Things That are Bothering Me Right Now

Things that are bothering me right now:

Hey chain coffee place, I’ve been going to you for years, and when I order a medium coffee, I don’t think I should have to go through the (albeit objectively uncomplicated, but nonetheless unnecessary) extra step of telling you I want it to be hot. You don’t have to ask if I want hot or cold coffee. Hot coffee is the default; it has always been the default, and it always will be the default. I don’t care how popular your new line of cold coffee drinks is. I don’t care how blazingly hot it is outside, or how seemingly outrageous it is that I want to drink a piping-hot cup of coffee while the souls of my shoes are melting off on the asphalt. The onus for categorical specificity lies squarely on the shoulders of the iced-coffee drinkers. And the best part is: they know it! I promise, coffee attendee, that no one who wants an iced coffee will ever walk up to you and say, “Medium coffee, please!” and expect you to know that they want it cold. The will say, “Medium iced coffee, please!” Because they know what they are…they know what they are. All I’m saying is, let’s have some mutual respect. I don’t make you go through the extra step of putting ice in my coffee, don’t make me go through the extra step of telling you I want it hot.

Hey people who play Trivial Pursuit (classic blue-box genus edition) at the local charmingly-divey bar with the extensive board game selection (i.e. Guthries.) Please learn to put the answer cards back into the card shoe in the correct manner. Have a little dignity. Now, some of you may not have grown up playing Trivial Pursuit as frequently and competitively as I did, and I’m not expecting you to either agree with, or understand this particular pet peeve, but that isn’t going to stop me from demanding it. Notice, if you will, that the question cards which accompany a Trivial Pursuit set have two distinct side. One side has six color-coded questions which stretch the full length of the card. The other side has six answers. The answer side has a blue bar covering approx. 1/3 of the card, inscribed with the word “Genus.” What, one asks, is the purpose of this blue bar? It is so, when the card is properly inserted into the question shoe, the blue bar is the only visible part of the answer card to stick up over the lip of the shoe, and not the answers to the questions. Also, this leaves the question side situated in such a way that when the shoe is placed in front of a questioner, he may pull a card out to ask a question directly, without have to turn or contort the card to read it. I would like it know that until now, I have been single-handedly responsible for the organization and maintenance of the TP cards at Guthries, but no more. I expect you all to pitch in.

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Herman Merman

“Why isn’t she calling?” thought Herman Merman.

His train of thought was interrupted by an actual train passing right outside his four-story window. As the glasses klinked together, the tattered, worn furniture stuttered across the wooden floor, and Herman’s flabby cheeks jiggled to the loud, ongoing vibration, his gaze stayed intently on his rotary phone traveling across his desk. His brow furrowed. His stare grew more intense. His lips tightened. His nostrils flared.

The train eventually passed. The apartment settled. Silence.

It was a hot day in the city. Sunlight filled Herman’s studio apartment, giving everything a white yellow tint. Sweat was sliding down Herman’s clammy, pale face. He had one clump of black hair on the top of his otherwise bald head, and like rain from a leaf, sweat dripped from it onto his nose.

To cope with the heat, Herman wasn’t wearing any pants or briefs. The bare cheeks of his ass were glued to the desk chair by sweat. However, due to his upbringing, Herman couldn’t be completely undressed, so he left on his white, pressed oxford shirt, buttoned to the top; his gray vest, and his black tie, knotted tightly to his neck.

Herman concentrated on the phone even further. In his mind, he pictured traveling through the phone’s receiver, through the cords, surrounded by white sparks of electricity and sounds of crackling. He imagined different conversations as he passed along the phone circuitry. Some of them were conversations of happiness and kindness, with talk of meeting up for dinner, or congratulations for a well-deserved promotion. Others were conversations of sadness and heartbreak; yelling at a spouse for a simple, innocent mistake, or the reporting of a child’s death. He also pictured dark conversations filled with violent sexual fetishes and perversions, and suicidal or murderous intentions.

Herman traveled faster and faster through the cord until these conversations and the crackling of the electricity mixed together to form one hypersonic sound, growing louder and louder, and the white sparks grew brighter and brighter, until his whole field of vision was taken over by an electric white.

Then it stopped.

He was here. He was at her ear.

Sylvia Bell had a beautiful right ear. Herman had studied it several times at her floral shop while pretending to look at lilies. She always placed her hair behind her right ear, putting it on display for all to see, while her left ear always remained covered. Herman loved the right ear, but oddly, when he used his imagination to think of her left ear, he became sexually aroused and grew frustrated that he couldn’t see it. Yet he was grateful that he had the right ear to study.

And now in his mind, at the end of his telephone journey, he had placed himself centimeters away from it. He stared at it with awe. It was perfectly formed. The lobe hung slightly at the bottom. He didn’t like it when the lobe was connected completely to a person’s head. She had the perfect lobe hang. There was no greasiness or crustiness from earwax. It was blemish free. She didn’t even have her ear pierced. He liked that.

