With Every Shoe Purchase, You Get A Free Mallet To Smash Your Nuts With - 1.15

The shoe store employee greets you, “hello, welcome to <censored>, if you need any help, my name is <censored>."
You look at him in a way that suggests he’s interrupting the greatest thought you’ve ever had with his mindless, programmed blabber.
But you smile and say, “OK, thanks."

Before you, intentionally designed to overwhelm and confuse you, is aisle after aisle of cheaply manufactured shoes, probably assembled by some 3 year old sweat shop worker in a country that’s considered OK to exploit for cheap labor because, fuck ‘em, we need cheap shoes.
The shoes are organized in such a way to elevate their value.
Like, they’re made to deliver the illusion to your feeble human brain that they’re way more valuable and important and demanding of your utmost attention than reality says.
But fuck reality, it doesn’t mean shit in this Skinner Box.
And you’re made to feel like your choice of shoe makes you a unique individual in the world.
Like, wearing whatever shoe you decide to purchase sets you apart from the rest of the people wearing a different shoe, because you’re cool and impressive and important and everyone else is a dirt scratching piece of dog shit.
Or maybe you’re projecting.
Regardless, buying shoes feels like a similar process to buying a baby, in your opinion, and even though you’ve never bought a baby before.

Your method of selecting the right shoe that defines you as an individual follows:

  • spot a shoe that aligns with your core materialistic values, the kind of shoe that packages whatever statement you want to make to the world neatly and generically, sort of like a bumper sticker with slightly more personality.
  • pick up the shoe with your left hand, shake it, flip it over and inspect the sole.
  • subconsciously equate quality and value with whatever brand name appears on the sole, side, and sometimes the top of the shoe.
  • if a match occurs, meaning the value you think the shoe is worth is what the price tag says, then find your size in the pile of boxes below the shoe.
  • try the shoe on one foot, take a few steps, look at it in the mirror, assess how you feel.
  • if you feel good, then put the shoe back in the box and carry the box around while you repeat this process with other shoes.
  • decide later that you don’t need any more fucking shoes and what an idiot you are for thinking that shoes are important and what a sucker you are for wasting your time shopping for such things and storm out of the store pissed off at the world for making you go through such capitalistic gymnastics for the right to own such a thing as an over priced shoe.

You walk slowly down each row, investigating and judging each show and the other people doing the same thing as you.
“That guy must be a redneck because he’s trying on shoes that look like they are worn by someone who enjoys things like camping and hiking and hunting and driving trucks with abnormally large tires,” you think.
“And that guy’s trying to impress his girl by having the store clerk run around trying to find his size in a shoe that he looks like he’s going to need to take out a loan to afford,” you think while watching another man.
“And this guy, whatever."
And then you wonder why you have no friends and everyone thinks you’re an asshole and doesn’t want to be around you at all.

After trying on various styles of shoes and making numerous silent judgements about everyone else but yourself, you decide that buying and owning shoes is stupid.
You walk out of the store empty handed and wonder what happened to the last hour of your life. 

How To Be Socially Impotent - 1.14

You don’t talk to anyone when you go out into public, and it bothers you.
Unless they speak to you first or you’re required to for some reason, like to order a drink at a place or you have to ask a person that works in a store where the toilet is.
"No sense speaking if it’s not absolutely essential,” you think.

You very much desire to not be so socially awkward, or repressed, or fearful, or whatever the word is that describes a person who is both afraid of being thought of negatively and whose excessively, yet silently, critical.
You desire to be the opposite of those things.
You want friends.
You want people to like you, to like being around you.
But your behavior suggests you’re perfectly OK being just another human that takes up space in the world.

It’s not that you’re scared to death of talking to people or doing social things.
You go to coffee shops and sit and type things into the computer, and watch people go about their business, all while silently forming opinions about them and in some cases wanting very much to meet them.
This makes you feel pathetic.
A forty something grown ass man who is practically incapable of functioning socially.

Here’s how your typical public outing goes…

You go in the place and assess the danger level.
Where danger is defined as anything unfamiliar or that might force you to interact with another human being.
Like going to a place where talking to a salesman is a required aspect of being in the store.

Once you feel the danger level is acceptable, you go in and make brief eye contact with people you come in contact with.
The people that most intimidate you only get a split second of attention, then they might as well be dead because you won’t look at them again unless you are certain they’re not looking at you.
You may return smiles of those that smile and you may say hello to the people whose job it is to say hello to you as an icebreaker to an eventual sales pitch.

You do whatever it is you came to this place to do as fast as you possibly can, pretending to be in a hurry in an attempt to force people into thinking, “man, he must have an amazing life as fast as he’s getting shit done."
Like, if you go to the grocery store to buy a handful of things, you find those things as fast as you can and get out.
And if the place has those automated self-checkout things, you use those instead of having to interact with a non-robot.
Robots don’t judge, or criticize, or silently ridicule (yet).
Robots are designed to make your social interactions non-existent, to make you feel comfortable, so you’ll come back and spend more money because you don’t have to interact with an alive person.

You cringe at the thought of stepping out of this comfort zone.
You feel like you don’t even know where to start.
You want the rewards, but you’re not willing to go through the pain or put in the work.
And that’s the story of you, summed up nicely in an 18 word sentence.
You dream of the day when all the things that you think limit you are no longer limitations.
“If only, ____________,” you think to yourself.

In all likelihood, you’ll die just like you are right now.
The stories of people turning their life around for the better are greatly exaggerated and extremely rare.
The impossibility is beyond your capabilities. 

The Grocery Aisle Is The Worst Place To Die - 1.13

You wonder when America is just going to say, “fuck it, business as usual,” on holidays like Thanksgiving.
Like, it used to be everything was closed, even most gas stations.
The only thing that functioned was cops, firemen, hospitals, and people who work in places that require humans to be around 24 hours a day so they don’t explode or get bombed by terrorists, or to keep the machines from gaining enough intelligence to enslave us all.

You walk into the grocery store.
Not one of the hip new “organic” stores that give off the illusion that they’re some kind of farmer’s market, but the old school, big box stores, where everything is colored just as a modern day human expects it to be colored.
You say, “hello,” to a person organizing carts.
He looks at you like you’re an inconvenience, like, if murder were legal at this moment, he’d be trying his hardest to sink a knife into your throat.
But you’re expecting his reaction, because the last 100 times you’ve been in a big box grocery store, you've received similar reactions from the employees.

You pick up a hand basket and begin your search for stuff that the government has classified as food, but are probably best classified as “stuff a human should never ingest if they want to live a healthy life."
You feel like there should be warnings on all the aisles along the lines of, “WARNING: Substances In This Aisle May Induce Poor Health."
But even if there were warnings and armed guards in towers ready to shoot anyone who wanders in the aisle, you’d risk it to get your fix of delicious horrific-ness.

A person wearing an employee costume cuts in front of you and throws you a glance that says, “what the fuck are you doing here in my way, asshole?"
You say, “excuse me,” in manner that suggests he is the one that should’ve said it.
He looks back at you with a blank face and says nothing.
You wonder why you keep giving your money to this place, and you decide it’s because they have the bad stuff that you crave the most.

You find the aisle that contains all the liquids invented by “flavor chemists" that contain all the sugar in the world.
Millions of different flavors and concoctions based on the ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, carbonated water, and food coloring.
Why we consider black, fizzy liquid appetizing escapes your grasp on reality.
You imagine caveman with chiseled abs and large penises downing liters of big brand cola drink before heading out to battle Mastadons and mutated rhinoceroses.
“What the fuck is cola anyway?” you think to yourself.

You stand next to another man who looks like he’s in the middle of the process of selecting which beverage to pay for, take home, and consume.
He stands silently, as if he’s waiting for someone to come along and make the decision for him to alleviate the pain that an over abundance of choice induces.
You stand next to him and examine the plethora of beverage choices before you.
After a few moments, you realize you're frozen, unable to choose because you’re afraid you’re not going to make the right choice.
Lemon, or raspberry, or lemon raspberry or plain or green or black or the one with the old time-y looking label that seems like it’s made from ingredients that were just picked from the Earth.

You feel the man next to you glance at you, like a brother enduring torture in a Japanese World War II prison camp.
You glance at him and say, “too many choices, huh?"
He looks at you like you just cut off his mother’s head and showed it to him.
You nod in the, “OK, I get it, people don’t want to be bothered this morning,” direction and grab the plastic bottle that seems like it’s the least “extreme” flavor and head to checkout.

On the way out, the man who was organizing carts earlier says, “thank you, see you soon."
You stare back at him with a painful expression, like he kicked you the balls as hard as he could. 

Stop Trying To Guilt Me Into Tipping And Be So Amazing That I Can’t Help But Want To Tip You, Assholes - 1.12

You pull into the sandwich place’s parking lot.
There used to be a time when the parking lot was full and the line was out the door.
That’s when the place was still new in people’s minds.
New is better.
Old is stupid and boring and not worth paying attention to.
We’re like locusts when it comes to these things; once the carcass is picked clean and/or the novelty has worn off, time to move on to the next new thing.
This is called The Progress Machine, and it ensures that youth remains king and the old gets scraped away and recycled.

