Odd Couples

Walter Mathau and Jack Lemon. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. Roger Rabbit and Jessica Rabbit. Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton. There have been all kinds of odd couples throughout history. The fictional odd couples have made me laugh many times. The real life couples are the ones that make go “hmmm,” “Okaaaay,” “What the…?” and sometimes even “How much did he pay her?! ” (That last one comes to mind every time I think of Angelina and Billy Bob.)
There are certain people that should never be together. The movie and TV show “The Odd Couple” have shown what happens when two men who should never be together end up stuck in the same apartment. The Oscar and Felix situations were so fabulously funny but cannot compare to the crazy couples in real life. You know the ones I’m talking about. It is time to try to understand the odd ways of love and then once we are all done we can sit back together and, with a satisfaction of knowing we have analyzed it in painstaking detail, admit that we have no clue what’s going on there.
Let’s face it. Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s odd couple of Roger and Jessica makes more sense than Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton. There are some things that are just wrong. Let’s forget about the tattoos and vials of blood around their necks. The age difference doesn’t matter at all. But the basic thing is – and here I do admit to being a bit biased – have you looked at them. Angelina, personality quirks aside, has her picture in the dictionary beside the word “hot.” The same book has Billy Bob’s photo next to “dork,” “ugly,” and “unAngelina.” Love really makes no sense.
Courtney Cox and David Arquette are another example. Remembering back when they got married my only thought was, “WHY?!!” You will not be surprised to find out that a very wise and insightful interviewer whose name I can’t remember if I ever even knew asked that very same question the same way I would have asked it. Her reply was simple and honest. “He makes me laugh.” I thought to myself, “He’d better. That’s all he has going for him.” They were a very odd couple. The odder thing was the rumors about him cheating on her being the reason for the divorce. Two questions: What was he thinking? and who was the other woman? She must have been something to beat out Courtney.
The Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston situation makes me think that sense of humor must have something to do with it. Granted I am a guy and am not a great judge of what looks good in other guys. If they are really handsome I can tell. But Vince? Am I missing something there? Jennifer Aniston is a babe and Vince is … ummm … not. The whole sense of humor thing may play a part but, to be fair, he’s not really that funny.
Maybe I’m just confused. Perhaps I’m bitter over lost loves. It could be that I’m right but that seems farfetched. I think we must all agree that love is deaf, dumb, and blind with no sense of smell, taste, touch or anything else that can measured.

Fortune Cookies

Why do I always get the lame fortunes in my cookies? “You will be relaxed if you get to sleep.”  “You will make your fortune if you invest well.” “Help me. I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory surrounded by rabid llamas.” Would it kill the fortune cookie gods to let me have just one fortune that says something good? “Today you will meet the love of your life who will be at the corner of 5th and Main at 5:46pm.” Is that too much to ask?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the writer of the fortunes in the cookies? They would NEVER let me do that. It is really a shame because I think that they would be interesting. Here are some of the fortunes that I would put in them.
  • Today you will meet a beautiful woman, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! 
  • Your fortune will be made from the creation of mutant hamsters.
  • Beware of the dreaded jackalope!
  • Moo goo gai pan means “I’m a dumb American who doesn’t know what I’m eating.”
  • Don’t ask what’s in the egg roll.
  • Do you really think that these fortunes mean anything?
  • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a mini mouse could move moose?
  • Your lucky numbers are 5; 12; 17; 18; 23; 41; 4,356,632,556.
  • How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man? The answer my friend is … 7.
  • Look behind you!!!
  • We know who you are. We know where you live. We know everything you did last week.
  • Bigfoot is real!
  • It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your cat is?
  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone. Fart in an elevator and you really find out who your friends are.
Look for these in a fortune cookie near you.

