Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jaymz MacGrygor: If You Can't Beat 'Em...Razz 'Em!

So I keep getting invited to kickball games by these hipster kids I know. I'd totally love to play, but unfortunately my kneecap is being held together by model airplane glue and bailing wire. At least that's what it feels like. And that, of course keeps me from doing things like running or kicking or having doggystyle sex. But that's a different story.

Last Friday, I indulged my team spirit and went out to GT Bray to cheer on the McCabe's Irish Pub Team from the stands. I really didn't want to go by myself, cuz I have this weird anxiety thing about being in strange places alone, so I dragged my friends Matt & Rainy out. They're hermits and I wanted to show them that the outside world won't hurt them.

Turns out we weren't the only ones there...but we sure were the loudest. You see, hanging out with Matt brings out the inner asshole I've been steadily trying to hide these last few years. We spent the entire game razzing the other team (who were wearing shit-brown uniform shirts. The jokes wrote themselves) apparently to the point that they wanted to fight us.

Hey, it's sports people. It's not MY fault that half your team looks like they regularly use Geritol and your heavy hitter looks like he wants to be Fred Durst. I mean really, who wears their hat backwards anymore? Huh? Sure, I mighta been a little out of line when I was just straight-up hitting on the cute girl in the blue booty shorts, but what can I say? I'd been drinking.

It was kinda funny that at first it was just Matt and I harassing the other players. The rest of the fans seemed a little stand-offish that we would so blatantly insult people like that. But soon enough we weren't the only ones hurling insults and psyche-outs. There were quite a few "Steeeeve Perry!!"s being shouted in their direction.

Needless to say, I had a blast. I've never been good at sports, but I've always been a pretty good shit talker. And the fact that I can bandy insults about without having to embarrass myself on the field with my pathetic excuse for athletic ability, well that's just icing on the cake!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If I had a nickel...

“If I had a nickel for every time someone thought I was gay, I'd have change for a $3 bill!” 

I start off this story with that glorious sentiment, because it is both witty and hapless at the same time. I just have to hope that the proprietor of this powerfully poignant proclamation knowingly conjured it up, and did not just stumble into one-liner greatness.

The orator of the statement was a handsome yet simple looking guy in his early thirties. He had a wannabe hipster vibe written all over him. He was wearing a V-neck sweater, pre-faded jeans, with the strap of a man-purse crossing his chest, a generous growth of hair adorning his face, and his drink of choice was a Pabst Blue Ribbon (or PBR for those of you “in the know”). He was sitting along the wall on a raised pew in my favorite bar. He was surrounded by a group of other thirty-somethings; all of which had been drinking for an ample amount of time. They didn't seem to be close friends, but rather, they were old acquaintances that were catching up after spending a long time apart. I could tell, because most of their stories started with “Do you remember when...?”

It was obvious that at least one (if not three) of the men around him were members of the homosexual community. The loudest (and most inebriated) one of them all could only be described as a short medium-sized ginger with very big hair. If the group were having a “gay-off”, he would have left the others in his dust. There were two women in the group as well. One referred to herself as “Gay Mecca”, and the other was happy just listening to the stories and smiling.

The orator quickly took over as the main attraction in the conversation. He told stories of going to prom with two different men in two successive years. Those tales were quickly interrupted by a qualifier. He said that each time, he went with his girlfriend, and the double date was completed by a male friend and what turned out to be their final heterosexual relationship.

He spoke of nicknames he had received over the years. One of his gay friends called him a “Fruit Fly.” Another referred to him as a “Fag Stag.” But the one that he seemed to adore most was “The Enigma.”
After announcing to the group that he had been given the name, he immediately explained why it was bestowed upon him. Apparently, it was a common occurrence for him to be among his circle of gay friends and repeatedly asked by those who he had just met if he too were “one of them.” His closer friends would explain to their rainbow congregation why he was called “The Enigma.” Basically, he was just a well dressed 100% heterosexual male who felt comfortable around anyone.

It was only when The Enigma was asked bluntly how often he was mistaken for a gay man, that he brought forth his gold-plated one-liner, “If I had a nickel for every time someone thought I was gay, I'd have change for a $3 bill!”

He followed up the statement with stories of Drag Queens and their love of bingo, the difference between bears and otters, and just exactly how easy it is to win at Gay Chicken (hint: everyone wins). He was like a hipster version of Abe Lincoln, and the crowd to his left and right were his own drunken version of the Springfield townspeople.

After being asked questions about how or why the moniker was given (or earned), The Enigma would shrug his shoulders and glance over at Gay Mecca for backup. As it turned out, Gay Mecca and The Enigma were married. She would always give a similar smile and shrug, but hers had a little less sheepishness to it. She too was someone who always just found herself feeling at ease around others who were comfortable in their own skin. That is a standard trait of the non-straight, and something that she and The Enigma had in common. It was probably the way those two had met, and I for one, applaud them for finding each other amid a flamboyant ocean of gay.

I thought The Enigma was a prime candidate for what I like to refer to as “heterosexual hubris.” You know, the kind of guy who is so sure of his heterosexuality that he was doomed to be gay (okay, maybe doomed isn't the right word to use there). One minute he would be telling a story of his experience at a gay bar in Syracuse, then on a dime (or two nickels) he would turn to his wife and plant a heartfelt kiss on his beautiful Mecca.

I guess it is possible in this day and age for someone to be so comfortable with their heterosexuality that they could embrace such a nickname. I can name a few guys that I always knew were gay, but turned out to just have a lisp and enjoy a White Wine Spritzer every now and again. However, I've also known a few guys who I never would have thought were gay. One was a 6'4” volleyball player, another joined the Marines right out of high school, and the third was more obsessed with female breasts than I will ever be. I've been fooled before, and I'll be fooled again. I might even go as far as to say, “If I had a nickel for every time I thought a friend of mine was straight, and turned out to be gay, well... I guess I would have three nickels.”  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jessica Schubick: If I had a nickel...

Father issues?” Yeah, if I had a nickel… Manny said “father issues” like it was the secret he had inadvertently discovered hiding under my napkin while I was in the bathroom: “Ugh, I’m not a Hemingway fan.” Father issues? That was the first time. Or like the annoying habit he couldn’t break me of: “I love that movie!” Father issues… That was the regular. Or like a moral indictment he was obligated to render: “I won’t go.” Father issues. That was the end. And I’d say, “Ooh, just wait… You have no idea…. One day I’ll tell you and then you’ll feel like a real asshole. Asshole.” We laughed; we always laughed.

It was funny because he was right. And because he knew he was right and I knew he was right. But I never told him the story. “Father issues” was his joke; the secret of it was mine. Manny smoked; I bummed. Manny liked to debate; I liked to mediate. Manny enjoyed the joke; I enjoyed the joking. Neither of us wanted to discuss it any further. Why ruin a good thing?

