Uncommon Courtesy

Sorry, I’ve been very busy with work and whatnot lately. Not much creativity left at the end of the day. That said, I watched Marie Antoinette the other night and it got me to thinking:

In the film, when the ladies approach someone, they lower their eyes, grab their dress and curtsey. I’m not talking about some weak-shit curtsey either. When they curtsey, they mean business: all the way down, one leg crossed behind the other—and hold two, three, four—and rise. No doubt the ladies of that time period had some major thigh muscles. Do you think they worked out? If so, what kind of exercises do you think they did? I mean, I don’t think The Queen would be doing squat thrusts, but I guess you never know.

Of course, the guys of that time period had it easy. All they had to do was bow: one hand in front, the other in back, a full bend at the waist, and rise. Not much of a workout, but it’s certainly a sign of respect. Sometimes, they might top it off with a “and a good morning to you, Madam” or a simple “good afternoon.” Classy and respectful.

So why is it that we’ve evolved into these people who insist on shaking hands when we meet someone new? I mean, we just met them. How are we to know where their hands have been? Is it a sign of respect or are we just saying that although we don’t know this person, we are willing to trust that they are not carrying any diseases and have thoroughly washed their hands after using the bathroom? Whatever the case, I don’t like it.

I say we start a new trend. Guys, the next time you meet someone, forego the handshake and give them a respectful bow. Ladies, well, you’re going to have to curtsey, so I suggest you start with those squat thrusts now. And for those of you who think this is stupid and refuse to take part in my little experiment, I metaphorically remove my glove, smack you across the face and challenge you to a duel.

Umbrella With A Raincoat

It’s October and, of course, that means rain. It also means it’s time to pull out my stylish H&M automatic umbrella. For $16, it’s pretty nice. Not only does it shrink down to a convenient, pocketable size, it’s black, and I don’t have to tell you, anything black is cool. A button on the handle pops the umbrella open in less than a second. Push the button again and the umbrella retracts. Well, it retracts most of the way. You still need to push the damn thing back into the handle, which can take some effort. Nevertheless, it’s a nice umbrella and it does a good job. I have just one minor complaint: the stupid umbrella condom.

Yes, like most compact umbrellas, my H&M model comes with a nylon sleeve to store it in. The only problem with this is, it’s a pain in the ass to wrap up the umbrella tight enough to get it back into the stupid sleeve, and it’s next to impossible to do this without looking like I’m giving a sex-ed demonstration to a bunch of giggling 5th graders.

What exactly is this stupid sheathe supposed to be protecting my umbrella from anyway? Water? Dust? STDs? It makes no sense. The umbrella sleeve is made of the same material as the umbrella itself, which means if you’re in a hurry and grab the umbrella without looking, you might find yourself ejecting a fully-sheathed umbrella up over your head. It won’t expand to shield you from the rain. It’ll just stay up there, wound up tight, calling attention to how stupid you are.

There’s really no cool way to recover from such a mistake. You could curse the umbrella (“What the? This stupid piece of shit!”). But no one’s going to buy that. You could quickly lower the umbrella down and pretend it’s some kind of weird looking cane. Or you could grab the center of it and spin it around like you’re a master of the martial arts.

For the record, none of these ideas will work. I’ve tried them all. In fact, the last time I tried the martial-arts idea, a gang of 7-year-olds beat the living shit out of me. Fortunately, I was rescued by a troupe of Girl Scouts who just happened to be passing by. When I asked how I could repay them, they said I should purchase the rest  of their Girl Scout cookies. Well, $350 later, I’m finally home and safe—with a motherfucking year’s supply of Do-Si-Dos®.  The Umbrella Condom sucks.

At a loss for words

Just last week, my stalker and I were at the Beverly Center, attempting to look like we could afford things there. On our way down the escalators, I noticed two teenagers in front of us wearing Ed Hardy clothing from head to toe (they even had on Ed Hardy tennis shoes). “Look,” I whispered to my stalker, “douche bags in training.” We chuckled to ourselves and then I noticed a much younger girl in front of them who was probably the sister or something. She, too, was wearing Ed Hardy clothing—which got us to wondering: What’s the female equivalent of a douche bag? My stalker suggested “douche purse,” but that doesn’t make any sense at all. And so I open the question to my readers. What is the female equivalent of a douche bag? Anyone?

