Friday, June 29, 2007


I spent the last three days (yes, isn't it pathetic?) without Internet access and experienced a myriad of emotion, ranging from despair to jubilation. Let me explain.

On Monday, I was set to switch over Internet service from Corporate Cock-Slapper #1 to Corporate Cock-Slapper #2. Well, Corporate Cock-Slapper #2 sent a worker to my house on Monday morning. This was an individual who didn't seem competent enough to stick toothpicks through sliced fruit, much less install my service. While in my house, he answered a personal cell phone call, on speaker phone, and proceeded to discuss with his buddy (someone he referred to only as "chief" and "ace") their plans to attend the NASCAR races in Loudon sometime in the foreseeable future. I left the room shaking my head, sensing something ominous. Sure enough, twenty minutes later he came downstairs and told me that he couldn't install the service and pointed to a phone number on the top of the work order.

"Maybe they know what the hell is going," he said and hop-skipped out the door.

Long story short: I needed to use extortion, threatening to return to Corporate Cock-Slapper #1 if Corporate Cock-Slapper #2 didn't get back to my house before the holiday weekend and install my goddamn Internet service. It's strange. I can sit back and still tolerate an unjust war in Iraq, the squeezing of the middle-class in America, and good people being left to suffer without health insurance, but if someone turns off my Internet service, I suddenly become Caesar Chavez. I went on and on about how it's important to finish work that has been started (I've aborted two or three novels) and how some people, like myself, depend on the Internet for their income (a lie), reminding them of the vital role of positive customer service in successful businesses (bullshit) .

I received the Internet today, a week before they're first purported "available" date.

(Older Kevin Arnold voice)

I learned something those three days when I didn't have Internet service that summer. Being isolated from my friends and cyber-chums wasn't a bad thing after all. I spent more time with my family and worked on things important to me. I discovered exercise and reading. But, ultimately, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It seemed like such a cliche, but it was so true. And with the package deal, I got a year of HBO free. With the munchies at midnight, it makes it all worthwhile. Sure, sometimes we're all shallow and ridiculous, but when we have HBO On-Demand and a plate of nachos, we can forget it all and just be happy with the multitudinous distractions technology bestows us.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yankees, Spank Me

Before I could even speak in complete sentences or find my own way to the bathroom, I learned how to hate the New York Yankees. For most baseball fans born and raised in New England, our mutual loath for The Evil Empire is a source of kinship--- a conversation topic at bars, safe ground with the in-laws. The Yankees have always been the bully in the playground, the popular asshole that steals your girlfriend in high school. They're uniform (no facial hair or hair beyond a certain length, Johnny Judas), fascist, and downright disagreeable for anyone with a soul. Of course, they've also been vastly successful.
Until recently.

Now, I'm not going to assume that the Sox have the AL East locked, despite being 10.5 games up in June; one of my first life lessons was to never bet on The Red Sox. However, to say that I'm not experiencing schodenfreude watching The Spankees get swept by the Almighty Colorado Rockies, Roger "The Douche" Clemens holding down 1-2 record with a bloated 4.86 ERA and $28 million prorated contract (check out this hilarious video, and A-Hole (despite his MVP caliber stats) make his famous pout face whenever they lose would be, entirely, misleading. Some may think that 2004 exorcised Red Sox Nation's bitter rancor for The Yankees, but that's also misleading. Often, I stop and ask myself whether or not I want to see The Sox win more than I want to see The Spanks lose. The answer is no. The reason being: The Yankees, as an organization, are a metaphor for everything that is wrong and evil in this world. Granted, the Red Sox are spending a lot of money this year and killing their fans in ticket prices, but at least they're winning. The Yankees still dwarf any team in baseball with their salary, flagrantly disregarding salary caps, and have been spending like spoiled, overstuffed brats for the entire new millenium. Still, they have nothing to show for it. If there is such a thing as kharma, it's certainly evident in the Yankee's lack of success lately.

Anytime I need a quick pick-me-up, I simply need to watch Game 7 of 2004 ALCS. I don't even watch the game; I watch the crowd. Seeing all of those Yankee fans' faces, heads hanging in recognition of the biggest choke in professional sports history, their "1918" signs tucked pathetically between their legs beside their tails, Gay-Rod crying in the dugout...oh, man, it's beautiful. Schodenfreude, my friends. Schodenfreude.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My "Kevin Arnold" Voice

So I'm giving it another go at blogging. Some of you may remember my ill-fated attempt last winter at a blog. However, invariably, most of you do not remember it, seeing no one read that blog either. I must say that these puppies (isn't it great that you can refer to almost any noun as a "puppy"), meaning blogs, are some of the most self-indulgent enterprises going these days; arguably, some of the most self-indulgent enterprises since the Roman orgies. Anyway, I make no pretenses of being someone who is not self-indulgent, and seeing I just had a new book released (cough, cough) titled Teaching Metaphors, I figured it's time to give this "puppy" another whirl.

Now, before I continue with this post, it's important to point out one thing for any of you reading this. I've been watching an hour a night of reruns of The Wonder Years on some ridiculous channel called ION. To give you some idea of their target audience, I counted seven commercials for Erectile Dysfunction drugs during The Wonder Years last night. Of course, I laugh each time they come (heh-heh, I said "come") on television. After giggling like giddy schoolgirl, I then do my best Beavis--- of Beavis and Butthead fame---voice and scream, "BOOOOINNNNNG!" Yup. That's about my level of maturity. My wife laughed the first two or three times I did it (and some quick math tells me this occurs around 35 times a week) but now she just rolls her eyes.

If it isn't entirely evident yet, you might be able to infer that I'm a tangential thinker and slightly unfocused. Where was I? Oh, yes. BOOOOINNNNNNG!

The larger point I was trying to probe here was that when you (the imaginary reader) read each one of these blogs, you should be hearing in the voice of the retrospective Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years narrate. If you don't know me and have never heard me speak, no problem. If you do, then you have the formidable (or not-so formidable) task of forgetting my voice and replacing it with the Older Kevin Arnold. Every post will be told with the same wisdom that comes (heh-heh, I said "comes" again) with retrospect. Let's try this:

What I learned while watching The Wonder Years that night with Liz was that it's not right to laugh at old men who can't get wood because wood was something I took for granted, something men never think about when they're young and horny all the time. Maybe my sophomoric jokes while watching those commercials where growing tiresome for my wife, and maybe someday when we got old and were sitting in matching claw foot tubs on the top of a canyon, I'd have a stinger lasting over four hours and need to seek immediate medical attention. I learned that ED isn't funny, at least not for men who can't pitch their tents or laugh at euphemisms.