The laughing did eventually stop, but not because I told him. It turns out there are other ways to ruin a good joke.

Bad news comes in threes. The week my dog was diagnosed with lymphoma, I found out He had cancer. The week my dog died, I found out He was dying too. The week of my birthday, I found out He was dead. He was in North Carolina. I didn’t know that. He had been in Illinois, Arizona, Minnesota (or was it Michigan? no… Minnesota), and who-knows-where else? Not me. I guess the federal prison system can send inmates anywhere. And they sent Him everywhere – but He didn’t see those places. Just the walls.

They were supposed to be sending Him home: “compassionate release.” He was being sent home to die. But I didn’t know when. There was paperwork to be done. Bureaucracy. I was going to purchase a plane ticket and visit Him when He got there. I looked up flights. I told my boss I’d be taking some time - family emergency. I would leave in a few days, maybe a week. But that paperwork stopped. New paperwork began. He didn’t make it. I told my boss, “nevermind.”

He was sick; He died.

He was sick. He was in prison. He was going home. I was going home. He died.

He was sick. He was gone. He died.

I felt sick.

A compass, a wallet, a t-shirt, a rock: this is what He left me. Brown eyes, full lips, seasonal allergies, a void: this is what He gave me. A parent, a happy memory, a goodbye, a grave: this is what He failed to provide.

His ashes wouldn’t arrive for a while – 6 months, maybe. Bureaucracy. Sooner there would be a family gathering; a farewell party. Would I go? No, I wouldn’t. I would wait for the ashes. I hadn’t seen him in 15 years; I could wait a few months for some ashes. But my sisters were there. And the aunts, uncles, and cousins whom I hadn’t seen in much longer than 15 years. They could handle the symbolic gathering. I’d wait for the man, Himself.

There was discussion of splitting the ashes - whenever they finally arrived - between my sisters and myself. We’d each get a handful, I guess. That was a strange thought. He would finally be ours - the four of us could each do with him as we pleased. Put him on a shelf. Stick him in the closet. Dump him in the river. Toss him to the wind.

I had fantasies of all the places I’d take him. Our long-awaited father-daughter road trip. I may have been alone in this, but I kind of loved the idea. Our time; My father. Then, another surprise. They had received the package much earlier than expected. They took care of it. His brothers had hopped the fence to the cemetery the night He arrived. They sneaked through the dark to my grandfather’s grave, dug a small hole, and buried Him in the ground. Illegal, unidentified, unmourned. Gone.

The great inheritance. I’ve considered turning the compass into a necklace. It’s small and cheap - tin, less than an inch across. Maybe a child’s toy that He found in a parking lot? A small prize? It might be sweet. It also might turn my skin green.

I could save the wallet for my non-existent son. “This is a relic of your absent grandfather. Enjoy.” Black nylon, Velcro closure, gold Iowa Hawkeye football logo on the front, never used. It’s not exactly a weathered journal documenting a life of adventure, but it will have to do.

I thought about sewing the t-shirt into a quilt. It could work: white cotton worn-thin with a portrait of a dopey-faced bald guy with crossed-eyes on a fluorescent pink diamond. “Curly’s Pizza – Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!” it says. Was he a Stooges fan? Or just pizza? I should probably sell it on ebay; hipsters.

The rock I could dispose of in place of the ashes that I never received: toss it into the ocean, lob it off a bridge into the Mississippi River, or fling it into the Grand Canyon. That would have some sort of poetic significance…like I’m showing him one of the places he never really got to visit.

But I won’t do any of those things. No, I’ll just chuck the rock out the car window. I won’t even look to see where it lands.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Assisted Living for the Perfectly Able

I heard yet another story from someone who had an amazing experience at a Sandals all-inclusive resort. There were some twists and turns in the tale, as well as a few funny one-liners, but I couldn't tear myself away from the overwhelming hilarity that laid beneath the narrative. I have always wondered what it was like to spend a few days at one of these resorts, and I have taken every opportunity to gather that information from those who have spent a vacation in the pampered existence that comes along with the overpriced luxury. Each time, I am greeted with tales of laziness, gluttony and inebriation. Rarely are there details that fall outside of any of those three main categories.

I was not interested in chronicling these stories for research on which island or city I want to visit or what time of year in which to do so. No, I treated this story as if I were gathering reconnaissance for a future investment venture. I did not picture a honeymoon in Jamaica or a nice relaxing weekend in Hawaii. I was thinking about what it would be like to create an assisted living facility for the perfectly able.

Think about it. A full time suburban assisted living facility of my very own, but it would be unlike any other in all the land. Generally, these installations are geared toward a geriatric population that needs constant supervision and care. My vision is far more contemporary and original. I would like to open the world's first assisted living facility for the able bodied individual who just wants to pay the premium for being a lethargic bump on the proverbial log. I would call it ALPA (pause for realization of the acronym's ingredients).

My facility would be equipped with wall to wall seats and couches, and at no point in their occasional saunter from one room to another would they ever be out of eye's reach of a 40+ inch high definition flat screen TV. They would have implanted earphones that could switch from one TV signal to another with the click of a button. The implant would occasionally ring in their ear with an incoming personal phone call or announcement of whichever meal was being prepared in the kitchen. With another click of a button; their food order could be delivered directly to their agape faces within minutes. The all-purpose remote could call upon a nursemaid, pillow fluffer, concierge, or any other person on our staff that would wait on them hand and atrophied foot.

The standard fees would be fair, but any additional services they request will come at an appropriate cost. We would provide a virtual mini-bar stocked with everything one could ever dream of. The clientele will be trust fund babies who have money to burn, overworked professionals in need of a respite, or any other segment of the population that would be ready and willing to pay the price for 100% laziness. The business model is solid, and it is a well known fact that the client base most certainly exists in America. I don't see how this wouldn't be a success. I have worked with an assortment of in-home care nurse and assisted living facilities through my current job, and I know the pay scales of the employees who clean up after the elderly and perform tasks I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. My staff wouldn't have the need for any medical certification or degrees in hospitality. They would only need to learn our system of billing, basic laziness care, and have the go-getter attitude that the clients severely lack. That has to be much cheaper labor than our geriatric service competitors.

Our offerings would be basic at the beginning, but would only improve as profits expanded. I know people who are in the wireless headphone business already, and that will be our initial market advantage. A never ending wireless existence with every option within earshot or the push of a button. Our services would be centralized at one or two locations, so we could control the environment and learn the full potential of the business and overhead costs. I imagine it could eventually expand into a mobile enterprise, but that would only occur after extensive research and development. We wouldn't want to dilute the brand by making any rash decisions on expansion.

