11
Nov
09

The Six Stages of Growth

So, it’s become clear to you that there’s no way to avoid it: you’ve registered on the Movember website. Your future living under the ‘stache is now written in stone–and coming up on ya. Perhaps you’ve been a clean-shaven gentleman all your life; perhaps you thrust yourself proudly into your goatee years. Or maybe you sported a beard so thick in the past few years that not even light could escape it.

Regardless of your recent follicular history, the decision has been made—you’re venturing forward into the single most decisive facial statement a man can make. But what of your delicate sensibilities? You’re full of questions, comments, concerns. Who’ll be there when the first hairs start to sprout? Who’ll come over to pick the pieces of napkin out of your Velcro-like lip stubble? Who’ll applaud when you first realize you’re able to sip boilings liquids without flinching?

I will.

Until Nov 30th, however, you need to know what awaits you. It is with the greatest sense of masculine care that I hereby present to you: The Six Stages of Growth.

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cautious optimismStage the First: Cautious Optimism

You’re shaved, you’re excited, and, by gum, you’re ready. Maybe you had a hot towel shave or maybe you let a Bick double blade disposable do the talking. However you reaped your facial crops, you’re now ready to sew the seeds of mandom. Grab your cardigan. Get your fine slacks out. Then put them on. Now step outside. You want to shout to the world: “I’m a man, consarnit! My prostate and I are in this together!” And you’re right to shout. After all, it’s 4 A.M. How else would your neighbours hear you?

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movember shameStage the Second: Shame

The honeymoon period is over, and people are beginning to ask questions. Your girlfriend finds your lip too abrasive, and you’re beginning to run into people you haven’t seen since high school. You’ve got sales to close and international conferences to attend, yet people are expecting you with your well-recognized chinstrap. When you look in the mirror, you don’t even recognize what you see. Instead, you turn away in disgust. Why, you ask yourself, have you thrown away a face that, while not exceedingly handsome, you’d grown accustomed to, like a dog grows accustomed to the taste of its own feces? You realize that, yes, these are indeed dark times.

Please, continue soldiering on! Believe me, before long, your shame will subside, your spine will straighten, and you’ll be proceeding to:

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movember defensivenessStage the Third: Defensiveness

Stand tall! No one’s going to come between you and your facial hair! Even if that were physically possible, you still wouldn’t have it! Don’t let anyone tell you that your moustache is outdated, outlandish, or out-of-style. Defend your prostate. Defend other men’s prostates–violently if necessary. But do it with the absolute certainty that what you’re doing is right. Dare others to turn their nose down at you. Write manifestos letting society know what you’re prepared to do to those who disparage the moustache, then leave those manifestos between the shelves at the library, on bus-stop benches, and under your tip at the restaurants you frequent. In this author’s opinion, a pseudonym may prove useful.

If people are cowering before your burgeoning mo, then it’s time to proceed to:

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crustacheStage the Fourth: Crustache (click to enlarge).

This can be a terrifying stage for many. You may think that looking like you forgot to wipe your mouth after eating a beef taco is unattractive.

You’re right. It is.

It’s also well worth your time to buck up and deal with it.

Why? Four words:

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the sanchezStage Five: The Sanchez

Over the mountain there lay a shining light. And its name was Sanchez.

By now, your mo will be developing its own shape, luster and character. Do not be surprised when both women and men respond to you differently, as, if you’ve made it this far, you’ll have developed the facial qualities, vocal cadence, and odour of a Latin lothario.

At this point, you’re no longer growing a moustache…you have a moustache. Enjoy being here. And enjoy the choices that come along with it. Do you grow it further? Do you keep it neatly trimmed? Hell, you could even bleach it blonde, if you really wanted to. That’s the point. No one can say anything anymore. You’re officially a better man. And there’s only one place left to go:
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movember moustachelandStage Six: Moustacheland

In Moustacheland, you can lean against a post at the supermarket all day, and people will not call the police. The police will call you for advice.

The End.

