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I’m not old, I’m just mature and think about the future while dwelling inconsolably on the past

You know you’re getting old when:

While watching a walk-through of the latest Batman game, you can’t help but shudder at all the property damage you witness

It’s true. I was watching the Batmobile not just crashing into buildings, statues, railings, and people, but shooting them up too. And all I could think about was the amount of money it would take to repair all that devastated real estate, how much time the rioters would have to spend in the hospital, and how penniless Bruce Wayne would end up after the lawsuits if his identity ever came to light.

It shattered my suspension of disbelief and completely robbed me of my ability to enjoy the game play.

I highly recommend the next Batman game be a lot less violent. Maybe send the Dark Knight on quests to collect hugs as comfort for the loss of his parents, allowing him to finally heal and become a peaceable, contributing member of society. You could have an outline of a heart in the top right corner of the screen that slowly fills up with love as he gathers those hugs. My eyes are tearing up just thinking about it.

Or ooh! Posies! It would be really soothing, and potentially very colorful, to have Batman seeking out different varieties of beautiful, soothing flowers.

There. That idea is yours, Rocksteady Studies. Free of charge.

You are watching a walk-through of the latest Batman game rather than buying the game and playing it yourself

I’m not a poor man, but I have a mortgage to pay and kids and a spouse to support. So while I could afford to buy Arkham Knight and a game console that can play it, I have better uses for my money. Plus working full-time means I don’t have the cycles to spare to sniff out and explore all the secrets of Gotham’s underworld via trial and error. Heck, I had enough trouble getting through the seven hours or so of the walk-through, having to pause constantly to tell one of the just-out-of-kindergarten kiddos, no, this isn’t a Batman video you want to watch.

You have that problem with your kids? You send them out to play in the front yard so you can watch a video game walk-through, and all they do is keep coming back in to bug you about being hungry, or thirsty, or the cars driving by are too close, or there’s a strange man who needs to find his pet bunny and will they help? Can’t they just entertain themselves for a few hours while I watch online videos?!

Yes, help the poor man find his bunny, just GET OUT OF MY HAIR FOR AWHILE!!!!

Sheesh! You’d think kindergarteners are dependent on their parents for everything!

Camping isn’t fun any more

Instead of the joy of the outdoors, the wonder of birds singing and strange animals scrabbling around the campsite in the night, camping has become a guarantee for a back ache when I wake in the morning, no matter how many mattresses, inflatable or otherwise, that I schlep along with me. And those lovely scenic hikes? Death marches as far as my knees are concerned. And how often, due to lack of refrigerated storage and/or poor preparation, do we risk serious food-borne illness? While out in the middle of nowhere, miles from medical help?

Yes, camping is little more than an unwise flirtation with death once you get old, and having brushed up against death a few times, I can’t say she’s all that. Skip the flirtation and stick with your spouse, that’s my advice.

Preferably in the comfort of your own bed.

You have a history, good or bad, with other people

The longer you’re alive, the more likely you are to have friends (and enemies). Or friends who are now enemies, leaving you to dwell inconsolably on your past failings that led to this point. Fortunately, my enemies, if I have any, are of the type to hide their animosity so they can stay close and more easily slip a blade between my ribs.

Which is not a bad thing: I have come to terms with the fact that I am mortal only because I know I will die suddenly and blissfully ignorant.

And the good history? With friends?

That’s what you develop to make yourself feel better about getting old. Because you can’t have a good history with someone without the passage of time.

And getting that history in exchange? Makes it all worth it.

 
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Posted by on 6 July 2015 in Angst, Life, Reviews

 

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Is there anything more humiliating than wearing the “Worst Halloween Costume Ever”? No.

I went to the Dark Side at a very young age

Crime fighter? No. Swashbuckling space hero? No. Evil space villain? Yup, that’s me.

The other day, the missus asked me what was my worst Halloween costume ever.

As we were gearing up for this year’s Halloween, I should have been prepared for the question.

I wasn’t, but sadly, I didn’t need to be. The answer leapt immediately to mind.

There is really only one Halloween costume I think of when asked that question.

My attempt to balance out the creepy serial killer Snoopy my sibling went as

Not satisfied with how much candy I reaped from being evil, I opted for the other side of the spectrum – crazy comedian Robin Williams and popular TV character, Mork.

No, it wasn’t one of those cheap plastic-mask-held-on-with-a-rubber-band and plastic apron costumes that were so prevalent in the 70s, though I wore a lot of those growing up (sometimes even for Halloween!).

This was a costume I wore shortly after leaving college, when I was supposedly educated enough to know better.

Ha! Like that will ever happen!

I decided to go as Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

On the surface, this is actually an awesome idea for a costume. I was tall, still relatively lanky at the time, and able to grow a goatee.

early dabblings with wearing makeup

Evil didn’t get me enough candy. Crazy comedian Mork didn’t get me much more. So then I tried undead. But I think I wore too much lipstick.

That goatee is more dear to me than you’d think, since I am utterly unable to grow a proper beard.

I loved that goatee. If it had been legal at the time, I would have married it.

