Tuesday, December 30, 2008

 

"Seat's Taken!"

You know who I feel sorry for? Kids that have to walk to school. Not only because walking sucks to begin with, but because they miss out on the cathartic experience of riding a school bus everyday. I didn't appreciate it that much at the time, but looking back on it I now realize how great it was. The ride on the school bus gave slacker kids time to finish their homework before they got to school, allowed the nerds to finish their homework before they got home from school, allowed kids to ride in a vehicle without seatbelts, and allowed kids to do pretty much whatever they wanted.


The school bus was one of the only environments where a huge group of kids had practically no supervision. Think about when you were in the car with your family and how much shit you and your siblings could get away with because your parents were busy driving and couldn't effectively intimidate, punish, or enforce any rules from the front seat. Now multiply the number of kids by 20 and replace your parents with a bus driver. A bus driver that had no regular contact with either your parents or your teachers. A bus driver that got less respect than a substitute teacher and was less feared than a babysitter. A bus driver who wasn't allowed to ground you, hit you, assign extra homework or chores, or punish you in any meaningful way. That was the person in charge. It was essentially 40 kids isolated from the rest of the world with no authority figure anywhere. The only thing missing was a giant conch shell.


When I was one of the younger kids on the bus, I'll admit that it was pretty intimidating being on a bus filled with kids who could run wild. The back of the bus was filled with the older and cooler kids who could ruin your day if they wanted. My goal was to remain as anonymous as possible to avoid attracting any attention so I stayed near the front of the bus. But as each year passed, I'd gradually move closer to the back of the bus until finally I was one of the older kids and took up permanent residence in the back of the bus. Looking back on it, I don't know what Rosa Parks' problem was – the back of the bus was where it was at! It was prime real estate. She really missed out.


The school bus allowed kids to do whatever the hell they wanted, to whomever they wanted. It was a great way to let out pent-up frustration. There was nothing like salvaging a bad day at school by ruining someone else's day. Whether it was sneaking under seats to tie people's shoes together, or hiding their book bags, or throwing shit at cars, there was always something to do to alleviate the stress of the day or to inflict misery on the kids who you hated in school. And I admit that I did more than my fair share of making people miserable.


I didn't start out acting like a total asshole. I started off slowly, trying to gauge how much I could get away with and determining what the other kids on the bus would laugh at. I wasn't a big kid, so I wasn't a bully and didn't want to be one, because I still remembered what it was like to be one of the younger kids. I was a smartass and enjoyed pissing off people that I didn't like. Whenever I'd see people that annoyed me and was forced to be around them, it would ruin my day. I figured it was only fair to make them as miserable as they were making me. So I began to concentrate on doing just that.


There was one girl in particular who I couldn't stand. For the sake of privacy, I'll call her Sarah L. Actually, that's probably too obvious. I'll call her S. Little. I genuinely hated S. Little. She just bugged me to no end. Being a mean little snot, I naturally focused on her looks. I came up with the idea of giving her the nickname of "Shit-dusa." The thinking behind it being that - like Medusa - S. Little was so ugly that if you looked at her, you would turn to shit. Looking back on it, the insult was a little convoluted, but not a bad effort considering I was in the 5th grade. To make sure everyone on the bus (like the 1st and 2nd graders kids) wouldn't have any qualms about adopting the new nickname for S. Little, I changed it to Poop-dusa, so no swearing was involoved. Not to brag, but it was a smart move because the nickname stuck and was a rousing success.


Then one day, Poop-dusa's mother came to my house to tell my mom how mean I was to Poop-dusa. And my mom, in spite of herself, laughed when she heard about the nickname. That was all I needed to realize that my actions on the bus had no real consequences. My confidence grew and my behavior worsened. I mean, I was expecting to be grounded, but all I had to do was stop using the nickname. That was fine by me; my mission had already been accomplished. It's like a guy starting the wave at a baseball game. Once the the wave catches on, it doesn't matter if the originator stops participating in it – the wave continues without him. Poop-dusa was my wave and I couldn't have stopped people from using that nickname even if I had wanted them to. (Which I didn't.)