You walk in to find three people in line ahead of you.
There’s more workers behind the counter wearing blue aprons than there are people willing to exchange money for whatever sandwich they exist to make for you.
The man behind the counter whose main responsibility at the moment is putting toppings on people’s sandwiches says to the person at the front of the line, “so you gonna take my Carolina bet?"
“I’ll take your bet,” the boy at the front of the line, wearing his hat backwards in an attempt, you speculate, to stand out from the crowd, a rebellion against society you guess, says, “but I want the points."
The conversation is so distracting to the man trying to make the bet, that he picks up a handful of onions and proceeds to place them on your sandwich.
You look away and pretend not to notice what he’s doing, because you’re afraid of confrontation or saying anything that might upset someone.
Before he touches the onions to your sandwich, he comes back to reality and asks, “Mike’s way?"

You think about your time working at a major fast food place when you were a teenager, and how the repetitiveness is enough to drive a normal person insane.
As a teenager, being part of the workforce is still a new experience.
Like, you haven’t experienced anything better than a shitty fast food job, so you don’t think it’s so bad because you have nothing to compare it to.
What if you had to go back to running the drive through window, and the monotony of doing the same thing over and over and over again, with no real progress being made?
“Welcome to <censored>, may I take your order…would you like hot or mild sauce with that…thank you?"
You’d go insane, join a cult that worships goat assholes, drink the juice the cult leader tells you to drink, then climb in the goat’s asshole to die as a final middle finger whatever we’re going to call modern society in the near future.
The Progress Machine will still find you and scoop your body up inside the goat and haul you off to the incinerator pit for recycling.

You say to the probably-too-old-to-think-this-is-a-good-job-for-him man making your sandwich, “no, just lettuce, tomato, and honey mustard."
You pick up a bag of chips and slide to the checkout portion of the transaction, while the no-doubt-beaten-down man finishes making your sandwich.

The lady responsible for taking your money says, “chips and a drink?"
“Yes, large drink please,” because excess is what your life is all about; consume as much as possible in as little time as possible and you win Earth, the game.

You slide your payment instrument through the slot on the machine that reads your information, then links up to more machines in space that check to see if you have enough credits to exchange for this sandwich.
Then the machine asks for your phone number.
You punch it in.
Then it asks you for a tip amount.
As a society, we’ve decided that tipping should be allowed to proliferate to every transaction, and the act of asking for a tip is being outsourced to the machines, which are getting really crafty at making you feel guilty if you don’t tip, even if you have no idea the quality of service you’re about to receive.
Your choices are, 15%, 20%, 25%, or, in smaller, gray text, “No Tip."
It might as well say, “yes, I acknowledge these people are serving me to the best of their ability and they don’t get paid nearly as much as me, but I’m a selfish individual that doesn’t wish to give an extra dollar or two to help them out."
You’re becoming less uncomfortable clicking the “No Tip” button, which is what you do this time, even though it still makes you feel guilty that you’re somehow letting society down.
“Fuck ‘em,” you think, relieved that this time, their guilt trip didn’t work. 

How State Issued Windshield Stickers Will Evolve And Take Over America - 1.11

You have to buy these stickers for your car that the state of Texas forces you to buy if you want to drive on the roads without getting hassled by the police.
And they will hassle you and write you a ticket if they catch you without one of these stickers, or the sticker has a date on it that's in the past.
And it's a pain in the ass, a real time waste, to get these stickers, because you have to take your car to a place that's officially "licensed" (probably meaning they paid some gigantic fee for the right to these highly profitable "inspections"), wait 20 to 30 minutes or more for them to do the stupid inspection, then hear the sales pitch afterwards of all the things that are wrong with your car that need to be fixed if you want a sticker, then wait some more for them to fix the wrong things.
It's a fucking sticker.

You have no idea what they're checking, nor do you give a fuck.
All you do is...

  • take your car to the place,
  • tell them to inspect it,
  • hand them the keys,
  • sit in their waiting area,
  • say, "OK," when they come back 20 minutes later and tell you a thing needs to be fixed,
  • wait another 20 to 30 minutes for them to fix the thing,
  • toggle your eyes from the TV showing 24 hour news, which always seems to be running some stock montage footage of "terrorist looking" people shooting guns in the desert at nothing in particular, to your phone screen,
  • watch the lady sitting across from you filling out a stack of papers that either looks like tax stuff (but this is November?) or an elaborate job application, or maybe it's just a bunch of papers with nonsense written on them and she has Tourettes or something and this is her tick, like she just goes around to places like this with the stack papers and fills them out in their waiting area,
  •  pay the man $135 for a $25 inspection sticker.

Except this year, they're not giving out stickers, just a piece of paper that says the inspection was done and your car passed.
You don't understand this concept when the man explains it to you, because all your life of living in Texas, they've given you a sticker that you stick below the registration sticker in an ever growing array of stickers that will eventually develop intelligence and enslave humanity.
He says, "yeah, they're starting this year to combine the registration sticker and inspection sticker, so."
You think, "seems like a brilliant idea and one that every other state I've lived in has been doing since the dawn of time. Imagine that, ONE fucking sticker instead of a thousand. But this is Texas, what the fuck?"

You start walking out, still confused about how this whole new process works.
You turn around and ask, "so what about my current registration sticker?"
The man explains again what seems like everyone but you understands.
"OK, so I show them this piece of paper when I register again?"
"Yes, sir."
"OK, now I get it, thanks," you say with your back turned to the man.

You get in your car and feel an empty hole in your soul the inspection sticker used to occupy.
A single tear rolls down your cheek, then you realize that's one less burden you have to carry, until next year when you have to go through this shit all over again.

They'll Stick Their Finger In Your Ass & Charge You $200 - 1.10

He's not a pharmacist, he's just a guy behind the counter wearing scrubs and taking people's money in exchange for the drugs they ordered through their doctor.
He's skinny, like a skeleton with a light blue sheet draped over his shoulders.
His hair is blond, parted on one side and flung over forehead so it hangs in eyes just enough to where he's developed a twitch to flip it out of his vision.
The cute girl with short hair wearing a white lab looking coat asks, "are you picking up?" breaking you out of your critical trance.

You're made to stand about six feet from the desk for what the sign reads, "reasons of privacy," which is ineffective if A) the person in front of you is talking in anything other than a hushed whisper or B) the person behind the counter is yelling at you standing behind the sign enough so that everyone in the store can hear.
But you don't care.
You're not picking up pills that make your penis stay erect for days and squirt buckets of sperm on demand or anything that might imply you're going to spend the next few days launching rockets from your ass.
And even if you were, you'd probably let everyone know how excited you were to be picking up drugs that induced those types of behaviors, perhaps even giving a wink to the cute girl in the white lab coat.

"Yes," you yell to the girl, who may or may not be the actual pharmacist because she's wearing a white lab coat, which normally indicates a status higher than someone wearing scrubs; they're called scrubs for a reason.
"What's the name?"
You tell her your name and she rummages through a very crude organizational system comprised of plastic bins with handwritten letters on paper taped to them.
You think, "shouldn't they invent a better, more scientific organizing system that ensures I'm getting the drugs I'm supposed to and not anything that's going to make my penis hard for three days straight?"
Then you realize that it doesn't matter which drugs you actually receive, because in the end they're all going to kill you and everyone else taking them.
By standing in an orderly line, you've resigned yourself to being part of the experiment that is the medical profession/system.

"OK, he'll have to ring you up," she says, for reasons she didn't explain.
"OK," you say, because you're afraid to question a cute girl who may think of you as a person she would no longer like to have sex with because you asked too many questions and made her upset.
She places your sack of drugs next to the man wearing only scrubs, which you know is just a ploy to keep up the illusion that this is a trustworthy medical establishment.
Then she goes to the drive in window, picks up a phone, and begins speaking with a person in their car who is also there to pick up drugs.
All this fabulous technology and we can't even fix a horses bones.

You walk out feeling like a homeless man just robbed you at gun point then a pedophile ran up afterwards and touched you in all your private places.

Plaques Are Made Of Meaninglessness And Dedicated Service - 1.9

The plaque reads, “Thank you for 37 years of dedicated service.”
You stare at it for what seems like an uncomfortable amount of time, analyzing its details and wondering what it means.
You stare so long that the other people start staring at you staring at the plaque, wondering something like, “what the fuck is his problem?"

You equate the plaque to a headstone, but one that symbolizes the end of one’s necessity to be a slave for someone else.
It’s a time for celebration, bitches.
It’s a time to be happy that you no longer have to wake up every day before you’re ready, get dressed, fight traffic, feel stress, and spend time at a place that gives you money to do things and be around people that you consider to be nothing more than furniture.
Happiness is NOT having to do that ever again, or at least getting to do it on your own terms.

You scan the room and think what your retirement party will look like, if you ever have one.
Since you have zero friends and the amount of people that give a shit about your existence is dwindling exponentially, you imagine yourself sitting alone in a big room with enough food to feed over 100 people and pretend that whatever you’re retiring from was the most important thing that a man has ever done with his life.

