Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Canoing vs. lawn mowing

Yesterday, the Complete and Total Loser stood at the same spot on a river bank he'd stood at in 1978 with his college friend and roommate, Mark. It might have even been the same date.
This time, the Loser stood with a 23-year-old ex-coworker named Elizabeth. He told her what he and Mark saw, all those years ago. 
A man passed them in a rented canoe. As he passed, he looked at the Loser and Mark, who were no more than twenty feet away, and said, "It sure beats mowing the lawn!"
The Loser, always insufferable, was even more so then. With a year of college under his cheap belt, he knew that his life was destined to be a fascinating one in which paddling downstream in a rented canoe would not be a highlight. No, the Loser saw his future work as so compelling and absorbing that days of the week would be meaningless to him. 
As he told Elizabeth this, he noted that now he was unemployed and had a lawn to mow.

Monday, July 21, 2014

James Garner 1928 - 2014

Decades before the good TV shows had the production quality of films and the story qualities of thick novels, there was, for those the Complete and Total Loser's age, The Rockford Files. The show would open with a call to his answering machine -- a novelty at the time -- on which he left a greeting that was the template of cool greetings for the 70s and 80s: "This is Jim Rockford. At the tone leave your name and message, I'll get back to you." Then came the opening credits and music, which you can hear all of here.
The Loser remembers reading an interview in which Garner recounted a few of his Korean War adventures. At one point, he had to lie still for over a day. He talked about eating but the food not moving through his digestive system because of his physical position and what an odd feeling that was. He also talked about how he had to pretend to be the prisoner of a South Korean soldier as the two bluffed their way out of enemy territory. 
All interesting. He was quite a man.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My grandfather

When you live alone in your dead parents' house and get fired, you start poking through things you' thought you'd seen before and find stuff like this picture, of my maternal grandfather, in 1927, hiking in Chamonix, France. 
He died six years before I was born. I share his first and middle name.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Real losing

The Complete and Total Loser goes by his title because he has achieved so little in life. "Losing," in his case, stems from failing to attain the things most take for granted; a spouse, children, confidence. 
Today the Loser lost his job, which he'd had for a dozen years. That's losing.
He'd been living in the suburbs and working in the city. He kept an inexpensive bicycle in the city to go from the train station to work. Today, instead of locking it to a rack, the Loser took the bike on the train with him and ferried it home. He now has no reason to go into the city and he owns nothing in it.
This is the Loser's bicycle on the train. The attractive woman was reading "Boomerang," by Micheal Lewis.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Loser salute to Red Klotz!

If you're going to read a New York Times obituary today, skip the earnest one on Nadine Gordimer and read the one on Red Klotz, who led the teams (their names varied but they usually went as the Washington Nationals) that lost to the Harlem Globetrotters for so many years.
Mr. Klotz, you were exactly one month younger than the Complete and Total Loser's father, who died two years ago and you were born and raised in the same city, Philadelphia. You made thousands laugh in your guise as a loser. And you even one a game, the obit says, on January 5 of 1971, making you a little less than a complete and total loser, but losing at that makes you, in the Complete and Total Loser's eyes, an honorary kinsman. 
Mr. Red Klotz.

Monday, July 14, 2014

This is everyone now

I can't be just be in a place. I can't just be. Any contact with people I don't know is invalid. People who know me must message me in some way. Leave me alone; I have to check and see if anyone's validated my existence in the last ten minutes.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Loser's Pens

An interest in pens would rate high on the male dork list, somewhere around playing dungeons and dragons, coin or stamp collecting, and conspiracy theories.
The Complete and Total Loser loves pen.
How many pens do you need? One. What kind do you need? Any. A Bic. It doesn't matter. Even people who get misty eyed when they talk about the niceness of hand-written cards and letter write few words a year by hand these days.
These are the Loser's pens. He likes them all for different reasons. Lately, pens have gotten bigger with rubberized grips, even as people use them less. The Loser used to like such pens, but now has become fond of slim ones. They look so fragile in his hand, which is large, yet they write the same.
The Loser's main pens. On top is a Fisher Space Pen, then a Mont Blanc, a no-name, a Sheaffer and his latest, a Parker Jotter.