“Call me,” he whispered in her ear. “Call me. You said you would call me. Call me!”

Nothing.

He tried again. Nothing. She just stood there, looking at her Vera Bradley catalogue with the phone to her ear.

He tried repeatedly, demanding her to call him, but nothing. Growing frustrated, he decided he had to take drastic measures.

A breath.

Darkness. A clean wetness. Distant echoes, as if a war was being fought miles away. Intimate and vast at the same time.

Herman was now traveling inside Sylvia’s brain. To be inside the head of the woman he adored was a huge turn on for Herman. He felt this was infinitely more private, secretive, and exciting than catching a peek down her blouse, following her home, or trying to look through her apartment window late at night. This is where her thoughts were created and synthesized, where her memories were stored, where every stimuli she experienced were facilitated and interpreted. This was Sylvia. He had penetrated not just her body, but her very being.

And then in the darkness, a giant collection of synapses exploded with white light. Herman was overwhelmed by its beauty. He imagined (and Herman was definitely imagining) that this is what it felt like to experience the sun close up, without being incinerated or blinded. He slowly floated towards the active synapses, put his right cheek against the membrane, and closed his eyes. He felt the energy flowing through him. It was marvelous. Every pain, every moment of sadness Herman had was washed away. He was at peace and he was one with Sylvia.

He started to whisper, “Call me. I am you. You are me. Call me-”

A train barreled by Herman’s apartment again. His concentration broken again.

It was dark outside now. He was still pantsless. Still covered in sweat. And still no phone call. Herman walked over to his bed, fell face down on it, and began to weep.

He had a whispery fart escape his bare ass cheeks.

He slightly turned and screamed in pain as a charlie horse took over his left foot.

Herman Merman then fell into a shallow sleep, a sleep that would have no remembered dreams.

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You’re On My Mind

I see you.

I see you all the time.

I see all the things you do.

I see you taking a watery shit between two dumpster, all the while grinning like a happy dog.

I see you shuffling about and talking to yourself; sitting around talking to  yourself; pushing carts and dragging bags and talking to yourself. I see you talking to yourself while you read a book you’ve found called “Payback is a Mutha” by someone called Wahida Clark.

I can still see you dead under a viaduct, surrounded by red and blue lights. I can never forget seeing you masturbating next to the river, lazily abusing yourself like you’re having a picnic. Sometimes I smell you before I see you. 

You’re talking to me while I’m trying to read, and so I can’t help but see you, to actually stare at you while you tell me about the album you’re writing. To stare at your mouth while you tell me about the song you’ve written called “You’re a Sweet Taste of Candy in My Heart.” To stare fixedly and sick at the one tooth still left clinging to your gums, looking like a piece of rotted corn, wet and black, while you sing to me in a weird castrato voice.

Through the window of a passing bus, I see you standing by the side of the road eating an entire roasted chicken. You’re throwing the bones under passing cars, and I see you wiping the grease off your hands on a bunch of pansies and marigolds in a stone planter on the sidewalk. I see you wiping your hands on flowers.

I see you looking at me with need, hunger, anger, weariness, suspicion, terror. I see you looking at me with dead eyes. With black eyes. With one eye, or none. Always, with asking eyes. I see you looking back at me, and looking away. And I never look away: Because I see you, but I don’t care.

And later, when I’m home (and because I have one) I think about you, and the things I’ve seen you do, and I laugh. And then I pull the shades down tight, and do the secret, nameless, shameful things I do when I’m alone, and nobody can see me, ever.

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The Hymn for Beer

According to some vague notion I had and then confirmed by Wikipedia, beer is the oldest alcoholic drink in human history, dating back to 9500 BC.  Wikipedia then told me that according to archaeologists, beer was instrumental in creating civilizations (another vague notion I have is that beer is now instrumental in destroying civilization.  “Thank you beer can for your cold activation scale!  Now I know when you’re cold or super cold! (Actually, that is kind of cool (PEMDAS)))!

This is kind of an intriguing point though.

Beer.  The drink of civilizations.

“Beer!  The Drink of Civilizations!”  pitches the ad man in a well-tailored Tom Ford suit (yeah, I know who he is) to a fat, fifty something, southern CEO in a white Mark Twain suit and a cowboy hat.

“I just don’t get it,” he replies.  “We’ve found that most of our clients like titties.  You got something with titties, son?”

The ad man thinks quickly.  “Um, how about…”Beer!  You’ll get titties in your face!”

“You’ve done it again, Stan!”

“Great,” replies the ad man as his soul flies out the window.

Cut back to Wikipedia, laying more knowledge eggs in my brain nest;  “Some of the earliest Sumerian writings found in the region contain references to a type of beer; one such example, a prayer to the goddess Ninkasi [the Mesopotamian goddess of beer], known as ‘The Hymn to Ninkasi’, served as both a prayer as well as a method of remembering the recipe for beer.”

