I just saw an ad on TV for a ‘Blow Dry Bar’. At first I thought it was some sort of sick joke, then I thought it was an actual sidle-up-to-the-bar-and-order-a-whiskey-and-while-you’re-at-it-blow-dry-my-hair kind of place, because the commercial showed all these women getting their hair poofed out by other women holding industrial strength blow dryers. My brain began to throb in confusion. Usually it only throbs when I have to find a word that rhymes with ‘titillate’.
When the commercial was over, my initial reaction was to run to my PC and Google ‘blow dry bar’. I just couldn’t wrap my head around a saloon/salon type of place. What if the client gets sloshed and wobbles in her chair? Her hairdo would end up looking like a relief map of North America. Instead, I called my sister Marie, who’s been a cosmetologist all her life. Seriously. She came out of the womb with a pair of scissors and a brush. Poor mom. Actually, when she told me for the first time that she was a cosmetologist, I asked her if she had any idea what the rings of Saturn were made of. Imagine my shock when she said those type of people were called cosmologists. Imagine someone trying to give Jupiter a crew cut. Anyway, I asked my sis what the heck a ‘blow dry bar’ was, and she told me it is a place where women go to get their hair washed and then blow dried. That’s it. No margaritas, no banana schnapps, no cute little umbrellas. Can you believe it? I’ve got pretty long hair, so I could actually be driving down the street and say to myself “Self, I think I’m going to let someone else wash my hair today, and while she’s at it, she can give me a Dee Snider Twisted Sister look.”
Well, I took my original reaction, clothed it in curiosity, went to the internet and found a place called Drybar. It’s motto is “No cuts. No color. Just blowouts.” I actually had the guts to take a virtual tour of the place, but I won’t share the details. It’s just too hideous to explain. And this is coming from the guy who wrote the most graphic horror novel (shameless plug: OOBERS: Kalamazoo, folks) in the history of literature. The most frightening thing in the website is that they charge ‘ONLY’ $40. Holy Moley to the tenth power! I could think of about five thousand different ways to spend $40 on something other than a wash and dry.
You know, in today’s world if you want to make a splash, if you want to get noticed, if you want to be filthy rich (at least until the IRS gets hold of you), you have to come up with some idea that’s unique, something no one’s ever done before. That’s hard to do, because pretty much everything’s been tried already. So after I had my little freakout over the whole blow dry bar thing, I took a step back and thought about it. I really had to give them credit for pulling it off. Hey, there are plenty of people out there with nothing better to do than spend $40 on a hair wash and blow dry. That means they might be just as willing to spend their moolah on some other outlandish thing. That’s when the gears started spinning in my head. If you don’t know me by now, I’ll give you a heads up. When the gears start spinning in my head, it’s time to sprint for the hills. Seriously.
After a few seconds of spinning (my brain spins pretty fast) I came up with an idea. Actually, a few of them. Now, before I disclose these unique and fabulous schemes, I’m bound by the gypsy copyright laws to inform you I’ve already mailed these ideas to myself. If I find out someone’s stolen one of my babies, I’ll take my envelope to the nearest judge, rip it open and hope I remembered to put a date on the paper. So, you’ve been warned. How about this for brainstorming? I’m going to open a booger retrieval service. Yep. Boogers. Snot. Nose Candy. Snot Rockets. Goobers. Don’t get all spiritual on me. You know you get ’em. All the time. And they always make their appearance at the most inappropriate time. Like when you’re on a date, or at church, or in the supermarket, or in the middle of a big presentation, or when the preacher comes to visit, and especially when you’re in traffic. Well, you can just call . . . I think I’ll name it the “Boogie Noogie Bugle Boys Excavation Service.” I know, it’s a snoot-full, but it’s catchy and even has its own song that’s guaranteed to get your toes tapping and stick in your brain. You don’t come to us. Just call and we’ll go to where you are and pick out that offending boogie. The best part is that it only costs $5 per nugget. That’s a miniscule price to pay for saving your reputation.
