Confession: I like Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry”

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As I crash into middle age with my hair transforming from a lavish mane into a power alley, I face an internal crisis.  My radio listening should focus on “the hits of the ’90’s and early ‘00’s.”  I should live in a musical purgatory consisting of Blink 182, talking about how Smashing Pumpkins should have stayed broken up, and wondering why bars don’t end the night with Semisonic’s “Closing Time” anymore.  Whenever I hear the song, “Tubthumping” I think of my college roommate, Anthony Baldwin throwing himself to the ground of filthy bar only to get back up again.

The idea of holding a lighter in the air while your band plays its signature power ballad is gone, and the last great guitar solo happened in the pre-Internet age.  Our generation had upbeat songs like Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper”, REM’s “Everybody hurts”, and Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy”.  This new generation has its pulse fixed on 128 beats per minute in some over-sampled deep house baseline while vaping teenagers wave their lit cell phones to nearest speaker in a erratic flood of misguided solidarity.

Indulging in today’s pop music by listening to Justin’s latest hit, I have crossed the generational bridge into an era where teenagers pay hundreds of dollars to watch a “musician” walk on stage and press the play button on his iPod while kids do designer drugs, cover themselves in spray paint, and throw beach balls throughout the venue.  It sounds like a nightmare for the cleaning crew, but I guess this is the concert experience today.

Should I dislike a pop star who was learning how to use his My Little Potty when I was failing my Spanish final freshman year?  Au contraire, a boy who was crashing Lamborghinis and destroying rental houses at the same age when I was struggling to get a girl to go to a pledge dance is the admired one.  Would I want to hang out with the spoiled brat?  No way.  However, I’ll give the kid credit for writing a catchy tune.  For that, he earns my respect.

As my contemporaries get ‘jiggy wit it’ picking up their kids from school in the hip, yet cost effective, Subaru Forrester, I can pull up next to a car full of college kids and relive my youth knowing that we both enjoy the same song.  For the duration of Justin’s song cranking out of my car’s stereo, I represent youth again.  I embrace a total disregard for my own physical well being, personal finances, and employment outlook.  I am the youth of today with the experience of a guy approaching the back nine.  Looking through the eyes of a Gen Z’er, the world isn’t that bad.   I’ll even say I’ll become a democrat; “Sorry” that’s not going to happen; I got caught up in the moment.

If you know any disillusioned youths or old dudes in the middle of a mid-life crisis, please forward this to them.

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How to Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring

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You think you have dated enough girls that you’re finally ready to settle down?  Keep telling yourself that player.  In reality, you discovered the one girl in the world who will put up with your poor oral hygiene, your asinine eye cream usage, and your lack of eye contact when in a deep conversation.  You better lock her down before she learns that you were dumpster-diving for dinner only months prior to meeting her.

The key to any marriage is a good foundation—and that foundation is the ring.  She is only going to flash it around the week of her engagement and maybe a couple of times on her wedding day.  After that, no one cares.  Like all big bang moments in life, this one is fleeting too.  Read this guide and save some money on the most superfluous thing you will buy in your life.

Learning Jeweler Speak

Jewelers throw an alliterative assembly of terms at you to exhibit their purported expertise in diamonds.  “Clarity”, “Cut”, “Color”, “Carat weight”, and “Certification”.  As you walk out of the store, your bank account is thirty grand lighter and the rock falls through the hole in the pocket of your Venture clearance jeans.  Nice move Farley.

Throw all that jeweler advice aside and just listen to my friend, Clyde (short for Clydesdale), “buy the biggest thing you can afford—she’ll love it.”

Bigger than your knuckle and heavily discounted.
Bigger than your knuckle and always ‘On Sale’
  • There are inclusions that only a loupe can see? Who cares.
  • The diamond is so yellow that people think it is a sapphire? Let them think that.
  • The stone was cut by a guy at his first day of jewelry school? It is unique.

 

All those things are inconsequential.

All that matters is size.  Clyde is right.  Listen to Clyde.

Hit Up Your Friends

Half of all marriages end in divorce.  That means there are an inordinate number of engagement rings thrown across the bedroom when the wife finds out that her husband blew the emergency fund at the OTB.  Your cash will be welcomed to cover the divorce expense.  By offering 15% of the wholesale cost, you will be paying more than what any jeweler would pay them.  Your bride might make a comment her ring looks just like her recently separated friend, but your pocket book will thank you.

Diamonds truly are ‘Forever’.

