Dog Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 | 0 Comment(s)

I didn't take the dogs out to go to the bathroom before going to bed for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, I was going to bed early. Usually I'm up well past midnight, but I decided to try and start my day bright and early this Tuesday, so I was in the bathroom finishing my bedtime routine around 11:30. This all matters because my wife had gone upstairs a mere hour and a half before me, and both dogs went outside to the bathroom with her, before the little one, the mama's boy, went to crawl into bed with my wife. These dogs can hold it for quite some time, so I figure even with the 1.5 hour start, both of them would be comfortable until morning, 6 hours away.

Second, we have a doggy-door. So really, our polly-prissy-pants pitbulls can expel whatever they want, whenever they want. They have compete, and one could argue, too much, freedom.

"Dad, please open the human door for us for no apparent reason!"
If you need to  pee. Go pee. If you need to poop, same thing. Go poop.

And finally, the last reason I didn't wake up the pups to take them out to pee is that I'm lazy sometimes. Most of all right before bed. And I didn't want to take them out, knowing the probable outcome of that action would be one of them barking into the night like a cacophonous metaphor for life, and then I would have to wrangle that metaphor back into the house.

Essentially, I let sleeping dogs lie. Just like they tell you too.

It did not work out well for me.

Matt Fact #424: My Elbow's Deep Cuts

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 | 0 Comment(s)

I have the sharpest elbow. Yes, elbow, not elbows. It's the right one. Obviously.

Trust that I want to regale you with tales that go against my very nature. Bludgeoning. Perhaps a fairytale like instance whereby I was attacked in the woods by some mystical beast, and just before its outsized incisors clamped down firmly on my exposed throat, down came a haymaker that hit like a spearhead, my right elbow thrust straight through the beast's skull.

Never happened.

Suicide Prevention is More than Just a Hotline

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 | 0 Comment(s)

(Trigger warning: This post deals almost exclusively with the topic of suicide. Knowledge is power.
If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. )

Suicide is once again in the news. Between Robin Williams, Chris Cornell, and Kate Spade (and since I started writing this piece Anthony Bourdain) -- the public is reminded that no one can buy out of depression. Fame doesn't protect people from loneliness or helplessness. A number of weeks ago Boston "shock-jock" sport radio host Kirk Minihane shared, publicly, his recent brush with suicidal ideation, and the help which he luckily received. It was a burst of raw humanity from a man who often spends his hours on the radio waves spewing sewage, which aims to tear others' humanity away. Nobody is all one thing.

The greater truth is that suicide is a major problem in the USA. For Americans aged 10-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death after unintentional injury. For those 35-54, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death after unintentional injury, cancer, and heart disease. In 2016, there were more than twice the number of suicides (44,965) than there were homicides (19,362, NIMH). More than twice.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 | 1 Comment(s)

I've been wearing hats since my parents let me leave the house in them.

By high school, a ball cap atop my dome was a staple. I vividly remember my excellent all-business 12th grade calculus teacher, may she rest in peace, who wouldn't allow hats in her classroom. At the time I was an observant conservative Jew (I know, I know, things change) who wore a yarmulke and tallit katan under my shirts. Most teachers in my completely Christian town didn't want to touch the whole "Jewish thing" with a 10-foot pole, and they let me wear my hat instead of my yarmulke. But not Ms. Murphy. She was way too smart for that shit. 

She said, "If you require a head-covering for my class, it has to be a yarmulke."

And, for the record, she was totally correct. She had a strict "No Hats" rule. She had no problem with my religious practices, but she knew that the Jews didn't command baseball caps in Math class, and she put her reasonable foot down firmly. Man, she was an amazing teacher. 

Anyhoo. I want to regale you with stories of my deep love for head coverings, the aesthetics and aerodynamics of brimmed outerwear, and how wearing caps changed my life for the better. The truth is, I've been waiting for my hair to fall out since I was 14. 

The Babysitter's Club

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 | 1 Comment(s)

(The names of all non-family members have been changed)

There are some family stories that get retold so many times, to so many different people, that at some point the tales cease to be a collection of facts and instead morph into lore. There was the time my mom swam way way out in the ocean with kid me in a raft. There was the time my pre-puberscent brother put on a historic Hannukah magic show for the family.  The time I told the telemarketers that my dad was dead. And, when we were slightly older, this.

One of my parents' favorite bits of Mattiti lore is that, as a kid, I declared loudly and proudly that when I grew up, I wanted to be a professional babysitter.

Now, I wholly agree that's funny. I mean, right off the bat, who did I see as the amateur baby-sitters?  Those people taking care of me for free weren't babysitters, those were family members. Where did I get the idea that babysitting was a a competitive occupation where only a chosen few reached the elusive peak of going pro. Additionally, I didn't arrive at this choice of occupation after many successful babysitting experiences. No. Rather, I made this declaration well before I had any actual child-care experience. So, in essence, one of two things has to be true:
1. I loved the experience of my parents leaving the house so much that I wanted to make a career out of it.
2. I loved the time I spent being taken care of by my babysitters so much that I wanted to provide that service to other kids like me.
Maybe it was a combination of the two.

Finally, when I was about 15, I got my shot at the big time. Sophie Rosenthal, mother of two and one of my family's close friends from the synagogue, was looking for someone to stay with her children while she and her husband went out for the night. Sophie asked my mother if I would be interested in looking after David, age 10, and Anna, age 6.