“Hey, A-ron, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you,” a balding man says to you as he offers his hand to shake.
“Yeah, it has. Well, it’s good to see you,” you say and touch his arm and walk away.
Getting trapped in a conversation that ends with the other person saying something like, “and that’s why you need to accept your lord and savior Jesus Christ into your heart right now,” is your least favorite thing on the planet, and the person you just brushed aside has a history of ending conversations in such fashion.

You get a piece of cake and start scarfing it down.
Smoking used to be a handy distraction from the pressures and awkwardnesses of social interactions, but food has replaced that.
And this cake is so delicious.
You grab another plate and feel the eyes of the room shift from whatever boring conversations they were having, probably along the lines of talking about what their cat did the other day, to analyzing your excessive behavior, thinking things like, “save some for the rest of us, asshole."
A lady appears from somewhere and says to you, “uh, excuse me, we’re not ready to start serving cake,” as you swallow the last bite of your second piece of cake.
You raise your eyebrows and shrug your shoulders at her.

A man approaches you and says, “are you <censored>’s son? I thought that was you. Do you remember me?"
For a second, you contemplate which question you should answer first and whether or not you’ve ever been tested to verify that you are indeed <censored>’s son.
You shake his hand, smile, and say, “yes,” which is a lie in response to his second question.
“Man, it’s been a long time. Last time I saw you, you were about this big,” he holds the palm of his facing the ground about the height of his waist.
Looking down at him, you say, “wow, and look at me now."
He laughs awkwardly and says, “well, it was good to see you again."
“You too,” you say in disappointment as the man’s identity remains a mystery.

You make your way back to the plaque and analyze its meaning more.
37 years of someone’s life given in exchange for a 2 hour party and a cheap plaque.
Over half of this person’s life spent in dedicated service making sure someone’s profit machine keeps functioning.
37 years that will all be forgotten the day this person’s replacement shows up for work.
The Future Explorers will toss this person’s existence into the, “didn’t really matter,” pile along with 99.999999999999999% of everyone’s existence.
And in the moment, you become OK with your own meaningless existence and everyone else’s.
And it frees you in a way to do any fucking thing you want, because if it doesn’t matter, might as well have fun doing it, right? 

Your Rebellion On Pipes Makes You Cool, Dude - 1.8

You listen to an ad on the radio that’s telling you not to pour grease down the drain.
You pour grease down the drain whenever there’s grease that needs to be disposed of.
You don’t care.
“Fuck that drain and any consequences that may come from pouring this grease down this drain,” you think in defiance of any generic voice telling you to stop doing things just because it says to stop doing it.

Modern society has alleviated you from the responsibility of caring for or about your environment.
The drain exists for you to pour anything that will fit down it and be fairly confident that it will go where it needs to go.
Just like you shit and piss in a bowl that has a handle that takes your disgusting waste away without worry.
Just like you put your trash in a bag, throw it over a fence, and a truck comes by twice a week and picks it up, whatever it is.
You could cut up a dead body that’s been dipped in radioactive waste, bag it, and throw it over the fence, and the mens/robots operating the trucks will pick it up without question.

You don’t know where those pipes go and you don’t care.
You don’t care if you pour grease down one of those pipes and it clogs up.
If that happens, you call a man who will come out and stick a thing down the pipe to unclog it.
And he’ll tell you something like, “probably shouldn't pour grease down the drain any more,” in an attempt to shame you into not doing a thing that may be harmful to the environment and other people around you.
But that won’t stop you.
You’re a fucking rebel.
You’re a fucking bad ass.
You flip your middle finger at rules and conventions and other stuff.
After all, there’s a pipe and sometimes there’s grease, seems like that’s why the pipe was invented, to handle just this type of thing.

One day, you’re going to learn where that pipe goes and what actually happens when you pour grease in it.
When modern society crumbles, to escape it, you will follow the pipe to wherever it goes and live off the disposed grease you’ve been pouring down the pipe all these years in anticipation of such an event.

But the radio man is adamant that humans, as part of an elaborate societal game of control and submission, should not pour grease down the drain, because, reasons.
He gives you no indication of what bad things may happen.
Like, is there a beast that lives in the pipes that consumes grease, and when it consumes enough of it, it morphs into the Eternal Destructor, bringing about the end of days, human suffering, and perhaps universal implosion?
Is this grease I pour down my drain somehow being re-routed to my neighbor’s shower head?
You need better consequences than the edict, “don’t do it,” because there’s a lot of grease in the world that no one wants and it has to go somewhere that isn’t in the vicinity of where I place my body.

The ad is quirky and comical though.
It’s probably designed that way to be subliminally effective.
For a second, you find yourself thinking, “well how can I dispose of my grease if I don’t pour it down the drain like a normal person?"
Then you realize the ad is nothing more than a voice spreading propaganda about a fictional problem that, by now you think, engineers have figured out how to handle pretty well.
Because the man is not saying your kids will get AIDS or your dick will wither and fall off or ISIS is going to come to your house and cut your head off if you pour grease down the drain.
So now you’re thinking, “how can I create grease for no other purpose than to pour it down the drain?"

You’re such a bad ass. 

Your Drink Order Is The Stupidest Thing About You - 1.7

You stare over the shoulder of an old man in a business costume as he operates the machine sitting on the table in front of him.
You're like a copy of a copy, two generations removed, a poster hanging on the wall, and somehow this makes you feel invisible.

The business looking man has silver hair and an ape like appearance.
Like, if you were to define what a real man is supposed to look like, one that would be able to survive if we were all thrown back into the jungle, he would be a close fit.
You admire the oddity this comparison presents, as he struggles to make the typing on the machine's tiny keyboard.

You've become obsessed with being taller than everyone around you.
If you're not the tallest, then you feel inferior, like a failure.
As if being the tallest also means being the best, most good looking, most desirable, most smartest, most whatever.
And as if that is what your life is all about.
You obsessively compare your height to the person standing in line in front of you while glancing at the business man and making unnatural, unnecessary comparisons.
You deduce that you are in fact slightly taller than the human standing in front of you.
For a moment, you feel like a champion, until you look up and see a man who is definitely taller than you walk in the door.
Then your shoulders slump and you think, "what's the point?"
You return to analyzing the relationship between the silver haired business man and his inadequately sized machine.

The girl behind the counter says, "hello sir, what can I make for you today?"
You've been to this Starbuck's enough times that this girl knows who you are because she always makes comments about the t-shirts you wear.
Well, she doesn't "know" you, but she remembers your face and knows that you exist.
Whether or not she recognizes your existence as valid is another question.

You say, "I'll have a venti peppermint mocha frappacino with coconut milk."
The complexities of ordering anything these days is enough to make you think that one day, in the not so distant future, you'll be unable to function in modern society, because you won't understand how to order anything or communicate with anyone younger with you.
The girl asks, "OK, wow, that sounds good. What's your name?"
You know damn well that she doesn't really think that your drink order sounds good.

You walk past the man who was standing in front of you and validate that you are indeed taller than him, but not taller than the other man who came in behind you.
You keep your head down to avoid exposing to anyone that you're furiously making outrageous comparisons of yourself with everyone else.
If they discover you,  they'll surely band together, strip you naked, fuck you in the ass, and then cut your head off and eat it.
Living in modern society is brutal.

You pull out your phone and start scrolling.
The girl behind the counter, a different girl than the one that took your order, repeats your drink order at the top of her lungs so everyone can hear.
This embarrasses you, as you don't think a real man should be ordering drinks that require some fucked up form of French to be spoken aloud to another person for translation.
Real men just order coffee.
"Gimme a fucking coffee, bitch, and make it fast, I'm in a goddamn hurry."
You quickly grab your drink hoping no one notices you.
You overhear the girl who took your order say to someone else, "OK, wow, that sounds really good."
Your whole existence feels like a copy of a copy of a copy, like you're a widget on an assembly line, like you're a piglet fighting for a teat.