No, the problem I ran into was the shirt.

That damned lime green shirt.

Ya see, being the late 90s, glowing green shirts weren’t really in fashion anymore.

But genius that I was, I hadn’t figured that out yet.

Now I understand why my parents made me wear a chastity belt with this costume.

One year I went as a Boy Scout. Because it saved me a lot of money, rather than buy a costume, I actually joined this paramilitary organization. I learned how to field strip an AK-47 and survive in the wilderness by eating the weaker, less fit members of my troop.

My first thought was, “Easy peasy. I’m a crafty guy, I’ll make my own.”

I went to a craft store and bought a bucket, a white t-shirt, and a packet of the sort of florescent green dye Navy Seals use to mark their location.

How could I not succeed?

This resulted in a light green, almost yellow shirt. I learned from the missus, in recounting this tale, that I should have bought two packets of dye.

Sage advice that came 15 years too late. Oh, if only I had met my wise, beloved missus 15 years sooner, I might have avoided what immediate family and friends refer to as “The Shaggy Halloween Costume Incident”!

Unaware of the two dye packet requirement, I gave up on making my own shirt and started looking for an already manufactured lime green shirt.

It didn’t seem like it would be a huge undertaking when I started. I would just look around and surely I’d find one pretty quickly, right?

Not so much. I looked everywhere.

My old clothes.

By now, I was growing weary of the commercialism of Halloween.

Was I being avant garde or just too poor to afford a costume this particular year? I went as a caricature of myself. The costume was surprisingly uncomfortable.

My dad’s old clothes (hey, he wore shirts in the 60s and 70s, right?).

In thrift shops.

In department stores.

And finally, in mall specialty clothing stores.

It’s this last one where I made my blunder, where I crossed over into worst Halloween costume ever territory.

I literally was going shop to shop, flicking through the clothing racks, pouncing on anything even remotely green.

I mean, I even tried putting on a yellow shirt over a blue one.

Yes, I was that desperate.

It was a long, thankless task. Which made the discovery, the perceived victory, seem all the more sweet.

Maybe this costume will annihilate my traumatic memories of the 'Incident with the Shaggy Costume'?

This year I decided to be the antithesis of all my previous Halloween costumes – winners and losers. This year I am Anti-matter Batman. The only drawback is I can’t touch anything, or I’ll destroy this corner of the Universe. A small price to pay if it erases the trauma of that Shaggy costume.

I found one. A shirt. Not just green, or greenish, but Lime green. With a capital ‘L’.

My size.

On sale.

I proudly went to the cash register and slapped down my hard-earned cash to pay for my hard-won purchase.

My entire body burned with the delicious sensation of accomplishment.

The woman behind the counter looked at me funny, but before she could speak, I told her how relieved I was to find this item.

How I’d been searching and searching for a lime green shirt for Halloween.

How hope had begun to fade, and a sense of looming defeat had driven me to thoughts of an alternate costume.

The funny look should have been a clue. The shrug after I spoke another one. But I was too effervescent to notice, and frankly, as the missus will tell you, I’d make a terrible real life detective. I’m always missing the clues.

It was at the party, hanging out with a large group of mostly strangers, that I sensed something was wrong.

I’d been single for a while at this point in my life, and was more than a little tired of that. I had high hopes that this party would open up some avenues of companionship for me. And I thought a clever costume like mine would help on that front.

It didn’t. The women, when they would look at me, gave me unsettling, dismissive stares.

Very much like that store clerk.

And it wasn’t me they were gawking at. It was the shirt.

My long-sought after, hard-won shirt.

Not even my lovingly sculpted goatee could compete with that glowing, bright green top.

And let me tell you, crappy beard aside, my goatee is a thing of wonder.

I remember the moment realization began to dawn. It occurred to me, finally, to wonder about the fit of the garment.

Because the fit was definitely a bit odd.

It hung loose on the top, and low in the front. This had puzzled me from the get-go, but it was lime green, dammit, and it had taken me days to find.

But standing there, in a sea of women who not only weren’t impressed with me, but clearly questioned my masculinity, I realized what had happened.

I’d bought a woman’s blouse.

I sweated underneath a zipped up jacket for the rest of the party, and I went home alone afterward.

Alone, but definitely a little bit wiser.

I had learned an important life lesson that I carry with me to this day:

Lane Byrant sells women’s clothing.

Exclusively.

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So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
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Posted by on 31 October 2012 in Angst, Life

 

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So You Want (Your Kid) To Be A Superhero

I want the best for my children. What parent doesn’t?

So, as a parent, I am forced to ask myself, what is the best I can provide for my kids that also has a commercial upside for me?

The answer is surprisingly simple and obvious:

Make them superheroes.

They fight crime, stop evildoers, and I make a fortunate on the interview and lecture circuit.

Not to mention the tell-all biographies.

So, easy question to answer.

Not-so-easy answer to implement.

Sure, there’s the Batman model, where you let your young child witness your murder, thus driving him or her to a life of crime-fighting.

I can think of at least one drawback to this approach.

OK, two. In addition to the expensive therapy, this technique requires me to die.