Who Says You Need A Real Blood Diamond?

“I have one word for you:  Moissanite.”  A 2-carat real diamond will cost you $20,000; that is the price of a nice mobile home.  The same size Moissanite stone will cost $600; that is the monthly car payment on your Porsche SUV parked outside of your nice mobile home.  Since Moissanite is manmade, it doesn’t have inclusions, discolorations or other imperfections.  Once again, man one-upped nature at a fraction of the cost.

http://www.moissanitevsdiamondrings.com/benefits-of-moissanite/

Choose Your Fiancé’s Occupation Carefully

I always wanted to marry a machinist.  They can’t wear rings at work, so the only way the can show their true devotion to you is with a tattoo.  For $50, you can put your mark on your spouse in a way that no metal ring can.  They can’t lose it.  They don’t have to clean it.  Insurance is not required.  Who says “Love costs a thing”?

The Unhappy Ending

The advice in this column is all for naught.  Sometime in between your 5th and 15th year of marriage, she will ask for an upgrade.  It doesn’t matter how big the original ring is or how much it cost; it will need to be bigger.  Please re-read this guide at that time.

Skiing in Jeans just hit its 2-year anniversary.  Show your thanks by forwarding this to a friend and asking them to subscribe.

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So You Want To Be A Hipster?

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Of all the issues facing our education system, hipsterdom is one of the most damaging. High school kids, from extremely affluent suburbs, have stopped showering and started listening to Phish to get in touch with their free spirit before jumping into daddy’s BMW 6 Series convertible.  Unfortunately, for some kids being a hipster is phase many of them never out grow.  If you’re one of those oversized, parasitic children, here is your maturation guide into an adult hipster.

Despite what clothes you wear, your laissez-faire approach to life, or your unshaven neckline, you are conforming to every beatnik, hippie or new wave kid that took the faux journey before you.  Keep reading to learn how to become an authentic twenty-first century beatnik.  It ain’t cheap to join a sub-average way of life, so if this is a little pricey for you maybe you should reconsider your dedication to becoming a hipster.

Fixed Gear Bike- $32,000

This transportation vehicle is must for any skinny-jean guy.  To be a bona fide hipster bike, it must have a single gear with no brakes, no freewheel at the rear tire, and absolutely no reflectors.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671042/a-32000-carbon-fiber-fixed-gear-bike-designed-by-a-formula-1-firm

Condo- $400,000 (possibly free-keep reading)

You can’t live your parent’s basement and expect to make it to the morning drum session in the subway by the time rush hour starts.  You’ll have your job as a barista coffee fetcher for the benefits, but your true calling is one of the following:  kitschy artist, independent record store clerk dealing in pre-1978 45’s from East Germany, or fifth year graduate student about to embark on your third, and eventual uncompleted, master’s thesis.  If you go the education route, make sure you enroll in a private, enigmatic, and exorbitant school majoring in history, English, or psychology.  If your parents are rich, it is cool if everyone knows that mommy and daddy and paying for your digs, leaving you a stress-free seventy-five years until you can focus on what you really want to do in life.

Attire- Varies, but it is expensive to look homeless.

The staples are a given:  the black framed glasses (corrective lens optional), unshaven armpits, androgynous shirts, and purple Converse shoes.  Where it gets tricky is the facial hair:  If you have it, flaunt it like Wes Bentley in Wal-mart.  If you don’t have it, transplant it. http://nypost.com/2014/02/25/hipster-wannabes-forking-over-thousands-for-facial-hair-transplants/

Jeans are a tough one; if you can fit into your girlfriend’s pants, don’t ask to borrow them or you may cross the line from pseudo eunuch to perpetual single guy who gives all his girlfriends eating disorders.

Music— Usually free, because, like this blog, there is no real demand for things done in poor taste.

The general attitude of “if no one else has heard of it, it must be great” applies here.  If it plays on radio, or god forbid the band plays on SNL, dissociate from it immediately.  Going to Idaho to watch a one-chord band play a cover of “Whip It” is worth bragging points in this category.

Books- Get a library card, so you can tell everyone “I use the library”.

Your demigod
Your demigod

Carry a copy of “On the Road” by Kerouac with you all the time.  It doesn’t have the same mystic as “Catcher in the Rye”, but your image is different than that of the Salinger crowd.  Even if you never read Jack’s credendum, toting the bible that started the movement will establish as you as a true hipster.  Of course, we are talking about the paperback version—don’t even think about bringing the Kindle out of your bedroom at the risk of looking like a responsible citizen.