His latest pen is the Parker Jotter. Watching "Masters of Sex" made him want one. They all seem to use them on that show, with the hierarchy showing; the office workers use the two-tone plastic and metal versions, the doctors the full metal ones.
In 1983 the Loser bought a Fisher Space Pen. He used it faithfully and it traveled overseas with him for half a decade (the Loser seldom loses such things). 
The Loser had no children. Most of what he owns will be thrown out. What little isn't will be given to strangers. He likes the idea of someone picking up a Fisher pen dulled by patina and being surprised that it still writes -- their ink cartridges last for many decades, unlike those of other pens that dry up in less than one.
There are dozens of subtle pen things the Loser could go on about at length. For example, he likes pens you click to get the point out rather than those you turn or uncap because it signals a start to writing. He could talk about how the barrels of some pens unscrew in his hand and how annoying that is. He even is fussy about how snugly the point fits in the tip, and how the excess movement when the point it put to paper, though miniscule, bothers the Loser. 
He won't go on.  No one reads his blog already.

Monday, June 30, 2014

72 Jokes from Esquire Magazine

Every month, Esquire Magazine has a page they title "A Funny Joke from a Beautiful Woman." Some of the jokes are funny, many are retro, some are groaners. Below are 72 of them.

An old man was given a jar and asked to provide a sperm sample for his doctor. The next day he returned with the empty jar and explained, "Well, doc, it's like this: First I tried with my right hand, then I tried with my left. I asked my wife to help. We even called up Arlene, the lady next door. Nothing."
The doctor was shocked. He said, "You asked your neighbor?"
"Yep," the old man replied. "None of us could get the jar open."
 
Violante Placido

After robbing a bank, a blond, a brunette, and a redhead duck into an alley where they hide in potato sacks. The cops first go to the sack with the brunette in it and kick it. The brunette says, "Meow." They go to the sack with the redhead and kick it. She says, "Woof, woof." Last, they kick the sack with the blond, and she says, "Po-ta-to."

A guy is walking past an insane asylum when he hears the residents inside chanting, "Thirteen! Thirteen! Thirteen!" Curious, he finds a hole in the wall and looks in. Immediately he's poked in the eye, then everyone inside starts chanting, "Fourteen! Fourteen! Fourteen!"


Two guys are walking down a dark alley when a mugger approaches them and demands their money. They both grudgingly pull out their wallets and begin taking out their cash. Just then, one guy turns to the other, hands him a bill, and says, "Hey, here's that $20 I owe you."

A guy goes to the doctor and the doctor tells him he has only a day to live. He goes home to tell his wife, who asks what he wants to do with his final hours. Of course he wants to spend them having sex. They have great sex all night long. Finally, at about 2:00 A.M., his wife says she's tired and wants to go to sleep.
He says, "Oh, come on, can't we just do it one more time?"
And she says, "Look, I've got to get up in the morning — you don't!"

A blond is watching the news with her husband when the newscaster announces that six Brazilian men died in a skydiving accident. The blond starts sobbing uncontrol-lably. Confused, her husband says, "It is sad, but they were skydiving. There were risks involved." After a few moments, the blond, still crying, asks, "How many is a Brazilian?"

Three men wait at the gates of heaven on Christmas Eve. They're told they have to present a Christmas gift to get in. The first man checks his pockets and finds pine needles from his family's tree. He's allowed in. The second hands over a bow and some ribbon. He's allowed in. The third man pulls out a pair of panties. "How do those represent Christmas?" St. Peter asks him.
"Oh," the man replies, "they're Carol's."

A man thinks he is a dog, so he goes to see a psychiatrist. "It's terrible," says the man. "I walk around on all fours, I keep barking in the middle of the night, and I can't go past a lamppost anymore."
"Okay," says the psychiatrist. "Get on the couch."
The man replies, "I'm not allowed on the couch."

What did the elephant say to the naked guy? 
"Fine, but can it pick up peanuts?"

Two men are playing a round of golf when they get stuck behind two women. Eventually one of the men walks over to ask if they can play through. He scuttles back and says, "When I got closer, I realized it was my wife and mistress," he says. "You go and ask them instead."
The other one walks over to the women but hurries back and says, "Small world."

Two nuns are driving down a road late at night when a vampire jumps onto the hood of their car. The one nun says to the other, "Quick! Show him your cross!" So the other nun leans out the window and shouts, "Get off our f--ing car!"

A guy and a girl are in the backseat of his car having sex. The guy says to the girl, "If I had known you were a virgin, I would have taken more time."
The girl replies, "Hell, if I had known you had more time, I'd have taken off my pantyhose."

