Monday, March 31, 2008

Hideous Creature

If you followed my previous blog, you might recognize the post below. It got such a good response, I decided to update it a bit and bring it over to Park Street Rambler. Enjoy!

I'm driving home one overcast afternoon, rocking out to "Mrs. Robinson." So, I'm all "Koo-Koo-Ka-choo," when suddenly, this hideous bug lands on my windshield. No lie! This thing was an abominable creature -- part scorpion, part wasp, part lobster, part Oprah! ALL H-I-D-E-O-U-S!! Kind of like the monster in Cloverfield, except it's on my windshield.

I cover my mouth to muffle a terrified shriek. I was like, "EEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!" But because I had my hand over my mouth, it was more like, "BFFAHHHHHHHHHHH!!"

Swerving back and forth, I struggle to remain in control of my pimped-out, ambiguously red Tercel (long story). With both cylinders firing, I manage to avert impending death. But it’s safe to say I'm freaking out at this point.
Then, just as swiftly as the creature came from the depths of hell to ruin my universe, a comforting thought springs into my mind and a wave of relief begins to rush over my entire body.

I reach forward. A cocky grin spreads from ear to ear...

[Aside: Those who know me understand I have absolutely NO reason to ever be cocky. In fact, the few times I've approximated cockiness (this being one of those times), the cosmos saw fit to deal me such an unrelenting shock and awe campaign of humiliation that I could hardly show my face in public.]

... I flick on my windshield wipers and snicker. "Hahahaha!" I shout in defiance, "Get your motherf—ing claws off my motherf—ing Tercel!"

But the creature doesn't move.

Its spindly black legs continue to skitter along the glass. Its crimson stinger sways from side to side. Its claws reach out, probing the air for a victim. And its big, dumb Oprah head whines about overcoming adversity. All the while, the windshield wipers sway back and forth.
But it doesn't move!

It dawns on me: "This god-forsaken spawn of Britney and K-Fed is INSIDE THE CAR!!!!"

I imagine this is the part in the movie when the audience is like, "Get out the there!!" But sadly, this was not a movie. This was real life and I couldn't just "get outta there." For one, I had my seatbelt on and the car was in motion. Instead, I did what any self-respecting Tercel owner does:

I shrieked like a tiny, Mary Jane-wearing girl!!!!!

[Disclaimer: The Park Street Rambler realizes full well that this is unfair to Mary Jane-wearing girls and asks that you laugh at the author rather than taking offense.]

Swerving to the right and then to the left, my car hit a pebble. It was the kind lovers like to skip across the surface of some placid lake on a camping trip. It was enough to spin me out of control, in a kind of pink tornado.

For some time, my car seemed suspended in the center of a sandstorm. Then -- without warning -- I struck a sapling. Fortunately, the tiny Maple was enough to stop the force of my vehicle, and it came to rest under tree's minimal shade.

The grotesque bug was nowhere to be found.

Fleeing from my car, I swatted myself like a child who feels oppressed by an ill-fitting pair of snow pants. I ran in circles and made strange noises as I sputtered, shivered and slapped the back of my sweaty neck.

It seems that ages have passed since that day, and yet, I am no more prepared to handle such a disgusting affront to my senses.

Nietzche (can I buy a vowel?) once said, "Whatever doesn't kill [you], makes [you] stronger." But, I'm guessing Nietzche never had to go toe-to-toe with a vicious, scorpion-oprah-lobster wasp, or hideus scorlobwaspoperus, as it's known in some scientific circles.

Photo from Mimic (1997)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

In Memoriam: My Zenith TV - June 19, 1997 - March 29, 2008

Just got a brand-new 37" Toshiba HD LCD TV! It's glorious, crystal-clear and huge. I'm thrilled to say I've now joined the modern world, even if a bit belatedly.

But it's also a sad time. To make way for my HD beauty, I've had to retire an old friend -- my 11-year-old 19" Zenith. You might think I'm being a bit maudlin, but you have no idea what we've been through together: High school graduation, the "freshman 15," Street Fighter II, Clinton, graduation from college, Bush, Katie Couric's controversial move to CBS, Miss Teen America... I could go on. Anyway, I thought it would be fitting to write an obituary for my fallen comrade:

The Park Street Rambler is sad to report the death his Zenith Z20A21D, who was laid to rest on March 29th, 2008, after a 10-year battle with obsoleteness. The Zenith was 11 years old and worked for Comcast. A student of history and a great listener, the Zenith will be missed by friends and family.

