April 14, 2011

Mi compañera

"Where are you now, mi compañera?" I know where she is.

The best to happen to me, next to Ed McMahon letting me know I'd won a million dollars, all I needed to do was purchase 6 useless magazine subscriptions!, was/is/forever will be my wonderfully amazing and awesome wife. One of the greatest things about our relationship is that she's just as devious as I am, she just doesn't show it. This would come in very handy (and still does) because when we would go to a party or gathering of people, those who knew me better would watch me like a hawk to see what I was up to (still do actually, some people never learn to let things go). While they were busy watching me, Pam would go and do whatever mischief we had planned either before hand or once we had arrived. When they finally discovered what we had done they would know it was me, but couldn't blame me because they'd been watching me the whole time. I would do my part to make sure it seemed like I was trying to act innocent and not be. It's more fun to pretend to be something you are than something you are not.

The best of these instances was the Cookie Incident. In Lincoln, Ne (if you've never been there, watch Children of the Corn and you'll get an idea what it's like to live there, that or Zombie Strippers) I came to have the reputation of making super awesome snicker doodle cookies. There was a potluck dinner we had to make something for, and I decided I would make my special cookies. If you don't know what a potluck is, here's the general idea: it's like going to the UN for a peace accord. You show up with the best thing you can think of bringing, only to find out that everyone else brought nothing but inedible junk. In the end you eat nothing and have to go home and make yourself dinner anyway. They can still be fun, as I'll show. Snicker doodles are rolled in sugar before you cook them, and at first I thought it would be funny to roll them in salt instead, so that it would be just enough that you could taste it but not like eating that horribly misnamed strawberry play-doh, which tastes nothing like strawberries. Now if you were to mix play-doh, dog treats and strawberry flavoring together you might get something that tastes like strawberry flavored triscuts. Then I decided against it. I had mischief on my mind and would not be deterred, and so set my brain about thinking up something wicked and evil to do to these poor innocent leaches that brought things like week-old tuna salad in exchange for my awesome cookies. In a way, you could say I was Iran at this time.

As I sat in the darkness of my attic apartment, with the fires of my oven glowing behind me, my recipe laying in front of me. I could feel the demons of Bacchus, Hermes (not herpes) and Loki dancing about my apartment frolicking in the fumes of my otherworldly misl' as I videel the blank wall in front of me, a small seed of a thought was planted. At the outset I could feel it almost like a grain of sand between my toes that was there calling my attention every so gently like running your finger over the sharp blade of a knife, where the pain doesn't come until later. Slowly as it grew into conscious thought and filled the expanse of my head (which isn't much) I rolled my head back and began to let out a low and wily laugh, that started in the back of my throat, rolling over my tongue and past my teeth till the emanating sound filled my entire apartment. Outside I watched as mothers hurried their children indoors, drug dealers looking over their shoulder with an unnatural paranoia as if the boogie man himself were after them; in the distance the sound of warning sirens and the wails of the damned began to flit through the air as my laughter intermingled with them forming a tapestry where visions of their impending doom were interwoven for all to see and cry out in the agony of their souls as the futility of their position became apparent to their shrieking minds and soon blanketed the sky in blackness, overshadowing the sun and causing all within my realm to despair at my plan and plot for them. This laugh, oddly, reminded me of my high school math teacher. He would laugh like this occasionally during class. We were very well behaved when he would do this.

This wonderfully deciduous and malinki idea far surpassed any previous plans that came before in both brilliance, cunning, craftiness, deviousness and most importantly simplicity (I have yet to come up with one as brilliant or simple). I made up my cookies, making sure to pour in extra wholesome love, tenderness and care into them in the forms of spices and flavorings to make this the best batch of cookies that will have ever been made in the entire existence of the universe. I forbore my darker intentions from this initial mix of cookie dough, wanting only goodness, truth and prosperity to attend to my child that would soon bring destruction upon the unwitting taste buds of those foolish enough to trifle with my appetite.

The first batch of cookies were in fact the greatest achievement of my cooking career, and will likely never be surpassed. As I bit into one of them fresh from the cookie sheet I was transported into another realm of bliss and calm reassurances that nothing but peace and happiness would forever be my constant companions.