Son: "Dad, what's the difference between confident and confidential?"
Dad: "Hmm. You are my son, and of that I am confident. Your friend Timmy is also my son. That's confidential."
 
Rochelle Aytes

This woman walks into a bar, and she has the hairiest armpits in the history of armpits. She sits down, raises her arm, and says, "Bartender, I would like a drink." There's an old drunk sitting next to her. Slurring, he says, "Barkeep, I would like to buy the ballerina a drink." She accepts, drinks it, raises her arm again to get the bartender's attention, and orders another. The old man says, "Barkeep, you just keep giving the ballerina anything she wants." Finally, the bartender goes over to the drunk and says, "Sir, that's nice of you, but how do you know she's a ballerina?" The old man answers, "Son, you don't get to be my age without learning that only ballerinas can lift their legs that high."

A man with an incredibly small penis takes his new girlfriend to bed for the first time, and because he's not proud of his incredibly small penis, he insists that they turn off the lights. Once it's dark, he makes his move and puts his erection in her hand, and she says, "No thanks, I don't smoke."

A guy meets a hooker in a bar. She says, "This is your lucky night. Let's play a game. I'll do absolutely anything you want for $300, so long as you can say it in three words." The guy replies, "Hey, why not?" He pulls his wallet out of his pocket and, one at a time, lays three 100-dollar bills on the bar and says slowly, "Paint my house."

 A woman asked her grandmother how her grandfather had died. "He had a heart attack while we were making love one Sunday morning," Granny said. Horrified, the granddaughter told her that two people that old having sex would surely be asking for trouble. "Oh, no," said Granny. "Many years ago we realized that ringing church bells provided the perfect rhythm: in on the ding and out on the dong." She paused, wiped away a tear, and continued, "But then the ice-cream truck came along."

Why don't blind people sky dive? 
It scares the shit out of the dog.

A tourist couple driving through La Jolla start arguing about how to pronounce the name of the town. So they stop for lunch, and while they're ordering, they ask the cashier, "Can you tell us where we are? How do you pronounce it?" The employee replies, speaking slowly, "Burrrr-gerrrrr Kiiiiiiiing."
Noa Tishby

An old married couple had four boys. The older three had red hair and light skin, the youngest had black hair and dark eyes. On his deathbed, the father turned to his wife and said, "Honey, be honest with me. Is our youngest son my child?" The wife replied, "I swear on everything holy, he is your son." Then he passed away. The wife then said, "Thank God he didn't ask about the other three."

A cruise ship passes a small desert island. Everyone watches as a ratty-looking bearded man runs out on the beach and starts shouting and waving his hands.
"Who's that?" asks one of the passengers.
"I have no idea," replies the captain. "But every year we sail past and he goes nuts."

A guy is sitting on his sofa when he hears a knock at the door. He opens the door and sees a snail on the porch. He picks up the snail and throws it as far as he can. Three years later, there's a knock at the door. He opens it and sees the same snail. The snail says, "What the hell was that all about?"

What do you call a lesbian dinosaur? 
A lickalotopus.

Two muffins go into an oven. One muffin turns to the other and says, "Hey, man, does it feel like it's getting hotter in here to you?"
The other muffin says, "Holy shit — a talking muffin!"

A pirate walks into a bar with a ship's wheel on his penis. The bartender says to him, "You know you've got a ship's wheel on your penis?" And the pirate says, "Argh, I know. It drives me nuts."

Why should you never tell a joke while ice fishing?
Because the ice will crack up.

Joe and his buddy Frank visit a brothel. Joe goes into the room with the prostitute first while Frank waits outside. When he's done, Joe closes the door behind him and says, "Don't waste your time, man. My wife's better." But Frank goes in anyway. When he emerges 15 minutes later, he shakes his head in disappointment and says, "Damn, Joe, you were right. Your wife is better." 


 This old lady is feeling kind of lonely, so she says, "You know what? I'm going to pick up some guys." She takes off all her clothes, puts a trench coat on, and walks into a bar. She sees three young guys drinking. She walks up to the first, opens her trench coat, and says, "Super sex!" He screams, "Oh, my God, that's disgusting!" and runs away. She walks up to the second guy, opens her trench coat, and says, "Super sex!" He runs to the bathroom to throw up. She approaches the third guy, opens her trench coat, and says, "Super sex!" He looks her up and down and says, "I'll have the soup."