I imagine down the road, we would install more gaming systems and integrate those into our vast lineup of services. If we could get the gaming community interested in the endeavor and into our circle of slothful clientele, we could be stumbling into an absolute goldmine! We could continue expand into newer markets and untouched client bases. The service would sell itself through word of mouth over internet bulletin boards and online gaming discussions. The staff would be trained in the art of gaming, so they would always have someone for a two player Halo campaign or Wii Bowling match if the client requested an in-person companion. They would also be educated on the lingo of our client base, so they could chat for hours about Philosoraptor or World of Warcraft. We would have a minimum stay of one week, and there would never be a maximum. If you wanted to live there permanently, we most certainly could arrange that (for a price).

Can you think of any of your family and/or friends that would jump at the opportunity to never again have to make a sandwich, order pizza, make their bed, change a lightbulb, do the dishes, take out the garbage, get the mail, shop for groceries, change the batteries in the remote, wash their clothes, or do any other menial task ever again?

I know what you are thinking; isn't this what a maid or butler does for the rich? How is this any different, and how can any normal person afford these services? Well, I will employ the age old practice invented by Henry Ford, and apply it to these day-to-day tasks. I will construct an assembly line of sorts, and each of my employees will have three to four specialized tasks that they will complete at an alarming rate of productivity. The price for our services will be low enough to entice the masses, and the quantity of our clients will provide the margin we need to further our brand and our penetration of a market that I believe has never been tapped before.

I will be taking questions from potential investors and curious parties. Also, I am taking applications from those who are looking for work. This could be the next Google or GM, so invest now while the cost of co-ownership is affordable. You don't want to be like that guy who didn't listen to his friend who told him about this little start-up software company called Microsoft in 1986. That would be a disastrous set of events, and you would never forgive yourself. So invest in ALPA today, you'll be happy you did. That is, unless this is an epic failure and just a terrible idea that was conjured up while drinking beer in a hotel lobby bar.

No, it will be a resounding success. I promise! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy You're Welcomesgiving

After taking part in the annual American holiday of overeating known as Thanksgiving, I was left to ponder what should come next. I am not an avid shopper, so venturing out in the wee hours of the morning in search of those Black Friday deals was not on my agenda. I thought about the holidays, what they mean, and how we interpret those meanings into our actual deeds.

Christmas Eve is celebrated as a ramp up to the big day where everyone sheds their materialistic needs and selfish wants (yeah, that’s the ticket). Christmas Day is spent unwrapping presents, acting like you appreciate that present, and then asking for the gift receipt so you can go get what you actually want. The day after Christmas in the U.K. is known as Boxing Day. Boxing Day is a bank holiday that is used by our British counterparts to give gifts to the needy and people in the service industry. They also spend the day drinking beer and watching football (in America, we call that Sunday).

I thought about the tradition of Thanksgiving from the vantage point of the settlers. They gave thanks for the sustenance provided by the Native Americans for that ceremonial meal, and the farming advice that led to the settlers’ subsequent self sustainability. I doubt the Pilgrims would have used the fish they caught for anything other than that night’s meal. Without the expert tutelage of their “heathen” neighbors, they would never have known to use those scaled water dwellers as fertilizer for the sandy soil that was quickly becoming the bane of their New World existence. For that, they were eternally thankful, and to this day we celebrate by overeating and graciously saying “thanks.”

I quickly turned my mind’s eye to the vantage point of the Native Americans. What did they get out of that deal? The white man’s thanks were short lived. Yes, we assisted in a couple of slaughters of a common enemy (the partnership between Jamestown and Powatan that led to the attacks on the Monacan tribe), they allowed Pocahontas to marry John Rolfe (but only after she converted to Christianity and was baptized), and we even gave them back small pieces of their own land where they could live in peace, harmony, and poker tables.

I came up with the idea for the Native Americans to institute their own Holiday. It would occur the day after Thanksgiving each year. They could call it “You’re Welcomesgiving.” The premise would be simple and to the point. Those who choose to participate would make an effort to approach those who they had done favors for, tell them specifically what they had done for them, and follow it up with an immediate and snarky-toned “You’re welcome!”

Descendents of Powhatan could ceremonially start the flow each year by saying, “Good morning, and you’re welcome for all the fish.” The tradition to continue to pay the passive-aggressive comments forward with, “Oh yes, the fish in the soil bit. Yes, that was nice. However, do you remember the guns and ammo we gave you for smiting your enemies? You’re welcome!”

It would grow in popularity and would quickly gain momentum among the ranks of sarcastic and ironic people. You would hear about the vast lands that they gave up to the organized government in exchange for the beautiful reservations they have today followed by a peevish “You’re welcome!”

Being equally as petulant and unwilling to let themselves be bested, a descendant of John Smith might offer a retort of, “Indeed, thank you for that. And we shared our most prized possession with you and many of your people. Or have you forgotten about the plague? You’re welcome!”

There is an endless amount of fodder, and could go without repeat for many years. However, it must evolve into something in which the masses could partake. It could be opened up to anything and anyone.

Imagine working the day after Thanksgiving, but only because your coworker absolutely had to have the day off when that project was almost finished. You could call them at home while they were enjoying time with their family just to remind them of who made that possible.

I can hear it now, “Oh hey, so I’m sorry to be calling so early. Were you still sleeping? Well, I just wanted to let you know that I am here at the office working diligently on that project that WE need finished before the weekend. Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it under control. You enjoy your day off with your family and friends. And by the way, you’re welcome!”

It has an endless amount of possibilities. Women who only get a call from their kids on Christmas and Mother’s Day can pick up the phone and say “you’re welcome” for giving their ungrateful kids food and shelter for the first 18 years of their life. Wives can call their husbands and give a laundry list of “you’re welcomes” (up to, and including doing their laundry). Bosses can send out mass texts for those paychecks they sign and deposit every other week. Employees can respond by expressing their acceptance of praise for wage freezes or productivity increases. Governments can go on TV to issue a nationwide “you’re welcome!” for streets, police, homeland defense, healthcare, and other assorted infrastructure. The people can call and leave voice mail messages for their congresspeople articulating the appreciation they accept for the tax money they so willingly allow the government to deduct from their paychecks to help support the perfectly balanced budgets and all-inclusive spending practices they so expertly oversee.

I could even foresee You’re Welcomesgiving carols being sung in the streets or recorded by opportunistic singer-songwriters. I think it would go a little like this:

Imagine all the “you’re welcomes.” I wonder if you can.
No need for “thank you” or “gracias.” From a woman or a man.
Imagine all the people, snarky and disagreeable.
You may say that I’m evil, but I’m not the only one.
I hope this holiday will catch on, and I can say “you’re welcome!”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Remember the 5th, Ladies

RIt was the morning of November 5th, and I was surrounded by a group of people helping to plan our Guy Fawkes Day bonfire party. I was reminded to “Remember, remember” for the last week or so, but I had somehow forgotten to remember. The same can be said for my friend Christian. He hadn't forgotten about the day or its significance, but he had forgotten to create the necessary “party favor” he was commissioned to create. As Christian walked in and saw us all sitting around a bar table, he realized this sad fact and said, “Oh shit, I forgot to make my effigy again.”

