About Writing

Posted: May 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

Specifically, about writing in a bar.

Specifically specifically, about writing in a sports bar.

It’s something I do from time to time.

Here’s why:

  1. I’m pretty much like many writers. Broke. So I don’t have cable. I also don’t have cable because I hate the stranglehold Cox seems to have on the cable industry ’round these here parts.
  2. I love baseball
  3. Baseball, it turns out, is surprisingly difficult to watch without the use of #1.
  4. Along with baseball, drunk-watching is one of my all-time favorite spectator sports.

It goes without saying that I see and hear some interesting things whilst sitting in a sports bar. Some of these I’ve written about in the past.

One time, I’d gotten up to use the restroom. When I came back, three half-trashed college boys had moved all my stuff so they could sit at the bar together. I would have moved if asked even semi-politely despite my infantile response to dick-swingin, chest-pounding alpha males.

On my way out a little later, I tapped the nearest one on the shoulder. He looked me with eyes that said, “The shank of this evening will find me with my head in a toilet.” I said, “Don’t touch anything that belongs to me. Ever.”

I’m not a particularly intimidating physical specimen. I’ve been told, however, that I have crazy eyes. Maybe it’s true, cuz this kid turned white.

More recently, I was sitting at the bar with a vacant chair on either side of me. Two more strapping “Hail Fellow Well Met” types came in. One proceeded to tell me, “You need to move so we can sit together.”

I wondered, at the time, why in a bar, two guys have to sit right next to each other, but at the movies, they have to have an empty seat between them.

Anyway. I looked at the lad and said (not asked), “Need.” Just then, the bartended said, “There’s two seats over here guys.” It’s probably only a matter of time before I get punched.

It’s been pointed out to me that, given my relatively dim view of humanity in general and my loathing for alpha male frat boys in particular, watching sports in a bar may be an unwise life choice.

Probably true. But baseball.

Besides, it’s not always so confrontational.

For instance, I have a Hitchcock tattoo.htat

Just yesterday, a woman said, “Someone forgot to finish your tattoo.”

Ha. Ha ha. Ha.

The guy she was with said, “It’s Alfred Hitchcock Presents, ya drunk.”

Clearly a romance to span the ages.



Perhaps my favorite quote so far has been from yet another simian, testosterone-addled frat boy who “whispered” to one of his fellow apes, “Hey, check out the old dude writin’.”

I guess he deserves points for correctly identifying what I was doing.



Undergarment prestidigitation mystifies me.

You know what I’m talking about. A woman takes her bra off and out from under her top without having to take her top off or even pull her arms inside her sleeves. It’s a magic trick. At the very least, it’s sleight of hand.

“How the hell did you do that?”

Wait. This gets worse.

Not only do I not get it, but I could watch a woman do this right in front of me, with no top on, so I can watch every move she makes (yeah, it sounds creepy when I say it that way, but stay with me).

I still wouldn’t get it.

Disclaimer #1: I can neither confirm nor deny rumors that this in fact happened in some undisclosed location at some unspecified point in the past. And even if it did, that’s my business.

Clearly such a demonstration of sartorial legerdemain creates a minor tear in the fabric of the universe. At the very least it defies physics. That’s the only reasonable explanation.

Wait. This gets worse.

If I were to put on a bra and a shirt and do this myself, I still still wouldn’t get it.

Now there’s an image you needed, yeah? Enjoy the nightmares. You’re welcome.

Disclaimer #2: I can neither confirm nor deny rumors that this in fact happened at some unspecified point in the past in some undisclosed location. Further, I categorically deny the involvement of alcohol.

Disclaimer #3: I can neither confirm nor deny rumors that such experience may have been made possible because, back when I was young, thin, and pretty (yes I was), I used to go to Rocky Horror dressed like Tim Curry. Further, I categorically deny the involvement of alcohol. Further further, any pictures that ever happen to surface have obviously been faked (again, visual/nightmares/you’re welcome). Anyone claiming to possess such a photographic record, I’ll find you.

