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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Juiced

As you might have heard, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has admitted to using banned substances earlier in his career. It was a stunning revelation for some, and to many a career-tarnishing admission.
Personally, I commend Alex for owning up to his misgivings and offering a public apology to the Yankees and his fans.
I will take this opportunity to make an announcement of my own.
It is with tremendous sadness and regret that I announce several of my past columns have been written under the influence of performance enhancers.
I can honestly say, it was something I never even considered until late October. At that time, I was dealing with a painful ear infection and coming off a column about boobs, which I knew would be hard to top.
I fought through the pain, though, and produced a poorly received column, titled “Midgatitis”. After the painful chirping of crickets, I became desperate to prove my worth to the fans.
Like Alex Rodriguez, I’m guilty of many things. I was na├»ve and negligent.
Part of the problem is that it was a very loosey-goosey time in the writing world. It seemed like all the writers were doing something to gain an edge. One writer encouraged me to inject Diet Coke directly into my aorta. Somebody else recommended that I lick amphibian anal-nectar.
It was clear to me that I needed to press onward for other solutions.
I needed something that would help me generate material, and also help me keep up with the physical rigors of typing. As I researched different performance enhancers, I became a believer in their benefits.
I started off by injecting Human Growth Hormone directly into my hands. I was hoping to add muscle mass and range of motion to my fingers, which I hoped would add explosiveness to my “shift key” reaches.
It seemed to work at first, as the 1200-word “Carnage” column would not have been possible without the additional finger strength.
I was on an emotional high from the results and I got so carried away that my hands became grotesque in size. They were Stay-Puftonian large. I had to use voice recognition software on my last few columns because my sausage fingers were too massive for the keyboard.
I decided to back off the hand treatments, but was still anxious to find a way for more material. I remember hearing in health class about some of the side effects of steroids. I figured “’roid rage” would be the perfect answer to my problems.
I immediately began consuming anabolic steroids. I have to admit, that without the resulting anger, I would not have been able to produce the “Bowling” and “Bananas” columns. Even as a man of marginal character, I wouldn’t dream to kill my child’s Webkinz character in sound mind. Nor would I degrade an entire community of athletes for a cheap couple laughs. The steroids made me do it.
Soon enough, I had another problem on my hands. I was having no trouble generating column ideas, but according to my wife, all of the subject matter was likely to be frowned upon by the reading public. At her urging, I deleted such column titles as, “Beat 'Dat Ass”, “What’chu Looking At”, and “I’ll Cut You”. My wife had bigger bones to pick though, or maybe I should say smaller balls. I regret to say that the age-old warning of steroid use is very true. After just a 4-week cycle on the juice, my man-pride had become infantile.
I didn’t need any more convincing to stop my doping routine. I quickly realized my mistake and my last few columns have been great proof that I can continue to write these columns without the aid of performance enhancers.
I feel terrible for the poor message I have sent to the kids…you know, all those kids who want to grow up to write a content-poor, low-readership column someday…to all those children…or child…I am sorry.
I would like to get this behind me, and to formally apologize to all of my readers. I’m sure half of my readers will never look at me the same, but I hope that the other three can learn to forgive me, and to judge my legacy by my work moving forward.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Super Girly

This year’s Super Bowl must have been a blast for most people. I’ve heard a lot of NFL fans boasting about the game’s exciting finish.
I usually gather with my fellow man in front of somebody else’s big screen TV. This year, a number of circumstances left me at home with my wife and kid, staring blankly at my 19 inch box set.
I wasn’t too concerned about it until my wife started bawling only four seconds into Jennifer Hudson’s national anthem.
“I didn’t know you were such a patriot,” I asked.
“Shut up, jerk! She just went through a terrible tragedy!”
My heart isn’t completely made of stone. I decided it was an acceptable reason to cry and didn’t think of it any further. I kicked back to enjoy the game.
