Monthly Archives: February 2010

How Not To Score: A Guy’s Guide To Relationship Failure

BY ROBERT SMITH

There are dating websites, matrimony agencies, lingerie stores, and greeting card companies, and all are in the business of helping people find the ultimate object of their desires – or, at the very least, hook up. Sex and love are two of the biggest motivations in the human experience, but some people just don’t get it. Some people do the very worst they can, thinking it’s the best thing they can do.
Guys, if you’re really interested in seeking out companionship with a real thinking, feeling female, trying your hardest to avoid these garish gaffes:

Never take Iris to a fancy restaurant clad in a suit only to put your arm on the table to reveal your fancy new Invicta Subaqua Noma III watch you “bought off the TV.” Some dudes think watches layered in cheap gold and the size of a black and white cookie are fashionable; they get together in their apartments, usually located in their mother’s basements, to show off their collections. Iris and her girlfriends get together to laugh about their bad dates.

While we’re on the subject: A “poor man’s Rolex” still isn’t a Rolex.

Never show up for a first date with Sara with your official Johnny Damon New York Yankees jersey on.

An amendment to that note: Never show up for a first date with Sara if Damon is anywhere in the vicinity. Or any other athlete. Or musician. Or movie star.

We shouldn’t even have to print this, but if you can belch “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic,” don’t do it in front of Veronica.

Or us.

If you’re sitting at the bar having a nice conversation with a new friend named Becky, never try to squeeze one off. If it’s a silent but deadly creamer, you’ll ruin any chances with both Becky and that beloved 10-year-old pair of Fruit of the Looms.

If you even know what The Entertainment Book is, you’re not scoring with Elizabeth.

A beige shirt and purple pants? Great if you’re visiting Aunt Audrey.

If you show up to take out Amy in your Chrysler Town & Country, you might as well look for love at Lowe’s Home Center.

If a radio ad for a $4.99 haircut makes you run to the nearest mall, there’s no chance that Heidi wants anything to do with you.

Cheryl likes funny guys, but if you spend the entire date quoting “Seinfeld,” she’ll file your number under “old fart.” Other entertainment entities whose reference quotas have expired: Caddyshack, “The Honeymooners,” Popeye, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, “Friends,” anything with Adam Sandler.

If you are lucky enough to get Linda into your bedroom and she notices your official replica WWE World Championship belt, the only trim you’ll be getting is after you’ve gone on a three-month diet.

Never believe TV ads: If a woman sees an older, graying male and doesn’t care for his looks, it’s natural. If a younger woman sees the same man a week later after he’s applied Just For Men in five easy minutes and everything about him is suddenly jet black, not only won’t she find him attractive, but she’ll also think he’s the creepiest schmoe since Jeffrey Dahmer.

If you’re over 40 and you still sport an earring, you might as well put on a pair of bell bottoms. If you have two earrings, you might as well show Nancy your AARP card.

Another addendum: Just because you’re 50 and you’re getting tons of sudden offers in the mail doesn’t mean you have to join AARP. That makes even other 50-year-olds cringe.

Tatoos and ink? Sure. A pierced cock head, never.

Openly vomiting on the table during dinner never leads to a second date. We’ve actually met two women who have experienced this – in New York City, no less.

Lorna loves talking about virtually anything, but when Jimmy spent two hours discussing how AC/DC got even better after Bon Scott died, she bought a CD by Celtic Women the next day.

If you join a dating site and use the word “anal” in your profile for any reason, you better call the airlines and make a reservation at The Pussycat Ranch as soon as possible, as your most meaningful relationship with a female between now and the rest of your life will have a shelf life of about 20 minutes.

Women that women love: Taylor Swift, Rachel Ray, Marie Osmond, Carnie Wilson, Hillary Duff, you get the picture. Women that women hate are the women that guys love: Pamela Anderson, Victoria Silvestedt, Megan Fox, Alessandra Ambrosio, Kelly Kelly, Angelina Jolie, and so on.