Hells yah I wanted to babysit. I don't think my mom even asked me before she told Sophie that I'd love to.

Poland in Black and White

Monday, June 25, 2018 | 0 Comment(s)

Somehow my parents convinced me that visiting Poland before going to Israel was, like, the Harvard of summer trips. My warped, dorky, overachieving mind was easily tricked into writing the EXTRA ESSAY portion of the application to this particular Jewish teen tour, all to be part of the most esteemed of summer trips. What a deluded little pissant I was. I don't think I ever considered that the preverbal ring I was reaching for included tours of five concentration camps and countless gravesite, the most powerful of which would have no gravestones at all.

The normal kids, and I say normal as opposed to my abnormal in this case, went straight to Israel to get down (teen-tour style) in the promised land for a full month and a half. In retrospect, that was the move. Somehow these other kids all realized right away that doing extra work to get the opportunity to see some of the grimmest shit in modern human history was about as appealing as . . . I don't know . . . going on a trip to visit concentration camps!!! I can't actually think of anything grimmer than the actual thing in this particular case.

I still remember my first impression of Poland from back in 1995. As our bus rolled away from the cement structures of the airport, I couldn't get over how beautiful the vistas were. Fields of wildflowers lit up the green hills that rolled like waves up to and over the horizon. How could this be Poland, I remember asking myself. Every image I'd seen of Poland was black and white. The photos of prisoners. The old grainy video of living skeletons being ushered into a building or across a yard. All black and white. Even the Hollywood depiction, Schindler's List, was in black and white. You'll forgive me if my mental image of this country was drawn in shades of grey.

Facial Penetration

Monday, June 18, 2018 | 0 Comment(s)

And then he took the clippers and came right at my face. The front of it.

I've seen Sweeney Todd folks. More than once. Hell, I was almost in it once. And therefore, when a barber comes at the non-hair part of my face hole - the eyenosemouth part. I do not react well. I ain't gonna be no meat pie ya'll.

This Wednesday was no different. When my man Ky finished evening off my sides, he swung the cord of his vibrating slicer around to the other side of the elevated chair I sat upon, and came at my face. My neck reeled back so hard, if the chair hadn't been driven into the floor with a metal rod, I swear I would have back somersaulted right out of the shop. Look, I figure, if my neck gets a little bloody from the irritated hair follicles, so be it. But I've broken my nose too many times already (3), and that face-bleeding ship has sailed forever.

Anniversary Bedding and Other Extreme Sports

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 | 0 Comment(s)

Last week was my wife and my sixth anniversary.
*Pause for audience applause*
Anniversaries are like birthdays for your marriage, but they are also unlike birthdays, in that they celebrate an actual accomplishment.
I mean, unless you want to argue that birthdays are a celebration of the accomplishment of your mother giving birth. Because all you really have to do to achieve a subsequent birthday is not die. And since I don't see people having "Mom" themed birthday parties, I'm gonna say that birthdays are like personal New Year's Eve celebrations: Much ado about celebrating the passage of time as an accomplishment.

Now anniversaries are an entirely different beast. Every year of marriage is a legitimate achievement, worthy of celebration. Hell, anniversaries are important. You don't want to take for granted the success of simultaneously negotiating two lives (at least) without complete implosion. Marriage is work. It turns out that "forever," even for humans, is a pretty long-ass time. And so, every year, at the very least, ya'll earned yourselves a cake. More than likely, a night out is in order.

Last year, our dog Grover took us on a trip to the Veterinary ER for our anniversary. It was, and forgive any potential hyperbole, the absolute worst fucking anniversary ever. So, the wife and I decided to bring it back to basics this year. Get our nostalgia on. And since our relationship poked its budding head out of the soil in Boston, we headed back to the Fens for our weekend celebration.

Pictured: My wife and my relationship, as a metaphor, in Boston


Thursday, May 31, 2018 | 3 Comment(s)

I distinctly remember my Mother's surprise 40th birthday party. I was 7. My brother was 10. The reason the image of this particular birthday burned itself into my brain is that I felt slighted by my father. My father had not felt his sons would able to keep the secret of the looming surprise party, so we were whisked off to Hebrew School like some mundane moving part in an Ocean's 11 movie. I wasn't conscious of it at that point, but I have a propensity for grudge holding, a trait I actively work to soften daily. Forgiveness is freedom.
Dear Me, Forgive yourself for looking like this. Forgiveness is freedom.
Back at our Ocean's 11 caper, a family friend had taken my Mom out to breakfast, or coffee, or some other lame backstory that I wasn't privy to but surely could have improved upon if I had been consulted. After consuming their unimaginative beverage or food, they swung by the synagogue to pick my brother and me up before returning home. When we got home, as you might imagine, she was surprised. Verily. And so was I. And then I was angry. Super angry. Little kid Matt was a little messed up, but at least I could still enjoy a party. Which I did.

The reason I bring any of this up is that I am turning 40 this year, and it is the first time I will be turning an age I clearly (and I think I've demonstrated both depth of knowledge and clarity) remember one of my parents turning. And let me be clear - this is not that kind of existential crisis. I'm not promising that there won't be future pontification, but it will not be of the I'm that much closer to death!?!?! variety.