Facebook Facetime

How much time can you possibly waste on Facebook? That is an intriguing question asked by a friend of mine who claims that she has seen me online every time she has looked for the past 33 days. Now to be fair I did have to log off 9 days ago to reboot after my system updated against my will. I was right in the middle of fighting a dragon on Dragon Wars and it was not a pretty site. There was slashing and slaying while blood was flying everywhere as people were fleeing the scene of the battle to avoid the grunts, growls and groans from the misery surrounding the catastrophic carnage. But that is enough discussion about my reaction to the reboot. The game was pretty gruesome too!
It is amazing to me that people now have the ability to friend people that they have never even met, knew back in high school but never really liked back then, attended the same college at the same time but never met, or who live in the next room in your own home. There have been discussions in my house about things happening where our vocal chords never vocalized a single sound. There were a few times when my son and I were chatting about his mom when she was still living with us and was in fact in the same room but she never knew what we were doing for sure. It was like whispering without all the rudeness associated with her actually knowing we were talking about her. There have also been times when others have accused me of not giving them my total attention while chatting. A few have even made the wild and totally unfounded accusation that I was chatting with another person while chatting with them. Can you image how insulting that is? Only ONE other person? Come on! My record is 8 extreme exchanges or 13 tête-à-têtes with a joke-a-jovial attitude.
There is also the need to make sure you keep up with and track everyone’s Facebook status’. It is amazing how much you can find out about people. There are pictures and stories of getaways. Suddenly you may actually find yourself caring about who is in a relationship with whom even though you live a thousand miles away and have never even met them! You can discover what was eaten for lunch and what their most recent bowel movement was like. (I really wish I was making that that one up!) Through my powers of deduction I was able to explain to one friend why this male friend (not to be confused with boyfriend) she knew was not talking to her anymore. After careful analysis and extensive research I looked at his home page and saw that 23 minutes ago he posted that he was in a relationship. That explained that.
I know what you are thinking and no I am not addicted to Facebook. I can quit any time I want to. Fortunately that time does not seem like it will be coming any time soon! In the mean time I really need to get back to Backyard Monsters. Jimmy attacked me again and I need to go destroy his putty squisher.

Romig’s Law

Ed was frustrated. He was a development engineer for Wright Field Aircraft who was having one of those days. Well to be more accurate he was having one of those project. You know the kind, right? If Lucifer were to send a project your way it would be this kind of project. To be fair to Beelzebub he didn’t have any direct contact with the problem. The technician who had wired the strain gage bridges at the lab actually played the role of the Prince of Lies for Ed. The strap transducer (your guess is as good as mine) was malfunctioning due to a wiring error. Ed made a comment about the aforementioned Satanic substitute that basically said, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he will.” Ed Murphy’s statement then evolved into the law that bears his name that says more generally, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
Am I the only one who thinks that Murphy’s Law is just outrageously optimistic? Consider if you will the word: foolproof. I would like to meet the person who coined that term. Really now? Come on! How many fools had this person really met? On occasion I have proven that particular phrase to be erroneous at best or at the very least myopic optimism. However, there have also been many times that I have seen the combination of Murphy’s Law and the foolproof come together in a curious conflagration creating a catastrophe of critical creativity. Consider all the instances throughout history that this has occurred. The building of a tower on a substandard foundation created a situation in Pisa that to this day is a demonstration of near demolition. What would you say to the idea of building a major metropolitan area along a major fault line in the San Andreas area? Don’t worry. It’s not like anything important in the entertainment world happens in Southern California. And don’t even get me started on the idea of maintaining a bead baring barrio below sea level right by the water!
Murphy would agree with the philosophy that a fool and his money are soon parted. I agree with the associated viewpoint that a fool and his money are lucky to get together in the first place. That may explain my financial failures now that I think about it. If you have any argument with that point of view I only have three words for you: Dumb and Dumber.
All that aside, I think Murphy may have a point. It is not a happy, optimistic, cheerful or hopeful point. But it is a point. But you know what? It is not a point I choose to share. Sure bad things happen to good people. Of course there are problems in the world. No one ever promised a life that was fair and smelled like roses. In fact life tends to smell like the fertilizer around the roses a lot of the time. But I think I will follow Romig’s Law instead. That one says, “Sometimes things go wrong but that is part of life. You do not have to dwell on it longer than it takes to change it into something better.” I wonder if it will catch on.

