Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kids will be kids...

I have a confession to make.  "Another one?  You sure keep the Church busy, don't you?"  Oh, not that kind of confession.  "Well, then I don't want to hear it..."  Look, it's taken me a long time to admit this, but I think it's time... Kerry King of Slayer fame and I have a history... "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"  That's right -- we went to elementary school together.  "You went to school with the thrash metal dude?"  Yes, that Kerry King...  Believe it or not, I knew Kerry before all the  ink... "Don't you hate it when it gets all over you, especially your shirt pocket?"  Anyway, Kerry and I were in the same class for a few years, there. "Where?"  I'd rather not say, to protect the innocent -- State Street School.  "Wow! You think he remembers you?"  Maybe... "I know I'd erase you from my memory ASAP."  But check this out: for whatever reason, I annoyed Kerry when we were kids.  A lot.  "You, annoying? -- sounds about right!"  Yeah, I was a nerdy kid, kind of a goofball, actually.  "And you never outgrew it, did you?"  Now, when it comes to Slayer's music, it isn't for everybody, I agree. It's extremely loud, frenetic -- angry.  Looking back after all these years, I hope I'm not at the root of Kerry's rage.  "You probably are..."  I'd like to take a moment to apologize to Kerry for any angst I may have caused him back in the day, a fury that doesn't let him rest.  "Apology accepted -- now go away."  I don't know, I just feel bad.  It's like I irritated Kerry every time I opened my mouth.  "Did you ever consider mouthwash?"   There's this time we did a string art project with the U.S map... "Maybe that's where he discovered strings!"  We were in Mr. Christina's 5th grade class... "Christina? -- I thought it was a Mister."  Anyway, I pointed out to Kerry that two  of his adjoining states had the same color string... My bad.  It turns out, it wasn't two states.  Kerry looked at me like I was the dumbest, most dorkiest kid in the whole wide world: "It's Michigan! -- it's ONE state!!!"  Oh, if looks could kill... Hey, how was I supposed to know, right?  Back in those days, I thought Michigan was Michoacan in Spanish.   "You mean it isn't?"  I admit it, I didn't know the difference between the state's peninsulas and paper maché.  "You were a dumb-dumb, weren't you?"  Kerry surely thought so.  I'll never forget the look on his face, similar to the one when he's on stage...  Another time, Kerry let loose a guttural, almost haunting laugh when I told him I was joining the same youth basketball league.  "You? --basketball?!"  I can't say I blame him.  You see, I wore dress shoes on the hardwood whenever I played... "It doesn't surprise us..."  I'd often see Kerry with his dad, riding shotgun as they headed home one block away.  I'd be on the front lawn, waving, hoping he'd turn and look.  Not a chance.  It's like Kerry wore blinders, trying his hardest not to make eye contact with me... "A smart kid, huh?"  Anyway, that's my Kerry King story... "Thank you for sharing -- now get lost." Oh, and I'd like Kerry to know that I've learned my states, become somewhat of a geography buff, actually.  For once, he'd be proud of me...  "You sure about that?"  Why, I know trivia on all 40 states...  "Isn't it 60?"  If given the chance I'd ask Kerry: Why's the White House located in Washington?  "Why's that?"  So the president can be closer to Canada.  "Of course!"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

You gonna eat that?

