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Showing posts with the label Adulting

216. Identity Theft

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Before the fated year of our lord 2020, we had built a life of our own. We had made things, signed off on things, cleared our schedules of things to make space for other things, organized things, arranged things, got recognized for things. Dammit we did the things! We had a life. We were actually pretty proud of our lives.  All agency has been lost since then. All we are known for in our town is this pair of dog-forsaken animals. They're not even that well-made. Our first vet told us that they are "structurally off". One of them is a biter and a blepper. The other is a serial licker and has a literal hole in her head.  That's our current legacy in our hood.  And this is a true story, as we were walking out of a musical event in downtown Kalamazoo, we overheard a kid calling us the Chihuahua People.  Our reaction in real life was more like this:

214. Party Animals

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Before 2020 we were normal people. We never even considered having a small dog, let alone two. As the coronavirus raged, we found ourselves in a narrowing corridor that led to the acquisition of the weirdest, most undogly of beings. I still don't understand their place in the universe, which works out well because I don't understand my place in the universe. One time, as a youngster, my friends and I were inexplicably burdened with the care of a peer who had ingested copious amounts of LSD. Those harrowing hours are the closest I've ever been to what my current life is right now. These beings oscillate between trying to murder your face and being the most adorable things I've ever held.  They go berserker mode on animals 10x their size. They drop down and ask for belly rubs, posing like hairy French girls. These are unknowable beings.  We have less friends now that we did before COVID. Is it because of COVID or our monsters? Social distancing or simply avoiding the '

203. Catmageddon

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Last fall, we had a problem with our cats. There was an absolute stench in my basement and we couldn’t pinpoint it. We then made a huge mistake and probed deeper. We bought a black light flashlight and discovered what true horror looks like. We can’t tell if it was cat urine, or blood or ectoplasm, but the light shone bright EVERYWHERE.   Sometimes when you have a problem, you seek out the root cause and control for it. Sometimes you use a shotgun to solve it. That’s what we opted for. We bought a carpet cleaner, changed the litter and scrubbed everything the cats owned. My flamethrower idea wasn’t disregarded as quickly as usual. Things seem better now, but we can’t tell what exactly worked. Or perhaps we have COVID and can’t tell. That’s the problem with shotgun solutions, you never know what bullet hit the problem in its stupid face. Extra panel: My theory on how the cats got pee up the walls.  

195. Complimental

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One time, after a long presentation I gave at work, a coworker took me aside and told me that she loved how simple my mind was. One ex-girlfriend once told me that I was a great boyfriend because finally she wasn't punching up in the looks department. Last weekend someone congratulated me for wearing a mask at a concert, even though they were "useless". Keeping in mind the infrequent compliments I get, it is quite striking the high proportion of them that are poorly disguised insults.  How about you, dear reader, do you have any notable examples of this? Sound off in the comments, lest I am left with the feeling that I'm the only human subjected to this tribute torture.

191. Mr. Fix-It

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I'm not what most humans between the age of 18-75 would call "handy." Sure, I've fixed my dishwasher and my laundry washer a few times; but only because I really, really need those things to work. And I muttered ‘righty, tighty lefty, loosy’ the whole time. And there's always extra pieces when I'm done, which I contribute to the special drawer we all have but don't talk about. I have severe drill anxiety (Freud just raised a very judgmental spectral eyebrow). I mean, if you somehow screw up the location of your drilling, those holes aren't going to un-drill themselves are they? And what do you fill those holes with if you mess it up? Elmer's glue? Coconut Oil? Nobody taught me these things. My dad taught me how to program in Basic and my Mom taught me unconditional love. None of those things prepared me for this whole growing up scam.  I do have to give it up for YouTube though. I'd have negative handiness if it weren't for those how-to vid