What To Do After Failing An Interview - 1.6

Are interviews supposed to make me feel inadequate, not worthy, and totally failed as a career professional?
Because that's how they make me feel when I don't succeed at them.
Especially when I want the job and get my expectations up because I thought I did good at the interview and had a good rapport with the interview person and everything, from my perspective, seemed to be going well, and for some delusional reason I think I'm the only one they're interested in.
Then I start analyzing it and looking up the things I was asked and realize that I got some of them wrong that I thought I got right.
Is this a test of my knowledge of something, if I can answer a few trivia questions or solve a riddle?
Is answering a few questions a good indicator if I'm a competent, smart, reliable, good natured worker man?
Am I arrogant in thinking that I'm better than average?
Is it good enough to be better than average?
And who decides what average is?
And if so, if being better than average isn't good enough, then how do I have a job?
Because it's at a place that isn't highly desirable?
Isn't that an illusion though, the illusion that a company is incredible to work for?
It's just a marketing ploy, right?
Like everyone thinks Google is the upper echelon of technology companies.
Are they?
Is working at Google the pinnacle of accomplishments?
Whatever, it's a fucking system designed to filter out people like me.
People who don't spend their lives doing the thing they do at their job when they're not at their job.
People who aren't "passionate" about convoluted corporate non-talk concepts, like business strategy or synergistic digital development pipelines.
Yes, I'm fucking bitter.
Yes, I think I should be offered jobs left and right.
Yes, fuck those assholes and their imperfect hiring practices that are intended to make me feel like I'm not good enough for them if I can't answer their trivia questions or Google fast enough.
I suppose this is why I shouldn't allow my expectations to exceed reality.
The reality that there's ONE fucking job and probably 10s of 100s of people interviewing for it.
And the odds of me being exceptional, above all of them, is very, very, very, very low.
But this is the illusion of exclusivity, back to the Google thing.
After all, it's just a fucking job (and this is my post interview consoling of myself, my therapy).
Working on a website isn't that exciting, no mater whose logo I wear on my free company polo shirt.
Money is exciting though, and more is always better, and that's probably why my excitements ran high.
Doing the same, boring work for someone else but getting more money for it is what we're all after, no?
Lesson: temper your excitement until an offer sheet is placed in front of you.
And fuck technical interviews and their ineherent biases and subtle age discrimination.
Jesus fucking Christ, there's a new thing to deal with.

The Medical Experience - 1.5

You arrive fifteen minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
That time is just a guideline, not really a rule.
It's the time they are expecting you to arrive and be ready to see the doctor, not the actual time the doctor will make an appearance and begin the fifteen minute appointment time limit.
And that's an upper limit that you're bound to.
The appointment might only take two minutes, but you don't get to sit there and consume the doctor for another thirteen minutes.
Whatever, you reason that doctors are people too, but shouldn't you get a discount if you don't consume the full time frame?

The front desk guy greets you, "hey honey, who you here to see?"
You assume everyone thinks you're gay also, since the doctor you see is gay and caters to the gay community.
You think this is awesome, especially come physical time when your doctor wants to feel your sack and stick his finger in your ass.
You're not sure why this matters, but you suspect the creep and awkward factor go way down when the examination person might be getting at least a little pleasure from the experience.
Not that he is or anything, but it's more pleasant than having a burly, bearded lumberjack of a man with coarse, big hands feeling around down there.
It's as close to a female as a man can get without the possibility of accidental sexual arousal.
Whatever, I like my gay doctor.

"Are you still with Cigna, sweetie?" the front desk guy asks.
Making sure your insurance is up to date is the most important part of the appointment.
It's not, "how are you feeling?" it's, "how are we going to get paid?"
It's the most broken thing about health care without an easy solution.
You think a start would be to forgive doctor's student loan debt when they actually become a doctor.
And also burn insurance companies to the ground and outlaw their existence.
Just your two cents though.

"Have a seat, dear, we'll be right ..."
"A-ron," the lady who comes to prep you for the doctor announces.

You drop your shoulders in disappointment because it's the lady who always wants to tell you what a bad day she's having while funneling you through the motions.
The motions being: step on the scale, record weight, run thermometer across forehead, record temperature, guide you to your room, sit on table with butcher paper, take blood pressure and pulse, record, "the doctor will be right in."
Through this experience you learn that the office has a new person that files paperwork or something that she has to train.
And they have a new nurse that she doesn't care for because he always asks her, "where do we keep X?"
You nod your head in the "I don't give a fuck about your work problems bitch" direction and allow her to be a self absorbed human who could care less that you exist.

You sit with the best posture you can muster on the half bed lined with butcher paper.
You wonder why doctors still do things this way.
Forty plus years of regularly going to the doctor and the office visit experience hasn't changed.
The illusion of "health" care.
One day, we'll look back on this time and think of this as barbaric and inhumane.

You typically take the time between the lady taking your vitals, ensuring that indeed you are an alive person and not a zombie or alien or undead, bloodthirsty ghost, to meditate because the doctor visit makes you nervous.
But today is a day that you don't feel like it.
So you pull out your phone and start scrolling while doing your best to maintain good posture.
For a second, you glance at the painting on the wall that looks like it came from some big box arts and crafts store.
It's an abstract of a bay with sailboats and cliffs and waves.
You know the purpose of these paintings: to calm and soothe you.
But you wonder if they are effective if you know the gag.
You formulate the opinion that if heroin dealers concocted the same sort of experience for their users that God would smile upon on them and celebrate their existence as a gift to humanity.

As you imagine yourself standing on the edge of the cliff in the painting, a tiny, unnoticeable blur, the doctor knocks on the door and enters.
Reality rushes back.
"Hello," he says in a mousy way.
He offers his hand to shake. You shake it. "Hello," you say back in an equally mousy way.
It's your nature to match the demeanor of whoever you're interacting with, because, well, you don't fucking know.
It probably has something to do with the fact that you don't want anyone to think badly of you so you do your best to control other people's thoughts.

He sits in the doctor stool and positions himself in front of a laptop and starts operating the machine.
You watch him operate the machine without speaking.
He finally breaks the silence, "so looks like you're here for your final Hepatitis vaccine."
"OK," you say, not really knowing the reason for the visit.
"You want a flu shot also?" he asks.
"Sure," you say.
"OK, the nurse will be right in. Anything else?"

He leaves the room in a rush, like he can't wait to be anywhere but in this claustrophobic space with you, and the imaginary display above the door dings and reads, "$200," then a pleasant yet robotic voice says, "thank you, that will be, two, hundred, American, dollars."

The nurse comes in carrying what looks like a plastic tackle box.
He puts it on the counter, opens it up, and pulls out a needle wrapped in a plastic container.
He says, "how are you today?"
"I've had better days," you say.
The room returns to silence, as if the question was nothing more than a courtesy, an illusion that you're being serviced by humans and not robots.

He lifts your sleeve and stabs the needle into your arm, injecting you with whatever was in the needle.
The trust you place in this human you've never met to inject you with the substance you need and not a substance that might kill you or put you in a position to get butt raped is staggering.
If this guy was a malicious murderer disguised as a friendly nurse, you'd be dead.
"OK, all done," he says, "you're all finished."

You walk out of the office, get in the elevator, go down, walk to your car, say "hello" to a person coming in the building who looks at you like you have a red horn growing out of the center of your forehead, get in you car, sit for a while and think, "am I better?"
Then you realize, it's not the doctor's responsibility to make you actually "better," but to make you "feel" better.
Either way, the question still stands.

If You Fail Once You'll Probably Never Succeed Ever Again - 1.4

You're thinking too much, just fucking write, penis.

I did a technical interview today. I thought it went well. The last time I thought it didn't go very well, I got a new job. Every time I've thought it went well, I didn't get the job. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting a new job.

You think we could come up with a better design for a school bus.

Sally has a penis, and that's the second (now third) use of the word penis in this thing. Are you surprised?


I'm really into shooting humans out of canons over some treacherous things, like a pond of hungry alligators, or a giant meat grinder. I think it's funny.

I avoided leaving my office today because there was a person I worked with outside and I didn't want to get trapped in a conversation with him. Not that he's talkative or anything, but I fear not being able to get out of a social interaction easily.

When the man talked to the grill, he used his lips.

There's no way that chick UFC fighter should be getting more attention than the chick that beat her ass. I don't even know her name (the winner, not that Rhonda chick).

I'm still hoping my line of pre-chewed food takes off.

Hey, Charlie Sheen has AIDS.

I know better than to dwell on a failed interview. It's like dating, it's a numbers game. Am I delusional to think I'm too good to play the numbers game?

No, you're not.

I'm really struggling with this today. Mornings are better for me. Afternoons have me like all not wanting to do anything other than stare at a screen and listen to Ticket.

My phone went off around 4am to let me know there was a tornado warning "in your area." That made me paranoid and I laid awake waiting for the tornado to suck me out the window and up into Heaven. That's where tornadoes go, right? It's Jesus selecting the most pure for his kick ass crew, right?

I gotta get to 500 words. I gotta get to 500 words.

When the aliens arrive, I wonder how we'll react. Probably with violence, because that's how we react to everything. Or am I the only one?

I wonder what Marilyn Mason is up to these days? Is he married with kids living in some non-distinct suburban house attending soccer games on the weekends?

The sun makes me happy.

I also like tacos.

I'm also fat right now, and I wish to be less fat.

If I had won the job interview, maybe I would be on my way to six pack abs? But since I didn't, I guess I'll keep stuffing my face with candy and crap.

One day I'm going to figure all this shit out. Probably not.

Can you believe Dez Bryant has a monkey? No? Yeah, me neither.

It's the perfect time, if you're a politician, to let everyone know you stand against Syrian refugees right now. Because ISIS and Paris and elections and stuff. #Leadership

Only Once, Then It Has To Be Twice - 1.3

Happy Monday! Here's some nonsense for you to crumple under your arm and take into the bathroom to read on your toilet throne, but only if you have diarrhea.

Remember the days when, as a species, we thought the Earth revolved around the sun? And it was flat. The Earth, not the sun. That would've been stupid.

Captain America might be gay. I'm OK with that because, why not? It's OK to applaud my being OK with a gay Captain America.

