Archive for December, 2014

2014 Golden Excuse – EMO PETS

Monday, December 29th, 2014

PIG LADY Photographed by passenger Robert Phelps_Where Excuses Go to DieEmo pets managed to upstage my long list of 2014’s “best” excuses…

Okay, had I been aboard the plane onto which a woman carried her 60-pound emotional support shit ‘n piss machine, the conversation would’ve likely gone something like this:

Me: Seriously? In coach?? This is a first class move. Since when do poors get to pull off such entitlement?
Pig Lady: Oh, but this is my friend. He’s an emotional support pet. I have a prescription and a letter from my doctor. 
Me: I see. Must be a prescription for combatting powerlessness with selfishness. What’s the letter say, dare I ask?
This little guy here_Where Excuses Go to DoodyPig Lady: How dare you! This is a psychiatric service animal! He’s critical to my mental health and/or treatment. 
Me: “And/or treatment”…You’re hilarious! I’ve got ten bucks that says before this oversold, flying gas can touches down, you’ll get spit on by one of these nice passengers.
Pig Lady: You’re disgusting.
Me: Conniving baloney. Treatment of what, by the way, therapeutic reduction in personal resilience?
Pig Lady: You judgmental, narrow-minded ass! 
Me: DUDE! You brought a squealing, urinating pig onto a flight where passengers are already treated like farm animals. Plus, that guy there is Muslim, so you’re definitely freaking him out. What if I kept kosher, or the lady in front of us was allergic? Try to think outside of your own headspace for a minute.
Pig Lady: Excuse me! I have documentation from a mental health professional stating that I require my pet to accompany me – 
Me: Sell it someplace else, Charlie. Sounds to me like you live behind a fantasy excuse for staying curled up in a little ball in the face of life’s challenges. I’m telling you, if this plane nosedives, I’m using you as a battering ram to get to the emergency exit.
Pig Lady: Oh my God! You’re threatening me!? I’m telling the flight attendant. Excuse me, miss? This man just said –
Me: I think you have pig poop on your shoes. 
Pig Lady: I do NOT! And who the hell are you to tell me my mental wellness is an excuse for – 
Me: In New Guinea they’d eat you and your incontinent buddy there. 
Pig Lady: I can’t believe this! Air Marshal! Air Marshal!
Me: (singsong): La-La-La-La, I’m not listening. One, two, Buckle my shoe; Three, four, Knock at the door…La-La-La…

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Zamperini and Me (Repost)

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Louis Zamperini and his Middle Finger to Der FuehrerThis guy’s story beats the holidays, so here’s a rerun from August. 

Seriously, shoot me if I ever name-drop – except this once…

“Zamperini and Me” is simple to explain; the late Louis Zamperini had been my neighbor.

I didn’t know he was my neighbor until we were introduced through a mutual friend, Dena, who’d petered out beneath a big tree while jogging one day. A chainsaw firing up above her head caused her to spaz and discover a then 90-year-old Louis Zamperini, 15 feet up and clinging to branches. He guided the saw through a thick limb and only took notice of her when it fell at her feet. Or so she thought.

“Hello!” he shouted, repositioning himself to see her better.

“Hi!” she answered. “Need any help?”

“Nahh, been doing this since I bought the place, thanks. Besides, young lady, you need to keep running. Your form could improve.”

What Dena didn’t know at the time is that she’d just received constructive criticism from a famed Olympic medalist, a veteran of the men’s 5000 meter race. Apparently he’d watched her motor all the way up the hill. Dena’s a tough chick, but her asthmatic breathing must’ve reminded him of how his plane sounded when it was nosediving into the Pacific.

Nevertheless, the man climbed down to meet his match (Dena’s a short, hugely stubborn Italian too), and the two hit it off. Before long, they were enjoying tea while the sunset’s glow reached Zamperini’s collection of Olympic torches in the living room of his Hollywood hillside post-and-beam home.

Now, I’m already convinced that Dena’s soul is on loan from WWII infantryman turned B-movie filmmaker Sam Fuller, but she was really on fire after that. “You’ve got to meet Louis,” I heard again and again. “He’s so great and his story is incredible. You’ll really like him.”

Ha! I didn’t know the half of it. (more…)

Christmas Cards My Ass

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

There are many excuses for not sending holiday cards. Here’re mine:

Holiday Cheer_Where Excuses Go to DieChristmas cards, holiday cards, greeting cards – whatever people wanna call ’em, I don’t care.

It’s been many years since I purchased a greeting card, because the greeting card industry has become insulting. It pushes homogenized sentiments and condescending condolences that are marketed as if buyers were monkeys. While card aisles and displays are perfectly convenient and, yes, could come in handy someday, I must say I did better in a prison cell with magazine collages, glue sticks, and agitated screamers to my left ‘n right.

Yes sir or ma’am: I heavily promoted my “John has turned over a new leaf” brand by mailing handmade greeting cards to friends and family who were on the fence about me. For one, I was determined to prove that my imagination would never be replaced by swastika tattoos and institutionalized hatred. Watching the arrival and transformation of so many gullible young men into seething and explosive monsters positively inspired me to trade even my meals for whatever I needed to stay creative, expressive, and weird.

And there were just certain things I couldn’t re-embrace upon returning to the civilian world. First among them, coincidentally, was store-bought greeting cards. Why? Because I was fresh out of the joint one day and nudged toward a cousin’s birthday party the next. I looked at the clock, gathered the things I’d need (accessing real scissors was a plus), and never looked back.

All these years and hundreds of greeting cards later, the only downside has been visiting my parents during the holidays to find my own card among their others, displayed writing-side out (as if the interior sentiment were the thing!). Apparently my mom is uncomfortable with the idea of guests commenting on the one that’s “different.” My cards are as professionally made as the Thomas Kinkades, yet the images I choose are antidotal to forced-marching-to-the-glowing-Christmas-cottage.

But never mind all that self-congratulatory poo, here are my excuses for not lifting a finger this year: (more…)