I miss you dawg!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bad Haircut

Ever had a bad haircut? You look in the mirror, usually a millisecond before the barber (or "stylist," for you uptight folks) is about to make an irrevocable mistake, lopping off your bangs faster than you can say "Lloyd Christmas." And then there's that sinking, self-loathing feeling not unlike a time when your mom would dress you in an ill-fitting pair of snow pants (for some of us, this might have been last Tuesday). At the time, you wanted nothing more than to punch yourself in the face out of frustration and also beat the school-yard bullies to it.

Is this ringing a bell?

When someone desecrates your head, you feel ridiculous, vulnerable and angry, and it's all too final. When it comes to uncomfortable or unflattering clothes, like my proverbial ill-fitting snow pants, they might invoke some of the same feelings, but at least you can take them off after a playground ass-whoopin'. On the other hand, a bad haircut sticks!

Recently, I've encountered a dilemma. I go to my haircut place of choice -- let's just call it "Terrific Cuts!" To their credit, I generally have a good experience, as there are a few who consistently cut my hair well. BUT, there is one who invariably does an abysmally sloppy job, and for some reason, she is always the only one who can help me.

"Ruth," as I like to call her, is master of the following techniques: stray hair, patch, sorry-what? and oops! To give you an example, she recently gave me a buzz cut, which is remarkable since she didn't use any clippers.

I know what you're saying: "Just wait for someone else" or "find a different place." Good points. But, Ruth is intimidating and I'm not one to walk in, assess the situation, curse under my breath and walk out. So, I get stuck with her. Call it cowardice or laziness, and you'd probably be right.

Now, in the following video, Peyton Manning offers a simple, stylish solution for me: "clean part, high and tight, no side burns, no mistakes."

Only problem is, Peyton's an idiot (and his brother Eli is too). This is because I asked for that very same haircut and still wound up with a disaster. For some hair professionals, it doesn't matter how simple the design, they still get it wrong.

Leave a comment. I'd love to hear about your own hair disasters. In the meantime, I'm going to wait patiently while my hair grows back.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A "Lost and Found" Ski Trip

Just got back from an amazing ski trip in Conway, N.H. A bunch a my friends, mostly from college, and I all rented a condo and hit the slopes of Wildcat Mountain. It was honestly some of the best skiing of my entire life and a great way to reconnect with some folks I hadn't seen in years. The problem is that, although I love to ski, I don't do it enough to gear up like some I know with sweet Spyder jackets and sleek Atomic skis. Instead, I'm forced to pan-handle for the bare essentials -- everything from snow pants to goggles. I'm sad to say, I end up looking like I raided the Lost and Found booth at a local middle school.

So, in essence, my friends trade a old pair of gloves for the unadulterated joy that comes with hours of mocking me. I think that's why they part with their tattered stuff so quickly -- Not out of kindness, but out of a love of ridicule.

I partly blame my grandfather, since he was the kind man who taught me to ski in the first place. During many a frosty chair lift ride up the slopes he would impart valuable lessons, such as avoiding moguls, going slow and not worrying so much about fashion. His lessons resulted in a rather uncool kid, but I suppose they did keep me alive. And as for fashion, I think he would have agreed with Thoreau: "Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes."

Too bad my friends don't care much for Thoreau.

Honest Cover Letter

Wouldn't it be refreshing to be a straight shooter for a change? The "honest" cover letter below will serve you well in your job search.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have no job. But I am excited by the opportunities afforded to those who do, namely the ability to eat. I undoubtedly saw your opening in my local paper or discovered it on one of countless job search sites. Perhaps an acquaintance of mine knew somebody who knew of your opening, which is remarkably exactly what I'm looking for. Nevertheless, I am moderately qualified and enthusiastic to have an answer when friends and family ask, "So, what do you do again?"

Since my graduation from college, I have developed excellent work-related skills; I am now a master at Googling ex-girlfriends and "looking busy."

I could tell you that I'm great at multitasking, but actually, I have learned that despite a $150,000-education, I am never quite qualified for any job. So, in an effort to save up enough money to take a GRE preparatory course and eventually go back to school for the more than eight years of training I will need to do something less insulting, one job may be as good as the next. I'm not expecting miracles. Let's face it -- I'm not going to find my dream job here -- but a chance to fill my car with a little over-priced gas would be terrific.

I have attached my resume. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you. And while this letter may seem generic enough to send to anyone -- I assure you -- it was crafted solely for your fine company/organization.

[Your name here]