, and still do.)  She also clears out her store every September and stocks it with vintage Halloween costumes.  Yah, that's pretty amazing.  But, during the other 10 months, it is a vintage clothing store.  But, they carry large stocks of cowboy boots, leather jackets, and (most importantly) snap shirts.  For those of you not in the know (pleebs), snap shirts are collared shirts with snaps instead of buttons.  The best one's have either threaded patterns along the hems or hokey needlework.  During my latest foray to the shop, i found the holy grail of snap shirts.  On the front of each shoulder was a 4 inch wide salmon (rainbow trout?).   Splashed across the back of the tan-based long sleeve with threaded hems was a majestic 3rd trout spanning the width of the shirt, it's rainbow belly exposed and gleaming.  Magnificent.  You don't come across gems like this everyday, and unfortunately, there was too much me to fit inside this particular gem.  It was the worst kind of non-fitting.  Not 'way too small', where the idea of purchasing the item would be comical (see fat man in a little coat), or 'way to big', where you try to see if your friend can fit inside the pants with you (that happens to be how babies are made).  Even 'just a bit too big" is ok.  Maybe to buy it and wear it "draped" or "baggy".  Maybe you leave it realizing that you just are too svelte to wear such over-sized clothing.  But no.  It was "just a bit too small".  Just small enough that the buttons closed, but then made me look like a 4-month pregnant lady.  "-not flattering" says the New York Times.

In a true test of friendship, I happen to have my slender friend nick (who officiated my wedding) along with me for this particular shopping trip.  He selflessly suggested that he might make me feel better by purchasing the shirt for himself (it fit perfectly).  Now.  I love nick.  He married me.  But i am still a little bitter about this whole shirt fiasco.  May he wear it in good health.

The second shop that i go to 'regularly' i found more recently.  Monday before my Sunday wedding I realized that i had a suit to get married in and absolutely no other nice clothes to wear that weekend.  That's not true.  I do have two trustworthy suits.  Blue and black.  And they look grownup and wonderful for a work environment (that i try to avoid).  But for my wedding, i wanted more pizzaz.  I mean, i had a rainbow colored wedding suit.  It would be weird to roll out in 4 year old dark jeans from old navy for my rehearsal dinner.

I mini-paniced.  Why hadn't someone reminded me about this?  Why hadn't I thought of it before!!! How am i old enough to get married when i don't even remember to get dressed!?!?!?!?!   I breathed.  I continued to breathe.  I ate something.  Probably made a sandwich.   And then i drove out to Northampton, as i did this morning, to visit Jackson & Conner, the men's store that two of my close male friends had sheepishly admitted to adoring.  These are manly men too.  Or rather, gruff men.  Men who don't automatically come to mind when you think 'loving a menswear store'.  So, since i don't consider myself when I think loving a menswear store', i figured, perhaps this place could also work for me.   And it did.

Jackson & Conner is a special shopping experience designed for guys who want to wear nice clothes that fit them well, but don't want to be overwhelmed with hundreds and hundreds of choices. In order to accomplish this goal, they needed to things: hip merchandise and even hipper customer service.  They bring both to the table (there is actually a functional red-felt pool table used to display merchandise in the middle of the store.  The pool cues are stored in one of the two extra-large dressing rooms and fit in seamlessly with the other rustic wall decorations.  The clothes are cool.  Some are even cooler than that.  And part of the store's appeal is that the fashion goes so far forward that they have the opportunity to help you explore new avenues in your personal fashion.  They push  . . . say, with something pink and full of pattern, you nod yes, they push further . . . . lime green vest . . . you say, 'too far," they recalibrate.  But where the difference gets made is in the fitting.  Jackson & Conner tailor everything that needs tailoring.  For most men, myself included, this is a first.  Up until this point, I have never felt more competent as a shopper as when i knew both the length and waist of my pant size.  Apparently, these are other pieces of fabric involved that determine how the jeans feel and look on your body.  It's amazeballs, these jeans (and the $25 pair that i'm picking up later this week [tailoring] almost physically turn me on the way they actually fit me.  It's a revelation.  They even took in my shirts.  Apparently having fabric spanning down from the arms and out from the sides is only cool if you are Batman, looking to glide across the building tops at night.  Or a flying squirrel.  I am (to the best of everyone's current knowledge) neither, and therefore they cut those curtains down like a second circumcision.  And similarly, i loved how i looked afterward.  I heart fitted clothing, and I don't care who knows it.