I don't make any claims that I'm special or good. I do, but I try to hide it.

I avoid conversing with people that I don't know very well or that I know are like me, awkward in social interactions. Two awkward people interacting is like watching the WNBA when you know the NBA exists.

I feel like I'm on the verge of waking up one day and being considered too old to matter, whatever that means.

Speaking of getting old, I saw a TED talk on the Facebook the other day that was about our youth-obsessed culture and how being old is a huge negative. I didn't watch it. I don't like clicking on those things on Facebook because I know they (Facebook) will use my clicking habits against me.

Why don't we build a fleet of automated, but controlled by people, robots that are programmed to hunt down and kill terrorists? I mean, just drop them off in Syria or wherever and let them go about their business. And if they happen to take one down, it just self detonates and incinerates all its parts so they can't try to reverse engineer it. Seriously, this feels like something worth trying instead of sending alive, human troops to go door to door asking, "are you a terrorists so we can shoot you?"

These cloudy, short days get me down.

Tyler was a man who owned a goat. But that goat, one day, up and left him for another man named Tyler who was more attractive, younger, richer, and generally better in every single way.

Make it already! Just. Fucking. Make. It. You should probably figure out what "it" is first.

Poop is improving.

Whenever I enter my vehicle, which is falling apart bit by bit (but as long as it runs OK and gets me to where I need to go without costing me too much money to fix when it does break, I'm going to keep driving it), I turn into a rage machine. I think this is true of just about everyone. Or am I projecting.

Here's a writing prompt for you wannabes: a man is dangling his private parts over a running sausage grinder.

There's no way this thing has any value for anyone. Does that make it pointless? Yes, but really no, because I like writing it because it's easy and I feel free to write whatever the fuck I want. So just because it doesn't have value to anyone other than me, wait, what?

Goddamn you're terrible, man.

Don't try to be conversational with me.

Here's a haiku: it is about time, for me to end this nonsense, but just for today.

Here's another: "where is the bathroom?" she asked the man with the beard. he said, "fuck off bitch."

Almost 40 Mind Blowing Things - 1.2

Today’s inspiration sponsored by Todd Henry, the Tony Robbins starter kit. But what self help idiot amongst us isn’t a prophet of the God-like Robbins? Here’s almost 40 things that would blow my fucking mind if they came true.

1) Fully automated automobiles. I’m talking about cars that drive themselves on command. You say, “take me to whores,” and the car drive you to whores while you post on Facebook how much you love your family.

2) I have a threesome with two girls. Like, amaze wouldn’t even be a good enough word to describe this. But I’ve never ever pleased one girl, so... Three seconds in and I’d be a spectator.

3) I make a billion dollars. A million would be amazing. A billion would blow my fucking mind. I’d have to be a completely different person or the luckiest guy on the planet to ever see this much money written next to my name. First thing I’d do is get a butler.

4) I become a huge star. Like, Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt or George Clooney famous. I suppose, if I’m willing to settle for fifteen minutes, I could lope off my penis and murder some people with it. That story should spread pretty well, right?

5) I’m considered the healthiest man alive. Yeah, right.

6) The middle east becomes democratized and our friends. Hey, Germany and Japan eventually calmed the fuck down long enough to not be assholes any more. Why not those idiots who live in caves in the desert?

7) The Rangers, Stars, Mavericks, and Cowboys win championships in the same year. I’d settle for the same decade, or the same lifetime. No way the Rangers ever pull it off.

8) I reach 100 years old. I actually think this is doable, as long as I achieve #5 first.

9) I meet whoever the president is. Out of all the things, this may be the most achievable if I really put myself to it. The problem is, I don’t really fucking care who the president is. Unless it becomes Trump, then maybe this becomes a priority.

10) I live in New York city. I’ve been to New York city exactly one time. The verdict? It’s a toilet.

11) I write a best selling book. Are you reading this thing? Does it seem like anything the drooling masses would pay to consume?

12) I become one of the greatest guitarists ever. Step one: actually learn to play the guitar competently. When I do step one, I’ll move on to step two, which is, don’t stop ever and hope fate intervenes somehow.

13) I have a kid. Unless a girl can get pregnant via semen soaking through the skin on her hand, this doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

14) I run a business with employees. The business part doesn’t seem so far fetched, but having employees? Yuck.

15) I’m a popular stand up comedian. I think I might actually be good at stand up. The only problem is, I’m terrified of what other people think of me at the moment. I’m working on it.

16) I own a boat. Someone would have to do the opposite of stealing a boat from me to get me to own a boat. Like, hold a gun to my head and force me to sign the whatever papers are necessary for legal boat ownership.

17) This website gets one million readers. Not visitors or clicks or whatever, but one million people subscribe to my nonexistent mailing list and actually look forward to reading this crap. If this happens, #11 becomes a strong possibility.

18) The Internet goes away. Imagine the chaos as millions of people experience wicked withdrawal symptoms. Society as we know it might crumble if this ever happens.

19) I invent a new programming language. Seems unlikely, unless the place I go to every week day for a paycheck tells me to do it. Or I accomplish #3 and have nothing better to do.

20) Aliens make contact. I used to have a fascination with aliens, so this might be the most incredible thing on this list. I would want to be one of the first to visit their planet.

21) I’m able to effortlessly do scorpion pose in yoga. This is where you do a handstand, then bend your back and legs to the point where the soles of your feet rest on the top of your head.

22) I catch a home run ball. The odds here are pretty astronomical. If I went to every home game of every baseball team every season and sat in the most statistically likely home run seats, I’d probably die before catching a home run.

23) I’m considered a Dallas icon. I’d have to save Dallas from Godzilla or Nazis or The Joker or something. Maybe go back in time and take the bullet for JFK, who finally got it through his head that we didn’t like him here in Dallas. 

I Wish This Made It Easier To Know If This Is Something You’d Like To Read - 1.1

Where’s America, really? I mean, is it a piece of land, a concept, a person, what? I need to know but I’ll never find out.

As awkward as it is, I exist.

I’m pretty good at ignoring people and pretending like they/I don’t exist, or at least that I’m nothing but a fixture that sits in the background that can be easily ignored. It’s not a good feeling. I want to be the opposite of that, but I have no idea what that even means. I should work on this.

You are.

Don’t pressure me, asshole.

My shoelace touched the ground in the bathroom adjacent to the ever present puddle of pee. In case you’re curious about recurring themes, the puddle of pee will be one. Men are disgusting creatures that think they can stand ten feet  from the urinal and arc it into the cup. That’s the only explanation.

Diarrhea man had twins. He named them both diarrhea.

When I watch Archer, the TV show, I get confused about ISIS.

Nothing is more appropriate than what’s appropriate right now.

I’m a perfectionist, and I have no idea how to define perfect.

I’m afraid, of almost everything, but especially what’s in my head that could spill out for everyone to see and judge and make fun of. I know deep down that none of that sentence is true, except the afraid part.

Have you heard about my lower back? Yeah, it’s holding a grudge against me. One day I hurt it unintentionally, but it thought I was being malicious. Ever since then it’s been secretly trying to kill me and I’ve been not so secretly trying to hammer it back into place. If this struggle were a game of chess, it would be a stalemate.

I love my wife and I miss her right now.

This is my grand idea for a blog. This, right here, what you’re reading. It’s probably the stupidest, most time wasting idea ever. But who am I here to please? Seriously, can anyone answer that question for me?

I almost feel like I’m meant to be alone, that I’m not built to reside in relationships too long.

How can you “almost feel” like anything? What does that even mean?


I’m engaged in physical, social, business, and creative challenges right now, in that priority order. They’re one year in duration, designed to make me a better, whatever I am. Person? I think I’m a person. I’m still waiting for verification.

I should’ve talked to them for practice. They practically begged me to. I’m too scared. Oh, fucking, well.

Do you wanna know what I’m doing for my business challenge? What’s that? Oh, you don’t give a shit? OK. Guess I’ll go in the Starbuck’s bathroom and slap my tiny dick on the sink for a while. At least until someone pounds on the door and threatens to call security.

My name is A-ron. I write this, and in a weird way, I think it’s good. Thanks for reading. 

Campbells Soup Man

I hate the fucking gym.
Like, if the gym were a bad guy it’d be Hitler.
If the gym were an actor/actress it’d be Julia “Goddamn I Can’t Help But Want To Punch Her Face” Roberts.
I hate the fucking gym.

But I go because in Texas, and really anywhere in the world, there comes a time in the year when being outside isn’t practical for a modern, sheltered, soft human.
I feel like I should be tougher and do my stupid workouts regardless of the weather, but I’m not, because I know there exists an air conditioned, heated building where I can do pretty much the same thing minus the elements.
And also, weights, they have weights.
Weights make you stronger and build bigger bicep muscles, because girls can’t help but want to suck the dick of the guy with the biggest bicep muscle.

I’m walking on the treadmill and can’t help but wonder what my place is going to wind up being in evolutionary history.
Like, are The Future Explorers going to figure out why we’re so averse to walking outside when it’s raining?
Are they going to label us “pussies” or “soft” or “Jesus fucking Christ they were weak?"
I guess it doesn’t matter, we’ll all be dead by then.
Good morning!

