My Moon Rock

I used to have a moon rock. I found it when I was a kid. It was sitting on the side of a dirt road in New Mexico, approximately 30 miles from the Mexican border. Of course I took it home, bragged about it constantly and placed it in a prominent spot on a shelf in the living room. I loved my moon rock. It disappeared shortly after I discovered it and perhaps no event in my pre-pubescence has been so influential on my adult emotional status.

The previous paragraph likely left you asking a few questions. I imagine you may be wondering things like: “Where did it go when it disappeared?”, or “How do you know it was a moon rock?”, or “Why am I still reading this?”

I’ll answer all three of these in no particular order. Leave any additional questions in the comments and I’ll answer those too.

How did I know it was a moon rock? I know it was a moon rock because it looked just like a butt. It had two well-rounded cheeks with a crack between them and two little nubs that resembled the beginnings of stubby legs. It looked perfectly able to wear a small pair of pants, which I was in the process of making when I discovered the rock’s disappearance. My master plan had been to put the pants on it and then carry it around and “moon” people with it. Certainly the greatest plan I ever devised as a child; likely the crowning point of my life’s achievements to date had I been successful. Still, having the idea has to count for something.

Where did it go when it disappeared? I am honestly unsure. It is possible that it was an actual rock from the moon, or was a living creature from the moon, and the Mooners rescued it. This scenario is fairly doubtful. I’ve known only one out-of-the-closet Mooner, and it was no alien from the moon. It was my brother who climbed upon our trailer one day, mooned all the other trailer park kids and subsequently got us kicked out of our home. A more likely scenario is that my easily-offended-by-references-to-normally-pants-covered-body-parts father found it offensive and chucked it into the yard somewhere. Now its probably either slowly eroding in the New Mexico desert again or is in the pocket of some other ingenious kid who thinks its the funniest thing he or she ever found.

Why are you still reading this? This one is really on you, but I’m guessing you’re still reading because we are near the end, you’ve stuck it out this far already and you figure you might as well let morbid curiosity carry you through to the end. Spoiler alert: There are really no further revelations forthcoming. It was just a rock that looked like a butt and I’m still sad because I don’t know where it is.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the irony of nature. I love it when nature mimics humanity and vice versa. Ad nauseum.

A don’t…be too proud of moon rocks. The Good Book says Pride goeth before a fall, or, amended and paraphrased to fit this case, pride preventeth the fall of tiny pants which would have revealed a charming geological derriere.

 

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Fishing Philosophy

The picture above is the best picture of my son in existence. It is arguably the best fishing picture in existence. Perhaps you have one you like better. I like this one, not only because it is personally valuable to my reminisces, but because it reflects my own philosophy on fishing.

When I am at a lake, pond, river or puddle casting out a line in hopes of a bite, I sometimes strike up conversations with fellow fishermen. It occasionally happens that someone will notice what I am using as bait or how my lure is attached to my line or my methods of letting the bait sit or reeling it in. On most such occasions, I’m given advice on “The Right Way” to fish. Or “The Right Bait”. Or “The Best Spot”. On one occasion in particular, I met a co-worker/friend/apocalypse-survival-strategy-co-planner at the very lake my son is pictured near above. We were just approaching the lake as he was retreating toward his vehicle and we stopped to chat. A few minutes into our conversation he pointed at my pole and asked what I was doing with “that rig”. I did as I always do when confronted by someone who feels my fishing is sub-par. Which, by the way, is a valid argument because I rarely catch anything. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I’m just messing around.”

That is my fishing philosophy. I don’t want to try the newest bait or most sophisticated lure. I want to sit on the bank near my son (or daughters or wife, preferably all of them at once) and mess around. I cast and reel and sit willy-nilly. We laugh, we talk, we find neat things laying around in the dirt. We watch turtles poke their heads up above the surface and express amazement when a fish jumps out of the water. We get bug-bit and sunburned and sweaty and thirsty. I have become an expert at untying ridiculously intricate and confusing knots produced when my son continues to fling his pole around without pushing the release button on the reel. I’ve become adept at determining when a tree’s hold on a bobber is too strong to fight.

I’ve learned that if I go home without a fish, I am not going home empty-handed as so many serious fishermen claim. I almost always go home with a memory such as the one pictured above, as my son reflects my philosophy. His eyes aren’t on the lake. He is obviously entertaining thoughts that are deeper than any lake, made possible by the serenity of fishing.

If he catches a fish, well, that’s just the crispy, golden breading on the filet. Or perhaps it’s the tartar sauce on the side. Whatever it is, it certainly is not the icing on the crab cake. That would be disgusting and goes against my fishing philosophy.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…fish to catch fish if that’s what you like. Just be sure to make time for all the other stuff too. Fishing goes well with just about anything.