Once that business gets off the ground, I’m going to start a new business venture. Dingleberry removal. Visualize it. Now try to get that visual out of your head. See? Pure genius!
Somebody has stolen my sense of humor, and I won’t give up until I get it back.
At first I thought I had lost it. We all do from time to time, right? You tell a joke and it flops. Your friend sends you a funny picture but it makes you cry. Someone farts in a public toilet and you don’t scream out “EEEEEEWWWWWEEEEEE!!!” Yes, sometimes we wake up and forget where we put it the night before. I strap mine around my groin before I go to bed at night because, frankly, it’s a joke down there. Then, when I wake up the next morning and go to the bathroom (I think it’s required by law in most states) it’s right there when I pull my underwear down so I can start my day with a big laugh. I’ve always had a heightened sense of humor when I first wake up. Once upon a time I had a heart catheter test, and they gave me some really awesome bye-bye medicine. I don’t remember the procedure at all, but when I finally came to, my wife was crying and the doctor was laughing. Seems the instant they injected some kind of dye into my heart it quit beating, so they had to do the ole two-paddle shock to bring me back to life. Evidently the instant they legally electrocuted me, I sat up on the table and yelled “Hey, what happened to the dancing girls?” Since then I’ve had absolutely no fear of death.
Yesterday morning though, I went to find my sense of humor and couldn’t find it. I checked everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The neighbors didn’t appreciate me waking them up by rummaging through their closet, but I just had to be sure. I couldn’t remember being in their closet the day before, but at my age you can never be certain. Blame the 70’s. Well, you can imagine how grumpy it made me, not finding anything funny. The neighbors must have lost their sense of humor, too, because they didn’t find it funny either. Neither did the cops. That was when I suspected there was a humor thief out there somewhere. When I announced my suspicions to law enforcement hoping I’d be proven wrong, they laughed like crazy for about three seconds and then gave me their meanest stares as they handcuffed me. When I called my wife from the hoosegow and told her to look around the house for my sense of humor, she answered, “Not funny, you idiot.” They got hers, too! The only person with a sense of humor was my lawyer. You should have seen his outrageous bill. Had I a sense of humor I would have laughed right in his face. Unfortunate for me, because for that little misunderstanding in my neighbor’s bedroom closet (and NO, I don’t know how the woman’s pink two-piece bathing suit came to be on me) , it will be the lawyer who laughs every month for the next thirty-eight years when the postman drops by. Needless to say, those shenanigans cost me most of the day, so I spent what was left of it searching for my funny bone (except those places designated by my neighbor’s restraining order) to no avail. It turned out to be a pretty serious day.
I prayed that I’d wake up this morning with my buffoonery solidly attached so that I could pretend the day before had just been a horrid dream, but I knew the instant I opened my eyes today that it was still gone, as gone as yesterday. Still no sense of humor. I instantly (after the legally required unloading of the bladder, of course) turned the TV on to the Comedy Channel, hoping to hit the chuckle lottery. After a couple of minutes of I Love Lucy and not even a weak grin, I tuned to MSNBC, the gold standard of comedy. Nothing.
So now I’m going around this part of town and even the internet (still obeying the court order) putting LOST fliers wherever I can in hopes of regaining any semblance of my former wit. The cops are still no help (they do have great donuts, though), but what do you expect, right? It’s not like I could just go to the doctors and get a cackle reattached, either. Woe is me!
I found it. My sense of humor had slipped around back and was stuck in my guffaw. Being fat I couldn’t reach far enough to extract it manually, so I tried pushing it out using my abominable muscles. That caused me to toot out my hoot so hard a knee-slapper slung around and hit me upside my face. The first thing that came to mind once my sense of humor kicked back in was the joke I’m about to tell you. I laughed so hard I cried and peed myself and cried again because I realized I’d forgotten my Depends, then laughed about that. It is all the proof I need to demonstrate the return of my phenomenal humor. Here goes:
Do you know when two singing lovers are at their best?
When they duet.