The Sexy Voice

Last week*, I had the pleasure of sharing my body with the influenza virus. No, I’m not being sarcastic. I kind of dig having the flu. Sure, there’s the fever and the sweating and the yacking. But after all that, if you’re really lucky, you might just be given the pleasure of having The Sexy Voice.

Yes, that’s right, The Sexy Voice. A deeper, manlier voice. A voice that seems to come from some other entity inside. A voice that makes heads turn. A voice of authority. A voice of influence. A voice that cannot be ignored. It is The Sexy Voice, and it is exclusively mine.

I had The Sexy Voice last week, but not for long. I was given the gift for less than a day. And that’s just the thing about The Sexy Voice: You never know how long you’re going to have it. So the moment you get it, you have to work fast. Call your friends and see if they can tell who’s calling. Rerecord your voicemail greeting. And if you work in Advertising (as I do), walk around the agency, reading as many radio and TV scripts as you can. People will tell you,  you should do voiceover work professionally. Thank them for the compliments, but don’t let it all go to your head. Because, before you know it, The Sexy Voice will be gone.

Which brings us to today. I woke up at around 5:00 AM, hacking and coughing. The time of the sexy voice has past. I am now nothing more than another victim of the flu, sniffling and sneezing, wondering when this torture will be over. When I try to speak, I sound like Satan going through puberty. It’s not a pretty voice. It’s not a sexy voice. It’s the voice of a sick, pathetic old man. And I can live with that — as long as it means I have those few precious hours of joy where my vocal chords sound like they’re lined with velvet.

Of course, I know influenza is a very serious virus, capable of killing someone if not properly controlled. But I still refuse to get a flu shot every year. It’s not just because I have an overwhelming fear of needles (even though that’s the biggest reason), or that the influenza virus mutates every year, making the flu “vaccine” nothing more than an educated guess. No, there’s another reason, a very stupid reason. A reason that is pretty obvious by now, but I’m going to wait to tell you, just so I can add more rhythm to this paragraph and end it dramatically. That reason, of course, is The Sexy Voice.

*By “last week,” I mean more like last year. When I started writing this blog entry, I really did have the flu the week before. But it took me months to finally get around to finishing it. Yeah. Talk about procrastination.


Yesterday, I noticed another one of these vending machines selling ice-cold beverages. Thanks, but I’ll pass. I prefer my beverages to be in a liquid form, far above freezing temperature. Incidentally, if you’re selling an ice-cold beverage, it’s not really a beverage—it’s a popsicle, or an “ice lolly,” as people like me who are pretending to be British would say, and I don’t want anything to do with that.

Waiting For Jesus

Every Easter morning, my parents would wake us up,  hand us our baskets filled with jelly beans and marshmallows of various shapes and colours, then push us out the door and tell us to behave ourselves and wait for Jesus. Yes, that’s right, Jesus. It may seem strange, but that was the tradition, and neither my sister nor I ever questioned it. We just did as we were told and took our positions out on the front lawn.

I kept my eyes on the west. My sister, on the east. We dare not blink for fear of missing him. Still, after a few hours, either my sister or I would get tired and knock on the door to ask our parents when they were coming out to join us. Their answer was always the same: “He only wants the children. It’s too late for the adults to be saved. But we’re in here praying for you.”

Well, they said they were praying. But I wasn’t so sure. I mean do people usually pray while wearing bathrobes, drinking Screwdrivers and listening to the Cal Tjader Quintet? It didn’t seem likely. But everyone has their own way of being spiritual, I guess.

Anyhow, my sister and I would  sit out there for most of the day — me with my binoculars, my sister with the telescope — and we’d wait. And wait. And wait. But you know what? He never came. Jesus never came. Maybe it was because we never actually attended a church service. Or possibly it was because my father was technically Jewish. I may never know. But every year, I still find myself looking outside, hoping to see him floating down from the clouds or maybe beaming himself in like they do on Star Trek. But it’s never happened, which is kind of sad. Not that it matters, really. It’s too late for us adults anyway.


This is the story of a bee named Honey. Honey lived with all the other bees inside a dead tree off highway 75. All day long, the bees would be hard at work, either making honey or guarding their queen. Uh, that is, all the bees but Honey.

