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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I Hate Shiplap

Until a few months ago, I was happily shiplap ignorant. It was a word I never heard and a word I never spoke. Then I changed my cable service to Spectrum and my new TV package included HDTV.

One night, after a few glasses of red wine, I was lounging on the couch and channel surfing. I happened upon Fixer Upper hosted by the ever-cheerful Chip and Joanna Gaines. Yes, they are cheery folk and they seem quite genuine (unlike some other HDTV show’s hosts, which will remain nameless… for now.)
Chip and Joanna are like the Sonny & Cher of HDTV but unlike Sonny & Cher, I think Chip and Joanna really love each other.

Well, during my first Fixer Upper experience, Joanna kept say shiplap, but I thought she was saying shiplat. What the hell was shiplat?  Through the course of the show, I realized it’s slats of wood she eagerly embraces in her designs, mostly horizontal but occasionally vertical.

I called a friend to discuss the shiplat… oops, shiplap trend. My friend told me she loves shiplap and wants to incorporate it in her upcoming kitchen renovation.

Shiplap. Shiplat. Shitlap. Shitlat.

Whatever it’s called, one thing for certain is I hate it.

Sometimes I open a bottle of wine and turn on Fixer Upper and take a sip (gulp) of wine every time Chip or Joanna says the word shiplap. Recently, I went through two bottles of wine.

That night I staggered to bed and had a terrifying nightmare:

I dreamed I moved to Waco, Texas and bought a house that Chip and Joanna Gaines were renovating especially for me. When they asked if I was ready to see my fixer upper I jumped with glee… and then we went inside and as I wandered from room to room I was assaulted with shiplap walls and shiplap ceilings. I was blinded by shiplap! My heart was racing and my eyes were burning…

I woke up screaming, which woke up the little girl whose bedroom is below mine, and she started screaming because I was screaming. We ended up screaming in unison.

I blame Spectrum for providing access to the addictive HDTV.

I blame Chip Gaines for marrying Joanna and having a show on HDTV.  
I blame Joanna Gaines for introducing me to shiplap.

I vow to never have a slat of shiplap in my future house.

I vow to use the hashtag #IHateShiplap as often as possible.

I vow not to eat in my friend’s soon to be renovated shiplap kitchen.

Before shiplap, I was a happy wine drinking news junkie.

Now I’m a wine drinking shiplap junkie who cannot not watch Fixer Upper.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

My Near-Death Experienced Spoiled

I always heard that the moment of surrender, that special moment when we transition from earthly life to heavenly life, we are in a state of peace and calm with a choir of angels beckoning with their pitch perfect voices accompanied by the gentle serenade of a harp. The white light. The beautiful journey…


Aaah… aaah… aaah…

Unfortunately, my recent near-death experience had none of that.

It was quite recently that I was sitting at my desk at work all tensed up over something stupid that was happening. I don’t remember exactly what brought me to the brink of death, but I could feel the sudden onslaught of high blood pressure, frustration trying to talk with only staccato phrases passing through my lips, and dizziness. My face turned red. My co-worker noticed something was amiss and suggested I have a sip of water.

I made the decision not to die in front of her, though I certainly felt it was imminent. I got up and mumbled something incoherent about going to the bathroom, and off to the bathroom I staggered.

Once inside, I leaned against the semi-stained porcelain sink and held on for dear life.

My head was spinning and I was convinced I was about to drop down. I positioned myself so that when I fell I wouldn’t bang my head against the sink. I didn’t want to be found in a pool of blood in a men’s room. I wanted to be a bloodless corpse.

I was ready to let go…

What I heard as I buckled at the knees was not the sound of angels but the guttural grunts of a deep voice followed by an explosion of farts, bombastic farts. It was a huge chorus of eardrum piercing bombastic farts followed by even more grunts.

WTF?  I clenched my ass cheeks and realized it wasn’t me letting loose. It was someone in the stall.

I took what little strength I had and held on tight to the sink. I absolutely refused to fall down dead and have my soul escape my body while on the dirty floor of a bathroom to the rhythm of someone farting a rock opera.


The guy in the stall (possibly a co-worker or even my boss) had no idea of what was happening outside the stall.

What did I do? I reached across the sink and turned on the water and splashed life back into me. I breathed in and out until my dizziness subsided. I slowly forced myself back to life.

Should I have knocked on the stall door and thanked him? If I did, what would I have said? Your farts are a lifesaver?

Instead, I headed back to my office, grateful to be alive, and finished my work.

My dying is going to have to wait.

I want angels and harps next time.

(true story)

Monday, October 16, 2017

I’ve Been De-Friended


A Facebook friend has de-friended me. 

Who? I haven’t a clue.

Do I care? In reality, no. In virtual world, yes.

I received no warning it was about to happen. There was no notice on my Facebook page. There was no email from Facebook telling me who suddenly thought less of me and de-friended me. I just happened to click on my Friends page and noticed the number of my Facebook friends had decreased by one.


One. Person. De-friended. Me.

I know I shouldn’t care because I’ve still got hundreds of Facebook friends, but in the virtual world in which I roam, I’ve created a Michael who is flawless. He’s funny and witty and charming, and he’s someone everyone would love to befriend if they knew he existed.

