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Monday, February 25, 2013


Valentine’s Day came and went, and I wanted to share a little bit of the magic with you.

Of course somebody brought those little candy hearts to work. I took one, but couldn’t read what it said without my glasses- I think it was, “Happy Valentine’s Day: You’re OLD.” What a challenge it must be to find meaningful phrases to print on those candies. It has to be succinct- whatever diatribe you put on Twitter in 140 characters is “War and Peace” compared to what you have to work with here. It can’t be too gender-specific, so “I HEART THE KNICKS!” could fall into the wrong hands.

Some of them have changed with the times- I saw “TEXT ME.” Don’t be so quick to replace “FAX ME” for those of us who do not text. Don’t forget the cover page.

The traditional messages still get right to the point: “BE MINE,” “KISS ME,” “LOVE YOU.” One said “LOVE HER.” Interesting, could be for a lesbian. I saw one that said, “PICK ME,” which may have been sent to me by my nose. I picture a big fat guy with a beard and a tattoo stamping these little hearts with tender messages. By the way, his aim is not too good. One just said “HAPPY.” Either fill in the blank yourself or maybe it could be secret love messages to the seven dwarfs. “WILL YOU BE MINE” is nice, but makes it seem like ownership of you could be transferred by next February.

How about we get a little more realistic with the phrases. “ORAL PLEASE!” or “DO ME” work nicely for both men & women. How about, “EMBEZZLE WITH ME!” I think “embezzle” is a cute, fuzzy-sounding word.

Giving candy for Valentine’s Day says to a woman: “I may or may not love you fat, we’ll see.”
Flowers are always a hit because they symbolize all that is alive and vibrant and colorful about a woman. Don’t read too much into the fact that the posies are dead in two days.

I prefer to give the gift of myself for Valentine’s Day, and do something fun with my wife. Once I thought it would be fun to go to the Botanical Gardens, we had never been. Here’s the thing: surprisingly little is in bloom in February. They did have a wonderful exhibit called, “Dead Things that are Still Beautiful,” or something like that.

I will take my Valentine to dinner for sure. But not every relationship is in full bloom when Valentine’s Day happens to come around. Some are on the upswing, and some in rapid decline, like a home that is just about to be foreclosed upon. The pressure of spending an entire meal together might be the last thing they need, and by the time they are done with the salad fork they have separate checks and separate cabs.

How about a movie? Careful. Once I took the Mrs. to a Coen brothers film. Rated 4 stars, seemed campy, what’s not to like? Well it turned out “No Country for Old Men” was not really a chick flick. We enjoyed some romantic moments during the trailers, but after that, one body after another dropped dead with alarming frequency, and I got a special look from my Valentine that said, “Yours will be the last body they scrape off the floor with the used gum.” From now on the perfect date movie is porno.

I also remember to give a card, and I slip a five dollar bill in there too, so she can pick up something just for her. We made Valentines in elementary school, a skill that I have honed during the years. I learned to write whatever sensitive feelings I had at the time, such as: “Roses are red, violets are blue, in which case why did they call them violets?” You had to make a card for everyone in the whole class (maybe even the boys? I can’t remember), when who I really wanted was the teacher, Mrs. Franz. Even as a kid I could tell she was harboring some smoldering secrets. I was kind of a teacher’s pet, which was why I had to eat from a separate bowl. I ended up with this friggin’ assembly line of red construction paper, doilies & glitter; back then there were no robotics. By the 25th one my handwriting was so illegible it either said, “Be My Valentine” or “Belly Vaseline.”

So if you forgot Valentine’s Day it’s certainly not too late. Well actually it is; I just found this out the hard way. So if you forgot too, just do what I did, and say, “Baby, to me EVERY day with you is Valentine’s Day!” Then RUN LIKE HELL. By the way, before you give the gift of yourself, first find out if she might prefer candy.