If you tell Samantha that you’re trying to become an actor, she’ll swoon. If you tell her your goal is to act in a Broadway musical, she’ll introduce you to her friend Bruce.

Never admit during a first date with Tamara that not only is this the first one you’ve had in 11 months, but that your financial situation isn’t all that great. Leo Durocher said it best: “Nice guys finish last.” In fact, if you’re entering the dating scene believing that integrity, being a nice person, being humble, and letting nature take its course during relationships are good attributes, we have a land plot in Oak Hill, New York we’d like to sell you.

If you pick up Nancy in a Lexus, and you both come back to your place later and she finds only onion soup mix and instant coffee in your cupboard, she won’t mind at all.

If you drop the name of the famous people you’ve met with Terri, you’ll score. If you drop the names of the dudes you bowl with, you’ll only score at Bowlmor.

Carrie doesn’t mind that you’re not “large” – but she’ll tell Sandy that you’re “pretty small,” and it will be the focal point of their hilarious lunch break the next day. Uncircumcised guys: Hold on to your hats … so to speak.

If you tell Evelyn that “I like your nice, big tits” on the first date, the only date you’ll enjoy the next day will say Sunkist on its box.

If you want to date Snooki from “Jersey Shore,” go ahead and wear that Ed Hardy t-shirt. If you want a date with Sandy from your office, don’t even think about it.

Brands that don’t make it with Amy: Brylcreem, Vitalis, Waltham, Haband, J.C. Penny, ESPN, Family Dollar, U.S. Polo, Golden Corral, and any restaurant that ends with the words “pizza buffet.”

Paula said, “let’s do something fun on our first date.” Bob suggested, “how about miniature golf?” Bob played miniature golf with Tim on Saturday night.

Hank told Susan he bought her some jewelry, and after their second date, no less. The box read “Kay Jewelers.” Susan fucked the living shit out of Paul later that night; Paul will have permanent rattled brains for months. Hank will give the Kay box to his mother, who will store it in a drawer and never refer to it again.

Robert Smith gets mistaken for Brad Pitt quote often, and while standing in line at banks and ticket counters he sometimes must call his literary agent. He’d never make any of the above mistakes with women, as his vast experience in the ways of love make him impervious to errors, Jake; he’s too busy drawing glances. His choice for most romantic song: Better Off Without A Wife” by Tom Waits.

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My birthday wish: More zombies!

by Jon Pine

Today I start yet another trip around the sun. I won’t tell you how many trips I’ve made, but here’s a clue: just a couple of days before I started my first trip, John Glenn made three trips around the Earth in just under five hours.

Jon Pine

Had I not dallied upon entering this world, says my mom, my first name would have an “h” in it and my middle name would be Glenn, in honor of America’s first space hero. The punishment for my tardiness? A lifetime of correcting people who misspell my name, and of trying to hide the fact that my actual middle name is “Clifford.” (Go ahead. Laugh. I’ve made my peace with it. Sort of.)

So how, exactly, did I decide to usher in this latest trip? With zombies, of course!

I’m not usually a fan of the horror/gore film genre, but there’s just something about zombies that cracks me up every time. They’re just so… silly. As a concept, I mean.

Think about it: Zombies are dead, but not really dead. They’re hungry, but only for living flesh – they never eat other zombies. But somehow, lots of people only get nibbled-on by zombies, not fully devoured, otherwise how do you explain the proliferation of all those new zombies?

There’s more: Zombies lumber around, they can see, and climb, but they can’t speak. They are aware enough to know that you are alive, that you’re not another zombie, but not smart enough to realize that you are about to kill them. Oh, and just when you think they’re really dead-dead, watch out – because they might just be undead. Still undead? Undead again? Something to that effect.

See what I mean?

All of this, of course, makes them perfect comedy foils. And perhaps the most hilarious evidence of that is the film “Zombieland,” which I watched last night with friends. If you like your blood, guts and dismemberment leavened with massive doses of smart, funny dialog, then this flick’s for you. It also contains a cameo by a huge comedy star that just may be the funniest five minutes of film in the past decade. I won’t spoil the surprise here.