Every generation has its group of vagabonds.  Unfortunately, you are now one of them.

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The Cubs Didn’t Win the World Series

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Almost five generations have come and gone without a Cubs’ World Series win.  More impressive than the drought is the legions of loyal Cubs fans across the country.  Every year the fans place bets for their boys to bring home a championship, and the “North Siders” fall short of winning the last game of the year consistently.

A status quo of mediocrity leaves little room to be disappointed.  Cubs spectators are not of the bandwagon variety, because there is neither band playing nor wagon to ride when your team is usually in the cellar.  The Cubs suit up at spring training with the hope of victory.  By May, the fans are saying, “Better luck next year,” but they remain loyal to the team throughout the season.  The Bleacher Bums throw back home runs.  Harry Caray lives on in fans’ hearts and minds every seventh inning stretch.  Contrary to what Lee Elia might have ranted about when he was the manager of the Cubs, the fans want the team to win, but they are fine with the Cubs just playing the game.

Why is a losing team a good thing?  Look at the Boston Red Sox.

Cub fans should thank Billy
Cub fans should thank Billy

The ‘Curse of the Bambino’ engulfed the Red Sox for almost a century before a World Series win in 2004.  Even the movie Fever Pitch was re-written to accommodate the victory, because no one expected the Red Sox to bring home the trophy.  Over ten years since that victory, the kids of Boston assume that their home team wins the October games about every five years (2004, ‘07, ‘13).  During the Curse, the hopeful, “What if they won?” punctuated the fans’ fall nights.  After winning the World Series those same nights are left with discussing the seemingly improbable with lines like, “Why didn’t they win?” or the audacious, “Of course they won, they are the Red Sox.”

With that childlike feeling of “Is this the year?” abruptly ending so went the distinguishing mark on a team that once banished Babe Ruth to the Yankees.  In place of the sentiment of hope, the dread of failure stands in its stead.  There is a special comfort in knowing the outcome; even if it means losing.

“If you build it, they will come”

As Ricketts family systemically ‘improves’ Wrigley by installing jumbo-trons, dismantling bleachers and eliminating privately owned rooftops, the fans still show up to soak in history.  Nostalgia draws the fans into the park from every street corner of America.  Inside, old men tell their grandchildren how the Chicago Bears returned kickoffs from left field.  They speak of Babe Ruth calling his shot in the same spot where Ernie Banks blasted his 500th home run.  Ryno jerseys stick out in the stands two decades after he retired.

The history is not forgotten.  It is transferred from one generation to the next.  Fathers relive their youth while at the same time creating the seeds of passion that their sons will pass to their children.  The park was built and the fans continue to come.

In time, the sanctum of the perpetual worst team in baseball will be rebuilt in Schaumburg with ergonomic plastic seats made in China, vegan tofu hot dogs, and a wheat microbrew-of-the-week.  One year, the Cubs might make it through a season without blowing the championship, but until they do, I’m sticking with the team that has the most impressive stat in sports.  I’ll take an sanguine spring over an orgasmic October every year.

Here’s to another century of hoping.

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Catholic School Kids Fight with Swords? Part II

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This is the outstanding conclusion–hang tight, it is shorter than part I.

After school on Friday, I went home and asked my mom if I could go to Tony’s.  “Sure, but be home by dinner time,” she said.

“I might be home a little later than normal.  Tony’s big gang fight is today,” I added.

As soon as I spoke of Tony’s gang fight, my mother had me on lock down.  There would be no brawl for me.

After I had a nice conversation with Tony’s grandmother, she put Tony on the phone.  Tony completely understood that parents don’t like to see their children in harm’s way.  If he lived through the night, he assured me we would still be friends on Monday.  He ended the phone call abruptly.  His mercenaries had arrived.

Tony walked outside to two dozen classmates lining the street.  It felt like The Battle of Bull Run but without the historic significance.

Deep in suburbia, Mike Lenten led his troops down Morse Avenue towards Tony’s waiting army.

“Hey John Paul!  Where’s your 12 foot sword?” Steve barbed.

“Tony hiding behind the girls?” Mike retorted.

As the groups converged, Tony and Mike met in the middle of the street to discuss the rules of the fight.  No weapons.  Hair pulling is fine, but only from a defensive position.  Only ripping T-shirts; not flannels or designer shirts.  No double teaming a guy if he has glasses.