A tidal wave of shame washed over me. What did I do to force that person to make the virtual decision to de-friend me?

Why? Why? Why would someone ever de-friend me?

My virtual ego was drowning in sorrow. I tried soothing it with reality world red wine. Luckily, after many glasses, the reality red wine made me see things clearer and I staggered to the couch and fell asleep.

The person who de-friended me could very well be someone I’ve never seen outside the virtual world. The person who de-friended me could be a passing acquaintance in the real world who Facebook friended me and moved into my virtual world, never to be seen in my real world again.

I’ve learned that in the virtual world, the quality of friends now seems to be of lesser value than the quantity of friends. Virtual friends trump Reality friends.  It’s easier interacting with virtual friends rather than putting on our pants and leaving the computer to venture outside and meet people to do real people things like face to face conversation.

With the personas we create online, are the people we friend on Facebook people we would ever want to be friends with in the real world? Would we want to have dinner with or share a deep and meaningful conversation with them?

In my head, I know I should leave the keyboard behind and let me fingers do something else, but once I sit in front of that computer, the Virtual Michael comes alive and cannot seem to stop….

Real world. Virtual world. Which one is best? I prefer to live in the real world… but when it’s late at night and there’s nothing good on TV and I don’t want to go to sleep…

I’m a smart man, and I know the difference between real and virtual, and I know the real world is best for me, but still, I want to know who the fuck de-friended me.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Shaped Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen Before

Sometimes when I am minding my own business I see things I shouldn’t see at all…

Not long ago I was at the gym, in the locker room, and at the sink washing my hands. I had just finished rinsing the soap away when I started shaking my hands to set free the water drops that were stubbornly clinging to my fingers and palms.

As I shook my hands, water drops sprayed each and every way. It was then that I noticed there was a man at the sink next to me. He was shaving. I was worried I splashed him with my DNA infused water drops and was about to apologize when I happened to look down and see something that stunned and amazed me and I couldn’t stop staring.

What I saw was shaped like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve seen many.

I didn’t want him to catch me staring, because staring is rather rude, but damn, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It scared me.

I tried to look away. I really did. I looked up and I looked everywhere but down, but there was this inner power that kept forcing to look at… it.  It made me gasp. It made me bug-eyed. It mesmerized me.

His right foot had six toes!  Not just a little stub for a sixth toe, but an elongated toe stuck between his third and fourth toe, and just as long.

I had never seen a foot with six toes before. 

Suddenly, the “This Little Piggy” nursery rhyme started playing in my mind… slowly at first, then faster and faster… I was dizzy and trapped inside the little piggy song…

This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy had roast beef
And this little piggy had none
This little piggy cried “wee wee wee”
All the way home

Ugh! That poor sixth toe has no line in the rhyme!


Throughout this ordeal, the shaving man didn’t notice or didn’t let on that he noticed, though when I caught my final glimpse I swear the sixth toe rose up and down as if it was acknowledging my attention.

How does he wear shoes? Does he need to buy shoes specially fitted for a six-toed right foot?  When he gets a pedicure do they charge him extra for the sixth toe? When he was a little boy did the other boys tease him about the size of his toes?  And how the hell does he tiptoe through the tulips?

I was totally freaked. It was a site I wasn’t expecting to see, and one that will stay in my mind for a long, long time.

As I left the locker room, I couldn’t help myself and I sang, “This little piggy cried ‘wee, wee, wee’ all the way home.”

True story.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Once Happy Couch

In Los Angeles, there is a terrible habit of people dragging their unwanted furniture from their over-priced apartments and leaving the stuff on the sidewalk for others to take, or to rot there until someone calls the city to have it taken away.

Where does the unwanted furniture go when the city takes it away? I haven’t a clue. Maybe Mar-a-Lago? All I know is that I wake up one day and look out the window and see that the junk is gone.

Last week one of my neighbors dragged onto the sidewalk a black fake leather couch. That poor couch had definitely seen better days. It looked tired and worn and desperate for some love and attention.

I imagine it was a rather handsome fake leather couch when it was first purchased some thirty years ago, but neglect sent into a state of sadness and total disarray. The fake leather was frayed, and I can only imagine how it got that way. 

I imagined it broke its springs when its owner romped too hard while having incoherent sex with the druggie girl who lived upstairs. Or maybe it’s leather frayed from hours of its owner rubbing himself against it while watching re-runs of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

I even imagined his pet rats fornicating with total abandon within its crevices.

So, there it was, a once happy couch, now tossed to the curb light a plastic bag full of dog shit.

A few days later, I looked out the window and saw a man on the ground examining the couch carefully. At first, I thought he was a homeless person planning on making it his temporary bed for an afternoon siesta, but then I noticed him taking out fluorescent colored tubes… tubes which looked like big Crayons.

He then he started creating… jabbing the frayed fake leather with his colored tubes… and as he created, I could see the couch transform…  

I went outside to meet the artist and tell him how much I liked what he was doing but he ignored me. So I stood there and watched him create, and at one point, I swear I saw the painted eye wink at me.


This artist transformed the frayed fake leather couch into a piece of whimsical urban trash street art. Sure, the couch has a frown, but I think underneath the paint, the couch is happy to be remembered… 

RIP frayed fake leather couch.