A List Of Pet Peeves Whose Existence Will Likely End Up On The Pet Peeves Lists Of Others

Following are some of my most incredulous pet peeves. Though they sound silly, they irritate me greatly. Enjoy.

  • Cling wrap that doesn’t cling
  • Coffee that doesn’t cough
  • A banana that refuses to vociferously promote banning Ana
  • Hitting a knot in a piece of wood with screw
  • Wondering whether the plural of Bigfoot is Bigfoots or Bigfeet
  • Children that refuse to listen
  • The misuse of there, they’re, their or then, than
  • The phrase “I could care less.” to describe a situation about which one fails to care. If you could care less, it means you care and are not interested in lowering your level of caring. The proper phrase is “I couldn’t care less.” in these situations.
  • The process by which cheese is made; cheese itself is on my favorites list
  • The sticky feeling left in my mouth following the consumption of Skittles
  • Cat food that doesn’t taste like cats
  • The fable that walking under a ladder is bad luck. It isn’t bad luck. It’s simply unsafe.
  • Poor attempts to redesign the classic comedy sketch “Who’s On First” by Abbott and Costello
  • Wearing wet socks
  • The number 11

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…celebrate your pet peeves. Nurture your hatred of the ridiculous. It could keep you from hating other people by giving you a venue through which to vent.

A don’t…hate people.



Plastic Surgery and Severe Diarrhea: Two Topics That May Not Go Well Together

First, a spoiler alert. The next paragraph of this post could be construed as disgusting. If you are squeamish or would rather not read about bodily functions, skip the next paragraph. Please rest assured this is not a journal of my personal bathroom habits. I would never presume to be so crude. It is simply a rant and rave over a possible side effect mentioned in a pharmaceutical commercial. If you’d rather not read about severe diarrhea, skip to the third paragraph.

Severe diarrhea? Is diarrhea not already severe? I would personally classify normal diarrhea that way. How bad does it have to be to substantiate the qualifier “severe” as a medicinal side effect? We all know how bad normal diarrhea is, so I won’t go into any detail on that front, but great googly moogly, what is severe diarrhea? All kinds of pictures pop into my head. Pictures of firemen losing control of fire hoses. Pictures of fountains spewing strongly enough to support the weight of a flailing recumbent human. Pictures of people unwillingly visiting outer space under the power of  fecal propellant rather than rocket fuel. This horrid bio-disastrous event needs a much better name than severe diarrhea. I submit “fecal jet-pack syndrome”.

Now, on to the more decent purposes of this post. I am a plastic surgeon. I am very good at it, but the income is not very good. In fact, I have never been paid for my services, though I am skilled enough to re-attach a severed head.

Don’t get any crazy ideas. I am not a well trained benevolent saver of lives, although I have saved a few lives. Not with plastic surgery though. When I say I am a plastic surgeon, I mean that I operate on literal plastic. Dolls, dinosaurs, board games, kites, cap guns…those kinds of things.

The severed head re-attachment was my very favorite operation. When my daughter was about three, she came running into the living room one day in a panic. “It’s killt!”, she exclaimed. “Daddy, will you help me, it’s gots killt!” I dropped whatever I was doing and, now in my own panic, followed my daughter to her room. I assumed she had somehow stepped on a mouse or some other such horrendous event had occurred. When we entered her room, however, my panic subsided. My daughter ran to the corner of the room, picked up a doll in one hand, its head in the other and brought the pieces to me, nearly in tears, pleading “Its gots killt, Daddy. Will you help it?” I didn’t mean to laugh, but I couldn’t help it. My mirth had the benefit of sending my daughter into a fit of hysterics and headed off the impending emotional melt-down. I performed plastic surgery and the doll beheading became a game. “Daaadddyy…” my daughter would taunt in a sing-song voice as she approached me with yet another decapitated effigy, “its gots kiiiilllt.” After a while it became a little creepy and she thankfully outgrew it, but the first event rewarded me with a beautiful memory and a warm hug.

I guess I get paid for my plastic surgery after all.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…practice plastic surgery, even if you don’t have a license, Just be sure to practice it on plastic people rather than human subjects. If you have children, the rewards of plastic surgery are stupendous.

A don’t…be afraid to comment if you ever experience severe diarrhea. I’ve come down with a case of morbid curiosity and would like to know exactly what makes it so much worse than the regular kind.

