Monday, April 23, 2007

You Gotta Be Careful.

I had dinner with two very dear friends of mine last night, and we were feeling a pretty nice glow by the end of the affair. I had repaired to the washroom, and was holed up in a stall trying not to listen to the piped-in crap rock and weak R&B offerings when I was joined by someone else. I was sure that I recognized the boyish falsetto singing along with Des'ree's "powerful, uplifting" song "You Gotta Be", and as my washroom companion listed off all of these things that, according to Des'ree, you gotta be (bad, bold, wiser, hard, strong, tougher, etc) I inquired:

B- "What else you gotta be, big boy?"
Who I thought was S- (silence)

Judging by the silence, the guy doing the duet with Des'ree was not my friend caught in a moment of indulgence, but someone completely foreign to me.
I leaned over to peek under the stall wall to have a look at the shoes.
They were long, white leather numbers. Of course--what else was to be expected of a Des'ree fan?

B- (in my head)"Oh snap."

So I had to think fast, and the best I could come up with was:

B- "Sorry pal! I thought you were someone else--and I thought I was being funny."
Not S- "No problem."


Not S- "You gotta be cool. You gotta be calm. You gotta stay together. All I know, all I know, love will save the day. . . "

I admired him for climbing back in the saddle, and continuing to sing--even though he had missed a few beats earlier; however, I have something I wish to add to Des'ree's list: You gotta keep your trap shut in the men's room--all I know, all I know, is it will save you from getting a shiner.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Eggs Tarantino

Edmonton has many things that it may count in its favour: a bounty of Stanley Cups; the status as Provincial capital; and an outstanding Fringe Festival. One thing that it also has, is one of the most bitter women I have ever had the pleasure of waiting in a breakfast line-up with. Unless they trade her to the Islanders.

After elbowing her way to the head of the line, using her baby's car seat (with baby inside) as a sort of battering ram, she began to swing the poor infant in what I'm sure she thought was a loving, matronly manner--meant, I'm sure, to silence the poor child's crying. Had she looked into the baby-carrier, she would have noticed that the child was crying because a buckle for the seat was banging the poor little bastard in the head. The more she swung to sooth the child, the more momentum the buckle had.

You are likely saying in your heads, "Now B--at most, this woman sounds a little pushy."

Don't interrupt.

While sitting in the cue for a seat, I was given the opportunity to watch this particular bundle of "sugar and spice and all things nice" interact with her husband. This is where her true colours really shone. After a small misunderstanding with her husband regarding the arrival of "Grandpa", she made a comment that piqued both her husband, as well as my own, curiosity.

W- "We're lucky we don't own any firearms."
H- "Why?"
B- (inside my head) "Yeah, why?"
W- "Because I would shoot myself in the head right now."
H- (silent)
B- (inside my head) "Oh wow."

I've been hungry and frustrated before, sure; but so far it hasn't led to irrational suicide threats.

The expression on the pre-teen daughter's face said exactly what we were all thinking: a slight frown, with saucer-wide eyes.
I considered offering space at my breakfast table for any members of their family wishing to claim refugee status from what was sure to be some pretty intense breakfast table chit chat.

Norwalk on the Wild Side.

Nothing will extinguish the light in your soul quite like realising, while in your most vulnerable moment bent over the toilet bowl heaving away your dinner (then your lunch. . . then your breakfast), that the warm sensation blossoming in the back of your lap means you have just shit your pants.

And you know that I would only make a grand statement like that if I could back it up.

Whether it was Norwalk, or a particularly energetic strain of food poisoning, I'll never know; what I do know for sure, is that I've never spent a night quite like I did last Saturday.

At 8pm, after finishing the keg set-up of a music video wrap party/rock show I asked the organisers if they'd mind terribly if I went home and splashed some water on my face--I was feeling a little, well, off. But I would certainly return before the party hit full swing--absolutely.

By 9pm, while curled up in the fetal position on my bathroom floor, I was beginning to doubt the sincerity of my promise to return to the party.

By 10pm, I was beginning to doubt whether I would live.

By 10:10pm, I had executed the simultaneous evacuation of my stomach and bowel, as described above. Needless to say, a humbling experience. Clearly there was something going wrong deep within me; something that, before the night was through, would test my humility and sense of humour well past their limits. As they say, it's always darkest before the dawn--and it was only 10:10pm, so we were barely into "evening".

