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Inspirational Reads

Down to Nine

March 24, 2011

We had some weather last night.

Hur hur hur. We have weather every night.

Last night, however, we had WEATHER, the kind Jim Cantore stands around in and masturbates to just out of the camera's eye and under a thick, blue Lands End jacket. And don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about; I know you've seen the video.

Holy smoke, Robby! Bring me another towel! I've gotta wipe up! This shit's gonna freeze and then I'll have to sandblast it out of my underwear!

After I got home from Otherwork last night, my wife and I were snuggling down into bed, she on her back, me with my hands in places they ought not to be. Bands of heavy rain had been lashing the house off-and-on for hours, sprinkled with intermittent flashes of lightning and dull roars of thunder. In short, it was a perfect rainy night in early spring.

As things were getting more sexytime in the bedroom, there was a brilliant flash of light. It was the kind that announces that a deity of some kind has just arrived and you better sit up, pay attention and write this down: There's some serious news about to be imparted from on high.

This was followed almost immediately by a crack of thunder like the world was splitting in half, and the house shook tremendously for a period of at least fifteen seconds. The roar of thunder slowly spread out across the sky, rolling away through the rain-soaked heavens, reminding others that the fury was just coming toward them and they, too, had better be ready to receive word from above.

We immediately heard the shufflings and snifflings in the hallway, and I gingerly removed my hands from those places that might lead to trouble. A moment later, a child was in the room, and a second child was standing in her room, wondering just what the fuck had happened and why is my father scribbling things down in Aramaic so furiously.

The wife returned the children to their beds, tucked them in. I looked out the window to ensure that the house was not ablaze. This seemed like enough at the time. I turned on the television, hoping to get an update on the weather. Our oh-so-reliable Time Warner Cable...was out. It took the internet with it, as we soon discovered, when the wife tried to pull the radar up on her laptop. We called Time Warner Cable, told them what happened, and then decided it was time for bed.

I carried the laptop back over to its roost. The lights were extinguished. Perhaps sexytime would start again, after Thor/Zeus/Quetzalcoatl had rudely interrupted earlier. As I was returning to bed, it happened.

I kicked the clothes basket next to the bed with my bare foot. More, I kicked the side with the open slots for vents with my pinky toe. Immediately, pain shot up my leg as my pinky toe was ripped off by the plastic edge and thrust up the side of my calf. I screamed in agony, stumbled, zombie-like, to the bed, and fell, my foot aching a sweetly sharp ache, phantom-limb-pain confusing my foot and its sudden lack of toe.

After forcing back tears--I'm a man, dammit!--exhaustion finally got the better of me, the pain finally ebbing enough for me to sleep. When the morning's light shone, I examined my once proud right foot now it all its mangled glory. A nasty gash, a toenail bent back, possible infection with gangrene. And a low, dull ache that is my new, constant companion.

Someone bring me some whisky and the bolt cutters: it's time to end this pain once and for all.

If You Give a Jenks a Cookie...

March 23, 2011

So, I've been pretty absent for a while, popping in from time to time to update you on the lives of holy people who lived countless centuries ago. Wait, what? You hadn't noticed? Oh, well, I see.

Oh, oh, so you did notice? How kind of you.

Anyway, I'll just cut to the chase: I'm a very busy man. Don't believe me, do you? Well, for starters, I work. That takes a pretty big chunk out of my week. And that's just my nine-to-five job. See, last fall I decided that crippling debt was not something I wanted to necessarily live with anymore. Ramen noodles and Hamburger Helper--while both very, very delicious--aren't really what a man hurtling toward middle age should be feeding his family of four. In that spirit, I picked up a part-time job at a certain bookstore with an ampersand in the name. And no 'S' on the end of the name, goddammit! You're standing in a bookstore! Presumably that means you can read!


I haven't made much of a to do about this because 1) who wants to admit that they're working two jobs? and 2) the store is just off the interstate, and I don't want any of you crazy fuckers showing up and shooting me with a shotgun.

As for the job itself...I actually kind of like it. For starters, the goals are pretty clearly-defined (sell books, don't piss off customers). The other added bonus is that I'm sleeping with one of the bosses. Heh heh heh. How many of you can say that?

It's true, though; my wife got promoted up to manager after I had started working there.

But, this isn't about her. This is about me, dammit.

The other nice thing is that the job comes with a lot of perks. For instance, the employee discount is teh awesome. There's also the added advantage that the store is wedged--conveniently--between Duke and UNC. Oh, look! The cafe is filled with nubile young women, and none of them have sense to put on something other than shorts and a tank top when they come to study! My my. I'm feeling thirsty. I think I'll just wander over and get a cup of water...

And then, there's the big advantage. Usually on the first Saturday of every month, during the 11:00 story hour, there's a character who comes to the store to greet the kids and wave at them and hand out cookies. When the costume showed up, there was no one on the schedule who was willing to put the costume on...except for me. I jumped at the opportunity, especially when I heard it was Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Now, here's the thing. I'm six-foot-three-and-a-half inches tall. And, well, I'll just say that my metabolism has slowed a bit since college. Yes, we'll leave it at that...The instructions for the mouse costume was for someone who is 5'7".

Comedy was sure to ensue.

Undaunted, I strapped myself into the costume. Unfortunately, when I hoisted the suspenders up over my shoulders, it pulled ass-end of the costume up with it. After much wriggling around, I was finally able to get the costume into the most comfortable crevices of my ass crack. Once the body portion was on, I was able to get the rest of my costume put on. The sleeves and feet just barely made it so that I was completely covered. And then I had to put the head on.

