Were I a judge on one of those singing contest shows, I would never wince, turn my head sideways, point to my ear and say: “Little pitchy.” That’s so been done. I’d wince, turn my head sideways, point to my ear and say: “Little bitchy.”
But I would say it as if I had said “Little pitchy,” like barely making that “p” a “b.” And then try to keep saying it during the person’s critique to see how long before they’d notice. Like, when they’re done singing, it would go:
ME: Okay. Um…I think you got great presence, as they say. You stand your ground on stage and that’s important. You got great breath support and that’s good. I thought overall, though, that it was a little bitchy. Kind of like I wanted to pull back from you a little bit.
SINGER: Pitchy, really?
ME: Bitchy, right. I wouldn’t say it was a lot of bitchy, but I do think that the bitchy was evenly spread throughout the entire performance.
SINGER: That’s weird because no one’s ever called me pitchy before.
ME: Really? No one’s ever called you bitchy? No offense, but I find that kind of hard to believe.
SINGER: Really? Why?
ME: Well, can you hear yourself?
SINGER: Yeah. I’ve been doing this since I was five.
ME: Woa. That’s a lot of years of being bitchy.
SINGER: I can’t believe this.
ME: Look, I’m only telling you what I hear and what I hear is bitchy.
SINGER: I’d never think in a million years that someone would call me pitchy. I’m shocked.
ME: I said a little bitchy.
SINGER: Any amount of pitchy is too much.
ME: It’s just a little bitchy.
SINGER: I don’t know wanna be pitchy at all.
ME: Look, aren’t we all bitchy from time to time? You’re kind of doing it right now.
SINGER: Wait a minute. Are you saying “pitchy” or “bitchy.”
SINGER: Oh! What a relief! I thought you were saying my singing was pitchy.
ME: No, no. I think you’re bitchy.
SINGER: Oh, good. I got no problem with that.
ME: Now on to your singing. It’s a little pitchy.
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Sometimes at home when I’m watching a movie that’s not that great, I’ll grab my guitar and play it for the remainder of the film: just lackadaisically running the pick up and down the strings as the rest of the movie I can’t follow plays itself out. I wish they’d let me do that in a movie theatre. Just bring my guitar and, instead of walking out, start strumming it for the rest of the movie. The usher would be like: “Sir, what is that?” And I’d be all: “Oh, just my guitar. I like to have it with me in case I don’t care for the movie. You know, gives me something to do.”
I like to give myself little games to play when a movie starts to disappoint me. There’s the Nose Breathing Game where I try to get some shuteye but only by breathing through my nose. Tough. There’s the The-Duh Game where every time someone in the movie says: “the,” I have to say: “duh.” There’s the Mumble Game where I try to imperceptibly mumble every line the main character says so that the people around me think they hear someone saying something but they just can’t place it. There’s the Laughing Game where I laugh out loud at absolutely nothing funny and then when people look at me weird, I go: “What, you didn’t get that? Look, I can’t explain every joke to you guys.” There’s the “I Heard That” game where I say: “I heard that!” at innocuous moments in the film where no one has said anything meaningful. For example: On the way to work, the main character says “Good morning” to someone and then in the theatre I yell out: “I heard that!” There’s the Hold Your Breath Game where I try to hold my breath for as much of the rest of the movie as I can. There’s the Upside Down Game where I watch the movie upside down in my chair and when people ask me to stop doing that, I say: “Could you please be quiet? I’m trying to watch the movie upside down.” There’s the Sing-Along Game where I try to sing along to the soundtrack of the film. When people complain, I say: “Pitchy?”
Hey. Hey. Trash mouth. Look at me. C’mon. You knew this would one day happen. We’ve had a lot of great years together in the kitchen and uh…look, this is hard for me too, okay? I hate good-byes. You think it’s easy for me to shitcan you like this? Oops. I mean, uh…sorry. I’m feeling there are a lot of trash can puns coming up that I’m gonna accidentally use. (Aw, who am I kidding? They won’t be accidental.)
I would suggest having a going away party and getting trashed somewhere, but I don’t think you’d appreciate it. Don’t think of this as getting dumped. Think of it as going to the dump. Okay? What do you think of that band Garbage? They suck, right? I hope I’m not baggin’ on ya too much!
