A Favre-ian Tragedy

Brett Favre has recently announced his retirement (again), and this time, it’s likely to stick.  As a resident of Wisconsin and a Green Bay Packer fan, I was drawn into the myriad dramas of Brett Favre’s career, first tearful retirement and subsequent departure to New York.  Now that the Broadway curtain has fallen, looking at this history as the sum of its parts, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the Brett Favre Saga is nothing short of a tragedy.

When I use the word “tragedy,” I’m referring to the literal, theatrical definition.  Nowadays, the term “tragedy” is used to denote anything big and sad, but the actual definition includes some very specific rules.  Brett Favre’s story abides by all of those rules.

The chief characters of a tragic action should be persons of consequence, of exalted station.

Brett Farve certainly qualifies here.  Whether his “exalted station” is justified in your opinion (he was, after all, the player of a game), his status within that context is undeniable.

The leading personage should not be a man characterized by great virtue or great vice, but of a mixed nature, partly good and partly bad.

As a player, he broke fans’ hearts just as often as he made them stand up and cheer.  As a person, he struggled with vices and addictions but, at the same time, was devoted to his wife and family.

Such a mixture of good and evil makes him seem like ourselves, thus more quickly arousing our sympathy.

He wasn’t a prince or a king, but merely a self-proclaimed hayseed from Kiln, Mississippi who happened to carry a cannon on the right side of his torso.

His errors and weaknesses lead him into misfortune.  The crimes suitable for tragic treatment may be committed either in ignorance, or intentionally, and are commonly against friends or relatives. 

Whether it was greed, the need to be admired or just a change of heart, retracting his retirement and forcing the hand of Packers’ management essentially put him above the best interests of the team and was a glowing example of his monumental hubris.  His defection to New York certainly qualifies as a crime against friends (while he probably wouldn’t bother to spit on them if he knew them, the fans definitely considered themselves his friends).

Crimes committed intentionally are generally the more dramatic and impressive.

There can be no doubt that Brett Farve was the architect of his own misery; nobody called him out of retirement.

Had Brett simply remained retired as a Green Bay Packer, he could have swaggered off the green of the Lambeau tundra and into the sunset, forever silouhetted in its molten gold, and assume his place at the right hand of the Football Father.  Had he not attempted to transcend the game, we, the fans, would have happily carried him there.  As it is, he went out with a mediocre whimper instead of the proverbial “Bang;” his statistics will always be stated as a matter of fact, but they could have been sung.  Honestly, it makes me a little sad.  Which dovetails into the final rule of tragedy:

The course of the tragic action should be such as to saturate the spectator with feelings of compassion, drive out his petty personal emotions, and so “purge” the soul through pity (Catharsis).  

See you around the bend, Brett.

-Dylan

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Valentine’s Day/The “Cotton” Anniversary

I know that you all have been hearing about it constantly, but allow me to be the next to say Happy V.D.  Of course, I’m referring to Valentine’s Day not the other thing.  However, feel free to walk around all day Saturday saying:  “Hello.  How’s your V.D?” and watch people’s faces.

But Valentine’s Day is a holiday unique unto itself.  The anticipation of Valentine’s Day is very gender-specific, by which I mean Valentine’s Day for men is very different than it is for women.  For men, Valentine’s Day is the day of a very important test; like the S.A.T.’s.  And the Valentine’s Day test is unique; it’s a test with no standard questions, only answers and men are just expected to know them.  A man’s score on this test will determine whether he gets into the Harvard of romance, or ends up flipping burgers at McThoughtless.  And who administers this test?  The women, of course.  Screw up fellas, and you’ll find yourself on an endless, Groundhog Day loop of trouble. 

But, never, and I mean never, is it the other way around.  Not once has one of my guy friends ever come up to me, mopey and forlorn and said:  “Valentine’s Day was horrible; Patrice didn’t even get me a card.”

For singles, Valentine’s Day is either empowering or depressing, and for some married couples, Valentine’s Day has an even greater meaning.  And as one half of one such couple, I count myself among them.  You see, for my wife and I, Valentine’s Day is our two-year anniversary (the “Cotton” anniversary).  Two years ago, my then fiancée, Amy and I flew to Mexico as part of WKLH’s Fiesta of Love and were married in a chapel on the beach in Playa del Carmen.

