I Had the Weirdest Dream. . .

I know I must have had something odd to eat, maybe jalepeno poppers or something, but I had this dream that reality as we know it came unraveled for just one night. Devils and angels were everywhere and common people had turned into rabbits and Richard Nixonses.

In my dream we went to the store, but someone had stolen all of the children by cleverly replacing them with ladybugs and spidermen. The parents seemed totally unaware. Even the butcher who was wearing a hunting cap made from Mickey Mouse’s head didn’t seem to think anything of it.

When we went to leave the store, we had to check out with a cat who had to look through all of our groceries and then, speaking like a real person, asked us for money. Craziness, cat’s don’t talk!

Driving home there were mobs of dangerous looking ghouls, goblins, witches and Elvises. I wasn’t scared though because the milling hordes of supermen, priests, ninjas and lion tamers all seemed to have them pretty much under control.

Back at home we were barraged by endless visitors, none wishing to actually visit. All they wanted was candy. They’d ring, say things ranging from “trick treat”, to “trick-r-treat” to simply “I’m candy,” and we’d send them away with their snacks.

It gets weirder still. For some reason, I go under cover as a skunk and join the swarm of zombies. My parents are there too. We go searching systematically from door to door looking for food or blood or candy or whatever it was. The world as I knew it was gone. Pumpkins had faces, windows had eerie glows, people were no longer people. Where humans once doddled, princesses, Poohs and pirates now reigned. Draculas giggled at Mr. Goodbar and Incredible Hulks growled at toothbrushes.

The few surviving humans fought off their aggressors by giving candy to the clowns and Pippi Longstockingses. Even skunks like me were in on the offerings. 

Next thing I know, I wake up and I’m back at my crib, early morning. I’d have thought little of it if it weren’t for the bag of candy on the table and the neatly hung skunk suit in my closet. What happened to me last night? Where was I?

 

Skunk Like Me; Candy for Free

I’ve done my finest reporting via hands-on experience. Nothing can replace it in terms of the often ugly, periodically amazing truths I can uncover. What I learned today is nothing short of both.

As a longtime fan of Pepe Le Pew, I jumped at the opportunity to pick my own Halloween costume. Sure, my parents thought they picked it, but we know who really runs the family. Pepe is a strong, suave, powerful French character with a commanding and amusing presence. It’s evident as he patiently parades his sharp colors and wit.

Cleverly disguised myself, I went out into the world to learn the difference between Hollywood magic skunk and everyday Joe reality skunk. This is what I learned:

  • Everyone admired my handsome look, somewhat dispelling the myth that skunks are unpopular.
  • People I encountered were anxious to give me compliments and gifts of candy.
  • Just like with my hero Pepe, I drove the ladies crazy.

What is this power I have? Is it good looks or animal appeal? Not a bit. Call it coercion, extortion, intimidation, blackmail or whatever you like. As a skunk, I had all the power. Yes, I had candy, compliments and kind treatment, but only as a symptom of their fear. Who will step forward to defy the skunk? Who will tell the skunk that he’s ugly, smelly, less than charming or makes bad jokes? Only a fool, that’s who.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of work to do before my clever illusion of skunkhood wears thin. I’m going to see what kind of loot I can come up with in addition to common candy. Maybe I’ll line up some political favors or get a couple “get out of jail free” cards.

 

 

Hatified Baby Dehats, Rehats Brother

I wake up chipper, which I’m told is a real asset since most people awaken all grouchy and stuff. I don’t even require coffee to make any of my mornings throughout any given day chipper. Not even when I’m awoken and promptly hatified.

Old people always complain about being tired throughout the day, but you’ll rarely hear such a complaint out of me. I know the solution is just to get more sleep and I’m not afraid to take the time to get my beauty rest. My parents, for instance, only sleep like once a day and then it’s usually in the eight-hour range. My brother does it too and supplements it with a single nap. No wonder they’re irritable, I sleep over half my life and my moods are always pretty much stellar.

The only downside to it all is that I miss some stuff during other people’s awake time. On this partickly day I woke up to some odd festivity where I was bestowed with a foppish hat. Handsome, stylish and dapper, all true, so I took it in good stride.

