Friday, November 17, 2017

The Wonder of It All

"Pat got his face broken so now he wants to go to Encinitas to surf."

"What? What?" Mom was looking through her London photos. "What are you talking about?"

"Pat, Mom. He got hurt doing jiu jitsu and now he wants to dunk his head in the ocean to stop the voices, or something. He knows how to surf, so he wants to get a cottage for three months and just hang ten. But not eleven because... you know, he hasn't gotten the surgery yet."

"Oh, this one is out of focus...."

"But he has to get approval and money from his parents. They are oppressing him. Nor do they listen to him when he talks at them. Nor do they... (??)"

A faraway sonorous sound.

"Mom, what is that? Is that Morgan Freeman's voice I hear?"

"Oh! Bingo is sitting on my Wonder Bible."

"Your who is sitting on your what?"

"Bingo! Bad boy. Get off Mommy's Wonder Bible."

"Mom, what did you buy now?"

Mom took up the handy portable device. "It's a Wonder Bible. It plays parts of the Bible, along with soothing meditation tracks of angels farting."

What White People Like

As the voice of Jehovah thundered across the living room, I started to scratch under my chin. And then my knees. And balls... of my feet.

"Mom, turn that off. I think I'm having an allergic reaction to God."

"Oh, you are awful!"

"It's weird, though. I've been really itchy."

"Maybe it's from London. Maybe it's shingles. Is it shingles? Did you get your shingles shot?"

"My what? No."

"You should get your shingles shot. It's important to get your shingles shot. Everyone should get their shingles shot."

"Mom, please stop saying shingles shot."

"It's not fun having shingles."

"I know. Grandpa had them. And then he announced his one-year anniversary of being 'shingles-free' and Mark gave him a uncomprehending smile--thinking that Grandpa was talking about his roof. We've had a hearty laugh about that for years."

"You shouldn't make fun of someone with shingles."

"I'm not! I'm just laughing about Mark misunderstanding the term."

Mom said something else.

"Mom! Can you turn down your Bible? I can't hear you!"



Bingo put his paw on the Wonder Bible, shutting it off.

"Good boy, Bingo!"

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fob Job

I noticed my fob wasn't working. I pointed it at my Subaru and sometimes it locked, other times it didn't. I looked at my fob. Do fobs break down?

I went in for an oil change. By the way, I said, can you fix my fob?

"Fob? We don't fix fobs."

"You don't have a fob fixer on staff?"

"No, it just needs a new battery." He wrote down a number on a post-it. "Here. You can get the battery at any auto parts store."

"Au-to parts?"

Disappointed not to have my fob fixed, I eventually found the strength within me to go to an au-to parts store. Some guy had his truck in front with the hood open, tires off, small fire, etc. I was getting itchy already. Hopefully they had a fob fixer on call 24/7.

I went up to the counter. "Ah, yes, I need my fob fixed? Err, here's the number." I handed him the post-it as if picking up my dry cleaning.

"Yeah." The guy reached for a spinner on the counter. He handed me a tiny battery. "There you go."

"Ah, great. And...? Can you put it in?"

"What? No, we don't fix fobs here."

"Oh. Is there like a fob fixing store somewhere? Where they fix fobs? Maybe a kiosk at the mall, or...?"



"It's easy. You just open it up, unscrew that little screw there, and pop it in."


I was a man. How hard could it be?

Can anyone help a semi-retarded man fix his fob??

Now there was another problem. I needed to unscrew the little screw, and I didn't have a tiny Phillips screwdriver. I wandered the aisles of the auto parts store. Screwdrivers, screwdrivers... Hmmm. I tried to look confident, masculine (fail). I went up the next aisle. And the next. Do they even carry screwdrivers? I was getting aggravated. Why couldn't they just fix my fob? I'd pay the guy to do it! I'd upgrade him!


I wandered out into the pitiless day. The dude was still fixing his truck. Could he fix my fob?

Exhausted, I went home. Going to the hardware store was out of the question. Just being in the auto parts store was enough of an ordeal to last me all year. I got on Amazon and tried to order a tiny screwdriver. They only sold them in large sets, with the tiny one as part of the package. Fine.

A week later the screwdriver set came as I was going to work. Finally my fob would be fixed! I went inside the library and tore open the screwdriver set and found the littlest, cutest screwdriver. With great satisfaction I unscrewed the little screw on my fob. I was a winner!

But I still couldn't get the damn fob panel off. I banged on it, pried at it. OH WHY WAS THE WORLD AGAINST ME?!?!?

Jonah came over. "Whatcha doing?"

"Fixing my fob. And failing fantastically."