187. Level Field

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Greetings, readers! It is 2021. We have evicted the worst tenant of the White House, we are vaccinating millions of people a week and everything is getting better! Except me. I’m still a lousy husband.  I’ve been a bit worse, since I’ve been working on a vaccination clinic in my town. It’s the hardest, most stressful task I’ve ever done. And I can’t have enough of it. Unlike many of my previous roles, what I am accomplishing is immediately observable: Shots in Arms. It’s way better than my typical reward of “someone may eventually use this knowledge to on occasion do something potentially useful.”  This makes me understand doctors and nurses a bit more. It’s hard to not be a workaholic when what you do is help people stay healthy. It also makes me understand burnout more. I’ve worked 3 weeks with two and a half days off. And I’m itching to go back tomorrow. This is unsustainable, and it will change soon, but I can see why it’s hard to stop. As for my marriage, it will be fine. We are l

182. Revenge

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Time is a flat circle. It's dizzying how things come back at you, like that nasty rash in your nether-regions. Speaking of rashes, let's speak about mothers. My mother and I can irritate each other every once in awhile. I say this with full candor, but armed with the certainty that this happens to all relationships. Specially to the earliest relationship you've ever had. For example, I get irritated at her continuous concern for my wellbeing; she gets irritated at my manic driving down the wrong lane while swerving to the music. It's maddening. And yet, I am a huge momma’s boy. In another dimension that may be an insult, but if you ever met my mom, you’d probably understand. She is intelligence, humor, courage, humility all rolled into one. I’ve spoken at length about it .  I know not everyone had a role model of a mother, and I understand that. For those people I hope that they find someone who loves them unconditionally. We all deserve that, an ardent, blistering, con

163. Lost and Found

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I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Things before Roxanne had their place. It’s just that I favored pragmatism over aesthetics. Shoes were strewn near the door, keys were in the previous day’s pants waiting to be swapped out and the cheese knife lived with the cheese in the fridge.  I believe everything should have its place. At least generally, I believe in that. I also believe that life would be boring if everything was always in its place! Do you know how many unrelated things I’ve found in the pursuit of my keys, wallet or shoes?  Half eaten candy bars, photos of a life that doesn’t exist anymore, cards, college diplomas, quarters, all kinds of things surface when you start unearthing. On the opposite side of the banal, we have to talk about the current state of events. Just like with many of you, I have been moved to action to support the BLM movement. I completely agree with their pains and the root cause of a society tainted with systemic and institutionalized racism. As

154. Unmasking

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The whole mask situation has been a little confusing. The CDC told you not to wear them at the onset of this pandemic and others have urged you to do the opposite. So what gives?  Dr. Price , with his sexy oval face (like yours truly), mentions what I believe is the main benefit of getting a mask:  It will train you not to touch your face. That's the main way he believes we are getting this disease in the community. How many of us just now realized how often we touch our stupid faces? Having a mask will bring awareness to that behavior, and prevent skin to skin contact. I work in healthcare so I understand why the CDC recommended not using them at the outset. We are in a PPE crisis. There are not enough masks to protect the people who really need them, the front line caregivers. Urging everyone to wear masks at the beginning of this pandemic would have further disrupted that flow. If we couldn't get our toilet paper hoarding under control, just imagine the far more pre

151. Plagued

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Generations before us had widespread worldly wars, warm and cold.  Today feels like the anxious times we were told we were fortunate not to have. And there is some beauty to it. My friends and family are losing their jobs. My job has become incredibly stressful and demanding (I work in healthcare).  Our parents and grandparents are at risk. This is some scary stuff. So it feels bad to make light of this situation. I am going to, but only because I am an idiot who doesn’t know how to cope with things. There is something about this current ambiance that I am responding well to. There’s something to knowing everyone is going through anxiety together that I find comfortable. I always feel guilty for feeling anxious with such a privileged life. I have met the love of my life, I’ve achieved some economic success, and I get to do the things I enjoy. Guilt about anxiety, begets anxiety, begets guilt, begets anxiety. Today, though, I can feel that we are all vibing similarly. And we are h