But I’m talking more about individuality than the concept of walking in place instead of under a little natural shower of water.
If I were a more optimistic man, I might believe that God is doing me a favor by giving me a nice, cool environment to be physical in instead of thinking of God as an asshole for forcing me inside a stale, cold, impersonal factory of desperation and conformity.
That last part is how I feel when I’m walking on the treadmill next to other drones doing the same: going nowhere while thinking, “progress!"
Isn’t that a fancy oxymoron? “He’s making great progress on the treadmill."

So when I’m not on the treadmill and walking around in the real world and I see people on a treadmill, my critical mind kicks in and I think something like, “fucking douchebag robots."
Perhaps this is why I feel like such a brainless drone when I’m walking on the treadmill.
My critical eye points both ways.

I don’t know why I don’t just embrace that I’m no different than anyone else, that no one is different from anyone else; we’re all exactly the same.
The only differences we have is how unique our brains are, which kind of feels like an oxymoron also.
We all experience the exact same things, give or take, and we all place different unique meaning on those experiences.

Like, a handful of people could see a guy eating a can of Campbell’s Soup straight outta the can with a plastic spoon in the middle of a Starbucks and each come up with their own assessment.
“Oh, he must be down on his luck."
“What a fucking loser!"
“Jesus dude, can I heat that up for you?"
“Aren’t you supposed to dilute it with water or something?"
“Please get the fuck out of my Starbucks! You’re an eye sore!"
Guess which one is me.

I see this guy every time I go to that particular Starbucks in Uptown.
He’s always wearing blue pants, a button up shirt half untucked, and he looks like he’s lost his mind.
Like he once used to be a powerful business person raking in millions as CEO for some oil conglomerate.
But now, his mind is mush and he spends his days carrying a plastic grocery sack of miscellaneous food items and hangs out in Starbucks.
Sadness comes to mind.
But what I really think about the most is, “is that going to be me?"

One time, I thought he had left, so I sat in the seat he vacated.
About thirty minutes later, he came back and when he found me in his seat, he stood and stared at me.
I could all but see the question marks sprinkled around his head.
I said, “would you like to have your seat back?"
I am polite, if nothing else.
He grunted and shook his head in the “no, fucking asshole” direction and stormed off.

Later, I saw him driving off in a Mercedes.
Not one of the entry level ones, an expensive one.
I thought, “maybe this fucker is a billionaire and just likes going around pretending to be a borderline homeless guy?"
Now there’s a unique lifestyle, one free of treadmills and average, packaged experiences.
I’ve heard some stupid ancient philosopher talking about the concept of slumming it for a period to appreciate what you got, but this seems to be taking it to a new level, if my speculation is true.
And this guy is fucking damn convincing, better than that Tom Cruise ass hat.

The most probable answer is the dude is a nut job.
Whether or not he’s a rich nut job is a question I’ve been trying to answer.
I find it hard to believe that a rich guy, even if he is a nut, carries a disheveled looking grocery sack around with cans of disgusting soup and eats them “raw” in Starbucks for sport.
Although it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the truth.
Surely, if he’s rich enough, he has handlers that keep him from looking like the type of person people might take pity on.
I know that’s the one thing rich people fear second most: looking poor.
Their biggest fear is actually being poor.

But whenever I see him, I just sit and watch him.
I’m pretty sure he has no idea I exist or that anyone else exists.
He’s like a Roomba vacuum, automatically piloting around obstacles (other people) as he goes about his business.
Which is kinda how I feel when I go to the gym, that I have to, in addition to doing my training, navigate around obstacles (other people).
Which is not how I feel when I’m doing my training outside, where people are people worth interacting with even if it’s just saying, “hello."
Environment affects mentality affects perception.

I bet Future Man won’t be conflicted with these types of things, worrying about individuality and shit like that.
The desire to stand out from the crowd will be completely programmed out of their being.
They’ll all be stupidly content living as part of the collective.
Yes, like fucking Borg on fucking Star Trek.

Letting Go Of Bella

In August 2008, I got a gift that I didn’t know was a gift until today, Oct. 27, 2015. At the time I thought it was a curse; two wild ass dogs whose lives I was now responsible for. I was almost certain that I’d forget to feed them and they’d attack me in my sleep and eat my still living body.

Bella was a rambunctious, shy, highly protective, sweetheart, playful boxer and Zeus was a stubborn, insanely friendly, brash, easily distracted beagle. They made an odd pair but complimented each other so well. 

It felt like a heavy burden at first, a lifestyle upheaval that I wasn’t sure I was ready for. As routine settled in, and they grew more and more trusting of me as their new master, and I became more attached to them, it become a responsibility, then an obligation. I felt compelled to give them the best possible life that I was capable of, and in return, they gave me endless, unconditional companionship.

It took Bella several months to warm up to me. She never fully trusted me until around month six. She would run out of the room if I made a sudden movement. She’d cower when I’d scream at the TV while watching the Cowboys play like idiots, which was all the time. She seemed afraid of my very presence. She was still affectionate, but she would approach me with caution.

But we stuck to the routine. They’d wake me up earlier than I wanted most days. I didn’t need an alarm any more. I’d let them out to the backyard then get back in bed. They’d come back in and wake me again. I’d get up, feed them, then take them for a walk. Every morning, pretty much the same routine, despite how I was feeling, despite the weather, despite what was going in my life.

Bella especially liked going for walks and runs. I would take them up to the mountains in Tucson to hike and let her off the leash. She would run as fast as she could and jump over imaginary obstacles, like a gazelle with personality. Then she’d spin in circles, growling and nipping at the ground, and run back to me. She was so athletic and graceful and full of energy that I felt bad for her when we had to get back in the car and go home. Although she'd pass out almost instantly and snore on the drive home.

She started sticking right by side wherever I went. She’d lay by me on the couch, on the floor in the bathroom when I’d take a shower, in the closet when I was getting dressed, in the music room when I was practicing guitar, in the kitchen when I was cooking, on the floor with her head resting in my lap. She followed me around the house just to be near me. “Oh, you’re going to the kitchen? Ok, I come. Oh, you’re going back to the bedroom? Ok, I come. Oh, now back to the couch? Ok, I come.” She was like my shadow. I felt like she was my little body guard.

I’d take her to the dog park and people would fawn over how sweet and gorgeous she was, which made me feel like a rock star. But they didn't give two shits about me. Bella was the star, and fuck their stupid dogs, they were in love with her. She didn’t have much interest in playing with those other dogs anyway. She only wanted to stand next to me and make sure no other dog messed with me, while Zeus was off hunting for scraps of food and something interesting to pee on.

Her running and jumping were severely hampered one day when she jumped across a ditch and when she landed, she fucked up her right knee. It didn’t keep her from completing her run though, as she shrugged off the pain and kept going. I knew she had injured it because I heard a loud pop. Regardless, she didn’t seem to mind too much. She kept walking without a limp, even the next day.

This is the time I was introduced into what I assume vets call “the profit funnel.” Through a series of vet visits, x-rays, physical examinations, and a lot of “you’re a pretty shitty owner if you don’t have this ridiculously expensive and traumatic surgery” guilt trips, I was sold on TPLO surgery as the ONLY way to get her knee back to normal. It wasn’t the cost that concerned me. It was the trauma it caused her to go through with very little benefit on the other side. Her leg would’ve healed, formed scar tissue, and been just as prone to arthritis regardless of the surgery. I didn’t know this at the time.

She pulled through it like a champ of course. Despite having a huge incision and about eleven billion stitches, she continued to be by my side, just as excited as she was before the tragedy. I felt horrible for her through that whole experience and swore to never put her through anything like that again, regardless of the consequence.

She eventually got back to almost normal. She still ran, but the jumping stopped, except when she wanted to sneak onto the couch or bed. Then jumping wasn’t such a problem. I think she was sandbagging, or I was being over protective. We still went for really long walks and trips to the park though. I learned then what true toughness is.

It was through that time that we really bonded. I became obsessed about her health and wellness. I changed her diet, feeding her better food. I played with her more. I just sat and talked her and hugged her more. She in turn became more protective of me. She’d fight just about every dog that even tried to approach me.

As she got older, her favorite thing became looking out the window by the front door. She’d stand there for an hour or more just looking. She’d growl and bark when someone walked past, but other than that, she’d calmly stare. I wondered sometimes if she was looking for someone. She'd still play and go crazy, but that portal to the outside was her obsession.

About a year ago, she blew out her other knee. This time, she limped and wouldn’t stand on it. I elected to not have the surgery, despite the vet telling me “this is her ONLY and best option for recovery.” Well, that vet was a fucking liar, because she did recover. It took some time, and she never came back 100%, but she did heal. 

But there was something worse brewing. She started losing weight, a couple of pounds every couple of weeks. Her energy declined. Although she was still excited to see me when I came home, she struggled to make it around the block on walks. I could tell both of her knees bothered her, but she powered through it. She lost her appetite and eventually stopped eating altogether.That’s when I knew it was time.