"You have to take the top part of the panel off first. Here."

"Are you sure...? But this part is..."

"No. Just... Here, let me."

He got the fob panel off. Got the old battery out. Popped in the new one. Then, to demonstrate his superior masculinity, he pressed the fob buttons, and we could hear my car horn go off way out in the parking lot.

"Thanks, Jonah! You got my fob functioning!"

"Fob off."

Now--who wants a set of screwdrivers? Nearly new??

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tally And Ho, Together At Last

Mom asked me if I had hot water for my shower. I said I did.

"Oh, but I didn't have any hot water for mine. We'll need to tell them at the desk."

I went into the bathroom. It was a typical tres moderne hotel shower with a glass door and leprechaun-shaped nozzle for your hoo-hah.

"Are you sure, Mom?"

The handle on the left was to toggle between the shower head and the wand, while the right was for temperature. There was a red dot above, a blue dot below. I fiddled. Hot water rained.

"No, it's working."

"Oh! I thought the left handle was the hot and the right handle was the cold! I'm so glad we didn't tell the desk about this!"

"Have you been taking cold showers this whole week??"

"I didn't know!"

We left for Westminster Abbey, to see it a second time since the first was spent mostly in the ER. This was our last day and last chance for Mom to take an inspiring photograph of me in London. Something for the fans. And for Rita Ora, whoever the hell that is.

I gave Mom my shitty Vodaphone that I had to buy since my Yank one wouldn't work.

"Okay, I'm going to stand over there," I said. "Just press the camera thingy there."

"But I have my phone."

"Yes, but I want it on my phone. And press the button on it. See that button?"

"Yes. Is it on my phone?"

"No! It's my phone. I want you take it on my phone. You see?"

"Oh, okay."

"Mom, why are you taking out your phone?"

"To take your picture!"

"NO! I want you to take it with my phone. To sum up: your phone, no. My phone, yes."

"Got it."

"Where are you putting my phone?"

"So I can take your picture....?"


"Why are you taking my phone??"

"Just... Get me framed up. I'll be standing over there. Mom? Okay?"

"No, that's your... thumb(?). Let's try again."

"Okay, less thumb in this one..."

"Hmm. Let's try again."

"The sidewalk is breathtaking, isn't it?"

"Okay. Partial credit. (Tired.
So very tired.)"

Mom liked to stop and gaze at things. People would be rushing around her, and Mom would just be gazing. A slight smile playing about her lips. Just gazing at whatever. She looked a bit beatific. Or lost.

"Come on, Mom," said her mean son (me). "This isn't Being There, and you are not the wise fool. Let's get a taxi."

We went to a place in Picadilly and had breakfast. Mom was very pleased with the quantity of butter on her toast.

"That's the sign of class," she said. She held up her piece of toast: it glistened like a newborn foal in the moonlight. "Not every place puts enough butter on their toast."

"Mm! I take it back. You really are a bit like Peter Sellers."

And so, as the credits rolled, we walked across the ocean back to the States. The End.

A pair of comedians. Tally ho!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Who the Hell is Rita Ora? (Or, I Need To Turn Up My Hearing Aid)

Being fancy, Mom and I flew first class to London. As people boarded, two teenage girls stopped and suddenly got all Beatlemania. I mean, I'm handsome and everything, but normally I inspire disgust in the ladies not excitement. It turned out they were barmy about a young woman sitting in the seat ahead of Mom. They took pictures with their phones and waved. The lady pulled her hat lower over her face. Mom was intrigued. Was that person famous? Hell if I knew. When was our soup coming? Days later, after some diligent detective work, Mom discovered that the person on the plane was none other than... RITA ORA.


No, I don't know, either. But she's apparently such a big deal that she was allowed on a flight with us: MOM AND ME. You're welcome, Rita.

On our first day in Britannia, we sallied to Westminster Abbey wherein Mom aggravated a problem with her hip and her groin and her bowels and we spent the rest of the day in ER. We waited several hours and got some thoroughly polite medical care and paid not a ha'pence or quoit farthing! Mom had out her credit card, prepared to pay thousands. What's wrong with these people? WHY WON'T THEY TAKE MY MONEY?? First the driving on the wrong side and now this! In the end, Mom was rewarded with a walking stick and I got a candy cane (that's what they call Twizzlers in the UK).

From that point forward we took cabs everywhere. British Museum, Tower, and Harrod's twice to buy Mom some undies. She had forgotten to pack underwear, but at least remembered her passport. I tried very, very hard not to think about her underwear, surrounded as I was by high-rise thongs and lacy unmentionables. Mom found something approximate so at least she wouldn't have to wash her one pair in her hotel room sink every night. Eat your heart out, Rita!