Birthdays are, naturally, a time of reflection. And this morning I got to thinking: Zombies are also a perfect metaphor for growing older. Sometimes as we age we tend to sort of lumber along, oblivious to most of what is around us. We’ve settled on a path toward what it is that feeds us, often missing some really great opportunities and experiences just off the pathway.

And mostly, we hang around with other zombies – people who look like us, sound like us and behave like us. But when we were young, we laughed at those “old people” who were so “set in their ways.”

When did we become those people? And who’s laughing now?

So I’ve come up with some rules for my next trip around the sun. Or maybe they’re actually “anti-rules.” You can decide:

1. Watch more zombie movies. It doesn’t matter that the logic doesn’t add up. Neither does life’s logic – learn to laugh about that. (Next up: “The Devil’s Rejects.” Someone also suggested “Shaun of the Dead.”)

2. Color outside the lines more. That’s where true art resides.

3. Be more passionate. About something. Anything. Better yet, about everything. It’s one of those things that separates humans from other species.

4. Talk less, listen more. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. We can’t learn unless we first learn to listen.

5. Take my inner child out for ice cream. Or to fly a kite, climb on some monkey bars, make a sand castle, or just do something fun I haven’t done in years. If adults look at me in a disapproving way, consider that a bonus.

6. Work less, participate more. Nobody ever said on their deathbed “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

7. Quit complaining. And remember my friend John R.’s credo: “Things could always be worse.” This, from a man who received a cosmic screwing that robbed him of his home, his family, his reputation, and 18 years of his life, but who somehow still manages not to be pissed off at everyone and everything.

8. Read more, write more, watch less TV. Except, of course, when zombie movies are on TV! (Ironically, “Zombieland” was originally written as a pilot for a TV show. When it was turned down, it was turned into a movie instead.)

9. Count my blessings. But share some of them with others. Just another piece of creature comfort for me might be a life-saver for someone else.

10. Exercise more, eat better. There really is no excuse, so quit making them already. Remember the Number 1 rule from “Zombieland” – Good Cardio! You wanna be able to outrun the zombies.

© 2010 Jon Pine

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Me and My Head Trauma

by Steve Ricci


Steve Ricci

The Three Stooges, under whose tutelage I have labored exhaustively, are the undisputed masters of head trauma. In one of my favorite routines, Curly bungles a carpentry job and Moe runs the blade of a saw across his partner’s stubbly scalp. Curly feigns agony, screaming, “OH! OH! OH!” then points at the saw and says, “Look!” Cut to a close-up of the gnarled, twisted saw with its teeth all bent and broken. In another bit, Moe grabs Shemp by the nose and wrenches it around so brutally as to recreate precisely the sound of walnuts being crushed in a meat grinder. No one’s heads ever suffered so much for the sake of laughs.

Perhaps I’ve watched too much of the Stooges (okay, not perhaps, definitely) because it seems that my own head has been trying to eradicate itself in an uncannily comparable stooge-like fashion.

The first instance of head trauma that I can remember took place as a young boy living in New York City. I recall running down the sidewalk, tripping, and somehow executing an acrobatic maneuver so convoluted that the first part of my body to make contact with the pavement was my upper forehead. Other than screaming with sufficient volume to shatter several nearby windshields, all I remember about it is that a nearby adult said, “Boy, you’ve got quite an egg there.” I remember being old enough to know that an actual egg wasn’t growing out of my forehead but I was too young to understand that, when you’re plummeting toward concrete, your eyebrow is a less-than-optimal device for breaking the fall.

Sometime later, slingshots became popular among my age group. Giving slingshots to boys in Manhattan is about as conducive to the safety and well-being of the general populace as giving hand grenades to warring tribes of howler monkeys. Eventually they’ll learn to pull the pins, just as we eventually discovered that you didn’t have to shoot the harmless plastic projectiles that came with the slingshots. With decent-sized rocks in short supply in Greenwich Village, we quickly found an alternative ammunition: marbles.