As the ground rules were getting laid out, Harry Konstanov snaked through the crowd.

Punches to the head can only be open handed.  No nut shots.  Pushing is ok, but biting is not allowed.  Eye gouging and scratching are forbidden.

Crack!  Harry connected a right hook to Mike’s temple.  Mike hit the ground with thud.  He never saw the punch.  The fight was over.

“Let’s go.”  Harry said with a casual wave to Derek.  The Junior Varsity Latin King member had lived up to his image.  Harry was a badass-like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke type of badass.  With one punch, the public school kids controlled the neighborhood.

The rest of Mike’s gang was frozen.  Their leader was down.  They scraped him off the street and rushed home to their mansions.

Within minutes, you could hear sirens.  Kids jumped on their bikes and fled.  They were trying to make it home for dinner, but at the same time avoiding getting arrested for violating the R.I.C.O. Act.

On Monday at school, over a hundred kids claimed to be at the fight.  By noon, over two hundred kids saw the battle that caused over $50,000 in damage .  By the last bell, seventeen kids had been detained by the national guard and the marital law had been declared in the town of Tessville over the weekend.

Fast forward 20+ years.  Here is what these guys are doing now:

  • Tony is now in the Gang Leader Hall of Fame along with Al Capone, El Chapo, Freeway Rick Ross and ‘Pookie’ from the movie New Jack City.
  • Harry Konstanov was busted ten years ago for using stolen credit cards to fund his pedicure habit.
  • Derek Mendez finally graduated from high school at age 26.  He is currently at M.I.T. teaching algebraic topology at the graduate level.
Recent Photo of Mike Lenten
Recent Photo of Mike Lentin
  • Mike Lenten still lives in his parent’s basement.
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Catholic School Kids Fight with Swords?

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Disclaimer:  The names in this story have been changed.  Parts of it have been been embellished for your pleasure.

“The Queen’s kids jumped me!” Tony yelled as he ran towards Steve and me.  You would expect a limp, maybe a bloody nose, or a broken arm from a guy who just got pummeled like Robin Ventura after bull rushing Nolan Ryan; not a guy charging down the street in a full sprint to tell you how he just got attacked.

“You know John Paul Foster has a 12 foot sword,” Steve commented as Tony caught his breath.  Steve was our quiet friend, who enjoyed death metal and blowing things up.  He later went on to become a member of an elite US Special Op’s team, but as a teenager he liked stealing sand from the park to build bunkers in his backyard.

As Steve and I went back to riding our bikes around the neighborhood, Tony plotted his revenge against the catholic school kids.  For Steve and me, it was just another made up story by our Italian friend, whose grandfather owned a successful company that made the plastic covers for couches in front rooms (pronounced “fröunch”).  Tony had a streak of stories that pushed the limits of believability.  Once he tried to convince me that his uncle’s college roomate’s girlfriend’s son worked out with a guy who owned a dog that was once boarded at the same kennel as Harry Carray’s purebred.  Or the time he tried to tell me that our smokeshow teacher, Ms. Baken, asked to be his date at one of those awkward junior high dances, but he turned her down because she wouldn’t put out.

We walked to Mike Lenten’s house and rang the doorbell.  His mom answered.

“Hi Mrs. Lenten, is Mike home?” Tony politely asked.

“Oh sure Tony, let me get him,” Mike’s mom said. “Mike, your friends are here,” she yelled up the stairs as she went to the kitchen.

When Mike walked to the door, Tony got serious, “Morse and Albion, four o’clock this Friday.  Bring any of your friends who wanted to get beat up.”

“No, you bring any of your friends that want to get beat up,” Mike shot back.  We weren’t really good at taunting, but we tried.

Tony was about to unleash war in the town of Tessville unlike anything seen since the years of prohibition.  Tony needed experienced guys; guys who knew how to fight and were not afraid to take heat from their parents when things went bad.  Steve and I were not those guys, but Tony let us in his gang anyway.  Then he recruited the toughest kids in our school.

Tony--All Grown Up
Tony–All Grown Up

Harry Konstanov, a gypsy, was rumored to be in the ‘Junior’ Latin Kings.  His parents supposedly had a counterfeit machine in their basement.  No one ever saw it, but everyone knew about it.  This kid was so tough that he never fought anyone in school, he just looked at you, causing you to ‘fight club’ yourself like Edward Norton, and then he watched you head to the the nurse’s office.  At lunch one day, he showed me a cut on his hand that looked like a deep gash from landing too hard on the woodchips on the playground.  He claimed he got it from punching a rival gang member in the mouth on a Tuesday night.  I wasn’t about to call the toughest guy in school a liar, but I couldn’t believe his parents let him stay out after dark.