 

The day was perfect.  As per tradition, that morning, Amy and I woke up and went our separate ways.  While my soon to be brother-in-law Matt and I went into downtown Cancun, Amy and her sister-in-law Erika prepared for the big event.  Now, when we were planning the wedding with our planner Raphaela, Amy decided that she wanted to get her hair and make-up done, too.  To hear my wife tell it, the women of Mexico have a very different approach to make-up than American women and, afterwards, she and Erika spent a full half hour stripping away the generously-applied mascara with their fingernails and removing the top seven layers of eyeliner and lipstick with a wet nap.  After all, she was supposed to be a blushing bride, not a Batman villain. 

She and Erika were then whisked away to the wedding site in the comfort of an Escalade.  Meanwhile, I got into my suit, which immediately clung to my sweaty body like toilet paper.  My transportation was a charter bus along with 40 of my closest friends whom I had never met before.  If you tuned in, you know what happened next.  If you didn’t, that’s okay because everything was in Spanish, so if you had tuned in you probably tuned right out again thinking you had the wrong station. 

During the ceremony, Amy and I were frankly a little lost ourselves.  In fact, one of our wedding photos is a priceless picture of Amy and I staring at the magistrate with the same look on our faces that said in no uncertain terms:  “Huh?”  I can tell you that the stress of getting married is doubled when you don’t know what else is happening.  It got to the point where whenever there was a pause, Amy and I quickly said:  “I do” just in case.

 

As it turns out, thanks to our broken to non-existent Spanish, not only did we get married, but we also joined the Mexican army and ordered a Chicken enchilada with beans and rice.  And because we were married in Mexico, this is not only our two-year anniversary here in the United States, but, thanks to a generous exchange rate, in Peso Years, it is our tenth anniversary (the “Tin or Aluminum anniversary) in Mexico.

-Dylan

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Center

Some time ago a writer friend of mine named Jean suggested a book called Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy.  Each page begins with a quote from an author, then a brief essay and finally an exercise.  I decided to turn to a random page, read it and perform the exercise.  What follows is from page 77.  The quote was by Joseph Wambaugh: 

I’m looking for something to write about, waiting for something to happen.  I’m waiting patiently like a hunter in a duck blind, waiting for the ducks to fly over.

The exercise at the bottom was this:

Today, I will spend time sitting quietly, ready to write.  I will listen for the beat of wings.

Here’s the result, entirely unedited:

Searching for the perfect position.  Carefully.  That’s it. 
As soon as you are centered: begin to write.  Write to write.  You’re worrying too much about punctuation right now.  Every letter is an S.O.S.  I wonder if the punctuation is perfect.  Yup.  I can’t find center.  Sorry.  Everything is slightly slanted.  Slightly off.  Or. On.  But certainly not centered. 
I just gave myself a little test. 
As I watch myself write, I know when I’ve made a mistake.  And I immediately check to see where it is.
When I don’t look, I check when I don’t have to.
This has provided caution to my communication.  I always edit.
To create that which I want to be perfect.

To be perfect.  How elitist. 
We strive for the least common denominator now.  To be better is to be a sell out.  But sometimes we do sell out.  And we hate ourselves…eventually.  And then we learn to live with it, and in twenty years from now, we’re going to hate ourselves.  No matter what.

If you hate someone, you’re relying on their love to put out the fire.  If you love them, you require nothing.

Once upon a time, there were perfect people.  People whose paths we are expected to follow.  Are our biographies more important than our lives?  Were they perfect?  They must have been, because if they weren’t, we’re screwed.

By which I mean we’ve invested so much in what we were taught to believe, we can’t believe anything else.  We can’t fold this hand and wait for the next; we already know how it’s going to end.  All in!  And we pray for the right cards.  I wish we knew what the right cards were. 

I really enjoy proper punctuation, damn it!

My stomach burns.  Good or bad.  If it’s really something, I feel it in my throat.  That must be what they call “A Fire In My Belly.”  Surely, that must be an instinct or something.  I guess it’s up to me whether I like it or not. 

Remember when being unsure meant that you were doing the right thing.  Wasn’t that “unknown” very liberating.  Where has that gone?*  The farther into the game, the greater the urge to win.  It’s time to go with what you know for better or for worse; win or lose.  So cavalier and yet so afraid to lose. Am I that confident in the path, that afraid of that which is not paved…or both?** 

*First question:  It’s where you left it. 

