Saturday, October 30, 2004

Playing Taps

Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son and I were up before the sun this morning, preparing for our Saturday morning ritual: a trip to Starbucks, where we scarf banana loaf cake and chocolate milk, and we read the sports page together. I’m raising my son to be a man, and this is what men do. We talk about football and get all hopped-up on sugar first thing in the morning.

Before we left the house, we were in Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son’s room getting him dressed. I was sitting on his bed and after I had wrestled his squirmy feet into his socks, I asked him to go to the closet and pick out some shoes.

He returned with two shiny black tap shoes.

“Who’s are those?” I asked.

“They’re mine,” he said. “I’m going to be a tap dancer.”

Blink.

Blink. Blink.

My first impulse was to lock him in a closet with a stack of Playboys and monster truck magazines and not let him out until his 18th birthday. But then I remembered a story my mother told me about my youth. Seems I used to carry my Hot Wheels cars around the neighborhood in a pink vinyl purse. And I turned out voraciously hetero nonetheless.

“Really, bud?” I asked. “Where did you get those shoes?”

He didn’t hear the question. He was on the floor, grunting, trying to squeeze his size five feet into a girls’ size three tap shoe. He was growing frustrated because only three of his toes could be wedged in. I intervened before his frustration elevated into a full-blown tantrum.

“How about this, pal: we’ll put on some other shoes for now and work on the tap shoes when we get home from Starbucks. OK?”

“OK, I guess,” he said.

He then retreated to his closet and began to dig around. A part of me was petrified that he would return with a pair of stiletto heels or ballet slippers. But he reappeared holding his new Power Ranger sneakers – the ones with little red lights on the side that light up each time he takes a step. Thank Christ.

In the car on the way to Starbucks, I queried Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son about his interest in tap. I wasn’t trying to discourage him just because it wasn’t the interest I would have chosen for him, but – well, I take that back. Yes. Yes I was.

He detailed for me that all of the little girls in the neighborhood take tap and he wanted to be with them. And it struck me that my little boy wasn’t a sissy at all. He was trying to impress the girls. Because we’re men, and that’s what men do.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Shall I Compare Thee to an Erectile Dysfunction Pharmaceutical Ad?

The best commercials on the air right now are those promoting Cialis, Viagra and the other erectile dysfunction drugs. The first 20 seconds of the spots describe how, through the miracle of chemistry, floppy-dicked men can regain virility and peace of mind by popping one of these miracle pills. Then, over the backdrop of a man throwing a football through a tire (subtle analogy), a voice-over warns that side effects may include spontaneous combustion, development of voluptuous man boobs and a raging, painful boner that lasts four weeks and can type 120 words a minute.

It occurs to me that each American presidential candidate favorably resembles one of these drugs. They blabber on about how wonderful things would be under their respective administrations – world peace, affordable health care and the public execution of Paris Hilton. And then, just like in the erectile dysfunction commercials, we get to the fine print. Candidate X likes to wear crotchless lace panties and read Harlequin Romance novels. Candidate Y has Irritable Bowel Syndrome and drinks Dewar’s like it’s Aquafina. Candidate Z received an honorable discharge from the Coast Guard because he can't swim and he demanded to wear floaties on his arms while on duty.

Marketing makes the world go ‘round. Nothing is as it seems.

Yes, the E.D. drugs can help your friend “Woody” reappear, but beware: you won’t able to sleep on your stomach for a month.

Yes, you know where George Bush stands, but beware: re-elect him and we may launch a pre-emptive attack on Hawaii during his next term.

Yes, John Kerry might present a “fresh start” for America, but beware: his election might beget a stiff national ketchup tax.

Me? I’m inclined to vote for Kerry because thanks to his stirring convention speech, every time I walk into the bathroom, I look into the mirror, salute myself and say, “I’m Danny Evans and I’m reporting for doodie.”

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Buried Treasurer

The fever pitch of the last week of another presidential campaign takes me back to my own foray into high-pressure politics – the year I ran for Treasurer of Sycamore Elementary School.

Treasurer was the office I felt most confident about winning, primarily because my only opponent was Sarita Aggarwal, whose ass I had recently smoked in the sixth grade spelling bee. I wasn’t popular enough to run for President (besides, what does the President of an elementary school really do? Rule on whether or not “bubble-ups” are legal on the handball court?), but I believed there was something perfect about a Jewish kid as Treasurer. I was sure that all of my goyish friends would feel likewise.

I didn’t have a platform per se, but I did make a rather bold campaign promise:

“Vote for Danny or He’ll Kick You in the Fanny.”

(See, even in elementary school I was a master of the English language?)

In lieu of professionally printed campaign placards and buttons (which I would have ordered if they hadn’t given the appearance of fiscal irresponsibility, a trait unbecoming of a treasurer), my mom took me to the craft store and bought me a huge piece of white butcher paper. I busted my Crayolas out of the Fat Albert lunchbox I kept them in and created a visual representation of my campaign promise: a little tushie in blue jeans with a Nike hightop sneaker swinging toward it. To the right of the image, I wrote in huge Burnt Sienna letters, “Vote for Danny or He’ll Kick You in the Fanny. Danny Evans for Treasurer.”

When I’d finished coloring, I stood back and admired my creation, fantasizing that this was how Picasso felt when he’d completed one of those pictures of people with their head on their right shoulder and their legs coming out of their navel. It was my masterpiece. The next day, I toted it to school and hung it up on a painted cinderblock wall facing the quad. It dwarfed Sarita’s sign and I knew this meant sure victory.

Later that day I was counting the pieces of gum stuck under my desk when the phone in my classroom rang. My teacher, Mr. Layton, answered it, said something to the caller and hung up. He then walked over to my desk.

“Danny, the principal would like to see you,” he said. “Do you know how to get to his office?”

Of course I knew. The principal’s office was near the nurse’s office, which is where I’d been the week before when I ate too many Fruit Roll-Ups and threw up on the monkey bars. My first thought was that the principal wanted to congratulate me on my artistic excellence, perhaps offer to frame it so that it didn’t get ruined by Sarita’s jealous friends.

I marched through the hallway swollen with self-appreciation. This was the greatest moment of my life, better even than the time I shot a rock out of my nose like a spaceship. I was already writing my acceptance speech. I was already thinking that I should wear a thick jacket to school on election day so that all of the pats on the back I was sure to get wouldn’t raise a blister. “I. Am. King!”

I practically floated to the principal’s office. When I got there, he invited me in and asked me to take a seat. He closed the door, sat down in the big leather chair behind his desk and let out a long, frustrated sigh.

“Danny,” he said, “I brought you in here because I need to talk to you about the sign you hung in the quad today.”

“Thanks, sir,” I said. “I’m really proud of it. The Nike swoosh came out great, didn’t it?”

“Well, there’s no doubt about your artistic talent. But I’m afraid I’m going to need you to take the sign down.”

“I totally understand,” I said. “I was thinking that a nice walnut or cherrywood frame would look great. But do you think the framers can have it back before election day?”

He cocked his head to the side like a dog that had just heard the distant ringing of the dinner bell. He was flummoxed.

“No, Danny,” he said. “I don’t think you understand what I’m asking you. I need you to remove the sign from school property. I’m afraid the slogan you’ve chosen isn’t appropriate for Sycamore Elementary. We don’t advocate violence here.”

I had no words. I felt a wave of sadness wash over me, and then a wave of anger, and then a wave of pure rage. I stood up to leave, my head hung low, but my bitterness over his censorship and disapproval quickly overcame me and I was forced to go all Howard Dean on his ass.

I climbed up onto his desk, grabbed him by the lapels and screamed into his face.

“Why are you trying to crush my political aspirations, you asshole? What have I done to deserve this? Do you know how long I worked on that sign? It took me an hour to wash all of the Periwinkle off of my hands after I colored that goddamn thing and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a thin-haired, spare-tire-wearing douchebag like you deprive me of my right to free expression and fair elections.”

I then reached down and pinched both of his nipples as hard as I could and twisted.

“Now whistle, you maggot! Whistle or I’ll twist them harder! WHISTLE!

That’s all I remember. But when I woke up in juvee, the warden told me Sarita had won the election.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Morning Breath

Hot Wife took me out for a great Italian dinner last night to celebrate our anniversary. I had a bowtie pasta dish with garlic, pesto, garlic, chicken, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and more garlic. Before that, we shared a spinach salad with kalamata olives and really strong red onions. The meal was almost as delicious as the company, but Hot Wife and I each voiced concern that the strong flavors and smells of the meal might make kissing goodnight a rather unattractive experience. But we brushed our teeth and the strong, minty smell of Crest camouflaged the other smells long enough for a kiss to occur.

But while I slept, the various pungent aromas from the foods I ate partied in my gut. They danced around in the warm pit of my belly and joined together to create a smell to which no human being should be exposed.

I smelled it first. The alarm went off, I opened my eyes and I immediately thought there had been a DEFCON 5 raw sewage spill under my pillow. But when I slid my hand along the sheet and felt nothing, the stark realization that my breath could be causing that heinous smell washed over me.

I panicked. I cupped my hand in front of my face and did that thing where you try to breathe into your hand and try to inhale the scent before it dissipates into the air. I did that once and smelled nothing. I did it again and passed out.

I don’t know how long I was out, but I awoke to Hot Wife shaking my arm.

“Danny! Danny! What the hell is that smell? Do you smell that? Did you shit the bed?”

“No, honey. It’s my breath.”

