Monday, April 30, 2007

The Animal Within

Somehow I’m getting cable at my house. I'm not paying for it but it's coming through. The angel inside of me wants to call the cable company and come clean. But the pirate inside of me ran the angel through with his blade. Now, the pirate and I sit back, with feet up, and watch all kinds of nonsense while our bodies atrophy away to a soft pudge. Of all my new-found television interests one of the programs I’ve really learned to enjoy is UFC (Ultimate Fighting Challenge) broadcasts. I think the UFC is entertaining for the same reason programs like WWE, When Animals Attack, and Americas Funniest Videos are entertaining. Because is satisfies a deep seeded blood lust that has been buried under layers of hundreds of years of “civilization.” We may wear a suit and tie and work nine to five and buy our meat pre-wrapped but some ancient part of our nature still wants to hunt, battle, kill, and feel like a predator now and then.

(Side note: I think “Americas Funniest Videos” should be called “Taking it in the Crotch” since every other shot is some poor schmuck getting whacked in the hobbits by his own child or some piece of sports paraphernalia.)

I digress.

I don't know if this feeling is common among men, but as I sit there, bowl of Lucky Charms in hand, milk on my chin, watching these modern day gladiators, I can't help but think, "I could do that." You're probably thinking I'm a naive egomaniac, but bare with me. I figure you've only got to be able to do two things. First, you've got to be able to move fast; speed. This I've got in spades. Sometimes when I'm shadowboxing with myself in the mirror, and my hands start moving with the fury of a class five hurricane, I lose track of them and I almost knock myself out. Also, sometimes when I'm River Dancing, I do an Irish kick so hard that the momentum takes the other leg off the ground and I land on my back. That's the kind of speed I'm talking about. Other than speed you've got to be able to take a hit. This also should not be a problem. And let me tell you why. During my freshman year of high school I once took a flying discus to the temple and walked away without even a concussion. Another time, while riding motorbikes with my brothers, I took a diving header over the handlebars sans helmet. At the end of my flight my cranium head-butted a 20 pound rock. The result; I got six stitches in my crown but the rock got split like a melon. My head is the perfect target for heavy blows.

Now, the physical part of it aside, I do think I would have a hard time with the mental aspect of cage fighting. My whole life I have been more of a lover than a fighter. But to cage fight you have to be willing and able to put the hurt on anyone who steps into the ring with you, and I just don't think I have that mental "kill switch" that you need to survive in there. I have to really dislike a person to put the kybosh on them. So, all although I have all the makings of a killing machine, you will probably just get a nod and a polite hello should we pass on the street. But just a word of warning; should you try and hit me in the head with a discus; oh man, Heaven help you. Because once the "River-Dancer" comes out. There's not much I can do to restrain him.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Hot Seat

This may come as a surprise to some members of the opposite sex, especially the unmarried demographic, but one of the most enjoyable simple pleasures in a man’s daily life are the few he spends in the bathroom taking care of nature's business. Some, like myself, stretch those experiences to their maximum in an effort to get the most out of one sitting. I can read, play sudoku, play my guitar, or even return phone calls. (If you know me well, we've probably talked more than once while I was on the think tank). And the best part is, I can’t be called on to do anything. That time is my own and I’m beholden to none. No one can tell me to move, and I don't until my legs are conclusively asleep.

This experience, of course, has it’s antithesis; opposition in all things. There is the joy of the domestic restroom experience and the pain of the public restroom experience. Let me give one example to illustrate my point. At home one of the worst things associated with the long sit down is the initial sting of a cold seat, and unless you’re willing to do the Japanese "stand-and-squat" you are forced to endure this inevitable shock of cold. This is only compounded when I unwittingly place my freezing bowl of ice cream on my naked thighs.

In public the opposite is true. Shock occurs when I sit, not on a cold, but on a warm toilet seat. The warm toilet seat means one thing; someone has recently been there and his butt heat is still radiating from the very surface my skin is touching. I hit the seat; feel the heat, my stomach sinks, and my mind races in an attempt to decipher who may have been here last. It doesn’t take long since it was only about 30 seconds ago that I past a fat, hairy Italian on his way out laughing under his breath, and, that explains all the black hairs around the seat when I sat down. Gag reflexes kick in and now the taste of bile accumulates in the back of my mouth. Without recourse I resign myself to this temporary lavatory Hell and set aside my bowl of ice cream, for which I have totally lost my appetite. Maybe if the seat cools sufficiently the next guy can enjoy it. (the ice cream, not the seat)

Every once in a while I accidently leave the door unlocked and Maggie comes in, turns and sits in the mini hammock made by my dropped pants, and then hopes to get a private concert. And though the private moment is lost I can't help but oblige my number one fan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Free Time

I recently got back from a trip to the Midwest where my brother and I attended a multi day business conference. For lack of funds we drove instead of flew which means we had 1200 miles of sparsely populated desolation to consider through the window at 75 miles per hour. One of the states we drove through was South Dakota and while Tom drove I sat back, quietly singing along to the iPod set to shuffle, and was reminded of western movies that featured the same settings I was witnessing fly by. Movies like Dances with Wolves made me think of the Native Americans that used to live here back before they were “Native Americans” and before they were “Injuns” and were still “Indians.” The vast expanse of rolling hills that roll as far as my wife's eyes can roll, with no signs of civilization but the road in front of us made me wonder about the singularity of purpose of one who may have lived here before Anglos came and made everything complicated. I imagined your average Indian male waking between two buffalo hides, crawling out of his tepee where he meets his friend Shrieking Turtle. He stretches, does a 360-degree look around himself, and plainly inquires, “Well, what the hell are we going to do today?”

Of course, I understand they knew no different, but I’m left to wonder if after sharpening their ten thousandth obsidian arrowhead if they ever looked heavenward and asked, is there anything else? It almost seems that if they weren’t killing an animal or doing a rain dance then their lives were just about the passing of time. I think that is why "hunting and gathering" was so prevalent among the men. It was the only thing to do, and it got them out of the tepee a few days a week. They didn't have to go. I saw the movies. Buffalo used to walk right through their camps. Plus, thanksgiving teaches us that they grew corn and fish in their gardens. They had food sources close to home and when the women realized hunting and gathering was just an excuse for a guy’s weekend away they put a stop to it. And hence, the beginning of horse stealing and squaw-napping. It was all arranged with neighboring tribes to unload domineering wives. They just threw the horses into the mix to make it look indiscriminate.

I don’t want to use the word depressed, but I get a little depressed when I think of their lack of possibilities despite the simplicity they enjoyed.

“Let’s go steal something.”
“Women and horses. What the crap else is there? I’m wearing a loincloth here. Our lives aren’t exactly filled with options.”
“Why don’t we see a movie?”
“A what?”
“I don’t know. I’m just being crazy.”

Anyway, I just really enjoy this iPod. I think I’ll get up and rain dance.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Where To?

Have you ever been in a big city and watched a homeless person walk down the street and wondered to yourself, "Where's he going?"