As for the customer service.  It's the only thing better than the tailoring.  Tara, the co-owner, essentially welcomes you into her store/house/family all simultaneously upon your arrival (we're facebook friends now).  She talks to you about what you are shopping for, what your style sense is, and how adventurous you are with your clothing.  I am eclectically eccentric but also specific and picky in my styles (remember, when i buy something, i buy it for life!), so i didn't need much help in the selection process (my friends, however, look substantively more well-groomed since Tara took over their fashion decisions).  What Tara did do was help me enjoy the process. She made me feel helped, without feeling waited on or pushed along.  She was the life long hip female friend who you always want to shop with, but maybe don't live near anymore.  She gives you her honest opinion (which you can feel free to disagree with) even if it means telling you something doesn't work.  She takes a Vidal Sassoon approach to shopping, you you don't look good, we don't look good.  You never get the sense that she wants to sell you clothes more than she wants you to look amazing at your event.  And there is a trunk in the back that has "vintage" t-shirts with slogans like "I like going Downtown."  Oh, I almost forgot, in the back, there are classic new england sports gear.  The old logos, the new logos.  All the logos.

I remember saying to Tara, shortly after meeting her, "I forgot that I needed clothes for my wedding."

Tara: "When is it"
Me: Sunday
Tara: THIS Sunday.
Me: (no change in intonation): Yes.
Tara: (calming herself): Ok, let's do this.

I then proceeded to buy the place out.  All the shop-less years collided with the best reason ever to splurge on myself and I wardrobed up.  I bought so much clothing i had to get a haircut the next day to feel as spiffy as the clothes i was wearing.  Tara also threw down and got all the tailoring done in two days.  TWO DAYS.  Most importantly, I had a lot of fun.  And there are very few times i can say that about a shopping trip.  It's why i've already been back twice since.  Second most importantly, I looked super badass for my rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch.

So to Tara and J&C, consider this a sincere thank you for making me, and by proxy making you, look very very good on my wedding weekend.

Best Emails Ever: Ms. Faith

Monday, September 24, 2012 | 4 Comment(s)

I haven't done a "best email received" in awhile, and I've had this one saved up for a rainy day when i couldn't think of anything to write about.  While its sunny outside, the typing block is real, so here's the nugget of comic gold i've been saving.

From my university account (which, btw, let's me know that this email came from India):

FROM Ms Faith Titi Attah
Dearest one
I wish you and your family happy moments of life now and forever more
amen. Please, I do not have formal relationship with you but because of my present predicament and circumstancies I am made to contact you. I have been suffering from cancer of the Lungs and has a short life to leave.I have up my mind to donate my inheritance of 11.5 million USD to the less previledged please help me to fulfil my last wish.please CONTACT ME TO MY EMAIL
Ms Faith Titi Attah

Now what originally drew me to this email, was this "woman's name". Ms. Faith Titi Attah. Now i realize that I am somewhat self-invovled (i mean, i have my own blog . . .), but this name as a whole sounds remarkably close to Ma Titi Yahu. Who of course, is me.

I'm wondering if they have invented a spam-bot that sends out spam messages and makes them "from" a fake sender whose names resembles the actual receivers name. It wouldn't be that hard. I mean, in most cases, you can use the same first name - carla, greg, monica - and the fact is, that it would be an effective strategy for hooking people into caring about their email (if the content wasn't so blatantly screwy it would be even more effective). But we all like things similar to ourselves. We find more immediate affinity for those people that share traits or names or hometowns or most any seemingly random background statistic with us. This is why most good con men/women create a bond of similarity up front, to intensify closeness and trust over a short period of time. Anyway. I digress.

In my head this spam-bot sucked "Mattitiyahu" into its intake and when ballistic. And then, after a pop whistle grinding noise. then a hiccup. them steam rising from the top. Came Ms. Faith Titi Attah.
Nailed it. Frankly, I'd like to meet that woman. Sweet ass name.

Of course, i try not to make friends with people with cancer.

KIDDING!!! I love cancer patients. oy. this is not going in the right direction.