**Second question:  Yes.

-Dylan

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25 Random Things

If you’re on Facebook (which I am), no doubt you’ve been tagged to share 25 Random Things about yourself.  This chain tag is so prolific that Time Magazine has actually covered it.  It has all the charm of a chain letter except that a) you know exactly who sent it to you, b) there’s no promise of good fortune if you complete it and c) there’s no veiled curse if you don’t. 

What most people don’t know is that Facebook sells access to your profile and information to advertising firms who use the information to better target their marketing.  But the fact is that most people don’t care; they’re just happy that someone is interested in them. 

Because I have a website of my own, I decided to publish those 25 Random Things here instead of giving the website hits to Facebook.  I also won’t tag anybody else.

1.  For the better part of my character-building childhood, I had long hair and was mistaken for a girl.

2.  We had a blue Chevy truck/van without a middle seat, so my parents would sit me in a wooden chair and belt it to the chassis.  Don’t believe me?

3.  We were pretty poor so most of my clothes were hand-me-down.  Case in point:

4.  However, for my first day of sophomore year in High School (1985), I wore black parachute pants, a black and blue striped button-down and a thin leather tie.  Sorry, no photos exist of those heady days.

5.  Also as a boy, I was attacked by a (herd?/flock?/pride?) of pigs.

6.  Again as a boy, I thought that bears lived in the septic tank so, when I had to go #2, I was quick about it.  Lifting the lid alerted them to my presence, while I went they were organizing to come up through the pipes and when I flushed, it sent them back down from whence they came.

7.  I had a subscription to Ranger Rick Magazine.  While other kids had pages from Tiger Beat on their walls, I had pictures of actual tigers.

8.  I did stand up for the first time in fifth grade.  It was supposed to be a puppet act, but I was so terrified that the puppet (a snake named “Clyde”) glommed onto the microphone while I told one joke.  Exhibit A:

9.  I learned to read at a very young age and subsequently wanted to be a writer.  My first gig was re-writing the Story of Star Wars album verbatim on an old typewriter.

10.  I have an extra tendon in my left arm.

11.  I ran away from home several times and when I was 17, it finally stuck.

12.  As a child, I was allergic to cow’s milk, so I had to drink goat’s milk.

13.  According to my grandmother, we were descended from the same line as Anne Boleyn.  Not Anne herself of course as her failure to produce a male heir to Henry VII famously cost her her head.

14.  I saw my first professional baseball game at Wrigley Field in 1979.  The Cubs played the (then) Montreal Expos.  I got one of those mini, souvenir bats and hit marbles with it because I thought the sound was just like that of a real bat hitting a baseball.   

15.  Like a dog, I’ve always been kind of scared of vacuum cleaners.

16.  I’ve never come in first place for anything.  Ever.

17.  The first album that I bought for myself was a 45 of Styx Too Much Time on My Hands.

18.  I skipped kindergarten so I’ve always been the youngest person in my class.

19.  I’m a sushi fiend.

20.  I was once Employee of the Month at Wendy’s on east Capitol Drive.  Had my name on the sign and everything.

21.  I was once an A.B.O. Certified Optician.  While I’m sure my certification has lapsed, I still know what I’m doing.

22.  I have owned some fairly exotic pets including several snakes, anoles and a tarantula.  I ended up leaving the tarantula with my grandmother and, when it died, not wanting to hurt my feelings, she told me (God as my witness, this is true) that she gave it to a nice farm family.  A Tarantula frolicking in a rolling pasture!  Awesome!

23.  The first play I was in was Stone Soup.  The reviews were stellar.

24.  I actually ordered Sea Monkeys off the back of a comic book.  Guess what?  They’re not monkeys at all but rather Brine Shrimp.  They also don’t wear bikinis.

25.  In middle school, I built a “tornado machine.”  To be fair, it was technically a “hurricane machine,” but it was still pretty cool.

So there you go.  25 Random Things.  Coincidentally, there’s absolutely nothing else interesting about me.

-Dylan

A Recent Nightmare

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”  –Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776.

Last night, I had a crazy dream. 

I dreamed I was walking down a dark, deserted street.  The streetlights winked on and off, and when they were on, were reflected in the damp pavement.  My footfalls echoed, but the echoes seemed eerily confined to my personal space.  Ahead, I saw movement and froze in my tracks, trying hard not to alert this movement to my own.  This shadow, seemingly sensing my fear, locked on to me and descended.  I was paralyzed.  The shadow shifted shape into a human form and continued shifting into different versions of a human.  It spoke and I heard it’s voice not through my ears but directly in my mind.  It said:  “Give me your money.”

