Friday, January 11, 2008

Dinner time

Doris had any number of drawbacks as a parent, but I will give her credit for entertainment value. If she had been a bit more responsible in her parenting duties, she would in some ways have been an ideal mother for growing boys.

One of the ways she managed to get along with us was that she had and still has a rather bawdy sense of humor.

By the time I was 14 or 15, I had discovered dirty jokes and also found an appreciative audience in my mother. By that time, things had degenerated around the house to the point where my father and I could not eat at the same table, so Dad would take his dinner on a tray in front of the TV and my mother, my younger brother Mike and I would eat at the kitchen table.

I can't be sure of when exactly it started, but dinner time became the set hour where we would review for Doris all of the jokes we heard at school. Looking back, Mike must have had quite the group of friends, since he is 4 years younger than I am and he was able to provide quite the staggering array of smutty humor.

There we would sit, biding our time. Timing was everything after all. What was the point in telling the joke, unless you could hit Mom with the punchline when her mouth was full. We got extra points if she passed food through her nose.

Every evening Mom would make the same dire statement.

"Goddamnit, I'm never going to eat with you 2 again!"

Every evening she would be back for more. Occasionally, she would make her own contribution, having heard something particularly good from one of my aunts or one of her crony's.

We must have made an odd grouping. 2 adolescent boys, telling dirty jokes to our mother and our mother telling us dirty jokes in return.

Some of Mom's more straight laced friends thought that this was just awful and wondered what type of horrible monsters we would grow into under this disgraceful arrangement.

My father couldn't understand it either and grumbled away, but he might as well have been on the other side of the country. Having excluded himself, he never found his way into this small and exclusive club, dining in his solitary splendor, above such vulgar displays.

Looking back on that sad, odd childhood I am strangely pleased that I can find these little islands of happiness. Strange as they were, they were vignettes of something like family and I suppose must have informed my outlook on the world.

Getting a good laugh at the dinner table is still one of the tools I use to measure an enjoyable time at table. Dirty jokes don't figure quite as large, though I will also say that some of the more interesting experiences my friends and I have had that usually revolve around sex make up a goodly portion of dinner conversation and we have had a lot of good laughs at each others or our own expense.

On the whole, I would say that those dinners with Doris, regardless of the dire predictions of our turning into hooligans, in fact prepared us for civilized life. After all, they say man is the only animal that can laugh.

Though, whoever said that never owned a dog. Cats don't laugh, they only snicker.

Gym update

I am over a week into my new gym. So far, so good. The niece emailed me to ask how the new gym is working out. Since I know you all couldn't care less are dying to know, here's the scoop.

The gym really is much cleaner and more well maintained than my old facility. The level of fitness also seems to be much higher, which is pretty motivating. Not that everyone is an Adonis, but watching my fellow gym goers, everyone seems to be pretty intent on paying attention to what they are doing.

For those of you who do not foolishly get out every day and beat yourself up, you will have no idea of how distracting it is to catch, out of the corner of your eye, someone literally swinging weights instead of lifting. I am a bit of a nosy parker about these things and want to go over and tell people to go down on their weights and do it right. It is nice to not have to watch sports injuries just waiting to happen.

I am also being motivated to set myself some new goals. Like getting rid of at least some part of my spare tire. To that end, I have actually been doing the much hated cardio workout. There are few things in this life that are more obnoxious, in my opinion, than getting on a cardio machine and wasting precious minutes of your life that you will never get back. However if it gives me less belly jelly for RG to make fun of, it will be worth it.

I am also going to start yoga classes tomorrow. Every tendon in my body is screaming just in anticipation. Since I don't want to suffer alone, I have picked up a week guest pass which I am going to give my pal La Simpatica. Why suffer alone when you can spread the joy?

There is also the improved customer service which is a relief. Not that this whole thing was entirely satisfying.

A week after I joined up AARP deigned to let me know I was eligible for a discount. They were only about a week late in relating this to me. When I called up the gym, no surprise, my contract was already locked in. It would have been nice to get the discount, but it isn't as though I am loosing out on that much money.

What made it less painful was that the manager was very polite while explaining that if you snooze you loose. He actually did try and make the news as acceptable as possible and offered me a bunch of guest passes and told me that if anyone signs up with the gym and mentions me as the person to recommend the gym that I get a free month. Quite a change from my old gym. I didn't get the discount and I can accept why, what made the big difference was the attitude. He seemed to be pretty interested in keeping my business and I wound up assuring him that I was very pleased with the change.