I just don't understand Ms. Faith's logic. The poor woman has gotten a case of cancer of the lungs. Horrible. I'm pretty sure this is a totally different disease than lung cancer. Much more severe. And now the poor cancer stricken woman is being forced to deal with an inheritance she received from another dying relative? So much tragedy. Couldn't another family member deal with all the terrors involved in managing the 11.5 mil that was left to the living relatives? I mean, worst case scenario, couldn't someone just mail the check to detroit? or rather, buy Detroit with it.

And if Ms. Faith IS burdened with her own deadly version of Brewster's Millions, why is she emailing me? Granted, 11.5 mil makes most people technically less fortunate than you -- but i wouldn't say that i am "one of the needy". I really really wouldn't say that. I know because i typed those words out on my MacBook Air.

In sum, I don't understand why I would need to email a dying woman who is trying to give away her relatives fortune to the less fortunate. I just don't see the role I would be playing.

Fortunately (or un-fortunately), this email was sent to me back in early May, so it's probably a non-issue at this point.

Sugar Bans and the Nazi Apocalypse

Thursday, September 20, 2012 | 2 Comment(s)

So, this is a story about the news that NY State is banning sugar drinks (soda) of 16oz. or more.  Mind you, you can buy as many : as you like.  But no 22oz'ers.  And realistically, i see the two competing arguments.

On the one hand, we know, factually, that consuming that much sugar is not healthy for a human being (ESPECIALLY all in one sitting).  And while the public at large tacitly knows this, never before has legislation been put in place to actively move us away from our unhealthy norm.  This ban could set a precedent towards smaller portions and less empty caloric intake which is increasingly spreading obesity and diabetes across this country faster than "Call Me Maybe" memes.

on the other hand.  This is kinda stupid.   and crazy.  It seems like a bizarre place to assert governmental control and you end up pissing off the very people who you are helping the most.  It is a lose lose.

This issue has been most brilliantly parodied on the Daily Show as Jon Steward has held up a 22oz cup of soda and a 22 oz. cup of weed.  He then points out that only the soda is against the law.  It boggles the mind.

SO.  Today i went to the liquor store in order to grab a bottle of bourbon for my friend for his birthday. After a minute i asked for some assistance and a white haired man, about 55, came and grabbed the bottle.  As i head to the register, another man, few years younger, solidly overweight, is speaking about the ban.

Customer:  Can you believe this ban.  i mean on soda.  you know what I call those guys . . . TREE HUGGERS!

HUH?!?  I was caught by surprise.  Are the hippies behind the soda ban.  Have they been grateful deading their way toward a healthier and less fat tomorrow?  Is it the liberals?  Is this a liberal issue.  I mean, Bloomberg's a Republican.  Or a Republican independent megalomanic.  He is also super short.  Sooooooooo, would that make the law a bit more "not liberal",  and just a stupid (or brilliant) idea?

If only the conversation had ended there.  But it never does, does it.  Nope.  The store owner replied:

Owner: You know soon enough, they'll be making our flag without the stars, and just a big swastika in their place.

HUHUHUHUHUHUHH!?!?!  There are so many problems with that statement.

It makes no actual sense.  I guess, if i'm piecing together the tatters of this guys fabric of ignorance, he could be saying that Obama and the government are going to over-regulate our lives to the point of Chinese Communism or Soviet Stalinism.  Neither of these parties, of course, used the swastika to represent themselves, but hey, you see Obama with that mustache enough times that . . . he's probably a Nazi too.

Have we REALLY forgotten what swastika is?!?  I mean, you would think that considering how ubiquitous Nazi and Holocaust references have become in the political arena alone, it should keep the concepts current enough not to get confused with  . .   well . . . anything.   It's a friggin swastika.   Putting it on the American flag would, at this point in history, symbolize our countries commitment to the White race and to eliminating jews, minorities, gays, etc.   Do you think Obama wants to kill the black people in this country!?!  
And even if he WERE . . . how did you get there from "no enormous sodas."  That statement was so stupid that, for one brief moment, by comparison, the ban itself made perfect sense.

All I could say in my brief interaction with this dumb-a-thon was, "I doubt that they'll be trying to kill the jews anytime soon."  And as I turned i continued, "At least I hope not."

In the words of my father, after eating at a particularly awful restaurant, I took a goooood look around. Cause i won't be back there soon.