C’mon, man. Just joking.
I thought this would be funner if I made it more like a roast, where I send you off with some barbs and what not. Look, at least you’re not my bathroom trash can. Imagine how that guy feels. It’s disgusting in there!
You been taking my garbage since 1997, you were the first trash can I ever bought, and I just gotta say it’s time to go, man. You got that crack up the side from that time I stuck my foot down your throat to make you swallow more of my refuse than you can handle and you rightly didn’t want it. Hell, who are we kidding? It was my entire leg. I literally crammed my horrible garbage down your throat with my whole horrible leg and split your stomach. See what you make me do? And you stuck around! Most trash cans would be like: “I’m outta here!” Not you. Wow. This is the closest I’ve ever come to an abusive relationship. I mean, how much more of my bullshit can you take? Every time I take the trash out, we go: “That’s the last time. It’s never gonna happen again.” And then, sure enough, I start filling you right back up with more of my bullshit, and…I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t watch you do it anymore.
You’ve eaten my banana peels, my apple cores, my to-go boxes, my empty oatmeal, yogurt, and butter containers, my empty lemonade, water and orange juice bottles, my ice cream wrappers. You know more about me than my shrink. I’m embarrassed that you’ve seen as much as you’ve seen. Thanks for everything.
C’mon. You’re a trash can already. Life pretty much sucked anyway, right?
Hey! There’s still half a crumb cake in that container! How’d I miss that? Lemme just get that outta there…
My sister did it. I asked for my very own cornhole set, and she got me one. (I even think that’s how I phrased it on my list: “My very own cornhole set, please.”) Crazy! Great colors too, right? Red and white! Like the Mach 5. Like Speed Racer. That’s what I said when I opened it! “It’s like the Mach 5!”
At first I didn’t know where in my apartment I would store this thing, but I just found out it’ll fit perfectly under my bed once I move those old boxes of “Nanny And The Professor” DVD’s. I kick it a little bit with my foot, but it’s well worth it. The bags that came with it are yellow and black, four of each color. The surface of the boards are slick so the bags slide a little, which we found out when my sister and I gave it a test play outside her place. The bags landed so hard and the acoustics of her complex are such that the echoes of the bags slamming the flats of the boards sounded like bodies hitting a dumpster from a great height—already dead bodies hitting a dumpster from a great height. “It’s only a matter of time before your neighbors start complaining,” I said to her whilst sipping Champagne. (Who plays cornhole whilst sipping Champagne? This guy!) I played miserably. I’m not even sure the boards were apart from each other their regulation distance of twenty-seven feet. Kinda felt like forty. Maybe that’s why it took an hour to finish a game. Maybe that’s why most of my bags kept flying into this old woman’s kitchen clear on the other side of the parking lot, landing in her sink again and again.
I’m bringing this up to the annual New Year’s Cayucos Clambake this year. I may set the shit up before I even say hi to anyone. Just walk down the steps to the sand, measure things off and start tossing. I should really be much better at this game than I am. Cornhole for me is like poker and roller hockey and handball: I enjoy playing it way more than I win at it.
Ever brush your teeth because you got nothing else to do?
Ever find yourself with nothing to do at 2:30 in the afternoon? There is absolutely nothing pressing that requires any bit of your attention whatsoever. You’re even—dare I say—feeling a little bored. And it is deep within that pocket of do-nothingness and sloth where you decide to brush your teeth.
I brush my teeth when I got nothing to do. Ever be brushing your teeth and the phone rings? Complication! Or be on the phone with someone and all of a sudden get an overwhelming urge to brush your teeth? That’s weird! I brush my teeth while watching TV. I’ll do it while reading. I once brushed my teeth while someone told me a sad story over the phone. Sometimes I brush my teeth lying down. I might be doing it in my car one day. (I used to do this joke where I went: “Been living in my car for about three weeks now. I don’t mind it so much, but it drives my maid crazy.” ) Sometimes I brush my teeth and forget I’m brushing my teeth. I wouldn’t be surprised if I started brushing my teeth and just left the house to run an errand, brushing the entire way. Cops pulling me over and asking me: “Sir, do you know how fast you were brushing?” and I’ll go: “I don’t know. This is an electric, so probably about a hundred and twenty?” And he’ll be all: “Try to slow it down for me next time, okay?” and I’ll be all: “I’ll try officer, but I really love this shit.” Don’t be surprised if I post new headshots of me in a nice blazer, brand-new glasses and a freakin’ tooth brush stuck in my mouth with a frothy paste coursing down my perfectly handsome face.
