Friday, October 2, 2015

Adult play

The Complete and Total Loser's home city newspaper has an article today about a woman the Loser met several years ago but hadn't heard about since. 
woman in wheelchair in art gallery

She is thirty-five years old and having a successful career in the arts. The article also talked about a fund-raising lacrosse tournament held in her name. The funds go to people who, like her, are disabled. 
What the article didn't describe was the accident that damaged her spine fifteen years ago when she was twenty and a college athlete. 
She was sledding in a park.
The Loser remembers that sort of thing from his own college years. Taking food trays from the dining hall and belly flopping on a nearby slope. He and other students got a rush from rediscovering a childhood thrill doing something they hadn't done for a decade. 
It turns out, though, that maybe sledding is best left to children, with their light bodies and rubbery spines. This woman took a bump too hard and landed wrong and now ... she'll be in a wheelchair forever.
Was the sledding that much fun? Probably not. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Loser, losing again

box of old photographs
Someday all that will be left of the Loser will be trash.
The Complete and Total Loser's humble aspiration is to be a proofreader. It would be a safe job to see him through his late fifties to his retirement years, a job that would require little if any interaction with others.
On Tuesday, the Loser met with a woman who hires proofreaders for temporary assignments. She interviewed him and gave him a test. The test was moronically simple. It consisted of laid-out ad copy for a Filofax like product. The corrected copy was provided to compare it to and make corrections as needed. Think of that; the Loser was given the answers
And yet, he got an email from the woman today saying that he missed twenty-five errors (which in proofreading means he made as many) and that was "more than we like to see." She politely said that if any assignments came up that she felt he was suitable for she'd get in touch. 
In other words, goodbye forever, Loser

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How religion works

Philadelphia street scene with overstuffed trash cans
Overstuffed trashcans like these will be emptied before Pope Francis visits Philadelphia.
Pope Francis is coming to the Complete and Total Loser's home city of Philadelphia this weekend and he'll hold a mass outdoors on Sunday. Rain is expected, but the local forecasters are saying it "may be drizzling." 
Here's how this works:
  • If it doesn't rain at all, believers will say it was an act of their god, who surely favors this city and must dislike farmers and forests in California and the Pacific Northwest
  • It it rains off and on, believers will see greater significance in what the pope says during the times he speaks when it isn't raining
  • If it does nothing but pour all day, believers won't make any connection to the weather and the pope's presence or, if they do, they'll say the reasoning behind the rain is not one mere humans are capable of discerning 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The dim bulb

The Complete and Total Loser drives a loser's car: his late mother's 1998 Toyota Camry. On Wednesday, as the Loser exited the car, a man in the parking lot told him one of his taillights was out. This made the Loser feel insecure about driving, even though he'd probably been driving it with the light out for a few weeks, at least—there is no one in his life who would tell him that. 
3157 taillight bulb
This is the old 3157 taillight bulb the Loser replaced.
The normal reaction for the Loser would be to take it to a mechanic and have it replaced, but the Loser is low on funds these days so he went instead to Youtube, then a nearby Napa autoparts where they sold him the 3157 bulb he needed.
Total cost of replacing the bulb: $3.00 plus about fifty cents worth of gas to get there and back (it's really close).

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The strong girl

young woman lifting barbell
This isn't her, of course.
For the past few weeks, the Complete and Total Loser has been going to a weight room in the college sports complex he swims in three mornings a week. He's just swum sixty laps, but he's always liked lifting weights and the machines there are easier on his fifty-seven-year-old joints than the dumbbells he has at home. He swims at six and is there by ten to seven. This is good, because few of the college students are there; it's mostly adults in their forties. Of the very few students there, one is a woman who looks like she can't be older than eighteen. She is fit, but slight—a good fifty pounds lighter than the Loser. On his first week there he saw her using a triceps pull down machine opposite the one he was using, and he was chagrined to see that she was lifting as many plates as he was, and doing it with ease. 
The aging body.
Later, though, he went around and saw that although the plates were the same size and number as those on the machine the Loser was using, the weights assigned to them were substantially less. 
This assuaged the Loser's fragile male ego. 
When college men come to lift, the Loser mentally makes an excuse to leave anon.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Loser goes to town

Despite the heavy rain, the Complete and Total Loser went to town yesterday to have dinner with a friend. He went early to visit his bank, which has few branch offices and none anywhere near the Loser. 
While waiting, he hung out at a round building in a small park in the heart of the city's downtown. Homeless men were there too, to escape the rain. The four in the picture passed the time playing poker. 
All the men there were black, except the Loser and one other man, who had clearly seen hard times. 
four men playing poker outdoors
Four men play poker outside on a rainy day.