Before I could finish the sentence, Hot Wife fell back and passed out. She’d smelled it. Damn! I knew the responsible thing to do then was to get up and scrub the hazardous, caustic pollutant from my mouth. I looked around for some steel wool or a pressure washer, but all I could find was my toothbrush. That would have to do. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed my tongue until it was shriveled and wilted like a slice of pastrami.

I then went back into the bedroom and tried to stir Hot Wife from her slumber/coma. I kissed her gently on the forehead. Her eyes opened slowly at first. Then, when they were wide enough to see that it was me, they opened completely. And by “completely” I mean the way a woman’s eyes open when she’s starring in a horror movie and she sees a man in a hockey goalie mask coming at her with a chainsaw. Hot Wife screamed, threw the covers off of herself and bolted from the room. She yelled back to me as she ran.

“Stay back, Yuckmouth! Stay back or I’ll call the authorities!”

“But, honey!” I yelled back. “I brushed! And besides, you were the one who picked the restaurant!”

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Home Sweet Trailer

It has recently come to my attention that I am white trash. I have tried extremely hard to compartmentalize the various actions that have led me to this self assessment and explain each away, but the preponderance of the evidence – taken both individually and in summary – leave room for no other finding. You be the judge:

1)I have a television in my garage. On most Sundays, my neighbors and I can be found sitting on patio furniture there, watching football and drinking beer. Yes, I use the garage for more conventional purposes, like storage of old boxes and ladders and a minivan. But I also use it as an entertainment center. I have hung an old dartboard and some sports posters and a basketball jersey from my alma mater, The Fresno State University. It’s at once a thrilling oasis and a source of catastrophic embarrassment for my family. The only things that could make it a more euphoric white trash haven are a nudie girl calendar and a bug zapper.

2) I have trash on the side of my house. Two weeks ago, Hot Wife got a wild hair and decided it was time for us to clean out the storage shed. Everything she decreed to be trash – and it should come as no surprise that most of it was my old stuff – was set aside for me to discard. There were too many boxes to fit in our trash can, so I set some aside to be cut down at a later date. That date, unfortunately, has not yet come. So the boxes sit there collecting rain water and making my sideyard look like the set of Sanford & Son. Maybe that’s why Hot Wife has been referring to me lately as “ya big dummy.”

3) Most of the sprinkler heads in my yard are broken, thereby rendering my lawn a brown mass of parched weeds and earth. I was not born with the handiness gene, as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t know what a crescent wrench was until my son got one in his toy tool chest. Given the facts that a) I don’t know jack squat about home improvement and b) Schneider from One Day At A Time doesn’t live in my house, a lot of the maintenance chores go undone. I pay a gardener to come and mow my lawn/dirt patch every Thursday and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that he will fix the sprinkler heads he dismembers with his mower. But he’s clearly too busy flicking Marlboro butts into the gutter to worry about insignificant little things like a gusher that floods my neighborhood. Remind me to fire his punk ass.

4) I sometimes let my daughter run around wearing just a diaper. I know this to be the cardinal sin of middle-class parenthood because more than one of my neighbors has called Child Protective Services on me. They see my cute little girl bopping down the street with one of the Velcro straps on her Huggies unfastened and they automatically assume I’m spending her wardrobe allowance on Schlitz and Twinkies. What is it with people? Can’t the child show some independence? Anyone who has ever tried to put one-piece pajamas on an infant knows it’s like trying to stuff a squirming, pissed-off anaconda into a Zip-Lock sandwich bag. By letting her run around in a diaper, I’m saving my own sanity and helping her to get a nice base tan for next summer.

5) We own two cars and both of them are missing external parts. Thanks to a minor fender-bender for which I was completely at fault, my Honda CR-V is currently sans its front license plate and the Honda “H” ornament that once sat proudly on the front of the grill. And our minivan is missing the plastic “Mazda” from its hatchback door because of a run-in Hot Wife had with our garage door opener. Normal people have these kinds of cosmetic issues corrected, either with some good glue or a trip to the dealership. White Trash people do not. I rest my case.

I could go on, but I won’t. Besides, I hurt my finger falling out of the trailer this morning and typing makes it hurt.

My Heart Going Boom-Boom-Boom...

I woke up eight years ago today with two grown men in my bed and a howling wind blowing outside my window. The men were two of my six groomsmen, all of whom slept at our apartment that night. Of the two who demanded to share the bed, one snored like a drunken hobo and the other created a rather putrid wind of his own all night long.

Neither wind was welcome. The wedding was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony and if there wasn’t a significant change in the weather during the day, it was going to be ruined.

I spent the day with my groomsmen, all of whom tried their best to settle my anxiety in their own inimitable ways. Best Man Dave went so far as to drink orange juice straight from the IHOP carafe, big streams of the stuff flowing over the rim and down the front of his shirt. I mustered a chuckle but my thoughts were with Hot Fiancé, who was no doubt fretting over the wind, as well. I worried that she’d be crushed if we had to move our ceremony indoors. She’d planned it all out so perfectly that to have her vision dashed by Mother Nature would certainly be a buzzkill.

Ultimately, the weather did indeed require us to take our outdoor plans and decorations and move them into a squished hotel ballroom with a low ceiling and a loud, humming AC unit. I was disappointed, but I took solace in the fact that we’d soon be married and I tried hard to keep a stiff upper lip for Hot Fiancé.

After I had changed into my tux and pounded down a Kamikaze shot Best Man Dave bought to calm my nerves, I decided to take a moment to myself. I took the elevator downstairs to see how the room set-up was going.

I can remember it as though it happened yesterday: I was walking down a dimly lit stucco hallway. As I approached the corner, where I was to make a left turn into the ballroom, she appeared. She was dressed in her wedding gown, her hair Aqua Netted into place, her make-up applied perfectly, her spectacular blue eyes sparkling. She looked up, saw me and wore an expression that bordered shock and relief. I felt the same way. I wasn’t supposed to see her until she walked down the aisle, but I was never happier to see her than that moment.

After that, it didn’t matter. It could have been subzero and sleeting outside and it wouldn’t have mattered. But to our great excitement, the wind died down in just enough time that the ceremony could again be moved outdoors. Yes, it was a little windy. Yes, some of our guests won’t speak to us anymore because we made them sit out in the cold to watch us get married. But those people were only invited because we were determined to get everything from Crate & Barrel that we registered for. And by the way, thanks for the wooden salad tongs, you-know-who.

Today, Hot Wife and I celebrate our eighth anniversary. In the eight years since that day, we have brought two beautiful children into our world. We have acquired a golden retriever who eats rocks and showers everything in her path with urine. We have purchased a home, a minivan, two hand mixers, 200 gallons of paint, 500 boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats and new carpet. We have eaten paella in Spain, pickles in New York City, hot dogs at Fenway Park, pizza in Chicago, whipped cream in Monterey, gnocchi in Seattle, sushi in Maui, fish tacos in Irvine and pasta in Cambria.

She has stood over my shoulder and monitored my spending at a blackjack table in Las Vegas. She let me cut short an anniversary dinner in Santa Barbara two years ago so I could watch the Angels in the World Series. She has nurtured me through two episodes of depression and I have rubbed her back during two pregnancies worth of morning sickness vomiting. She has taken back every item of clothing I have ever purchased for her. She has introduced me to a doctor of Chinese medicine who made me eat spoonsful of mixed herbs that taste like old dirt. I have introduced her to Newcastle and buffalo wings.

She reads this blog everyday and checks back often to make sure people say nice things about me. We recently paid a visit to the house she grew up in and, although she doesn’t know this, it made me well up a bit. Our kids have no idea how lucky they are to have her as their mommy, but I know how lucky I am to have her as my wife. She has a degree in nutrition and a fervent passion for fitness, but put a Slurpee or a carton of Ben & Jerry’s in front of her and she wilts like a normal person. When I have an unattractively long hair on my arm or my shoulder, she grabs it with her bare fingers and yanks on it until it comes out, roots and all. As I wince in pain, she tells me, “See? That didn’t hurt at all.”

I don’t know for certain what I did to deserve a wife as sweet and short and fit and beautiful and loving and floss-happy and supportive as mine, but I hope that I have the strength within me to keep doing it.

I love you, Hot Wife. Happy Anniversary.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Breast of Times

Lunch hour found me today at Souplantation, the all-you-can-eat salad bar where a six-foot-three man must bend his knees, tilt his waist and maneuver his elbow into a painful, Twister-like contortion to access the cherry tomatoes and pasta salad under the spit shield. I paid for my food and was handed an empty plastic cup, which I was free to refill with Diet Coke as frequently as I wished (a dangerous and catastrophically profit-draining proposition for the restaurant, I can assure you).

After I loaded my tray with salad and soup and a few blueberry muffins, I set it down at a table near the window, grabbed my cup and marched off toward the fountain for my first Diet Coke. As I approached the fountain, I saw something one normally doesn’t expect to see at a salad bar: an exposed breast. The woman sitting at the booth directly next to the drink station was wearing a navy blue sweatsuit and the zipper on the jacket was pulled almost all the way down to her navel, completely exposing her left boobie.

As someone married to a hot wife with perfect teeth and a license to teach aerobics, I don’t often feel the need to go out looking for other peoples’ titties. But when one seeks me out, I have no choice but to look. I am, after all, a man. My gaze is magnetically drawn to bare breasts in the way a child’s is to candy and a woman’s is to a shoe sale. As such, I had no recourse but to stare at Sweatsuit Woman’s fun bags while I filled my cup and she devoured her Cajun Chicken Surprise.