There is a new smart phone application that has the techies of the world wetting themselves in excitement. It’s called Spritz, a program that streams words at speeds up to 1,000 words per minute. The creators are utilizing something called the “Optimal Recognition Point,” the exact moment when the brain recognizes a single word. The app flashes text at you one word at a time, and the center of the word is colored red to help the mind focus at that point. Theoretically, a person who trains their reading speed using Spritz can in time read an entire novel in just a couple of hours. Evidently the average person reads around 220 words per minute. They must not have timed someone trying to read while their spouse is watching a TV show with the volume cranked to ear bleed levels, and their child in the next room (door open, of course) playing Modern Warfare online with a whole platoon of friends with the speakers wide open. I’m lucky to get 5 words a minute (8 words a minute during commercials – unless it’s for food, which brings all reading to a stop).
I went to their website and tried it. By golly, it worked! I sat right here in my computer chair and read for fifteen minutes as they increased the speed. By the time I was finished , I not only was reading at 1,000 wpm, I wet myself three times and didn’t know it. The only problem I had with the program was that I had no freaking idea what it was I read. That in itself is no big deal. I mean, as a writer I’m always being plied with offers from new authors wanting me to check out their novels, and I’m always happy to do so. Most of the novels I read are excellent all the way around, and I have no qualms about giving a glowing review. Sometimes, though, a novice writer cranks out something that reads like a psychopathic thesaurus has gone on an English language killing spree. Over the years I’ve read so many of these ‘experiments in literature’ (I’m being nice, ok?) that I’ve started thinking of taking their words apart and selling them back to the dictionary people. Of course, I’m much too nice a guy to tell another writer that their work makes me air my reading room out, so that officially makes me a terrible critic. I’ll respond to a writer’s query that they have ‘unique and challenging character development’ when in reality I never could determine who the protagonist was. When I say their novel has ‘unexpected plot twists,’ that means I expected there to be plot twists, but the story was so predictable it was like guessing what a baby would do when pinched. When I say I enjoyed their use of dialogue, that means everything else should be shoveled out. Now, I want to say something to all the authors who have asked me to review their books. I’m not talking about you. Trust me. Your book was incredible and inventive. Seriously.
Look, I’m the last person in the world to be all holier-than-thou in the realm of writing. There are some writers who are so awesome they make me want to break my keyboard over my knee and swear to never write another word out of respect and humility. There is a brigade of incredible young talent out there just waiting to take your imagination on a journey you’ll always cherish (I was going to say ‘a journey you’ll never forget,’ but that can cut both ways). You may have to wade through a haystack full of blunt straws in order to find that one sharp piece of writing, but thank goodness for Spritz. Now you can find out in record time if a certain book is worth your time.
Just do me a favor, though, ok? Don’t tell me my work has unexpected plot twists, ok. Let me know up front if my book sucks. I’ll respect you more for it. Actually, I’ll suggest you read the same book backwards using Spritz, just so you can get my words out of your system quicker. Who know? It might make more sense that way.
I think I may suffer from some sort of mental illness, because the most random things come out of my mouth and fingertips, and I don’t mean balloons, basketballs or broccoli. Out of the thin blue yonder I’m liable to say or type anything; the more profane the better. It may be a distant cousin of Tourette’s, but then it may be a brother to heavy cannabis use in the 80s and 90s. I personally believe I say the things I do is because of an accident that happened to me when I was eleven years old. It was so horrific an accident that I can’t remember a thing about it, nor can anyone in my family. Not only can no one remember the accident, the injuries I sustained must have healed immediately because I don’t recall them, either. It’s even been rumored that no such accident ever existed, but that hasn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It had to be an accident, I tell you. There’s no other way to explain it.
We lost our cable TV during a storm late last night, and when I called to report it, the customer service associate said that the entire neighborhood was affected. Without thinking, I replied with a sigh, “Well, it gives me great comfort to know I’m not the only one suffering.” The associate must have been starving for some sort of deviance because he almost choked on his headset. Why did I say that? Goodness gracious, I don’t enjoy the suffering of others! Well, there are a FEW exceptions to that statement, but they only involve children and small animals. But that’s beside the point. My attorney will field all inquiries from here on out.