Not one to take any game half-heartedly, I monkeyed with it until I was able to dehat myself, give it my own good loud tonguing and pass it on to my brother. Since I napped through the introduction to the game, I had to wing it, but I figured I couldn’t be too far off the mark with my guess.

It’s only now, many paragraphs later, that I realize how absurd this whole article is. Am I talking about hats, sleeping, or moods? I’m not even sure, but the moral of the story is still quite clear. Not to me, of course, but hopefully to you.

* Since “de-gift” and “re-gift” are both legitimate words, as I learned on the documentary “Seinfeld,” then all these variants of the verb “hat” are also equally valid.

 

Am I Not Speaking Clearly?

I asked you twice and I’ll ask you again, this time please just answer me instead of staring blankly at me.

I’m exercising maximum articulation here, I’m using frantic hand gestures, and I’m even asking nicely. So what’s the problem? Am I gurgling marbles? Is my jabberhole anaesthetized?

So I’ll re-reiterate, “Eeeut er ahaham…” Get it this time? Why are you looking at me like that? As far as I can tell I said it exactly like you do. Granted, I look puzzled when you say it, but you’re supposed to know what it means.

This is just crazy. Can I hire an interpreter? I’ll admit that English isn’t my first language, okay, and I struggle with it a bit. Best guess around town has my first language pegged as Kung Fu, but I can’t remember where I learned to speak it. No point getting fickle about my background. It does feel totally natural to speak it though, and it is really therapeutic at times.

I’ve been working daily, and diligently, I might add, on my language skills. Clearly this isn’t enough effort to please you people, is it? What’s next, are you going to ask me to dress myself or stop using the bottle?

Maybe I’ll just stop talking altogether. Let’s see how that pleases you. Want something done right, I guess I’ll have to do it myself. Of course, I’m not going to do that. For one thing I’ve simply got too much to say. And, for another I really don’t feel like doing a whole lot for myself.

 

What Gives with the Freaky Décor?

Have you ever heard of a Barca Lounger? Probably not, I know I never had and I am SO well-traveled and versed. Hardly the point, read on.

Do we really need a creepy witch on the wall or a hacked up grinning gourd? I’m not sure this is helping me get any sleep, you know. If it is that you’re trying to intimidate me, it isn’t working. The banners keep suggesting that this so-called Halloween thing is happy, but I just can’t see how happy it could be based on all this morbid celebratory kitsch.

If this is a semi-permanent trend in décor. I’d like to opt out of it. Likewise, if Mohawks come into vogue, I see myself passing on those as well. If it’s just a passing fad I suppose I can ride it out, but frankly these gigantic bizarre spiders, yellow-eyed black cats and bed-sheeted ghosts have just got to go.

If this silliness is acceptable then what will be next, turkeys and tall ships? It floors me because there’s this whole section of the store called “seasonal,” and I just can’t see how events that happen maybe once in a lifetime can qualify as seasonal. Who’s ever heard of seasons changing that slowly? For all my life experience I’ve never seen any of this stuff before. Seasonal? I ask again because I just have to. Weekends are seasonal, but all this stuff, I just don’t know about it.

If you see me tugging at the leaf decorations, it’s not insult or indifference, it’s protest. If you see me trying to eat the leftover jack-o-lantern bits, you’ll know it’s simply my way of protesting tacky choices in home decoration, rather than any kind of personal slight against you for what is clearly your lack of taste.

Carci? Carcus’s? Carcuses? Carcu? What’s the plural of carcus?

 

Barca Totally Loungable

Have you ever heard of a Barca Lounger? Probably not, I know I never had and I am SO well-traveled and versed. Hardly the point, read on. story196

So let’s just say you haven’t, it’s hardly the point. I’ve gotta tell you that these Barca Lounger deallies are ten kinds of loungable and big enough to throw quite a party for real. Big, big. Maybe even bigger than that. Just to prove my point, I’ll illustrate the ten kinds of comfy for you from top to bottom. Are you ready?

As a side note, let me apologize real quick for asking rhetorical questions like that. It’s not normally in my nature and I have a lot going on. I know there’s a lot of you who read this and, frankly, I have trouble conceiving of the world comprising more than about two dozen people, so really it baffles me. Be patient, I’m short.

