Archive for the ‘shamery’ Category

chopsticksI have a confession to make.

I don’t–

Wait.  I should probably lay some groundwork.  I’ve got to build up to this.

I’m a pretty smart dude.  I’ve spent almost 85% of my years as a student.  I can do long division and F.O.I.L.1 I also played sports as a kid.  I’ve already mentioned my basketball days, but I played baseball, too, so I’ve got great hand-eye coordination.  And I’ve even played a bunch of instruments — violin, trumpet, harmonica, guitar — so I’m not club-handed; I can display gentle, controlled energy with these fingers.  When it comes to brushing my teeth, I exert the proper amount of pressure — enough to lift stains, not so much that I erode enamel — every single time.  Yet, there’s a skill that evades my grasp.

I do not know how to use chopsticks.

It feels weird admitting that.  I feel like I just told you that I’m completely incapable of surviving in this society, like a never-nude born into a nudist colony, or like Snuffleupagus, a mammoth from a time long passed, out of his element in the multicultural modernity of city life on Sesame Street.

Okay.  Yes: that analogy was forced.  But man do I miss me some Snuffleupagus.2

The point: all this “refinement” and I’m still skewing, stabbing, spearing and spilling any Chinese, Thai or Burmese food I eat.  Don’t even get me started on the atrocity that is me eating Vietnamese food.

Perhaps the strangest thing is that I own a set of 10 chopsticks.  They’re in the house all the time.  And so you’d think, free from the judging gaze of eatersby at adjacent tables, I’d practice practice practice until I got it right.  But it’s like I’ve already given up.

I hope we can still be friends.


1First, outer, inner, last (baby).  I even have the Urban Outfitters’ t-shirt to prove it.

2Did you ever know there’s a Disney World-like place for Sesame Street?  It’s Sesame Place.  It was amazing (and not just because it’s owned by Anheuser-Busch).


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Well, not you, kids.  I know I often call you “kids.”  But today I mean my facial hairs; aka neck-sprouts; aka my-stache support system.

My beard is gone.  And I better learn how to face it.

It’s a weird time to be beardless.  At least two dudes1 with blogs of the highest repute — 12minds and JP — are starting, not ending, beard campaigns.  November is National Beard Growing Month, partly to raise awareness for men’s health, mostly because dudes like growing beards.  And so here I am, swimming against the tide.

I had “good” reason.  Saturday was Halloween and we, as a spoof of HBO’s Big Love, were Big Black Love.  Sure: you could argue that taking a shot at an entire group of people — those who play Mormons on TV and in real life — is insensitive and divisive.  But since Mormon-celebrated Brigham Young once saw fit to aggressively preclude blacks from positions of power in the Church of Latter Day Saints, let’s just call this my attempt at a little balance.


I was a black Mormon and Miss Bianca was my wife-one-of-three.  For her costume, we spent a whopping $7.90 at a thrift store for some of the frumpiest clothes seen since Laura Ingalls Wilder adorned her mother’s hand-me-downs.

black mormon_For me, there’s a picture.  I don’t think it does our idea justice so lemme ‘splain.

No jewelry, contacts instead of glasses, backpack, super-pleated pants, gold-buckle belt, tie, name tag that read “Jebedias Pious,” The Big Black Book of Mormon and propaganda/spirituality cards that read either “Want God? We deliver,” “Ask me about our underwear,” or “More V for your P.”  I handed a few of these cards out; one to a lady in nun’s clothing at a nearby table who looked like she’d understand the joke on a deeper level.

But to top it all off, I shaved the beard for that fresh-faced, full-of-joy look.  Problem: I don’t even own a razor or shaving cream.  I only have trimmers and clippers since, like Tim Taylor, I believe in power tools.  So — *braces self for embarrassing admission* — I had to borrow shaving gear from Miss Bianca.  That meant a purple razor and Skintimate.  I’m not proud.  I mean, my face now shimmers with the glow of lavender oil.  At least it’s oh-so-touchable, though.

So I’m starting this month with a naked face; a face that hasn’t been truly naked in a year.  And it’s a cold, cold world like this, kids (this time I do mean you).  Sure: I look more “professional.”  But I’m also probably going to start getting carded all the time, now; even when I only ask for beer-battered cheese fries.