It feels sudden, like just yesterday she was happy and healthy, then today, she had nothing left. When she collapsed in the yard after peeing this morning, it felt like God reached down and kicked me in the stomach as hard as he could. I had to make the call.

The guilt is the hardest thing to deal with right now. Guilt for not taking action on her declining health sooner. Guilt for all the times I yelled at her for doing something bad or ignored her when she was trying to give me love. Did I give her the best possible life? Was she truly happy? Could I have done more? Did I make the right call? I guess it doesn’t matter now. My best friend is gone.

There is a sense of relief that her suffering is over, but it feels like there’s a huge chunk of love gone. The one thing I miss the most right now is those moments when she’d bury her head in my chest and I’d hug her and rub her belly.

That was her gift. All along I thought that was her trying to receive love and attention, but that was her giving me exactly what I needed in that moment. That was her way of trying to take away my stress, worry, sadness, whatever, just being there. Despite everything going on with her, pain, sickness, nausea, she gave me 100% of herself and that’s something I’ll never forget and always be grateful for.

A little over 7 years I had with her. Good times, great times, bad times, and sad times. When she released her final breath, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I continued to stroke her head and hope that somehow she’d pop up and be her old happy self again.


Things I’m going to miss:

  • Morning wake up excitement.
  • "Talking" when she wanted me to do something for her, like let her on the couch or bed with me.
  • Burying her head in my chest and sighing.
  • Fight/play time (pretty much the same thing).
  • Those crooked ears and sad gaze.
  • Watching her run and jump.
  • The excited welcome home greeting EVERY time I came in the door.
  • Trying to chase squirrels in trees.
  • Growling in her sleep.
  • Feeling protected, like she was always on watch.
  • Backing away from the water bowl and getting mad when the water wasn't perfectly fresh.
  • Kissing my hand when she was excited to see me.
  • Burying her nose in cushions and taking long sniffs. I have no idea why.
  • Growling and trying to fight every dog she came across.
  • Sprawling out on the tile after a long hot walk.
  • The infinite circling and pawing of her bed to make it just right, and looking at me like I was crazy when I interrupted her.
  • Laying at my feet wherever I was.
  • Sitting and staring out the backseat window on car rides.
  • Trying to crawl in my lap during thunderstorms.
  • Coming back from a late night pee to find her sprawled out on my side of the bed.
  • Her head in my lap.
  • Just her unconditionally being there.

The Tailgater

I've since come to the conclusion that Howard was a slug of a man when outside his vehicle. At about five feet ten inches tall, pudgy on the brink of obese, C shaped spine, and a constant fascination with staring at his phone, he lived a life of excessive consumption, as most of us are prone to do.

Speculation is what morons do.


When he got behind the wheel of his Ford seven fifty four by four super charged V eight though, he was a rock star.

I "met" Howard on my commute to work one morning. I don't have far to go, just a few miles on the freeway, but they're usually eventful miles. Almost every day I witness an exception to good driving. Cars that need to be moving faster than every other car. Cars that are too timid to move at freeway speeds. And cars with drivers that would rather watch videos on facebook than pay attention to the road.

Whatever, you do all those things too.

Howard was driving a car in the first category; those that need to move faster than the rest. I saw him in my rear view mirror inching closer and closer to my back bumper. He was leaned forward in the driver seat, one hand on the steering wheel, the other hand holding his phone. I could see his face move from the road to his phone, road to phone, road to phone. He was that close.

As he got within what seemed like millimeters of my bumper, I lightly tapped my brake lights. Now, I've heard public service announcements on the radio that say you should never do this because it causes accidents and tends to hurt people who aren't being assholes. But I couldn't help myself. It felt like only a matter of time until he nudged me off the road.

This, of course, did not sit well with Howard. When he glanced back up from his phone to find my brake lights illuminated, he backed off, swerved slightly, and I thought I saw him drop his phone in favor of using the hand that was holding it for steering.

I laughed and laughed, then accelerated back to my normal speed.

Once Howard regained control, he sped back up and took up residence on my bumper once again. Only this time, he was 100% focused on my car. I could see him mouthing some not so pleasant words in my rear view mirror. He flipped me off a few times, screamed what I assume were obscenities, and played a game where he'd back off a little bit then speed back up, like he was gearing up for an attack or something.

I just laughed and waved like the friendly driver I am.

Please, you're an asshole driver too, asshole.

I went about my route. The whole time, Howard was right on my ass. I exited the freeway. So did Howard. I made the turn on the road where my job lives. Howard followed. I pulled into the parking lot. Howard, still there. I parked.

Howard thought it would be a good idea to follow me to my job and confront me about the injustice I had delivered to him in the form of testing his reaction time. My only concern was whether or not he had a weapon. It's Texas. We love our guns.

I decided to get out of my car and go about my routine of walking to the front door without paying any attention to Howard. I got out, locked the door, and turned to walk towards the building. I heard Howard scream from his rolled down car window, "hey asshole! Fuck you asshole! You mother fucker! I'm gonna kick your ass!"

I turned around and started walking towards his car figuring that if he had a gun and was intending on shooting me, he would've already done it. Still, the approach wasn't without extreme caution. I imagined this is how policemen feel on every traffic stop.

I said, "I'll take you up on the ass kicking. Here I am." I stood about ten feet from his car and put my arms out to my side in a gesture I'd seen one thousand or more times in the movies when bros are about to throw down.

What he did next was unexpected. He got out of his car. Anger has a way of over ruling good judgment. He could've just said his threatening words and sped off. But he was so angry that he was willing to take it up a notch.

I hadn't been in a fight in a long time. I remember when I was in the ninth grade, a little seventh grader thought it would be smart to hit me in the face with his tuba on the bus. It wound up being a poor decision for him as I proceeded to break his stupid nose.

Since that fight, I learned to fight for real. I had sparred countless times and moved up the ranks of the belt system all the way to brown. Then I had to stop and pursue other interests, but the skills were still there, I hoped.

"Hey, get back in your car and leave. I don't want to have to hurt you fat boy," I said.

The "fat boy" part was uncalled for and only fueled his rage. He approached and threw a weak right cross. I grabbed his wrist on the follow through and jerked him enough forward that his momentum sent him face planting into the pavement. Before he could get up, I put my knee on his throat and locked his arm in a painful position. He was at my mercy.

"A little more pressure and your forearm bones will shatter and you'll never use this arm the same again," I told him.

You're so fucking full of shit.

All he could do is writhe in pain. I asked him to apologize for inconveniencing me. He said, "I'm sorry, please just let me go."

"If I let you up, you're going to leave and I better not ever see you again."

"Yes, just let me go."

I let his arm go and stood up off his neck, which should've been his queue to leave forever. What did I say earlier about how anger has a way of over ruling good judgment? Yeah, well it happened again.

He lowered his head, let out a primal scream, and charged me. His shoulder planted in my gut and thrust me back. I fell to the ground while positioning my forearm on his windpipe. My back scraped across the gravely pavement as I hit the ground. There was a burning pain from my right shoulder down the side of my ribs.

I tightened my grip on his neck, forcing his chin towards his sternum and his spine in the opposite direction. His airflow restricted, he began to flail in a panic.

"I told you to just leave. Now you have to die."

It takes a lot to strangle the life out of someone. It's not as easy as they make it appear in the movies. Once his struggling subsided to a tolerable level, I released my grip and rolled him off me.

"Breathe, fat boy, breathe."

Howard did eventually catch his breath. He used some of it to call the cops. They showed up. I explained the situation in detail. They decided to not do anything but tell Howard to behave himself on the road.

A few months later I crossed paths with Howard at a Starbucks. He had a big cut over his left eye and was wearing a wrist brace. I approached him and asked, "who pissed you off AND kicked your ass this time?"

He screamed an obscenity at me. Something like, "fuck you!" then went back to his usual digital coma, phone staring and mouth breathing.

In Dallas, and probably everywhere, there's no shortage of Howards operating vehicles on the roadways. I'm amazed there aren't more instances of people shooting each other.

I did hear a story about a guy, named Howard, who got shot and killed while driving down the freeway in rush hour traffic. I wondered for a second if it was THE Howard who I had violently encountered. Then I hoped it was him. The story said he was shot nine times, two in the chest, seven in the head. I never learned the victims identity.

You know it was him.

Kenny & The Brewing Madness

In junior high, I hung out with this kid who lived down the street from me. His name was Kenny. I think he might have been gay, but he didn't know it or accept it yet. Totally a conjecture on my part, and it doesn't matter at all.

So why even mention it you asshole?

One time, Kenny made homemade condoms by cutting the fingers off rubber gloves and drenching them in Vasoline. He tested them out one night during a sleepover. It was just me and him, lying in his bed. He'd laugh and try to stretch the homemade condoms over his wiener. Then he'd goad me into trying. I refused because, well, it didn't excite me as much as it did him. And puberty hadn't quite found me yet.

I feel like I dodged the rape bullet that night. He was bigger, stronger, and way more erecter than me. He did make fun of me later in front of everyone in the locker room, calling me something like, "baldy."