FBI.  It's been in the news quite a bit lately.  "Really?  Where have I been?"  Sure, those letters conjure up images of federal investigations for some.  "But not you, right?"  For me, FBI takes on a whole different meaning.  "Funny Bunny Inn?  Fender Bender Insurance?"  No, more like Fabulous Burrito Intake.  "Now that one's ridiculous."  As images of delectable burritos dance around in my head, my memory takes me back to when I was a young schoolboy.  "As opposed to an old schoolboy..."  Those times were bittersweet for me...  "Did you attend a one-room schoolhouse, grades 1-12?"  Back then, my mama would make me homemade burritos for lunch, then wrap them in aluminum foil to assure a nice, warm meal.  "How sweet of her -- ya sell the burritos for profit to go buy baseball cards?!"  No, something much worse: I'd swap them for other kids' lunches -- mere cold meat sandwiches.  "What?!"  I had no regard for my mama's time and effort... "And you consider yourself a connoisseur of good food?  A favorite son placed on a pedestal by his dutiful mother?!"  Sorry.  "Traitor!"  I know, I know, that was so inconsiderate of me.  To think that my mom slaved away in the kitchen at the crack of dawn, adding her loving touch to my presumed noontime meals.  And if memory serves me right, she hassled with chickens and hogs as part of her daily routine.  "Wait a minute, perhaps you're having flashbacks of Farm Animals Gone Wild."  No, I'm positive we had chickens and pigs -- or was it avocados?   "You're no country boy! -- you're from the city!"  It's all coming back to me: as I rolled out of bed every morning, my beloved mother was out back chasing down pesky animals in her pursuit of fresh eggs and bacon.  "¡Aquí, gallina!  ¡Aquí!"  If my mother ever finds out what I did with her burritos, she'll be heartbroken.  "And well she should be!"  It's a deep, dark secret that I vow to keep away from her.  I mean, I don't want my mama to dwell in disappointment in these her golden years... "You ungrateful scoundrel!"  Looking back, while my dad was at work, my mom's the one that took me everywhere without complaint -- on the public bus.  "Oh no..."  Oh, yes... My mother never learned to drive, so she relied on public transportation to take me everywhere: swimming lessons -- "Not the high dive!  Not the high dive!" -- downtown L.A., and  visits to the doctor that seemed hours away.  "Did he make you cough?"  My mother was a saint to ride those public buses... "To say nothing of her raising you..."  I'll never forget those bus rides in the dogs days of summer, when I was surrounded by armpits high above me...  "Hold on to a pole, folks.  It's gonna be a bumpy ride."  And if that wasn't bad enough, I had to help with the stroller, too.  "At what age did you start walking?"  It wasn't for me -- the stroller was for my baby sister!  "Sure, blame it on the siblings..."  Now, one benefit of pushing around a stroller for miles on end was that it helped build up my chest muscles... To this day, I can flex my pecs with the best of  them...  "I wanna see!  I wanna see!"  Okay, but just one time... "Wow!  You are good for something! -- you're not as useless as you look!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Testing, Testing... 1-2 -Trez...