In the movie Heat, we learned you need a getaway driver.  If you needed a ride to junior high, you called Derek Mendez.  He had his driver’s license in 7th grade and a mustache two years prior.  An import from the Philippines, the school system held him back a couple of years so he could catch up.  It is pretty cool when you can bum a smoke off a teacher in the parking lot while all your friends are buying Clearasil by the case.

For the next three days at school, talk of the fight was running through the halls like a case of gonorrhea at a chain of truck stops in Kentucky.  Tony strutted through the hallways with his chest out and his shirtsleeves rolled up.  Kids approached him, kissed his pinky ring, and paid homage to the new king of the school.  The popular girls looked at him as if he were Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse.  Even the older kids acknowledged him with a high-five instead of booking him.

After school on Friday, I went home and asked my mom if I could go to Tony’s.  “Sure, but be home by dinner time,” she said.

“I might be home a little later than normal.  Tony’s big gang fight is today,” I added.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion…

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Cell Phone Etiquette

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Remember life before cell phones?  People smiled to strangers in the elevator instead of playing Candy Crush.  You could pretend to be lost, ask a hot girl for directions then invite her to a “Chicks drink free happy hour.”  When you jumped off that two story building thirty million people didn’t watch you break your pelvis on YouTube.  Life was good.

Now there are now more cell phones than people in the world.  Only cab drivers are capable of using two cell phones simultaneously and those guys took years of practice to get good at it.  Let’s dive into the other types of cell phone wrongdoers.

Your Typical Abusers

Miss. Ringtone—I didn’t know phones still had these.

Mr. Xanac—It is ten pm.  The party is happening like the drunken beach house scene in Weekend at Bernie’s.    Everyone is laughing and meeting new people– except one guy.  He sits on a stool in the corner thumbing through his three friends on his MySpace account.  He wonders why his life looks more like Tom Hanks in Castaway than the guy in a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Mrs.  Ansel Adams—When people used to use film to take pictures, it meant something.  You only had twenty-four snapshots per roll; not 8,000 pictures combined with sixteen hours of video on your iPhone9.  You made every picture count.  You didn’t take pictures of fireworks on the Fourth of July, every time your kid spit up, or rapid fire shots of your friends throwing back that tenth shot of Skol vodka.  Here’s a tip:  Live in the moment, you might enjoy it.

Mr. Bluetooth—You, Mrs. Blackberry and your kid Flip Phone should all get a room.

Ms. Tears For Fears: “Shout, shout, let it all out”—Because you bought one of the bottom-shelf Cricket phones don’t make the rest of us listen to you as you attempt to yell from Newark to Kansas City.

gordon-gekko-cell-phone
Michael Douglas still wants to be Ivan Boesky

Mr. Big Deal—It is no longer 1988.  Talking loud on your cell phone as you walk down the street wearing the free suit from the Men’s Warehouse ‘Buy 1, Get 3 Free Special’ makes you obnoxious, not Gordon Gekko.

The Waze App—Drivers of this century know you can’t text and drive.  Apparently, it is still ok to fumble around with your phone as you confirm an accident or police presence while flying down the highway at eighty mph.

Mrs. Mulit-tasker—Conversations with these people are like you watching the Super Bowl in real time while your neighbors are on a fifteen-second delay.  They just can’t catch up.  This is how the conversation goes [the whole time them clicking away on their phone]

You:  “Blah, blah, blah”
Her:  “Yea…”
You:  “As I was saying, blah, blah, blah”
Her:  “Sure, sounds good”
[she finally looks up from phone giving you her full attention]:
Her:  “Wait, wait, no.  I’m not going to have a four way with you, my sister, and an escort to be named later.”

Mr. Britannica—”Wait, I’ll look it up.  It will just take second,” this person needs to verify every friendly, bar argument with Wikipedia.  Everyone stands around listening to seconds of their life waste away until Eager Beaver can verify the five tertiary reasons why the Peloponnesian War lasted as long as it did.

This Must Stop

I’m organizing a protest next Tuesday at the National Mall:  “Cell Phones Have To Go”.  I’m not going to be there, but if you could go on my behalf, that would be super.