Walking home after a girls' night out, two women pass a graveyard and stop to pee. The first woman has nothing to wipe with, so she uses her underwear and tosses it. Her friend, however, finds a ribbon on a wreath, so she uses that. The next day, the first woman's husband phones the second woman's husband, furious: "My wife came home last night without her panties!" "That's nothing," says the other. "Mine came back with a card stuck between her butt cheeks that said, 'From all of us at the fire station, we'll never forget you.'"

A guy sees a sign that says, "Volunteers needed for medical experiment. $500 fee!" So he goes in and they tell him they need humans to mate with gorillas. The guy thinks about it for a second, then says, "I'll do it under three conditions: 1) No one can find out that I did this. 2) If there are any offspring, they should be treated humanely. 3) I'm gonna need some time to come up with the $500."

A guy walks into a doctor's office with a duck on his head. The doctor asks, "Can I help you?" The duck says, "Yeah, get this guy off my ass."

What has 75 balls and screws old ladies? 
Bingo.
Emmy Rossum

What did the banana say to the vibrator? 
"What are you shakin' for? She's gonna eat me." 

Two guys, Jimmy and Johnny, stand at heaven's gate, waiting to be interviewed by Saint Peter.
Jimmy: "How did you get here?"
Johnny: "Hypothermia. You?"
Jimmy: "You won't believe it. I thought my wife was cheating on me, so I came home early one day, hoping to catch the guy. I accused her of being unfaithful and searched the entire house without any luck. Then, I felt so horrible about the whole thing that I had a massive heart attack."
Johnny: "Oh, man. If you'd only checked the walk-in freezer, we'd both be alive."

One night a man rolls over in bed, giving his wife a big grin. She says, "Not tonight, honey. I have a gynecologist's appointment tomorrow. I want to stay fresh and clean." The man, feeling rejected, rolls over and tries to go to sleep. A few minutes later, he rolls over again and asks his wife, "Do you have a dentist's appointment tomorrow?"

Two snowmen are standing in a field. One says to the other, "Funny, I smell carrots, too."

There's a bear and a rabbit in the woods. The bear turns to the rabbit and says, "Do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?" And the rabbit goes, "No." So the bear wipes his ass with the rabbit.

A shy guy goes into a bar, sees a beautiful woman, and says, "Um, would you mind if I chatted with you for a while?"
She responds by yelling, "No, I won't sleep with you tonight!"
Completely embarrassed, he slinks back to his table. After a few minutes, the woman walks over and says, "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. I'm a psych student studying how people respond to embarrassing situations."
To which he responds, at the top of his lungs, "What do you mean, $200?"

Two men are adrift in a lifeboat for days. While rummaging through the boat's provisions, one of the men stumbles across an old lamp. When he touches it, a genie comes forth. This particular genie, however, states that she can deliver only one wish, not the standard three. Without giving much thought, one man blurts out, "Make the entire ocean into beer!" The genie claps her hands and the entire sea turns into brew. The other man looks disgustedly at the one who made the wish. After a long, tension-filled moment, he says, "Nice going! Now we're going to have to pee in the boat."

A famous cardiologist died, and everyone was gathered at his funeral. His coffin was displayed in front of a huge model heart. When the minister finished his sermon and everyone said their good-byes, the heart was opened, the coffin rolled inside, and the heart closed. Just at that moment, one of the mourners started laughing. The guy next to him asked, "Why are you laughing?" The mourner said, "Well, I was just thinking about my own funeral." The man asked, "Well, what's so funny about that?" And the mourner said, "I'm a gynecologist."  

"Two drivers climb out of their cars after colliding at an intersection. One pulls a flask from his pocket and says, "Here, have a nip of whiskey to calm your nerves."
"Thanks," says the other driver, taking a swig. "Here, you have one, too."
"Nah, I'd rather not — the police will be here soon."

One day a little boy wrote to Santa Claus, "Please send me a sister." Santa Claus wrote him back, "Okay, send me your mother."

Two women in Dublin see two drunk men coming down the street. The first woman says, "Will you look at those two drunks?" The other woman says, "Well, at least your feller has brought you some flowers." And the first woman says, "You know what that means? I'll be on my back with my legs in the air all week." And the other woman asks, "Why, have you not got a vase?"