Then we had High Tea. It was brilliant.

"I'm going to photograph you, my darlings.
And then... I'M GOING TO EAT YOU."

"Why isn't this taking a picture??
Wait, is this the on/off button?"

To enrich ourselves culturally, and generate some comedy, I dragged Mom to a local Malaysian restaurant. Because when in London... 

Mom surprised me by ordering the Sambal Udang Gatayang Aroo Booboo dinner. She was expecting noodles and shrimp, Perkins style. Instead.....

"It's not that bad, Mom. You look like you're dissecting a corpse."

"Careful, I think I saw that part move!!"

"Mmm-mmm, savor those meaty Gatayang parts!"

Mommy very sad. No likey weird garbage food.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Passport to Bloody Good Times


What better way to start one's trip to Merry London than to not pack something? Something... essential? Sure, I packed my shaver, my knee brace, my baby kangaroo food, but did I pack a particular document? Read the following dialogue to find out!

Seven miles from the airport, Mom mentioned that she was glad she remembered to pack everything she needed. Like, say, her passport.

I nearly drove off the highway.


Holy fuck me. I forgot the ONE THING I needed. I let out an expletive for the ages (now enshrined in Westminster Abbey beside Lady Genevieve III).

"What's wrong?"

"I just did the stupidestest thing ever. ARRGH!"

Screeching tires like a tough guy, I U-ied and fought through traffic to get back to my apartment. I knew exactly where my passport was--next to all my other travel stuff, which I had packed as if to taunt myself. An hour later, we were back to seven miles outside the airport. Then I realized we had forgot Grandpa. Oh well. He can play with the kids.

While I had lustily cursed during the entire unnecessary round-trip, Mom stayed silent. She seemed scared of my volcanic anger.

"Greg," she said in a small voice. "Do you need a woman?"

"Maybe I'll find a bird in London, Mom."

"No, a woman!"

Right! We got to the airport, and because of the lost hour we were close to missing our flight. The ticket agent noticed that Mom was struggling and suggested a wheelchair. I said no, knowing what Mom would think of that idea, but then the agent said we'd get through security in a special line.

"Mom? We've got a wheelchair for you!"

A small Ethiopian lady pushed Mom with celerity through the airport as I rushed alongside. Mom was then extensively patted down by a lesbian while, inexplicably, I was allowed to walk through without having to go through the chamber of crotch inspection. Then the wheelchair needed a pat down. By now, Mom was getting annoyed and impatient. Our trip to London was hanging in the balance because of safety! A gruff TSA agent wanded the chair, the seat cushion, the spokes, the tires...

"What is he doing? Do they think I have a MACHINE GUN in there?!?"

Mr Gruff machine-gunned Mom a look.

"They prefer if you mention bombs instead, Mom."

We were somehow allowed to get on our flight, and a day later we arrived with... the Arizona Cardinals!

Mom and I in the background, about to get bull rushed


For our first excursion we went to Westminster Abbey, where I saw my expletive and the tomb of EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON. I was a bit surprised and excited. Then it occurred to me that I was probably the only one in thousands of visitors to pass by with indifference the tombs of Elizabeth I and Bishop Lord Falsey Tittenton only to emit a whoop of gay delight on seeing BULWER-LYTTON.

The next day Mom and I went to Harrod's to have high tea (in conjunction with the Men's Rejuvenation Clinic). At one point it seemed like a corking idea to take a few pictures of me next to the bears (twinks available on request).

Mom took my crappy little Vodaphone and proceeded to get all Ansel Adams an' shit. The results were more on the an' shit side:

"Mom? No, just point up with the phone... Mom? Turn toward me a little..." 

"Okay, a little higher. Yes, just... What? No, just point toward me." 

"Okay, closer now. Those people are waiting..." 

"Mr Officer Bear? Will you take me away from here. Please?"

NEXT WEEK: More adventures down under! I mean, up over! I mean... aw, I'm knackered.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Bridge Is Afalling Down

"How do you become a sex addict?" Mom said.

"Excellent way to start this blog post, Mom, I'm glad you asked."

"I know it's a sickness."

"Well, it all starts when a man loves a woman very much..."

Mom wasn't talking about a movie executive but our good ol' buddy(?) Reggie. Yes, Reggie!!! What's wrong with everyone, have you forgotten Reggie!!! *silence of the lambs*

"Did he really get all of his teeth replaced?"

"Yes, all of them were implants. Teeth as white as his soul."