As I stared, I began to feel a cool, wet, popping sensation on my hand, whereupon I noticed that my cup was overflowing and Diet Coke was oozing down my arm. I snapped myself back to reality, napkined my arm clean and walked back to my table. I began to eat and tried to read my newspaper, but let’s be honest here: who can concentrate on swing states and insurgency when there are naked tits in the room? I wondered if I had actually seen what I thought I’d seen or was there something in the clam chowder making me hallucinate? I felt I owed to myself and other patrons who might try said chowder to investigate further.

I guzzled my Diet Coke like a frat boy would chug a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, let out a moderately sized belch and returned to the fountain for a refill. Sure enough, there they were. And by the looks of things, Sweatsuit Woman was getting a little chilly. I continued to overfill my cup until a thundering voice distracted my attention.

“Hey!” the voice said. “Eyes front!”

As it turned out, the voice was coming from a rather robust and muscular man sitting across the table from Sweatsuit Woman. He had a skull and crossbones tattooed on his left deltoid and he appeared to have chosen a shirt three sizes too small so as to accentuate his steroid-assisted goonhood. He had the kind of physique that made me believe he could broken my neck with his thumb and forefinger while buttering his cornbread with his other hand.

It’s so hard to find the right thing to say when a guy confronts you for staring at his wife’s chest, so I said nothing. I merely refocused my attention on my beverage and returned to my seat, happy to have my neck still intact.

When I got back to my table, I noticed a flier advertising the specials available at Souplantaion in the coming week. And I’ll be darned if grilled chicken breasts weren’t on the top of the list.

The Slurpee Incident

My dentist told me six months ago that I have two cavities. He knows this because his evil henchwoman shoved those huge cardboard x-ray tabs into my grill, covered me with a 20-pound lead blanket and aimed a huge bazooka right at my cheek. He showed me the x-rays and cordially invited me back to his office a week thereafter for the requisite needles and drilling and blood-soaked cotton balls. I accepted his invitation with complete passive-aggressive enthusiasm.

"Sure, doc," I said. "I'll see you then. I'm looking forward to it."

Naturally, I ditched the appointment because I’m a complete wuss when it comes to having people I don’t know fishing around in my mouth with sharp objects and power tools. Guess that rules out a career in porn for me, huh?

I have let the cavities fester and grow to the point that I can now store loose change and my cell phone in them. This is a source of great humor for Hot Wife, who brushes and flosses with psychotic frequency and returns from each dentist visit making self-congratulatory claims about how spectacular the dentist thinks her teeth are. “He said that if all of his patients were like me, he’d be out of business,” she says.

“Whatever, psycho,” I respond.

My worsening dental trauma made for a crippling physical challenge this weekend. We loaded up the minivan and headed to 7-11 for a round of Slurpees on Saturday afternoon. All was well. The kids were happy. Hot Wife and her sparkling choppers were looking as beautiful as ever. And my eyebrows were freshly shaved and lathered in Old Spice. It was a perfect family day.

That euphoria bullshit ended when first sip of my Coke Slurpee burrowed its way up into the cavity in my back right upper tooth and shot a sensation of cold pain through the nerve inside it. The jolt shot down my neck, through my arm and down to my toes. My right eye slammed shut, I snorted, the Slurpee came dribbling out of my mouth, I banged my head on the steering wheel of the minivan and a little trickle of pee-pee came out of me. I screamed, which made the kids scream, and the dude from 7-11 came running outside to see if I was beating my kids or something.

“What the hell just happened?” Hot Wife asked, wondering perhaps if I had just suffered a mild stroke or, worse yet, if I had eaten one of those hot dogs they sell at 7-11 that look like a cheese-covered turd.

“Nothing, honey. It just went down the wrong pipe.”

Friday, October 22, 2004

When Going Gets Tough

I have never had the occasion to use a women’s restroom, but I can’t imagine it could possibly be as interesting and horrifying as a trip to the men’s room. I like to believe that ladies spend their bathroom time chatting, checking their mascara and gossiping that the whorish receptionist with the fake tits is schtuping the boss. I won’t even entertain the notion that women actually move their bowels in there. That’s just so unladylike.

To the contrary, a safari into the men’s room is a life-threatening journey into a lair rife with filth and obscenity and discarded pubes. Men go to the restroom to perform acts so biologically vile and putrid that to engage in such behavior in the presence of a woman would violate the foundational laws of humanity (to say nothing of one’s civil rights).

Don’t believe me? Fine. Here is a sampling of what I have seen in men’s rooms this week alone:

1) There is a man in my office building who turns the simple act of defecation into a gospel music concert. I walked into the bathroom the other day and, although I could not see him, I got the distinct impression that he was trying to pass a small import sedan through his anus. “Oh, sweet Jesus…frpt….oh, lord mercy…frrptFRAAAAP…oh, lord, be with me, Jesus…foowahwahwaaaaaah…” And then there was silence. Moments later, after I had returned to my desk, the receptionist’s voice blared over the intercom. “Will the owner of a brown Mitsubishi please return to the men’s room. You’re double-parked.”

2) When I was at the bookstore yesterday, I set down the issue of Auto Upholstery Weekly (the swimsuit issue) I was reading and retired to the facilities. One of the two urinals was available, the other occupied by a bearded man in a leather jacket. I unzipped and began to, you know, go. I noticed almost immediately that the grizzly dude next to me was peeing with such superhuman velocity that his flow actually made a hissing sound, as if it was being shot out of a pressure hose. Suddenly, the sound stopped. Was he done? Sadly not. What followed was the kind of fart that would be funny if it came from John Belushi on a movie screen, but not the kind that’s funny if you’re standing a foot an a half away from it. It was long and loud and forceful and I swear I heard the guy’s butt cheeks clapping together from the power of it. And then he started peeing again.

3)During dinner at a Mexican restaurant this week, Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son told me he needed to go pee-pee (his words, not mine). We marched off to The Little Amigos’ Room, locked the stall door and pulled down his Buzz Lightyear underpants together. As he began to pee, I made sure that he wasn’t reverting back to his old game of resting his happy bag on the toilet. Without warning, my son got his first-ever attack of the pee chills. His little body shivered violently, thereby sending his spray back and forth across the stall like a garden hose that had been cranked to full blast without anyone holding it. The industrial green metal walls of the stall, the toilet paper rack, the terra cotta floor tiles and the toilet itself were doused with my son’s urine. I thought momentarily about trying to dab it up with the one-ply TP, but then I came to my senses. “Come on, bud,” I said, pulling my son’s undies up. “Let’s go wash our hands and get out of here. Our chimichangas are getting cold.”

4)I was taking a leak at the office when Annoying Co-Worker Bob came in, walked up to the urinal next to me and began talking about the Boston Red Sox. As he spoke and peed, he was looking at me.

“See that game last night?” he asks.

“Yeah,” I say, staring at the wall in front of me. Unfortunately, I am not able to urinate and speak simultaneously. I have to interrupt my flow to answer each question.

“Man, I hate the fucking Yankees. Who do you want to win?

“Boston.” God, please make him shut up and look away.

“But wait,” he says. “I thought you were an Angel fan.”

I stop peeing. I maintain my gaze at the wall. I speak, angrily: “Bob, I’m trying to take a piss. Can you please stop talking to me? And for God’s sake, man, keep your eyes on your own wiener!”

“Geez,” he says, apparently surprised by my outrage. “Sorrrrrry.”

I finish my business in peace, zip up and walk over to the sink. Bob does the same and begins washing his hands in the next sink over.

“Hey, Danny,” he says sheepishly.

“Yeah, Bob.”

“I didn’t know you were Jewish.”

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sandwiched In

There is a shopping center near my office. I go there sometimes to browse in the bookstore or slurp down an iced venti decaf soy latte or to buy expensive presents for Hot Wife (who incidentally is not pleased about my last post – sorry, honey). I do not, however, go to this mall to eat submarine sandwiches. But that hasn’t stopped one evil sandwich restaurant franchisee from trying to weigh me down with his unsolicited propaganda every time I go there.

This particular sandwich shop, which uses a former fatass named Jared to promote its foot-long shitbombs, has seen fit to station a day laborer in a yellow visor right at the entrance to the mall. This person is loaded down with a stack of red coupons and it is his job to accost each visitor to the center and shove these coupons into their hands, faces, pockets, rectums, noses or any other exposed orifice. God help you in you’re not wearing pants in his presence.

Granted, this is by no means a unique scenario. Nuisance marketers like this dude are stationed in practically every public place in America. Some even come to your house and offer you literature about how their version of the heavenly father can save your soul from eternal damnation (which clearly illustrates the fact that they haven’t read my blog and thusly learned that my ass is way, way beyond saving, what with the farting and nose-picking and eyebrow-shaving and all). Generally, these pests can be shooed away with a polite “No thanks” or, in the case of the door-to-door religion salespeople, a warning that failure to vacate the premises will result in my turning on the hose and dousing them with blood, which runs red and pure from the garden hose behind them. Works every time. Try it.

But the sandwich guy at the mall is persistent. He’s been listening to too many Zig Ziglar tapes – the ones that say “no” is just a shorter version of “yes.” I wave off his first attempt to hand me coupons and continue my march towards Barnes & Noble.

“But, sir,” he says, following me, “you can get a Zesty Chicken Teriyaki Club combo meal for just $4.99.”

“I already ate, pal.”

“Well, do you have plans for lunch tomorrow?,” he persists.

“No,” I say, turning to face him, “but if you don’t leave me alone right now, I’m going to come back here and eat your children for lunch tomorrow. Now back off, buttface!”

One would think such a harshly worded threat from a skinny, big-nosed Jewish beanpole like me would deter even the most violent marketer, but my counterpart doesn’t blink.

“Oh, that’s a good one, sir,” he says, grinning that fake marketer’s smile. “But maybe someone you work with likes good sandwiches at a great price. Why not take him a coupon?”

