Sunday, March 27, 2011

There's Birthday Cake Somewhere

I overheard a man utter the following words in a bar the other day “There's birthday cake somewhere.” I wasn't sure what he was trying to allude to at the time, and since then it has not become any clearer. As always, I attempted to focus my ear's eye on his further commentary, but was left was nothing to clarify the previous remark. I eventually took a different seat in the bar to get a better view of him. I had a mental picture of this man as an overweight and slightly perspiring man in his fifties. My imagination did not fail me. He was about 250 pounds of sweat-stained-collared middle age male. He had on paisley tie that was loosened after a day of white collar work, an off-white colored button up shirt and a pair of mustard-colored khaki pants. His drink of choice was a Scotch on the rocks with a splash of water (manly enough).

His friends were in much better shape then he, and the energy at their table was that of a group of business associates blowing off some steam. By this time they had consumed one or two too many alcoholic libations. The other men poked fun at him, and one of them produced a child's police badge and pinned it to his shirt pocket. I did not understand why he had such a thing readily available, and furthermore why he felt the need to attach it to the clothed breast of his overweight friend.

I didn't spend much more time listening to their conversation once I overheard the word “debrief.” There are only two options for discourse such as that. 1) They were lawyers and what was sure to follow would have included legal jargon that I could not understand nor would I care to and 2) the next term would be “de-boxer” or “de-panty” and the mental images would have caused me to regurgitate the $5.00 Vodka and Cranberry I had recently imbibed. Neither of those options seemed like a welcomed set of events. Luckily for me, and probably for them, the man to which this focus all began sprang from his chair and hurried from the bar and out onto the street. Before I had a chance to see which direction he went, he was gone.

I went back to the line, “There's birthday cake somewhere.” It had a ring to it that seemed poetic on one hand, and desperate on the other. I thought at first that he might be a Weird Al Yankovic fan, and this was his parody of the Alan Jackson song “It's 5 O'clock Somewhere.” Was this sweaty Lawyer-turned lyricist trying out his latest attempt to make it big on the parody music scene? In his mind he was far wittier and talented than his looks and socio-economic status would preclude. I visualized his iPod playlist being filled with Weird Al's “I'm Fat” Tenacious D's “Wonderboy” and any assortment of Flight of the Conchords' tunes. He would sit up until all hours of the night drinking whiskey, and filling notebooks with pun-filled lyrics he had conjured up while commuting to and from the office. He would snicker to himself in his home office just loud enough to create a belly jiggle, but not loud enough to wake up “the wife and kids.” He would drift off into dreams of grandeur. No longer would he work a nine-to-five job where he had to put on a suit and tie. No, he would be mingling with the parody music elite at some late night after-party over at Jack Black's house. There would be other comedians trying out their material on one another to get approval from those they appreciate the most, their peers. Jack would be overacting by the punch bowl, while Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey looked on in horror. He would approach the SNL power-duo and ask them if there was any cake at the party. Tina and Lorne, shrugging their shoulders at first, then asking who they hell he was. He would ignore their question and get right to it. In the tune of Alan Jackson he would sing, “Well, there's birthday cake somewhere.” The entire party would turn and look at him, and a wave of laughter would erupt in the room. Jack Black, Weird Al, Jemaine and Bret from Flight of the Conchords, Lorne, and Tina would all be laughing hysterically now. Unfortunately, he would quickly come to realize that the laughter was not for him or even with him, it was laughter pointed directly at him. Even in his wildest dreams, he was not funny.

However, in my wildest dreams, he was not a parody musician or even a wannabe. I pictured this sweaty, out of shape and obviously unimpressive man was a lawyer by day and superhero by night. His sense of smell would have been heightened to epic proportions during an unfortunate wafting accident in his eight-grade chemistry class. The vapors from an experiment involving methyl alcohol were the culprit, and the ability to literally smell danger would be the result. It wasn't until this fateful day many years later did it finally hit him that he was indeed “special.”