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I Want To Be President

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Every four years, every yahoo who has any aspiration of becoming a global leader climbs out from their hole and says, “I’m running for president.”  It really doesn’t matter that most of these candidates are completely incapable of holding down a regular job, so running for office seems like a completely legitimate career move.  Additionally, if they win, the benefits are pretty sweet too (secret service, complimentary stationary, free meals).

Just imagine how much better my  life would be
Just imagine how much better my life would be

If we learned anything from the movie Dave, we know that even a guy in a coma can keep the country running for several months.  Fortunately, I run this slick blog, which has experienced exponential since it launched (and we just picked up another subscriber last week).  Using this platform, I could be the voice of three hundred million people from my couch.

I know there will be naysayers telling me that I can’t run the biggest powerhouse this side of the sun, but to them I say, “There may be a steep learning curve, but I can’t be the worst.  It is almost impossible to be last out of 45.”  Even Nixon didn’t get fired.

Once elected, I would absolutely abuse my power.  I would call up famous people that I always wanted to meet:

 “Hey Gisele, you, Tom and the kids come over and we’ll fire up the grill.  I got what is left of Nirvana playing a concert here tonight.”

“Ricky Schroder, I’m calling you from the White House.  Get your silver spoon ass over here.”

“Bill Cosby.  Guess what’s not coming your way:  A pardon.”

With the ultimate VIP pass, you could expect to see me at the Super Bowl, Jay-Z’s Academy Awards after-party, and several random warehouse raves.  I would also make guest appearances in movies (playing myself, of course), TV shows (like The Bachelorette where I would straighten out some of those dudes—seriously, you and nineteen other guys are chasing the same girl-that’s just dumb, you have a 95% chance of losing).

Hey, Chris Asdids remember when you made me repeatedly pop my collar on the school bus in first grade?  No?  Well I do.  Consider this a heads up when SEAL Team 6 tosses flashbang grenades into your house as a training drill.  They just make a lot of noise and light.  You’ll poop your pants in fear, but you’ll be fine otherwise.

For a hefty fee, I would use the new iPhone to make a call during the State of the Union Address, carry a Pepsi while boarding Air Force One, or do the occasional infomercial for the ThighMaster 2.  I would also start charging for autographs and selfies.  I’m going to be out of a job in eight four years, so I need to start building my brand.  The president only makes $400,000 a year as the CEO of a company with $17 trillion in revenues.  Larry Ellison made $67 million running Oracle last year and his company only did $38 billion in revenues, so you see why I would need to moonlight.

Is this a little self-serving?  Absolutely, but you would do it too.

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Suck It Vogue

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Here are some commonsense tips that most people overlook when getting dressed in the morning:

Men:

  • If you like Double Supersizing that Triple Big Mac, that’s cool, but don’t be a stranger to the biggest weapon in your clothing arsenal:  The ‘Big and Tall Shop’.  After you’ve stuffed the third deep dish pizza of the day into your pie hole, that adult medium isn’t going fit like it did on Ryan Gosling in the Notebook.  Wear that XXXXL with pride.
  • Stick with clothes purchased in this decade.  I’m talking to the forty-five year old dad who still runs around in his ‘1990 ATO Dudes!  Big Night Out’ T-shirt.  Twenty-five years and fifty pounds didn’t work out for you or the shirt.  As a consolation prize, the next time you fire up a keg stand and stay up past eleven, you have permission to wear the shirt.
Stud
This guy dresses so well, dudes will take his hand-me-downs.

Women:

  • Your daughter is twenty-five years your junior.  You do cross fit.  You can out squat most dudes.  Even with your 7% body fat, don’t go shopping in your daughters closet.  Mid-riff shirts don’t belong on anyone over twenty-three.  Besides, no one wants to see your C-section scar.
  • Purses:  If you need your boyfriend to carry half your crap when you go to Sizzler, the purse is too small.  If you lose stuff within its compartments, it is too big.  Guys do not care about your purse.  Buy an appropriately sized purse at Target, Zayre or Venture and worry about more important things like why your boyfriend still has an ATO shirt.
  • Heels are dumb, even with that goofy $900 red strip of Louboutin paint on the bottom of them.  You may look good standing still.  As soon as you start walking, you resemble a maimed giraffe that strayed from the pack.  Say “No” to bunions.  Wear flats.
  • Perfumes come in three styles:
  1. “White haired old lady” — When you reach senior citizen age, you bathe in this stuff.
  2. “Is that perfume or your shampoo?” — Dudes don’t care why you smell good; save the money and stick with the shampoo.
  3. “Stripper” — Guys only say that smelling like a stripper is bad when they are talking to their girlfriends.  I recommend “Love Spell”.  You can buy it here, although I was a little disappointed that there was not a 5-gallon bucket option.