Winter, Dogs and Writing: A Disjointed Rambling From a Man Who Felt the Urge to Write but Couldn’t Settle on a Topic

We all know the virtues of a good dog. Except for cat people, that is. They know the…whatever….that a good cat has.

I’m not quite sure exactly where this post is going. I think families and dogs go hand in hand. As I write this now, the snow is falling outside. The faucets are dripping. I’m sitting in bed as winter wears on outside my windows. My wife’s Schnauzer-Chihuahua mix is gnawing on his leg a scant few inches from my leg and my Mastiff is laying just outside the open bedroom door on a Disney princess carpet my daughters stained with so much mermaid slime they don’t want it anymore.

Mermaid slime is not a euphemism. Mermaid slime is pink glittery slime we got them for Christmas. In case anyone was confused.

Dogs and winter go together as much as dogs and families do, I think. There’s something comforting about a sleeping dog when winter rages mere inches away.

I think this post may be more about winter than anything else. It is a strange idea to me that a foot or two of sheet rock and insulation are all that separate us from frostbite. I like that idea. The wind howls and I can hear it. I can see the trees bend and sway. But I am warm. I can see the snow falling. I can watch it pile up in drifts in the corners of the yard. I can’t catch it on my tongue of touch it and loose feeling in my fingertips. I am in the midst of the storm, untouched by it. This feeling intrigues me. It reminds me of how I felt in a tent or fort when I was a kid. I was outdoors, yet separated from the outdoors. I like to picture in my mind a nearly blinding snowstorm in the midst of which we see a faint glow. As we sweep in closer and the glow grows brighter, warmer, we see that it is a single bulb in a single window of a small house. As we peek in the window we see perhaps a family playing a board game. Of course, in my fantasy, a large dog lays beside the couch, passively spending time with the family. Or perhaps we see someone at a typewriter. Sitting at it, tapping away on a novel, is a stereo-typical novelist. If it is a man, perhaps there is a glass of brandy on a coaster and a cigar fuming in an ashtray. If it is a woman, the brandy is wine and the cigar is, well, whatever the feminine version of that is. Chocolate, maybe. And in my fantasy, a dog is present. Perhaps he is sitting on his haunches, panting despite the blaring cold outside the window, thumping his tail lazily on the floor. Maybe she lays curled around her person’s feet, warming them, inspiring the writer to pen (or tap out, in these modern times) a story of charity, love and warmth.

I went skiing once and fell so many times that at the end, my eyelids were weighted down by little balls of ice on my lashes. I had to stumble into the lodge and let my lashes thaw so I could see. A fire roared and a large dog lay in front of it. The sight of the dog (once I could see again) comforted me more than the fire did.

To sum all this up, I’ll say this. The cold loneliness of winter can be offset by a good dog. The snoring of my English Mastiff lulls me to sleep when it is cold out. I cannot feel it, but I know it is there and her normally irritating attempts to breathe comfort me. When family is absent or bitter cold lays upon the land, inches away, trying its hardest to get to you despite your electric blankets, space heaters, or cherished significant other laying next to you, a dog is necessary.

A dog is family when no family can be found. A dog is warmth when the world seeks to place you into cryogenic storage.

A dog is necessary.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider befriending a dog. ‘Tis a wondrous thing.

A don’t…give up cats if they are your preference. Unconditional love is great wherever you find it.


Jerkology 101: An Introduction

I, being a reluctant people pleaser and fantasizing unsung hero, have thought a lot about jerks. My distaste with verbal confrontation has inspired me to think deeply about the nature of jerks. I have been writing a field guide to common jerks.

Among my many eccentricities is an obsession with field guides. I have a field guide to fish. A field guide to birds. I have field guides to edible plants, poisonous plants, varmints, pests and survival techniques. If  “field guide” is in the title, I’ll find the money to buy it.

As I live with this obsession, combined with my fear of being verbally harangued by negative entities, it is only logical that I should create a field guide of my own. This field guide is entitled thusly: “Field Guide to Common Jerks”. It used to be “Field Guide to Common North American Jerks” until I realized that the types of jerks are universal. Versions of each jerk can be naturally found on every continent and in every city, town, settlement and village the world ’round.

I have written the field guide almost in its entirety. I had planned to publish it, but I decided that the stories of Sir Donkey Legs would be more marketable due to the originality of the characters (most of the credit is due to my children on that front). I still plan to publish the field guide, as soon I finish publishing my Sir Donkey Legs stories. So far there are two more ready to go, I’m  just waiting on funding.  The field guide will be given to the world. Until then, I offer it, for better or for worse, to my fellow bloggers.