After dinner, two elderly women retire to the kitchen and leave their husbands to chat. One of the men says, "Last night we went out to a great new restaurant." The other asks, "What's it called?" The first man knits his brow in concentration and finally says, "Ah, what is the name of that red flower you give to someone you love?" His friend replies, "A carnation?" "No, no. The other one," the first man says. "The poppy?" wonders his friend. "No," growls the man. "You know, the one with thorns!" "Do you mean a rose?" asks the other man. "Yes, that's it!" the first man says. He then turns toward the kitchen and yells, "Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?"

A blind man walks into a store with his seeing-eye dog. All of a sudden, he picks up the leash and begins swinging the dog over his head.
The manager runs up to the man and shouts, "What are you doing?!"
The blind man replies, "Just looking around."

What's a pirate's favorite designer? 
Arrr-mani.  

Question: Why did the walrus go to the Tupperware party?
Answer: Because he was looking for a tight seal.
 
Jessica Lucas

A man's talking to his friend and he says, "I'm about to go on vacation, and I don't know what to do." His buddy asks, "Why?" And the man says, "Well, last year's vacation was Hawaii. Came back, and the wife was pregnant. The year before that was the Bahamas. Came back, the wife was pregnant. The year before that, Paris. Came back, wife pregnant. His buddy asks, "So what are you going to do differently this year?" And the guy says, "Well, this year I'm going to bring the wife."

Question: How can you tell the dumbest actress working on a movie?
Answer: She's the one sleeping with the writer.

"You need to stop masturbating," the doctor says. The man asks, "Why?" The doctor replies, "Because I'm trying to examine you."


A blonde goes into an electronics store and asks, "How much is this TV?" The salesman says, "Sorry, we don't sell to blondes." So she dyes her hair and comes back as a brunette. "How much is this TV?" she asks. Again the salesman says, "I'm sorry, we don't sell to blondes." A few weeks later she goes in as a redhead, but again he announces, "We don't sell to blondes!" Finally she says, "My hair is red. How did you know I was really a blonde?" The salesman says, "Because it's not a TV. It's a microwave."

Three old gals are sitting on a park bench, and a flasher comes up and flashes them. Two of the gals have a stroke. But the third couldn't reach that far.

On the chest of a barmaid at Yale,
Were tattooed the prices of ale.
And on her behind, for the sake of the blind,
Was the same information in Braille.

One night, on a camping trip, Sherlock Holmes wakes up Watson and says, "Look at the stars. What do you deduce?" Watson thinks for a minute and says, "Well, I see millions of stars, many of which resemble our sun, which most likely have their own planets, which most likely have life-forms like us, so I deduce that there is life on other planets." And Sherlock says, "No, you idiot, someone's stolen our tent."
This guy is out in the country, and he sees a farmer with a three-legged pig. He asks the farmer what happened.
"Well, once there was a huge lightning storm. A bolt struck the house, which caught on fire. The pig goes down to the lake, gets water, puts out the fire, and saves us all," explains the farmer.
"Wow! So that's how he lost his leg?"
"No, sir. One morning a pack of grizzlies smelled some bacon my wife left out and started breaking through our windows. The pig scared them off and saved us all from certain death!"
"Ah, so that's how he lost his leg?"
"Nope," says the farmer. "But a pig that good? You can't eat him all at once."
 
Kristin Kreuk

This woman goes in for a face-lift, and the doctor says, "We've got this new method: I put a knob in the back of your head, and every time you feel like you need a lift, just turn it." She gets the knob implanted and is beautiful for five years. But one day she notices a problem and returns to the doctor. "I've got these huge bags under my eyes," she complains. The surgeon replies, "Those aren't bags; those are your breasts." "Ah," she sighs, "that explains the goatee."

A woman's husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months. One day, he motioned for her to come nearer. As she sat by him, he whispered, eyes full of tears, "You know what? You have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you stayed right here. When my health started failing, you were still by my side.... You know what?"
"What dear?" she asked gently.
"I think you're bad luck. Get the fuck away from me."

A man was driving down the street, in a sweat, because he had an important meeting and couldn't find parking. Looking up toward heaven, he said, "Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking space, I will go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life and give up drinking."
Miraculously, a parking space appeared.
The man looked up again and said, "Never mind. I found one."

Why should all hurricanes be named after women? When they arrive, they're wet and wild, and when they leave, they take your house and car.