This guy is good. Scary good. I realize that I have but two options: a) take the fucking coupon and let him win, or b) raise my game to another level and go home happy. I hate to lose. I choose b. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years on this planet, it’s that nothing scares people away like a good, old-fashioned pretend grand mal seizure.

With that, I drop to the ground, stick my tongue out and start to convulse like a horny poodle on a hairy man’s leg. People around me scream. Someone hollers, “Call 911! This dude’s flatlining!” The sandwich dude’s face turns bleach white. He’s stunned. It’s working!

Finally, he turns around and starts to run away. He’s gone and I’ve won the battle, but I remain on the ground convulsing to sell the act a little more (but what I really want to do is direct). I think the paramedics might arrive soon and wonder to myself if I should get up soon, lest I be shocked with the defibrillator or given a shot of adrenaline in the chest like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.

But just as I’m about to get up and dust myself off, the sandwich dude reappears. He pushes his way through the crowd and stands right above me for a moment.

Then he stuffs one of his coupons into my shirt pocket and runs off again.

“Nice try, bastard!” he yells, his voice growing fainter with each step. “Have a nice day.”

Off The Hook

There are three cordless telephones in our home – one in the kitchen and two in the master bedroom (one on each side of the bed, which I like to call “The Workbench”). One might be inclined to think that three cordless phones in a house as modestly sized as ours is a bit overindulgent, but I assure you that all three are absolutely necessary. Why? Because Hot Wife has a mental block that prevents her from returning a phone to its base when she finishes a call.

Despite my repeated objections, Hot Wife puts the phone down right where she’s standing when a call ends – in the garage, in the trunk of her car, in the bathtub. I once heard a ringing coming from inside the microwave. This particular psychosis has on more than one occasion necessitated that engage in a wild scavenger hunt through our home, trying to find the location of a ringing phone before the fifth ring. Toes have been stubbed. Children have been sent flying through the air. Neighbors have seen me bolt naked into the garage (and I weep for them because if they didn’t know I was Jewish before then, they certainly know now).

Recently, when one of our cordless phones died, I replaced it with a phone that has a red light on the tip of the antenna. When the phone rings, the red light flashes. I am inclined to believe that this feature was made for hearing-impaired folks, but since Hot Wife apparently can’t hear my screams of panic and frustration about this issue, we’ll go ahead and call her hearing impaired, too.

The Light Phone hasn’t changed a thing. To the contrary, it has exacerbated the situation by empowering Hot Wife to believe I’ll be able to find the phone regardless of its hiding place because, hey, it’s ringing and flashing.

I have considered the following solutions to this problem (but ruled most out because they are considered, at best, misdemeanors):

1) Tethering a wireless phone to Hot Wife’s hand with twine and staples.

2) Attaching the phone to Hot Wife’s ear with safety pins or solder.

3) Drafting a contract that requires Hot Wife to have conjugal relations with me every time she leaves a phone off the hook (Editor’s Note: Yeah, right).

I have, however, devised what I believe to be an acceptable compromise. Each time Hot Wife leaves the phone off the hook, I will post one secret about her on this blog. And since I found the phone from my side of The Workbench in the kids’ bathroom last night, we’ll commence with the public ridicule now:

(Cue trumpets and dancing girls)

EMBARASSING SECRET NO. 1 ABOUT HOT WIFE
She cuts the loudest farts in our household – and there really isn’t a close second.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Sky Is, In Fact, Falling

If you want a good laugh, watch the local news broadcasts in Southern California when it’s raining here:

“Good evening, Los Angeles. I’m Bart Finklestein and we’re on Storm Watch tonight. We have live team coverage this evening of the massive storm that has ravished the Southland with almost a quarter-inch of rain today. We’ll start our coverage tonight by going live to Bernie Bumblefuck in Santa Monica, where a man was forced to open his umbrella before going outside to smoke a Kool this afternoon. Bernie, what do you have for us?...”

I have been told by more than one Easterner that our pansy reaction to such harmless “weather” is ridiculous, and I usually agree with them. But while I was outside in my sweatpants in the rain this morning, channeling the rising flood waters away from my home with a push broom and a bucket, I vowed to greet any Eastern weather snob I hear from today with a freshly hocked loogie right between the eyes.

Overnight, the area around Evans World Headquarters got quite a bit of rain. I’m no Flip Spiceland, but I’d guess it was about three inches. The pelting downpour woke Hot Wife and me up at 4:30 a.m., whereupon I looked out the window and saw that the sidewalk in front of our house had turned into a Category 4 rapid. I tossed and turned for the rest of the morning and finally gave in at 6:00.

When I looked out the window to see the state of our backyard, I was horrified. Somehow, the white plastic backboard from Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son’s Fisher-Price basketball hoop had fallen down and landed right on top of the drain that channels runoff from the backyard down to the gutter. The result was a flooded backyard and a supremely irritated homeowner.

I went to the garage, grabbed the industrial size push broom and walked out into the pelting rain. The water came up to my bare ankles and was (by SoCal standards) freezing ass cold. I spent the next half hour pushing waves of water away from the drain and toward the street and, after my triceps grew tired from sweeping, carrying buckets of water down to the gutter. I was cold. I was wet. I was tired. I was pissed. I was hungry. I hadn’t read the sports page yet. And I wanted my mommy.

I know what you’re thinking. If I think this is bad, I should try shoveling snow first thing in the morning so I can get my car dislodged and go to work. If I think this is bad, I should try walking to work in a blizzard or waiting for a train in sub-zero temperatures.

The thing is, I live in Southern Fucking California. When you choose where you want to live, you also choose what kinds of natural disasters you get to endure. As such, I’m prepared for earthquakes and wildfires and sightings of shirtless men with man boobs and back hair. But torrential downpours and flooding weren’t in the brochure.

I demand an investigation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A Screeching Halt

I was hungry on my way to work yesterday, so I did what any patriotic American would do: I stopped at McDonalds.

In the period that has passed since I last ate quote breakfast unquote at the world’s favorite dealer of edible evil, a new tool of Satan has rolled out: the sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle. The picture on the drive-thru menu looked yummy, so I ordered combo No. 9 with a Diet Coke, paid my $3.98 and heeded the scary, hair-netted weirdo’s admonition to “Have a nice day.”

When I reached the first of many complete stops on the road (for those who have never experienced the unbridled joy of rush hour on the 55 Freeway, I’ll describe for you it in one word: gridlock), I unwrapped my McGriddle and took a bite. It was the best thing I have ever tasted. The buns on the sandwich are made to taste like syrup-soaked pancakes. Leave it to The Evil Empire of McDonalds to make something that’s probably made from cow uterus and pig piss to taste like pure mapley goodness.

My outlook on the McGriddle changed drastically when I started to chew. There was something hard in my mouth (get your minds out of the gutter, you sick, sick, bastards – I’m talking about my breakfast!). I bit down again and felt a stubborn little ball of mass between my teeth. I spit it out into my hand and simply could not identify it. Was it gristle? Rubber? Perhaps a crack rock?

Traffic began to move again and I slowly took my foot off of the brake. But I was still concerned about what I was eating (should have thought about that before pulling into McDonalds I guess, but hey, live and learn). I looked down at my McGriddle to see if any other foreign objects were in my path. As I inspected and prodded with my finger, something big and shiny came into my peripheral vision. It was moving. And it was getting bigger.

It was the car in front of me.

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt!

I slammed on the brake and came to a screeching halt barely two inches from the big blue Cadillac Escalade in front of me. I had become so entranced by the alien invasion in my McBreakfast that I forgot rule No. 1 from driver’s training: “Forget about your breakfast and watch the road, you idiot.”

My Diet Coke went flying into the windshield and my hash browns became lodged in the CD player. The driver of the Escalade stuck his head out the window, looked back at me and mouthed some words that I presume should not have been spoken in front of my children. I couldn’t hear them over the pounding of my own chest.

After a moment, my cardiac rhythm normalized and my attention turned back to the substance of the breakfast that almost killed me. I was no longer curious; I was pissed. I’ll be darned if I’m going to let a pig piss pancake sandwich get me killed. I rolled down the window and chucked the sandwich out the window and into the center median on the freeway.

I watched in my rearview mirror as the cement truck behind me ran over the McGriddle and turned it into McRoad Kill. And I made a solemn vow right then that I will never eat at McDonald’s again.

But I did eat the hash browns.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Mouse Incident

I recently reconnected with an old friend named Craig. This is my favorite story about him:

When we were 18, Craig and I were co-counselors for a cabin full of nine-year-olds at a summer camp in the Santa Monica mountains. Everyday after lunch, the campers and counselors would retreat to the cabins for an hour of quiet time. Craig and I would try to sleep after a late night of sneaking over to the girl counselors’ cabins to try to get some nookie, but we would invariably spend the whole hour admonishing the yappy kids to shut up.

One day during quiet time, a ruckus broke out. The boys started squealing and screaming and running around like banshees. I popped up from my bunk ready to do some ass-chewing.

“What’s going on in here?” I grumbled.

In unison, the boys pointed to the back corner of the cabin and squealed, “A mouse! A mouse! There’s a mouse in the cabin!”

I borrowed a flashlight from one of the boys, knelt down and shined the light under a steel bunk-bed in the back of the room. Sure enough, there was a dark gray mouse huddling in the corner of the cabin, shivering with fear and cocking its head back and forth.

The boys were in complete spaz mode. Their shrill screams could no doubt be heard in other nearby cabins and it must have sounded like an axe murder was occurring under our watch. I knew the only way to quiet the kids was to get the mouse out of our cabin, pronto.

