Friday, August 12, 2011

I Took the Bait, Man.

This is my reply to a party invitation that I recently got on Facebook from people that I keep in touch with mostly because of Facebook.

August 19th.
Hmm, let me check my upcoming schedule for that week.

August 13th- I'll be attending a Jason Bateman look-alike-contest. This will be located somewhere near the Williamsburg Bridge on the Manhattan side that will make me feel old after I complain to a girl in an appropriately tight “Ithaca is Gorges” t-shirt that there’s a line to get into a bar that’s above a Burger King. This prompts a blank nod from her, which in turn piques my Bateman in “The Sweetest Thing” attempt at flirting with the line, “I think I once saw Grimace do a Jell-O shot at the Lansky Lounge.” She then will turn around and let out a wispy “cool,” while the kid behind me in a t-shirt and shorts who is eating a Bacon Double Cheeseburger asks me “What’s the Lansky Lounge?”

I’ll soon be pondering the fact that not only am I surrounded by 24 year olds who don’t remember a popular 90's bar that I went to in the early 2000's but I will have a realization that my participation in this whole Bateman Bonanza was an attempt to act like a spontaneous youth while dressing up like someone who is actually my age and would never be waiting on line to get into a dive bar with a rooftop view that only two people and Kate Moss can access at one time.

A cute 20-something girl with short brown hair and a small hoop earring in the middle of her lobe that levitates parallel to the ground like a halo will glance at me at the bar and flash me an Alicia Silverstone smile. “Alright, Hogan Family,” she'll say to me and we'll begin to chat for a while about things I won’t remember later as our eyes and smiles connect. We’ll start talking about music and she’ll tell me that Kings of Leon are better than U2 and I’ll laugh and say “I'm not sure that they're as cool as Arcade Fire but neither band could compare to U2 or the Police.” “The Police, huh. My dad used to sing Roxanne to me when I was a kid,” she’ll say while she pokes me in the chest and laughs in a mocking, yet adorable way that will make me want to make out with her more.

“Really, your dad sounds pretty cool. Is he Eddie Murphy?,” I’ll say as I inch closer to her and gently rub circles into her lower back before she closes her eyes and grabs my hand. “Who’s Eddie Murphy?” she asks with a quizzical look on her face.” “Wait, really. You know the Hogan Family but you don’t know who Eddie Murphy is,” I’ll say while shaking my head. She’ll then smile and say “Of course I know who Eddie Murphy is. My older brother had “Raw” on DVD and we used to get Hogan Family reruns on channel 5 where I grew up. It’s no Family Ties but I did have a brief crush on Jason Bateman as a girl. You know before my Pacey phase.” We both laugh and I’ll say “Alright, we can go on.”

"Pictures of You" by the Cure will then start to play in the bar as if my own iPod was being used to facilitate our affection. Her eyes will light up to the song, (which reminds everyone of being a teenager, even if you are still a teen when you first hear it) and we will make out briefly but passionately until she receives a text from a friend in Brooklyn and her attention spans another borough as she apologizes and tells me she has to go.

Before leaving, she’ll stick her hand in my pocket and grab my license out of my wallet and say “Holy Fuck Hogan Family. I thought you were 30 tops.” “I know. I am 40. I can’t even say 40 yet. I still feel 32ish. Consider me 38 and 24 months. ” “32ish. Aww. That’s cuteish,” she‘ll say while pouting naturally with her lips and eyebrows and rubbing my hand. I will take her number in my phone and then blow her a kiss with my eyes as if I’m saying goodbye to my twenties along with her. Then I will make a pledge to avoid the Lower East Side for a while and realize that she didn't pick up on the fact that I was clearly dressed as if I was in Arrested Development.

