This is not a lucky month for LilProgrammer. He is sick with a 103 degree fever.
Last night, as I was trying to get some TeraFlu into him, he started talking, feverishly. He said a lot of really interesting things at the rate of ten thousand words a minute. I guess he was being sarcastic. He is always being sarcastic. Here's a part of his speech that I remember best, though not, unfortunately, word for word.
"Why I do this, you ask? 'Cause I'm a teenager, see, and all teenagers are little pieces of shit, like actual little pieces of real shit, floating in the toilet, crapped out by some guy, unless he has diarrhea, which would really suck for the teenagers, 'cause there's no pieces of shit in diarrhea, everything's just one big mass, so that would ruin my metaphor, see..."
I keep telling LilProgrammer he needs to blog. He ignores me. That sucks. I'm not doing his words enough justice. They should be posted in all lowercase on some angsty-looking site with a black background. That's where they belong.
On a different note, some time back you guys helped me understand the word "lossless". Today, I need your help again. Is "ish" a word? As in:
"How was school?"
"How'd you do on the test?"
LilProgrammer says it means "neither here nor there". Does it?
You've made your point. For the last two weeks, we've been freezing our asses off, and we're tired of driving on slippery roads. We promise not to complain about global warming ever again. You win. You can turn up the heat now.
*** *** ***
What do you say to a person who wants to be in touch with you, but you don't? When there are a lot of people like that in your life, does that mean you're cool or you're turning into a people-hater? A girl from work came to talk to me on her last day at that job. I'd been counting days for months, waiting for her to leave. I suspected she'd want to stay in touch, so my plan was to give her my cell phone number, and then it has caller ID. She calls once, I find out the number she's calling from, save it to my contacts, set some ominous music to go with it, and I never have to answer her calls again.
She said, "Give me your home address, in case I decide to stop by."
I was completely unprepared. I just sat there, eyes wide open, and watched in horror as these words came out of my mouth:
"Actually, we're planning to move".
She starts asking questions, or rather, making suggestions.
"Are you moving because you want a bigger house?" - that type of thing.
I just sit there nodding.
After five minutes of that, the story is born. Turns out, we live in an old and crappy house that we're trying to sell so we can buy a bigger one. We don't know yet whether we'll stay in the same city or move somewhere else. We are selling our house for 150K (hey, that wasn't my idea. She said it.) I don't know the details because Mr. Goldie handles all financial matters in our family, and I stay out of it completely. We'll let her know more, because she might be interested in buying.
She left, and I just sat there shaking my head. What could I have done differently? Is there a polite way to say:
"No, I won't give you my home address, because I don't like you and I don't like your company and I don't want you coming over, so do me a favor and quit trying to invite yourself."
If there is, I'd like to know it. Might still come in handy.
*** *** ***
We went to Trader Joe's last weekend. Paying at the checkout at Trader Joe's makes me so sad now. You know these large paper bags they have, with the handles? I used to use those to clean out the chinchilla's cage. I'd just roll all the chinchilla crap in a newspaper and shove it in a Trader Joe bag. I have no use for these bags now.
I need to put more chinchilla stories out here. Towards the end of his stay, he became really nervous and afraid of the dog, but we were still holding out hope that, one day, the two animals would become best friends. I think I lost my hope on the day when I accidentally hit him on the head with a door. He was trying to get out of the basement and attack the dog; the dog, in the meantime, was trying to get into the basement, so he could play with the chin. Long story short, I slammed the door on poor Nicky's head.
I went to check on him; he looked alive and even tried to hump me as usual.
Next day, I caught him banging his head on the door.
I went on my computer and emailed the rescue.
I miss the little furry guy. I hope he's doing well.
*** *** ***
When your kids are little, you can tell when they're hurt - they cry and wail. How can you tell if your teenager is hurt, I wondered one night before going to sleep.
I woke up at 1AM to LilProgrammer yelling,
"Oh, SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT".
I followed the bloody trail into the bathroom. LilProgrammer had been playing with a knife and accidentally hit himself in the eyebrow.
