Thursday, October 15, 2009

How I Dealt With a Crazy Pregnazoid This Morning.

Truth be told, I work with a lot of women. There are men in my department, I don't deny it, but I see little of them. Whether that's because they're too busy doing their jobs or shaking down hallway toughs for soda machine change is a speculation I will absent myself from for the moment. At any rate, their illegal shenanigans leave me plenty of time to listen to complaints from my female coworkers instead.

Not all of them. Not even half of them. Most of the women I work with are just that: women I work with. They do their jobs and then some. And then they disappear into the vastness of whatever lives they've managed to carve out for themselves: with husbands, volleyball teams, Peace Corps volunteering or taking care of elderly family members. They smile and say hi in the hallways; they occasionally vent, while I provide a shoulder to cry on or a convenient hand with which to spank their pilate-toned asses. I'm nothing if not sympathetic.

No, my spleen is reserved today for the more vocal women in my department. There's about two or three of these harpies, and they have their Greatest Hits of complaints, which all boil down to one of a few possibilities:

1) They're pregnant.
2) They have kids to take care of.
3) They're pregnant and have kids to take care of.

And that's pretty much it. These are trump cards, the likes of which an unattached, freewheeling suburban playboy like myself cannot possibly hope to contend with. If I so much as hint that I'm tired from an evening of misbehavior, I'm immediately reminded that, well, it must be fun to be able to leave the house without carrying diapers and toys for the infant. Or it must be nice to not worry about little Jimmy's soccer practice. Or whatever. Confronted with such assaults on my lack of responsibilities, I usually slink off to some remote corner to work, ruminating on the unfairness of a world where they have to drive kids to the mall and I get to watch reruns of Baywatch instead.

I know, right? I've got it made.

Consider Emily's ambush this morning, after a curriculum meeting (Emily, by the way, is bursting-at-the-scenes, shit-crazy pregnant, and her husband, who works in the building next door, seems to find lots of places to be besides at her side)
EMILY: How are you this morning?
ME: Oh, you know. I'm hanging in there.
EMILY: Yeah. Try being pregnant some time.
ME: ...
And for the record, no, I am not exaggerating that conversation. Word. For fucking. Word.

Well, I don't need Miss Manners to tell me, Relax, she's hormonal, she's going through chemical spikes that would put twelve monkeys on anyone's backs for life. Besides, what possible responses do I have, anyway?
EMILY: Try being pregnant some time.
ME: I'm really sorry to hear it's been tough. It'll be better soon. Trust me.
That would work. But this conversation happened at 6:45 a.m., when I'm legally stupid. Besides, come on, if I'm going to be that diplomatic, I'd better be getting a piece of tail afterwards. And since these particular gardens have already been seeded, and are about to yield their harvest, there's not much incentive for me to plant a shovel in there...yeah, you get the idea. So:
EMILY: Try being pregnant some time.
ME: That's a biological impossibility for me, Emily. But maybe in my next life, I'll be able to experience the miracle of birth like you.
Eh. It would work, provided I could say it in a tone completely free of sarcasm. So we'd better stick to likely possibilities.
EMILY: Try being pregnant some time.
ME: Fuck off.
That one's probably the most realistic. As long as it's muttered under the breath. Which I would forget to do.

Let it rest, I tell myself. Emily will come around. We're old friends. Okay, we're friends. Okay, we're vague acquaintances, but we'll be capable of neutral discourse again some time. Your ire will subside. You'll forget about it in a year or two, and when she's got her kids actually on her hands, you can laugh at her and text pictures of the bottles of beer you'll have consumed instead of chasing after diapered maniacs and watching reruns of Elmo.

These remonstrations work for a while. Until I round the hall...and meet Crazy Pregnant Lady #2! Immediately, my mind goes preemptive and my Sensitivity Valve is turned to Full Blast!
MARTHA: How's it going for you?
ME: Oh, you know. I'm hanging in there. But at least I'm not pregnant, right? Ha ha!
MARTHA: Ha ha ha! Good one, Gregg!
ME and MARTHA: Ha ha ha!
And suddenly I'm in the sun again. I am a Man Who Understands. I Put On No Airs. I'm a Good Catch for Aspiring Mothers (or would be, if these nice young pregnant ladies weren't already married--except for Cassandra in Accounting, that filthy whore). And all I had to do was totally debase myself. Which is still sticking in my craw, even these many hours later.

Look, for the record, I don't want to be a woman. Ever. I can't believe the shit they put up with, not excepting assholes like me. And childbirth...blech. I can't even survive an episode of NOVA if there's a hint they're going to show the baby enter the world. So I've got nothing to complain about.

But Emily, really. You're pregnant. You're not exactly carrying a cross to Golgotha.

And besides, admit it: it was fun getting that thing in there, right?

Anyway, you'll have to excuse me. I have to go and not be pregnant andy busy with kids.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pages Ripped from my Old Notebooks: Spring Break 1996

Setting: Cumberland Island, Georgia, on a weeklong camping trip

Todd had been missing for two days, and when we finally found him, he was huddled next to a tree, covering himself with mulch to stay warm. “You could have just slept in the tent last night, you know,” Tso told him.

“Yeah, you’d like that,” Todd hissed through shivering teeth. “I don’t trust you. You’re too handsey when it’s dark. Now get me back to camp before I freeze to death.”

“Fine,” said Tso, pouting over the prospect of a sleeping bag alone. “But now you’re on kitchen duty for the rest of the trip.”

Todd cursed and tried to crawl away so he could freeze to death peacefully instead, but Tso hoisted him up on his back and carried him back. Todd fought valiantly, but when he realized he was stuck doing pots and pans, he gave up and wept bitterly.