For a moment, I’ll worry if being single at 40 has put me in my own state of arrested development. My youthful appearance can be a passport to blend in to the young, single post-college New York bar scene that I no longer belong to or have the patience to be in (without a couch to sit on.) Then, a few guys in my age range who look like they came out of their mother’s womb with a conservative side part and a pair of khakis will pass me and make me wonder if they even had to try to capture Bateman’s uptight, stick-up-the-ass character in Couples Retreat. I won’t stand a chance in the Jason Bateman contest but will head out the bar and back towards Houston St. while wearing a confident grin as I whistle Peter Bjorn and John’s “Young Folks” and quickly untuck my polo shirt from my pants.

August 14th- I'll be lamenting my loss at said contest while going about my day but I will stop suddenly while crossing the street to sigh when I see two buses go by that have billboards on them for Bateman’s latest films Horrible Bosses and The Change-Up.

August 15th- I will be over my poor showing as Jason Bateman and will sit with my laptop at Starbucks and notice that the man sitting in front of me is actually French Director Roman Polanski. Apparently, he too appreciates the sweet goodness of the mocha frappucino, except he will voraciously devour his frosty beverage and try and lick the whipped cream mustache off the corners of his mouth with his tongue, which makes me push my drink to the side in disgust.

I’ll want to tell the young Asian girl sitting across from him to grab her smoothie and run and I’ll attempt to motion to her as she turns around with not so subtle head jerks to the left. This will prompt her to stare at me and then pick up her drink and leave. She won’t know it but I might have saved her from a painful night of Quaalude-induced anal sex with a creepy old French auteur. I’ll have my Polanski spotting confirmed when I see him using a pay phone on the street (I mean who uses a pay phone anymore besides international fugitives and crazy people who talk to cheese.)

August 16th- 17th - I'll be depressed due to the rainy weather and the general monotony of life and sleep most of the daylight away before emerging from my apartment cocoon to perform my duties as the dog's chauffer around the block. For dinner. we'll both eat what is left of the slightly soggy Corn Pops I bought on the 12th in anticipation of my victory at the Jason Bateman look-a-like contest.

August 18th- I'll wake up to a beautiful day and a narrow glimpse of the blue sky through my bathroom window will put a skip in my showering and I’ll sing a medley of Bryan Adams' 80s hits that I have continued to sing on occasion since junior high. I will mangle the lines seamlessly from “It Cuts like a Knife” to “Somebody” to “Summer of ‘69” as my dog pays no attention. I will later compliment random women in the street on their smile or hair style as I walk with a strut to my step. I will bump into a 40-something divorced woman in the hallway of my building who always seems over-stressed but still manages to look good in a sun dress.

I’ll spontaneously avoid my natural spider sense to not get involved in a neighbor’s life and offer to take her ten year old son (that I nod what’s up to whenever I pass by him) to a movie at the theater across the street sometime. I’ll be surprised when she hands me twenty dollars and shouts his name. We’ll watch Mr. Popper's Penguins in a theater filled with divorced dads and stroller moms where we will laugh together every time the penguins slip away from Jim Carrey's grasp. Then I will take him for ice cream and home to his appreciative mother where she will thank me and smile at me sheepishly.

She’ll show up at my door an hour later with a bottle of wine and proceed to tell me her whole girl from the Midwest-meets NYC guy who becomes lawyer and proceeds to spend more time with clients than with her as she spends more time as an emergency room nurse with doctors who she hates and patients that she loves- and they both end up screwing other people and fucking up their marriage- life story. Inevitably, we end up finishing the bottle and having sexually frustrated single mom Monster's Ball style sex for the next few hours until we both crash curled up together like a Rubix snake.

August 19th- I will awake to find a Post-It note stuck to my ass telling me that she had fun and that I’m sweet but it would complicate her life too much right now to see someone who lives in her building. I’ll think she’s right and admire her penmanship before noticing a belly ring on my floor and a hickey on my neck and stomach. I'll then brush my teeth and go back to sleep for the next 6 hours or so before taking a long shower and going to the local diner to get an egg sandwich.