After being told to lay off of Poop-dusa, I decided to set my sights on a bigger target. Literally. There was a kid on my bus who always bullied a lot of the younger kids. This kid was a year older than me and fat as fuck. He easily outweighed me by a hundred pounds and had a few inches on me as well. He was always disheveled and sweating. Joey was just a gross looking, baby gorilla of a middle schooler.


I decided to take a different approach in dealing with Joey. I would make fun of him and bug him until he reached his boiling point. He would then try to come after me and beat me up. I would jump over seats to avoid him and yell for the bus driver to get her attention. She would see Joey trying to fight me and would get him to stop. If he didn't listen and got a few punches in, she'd make him sit in the front of the bus for a few days. The punches hurt, but it was worth it to get Joey so frustrated and to see all the kids on the bus laugh at him for getting in trouble.


Joey wasn't stupid and quickly realized my intentions and would do his best to ignore me and not play into my trap. That just meant that I had to work harder at pissing him off. The usual stuff about his weight and sloppiness wasn't working on Joey; he'd heard all of it before and was becoming indifferent to the insults. I decided to throw a Hail Mary: I told Joey that my uncle was a cop and that the police were looking for a suspect with a belly button so big that a fist could fit inside it. I then quickly assured Joey that I wouldn't rat him out and that he could trust me. I had finally hit a nerve. Apparently Joey was sensitive about the size of his navel and he was pissed. No amount of yelling from the bus driver got Joey to calm down. I was trapped.


Joey got some good licks in before the bus came to his stop. Personally, I thought I took more punches than I deserved and felt like I should get my money's worth from the beating I just took. So I waited as Joey lumbered toward the bus's door. As soon as he stepped off the last step and onto the street, I yelled out the meanest thing I could think of, as loud as I could, to make sure Joey heard through the open bus windows.


"The only person who has a thicker mustache than Joey is his mother!"


I had taken the nuclear option. I had just insulted his mother and brought attention to the recent appearance of an awkwardly out of place, mid-puberty mustache that Joey had not yet shaved off: the two Achilles heels of any teenage Italian boy.


The bus erupted in laughter and I turned to look out the window to see Joey's reaction and to gloat that I had gotten the final word and come out victorious from our battle. That is when I saw the steam come out of Joey's ears. He was seeing red and charged the bus like a bull. There were still kids piling off the bus when I had yelled my insult and Joey was literally tossing these kids aside so he could climb back up the stairs and kick my ass.


I shrieked instructions to the bus driver. "Close the door! Close the door! Oh, shit…GO! Drive! DRIVE!" But it was too late. Joey had made it back on the bus and was walking right towards me. Accepting my fate, I brought my knees up to my chest and covered my head with my arms as Joey beat the ever-living shit out of me.


After Joey's fists got sore he walked off the bus and the bus driver closed the door. "Why'd you let him back on the bus," I asked.


"I couldn't have stopped him," she explained. "Plus, you deserved it."

I really couldn't argue with that logic.


I don't really have an end to this story, but let's just say that I learned my lesson and never made fun of anyone else ever again. Except the handicapped. And less fortunate. And ugly people. And by ugly, I mean fat. And by fat, I mean chubby. And by chubby, I mean ugly.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

 

Jukebox Hero

I didn't need another reason to hate John Tesh, but he gave me one anyway: he nearly got me killed the other night because his music sucks so much dick.


My friends and I were at the Bench Pub and were in the midst of being overserved when we decided to pump some money into the jukebox. Naturally, we played our go-to songs: "Lido Shuffle," "Peg," and "What a Fool Believes." We also peppered our playlist with selections from Hall and Oates ("Private Eyes," so that we could employ the requisite single clap – double clap combo), Kenny Loggins, Journey, and other Yacht Rock artists. I know I'm biased, but I thought it was a kick ass string of songs and the best we could do with an internet jukebox that had a limited selection.