I went back to the front of the cabin and huddled with Craig. We decided to use what we called The Hockey Method to rid the critter from our domain: I would get down and prod the mouse with a broom and, once he was in position, sweep him toward Craig, who would be standing near the door. Craig would then use a second broom to the sweep the little bastard out the door and back into nature. “He shoots, he scores!”

An important side note here: Craig is six-foot-nine and about 230 pounds of beefy bigness. And he was barefoot.

We stationed the boys on their beds and I got down on my knees to set the plan into action. Miraculously, my first poke at the mouse did the trick. The rodent felt the tickle of my broom and took off – zzzzzzip – right past me, and right toward Craig.

Craig had knelt down to watch me work on the mouse and was completely shocked when the varmint came bolting out of the corner and right at him. Craig was spooked, and in a purely reflexive action, he got to his feet and jumped to get out of the mouse’s way. Unfortunately for the mouse, Craig timed his jump poorly.

Craig’s heel landed right on top of the mouse.

And he was barefoot.

The mouse didn’t know what hit it. Its body popped under Craig’s weight and made a sound that I have never forgotten. It was like a great, big, fat person sitting on a whoopee cushion filled with ketchup. Blood and guts squirted out everywhere.

Craig ran screaming from the cabin and began to drag his bare foot across the dirt, trying relentlessly to scrape the mouse’s squished intestines and brain matter from his naked size 14 sole. He yelped so loudly and so long – “Oh my god! It’s on me! Get it off! Oh my god!” – that the entire camp came bolting out of its respective cabins to see what had happened. The boys doubled over, cracking up with a mixture of horror and delight. And I laughed until winter.

It was, and still is, the funniest thing I have ever seen.

Potty Mouth

Notwithstanding the changing of diapers soiled with undigested raisins, the most severe challenge I have confronted as a father is training myself not to curse in front of the kids. Cursing is a tool for the powerless, and it’s clear that I am completely at the mercy of my kids.

Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son was sitting on the living room floor yesterday, trying to put on his underwear. He’s still working to master the skill of getting himself dressed and his attempts often end with him lying face down on the ground, crying hysterically and pounding the floor in frustration. Yesterday, after mistakenly putting both legs into the same leg opening in his underpants on three consecutive attempts, he resorted to the tactics of his dear old dad:

“Aaaargh! Dammit!”

I don’t believe “dammit” is technically a curse word (I think I heard Barney say it to one of those brats on his show just the other day -- "Move, kid! You're in my light, dammit!"), but the point was made. My attempts to clean up my filthy mouth are failing miserably and the kids are taking note. Shit.

As the day dragged on, the issue stayed fresh in my mind. To my own amazement, I was able to self-edit in a series of situations that would normally have precipitated a string of expletives that would make my mother spit out her teeth and bash my ass with a rolling pin:

1) After the crescendo of my weekly Sunday Morning Dump –- the big one, with the sports page and a Diet Coke and a plunger within arm’s reach –- I reached out for the toilet paper and found nothing but a spent brown roller. My blood boiled at the notion of waddling out to the garage with my skivvies around my ankles. The naughty words were in transit from my brain to my mouth, but I stopped them and tried to clean it up. “God Fries His Mother-Loving Donuts! This sucks!” To avoid contaminating your sensibilities, I won’t tell you how the story ends. But let’s just say I wasn’t able to finish reading the sports page.

2) When she gets tired, Adorable Daughter wants to watch videos. Immediately. Right in the middle of the football game, she started yanking on my shorts and pleading to see her favorite friends on TV. “Daddy! Barney! Dora! Barney! Dora! Daddy! Barney! Dora! Dora! Dadeeeeeheeeeheeeeeeee!” I could ignore her no longer, and again I had to clean up my frustrated response for her consumption. “Alright! Alright! Will you just shut the...front door?!”

3) The baseball game went into extra innings last night. Hot Wife will humor me from time to time by watching a few innings of a game she really has no interest in, but she reached her tolerance threshold in the 10th inning last night and began to badger me about seeing what else was on. “Honey, the Red Sox have runners at first and third and you want me to flip to Desperate Housewives? Falafel that.”

Hot Wife stormed off to the bedroom and I suddenly found myself alone with the remote control (which I submit to you is the next best thing to rapture for men everywhere). Peace. Quiet. Kids are sleeping. Hot Wife is doing Down Dog or some other yoga weirdness at the other end of the house. No fragile ears to defile. Silence.

And all was right in the motherfucking world.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Revolution

I started a riot today.

After a morning of solo fatherhood while Hot Wife was away at Aerobics Instructor Training Camp (I asked if I could tag along and ogle all of the other hot wives and girlfriends, but my request was met with a roundhouse to the jaw and a kick in the nards), I crept away to see a movie. Some people think going to the movies by oneself is weird, but those folks clearly haven’t had the pleasure of a night at the megaplex with Hot Wife, who finds demented satisfaction in sneaking a bag of burned microwave popcorn into the theatre in her purse.

After a brief wait in line, I reach the box office window, lean into the little speaker and ask the woman in the blue blazer for a ticket to Friday Night Lights.

“One adult for Friday Night Lights,” she repeats back, punching my request into a touch screen in front of her. “That’ll be $9.25, sir.”

I pause, much the way I did after the aforementioned kick in the nards. Nine twenty-five? For a matinee?

“Are you sure that’s right?” I ask her.

“Yes, sir,” she says. “Nine twenty-five. Uh-huh.”

Fucking bitch.

I very reluctantly slide a $20 bill through the window. As she reaches for it, I’m tempted to grab her wrist and yank on it hard so she hits her head on the plexiglass. But that would be bad, so I don’t.

In stunned silence, I grab my ticket and march into the theatre lobby toward the snack bar. As I walk, I hear a couple behind me commiserating about the fact that they have just spent this month’s mortgage payment on two tickets to a Queen Latifah movie. I turn to face them.

“I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but overhear what you were just saying, and I totally agree,” I say. “Nine and a quarter for a movie ticket is criminal.”

“Seriously,” the guy says. The vein in the middle of his forehead is bulging out. “Someone has to do something about that.” I like the sound of that. It reminds me of Norma Rae standing up with the “Union” sign held high above her head.

We continue to talk as we shuffle through the snack line and others who have heard our indignance and bitterness join in the conversation. Soon there are raised voices. Picket signs pop up, one reading, “Century Theatres, get your hand out of my pocket!”

I arrive at the snack bar cash register with my medium popcorn and medium Diet Coke in hand. The cashier, a gothed-out hag with chipped black polish on her finger nails, rings up my snacks and asks me for $9.

“Fuck you, Elvira,” I bark. “Haven’t you taken enough from me?” With that, I dump my popcorn over her head, pull her collar just slightly away from her neck and pour my beverage down the front of her shirt. Her reaction seems to indicate that an ice cube has become lodged in her bra.

My act of revolution sparks pandemonium in the theatre. Popocorn and gummy worms fly through the air. An assistant manager is tossed through the Spongebob Squarepants Movie display. Little kids emerge from the theatre where Shark Tale is being screened and begin drinking Hawaiian Punch directly from the fountain.

I have Elvira in a wicked headlock when the guy with the bulging vein in his forehead taps me on the shoulder. He has a lighter in his hand.

“Come on, man!” he yells, trying to be heard above the riotous noise all around us. “Let’s torch this place before the cops get here!”

I look at my watch, then holler back.

“I can’t, dude! The previews are about to start!”

Friday, October 15, 2004

Better Latte Than Never

There is a barista at the Starbucks I frequent who was born without an internal volume control.

“HI. WELCOME TO STARBUCKS. WHAT CAN I GET FOR YOU TODAY?”

Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue for me. She yells. Big deal. But seeing as how I have developed a bit of a complex about the drink I order, I’d prefer not to have it broadcast to the whole store via this woman’s superhuman windpipe.

See, my theory is that the longer the name of your Starbucks drink of choice, the more high-maintenance and needy you are. Someone ordering a venti drip, for example, is a stable, normal, well-adjusted human being. To the contrary, the patron with the venti Americano with an add shot and two pumps of hazlenut syrup is severely disturbed and likely to be keeping a sex slave in the dungeon below his house.

When I order my drink, I know what it says about me: it says I’m completely whacked. That’s why sharing my drink order with Ms. Happy Lungs is such a sphincter-tightening proposition. My insanity is about to be revealed to the whole store.

“Um, hi,” I say. “I’d like an iced venti decaf soy latte. And a piece of banana bread.”

For a moment, there is silence. Perhaps I’ve escaped her wrath.

But then…

“ICED VENTI DECAF SOY LATTE. DO YOU WANT WHIP?”

Every head in the store whips around and leers at me. A couple in the corner whispers to each other. The customers behind me in line take a step backward. I hear someone mumble the word “Zoloft.”

“No,” I say, mortified. “No whip.”

“ICED VENTI DECAF SOY LATTE, NO WHIP. AND A PIECE OF BANANA LOAF. WILL THAT BE ALL, YOU SAD, PATHETIC, NEEDY SON OF A BITCH?”

“Yes,” I say sheepishly. “That’ll do it.”

“OK. SO THAT’S THE ICED VENTI DECAF SOY LATTE AND A PIECE OF BANANA LOAF. CAN I GET YOUR NAME?”

“It’s Danny.”

“OK, CRAZY, FUCKED-UP DANNY. YOUR TOTAL COMES TO FIVE-FORTY-FIVE.”

I hand her six dollars and seriously consider changing my order to a tall mocha, just to prove to Happy Lungs and these other rude people that I’m not as crazy as a five-word coffee order indicates.

