Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's like ten thousand spoons...

A few years ago I misused the word "ironic" and instead of arguing the point I decided to learn from it. If you're still reliving your glory days of 1994 then you probably remember Reality Bites and the back and forth about defining "irony". says: 1) the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning 2) Literature: a technique of indicating, as through a character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated and 5) an outcome or event contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

You see, irony is not coincidence. It's also not simply something you'd consider a bummer. With that said I would like to take you through something I put together long ago...a breakdown of Alanis Morissette's lyrics for "Ironic". Then, to conclude, you can read my song set to the same tune.

"Ironic" by Alanis Morissette
An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day – Bummer is not equal to irony.
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay – It’s not a black fly in your chardonnay...though the contrast of the white wine with the black fly could be used in the setting of literature to parallel an ironic concept.
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late – This is more like a big "whoopsie!!!!!".
And isn't it ironic... don't you think – No it’s not ironic…I don’t think.

It's like rain on your wedding day – In the context of literature this could be used in an ironic sense.
It's a free ride when you've already paid – This has no irony whatsoever.
It's the good advice that you just didn't take ¬– This is just called poor foresight and/or judgment.
Who would've thought... it figures – Huh?

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
"Well isn't this nice..."
And isn't it ironic... don't you think – This is the exact opposite of irony. I mean the dude thought he would die in a plane and then he did.

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you – Kind of like those squirrels on the golf course when they steal your snacks.
When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face – There’s nothing ironic about the Unabomber.

A traffic jam when you're already late – This is like a compounded bummer.
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break – This actually is kind of ironic.
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife – Yes…yes, “irony” is “ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.”
It's meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife – This is more a timing issue. She simply got there first.
And isn't it ironic...don't you think – No.
A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think... – Trust me, it’s not.

"Really Ironic" by Keith

A violent man with fire in his eyes
Started a world war which won him the Nobel Peace Prize
It’s a dirty blotch on your bar of soap
It’s a contraceptive being worn by the Pope
Yes it is ironic…don’t you think?

It’s like pain when someone hugs you too hard
It’s a skinny girl who only eats lard
Or when it feels good when you get kicked in the nards
And who would’ve thought it figures?

Mr. Fireman saved peoples’ lives
He was a hero every day of his life
He took his kids camping for just one night
When the marshmallow set his hair on fire he thought
“At least it’ll burn up the lice”
And isn’t it ironic…don’t you think?

It’s like pain when someone hugs you too hard
It’s a skinny girl who only eats lard
Or when it feels good when you get kicked in the nards
And who would’ve thought it figures?

Comedic contrast has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s just as it should be
And life has a funny way of pointing it out when
Someone poops their pants in a fancy dress

A bad hair day when you’ve been bald for years
An excellent joke that brings you to tears
It’s like getting sloppy butt drunk on A&W root beers
It’s like meeting the woman of your dreams
And then finding out she has male genitals
And isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?
A little too ironic? Well, it makes you think.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The only problem with public school is they'll let anybody in

So last night was open house at my son, Caleb’s, school. He’s in second grade and showing us around his class was apparently a pretty big deal for him. He was excited which was exciting to see so we were excited and everything was exciting for this excitable family of five.

The first moment of excitement came when we were walking toward the school and found the mass of bodies packed into the small courtyard in front of the cafeteria. HOT DOGS! Nothing says “your children are getting a premium education” quite like an unlimited supply of charred Bar-S mixed meat franks! If you think I’m complaining you’re wrong. I ate three.

During “dinner” one of Caleb’s friends came and sat with us. He seemed like a good kid and I know Caleb really likes him. I gave a friendly “hello” to his parents but there was no conversation to be had and the three of them rushed away before Taela was even back from the water line.

Next Caleb took us to his classroom. There was some kind of mass Exodus as we were trying to maneuver our bulky stroller in so we waited and watched the interesting array of parents make their way out. If you think I’m kidding when I say that one mom has certainly lost some battles with meth and one dad looked like he came directly from Jersey Shore then you’re just wrong. Exciting!

We entered the classroom…or should I say sauna? Turns out that the environmental control unit runs during school, but not after hours. The window (singular, not plural) doesn’t open. We were in an oven…and Caleb was STOKED to show us EVERYTHING! Soon Micah wants to be held so I’m walking around inside this furnace holding a little mass of heat and I’m sweating and I realize there are 36 desks in this inferno. They have 36 kids packed in like sardines. Tangent: sardines are not a kind of fish…sardines are herring that are called sardines because of the way they are packaged (thank you Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader!). At this point the excitement was nearly unbearable and I needed a couple Extra Strength Excedrin.

Well the reason I attended the open house in the first place is that Caleb told me there would be a box full of Smarties. If we guessed the closest to the actual amount we would win a BOX FULL OF SMARTIES! I mean who doesn’t need hundreds of packages of pressed sugar pills to chase their third “meat” frank? Here is a picture of the parent guesses:

See there in the blue? See it? I can’t quite make out the name so I’ll just guess that it reads “Derrick Colon”. He guessed “420”. Nice one Derrick…make a pot reference at your second grader’s open house for everyone to see. No wonder your last name’s Colon because you’re a real ass hat.

That aside, Caleb’s teacher is great and she recognizes that he will need to be challenged because he’s super smart and blah blah blah and he’s a delight and yadda yadda yadda. Good kids make boring blogs, but they make proud parents and I’m stoked.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hillbilly Hand-Fishin'

Today seems like as good a day as any to start a blog. In fact today might be the best day in my life to date to start a blog dedicated to sharing the things that happen to me from time to time.