“That’s so stupid! Why does he run right into all those big guys?” she asks only minutes into the game.
After a sigh of frustration, I said, “It’s about keeping the other team honest.”
“Wouldn’t it be smarter to run around them?” she insisted.
A few more minutes of football passed before my young boy unexpectedly dove at me, stabbing my crotch with his bony knees.
“What the hell!” I screamed
“Sorry, Daddy,” he says, while farting on my leg.
As the first half was winding down my wife made a startling discovery.
“You know what’s weird?” she asked, “Kurt Warner’s hair still looks really good.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked
“Well, he’s been wearing a helmet, like…the whole time, but his hair is still really nice and spiky,” she said while pointing to him on the sidelines.
The first half continued on and the wife’s silly questions made it borderline painful to sit through. I didn’t feel all that entertained until halftime, when they kept showing that top-heavy girl bouncing around to The Boss.
As the second half approached, I came back to the living room to find my wife misty-eyed again.
“You have to watch this commercial!”
“No! I just want to watch the game,” I insisted.
I barely listened as she went on to explain the commercial…something about a horse making his way to the circus in search of his soul mate. I wasn’t interested. I was hoping for good football and silence.
I got my wish for a while, and was quite pleased as the pace of the game picked up. Larry Fitzgerald, one of the great stars of the game, finally started making some plays.
“He’s got a great body!” my wife announced.
“Well, yeah,” I agreed, “He’s a great athlete…he’s ripped.”
“No…like, I mean for a woman…he’s got a great body.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked
“He’s got a really nice shape to him. He’s got curvy hips and a tiny waste…even the way he walks, he looks like a woman.”
“That’s disgusting!” I steamed, “He’s one of the best players in the league!”
“See! Look at him!” she blurted while pointing to the screen.
They showed him from behind as he walked back to the huddle, his long hair flowing from his helmet. I was suddenly overcome by internal confusion. I shook my head slowly in defiance as my animal instinct leaned toward agreeing with her.
After Larry scored his first touchdown, the cameras flashed to him on the sidelines with his helmet off, his face full of scruff and eye black.
“If he shaved and put on some make-up, he would be really pretty.”
I ignored her, and was grateful when she quickly changed the subject.
“Ooh, who’s that?” she asked as the cameras panned the sidelines.
“That’s Matt Leinart, he’s the backup quarterback.”
“He looks good,” she responded.
Forgetting briefly my company, I quickly replied, “Not really. He really sucked it up as a starter…he has happy feet in the pocket and his…”
“No! I mean he’s hot!” she interrupted, “He’s so good looking I bet he’s gay.”
“Pftt,” I snickered, “he ain’t gay.”
“How do you know? Just because he plays football he can’t be gay?”
Those words launched a mind-numbing discussion that ran deep into the fourth quarter. Somehow we got talking about mermaids. She demanded that I agree the existence of mermaids is possible. I refused.
We both turned our eyes toward the television as Al Michaels’ voice got excited. Larry Fitzgerald was running free to the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.
“You go girl!” the wife giggled.
Sensing my annoyance, the wife finally quieted down so I could watch the Steelers drive down for the winning score. I turned to my wife excitedly after Santonio Holmes’ amazing catch.
“Wasn’t that drive awesome!”
“Yeah, it was nice,” she said, “Do you want some of this cucumber lotion, your hands look really dry.”

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gazelle

I was horrified a few weeks back as I scoured through the mail. After laughing off a suggestive memo from traffic court, I choked on my bagel as I noticed a letter sent for my son.
I knew it couldn’t be good. What would somebody want with a 4-year old? I knew some sort of burden awaited me.
Imagine my grief as I opened the envelope and found an invitation to a little girl’s birthday party. It wasn’t an ordinary birthday party either. It was an ice-skating party. Again, imagine my grief.
Worst of all, it was scheduled during the heart of “Championship Sunday”, a festivity my beloved New York Giants were sure to be a part of.