The time had come where the fruit was now ripe for the picking, and like death with his scythe I stood forth to hew down both those prepared as those caught unaware. It was then that I unlatched the door to the cage wherein my darkness lay, and unleashed the nightmare of a creature I had raised and tormented, locked behind bars thicker than redwood tree trunks, as nothing else would hold it back. The dark clouds of mischief and diabolical happenings began to swirl and foment from the tips of my fingers in a dazzling array of brilliant awfulness and spectacle that Barnum and Bailey have only dreamed of where emperors of the goons, freaks and geeks met to determine who would be supreme ruler of what we call earth. With the swish of my arms, the swirling of my cape and the taught stretch in my spandex evil-doer outfit my pernicious deeds were soon accomplished and I again unleashed my revelry in a torrent of wicked laughter that caused Charles Manson to weep in horror at the thought of what was coming for him and where such a thing might have come from.

When my now wife showed up at my apartment I was lazily relaxing on the couch as the rest of the batches of cookies cooked in the dark flavors of sin I had subjected them to. When she saw the cookies she got very excited (I told you they were good) and tragedy almost befell my beloved. As she reached for the blackness that lurked within the first batch of tainted cookies, I called out in panic and terror, throwing myself across the entire apartment (luckily I was still wearing my evil-doer outfit) I managed to place myself between her and certain doom (I could here death laughing his wicked laugh as he tried to double deal). The first thing she said to me was, "What on earth are you wearing?" then she wanted to know why she couldn't have a cookie (she gave me the sad puppy dog eyes and face). I then let her know of what had transpired prior to her coming over, and I directed her to the untainted batch of pure love and bliss that could forever unite the hearts and minds of all mankind if only they were allowed to be spread among all people. She ate one of these cookies in joyful rapture and wanted another, I told her we had to have enough to intermingle with the tainted to make the plan work.

She came up with her own addition to my plan. We bought some food coloring and once there we took pitchers of water and filled them, adding several drops of food coloring to make it look like punch. Have you drank what you thought was water, only to find out it's something like sprite? It's a pretty horrible experience, and that was the idea behind this part of the plan. Another friend of ours brought over some double-stuffed oreos and we proceeded to lick out the center of all of them. We were very sick by the end of this phase of our works of destruction. To make sure people were not fooled as to the intention of these now empty-double-stuffed oreos we even took bites out of a few and put teeth marks in almost all of them.

Then came time for the potluck. I quickly changed out of my evil-doer outfit and put on normal clothes (I still had the spandex on though, have you ever worn it? It's super comfy!). The tainted were mixed with the pure so that not even I could tell apart the one from the other. Once we arrived I helped to make the punch, making sure to keep my distance from the cookies, so as not to draw any attention to them.

The 'punch' was quickly discovered and replaced with real punch and regular water. The oreos were surprisingly a smash hit, even with no sugary center and bites taken out of them. I was more than a bit surprised at this.

During dinner I quietly sat and watched, waiting to see who would fall victim first to my malignant test of trust in fellow human beings. After about twenty minutes my patience was rewarded. I watched as at one table one of the occupants lauded the wonderful cookie they were eating. Having been told of the wonderful euphoric qualities the cookies offered, I watched as another at the table eagerly bit into their cookie. The look of utter horror, disgust and shock was priceless and can bring a smile to my face still, even in the darkest of times. The quietly and as nonchalantly as possible spit the bite of cookie out in their napkin. When asked, they quietly agreed with the other person that the cookie was marvelous (you could see them wondering what the other person was smoking). I watched this scenarios play itself out at almost every table, sometimes with someone going back for a second helping only to find that the first cookie was more of a dream than reality. Most people thought that some poor girl, being her first time away from mommy and daddy (it was with a group of college students) had inadvertently mistaken the sugar for salt, thus making these cookies that were not fit for the most vile, bottom of the barrel scum that ever crawled the face of the earth. I reveled in the anonymity provided by the potluck and would have escaped unknown to have defiled future potlucks without the knowledge of others if it hadn't been for the unfortunate encounter of a friend that was pouting because not only did he not get real punch, or real double-stuffed oreos, but he was also deprived from what he thought would be the crowning jewel of his dinner, the snicker doodle. As he pouted I couldn't hold it back anymore and began to laugh my same laugh. He used to be in the army, so this didn't phase him, instead indignation welled up in his chest and I was forced to flee the scene like the scoundrel that I am.

No one ever blamed Pam, nor our friend Jeff, for the oreos or punch, but they all remembered that I had tainted their cookies (after the first batch I conveniently added an extra cup of salt to the cookie dough).

To this day, I am blamed for all the ungood that comes from our mischievous escapades while those doing the finger pointing say that I have tainted Pam, if they think she has anything to do with it at all. It is a most convenient arrangement.