 

  • barca-tallSit – Yes, hide your surprise. Though I’ve never tried it, per se, I’m told they are quite comfy for sitting. That’s one.
  • Stand – Oh shucks, yeah! You can totally stand up in these bad boys if you like. As comfy as anything else, frankly, a little more padded on the footy-foots. Though granted, it’s not a recommended use by the manufacturer but, hey, man, we all lounge in different ways. There ya got two.
  • Lay – Yep. It’s a long chair for sure, and with the simple press of an impossibly hidden button, before you know it you’re in a full-on lay down, feet in the air. Up to three now.
  • Inverted Lay – If you’re going to lay, why stop there? Chair don’t care. Might as well go upsy-down while you’re at it. It’s just as comfy and you can see the TV upsy-down as well. How can you beat that? Not bad for the old 40% mark.
  • On Haunches – Even ready to pounce, I’m in the lap of comfortus maximus. Halfway home.
  • Slouch – Awwww…. Man that feels good. Just throw your head on an arm and give it all a chill… wow. Sixty percent list-done, baby.
  • Super Slouch – Slump over backwards, forwards, or whatever you please. Very supportive whether your spine craves a perfect “S,” an imperfect “C,” or even an “R,” “G,” or “W.” Though in confidence I couldn’t find a comfortable “J” in which to lay. That’s seven out of ten done.
  • I’m tired – No seriously. I’m tired. I have to stop the list now because I absolutely must get sleep or I’ll be all kinds of grouchy.Well, as usual, forgive my shortness and blame my parents. They’re pretty short so I pin it all on them. Until next time, you see a Barca at your aunt or grammy’s, throw yourself on down in it, it’s ten kinds of wonderful even if I can’t name all ten kinds. Good night.

 

 

Childhood Reflection ‘Closer Than May Appear’

As I grow older, wiser, taller and louder, I think back fondly on my childhood. The times spent, the lessons learned, the memories mostly forgotten within mere minutes.

I remember the time my assistant was writing this very article and I started smacking the computer out of curiosity. He kept getting frustrated because I’d add tabs and letters in the middle of words, turn on caps, or lock up the system on him. I just couldn’t contain my maniacal laughter. Oh man, those were the days.

I remember the time we went to the store together and I kept nabbing coupons from the little electric dispensers every time I’d get too close. There’s a reason they put them at that height, they know who’s really running the shopping cart. I remember it like it was today, about two and a half hours ago.

I think back with quiet joy to the time we all sat around trying to conjure up an article to run today. How we went through all the photos and headlines and just couldn’t find anything that would jive, so we totally copped out and wrote garbage. Man, just thinking back an hour or two really takes me back.

Of it all though, I most remember the love of my family. How we can admire, inspire and love each other. The look on dad’s face when I would smile made me think I could have cheered up Poe. If you don’t know, you need to; being loved is sometimes all you’ve got

 

News; A Tiresome Endeavor

Every day it’s chaos, from rise, to nap to other nap until bedtime. It’s nothing in the newsroom but hustle, electricity, and the bringing of top stories. And I have to tell you, it wears me down.

From reports in the field to photo shoots to managing the progress of the paper, I’m a very busy man. I haven’t even had time to shave yet, ever. I’m not complaining, certainly not about the shaving. I think this look fits me well, and bringing the news is what I do.

So let me outline a typical day for me, now that I’m coming up on my ten month birthday.