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02
Sep
07

An Enticing Offer

A ShadowAnd there it was in my junk mail box. An email with no discernible subject line. Sure, my computer had labeled it spam, but at that instant, I could not care less. I wanted to open it; I needed to open it. The ‘from’ line held one simple word only: ‘luna’. Who was this ‘luna’? Why had she chosen me as a vehicle through which to spread her messages of intrigue?

I could hesitate no longer. Grasping my optical mouse with my right hand, I steadied my wrist and clicked the message bar. The single line of text that lay within could not have been clearer.

luna wrote:

throw away your parasol, your massive member will cast shadow

The statement was bold, but beautiful in its scope: Do away with my parasol, because I will have an engorged penis which would be capable of shielding me and, ideally, those around me, from the sun. I instinctively pushed my cursor toward the link included in the message. After all, anyone this succinct must necessarily be so wise as to not require the encumbrance of additional words.

Then my hand stopped. A curious prickling sensation in my mind was causing me to question my own impending action. Was this really the right thing to do? Did I really wish to have a phallus so large, so chokingly oppressive, that not even light could escape it? A literal black hole of anatomy hanging from my forequarters?

As I began to think about it further, it became clearer and clearer that the right thing to do was to retain my birth genital, however incapable it was of functioning as a beach accessory. It also began to stand out that, even in such few words, ‘luna”s logic was not impenetrable. It began to seem clear to me, once the initial seduction of the proposition had waned, that several reasons stood against my making use of the enigmatic message’s advice:

1. Parasols don’t grow on trees.

Yes, a penis of such glorious girth that it would preclude my use of a parasol would save space in my beach bag, but was it really necessary to impertinently toss my parasol away? After all, my father gave me that parasol. When you buy a new car, you don’t just throw your old car away. There is nothing wrong with my current parasol. In fact, I always sort of liked it; would I really be willing to give up on it after all it’s done for me? I mean, I lost my virginity under that parasol. Yes, it was a little awkward doing my already awkward business with one hand occupied holding it above us, but I thought it made the situation a lot more romantic. And while parasols don’t grow on trees, I’m pretty sure shade literally does.

2. I sort of like my genitals.

And, goddammit, we’ve been through a lot together. In fact, if we’re talking about penises, I mean, really talking about them, mine is sort of the only one I really want to discuss. It would appear I’m biased in its favour. Sure, maybe my penis is only able to cast a shadow onto my thigh, but maybe that’s all the shade I need.

So, sorry Luna. Really. You dreamed of a world where men could relax, have their hands unencumbered, and still shield themselves (minus their penises) from the dangers of prolonged sun exposure. If my lack of interest in living in a world of men with healthy, milky white skin (but burnt and blistered male members that could smother a polecat) is spoiling your dream, then I apologize.

But I’m still not gonna get the surgery.

19
Jul
07

Dear Squirrels

Hello there!Dear squirrels who run out into the street just ahead of me,

I’d like to have a chat with you about statistical probability. Hey, don’t worry. I won’t get too technical. You’ve got a lot of nuts to gather, and a lot of suburban neighbourhoods to overrun. If anything, this letter is intended to empower you to keep on doing your thing. But in order for you to keep on doing your thing, you need to stop darting out in front of me, man. For real.

Look, I understand that the occasional slip of the mind might happen. Maybe you saw an incredibly moist-looking acorn, or a stinkin’ chipmunk sniffing around your territory, and you felt compelled to protect your interests by bolting across a busy street. It happens. But like, I said: statistical probability. You and your brethren seem to have come to a consensus that when confronted with the threat of being crushed by an automobile careening toward you, the best option is to hesitate, then run in a zig-zag formation toward the curb then back in the direction you originally wished to go—often stopping multiple times directly in front of the path of my tires. I assure you, this is not the most sensible option, statistically and mathematically speaking.

You see, squirrels, when you run across the road in one direction, you create a vector. On this vector, there are theoretically infinite potential points of contact. When I drive down a street, my car tires create two more vectors (for simplicity’s sake, let’s ignore the thickness of my tires—this is squirrel-level mathematics after all). These two new vectors will intersect with your vector and create two new points of contact. Think of them as “death-spots”.

Let me illustrate this in terms you can grasp. You’ll be the walnut, and my tires will be the pounding fist.

