Friday, September 10, 2010

re: my student loans

Dear Sirs,

Regarding your recent letter on the subject of my tardy payment of my student loans, I would like to present to you the reasons for the lack of past or future payments.

First, and most importantly, is the Mayan calendar. According to their ancient wisdom, which was further reinforced by a John Cusack-lead blockbuster from Hollywood, the world will be ending in 2012. I doubt the fine writers in Hollywood could possibly get that research and interpretation wrong. They never do. So, assuming the Mayans were accurate keepers of the calendar, we all have just over 2 years before catastrophe and bad CG effects end us all. By this point, I will have made little more than a dent in the near-70 grand in loans it took for me to achieve my two degrees. Further, since the world will come to an end, it's unlikely that the money I would pay you would do you much good (given the world not existing anymore and all). Additionally, the small pittance that you would recover from me in that time would be something akin to whale hunting with a BB gun. Sure, I may hit the target, but no one's likely to start calling me Captain Ahab.

Further, let's say that the End of Days comes along and I do actually survive. I'm assuming this would be the case because and only because I DO plan on keeping up on my car loan. Let's face it, I don't plan on running from rivers of molten magma on foot. That just doesn't make sense for anyone, and certainly not if they have my knees. So I'll keep up on the oil changes and keep the tank full when December of '12 rolls through town. Now, should I have survived (as I'm assuming Cusack did, because frankly, I couldn't watch that drivel), I have to think that food, water, shelter, and gas to run my death-mobile in this "Mad Max", post-apocalyptic world will be much more helpful than my General Studies degree. As myself and a small coterie of survivors fend for our lives in this new, dangerous, and desolate wasteland, having a Masters in Communication and Information Sciences probably will be less helpful than than a certificate of completion from the 'Paul Teutul Sr. School of Management and Fathering'.

As it happens, even prior to God splitting the clouds, reaching down his considerable hand, and bitch-slapping humanity, my MS is pretty much worthless anyway.

Which brings me to my second point. Since completion of my graduate degree, I have spent almost as much time LOOKING for work as I have ACTUALLY WORKING! So what am I getting for my money anyway? Unemployment benefits? Isn't that just stealing from one hand to pay the other, when you think about it? Classic Peter and Paul scenario, right? In fact, I'm kind of insulted that you didn't think of that in the first place. You are the FRIGGIN' GOVERNMENT, for the love of beef ('It's What's for Dinner', or so Sam Elliott would have you believe). My point is, that in the midst of one of the worst economic recessions of all time... (which, c'mon, just between you and's really a depression, right?....huh? C'mooooooon...) degrees are as worthless as tits on a bull.

Worth less than the paper their printed on.

Worth less than a sense of humor at a Paul Reiser comedy show (he's just not funny).

Worth less than a penis at an Indigo Girls concert.

Worth less than the song "YMCA" at a dance for dyslexics.

Ok, probably crossed a line on that last one, but do you get what I'm aiming at here? Does me no good. I bought into the lie. Go to school, get good grades (well...passing grades anyway; they're never gonna ask), get a good job, be a productive member of society and the capitalist machine. A wife, 2.5 kids, a dog named Spot, and a white picket fence wouldn't have hurt either.

But you and the collegiate system have not lived up to your end. So, I'm calling foul and bowing out until you start coming through for me. I'll accept the studio apartment with no picket fence. Fine. Don't need the wife and kids (but a girlfriend wouldn't kill ya). To be honest, I probably couldn't take care of the dog named Spot, let alone the 2.5 kids (the .5 one is SOOO high maintenance!!). So fine, but a job and that mindless naivete that I had as a kid, when I once thought the lies were the truth, would suffice just fine.

Thank you for your time...and the Government Cheese. It goes great on Ramen.


Friday, August 6, 2010


It occurred to me the other day that maybe the biggest problem with being unemployed has more to do with the spin we put on it rather than the lost job, money, self-esteem, et al. Maybe one of the government agencies, be it federal or state, should try some bumper sticker slogans that might shed some light on the positive aspects of joblessness. Being that I am currently unemployed and have both the insight into joblessness and the requisite time on my hands, I thought I might take a few stabs. Tell me what you think.