With a great sadness, I announce that Nicky the chinchilla does not live with us anymore. He did not get along with the dog, no matter how we tried, and, for the sake of his sanity, we had to give him away. I will tell you more about it later, when I'm actually awake (I was out last night until two in the morning, and was rudely awakened by the dog a few minutes ago) . For now, here's a priceless quote from ChinchillaBoy. We were taking about how we're going to give up the chin, and I said: "I feel bad for him. He's being passed around..."
The rest of the sentence, ChinchillaBoy and I said simultaneously, only turns out the two of us had different analogies in mind. Here's what we said:
I: "... like a baton".
My 11yo son: "... like a blunt".
Truth be told, ChinchillaBoy's analogy is a lot better, but WTF?
PS. The donut post seemed to be a big success. I don't remember getting this many comments since the unschooling posts. Mental note to self - write about comfort foods more.
I am now listening to a discussion about which brand of donuts is better. That got me wondering. How do people even tell the difference? A donut is a donut is a donut, a more or less circular-shaped piece of dough stuffed with chemicals and covered with powdered sugar. In some cases, there may be a glob of cream inside, looking and tasting like dishwasher liquid. How the heck are people able to tell which of these creations is better than the rest? Is it based on the circularness of the donuts, their chemical content, the color of the powdered sugar on top? Maybe they tried washing dishes with the cream and compared the results.
I am at a loss. Please help me understand.
Coming up next: which cake icing tastes better, fluorescent blue, bloody red or soylent green?
For January's B4B, we are supposed to write about time, so, here goes. Everything in this story is pure fiction; any resemblance to real people is strictly coincidental.
"She will have a filet with steamed vegetables on the side. I'll have the New York steak with a sweet potato."
"How would you like your steaks done, Sir?"
"Medium for her. Meduim rare for me."
I was sitting in a restaurant with Nick - my boss by day, my close friend by night. I didn't really feel like going out that late in the day, but Nick had insisted that we go out for dinner. There's something I need to tell you, he mentioned to me with a sly flicker in his eyes.
Nick was a middle-aged guy of an average build and far from being good-looking. His hair was a strange dusty-grayish color; his black eyes were small and beady, always darting from place to place, never looking straight at you; and his moustache, which he refused to shave, bristled strangely, not unlike some animal's whiskers. That didn't matter to me; the man was my boss, and, all things kept professional, appearances were irrelevant. Nick had hired me for my first programming job, for which I was earnestly grateful. Trying to master my new profession, I habitually stayed late after work, reading manuals and trying to perfect my code. Nick, who also liked working late, soon was stopping by my desk almost every evening for a chat. I learned that Nick was an immigrant, just like me; he had been in the country five years. For some reason Nick refused to say what country he was from.
"I'd rather not talk about it", he'd say briskly and change the subject.
Nick mentioned a wife and five kids, but, as with his home country, didn't like to talk about them much. We had hoped to see them at the company's annual summer picnic, but Nick showed up alone.
One evening, Nick made an unexpected offer to me.
"How would you like for the two of us to be friends?" he asked. "We could go out once or twice a week. I could show you America - I know you're still new to the country."
Thus our friendship began. Nick took me to places I had never seen yet in my life - from fast food joints and malls to upscale restaurants and concert halls. We talked about everything, and found that we had a lot in common. We liked the same authors, the same movies, the same music. The bonding was instant. We could hardly contain our happiness at finding each other.
A month or two after we started going out in this way, Nick suddenly propositioned me. He wanted, he said, to be more than friends. I was taken aback. Nick was married, and so was I; and what, I asked him, could be more than friends anyway? Fuck buddies are a dime a dozen; a true friend may only come along once in your lifetime.
Nick said nothing, but, a week later, he started going out with another girl from our department. He still kept his dates with me; he just added to his schedule. My day to go out with Nick was Wednesday; the new girl, he saw on Mondays. During our Wednesday dates, he'd tell me about the hot, steamy sex they'd had two days before, making faces and sounds to help me get the whole picture. Apparently, it still wasn't enough, because, shortly after that, Nick approached yet another girl we worked with, asking if she wouldn't mind going out with him on Tuesdays. Before we knew it, Nick's whole week was booked and he was seeing five women, all of them his subordinates. This struck me as strange, but I didn't want to lose a friend, so I never said a word to him about it.
