We’re the Men in the Box

They say it’s the little things in life that make it all worthwhile, but I have to disagree. I find that the big things are far more fulfilling. Take for instance this handsome cardboard box. story508

Researchers are still trying to ascertain where it came from or what purpose it was originally meant to serve. Yet none of that means anything to me, I’ve got a great big cardboard box, can’t you see it?

The box serves many purposes for us men:

  • Climb and hide inside. Don’t ask why, just do it.
  • Flip it up and pile stuff into it. Toys, shoes, laundry, whatever. All of it fits just fine.
  • Bang toys on the box. Want to irritate the elders with box-related noises? Go for it, the box is your opportunity. Pick your favorite toy and smack it all over it, preferably whilst a’ screaming.

But seriously folks, have you ever heard that ridiculous grunge-era song called “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains? It’s dreadfully 1990’s, but fortunately, about all you can understand of it is the line about him being just that; a man in a box. Know what, as a man who’s been in a box, I feel his pain.

It is indeed fun and games, but there’s more to it than that, than just being a man in a box. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m ready to learn.

Here’s some possibilities I hope to explore when I’m older:

  • Resorts. I’d love to open a chain of five-star hotels where weary travelers can hang out at affordable prices by trading-in their lush, private rooms for the comfort of a cardboard box with a cozy blanky. You never know, I could make a mint just by not offering a pillow on which to leave a mint, get it?
  • Shipping. Again, I’m not totally sure what boxes are for, aside from my above listed uses, but I think the shipping industry could really find a benefit here, and I’m ready to find my fortune thusly. Complete with optional six pack of milk bottles or juice tippy cups, plus a handful of toys, you could easily ship any baby coast to coast or internationally. Good money in trafficking babies, or so I’ve read.
  • Clothing. I know it’s a bit clunky and fairly plain, but with a brand name like “This End Up” how could I go wrong? Natural fibers are popular and I’m pretty sure that laminated wood pulp should count. Right?
  • Prop miming. If you’ve ever seen a cut-rate mime, you know how painful it is to see some clown pretending he’s stuck in a box, when frankly, his tip hat will tell you, he can’t afford one. My business would be to make boxes affordable, even to lowly mimes. Imagine a world where mimes stay in cardboard boxes… Everybody wins.
  • Low income housing for a homeless franchise. These panhandlers got themselves quite a racket. How can they afford a costly drug habit? It must pay really well, what how. It does, I’m sure, and most of them can’t even complete their signs adequately. As the unions move in and organize the trade, modest housing will become a necessity. I’m ready for it and plan to swoop in with dishwasher and refrigerator boxes designed for comfort and security. Again, I’ll undoubtedly be rich, rich, rich.

I know I sound like a 50s era newsreel for aluminum, but I really think cardboard is the material of the future. Sell your pork bellies and go heavy into boxes. How wrong can black market brown boxes of only right angles be?

Take it from us, the men in the box, this is the royal wave of the future. Despite the dookie, we ain’t earls, and even we can read the writing on the wall… It says “Fragile.”

Woah Dude, You Got Some RED Hair!

In my travels through this “world at large” place I’ve met all kinds of people. People with no hair, brown, yellow and red, but none as red as this kid. Woah, that hair is seriously red!

Well hello there Red Hair, I see you have a kid attached.
Well hello there Red Hair, I see you have a kid attached.

I’ve racked up some real mileage between all the local attractions I’ve seen, beside all the exotic places I’ve visited. No museums of history, industry, nor culture could have prepared me for what I found. This kid’s head is practically on fire!

Mama has red hair, though as a guy I barely even notice it. It’s only red compared to other people’s hair, not so much compared to, say, a fire truck or an apple. But seriously, this kid’s hair was RED!

We played together, me and Mr. Ronald McDonald-head, but I never did catch his name. Partly because I’m not a big talker, partly because he, being younger, was even less a talker than me, but mostly because them locks mesmerized me in ways I can hardly explain.

While scientists and beauticians alike may struggle with the ins and outs of such a rich color as his, I’m content to just keep playing nearby, as if oblivious to his carrot-toppery.

New Naptime Sport: Bedjacking

I don’t know it the grass is really greener on the other side or not, or even where this fabled “other side” is, but I know I love other beds far more than my own.

Seen here snoozing in this, my most comfy of bed... Patrick`s,
Seen here snoozing in this, my most comfy of bed… Patrick`s,

When the parents leave their door open, I never miss my chance to take a thousand jumps on their bed. It’s gigantic, springy, and rarely ends in a bump on the noggin. The bedspread’s red, but that grass is greener.

Then you’ve got Patrick’s bed. He’s my big brother and, even though they swear it ain’t so, I just know his bed is bigger and better.