On the whole, I am really happy with the change. Not least of all, that I can get out of the gym and go home and make myself some coffee instead of grabbing a cup on the fly as I race off to the T. Though I am going to miss the coffee place I used to frequent.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

10 boring facts

Our beloved Willym has tagged me with this meme. (You'll get yours pal) I cannot believe what a dull life I've led.

1)Three Exes I would pretend not to know today:

I only have 3. If my dear Jon were still alive, I am sure we would still be bickering in the good natured manner, which was our ground state. As for the other 2. I haven't seen either of them in years and hope to maintain this happy state of affairs.

2)The most scandalous rumor to pass through my high school.

Other than my drug habit? One of the girls (who shall remain nameless) went into the hospital with an apparent attack of appendicitis and gave birth to a full term baby. No one knew she was pregnant and she really wasn't "showing". Swayuh to Gwad!

3)The time I Knew Santa didn't exist.

I don't remember exactly. Born cynic that I am I think I had caught on by the time I was about 4.

4)The funniest thing I did in a house of worship.

They used to have to keep my cousin Steve and I separated because of the unsanctioned hilarity, but it was Doris who was my downfall. One Sunday, one of the wealthy lady parishioners came in swathed in furs, wearing a fur hat. As she passed by us, my mother and I noticed a tiny, truncated tail on the back of the hat. We looked at each other and started shaking but not laughing and then Doris began to croon very softly, "Daveeeeey, Daveeeeey Crocket, King of the wild frontier." I got in so much trouble with the old man.

5)Best excuse I came up with for being out past curfew.

After a long night of being led astray by my peers, I staggered into the house to be confronted with a rather pissed off Doris. I simply announced. "Mother. I'm drunk" and lost the contents of my stomach on the spot. She still laughs about that one.

6) Saturday cartoon character I had a crush on.

Race Bannon on Johnny Quest. C'mon, he was hot! And you know he and Professor Quest were doing each other.

7) Cartoon character I wanted to be.

Wolverine. (This was long before Hugh Jackman. We're talking the old Marvel Comics here.)

8)Foods I can no longer stomach.


9)Tacky pick up line you used that worked.

"So. Wanna?" It's worked more than once.

10)Secret Hangover recipe.

Extra strength Ibuprofen washed down with an extra spicy Virgin Mary with a raw egg beaten into it.

As you can see, other than my rather unfortunate lack of judgment concerning men and a bit of heavy drug abuse in my early youth, my life has been pretty lackluster.

The question is who to tag now? I'd tag Belle, but she isn't blogging any more. So.... I guess we will have to turn to RG. I can only imagine. (Note to self, have sex in house of worship, preferably Catholic, for old times sake.)

Monday, January 07, 2008


I just got this in my email at work. This may be the big opportunity I've been looking for to transition into a new job.

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I was especially excited about the ph. Maybe the shower gel I got at L'Occatane with my fab gift card will make all the difference. If not, I will at least enjoy the scent of Vetyver in the shower. I particularly liked the use of the word grasp, in reference to the diploma. I wonder if I act now, if they will throw in a set of steak knives.


Hot on the heels of the last email came this one. This must be my lucky day!

Now there's a time to check out what's in store for you!
Start right ahead!We now thrilled to bring you this special offer to get your degree on-line!Whatever your specialization is now obtaining your diploma degree becomes a reality.
Millions of people all over the world took advantage of getting bachelor�s, PH�s, and Master�s through the net.
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Though with all the question marks, they seem less sure of themselves. I think I will be sticking with the original offer.

Field trip

When Tater was in Boston last November, we talked about the idea of bloggers getting together in New York come the spring.

Suddenly, it is January and it seemed like a good idea to start rallying the troops. So far, we have on the list, Bigass Belle, More Cowbell, What Would Jackie Wear, Roger Dodger, Tater, Dulce y Peligroso, Secrets of the Red Seven, Why Oh Why and everyone's favorite Ganome.

I also made sure to alert my Monkey Boy in person.

We trust that the weather will by then be warm enough to have lured Father Tony back up from his southern retreat.

So. Who else is in?

RG is all for hitting the Guggenheim, WWJW has suggested the Cooper-Hewitt and I would like to go to the Museum of Natural History, which I have not seen since the renovations took place (What's it been 10 years?). Plus, there will be food and drink to seek out.

The next question is, who else is in? So far, survey results as they come in are for Mid May. I am going to float the dates 5/16-5/18 as a possibility.

Talk amongst yourselves. I know that RG and I are already ripping each others hair out planning our trip and looking forward to stalking seeing Tater again.

And Doralong. We'll talk about shoe shopping.