A man sits alone on the couch with his soon-to-be mother-in-law and the family dog. The man is so nervous that his stomach begins to hurt and — "Pfft!" — he accidentally lets out a little gas. He's horrified until the mother-in-law yells, "Rocco!" And the man thinks, She thinks it's the dog! So he lets another one rip, and the mother-in-law yells, "Rocco!" again. Feeling confident now, the man lets out a really loud, big, fat, wet one — "PFFFFFFT!" And she yells, "Rocco! Come here before that pervert shits on you, too!"

A Scotsman in traditional garb walks into a bar. A few hours later, he stumbles into the street and passes out. While he's unconscious, two tourist girls walk up to him. They want to check and see if the rumor about Scotsmen and their kilts is true, so they lift up his skirt and see that he's naked underneath. One of the girls takes a blue ribbon out of her hair and ties it around his johnson before they run away laughing. When the Scotsman awakens, he looks down and sees the blue ribbon. "I don't know where you've been or what you've done," he says to his johnson, "but I'm sure glad you won first prize."

A policewoman pulls over a drunk driver and asks him to step out of the car.
She says, "Anything you say can and will be used against you."
The driver replies, "Breasts."

The CIA is interviewing three potential agents — two men and a woman. For the final test, they bring one of the male candidates to a door and hand him a gun. "We must know that you will follow instructions, no matter what," says the interviewer. "Inside this room you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Kill her."
"You can't be serious," the man says. "I could never shoot my wife."
"Then you're not the right man for the job," says the interviewer.
The second man is given the same instructions. Five minutes later, he emerges with tears in his eyes and says, "I can't."
Finally, the woman is given the test, but with her husband. She takes the gun and enters the room. Shots are heard, then screaming, crashing, and banging. After a few minutes, she comes out and wipes the sweat from her brow. "You didn't tell me the gun was loaded with blanks," she says. "I had to beat him to death with the chair."
 
Anne Hathaway



 A guy walks into a bar with a priest, a minister, a rabbi, a Polish guy. and a duck. The bartender says, "What is this, a joke?


What does it mean when a man is in your bed, gasping for breath and calling your name?
You didn't hold the pillow down long enough.

A man wakes up one morning with a hangover. Going downstairs, he says to his wife, "Honey, I know I made a fool of myself at the company party last night. Remind me what I did."
"You got in an argument with your boss."
"Well, piss on him," says the man.
"You did. He fired you," replies his wife.
"Well, screw him!" the man screams.
"I did," says his wife. "You're back to work on Monday."

Betty and Billy are married. While Billy's at work, Betty goes to the tattoo parlor to get a tattoo of their initials on her butt — a B on one cheek and a B on the other. When Billy comes home from work, Betty bends over to show him. And he says, "Who's Bob?"

Three Italian nuns go to heaven, and God says, "You've been so amazing, I'm going to send you back as anyone you want." Nun No. 1 says, "I want to go back as Brigitte Bardot." God says, "Granted," and sends her back to earth. Nun No. 2 says, "I want to go back as Gina Lollobrigida." And God says, "Have a great time," and sends her back down. The third nun says, "I want to go back as Sahara Pip-a-leeni!" And God says, "Who's that?" And she pulls out a newspaper that reads, "Sahara Pipeline Line Laid by 230 Men."
 
Odette Yustman

An old farmer and his wife are lying in bed. He leans over one night, touches her breast, and says, "If this thing could still give milk, we could get rid of the cow." She reaches over and grabs his member. "And if this thing could still get hard," she says, "we could get rid of the dog."

How many actors does it take to change a lightbulb?
Five. One to climb up the ladder and screw it in, and four to say, "That should have been me."

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is smoking a cigarette with a very satisfied smile on his face. The egg is frowning and looking frustrated. The egg says, "Guess we answered that question."

Two men are hiking in a forest and see a bear. The first man starts changing into a pair of running shoes. The other looks at him and says, "That's stupid. You can't outrun a bear."
"True," says his friend. "But I only need to outrun you."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Phoebe vs. Jennifer

Back in the old VCR rental days, the Complete and Total Loser has read, the tracking of the Phoebe Cates nude scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" would often be off because the tape had been stretched from so many rewinds, restarts and pauses.
Phoebe Cates as Linda in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982).