At bedtime I always climb into Patrick’s bed, often right onto his head, whether he’s awake or asleep. It may look like a sleep avoidance tactic, both for me and for him, which it is, but really it’s a bed-coveting issue.

So let’s talk more about my new hobby, bedjacking. Come naptime — as much as I love napping — I usually fight it as hard as I can. I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. When I finally do surrender to that Sandman fellow, I often do so in my brother’s bed. It’s that easy, you just jack somebody else’s bed and go to sleep.

While I doubt highly that bedjacking will ever reach Olympic status, it is indeed a terrific sport to be enjoyed by old and young alike. You don’t need special gear or training to get started, and you need not be discontent with your own accommodations. All you need is a desire to nap in another pasture, whether more green, less green or covered in prints of toy cars or dinosaurs.

Debate no more, you do have what it takes.

At left you’ll see my bed, unoccupied. At right you’ll see me, cozily snugged up in brother Patrick’s bed. Ah, naptime was never so sweet as it is here. Such green grass I see.



Season of Kitsh Hits the Target

We hit the Target to pick up some much needed supplies* when something most amazing caught my peepers. Aisle after aisle of joyous, delightful kitsch. So this is the magic of the season, huh?

Oh my, this all looks mighty breakable, doesn`t it?
Oh my, this all looks mighty breakable, doesn`t it?

I have to admit I’m impressed. Countless trees were trimmed out from tip to toesies, blinking and glowing with more sparkly lights than there are stars in the sky.** So pretty and enchanting, I just wanted to pull them all down on to my head.

Then I noticed the adjacent aisles. Oh what sweet heavenly distraction I did find therin’n’upon. Despite the critical nature of my journey to this Target, I had all but forgotten it. Had I not the attendants to keep me on task, I swear we’d have left with nary a pre-required video, yet several hundred thousand dollars o’ Christmas decor.

They had glass, plastic and glitter in red, white, silver and clear… well, not red in clear, but all the others for sure. It was simply a festivus to remember, if not one to forget, you know, like the other one I’m told I’ve lived through.***

Thank God I had people handy to make sure we got the movie, because with all the lights, angels, gleaming stars, and tinsel, I’d have gladly walked out without it. I don’t know who ordered all this stuff, but they need a serious raise in their salary. This stuff is awesome.

Whether you’re a supporter of K-Mart’s heritage of rampant corporate fraud or Wal-Mart’s legacy of non-competitive stifling, you owe it to yourself to check out Target this season. Take it from my own firsthand account, they’ve got everything your over-decorating, decadent, holiday indulging self could dare to crave.


Coupon Shopping No Child’s Play

While I can’t pretend to know what a “budget” actually is, I do know we have to work within it. That means careful shopping, watching sales and clipping, ripping, crinkling and biting coupons. story504

Me and junior editor Dominic had to sit down and find the best buys of the week. If you don’t have an address, you don’t know what I’m talking about, but we get all kinds of ads in the mail all the time. They’re glossy, pretty, addressed to “resident”, “current resident” or “smart shopper at” and they’re all about saving big, big money.

From there it gets ugly. I just want to look at the pictures, but Dominic wanted to eat the pictures, and we couldn’t reach an understanding. We have a common goal here, but as all the pictures show, we’re not chewing on the same page.

I’m looking and he’s just gumming. Is this a problem? Does it help or not help? He’s basically just eating the ads. I know you really have to take in the ads to shop with smartitude, but this seems excessive to me. Am I missing something?

While I can’t pretend I have a great grasp on the gummed-up matter, I can go along with it. For the record, this method of discount shopping is one to which I protest. I can’t explain why, nor frankly say a cohesive sentence at this age, but I just know something is amiss.


Cap’m Baskethead Kept Me Up

I know I’m supposed to be asleep, but it’s not my fault this time, I swear. I tried to go to sleep, but Cap’m Baskethead came to my rescue. Blame everyone, but don’t blame me.

What a guy, that superhero Cap`m Baskethead.
What a guy, that superhero Cap`m Baskethead.

He’s a real hero to the people, you know. He fights for equality and freedom. Not to split hairs or anything, but he was here to protect me… from you… about this beddy-bye business you keep pushing on me. You feelin’ me?

You haven’t heard of him? Oh he’s great. He’s a mild mannered reporter by day, but by night he dons his clever disguise. It’s a laundry basket he wears on his head which he bangs on the gate. You’ve heard the noise, perhaps. It’s the clunky thunking of plastic on plastic, and it’s the sound of rebellion.

Don’t pretend you recognize his (significantly) altered ego. You can’t because he’s perfectly disguised. Further, stop trying to get me in trouble for his actions. It’s even less fair than that whole “putting me to bed” stuff you’re so fond of.

I know I’ve written about this before, but this time it’s different. this time I’ve got the Cap’m on my side. It’s not just me, the real hero says I shouldn’t be in bed too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to take this post-bedtime basket off my head and jump back into place before you connect the dots.