Those many years after the wafting accident, he just thought he was constantly surrounded by an assortment of strong odors. One day, while he sipped his 12 year single malt Scotch that to him was filled with hints of oak and trace levels of flora, it occurred to him that he had a gift. The cigar smoke he picked up from the fibers of his friends' shirts, the flatulence he sensed from the woman sitting uncomfortably on a bar stool thirty feet from him, and the sweet smell of red velvet birthday cake all danced in his nostrils. But where is this birthday cake? He did not see one, but his nose did not lie. He must know where this birthday cake was, and he must have a slice. “There's birthday cake somewhere!” he would exclaim. And off into the dusk he would waddle.

Following the scent, he would wander through the sparse crowd and into an office building down the street. There, he would be met by a sight to which he was not prepared. A robbery was in progress at a local bank. The employees were all gathered there after closing time to celebrate the anniversary of one of their most beloved friends and coworkers. However, the party was quickly put on hold when this miscreant had barged in on them. Drenched in sweat from his quarter-mile trek to the origin of the scent, he stood eye to eye with the armed assailant. A stand off ensued, and the sweat running down the neck of the “hero” was equaled by the sweat of the assailant. Not because the stature of the man standing before him was intimidating, but merely due to the fact that at a distance of twenty paces, the plastic toy badge he had yet to remove from his shirt looked rather official. The assailant ran through the lobby of the bank and disappeared. The birthday revelers breathed a sigh of relief and thanked their moistened savior with cheers of appreciation, clammy handshakes, a few uncomfortable hugs, and finally with a slice of red velvet cake.

“The Schnoz” as he would consequently be known, would fight crime across the great metropolitan areas of Bradenton and Sarasota with his “Nostrils of Justice.” Unfortunately, his only superpower would be his sense of smell. He quickly realized that once he encountered an actual crime, his inability to do anything about it became a hindrance. If his plastic police badge or sweat-stained-collar could not subvert the criminal activity, he would need to produce his “Blackberry of Benevolence” to alert the real authorities. Thus, his role as the middle-man with a nose of gold was solidified. It sure beat his old life though. He was much happier as an overweight midwife to heroism than he ever was as the overweight lawyer who dreamed of becoming the next Weird Al Yankovic.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

200 Jesuses

"I need 200 Jesuses, and I don't want to pay a God awful price for them." This was what I heard while standing in a flower shop yesterday. It was strangely offensive, while also being extremely funny. It was one of those things that you here and it just won't stop echoing in your mind. Firstly, I have never heard of Jesus referred to in the plural. I haven't spent much time around construction sites, and I guess that is why. Unfortunately, one blasphemous turn deserved another. She may have not meant anything sacrilegious by her remark, but I can't help but ascertain what she could have been talking about.

I have thought about that woman's comment so long that its possible intended meaning of "I would like to purchase 200 Jesus figurines at a reasonable price" has ceased to exist for me. Now, I just see an assembly line at Son of God Enterprises spitting out Jesus after Jesus. Sometimes I see them as being clones taking from the DNA found on the actual Shroud of Turin. Sort of a Jurassic Jesus type of thing. Other times, I see thousands of Jesus action figures rolling off the lines complete with Kung Fu grip. I doubt it says anywhere in the Bible "Thou shalt not worship low priced replicas of the only Son of God." How could the big man upstairs have foreseen such an occurrence? I know he is all knowing, but it is also said the Pope was infallible (see Pius XII and the Holocaust). Yes, he did say "You shall make no graven image or any likeness of anything in heaven or earth, nor bow down to any such thing" but can that really be taken seriously when there is money to be made on Jesus Joe "The Real Jerusalem Hero"?

It has given me great pleasure and caused me much mental anguish to think about the thought process of bartering for a lower price on such a treasured item as a Jesus clone. I could only imagine what would happen if someone had to create the Muhammad counterpart so he could complete the set of Religious icons (each sold seperately of course). You would have a worldwide outrage spreading from Tulsa to Taipei. Would Vishnu have four moveable arms that could give the Vulcan death grip to four non-believers at once. This particular religious icon of nonviolence could be imagined causing the collapse of his unworthy opponent by pinching the nerve in their neck with Godlike precision. Could the Buddha action figure teach the Eightfold Path and fight injustice with his "Rapier of Enlightenment”? These are all the possibilities that were opened with this off the cuff remark. Personally, I would be the first one in line for the special edition Jehovah action figure. He wouldn't be cheap, but I would stand in line just to soak in the irony.