On another note, I'm awesome, but Pam's more awesomer and with our powers combined we are CAPTAIN PANERA!!!

April 5, 2011

What kind of fish are you?

I fill a sea ship theme going for the next few posts (by few posts I mean this one and the previous one).

For those who don't know, or don't care to remember, I'm a graduate student. It's not as exciting as some people seem to think it is. True, when all is said and done I will be a doctor, though not the kind of doctor you'll want around in case you need life saving support/skills. True, I was a boy scout (technically still am, but I don't tell many people that) so I know that if you get stung by a jelly fish I get to pee on you. That's the one thing boy scouts are really good at, peeing on things. That and blowing things up. Did you know you can make a can of campbells wholesome-goodness-soup into a full fledge campbells can of fiery-flying-death in less than five minutes? (I'm assuming someone, not a boy scout, already has a fire going) Batteries also don't mix well with fire and sometimes can be heard from over a mile away when they explode. Firecrackers and a slingshot seem like a good idea, but they're not. I think we can all safely say that the boy scouts are the second most reckless group of people on the planet. The first most being the US government (especially the military advisers) in all its glory. But yes, I will be a doctor, and I'll only have had to go to 14 years of college (not an exaggeration in my case-I was kind of stupid in some regards so it took me longer), plus once I'm done it'll be about another 3-5 years before I can apply for a position at a university. What's that you say, I'll be 40 and finally staring my profession of choice. That is true, which is why I have to be super-spectacularly-awesome by the time I get to that point. I still won't be awesome enough to save you if you're dieing, unless peeing on you or blowing up a can of soup will do the trick.

Beware the dread sea lice.

That'll scare your kids straight.

Child: "I don't want to take a bath!!!"

Parent: "Don't make me give the dreaded sea lice a call, I hear there's a lag in the work available near Somalia right now..."

Child: "Noooooo!!! I'll take a bath, see I'm even taking off my clothes right here in the street, so all you have to do is carry me inside kicking and screaming for all the neighbors to see, and I'll happily take a bath."

Too bad children learn you're lying to them before they're teenagers, you could definitely have some fun (at their expense). Captain Crunch is made from cardboard and tire irons, that's why it hurts to eat.

Yesterday I had a test in a class that is crucial for my research. It didn't go very well. I was given a blank copy of the test after and told to take it honestly at home. It took me five hours to finish. The really sad part is that someone finished, and did well, in 50 minutes. I told you graduate school was overrated.

I'm sad though, I appear to be losing my overseas friends somewhat by pointing them out. I think that's a sign I should stop. I've never been terribly great at picking up on signs. For example, did you know that getting hit by a car going about 30-40mph really isn't that bad?

A number of years ago at my undergraduate university, between classes I decided to go visit a friend who lived not far away. At the end of my visit I realized I was going to be late for my class, and so I took off. The traffic light where I would have to cross had changed red for me to cross before I was there. I probably could have just waited for it to change again and been fine, but in my mind I needed to get across the busy four lane street as fast as possible. I decided to wait until traffic stopped back where I was and then I would just run across the road. It was a brilliant idea and would have worked perfectly if it hadn't been for the left-turn lane in the center.

As I ran out between the two lanes of stopped cars I looked and barreling toward was a white chrysler le baron, okay I don't know what kind of car it was, other than it was a car with death on its mind. Two things went through my mind: 1) @#$(@#!!! 2) Jump. I did the second, instead of the first. I was thrown about 15 feet through the air, and almost made it to the crosswalk. The driver of the car was probably worried he was going to get sued for hitting a pedestrian, and got out frantically asking me if I was okay. In all of my brilliance I replied, "Sure, are you?" I was also trying to find my sandals that had been knocked off in the process of being hit and thrown through the air. I was not worried about possibly having a broken hip/leg (that's where the car actually made contact) which really hurt at this point, but rather I was trying to get out of there as fast as I could because I didn't want to get a jaywalking ticket. I've never claimed to be all that smart. Once I found my sandals I hobbled my way out of there as fast as I could.

I can't hobble very fast, especially in sandals where one is broken. Walking normally in broken sandals is a hard chore in and of itself. Doing it with an extremely sore leg is even harder. I was late for class, and it was more than a little hard to hide my limp.

Needless to say I never visited that friend again while he lived at that same place. Late we became roommates and would have wrestling matches in out living room. After the first wrestling match we learned to remove the furniture first.

If I were a fish I would be a land shark (not loan, but land).