What? Huh? Cap’m Baskethead? Never heard of him.


Point/Counterpoint: You’re Big, You’re Small

I may be on the small-and-wide side of the spectrum, but I’m on the straight and narrow path, and not narrow-minded by a wide margin. Our first ever point/counterpoint will focus on who’s big and who is small.

Between the notecards, the backdrop and the zingers from both sides, the debate was often heated.
Between the notecards, the backdrop and the zingers from both sides, the debate was often heated.

Brendan’s Point: You’re small.
That’s right, you heard me you wiggling, giggling mini-micro-munchkin of a over-stayed house guest; you’re small. Maybe I’m small too, but any yardstick concurs that you’re much smaller.

Look at me, I amble and babble in ways you can barely covet. Only once a night I wake, only once a day I nap. I sleep better and miss less because I’m big and you’re small.

I’ve got more freedom and vastly improved independence, and all of this is because, what? Yep, you guessed it, because I’m much bigger. I love you, brother-man, I really do, but the facts are the facts and you’re small.

Dominic’s counterpoint: You’re big.
I hear you yelping like a toy poodle, so back down, Buster. I’ll see your tirade and I’ll raise you by a couple valid points. I may be small but you’re big. I get so much by being small that you’re left out of that it’s totally worth it.

  • The big people put you in the shopping cart, but I’m small enough that I get toted about under a single arm.
  • The swing and the walker are my two greatest independent joys. You’re so big you can’t hang out in either one.
  • You’re forbidden from many foods you demand like cake, candy and caffeine. I get anything I want, mush, formula, anything!

But let me address your big man on campus points de la alleged advantage. big-small2

  • Ambling and babbling? Good for you, I’ll settle for getting carried, cuddled and being given everything I want without ever speaking a single word.
  • You only wake once a night and nap once a day. Good for you. I nap half the day during cleaning and laundry time… What do I miss? Pledge, Mr. Kleen and a tsunami of Tide? Fine by me.

I wake up at night when you and brother Patrick are sleeping… What do I get? Exclusive Daddy-man and Mama-Miss time. Keeps on sleepin’ or, Mr. Big Shot, I’ve got the ‘rents all to my lonesome while you’re busy dreaming about Blues Clues and Scooby Doo too.

Brendan’s Rebuttal
Oh you and your silly introduction of these so-called facts. I’ll see your “valid points,” raise your nonsensical banter and I call!

  • I don’t want to be held at the store, I get to drive the shopping cart.
  • I don’t even like the swing and I climb in the walker all I want to, even if I don’t fit.
  • Mush? Formula? I don’t want any of that nonsense. It’s all about the candy, man, pay attention.
  • My sleeping is at smart times. Waking up three times a night you can’t pretend there’s anything fun going on.
  • Being big rules!

Whether big or small, it’s important to point out that we’re both winners in this equation. So who’s the loser? Why, the parents, of course. Attention, affection, money, all of it comes from them, and we’re not about to trade it in. Not even to be totally big like them.

As you can see, despite our mutual illiteracy and inability to comprehend the purpose for our note cards, our forum remained of utmost civility.

Life Somewhat* Confusing

It’s been over seven months since I forsake my upside-down life of kicking mama in the kidneys, but I’m still not sure I’ve got a handle on this “world” place I’m stuck living in.

Coke or Pepsi? And what is this square hat I wear? So confusing.
Coke or Pepsi? And what is this square hat I wear? So confusing.

The first month seemed like it would never end. It was all about rampant noise and learning to digest — both heavily interrupted by sleep and a parade of most unpleasant diaper situations. Eating, sleeping and coping with the noise are a lot to expect, and I’m still pretty confused about the rankerous stench coming from my nethers. At this point, I’m just hoping I’m not a domesticated house chimp.

Though I didn’t get a handle on all that stuff, I did come to accept it, but then came round two. I sprouted hands and feet at some unknown point and had to figure a way of commanding such unruly appendages. Early attempts resulted in self-poking and self-scratching, even at my own face. Let’s agree that that is, at least, somewhat confusing.

Now that I have pretty good, though admittedly limited, control of my wiggly appendages, the confusing, perplexing world around me still brings more questions than answers. Can you believe that a journalist of almost seven months life experience doesn’t have all the answers? Strange, I know.

While confusing, I promise to plug ahead with my trek through life. In the meantime I’ve ordered Cliff’s Notes on “life” off the Internet. I’m sure all of this stuff can be summed up in twenty or so pages, and I can’t wait to sink, not one, but BOTH of my teeth into it.

* The whole article is the asterisk, so read that and ignore this.


Got a Handle on People-Heads; Called Ears

By the tugging on my own noggin you’d think I have an ear infection, but I don’t. What’s at (my) hand instead is my latest discovery. It’s an ear.