1Edit: Phampants is in, too. Anyone else?

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Note to criminals, creeps and their sympathizers: this post involves identifying info you could’ve found anyway by clicking on the “Contact” tab above and finding me on Facebook or Twitter.  That said, if you get any stupid ideas, you’d be surprised how easy it is to find you.

I used to be a Bugle Boy.  This isn’t a trumpet joke, although I did play the trumpet for 8 years and there is close-up video of me in my high school marching band on YouTube…

No.  Bugle Boy was a style; a lifestyle.  Okay: so it wasn’t a particularly original style.  Every dude I knew between the ages of 6 and 10 was a Bugle Boy, too.  If this is gibberish to you, imagine an entire line of pants and shorts for boys in the 80s built on tapering and elastic cuffs.  With me now?  Cool.

The clothing choices from my Bugle Boy phase have been left behind — way, way behind.  But as I dug through the attic this week while packing for the move, I found that some traits remain.

Take, for example, my 3rd grade report card:

report card

Inside that envelope is a whole list of subjects for which we were graded, complete with a smattering of relatively abstract grades like pluses, minuses, checks, etc.  It also has some pretty dead on balls accurate insight into the person I’d become.  For example, on the progress report, my teacher — Mrs. Lieberman — noted that I “thrive[d] on the rewards of a job well done” and that my duties as “computer director” brought me “great satisfaction.”  I read those parts a few times.  Not because they basically said I was natural-born-awesome at stuff, but because it meant we had computers in 1990.

But Mrs. Lieberman wasn’t perfect.  She made mistakes like we all do.  When grading my physical education skills with this rubric

report card 1she gave me these grades

report card 2Two periods of merely “satisfactory performance” in gym?  No way.  I was an all-star and everybody knew it.  But whatever: that I can get over.  What really sandpapers my balls is the “G” I got for exhibiting a “fundamental sense of rhythm.”

First, who even grades that?  I didn’t even know I was at risk for not passing the 3rd grade if I had two left feet and/or couldn’t find the downbeat.  But, more importantly: my fundamental sense of rhythm is EPIC, as in I deserved an “E” for “excellent performance.”  She cheated me and had I understood this report card and all of its insulting implications years ago, it probably would’ve stunted my emotional development.

Anyway, since this post has become a sweeping look back at my childhood, I guess I have to show a lame picture.  I found it in the same box with the old report card.  This is me on “Oral Biographies” day, when we had to dress up as the person who was the subject of our report.  I think I was supposed to be Scott Joplin.  You could never tell, though, because I just look like a black kid in a horrible suit with worse shoes¹ and no piano.

bio day (1 page)_________
¹ The photo is black and white, but the suit is LIGHT OLIVE GREEN and the shoes are red, black and white SNEAKERS.

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I just saw a commercial that reminded me that I haven’t told you something.

I am a fool.

As a fool, I commit a lot of dumbtrocities.  This is one of those stories.

I have a beard.  I haven’t always been bearded, though.  There were… awkward years.  Those are the years when a guy looks at his father, realizes he will one day also be able to grow a beard, but for the meantime decides to hold on ever so dearly to a few scraggly hairs littered across his face.  He looks a little like this:


You know these hairs as face pubes.  There are approximately seven strands of them and the dude who owns them lets them grow long enough to almost be mistaken for shoelaces, with the hope that seven really long hairs will trick hot chicks into thinking he’s just one last bout with puberty away from being a woolly mammoth in all the right places.

It was during this face-pubular time that I birthed my hatred of shaving.  Since I left high school, no razor — nor eight-bladed, Mach 5, razor-machine of death — has touched my face.  I have only used clippers, trimmers and one other method of facial grooming.

I have used…  I have used Nair.  There.  I said it.  Rather than carve hair off of my face with a razor, I once used Nair to remove my beard when I needed to look clean-shaven.

Have you ever Naired your face?  Maybe you have.  But I didn’t use the stuff Nair specifically makes for faces.  No, no.  I used the stuff Nair specifically tells you not to put on your face, because that’s all they had at the store.