On wobbly legs, I peeled off my trousers and drawers, threw them in the tub, and turned on the faucet; that was all I was willing to do at present to address the situation. I went to my bedroom, and had just finished redressing when I felt an unsettling movement--like an urgent need to have a bowel movement (which, those who have read ALL my posts, will understand is not an entirely unfamiliar feeling for me). Dashing off to the toilet with all deliberate speed, I arrived just in time to deliver what could best be described as "hot soup" from my ass into the toilet. It was then that the light in my soul, already aflicker from the earlier indignity, was snuffed out. With "hot soup" flowing free and unchecked from my ass, I barfed directly into the pantlegs of my fresh trousers. It happened so quickly, I had no time to react; but the second wave, which I felt welling within me, posed an interesting problem: which end do I face at the toilet?

And truly, with such vileness flowing so freely from one's face and one's behind, there is a completely different morass to wade through--namely, coming to terms with putting your face where your ass just unleashed a deluge of effluence. And what if your ass isn't done? Which would you rather clean up?

I chose to barf down my pantlegs again, for those dying of curiosity.

When the storm subsided, I also chose not to put on another pair of trousers and drawers--the laundry was really starting to pile up--fool me once, shame on you Norwalk; fool me twice, shame on me.

I also chose to climb into the tub, with it's delightful, easy-clean surface and cool touch.

Open letter to the next 40 years of my life: I dare you to provide a worse night.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pain in My Ass.

Ever since moving to Calgary, where pedestrians are more obedient than seeing-eye dogs, I have established some pretty high expectations from my two-legged friends. No one jaywalks, dashes out from between cars, or even risks crossing the street once the little red hand starts flashing; which is what makes my most recent experience all the more unique.

Trying to take advantage of an advance green, I was forced to stop mid-left turn to accommodate one of Calgary's many hobos as he ambled across the street, against the light, ultimately killing my advantage. I had my window open, and apparently this particular hobo had good ears, because when I thanked him (rather pointedly) he turned his hundred-yard stare in my direction, gave a meek smile, and threw me a wave. As far as I was concerned, this did not makes us "square"; he still owed me an advance. Little did I suspect, we would be fast friends in 2 minutes.

While waiting for a pal to return from the bank, cozied up in a parking spot not far from where I had suffered the loss of my advance green, I saw my new hobo buddy ambling, pretty much at the same rate of speed as before, but this time eating a green pepper whole. Where he got an entire green pepper in 2 minutes is beyond me; however, with his obvious fondness of green things, it should come as no surprise that as soon as he saw my lovely green truck Betty, he made a change in course, and started sauntering in my direction.


This could result in one of two things, as near as I could tell: he had heard my rebuke, and decided to waltz over and give me a knuckle sandwich; or, he just really likes green things, and would try to eat my fender. Neither excited me terribly.

My hobo buddy strolled up to my open window, stuck his filthy mitt in my face, and said:

H- "Put'er here, guy!"

No word of a lie, I've seen abattoirs with hands I would rather touch--in fact, I've seen abattoirs whose hands I would rather lick than shake this dude's paw--but ever the diplomat, I politely obliged. I'm nothing if not polite.

H- (one healthy bite out of the pepper--seeds and all)"That is one hot truck, man."
B- "Thanks."
H- "What is she? A '67?"
B- "Nope. A '68--close, but no pepper. Ha ha ha!"
H- "Say, can I have 35 cents?"
B- "No."
H- "Okay." (another healthy bite of pepper) "Have a good day, eh?"
B- "You too. See ya later!"

I tried to drive the rest of the day using only one hand, not wanting to touch anything with the soiled right hand. This meant that when Nickleback came on the radio, I had to grin and bear it.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The rule of 3's.

My darling--the love of my life--Betty (the 1968 Chevy truck I drive) required a spa day a couple of days ago because her front tire was going to fall off.

No kidding.

While waiting at Stampede Pontiac GMC I found myself wandering the halls while the mechanics counted how many nuts and bolts she had discarded on the highways and biways of Alberta, and I happened to make a fast friend in one of their self-described "crack salesmen". The way he was behaving, I first thought he meant crack cocaine; he actually meant crack in terms more akin to the A-Team--a crack squad--successful, without rules.

I hate talking to salesmen who fly into their automated pitch, and this guy was at full boil when I turned him to simmer by saying:

B- "Hey, pal, I drive a 1968 Chev truck, everyday. You haven't got one thing on this whole lot half as cool as that--so I think I'll likely stick with what I got."