A don’t…forget the worms. I mean the Canadian Night Crawlers. No, wait…you need the stink bait. Or some biscuit dough dunked in chicken blood. Whatever the best bait is these days, just don’t forget it.

Fishing Stories

Anyone who has ever fished has a story. In most cases these are embellished accounts of the approximated size of the one that got away or exaggerated size specifications regarding the one that didn’t. In a few rare cases, a large fish is landed, photographed, boasted of.

The following stories include none of the aforementioned qualities.

I am a poor fisherman.

My first fishing foray with my children included my two year old son suddenly jumping from the bank into the water and nearly drowning. I entered the water so fast that I was wet before I hit the surface. The only thing caught that day was, surprisingly, a severe case of athletes foot on my part. My son thankfully survived with no ill effect, other than a severely swollen pull-up.

Another occasion in the same location resulted in a much surprising encounter. Have you ever fished with three young children? You have no chance to catch anything. My son was insistent on throwing every bit of equipment and paraphernalia into the water every time I turned my back to help one of the girls unstick a hook from the weeds. On one such foray, I heard a frantic rustling of leaves and assumed it was my son making another beeline toward the bank for a self-drowning experience. Turns out, it was a recently-skin-shed snake. It, in hindsight as scared as I was, slithered its stark white and loathsome body furiously toward the water. I disregarded its escaping from me, focused on the ferocity of said evacuation and scared my children by ascending the steep bank, in the opposite direction taken by the snake, mind you, screaming. My frightened youngsters fled toward the road, arms above their sweet little heads, inspired by my flight of unnecessary fright. I nearly had to tackle my son to keep him safe.

Just today my son, now six, was insistent that catching a big fish required putting an entire hot dog on his hook. I indulged him, then watched as nibble after nibble garnered no landed fish. One bite, however, was a farce. The bobber dunked furiously under the water, inspiring a mad dash on my part to assist my son in landing a real lunker. Turns out he had somehow gotten the line wrapped around his shoe…who knows how?…and had jerked the bobber trying to reach his tepid Sprite.

One final account includes my wife-type-person catching three fish, which she nobly let the children land, whilst I myself got nary a nibble. My manhood has been suspect since that fateful day. She fails to believe the tales I share, fraught with inalienable truth, that I have, at least once in my life, caught a fish. She has never seen me do it, therefore it never happened. Instead she laughs at me. She shares stories of her dad yanking too hard to set the hook and reeling in naught but a set of fish lips. Would that I could, in her presence, catch a fish. Even if it were lipless.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…fish despite your failures. Catching a fish is fun. Fishing with your children is fulfilling.

A don’t…let a fish emasculate you. Sometimes they are just too dumb to eat soggy hotdogs, plastic or stinky clay.

The Sadiator

My wife and I spent a wonderful day at the Renaissance Faire. We ate smoked turkey legs and watched people throw tomatoes at an insulting pirate. We toured the torture chamber and the catacombs. We watched medieval dances, enjoyed acrobatic shows and trained bird of prey demonstrations. We were hailed as My Lord and My Lady as we passed through the various shops and stations. Most significant, in a petty way, to me was the purchase of a Gladiator-esque helmet. When I put it on I felt invincible. It was hot and smelled of metal and hurt my head but I enjoyed every minute. Then I had an epiphany.

Gladiators were poorly so-called. They had nothing to be glad about, unless, I suppose, they survived to fight another day.

We composed the photo attached as a tribute to those who saluted Caesar as they were about to die. Please consider the following a caption to the photo:

They call me a Gladiator. I am a slave who must fight to the death for the entertainment of a petty populace. Those who fight against me are all the more brutal because only my death guarantees their survival. I have nothing for which to be glad. I am, at best, a Sadiator. If I were to be brutally (pun-in-poor-taste intended) honest, I am a Clinically-Depressediator.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…travel back in time whenever you can. No diversion I have yet found is as effective at dispelling the stresses of modern life as living, even if for a moment, in the medieval past. I bought soap that smells of fresh-baked bread, for crying out loud. Can I get a “Huzzah!”?

A don’t…buy a steel helmet within the first hour of your sojourn to ages past. You will still be sore even as you sit, hours later, in your bed to type of your experience.

Worn Out Glasses and Being Stuck In One Spot: A Few Ideas With Little, If Any, Philosophy Behind Them

Would it not be strange if the lenses of your glasses could be worn out simply by looking through them? It would be. But it makes some sort of sense. Clothes wear out, but they are admittedly more roughly used than glasses. A science teacher once told me that glass is actually a liquid and that the panes of old windows will be thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top because the glass has run down like very slowly melting ice. I have never bothered to verify this claim, but it is interesting. Suppose that after many years of looking through the same lenses, they develop small holes where your pupil focuses most of the time with thinner glass surrounding these and then glass of fairly normal thickness around the periphery. An interesting idea indeed.

