Thursday, September 04, 2008

You Are Small And Unimportant, But Occasionally Funny

My kid brother fumbles through every day of his life convinced the world is out to get him. Every one of life's annoying little pains in the ass is greeted as the latest bit of evidence that he is the unluckiest person on earth. To the layperson, this seems like a horrible, depressing way to live. But once you get to know him, you realize that, actually, he might just be the most fortunate person you've ever met. This juxtaposition makes his incessant pissing and moaning hysterical, even if he is too busy cursing his lot in life to appreciate the humor. So it goes for The Boy, the tragicomic anti-superhero.

Boy sent me some sadpanda emails last week about lousy recent blog posts. He thinks I've become a snob. To prove my undying love for him, and to help ease the pain of his life of suffering and injustice, I present this story, the funniest thing Boy has ever done.

The year is 1994. More or less. Something like that. Boy is in high school, and I am not. Caller ID is not all that popular yet. So that sounds about right.

We have two phone lines in our house. One for the kids, one for the parents. Most phones in the house have little buttons that say Line 1 and Line 2. They are for, you guessed it, Line 1 and Line 2.

Stay with me.

Boy and his friend Danny would dial a friend's number on Line 1, then put the call on hold. They would switch to Line 2, and dial another friend's number. They would then conference the two lines, put both calls on speakerphone, and press the mute button.

For a brief second, both lines are ringing. Then the person on Line 1 picks up the phone and says "Hello?" But instead of a response, they only hear the other phone ringing. This is a strange experience when it happens to you, and it always confuses the person. "That's not what's supposed to happen when I answer the phone! What the hell is going on here?! This phone is crazy!"

There is something compelling about the sound of a ringing telephone line, so the first caller almost always stays on the line. In due time, the person on Line 2 answers their phone. "Hello?"

Confusion ensues.

"Did you call me?"


"My phone was ringing, and I answered it. But when I picked it up, all I heard was your line ringing."

"Dude! The same thing happened to me! Oh my god!"

You see, it's perplexing. Life is complicated, but most people can say they're pretty confident that they've solved all the mysteries of telephones. Yet here they are, confronted with some kind of zombie superphone, and they're dumbstruck. But because it's their friend on the line, they just laugh and eventually hang the phone up.

"Well, that was weird. Talk to you later."

"Okay, bye."

But then it gets better.

What if the people you call aren't friends? What if they're strangers? The confusion factor increases, as does the suspicion.

"Who the fuck are you? What have you done with my phone?!"

"Who the fuck are YOU? What have you done with MY phone?!"


But then it gets much better.

What if the people aren't friends, nor strangers, but merely connected in some way? Say, people who would recognize each other, but have no business calling each other? Like, for instance, your English teacher, and another kid in your class? Or, my personal favorite-

Line 1: (ringing)

Line 2: (ringing)

Line 1: "Thank you for calling Pizza Hut, can I take your order?"

Line 2: (ringing)

Line 1: "Huh?"

Line 2: "Thank you for calling Dominos, can I take your order?"

(tears hole in the fabric of spacetime)

But then it gets much, much better.

What if the people aren't friends, but enemies? What if it's, say, a guy you hate, and his ex-girlfriend?

Line 1: (ringing)

Line 2: (ringing)

Line 1: "Hello?"

Line 2: (ringing)

Line 1: "Oh well, at least it wasn't Mikey calling me again."

Line 2: "Hello?"

Line 1: "Mikey?!"


Boy, you're a small, unimportant, angry little person. But you're a pretty funny guy sometimes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Leukemia Is Funny

From: KW
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 9:31 AM
To: Bryc3; [Names removed]
Subject: odd question

Have you guys ever felt dizzy for more than a day? Since Monday I've been feeling dizzy (like vertigo maybe?) when I turn my head or close my eyes, etc., but this morning it's been more frequent (just sitting/standing, etc.). It's really weird -- but I feel completely fine otherwise. I thought maybe I was dehydrated, but I've tried to drink a lot of water and it hasn't gone away. I'm wondering if I should go to a doctor?

From: Bryc3
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 9:32 AM
To: KW; [Names removed]
Subject: RE: odd question

I had vertigo for like a week once, I went to the doctor and it turned out to be leukemia. Might want to get that checked out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here We Go Again

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Bryce decides to get married, makes big plans, invites all his friends, goes out on the proverbial limb. Six weeks before the big day, a confluence of relationship shit storms leads to the cancelation of the wedding, and subsequent exceptionally awkward conversations with all of the guests. In the aftermath, the relationship falls to pieces, any and all parties and factors are made to blame, and no one speaks to each other again. Sound familiar? Here we go again.

