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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Ancestry DNA

Ever since I was a little boy, I have been in awe of the Native Americans and have always felt like I was somehow part of them.  I study their culture, read Native American authors, attend powwows, and listen frequently to Native American music. Anyone who knows me knows it’s my desire to be of Native American descent.

Growing up I was always told on my mother’s side I’m Irish, and on my father’s side I’m Italian.  There didn’t seem to be anywhere where the Native American could fit in.

So, when I heard that was offering DNA tests to determine one’s heritage, I sent for the kit.  Here was my one chance to find Native American in my DNA. I wasn’t looking to be 55% Native American. All I wanted was to be 10% or maybe 26% Native American. That’s not asking too much of my DNA, is it?

I remember fondly the day (a sunny Sunday afternoon) when I spit saliva in the tube to capture my DNA. While spitting I imagined all the possibilities… and convinced myself that one of my grandmothers hooked up with a Native American and had a love child who turned out to be either my mother or my father.  As wild as that thought was, I held on hoping… and with that hope tucked deep inside my heart I walked to the nearest mailbox to mail my spit to the DNA lab.

After nearly eight torturous weeks of waiting, the email arrived with a link to my ancestry DNA results.

I was immediately filled with excitement and a touch of anxiety. Just a click away would reveal who I am and where I come from.  

I closed my eyes and clicked the link, and after a moment of quick prayers, I opened my eyes and this is what I saw: Not one iota of Native American in my DNA!

After the wave of dizzying disappointment ran its course, I looked closely at the results and saw that I do have more than just Irish and Italian in my DNA. I’m also Greek and Iberian Peninsula and European Jew and Middle Eastern, too. There’s also a tad Finish/Russian in me and a minute bit of British and Dutch.

I’m a mongrel pup… a little bit of this and a little bit of that… a sort of man of the people... and that suits me fine.   

As for the Native American that’s not in me, I have decided that in a previous lifetime I was indeed a Native American.  Maybe a Cree or a Navajo or a Hopi or a Pima or a Cherokee.

And to prove it, I will soon participate in a past-life regression to find out what tribe and when.

I am determined to find my Native America connection.