Pray let us consider the fact that everything thatĀ isĀ a particular person can only occupy one infinitesimal space within the universe and that everything that is that person is confined in a meat-bag. It is so commonly true that it may not occur as weird to many people. But it is weird. There is an absolutely enormous universe out there and we are confined to one itty bitty space. All the travel a person may do in a lifetime, including space travel, equals a fraction of a fraction of the totality of all there is. The number is so laughably minute that it boggles the mind to consider it. It boggles mine, anyway. Why are we trapped in a meat-bag?

And why must we eat and defecate? If evolution is true, why would we not have evolved past the need to do these things. On the other hand, why did God place these burdens upon us? It is my understanding that he expects us to work and strive for sustenance, but why would this occur to him? I will freely admit that good food is one of life’s singular pleasures. I may oft be found dining upon the greasy gloriousness that is a cheeseburger or slowly ruminating over the flavor of a complex soup as I masticate the chunky bits. But the need to eat and eliminate still baffles me. What on earth is the point?

Lastly, let us extrapolate the profundities of everything. I garden. I garden hard and I garden often. I am known, to my wife’s chagrin, to stand in the midst of my vegetables, stock still and staring. It is fascinating to me, the process by which plants grow, mature and ripen. From a miniscule seed bursts forth abundant sustenance! How? I recently observed my tomato seedlings and wondered how this puny plant would be capable of ever producing a second set of leaves from its tiny stalk, much less a 1/2 lb. fruit in a couple of months. So many miniscule transactions take place in a single thing such as a tomato plant on a daily basis that if we lived in “The Matrix” it would require a computer bigger than the universe itself to keep track of it all. And these things happen on a massive scale every second of every day. Cells divide. Plants photosynthesize. Worms squirm. We digest our food at our own particular metabolic rates. Chicken eat bugs which, until they were eaten, ate poop and other such. It all happens whether we notice it or not! Mind blowing.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider these things which I have presented. It is sublimely insane.

A don’t…think me high or otherwise intoxicated. I think about these things completely sober and it makes me want to do drugs. I won’t. But I have to shove the thoughts out of my brain quite forcefully sometimes. I think the thoughts are my drugs. Also a don’t…think that I think these thoughts originate with me. Similar things have surely been said and written in the past. This is simply my take on them.

Chickens and Volcanoes; The Donner Party Goes to Dinner; Baklava Re-Imagined and Staying Unfit: A Few Unrelated Thoughts

In the past I have posted about opening a horrible restaurant with dishes whose names are subtle puns. The dishes are guaranteed to inspire vomiting and a general hatred of me on the part of whoever falls victim to them. I’ve come up with a new dish; although it is more fit for outdoor eating than for faux fine dining. To make this new dish I’ll have to go to Hawaii. I’ll obtain hundreds of chickens and throw them into a volcano. Then I’ll invite hundreds of people over for baklava. When they show confusion at being served heavily charred chicken rather than a sweet and flaky dessert type item, I’ll explain the reason for the name. “When I throw the chickens into the lava”, I’ll explain, “they scream ‘Bok! Lava!'”

Now that that is out of the way, have you ever imagined the Donner Party going out to dinner in modern times? I imagine it this way. They arrive at an elegant restaurant with a long wait for a table. They sign in. Donner; Party of Eight. They sit on the benches provided and the hostess periodically checks on them. The wait is long and as the hostess prepares to call their name, she makes eye contact with the party members…”Donner; party of…seven?” She questions. The Donners follow her to their table and she dismisses any concern. It is not unusual for a member of a group to grow weary of waiting and walk away. The party is seated and menus are issued. Dear Daddy Donner subtly takes note of the disclaimer at the bottom of the menu: “6% gratuity will be added to parties of 6 or more.” By the time dessert is served, the Donners are a party of four. And so on until there is only one remaining Donner. I apologize that I can come up with no more reasons why a cannibal might eat a friend at a restaurant. Perhaps you can supply your own fates for the remaining 3.

Now on to the unfit portion of the post. A coworker got beeped at by a thing on her wrist the other day and began walking in place at her computer. She explained that it was a “fit-bit” and told her when she needed to move more and raise her heart rate. I don’t want that. I want a fat-bit. Or, if you prefer political correctness, an unfit-bit. I want something on my wrist to tell me I’m moving too much. I want something to tell me to sit down and watch tv because I’m burning too many calories. I want my unfitness to be justified by some doohickey on my wrist.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the traditional version of baklava. It is delicious and no chickens are harmed in the making of it.

A don’t…go out to dinner with the Donner party. Unless that’s your thing. Do your thing.