I imagined what those around us might have been thinking. You see, Guy Fawkes Day is not a holiday most Americans celebrate, or are generally even aware of its existence. Guy Fawkes was a conspirator in the not-so-great Gunpowder Plot that fizzled and failed. The intended target of the plot was the British parliament building and King James himself. They were foiled before they could even ignite any of the 36 barrels of gunpowder they had stashed in the cellar directly under the House of Lords that day. Guy was caught red-handed during the early hours of November 5th, 1605. He was quickly imprisoned, tortured and executed for his role in the thwarted plan to destroy Parliament and the anti-Catholic British Monarchy of the early 17th Century. The British people celebrated the safety of the King by lighting bonfires and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes. Each subsequent year on November 5th, they repeat that celebration. Unfortunately for many Americans, this is not common knowledge.

Unfortunately for Christian, he forgot to make the Guy Fawkes effigy he had promised us he would. He went on to explain that he could still make his deadline of 9:00 pm that night if we still needed one. I replied by saying, “Yes, we still need one. It isn't like we could go to Wal-Mart and buy a Guy Fawkes effigy or even drive to Effigies, Effigies, Effigies in Tampa. That's too far, and they'll probably be sold out anyway.”

Again, I imagined what those around us would think of our conversation. What would they conjure up in their minds without the knowldege of the importance of the day, its flammable action figures or the understanding that there isn't a store in Tampa that only sells effigies and effigy accoutrements?

Without delay or any cognizance of his surroundings, Christian went on to list the things he already had on hand to build his “Little Guy.” He said, “Okay, I already have the beeswax, twine and ratty clothes to put on this guy before we throw him in the fire. Do I need to bring a shovel or anything else, or do you have that covered?”

Now, I was quite sure that the people around us thought we were plotting something rather sinister. We had gone from sounding like a bunch of worldly gentlemen gearing up for a night of bonfire and revelry to a group of conspirators plotting a murder and burial of some dude named Guy. This could get interesting.

I imagined Christian's house being ransacked by the police and him having to explain every odd item in his closet and tool shed. The fertilizer he had would most certainly be sitting next to a can of bio-diesel fuel. They would most certainly not appreciate the immaculate lawn created by the fertilizer or the eco-friendly bio-diesel car he drove. No, they would think back to good 'ol Timmy McVeigh and arrest him for plotting to make a bomb. The 10 bags of lye he had in his closet would not be tied back to the fledgling homemade scented soap business he was trying to get off the ground. No, they would just assume he was a mass-murdering psychopath and cuff him to the radiator while they searched his crawlspace. They most certainly wouldn't overlook his collection of straight razors and hatchets, with which he practiced juggling in an attempt to make it big on America's Got Talent or X Factor. No, they would just assume that was his serial killer starter kit. Let's not even get started on Christian's garage full of tarps and jumbo commercial grade garbage bags. I haven't asked him what those are for yet, but I'm sure he just does a lot of gardening or something. I'll be willing to bet the investigators wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt though.

Fortunately for Christian and the party, those people around us were too busy in their own conversations to be listening in on ours. He was able to escape certain imprisonment and we were greeted later that evening with an excellent effigy of Guy Fawkes with which we could toss into the flames of the fire pit. We couldn't help but marvel at the glorious way that it quickly went from a bunch of beeswax, twine and tattered clothes to a red and yellow mess of melting pseudo flesh and bone as it was set ablaze in my back yard. We all exclaimed “Fuck you Guy!” as Christian tossed it toward the flaring embers, and I looked across just in time to see his expression as he did it. Christian was very proud of his last minute effigy, and the perma-smile that was smeared across his face is something that will stay with me always.

Actually, it was kind of creepy now that I think back on it. But then again, he is Welsh, and you never know what you're going to get when you come across a Welshman. At least he isn't one of those guys who adds “ladies” to end of all his female aimed comments. Now those are some creepy fuckers. I think the only thing that could have sealed the deal on me sending an anonymous letter to the police would be just that. I can hear him asking for a date to the next bonfire night on Guy Fawkes Day, “Remember the 5th, ladies.” Ugh, arrest that man!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fluffy and Lip Ring go to Starbucks

I tried to write a couple of different types of speeches for my friend Stephen's wedding. I tried to rewrite John Galt’s Speech from Atlas Shrugged(again) to show how Objectivism could relate counter-intuitively into a marriage, but I’m not smart enough to do that. I tried to write a sappy love song to showcase my musical talents and songwriting skills, but I don’t have those skills either.

The pressure to live up to the speech/PowerPoint presentation that Stephen once did for me was building, so I decided to go with something that was within my wheelhouse. 

I was standing outside a bar called In Cahoots on the night of March 8th, 2009 when I overheard a young couple talking. They seemed awkward enough that they were in an early courting phase, but also familiar with one another at the same time. Maybe they had known each other for a while, but were just now coming together in a romantic situation. The girl was much younger (and shorter) than the guy. He was a “fluffy” guy in his late twenties, who was wearing a white Wesley Willis t-shirt. The first thing I noticed is that only one of his armpits was sweating profusely, and his t-shirt showed proof that this was not a common occurrence. He had a full beard, but you could tell that his mustache did not fully connect to the rest of the beard, and that means his trustworthiness was up for discussion. The girl had a polished metal lip ring, and every time she smiled a quick glint would emanate from that side of her mouth. Not in a Frank Poncherello kind of way, but more like a visual representation of the figurative spark their fledgling relationship was creating. They seemed like a nice enough couple, and furthermore, they seemed to really be into one another. Pit stains, lip rings and all.

I was about to extinguish my cigarette and head inside to sing some karaoke, but then I overheard a sweet sentiment misunderstood. As I walked past them toward the entrance, I overheard Fluffy say, “Do you drink coffee?”

Lip Ring replied with a serious attitude, “Excuse me, what did you just say?

I wanted to stay outside to witness the rest of the altercation that was most certainly about to ensue. I tried to imagine how I could take my hand off of the door handle, retreat to my former position and light up another cigarette so I could hear what she thought he said, and also listen into his subsequent explanations and backpedaling. Would he be able to get a chance to explain? Would she believe him? What did she think he actually said? These would be questions that I could never get answered, because I had already opened the door and disappeared into the cloud of smoke that always greets you when you walk into In Cahoots (I hate that place, by the way).

I imagined what Lip Ring had thought she heard him say in lieu of the perfectly harmless line, and what action she took in accordance with that misheard information. Here is a list of the top three I came up with:

Fluffy: "Do you want to get on me?"
Lip Ring: "No, and I don’t think I ever will. Oh, and by the way, men who wear pit-stained t-shirts with a picture of a 350 pound paranoid schizophrenic dead musician on them are not exactly what I am in the market for."