Unemployment: Nah...go ahead. Take a nap.
Unemployment: You're high? It's noon? Job well done, Willie. Job well done.
Unemployment: The beer makes the hurt go bye-bye.
Unemployment: Watchin' Scrubs, eh? Yeaaaaaah.
Unemployment: MMMMMM.....Ramen!....
Unemployment: Eh, showering is sooo last year!
Unemployment: Glad I spent that 70 large on a Masters degree.
Unemployment: Because if I don't watch TV at 4am, who will?
Unemployment: Who needs insurance anyway?
Unemployment: It's like a long vacation...without the fun, food, money, and exotic locale.
Unemployment: Think of all the interesting people you'll meet in the unemployment lines!
Unemployment: 'Cause all that self-esteem was just slowing you down...
Unemployment: CHICKS DIG IT!!
Unemployment: Now you've got time to work on that screenplay!
Unemployment: It's like prison...without the social life.

That's it for now. (Maybe) more to come if i think of any.

Stay positive!

Now Hiring

I need a stalker.

Not necessarily the "call my mom with a fake pregnancy story" type or the "here's a necklace with a vile of my blood so you'll always have a piece of me" brood either. Just a normal, everyday, quasi-sane (and, yes, possibly homicidal) stalker.

Go 'head, poke through my recycling bin. A voodoo doll made with my actual toenail clippings is weird, but I applaud the effort. Slept in your car with binoculars and a 'sixer of Steel Reserve tall-boys? I have a keen appreciation for that type of stick-to-it-iveness. Bravo!

Not too much to ask for, right?

And it isn't that I need someone to lavish that type of subversive attention on me (though it would be nice to feel wanted). I think having a stalker would add some much needed zest to an otherwise fairly pedestrian existence.

I go to work. I eat a lunchmeat sandwich and a pudding. I work out. I go home.

I'm just saying, a little excitement wouldn't hurt. Maybe waking up naked from a GHB-induced slumber in a wooden box in Tijuana is a BIT much, but a Hallmark card with the phrase "Obsession isn't just a perfume" and a lock of hair would certainly add some intrigue.

The way I see it, there are some upsides to having a stalker.

· You never really feel alone
· It's easy to get rid of a bad date when your stalker chases them off with a gas powered weed-eater
· The America judicial system is fascinating and restraining orders are sooooooo much the "it" accessory in Paris this year
· Seriously, how often have you heard of a stalker story ending badly? Seriously.
· There's always someone there to listen to you (albeit via illegal wire taps)
· Everyday is like playing "Hide and Seek" (except you are always "it")
· Constantly looking over your shoulder increases flexibility in your neck

Who among us hasn't wished for their very own nut-cake, strung out on a clean concoction of equal parts God complex, self loathing, and OCD? All the cool celebrities have them. Conan O'Brien? Check. Debbie Gibson? You bet! David Caruso? Yeah, him, too!
If it's good enough for Paris Hilton….well, ok. Bad example. Should have thought that one through a bit more thoroughly.

Sure, there's a better than decent chance that one day you'll come home to find your cat shaved and all of your underwear on the front lawn. But that's part of the charm, now, isn't it? Don't be too surprised when you walk outside only to find Mayonnaise on your car windows, your garden gnome violated, and your mailbox sullied in ways that defy both the laws of gravity and good taste. This is what you signed up for, Chuckles.

So. I will be accepting applications for my personal "covert observer". Please include a current resume or CV, pay history, and psychological/media history. Include any and all experience with surveillance, cat shaving, window accessorizing/demolition, voodoo doll manufacturing (with or without toenail clippings), cult membership, arrest records, and weapons certifications.

I will review all applications and contact qualified parties for initial interviews as soon as possible. I'm looking to fill this position soon, so please do not procrastinate. Punctuality is a very important quality for a professional window watcher.