8:30 – Rise. Stretch, sit around my crib for a while.
9:00 – Breakfast. Often cereal, oatmeal, or mush; sometimes with a bottle. I like to start early, you know, but I don’t have a problem. And, ever the health nut, I pass on the coffee.
9:30 – Morning lessons. I study advanced courses in color, texture, and sound. Interactive lessons like grabbing things and banging them on other things or just putting them in my mouth. Time permitting I go on adventures around the office. Check out all the rooms, see what’s changed since the day before, I try getting into stuff I know I’m not allowed to, that sort of behavior.
11:00 – Nap time. Pretty beat after a morning like that. Sometimes it’s preceded by a bath.
1:00 – Rise and shine again. When there are field assignments, they are usually done at this time. If not, it’s straight to the newsroom. We look over the daily reports, read the extensive fan mail that comes in, and get to the real work.
3:00 – Lunch. I am a snacker, so I’m not limiting myself to a mere three meals a day (and my thighs are paying dearly for it.) Here I usually have a diced sandwich that I quite literally cram into my face… oh, you can just feel the love in that peanut butter.
3:30 – Meet with my older brother, who is working as something of an agent for me. There’s an upcoming feature about his admirable professionalism, but he’s already four so there’s no surprise there. We talk over the news, look at breaking news photos, play with dinosaurs and plastic frogs, whatever needs to be done.
5:00 – If the article ain’t done (which it never is) I sit down with my assistants and hammer it out. Usually I’ll just dictate, though sometimes I have to get in there and bang on the keys myself. They insist I’m not helping, but we know who has the brains of the operation around here, right?
6:15 – Nap mach II. Gotta get some sleep in.
7:15 – Rise and shine, yet again. Man, if you hate getting up each day, think how I feel doing it three times. Are you getting any insight into my state of perpetual sleepiness?
7:30 – It’s dinnertime. By this point I’m about dying. Haven’t had a real meal in hours and usually not even a snack in, like, about an hour. It’s time for the grub. The whole office sits down together, and we unwind over something. We eat together, we eat the same thing… Except that eccentric brother of mine, he usually holds out for Cheerios, another sandwich, or a corn dog. Marketing people, you know?
8:00 – By this time it’s either crunch time or unwind time. Finish up the articles, get them to press, move on with our lives. Unwind, get ready for another tiring day of news. We might watch the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (don’t know why, but I really get into it) or a movie, or we’ll hang out and play games.
8:30 – Off to bed. I like to read before bedtime, but I’m usually so tired I just have someone read to me. It’s a lot easier that way, though it’s embarrassing when I fall asleep part way through. Though not embarrassing until morning, so it’s not so bad.

Continued after photos…

LEFT: Seen yawning mid-day during production in the newsroom. — RIGHT: Visiting with my old man, it’s time well spent, I’m just so sleepy. Almost makes me feel guilty.

Hell Hath No Fury Like Paperwork

I enjoy the finer things in life. Good food, good friends, and a healthy balance of work and rest. With that said, who invented paperwork and might I have a brief word with him?

I don’t mind answering a few questions, never have. I think of it as an interview and we all know that’s what I’m all about. For those of you who haven’t done paperwork yet in your life, of whom I pray there are a good many, I suggest a boycott. If that fails, become a hermit. It will save you in the long run, I promise. Besides, everyone loves a hermit.

Name, date of birth, profession? Yep, cool, got it. All that’s pretty standard. The color of my car? How much my phone bill is? They even wanted to see proof of my income from this newspaper. Have they no decency?*

Having finished the form, my life was free to move forward. That was, until the nice lady** pointed out all the empty blanks. Back for another round, I suppose.

I’m all for equal treatment so clearly this upset me. I was targeted by age, I fear. Clearly no verbally adept adult would stand for such a prank, and no institution would expect someone to stand for it. Why me? I have to wonder what combination of the young and the media they do this to. Maybe it’s just a test to see how perseverant we are, or to hope that we’ll just go away.

Down with the man.

 

Bodyguard Absurdly Dedicated

As a public figure, clearly I have to watch out for myself. That’s why I have a bodyguard of course, and I tell ya, this guy is dedicated to his work.

Thing is, he’s not the best paid guard in town. You know what that normally means; not the brightest, no taking of your bullets for you, and only some jewelry missing. In short, all the dedication of a double-agent, none of the brains.

This guy is a real exception. Not only has he kept intruders and salesmen out, crazy fans at arms length, and unauthorized reporters away. He evens keeps me safe when I sleep. I bet this guy would even go so far as to take a bullet for me. He even makes me feel like the son he always had.

Think what a swell world it would be if everyone went the extra mile. If your house cleaner would stop by, periodically and at random to ScotchGuard your furniture. If your gardner, without notice, just installed a sprinkler system. Or if your in-laws could even simply keep to themselves. What a treat (and miracle) it would be. What a joy the world could experience.

Needless to say, this guy’s getting something nice in his stocking this year. Maybe a scratch ticket or some batteries out of the stock room. I don’t know what, but he’s definately on my A-list.