In the past, I’d always fantasized that if something like this ever happened, I would not give up easily; I would try to negotiate and, if all else failed, fight for what was rightfully mine.  “No,” I said.

“Very well,” it replied, “you and your wife will now suffer a slow and agonizing death.”  This was very unsettling.  I expected a tussle, a knife, a gun, anything other than a cryptic curse.  Just then, I heard more steps.  I turned and saw a police officer.  I tried to yell, but all that came out was a wheezing whisper.  I concentrated and, finally in full voice, yelled:  “Help!  I’m being robbed!”  The officer ambled over to us and was completely unfazed by the shape-shifting shadow. 

“Did you give him the money?” the officer asked.

“Of course not.”

“Then you’re coming with me.”  He threw me up against the wall, handcuffed me and took me away.  Again, in my mind, I heard the shadow say:  “Your death begins now.”

________________________________________________

Creepy, huh?  When I woke up this morning and turned on CNN, it occurred to me that it wasn’t a dream at all, but very, very real.  We are being robbed; Government-Sanctioned Robbery.  And this particular extortion comes in the form of taxes which, if you choose to fight for what’s yours and not pay, will land you in jail.  (That is, unless you’re Tom Daschle.)  That makes it Enforced Government-Sanctioned Robbery.

Of course, everyone involved would strongly disagree with this assessment:  “It’s not ‘robbery.’  How pedestrian of you, insignificant little person.  It’s called an ‘Economic Stimulus.'” 

And if you don’t like how your tax dollars are being spent, to dictate a change of behavior to these institutions is a draconian end to the “Free Market.”  I have news for you:  Even back in 1776, when our fledgling nation was dribbling strained peas down its chin and soiling itself, a Scotsman by the name of Adam Smith knew that the “Free Market” was being manipulated in order to benefit the Barons of Wealth. 

And to distract us from the nefarious goings-on, the modern-day Barons have simply injected a word into the discourse to keep us “insignificant little people” snarling at each other, and that word is “Socialism!”  Socialism is the sinful practice of redistributing wealth to the unwashed masses. 

So let’s review, shall we?  To remove wealth from the unwashed masses and give it to the rich, no questions asked, is called:  “Economic Stimulus.”  To remove wealth from the rich and give it to the unwashed masses is called:  “Socialism.” 

If you control the language, you control the debate. 

Go ahead and review the quote from Adam Smith at the top of this rant.  Now, I’d like to add one of my own: 

Race, Creed and Religious differences are put in place to distract us from the truth:  There are only two kinds of people, the Shills and the Marks, and no Shill ever got rich by caring about a Mark.”

-Dylan

P.S.  Rest in peace, Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity International, whose hands were calloused by love for his fellow man.

The Chicken Elite

As I was making breakfast this morning and cracking the eggs into the pan, I got to thinking.  Whenever I buy eggs, I like to buy the Extra Large eggs.  Maybe it’s because I’m a big guy and everything else I buy is Extra Large, too.  But then I started to wonder:  “How do we get Extra Large eggs?”

I mean, they aren’t from Extra Large chickens.  There’s not a breed of three-foot chickens out there to provide us with their Extra Large, delicious, unfertilized young.  God help us if there were.  So that means that all different sizes of eggs come from the same orifice of the same bird that we call “chicken,” right?  So how do eggs come to be different sizes?  Does it remain in the chicken for just a little longer?  When the chicken lays an Extra Large egg, did the chicken just try harder?

Well, it’s questions like these to which you had no idea you need the answers, and that’s what I’m here for.

It turns out that there are different breeds of chickens, and some are predisposed to squeeze out larger eggs.  Other factors include the age of the chicken, the size of the chicken and the surroundings in which the chicken was raised.  For instance, your upper middle-class, private school chickens will generally lay larger eggs, but lobby their elected officials for egg tax relief so they get to keep more.  Most of the egg burden is placed directly on the feathered backs of the lower-class, public school chickens who are trying to keep enough eggs just to raise a family.  It doesn’t help that we keep harvesting their family for omelets.