And now, I was sitting by the fireplace in a cozy restaurant, wondering what it was that this extravagant man was so eager to tell me. Our food arrived. Nick vigorously dug into his steak. I nibbled at my steamed vegetables and waited. Despite Nick's appetite, one could tell something was bothering him, chewing and gnawing at his soul.
"What if none of us were married? What if we were both young? Would you have married me then?" he pondered all of a sudden.
"We'd probably be friends, Nick." I felt uncomfortable under his shifty, beady gaze. "Don't you like being friends? A marriage is a business. I want a soul mate, not a business partner."
"But how deep is our friendship, really?" Nick shot back at me. "Would you sacrifice your life for me? Would I sacrifice my life for you? I don't know!" - he was visibly upset.
"Goodness gracious, Nick, what's with you today? Are you all right?" I was starting to feel worried.
For the first time, Nick looked me straight in the eyes.
"Goldie, there's something I need to tell you. I am not human."
A piece of steak fell off my fork and slipped off the table to the floor.
"I. AM. NOT. HUMAN."
Oh no, he's gone crazy, I thought in terror. That would explain the five women. What do I do now? Oh no, he's holding a steak knife.
I started inching away from the table, but Nick resumed talking.
"No, don't leave, please don't. Listen to me. It's all true, I promise.
"I was born a small and furry animal that was kept as a pet. My first owners took good care of me for several years, but then they had to give me away. My second owners were very happy with me at first, but then they got this abominable dog that made my life hell. God, how I hate dogs! Their scary teeth, their stinky breath!
"Since the two of us clearly could not live under the same roof, my owners had to choose. They chose the dog, of course, the traitors. I was sent to a home for abandoned animals like me. I stayed there for a few months, then my current owner came and picked me up. He treated me very well, better than anyone else before him. He even had a female for me. We soon mated and had five beautiful furry children.
"However, I soon found out what lay behind my new owner's kindness. He was a scientist, and needed us for his experiments. I was the one he chose to test a microchip that, when implanted in an animal's brain, turned it into a human for a period of five years. I went to bed a chinchilla, and woke up a human that you see before you.
"I had to go and make my living in the human world, as my owner could not support me; besides, he was afraid of rumors that would start if neighbors saw him living with another man. My second owners were programmers, so I had learned some of the trade when I lived with them. My current owner helped me write a resume and gave me a good reference. I took his last name and kept my first name, Nick. Very soon, I was offered a position in our company, and, within a year, promoted to IT manager. I was enjoying a great career and bringing home good money. That, however, was not what I had dreamed of when I first became a human.
"Human women. That was what I desired, ever since my chinchilla days with my old owners. I'd hump them and nibble on them, but it just never felt right. I used to lie in my chinchilla bed in the middle of the day, unable to fall asleep, thinking, If only I could be a human, just for one day. Oh, the women I would have! oh, the things I would do to them!
"I made it all happen. First you, then the other women in the office - I have five, and no two are the same. But now my time is up. It's been five years; the microchip's effect will expire tomorrow, and it cannot be used on me again, or else it'll blow my brain to pieces..."
His voice trailed off, as suddenly as his story began. His eyes glistened with tears; his whiskers bristled. He really did look like a rodent, I realized. Instantly, I believed every word of his story.
I tried to think of something comforting to say, but couldn't. What do you say to a man who's to become a chinchilla tomorrow? How do you comfort a chinchilla in distress? Silently, we stood up. Nick dropped a few twenties on the table, and we walked out, trying not to look at each other. In dead silence, we both got into Nick's car. He turned and looked at me. Before we could put our thoughts into words, we were making out in the front seats of Nick's car like we had never made out before. Like our whole lives depended on it.
Next day at work, we all received an email from the CEO. "With great sadness we announce", it read, "that our IT director, Nicholas Feynsteyn, is no longer with the company. He had to resign immediately due to personal circumstances. Nicholas was an outstanding employee and will be missed by all."