She hands me my change and I shuffle away, my head hung low. The humiliation I will endure for a five-dollar cup of coffee borders on psychotic.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Evans Method

I have spent the last two days at an off-site meeting for work – the kind where they drag the whole team to a frigid hotel conference room and subject us to a litany of boring PowerPoint presentations and stale chocolate chip cookies. Fortunately, the meeting was in a city 45 minutes from my home, which meant I had an hour and a half each day of prime nose-picking time on the freeway.

I am really, really good at picking my nose. If there was a professional nose picking league, I would be its Michael Jordan. To the chagrin and horror of Hot Wife, I have mastered my own proprietary technique for removing any and all mucus-based obstructions from my nasal airway. The patent for The Evans Method is still pending, but I will describe it in as much detail as possible without involving lawyers.

1. The Evans Method involves the use of two fingers: the index finger for larger, more accessible intruders and the pinky finger for harder-to-get rafter-dwellers.

2. Begin by inserting the index finger with the palm of your hand aimed toward your face. The index finger should be used initially as a probe. Can you feel any uninvited guests? If so, is their consistency “Original Recipe” or “Extra Crispy?” This calculation is absolutely critical.

3. If you detect a slimy, original recipe booger, abort The Evans Method and grab a Kleenex. ORBs (Original Recipe boogers) are devastatingly unpredictable and threaten to end up on your upper lip or (God forbid) in your mouth if not handled properly.

4. The detection of an ECB (Extra Crispy Booger) initiates Phase II of The Evans Method. Still using the index finger, pin the offending mucus against the nasal wall and rotate your finger and palm outward. After ensuring that you have a secure grasp, slide the ECB down and out of the nasal cavity. Roll it into a ball between your thumb and forefinger and flick it out the window of your vehicle.

5. In the event that the ECB escapes your grasp and flees northward toward your brain, remove your index finger, wipe it on your shirt and insert your pinky into the same nostril. Given its thinner, more streamlined shape, the pinky can access the farthermost regions of the nostril without stretching it out like the hoo-hoo of a mother giving birth. Continue as you did in Step 3.

6. If an ECB flees too far north and becomes inaccessible via digital proboscis, resort to the Snot Rocket technique. Pinch closed the unaffected nostril with your index finger, aim your head away from small children or open flames, and blow your nose into the air. If executed properly, the offending snot will blast out of your nose and into the atmosphere. This technique has been perfected by professional athletes worldwide.

I invite you to order my exciting new audiotape series, “The Evans Method: How To Get Up There Where It’s Pink,” which is available exclusively to Human Writes readers for three easy installments of $19.95. I am also available for private consultations.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Ho Depot. We Can Do You. You Can Help.

Hot Wife called me at work yesterday to ask if I would stop on the way home to get a bag of food for Weak-Bladdered Dog. Such a loaded question.

Weak-Bladdered Dog doesn’t eat normal dog food. Dog Chow and the like, which are easy to find and relatively inexpensive, cause Weak-Bladdered Dog to itch spastically, gain weight, pee on the carpet, develop inner-ear infections, sing showtunes in the middle of the night and display symptoms of doggy Tourette’s Syndrome: “Bark. Wooop! Bark. Fuck it. Bark.”

So to keep Weak-Bladdered Dog in good physical health, we have to visit the Pet Hospital and schlep home a 30-pound bag of specially formulated food that, based on the price, must be made of crushed diamonds and beluga caviar. No joke: $52 for 30 pounds.

But the real reason for my hesitation about getting food for the dog is that it requires a stop at what I call “The Ho Depot.” I call it that because every one of the 19-year-old girls who works at the Pet Hospital dresses and makes herself up in a way more suited to a night performing in a titty bar than an afternoon shepherding mastiffs and retrievers back for distemper shots.

I approach the reception desk and Ho #1, whom we’ll call Bambi, rises to greet me. Bambi is wearing a tight-fitting black blouse with a neck plunge so severe that I can see what she ate for breakfast. Her boobies are clamoring to be set free from the push-up bra they’ve been stuffed into, and Bambi smells as though she has recently bathed herself in an eyeglass-fogging, septum-searing perfume from the cosmetic counter at Target.

“Hi,” she squeaks. “Can I help you?”

“Hi,” I say, my eye starting to water from her Eau de Tramp. “I need a 30-pound bag of Overpriced Dog Food.”

She giggles. “Oh. I think that’s the bag that’s too heavy for me to lift. Let me call for some help.”

Bambi picks up the phone, punches a couple of buttons with her acrylic nails, and her voice trumpets out through the intercom. “Jesse, can you please bring a 30-pound bag of Overpriced Dog Food to the reception desk. Jesse, 30 pounds of ODF to reception please.”

Within minutes, Ho #2, Jesse, arrives with a small handcart in tow. My dog food is here, but I can’t take my eyes off of Jesse’s horrendously misshapen breasts. She has had some work done, but it appears her surgeon was Stevie Wonder. One boob is pointing directly down at the floor. The other is staring at me, checking me out, wondering perhaps if I am a talent scout for Hustler Magazine. Her hair is blonde, her make-up caked on and she is wearing clothes that – and I mean this sincerely – my daughter will never come anywhere close to. The fatherly instincts in me want to ask Jesse to put on a sweater.

She speaks. “Good timing, sir. You got the last bag.”

To distract myself, I dig into my pocket and pull out some cash. I take out $50 and set it on the counter. I need to pay for this food, get it out of here and take a cold shower.

“Actually,” Bambi says, “It comes to $50.05 with tax.”

“No problem,” I say, reaching back into my pocket. “I think I have a nipple in here. Nickel! I mean nickel! I’m so sorry.”

Bambi and Jesse giggle. They think I’m cute. I think they’re scary.

“Don’t worry about it, sir,” Jesse says. “It happens all the time.”

Monday, October 11, 2004

Check Please!

If you were eating dinner at Chin’s Panda Palace on Friday night, I want to extend my most sincere apology for the behavior of my family. And to the lady who my daughter covered with chicken in black bean sauce, send me the cleaning bill. I’m terribly sorry.

After The Perfect Son’s t-ball game, Hot Wife and I made a life or near-death decision in the parking lot: should we get Chinese take-out or eat at the restaurant. I tried strenuously to remind my wife how torturous our last several family meals out have been, but she said the kids had been good all day and I should just suck it up. “It’ll be fine,” she said, and I acquiesced to her hotness. I’m a sucker for short, blonde aerobics instructors with blues eyes and perfect teeth.

I should have fought harder. Not two minutes after we were seated, The Perfect Son was under the table looking for other people’s gum and Adorable Daughter was screaming for more crunchy, fried noodles: “Mah. Mah. Noonle. Noonle. Aaaaaaaaaah!” The waitresses came to our table one by one to try to distract the kids from their methodical destruction of the restaurant. One brought chopsticks, which my son stuck up his nose. One brought ice water, which my daughter dumped on the floor. One brought a big bottle of Asahi, which Hot Wife and I guzzled so as to anesthetize our dread over the catastrophic decision we’d made to bring these heathen children into a restaurant. “Bring me another,” Hot Wife bellowed, “and a straw!”

When the food came, Armageddon began. The Perfect Son demanded to be able to put his own soy sauce on his own damn rice. He picked up the bottle – the kind with holes on both ends of the pourer so as to create a flash flood of soy sauce – and drowned the table in Kikoman. Through it all, Hot Wife continued to cut beef with broccoli into small pieces. She placed the little bitelets on a plate in front of Adorable Daughter, who made it abundantly clear that she would have preferred Italian food for dinner. She began to hurl pieces of broccoli and chicken and little balls of rice at the other customers. Her curveball needs work, but her other pitches seemed to find the strike zone. Wicked change-up.

The woman in the booth behind us took the brunt of Adorable Daughter’s tantrum. She had so many chow mein noodles in her hair that she could have passed for Medusa. Her face was strewn with angst and little pieces of water chestnut. And I guarantee that she will never be able to wear that blouse again without enduring nightmarish visions of projectile moo shu pork.

Hot Wife and I looked at each other and spoke the unspoken language of parenthood -- the look that says, “On the count of three, run.” I knew what she wanted. I wanted it, too. I raised my hand to summon the waiter. When he caught my eye from across the dining room, I drew a little scribble in the air – the universal sign for “Bring me the goddamn check so I can get these dogs back to the kennel.” He obliged. We paid and got up to leave.

As we walked out the door, everyone in the restaurant clapped and cheered.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Are You There, God? It's Me, Daniel.

Dear God,

Hi. How are you? I’m fine. I know we haven’t spoken much in a forum outside of my own head since the morning of my statistics final in college, but I have something to discuss with you. I don’t have your e-mail address (your inbox is probably jammed anyway) so this seems like the next best method of communication. I’m guessing you read quite a few blogs. Isn’t Dooce.com awesome?

God, you have given me all of the things a man could want – a hot wife who teaches aerobics, a son who is working towards wiping his own tushie, a daughter who worships Barney, a dog who pees on the carpet, and a Honda CRV. I’m grateful for all of these wonderful pieces of my life – more grateful than I can articulate. But, God, I feel the need to press the bet just a little bit and make one additional request of you:

Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan if you bestowed upon me just a little more to work with on the basketball court? God, I suck, God.

You may have been watching cartoons this morning while I was at the gym, so let me briefly describe what happened. I took 20 shots over the course of two hours and made one of them. Every time I tried to grab a rebound, I came down with two hands full of air and on a few plays must have looked like I was trying to give myself a hug. Word of my aimless play began to spread through the whole gym and people poured in to watch me flail. One of my passes hit someone in the ass. And in the ultimate insult, my teammates actually began trying to coach me during the game. “Muscle that ball up to the basket, son! Quit being such a pussy.” I had more Gatorade than dignity this morning. It wasn’t pretty.