I’ll begin by introducing you to Jerk philosophy. I have found that there are two basic types of Jerks. All of the Sub-Jerks fall under one of the following two categories: Active Jerk and Passive Jerk.

Active Jerks are those who actively try to physically hurt you. In this category you’ll find murderers, Satan himself and rapists. The Passive Jerk category includes such Jerks as those who insult you out of jealousy; cheaters and thieves.(Speaking of thieves, I used to work in a jail with a gentleman who would sing his own version of the classic hymn “Bringing In The Sheaves” which he called “Bringing In The Thieves” any time a new inmate arrived in our facility. If you’ve ever heard the original, you can imagine how humorous his version is in an incarceratory setting.)

This post is simply to introduce you to the idea of the philosophy of Jerkology. When you’re too afraid to confront others, you spend a lot of time thinking horribly of those who’ve insulted or mistreated you. The field guide is my way of passively dealing with that issue. I guess I myself am a form of passive jerk. Future posts will introduce you to the multiple different jerks contained within the guide. Be on the lookout for a book version, complete with illustrations, within the next few years.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…keep up to date on my Jerkology posts to determine whether or not you yourself are some sort of jerk.

A don’t…be a jerk if you can help it. At least not in public. Everyone deserves not to have been a jerk to. If that makes any sense at all.

A Strange Scar and an Injury Lost to the Sands of Time: A Man Reminisces; Hopes He Was Kidnapped By Aliens

I have a scar on my right thumb. I have no idea where it came from.

I have plenty of other scars. I have two on my right hand from building floor trusses. Those clips they use to hold the trusses together can wreak havoc upon your hands if you aren’t careful and I nearly passed out as a result of both injuries but was able to drive on.

Drive on is a curious phrase. It doesn’t mean to me what it may mean to others. It has a connotation relative to operating a motorized vehicle. I instead see it as a means of encouragement during hard times. It was a favorite quote of my Drill Sergeants in basic training. “Drill Sergeant, I’m hungry.” And the Drill Sergeant said “Drive on, soldier.” So I did. I drove on. I completed basic training. I survived one tour of duty in a combat zone.

I have adapted “drive on” to apply to my non-military life. I have a set of dog tags that say “drive on” and I tap them against my chest any time I am facing a stressful situation. It is strange, perhaps, but it helps.

Those last two paragraphs aside, I cannot for the life of me figure out this scar on my thumb. I have asked my dad. He doesn’t remember any childhood injury I had that may have caused it. My truss building scars have nearly faded, but my thumb scar is as clear as ever.

The only solution I can conjure is that I have been abducted by aliens.

There are two options if this is the case.

Option 1: The aliens kidnapped me when I was a child. If this is so, it would explain my unreasonable anxiety about which I have recently posted. My fear of re-abduction is translated by my rational mind as a fear of everything else.

Option 2: I was recently kidnapped, implanted in the thumb, and given false memories of having wondered about the scar for years. This is implausible. They would have given me a memory of the injury that made the scar.

Conclusion: I was abducted by aliens when I was a child.

Most probably this is completely untrue. Despite the implausibility of this, I choose to believe it anyway. It is much more compelling than having slammed my thumb in a car door or something.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…let your imagination run wild. It is mildly ok to imagine unrealistic scenarios.

A don’t…give the men in black any pertinent information, should they ever visit you. They will only use it against you.

Dealing With Stress: A Personal Approach That May Help Others

I am easily stressed by the most mundane thoughts. It doesn’t take much to turn my exuberance into nausea inducing horror. I spent the night after I talked to an Army recruiter wide awake and horrified even though I hadn’t made a decision or signed a paper yet. I once went and looked at a car and again spent a sleepless night worrying about something I had not even committed to yet. I’ve vomited because I was a day late on rent or a credit card payment. I spent an entire week when I was 12 convinced that I had AIDS because I had helped pick up trash on a road side. When I thought of publishing my book it actually crossed my mind that people would despise it so much they’d seek me out and berate me personally and the thought made me sick.

I am easily stressed. I’ve lived with this my entire life and thought it was simply a part of being alive. As I’ve aged, I’ve begun to realize that not everyone has this strange affliction. I’ve worked with people who can simply shrug things off and go on and I envy them. Sometimes I think of the spy in “Bridge of Spies” who, when Tom Hanks marvels at the fact that he isn’t worried simply asks “Would it help?”. I am in awe of this character.