I quickly calmed down as I realized the Giants game was a perfect excuse to get out of this mess.
“That sucks, Steve,” my wife said, “I don’t know any of those people. It would be nice if you could come.”
“Yeah, that’s a tough break. I really want to be a part of it, but…it’s such a big game.”
Several days later, I found myself in a fit of rage after the Giants were beaten by the Eagles. As the remote was in mid-flight toward the television, my rage transformed to panic as I recalled the consequences of this loss. The Giants wouldn’t be playing on Championship Sunday after all. I choked on another bagel as I imagined my face gliding across the ice. (Yes, I do enjoy bagels, and eat them even during fits of rage.)
My wife and I agreed to a plan. She would patrol the ice with our son while I roamed on solid ground and socialized with fellow parents.
Ice skating has never had much of a place in my life. My limited experience includes near-drowning and artificial farting.
As a youngster, my friends and I played a game of make-shift hockey on the small pond behind my home. We were initially thrilled as the ice began to give way underneath us. It wasn’t until the cold water shriveled my already under-developed genitals that I began hustling for dry land. While the pond was only four feet deep, it was a challenge to escape the rapidly collapsing ice.
Fortunately, my trusty childhood dog, Midnight, was nearby. She barked wildly as we both scurried for sound ice. I recall her muffled bark as I palmed her head eyes-deep into the icy waters. Her submerging body provided just enough leverage for me to climb to safety. I never saw her again after that day. My parents said she went to a better place.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re curious about the artificial farting. The only way I could ever get through a figure skating broadcast was to make fart noises every time the skater bends over, which happens to be quite often. It doesn’t get much funnier than disrupting the graceful performance of Michelle Kwan with a deafening arm fart as she splits through the air.
Going back to the birthday party, I was relieved to find that I wasn’t the only parent watching from the sidelines. I was trying my best to maintain conversation when I realized my son was really struggling. It was his first time on skates, and it was very clear he was not a natural. My wife was no match for the 45 pounds of terror on ice. He fluttered around violently, posing great danger to the others. I knew I had to get some skates and help contain him.
I approached the ice slowly, as unsure of myself as I’ve ever been. I couldn’t recall the last time I was on skates. I stumbled clumsily for the first few glides, but quickly gained some confidence as I made it to my son without incident.
As I helped the boy around the ice I realized it wasn’t very difficult at all. What was all the fuss about?
“Geez, you’re actually a pretty good skater,” my wife said.
I continued to get my skates under me and my confidence grew stronger. I was able to start and stop on a dime. I quickly ignored my family and began to weave in and out of the children. I even elevated my back leg when I was sure nobody was watching.
“Steve! We can still use a little help over here!”
“Oh, sorry. I just…I feel like I’m in a zone right now,” I said.
“What? You’re not that good! I just meant you don’t look as goofy as I thought you would!”
“Whatever! I’m prancing around like a gazelle out here,” I replied.
Our exchange was interrupted for cake and ice cream. I couldn’t believe how anxious I was to get back on the ice.
“Alright, let’s pick up the pace, people!” I shouted to the ice cream scooper.
The birthday rituals dragged on for an hour. I tried to hide my disappointment when the wife asked me to return our rental skates.
“Are you sure the skating is over?” I asked
“Well, I got plans, so we’ll have to go pretty soon,” the wife replied.
“Please Mommy! Can we skate some more!” my son begged.
“OK, for 15 more minutes.”
“I’ll go out with him,” I said quickly.
“No, you don’t need to. I’ll take care of it.”
“Are you sure? Because I can…I mean, I can go..,” I stopped myself short as she looked at me curiously.
My man-pride prevented me from telling her what I really felt. I wanted to go back out on that ice and skate my heart out. I wanted to skate to music. I wanted the spotlight gleaming off my sequin blouse as my man-toe burst through my tights.