Fluffy: "Did you join the Army?"
Lip Ring: "What kind of question is that? Do I look like I would join the Army? Do you think that the Army is looking for five-foot-nothing recruits to help fight the War on Terror from a lower atmospheric level?"

Fluffy: "Can you just step off me?"
Lip Ring: "I’m sorry, what did you just say? Are you trying to get street with me? Excuse me uber-Caucasian Methodist from Northwest Bradenton, I didn’t know I was steppin’ to you homey. Word up. Oh, for rizzle dizzle?"

Now, I guess there is a distinct possibility that none of the three previously stated interactions occurred. It is more likely that cooler heads prevailed, the comment was repeated, and the two of them ended up at Starbucks talking for a few hours later that evening. Hell, who knows, it is even possible that Fluffy and Lip Ring eventually started dating.

Maybe they had found that person who understands them even when they are misunderstood. It is possible that those two had found their match. You know, that certain someone who complimented the others flaws with their strengths, that motivates them to become a better person, or just supports them in their journey no matter where that might take them. Maybe even become that someone who could convince them to finally throw away that sweat-stained t-shirt or buy a couple of “big boy” collared shirts that didn’t come from his grandfather’s closet or a rack at Goodwill.

Furthermore, maybe they would one day get married, have a reception and listen to a long drawn out speech from some guy with an amazing mustache who really, really likes to hear himself talk.

Rock over London, rock on Chicago. Wheaties… The Breakfast of Champions.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Like Riding into Serena Williams

The Bradenton Bearded Bike Brigade had just finished their meal at Jose's Real Cuban food, and we were on our way back toward downtown. There was a decision to be made as to which route we wanted to take. Jake, one of the founding members of the BBBB stood at the corner of Cortez Road and Palma Sola Boulevard. He peered in multiple directions. We pulled up beside him, and asked if he was okay going down Palma Sola, because we thought there would be less traffic that way. The only reason why we wouldn't take that route was because there are no street lights or bike lanes. Jake looked down the road, then turned back toward us and said, “I like my roads like I like my women. Dark and ominous.”

We all laughed and peddled our way toward the darkness. The decision seemed like a good one, because we have small headlights on most of our road bikes, so it wasn't going to be completely pitch black. Everything going fine until the nonexistent traffic we were expecting, quickly became existent. There was the septuagenarian woman whose rolling stop nearly became a injuring collision. Luckily for her front left quarter panel and our rib cages, the collision was avoided. We also held up a Ford F350 for at least three quarters of a mile. His wide chunk of rolling steel could not easily move into the other lane to pass us without fear of oncoming traffic, so he idled behind us what seemed like five minutes. After he had made his way by, we didn't encounter any other traffic.

Once the traffic was clear and my mind was calmer, I thought back to what Jake had said before we pointed our faint lights toward the darkness of Palma Sola. “I like my roads like I like my women...” Great adjectives aside, I was not sure I approved of Jake's comment. Only because I know the woman he is currently dating, and she does not fit either category. His girlfriend Erin (the Godmother of the BBBB), has fair skin and stands about 5'3” tall. I think you must be at least 5'8'' tall as a female to even be considered ominous (men need to be 6'2”). So, Jake was obviously just cracking a joke for the sake of levity as we headed toward possible doom and dismemberment.

As we approached our next cross street, I began to think about what a dark and ominous woman would look like. The obvious physical description would literally be a tall, dark and menacing figure (I'll call it Serena Williams-esque). I was thinking more along the feeling you get when you encounter something ominous. Like a dark gray rain cloud hovering over the horizon makes you feel. You see it and you know that it will produce lightning that could electrocute someone, or pour never ending amounts of rain onto the streets until they flooded the surrounding neighborhoods. Serena Williams is scary, but a skin-tight mini-dress pulled over tree trunk thighs and broad shoulders does not create a feeling of impending doom. Only a feeling of immasculinity.

I imagined a woman standing in front of me in bright daylight. Her shadow creating a total eclipse of my father's son. Her voice was deep, but carried a feminine lisp. She did not unleash a boom of volume, she only whispered. Her makeup was caked on, but only because she wanted to add some color to cover up any imperfections on her face. There were traces of defined muscle peeking out from underneath a knee length red skirt and matching red blouse. She would be wearing high heeled shoes, but of a height and width that would still allow quick movement if the need arose. Her hair showed faint roots of a darker color, but the dye kept it blonde like that of an Aryan princess. This was the woman I pictured when I went back to Jake's comment over and over again. It disturbed me to no end. Not because I was afraid of this mythical woman who personified the terms Jake used. No, it was because I felt like I knew who this person was. She was no longer a figment of my imagination. She was becoming more and more real as I described her in my mind. It was all becoming much clearer as every second passed. I was not sure if this is who Jake was thinking about when he concocted his comment, but I was 100% sure I had encountered this person before. Actually, come to think of it, I think I saw her at Drag Queen Bingo one night. I believe her name was Russell.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Appetite Despite Amputation

The din of a densely populated bar is something that can play tricks on your auditory senses. One minute, you’ll be shouting in order to be heard by those who are sitting within an arm’s reach, and the next minute you can speak at normal volume and be clearly understood by an entire table of people. The same can be said when you are listening to the din. Some conversations turn into a repetitive “rabble, rabble, rabble…” While other comments just cut through the noise like a hot knife though conversational butter.

One of those conversations happened to cut right through and find its way onto my ear toast. It came from a younger guy who was dressed in a freshly purchased set of new scrubs. He was obviously someone who worked at a hospital or Doctor’s office, and judging by the pristine condition of those scrubs, he had not been employed there very long. Up until this point, I hadn’t paid him much attention. That is, until I heard him say, “Yeah, I got to go down to the morgue today. It was cool. I mean, they have six drawers for the bodies, and then one dedicated for just the amputated body parts.”

I have never been in a morgue, and I am okay with continuing that trend for as long as humanly possible. However, this comment sent me there in my mind. I pictured the standard cold stainless steel room, where corpses go to be identified and picked up by funeral homes. I imagine it being a quiet place where the people working there are respectful of their surroundings. That is, until I heard the next comment from this young be-scrubbed gentleman.

He said, “The guy opened the drawer and unveiled a drawer full of arms, legs, fingers and toes. It was awesome. I started to ask the guy some questions about it, but then someone peeked their head in and told me they were having cake upstairs. A drawer full of limbs and digits is awesome, but I can never turn down free cake.”

I thought to myself, “Wow, this kid is one morose mother fucker. How can you look at a drawer full of frozen body parts one minute and then engorge himself on cake the next.”

As if he were listening to my inner thoughts, he added, “It was Mandarin orange pineapple cake, and it was delicious!”

I pictured people running in from the emergency room to get a slice of cake, and the patients being left to deal with their mortal wounds on their own. I imagined EKG machines being left unattended and poor flat-lining souls gasping for their last breath as these cake fiends shoveled sugary goodness into their faces. The thought of it just made me sick. Plus, I hate the taste of pineapple, so that didn't help.