I’m at a loss, Lord. I have been playing this game since I was six years old and I haven’t gotten any better. Have I done something to piss you off? Is this about those magazines I kept under my mattress when I was a teenager?

Your Holy Immenseness, if it isn’t too much trouble, could you please find it in your Glory and Truth to bestow upon me some game. If you do, I promise to make you the first person I thank after each game. Just like the pros do.

Keep in touch.

Sincerely,
Daniel Evans

P.S. – Sorry about taking your name in vain the other day, but that canker sore really hurt.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Brow-Beaten

I’m a fraud. I am not the man I appear to be. Although I am not a closeted gay man, a covert CIA agent or a member of a secret midget fetish society, I do feel an odd sense of fraternity with people like these because I, too, harbor a deep, painful secret:

I shave my eyebrows.

There. I’ve said it.

Divulging this now is a matter of necessity, not choice. I feel it’s wise to let the world know why I walk into the video rental store with blood oozing from the top of my face and why the area just north of my nose is incessantly inflamed and pocked with stubble. As the condition of my sub-brow complexion deteriorates, I see more and more supermarket cashiers doing double-takes at my face. They look, then look away, then snap their gaze back at me again, leaning in and squinting at my brow as if they think they see a tiny pair of breasts on my forehead.

Here’s the truth: When I was in my early 20s I noticed stubble between my eyebrows. Nothing too furry, but definitely noticeable to me. And for an anxiety-ridden young man who wanted desperately to gain carnal knowledge beyond that which could be found on pay-per-view, the very possibility that this might ultimately bloom into follicular Fallujah was reason enough to drag a razor across it. I thought it would be a one-time occurrence, but the stubble reappeared almost daily, and creating a river of baldness between my brows became part of my morning routine. Without this critical grooming step, I would have looked like a native of Chernobyl by lunchtime.

All was well for almost 15 years. I went to college. I married Hot Wife. We had two kids. I was, for all intents and purposes, a normally browed man. But the situation has become quite dire in the past year. The stubble has crept down my brow and onto the bridge of my nose. And as if looking like a goddamn cat isn’t misery enough, I have also been stricken with a raging case of razor burn, a malady that combines the most gruesome and insidious elements of an allergic bee sting reaction and “morning dick” and burrows itself smack dab into the middle of my face. The way it has caused my forehead to jut out, I’ll easily pass for Frankenstein at the company Halloween party this year, sans costume. “Oh my gosh, Catherine, look! It’s so lifelike.”

And it continues. Each morning I lather my cheeks, chin and lip with shaving cream and finish with a little dollop between my eyebrows. When everything else is baby’s bottom smooth, I put the razor in the middle of my forehead and drag it straight down until I reach the bridge of my nose. About once a week, I open up a gusher. Trust me: you haven’t lived until you’ve hobbled into a packed Starbucks with a wad of toilet paper sealing a wound between your eyes. “What are you people staring at? I…am not…an animaaaaaaaal!”

I have entertained the idea of having my unibrow waxed, but I can’t let go of the vision of the attendant snickering through the process and then mistakenly ripping my whole face off when she yanks the wax forward. I’m not trying to be a wimp, but I’m using my face right now and I just can’t afford to have it removed. So I’ll live with my deformity for now.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Wipeout

The Perfect Son and I have a regular morning ritual: while I’m getting ready for work, he comes into the bathroom and takes a dump. We talk. He grunts. I gag. And when he’s finished “dropping the kids off at the pool,” I wipe his tush and send him on his way. I’ve tried several times to enlist him to wipe his own bottom, but his typical four-year-old impatience and inaccuracy usually leave his underpants looking like a catastrophic workplace mishap at the Tootsie Roll factory.

During our Poo-Poo Pow-Wow this morning, The Perfect Son asked the following question: “Daddy, is this tomorrow?”

Such a simple question, but at 7:21 in the morning – before I have had my Fiber One or said one insulting thing about Matt Lauer – dumbing it down for the lad was an exercise in futility. I would have had an easier time providing a high-level overview of quantum physics than answering this riddle.

“Well, that depends, buddy. If someone said tomorrow yesterday, they mean today. OK? But if they said tomorrow today, then they mean tomorrow. See? Because tomorrow means the day after today. So when did someone say tomorrow?”

The Perfect Son looks at me but says nothing. He’s pooping.

“…because yesterday mommy bought me a sugar cookie and she said I could have half now and the other half tomorrow. So…[grunt]… because… [grunt]… you know … I just want to know if it it’s tomorrow so I can have the rest of my cookie.”

“You haven’t even eaten breakfast yet, pal,” I say, wiping the excess shaving cream off of my face. “How about if we go out and have some Raisin Bran right now and we’ll talk about the cookie tonight.”

Again no response.

“Daddy?”

“Yeah, bud.”

“I’m done going poo-poo.”

I have two children under five years old, which means I have been changing diapers and wiping cute, squishy little tushies since the Clinton administration. But I still haven’t gotten used to the idea of looking at another person’s dung, even that of my own offspring. The Perfect Son assumes the position as I unspool 20 yards worth of Quilted Northern and wrap it around my hand, wrist and forearm. I lean over to do the deed and I see that my son has deposited a steamer the size of a Ford Escort into the toilet. I don’t know whether to be proud or horrified.

“Do you feel OK, bud?” I ask.

“Yeah. Can I have my cookie now?”

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Hot Wife Can Beat You Up

I made peace long ago with the fact that I am not a terribly attractive human being. I went through my youth thinking I was at least moderately handsome, and then one day I looked in the mirror and realized I look like Ichabod Crane. My atom’s apple is the size of a granny smith, I currently do not own a chin, and let's not even talk about my nose.

I believed throughout my high school and college years that my homely appearance would banish me to a lifetime of wedded misery to an equally haggard spouse. We’d have a few ugly kids and spend every Friday night picking peas and carrots out of her yellow teeth after a visit to Hometown Buffet. “Hey, here’s a good one, honey. Looks like we have lunch for tomorrow.”

Yet somehow, through a stroke of good fortune I have attributed to payback for my years of suffering through my sister’s flute lessons, I ended up with Hot Wife. An important distinction must be made here: Hot Wife is not hot compared to me, which would be akin to saying mint chip ice cream tastes good compared to a mouthful of dog shit. Hot Wife is just plain hot. In comparison to everything. And if you touch her I’ll kill you.

Hot Wife reached lofty new heights of hotness this week with the revelation that she wants to become an aerobics instructor.

Let me say that again.

MY WIFE IS GOING TO BE AN AEROBICS INSTRUCTOR.

I just find that so incredibly sexy. I sometimes see guys who stand at the window and eyeball the aerobics instructors with such ferocity that the manager has to ask them to stop licking the windows. Why the ogling? Because aerobics instructors are fit, they’re healthy, they’re bouncy, they wear tight clothes that don’t cover their midriffs and most of them can kick my ass and drink a smoothie at the same time. Now, despite my appearance, one of them is going to be sleeping in my bed and putting her freezing cold feet on me in the wintertime. I haven’t read the handbook, but I believe her hotness makes me hot by association.

I didn’t attend my 10-year high school reunion because I was a loser with no friends in high school and I didn’t care to relive that hell. We may have been a decade older but there were no guarantees that the jocks had grown out of their desire to squeeze my head into a locker and dump my Thermos full of Spaghetti-Os into my backpack. But with my 20-year reunion looming and Hot Wife engaging in a career in studliness, the thought of attending seems more appealing.

To wit, a reunion-related daydream from earlier this afternoon:

“Hey, guys,” I say, tapping Butch, the biggest and most ruthless of the neckless goons, on the shoulder. “How’s it going? Remember me?”

“Oh, yeah,” Butch says. “You’re that dork. Gimme $20 or I’ll pound your scrawny ass like I used to after gym class.”

Say I: “Sorry, Butch. All I have is hundreds. Oh, by the way, I’d like to introduce you to my wife, Hot Wife, The Aerobics Instructor.”

It becomes a blur at this point. Hot Wife’s arms and legs begin to flail violently in Butch’s direction.

There is blood. It’s Butch’s.

There is screaming. That’s Butch’s, too.

In an instant, it’s over. Butch lies on the floor, groaning and holding his testicles. Hot Wife runs her right index finger across her right eyebrow and flicks a little ball of sweat onto Butch’s wrecked carcass. Then she grabs my hand, escorts me to the dance floor and we do The Chicken Dance until dawn.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Don't Tread On Me

We have lived in our home for more than five years and have never initiated a home improvement project more severe than cleaning the lint screen on the dryer. Our rather sedentary home ownership style is a direct result of the fact that I am scarcely handy enough to wipe my ass, let alone engage in full-blown home maintenance. Combine my 10 thumbs with Hot Wife’s venomous resistance to spending money and what you have is a home that looks strikingly like the outhouse from Little House on the Prarie.

Today, however, is a landmark day at Evans World Headquarters. As I blog, a crew of brave souls is removing the dog-piss-stained, Juicy-Fruit-encrusted, mildewed carpet that spans the width of our abode and replacing it with a pristine sheet of light tan, stain-resistant perfection. Can I get an Amen?