And speaking of omelets, I would like to provide another quick public service.  One night, my wife and I cooked up some chicken breasts for dinner and had some left over.  The next morning, I thought it would be a fine idea to put them in an omelet.  So there I was, mixing the meat from a chicken in with a potential chicken.  I don’t recommend this.

It didn’t necessarily taste bad, but it did taste very, very wrong.

-Dylan

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The Morning After

Hello again, friends.  It’s been a couple days since my last post, but there’s a very good explanation; I’ve been busy eating like crap in preparation for the “Big Game.”  (Like everyone else, I have to use the term “Big Game” in place of “Super Bowl” because “Super Bowl” is copyrighted, but now that I’ve used it twice, I have to send $20,000 to the NFL.  They’re pretty cash-strapped so I’m sure they could use it.)

On “Big Game Sunday” my diet consisted almost entirely of salted grease with the occasional bit of processed “meat” thrown in for texture.  Right now my tongue feels like a dehydrated slug and I can measure my heart rate by watching the arteries in my neck throb.  This is a particular bad thing because, recently, I was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. 

You know, I always knew that I was going to grow old; I just wasn’t prepared to do it all at once.  I always thought that my body would deteriorate at a predictable rate.  I was prepared to age at a rate of roughly one year per year.  Like a car. 

Over the course of time your car gets dinged up.  At first you would take it in for the smallest scratch, but as the relationship wore on, you started to just accept some normal wear and tear.  “So there’s a dent in the bumper, that’s what bumpers are for,” you’d think.  You start to let things go. “I can probably go another year without an oil change.”  “Gosh, the engine light’s been on for a couple weeks.”  “Sounds like the muffler’s dragging.  Oh well, as they pass, the other motorists seem to really enjoy the sparks.”  Eventually, the car company stops making the parts that either seize up or fly off and the car dies, but all of this happens at a gradual rate.  The car doesn’t just hit 100,000 miles and explode.

Well, unlike a car, that is apparently what my body has decided to do and now I have high blood pressure.  When I was younger, my motto in my twenties and early thirties was:  “Better to Burn out than fade away.”  “I don’t want to die without scars.”  “Live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse.” 

I know that’s actually three mottoes, but in my twenties and thirties, I could juggle three.  And I didn’t care. 

And then I got married, and then we bought a house, and then the distinguished tan man came on the T.V. and asked how much life insurance I had.  And then, when I mentioned it to a co-worker, and let slip that I didn’t have any life insurance, she looked at me like I had pulled out a kitten and began to eat it like a Hot Pocket. 

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, the series of events culminated in me standing in my bathroom peeing in a cup in front of a sweet, little, grey-haired lady named Doreen.  “How much do you need,” I asked.  “About half that,” she replied.  I panicked and she got double.

It was during this exam that I learned that I have High Blood Pressure.  Not this exact portion of the exam, of course.  I mean, she didn’t wrap the inflatable cuff…well, you know what I mean. 

Honestly, the last time I remember someone even mentioning blood pressure was on that old T.V. show Emergency!  Every show, Randy Mantooth would be hovering over a patient in the back of an Ambulance and every once in a while he’d shout:  “B.P. 120 over 80!” and then we’d watch his face to see whether that was good or bad.  Then he’d open some ringers, whatever those are. 

Well, compared to my situation, a B.P. of 120 over 80 is very good.  In fact, it’s normal; I am not.  So what exactly are they measuring when they put that cuff around your arm?  They’re measuring the pressure of blood against your arteries.  Basically, as your heart goes “lub dub,” the 120 is during the “lub,” and the 80 is during the “dub”  Or it’s the other way around.  The fact is that my heart is generating a lot of pressure with my blood as it sends it around my body delivering oxygen and nutrients. 

Now, you would think that would be a good thing.  Like putting your finger over the end of a hose increases pressure and allows you to water the farthest corner of the lawn without burning valuable calories by getting out of the lawn chair.  Likewise, high blood pressure would force blood into all those distant little capillaries.  If the circulatory system is a highway and blood is the traffic, my highway is the Autobahn and my blood is a Porsche.  Well, it seems that certain doctors (like all of them) disagree.