As I watched football later that afternoon, I couldn’t shake the ice skating from my mind. As Kurt Warner led the Cardinals on a game winning drive, I couldn’t help but imagine him landing a triple-axle before each throw. I found myself hoping for a sit-spin touchdown celebration.
Hopefully the football gods will have mercy on my soul.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bananas

I stumbled upon a new obsession over the holidays. Like many others in this digital age, I’ve become addicted to the latest web-based craze. It’s a wonderful social networking site that allows me to keep tabs on my friends and have oodles of fun.
My wife set up a Facebook account several months ago and I was curious about the whole concept. I went to her page to check it out, but was disappointed to find somebody had thrown a snowball at her. I didn’t want to be bullied around like that, so I decided that Facebook wasn’t for me.
A few weeks ago I happened upon my son in our office, and he was online in what appeared to be a magical wonderland, filled with games and wonderful prizes.
“What's this, buddy?” I asked.
“It’s Webkinz, Daddy. This is my monkey. His name is Bananas.”
“What do you mean it’s your monkey?”
“I got him for my birthday! Don’t you remember?” he quipped.


Apparently the kid’s been playing on this website since last July. I tend not to ask questions when the boy is quiet and leaving me alone. It seems those random spots of peace and quiet over the past few months were when he had escaped to this Internet paradise.
If you’re not familiar with Webkinz, let me fill you in. You have to purchase a Webkinz stuffed animal at the store and that little bag of beans comes with an online password to be used at Webkinz.com.
Each animal comes with its own home page, which is basically a bedroom. The child (or large man) is responsible for the animal’s wellbeing. The kids are supposed to feed it, play with it, and even take it to the doctor’s when necessary. At first, I only popped in on my son when he called for help with a game. I quickly became intrigued by our responsibility to feed this monkey. I started to wonder what would happen if we didn’t feed him? Would he perish?
That night, after my son was fast asleep, I logged onto his site and left it up running. I smiled devilishly as Bananas’ food bar slowly dwindled. I would check back every 15 minutes to see how far it had gone down. I played a few games with him in an effort to further sap his energy. I chuckled as the little guy appeared to have fallen ill. His face became flushed and strained as he pouted.
I thought of my son as I looked over all the food items he had purchased and stored for Bananas. It would have only taken a few mouse clicks to nourish the poor monkey, but I was too curious.
I let him starve.
I wanted to see if he would eventually start twitching around on the ground or something. I figured I could feed him at the last minute. If he passed away, I intended to play dumb.
After watching television for an hour I returned to find my wife in the office.
“What are you doing?” I asked quickly.
“Oh, nothing. Wyatt just left his Webkinz up, he hasn’t been feeding the poor little guy,” she said.
I intervened quickly as she started to drag a carrot toward the monkey with her mouse, “No! Don’t do it!”
“Don’t do what?” she asked, “I’m just feeding him and closing…..”
“I wanted to see what would happen!” I interrupted.
“What? Have you been playing with…..are you trying to kill Bananas!”
“I would have fed him eventually!”
“You are sick. Why would you want to kill your child’s digital friend?”
I guess I’m a little ashamed. I’ve been making it up to bananas ever since though. While my son has become less interested, Bananas and I have become best of chums. We’ve been hanging out nearly every day. We even made some really cool friends online, like DunkyChunks and TommyTheTraveler.
I’ve been winning big money for Bananas by dominating all the challenges. I’ve decked out his room with a baseball bed, a big screen TV and a bunch of new games. We’ve been playing checkers and air hockey for hours on end.
Bless Bananas’ little heart, as my attempted murder seems to be water under the bridge. No need to worry, as he’s been eating great. After each meal, I always make sure to give him extra desserts. He really seems to enjoy it, but I’m not sure if they’re very healthy for him.
Hmm….I wonder what would happen if I fed him nothing but cakes and pies? I wonder if he would get really fat and sick? I wonder if his heart would explode?
I have to go….