The highlight of the Loser's wait was when a very pretty Asian girl climbed six steps to reach him. She was clutching bags. 
"Can you help me out?" she said.
That's a bum's opening line. 
"Yeah ... ?" the Loser said, warily. 
"Can you hold onto this bag for a minute?"
"Oh! Sure!"
The bag she asked the Loser to hold was made of paper and had gotten wet. Office supplies inside were in danger of falling out. The other bag the girl held was plastic. It too held office supplies. The girl was slight, her arms were toned but thin. After a minute or so of combining the contents into the plastic bags, she thanked the Loser and, umbrella up, went on her way.
Later, the Loser realized that this girl was so far from being a bum that she didn't know how to ask for favors without alerting people to her possible bumhood. She should have simply said, "Could you hold this bag for a minute?" 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The dog in the house

The Complete and Total Loser has the dog again. She's spent over a month with him since the beginning of the year and has developed a routine. There are specific places she goes to in the back yard, often in a set order. 
apple in crock of tree welsh corgi in background
An apple sits in the crock of a tree while a Welsh Corgi explores a lawn.

When first out she heads for a corner of the house that has something living behind the siding. Mice, the Loser guesses. She sits and sniffs for awhile and sometimes follows a scent train through the pachysandra. When she gives up, she goes elsewhere. The Loser keeps an eye on her to keep her from rolling in deer scat. (He's already given her an extra bath for this.) Being a Corgi, she's short and often gets lost behind things. The Loser's greatest fear is of her running off and getting lost. He watches her closely. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Party time

Woman photographing three women

The Complete and Total Loser went to his brother's house last week to have dinner with his family. Here, his sister-in-law is taking a picture of her daughter, who's sitting in between two friends, while his brother and nephew stare at their telephones. 
The Loser never had a wife or children and he wonders what it would be like to be a part of a scene like this. He is, however, taking care of the dog at the bottom of the photograph for a week.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why he shot them

The Complete and Total Loser is a failed journalist. He was the butt of jokes in the newsroom he worked in and although his leaving was by choice, he's certain most of his coworkers were glad to see him go. 
With that personal history, which was over a decade ago, the Loser understands the rage Vester Lee Flanagan II may have felt at his failure to succeed in what is likely the only job he ever enjoyed. But of course, nothing—ill treatment, unfair termination, outright humiliation—justifies murdering people. 
Alison Parker and Adam Ward

Your occupation is not everything. It pays your bills and for a very lucky few it allows a life of luxury and financial ease. But it is not who you are, it does not define you, it doesn't matter that much. It's just a job. The victims, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, will be remembered as good people first, competent workers second. Flanagan will be remembered only as an angry, mean, nut.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015


The Complete and Total Loser has no need for any medical equipment, yet when he's left alone in his doctor's examination room during his annual physical he's tempted to look for things to steal, though he doubts there's much available beyond alcohol pads and tongue depressors. 
He was very tempted to open the Gyn Supplies drawer seen here just to see what was inside, but he refrained. 
examination table
What's in the Gyn Supplies drawer of this examination table? The Loser will never know.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Nuclear energy

cooling towers at Limerick, Pa. nuclear power plant
The cooling towers at the Limerick, Pa. nuclear power plant give off an odd steam cloud.
The Complete and Total Loser is old enough to remember a time when nuclear energy held great promise. "Energy too cheap to meter," they said. "A safe way to provide power to everyone," they said. Then came Three Mile Island in 1979, the partial meltdown thanks to a stuck valve and badly trained operators. Coolant was released, along with some radioactive material. Not helping things was the release of the popular movie, The China Syndrome, twelve days before the accident. No one was hurt, but the industry was badly shaken, and growth in the industry slowed markedly. 
jane fonda and jack lemmon in the china syndrome
Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome.

And this was years before Chernobyl disaster of 1986 which killed 31 people outright. The ultimate number of those whose lives were or will be greatly shortened by it is hard to estimate, but the accident released four hundred times more radioactive material than the nuclear bomb detonated over Hiroshima.
The Loser once heard an expert say a basic flaw with nuclear energy is that technology of the late 1950s is being used to harness a mid-21st century form of power. 
Global warming is making many rethink nuclear energy because of it's lack of carbon emissions. Ultimately, however, the problem of what to do with the waste remains an insurmountable problem.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Feck you

US one dollar bills
Symbols for U.S. reserve banks can spell out a few words if properly arranged.

This is how bored the Complete and Total Loser, who has no idea how to begin a conversation with strangers, gets in bars.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Proof of age

Not that he needs it, but the delight the Complete and Total Loser takes in seeing hummingbirds is proof that he is the oldest man under sixty he knows.
hummingbird at hummingbird feeder
A hummingbird approaches a hummingbird feeder. Look at the adorable little feet! Aww ...

Friday, August 7, 2015

When he was born

A gorilla.
Little of interest happened on May 19, 1958, the day the Complete and Total Loser was born. In fact, the story about the "football men" is about it:

may 20 1958 new york times article about gorilla wrestling
A May 20, 1958, New York Times article about gorilla wrestling.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Who shows up

The Complete and Total Loser is an uninteresting looking white male, age 57, who has a graduate degree and is conservative and almost effete in his dating habits. 
Why, he wonders, does this woman keep showing up in the list of women he might like in his OK Cupid dating profile? It baffles and amuses the Loser.