Disclaimer #4: I can neither confirm nor deny rumors that such experience may have also been made possible because my friends and I once dressed in drag to do The Bangles “Walk Like An Egyptian” for a lip sync contest (final time, you’re welcome). Further, I categorically deny the involvement of alcohol. Further further, any pictures that ever happen to surface have obviously been faked. Anyone claiming to possess such a photographic record, I’ll find you too.

Right. Back to Houdini’s Great Underwire Escape. Not surprisingly, I have a theory. When I was in school, like sixth grade I think, they rounded us up and separated us by gender. It was time for The Talk. I don’t remember The Talk. I think deodorant was mentioned.

There may have been a film.

And it was the 70s, so it was probably one of those ultra-creepy Sid Davis films like The Strange Ones or Boys Beware.

Anyway, my theory. This is also when they taught the girls The Magic Bra Trick.

Fast, deceptively simple, and would one day give rise to a one of the greatest Rejections That Don’t Sound Like Rejections ever.

“I can’t go back out. I already took my bra off.”

Wow. Simplicity.


I hate water.

I have friends who are all into fitness and health and crap. Two of them run marathons (I’m not sure why I’m friends with people like that. Clearly they’re unstable). Another is a personal trainer (not mine. I wouldn’t wish me on any trainer). When they hear me say, “Yeah, I just don’t like water,” almost immediately I hear, “But it’s so good for you!”

Okay, first of all, I have to question their logic in telling me water is good for me. Historically, Things That Are Good For You have not ranked very high on my to-do list. Second, I’ve never disputed that water is good for me. I didn’t say I would rather die of thirst. A hunk of lemon, and I can choke down some H2O just fine. I just don’t like it.

My other ally in all this is carbonation. Bubbles are my friends. Generally I don’t drink pop anymore, so I like to call carbonation the illusion of pop.

Wait. Did he just say “pop?”


Yes I did.

That’s what we drank where I grew up. Some people get territorial about this, as if calling any fizzy, sugar-laden, non-alcoholic potion anything but soda is a linguistic abomination. This is especially true for just about anybody I know from New Jersey.

A little superficial research scared up several maps that broke down what soft drink terms people use and where. Turns out that people in more areas of the country say pop than soda.


I know that doesn’t necessarily mean more actual people say it. The we say “soda” zones look like they’re way more densely populated, and some of those areas are certainly more loudly opinionated about it.

Somewhere in the south, Alabama I think, a waitress asked me what kind of Coke I wanted.

I didn’t understand the question. I was informed some time later that Coke meant soda.

Or pop.

So I asked for unsweet tea. She didn’t understand my answer. Apparently if you’re not having Coke, you’re supposed to have swate tay, a substance that shows up just about everywhere south of the Manson-Dixon Line.

From the look on her face, I may as well have asked for a nice, tall glass of piss.

I’m not sure what kind of Coke that would be.


I don’t understand them. I mean, I understand them, insofar as I can decode them. Usually. Until I see something like DFFTTI or TTHLGR. Sorry, no idea.

No, what I don’t understand is why people want them. Why this pressing need for identification or affiliation? I don’t care, UGA87, that you graduated from the University of Georgia over twenty-five years ago. I equally don’t care that the car in front of me is JANS FIT. I can see it’s a Fit. I don’t give a rat’s ass who’s driving it, but now I know it’s Jan.

On the other hand, this can be fun. Say you happen upon some guy as he gets out of JIMZ TRK. Smile and say, “Hey there Jimmy!” The anywhere-from-puzzled-to-mildly-freaked-out expression on Jim’s face will be well worth it. Pro tip: first make sure he doesn’t have a gun rack.

Sometimes I can decode the plate and just not know what it means. And it’s not just me. My kid and I were on the way to the store when we saw NIKIDRW. We were equally nonplussed.