A heaping-helping of the crazy doesn't hurt either.

Big cats, hoo-hoo’s, and hockey hair

I have a few questions which do not really qualify as another installment of "things that chap my o-ring", but nonetheless seemed like things I need to get out there:

1) British people, can you please make up your minds? Either use all the vowels or don’t use all of the vowels, but pick a side! "Jag-you-are"? Ok, I can live with that, if you need to emphasize the ’u’ in ’jaguar’. But then you get to the word ’literally’ and that middle syllable goes bye-bye. "Li-trilly"? Serious, folks, just because you invented the language doesn’t mean you get to play fast and loose with the rules; deciding all willy-nilly whether or not a vowel merits pronunciation or not. I’m not trying to be a pain in the arse, but try to be a bit more consistent there, Constable. That’s all I ask.

2) Who in the heck is doing the re-writes for edited-for-television movies? While watching a bit of Blade Trilogy this weekend, Ryan Renolds’ character at one point utters the phrase "Why don’t you take a sugar-frosted jump off the end of my hoo-hoo!" What the hell does that mean and what kind of profanity are we replacing here? At no point does that phrase even caress this side of intelligible. A "sugar-frosted jump"? What does that even mean?! Is it as bad for your teeth as it sounds? And where EXACTLY will I land if I take one of the aforementioned leaps from the end of your hoo-hoo? Am I aiming for the sandbar or the treasure trail or a soft landing on the satchel? Will I be judged on form and if so, have measures been enacted to make sure the French judge gives me a fair shake (get it? A penis joke, a fair SHAKE….aw, never mind…)?

3) Is the mullet making a comeback? And if the answer to that question is "yes", then I will have a follow up question: "WTF?" I’ve been seeing the ol’ "biz up front, party in the rear" ’do making the rounds lately, from game show contestants to baseball players and I had to ponder the implications. The bright side, of course, would be that my high school yearbook picture would now be en vogue again. Good news if I suddenly become famous and "Extra" manages to dig up a pic of me with "the Beav" (so named by my friend Matt, who thought it looked like a beaver crawled up my bean and died). The bad news, I’ll have to buy high-top Reeboks and start wearing a Canadian Tuxedo (read: denim pants, denim shirt, denim jacket, belt made of bacon….ok, not really with the belt, but it would make trips to the zoo more exhilarating). …OR, can I trade in the jean jacket for a Members Only jacket? BONUS! Next thing you know, hockey will make a comeback, piss-ugly-green Buick Regals with powder blue and red racing stripes will make their resurgence, and Meredith Baxter Burny will trade in made-for-Lifetime TV movies for a starring role as the mother on a prime-time sitcom. Another side effect of the mullet-revolution: the Camaro. Didn’t we just finish killing this friggin’ thing off by deeming that cars should get more than 12 miles to the gallon? Seriously, now we’ll have to bring it back, bring back the confederate flag license plate, the Calvin-pissing-on-a-Ford-symbol sticker, and bring back the "Lakeland insult" (otherwise known as shouting "Dick!" out the driver’s window and peeling out; leaving the scene without allowing for a retort). Does any of this make you tremble a bit in your BVDs?

If not, picture all of the above in the Michael Bay-directed version:

Grainy, slow motion shots of said Camaro steeped with CG effects, quick-cut editing that would make ADHD patients nauseous, explosions, and general impossibility-iciousness! Starring the ’Hoff, Alf, and the entire cast of "Joanie Loves Chachi" (Scott Baio has to eat, folks, there’s nothing wrong with that). Soundtrack by Diddy (which really means "soundtrack by legitimate artists whose works have been blatantly stolen and re-edited with a new drum track, piss-poor singing in the chorus, and 14 rappers each contributing 3 sentences of disjointed and unconnected lyrics"). With a cameo by Christopher Hewett from ’Mr. Belvedere’.

Chilling portents of things to come, folks. Chilling.