Incidentally, based on my hasty hagiography, Saint Valentine died on February 14th  (no one seems to remember the year). When people celebrate the day of your death it makes me think that they didn’t really like you as much as you thought. He died on the Via Flaminia in Rome, and I can vouch that the traffic on that road is murder. Saint Valentine is traditionally associated with the concept of “courtly love,” which essentially refers to hanky-panky between members of royalty and women not their wives. Courtly love these days usually results in a number of court appearances.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I like to go out and have a cocktail on a Friday night, but I can't stand the fact that everyone at the bar is half my age, and they seem disdainful that people older than they are cluttering up the place. I feel vaguely like a chaperon for a school field trip, like I should be over near the door checking everyone’s permission slip. Every generation thinks that they will be the first one not to age.

So I Googled "over 30 bars," and through the magic of the internet, over thirty bars came up. I changed the search to “bars for older alcoholics and/or people that don’t know how to use their own cell phones” and came up with a bunch of jazz bars and wine bars, totally inappropriate for me. I ended up at the same place I usually go, and I realized that “over-30” is still 20 years younger than I am.

Once in a while I see a mother out with her daughter for one of their birthdays, posing for self-photography with an outstretched camera, a timeless memento featuring both of their faces and one of their forearms. Mom looks at me as if I was planning to eat her young, and I scoff at her. I’m not going to eat your stupid baby, lady, I have gum.

I asked a girl if she wanted to dance, and to my surprise she said yes. She was pretty good at it so I watched her for a while, then found myself a beer at the bar. I don't dance very often, usually only if someone is shooting at my feet, or if a Michael Jackson song comes on, an old one that he recorded when he was still alive. It always amazes me how many songs people come out with after they are dead. I flail around on the dance floor in a haphazard way, moving various body parts to perfect rhythm in conflicting and disturbing directions, like a traffic cop at a twelve-way intersection.

In the tiny bathroom I am trying not to make eye contact with the attendant; the bathroom is
THE most inappropriate place for small talk (“Sooooo… How’s it hangin’????). I wash my hands and he hands me a paper towel. I tip him a dollar and I realize that paper towels in nightclub men's rooms are the most expensive anywhere. He looked thankful that the bathroom did not have a hand blower instead. What would I tip him for a blow in a nightclub men's room? Remind me to look that up somehow.

A chick came up to me and yelled, "TOM PETTY!" Jesus, really? Have you taken a good look at
Tom Petty? I may have the hair, but the guy has buck teeth and no chin; he looks like a chipmunk. No offense, because he is one of the most prolific songwriters of my time (Tom Petty, not the chipmunk), and when all is said and done people will realize how many great hit songs he had. They will also realize how little we got done.

I'm always getting told I look like a famous person. Someone once said I looked like Todd Rundgren. Seriously- Todd has a long, rubbery face that looks like it was made of Play-Doh then left for many years on a planet that has much more gravity than ours. The last time I saw him he was wearing a skirt, which was fine, but for god’s sake SHAVE YOUR LEGS. A guy recently said that I look like Paul McCartney, and I’m not kidding you can ask my wife. The only thing I have in common with Paul McCartney is that during the 70s we were both rumored to have been dead. Even a cartoon character I apparently look like: Shaggy from Scooby Doo, Where are You? I had an animated response to that one. A couple times I was told I look like the guy from “Dumb and Dumber.” “Jim Carrey?” I asked. “No, the dumber one.” Thanks.

Incidentally, the part of Scooby-Doo was played by voice actor Don Messick. “Mom! Guess what! I got the title lead in a network show!” Not content with that, he landed several other major network characters, notably, Astro the dog in The Jetsons, Muttley the dog in Wacky Races and Boo Boo the bear in Yogi Bear. Scooby-Doo’s name was originally to be Too Much, but programming executive Fred Silverman changed it, reportedly after Frank Sinatra’s scatty ending to “Strangers in the Night.” Thank goodness Fred Silverman was not a huge Little Richard fan, or the show would have been named Whomp Bomp a-loo-Bomp, a Lomp Bam Boom, Where are You?