The newly departed carpet has been the bane of our home for years. Once, when I was a child, we were invited for dinner at the home of a family friend. In the middle of their white carpet was a gargantuan, red stain allegedly left by a spilled cup of strawberry soda (it looked more like a crime scene to me). I have never forgotten that stain. And I’m certain that any pour soul who has visited our home in the last several years will not forget the makeshift shrine to dog urine that proudly rings the area of carpet behind our living room couch. Once when I was wrestling back there with Left-Handed, Power-Hitting Son, I noticed that my face had landed right in the middle of the pee stains. I threw up in my mouth.

Alas, the embarrassment that was our carpet is on its way to a landfill. And the imminent beautification of our home has inspired Hot Wife and me to enact the following set of New Carpet Rules for the kids to follow, lest they be shipped off to a sweatshop in Bangladesh to make Nikes for 12 cents an hour:

1) There will be no eating, drinking or chewing of gum in any carpeted area of the house.

2) There will be no urinating, defecating, spitting, wiping of picked boogers or removing of one’s diaper on the carpet (that goes for you, too, Weak-Bladdered Dog). Farting and belching are permitted. This isn’t China.

3) Whenever possible, shoes will be removed before walking on the carpet. This rule will be ignored when there are guests in our home because we don’t want anyone thinking we’re weird.

4) Left-Handed, Power-Hitting Son will no longer practice “sliding into home” on the carpet. We won’t have enough Clifford The Big Red Dog bandages to cover the rugburns you’ll get from real, live carpet.

5) All writing implements – crayons, chalk, markers, pasta sauce, Easy Cheese, pencils, phlegm, etc. – will remain no fewer than 25 yards away from the new carpet at all times. An alarm will be installed to monitor the proximity of these items to the DuPont Stain Master Plus. Any child who triggers the alarm will be restricted from watching Barney and/or forced to bat right-handed for five years.

Hot Wife and I are experiencing differing anxieties over this upgrade. She’s concerned that the carpet won’t look good (see: our recent master bathroom remodel, which melds orange tile with light blue accents in a striking design that approximates the bell-bottoms Jimmy Walker used to wear on Good Times).

My issue is that the new carpet smell won’t be strong enough for me to cop a buzz. And if you know how much new carpet costs, you know why a buzz is absolutely necessary.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Who Let The Dogs Out?

I have a bit of a lactose intolerance problem, which I believe to be standard-issue gastrointestinal inferiority among the Jewish people. I can’t think of one Member of the Tribe in my circle of friends and family who doesn’t take a certain measure of pride in clearing out a room with a pooter after a bowl of ice cream or a cheese sandwich. What can I say? It’s a gift.

When I was a child, I can remember seeing my father – a tall, robust man with a booming voice and a stoic persona – moved to tears on occasion by his own gas. We’d be sitting around watching Happy Days and my dad would unleash one of his familiar five-second window-rattlers and send my mom, my sister and me sprinting for the front door. We pulled our noses into our shirt collars as we ran and my mother, who is by no means immune from the Jewish gas gene herself, would half-teasingly scold my father.

“Howard!” she’d say indignantly, her nose pinched between her thumb and index finger. “Could you give us a little warning next time please? Jesus criminey…”

I’m amused report that a caustic intestinal tract has joined webbed toes and dashing good looks among the gifts my father has passed down. That became malodorously evident Saturday night while I stood among the heaving masses of Kerry youth in Hollywood. Chris Heinz, the remarkably Jew-haired son of Tuh-ray-zuh, was addressing the assembly and talking rather arrogantly about how he expects to see Bush waving good-bye from Marine One in January. As he spoke, I felt the familiar dairy-induced rumble in my gut. FIRE IN THE HOLE!

My first thought was panic. The second was unbearable anticipation. I had consumed three big spoonfuls of Ben & Jerry’s earlier in the day and I knew immediately that the byproduct was going to be extremely unpleasant for those around me. If I could just get this puppy out quietly, I might single-handedly turn California into a swing state.

My brow furrowed in concentration as I methodically worked the bubble south, strenuously trying to ensure that my efforts would not beget a night-spoiling deposit or a seismic rumble that would leave no doubt as to who let the dogs out. Finally, success: “Pahhhhhhhh…” A silent assassin.

There was a lag time of about three seconds. Suddenly, people began to wrinkle their noses and wipe the tears from their eyes. The guy in front of me silently mouthed “Was that you?” to his escort. Someone behind me passed out. And Heinz, who was on stage and therefore had an extra two or three seconds of oxygen (hot air rises), broke off mid-sentence, dropped the mic with a thud and sprinted off stage left.

At that moment, as I stood and observed the destruction around me, I loved my father more than ever.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Dinah Sore

I’m imagining the day that Dinah Shore’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled, probably a sun-drenched Tuesday in the 1970s. The acrid smells of AquaNet and Jean Natte permeate the air and there are orange bell-bottom pants suits everywhere. Traffic at the nearby intersection of Hollywood and Vine ambles by as Dinah and her peeps pose for pictures in front of the star, the familiar silhouette of the Capital Records building soaring behind them.

Fast-forward 30 years to Saturday night. Old Buddy Andy and I are kibitzing outside the Avalon Theatre, our gazes scanning the horizon for important people on their way into the Kerry-Edwards fundraiser. I look down and notice that my new Timberland hiking boots – which I DID NOT buy at Marshall’s – are standing on Dinah’s tarnished and slightly warn star. Out of respect, we move aside, as if perhaps Dinah is actually buried under the star.

The gig doesn’t start for 45 minutes, so we loiter outside. Lots of celebs are rumored to be on the guest list and we are therefore on StarWatch 2004. We must be quite a sight, two grown men leaning awkwardly against a portable railing, drooling for a chance to ogle Paris Hilton or Jillian Barberie. I imagine that we look like the two geeks at the dance in Sixteen Candles (one of them was John Cusak), standing out of the spotlight and wondering what it’s like to be Anthony Michael Hall putting the moves on Molly Ringwald. That was how we looked in high school and not much has changed in 16 years. Once a dork, always a dork.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a heavyset woman wearing a dozen campaign buttons and enough cleavage to hide a minivan stops in front of us, turns her body in our direction and continues a cell phone conversation AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS. It is a DEFCON 5 Personal Space Violation. Her nose is six inches from mine and she is yelling directly into my face. Her tone is pampas, her volume excessive and she is in desperate need of an Altoid.

Old Buddy Andy and I try valiantly to continue our conversation, but it’s like trying to stave off a stealth bomber with a firecracker. Our feeble lungs are no match for Jabba the Hut. We stand in silence. We stand in awe. And we pray vehemently that the ghost of Dinah Shore will rise up from her star and beat the crap out of this heathen so we can continue StarWatch 2004 is peace. Finally, Jabba hangs up and mutters something to herself about the Green Bay Packers.

Three hours later, I am sitting in my car and waiting my turn to exit the parking lot. I glance to my left and see Jabba The Hut hocking knockoff Kerry-Edwards t-shirts to passers-by on Vine Street. And for the first time, I entertain the idea of voting Republican.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Purple Haze

Looking ahead to my daughter’s wedding day, I can picture her standing under the chupah with a giant purple dinosaur in a yarmulke. “Barney, I know what a menchosaurus you are,” I’ll say to my new dino-in-law, my arm around his puffy shoulders, “but if you treat my daughter poorly, I swear to God I’ll cut up your friends B.J. and Baby Bop and feed them to you for breakfast. Coppice?”

My daughter is only 19 months old, but a lifetime of wedded bliss with Barney is the only imaginable future for her. Barney is the first word out of her mouth each morning. At night, when I carry her into her room and she realizes she’s bound for the crib, she whimpers, “Daddy, Barney. Barney. Pweese. Barney.” When her pleading and kvetching breaks Hot Wife and me down far enough, we reach for one of the easily identifiable white VHS tapes, pop it into the VCR and Adorable Daughter squeals with dino-delight: “Barney. BARNEY! BAR-NEE-HEE-HEEEE!”

This is sad and psychotic, but I fantasize that I will have Barney killed before he has a chance to whisk my precious daughter away and subject her to a lifetime of rainbows and gumdrops. I hate that Barney is always so happy (twenty bucks says he’s bipolar). I hate that he’s always using words like “stupendous” and “teee-riffic.” Call me paranoid, but I don’t think it’s right for someone who hangs around kids all the time and whose entire species died violently, what?, 50 million years ago to be so gleeful and bouncy. Didn’t he watch the debate? The world is going to shit, quicklike.

Hot Wife and I have tried virtually everything to distract Adorable Daughter from her infatuation. While Dora The Explorer has provided temporary relief (although I still don’t get why Dora has to yell all the time – “Salta! Say ‘Salta!’”), it’s clear that Adorable Daughter has one true love (well, two if you count black beans). The Wiggles can’t sing to her, Elmo’s testosterone-deficient high pitch can’t touch her, and the Teletubbies don’t even faze her. So instead of trying to distract her, I’m devising a plan to take Barney out before he takes my baby girl away from me and makes her part of his twisted dinoworld.

My plan is as follows:

I’ve sent a letter to the curator of Jurassic Park, where the real dinosaurs chill. Shortly before he proposes, I will suggest to Barney that he (it?) and I take a short father/dino-in-law weekend trip to this cozy, off-the-beaten-path island I know of. We’ll do some fishing. Play some golf. Throw down a few brews. At night, after Barney has guzzled one too many Michelob Ultras and is in the throes of a drunken slumber, I’ll sound the predetermined secret whistle that summons the velociraptors into his cabin to tear that big purple bastard limb from limb. And I will slip each of them a C-note and tell them they’ve never met me.

Adorable Daughter will no doubt be an emotional wreck from the “camping accident” that takes Barney from her, but I will assure her that it was for the best. And then I will introduce her to a rich, handsome, single doctor.