Apparently, there are many causes of high blood pressure:  Genetics, weight, caffeine, salt, stress, but I have a theory.  What if the problem is not that my heart is pumping too hard or that my arteries and veins are too thin?  What if I simply have too much blood?  Anybody who has ever added one too many quarts of oil to their 1987 Mercury Topaz knows what kind of pressure that can create.  (See what you can do with it, Rawhide Boys Ranch.)  And you know I haven’t had a cut or a scrape or a vampire attack in a very long time.  Maybe I just need a few leeches. 

In the meantime, apparently I’m supposed to avoid the many possible causes of High Blood Pressure including reducing my salt intake which I promise to do in spring.  It’s been a hard winter, and the only way I’ve found to keep my car truly clean is through a sensuous tongue bath.

And you can’t expect me to adhere to a strict low-sodium diet when the “Big Game” television commercials are compelling me to experiment with their products.  Take Doritos for instance.  According to the commercial, eating Doritos will make a woman’s clothes fly off, make an ATM spit money and turn a cop into a monkey.  However, this power has a dark side as wielding it will make you get hit by a bus.

I guess we all have to die of something.

-Dylan

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So Very S.A.D.

Oh, it’s you.  Good to see you.  Although it would be better to see you with a massive, SUCKING CHEST WOUND!

Whoa!  Holy Cow, did I just write that?  I am so sorry, I don’t mean it; it’s just my Seasonal Affective Disorder talking.  If you’re anything like me and hundreds of thousands of others that live this far north of the equator, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., is very real.  It is a type of depression that occurs as the days grow shorter and colder. 

So you might be asking yourself:  “Why do we get depressed in winter?”  Well, it seems to stem from inadequate bright light in winter.  Researchers theorize that bright light actually changes the chemicals in the brain.  Then again, the Researchers also have theories regarding the touch of a woman and what it will feel like when the Researchers finally EXPERIENCE IT!

I did it again, didn’t I?  Sorry, Researchers. 

Now you may also be saying:  “But I don’t get depressed in winter; I love it!”  If this describes you, you are likely suffering from Advanced Seasonal Affective Disorder.  With A.S.A.D, the brain is so overrun by S.A.D. that it starts to accept the disease.  It’s like a hostage sympathizing with its captors…like Patty Hearst Syndrome or P.H.S.  And combined, A.S.A.D.P.H.S. is as serious as it sounds, and I have first-hand knowledge.  My B.F.F. at the M.M.S.D. had A.S.A.D.P.H.S. 

So how can you tell if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder?  The Seven Major Symptoms are:  tiredness, fatigue, crying spells, irritability, loss of sex drive, poor sleep and overeating.  If you experience these symptoms, it is likely you have S.A.D…or P.M.S. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder wasn’t always recognized as a disease.  It wasn’t until 1985 that it was diagnosed and then brought to light in January of that year when U.S.A. for Canada, a group of 80’s recording artists like Billy Joel, Cindy Lauper, Darrell Hall and John Oates, a total of six Jacksons, Dan Aykroyd for some reason and many more banded together, formed U.S.A. for Canada and recorded the song:  “We are So Cold.”  Perhaps you remember it: 

“We are so Cold, Where is the Sunshine?  When I drive home from work, it’s darker than a coal mine.”  And so on. 

All of the proceeds from sales of the single went to put an end to Canada’s national nightmare of Alberta Clippers.  But those Canucks kept producing their cold fronts and sending them south.  And, to make matters worse, while trying to help Canada, U.S.A. for Canada developed the first known case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Seeking someplace warm, they changed their name to U.S.A. for Africa and recorded “We are the World.”

So as you can see, Seasonal Affective Disorder is real and it’s tough to avoid.  Especially during the endless, dreamless, dry, gray death that is winter in Wisconsin.  It helps to scatter a bunch of holidays around during winter, but they’re long gone and we’ve still got a ways to go.  Sure we can look forward to Presidents’ Day which we traditionally celebrate by buying a new mattress set, but it’s still not enough to cure our S.A.D.

If you experience S.A.D. here are some tips:*

1.  Go Tanning.  There’s nothing like slathering on some tanning accelerator, standing in a microwave for twenty minutes and coming out smelling like a Hawaiian Luau.

2.  When it’s out, get all the sun you can.  If the sun is only out for 6-8 hours a day, make the most of it.  Get the sun to your brain quicker by staring at it through a pair of binoculars.

3.  Booze.

Thanks for reading.  I hope this helps and I hope, in some small way, I’ve made your day a little better.  See you in Spring, YOU RANCID WASTE OF SKIN!