There was the time I answered an unknown caller by screaming “THE BABY’S COMING! I CAN SEE HIS – WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” and then hung up abruptly. Turns out the caller was a 63 year old man on his first day as a telemarketer in Emporia, Kansas. I settled out of court and agreed to pay his cardiologist fees. My favorite blurt memory is that time I found myself in the middle of a crowded elevator at the VA Hospital in Birmingham and said in a loud voice over the silence: “I suppose you all wonder why I invited you here today.” Everyone under 30 laughed. Actually, there was only one person younger than 30 in there. I basked in that gentleman’s delight while the other twenty nine passengers frowned and stared.
It doesn’t help that I especially like potty humor. I’ve been that way since antiquity. I mean, I’ve never crapped in one hand and wished in the other (contrary to what Wikipedia says) or actually flung feces (except for that time in Rio, and it was justified) or found myself staring lovingly at my bowel movements; I just enjoy a good poop joke. Here’s one: What do you call a little one who fills his diaper at a birthday celebration? A party-pooper! (I’ll wait here until you stop laughing) Actually, because I pride myself on having a college education, I like to tell strangers that I’m the world’s foremost amateur scatologist (a scatologist is someone who studies shite – really). That allows me to venture into areas the average pooper-trooper can’t go. For instance, I like to hang around the hair care aisle in Wal-Mart with a sign that says “BOYCOTT SHAMPOO! DEMAND REAL POO!” But mostly the title of scatologist allows me to make scientific speculations that are in no way scientific, like “Wow, your poop is bright red! I suggest you cut back on the Red Dye #3 for awhile. What? You think it’s blood? What school of scatology did you go to, buddy? Suck it up and stick some duct tape over it.”
That’s not all. Oh, no. I not only like to spout crap, I get a kick out of farting randomly in public. You would not believe the reactions I get. It makes cats jump, it makes kids giggle, it makes church congregations want to get so carried away in the Spirit they have no conscious awareness of the foul smell settling on them like pollen. Did you know you can train your anal sphincter to sound just like a bugle, trombone and tuba all at the same time? I especially love showing off my rendition of John Phillip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever“. Once you experience it, you’ll never be the same again. Elevator farts won’t even make your eyes water anymore. I was going to mention some of my most memorable farts (like that time in the Christian Book Store when my sister got blamed for it) but that would require a much longer essay.
I don’t necessarily like this way I am. Oh, it provides me with a wealth of fun. But when I’m in bed at night and have no one to share my eclectic thoughts and observations with (like ‘How come I only itch down there when I’m trying to sleep?!’), or have to go through the humiliation again of having cops bust down my door because one of the neighbors said the stench of rotten meat and rotten feet were emanating from my place, I mean, it can get pretty lonely. Every morning I find my cat hiding in the garbage disposal and my dog scratching hunks out of the back door.
If you doubt my extreme weirdness (is ‘weirdness’ classified as a mental disease?), just look me up on Facebook or Twitter and hang around a few days. Maybe you’ll be the person who can help me with this disorder. If not, I’ve got a few disgusting jokes I want to share with you. It may take a few days to respond, as I am currently working as a test subject on some new toilet designs that are claiming to be Chimichanga proof. I will blow them out of the water, not so much because I have a particularly potent defecatory process, but because as a scatologist, I am adept in excremental mechanical physics, and can deliver a turd with the power of a 9 mm bullet to the weakest spot in any toilet and… well, you get the point.
Next time you’re in a grocery store, deliberately brush up against some random shopper, count to three then turn around, run up to them, grab their shoulders and shout in their face: “SAY SOMETHING!” No matter what they say, get all excited and yell “I CAN HEAR! IT’S A MIRACLE! THIS PERSON HEALED ME! EVERYONE, MAKE NOISE SO I CAN HEAR IT!” You’ll get a taste what I go through every single day.
Great, ain’t it?