Squirrel Scenario One

See me coming up on ya? That’s right: I have two fists, and you have one line. You may suggest that the scales seem tipped in my favour. Here’s where it gets interesting. I can only hit you one time on that line. Sure, I get two chances, but once you’re past that second fist, you’re home free, rolling in plush-tailed chiquitas and balling all day, if that’s your scene. If it’s not, I’m sure you have a nice nook somewhere.

The problem is, you’re not giving me one clean line, bro. For whatever reason, you’re doing this:

Squirrel Scenario 2

Let me tell you, as quick as you may be, statistically, you’ve upped the ante. Is it out of fear? Look, I already feel guilty enough that, because of our roads and cars, you’re forced to face soft rolling death from above every day. But am I to infer that because of humanity’s horrid influence, you’ve permanently lost the ability to differentiate between away and towards? Because if that’s the case—if we, as a species, broke your brain—then I don’t think I can cope with that guilt.

Just like a real fist pounding a real walnut—sure, it hurts the walnut plenty, but it hurts my fist too. Except in this case, the walnut is you, and the fist is my heart. Don’t make me punch myself in the heart, little hamster, cause it’s a battle we’ll both lose.

12
Jun
07

Digital Supplication

SupplicationIt takes a strong man to admit he’s been neglecting his child. It takes an even stronger man to go down to the cellar, pull off the two-by-four that’s nailed across the door, push open the swollen wood, and untie that shivering, emaciated child.

Yes, my blog was not a flesh and bone child (were it, I would most likely be writing this from a prison cell, and most likely with a shiv in my neck), but it was something that came from my brain’s loins, and those loins are as fertile as any other loins I might have. The only difference is, if I had my brain exposed, an ambulance would come and get me, not a paddy wagon.

I loved this blog. I wrote for it, I photoshopped for it, I even made it a shiny red rocket-ship. And it was happy. Oh, was it happy. With its several hundreds of hits a day, a modest but respectable Google PageRank of 4 out 10, and a father who cared for it, it could have grown to be a strong figure within the blogdom.  Now, I look at my six hits a day and wonder: what went wrong?

Sure, I was out of town for most of April, when everythign started going wrong.  But that’s no excuse.  If there’s one thing I can always get my hands on, it’s the Internet.  Plus, travel stories are often the easiest and most entertaining.  So, theoretically, I should have been writing more.

The worst part is, I have, like ten drafts saved, waiting to be finished.  But you know what they say about letting blog posts fester…Man, you totally know what they say.

Ok, keep an eye out for real this time.  The sun is out, I’ve adjusted to the temperature, and I’ve got a solid base tan going: get ready for a creative renaissance up in here.

30
Mar
07

An Open Letter to Jesus

The Ten CommandmentsHey Jeez,

It’s me, Moses. Yeah, I know; you haven’t really heard from me since the condolence card in 33 A.D. What can I say? I’ve been busy.

Somebody‘s got to enforce a basic moral code on society. Yeah, yeah, your material’s okay, but to be honest, I was never that big a fan of it. Do unto others? Come on man, you know as well as I do that only works in gradeschool, and maybe swinger parties. I mean, you put a bunch of perverts in a room together, the golden rule is going to leave them a hell of a lot of leeway for sinning.

Look, man. I’m sorry. I didn’t write this letter to bust your balls about whether or not “turning the other cheek” would work against a gang of angry and disenfranchised Puerto Ricans. It wouldn’t. That’s not the point.

I guess it’s the time of year that sort of gets to me. I mean, every year it’s the same thing. Here’s my big moment to shine. Passover. Freeing the slaves; freeing my people from bondage. Shit, I’m like Abe Lincoln, only thirty-two hundred years earlier and with a way more kickass beard. In retrospect, it’s lucky his mother named him Abraham, and not Moses, or I totally could have sued his ass.