Someone associated with the car must be Nikki. Or Nick. For all I know, it means Nick: I Draw. But I don’t know because I don’t know what DRW means. Does Nick or Nikki draw? Does Nikki have a boyfriend named Drew? Does she have a gaming character that’s a drow? Again, no idea.

If we were in a parking lot, and a woman got out of the car, I could have just asked, “Hey Nikki, what does DRW mean?” Then again, that could well have ended in pepper spray.

Rightly so.

Sometimes it is just me. I’m not as quick on the uptake as you might think. When I was stuck behind KLACLDY’s Mercedes, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out A) whether it was Clackle Day or Clack Lady, or B) what the hell either of those meant.  My kid just looked at me.

“It’s Classy Lady.”

Well so it is.

I told Orange about this one. Her first thought was Clack Lady as well. Maybe it isn’t just me after all. She also suggested that if you have to point out you’re a classy lady, you probably aren’t.

Guess they’re called vanity plates for a reason.

This one should be obvious: LVSLTLF.  That’s clearly Love Salt Life, right?  Unless it’s Live Salt Life, which would make sense too.

So would Love or Live Slut Life. Which is fine. I don’t judge. It is, however, a qualitatively different message.

Here’s one: THA STIG.

Your guess is as good as mine.

cthMy favorites are, of course, religious. HZ GRACE, PRZS BE, GLRY2GD, GODISGD. Makes me strongly consider caving in and getting my own. Something like RLYEH or INSMTH. Maybe YGSOTTH. LVDNWCH perhaps.


Maybe I should back off the LVCRFT for a while.

Sometimes I can’t resist hassling these folks, especially if said license plate is on a mammoth SUV that cost more than I make in a year. A character flaw on my part, I know. But if you put PRSH1M on an Escalade, I gotta ask. The camel/eye of a needle thing gets me a might uppity.

“Excuse me ma’am. What does Persh One Em mean?”

“Oh” (patronizing chuckle) “that says Praise Him.”

“No it doesn’t. That’s a 1.”

“It looks like an i” (condescending smile).

I made a point of looking at the license plate. “It looks like a 1.”

“You have a blessed day” (dismissive, judgmental tone).

Uh huh. I didn’t say it, but I thought, “HYPOCRT.”

I’m sure she’s a Clack Lady.

“Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap” (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind).


Still, I feel uncharacteristically obligated to write something at least tangentially connected to this dumbass day. Even more uncharacteristically, I’m going to go along with this sense of obligation.

Some time ago, I made a relatively unsuccessful attempt to give up sugar. I still try to avoid it, but it turns out that sugar shows up in some really unexpected places.

Like book stores.

I was at the mall with Orange.

For those of you who don’t already know this or have forgotten, obviously I don’t know anyone named Orange. I wish I did, cuz how cool would that be? But I respect other people’s privacy, so I don’t generally use the names of people I know when I write about them.

Unless they’ve pissed me off.

Orange came up with the name Orange. When I’m famous, I’ll explain how this name came about and not before. I have principles, you know.

But I digress.

I was at the mall with Orange. Eventually we ended up at the book store. You can probably figure out which book store. After all, we were at the mall. I don’t want to use the book store’s real name either, not because of privacy so much as I don’t believe in free advertising.

I will consider product placement if the price is right.

I may have principles, but I’m not noble.

Or stupid.

Again, I digress.

I was at the mall with Orange. Eventually we ended up at the book store. I like book stores. I like to look at the blank journals. I have more than I will ever fill up, but they make me happy. Almost as happy as tattoos.

In the fiction section, Orange said, “There’s quite a selection of Nicholas Sparks novels if you…oh wait. You’re off sugar.”

Like I said, unexpected.

And that’s all I have to say in connection with Valentine’s Day.



Don’t judge

When I brought this home and set it up, my immediate thought was, “Okay, if this was all black and had some leather involved, it would create a whole other series of expectations.”

And this would be a whole other kind of blog.

Before you gasp, swoon, and reach for the smelling salts, calm down. This is not one of those adult swing contraptions, nor has it anything to do with bondage.