At this point I’ll be feeling unusually relaxed for a 40 year old man with the neck of a teenager. I'll remember that I have this party to go to and will text my friend that I’ll be there around 9. At home, I’ll turn on the TV and notice that The Sweetest Thing is on, which not only marked the comedic film comeback of Jason Bateman but Christina Applegate as well. “Now she is the sweetest thing,” I will think to myself, as I realize that instead of texting my friend, I texted the girl from the bar. I’m too relaxed to ponder her response and feel a well-deserved nap coming on, so I set my alarm for an hour. As I lean back on my pillow and thank the god of late afternoon weekend naps, I’ll notice Jason Bateman doing a damn fine cover of The Bangles’ Eternal Flame. As the credits begin to roll and my eyelids try to close, I’m as comfortable as I can be.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lazy things are afoot at the 7-11

Most crack heads love two things, smoking crack and finding more crack to smoke. But I have noticed in my limited travels on my nightly dog walks within a few blocks from my apartment that a crack enthusiast will always take time out from his busy crack scavenger hunts to stop whatever he is doing (i.e. muttering to the woman behind the counter at the bodega while she has her back turned that she should stock up on Dr Pepper and string cheese) and point out to you how cute your dog is with childlike innocence. I guess sometimes crack isn't always whack.

Sometimes, for a brief moment it can aid in reaffirming your belief in humanity and remind you of the love you have for a pet that gives you unconditional affection. This is the kind of drug that Huey Lewis sang about, the kind that makes a man without a home find momentary solace in the cuteness of a Daschund’s seemingly soulful eyes.

Of course after such an encounter with a crack head you’ll want to wait at least three minutes after he leaves the store you're in before you exit it, because he'll probably toss a dead pigeon at you and steal your wallet and your cute ass dog so he can trade them for more crack.

Tonight I ventured into a 7-11 near me and even though there has been 7-11s in Manhattan for around six years or so, I had my first 7-11 suburban/ college town moment. As I waited on line to buy my late night essentials (paper towels, contact lens solution and a Naked Green Machine smoothie) I noticed a college age Asian stoner with long hair and a tie-die shirt (looked like he was an extra in the movie PCU) behind me who offered to give my dog a bite of the half-eaten breaded chicken cutlet that he was holding in his hand.

He wasn’t on line behind me. He was just standing behind me eating a breaded chicken cutlet with a wrapper nowhere in sight that I could only hope he bought at the store (only a college stoner would bring his own food to a 7-11 just to use their microwave.) After I kindly explained to the dude (if you’re a member of the male gender hanging out in a 7-11 at 3 am eating a chicken cutlet that looks like it came from a vending machine in your dorm, dude is the only term that can be used to describe you; as opposed to man or gentleman or aristocrat) that my dog is on a low protein-high kibble diet. I nodded to the dude and then to the dog and rushed home to satisfy my own smoothie addiction( or as close as you can get to rushing while walking a dog that needs to stop every five feet to check its mental Blackberry to decide if the spot needs to be peed on or not.)

Now that close encounter of the idiotic kind would never happen at my local bodega, as the Koreans who run the place would not stand for a stoner loitering in their store. I respect that though. Those men work so many hours, I’m sure they sleep standing up at the register. They always recognize me and other regulars in the neighborhood and are nowhere near cold or constantly leery of being robbed like they are portrayed in black gangster movies of the 90s. On the flip side, a homeless crack head would never linger in a 7-11 too long.

The ridiculously bright florescent lighting that’s about as aesthetically pleasing as the inside of a high school class room bothers their eyes much the same way it would affect a vampire or a magwai (When was the last time you saw a vampire in a movie or a TV show eating beef jerky?) When it comes to awkward interactions with the general public that I can’t avoid while walking the dog, I’ll take a homeless crack head any day of the week over an NYU college stoner. It is dudes like that who give the majority of the civilized, occasional marijuana smoking population a bad name. I can’t think of anything more whack than eating a chicken cutlet out of a 7-11 microwave. For Christ’s sake those microwaves only have one setting. Hot Pocket.