"That must have cost him a fortune."

"He was quite proud of them. He felt he was going to pick up a lot of lovely ladies with his bionic teeth. You know, like trapeze artists do."

We had jumped into this savory topic because Mom was concerned about her own teeth. Her dentist was threatening implants, namely for a front tooth that had become "wobbly." Mom was convinced all of her teeth were going to have to be pulled. It was just part of being decrepit--she'd lately got a perm which she said was an "old lady" haircut.

"Did they actually call it an 'Old Lady'?"

"No, but I know that's what old ladies like me get. But I want you to be serious for a moment, Greg. Do you think this carry-on luggage is going to be okay?"

I went over and picked it up. Not yet zipped shut, the panel fell open--and underwear and pajamas tumbled out.

"Mom, why do you already have this packed? And why are you bringing underwear on the plane?"

She explained she was concerned that the airline was going to lose her luggage. She wasn't crazy that we were flying on Air France. She had not been able to find them listed in her London travel guide. Therefore: frogs stealing her luggage.

"Oh, do they allow Excedrin on the plane?"

"Yes, they allow it, Mom."

"Are you sure??"



I got on the computer machine and looked up what TSA will allow. While Molotov cocktails and ear vacuums

"Don't move, or I'll blow my wax all over my brains!"

are expressly prohibited, Excedrin is fine so long as you don't grind it into a powder and throw into the eyes of the pilot.

"Oh, I'm so nervous, Greg. I don't think I'm going to make it!"

"Don't worry, Mom. Just lie back. Just relax. There you go. Now, I'm going to blow this Excedrin powder into your face. It's an old Yoruba healing ritual..."

"Please leave."


On a serious note (the first time ever on this blog), our beloved coworker, Iris, has left Ruby Creek of the Duluth Public Library. She will sorely be missed. As a gesture of profoundly dubious thanks, I painted myself into a garage sale masterpiece (they were out of the clown).


(Don't worry, Jonah, I'll mock you next week ha ha?)

Friday, October 6, 2017


I was at the dentist and in order to make garbled conversation I told her that I was going to London soon.

"Oh, how nice!" she said, her foot planted in my chest. "Will it be for business or pleasure?" she said, shoving pneumatic talons into my gum lining.

"Gaaaaah," I said.

"I'm sorry?"

"Gaaaahd bless you. [She had sneezed.] But I'm going to London with my mom, so... neither."

"Oh, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time!"


With the acetylene forceps detached, my mandibles were free to tell her that during Mom's last trip to Mexico she had been seized by an irresistible urge to fling herself off the balcony of her seventh-floor hotel room. Being a wonderful son, I made sure to book a fling-proof hotel room--not wanting to make the staff get Mom out of the tree tops with a rake.

"They don't have rakes in Great Britain," said my dentist with a scowl.


When I got to the library that day, my mouth throbbing erotically, I was waylaid by Jonah. He wanted to tell me about it.


"We did that routine last week, jackass."


"Are you going to put up my review of IT or not?"



IT is a movie about a kind-hearted clown who likes to ponder the simple things in life. He's sort of like Forrest Gump but more cakey.

"Heck, who needs a cloud on a sunny day?"

He spots a puppy playing with a kitten. He wants to play!

"Hey, I love you!"

This gentle soul just wants to be understood and cuddled with babies. 

"Who wants to see my poop?"

Anyway, the clown dies because no one loves him. The end.

"What the hell?"


"That's not the review I wrote," Jonah said. "It starts out with Freud's famous dictum, "Wo Es war, soll Ich werden" [where It is, there shall I be], which is often regarded as the inaugural gesture of psychoanalysis, designating the main task of the analyst as locating the Es, the Id, the "It" of the unconscious. Freud's statement also has a predictive quality, as over the weekend, I found myself locating the movie theater where Stephen King's IT was playing--indeed, where IT was, there I found myself (for some reason).

What "IT" is, is precisely the manifestation of trauma in the subject's unconscious. What "IT" also is, is a shitty remake of a shitty adaptation of a shitty novel. Therefore, "IT" is a Baudrillardian loop of never ending excrement.

The circuit is best represented by one of Lacan's lesser-known mathemes:

$ → a + A (⦽)

Stephen King must have read his Lacan, as evidenced by the curvature of Lacan's Graph of Desire which matches perfectly the contours of IT's head:

"Yes, but..."

"But what?"

"Where are the puppies?" I whined.

"Actually, I have a few things to say about your relationship with your mother," Jonah said, nodding pipefully. "First of all, you have a co-dependency complex that--"


(Big Lacanian Thanks to Jonah!!!)