Honey wasn’t like the other bees. Rather than do useful things like pollinate flowers and regurgitate sticky nectar, Honey would just spend her sweet time studying her books. She’d hover around the libraries. Or try to read a newspaper in the park without freaking out the person who was holding it. It’s not that Honey was lazy, or that she was “special.” She was just, well, a different kind of bee.

When someone would attack the hive, all the bees would go into combat mode, working together to protect their queen. Well, everyone but Honey. No, honey didn’t care for violence. She would just sit on a branch and wait for all the excitement to be over, observing her fellow beemates losing their lives. After the fight, Honey would go back into the hive to assess the damage, speaking the name of each part that was destroyed, going through every letter that made up the name, then repeating the name one more time. Yes, that’s right. Honey was a Spelling Bee, the most useless kind of bee of all.

You see, while Honey was diligently studying the most complex words in the English language, the other bees were busy learning valuable skills that would one day allow them to contribute to society and not get beaten up or ridiculed by their peers. Of course, whenever the bees needed to know how to spell a word or required a definition, there was only one place they had to turn: The dictionary. Honey was a waste of a bee.

Another Odd Observation

Have you ever noticed how the spanish rice at Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill smells almost exactly like dog kibble? The thing is, it’s delicious. So does that mean that dog kibble is also delicious? I’m not sure if I’m adventurous enough to find out. I take that back. I know for a fact that I’m not adventurous enough to find out.

Best Veggie Burger Ever

Just the other day, I decided to try one of those new fancy burger joints. You know the kind of place. It’s a burger, but it’s gourmet, because they use Dijon mustard instead of the classic yellow. Also, they don’t just serve regular french fries. They serve sweet-potato fries, as if they were the first ones to come up with the idea (note: sweet potato fries have become so commonplace, I’m surprised McDonald’s isn’t selling them).

Anyhow, those of you who know me might be wondering what the hell I was doing at a burger joint. After all, I only eat fish (a diet stupidly coined “pescatarian,” thanks to the idiots at Merriam-Webster). Well, it turns out, this place was also known for its incredibly tasty veggie burger. So, of course, I had to try it.

My colleagues and I entered the establishment and admired the hip, industrial-style exposed ceilings and oddly contrasting 1950s-style furnishings. We waited a mere 15 minutes to be seated and before too long, we were asked for our order. My coworkers chose to build their own burger, since that was what this place was famous for. I, of course, went for the veggie burger.

In a matter of minutes (20, to be exact), my meal arrived. The burger was presented in a whole-wheat bun and topped with sprouts, because vegetarians love sprouts. I picked it up and eagerly took a bite. Wow. It was amazing. Bursting with flavour. It was so juicy. So delicious. I couldn’t quite place all the tastes I was experiencing. Onion. There was definitely onion. Smoked peppers. And… hm. I was stumped. I mean, it tasted familiar, but foreign at the same time. Maybe it was some kind of grain or something. Whatever it was, it was delicious and I had to have more.

When the waiter dropped by to ask how our meals were, I didn’t hesitate to speak, even with my mouth completely full:

“Terrific!” I said, accidentally spiting out some whole-wheat bread crumbs onto my coworker’s plate. “Best damn veggie burger I’ve ever had.”

“That’s great. Glad to hear it. We get that a lot.”

“I bet you do. So tell me, what do you put in this thing?”

“Oh, I can’t tell you that. It’s a well-guarded secret.”

“No, I don’t want to know the exact recipe. I just want to get an idea of what I’m eating.”

“Oh, well, it’s not the ingredients that count as much as the love we put into making each meal.”

“Do they tell you to say that?”


“C’mon, just tell me what goes into this thing. It’s amazing.”

“OK, OK, it’s nothing special. Just your typical spices, some fresh corn, a little tomato, Grade A beef, onion, a little celery, I think. Stuff like that.”

“Oh, that doesn’t sound like… wait a minute. Did you say beef?

“No. I said Grade A Beef. Nothing but the best.”

At this moment, I spat out what I’d been chewing, and continued to spit.

“Is there something wrong?” he asked.

“Ptuh! Uh, yeah! You’re putting dead cow in my vegetarian burger! Bleh!”

“Vegetarian burger? We don’t have a vegetarian burger. We have a veggie burger. Big difference.”

“Are you pulling my chain?”

“Is that some kind of sexual innuendo? No, Sir, I am not pulling your chain. We take great pride in our veggie burger. What kind of business does a vegetarian have at a burger joint anyway? If you wanted something without meat, you should have ordered the grilled cheese.”