If you had told me in 1994, that I would one day pay $3.99 for a beverage that contained blended fruit, broccoli, spinach and blue green algae, I would ask you to pack the pipe with more green algae so we could smoke the rest of it. You know you’re over 35, if you’re only addiction in life is a smoothie. To put this in perspective, the only reason I might watch porn more often than I drink these Green Machine smoothies is that porn is free and the Green Machine Smoothies are $3.99 for a 15 ounce bottle. I don’t know what kind of hidden ingredient (probably sugar and caramel) they add to the Green Machine smoothies to make them so good and I don’t care. It’s also an added bonus that they are named after the greatest present I have ever or will ever receive.

The Green machines were to Big Wheels in the late 70s what BMW’s were to Buicks. Sure they both had a seat that you sat on and two big wheels that you manipulated by peddling, but there was something cooler about the Green Machine. You felt like you knew what it was like to be the Six Million Dollar Man on a Green Machine. On a Big Wheel, you felt like you were Richie Cunningham.

For most of my childhood and into my adult life I have been more of the Richie Cunningham /Herman’s Head/Chandler/Whiny Doctor on Scrubs who amazingly found the time from working in a hospital, pining over a cute but neurotic doctor and seeking the approval of his boss and cool, black best friend to date beautiful women /Ted from How I Met your Mother type. But when I was on my Green Machine, I was the Steve Austin/Fonzie/Jim Rockford/Burt Reynolds type, even though I was 7 and ran home for dinner whenever my mom shouted my name out the front door. As I made sharp turns with my friends on the cul-de-sac and I gripped the handles, I could imagine myself moving in slow-motion while wearing a red jump suit as Jamie Summers waited for me on my driveway with lemonade and a frozen Charleston Chew. As Archie Bunker used to sing on TV when I was a kid “Those were the days.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mounds has a heap of issues

Mounds is Almond Joy's red-headed step child. Mounds was never picked to play in any candy bar reindeer games. If Mounds was an elf, it would be the one who wanted to be a dentist. Even the Clark Bar gets more action at a bowling alley candy machine than Mounds. Parents who put Mounds in trick-or-treat bags usually wind up having their house egged.

Mounds has struggled its entire life to break away from its co-dependent relationship from Almond Joy. Mounds shows up to work with bruises on its ridges and tells a co-worker that it fell down the stairs. Mounds hears Almond Joy coming home drunk late at night angrily fidgeting with the keys at the door and begins to shake.

Mounds grew its hair long and died it blacker in high school and would lay in bed listening to The Smiths' “How Soon is Now” and shout the line “I am human and I need to be loved” in an overly dramatic way to get attention, even though no one was home. Then it would cut its side very precisely until its inner coconut bled out slightly and it could finally feel like a nut.

As children, Almond Joy got an indoor car racing track set for Christmas one year and all Mounds got was some Tinker Toys. In gym class, Almond Joy would team up with the Twix twins to run near Mounds and toss the ball as many times as they could to it in “Kill the Carrier.”It even got teased for being too dark by tootsie rolls which prompted Almond Joy to give it the nickname "Dikembe," which stuck through all of 8th grade.

Almond Joy lost its virginity freshman year of high school to a Blondie in the backseat of her white Volkswagen Cabriolet Convertible after getting her drunk on Bartles and James wine coolers; while Mounds was tricked into playing seven minutes in heaven in a closet with Twizzler black licorice who laughed at it for not knowing how to French kiss.

Don’t judge Mounds too harshly for its lack of a spine(or hard candy shell). If you were told you would never accomplish anything over and over again for 40 years, you too might wind up in a dead-end job with a girlfriend who is 30 pounds of nougat overweight and takes you for granted while she's cheating on you with a Watchamacallit. When it comes right down to it, Almond Joy's got almonds. What does Mounds got? Mounds got “Don't.”