Immediately upon convincing his parents to purchase the weapon for him, each boy collected and got refunds for as many returnable soda bottles as would buy a bag of glass marbles, and then joined his sadistic cohorts in carpet shelling everything within a one-block radius. We blasted the marbles against fire hydrants, car windshields, the target-friendly buttocks of corpulent pedestrians, store-front plate-glass windows, and an infinite supply of slow-moving pigeons.

Shortly before the neighborhood’s outraged (and deeply bruised) residents, shop owners, motorists, and representatives from the pigeons’ union demanded the confiscation of all slingshots, I was in a park one sunny day admiring a recent acquisition: an extra-large marble with a unique swirl design inside. I wanted to see what the innards were made of so I fired the marble against a high wall about 30 feet away, assuming the impact would detonate the fragile glass projectile. Instead the marble bounced off the wall unharmed and began a flawless return arc, colliding a second later with the outer rim of my eye socket. I was happy to let people think a street gang had savaged me with a tire-iron rather than explain the real reason I had replaced my eyeball with a ripened two-pound strawberry.

Things didn’t go much better with the other traditional boyhood weapon. Long before Ralphie got his Red Ryder in “A Christmas Story,” I was in the yard behind my grandparents’ house in upstate New York and managed to do with a BB gun almost exactly what I’d done with the slingshot. I fired at a glass bottle and watched as the BB exited the muzzle, ricocheted off the target, and hit me in the eye, this time in the inner part. I remember only unrestrained shrieking, swarming adults, several pounds of ice, and frenzied deliberations about Braille, German shepherds, and Patty Duke.

In that same yard in another summer, my brother, cousins, and some neighbor children were playing behind the house. Some teenage boys were watching us from behind the trees and decided it would be fun to pelt the smaller children with large stones. When we heard the rocks start to land around us, we all scattered. My scattering took the form of inserting my face directly into the flight path of a tennis ball-sized igneous missile. The damage was relatively minor; hardly equal to the mummification quantities of gauze my parents were frantically layering around my head. But at this point they had accepted that their son’s skull was the final destination for every airborne object in the western hemisphere. From then on, whenever they heard about an asteroid running loose around Neptune or a space satellite with a decaying orbit they hid me in a basement crawlspace until the danger had passed.

Despite their concerns and precautions, my head continued its unhindered quest for self-destruction.

As a teenager, I was playing touch football one day and went out for a long pass. I was in full stride, flying down the field as fast as I would ever run. I looked back to the quarterback, who saw me get open and hurled a perfect pass that landed squarely in my arms. I tucked it in and, as I turned to run for the touchdown, my head achieved complete molecular fusion with the utility pole that served as our end-zone marker.

Today, that play has been long forgotten but the impact with which my skull struck the pole has become the stuff of legend. Those who witnessed it described the sound as precisely the noise one might expect to hear when a loaded dump truck rolls over a casaba melon. As one witness said, “When I heard that sound, I just assumed you were dead.”

I didn’t die, I merely lost consciousness for a couple of seconds. I further amazed everyone when I got up and continued playing in the game, not because I was especially tough or determined, but simply because the collision had left me with the unshakable notion that I was at least seven of the apostles, all singing the theme from “The Benny Hill Show” while spiraling lazily around the Space Needle in a winged bathtub.

At this point, my parents considered having my head permanently encased in a titanium bomb-squad helmet filled with packing peanuts. I would do little to convince them this was a bad idea.

Some years later, I was riding my ten-speed bike down the street. I remember this head-trauma incident as being the most embarrassing only because I wasn’t doing anything particularly dangerous at the time. I was bored and simply steering the bike in slow, lazy circles while I tried to think of something to do. When I turned the handlebars just a little too severely, the front wheel stuck on the pavement, the rear wheel lifted off the ground, and the bike capsized along its vertical axis. It happened so slowly that I actually had time to marvel at what was occurring. The marveling stopped when I realized that I was now completely inverted and, once again, in the gravitational embrace of yet another eyebrows-first trajectory toward the pavement. I landed on the crown of my head, right at the hairline, and almost before I was able to stand up, an irate, roiling mass of inflamed blood vessels erupted at the spot of contact. Within a couple of minutes the frothing contusion looked like a mutilated raccoon trying to claw its way out of a pink balloon.