Unisex:

  • Yoga pants – Too easy, moving on.
  • Contrary to what Gap tells you, jeans only fit certain people.  For everyone else, there are sweatpants.
  • If you have a banging body, don’t cover it up in low-riding baggy jeans and a hoody.  Give that horny teenager you pass on the way to the bars something to dream about at night.
  • Rope belts—There is a time for these.  That time was last century.

Swimsuit Tips:

  • Guys:  If you’re over 40, wear a two-piece (shorts and t-shirt).
  • Girls:  If you’re over 40, wear a one-piece (frilly waist thing optional).

Recap:

Stick with these fashion tips and you will look good at your McDonald’s interview, parole hearing, 8th grade confirmation, or AARP meeting.

Special thanks to N.S. for this idea

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Underage Bar Fighting with Special Mention of the Marlboro Man

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Back when men worked for scale and magazines still allowed ads with the Marlboro Man, my father used to regularly take me to “Kathy’s Bar” at Damen and Lawrence.  I was only four, but I realized that this working man’s bar would be my Friday nights of the future if I didn’t graduate from eighth grade.

After a long day at preschool, I was at Kathy’s throwing back a Coke and snacking on peanuts.  A commotion arose from some of the regulars by the pool table.  Two ironworkers came to the forefront of the group and squared off in the center of the bar.  The intensity of their slurred speech and violent finger pointing told me this was not an argument over the Cubs game.

Make it a double
Make it a double

I knew this wasn’t normal bar behavior and I looked to my father for how to respond to this potentially life threatening situation.  My father abruptly turned his chair.  He was now in the perfect position to watch the throw down.  I was so close to the action, the spittle could land on me.  I kept glancing back at my dad for clues to run out of the bar for our safety, but my father was ordering another beer from the waitress as if he was sitting ringside at the Spinks-Holmes fight.

“Dad, dad, what’s going to happen?” I asked as my spine tensed up and adrenaline pumped throughout my body.

“They’re going to fight,” he retorted while tossing some popcorn in his mouth and leaning back in the chair as he perched his shoes on top of the table.  “If you don’t turn around, you might miss it.”

I had seen preschoolers bitch slap each other on the playground, but this was a real, unsupervised fight.  There were no teachers to break it up, no helicopter parent able to airlift Little Billy out trouble, nor a code of honor to stop once one boy starts crying.  These were two full size dudes about to go full tilt drunken bum fight.

Suddenly, a maiden appeared between the men. I wondered if they were going to beat her up too.  I glanced back at my dad.  He stood up and walked away.  What was he doing?  A real life version of Van Damme’s epic movie, Bloodsport, was unfolding in front of me.   My dad abandoned me.  Was this one of those early manhood tests?  Survive a bar fight and become an adult?  If I could survive, I knew what story I would be sharing at ‘Show and Tell’ on Friday.

The standoff, like two wild elks squaring off over a mate, continued.  They circled each other while the woman stood in between begging them to back down and resume the pool game.  The intensity built as one of them grabbed a beer bottle.

“Please there are children here!” she shouted as her missing teeth came into my view.  No longer part of the peanut gallery, I was involved.  With that desperate plea, the men backed down.  They exited with a few vulgar words as the bar returned to its normal state of affairs.

My father returned and sat in his chair.

“Dad, where did you go?  These guys fought each other,” I exclaimed as the intensity in my voice had yet to subside.

“I went to the bathroom.  And these guys didn’t fight,” he calmly stated as he took a pull out of his beer, “as soon as a girl gets in the middle of two guys arguing, it’s never going to happen.”

I took in this vast wisdom.  Other classmates of mine where playing with Legos and watching Sesame Street with that stupid yellow bird.  I was learning how the real world works.

“Besides,” he continued, “there was way too much talking.  Real bar fights happen with a punch, not a bunch of yelling.”

Kathy’s Bar is now a T-mobile, the Marlboro Man has retired to that great cattle ranch in the sky, and the union worker has faded into the history books much like Jack Dempsey.  However, I still have the memories of surviving my first bar fight.

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