Advice to the 16 year old me

I’ve seen some other blogs similar to this and it started me thinking. So here is what I would say to the16 year old me, back in the year.....never mind....shut up! Don’t judge me!!!

>Buy stock in Yahoo! As soon as you can and as much as you can, and don’t sell ’til sometime after the millennium.

>Go to Purdue, get a degree in Computer Science, invent something that has to do with streaming media, sell it to Microsoft and buy an NBA team (Damn you Mark Cuban, you idea snatching bastard!!!)

>Don’t buy a Subaru. Or any car with a boxer engine. They have 2 timing belts, and when one goes bad, it all goes bad. Very bad.

>Go someplace nicer than Olive Garden for prom! Dumb ass!

>Be an asshole. Walk around with a smug, absent look on your grill at all times. Nice guys don’t finish last, they finish ALONE!

>DO NOT, under any circumstances whatsoever, move to Eugene Oregon. Nothing but bad luck awaits you there. For every ounce of happiness you might feel, you’ll have 10 tons of bad luck. Trust me.

>Boxers or boxer-briefs. Those are your choices. AND NO DAMN LEOPARD PRINT!

>Skip school at least once a semester your Junior year. You’ll thank me. Seriously.

>Listen to your father. Believe it or not, he’s right and you’re an IDIOT!

>From this point forward, do not ever consider buying a gaming console. You just simply do not have the temperament for it. Your guys won’t tackle. And try and relax a bit, that temper isn’t productive!

>Never stop playing guitar and never stop wanting to be a rock God.

>Don’t lose touch with Lan. He’s one of the true good guys and you’ll sorely miss his friendship if you do.

>There is nothing, I reiterate NOTHING, redeeming about a mullet. High and tight, jerk wad, high and tight!

>You’re not going to go blind, but seriously, take it easy on Nixon! We’re not playing "Whack-a-Mole" here! It’s like you’re angry at it!

>Accept that there are people in this world that will always skate through life unscathed. And accept that you will always be the exact and polar opposite of that on the Bell Curve. You’ll be a stronger person for the trials and tribulations. But if you follow my’ll own them all!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

>For the love of all that is good and holy, please stop wearing tank tops! You’re like, what? 145 lbs soaking wet? Hit the weight room for about a year and a half and then talk to me.

>When you get to Purdue...Trish and Rachael....nope, you got that one right....

>Way to go with that scooter, JAFO! That’s the express train to "Girfriendville", you friggin’ tool!! Get a car!!!

>Get out of your own head for a while and loosen the F*ck up!!

>If anyone offers you the opportunity to sell books door-to-door, do not under any circumstances (even if there is a gun to your head and a mouse trap to your junk) even consider that offer for one friggin’ second!

>If you follow all of the above advice and still manage to meet Kelly, don’t be a dick. She deserves the best you have; the best you are. She’s good people. She’s one of the few exceptions to the "be an asshole" advice.

I don’t know what else I can say to prepare you for the ebbs and flows that await you. Theoretically speaking, if you follow this advice, the me that is now will cease to exist and the "you" that develops into the older you will replace me. And maybe communism will prevail I don’t have a lot of control over that.

Best of luck, kid. If my experience is in any way’ll need it. And then some.

Me and the Green Monster

I'm not a lucky guy. Anyone who knows me knows that my luck vacillates between "God-awful" and "horrendous", and rarely tips the scales above "unfortunate".

Normally, winning something in a raffle would be considered lucky, but, again, it's me we're talking about here. I have won 2 things in my life in raffles, and explaining this should help you understand why I consider my luck to be so terrible.

The first "prize" I ever won was at a basketball game when I was in Jr. high. It was a fire extinguisher.

Let me repeat that: I won a fire extinguisher.

Just what every growing boy dreams about when they lay their impressionable heads to pillow at night. A fire extinguisher.

Pinch me.

The second thing I won happened in High School. It was a car.

You might, at this point, be saying, "A car, Dave? That sounds awfully lucky to me! What gives, you insufferable, ungrateful prick!?"