Or unfortunately, depending on one’s bent.



So no, I’m not getting my kink on. You might think otherwise were you to stop by my place while this thing was hanging up, but my sensibilities just do not that way tend.

So what the hell is it?


Dr. Witherspoon’s Fantastic Cerebral Expanderator

This, good and gentle reader, is an over-the-door traction device. It was suggested by a physical therapist to possibly provide some relief for a pinched nerve. Let me tell you, if you ever have the opportunity to try one of these miraculous devices for yourself–

don’t bother.

It doesn’t do shit.

The logic of the thing should dictate that it, in fact, would.  At the other end of the string is a bag of water that weighs about 20 pounds.

You put your head in the, uh, harness let’s call it. The weight pulls up on your neck, extends your cervical spine, and unpinches said nerve. Makes sense, yes?

Um, nope.

Then again, I think the stuff Wile E. Coyote comes up with should work too. For the record, my traction device does not say Acme on it anywhere. I looked.



Of course, many of those old time “medical” devices probably seemed like they made sense as well. Trepanation, leeches, bloodletting, and heroin cough syrup were all considered good ideas at one time. What can I say? Call me a sucker.

Still, in the interest of objectivity, I had to at least give it a shot. Which I did.



Because who’d want witnesses? I’m pretty sure I did something wrong since the pain got worse instead of better. Then it hit me.


Autoerotic asphyxiation.


Trepanation. It was a thing.

I don’t mean I considered it. Sheesh. I mean I had this sudden nightmare vision of trying to get up, tripping over the cat, and somehow managing to hang myself.

Result, whoever finds me thinks I died in some kind of deviant pastime gone horribly, horribly wrong.

As I said, my sensibilities, such as they are, do not that way tend.


If you’re wearing any right now, you stink.

And I don’t mean the colloquial use of “You stink” as a synonym for “You suck.” Though if you are wearing perfume or cologne right now, you do.

No, I mean you smell.


I’m sure you think it’s fabulous. Alluring. Sexy.



And there’s a better than average chance you’re inflicting your acrid pheromones on the surrounding populace of whatever establishment whose custom you and your odeur du jour have deigned to keep.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am in no way a repository of knowledge regarding culture, couture, civility, taste, etiquette, breeding, behavior, knowing which fork to use, using a napkin, not talking with my mouth full, or not licking chocolate icing off my plate in public.

The fact that someone of my clearly limited capacity to act nominally human in public knows to spray, delay, and walk away, and you don’t, makes you an oblivious, self-involved dumbass.

I dunno.

Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way.

Maybe I should forego the cruel and unusual animal testing required for your utterly superfluous olfactory accessory.

Maybe I should turn up my nose at the studies equating perfume with second hand smoke

Maybe all this garbage smells perfectly lovely in the bottle. Having lived through the 80s, a decade marinated in Giorgio, Anais Anais, Polo, and Drakkar Noir, I kinda doubt it. But just for the sake of argument, let’s say it does.

Why, then, does your, uh, “fragrance,” once it’s splashed all over you, cause me to feel like I’m sucking in a lungful of ground fiberglass?

Maybe it’s body chemistry. I had a friend who wore some kind of Chanel. I have no idea which one, and I never knew what it smelled like because she actually knew how to fucking wear the shit. But I remember why she liked it. She said it had a “high note” she thought was just heavenly.

It had a what?

Note to self (or high note to self)–Chanel mixes really well with pretention.

Right. So not body chemistry. What then? Stupidity? Entitlement?

No, wait. I’ve got it.

Typically I get a whiff of this combined with beer and buffalo wings. That’s why it took me a minute. Now that I think about it, only one thing can sour the atmosphere so quickly when combined with any other aroma.

Nothing else so easily allows a human being to douse itself in an almost endless list of toxins and synthetic (you hope) equivalents of cat shit and whale puke in the hope of attracting (and quite possibly anesthetizing) some object of affection/desire/lust/whoopiemaking.

Yep, I smell desperation.