The 13th of Friday, 1st Part: Hilarious Tales of Unluckiness That Probably Didn’t Happen on a Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a day to celebrate, fear, or at least obsess over one’s favorite or most frightening superstitions. I am not personally superstitious, however I always enjoyed pretending to be. My brothers and I, not understanding fully the Friday the 13th mythology, would gather in one another’s bedrooms on such nights and read scary stories. We didn’t wander through the day fearing cosmic reprisal of some sort. In order to make up for this oversight, I present a few of my families misfortunes.

Disclaimer of Implied Accuracy:

Few, if any, of the following unlucky accounts occurred upon a Friday the 13th.

My brother had a horrible temper. It didn’t take much to set him off and he would set off after my other brother and I with bb guns or knives at the slightest provocation. On one such occasion, we fled the house to evade him. We were tiring quickly and our angry brother was showing no signs of slowing as his nearly super-human rage kept a steady supply of whatever it was that motivated him flowing through his veins. He was gaining ground and I suddenly remembered that one of dad’s junk cars had power windows and keys in the ignition. I grabbed my non-angry brother and we used the last of our stamina in a mad dash to the vehicle. We had just locked the doors when The Angry One skidded to a stop by the driver’s side door and began banging on the windows. He suddenly froze and we could see in his eyes a wicked idea forming. He jumped up on the hood, dropped his pants and underwear, smashed his “manhood” on the windshield and began to smear mashed scrotum across our field of view. I turned on the windshield wipers. They smacked him and his scrotum skin became trapped beneath the blade. You would’ve thought this would’ve made him angrier, however, he jumped down laughing and high fived me when I exited the car.

The same brother got us kicked out of a trailer park because he climbed up on top of our trailer and mooned all the trailer park kids.

The same brother made the mistake of listening to me when I told him to jump onto the couch. He did a sort of running belly flop and smeared a cat turd all down his chest. As mom was flipping the cloth couch cushions over, she berated me for telling my brother to do something dumb. “You know he always does what you tell him!” Am I to blame for his idiocy? Apparently so.

My dad caught his pants leg on fire once, but he was wearing combat boots and didn’t notice until the flames got up above his mid-calf. Many weeks later he caught the other leg of the same pair of pants on fire and again didn’t notice until the flames were rather high upon his leg. He kept the pants as fire pants since all the frayed ends had already been burned off and they wouldn’t catch fire again. As far as I know, they didn’t.

I entered the kitchen for a snack and tossed the pack of firecrackers I’d had in my back pocket onto a loaf of bread. As I searched the kitchen for sustenance, the firecrackers began to explode, ripping the bread to pieces and catching the packaging on fire. I don’t know if this is lucky in that it wasn’t my butt that got exploded or unlucky in that the universe was trying to burn our house down.

I once leaned shirtless over a lit shadeless teddy bear lamp as a child and burned my armpit on the bulb. A thin layer of skin pulled off and stuck to the bulb. I had to go to the emergency room and, I suppose in order to offset the bill, dad refused to throw the bulb away and it lasted a long time. My skin continued to blacken and was still present on the bulb when it finally burned out. Ironically, I had won the teddy bear lamp as the only contestant in a cute kid contest.

While living in an R.V. park in Tucson, dad took us to the shower room and let us shower without shower shoes. We all came down with horrible athletes foot.

In the same R.V. park, my non-angry brother rode his bike with his eyes closed right into a saguaro cactus. He came home walking a bike with a flat front tire and had hundreds of cactus needles embedded in his face and chest. Mom and dad gave him a couple of Tylenol, waited 30 minutes, then got out the pliers and prayed the neighbors wouldn’t call the cops because of all the screaming.

Our R.V. caught fire whenever we tried to cook in it.

We were kicked out of a trailer park 30 miles from Mexico, by illegal immigrant neighbors who were so disgusted with the piles of junk surrounding our trailer that they would rather face the possibility of deportation than be our neighbors anymore.

Dad left junk out and some of it got stolen. He left a sign spray painted on a chunk of plywood that said “Dear thief, how would you like it if I stole from you?” Then he laid it on the ground. He didn’t even put it on a post.

My angry brother got bit on the big toe. By a rat. In a bed we all three shared. As our non-angry brother slept naked because he didn’t have any clean pajamas.

My dad let 8 year old me drive our car onto ramps so he could crawl under and work on it. I didn’t do well. I got up the ramps. I got over the ramps. I jumped from the driver’s side door as the car sped toward the woods on our property. The first time I ever crashed a car, I wasn’t even driving when it crashed. Dad had a lot more work to do after letting me help him work on the car.

Dad built his own septic tank and when he put dirt over it, it collapsed.

I was born into my family.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider yourself lucky if you aren’t related to me.

A don’t…judge me. I learned from all my family’s mistakes. My children are safe and are not even given the option of underage precision driving. Or any driving. They don’t even have those electric little kid cars. Also, we have no cactuses and I don’t build my own infrastructure.