That's a bit harsh. But I'll press on. But for future reference, if you really want the rest of the story, you might try a bit more tact. Just a suggestion.

It was my junior year at Lakeland and someone in the administration came up with what was originally a solid plan. For every quarter of perfect attendance, a student would get one entry in a drawing to be held at the end of the year. Imagine how minds raced when it was announced that the grand prize would be an automobile!

No, seriously. Imagine it. NOW! …..That's better.

So, throughout that year I managed one single quarter of perfect attendance. One entry. Not good odds in a school of roughly 700 students, especially given that my luck has ALWAYS been shatty!

So as the year drew to a conclusion, the details of the drawing trickled in. The car was to be a repo aquired from a local bank. It was a mid-80's Buick Regal. Bearing in mind that it was 1991 (Goddammit, I'm OLD!!), that model of car wasn't the worst thing in the world. Second prize was to be a $500 gift certificate to the local stereo shop. Not too shabby.

As the seniors were given a few extra days off to prepare for graduation, they held a general assembly about a week prior to the end of the year. The dragged us out to the football field bleachers for the production and drove the car to the 50 yard line.

The base color of the car was piss-green (this actually being offensive to piss, as this color was appalling!). The interior was an even worse shade of velvet asparagus, though admittedly in very solid condition. Compounding the dreadfulness, the administrators (in their infinite wisdom) had sent the car to the Elkhart Career Center, where they allowed the auto detailing students-slash-slack-jaws Carte Blanche. What was returned was a piss-green Buick with a light tan splotche covering the front of the car, THICK baby blue and red racing stripes jetting down the sides of the car, and the words "Laker Mobile" on the back quarter panels.

This was an abomination to a degree that defies description. This thing was horrible on a level you have to take stairs to reach. There simply aren't enough words in any language to describe how hideous this car looked.

I actually just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about it!

So, the plan was to drag 10 unfortunate cattle down to the slaughter and then draw from those 10 names. With each passing name, my anxiety grew. I did NOT want to be on that field, with the smiling gazes of my peers staring holes through my soul.

The 7th name passed. "Thank God! Now I know it won't be me. With my luck, I would have to be picked in the first 3 so I could stand there and fester for longer."

The 8th name was called, and the unlucky soul sauntered begrudgingly down to the lineup on the turf. "We're good. It won't be me."

The 9th passed. "Thanks, Big Guy. I appreciate you sparing me."

Then it happened. My name echoed for what seemed like hours.

"Fuck!" I thought. My friends laughing the laugh of insanity as the pushed me out of my seat and toward that automotive bastardization. I passed the other 9 students, who all shared this look made up of equal parts terror and shame.

Now I started doing the math. "1 in 10 that I win that stereo gift certificate. 80% that I walk away completely unscathed. I can live with those odds."

First they drew for the gift certificate. My friend Jimmy won it. "Son of a bitch! I wanted that! Now I just have to be one of the lucky 8!"

Time seemingly stood still as I stewed over losing out on that certificate. I was still in mid-lament when they called off the "lucky winner". Hearing my name echo for the second time that day, I can't honestly say I remember what went through my mind. I'm told however, that it could clearly be read on my lips one single word.


Laughter ensued throughout the stands, as if I'd just been "pants" …and then crapped out a clown. This was the single-most embarrassing moment of my life to that point and ever since. But it wasn't over.

Then they brought out the photographer from the local newspaper. It wasn't bad enough that all of my friends and girls I still hoped to sleep with were there to witness my utter discomfiture; now the moment would be captured for posterity, recorded en photo for future generations to laugh at until they pee.

Full page spread in the paper. And the yearbook.

Bear in mind that I still had several days until the close of the year to reap the rewards of that fugly, rolling eyesore. I couldn't hang my head low enough walking down the halls of Lakeland to evade the jeers of my peers; the laughter and snickering.

I sold that awful thing as quickly as I could to the first taker (a hillbilly who actually LIKED the paint job those knuckle-draggers had ensconced the car with!!). I saw it driving around every once in a blue moon; a constant reminder of the most embarrassing day of my existence.