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Style. That’s all this says to me. Pure style.
“You must be offended by any Champagne that doesn’t come from Champagne, France. Right?” That’s what a lot of people think about me because my last name is Champagne. But the truth is (and here it comes; I so seldom deal in the truth) I couldn’t give a shit about Champagne. (Is it “I couldn’t give a shit about Champagne?” or “I could give a shit about Champagne?” Which communicates better that I don’t care about something: Saying that you can give a shit or that you can’t? I hear it both ways, they seem to mean the same thing and yet they don’t sound like the same thing. I don’t care about Champagne is what I’m saying and, other than don’t point it at people as you’re opening it, I don’t know anything about it.)
Nothing makes me think of New Year’s Eve in the panhandle like Barefoot Bubbly. Barefoot Bubbly sounds like Champagne for pregnant trailer park teenagers in Tulsa. And is Brut Cuvée a guy? Don’t know. Don’t wanna know. Sounds like he might be Gaston’s dumber cousin from Beauty And The Beast. And what’s up with that foot? That does not look like a healthy, fully-formed foot. Is that an ultrasound foot? It looks like an ultrasound foot of a baby who’s been in there for a year and a half, of a baby whose mom has been chugging Barefoot Bubbly for the entire gestation period. Pregnant ladies, listen up: If you drink Barefoot Bubbly, this is how your baby’s foot will look: lopsided and zombie-like. What inbred, troglodyte, illiterate, adolescent troll got enlisted to smear his mutant clawed foot onto this box of cheap-ass wine? His name’s probably Cody.
Is there such a thing as boxed Champagne? If there is, I’m bringing some this year. Please tell me there’s a plastic spigot on the other side of this box.
Taking up racquetball. No. I’m gonna do it. I’ve enquired into it, I’ll get the stuff, I’ll find a worthy adversary, and I’ll start playing racquetball. In your face. I’m gonna put you into that wall.
You know what I like best about Tron? Out of all the things I like about Tron? The tennis-like game played by Flynn and the other red program where each of them stand on a large, disc-shaped court, taking turns banking a computerized ball off the ceiling in an attempt to land it onto their opponent’s side. I call the game Tron Pong. That’s what I like about Tron. The object of the game is to launch the ball in such a way that it not be caught and hits the court. When a ball is missed, it touches the ground and erases one of the court’s grooves, thus giving that player less space on which to stand. Eventually, players wear away all of their opponent’s court so that they fall to their death (or derezment). (There’s an arcade called Ground Kontrol in Portland that has a video game based on this sport, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else and it doesn’t seem to work very well.) Anyway: This is why I wanna play racquetball. I feel that racquetball is the closest I’ll come to playing this Tron tennis and I wanna play it! If you play me at racquetball (in other words, as you’re beating me at racquetball) do not be surprised if I start yelling things like: “You think you’re gonna wipe me right out, don’t you!” and “Play the game!” and “I will not be derezed!” and “I will die playing!” and “This one’s for the users!” If you’re unfamiliar with Tron (and if you have a life you will be), you won’t know what I’m talking about and probably just continue to beat me because I don’t really know how to play racquetball.
But if you seriously wanna know why I wanna play racquetball, this is seriously the reason.
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Last month I started reading this book by Joshua Ferris called Then We Came To The End and talked about this thing I like to do when I start reading a new book which is to flip to about three-quarters of the way through (you know, at least more than halfway), read one paragraph and then start the book from the beginning and then when I get to that paragraph, remember it and go: “Hey! There it is! There’s that paragraph I read a month ago or three weeks ago!” I think I do this as a way of testing my memory, making sure I still got my marbles. For this one, the paragraph in question was this one:
“He looked at her. He swiveled almost imperceptibly in his chair. ‘An elitist,’ he said again—not defensively, but with a tone of curiosity, as if Genevieve had just introduced him to a new word. ‘What is an elitist?’ he asked.”