Tell Me Why You're Mad

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 | 4 Comment(s)

One of the presets on my radio dial is set to a hip hop station.  The DJ's on said station are hilarious.  It seems to my stunted perspective to be a glimpse into young black culture.  Sometimes, during songs, the DJ's turn the volume down and just start talking about stuff, then they turn the the volume back on full.  If you get really lucky, you will tune in when they turn the volume down and just. start. yelling.  Random shit.  They are like literal shout outs.  Not to people necessarily.  Sometimes it sounds like promos are yelled in there along with peeps names, school motos?, I really have no idea.  

One of my absolute favorite radio segments ever takes place on this station.  Somewhere around 5 or 6 the DJ's take callers, and they answer each call with "Tell Me Why You're Mad!"

I dream of calling in.  

listeners just UNLOAD.  Seriously, they UNLOAD.  Screaming and spewing vitriol about their bosses, their backstabbing friend, their no good ex-boyfriend, the cops, teachers.  It is the very definition of uncensored. 

If i were to call in, right now, here's how it would go.

Yo this is 92.?, TELL ME WHY YOURE MAD!

I'm mad at this old lady who literally just, without asking, pulled the chair out from under my legs and sat down next to me at the table.  She then kicked my foot, as if it were in HER space.  JUST ASK LADY, YOURE WELCOME TO THE CHAIR.  Just have some common decency!

I'm mad at the woman who walked into the crosswalk and AT my car at a major intersection while my car was still in the middle of the intersection.  Lady . . .  I'M IN A CAR!!!  If you get your way, and prevent me from passing, YOU'RE going to have a broken pelvis.  CAUSE YOU ARE SMALLER AND LESS DENSE (well that is debatable) than my car!  Do you enjoy the sensation of your shoes popping off your feet due to intense impact?  Then you'll love how this plays out when there is a undergrad driving the vehicle instead of someone with what's left of a social conscience.

I'm mad the horrible woman who tagged along with a couple to the bar for the guys birthday.  She begins, 

Her: "I'll have a Coors Light."  
Me "we don't have coors light".  
Her, "I ONLY drink Coors light, everything else is shit."  
Me: (laughing at her on the inside).  
Her: What do you have like coors light?
Me: Try this.  (i give her a taste of one of our lighter bodied beers).
Her: This is SHIT! Do you have anything more like coors light?!
Me: (fed up already): Well, yes actually, I could pour you a pilsner, then pour it on the floor, to give it that frat floor flavor you know and love, and then back into the glass it goes. 

(The unfortunate thing here was that the couple, including the birthday boy, were fine.  totally nice.  or at least, well within the acceptable range.  Hard to kick a birthday boy out cause of his obnoxious friend.)

I'm mad cause that bitch came back into the bar at 1am for round 2 of calling our food and beer "shit" and then i had to friggin coral her ass out of the door.  If everything is such "shit" WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE!

I'm mad that when the puppy poops inside now, we only find half of it . . .  cause the rest is back inside him already.

GUEST POST:  Char Char from the bar . . . (this is real.  i'm asking my friend, an espresso machine operator on her lunch break, what she's mad about):

Char Char (transcribed):  I'm so fucking mad that people keep changing plans with me.  whats so hard about hanging out.    Like, sticking with a time.  I don't care if you have homework.  I don't care if you have to go to yoga.  I don't care if you forgot to take a shower yesterday.  Or if you're "not drinking right now".  All i want to do is maybe share a meal or eat or something and it's only gonna take an hour.  or LESS.  

Back to me.

I'm mad at the fucking metal chair that I'm writing on for BREAKING WHILE I'M WRITING THIS!!!!!!  The welding unhinged.  I fell sideways . . . jumped up . . . then was like "nah, its a metal chair, there is no way i could crush it."  Then i sat down, lurched sideways, and saw the metal pealing away from the chair leg.  FUCK YOU CHAIR!!!!  I'm mad at you.  

I really think this is great.  I'm going to go interview some others on "Why they're mad"

Ms. S (off-duty espresso machine operator): Well, I live with my ex.  and that sucks.  he's been bugging the shit out of me trying to be friends.  . . .  but now we're not friends anymore. . . .  it's for the best.

Nick (stranger sitting next to Ms. S):  Well I can't find a job. There are so many fucking people in this town.  I was here in teh summer and it was nice and quiet.  and now people are running around screaming.  and you can't catch a bus anywhere and then they go and take all the jobs.  And the friggin little kids too . . . the freshman. . . . I wen't to a party last week and this kid was like 18  . . . 18   . . . . making me feel old at 22.  (*editors note*: im mad at a 22 year old feeling old).