How can you put a price on piety? Even further what mind set must you be in to refer to the set price as "God awful"? The wrinkled old shop keeper that uttered the phrase has brought me to tears of laughter in the confines of my mind, and given me hours of trying times to sit and ponder the ramifications of such a comment. I am not a religious man, and I wouldn't call myself spiritual either. I despise the false worshipers, and I can't really understand the "born again" process. I stand by the "Be a decent person, and I don't kill anyone in the process" doctrine. I doubt that God would smite those that are just trying to make a buck, and welcome some asshole that decided one day after eating lunch on death row chose to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and savior. I would like to think that both the Jesus selling shopkeeper and I will do just fine if the rapture comes. As long as I don't get a room next to some Bible thumping Baptist who thinks the Pet Shop Boys are "Super Cool."

Hell might be a better place in terms of music though. I bet all those people that committed suicide or died of drug overdoses are down there. I can only imagine the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Bradley Nowell filling the fiery air every morning as I prepared for my morning sodomy. I realize that I have digressed, but that is what such pondering does to me. That one line will forever be etched in my brain, and for that, I thank her. How often do you fall upon such a wealth of opportunity for contemplation? For me, at least so far, once.

These situations and others that I have drummed up in my mind came from the simple turning of a blasphemed phrase by an old woman and her affinity of all things Jesus. Yes, I have a strange imagination, but for Christ's sake what was she thinking?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Xenophobia: A Fear of Warrior Princesses?

I like to enjoy my weekends. They are a welcomed two-day escape from work and from the need to be anywhere before noon. This was not the case a couple of weeks ago when I tagged along with my wife to work the Bradenton Farmer's Market booth her agency set up. They are in the middle of their annual fund raising campaign. As a loyal and supportive husband, I arose at 6:30 am so we could open up and be ready for business by 8:00 am.

My wife Jessica works for a not for profit agency that shelters and counsels homeless and runaway teens (a proud husband indeed). After spending 45-50 hours a week working for a capitalistic corporation, I like to dedicate my time to this cause as my way of giving back to my community. Last year, I raised about $1,000 for her agency through my expert raffle ticket sales. This year, I had yet to sell a single ticket and we were quickly approaching the end of the campaign. I needed the opportunity to do something, and the farmer’s market was that opportunity.

The farmer's market is an outdoor market on Old Main Street where people sell their fruits, vegetables, and other assorted wares. It generally attracts a wide range of people who come from all walks of life. This particular day was no different. The first four hours of our six-hour stint at the farmer's market netted us about $35. That was less then ten dollars an hour, and was not the kind of return on our time investment for which we were hoping. Luckily, our friends Carey and Jason arrived to lend us a helping hand (or helping voice as the case would be). Carey works for the local Chamber of Commerce and is well versed in the ways of fund raising. Jason is the perfect Yin to her Yang, and served as my conversational companion while Jessica and Carey worked the crowd. Carey has also never been described as “discreet” or “soft spoken.” In the 45 minutes she served as the barker for our cause we raked in over $100. She shouted things like “If you buy a ticket, the shelter kids won't break into your house” and “C'mon, are you telling me you don't support an agency that helps homeless children? Do you have a soul?” Her appearance was a welcome occurrence, and her exit was equally sorrowful.

The hour after Carey and Jason left was unprofitable. It was quiet until a couple of simple town folk approached our table. They asked a few questions about the prize drawing and about the agency. Their lack of interest in purchasing a ticket was evident, and we laid off on our sales pitch. They were two relatively young men who were at the market for the sole purpose of purchasing some fresh vegetables. One man was dressed in a denim coveralls and nothing more. He apparently decided an undershirt and footwear were optional at such an event. He was heavy set and was somehow able to sweat on a breezy day with temperatures in the low 70's. The other man looked to be in his early thirties, and he was dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a tie-dye t-shirt. He had facial hair that looked well manicured, but lacked the connecting mustache to beard elements of a trustworthy male. Had I not witnessed their next conversation, I would have never guessed they were at the market together.