Well, guess what. I finally came to that paragraph in the natural course of reading about five weeks later…and it didn’t register with me. For maybe the first time in the history of my doing this stupid exercise, I missed it. How do I know I missed it? Because after I had overshot the paragraph by about twenty-five pages, I stopped and went: “Wait a second. I’m almost done with this book and I don’t remember coming across that elitist part. And then I did remember reading something about elitists. And then I did remember blowing right past it. And it didn’t register with me. Usually it does! Usually I go: “There it is! I made it!” But not this time. I missed it. That might be a sign that I’m really enjoying the book (which I am), or that I’m losing my mind (which I may be).
I’m liking the book because it’s told mostly in first person plural: everything’s “we went and did this” and “we went and did that.” Don’t think I’ve ever read a book with that point of view. Gives it this adorable mob mentality.
Hopefully I’ll be getting another Ferris book for Christmas and I’ll try again.
(Yes. These are my problems.)
What am I supposed to do with this Posh Spice? I’m supposed to collect them all, I think. Great. How much is that gonna run me? I’ve gotta get this thing out of my apartment. Fast.
Got this in a stand-up Christmas gift swap the other night. The present I contributed to the bag was a turd pencil: a pencil with a turd for an eraser. Or a pencil with a turd where the eraser’s supposed to be. Like, I don’t think you can use the turd for an eraser, but it’s there for you to look at, is what I’m saying. I didn’t even wrap it either. I was really lazy. I went to Wacko! and spent four bucks on a turd pencil. They have a lot of weird novelty shit near the register, like dick-related treats and what-not, which is awkward at Christmas time. (First time I’ve ever typed “dick-related treats.” Hopefully not the last.)
And look at that warning: “Not For Children Under Three.” How ‘bout just “Not For Children”? How ‘bout just “Not For People”? This thing is more than just a choking hazard. It’s a good taste hazard, a good time hazard and a good life hazard. This is a social hazard. I’m a grown man. Just because I’m way over three years old does not mean I couldn’t find a way to choke on this thing. I could find a way. The Spice Girls make me choke without anything coming close to my mouth. I don’t want any little kid to choke on Posh Spice, but I do want them to eat her. Because are you telling me that the image of Posh Spice turning up in some kid’s dookie doesn’t warm your heart just in time for Christmas? It does mine.
And look at her. I’m no Baryshnikov, but that is some terrible posture. I wonder if Posh used this three-inch figure as her wedding topper. How many Spice Girls are there? And what was their songwriting process like?
Sorry, asteroid Toutatis. You look like a kidney stone. You look like something the galactic warlord Xenu shot out of his big galactic dick, ejecting it Earthward at about warp three, sending it tumbling through space like a giant piece of unsmokeable crack.
I know the camera adds ten pounds, so that means your three-mile width is actually appearing to us as—what?—five miles? Not sure how to compare those two. Here’s one thing for sure: You just look like you’re ten thousand and ten tons, when we know you’re actually ten thousand tons. So don’t worry. (Little thing you should know about Earth: We like to judge as much of the universe as possible.)
No offense, but you kinda look like Florida. If you hit Earth, can you hit us there? You remind me of the salty, larvae-shaped pieces in a bag of Asian snack mix, but you’re probably way higher in sodium. You look like a gun: a giant, dusty, crumbly, short-barreled pistol rotating through the universe, looking for a target. (Keep in mind: Lots of us down here think about guns a lot.) You look like a not-fully-formed McNugget, abandoned in space by a cosmically corpulent, white trash cosmonaut, the best part of you already digested and shat out two light years away. You look like you could use some batter, is what I’m saying. Some seasoning maybe.
It’s astounding the orgasms we Earthlings give ourselves whenever we find anything in space. The act of locating a mere object that doesn’t disintegrate the moment we come close to it is enough for us to throw parades. When one of our trillion-dollar mopeds finds a millimeter-long shard of ice on a million-mile-away rock, we go nuts! And you know why? It’s because we’re so astounded whenever we humans get that close to something that doesn’t try to kill us. Toutatis, if you only knew who was taking these invasive pictures of your naked body like this, you’d not only destroy us, you’d sue the hell out of us.
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