A goddess for beer? A prayer for beer?  Are we talking about the same stuff that is sucked through straws connected to two cans mounted on a guy’s helmet as he watches cars go around in circles?

It’s too long to paste in this blog post, but if you have some time, walk down history lane and read “The Hymn of Ninkasi.” Here’s a selection:

When you pour out the filtered beer
of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the
filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
Tigris and Euphrates.

Now for a real study, read the hymn again, but this time, while you’re reading, have this playing:


Miller Lite Cat Fight

Admittedly, reading through that selected verse, I was reminded of Coors’ slogan “Brewed with Rocky Mountain waters.”  However, this hymn doesn’t have half naked girls and crazy beach parties manipulating my base desires (and believe me my desires are pretty base).  What it does have is respect and gratefulness for the brewing process and for this nurturing drink.  It’s sacred.  It’s a mystery.  This awesome stuff is from the heavens.  Not only was Ninkasi kind enough to give us this great beverage, but she continues to guide us through the process.  And, geez, this stuff has to be good; it’s made by a fucking goddess. So although, this hymn doesn’t give me a penis boner, what it does give me is a heart and brain boner (I think I just negated my point by my diction choice (Hey guys, did you hear that? Dick-tion (PEMDAS))).

I should qualify something though, I don’t think beer is instrumental in the destruction of our civilization.  For the longest time, all my palate was allowed to taste was Natty Light (Natural Light, which is a pretty powerful descriptor for something so shitty) as I chugged it through a beer bong.  Now that I’ve grown a little older and slightly wiser, I’ve discovered that beer is awesome and I am pleasantly surprised by its complexity and goodness every time I try a new artfully made beer.  There are plenty of awesome breweries out there being guided by Ninkasi.

No, my gripe takes us back to that conference room with the Tom Ford-wearing ad man and the money-hungry CEO.  Of course that’s an over-generalized scenario littered with stereotypes, but suffice it to say, that’s where civilization is being ruined.  And I know this is a well-worn argument; the hippy argument that ad execs are soulless minions of the corporate empire, serving the one true god, Money.  Yeah, I won’t deny it.  That’s exactly what I’m griping about.  I’m not saying anything new.

However, when researching for this blog and coming upon “The Hymn of Ninkasi,” it’s right there in your face; we could be better.  Yes, maybe beer helped start civilization, but what kind of a civilization are we running here?  I’m not saying that advertising should be done away with; I’m asking can’t we hold ourselves to a higher standard?  Sure it’s easy to sell a product with cleavage surrounding it, but what does that do to a guy?  He’s then operating on a superficial level.  He’s operating on instinct.  He’s operating on something he can’t control and that’s right where the ad guys want him.

Let’s be better than that.  There are plenty of places to get what the body wants without having to see it in an ad.  Advertisers are the movers and the shakers.  They influence behavior.  They have some power here.  What if they used it for good.  What if advertisers wrote a hymn for modern day?  Of course hindsight is 20/20 and we know Ninkasi isn’t real, but that doesn’t mean we can’t respect and be awed by the miracle of beer:

When you pour out the filtered beer
of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
The Rocky Mountain waters
Humankind
, you are the one who pours out the
filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
The Rocky Mountain waters

“Collector vat” isn’t the most epic term, but overall that’s pretty powerful stuff.  It’s like a mud wrestling pit in my soul.  But it’s that kind of language and respect for quality work that can raise the bar.  I think if we talk the talk, we can walk the walk.

But hell, sometimes you just wanna get drizzunk, son!  Shotgun that shit, Ninkasi!

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12 oz of Feeling

BeerHey Beer,
You might not remember this, but my uncle introduced us.
It was a steamy sticky heat and the smell of fresh cut grass surrounded us.
I was leaning on the hood of a dirty white car, had my first sip.
I spit and likened you to dishwater.
We parted ways that day and didn’t come across each other again for a long time.

In high school I slighted you for quicker, more flashy libations.

Ah, youth.

More concerned with the destination than the journey.
Like a friend of a friend, you and I would end up at a party together and be forced into a sort of sterile social interaction.
Oh, we would pretend.
For the first few years in College, we would both take advantage of each other.
Me, beguiled by you in your most base form.
You, reducing me to mine.
For the obscene amount of time we spent together, we scarcely saw one another.
Hiding in plain sight.
Until, and I will never know why, a paradigm shift.

I desired you.

It surprised me most of all.
That day. The heat. It would echo of our first encounter.
Only this time I would come to you.

As I developed, I would consume you mentally and find my respect for you.
I would get snobbish with you.
A pendulum of thought.

Living with you now, I see you as an expression of joy.
Sometimes imperfect but always triple hops brewed Miller Light,
With that great pilsner taste!

 

 

 

*This blog is brought to you by 2011 Miller Brewing Co,Milwaukee,WI

 

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