I walked my bike home, fully aware that there was no way my parents could endure another episode of “Fractured Cranium Tales,” so I jammed a baseball cap over my rapidly swelling second head and went to dinner. Of course, they immediately demanded that I remove my hat at the table and I was forced to unveil Bumpzilla. My father leaped off his chair as though it had been electrified, screamed, “Incubus!” and ran to get the holy water. My mother just went to the locker of bandages, ointments, and vascular clamps she had learned to keep on hand for these occasions.

I was routinely interrogated about how I had sustained the injury but, at this point, it really didn’t matter anymore. I could have walked through the door with the fender from a ’62 Chrysler jutting out my left temple and my father would have just said, “Great! Where are you gonna find a hat big enough to cover THAT, mister?” while my mother would have calmly called the Red Cross to see if ice could be ordered in gross tonnage.

The cranial carnage didn’t end with childhood. In college I was playing racquetball and dove to return a low shot. I grotesquely miscalculated the distance between me and the wall and slammed into it with the back of my head. Unfazed by the impact, I made the shot and went to the service line. My opponent, standing behind me, said, “Um, I think you’re bleeding.” I ran my hand across the spot where I’d hit my head and looked at it. It was deep red. I grabbed a towel, wiped my hand off, and said, “Okay, let’s play.” There was no one to play, however, because having seen the spreading blood stain on the back of my shirt, my opponent (a six-foot-six, 285-pound defensive lineman), was running down the hall screaming like a Campfire Girl with a snake in her jumper. Later in the emergency room a doctor stitched the two-inch gash on my scalp and imparted to me the kind of inscrutable advice only 10 years of rigorous medical training can endow: “Running into walls with your head is not a good racquetball strategy.”  I failed his concussion test by answering the question, “Who is the president of the United States?” with the response, “marinara sauce.”

In my early 30s I’d had enough and decided to take up tae kwon do, the “thinking” being that, if I mastered the art of self-defense I could apply those same principles to the defense of my head. Unfortunately, the exact opposite occurred.

Shortly after starting classes, I discovered that sparring was an important part of the curriculum, and that beginning students were frequently paired against sparring partners with much higher belt degrees, so that the novices could benefit from the experience of the experts. And then I learned that scoring a kick to the head was the most prized maneuver you could execute during a match. Being significantly shorter than the rest of the men in the class, this combination of circumstances made my skull the Holy Grail of head shots. How to describe the ensuing butchery? Imagine someone has just taped a winning Powerball ticket to your forehead. Now imagine that Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, and Mike Tyson are competing against each other to dislodge it. Despite the plump decorative throw pillows I had stuffed inside my head gear, I still drove home after class each night wondering if I was holding the correct steering wheel of the four that hovered in front of me.

And then I got it. Every instance of head trauma that I had experienced to that point had been the direct result of just one thing: activity. Had I not been running, shooting, throwing, biking, sparring, whatever, I would never have sustained these repeated cranial traumas. Clearly, complete inactivity is the key to an anti-concussive lifestyle: a philosophy I have followed devotedly for the past 10 years. Not once in that time have I suffered a bump, a fracture, or a substantial leakage of brain matter (with the brief exception of some cerebral liquefaction during Bush-Kerry presidential debate).

Of course, this plan for securing the integrity of my head has not come without a price, namely, being so out of shape that the physical exertion required to type this story required several multi-liter intravenous infusions of Gatorade. But it seems like a fair price to pay to keep the planet from battering my head around like a soccer ball at a Brazilian beach party.

Of course, continued exposure to the Three Stooges could trigger the same effect as a ball-peen hammer to the foreskull, but that’s a chance my head is willing to take.

© 2010 by Steve Ricci

Steve Ricci is a writer, editor, and photographer who, for some reason, just can’t get into Lost.


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