Yes, I made money off the deal. But how much money is dignity worth?

See? Even when I win, I lose. My luck sucks!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An Open Letter Regarding Insurance Company Advertising

Yes, All State, Progressive, and State Farm, I’m talking to you. You’ve ruined every show I can think of by constantly inundating me with the annoyance that is your commercials. You seem to think you can break my will by inserting your idiot spokespeople into every 30 second slot in the known universe.

Your approach is akin to Neil Goldman trying to get a date with Meg Griffin on Family Guy: relentless and ineffective. You’re like the president of the chess club repeatedly asking out the head cheerleader, hoping upon hope that the force of sheer will and attrition will land those pom-poms and that multi-colored skirt on the floorboards of your dad’s ’97 Camry. It won’t work. All the chess club dork ends up with is low self-esteem and a restraining order. And all you’ve managed to do is make the mute button as familiar as the menu button on my satellite remote.

And stop, for the love of Charles in Charge, telling me how much I’m going to save with you versus another company! It comes across a bit insincere when every single one of you, and all of your competitors, are making that claim. If I could save that much off of every one of you, insurance wouldn’t cost a cent!! You can’t ALL be the cheapest option, if the laws of mathematics still hold true. (And they do, right? I mean, not more than a handful of years ago, Pluto was still a planet and we all saw how that worked out!)

All State, you are the least of the offenders. But you are not without stain and blame, so don’t pat yourself on the back too quickly. Dennis Haybert is a commanding presence and a better than decent actor, but he only PLAYED the President on TV; he can’t actually order anyone to do anything. And seriously, “Your in Good Hands”? Still sticking with that slogan after all these years? At the end of the day, it just makes it sound like your claims providers are sitting in a van next to a playground with a bag of candy and a bottle of chloroform! “Get in the van, kid, you can save money on your auto insurance!!”

And yes, I just equated insurance companies to child molesters. Thought it couldn’t be done? Oh. It’s done!

All State, you’re up next. I don’t know if it’s the theme music you have infesting my ears in every one of your ads or the condescending prick you hired to be your talking bobble-head. Either way, STOP THAT! BAD INSURANCE COMPANY! BAD!! Maybe I don’t want to confer with my friends and “Tu familia”, as that massive blowhole put it (which is a whole other gripe of mine, since I don’t happen to be a big fan of Telemundo). It’s been my experience that insurance companies are very adept at finding individual ways to screw each customer out of their money, while denying claims with absolute indiscretion. As it happens, not all of my family (yeah, in English, Chichi) and friends are 36-year-old white males, driving a Hyundai Tiburon GT, with only one single traffic violation in the last 5 years. In fact, none of them are. So I’m guessing their experience might not necessarily translate. But nice try.

And that brings us to you, Progressive. The worst offender of the bunch, with your insurance-company-cum-grocery-store ad campaign. One stereotypically annoying customer after another, demonstrating that you insure every motorized form of transportation on the planet. Bravo. Whoopidy-freakin-doo, you insure wave runners. A fat lot of good that does someone after they smack their skull against a pier at 30 mph. Can’t file a claim from a coma, can you? Yet worse than this, and worse then the black-haired ass-puppet that All State is marching out, is the Progressive girl: Flo. Say good-bye to the career train, Flo, because this little stop in your professional life is the end o’ the line. Back to community theater for you! This character is more annoying than all the rest combined for the thick veneer of oblivious optimism, enthusiasm, and repressed self-lament that convinces me that in her off-time, she spends her night quietly poised on end of her couch, surrounded by cats, with the double-barrels of a shot gun lodged firmly in her yap; her trembling thumb pressed precariously against the trigger in a tête-à-tête with the inevitable. I weep for you, Flo. God rest your soul when you are predictably replaced as spokes-whore by an animated, talking opossum.

In closing, I would say that the three of you could take a lesson from Geico, which while still annoying, is, at the very least, kid-friendly. That is all, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time. Now… go screw.