In the background, I was sure I heard Betty's anti-sway bar drop to the floor with a clangclangclang.

So instead, this young man decided to give me an education on the ins-and-outs of car sales. To him, all customers in Calgary who were over 50 fell into one of three categories: those who listen to Neil Diamond; those who listen to Kenny Rogers; and those who listen to Johnny Cash. He told me that if he could figure out which one they preferred, he could sell them a car. I then got tricky and asked him:

B- "What if they like all three? What do you sell them then?"
S- ". . . I just have to figure out if they like one of them."
B- ". . . oh. . . you can likely tell if some old gal's into Neil Diamond if her panties are hanging on the rearview mirror. Ha ha ha!"
S- "Yeah. It's a bit harder then that."
B- ". . . ha ha. . . I. . . was mostly kidding."

This near-humourless dude then went on to describe the nuances of two different Slayer concerts he went to 20 years apart. How did he get into this conversation?

S- "You look like a guy whose into metal! You like Slayer?"

No shit--I was in a cardigan. I had a feeling that anyone under 50 fell into one of three categories for him: those who listen to Aerosmith; those who listen to Debbie Gibson; and those who listened to Slayer. For some reason, he took me to be the latter.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Two Things Which Override the Central Nervous System, Together Again!

My dear brother C was kind enough to relay a story he knew I would love, for I have a well-known penchant for stories that involve electro-muscular disruption--but I'm getting ahead of myself!

Beer shows, as we have all learned on this very blog, accentuate both the positive and negative in all God's creatures; which side you fall on depends largely on how big a douchebag you are in real life. Some folks aren't douchebags atall--they are the jolly drunks I would let my mother meet; some folks are aleady kind of douchey, and it's these particular individuals that should avoid beer shows if they can--for once they fill themselves to their gills, they become precisely the kind of douchebag that starts 'cruising for a bruising'. And, in some cases, 'cruising for a non-lethal transmission of powerful electrical pulses'--but I'm getting ahead of myself again!

One of our dear good beer folks, who happens to be a girl, could likely--in a police line-up--point out two such douchebags who were paying customers in a recent beer show; and she would likely tell you that they had a lot to say about her appearance, and none of it would appear in a Jane Austin novel. No--she would likely tell you that these guys spoke like Penthouse letters reads--and she wasn't particularly enjoying their descriptive brand of conversation. So my dear brother, another good beer folk, brought them to the attention of festival security, and the Police (who are never far away during beer shows).

To make a long story short, they were escorted out; but not before registering their indignation. When one needed to retrieve his jacket from within the show's gates, the police were momentarily separated, and it's the choices our douchebags made at this vital juncture that would truly elevate them from small d douchebags, to Douchebags.

Douchebag #1 (D1) began making certain inappropriate overtures to the female cop left to babysit him. They were in poor enough taste that D1 was told to keep his opinions and sexual position suggestions to himself, lest he get a snoot full of pepper spray. A small d douchebag would have shut his trap; a Douchebag would have taken that as an invitation.
Gentle readers, you are a clever and gifted lot, and have all likely skipped ahead to what is surely the inevitable RSVP to the perceived "invitation" (for, let's face it, I rarely tell happy bedtime stories on this blog)--but! the story will get much better.

So D1 gets the spray.

D1- (to the lady officer) "I eat that shit for breakfast!"
LO- (removes her night stick, extends it with a flick of her wrist, and issues a blow to the head)
D1- "I love the rough stuff! Do it again!!"
LO- (removes her tazer from it's resting place, makes sure her aim is true, and discharges the non-leathal weapon)
D1- (falls to the ground and promptly pisses his pants)

It was at this moment--as if things could possibly get any better!--that D2 arrives with his jacket to find D1 twitching in a puddle of his own effluence. The spectacle is more poetically described on the website of a manufacturer of tazers as an exhibition of a tool "specifically designed to stop even the most elite, aggressive, focused combatants. Rather than simply interfering with communication between the brain and muscles, the (tazer directly tells) the muscles what to do: contract until the target is in the fetal position on the ground". I think using the words "elite. . . combatant" is a bit of hyperbole, but it does sound exciting.

What D2 found attractive about D1's circumstance is left for the judge to discover in the pending criminal trial; but I doubt D2 enjoyed falling into "the fetal position on the ground" in a puddle of his collected beer samples. What I do know, is that I enjoyed telling you about it.