Lately, it seems as if my mind is so tired of living with my constant worry that it has begun to simply reject it. This is involuntary and I am very grateful for it. Whenever this happens I get a feeling of peace that I wasn’t even aware could exist. My stomach feels content and warm rather than tight and on the verge of upheaval.

This good feeling is fleeting, though. Fleeting, but amazing. As it begins to recede, I chase it as I used to chase that old familiar stressful feeling. It has been a while since I actively sought out stress, but it used to be comforting in a way. I would seek to find a worry then attack it like a dog with a piece of bacon. I’d swallow it whole and then seek more while it was still trying to digest. I don’t doubt that living this way was killing me.

Now that I’ve begun to chase the serene feeling rather than the stress, I’ve realized a lot of things. First, I don’t feel that I have the right to worry the way I used to. Maybe my credit score will drop a little, but my children are fed. Maybe I’ll tank a final, but I have a job and my bills are paid. Maybe someone will berate me for my book and maybe my book will never sell, but I have a home to keep my family warm and dry and a yard in which my children can safely play. Not everyone has these things. Who am I to make myself sick over things when I have so much?

I have resisted a medical solution to my problems. I don’t feel like taking pills that will make my hindquarters expel things before I’m ready. I don’t like the idea of masking my problems rather than dealing with them and it seems this philosophy has begun to pay off.

Anytime I feel stress now, I immediately begin to think of all the ways in which my life is amazing and comfortable and how it could be so much worse and this quiets the stress. My constitution strengthens and I can rationally deal with whatever it was that was worrying me.

This is by no means an immediate solution, but with practice I have been making a lot of progress.

I went ahead and joined the Army. There were many sleepless nights, but I learned to be strong and to thrive despite uncomfortable conditions. I bought the car and I learned that repossession doesn’t ruin your entire future. I published my book and it recently garnered a rave review from an independent reviewer that I did not previously know. Will there be detractors? Certainly. Will it bother me? Maybe just long enough for me to take the time to remember what I have.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…remember what you have and what others lack. Not only can it help you feel better, it might even inspire you to reach out to others whose situation is much less stable.

A don’t…find me judgmental of those who seek a medical route or take my story as an attempt to turn people from medicine. Medicine can be helpful and I don’t turn up my nose at those who choose it. Medicine is a valid route to healing, it just isn’t the route I personally took.

Indicting Squirrel Boy: Evidence That My Son is A Woodland Creature

I mentioned in a recent post that my son is basically a hairless squirrel. I’d like to present some evidence to support this.

A couple of weeks ago we were outside playing in what was left of a recent snow. It was bitterly cold and I told my son to come inside before his fingers fell off.

Exhibit A: My son acted as if he doesn’t speak English.

He began to dance in the snow and chitter. I stated more loudly, “Time to go inside!” My son ran to the other side of the yard and disappeared between some evergreen shrubs that grow along our fence.

Exhibit B: My son startles at loud noises and disappears into foliage.

I began walking toward my son stealthily. As I approached I heard him scream “What!?” He burst out of the trees and ran to us screaming, “There’s a Christmas tree in there!” I said, “Those have been growing there since we moved in. They aren’t Christmas trees. Go inside!” My son again ran into the shrubs.

Exhibit C: My son has no grasp of logic. Specifically, he doesn’t seem to recognize me as an authority figure concerned with his safety.

When my son again emerged, he was indeed dragging an artificial Christmas tree behind him, stand and all. He placed it in the middle of the flower bed and stated, “This is MY Christmas tree. Finders keepers, losers leapers.” I explained to him that it is actually finders keepers, losers weepers, and despite his now knowing the proper phrase he should never use it because it seems to be a mean-spirited phrase designed to deny losers the right to reclaim their lost property.

Exhibit D: My son was extremely excited to own a tree. When his mom arrived to pick him up he implored her to let him take it to her house. When she said it wouldn’t fit in the car, he pulled off the top portion of the tree and begged to take that. He would be happy to own just half a tree.

We brought the tree inside and placed it in his room. When he came home from his mom’s he decorated it with underwear and scraps of paper.

Exhibit E: My son has a tree as a permanent fixture in his living space. It holds his clothes and creations. It could be called his home.

The prosecution rests.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…allow your children their eccentricities. So long as they aren’t dangerous of course.

A don’t…let them carry it too far. They are still human children despite their feral tendencies.