Nick 2 (bartender): I'm mad because i found out that its quite possible that the Republicans and Mitt Romney are not even trying to win the Presidency, but are just running an obviously bogus campaign in order to raise money to win the Senate.   I didn't even consider that before.  

The more i do this exercise with people the more i think it's really healthy and beneficial.  I encourage you, in the comments to TELL ME WHY YO MAD!!!!!!

Dog Mocking

Thursday, September 13, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

At a wedding i was at earlier this summer, the brides parents make fudge.  like, for a living.  So as you can image, with the wedding being held on their premises, there was A LOT of fudge to go around.  So much, in fact, that the groom implored me to take about 30 slices home with me.  


I decided to work on some of those final remaining slices last night for dessert.  Yum again.  Unfortunately, as a consequence, my lactose intolerance made be pay for my hubris the next morning.  Now I will not go into the in's and out's of my lactardation on this blog because making fun of people for talking about their lactose intolerance all the time has been done so much, as to make it unfunny.  So i will explain the situation like this.  Three pieces of fudge for dessert (chocolate, peanut butter, and rocky road) means three trips to fudge the next morning (chocolate, peanut butter, and rocky road).  

So, when rocky road came a'calling, the dogs had pretty much had it with me wasting all our quality morning time together s(h)itting in the bathroom.  And so, they did exactly what i would do, they mocked me.  

How do two pitbulls mock a human being for pooping too much you ask?  I had no idea myself until yesterday.  What they do is connect like Voltron to form a Pilobolus-esc commentary on my bathroom behavior.  Sitting one foot from me, Grover and Falcor do THIS:

"We learned it from watching YOU!" 
"Daddy, you shit too much"

"The Thinker"

Breaking the Man Code Without Even Trying

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

I do not follow most cultural norms.  i know that my loyal fans can attest to this fact RE: my capitalization fluctuation.  I also say shit I really should (see 2 posts ago) and wear whatever the hell i feel like.

That is why it is so strange that I have always instinctually known to lie when asked one specific question.

That question, always posed by another adult male, is:  "Do you shave all the way down your neck?"

Now, let's be clear.  I totally shave my neck.  I mean, it's like 8 stray hairs.  I don't really see how it is a big deal.  When i did it the first time, i certainly didn't stop and think . . . i am crossing a line i cannot come back from.  I just thought, SHAVING!!!! (I was excited).  My facial hair (minus the "Amish chin-strap") has always been pretty spotty, so I figured that shaving was just the process of chopping down any trees in the forest, wherever they may lie.

But, when the first guy my age asked me, brow askance, if i shaved my neck, I immediately and emphatically replied, "NO!?!"  And make no mistake, that question mark between those exclamation points represents the reproach in my voice in response to the gall of being questioned of committing such a grotesque offense.

Frankly, it wasn't until that second that i gave it any thought at all (see "how we destroy each other's self esteem).  And perhaps, as i haven't been asked this recently, the meterosexual craze that shaved the nation reduced the abhorrent nature of the practice itself.  But somehow, admit all my norm-breaking, the animal nature of preserving my continued (non-ridiculed) survival has always known to just say no to neck shaving.

I'm glad i told you all about this.  i really feel better now.

Marriage 101: Having your Cake While Your Husband is Trying to Eat it Too

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 | 1 Comment(s)

I have been married for well over 3 months now, and I have therefore totally got this marriage thing nailed down.

And while that last statement is almost complete and utter bullshit, i will say that the living is fairly  easy for newlyweds.  I mean, people don't even really take your marriage seriously yet.  Conversations with strangers concerning my recent nuptials invariably go like this.  every time.

Stranger: Oh, you're married . . .  how long have you been married for?
Me:  A little over 3 months now.

Stranger: (Voice octave increases to "talking to a newborn or puppy" level) OH!!! A newlywed!!!!!
Me: (no vocal change).  Yup.
Stranger: (As if still playing with said imaginary puppy).  Well now, (condescension creeping in) you must still be enjoying yourselves. Honeymoon? Kids soon?  Favorite position?

