Friday, November 21, 2014


The Complete and Total Loser's parents married on Halloween of 1952. They weren't trying to be cool or goth. The day was just a kid's day back then. Adults had yet to co-opt it in order to dress as sluts (women) and women (men).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

An animal answer

The Complete and Total Loser's neighborhood has changed since he grew up in it in the sixties. 
It's still made up of mostly well-to-do whites, though now they're whites who grew up in the suburbs, not ones who emigrated from the city, like the Loser's parents and neighbors. The population has burgeoned, but the proportion of whites to other races is probably about the same as it was.
The change the Loser's talking about is in animals.
When growing up, you'd hear about people seeing an opossum, raccoon, or skunk, but about the only time you'd see one yourself was when it was dead on the road, killed by a night time driver, a college kid, probably. When the Loser was sixteen, a deer vaulted across the road he and a friend were driving on. They were so excited by the rare vision they went to the area the next day to look for its tracks, as if to prove to themselves it had been real. 
It's different now. 
Since summer, the Loser has caught four raccoons (the most recent just yesterday), two skunks, an opossum and the same feral cat twice. Deer often hang out in his back yard for hours at a time. Last night, the Loser shone a flashlight out back and two pairs of deer eyes glowed back. Both had laid down, ready for a cold November night.
One word explains the change. Dogs.
When the Loser was a kid, dogs were never leashed in the suburbs. They ran free, got in fights, killed animals or, if they found an already dead animal, rolled around on its corpse. Seldom neutered, the males would disappear for days at a time, traveling for miles to mate with a bitch in heat. The Loser's dog did this into his sixteenth year, returning hungry and grinning. His DNA is in a lot of dogs by now. 
Now, of course, everyone's so timid and litigious that the idea of a child being nipped by a dog and the packs of personal injury lawyers has made that impossible. Any dog just roaming a neighborhood is assumed to be feral, maybe even rabid. 
So the animals run free, with no natural predators except maybe a fox or two and, of course, cars, their primary foe.
buck deer
If the Loser knew how to hunt and butcher deer, he'd have to buy a meat locker.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Non-stop animal invasion

The Complete and Total Loser has now trapped four raccoons since summer. To some of those living in the countryside, that's a piddling number, but the Loser lives in an East Coast suburb where there are so many cars it's amazing there are any non-flying animals left at all. 
He trapped this one overnight on a Friday, meaning he released it on a Saturday morning. That's not easy, because anyplace suitable for raccoon release and car access is also coveted by runners and walkers and their dogs. Usually, the Loser doesn't set the trap on weekends for this reason but he hadn't baited it for days and simply didn't bother. 
The release was a suspenseful one, with a 30-second window, if that.
The raccoon looks mean but was very sweet, actually. A young one, it was just mushing its face against the cage, the way a kid watching TV might against a sofa arm.
raccoon in havahart trap
The Loser's latest victim now lives miles away.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Loser was happy

This is a picture of the Complete and Total Loser in November of 1958. He was happy then.
Here's why:
  • Everyone loved him
  • He had a job he enjoyed and was good at: being adorable
  • People encouraged him to eat as much as possible
  • If he was tired, people let him sleep
  • When he cried, people cared and did something about it
  • Everything around him was warm and soft
  • Pretty women smiled at him all the time
  • For all eternity, only good things would happen to him. He would get bigger and be able to do more and he would never grow old and die.
baby picture boy

Sunday, November 9, 2014

If spam were real

What if all the spam the Complete and Total Loser got were true?

It would mean:
  • A pedophile just moved into the Loser's neighborhood
  • The Loser's credit report has just been accessed
  • Eight horny girls want to have sex with the Loser
  • A Canadian pharmacy will charge the Loser $2 per pill for Viagra
  • Fourteen women in a community of swingers desire the Loser join them
  • A government check is waiting for the Loser
  • The Loser can learn to F*CK LIKE A PORN STAR!!
  • The Loser's arrest record has just been accessed
  • A horny housewife who lives one mile away is eager to have sex with the Loser
    man woman money
  • A barrister from Damascus, Syria, wishes to give the Loser several million dollars because the Loser shares the same surname as the barrister's client, who has died
  • There are a number of credit cards with very low interest rates and $2,500 worth of credit on them waiting for the Loser to activate
  • For $15 a month, the Loser can get $250,000 worth of life insurance
  • If the Loser responds in time, he can get a free bottle of a safe, natural substance that will enable him to shed pounds without ever dieting again
  • For a low price, the Loser can attain an advanced degree by studying online at his own pace
  • A woman named Natalie has eight new pictures to share with the Loser
  • The Loser can grow his hair back and thereby look and feel younger
  • The Loser can peruse a popular dating site for a weekend at no cost 
  • huge breasts beach