The Cost of Caring

One of my favorite scenes from any movie ever is from The Fugitive. Harrison Ford is standing on the edge of a long drop with a gun toting Tommy Lee Jones behind him. Harrison’s character, Dr. Richard Kimball, said, “I didn’t kill my wife!” The reply from Jones’ U. S. Marshall character was, “I don’t care.” In the end of the movie it turns out that he did. Sorry to ruin it if you haven’t seen it. The few times in my life I’ve tried on the phrase, “I don’t care” it has never seemed to feel right coming out of my mouth.
On the show House the characters of House and Wilson once sniped at each other: Wilson whined: “Be yourself: cold, uncaring, distant” to which House harassed: “Please, don’t put me on a pedestal.” But even House showed occasional lapses of judgment and showed his kind, caring, compassionate side which was usually followed by a innuendo at Cutty’s expense. Caring is something that so many people don’t know how to do or at least do well. There are a lot of people out there like these fictional characters.
But caring can cost you. There are risks. The chance that is taken leaves you open to all kinds of vulnerability. If you care you run the risk of having that caring rejected, refused or get run over by someone who doesn’t care. That running over can take the form of the other using and abusing that caring for their own needs and then tossing you out like last week’s sushi. That can be very painful and frustrating when you give yourself to someone else and offer a caring supporting gesture which they take and take and never appreciate and then they ignore you when you need help and even ignore and ostracize you for not being strong. Not that I have even experienced that.
That being said, there is something that makes all the caring and hurts that come with it all worthwhile. When we care we are able to help someone who is hurting do to an unforeseen situation, an accident or the actions of an uncaring other. We get to be the one who helps being healing to the hurting and loving to the unloved. We are the ones who are the people who pay it forward not out of the expectation of return on investment but in an investment in the future. Consider to ripple effect we can have as we care for those in need and they in turn care for a couple more who care for a couple more who care for a couple more and it continues on and on and on. You see how it works? Now not every time will be a winner but the ones that are will keep us caring as we continue on.
As high as the costs caring may be there is a flip side to not caring. The cost of not caring is even greater since one becomes cold and distant. The whole concept of standing outside the fire and not even living a life is so alien to my way of thinking that I have chosen to risk it. I don’t want to be a robotic recluse who cares only about himself. So what if I get hurt once in a while or daily? Who cares if caring makes me easy prey to the uncaring? The cost of caring is nothing compared to the rewards and the cost of uncaring is great compared to what is lost.

Men’s Restrooms

I have given much thought and consideration to an area that is still considered taboo in this day and age of the theory of truth relativity. That delicate and sensitive issue is centered around of the contents of the ladies lavatory. That mysterious and mesmerizing maze of maternal myths is a confusion to the comrades. But now I will share with you ladies the truth behind the men’s room mythology.
I bet you think that men’s rooms are just disgusting and dingy. You must think that they smell like the socks of Kobe Bryant after a championship game which were then dragged through a pig pen and buried under Japanese restaurant for 17 days. It doesn’t smell like that at all. It doesn’t smell any worse than 16 days under the Japanese restaurant! There is also the cleanliness issue that has been much maligned. Men’s rooms are just as clean as any other waste disposal facility where the sanitation technicians have been on strike for a year and half. See ladies, you weren’t even close!

Women’s Restrooms

Ok. There are certain places that men know nothing about. Yarn Barns, Potpourri Boutiques, Yankee Candle Companies and women’s rest rooms are just a few. Yarn Barns are such that I don’t care what they look like. They are probably a kitten’s or my grandmother’s dream! Potpourri is too sickly sweet scented to be something that I would even want to be anywhere near. I hear there is one just 35 miles from here in Pigeon Forge and I smell that it is true.  I went in a Yankee Candle Company once and only once in an attempt to placate an irate mate. It didn’t work so I didn’t go back. But the women’s restroom is a mystery to me.
There are many stories about the glories of the women’s lavatories. But us guys have no idea if they are true or just another of the games that women play with our heads. Guys’ restrooms are simple. We go in there and we go. We leave. It is a solo and solitary activity. One of the many things that confuses us about the other sex’s outhouse is why it takes so many of you to do that voodoo that you do in the loo. Any woman can stand up and say, “Who needs to go?” and all of you will go. Any guy who asks that same question will be going alone! WHAT DO YOU ALL DO IN THERE TOGETHER? I really want to know!
Another thing that I have heard is that there are couches, plants, fountains, wine bars and fully trained massage therapists. There are obviously different needs for the female of the species. The need to apply, reapply and airbrush on makeup is something that the meticulous maidens must muster. There are other female needs of which I am blissfully ignorant and have every intention of remaining so until the day I die. Don’t even try to tell me because my fingers will be in my ears and I will be going, “la la la la la la” if you try.
There is also a rumor that is so farfetched that it cannot possibly be true. I hesitate to bring it up because – as silly and insane as some of my ideas are – this one is borderline psychotic. Even I have limits as to the bizarre things I am willing to inflict upon you, my helpless, hapless reader. Even Rod Serling would think twice before suggesting something so out there as this. But the story is – please don’t mock me for repeating something that is not my idea – that the women’s bathrooms are… clean. I know! Don’t laugh. It is just what I heard! There is no way it can be true!! Stop laughing! I’m sorry I ever suggested something like that.
Will one of you kind ladies please help me out here? There are so many of us guys who want to know what is so special. We know it is not the whole clean thing that is a titanic myth. But what is it? If you tell me I promise to keep your name confidential but I have to confess that I will share with my brother guys the truth as you share it.