Then some dude who looked like the Numa Numa guy starts bitching about how much he hates the "Lido Shuffle" and that that he's never going to be able to get the song out of his head. Then, he has the audacity to rip on Michael McDonald by stealing a line from "40 Year Old Virgin" and warning us that if he hears "Ya Mo Be There" one more time he's going to "Ya mo" burn the bar down.


So I go back to the jukebox and play "Lido Shuffle" four more times.


Then I decided to search for "I Keep Forgettin'" by Michael McDonald. And two selections come up. The first was the exact song I'm looking for. The second was a cover version of the song by John Tesh's band, The John Tesh Project, off their album "Sax on the Beach." And it was an instrumental. I then realized what I had to do.


I picked a bunch of songs that my friends and I thought were funny, but that the majority of people would fine annoying. With one credit left in the machine and with one of the Lido Shuffle's still playing two guys come up to the jukebox to play some music. These dudes were hosses who didn't like they shared my sense of humor. They were more Larry the Cable Guy's kind of audience than they were Zach Galifianakis's.


"How many more songs you got left to pick?"


"I just have one left, then I'm done."


"No more gay shit, okay?"


"Uh, sure...no problem," I replied as I quickly deleted "WHAM" from the search field and replaced it with "Van Halen." I picked a "safe" song and returned to my friends at our table to wait for the crowd's reaction to my playlist.


After the last "Lido Shuffle" finally stops playing, the opening to "I Keep Forgettin'" begins.



And people throughout the bar start nodding their head to the song, pleased to finally hear a song they like. That is until they heard Michael McDonald's vocals kick in. Then they realized they weren't listening to "Regulators" by Warren G, and they didn't appreciate being tricked.


Then the version with John Tesh and his saxophone came on. And that's when the shit started to hit the fan.



The hoss starts to yell. "Is this Kenny Fucking G?" He was incredulous, so I decided not to correct him.

"I thought it said Warren G," I yelled back. "I don't read very well. Sorry!" It didn't quite get the laugh I was expecting. Hoss just shook his head and went back to throwing his darts. I had a feeling he wasn't going to like the rest of the songs I picked. They were as follows:

"Who Let The Dogs Out (Barking Mad Remix)" - Baha Men


I'm sure you'll agree that this remix is much better than the original version.

"Sanford and Son Theme" - Quincy Jones

This is one of the greatest TV theme songs in the world. Why wouldn't you want to hear an extended version of it?

"Since U Been Gone" - Kidz Bop

If you don't want to watch this video (which is understandable), be sure to at least fast forward to the 2:35 mark and check out the little Asian kid freak out after the Tiger does the splits. It's fucking great.

"I'm Real (Murder Inc. Remix)" - Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule

The only reason this song got chosen was because my buddy Willis has a man crush on Ja. For reals.

"Ven Conmigo" - Christina Aguilera


At this point half the bar started booing. It wasn't a good feeling. I began to wonder if I could be a victim of a hate crime even if I wasn't actually gay.

"Ya Mo Be There" - Michael McDonald and James Ingram

And with that, the Numa Numa guy took out a lighter, set a cocktail napkin on fire and dropped it on the floor. People were getting visibly irate and were at their breaking point. "You really played this? Really?" I felt like Pee Wee Herman after he knocked over all the bikes in front of the biker bar.

Luckily, like Pee Wee my last request came up on the jukebox and its non-gayness appeased the crowd and they spared me a beat down. And I didn't even have to dance on top of the bar! God bless Van Halen and their hit Panama and fuck John Tesh for even thinking he's on Michael McDonald's level and inspiring this bad idea in the first place.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

 

Alan Almond Alternatives

John Tesh sucks. If you've had the misfortune of hearing his nightly syndicated radio show you know what I'm talking about. It's the worst. He plays music you normally hear at the dentist office and in between songs gives news about "topics that are important to your life." Usually this involves providing retarded workplace and job tips like "when it comes to your resume, write down several career achievements that you’re proud of," or "to keep your workspace germ-free, wipe your keyboard down with Clorox wipes once a week and avoid eating at your desk. " Well no shit, Sherlock.