I’ll just go right ahead and answer your question: of course it burned.  Secret deodorant is strong enough for a man but made for a woman.  Nair body cream is strong enough for back hair but likely to chemically burn your face.

Now, thank jebus, I was not permanently deformed by my own stupidity.  But it still stung pretty bad.  It was like stepping barefoot on a jellyfish… with my face.

Perhaps the dumbest detail of all is how recently I did this.  Let’s just say it’s recent enough that I’m going to keep that detail for myself, lest you think me so dumb that you don’t even come back to read tomorrow.

All I can say is at least it was Nair and not Nad’s.  Then I would’ve had to admit a time I put Nad’s on my face.

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We don’t pump our own gas (it’s illegal).  We have the driest wit in America.  We lovingly self-deprecate more times a day than you probably say words with the letter “e” in them.  Want proof?  The governor asked the citizens to create and vote for the state slogan.  You know what won?  “New Jersey, Come See for Yourself.

And yes, we’ve heard your jokes.  The armpit of America.  The plays on the fact that we’re literally the densest state in the country.  The smells.  The irony of our Garden State moniker.  The Sopranos/mafia quips.  Once, someone asked me, “What smells and is where people go to fail at life?”  I said, “Nursing home.”  He could barely stop giggling long enough to spit out, “Nope.  Dirty Jerz.”

So yeah, we got your jokes.  But we’ve been able to brush our shoulders off and ignore them, resting on our unwavering kickassedness.

That is, until now.

Now, we’ve had our hideous underbelly exposed by five women Bravo probably MetroNorth’d in from upstate NY or imported from Long Island.¹

I’m speaking, of course, of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.


Let’s get one thing straight: this, is not Jersey.

The Jersey I know is remarkably like a Kevin Smith movie.  Though confused if you don’t, it doesn’t care that you don’t like it.  And it certainly doesn’t parade — from right to left — a lady who won’t stop publicly talking in code about how “tightly knit” her “family” is like the mob’s anthem is a version of “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” three ladies² who’d multi-fail a remedial eating course and a woman (far left) that, frankly, after watching the 22-minute sneak preview, I just don’t like, as spokespersons.

The Jersey I know wouldn’t look at a glass already half-full with stereotypes and ask these broads to piss in it ’til full.  It’s a family thing.  We can say whatever we want about ourselves.  But we keep it in the circle.  You know what I’d do drunk?  A lot.  But you know what I would never do, even drunk?  Insult Jersey in mixed company.

I’m not counting these broads as “Jersey girls.”  That phrase is for a special kind of lady that these women wouldn’t know if one walked up and stealth-punched them in the throats for speaking without being spoken to.  These “real” housewives are a charade.  Just look at them: they’re in couture posing opposite industrial fans to create a wind-blown-hair look, while on the boardwalk at the beach.

If you’re still wondering why this pains me so, the kicker: they’re based in my county, Bergen County.  And that just feels like a sandpaper ball-rub.  The promise of this show feels like someone is sandpapering my balls.  All the pre-show hype (it hasn’t aired yet) is rubbing me against the grain and I just can’t take it.

So, I’m going with the grain. *hangs head*

I’m gonna watch it; at least the first episode.  I gotta keep an eye on mine enemies so that I might trounce them when the time is right.  Maybe I’ll even host a viewing party and make something out of it.  Not to celebrate, of course.  Nubby-balls no!  But so I can teach the non-Jerseyers what is and isn’t true about the greatest state in the union.  I’ll take one for the team and sit through this madness.

If you’ve got any recommendations on a great bourbon for me to slurp straight from the bottle while I watch, the box below is open for suggestions.

Oh, and I almost forgot:

Dear prestigious legal counsel of these five delightful people,
It’s satire and jokes.  Think of it as stand-up comedy from the seated position.
Also, I have nothing.
— f.B

¹I throw you under the bus for kid, NY and LI. For kid.
²Though, in all fairness, the blonde in the pink might know what food is. Maybe.

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It’s TMI Thursday!

I don’t do this often, but when I have done it, you may have noticed a certain recurring “character.”  No, he does not have a name.  Actually, maybe he’s less of a character and more of a prop.