Oh Dear…

That is an interesting phrase. “Oh dear, look at that mess!” This is not to be equated with “Yes dear” which is a phrase I have used many times over the years to annoy a few significant others and one insignificant other. Oh dear could have so much impact on a figure of speech that I feel it is worth an entire blog post. There is also the not insignificant fact that I couldn’t think of anything else to write about.
Consider if you will the words “Oh dear” as they leave the lips of a lecherous leech. (I imagine Hugh Grant but you can think of any perverse person who comes to your mind but we both know that Hugh Grant will now be the one you think of thanks to my subtle subliminal signal.) As the cad in question is captured inflagranti in Florida in a Grand Am there is the whispered whine of “Oh dear.” As the wronged one is ready to right the wrong by demonstrating a new use for a crowbar in a place it should never be used to pry open the whisper undergoes a metamorphosis into a scream of “OH DEAR!!!!!”
Perhaps the “Oh dear” is one used to call a loved one from a distance as a term of both loving and leaving. “Oh dear! I’m leaving now.” The proper response is one of, “Thanks for letting me know Honey. See you when you get back!” And as long as we are pretending we are in the 50’s you may want to enjoy some rich, chocolate Ovaltine! More likely these days the response will be a “Whatever,” at best or a “Please don’t come back, you psycho!” at worse. It is amazing what you can do with “Oh dear” isn’t it?
Let us not forget the most important use of “Oh dear” as a way to call venison. Countless hours have been spent in the woods as harried, Harry and hairy hunters have tried this method of attracting 92-point bucks. “Oh dear?! Here dear, dear, dear.” Not being an avid hunter there is no way for me to know if this particular call works. The more popular and better known, “Here ducky, ducky, ducky!” does work at the park where they have been known to molest poodles, park benches, every sidewalk for a three mile radius and my shoes.
“Oh dear! I think I’m out of ideas for these two words.” Sorry. It was a long day and that’s all I’ve got.

But Seriously…

Sometimes you must take a long, hard look at yourself and, with the utmost clarity and honesty, laugh yourself silly. That last post was so serious that this one is all about how ridiculous I am. If you have read many of my blundering blogs you know that my sense of humor is – to put it kindly – off beat. No one knows where I get my sense of humor from but the say it is just like my grandfather’s. He said I didn’t get it from him because he still had all his. That pretty much says it all.
Random silliness is needed in this world of seriousness. For example, when was the last time you went to the mall wearing a wetsuit and a tutu? You definitely get the attention that you desire and you can sit anywhere you want and have plenty of space all around you. Skydiving in a kilt and snorkel is always fun. The whistling of the wind through the snorkel and the fresh air in the nether regions make for a fun filled flight. Then there was the time that I… I mean you might want to try watching the swallows return to Capistrano while sipping Jolt Cola and jamming out to Weird Al Yankovich’s classic song, “Amish Paradise”. By the way that is as close to an acid trip you can get without actually taking LSD but watch out for the swallows. They look like they are moving in slow motion after a six-pack of Jolt and they also fly in a precise deca tetrahedron formation when Al is singing about Segways.
Perhaps the whimsy that would wet your whistle would be served in the culinary cuteness of cookery in crockery. As Jimmy Buffet says we need more fruitcakes and fewer bakers. There is the old standby of the sardines and strawberry sorbet that remind us of how we loved Lucy. Perhaps you are more into the iced bananas in gravy that Ernie made Bert on Sesame Street. Personally I’m into the white chocolate covered dog biscuits eaten when someone is least expecting it. Then the dog gets mad that you’re eating her treats and then there is a whole new can of worms to open.
Silliness is the way we keep out sanity in an insane world. As that great philosopher Robin Williams once said, “Madness is the only thing the government hasn’t found a way to tax!”