What's really frustrating is that in the Detroit market, Tesh's shit show replaced a radio show called "Delilah," which is one of the greatest shows in the history of radio. What makes it great is that Delilah doesn't intend for her show to be hilarious, but it always is. The show is geared towards middle-aged housewives who enjoy praying as much as they enjoy Celine Dion. These women call in to Delilah and share personal stories - which Delilah pretends to care about - and then dedicate a song to some long lost love or a relative close to their heart. The stories are usually great because they are so hillbilly, but the best part is that they always have Delilah pick the dedication song for them.

I haven't figured out if it is because these women are so stupid that they can't think of a fitting song, or because Delilah demands it because she sees herself as some expert at it. Plus, Delilah pretty much sucks at finding appropriate songs; it seems like she only plays "Amazed" by Lonestar or "Faithfully" by Journey. No matter
what the circumstances surrounding the dedication. It is pure unintentional comedy. And while John Tesh is definitely a joke, he just can't compete.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

 

Ramblin' Man

- Does anyone ever use the word "fascinating" anymore without being sarcastic? I know I don't.


- Next time you use the bathroom, flick the toilet seat towards you so that gravity takes over it falls onto the bowl without any further assistance. Then marvel at how it sounds like the gavel sound on "Law and Order."


- I just read an article about a lady who, while driving, accidentally ran over and killed someone on a bicycle and then fled the scene. Then a few hours later, she purposely ran into some random dude's car in a parking lot to cover up the damage from the original accident. I know it's wrong, but it pissed me off more when I heard about the second victim than the first. The first victim is dead and that's awful, no doubt. But the second guy is already miserable because he's in a Walgreen's running some bullshit errand, when his car gets fucked up. Intentionally. At least the lady didn't mean to kill the cyclist, but she wrecked this guys car on purpose. What. A. Bitch. Now this guy has to deal with his insurance company and her insurance company and with all the horseshit that comes with it. Ugh. I bet at some point the dude from Walgreen's wishes he was the one on the bike instead.


- Fuck snow. I hate shoveling it. I hate walking through it to get to my car. I hate driving in it. I hate brushing it off my car. And more than anything, I hate that no matter what I do, when I open the driver's side door, snow ALWAYS falls right onto my goddamn seat. Because sitting in a wet, freezing, seat is just awesome. Someone needs to invent something to prevent this from happening. And then give one to me for free. Because I deserve it.

- I was at a high school reunion last week and when people asked a friend of mine what he'd been up to he kept a straight face and replied with "Well I just became the night manager at Long John Silver." It was hilarious. I thought it was the greatest conversation ender ever. Then a few days later I heard somebody talking about how their doctor just told them that they were suffering from an irritated anus. That probably wins. Unless, you combine them.

Monday, December 01, 2008

 

Oh What's Up, Peg?

Back when the movie "Almost Famous" came out, I read an article on Cameron Crowe and he mentioned that ever since high school he's made himself a mixtape once a month. He would fill each tape with whatever songs he was listening the most to at that time. So each mixtape was a soundtrack to a specific time in his life. When I read this I immediately became mad at myself and jealous of him for coming up with such an awesome idea.

I haven't made mixtapes as nearly as often as Cameron Crowe, but I've tried to at least a few times a year. The results are enjoyable and I highly recommend it. Especially if you are anything like my friends and get stuck on songs and play them endlessly until we find a new one to glom on to.

If you were a part of my life at all this past weekend, it his very likely you heard one of the following songs. Because my friends and I played them non-stop. As far as I'm concerned, nothing can top these three songs. They are perfect. These songs were made to sing along to drunkenly and to party to. If you happen to have any of these on vinyl, then batten down the hatches, roll up your sleeves, and open a can of High Life, because you're about to party like it's 1977. And people in '77 didn't fuck around. You don't just grow the kind of mustaches they had back then if you're clean and sober.

For any skeptics our there: remember, that just like drinking, repetition is the key to enhancing your enjoyment. And if that doesn't work, then get bent.







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