Somebody made an interesting suggestion to me the other day... "Finally, somebody told you to go jump in a lake."  No, that was last month... It was suggested that I become a motivational speaker.  "Obviously by someone under some sort of influence..."  Yes.  "Yes?!"  I'll to give public speaking a try someday.  I mean, I like talking in front of people.  I always have.  "Better that than their backs, right?"  So, yes, I see motivational speaking as a part of my future... as soon as I motivate myself to do it.  "But why would you do such a thing?"  Well, I like taking on new challenges.  And from what I can tell, people like listening to me speak.  "Boy, they have you fooled." Beside, how hard can motivational speaking be, right?   You stand in front of a mike, say a few words... Before you know it, people from around the world are chanting your name, running over hot coals for you -- and the pay's great!   "So, you think you can get followers to maximize their potential, inspire them to towering new heights..."  Absolutely.  "Well, don't count on me -- I'm prone to nose bleeds."  Oh, that's a shame... "Yeah, I hate nosebleeds.  They're a bloody mess.That's what they say... "Speaking of which, there's nothing worse than getting a nosebleed at the wrong time -- on a first date."  That happened to you?  I'm sorry to hear that.  "No you're not -- you weren't there."  But I sympathize for you.  "Oh, so now you feel sorry for me?-- well, don't!"  Can we move on, please?  "Since we're talking about nosebleeds, are you from the old school where you tilt your head and swallow back all the blood?"  Well, no, I --  "Or do you hold your head steady and pinch your nose hard with a pair of pliers?"  To be honest with you, I didn't plan for a dialogue about nosebleeds today.  "Yet here we are having this great talk about sangre de la nariz -- tell the ladies it's French!If you don't mind, I'd like to get back to the idea of becoming a motivational speaker someday.  "I don't want to be a motivational speaker -- I want to be Santa Claus."  I'm talking about me!  "Oh okay, but I find the subject of nosebleeds a lot more engrossing."  And I'm finding you to be absolutely gross!  "What, you don't bleed?  You don't have blood coursing through your veins?"  Anyway, I think I can be a great public speaker.  "Public... you mean talking in front of crowds..."  That's right.  "You don't get nervous talking to large crowds?"  A little bit, but that's perfectly normal.  "So, what do you do to relax before a big talk? -- I bet you suck on a carton of smokes before a speech, right? "  No.  I don't smoke.  "I bet your wife can smell you from a mile away."  Again, I've never taken up that nasty habit.  "I don't mean to scare ya, but if you're not careful, you're going to end up like that lady on TV, with a hole the size of a quarter in your throat."  I said, I don't smoke!!!  "No need to yell -- you came through loud and clear -- despite your limited lung capacity."  I am not limited.  "Let's not go there..."  Now, you asked what I do to relax before speaking to a large group of people, right?  "Maybe you should write it down instead..."  Hey, I do what any great orator does -- I bite my nails -- and I get sick to my stomach.  "Really?  Is that the trick?"  And most importantly, I make sure to wear a reliable deodorant.  "Yeah well, could've fooled me -- where are those nose pliers when you need 'em?!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Off days can be so overrated...

I love following the Dodgers and Lakers.  "So sorry to hear that..."  It's been a real love affair, ever since I can remember.  "You weren't hugged much as a kid, were you?"  Day after day, year after year, I've followed my beloved teams up close and personally...  "They've led you down dark, dreary roads, haven't they?"  I wouldn't say that.  There's been a lot of highs.  "And plenty of lows..."  I prefer to focus on the positives...  "And yet you're a Dodger fan. That must be hard..."  I can't help it, I love them.  Always will.  "Maybe we shouldn't mention that the Boys in Blue haven't won the whole enchilada since 1988..."  It's alright, it's nothing to be embarrassed about... "Yes it is..."  I'll stick by my teams in good times and bad.  "Wow, sounds like you love them more than your own wife and kids..."  I didn't say that.  "You might as well..."  How could you compare sports teams to my family?!  "You'd trade your kids for another World Series any day of the week..."  No!!!  "That didn't sound very convincing."  Look, you're gonna get me in trouble, so  please stop!  "You're so easy to read..."  Look, I'm gonna end up in the doghouse.  I don't like the doghouse.  It's cold.  It's got a really small bed -- and no flatscreen TV.  "Bow Wow!"  Hey, I was just making small talk when I said that I love the Dodgers and Lakers.  "You repeat yourself a lot.  Are you hiding something?"  Okay, I'll admit it, I love my teams so much, sometimes it hurts.  It hurts really bad.  "You should get that checked."  It's so painful, sometimes it's nice to have an off-day from sports, you know?   To get away from it all.  "Go on..."  That way, I don't have to face the prospects of a heart-wrenching loss, another sleepless night...  "And yet you snore -- according to some very reliable sources."  I don't know how my alleged snoring became part of this conversation.  "You'll have to ask the Missus, uh, my sources."  Yeah, now that I think about it, off-days in sports are pretty liberating for us fans.  "Speak for yourself."  Yeah, non-game days allow me to focus on other things -- like my family, my career...  "That's good, if you're into that sort of thing...  That's good, no?  I'm a more well-rounded person that way... "You realize you're not much of a sports fan.  You're not consumed by sports."  Gee, you think so?  No one's ever said that about me before...  "Heck, if you really loved sports, you'd find a favorite NHL hockey team.  Soccer, too."  You know something, you're right.  I'm gonna  follow sports more closely -- and I can't wait to tell my wife!