Category Archives: Ramble

The Fruity-Smelling Guy, Summer 2018 Edition


We’re on vacation this week, which means I smell fantastic.

I smell fantastic because when we’re out of town, I mooch off whatever body wash / soap / chemicals my wife brings with her. (She overpacks, I underpack, and it has always struck me as silly for us to each expend effort bringing along soap which for all intents and purposes does the same thing. While we’re on the subject, can we talk about how silly it is that essentially the same products are marketed to men and women, just with different added ingredients — for more manly smells — and different packaging — for a more manly look. You can be a man and use the fruity-smelling stuff, and you can be a woman and use the industrial-smelling stuff. Actually, women, don’t use the men’s stuff. You know that 2-in-1 stuff ain’t doing anything, and for some reason they only market that garbage to men.)

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This week, it’s this Coconut Mint Drop (pictured — unshaven lunatic not included), which smells bloody fantastic, like — well, like a coconut and a mint got together and dropped off a baby. It looks like a leftover from Christmas time, what with the snow piled up on top of the letters which could be ornaments, maybe? I’m not sure what coconuts have to do with Christmas (what do coconuts have to do with anything, really — I should write a play about that) but somehow it works and it had me feeling positively festive this week.

In fact I’m gonna go out of my way and say I really enjoyed smelling like coconuts and mints because, I dunno if you know this or not, but here in the South we’ve been under extreme heat advisories all week: temperatures going right up to the mid nineties early in the day and staying there until the sun decides we’ve had enough and leaving us crying on the floor until the next day.

(As it turns out, you can have a heat advisory without it being “extreme”, but much like the South has no idea what extreme means when it comes to pollen counts — the scale goes from “low” at 10 or so to “extreme” at maybe 200, and Atlanta regularly has pollen counts of like fifty thousand — we seem to view the “extreme” classification as less a descriptor, more a challenge. You call that hot? We’ll show you hot.)

They call this phenomenon a “heat dome” which is fitting as anything because stepping outside feels like stepping into a Thunderdome of heat and misery and sweat and B.O. You spend about thirty seconds outside and your body goes into panic mode. Everything starts to sweat. The body physically wilts like a daisy in the desert. You go to wherever you’re going to and then you collapse and bitch about how hot it is, even though everybody with skin KNOWS how hot it is, so why do we pretend we need to talk about how hot it is?? (Actually, somehow, it does seem to help, which leads me to the conclusion that the human heat-response system is somehow tied into the brain’s language centers, which leads me to the further conclusion that humans are dumb and not particularly cleverly wired.)

The upshot, then, to smelling like fruit, is that for those first thirty seconds before my skin begins to melt, I smell, somehow, a little bit like Christmas in June.

And, considering the alternative, I’d call that a pretty good thing.

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Better Miles


Some days, the miles are easy. Some days, they’re hard.

Some days, you drag yourself out of bed to pound the pavement because you know if you don’t do this one thing, get this one win early, you may not see another win all day.

Some days, you burst onto the street, strong like bull, ready to wrestle the day to the ground and steal its lunch money.

Some days, you run and you slave and you gasp and groan and feel like you’ll never cross the finish line.

Some days, the fresh, clean air hits your lungs and you feel like you could run forever.

Some days, the miles are best forgotten about.

Some days, the miles stay with you.

But any day when the finish line looks like this:

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Those miles seem just a little bit better.

Happy running from Tybee Island.


An Understated Genius


Because my wife apparently wanted to give me a stroke on Father’s Day, she gave me this:

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But because my wife is very smart and very funny and doesn’t actually want to give me a stroke, the inside of the book looks like this:

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275 pages of blank space. Which at first seems rather excessive, but upon further review, no, 275 pages of wasted space sounds just about right.

Where does she find this stuff?


Lots of Time, Not Enough Time


Summer is weird for my writing process.

I do my project writing at work — arriving early and carving time out of my lunch break to get my daily word count in. Which is great. It’s regular, it’s very rarely disrupted, and it’s (for the most part) uninterrupted. The big problem with it is: I’m a teacher. Which means that, for two months out of every year, and on the odd week here and there, my writing routine hits a speed bump. Except it’s less speed bump and more an entire clutch of trees fallen across the road.

trees see GIF

Because when we’re on vacation — and man, I’m not complaining about vacation! — so many of the elements I like to have in place are out of place. I don’t have my usual space. I don’t have the relative quiet. I definitely don’t have the lack of interruption.

Instead, I’m trying to work on the sofa in the living room, or the desk downstairs, with the kids running laps through the house and asking me endless questions. There’s no such thing as quiet. There’s no such a thing as even an interrupted five minutes.

I have all the time I could want, but I can’t buy the moments.

Like having reservations to a fancy restaurant on the night of my kid’s graduation.

Or having a membership to a swanky gym on the opposite side of town.

The thing is there, but it might as well be behind bulletproof plexiglass. I just can’t get to it. It’s frustrating as hell. I have so much time in the day, but I can’t — or at least, haven’t figured out how to — use that time.

Which means that, yet again, the project is stalled, until I can find a more reliable way to work on it. Which may well be going back to school in the fall.

Ugh.

This post is part of Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday.


I Am Not The Target Audience


We were watching The Little Mermaid today with my youngest (she’s four, now, and has a serious thing for mermenaids, as she calls them — which is, actually, maybe, the best possible version of a non-gendered title for the things?).

Watching it as an adult is not at all like watching it as a kid. It’s hard to imagine a less sympathetic protagonist — literally all she does is run around behind her (single) father’s back and disobey his orders and requests (all of which are not only reasonable, but pretty darn sensible at that).

  • She spends her days stalking and obsessing over humans — amassing a room full of their junk. This is creepy.
  • She blows off a major family (and community!) event — “the pinnacle of [Sebastian’s] career” — because she “forgot”. (By the way, and this is particularly irksoe as a guy who knows a thing or two about performances myself, how in the hockeysticks did that performance even begin when they didn’t know where Ariel was? It ain’t like she told somebody “brb, gotta fix my seashells, I’ll make my cue” — they just straight started the show and then were SHOCKED when she wasn’t there. Nonsense!)
  • She runs away from home to make a deal with basically a drug dealer, essentially signing her life over in exchange for a chance at love. Crikey.
  • She busts up a wedding with the help of her band of ragamuffins. (Okay, it was a sham wedding but still.)
  • She leaves her father and family behind to marry a guy who was basically ready to propose after just two or three days (Disney seems to have a fixation with this happening actually)

The only way she works as a protag for me these days is if you accept that the entire plot of the piece is about her naivete — but then that doesn’t work either because she doesn’t learn to not be naive in the end. Quite the contrary — daddy swoops in at the end and fixes everything, giving her exactly what she wanted without for a moment suggesting she, I dunno, maybe think about her actions and their consequences for half a second?

Frustrating. I guess I shouldn’t be watching kids’ movies so closely.

Meanwhile, Sprout the first was in and out of the room, too. Since questions literally come out of his mouth ten-to-one with actual statements, I take great pleasure in messing with him when I can, and watching him mull over whether I’m telling the truth.

“Daddy, what’s that mermaid’s name?”

Fishbooty.

“Daddy, what’s the crab’s name?”

Dippin’ Sauce.

“Daddy, are mermaids real?”

Probably not.

“Are they just rare?”

Very rare.

“How rare?”

Rarer than unicorns.

“Are unicorns real?”

Probably not.

“Dad, what does ‘probably’ mean?”

Just watch the movie.

Problem is, the more he thinks, the more questions he asks. Which, I’ll grant, is a good thing. But an exhausting one.


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