After digesting the comments from the kid in scrubs and my subsequent daydreams, I decided that it wasn't as bad as I initially assumed. I'm sure that they would be consummate professionals, and they most likely would take turns watching the patients so the other people could go get a slice of the delectable dessert. After all, it didn't seem like this was a single occurrence, so I am sure they have a contingency plan for situations such as that.

My next thought turned to the personality aspect of this young man. Not only did he willingly go down to the morgue and look intently into the drawer of body parts, but he had no problem switching into a mode of food consumption and revelry immediately thereafter. I know that is takes a certain personality to work in a hospital. I had a roommate who worked in one, and the stories he told made my stomach turn. He would have no problem telling them at the dinner table while he devoured a bowl of pasta. I would put my fork down, because my appetite was gone. He would ask if he could finish what I hadn't eaten. When I think about it now. I think he did it on purpose.

I thought back to the morgue and the cake. What was the occasion for the cake? What do they do with the discarded parts in the drawer? Why couldn't they have made key lime pie instead? And why couldn't someone bring me a slice?

I imagine a hospital is just like a regular office. A place where birthdays are celebrated with cake, and everyone gets together to sing a quick song, eat some cake, then get back to their daily duties. In an office environment, the bookends to that celebration are generally spent sitting around a table to discuss synergy and an afternoon of putting cover sheets on TPS reports. In the case of hospital workers; one minute they are standing around a metal table performing an autopsy and the next they are putting white sheets over a recently deceased homeless person. Only one of those should put you in the mood for cake. That is the opinion of someone who can't even hear the word “blood” without needing to sit down. Call me what you want, but just don't call me down to the morgue for dessert. I don't care if it is the best key lime pie ever baked. I won't be caught dead down there. That is, until I am actually dead, and I don't think I'll be in the mood for cake then either.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


This letter was written 1/11/08.  Three years and 18 days later, I started this blog.  Less than nine months after that, the blog reached 10,000 page views.  I thought it was apropos to share it with my readers on this momentous occasion.

Necessary. I felt like necessary should be the first word in this random act of of literature. It started yesterday as I was driving home. I was thinking about writing in the Italian leather-bound journal I received as a gift last Christmas. I decided I had to write at least one word in it. Something impactful. Something meaningful. What should it be? I settled upon "necessary.” It is both the feeling that I have in my heart, and the one word that has been the bane of my existence. It is the one word that no matter how many times I write it, I can never seem to spell it correctly. That is, until I press F7 on my computer keyboard. Unfortunately, a leather-bound journal does not have spell check. In my most careful and purposeful penmanship, I spelled it out. N-E-C-E-S-S-A-R-Y. I was delightfully surprised when I verified that my spelling was indeed correct.

I have recently come to the conclusion that although I do not get paid to write anything professionally, I am still in fact a writer. I may never be able to support myself financially using the written word alone, but I will surely strive for such a thing. It is no longer just a dream, but I won't go as far as to call it a goal just yet. I choose not to classify it at this point, but I am most certainly headed in that direction. I can't see myself being satisfied with my life's work consisting of 40 more years of being a payroll supervisor. All I know is I spent two hours on Tuesday with my hands hovering over a keyboard and letting words flow freely through my fingers. It was effortless, and I felt phenomenal after I was done. I work between 40-50 hours per week at my day job, yet I felt more accomplished in those two hours. The feeling of accomplishment came from the step I took toward where I truly wanted to be, and not from any successful financial transaction or finished project. I created something, and I want to share that moment with anyone who will listen.

I will need some occasional motivation from my friends and family. But I have learned that when I need it, I should just ask for it. I know who those people will be, and I will call upon them in my time of need. I assure you that I will be there for them as well. We shall see what the future brings. I feel as if I have turned the page, moved on to the next chapter, and possibly even closed the book on the past. Right now, I am just focusing on that which is in front of me. I feel like that is necessary.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

U.S. Presidential Slogans: According to D3P

I learned a lot while preparing this list, and researching all the past American Presidential campaigns. After spending too much time looking through archived documents and presidential biographies, I learned that official campaign slogans were not even used until William Henry Harrison and John Tyler came up with theirs in 1840. I also learned what the issues of their eras were (expansionism, reconstruction, economic decline and recovery, etc). Finally, I learned that since the dawn of American elections, they have never really changed much. A catchy slogan and a little pointed jab at their opponent has been an effective norm in American politics. You will find the actual political slogans used in each campaign since 1840 in the list below, and you will also find a D3P suggestion. Some of which have some of that 20/20 hindsight, but most of all, I think they supply a little self-deprecation. And I think we might need a little of that after over 170 of self-aggrandizing and oversimplifying politics. Enjoy!

William Henry Harrison/John Tyler:
1st Choice: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.
2nd Choice: Fall Over in a Kayak and some guy named John As Well.

James K. Polk/George M. Dallas:
1st Choice: 54-40 or Fight!
2nd Choice: We've got dibs on Oregon, and a lot of guns.

Zachary Taylor/Millard Fillmore:
1st Choice: For President of the People
2nd Choice: We are in favor of those who are anti-against you.

Franklin Pierce/William King:
1st Choice: We Polked you in '44, We shall Pierce you in '52.
2nd Choice: Voters just want to have pun.

James Buchanan/John C. Breckinridge:
1st Choice: N/A
2nd Choice: Slavery is for the birds. Well, them and white landowners.

Abraham Lincoln/Hannibal Hamlin:
1st Choice: Vote yourself a farm
2nd Choice: We plan to buy the farm, do you want in?

Ulysses S Grant/Schuyler Colfax:
1st Choice: Vote as you shot.
2nd Choice: A beard you can believe in.

Rutherford B. Hayes/William Wheeler:
1st Choice: The patriots choice.
2nd Choice: Hester Prynne got what she deserved! I'm just sayin'.

James A. Garfield/Chester Arthur:
1st Choice: Let us have peace.
2nd Choice: Lasagna on the rocks.

Grover Cleveland/Adlai Stevenson:
1st Choice: Blaine, Blaine...Continental liar from the state of Maine.
2nd Choice: Cleveland rocks!

William McKinley/Garret Hobart:
1st Choice: Patriotism, protection, and prosperity.
2nd Choice: America, assistance, and alliterations.

Theodore Roosevelt/Charles Fairbanks:
1st Choice: A square deal for every man.
2nd Choice: I'm going to shoot something, don't make it you.

William Howard Taft/James Sherman:
1st Choice: Shall the people rule?
2nd Choice: Obesity for the masses.