I spy, with my little hand, somthing aside my head... an ear?
I spy, with my little hand, somthing aside my head… an ear?

Getting a handle on things is important. Without a handle, frying pans would burn you, heavy boxes couldn’t be lifted and your chubby mid-section would get no love. Human heads are just as puzzling, but where’s the handle?

This is where it gets exciting for me, I found the handles, they’re conveniently located on either side. Heads with handles, how amazing!

As you can see in the lead photo, it started with the discovery of my own ears. I grab onto whatever I can reach, but usually there isn’t much. With a three foot circumference at best, there ain’t much to explore. When I found something aside my head to grab on to, I was excited.

Next thing I know I’m looking around and realize that everybodys got ears, all of them fit for the grabbing. My grabbing, to be quite clear.

Ears are usually easy to spot. They hang out on the side of a person’s head, right beneath the hair. Eldest brother Patrick threw me for a loop since he’s got no hair. It’s tricky, but I’m crafty.

If you view his golden cranium with a trained eye, something I sincerely lack, you may observe something akin to, nay, in fact being, a real human ear. Despite my young, blurry vision, I spotted it… Oh, and I grabbed it too.

While even the highest of science has no idea as to what purpose these “ear” thingys practically serve. Are they decorations or tools of some higher sense humans can not yet imagine? I’m not qualified to answer this but, yes, they are.

When I occupy my playtime exploration with the groping of these ears of mine, I do hear a scratching noise, but still I doubt they have anything to do with that sound. Sharp scratching of ears whilst the sharp scratching of noise? No correlation, I’m quite sure.

No matter your status, if you don’t know about ears, I strongly suggest you check them out. They’re spongy, springy and fun, yet still made of real, human flesh. They’re resilient and virtually guaranteed to spring back and heal with minimal cauliflowering, despite your most aggressive yankings.

Ears, baby, ears. I’ve found them, won’t you?


Dirty Shirty Quandry Pondered

As an astute observer of the world around me it is my obligation to point out what subtle news I find in my world. So what’s news? I appear to have been wearing the same shirt seven out of the last eight days. But appearances are deceiving… Or are they?

Go ahead and look back through the previous seven pieces and you’ll see for yourself that I’m wearing the same shirt. It’s grey, it’s patterned, and it’s handsome. So why is this so?

This, of course, is the shirt in question.
This, of course, is the shirt in question.

Let’s examine all the possibilities. You and me together, okay? Okay.

  • One very obscure and remote possibility is that I wore the one outfit during a very long photo shoot. In essence, a week’s worth of pictures were taken all at once when I had no opportunity to hit wardrobe. This is pretty unlikely because, as you know, I’m a pro. Even if the news actually happened all at once, rather than once a day as it’s administered, wouldn’t my people be smart enough to plan around that? Change the outfits out a bit? This theory does not test well.
  • Perhaps I have not changed my outfit this entire week. It could be that the wardrobe lady was on vacation or that I was just unwilling to be man enough to change. Maybe I wasn’t quite done with it yet. Maybe because I had heard that clothes get stinky after a few days and wanted to see for myself. Maybe just because I’d never worn a shirt for a week and wanted the experience. It could be that this is my own filthy fashion statement. Nasty, for sure, but worth a solid ponder.
  • Slight of hand. It could be that these are in fact all very different shirts: different colors, different fabrics, different everything. They only appear identical due to fantastic trickery. This theory, while plausible in many ways, is sadly implausible on the whole. Nay, beyond implausible, outright dumb.
  • It could be that this is my favorite shirt, that I insist on wearing it whenever it is clean and that laundry was done every day this week. I mean, it’s not my favorite shirt but how do you know that? I could be leading you on, being sneaky, or even telling a tale of medium height. This possibility still leaves too many variables out of line.
  • Perhaps I’m all Einsteiny and have seven identical matching outfits, one for each day. That way I don’t need to dedicate any mental energy to the process of dressing myself. Of course, I don’t dress myself, so I actually dedicate neither mental nor physical energy to the task.
  • It might be my new trademark. Yes, that’s possible. What if I’m wanting to establish myself as more of a brand, like that infernally elusive Waldo fellow. This could be especially true if I have an endorsement deal. Big bucks for wearing a brand name don’t you know… of course, this isn’t a branded shirt per se and, if I’m going to brand myself, I could do far better than this goofy thing.
  • Of course, I could have just done it on purpose to see if you’d notice, make you wonder what’s going on. Did you think of that? Huh? Huh? Did you?

So what’s the real answer? That’s the thing, no one knows. This is a mystery bound to go down in the history books as one of the great unsolvables, right up there with who built the pyramids, who moved them from Atlantis to Egypt, and where did I leave my keys? Sadly, I must leave you to ponder.