Friday, November 7, 2014

Gone, all of it

From December of 1997 to April of 2001, the Complete and Total Loser made his living by writing. Yes, it was low-level journalism for a weekly suburban newspaper, and when he tried to go beyond that he failed miserably. Still, how many can say their sole source of income came from writing about things they'd witnessed? The number gets smaller every year.
The building the Loser worked in was built in the 1930s and, when the Loser first started working there, still had printing presses on the premises, rumbling machines that could kill you, giant spools of paper delivered by truck, barrels of ink. Publishing something on the Web is fine, but when you see thousands of copies of things you wrote bundled into stacks and taken away to stores, honor boxes and driveways where they could be stared at, clipped, hung on refrigerators and put in scrapbooks, it's different. Hard copy.
The building was torn down Monday. It held memories the Loser could sense despite the ugly late-70s decor. Reporters in the 30s writing about divorces and other society scandals. The war years and hometown heroes. The 50s and 60 thick with coverage the paper in the city didn't have the personnel to cover. For years, the Loser heard, there was a payphone on the sidewalk just off the premises from which a city reporter would call his editor and relay whatever story the paper might have had worth covering. 
The Loser was there for the photographer's last year at the paper, where he'd worked for 50 years. He still spent much of his time in the darkroom, even though they'd been scanning in color negatives for years. He'd tell the Loser of the days of old, hustling to get the occasional hard news story you'd get in the suburbs, shooting high school sports, fires, the first local baby of the year. 
The paper still exist. It shares offices with what was once its fierce rival, a new paper with modern graphics. Of the two, the one the Loser worked for skews old. Any day now, he expects to see the two to stop publishing independently and for them to merge. His paper's name will be below the new paper's, smaller and preceded by "and." After a few years, they'll drop even that, and no one will remember.
demolition site

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Another opportunity, gone

For years now—a decade, at least—the Complete and Total Loser has kept a spare twenty-dollar bill in a little container attached to his key chain, and he's taped a piece of paper with his phone numbers on the outside. The idea of this is that if he loses his keys, whoever finds them will call the number. They can keep the $20 as a reward. 
key chain money storage
He has yet to lose his keys, but there have been a few times when he's gone to a store and realized he's forgotten his wallet yet he's managed to buy enough of what he needs with the $20, make the trip less than a total loss.
The Loser shows this to friends and they say, "Huh. Good idea." None of them, as far as he knows, has ever done it themselves. 
Now, the idea has been marketed as part of other things to attach to a key chain, and you can buy it at Staples for over twice the Loser paid for his at a camping supply store. 
It's a pity you can't copyright an idea.
cash stash true utility

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Today, the Complete and Total Loser went bird watching on a guided tour in a national park he lives near. He is not a birdwatcher, but he has two friends who like it and, having been fired in July, the Loser certainly has his days free. 
Good people, bird watchers. If they can be considered nerds, the only thing they're nerds about is birds. They appreciate the mannerisms of the birds and know their habits and calls. They see small things the Loser, whose binoculars were as good as theirs, don't, like rings around the eyes. Bird watching has little practical use, but doing it sharpens the senses and is a good reason to get outdoors, especially on a perfect autumn day like this one.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Big Mouse

The Complete and Total Loser's summer and early autumn tally for trapping: Three raccoons, two skunks, one opossum, and one feral cat (twice). 
Now it's getting cold and the Loser has mice in the house. He uses a no-kill trap for them, too. He trapped his first last night and let it go a few miles away while he biked for exercise. 
Victor no-kill mousetrap
A Victor no-kill mousetrap.
He used the same trap when he lived in the city. Mice are so light that it's usually hard to tell whether you've caught one or not. When the door closes there's no way to see inside and they frequently trigger the trap without entering it. The Loser found that if he picks the trap up and shakes it side to side, he can feel the small, furry body hitting the sides. This morning when he picked the trap up there was no need to do that. It was noticeably heavy. 
The Loser, being a loser, feared the worst: What if he'd trapped a pregnant female and she gave birth to her pups while in the trap? She'd be in there now, probably eating them alive! Too macabre an image to think about.
When he opened the door and tilted it, what plopped out was, fortunately, just one large, healthy and astonished mouse. It looked up at the Loser from the ground for a moment, then turned and scurried into the wild.
As big a mouse as it was, it seemed small compared to the Loser's previous catches.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mini Stroke?