Anyway, if I had to convert this story to a picture, it would probably go a little something like this:

redneck-on-toilet-794579But since I know how to use my words…

I live on one of the busiest streets in the District.  It might even be the busiest.  There was this one time when a car exploded…  And this other time when there was a 40-yard long, 1 mph car chase…  And then there’s the traffic.  It’s like M St. in Georgetown in the summer or when there’s a pre-popped-collar, pastel polo sale nearby.  And as one of the major roads in and out of the city, it’s like this almost without exception.  So cars are always outside our house, creeping by, their passengers staring into our windows because, well, what else are they gonna do at 5 mph?

For this reason, the blinds in our front bathroom are usually closed.  Our front bathroom faces this busy street and the bottom of the window stands only about two feet high.*  Perfect storm?  Yeah: the toilet is positioned such that standing in front of it means your whole left profile, from head to knee, is directly in the center of the window.

In a rush one day, in broad daylight, I forgot the basics.  I ignored the open blinds, unbuttoned – because the “through the fly” approach to living frightens me as unnecessary risk-taking – and dropped pant.  I let a river run through it and was about to re-button when I caught a stranger’s glance from the street outside and knew it was too late.**

And so if that was you – though please, please, god: let it not have actually been you – you apparently know me better than I think.

And this would be yet another story I’ve told you about exposing my prop or using it in public.

*Architectural misstep? I’d say so.
**It was kind of like that episode of 30 Rock… Where Liz pleads with that Dr. guy not to open the kitchen window. But he does. And then the air creates a vacuum that opens up her bathroom door while she’s deep in squat…

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… add vodka and shake.

Patti at ilovethiscityalways has adorned this blog with some sweet lemonade.


Hence, part 1 of the title.  But since all the blogs I read seem to have been tagged with something lately, or asked not to be, I will just say “thank you,” smile widely and nudge you along to part 2 of the title.

That’s the vodka part.

The vodka part reminded me I’ve never told a drinking story on this blog.  At least not one where I play the moron.  So, this is an alcohol-induced story.  Not that I’m drinking now, this late, before work.  Because I’d never admit things I insist are lies.  But without the spirits, this tale would have no soul.

And how do all good drunken memories come back to you?  That’s right: backwards.  You scramble pieces together, like each is a little wrinkle in time,* until you can remember the first decision you made that triggered it all.  You know the one: it seemed so innocuous at its conception, started to crawl, learned to walk and then steered you into disaster.

Anyway, a glimpse at public failure #103:

He’s asleep.  *moans*  “Mmm. A little less… A little less tong-“

His plea goes unanswered. He wakes; sits straight up on a sofa he knows is not his own, and wipes his mouth frantically. It’s a dog, not a princess.

He tries to stand. His leg hurts. His shoulder hurts. He shrugs it off. The shrug makes his elbow hurt.

He realizes it’s her place and asks if she’s awake. From behind a door she says, Yes.  He asks about the pain.  She’s unsure.

He finds his jacket, his shoes.  There’s a tear in the shoulder and a rip in his shoe.

“?” he asks towards her. Dunno, she sends back.  He frowns, brow tightened.  He pauses.  It’s jumbled.  Then a clearing; light cracks.

“I fell down a flight of concrete steps?!”

She agrees.  The door opens.  She’s surprised she can remember.

“And I’m alive?  How the balls did that happen?”


“No, me neither.  The steps and the cab and the bar and the people…  Did I fall at the bar?  Dude I think some guys caught me.  I remember me laughing then this spot on the ceiling…”

Yeah.  You just quit, or your legs did.  They caught you.  So drunk.

“I danced with that lady.  Where the hell were we?”

Third Edition.

“Third Edition.  Damnit.  Jane’s birthday?  How the balls did that happen?”

The birthday?

“The falling.  I’m never that drunk.  We just had a few shots and some beers, nothing special.  I count 7, maybe 8.  Over how many hours?”

He stops.

He remembers the first words he said to the bartender, when he walked in the door not long after 10: ‘Cuervo, twice, and that bourbon.’

“Make that 10 or 11” he tells her, distraught.  Because everyone there was from school, he was sure.

No that’s 12, right?  The Heineken?

*sighs*  “I should transfer.”


*Totally unrelated, but I loved that book – A Wrinkle in Time – as a kid.

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