Anyway, here I am…geared up to see some Angel of Death action, gettin’ out the lamb’s blood, got my big staff ready to split me some sea, and boom. You fly in on your rocket-powered cross, arms spread out like a rock idol, oozing with victimization. There’s not a dry eye in the house. And just when you got ‘em, you rise from the dead. I gotta give it to you, Lamb of God, it´s a big, big show. But damn, you know? What’s a guy supposed to do? I mean, rivers of blood, locusts, boils, frogs hopping all over the place. Shit, it’s raining fucking fire. The production values are through the roof, but a couple of planks of wood, some nails and a loincloth, and you got them all spellbound. I don’t get it. Continue reading ‘An Open Letter to Jesus’

14
Mar
07

Are All These Gold Coins Worth All this Suffering?

Mario stopped to consider what had just occurred. He breathed in. Ever so slowly, he looked down towards his feet. He stopped. He looked up. He breathed in. Goddamn it, it was true. It was for real, now.

He was standing in a pile of brains and entrails.

It wasn’t the fact that the dog had come towards him—he’d seen dogs before; he had petted dogs before. It wasn’t the strange appearance of the animal: short, brown, fungus shaped, and walking in such a way that only two legs were visible. It wasn’t even the smell—Mario was from New Jersey. There was something strange about the way it moved…almost as if it had no conscience—no purpose—other than to walk eternally and aimlessly in a straight line.

The creature appeared to be unaware of Mario’s presence, but, try as he might, Mario found himself unable to circumvent it to the left or the right. Well, Mario thought, the animal’s going to see me here and move along. The creature continued to approach him, looking distantly away from him yet shuffling directly toward his proximity. Mario jumped several times, hoping to get the creature’s attention, or to at least startle it away, but the creature’s ghostly stare continued unfazed—it was still approaching.

It became quite clear to Mario that this creature was not natural. It was no dog, either, as its flesh appeared to be iridescent, with an almost gelatinous glaze. Mario began to feel disgust and hatred toward the animal—he wished that it would simply go away and no longer block his path, but the more Mario moved, the more squarely in front of him the animal appeared to be. Shit, Mario thought. Here it is now…Christ…directly in front…closing in…just feet away.

And Mario leapt into the air. Continue reading ‘Are All These Gold Coins Worth All this Suffering?’

28
Feb
07

Oscars Series Finale

This past Sunday, Hollywood’s best and brightest gathered at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood to say goodbye to a tradition spanning seventy-nine years—The Academy Awards. Hearts swelled as stars and special guests braced themselves for what would be one of television’s most surprising series finales.

Oscar Statuette“After so many years on the air, so many cast changes, and so many twists and surprises, we really just wanted to go out on a happy note,” said Academy President and Executive Producer of the series Sid Gaines. “There were a lot of rumours circulating of course: that Jack Nicholson would finally kick the smack and tie the knot with Suzie Branson, that terrorists would attack, that Oscar would actually turn out to have been black the whole time…but in the end, we thought, enough surprises.”

In the last few minutes of the episode, audiences beamed as one of the show’s most beloved and long-running characters was presented with the top honour. Martin Scorsese, a beloved cast member on the show for over thirty years, had always been seen as the edgier, somewhat violent brother with a heart of gold. To see him finally come full circle overjoyed viewers across the globe—and inspired the series creators to end the show.

“There’s really nothing else for us to show,”commented Gaines. “Without rehashing old plotlines… or bringing Billy Crystal back on the show…I think we’re done.”

From its season premiere on May 16th, 1929, to its highly anticipated finale on Sunday, ‘The Oscars’, as the series is affectionately known, brought viewers all across the globe into a world of suspense and raw entertainment. While the first season began with a pilot of little more than fifteen minutes, it boasted such stars as Charlie Chaplin and Janet Gaynor. However, despite its promise, the pilot episode attracted weak rating—only 250 people watched.

The show soon spruced up its colors by adding such frivolities as aSid Gaines “red carpet” that the show’s stars could walk in on, and musical performances—which would eventually become staples of the series.

Despite a history of overwhelmingly positive review, however, there are those who feel the show jumped the shark long ago, when actress Marisa Tomei was given Best Supporting Actress in what many saw as a gimmick to “sex up” the proceedings.

“We’re not proud of everything we’ve done during our long run,” recalls Sid Gaines, “but fuck you. Yeah, you heard me.”




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