Next to us, a family of Mexicans was selling fruits and vegetables. They worked feverishly to service their constant stream of customers. We were jealous of how many people visited their booth compared to ours. The two young men, standing just feet from us, were enveloped in the family's ethnicity and inability to speak English in relation to their success as produce entrepreneurs. Johnny Coveralls referred to them as the “Spic Family” and joked about how although they couldn't carry on a conversation with their customers, they sure had no problem converting food into income. Timmy Tie-dye was not happy with his cohort’s crass language. They muttered softly to one another for a while until their conversation turned from friendly back-and-forth jest to a full on argument. Timmy had smug look on his face as he said something to Johnny. Appalled by Timmy’s comment, Johnny shouted back, “Xenophobic? What's that supposed to be, a fear of Warrior Princesses or something?”

I know what Xenophobic means. Based on Johnny's previous comment, I understand how their conversation went from racism to xenophobia. What I didn't know was how it went from there. Both men turned their backs to me, and began walking back through the market and out of our sight. Was Timmy able to explain to Johnny that he had not accused him of fearing a fictional Amazonian woman from a mid-nineties fantasy television series? Was Johnny showing a wit that was light-years beyond that of most other coverall-wearing Americans? Or was this truly the quick connection he made between the misunderstood root word of a term he’d never heard before?

I imagined their walk back through the market was a lesson in tolerance and vocabulary. Timmy probably bestowed upon Johnny a litany of terms to which he has uttered in the past, and explained to him which ones were considered racist and which were just xenophobic. Or did they completely lose sight of the more important task at hand, and go into the cultural significance of Xena as a role model for young impressionable girls, and less young, less impressionable lesbians alike? I can hear Timmy explaining how the young female watchers would look up to Lucy Lawless as a hero and icon for strength and fortitude; while Johnny asks him to go back and fill him in on the theories of a on-screen lesbian relationship between Xena and the farm girl turned warrior named Gabrielle.

Johnny is obviously a male of modest upbringing. I assume his coveralls were not Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger. Timmy was more of an enigma, his tie-dye was that of an expert. Was he a life long tree-hugger well versed in the art of tie-dye or was his hippie attire purchased as an ironic homage to the pseudo earth-conscious people of his generation (are you sick of hyphens yet)? Either way, their relationship was a mystery to me, and the ending to such a wonderful conversation was beyond my ears' capabilities at this point.

Since that fateful day just weeks ago, I have tried to rekindle that conversation amongst my friends and coworkers. Bringing up stereotypes regarding foreigners and other cultures in search of the perfect opportunity to use this joke. Unfortunately, the people with whom I generally surround myself forego these conversations in lieu of other topics. Someday the opportunity will arise where the term comes up again, and I can summon my inner Johnny and Timmy to leave those in my wake with a one-liner that will forever be engrained in their minds.  Someday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Church of Latter Day Boondock Saints

I recently had the pleasure of meeting some members of my wife's family. I say “pleasure” because there are some characters amongst this group. This comes in handy for someone who enjoys listening to others' conversations in the hopes of acquiring some future writing material. However, it can be quite cumbersome when there is an onslaught of good quotes coming at me, and I don't want to be rude. To start writing them down in my memo pad while they are still talking would be downright disrespectful. So, I listen and try to take as many mental notes as I can without overloading my mental memo pad.

One evening last week at a cookout in Riverview, FL, I was in such a predicament when I was surrounded by a barrage of comments just as I described above (and in previous D3P blog posts). Under normal circumstances, I am able to hone in on the interesting conversations and obsess about them until the story solidifies in my mind and comes out through my fingers onto my Toshiba Netbook's keyboard. This time was different. There were stories of Russian mail-order brides, world politics, family histories, and religious conundrums. I was enamored by the Russian mail-order bride conversation and lost focus on any other (can you blame me?). Only later did I realize that I had backed the wrong dog in this fight for my attention.