I should begin by telling you that once every three weeks I deliver for meals on wheels. I have been doing this for 4 1/2 years now. It is sometimes rewarding and sometimes depressing, but the people I meet are appreciative and it's well worth doing. Today I delivered for the second consecutive week on account of my having played golf a couple of Mondays last month, so I was fresh in the minds of the people on the route which apparently made me more personable.

My last stop of the day is always the 6th floor of a condominium building in Portland. Instead of paying for parking I place my homemade "Meals on Wheels Delivery Driver" sign on the dashboard, park in the 15 minute only spot and head into the building. The young guy who works the front desk always buzzes me in before I get to the door and it's up the the 6th floor for me. I take a left out of the elevator and head toward the smell of cigarette smoke. You see, the gentleman I'm taking food to is a Vietnam Vet who has a rare terminal disease. He spends most of his day in either his recliner or his wheel chair and he smokes like a chimney.

I ring the doorbell and he yells "come in!" as usual but the door is locked today so I try yelling back, but he isn't wearing his hearing aid (hearing loss is part of his disease) and he has the TV blaring so I may as well be a fart in the wind. After some time (I assume he's hoisting himself into his motorized chair) he answers the door and we go into our typical sarcastic banter. This is good because last week he was pretty down about the progression of his disease and I left thinking there wasn't much time left.

We talk for a while and somehow we start talking about mundane world records and he says "have I ever told you this story before?"
Me: "How the hell should I know? What story?"
Him: "Before my brother died we went on a ferry to Alaska. I had to use the john pretty bad but when I went in there some backpacking kid was in the handicapped stall...the little bastard. I tried the other stalls but they were all filthy and I was in my chair so I waited. When the kid had finished I went into the stall and what do you think I saw?"
Me: "I don't know and I'm probably better off not guessing."
Him: "It was the longest turd I had ever seen."
Me: "..."
Him: "No, I'm telling you this was the longest turd I'd ever seen. I don't know how this kid saved up for it, but he really did something special there."
Me: "uhh"
Him: "So I had to tell my brother but I knew he wouldn't believe me so I had to take a picture of it."
Me: (blink...blink)
Him: "So I take a picture of this thing and show it to my brother and we had a helluva laugh over it. The toilets on that ferry reminded us of being on the submarines in 'Nam. It's no wonder he never wanted to crap in there."
Me: "Yeah, no wonder."
Him: "So later on when my brother was living with me (his brother lived with him for 2 years and 4 months after being given 5 days to live by his oncologist) I went into the bathroom and I really had to go. After I was done I looked down and I couldn't believe what I had created. It must have been the medication they had me on because this was more impressive than the backpacker on the ferry."
Me: "We should make you a plaque."
Him: "So I wanted to show my brother but I knew he wouldn't come in from the other room to see so I went and got my camera..."
Me: "Well of course, you gotta document something that monumental."
Him: "...and my rubber gloves. And slowly and carefully I started to pull that thing out of the toilet."
Me: (jaw dropping open)
Him: "Inch by inch I rested it up higher and higher on my arm, careful not to break it. I laid it down on the paper towels I'd put on the floor..."
Me: "Oh my God."
Him: "...and I ever so gently stretched it out next to a tape measure making sure not to touch the thousand dollar camera to it."
Me: "Oh my God."
Him: "And I'm tellin' ya this thing was 18 inches long. So I go and take the camera over to my brother to show him and he won't look. So I just hold it there and finally he gives in and looks at it and he goes from 'I'm not gonna look you sick bastard' to 'holy sh*t! how did you do that?'."
Me: "That's the strangest story I've ever heard. Once my step-brother saw not a long turd, but a thick one in a toilet at Embassy Suites and called me in to look at it. It was as big around as a big burrito (holding up my hands and makeing a circle the size of a Chipotle carnitas burrito with extra cheese)."
Him: "Oh, I hadn't told you that part. Mine was thick like that too. I have the picture over there on that camera if you don't believe me."
Me: "I believe you"
Him: "It's just over there. I oughtta show you."
Me: "That's amazing."
Him: "In fact I will show you...hold on."
So he drives his chair over to the corner desk and grabs his camera and starts skipping through pictures on it. There are 683 pictures on this camera and I'm seeing shots of his brother's wake and his brother's dead dog that also died of cancer. I'm seeing Tom, the guy who owned the bar where the wake was. There's a shot of a white Christmas. Then all of a sudden there is this thing that looks like a dark-skinned man's forearm laying there next to a tape measure. It absolutely measured 13 inches long and there's no way my hand could have come close to wrapping all the way around it.
Him: "You can see I didn't form it at all or put any two pieces back together or anything. It was just one solid turd."
Me: "Yeah, that thing is smooth and uniform. No doubt about it."
Him: "So now you know when I tell you something it's the truth and I can back it up."
Me: " long does it take to push something like that out? 10 seconds or...?"
Him: "Oh hell no. 10 seconds? It took at least 3 or 4 minutes. I had to keep working to push it out of there. Most turds are self lubricating and slide out easy if you've noticed. Because of the meds, this one wasn't. You can see on the end where it tapers a bit that I just couldn't relax the muscles any more and finally had to squeeze it off."
Me: "Oh my God."

Listen...not all my writing will be about dying men talking about giant pieces of crap.

Keep it Keen,