Beauty is Only Skin Deep

There is a figure of speech that says: “Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes straight to the core.” It has been my pleasure to meet some of the most beautiful people I have ever encountered in the past few months. It has also been my displeasure to encounter some of the ugliest people in my life in the past few years. The strangest thing is that the way each of these people look has absolutely nothing to do with beauty or ugliness. One of these ugly people was in my own mirror. Perhaps this is part of the learning process.
Five years ago I was much more shallow that I am now. Making my decisions about people based on how they looked was a common occurrence. Priding myself on my ability to read people allowed my arrogance to trump my good sense because I could see people who treated others poorly but would still choose to like and trust them because they were nice to me. I heard the axiom that the person who is nice to you but not nice to the person who waits on you at the restaurant is not a nice person. I didn’t understand it until now. Becoming the person to whom they were less than kind was an eye opening experience. Perhaps this is all part of growing up and maturing.
Four years ago you could find me laughing at the jokes made at the expense of someone else because I thought they were beneath me. Pride and prejudice were more than the words of the title of novel by Jane Austen. They described me to a tee. If someone failed and fell, my laughter could be heard with the others who were looking down their noses at the one who was seen as misbegotten and moronic. The person whom I had become was not the person I wanted and needed to be. He was just playing a part that was expected of him. He was cruel. He was ugly. Perhaps this was the most painful part of the growing process because I was about to be pruned.
Two years ago saw everything change. Going from the one who was laughing to the one who was laughed at was a rude awakening. Falling from the perceived state of grace was rough tumble. In fact the golden boy that was seen by others and myself turned out to be merely gold plating over a very tarnished lead. That lead was sinking fast and there was no one to stop it. The list of mistakes, errors, blunders and outright sins would make for some spicy and humiliating reading. It is sufficient to say that I was finally being shown who I was and who I had become. Those I trusted were shown to be false. Some whom I loved betrayed that love. Even I was not a good friend to myself. Perhaps this was needed so that I could rebuild from rock bottom.
Looking back at the past seven months has seen a major metamorphosis in my life. There is no way I can say I’m becoming a beautiful butterfly. I know that is not true. I’m not even sure the chrysalis from which I’m almost ready to emerge will even show a moth. There is one thing I do now know about this transformation that is occurring in my life. There is no way I’m going back to be like I was before. The person I used to be was not even likable if you really knew him. I want to be like the man I was 20 years ago before I let the things of this world and the wrong people have such a negative effect on my life. Perhaps this is the beginning of something great in my life.
The best part for me is the future. It is time for me to do something that is more difficult that anything I have ever done. This is something I have never done before. It is not easy. It is not part of my nature. It goes against almost everything I have ever believed and done about myself. It is time – and I write this with fear and trepidation – to forgive myself. Forgiving others has not always been easy but the past two years have taught me much about that. Forgiving myself has always been something that has eluded me. I was still holding onto things from grade school! The past is gone. I have told people over the years that it is arrogant to hold onto things that even God has already forgiven. Now I need to listen to my own advice. I forgive me.
It is time to forgive and not remember it again. Forgetting is an accident and passive. Not remembering is intentional and active. I am now choosing to not throw things from my past in my own face anymore. The monumental mistakes and bountiful blunders are now taboo subjects because they are no more. That is the nice thing about the past. It is gone. So are my salacious sins. New life is mine. Forgiveness from God has always been there. Forgiveness from me is something new. It feels very good. For the first time in a couple decades I will be beautiful.