My father-in-law and his brother George were discussing their previous marriages with one another. There were seven total marriages between the two of them to discuss, so I assumed this conversation would be a marathon rather than a sprint. I was wrong. I was focusing in on the “matchmaker's” tactics and success rates, while they were just getting started on comparing their respective first wives. It was a deep sigh from George that initially called my attention over to their conversation from the one I was currently examining for future use in my writings. A deep sigh is almost always followed by a statement of significance. This one was no different. My wife's uncle said plainly, “The Mormons told me I would meet up with my first wife in the afterlife, so I threatened them with my 44 Magnum.”

What seemed like a groundbreaking and ever so interesting remark to me, was met with little fan fair and was quickly countered with another story. I had indeed joined the wrong conversation, so I turned my chair toward them and looked for an open window to ask some probing questions. The opportunity never arose, and my curiosity for details was left unquenched. I had a personal relationship with one member of this conversation. Yet, when I pressed him for further information, the subject was changed and nothing was revealed.

I asked my wife later that evening if she had heard anything I might have missed, or knew anything about this Uncle's first marriage that might shed some light on such an intriguing comment. There was nothing she could provide either. Her family had only recently reconciled in some circles and the details were not as readily available as I wanted.

Was he a Mormon? Was his first wife a Mormon? Where was this 44 Magnum produced, and under what circumstances? I needed answers, and my mind was ready and willing to make them up just for sake of the story. So I went with it.

I pictured Uncle George walking around Salt Lake City (hereto referred hiply as SLC). He was a young man in his late twenties. He was smiling from ear to ear as he was in love and ready to take the life-long plunge into matrimony with his beautiful fiancee (we'll call her Aunt Mormon). He had a full head of brown hair back then that was most definitely slicked back with a greasy pomade. She was plain-looking, yet she had an air of understated beauty about her. She had blond hair and blue eyes that would make Joseph Smith do a double take if he saw her. George would be walking around the streets of SLC in his white Navy Class A uniform, while she would be clad in a simple white Mormon-esque ensemble that implied for her “I'm here, I'm pious, get used to it.”

Their wedding was a thing of beauty, but their marriage was anything but. Uncle George was a worldly gentleman that had experienced the war in Vietnam as well as a 1950's childhood in the outskirts of North Florida pecan farming community. Aunt Mormon on the other hand lived a sheltered Mormon life in SLC that consisted of numerous Missionary trips throughout the country, but none of which would allow her to absorb the cultures around her. The Mormons aren't known for their ability to take in new ideas, but rather, they take pride in indoctrinating those they come across in their lives. George was her next target. Her aim was to convert him into a life long member of the Church of Latter Day Saints (or LDS), she wasn't as good of a marksmen as she initially thought. Unfortunately for her brethren, George was.

Once their love fizzled and the divorce was imminent, Uncle George and Aunt Mormon tried one last thing before they called it quits. They went to a marriage counselor. It wasn't George's idea, it was Aunt Mormon's. She chose the counselor, and it was someone from the Tabernacle at which she had attended her entire life. The counselor tried everything. He explained that their vows were “until death do they part.” That fell on George's deaf ears. He pleaded to both of them to share what originally drew them to one another. Aunt Mormon talked about his strong will and genuine love for humanity, George made something up about her being a fun companion in deep philosophical discussions (the real reason he married her was less appropriate to share in church and more fitting for an article in Penthouse Forum). After many attempts to find some common ground from which to build a bridge to reconciliation, the counselor found himself with very little substance with which to work.

He changed his method and went directly to the core of what he thought they might react to. Pressure from family and friends. He collected as many of Aunt Mormon's family as he could, and attempted to reach out to George's as well. After much toil and trouble, there was a far better success rate on the bride's side than on the groom's. George's family is strewn across the country and were unavailable when it came time for them to meet to try and work this out. Aunt Mormon's corner was filled with pious folks, while George's had a population of one.