Baby is sick of my shit. She's fed up with me, she's soured on the prospects of spending the rest of her life with me, she's just not into it anymore. She wants 'a break,' that mythic relationship Hail Mary that is, in reality, a polite way of saying 'pack your shit and get out.' When you think about it, the writing was on the wall the whole time. And while I swear to god in heaven that I'm going to start looking for the hints and bail out early, I never actually manage to do it. Yet another woman has come to the conclusion that I am, after all, a terrible fucking person and not worth the effort. And I'm so stupid, I never even saw it coming. Last night I went to sleep next to my future wife, but today I'm alone again, with nothing but a shockingly large collection of emo records and a shelf full of videogames to keep me company.

At least, that's how the dream went.

In reality, everything is totally fine. Great, even. Sure, we have some stress from planning the wedding. And yeah, so maybe I make too many jokes and blow everything into comically epic proportions. But the waking Bryce has actually learned from past relationship mistakes. He listens instead of just waiting for his turn to talk. He does the things she asks him to do. He has learned that when she tells him he doesn't have to do something, that actually means he does. He has stopped sleeping with her friends. He occasionally pauses his game. He watches far less basketball. See? Progress.

So why the dream? Honestly, I don't know. Baby has nightmares that no one shows up for the wedding, or that it's 45 mintutes before her walk down the aisle and she can't find her veil. They're terrifying when they happen, but she can laugh them off (sort of) when she wakes up. Why do I have to have the incredibly realistic, infinitely plausible ones where I'm blowing it all over again, and I'm the only one who didn't see it coming? I've been calm as can be about the planning process, and this time around I'm actually looking forward to not just being married, but the actual wedding itself. Could it be that my relationship isn't going as well as I think it is, and that she's actually having second thoughts?

Probably not. But if I end up waking her up at 4:30am for the next six weeks to reaffirm her love for and commitment to me, I might just end up blowing it again after all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

All I Want To Know Is Why. That's All.

I can't get my head around it. I try and try, I honestly sit and ponder, til I'm about to make myself sick, and still I can't come up with an answer.

What, on earth, would compel a human being to spit in a public place?

Baby and I were way the hell out in the suburbs today (don't ask), and we stopped at Fair Oaks Mall to get Chick Fil A for lunch (again, don't ask). We considered eating inside, but all the fat people and children in strollers were freaking us out, so we got lunch to go. As we're walking out the door, a young guy and a girl are walking in. We're a bit ahead of them, so we actually leave first, and I make a last second move to prop the door a bit more open for them to go through. But before the guy gets to the door, he takes a step to the side and spits a giant gob of god knows what on the ground. He doesn't even break stride, and the girl doesn't bat an eye. He grabs the door, and they go inside, presumably to eat.


They were well-dressed. His button down shirt was tucked into his khakis. She was wearing a skirt. It looked like it could have been a lunch date, or maybe just two co-workers going out to eat. But they were definitely not urchins, at least not on the surface. I live in the city, I see homeless people do crazy ass things on a daily basis. I once saw a homeless person on M street drop his bags, pull his pants down so his crack was hanging out, and scratch his back and butt up and down on every tree on the block. Just going from tree to tree, befouling them. At five in the afternoon. And okay, that was just fucking weird. But the spitting guy wasn't crazy, he looked normal. And the woman looked like she probably wasn't retarded. Hell, they might have even gone to college, even if it was just Virginia Tech- that still counts as college.

There were other people around, as well, and no one reacted as far as I could tell. For them this was, if not socially acceptable behavior, at least not something so boorish as to warrant some kind of response. I was dumbfounded. Not that spitting in public was invented this afternoon by some fat guy in Dockers at Fair Oaks Mall, but the singular repulsiveness of the act has been stuck in my head all day. There are so many things at work. For starters, you possess a complete obliviousness to the world around you, such that you're not even aware you're doing something that makes other people want to wretch. You also believe it's perfectly okay to coat the world's sidewalks with the germs and waste and filth of your body- you're already fucking disgusting to begin with, but you feel compelled to spit out this stuff because it's too gross even for you. How gnarly is that? And what about the woman? How'd you like to be the person who FUCKS the guy who spits in front of the mall? Honestly, what on earth is wrong with people?

Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm Actually Not Here To Fix The Copier, Thanks

I appreciate that my appearance and personality don't exactly exude professionalism. It's this whole clinging to my youth, not selling out, corporate culture be damned thing. Not to mention abject laziness. But mostly it's about ideals, man, and aesthetics, and attitude, and other excuses! I'm just keeping it real, etc.