Woodrow Wilson/Thomas Marshall:
1st Choice: He kept us out of war.
2nd Choice: You know you've got a woody for Woodrow

Warren G. Harding/Calvin Coolidge:
1st Choice: Cox and cocktails.
2nd Choice: You just had a Woody for 8 Years, try Harding

Calvin Coolidge/Charles Dawes:
1st Choice: Keep cool with Coolidge.
2nd Choice: Shh, you won't like him if he hasn't had his nap.

Herbert Hoover/Charles Curtis:
1st Choice: A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.
2nd Choice: I really hope we don't all end up living in cardboard boxes.

Franklin D. Roosevelt/John Nance Garner:
1st Choice: Kick out depression with a Democratic vote.
2nd Choice: My legs don't work, but I'll make sure you do.

Harry S. Truman/Alben Barkley:
1st Choice: I'm just wild about Harry.
2nd Choice: Harry is the BOMB!

Dwight D. Eisenhower/Richard Nixon:
1st Choice: I like Ike!
2nd Choice: I need a cigarette and a shower, because I love Eisenhower.

John F. Kennedy/Lyndon Baines Johnson:
1st Choice: Let's get America moving again.
2nd Choice: Back and to the Left of Conservatism.

Lyndon Baines Johnson/Hubert Humphrey:
1st Choice: All the way with LBJ.
2nd Choice: Vote for me, and you'll be fellated.

Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew:
1st Choice: Nixon's the One!
2nd Choice: This administration may be recorded for quality assurance purposes

Gerald Ford/Nelson Rockefeller:
1st Choice: He's making us proud again.
2nd Choice: I'm seriously not a crook, I promise.

Jimmy Carter/Walter Mondale:
1st Choice: Not just peanuts.
2nd Choice: All I want for this country is my two front teeth.

Ronald Reagan/George Bush:
1st Choice: It's morning again in America.
2nd Choice: All in all it's another sledgehammer on that wall.

George Bush/Dan Quayle:
1st Choice: Read my lips: no new taxes.
2nd Choice: You say tomato, we misspell potatoe

Bill Clinton/Al Gore:
1st Choice: Putting people first.
2nd Choice: Putting people first... especially her.

George W. Bush/Dick Cheney:
1st Choice: Leave no child behind.
2nd Choice: These are the Droids you're looking for.

Barack Obama/Joe Biden:
1st Choice: Change we can believe in.
2nd Choice: Ebony and Irony

I hope you enjoyed your little trip through history with my twist of humor. Most of all, I hope you stopped at least once or twice to Google a reference or two. If you have a different suggestion, and want to see it proudly displayed above, post it in the comments below.

If you really enjoyed this list and want to learn more. Please feel free to read a book that has provided me with a lot of knowledge and fodder for this list. It is called “Secret Lives of U.S. Presidents” by Cormac O'Brien ( 

 You can also learn more at and

Monday, October 3, 2011

New US State Slogans: c/o D3P

I'd like to introduce my suggestions for some new state mottoes and slogans.  I think the old ones need a little sprucing up, and who would do a better job than D3P?  It was a rhetorical question, but feel free to shout "nobody" when you next leave the house.  I'm sure everyone will understand you are expressing an opinion about a blog you read, and not think you are a raving lunatic who is arguing with your imaginary pet narwhol.  If you have any suggestions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments below.  If I find your suggestion to be better than the one I had, then you will soon find it in the body of the blog.  You can check back later to see if you made the cut, and then you can check that item off of your bucket list.  If you don't already have "Be a guest contributor to D3P" on your bucket list, then add it immediately, and begin scheming your way to accomplish such a worthy goal in life.  For now, just enjoy the new D3P state mottoes and slogans.  I know I enjoyed writing them.


Alabama: We've really toned down our racism, but stay on the main roads (just in case).

Alaska: We can't see Russia from our houses, but we do have other things to see.

Arizona: We really like turquoise!

Arkansas: Bill Clinton was our most famous resident, and our official state beverage is milk. We are the land of bad choices.

California: Making Colorado seem moderate since 1850.

Colorado: California isn't the only state with a hippie infestation.

Connecticut: The only “real” state to never ratify Prohibition (Rhode Island doesn't count).

Delaware: We're still working on an identity.

Florida: Your grandparents live here, so why don't you visit more often?
            "God's waiting room."- Erin Wright Bagley

Georgia: We have Atlanta surrounded.

Hawaii: Want to go where everything is more expensive? Take a really long flight, and find out for yourself.

Idaho: Creating punchlines for sophomoric jokes since 1890.

Illinois: The “S” is silent. Unfortunately, our people aren't.

Indiana: Hoosier favorite state for unnecessary puns?

Iowa: We would merge with Ohio if we knew how.

Kansas: Are you a fan of seeing prisons every 5 miles? Well, you're in the right place!

Kentucky: Bluegrass is kind of like jazz, except it's played by people with less skill and rhythm.

Louisiana: Currently under construction.

Maine: We're not quite Canadian.

Maryland: Do you like crab cakes and rampant street crime? Come to Maryland!

Massachusetts: We haven't burned witches in ages (only flags).

Michigan: Unemployed and proud!

Minnesota: The land of 10,000 lakes and one BIG ASS mall!

Mississippi: More S's per capita than any other state in the nation.

Missouri: It's only pronounced “Misery” if you have to live here, so just visit for a few days.

Montana: Helena is not Joe's wife. It's a real city, with people and buildings too!

Nebraska: We're obsessed with corn, because that's really all we have.

Nevada: We're not just hookers and gambling, we have other stuff too.

New Hampshire: It's just like Old Hampshire, but you know... newer.

New Jersey: Don't believe everything you hear, the whole state doesn't smell like raw sewage.

New Mexico: Take a right turn in Albuquerque.

New York: We keep the Jews in “The City”, and the hicks in the country. It works for us.

North Carolina: Do you know what a Tarheel is? Neither do we.

North Dakota: South Dakota can suck it, we're the “real” Dakota!

Ohio: Baseball is America's past time, but it's the only way to pass the time in Ohio.

Oklahoma: The best thing we can say about ourselves is, “We're OK.”

Oregon: Washington's Mexico.

Pennsylvania: We apologize for anything you experience in Philadelphia, we're working on that.

Rhode Island: Our state is 37 miles wide... in a row!

South Carolina: The 1st to secede, and still not ready to concede.

South Dakota: What did North Dakota say? Fuck those guys!

Tennessee: The Volunteer State. As in, nobody volunteers to live here.

Texas: Where everything is bigger, except hearts and brains.

Utah: No, you can't do that here.  Try Nevada.

Vermont: We have black people now!

Virginia: Mason Dixon is a state line and a state of mind.

Washington: We're Oregon's Canada!

West Virginia: Just like regular Virginia, but with less teeth.

Wisconsin: Our main interests are beer, cheese and sausage. We'd recommend lighting a match.