150. Waiting for you

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Isn’t it weird how there’s always someone waiting at the bottom of the pit?  I know this is a snarky, cynical look at recovery but... I  don’t actually have a but, I’m just an a-hole sometimes. I don’t really care that people need culty things to help them get out of rock bottom, it’s that they become super annoying about it. Every person’s path is so completely different, what one person is lacking is not comparable to what most other fellow humans are lacking. And yet, you always get that guy that “Bro, do you even lift”’s you. Or that person that assures you, their church is different, their church is the true path. Or that guy with the five o’clock shadow that swears that focusing solely on work took him out of his despair. No Chad, I don’t think going to the gym 6 times a week is going to solve this ennui that I feel right now. This transitory feeling that life is just an experiment conducted by an AI simulation and I am in the control group, yeah I don’t think I can jus

142. Topsy-turvy

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Uncertainty is a way of life for me. At work, I don’t assume I know the right way to proceed. Because I don’t. All I know is what  has worked in the past, under different circumstances, with different people. That’s not enough for me to be like, “yeah, this is what needs to be done.”  And yet, many leaders I have met exude certainty. And for some of them, it works. They sell me on their vision and their tactics and I gladly serve that higher purpose. The true test for me is when they screw up, which will happen to everyone. This will be the mark of a true leader. Will they respond to data and change course? Or will they produce a Friends spinoff feauturing Joey? That’s why I can’t stand President Trump. He is not one to show uncertainty. He has never admitted to being wrong. He never changes course. I have no faith in his ability to learn and adapt. From the very beginning, I would not follow this guy to an open bourbon bar.  Sometimes I envy the simplicity of knowing

140. Phases

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A lot of the people I grew up with say that there's no racism in Venezuela. Somehow, they reached adulthood and failed to notice the lack of representation of non-light-skinned people. The paler the pigment the more you'd be seen in a leadership position (admittedly anecdotal observation on my part). The beauty queens, our second most famous export, didn't fit the mold of the majority of Venezuelans. They tended to be lighter in complexion. Incredibly racist jokes abounded in my private school, spread with gleeful ignorance (and the security of not having many people of color around us to hear them). Chavez rallied the poor, and the poor were dark skinned. Chavez supporters were called "ugly", "monkeys", and many more names. I am not a supporter of Chavez, but I can see how he coalesced his army. The study referenced in this article , puts Venezuela smack dab as the most racist country in the Americas. The question in this survey was someth

139. Army Rejects

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Roxanne and I joined the Salvation Army once. We thought it would be fun to be ringing that bell and  get money for charity. And it was fun, initially. We didn’t know anything about the organization, so we started googling the organization. One of the most salient characteristics of this organization was their religious based tenets. This is how they feel about homosexuality, and this is AFTER finding themselves in hot water about the issue:    “The Bible teaches that God's intention for humankind is that society should be ordered on the basis of lifelong, legally sanctioned heterosexual unions. ... A disposition towards homosexuality is not in itself blameworthy nor is the disposition seen as rectifiable at will. ... Homosexual practice however, is, in the light of Scripture, clearly unacceptable. Such activity is chosen behaviour and is thus a matter of the will. It is therefore able to be directed or restrained in the same way heterosexual urges are controlled. Homosexua

136. Maturity

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I never said I was a mature person. Sometime in the middle of this anxiety around a new job and new responsibilities, this moment came and brought me more joy than you can imagine. Yes, dear readers, the name of my city has a phallic acronym. The good old City of Kalamazoo is the COK. I know, my fortune knows no bounds. I absolutely have not stopped thinking about this since it happened. Here are a few of my favorite usages: "The COK shrinks in size during the winter months." "The COK has grown in the past few years." "The COK was erected in 1829, thanks to Titus Bronson." "The COK is full of pharmaceuticals." "The COK is no stranger to humidity." "When you think of the COK, think of beer." Please feel free to indulge me with your ideas in the comments! I even made a shirt to commemorate this righteous moment in our history. Extra Panel: It looks like this