A pretty girl, but not the Loser's type. He preferred Jennifer Jason Leigh's Stacy. Her quiet innocence. The naivete. More the Loser's speed, you know?
Jennifer Jason Leigh.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The last half of a book

When reading a book, have you noticed how much more quickly the last half of it goes than the first half? You think it's because as you've gotten more involved with it you're reading it faster and need to slow down to grasp the author's intentions less often. 
Not so.
The reason it seems to go faster is that when you're reading a book, you measure how much you've read by how much of what remains you've gotten through. When you read the first ten pages of a thousand-page book, you've read just one percent of what's left. Hardly anything. When you read ten pages of the last hundred pages of that same book, you've gone through ten percent of what's left. Nearly there! you think, rightly. 
(This is more noticeable with paper books than with ebooks because they show you, consistently, what percentage of the book you've read.)
What's true in reading books is true with life and the time you have left. As time passes, you think: Nearly there!
Meanwhile, attractive rich women eat outdoors.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Missed

First, the Loser missed her. Then, he missed hearing from her, talking about things on the phone, planning the next time they'd meet. Then he missed emails. (She was smart and wrote good ones.)
Now he misses the fact of getting messages from someone who likes him in that way, proof that she was thinking of him. 
The world is a big, lonely place.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Over a week

It's been over a week now that the Complete and Total Loser has had any contact with the woman who dumped him. At times he wonders if the whole thing ever happened. He wonders if she ever thinks of him now. Surely she doesn't as often as she did just after the dumping. It's all very strange to the Loser.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The post break-up email

It is polite and friendly and comes no less than two days after the last one. 
The one who dumped (her) is casual and upbeat, which comes off as distant: "My week was busier than usual and I've enrolled in a new course. It's not something I need to know now but if I ever want to teach I'll be glad I did. How was your day off?"
The one dumped (me) tries to avoid a bitter and sad phrase yet fails: "That's good that you're taking that class. More education never hurts and usually helps! Didn't do much on my day off. Just puttered around, took a nap." 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dealing with pain

It's 1970 and the Complete and Total Loser is twelve years old. His crippled right leg, stunted by three operations to remove cartilaginous tumors, has ceased growth. X-rays show that the Loser may reach a height of six-feet-two-inches. The discrepancy would be debilitating, as the Loser already wears a shoe with a lift of over three inches. 
The solution is to cut clean through the bones of the Loser's left leg, five times at both the ankle and knee, shattering the growth plates to stop the leg's growth. The orthopedic surgeon is, like many bone guys, a tough man; his last name is Steel. He performs the operation with a drill and chisel and the Loser awakes in a cast that immobilizes the leg and goes around his hips. Blood leaks from four long incisions and soaks though the cast at both joints.
Even when done with clean instruments and skill, a major bone break hurts, and the Loser is in intense pain. This being a different era, they are reluctant to give much pain medication. The Loser howls in agony off and on for two weeks and is in much discomfort for another three weeks after that. He doesn't crap the first week. His adult height will be five-feet-nine-inches, and he'll wear a shoe with a seven-inch lift for the rest of his life.
The lesson learned is that pain of all kinds subsides. It takes longer than you think, much longer, but it does go away. Recently dumped by the first woman to like him in years, the Loser hurts now. He knows, however, that in a year or so he'll start keying in a name similar to hers in an email address line and when her name pops up he'll think of her for only a few seconds. Then he'll resume and think of a catchy subject line for the person he means to write.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The rescued owl

As a boy, the Complete and Total Loser was one of those kids who'd try to rescue injured animals. The end result would always be that the animal would die slowly, rather than quickly, but the Loser would tell himself he was noble to try. 
This morning the Loser, an aging man now, found a baby screech owl while mowing his back yard. He knew where this was headed: Find the number of the place that rescues such creatures, call them, get directions, take the animal there. A time consuming, gas guzzling bother. 
"Should I," the Loser thought, "just run it over with the lawnmower?"
A brief though and he didn't. The owl will be raised near a surrogate mother, fed chopped up mice by humans, acclimated to other owls (there are several of his species that fell out their nests too, the Loser was told) and eventually released into the wild where it will hunt prey in darkness, on silent wings. (Update: The Loser called a week later and the owl is fine, hanging out with other owls, growing feathers, eating. He wishes he could have kept it so he could have moments like the ones seen here.)
It's ugly as a youth, but one day this owl will be a wonderful thing to see.