Aunt Mormon's family would take turns explaining the successful methods they use to preserve their matrimonial bonds. George counter-pointed each one of them with snide comments and dismissive remarks. He may have been outnumbered, but his mind was sharp and his mettle was intact. This went on for hours as each Mormon representative wanted their voice to be heard.

Finally, the counselor would make all their arguments pale in comparison to his when he threw out the ultimate motive for staying together. He said, “George, it doesn't matter what you decide today, tomorrow, or any day for the rest of your life. You were married in a Mormon Tabernacle, and that means your marriage falls under the laws of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Do you know what that means? I'll tell you what that means. It means that it doesn't matter if you seek a divorce from her in the state of Utah, you will still be married in the eyes of the Church and in the eyes of God.”

George would respond simply, “I don't care.” His mind was made up.

The LDS Bishop would quickly chime in, “No, I'm not sure you understand. That means that when you die, you will meet up with her in the afterlife. Whether you want to or not, once you pledge your life to a woman, it is God's decision when and if you can divorce. According to the Gospel, 'When men and women marry, they make solemn covenants with each other and with God. Every effort should be made to keep these covenants and preserve marriage' and the kicker is that even if you deny His word you will still find yourselves meeting again in the afterlife to live together for eternity. So basically, you have no choice in the matter George.”

George had enough of this preaching and produced the one thing he could always count on. It would not be The Book of Mormon or even a Bible. It was his trusty 44 Magnum. The LDS followers fleed from the room faster than Brigham Young himself (or even his great-great-great Grandson, Steve Young). George would be left by himself to ponder his recent life choices, and would make a quick exit himself. His eight year stint with the Navy was complete, and his three year marriage was now ready for the history books. From there, he would get that divorce he so wanted and the LDS would be rid of the crazy gun-toting Christian forever.

George would only be left with a life to live and share with his next three wives, and a story to tell at a cookout in Riverview, FL some 40 years later. He would be surrounded by his family that loved him for who he is and what he has become. His marriage to Aunt Mormon and subsequent divorce was a most unfortunate series of events for him. But on the bright side, it turned out to be one hell of a story. I'm sorry he had to live through such a tiring experience, but I'm even more sorry that I chose to listen to the Russian bride discussion instead of hearing the actual details of this sordid Mormon affair. But as they say, When in Salt Lake City...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Love Stains

       The last few weekends have been docile to say the least. My wife and I had become rather acquainted with our new couch and our legs had begun to atrophy as a result. This would not stand! We had to get out of town and do something fun, outdoors, and relatively cheap. After doing some Internet research on upcoming events and checking the travel fund, we decided that a trip to St Augustine was the way to go.
       After leaving work on Friday, my wife and I quickly drove home to change and pack our things for our weekend voyage. It was a four hour drive to St Augustine that night, and we wanted to make it there with enough time left in the evening to meet up with Karl and take him out for some drinks. It turned out it was his birthday, so the consumption of alcoholic beverages was now less of a formality and more of a necessity.
       Our drive was uneventful, but the act of meeting up with Karl turned into an adventure. As I previously mentioned, it was his birthday so he had already imbibed numerous alcoholic concoctions prior to our arrival. We were meeting him where he lived, yet we found ourselves giving him directions to where we were staying. It took about 30-45 minutes for him to find us in front of one of the biggest attractions on one of the most common used roads in all of St Augustine. While we waited, we saw numerous passersby, and listened in to their conversations as the passed us by. Most of them were of no consequence.
       One couple, who had obviously been enjoying their vacation and were stumbling down the sidewalk in a zig-zag pattern as if they were evading a slow moving alligator (FYI, the zig-zag escape route from gators is about as nonsensical as the “play dead” bear tactic). They walked up to us, and asked if we were waiting for a cab. We told them we were not, and they went on their way. A few minutes later we saw them again. This time coming from the same direction as they did before. It seemed as though they were lost, and had simply looped around to end up at the same place they had just come from. St Augustine has one main road going through the tourist area (A1A aka Ponce De Leon Blvd). These tourists had somehow been able to thwart the simplicity of this city. The man was 100% American, but of obvious middle eastern descent. He had darker skin, wore a nice Polo shirt, spoke with no accent, and was wearing a pair of unscuffed white K-Swiss tennis shoes. The girl was tiny, and looked to be the type that would be high maintenance. She was a white girl with brown hair, and was dressed in an outfit a Kardashian would wear if they shopped at the outlet mall. A short flowing black dress, and those Roman-style sandals that have the straps that wrap around your legs up to the lower calf muscle. They recognized us as the couple they had just seen and asked about a taxi (unfortunately for them, they didn't recognize road signs, only strangers), but this time they just said “hi.”
       They stopped to rest on a bench about ten diagonal paces from us (or 5 feet). Jessica and I stood our ground because we feared any change in location from the one we gave Karl may have been met with a delay in our being picked up and the future consumption of tasty libations. While Jessica blathered on about what kind of car Karl might drive, I listened in to the drunken duo's conversation.