Don't tell them that!

Kenny lived in a disheveled, borderline condemnable house at the intersection of modern civilization and back woods, hilly billy trailer trash society. Seriously, the road his house faced was paved. The road next to his house was made by dumping a shit load of rocks in as straight a line as possible and driving over them a billion times. It literally felt like a different universe once you stepped off the paved road. Like there should have been a warning sign that said something like, "WARNING: Loin Cloth And River Bathing Area."

I thought Kenny was cool because he had BB guns and a questionable parental situation. One day, while Kenny was in the house doing something, maybe making more condoms, I used one of the BB guns to shoot the windows out of a junked car that was permanently parked in their backyard. It had weeds growing all around it and a wasps nest in the backseat. I figured they didn't give a shit about it, so, why not? I had shot car windows with BB guns before. They never shattered as easily as those windows did. 

His step father pulled up a few hours later, returning from a job I can only speculate involved cleaning out the frying grease vats at fast food restaurants and consuming large amounts of beer, because he was slimy and drunk off his ass.

He asked, "hoo shot da winders outta da ferd?" His words directed right at me, like he knew there was no way Kenny shot them out because, consequences.

I looked around, trying my best to help him find the culprit. He kept staring at me. That was the most we'd ever interacted with each other. Usually, he would just stand or sit in silence and drink his beer. Thinking about it now, a man who chooses to live in such dilapidated conditions probably doesn't care too much for himself or anyone else. He's just trying to hurry up and get to the part where some officiant pronounces him dead. I guess I was lucky he didn't decide to take his frustrations out on me.

Later that same day, me, Kenny, the step father, and the mother all piled into a 1970 Oldsmobile El Camino, or whoever made El Caminos back then. With a six pack by his side, an open one between his legs, his wife in the passenger seat, and two extremely minor minors in the back, he tore down the rock road doing what I remember felt like 90 mph. 

I don't remember where we were going, but along the way he intentionally ran over a bunny crossing the road at the wrong time. It must've been a pastime of his, or maybe a family tradition, because he said after the bunny thudded around under the El Camino, "got that sum bitch." It's probably safe to say that was his greatest accomplishment in life. Everyone wakes up in the morning for a different reason I guess.

Shortly after, Kenny moved away. A non-distinct family moved in and remodeled the shit out of the house and the land. They wound up demolishing the house and building a brand new one that looked like every other house in the area.

A few years later, my parents got divorced and I moved away.

Years after that, I heard a story about Kenny murdering a family of four with his bare hands. He broke into their house, tied up the entire family in one room, and one by one, killed them, starting with the father, then the mother, then the two small kids. I'm not sure if it was an embellishment or not, but I also heard he raped the mother and the 8 year old daughter before he killed them.

He went to prison and is currently sitting on death row.

I wonder about all the shit that went on in that house when I wasn't around. And that maybe the reason Kenny wanted me around all the time was for some relief. I don't remember him coming over to my house ever. Certainly not for a sleepover. I was always over at his.

In a way that kinda makes me a superhero with the odd power to unintentionally suppress domestic abuse, although temporary. That's what my ego likes telling me. Apparently it wasn't enough.

They eventually demolished the new house, paved the rock roads, and built middle class mansions on the land. Now that part of the world is indistinguishable from every other suburban landscape.

Kenny's old house looked like it belonged to a deranged serial killer. It was obvious. Now the cookie cutter houses make it harder to tell who the future murders might be. They're all scenery in the background, easily forgettable, impossible to care about. 

A Dietary Segregation Diatribe

I'm the pickiest eater on the planet.
Well, there was this guy I saw on the TV once who ate nothing but pizza because he feared eating anything else would kill him, or something stupid like that.
He was like twenty something and already had signs of heart disease and shit.
Like, if that isn't the most damning ad against eating pizza ever again, I don't know what is.
But, you know, pizza is good, man. I eat it all the time, man.

Here's my list of dislikes:

  • Cheese, except on pizza and in small quantities on things like tacos. If the cheese doesn't have a context, or is something with a qualifier, like goat or blue or whatever, I'm out. 
  • Anything creamy, except sometimes ice cream. Sour cream is at the top of this list, followed closely by milk, mayonnaise, and cream cheese. If it's white and smooth, I'm out.
  • Pork, except bacon. I don't consider bacon to be a pig product. It's in a category all to its own. But things like pulled pork, pork chops, etc, fuck those things. I don't even like the word pork. It makes me gag.
  • Calamari. Dee-scust-ing. A friend told me once about a place somewhere that used pig buttholes instead of actual calamari. So now, when I think meat can't get any worse than pork, someone invents fried pig buttholes. Knock yourself out America.
  • Oysters. Similar to calamari, but less prone to impersonation. I don't like anything that has the consistency of my own tongue.
  • Goat. Do I even need to put this here? I feel like goat isn't a celebrated meat yet, but I've seen it on menus at those new fangled restaurants that have the words "local. organic. fresh." painted on the wall and the bartenders wear leather aprons and have kick ass beards and handlebar mustaches.
  • Dark meat chicken, generally. I'll only eat it if I go to someone's house who has cooked it and expects me to eat it or if it's deep fried and served in a basket with red and white checkered paper with overpowering dipping sauce and shit load of seasoned fries.

"Well, A-ron, if this is what you don't like to eat, what do you eat then?" you might be asking the screen right now as you sit alone on the toilet at the job taking a company paid poo.

I feel like diet has become the new religion in the United States of America USA.
Like, there's a burger place I go to by my job that has a "stuffed" bust of a vegan on their wall.
Kinda like when idiots get the head of a deer taxidermied so they can mount it on their wall as some kind of morbid trophy that lets everyone know they like to shoot things[1].
The burger place has a fake one in the shape of a human with long hair, wearing a tie dye t-shirt with the peace symbol, and he's holding a vegan menu.
I'm not sure why it seems so imperative to stick it to the other guy, who probably won’t even know you’re sticking it to him.
Or maybe they did it as a gag to show their customers just how much they support eating meat and how much they despise the liberal, left wing vegan hippie people.
You know, because that’s their clientele, Obama hating, gun toting, Christian conservatives.
And assholes like me who don’t think the “joke” is that funny.

So the vegans segregate themselves from the meat eaters and vice versa.
Paleo people segregate themselves from the raw vegan food people.
Atkins people stand on an island of their own.
Vegetarians ride in the middle of vegans and meat eaters, but aren't good enough for either group.
Then there's everyone else who eats whatever the fuck they want when they want.
And none of them get along because they all have a belief system ingrained that keeps reminding them of how right they are and how wrong everyone else is.
It's what America is all about, right?

So what you eat and how you eat it is important in the context of who you're allowed to congregate with.
Vegans can coexist with meat eaters, but not beyond the "there's another person in the world to say Hi to" level.
Which is all OK, because this is how God wants us all to be.

Then there's people like me, who bounce from thing to thing, who believe raw vegan is the healthiest way to go but impossible to maintain, who then switch to Paleo, who then switch to the anything goes group because it's so much easier.
I've existed on some level in everyone's camp.
They’re all like a cult, where everyone reinforces their beliefs that how they're living is the de facto right way, God's way, Nature's way, how humans were meant to live and how we would live if we were naked and didn't know what the fuck an iPhone was.
And they're all fucking crazy and impossible to convince otherwise.
And they're all fucking hypocrites.
And the ones at the top of the pyramid, the influencers, are making butt tons of money hocking products and supplements and garbage using the beliefs of the hive against them.
I don't mind a fella trying to make a buck in the world, but it's hard to swallow something when there's a hook attached.
To put another way, selling wares that compliment a particular lifestyle is a conflict of interest.
It's what scientist or psychologists (I forget which) call the confirmation bias, where you actively seek proof that your belief system is correct.
And it's why people selling diets and lifestyles and all that shit are full of shit.
I think I've just proved how awesome I am.

And now I'm going to disprove how un-awesome I am by telling you what I do eat: WHO FUCKING CARES.
I eat everything from sodas and candy to greens and bananas to chicken and rice and whatever else tastes good.
I try to keep it as healthy as possible, where healthy is defined as lean meats, fruits, and veggies.
But I fail almost every day to do it perfect.
I like Starbucks and desert and fatty meats and things like grits and risotto and french fries and pizza.
I'm trying really hard to break bad eating habits, but when you sit in an office that is literally offering garbage snacks within arms reach, it's damn near impossible.
And it doesn't fucking matter.
It does, but only in the long run and within the confines of what makes sense according to you.

But I'm pretty sure the dude who only eats pizza is an idiot and has psychological problems.
Those are the only types of people to segregate yourself from, lest they drag you down with them.
Other than that, I imagine a future where vegans and meat eaters fuck like rabbits and have children who enjoy both fruits and veggies and meat and who invent a whole new society of people who love each other despite their huge gap in dietary beliefs.
God bless the USA.


[1] It's not hunting, it's going out and shooting animals. Real hunters don't use guns or sit in elevated deer blinds waiting for what amounts to rodents to come around and eat the irresistible feed they laid out. That takes zero skill other than decent marksmanship.