It gets progressively more personal and inappropriate.  The underlying message, however, remains the same.  And that is this:

If you have only been married for a short while, nobody respects that union yet, because *anyone* can stay together that long.  Even them.  And therefore, most people don't see any accomplishment connected to the experience of being married for a short while.  Getting married = accomplishment.  Staying married for awhile = accomplishment.   But that middle period is considered a gimme.

This, of course, totally misses the point of marriage.  The goal is not to survive each other, but rather to enjoy life more as the result of finding someone to share it with.

With a little over 8 months to go til my first anniversary, the wife and i have only one real issue threatening our domestic bliss.  And that issue revolves completely around the chocolate mint wedding cake currently occupying over a quarter of our freezer space.

This cake filling my freezer, as i'm sure all of my female readers immediately knew, is the top portion of our wedding cake.  A wedding cake we purchased about a mile and a half from our house.   The style and flavor of our wedding cake was picked specifically because it reflected one of their signature cakes (which we get on our birthdays).   A cake that we picked because , you can buy a comparable (*cough cough* identical *cough cough*) cake at your convenience during normal business hours--anytime.

But alas, we have a 3 month old version of said deliciousness freezer-burning away its time in our house for the next 8 months.

I don't get this particular wedding tradition.  To be specific, i'm speaking of the tradition of keeping the top layer of one's wedding cake for consumption upon the one year anniversary of marriage.

Mmmmmmmmm . . . nothing says loving like the stale sugar memories of ancient frosting and a 45% chance of love related food-poisoning.

My brother dodged this particular wedding bullet because his friends went late night skinny dipping post wedding, and craved more sustenance after pulling themselves out of the icy atlantic.  I was in full support (minus a broken back and walking cane) of the absolute demolition of their cake top in the name of drunken love hunger.   I would say that the cake was gone before the last person out of the ocean was dry.

and all i can think of now is the amount of freezer space that was saved in that one beautiful moment.

back to me.

That cake is a nuisance. SO much so that my sneaky sneak of a wife has already wondered aloud if i keep eating the freezer cake and replacing it with new ones from the store.  She would really have no way of knowing.  Til next May, when she bites into a defrosted cake that doesn't taste remarkably awful.  Then she'd suspect.  I would probably tell some yarn about how our love is a preservative that time cannot penetrate.  Then she'd give me the "youreawfulsweetandawefullyfullofshit" look (a classic), and i would fess up.

But more to the point.  Isn't this the stupidest tradition of all time.  I mean, how is this romantic.  or remotely connected to romantic.  Spoiling food is not a joke.  (unless you put some green bread under a friends pillow--then it is a joke).  And all food preserving decisions this year now revolve around this f'n wedding cake.

ME: "Should we freeze the yummy leftover soup so that we have it for the fall?"

WIFE: "wellllllllll, we could freeze a little bit of it . . . but we will have to make room for it around the cake."


I guess i just fail to see the bonding element of sharing old cake - even a cake that unarguably comes from an amazing occasion.  And, since i married a woman who hates clutter, it seems odd to me that she has taken such a firm and unwavering stance regarding that cake staying put (the point has been made extremely clear.)  Maybe the bonding element (besides the frosting) comes from a couple negotiating having a crammed and cramped full freezer for a full year together.

Anyway you slice it (CAKE PUN!), what you have here is marital discord.  Perhaps my wife is bound by tradition over and about rational and health related thought.
Perhaps I, in my dismissiveness of this "milestone",  fall victim to a tiny bit of my own "anyone can stay married a year" (not true btw) bias.

This is our current marital dilemma.  Wife says, "No way José!"

I say, "let them eat cake."

A German and a Jew Walk Into a Bar . . .

Thursday, September 6, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

I know this is a good story because of the amount of equivocating that i have to do before telling it.

I don't hate German people.  At all.  My wife speaks german fluently, and while it does scare me a little bit (in my ancestral spleen), i harbor no ill will or resentment to the country in general.  Oh, i'm jewish.  if you didn't know that.  it seems relevant.  i identify with said Judaism enough that i went on a summer teen tour that visited a number of concentration camps before heading to los holy land.

I do, for the record, harbor some ill will about the Holocaust.  NOT toward any individual German person, but towards "the country".  (I heart angela merkel for the record.)  The way i deal with this ill will is by rooting against German national sports teams.  The world cup.  The olympics.  I root against Germany.  I do.  I openly admit it.  I feel it fair and it really doesn't hurt anyone.