This fucking thing was massive, and some brilliant engineer thought "You know what? It's not enough to make it dark and hot and echo-y in here. Let's put a giant aluminum hook in it, right where it will meet the back of the costume-wearer's skull." Fucking engineers. And believe me, it was hot. And sweaty. And close. And hot and sweaty and close with a side dish of hospital antiseptic spray. Mommy! Mouse smells like debauchery and lysol!

But you know what? It was fucking awesome.

I showed up and little kids everywhere began to scream in horror delight. There were even some brave souls who decided that waving at Mouse wasn't enough; they wanted to hug Mouse! Which, you know, was cool and all, except that these little shits barely came up past my knee, which meant that to hug them, Mouse had to bend at the waist.

Now, two things here. One, I've already mentioned that the backside of the costume was riding up my ass pretty badly. Fortunately, Mouse's ass is padded and has a tail dangling down to hide any backside moose knuckle. Two, the head was just sort of precariously perched upon Mouse's shoulders. I had to do my best to bend my back and waist just enough so that the ass-end of the costume didn't bifurcate my backside any further and so that the head of Mouse didn't fall off and roll across the kids' department. Because, you know, that's not going to be traumatic or anything. And I did this all with an aluminum hook jabbing me in the back of the casaba, threating to poke a hole in my brain box and letting all my smarts ooze out the back of my head.

In the end, however, I emerged from the Mouse costume sweaty yet gratified, my underwear half-shoved up my ass, the back of my skull battered and bruised, and my entire being carrying a slight aroma of sour body and antiseptic spray. However, there were no children crying or screaming or otherwise traumatized.

I just wish that some of their MILF mothers would have wanted a hug, too.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day...Again.

March 17, 2011

Yeah, yeah, I'll get to that soon enough.

But, here, today, right fucking now, it's Saint Patrick's Day! And, in case you missed the other parts of the series, here they are in reverse order? Why? Fuck Clemson, that's why.

Part the Third
Part the Second
Part the First

Patrick kind of got things rolling around here with my modern, tangentally historical interpretations of the hagiography, so at this point it's kind of a let-down if I don't talk about him on Saint Patrick's Day. Right? Right. Let's start drinking.

At this point, though, I've pretty much tired out the legend of Saint Patrick. With that in mind, I'll try and touch on other things linked to Saint Patrick. He was probably the first missionary for the Christian world, bringing the Word of God and Teachings of Christ to the illiterate savages on the edge of the world. That last part is a fancy way of saying "Ireland".

Patrick's work in Ireland was pretty amazing. The Irish went from a people who had very little in the way of what we would think of as civilization: they didn't write many things down, they didn't have vast, sprawling cities, they painted their bodies and were savagely fierce fighters. About the only thing that they did have that we consider "civilized" was an oral language (they were fantastic story tellers) and an organized religion. As luck would have it, three happened to be a rather sacred number in the Celtic religions of the island. A lot of the gods came in threes, or had three aspects or faces. And if this sounds mildly familiar to you, imagine how the Trinity sounded to the Irish.

The Irish are also inexorably linked in with Celtic civilization, and the large numbers of Irish immigrants who showed up in Boston is probably why the Celtics play basketball there. However, the Celts did not originate in Ireland. Their culture came from the middle of Europe, around the areas of southern Germany, Austria, northern Italy and Switzerland. They spread out from there, and they adopted various different names that were somewhat linked. The Greeks called them Keltoi, and had various run-ins with them as they moved down the Balkan peninsula and on into Turkey into an area known as Galatia. Paul's letter to the Galatians is an epistle aimed at the descendants of these Celts.

The Celts also descended into Italy, where they attacked Rome in 353 BC, sacking it and nearly bringing an end to Roman civilization and dominance in the area. However, as I mentioned above, the Celts were a nomadic people by nature and so they didn't stay in Italy long. They eventually moved out and inhabited an area known as Gaul. Of course, Old Blue Eyes, Julius Caesar, exacted revenge for the sacking of Rome when he conquered and subsequently divided Gaul into three parts. Granted, it wasn't revenge that drove JC, but a desire to get some of the better wine-growing lands around the northern Mediterranean.

The Celts also descended into the Iberian peninsula and set up shop in Galicia in Northern Spain and spread out into Lusitania, as well. Lusitania incorporates a lot of central Spain and Portugal. Again, the Romans conquered this area around the time of the Punic Wars and brought them under the umbrella of Republican Rule. This wasn't because of any sort of desire to exact retribution on the people, but more a desire to get their lands and keep out any Carthaginian influence.

Finally, some of the Celts moved on to the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. Once more, Trajan brought the Roman rule to Britannia, chasing the Gauls into Wales and back across the Irish Sea to Ireland. Ireland's position as being at the very edge of the world (in Euro-centric histories) was perfect for the last vestiges of the free Celtic peoples: it was flat, had many navigable rivers, and the weather was pretty mild, as well. The Romans tried, but never could conquer the Emerald Isle, partially because there was no where else for the Celts to flee to so they were forced to savagely defend themselves, and partially because it was so fucking far from Rome.

However, enter in a young slave, a Roman citizen by birth, who was captured from the western coast of Britannia about the time that Rome was exiting the area and who fell in love with these people who captured him. He escaped, made it back to Rome where he converted to Christianity, and then set out to spread the Word of Christ. Being that he loved the Irish people so much, he returned and taught them how to read and write, showed them the three faces of God by allegedly using one of their sacred native plants, and spread Christianity across their island. His name was Patricius.

And, in a way, the Romans finally conquered the last of the Celtic peoples.