Wyoming: Most of our population is far less evil than Dick Cheney. We promise!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sin Trolls and the Hobgoblin Pub

As Newton once said; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The same thing rings true in the fantasy world. In the case of the fairy realm, this means that there must be promoters of the antithesis of the Seven Heavenly Virtues. I know them as the Trolls of the Seven Deadly Sins. They are as hideous as the fairies are fair. They are as ornery as the fairies are polite. And they are as sinful as the fairies are virtuous.

These trolls also have their yearly gathering during the late summer months. In preparation for that evening, they scour the Irish countryside capturing prisoners and pillaging their homes. These prisoners are subjected to two terrible things during the trolls’ annual gathering they refer to as “Open Mic Night at the Hobgoblin Pub.” First, they will be forced to endure the nastiest and most watered down libation the Irish allow. It is called Miller Lite. Second, they are subjected to hours of Open Mic poetry from the Trolls themselves. Troll poetry is known as the fourth worst in the universe. And according to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, “Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria... and the very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison.” Troll Poetry is more of a mesquite flavor, yet it is still not very palatable.

Last week’s Open Mic night was a resounding flop, and that is just how they like it. In some circles it is known as the Def Troll Jam. It is not to be confused with the Deaf Troll Jam -- which is far less excruciating for obvious reasons – or at least it should be obvious. There were trolls, ghouls, goblins, imps and even a orc stepping up to the microphone that night. Each of them had their own style and panache, but all had the purpose of propagating their particular specialty sin. Just as the fairies had done to their volunteers at the “Open House” just one week prior, this time the audience was being held captive rather than being captivated.

The first troll stepped up to the stage, with his puffed out chest, and a certain unearned air of confidence. The sound of the other six trolls snapping their calloused fingers surrounded the human onlookers. The Pride Troll fixed his moldy beret so it drooped over his one blood-shot eye and began,

“Mine eye has seen the glory of the coming of the mold
With scores of spores and decomposition in my fold
This hat loosened to keep out the lighting, bitterness and cold
Forsooth you can behold!”

The crowd struggled to maintain their composure, and writhed in their seats. Each word the Pride Troll spoke was more nauseating than the one prior. It took all their might to muster the energy not to vomit on one another (which would obvioulsy create an even more uncomfortable experience for all those in attendence).

Just as they regained their composure, the next troll sluggishly made its way to the stage. He was visibly slimy, and odiferously pungent. However, the smell and sight of him was quickly overtaken by the daftness of his words. The Gluttony Troll hocked up a varitable amount of phlegm, then swallowed it back down and proceeded to recite his piece.

“Troll love ice cream, like warts love toad
Troll love chocolate, and Pie a la mode
Troll eat ice cream, by the truckload
Troll love Moosetracks, fuck Rocky Road.”

The tears of the chair-bound audience members were similar to that of an overly emotional crowd – not unlike those who watch The Notebook or Fried Green Tomatoes – but this group was crying out of fear. It also may have been because they knew that there were five more speakers to go before they would finally be released. Without mercy, the third speaker stumbled toward the stage.

The Imp of Sloth begrudgingly made his way up the three-step stairway. He stopped on the second step to either take a undeserved break, or just as a ploy to further torment the captives. Either way, it took almost five minutes to complete the ascent and set up before he got on with the lyrical torture.

“Gurgle, gurgle... slurp
Slurp, slurp... gurgle

They wondered if the poem was inspired by the great beats poets like Ginsburg or Kerouac. That is until they realized the Imp wasn't actually writing poetry, but rather he was just dozing off on stage. After he was dragged off by his mangy tail in a unervingly Apollo-esque fashion, the show carried on. Much to the chagrin of those who were left to listen.

The Greed Goblin hungered for his turn in the spotlight. He soaked up the attention of the audience, and eagerly attempted to quell the hunger for overindulgence. He grasped the microphone and spoke slowly, coveting every last morsel of this opportunity.

“The seagull sits atop the productive pelican. Mine?
The hoarder sits atop their gathered goods. Find?
A millionaire swims in collected coins. Dime.
Yet I swim in my neverending want for more. Pine.”

The ears of the patrons had begun to bleed, and their nostrils were starting to flare uncontrollably. They knew that they weren’t even halfway there yet, but they were encouraged by the notion that after 42.857142857% of the show, they had yet to suffer any seemingly irreparable harm. They were also impressed with their math skills.

The encouragement dripped out of their psyches and was immediately replaced by fear and sickness. That was because they could feel the hot breath and smell the rotten flatulence of their next presenter. The Wrath Troll spoke of a vengence known not since the Biblical age, yet his poetry couldn't adequately illuminate his fury.

“Hey ghoul, where you goin' with club in your hand?
Hey ghoul, I said where you goin' with that club in your hand?
I'm going down to bludgen my ghoul lady
You know I caught her hauntin' around town with the boogie man.”

The audience laughed heartily, but the poem's intent was to frighten them, not entertain them. The Wrath Troll stayed true to his nature and smote all those who were caught mid-giggle.

As the crowd shivered and the injured tended to their wounds. The next “poet” thought back to each of the previous troll poets and what had made their poetry so good that they all got to go before him. He wanted to have all the ice cream, mold, clubs and onomatopoieas of which his predeccessors spoke. It was not lost on him that he was the Envy Orc. It was soon evident to the crowd as well.

Are you orcish-made, elvish-laid, or are you just tauren-footed?
Mutated you with a toughened hide, I never thought you couldn't.
Is that your orc, your troll friend or just your elf wench?
You can take my limbs, they be growin' again,
Regeneratin' the skin like my voodoo troll kin.
Now tell me who's your bridgekeeper, and what you keep 'neath your bridge?
What about damsels and billy goats, is that what you keep in your fridge?
What in the underworld is with that name, why you three got that name?
Trip-trap-trippin' you march, get up off of my arch,
I want you quenchin' my parch, but you're gettin' too large.”

After digesting the lyrics they were just forced to gobble up, they longed for a curling stone to bash in their own skulls or a spear to rupture their eardrums. Alas, all they were given was an intro to the final speaker. It was a bittersweet moment. Bitter, because they knew the worst was saved for last. Sweet, because they at least knew it was the last. The Lust Troll thrust himself into the spotlight, and made sour lyrical love to their auditory senses.
“One dreary Celtic night, after many a brew
I found myself shacked up with a horrible shrew
She had boils upon boils and a nose like a crane
And something indistinguishable entangled in her mane
Whence morning light came, I lept from the bed
Thinking of nothing but wanting her dead
With my stabby stick, I began to perforate her
She's not ripe for me yet, I'll be back for her later.”

It was finally over, and the captives were released from their restraints. They screamed as they ran, and ran as they continued to scream. Off into the Irish night air. It was a night they would never forget. Try as they might. It would take 1,000 fairy limericks to wash out the ear garbage that had been compacted into their minds that night at the Hobgoblin Pub. I hope the same can not be said for those reading this tonight. However, if that is the case, feel free to read the seven limericks from “Respect the Fairy” at least 143 more times.