It seemed that everyone was looking at us, the five women from Nick's department. We in turn avoided looking at each other, or at anyone else for that matter. The youngest of the girls was sniffling and her eyes were red, as if from crying.
A week later, I got a business card in the mail. "Please call", was written on the card in blue ink. I dialed a local number.
"Jeff Feynsteyn speaking", answered a voice on the other end.
I decided I'd hazard a guess.
"Good evening, Mr. Feynsteyn, are you Nick's owner by any chance?"
"Nicky's owner? Why yes, I am!" - the voice sounded a lot friendlier now. - "Did you get my card in the mail? This is Goldie, right?"
"Yes I did, thank you."
"Well, you know the address, then. Come on over. What? Oh, any time really. I'm home all day."
I suddenly missed Nick so much it hurt.
"Can I come right now, Mr. Feynsteyn?"
"Sure. You need directions to my place?"
It turned out that Mr. Feynsteyn lived all the way on the West Side. It was late evening when I finally pulled into his driveway.
"Come in, come in", the huge man boomed, "your friend is in the basement, waiting for you. Here, give him this raisin, he'll like that."
The basement was large and full of cages. Dozens of chinchillas stared at me, but I knew the one I was looking for right away. He was the only one with that infinitely sad look in his beady eyes. I walked to his cage; he ran towards the door to greet me.
"Hi, Nick, how's it going? Wanna raisin?"
My friend greedily grabbed the raisin out of my outstretched hand and started nibbling on it, his whiskers moving up and down. It was hard to believe that, a little over a week ago, my paycheck depended on this tiny, furry creature. And yet, it was so easy to see my boss and close friend in this fur-covered face. The likeness, incredibly, was still there.
I scratched Nicky under his chin and behind his long, transparent ears, thinking about the finality of human life. One day it will end for all of us just as it ended for Nicky. Our time is running out, just like his was. It would probably do us a world of good, I thought, to live as if each day was our last. Just like Nicky did. Of course, that resulted in him dating five women at once. So maybe, we're better off living as if we have infinity in front of us, and not thinking about the day our lives will end.
Once upon a time, there lived a cuddly, adorable pit bull. His favorite things to do were licking people's faces and rolling over on his back. On his spare time, he volunteered at a nearby food kitchen and at a local homeless shelter.
I have read most of the discussion that followed, and found it quite amusing. My favorite quote has to be this one from one of Virginia's posts:
"Breed specific legislation is just like saying that you don't want a poor black family living next to you because their 7 year old son will end up being a gang banger."
Wow. Where do I begin?
I've never heard anyone compare dog breeds to human races. Not even Mike Richards, bless his heart. As far as I know, specific traits were purposely bred in different breeds of dogs so these breeds could serve their specific purposes, i.e. pastoral, working, toy, etc. Does Virginia mean to say... ahem, no, I can't. You figure that out for yourself, okay?
On second thoughts, the idea of comparing different breeds of dogs to different ethnicities seems to have some merit. Take for example the Golden Retriever. Ever notice how most ads show an All-American family - a Dad, a Mom, two kids, a boy and a girl, and a Golden Retriever, all of them sporting golden hair and perfect teeth. You guessed it right! The Golden Retriever is the doggie WASP! Wow, this is pretty cool.
All that thinking, of course, made me wonder what ethnicity is my dog Sparky, the Sheltie? After giving it some more thought, I am positive that my dog is Jewish. And I'm not just saying it because a part of me also is. Consider this:
My dog has sad brown eyes.
My dog has a looooong nose.
My dog has black locks of hair hanging down from his ears that my Mom says make him look exactly like an Orthodox Jew.
And last but not least, if you tell my dog you cannot play with him right now, he won't say anything, but he'll give you THE LOOK that'll send you on a life-long guilt trip.
That's it, guys. We officially have a Jewish dog. No wonder he fits in so well in this family.
Happy New Year, by the by! Check out my new design - it's a New Year's present from a good friend of mine! The link to her site is on the sidebar - there have been technical difficulties, but it should be back up & running by the time you read this post.