Did the Complete and Total Loser have a small stroke the other day?
During a bike ride he had a strong case of exercise-induced déjà vu, but he often does when doing aerobic activity above a certain level. This time, however, it developed into something he still can't describe in words except to say it was déjà vu combined with extreme despair, both mixed and coming in waves. 
It was horrible and the Loser still, two days later, feels as though he's just getting over a case of the flu. 
He's done little of the necessary work he needs to do to start his business and is indulging himself in the comforting, childish things he goes to when he feels entitled. Watching Star Trek episodes on Amazon Prime. Sleeping. Eating creamy, hot, fattening food. 
Today, he may buy gum drops. 

Jolene Blalock topless

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bad Trip

As he writes this, the Complete and Total Loser is on a bad trip.
Not one caused by drugs he's taken. The drugs are in his mind. 
Earlier today he met with an ex-coworker and ate lunch. He went to his local library, where he took the picture seen here, then home. He changed and went for a bike ride. 
During the bike ride, he experienced exercise-induced déjà vu  which he often does when he's let his aerobic fitness slide a little. Don't try looking up exercised-induced déjà vu; the Loser is the only one who's ever experienced it, to his knowledge. He's asked his doctor about it and searched on the Web. It only exist with him.
After the ride, the déjà vu changed. Not changed, entirely, but something was added to it and that something is ill-feeling and profound sadness. and it's been coming and going in strong waves for the past hour or so, even though the Loser showered and took a nap. 
The feeling is not so powerfully bad that the Loser wants to seek medical aid, but it's the kind of feeling that makes him wish he were dead, now, and that he's sure he'll feel as he draws his last breaths. 
Not fun.
He'd go on longer, but the Loser is certain that he's written this exact post before, even though he knows empirically that he hasn't.
barack and michelle obama
President Obama gazes at his wife, Michelle.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


#1: What happened?
#2: The human came out in the yard.
#1: Oh. Is he carrying anything?
#2: Yes. The black thing that clicks when he puts it on his face.
#3: Is that dangerous to us?
#2: I'm not sure. Nothing's happened yet, but I've heard about what happens when other humans put things on their face. Especially the long sticks.
#1: We'd better stand up and look in all directions anyway.
#2: Just in case.
#4: Well, I'm not going to worry about it.
#3: You! You don't worry about anything! 
#1: You seem kind of tired today. Are you all right?
#4: Actually, I'm kind of achy and tired. I feel like I have Lyme disease!
#2: Funny.
#1: Good one.
#3: Yeah. Almost as funny as it was yesterday.
four deer suburban yard

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Get ready

An Associated Press article today talks about a $79 Halloween costume that copies what health workers wear when around people infected with the Ebola virus and that it may generate controversy.
orange is the new blackYou heard it here first: This Halloween someone, a B-list celebrity or the son of an A-lister, will dress as either a victim or perpetrator of the beheadings over the past summer. There will be outrage, opinion pieces, TV spots, etc. Defenders may point out that the color is appropriate for the season. 
pumpkinsIt's all grist for the mill, and dull for those of us who've been around a few decades. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October, again

It is raw, the weather in the Complete and Total Loser's East Coast town. Mid fifties and damp. The shortening of the days is accelerating. Vegetation is decaying, insects are frantic. Dead squirrels and raccoons dot the roads and highways as they focus more on storing fat for winter than approaching cars. 
And again, the anniversaries of his parents' deaths, which occurred just 50 days apart in 2011, approaches.
woman with dog

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pussy cat, pussy cat

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to look at the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you do there?
I frightened a little mouse, under the chair. 
Then it came back and lived near the Complete and Total Loser, who trapped it in his quest to catch and release the raccoons infesting his house. It snarled and hissed. The Loser let it go and it ran into the night.
feral cat
Of the three raccoons and two skunks the Loser has caught, this cat was the most vicious.