In my left ear was Jessica saying “I don't know, he seems like a guy who would drive a mid-nineties brown Saab” (both an odd and very specific vision).

Through my right ear I could hear the woman complaining about the quality of their hotel room. “Yeah I know, we are only just sleeping in there, but it is gross.”

Left ear “Or maybe a Jeep Wrangler, I had one of those when I lived on Anna Maria Island.”

Right ear “It's just, I really wanted us to have a nice weekend. Just the two of us.”

Left ear “Wait a minute, what about one of those Scion things that looks like a toaster on wheels?”

Right ear “I can't get in the mood to have sex when there are stains everywhere.”

Left ear “I don't know, he probably drives an old VW Beetle or something.”

       This time my right ear was picking up a male's voice. It was her boyfriend responding to her comments, but not her concerns. He said “What can I say, I love stains!” At the same moment that he exclaimed that last remark, Karl had pulled up to the curb and was waving us to quickly enter the Honda Element he was driving (Jessica was way off). We got in as quickly as we could. We fumbled with the odd manner in which the rear doors opened and tried not to hold up the cars that were quickly lining up behind us. After 15-20 seconds of futility, we had entered the vehicle and were on our way to the bar. The drive to the Cigar/Wine bar was less than five minutes. I took up most of those 300 seconds (give or take) pondering how the K-Swiss/Kardashian conversation continued. Was he able to overcome her need for clean linens with his need for sexual pleasure? If so, how would such a feat be produced? Was this man really a fan of soiled surroundings, or was this merely an attempt at humor?
       I could hear him saying “Baby, I don't care if there are stains on the carpets, the blankets, AND the ceiling. We are going to have sex tonight!” The girl was appalled at the initial idea, but would only be further disgusted by the new visual.. Yet, he would continue trying to use humor to break the barriers of her disgust “It's our anniversary, we have to do it. I think it's a law or something.” In furthering his humorous attempts he would exclaim“C'mon baby, you said just last night that nothing could get between us. Now are you going to let a few stains break that oath?”
       This would be the moment that would forever solidify their relationship and would become a story for her to tell for the rest of her life. Would the story be told about the creepy ex-boyfriend who had an unseemly fetish for stains, or would she tell her grandchildren about how love can overcome even the most disgusting surroundings?
       I could just hear their grand kids asking “Gamm-ma, tell us again about you and Gamm-pa's trip to St Augustine.”
       Gamm-ma would respond “Well, darling. Grandpa and Grandma K-Swiss were so in love that the stains on the sheets could not keep us apart. We were so in love that we romped and frolicked for hours in the bed of the Days Inn that night. In fact, that was the night your mommy was created.”
       The thought of all this soiled coitus turned my stomach. It was either that or the double cheeseburger I ate before getting on the road that evening. I also thought back to why a man who seemed so well put together would stoop to such a tactic just to get his girlfriend to sleep with him that night. Then I remembered, he was a man. A man on vacation no less. A man on vacation who was so clearly inebriated that he would say anything to get his girlfriend into their stained bed that night. He would even go as far as to cry out the words “what can I say, I love stains.”