133. Dreams

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I used to have epic dreams. Metallic sharks following me in an infinite pool of geometric impossibilities. Multi-night adventures that had a cohesive plot. I even had a dream diary to document my recollections from the world's best cinema, my giant head. Then came college. My dreams started to be taken over by earthly worries. Dreams of being unprepared for exams persist until this day. Dreams of  rejection and ridicule proliferated. Every once in a while I'd dream about high adventures on the seas of Orpheus, but less and less. Cut to adulthood. I dream of going to the DMV. I dream about forgetting to pay my license registration fee on time (and I still forget). I dream about buying necessary things, not even exotic things like a domesticated snow leopard or an ebony moog machine. This dream about buying razors was the last straw. My brain wants to be boring and I need to fight it. I'm going to read fantasy, watch adventure movies and play video games until bed t

132. Warning: Adult Situations

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Nobody tells you about the awkwardness. When your messy personal life collides with your orderly adult life, sparks can be generated that ripple through your existence. Like the time nudity escaped the censors at YouTube in the video playlist I was displaying in my wedding. Or when kids swear like a sailor after perhaps 2 minutes with my wife and me.   Having condo meetings, being in a board, having a trust, paying off my student loans. These are incredibly adulty things that feel alien to me. And yet, we are doing these things. The me from 5 years ago would be like “what? no, stop!”  I couldn’t be more proud of us though. We are doing the things. We are continuously confused, but we are doing the things.   Is privilege a big (huge) part of where I am right now? You betcha. And I do feel guilt. Only by giving back, my time and money, do I feel a little bit less guilt. In a perfect world, everybody should be allowed the freedom of choice and the support I had throughout my

130. Hair

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Nobody tells you about the hair. I have been bald or balding for over twenty years. My drains have never clogged. Since moving in with the love of my life about one year ago, I’ve collected enough strands of hair from my bathroom drain to refurbish a couch. I don’t mind using the slithery yellow bathroom snakes, they make me feel useful. It’s one of the few things in cohabitating life that is simple. You push that thing in, you wiggle it in and out and you solve a problem. It’s no mistake that it sounds coital, you do this every once in a while and you achieve harmony. I wish I could snake my psyche the way I can snake some hair from my drain. I would snake those repressed high school memories and flush them down the toilet. Those awkward memories that make you flinch when they light your hippocampus? Wiggle them out. I would write a pseudopsychology book called “Snake the Brain” and make millions. This comic is evidence that I have no editing room. A thought pops in my brai

128. Connections

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When I went to grad school I had a great advisor. However, he once said something that I wasn’t able to understand at the time. He said that 90% of my success at work will be determined by my sociability, rather than the abilities I was learning in grad school. He went as far as making us read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” . I was appalled. I’m paying this guy like $1000* a minute for him to tell me that it will all come down to social skills?  He was absolutely, completely, entirely, and annoyingly right.  The tools and reasoning skills I learned in college have served me well, but they have paled in comparison to how my social skills have served me. Being able to make connections, humbling myself, expressing interest in others, those skills have allowed me to be a catalyst for change more often than the statistical and organizational tools I’ve learned.  So, Dr. Malott, you were right. And I appreciate the push you gave me early on to hone those

126. The Return of the Suit

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Yes, dear readers. I found a new job. I am an extremely lucky individual. I am lucky to have found a job doing pretty much what I was doing before (whatever that was), locally, and with a great group of people. Even during the occasional depression, anxiety and existential malaise I've experienced in my life, I've always known how lucky I am. I have a one in a million mom, a one in a million wife, a one in a million cat (Khaleesi), and one in a million friends. I also have to contractually acknowledge that I have another cat (Eris) and an immediate sibling. When this unemployment journey started, man, I had a plan. I spent a portion of the day learning, a portion of the day exercising, a portion of the day applying for jobs and interviewing. That lasted maybe a week. As certainty about my new job increased, I began to regress to a twenty year old version of myself. By now, I'm close to buying cases of Lebatt Blue and sending drunk ICQ messages. (Ask your grandpa if y