Sorry.  I’m very sorry.

-Dylan

*By writing these tips, I in no way endorse them as they range from irresponsible and foolish to downright dangerous.  Thank you.

The Kiss

Hey, I want you to think about your best kiss.  The best kiss you ever gave; the best kiss you ever received.  Do you remember him or her?  Do you remember where you were?  Do you remember deciding that you were going to do it? 

I sure do.  The best kiss I ever gave was to my own forearm.  I was told that the forearm was very sensitive and if you kissed it, you could feel how someone else might feel your kiss.  Plus, my forearm has some very pronounced tendons that kind of look like lips, so it was win-win. 

Maybe you consider yourself a good kisser, but how much do you really know about it?

For instance, did you know that lips are like fingerprints, and that no two lip prints are alike?  Two thirds of couples tilt their head to the right when they kiss.  Are you looking to exercise those hard-to-reach facial muscles?  Well, you should know that a simple peck only works 2 muscles in the face, while a passionate kiss works all 34 facial muscles.  You can tell the truly passionate kissers by their bulging, sinewy faces. 

The average woman kisses 29 men before she gets married.  Now remember, that’s the average.  At one end you’ve got women like Tila Tequila whose mouth has had more visitors than the Smithsonian and whose saliva is a Cajun gumbo of disease.  At the other end, you’ve got your Amish women.  In the middle are the average women that kiss 29 men before they’re married.  To be fair, many of those kisses occur during the Bachelorette Party along with something called “Suck for a Buck,” which I assume raises money to combat Chronic Wasting Disease. 

But what about the guys?

Men who kiss their partners before they leave for work statistically have higher incomes than men who don’t.  So, fellas, the next time you’re planning on asking for that big raise, smear some lipstick across your face and muss your hair.  That’ll show your boss that you’re ready for that corner office.  Heck, why not cut out the middle man?  Have your wife come in and make out with your boss directly.

Plus, kissing releases the same endorphins and neurotransmitters in the brain as running, bungee jumping or skydiving.  So, as far as your brain is concerned, kissing causes exhaustion, fear and panic.  Throw in a little shame, and you’ve got puberty.

But maybe you don’t consider yourself a good kisser, and you’re reading this right now hoping for a little advice.  Don’t worry, friend, Mr. Nimble Lips is typing this very sentence with his mouth alone.  You’ve come to the right place.  All you have to do is follow these tips: 

1.  You have to be kissable.  Make sure your lips are clean and free of debris.  And make sure that your breath is fresh.  Chances are your going to be very nervous prior to the kiss and nervousness can lead to something called dry mouth.  Have something on hand like gum or a breath mint.

2.  Assess the situation.  Is the time right to move in?  Ask yourself these questions:  Is she relaxed?  Is she smiling?  Do you know her name?  Look for the signs that she would be receptive to a kiss like playing with her hair, subtle touching and consciousness.

3.  The timid seldom make history!  Seize her head in your hands and move in!  Open your mouth as wide as you can and flex your tongue so she can see it coming!  (Pound for pound the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, and chicks dig muscles.)  When your lips touch hers, suck in slightly to form a seal and then let your tongue explore!  Let it fly inside her mouth like an unmanned fire hose!  Get it in between her teeth; explore every nook and cranny!  From the outside, she should look like a pelican with a fresh fish flopping around in her pouched bill!  See how far back your tongue can go!  When you pull away, don’t worry if you see a thin thread of saliva hanging between you; in many cultures it’s considered a compliment…like belching after a meal! 

Congratulations, tenderfoot, you’ve just given your first kiss, and chances are, after you took her breath away, she ran outside to get some fresh air…and call the police. 

You’re welcome.

-Dylan

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To Mr. John Q. Sample

Readers, I need your assistance.  If you know a Mr. John Q. Sample or, better yet, if there is a Mr. John Q. Sample reading this, I should tell you that I seem to have received your credit card by mistake.  Maybe Mr. Sample lived at our house before my wife and I did, or maybe it was just a clerical error, I don’t know, but Mr. John Q. Sample I have your credit card.  So go ahead and contact me via the “My Office” page of this website, and we’ll make arrangements to get it to you. 

By the way, you know that somebody, somewhere in the United States must be named “John Q. Sample” and, God forbid it would ever happen, but if it did, how would he report a case of identity theft?

-Dylan