German people, however, i tend to love.  I have had german coworkers, friends, and colleagues.  Lovely.  The lot of them.  No problems ever.

(I hope you are getting a sense of how good the upcoming story is going to be)

Second equivocation.  Some things are both totally inappropriate and simultaneously incredibly and unarguably hilarious.  Many things actually.  To think that one precludes the other is to have never seen the Louis CK show on TV or heard Carlin at his best.  The trick of it is half content, half delivery and tone.  For example, Daniel Tosh works the inappropriate funny pretty hard, but his dickishness often makes people hate him for it, where as Gilbert Godfrey spouts some of the filthiest most offense funny foulness, and its amazeballs and joyous the whole time.

Because this story also explores this fun line, and i have very little control over delivery and tone via typey-type, im hoping you can just sit back and enjoy the show.  Which i swear actually happened.  There are witnesses.  Here goes:

I am working upstairs behind the bar.  It's the first Thursday in our happy Valley with all of the students back in town.  We are getting slammed.  In addition to the influx of undergraduates, there are at least three birthday parties taking place along with a large group of foreign exchange students.  Now, even in a packed and frenetic bar, bartenders communicate quite a bit with each other.  It should go without saying that when an entire group of people are not tipping, that kind of info travels faster than most.  The exchange students were the non-tippers.  And as non-tippers go, foreigners are not that bad.  If someones gonna stiff me, I'd rather be able to explain it as a cultural difference rather than regular ol college dickishness.

So life went on.  Drinks were drunk.  Time ticked.  And before we knew it (ok, we knew it, we were getting tired), it was 12:30am.  Not last call, but close.

And then one of the German student exchange students, a skinny tall blonde-haired fair-skinned gem, a little drunk and in full celebration mode, sauntered up to my bar.

(It is hard to write in a german accent, fyi):

Hans: "I'll have two VictOry Pilzssnahhs" (victory pilsner)
Me: No problem.

As I open the tap to pour the pilsners, the keg kicked, and when it did, it shot its foam spittle across my front.  It happens.  It sucks, but it happens.  I brushed the foam off, brushed the experience of being coated in foam off, and returned to the german to see what else he might like to drink.

Me: Is there anything else you might like?
Hans: mmm . . . ill have two Purple Hazes.

(quick tangent.  i was surprised to hear the german go for the fruit infused beer (raspberry).  There is nothing wrong with fruited beer, but generally speaking the beer connoisseur tends to shy away from those particular concoctions.  I thought this selection was strange particularly in light of his next statement.

Hans: "What happened to the Pilzssnahhs?"

Now, he knew what happened to said pilzsnahhs.  He watched that shit pop all over me, and I couldn't understand what the hell he was getting at, at first, so I replied as if it wasn't an asinine question.  which it was.

Me:  The keg kicked . . . we're out.

Hans: "In Geeermany we ah nevah ouwt of beer!"

Me: (immediate response): "But what about all those Jews!"

Hans: *stunned silence*

I walked away to grab his raspberry beers.

I'm not saying that i was in the right here.  nor am I saying that my reply was appropriate.  But, holy shit, was it funny.  Fat man in a little coat funny.  Ferrell doing Bush funny.  It was the funpocolypse. Somewhere between the exhaustion, lack of tipping, and telling this Jew of Germany's superiority just snapped me.  In truth, my wit is faster than my ability to censor, and on some level, even though it came out of my mouth, we all heard it out loud for the first time together.   We included the bar back, Liz, who was left in that space washing dishes as I retreated for beer retrieval.

Here is how I described the situation Liz was left in.  I walked in and took a huge verbal diarrhea all over the bar between them.   When I retreated, Liz stood there in the position of now trying to convince said German customer (with her eyes mostly) that it wasn't THAT big a dump.  But it was.  and we all knew it.  So, in form, Liz went with the "well maybe you should tip then" look.  Great call.

Only one other customer got caught in this amazing WWII cross-fire, and i knew her, so Hans, feeling shocked, put in his place, and flailing for some sense of what the hell just happened to his world, was left with no outlet for commiseration.  And what can you say back to that anyway?  What is the comeback to that comeback?

I do feel a teeny weensy bit bad about the whole scenario.  Next time he's in, the raspberry beers on me.

 And now, puppy poses of the week (last night actually):

The Mastercard
The Siamese Twin