“You have got to be kidding me. You’re calling it a veggie burger because you stuff vegetables into a burger patty?”

“Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.”

“How so?”

“We also soak the patty in bacon fat before frying.”

And that, my good friends, is when I literally lost my lunch. The end.

The Big Day

Well, after three months of truly memorable stalking, I felt it was time for my stalker to finally stalk my family. So I picked up the phone and called my dad:

The phone rings a few times.

“Hello?” my dad answers.

“Hi, dad. How’s it going?”

“What’s wrong?”

“What do you mean, what’s wrong?”

“You’re calling me in the middle of the day. Did you get arrested again?

“Jeeze, dad, are you ever going to let me forget about that zoo incident?”

“OK, then what is it?”

“Nothing. It’s just that, well, I met someone and —”

“It’s a guy, isn’t it?”

“What? No, it’s not a guy.”


“Yes, really. Why would you think it was a guy?”

“Oh, no reason. I was just, uh, joking.”

“I see. And why would it be so horrible if it was a guy?”

“Ahh ha! So it is a guy!”

“It’s not a guy!”


There was an awkward silence. Then my dad said something inappropriate:

“It’s not one of those interspecies relationships again, is it?”


OK, I have to explain something here. When I was younger (about two years ago), I sort of experimented with an interspecies relationship. But anyone who was at the zoo that day will tell you, that giraffe came on to ME! Fucking long-necked tease.

In any case, after a lot of awkward conversation, I finally convinced my dad that I was dating an actual woman. I then called my sister and had a similar talk. We all agreed that the most uncomfortable place to meet would be my sister’s home. I offered to pick up my stalker and bring her there, but she insisted on driving up herself. So I gave her directions and told her to be there no later than 5:30. She nodded, then got back into my closet where she continued to quietly watch me getting dressed.

Well, I showed up at exactly 5:30 that day and my stalker was nowhere to be found. My dad had arrived early and my sister and niece were busy preparing some gourmet snacks, i.e., carrots dipped in peanut butter. After about 20 carrots and 16 ounces of peanut butter, we started to wonder if my stalker was ever going to show up. Finally, we all agreed that we couldn’t wait any longer and should just go to the restaurant.

I called my stalker to tell her where to meet us, but as soon as the line started ringing, we heard the faint sounds of La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf coming from the backyard. I looked at my sister and she looked at my dad, then I opened up the screen door and walked outside. As I listened to the line ringing through my phone, Edith Piaf’s vibrato voice continued to tell the story of the “Life in Pink.” Suddenly, something rustled around in the bushes, Edith was cut off and the line went dead. I called again. Edith started from the top and soon we were all standing in front of the source of the music: a nicely manicured bush in the corner of my sister’s yard.

“Stalker?” I said to the bush.

There was no reply.

“I know you’re in there. Come out and meet my family.”


“C’mon, it’s no big deal. They’re actually very nice.”

The bushes rustled a bit. I think she might have been shaking her head in disagreement.

“Hello,” my dad said to the bush,” I’ve heard a lot about you.”

More awkward silence.

“I’m bored,” my niece announced. “Can we eat? This is stupid.”

After a few more minutes, we all agreed that this was indeed stupid. So I told my stalker where to meet us and then we all got into our separate cars and drove ten minutes to a delightful little restaurant in the area called Islands.

Well, we waited for over a half hour for my stalker to arrive before we finally decided it was time to “get on with it,” as my niece so eloquently put it. I chose the veggie burger, while my niece insisted on ordering an island favourite called “cheddar fries.” From the first bite of this traditional dish, I felt myself transported to a tropical island, where topless natives work the deep fryer and pour molten cheese from coconut shells.

Anyhow, when I got home that night, I went straight to the fridge to drop off my leftovers. To my surprise, there was already a bag from Islands sitting on the shelf. That’s when I realised there was a lot more to this relationship than I thought. Yes, this woman was following me everywhere and somehow had managed to make copies of my keys, but she was truly committed to me and I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

I watched some TV for a few hours, then retired to my bedroom at around 11. Just before I reached over to turn out the light, I glanced over at the closet.

“Good night,” I said to the closet door.

To my disappointment, there was no reply. I turned out the light and I closed my eyes. And just as visions of Island fry cooks started entering my thoughts, a muffled voice spoke from behind the door: