Thursday, September 30, 2004

Dressed Down

I’ve been invited to attend a Kerry fundraiser/Black-Eyed Peas concert in Hollywood this weekend so I spent part of the afternoon looking for something to wear. I haven’t purchased an item of clothing other than underwear in roughly a year and I’m quite certain that my faded Eddie Bauer jeans and a plaid, button-down shirt circa 2001 are not appropriate for the calamitously powerful Hollywood politico set. Is there anything uglier than a style-deficient white dude at a political blowfest cum hip hop concert? “Word! Let’s get it started, America!”

So I drag my whiteness over to where the cool people chill. South Coast Plaza is the kind of a place where we, the powerless and unhip, might end up whimpering in the corner. Everyone there is beautiful, rich and surgically perfected. But in my effort to maintain even a modicum of youth, I drag myself through the racks of Banana Republic, Structure, American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch, scouring the hangers for something I could wear this weekend without embarrassing myself.

Mission NOT accomplished.

What in the hell has happened since my last trip to the mall? It’s a time warp back to the days when I had a Fonzie poster on my bedroom wall and a raging crush on Suzanne Somers. Every moderately wearable item in every clothing store in the mall has been replaced with one of the following:

1) Printed t-shirts – saw one that read “Missouri Loves Company” – that wouldn’t fit a hamster but are reputed to be perfect for grown men. I’m not going to pay $30 for a faded green t-shirt that is cut to fit snuggly enough that my eight-inches-around, farmer-tanned biceps are on display for the Democratic leadership of our country. And let’s not even talk about how it would accentuate my non-existent pecs and my underdeveloped nipples.

2) Loud, plaid, pointed-collar, button-up shirts the likes of which haven’t been seen since Arnold wore one when he was talking to Abraham the goldfish on Diff’rent Strokes. “Whatchutalkinbout?”

3) Cargo pants with pockets absolutely everywhere. Two in the front, two in the back, one on the outside of each knee, one in the cuff and one in the crotch. I have one wallet and one keyring. What will I do with the other pockets?

4) Big old trucker caps like people used to wear to see Burt Reynolds movies. Mesh in the back, big canvas front that makes little heads like mine look even smaller.

In Banana Republic, I saw a reasonably tame long-sleeved t-shirt. It was black, looked a little like a sweater, but it was definitely a t-shirt. Had these grayish racing stripes down each side. “Hmm,” I think. “I could wear that without looking like a total poseur.” I pluck the hanger from the rack, lay it flat across my chest to see if it fits, which it does. And then I look at the price tag.

Seventy eight dollars. For a t-shirt. I wonder if the whole store heard my scream.

Banana Republic, if you’re reading this, fuck off.

I call Hot Wife to break the news that I have tragically crossed the line between youthfully bending to the whims of fashion for the sake of looking good and poo-pooing everything on the shelves and wondering what’s gotten into people. Can taking my teeth out before bed be far behind?

Hot Wife makes the following suggestion: “Just go to Marshall’s.” Right. If you can’t fit in with the hip crowd, fit in with the crowd who will wear anything as long as it’s not missing the crotch. Sorry, honey, but I think wearing a vinyl Seattle Seahawks jacket and powder blue corduroys to the event would warrant my eviction from the show and a merciless, back alley beating by the Secret Service.

There’s nothing I can do. I am hopelessly, immovably unhip. But if by chance I can get a minute alone with Senator Kerry, you can rest assured he’s going to hear from me about that $78 t-shirt.

Published Features Update

A Tall Man and a Tsunami | Tall Magazine
6’9” executive chef Craig Harris rides his wave of opportunity.

“He is an imposing six-foot-nine figure, and amid a homogenous crowd of beach-blondes and Spicoli look-alikes, the entrance of someone like Harris – tall with disheveled black hair, an unwieldy mustache and a triangular soul patch on his chin – draws attention like a mouthful of wasabi. Of course, that’s the game when you’re tall, isn’t it? When you stand, you stand out.”

Burger Kings | Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine
An impassioned tour of L.A.’s historic old burger joints. Available on Southwest Airlines flights nationwide in November.

“[The Cardiac Burger] arrives five inches high, on a paper plate with a fork and knife (which you’ll need unless you can unhook your jaw from your skull). It’s massive, by far the tallest and fattest burger I’ve ever seen. Sitting in the shadow it casts, I fantasize that this is how Evil Kinevil felt before he jumped over the Snake River on a motorcycle: I know it can be done, but the landing is going to hurt like hell.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The White-Hot Fury of Hell

I get canker sores.

“Oh, is that like a cold sore?” she says. “I get those all the time and they are sooo ugly. Oh my gah-id. I have to put on a ton of make-up to cover them up.”

No, peanut, they aren’t like cold sores. They are like strolling through the 84th level of hell with a rock in your shoe.

Canker sores are white-hot, pea-sized blisters inside my lip that, when irritated by, say, eating or breathing, send a pain through my mouth, up my face and down my neck that feels a little like I’m extinguishing a five-alarm fire with my head. When I peel back my lip to see the source of my agony, I swear I can see the devil in my mouth (so you know, Satan looks like Dick Cheney with bedhead) and he’s laughing his ass off, poking his pitchfork into my canker sore with the gusto of a four-year-old in the cereal aisle. (Note to self: dump that Halliburton stock pronto.)

I would give up iced venti decaf soy lattes to be afflicted by cold sores instead of canker sores. I would. I don’t care how they look. Give me the Michael Jordan of cold sores, one that looks like a Buick in the middle of my forehead. It would beat having an open wound inside my mouth. And the next person who tells me cold sores and canker sores are “basically the same” is getting kicked in the nards. This means you, Dick Cheney, you fucker.

Here’s the worst part: science can invent a cling wrap that bonds to Tupperwear like Super Glue but it can’t invent something to make my canker sores feel less like the Abu-Ghraib treatment. There are some over-the-counter ointments available, but no. They are messy. They are sophomoric. And the end result of using them is either a sticky, congealed mess that welds my lips together or a numbed tongue (“I thoughth you thaid thith thtuff was suppotha help!”)

In the coming weeks, I’ll be organizing the Daniel R. Evans Walk for Canker Sores. That will ramp up as soon as my little yellow bracelets emblazoned with my slogan “Yes I Can-ker” drop (they’re on back order).

Monday, September 27, 2004

Down In Front!

There were 40,000 people at the Angel game last night and I think every one of them stood in front of our seats and obscured our view at some point during the game. It’s shocking how oblivious people are to the fact that there are people sitting directly behind them, more interested in watching baseball than witnessing their purchase of an ice cream sandwich or telling their friends (via cell phone) to look for them on TV.

We have become pretty adept over the years at barking at people to move out of our view. We were particularly boisterous last night because a) the game was loud, b) the game was exciting and we wanted to see it, c) there was an inordinate amount of human obstruction, and d) the ushers in charge of keeping people out of our way were too busy passing out thunder sticks.

The secret is saving the most inspired admonitions for the people who can’t kick our asses. Old ladies with walkers are prime targets.

In the second inning, Neighbor Jim was two or three beers in and, god bless him, he hollered at the wrong person. The offender was a little on the portly side, gruff, numerous tats. We’ll call him Jose.

Jose and his party of three stopped right in front of us and were examining their tickets. They stood there for three or four pitches, looking left, looking right, looking down at the ticket again. Can it really be that hard?

We can’t see a thing.

“Find a seat!” Jimbo screamed at him.

Jose didn’t like that. He turned around to see who had the gonads to yell at him, spotted Jim and approached in a highly confrontational way. His speech was filled with derivations of a particular expletive meant to describe conjugal relations.

“I’m trying to find my [conjugal] seat, mother[conjugator], alright,” Jose yells, now practically nose to nose with Jimbo. “I just [conjugating] got here so why don’t you shut the [conjucation] up.”

They went back and forth a bit, Jimbo trying to avoid a brawl with the younger, bigger man and me, with a front row seat for the altercation, trying to avoid wetting my pants.

Finally, Jose must have noticed that his blood alcohol level was dangerously low and he turned and walked away, toward the beer cart. No good-byes. No “nice talking with you.” He just leaves.

Can you believe the gall of some people?

Saturday, September 25, 2004


You're a parent who has narrowly escaped prosecution for leaving your five-month-old daughter to die in a hot car on a hot day. You're most certainly devastated. You search for something, anything that will clear your conscience and provide some outlet for healing. What do you do?

You blame somebody else.

That's basically the story in today's LA Times. Some bonehead from Anaheim is calling for automobile and car seat manufacturers to install an alarm that sounds IF YOU FORGET YOUR KID.

I find the absence of personal responsibility in this situation to border on unfathomable. This is not the fault or the responsibility of the auto industry. This is not a safety issue. This is the fault of an idiot who, according to the Times, forgot to drop his daughter off at day care, strolled in to work and came back four hours later to find his dead baby.

Accidents happen, yes. But this is your own child.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Surreal Indeed

I'm back.

Somewhere there is a piece of paper on which the criteria for being on The Surreal Life is printed. What do you think that piece of paper says? Do you think it includes the word "freak?"