The other day I was at a going away party for a co-worker. Nothing all that unusual. But I spent a large chunk of time talking to a woman whose son is about to graduate from high school. She's a nice person, and the conversation was interesting because her son is considering colleges in Virginia, which is pretty much where all my friends and I went. I don't know much, but I can tell you that everyone, literally everyone, who ever went to UVA is a douchebag. I can also tell you it's okay to hate Virginia Tech again. And I can tell you that, contrary to what you might have heard, not every single woman at William & Mary is a lesbian. But the one girl who isn't is so scarily into horses that you probably wish she was. So yeah, I'm an expert.

People were wandering in and out of our conversation, but most of the time there were at least four or five of us actively engaged. At one point, though, there were probably ten or so people within earshot. I was talking particularly about grad school at the time, and someone asked me what I studied. Before I could even finish the sentence, another woman said:

"I didn't realize you had that much education."

Strangely, I didn't flip out. In fact, I quickly forgot what she even said. I had gone so far as to have somehow blocked it altogether, until several days later some of my coworkers asked me, "Dude, why didn't you flip out?" I have no explanation. I once saw a comedian (I can't believe I can't remember who, I'm usually good at that) talking about racism, and how when you're black you're occasionally confronted with something so incredibly racist that you're rendered incredulous. The ignorance is so incomplete, horrible, and shitty that you don't even process it, and you just keep on going. Could that have been what happened? Was her comment so patently offensive that my brain just returned some kind of error message? I think it honestly was. Weird.

But anyway, in hindsight, I hate you stupid lady.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Please Help Me I'm Falling

Here is something that's going to come as a real surprise- I hate to fly. And not in a "oh, this is such a drag" kind of way. It's more like a "get me off this fucking thing" kind of way. The first couple of times I flew (which was very, very recently) the flights were really easy, and I was like a little boy looking out the window and asking Baby what was going to happen next. Then we flew to New Orleans this summer, in a thunderstorm, and It Happened.

We had a layover in some place in Tennessee. Nashville? Memphis? I don't know, some place. And as we were landing, a storm was coming in. We barely beat it, which was a relief. We had a tight window during the layover, but the storm delayed our departure. With nothing to do for two hours, we drank beers. By the time our plane finally took off for New Orleans, I was fucked up on Ativan AND drunk. It was not enough.

We're climbing through the clouds left over from the storms, and we'd maybe been in the air for twenty minutes. We hit turbulence and the plane starts to shake, but I'm okay because I'm all banged up. Then, suddenly, the plane literally FALLS! out of the fucking sky. Straight down, and BANG! at the bottom of the air current or pocket or whatever the fuck it was. It was terrifying. People on the plane were screaming. I look over at Baby, and she's white as a ghost. But we're okay, right? We lived! Not ten seconds later we're falling again, straight down, PLUMMETING! toward the earth. Everyone on the plane is screaming, everything loose is flying in the air. My iPod, which had been resting in my lap, lands two rows in front of us. BANG! we hit the bottom again, and level out. I cannot believe I have not pissed my pants at this point. The captain comes over the intercom and says, "Sorry about that, should be okay now." And that was that. No problem, right? Not so much. We land, we go to the hotel, we go out on Bourbon Street, we get drunk again. We get back to the hotel, and I can't sleep that night, because every time I close my eyes, we're FALLING! again. The next day we go to my friend's wedding, we get drunk again, and I can't sleep again because always always always with the goddamn FALLING!

We flew to LA last month for Baby's sister's wedding. Nonstop. I whiteknuckled my seat the entire way. There are not enough drugs around to make flying any easier for me. I just have to get on the plane and take it like a bitch until we get there. I'm hoping I get used to this shit. We're flying to the West Coast again for the honeymoon in the fall. I might take a train.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Buy Me A Hallmark Card, I Have The Cancer

Is this progress? Indifference? Senility? I used to make this big deal about my cancer anniversary. I'd look forward to it and blog about it and talk about it. That was the best part, because no one, trust me no one, knows what to say when you talk about your cancer anniversary. Should they be happy? She they knit their brows? Pat me on the back? Back away slowly? I used to love that.

This year is number seven, which I guess has some sort of symbolic significance. It's lucky, maybe? My anniversary was last Wednesday, the big Seven. And you know what I did to mark the occasion? I fucking forgot all about it. Utterly and completely forgot. Like, whoops. I knew it was coming, too. I remembered a few weeks ago. I even talked to Baby about it. But I woke up on the day of, and it was just a plain old Wednesday. I had to go to meetings. I had to surf the internet. I had to go home and play videogames. And then it was Thursday, and my window was gone.

But not really though. I think I'll celebrate it this week. Nobody will know the fucking difference, and it will probably be even more fun.