I myself had managed to put together a rather impressive still in the woods, and after we imbibed a few pints of my home brew (made from rubbing alcohol, toadstools and flavored lemonade stolen from the trip leaders), I proposed a hiking trip through the wetlands. For much of the journey, I amused myself pummeling Tso in the back of the head with rocks I'd picked up along the way. Tso rolled cigarettes, and Todd smoked and rolled more cigarettes. I threw rocks. Tso threatened me, which hurt my feelings, so I cried and threw more rocks at him. Ah, sweet bird of youth. Nothing like your early friendships.

Ten minutes down the path, we spotted an alligator lying ahead of us. Todd immediately squealed like a six-year-old told she just got free tickets to a Hanson concert and jumped into Tso’s arms. Tso tried not to look pleased at this.

“Maybe we should go around it,” Tso said. “You don't mess with those things.”

I laughed at him since he was an idiot and continued pelting him with rocks. “Nah, if we throw something sharp at it and yell in its ear, the dumb thing will run away and leave us alone. Just watch where you step around him.”

“No kidding, genius,” snarled Todd, stomping off, tripping over the alligator’s tail and breaking three of his teeth. Tso, upon seeing the great beast lift its head, shrieked like a six-year-old girl finding out that the Hanson concert had actually been cancelled because they’d all married a seven-year-old rival, sprawled to the ground and began covering himself with leaves.

(Meanwhile, 1,114 miles away, Dale Carlson sat up on his couch, watching illegally downloaded pornography. “I’m getting a feeling my friends are in danger,” he said to himself. “Like they’re going to get eaten ... Eating. That reminds me. I'm hungry.”)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Having the Sex Talk with Your Kids

A How-to Guide

Have you had the talk with your kids yet? Dr. Digger Blue (PhD, University of Phoenix Online) explains why it's more important than ever to start a conversation about sex with your kids.

From The Oprah Winfrey Show, "How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex with a complete stranger and Oprah Winfrey."

When your child asks where babies come from, do you break a sweat and blame it on the stork? When your kid wants to know what a rim job is, do you immediately turn them to a back copy of “Car and Driver”? Dr. Blue, a trained family therapist certified through hours of watching “Full House” and "Family Matters" in his teens, says not to bring it up yourself is a big mistake.

“This is the information age we live in,” he said. “Your kids are two clicks away from finding out all about the Kama Sutra. If you don’t act first, you’re at a large disadvantage, and God knows, if you’re an average parent these days, you’ve got just about all the disadvantages you can stand: laziness, average intelligence, bad eating habits, kleptomania and that nagging gambling problem you haven’t had the moxy to tell the wife about.”

In his new book, “Let’s Talk About Sex, Not Baseball: A Modern Parent’s Guide to Raising Screwed-Up Children,” you get a few tips on how to prepare your child for the inevitable Next Sexual Revolution:

Make them listen to you. Don’t take no for an answer. Have your daughter put away the Barbi dolls; have your son ditch the baseball glove. Or vice versa. No time like the present: dive right into the subject. What’s your kid doing right now, for example? Playing with his friends? Mom, nothing will bring you closer to that kid right now than sticking your head out the window and yelling, “Hey Jimmy, we need to talk about genital hygiene.” Go ahead. Try it.

Euphemisms can work. Not so much for the kid: they’ve heard it all on the playground. But you might need to take baby steps in this direction, which is absolutely fine as long as you get the phrases straight and consistent. Appendix III of my book has a lexicon you can feel free to adapt for any purpose whatsoever. Just make sure to keep the noun-forms and verb-forms parallel with each other; I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to say “Uff her from the bow-wow, son, but remember that the hoo-hah won’t go through without a little slick-juice” without including a proper direct object.

Dramatizations and demonstrations can work! Who cares what Freud thought? Or the AMA, or APA, or any of those Philistine tongue-cluckers! Why, with just a few action figures and the proper sound effects--Free excerpt ends here

Want more? Up yours: buy it here and bring me some moola!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Another stinking trip to the doctor...

It's like going to Confession. I'm not Catholic. Never have been. But I watch a lot of Hitchcock, so I have an idea of what goes on in the confession booth. And I really don't see the difference:
SETTING: Closed, windowless room. I am wearing a smock, which rhymes uncomfortably close with "frock." I'm shivering in the cold, fluorescent light. I feel exposed. I feel dirty. I feel imperfect. I feel, in short, like a devout Catholic.

DOCTOR: (entering) Well, what seems to be the problem?
ME: Well, see, I've got this back problem. It, uh, it has been many years since my last physical.
DOC: How long?
ME: About four years.
DOC: And you're only coming in now?
ME: No, see, I've been to other doctors. But they couldn't help me.
DOC: What did they diagnose you with?
ME: I...can't really remember.
DOC: Well, good thing we've got it on computer file. (Looks it up.) They diagnosed you with atrophied muscles and a poor overall physical condition. What have you been doing about it?
ME: Why, everything they've told me to, sir.
DOC: Don't lie to me, boy. You'll tempt the wrath of medical science. You been stretching like they told you to?
ME: (raising my arms like a Chicken Dance) Woo. See?
DOC: Cutting down on the drinking?
ME: Yep. Frigging bar closes a half hour earlier Monday nights, so...
DOC: Vegetables? Fiber? Vitamins?
ME: Those are all things you can buy at the supermarket, I'm told.
DOC: I'm going to diagnose you with imbecility. Your penance is six Hail Marys and a swift kick in the ass.
ME: But I'm getting prescription painkillers, right?
DOC: God yes. A whole bucketful.
ME: (assuming the position) I knew there was a reason choir boys keep going back for more...