I am way too selfish and self-absorbed to die.

In fact, I plan to avoid shuffling off altogether once I find the Fountain of Youth. Only I’m not so youthful anymore – anyone got any tips on a location for that? I need to find it in a hurry.

But back to the best for my kids.

Dying off and condemning them to years of painful psychiatric treatment just doesn’t strike me as the best approach. Plus this method doesn’t give them any superpowers either.

I tried to get a source of gamma radiation, but that led to an awkward conversation with a bunch of touchy FBI agents.

They show up at your door at like 5am with an armed team and an attitude and start demanding to know why you want something that gives off gamma rays.

Ridiculous!

And then I remembered what my high school gym teacher always used to tell me.

OK, yell at me. Repeatedly. As I tried in vain to climb that damn rope.

“Ya see that? It’s the Ruskies! There they are, just on the horizon! Boy are we in trouble with you lot!”

And, more helpfully, “Build that muscle memory! Then you won’t have to think about it and you’ll just do it!”

Muscle memory.

If I get my kids started early enough, I can train their muscles to make them superheroes.

Which is why I started early with the training program.

One of my kids loves Spiderman, so I’ve got him on the wall crawling regimen.

It’s great. He loves it, never complains. Actually asks for the sessions.

The other one is a Batman freak, but since Batman doesn’t have any superpowers, I put that kid on the flying program.

This is not so great. As he’s ‘flying’ around, all he does is whine about wanting a utility belt and a cable gun.
I don’t have high hopes for that one.

Here is some early test footage:

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's some guy's kids, trying to fly and climb walls.

My method is simple. Get them comfortable with the idea of superpowers
before forcing them to evolve into those superpowers.
That way, no awkward clumsy phases.
With superpowers, you don’t want awkward clumsy phases.

You can bet your top, middle, and bottom dollars that I don’t torment my kids with threats of Ruskies looming on the horizon. That’s so 1980s. I use Al Qaeda – much more topical.

If things continue to go well, I’ll be moving to Stage 2 soon, which involves a catapult for the flying and a visit to the roof of the Empire State Building for the wall climbing.

I firmly believe in the “Sink or Swim” school of, well, schooling.

No, no, please, don’t say anything. Step back. Sit down. You don’t have to thank me. Knowing my kids will grow up to save the world is reward enough.

Well, that and all the money I’ll make cashing in on their fame.

By the way, anyone got a source for good but inexpensive catapults?

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
 
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Marlowe and the Spacewoman:

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Kleencut (FREE!):

So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 

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I Don’t Want To Embrace My Inner Child – He’s A Total Prat (And Not In The Good, Sociopath Way)

What's that, you say? Tea pots and inner child? Oh. Never mind.

I'm outraged! And I feel old! And I'm outraged I feel old!

Lately I’ve been feeling old.

It might be the grey hair. Or the onset of constant low-level joint pain. Or the fact that a pack of teenage girls recently rolled their eyes and laughed at me, saying, “Not a chance, grampa!”

For the record, I was not hitting on them. One was wearing an improbably short, impressively garish orange and purple plaid mini skirt, more lacy trim than skirt, to be strictly honest, and along with the mohawk and Wellingtons, how could I not stare?

But feeling old reminded me of that old saying about getting in touch with your inner child.

Lately I’ve also been feeling really angry.

It might be the yahoos on the freeway, cutting me off. Or the power walkers on residential sidewalks who won’t get out of my way (share the road, bitches!). Or that old lady ahead of me in the line at the bank, depositing a thousand dollars into her account, one penny at a time.

It makes me feel like a tea-pot that’s about to explode.

Seeing as how these two facts combine to make me an old, poorly engineered tea-pot that’s bubbling with rage, I started thinking about forms of release.

Instead of getting in touch with my inner child, I pondered getting in touch with my inner sociopath.

(It’s possible that The Dark Knight was on TV when I came up with this combination. It’s an awesome movie, and has probably inspired countless other brilliant ideas.)

What’s not to like about this idea? Let’s review:

Sociopaths know no fear.

Sociopaths don’t care about anyone or anything.

Sounds perfect! I don’t want to fear the consequences of my actions, and I certainly don’t want undue concern for my fellow humans to prevent me from running some a-holes off the road (or shoving them into a bank vault that’s on a timed lock right before it closes on a Friday afternoon). Let’s do it!

Come on? Who among you hasn’t wistfully thought about going on a rampage down the streets of a major city, controlling a crime syndicate while battling masked vigilantes?

Oh, but wait. I suppose getting in touch with your inner sociopath is like losing your virginity. Afterwards, everything changes, and you can’t go back, so you want to make sure you wait for the right moment, the right person, before you surrender to that dark, ever-hungry urge.

Because there’s no returning from this journey. Like sex, once you’ve tried sociopathy, you can’t stop. You just want more, more, more, and then you stumble across a saucy little number in a garish mini skirt and she calls you “grampa.”

But I digress.

So I’m not really sure what to do. I’ve tried researching embracing your inner sociopath, but not surprisingly, there are far fewer pithy articles in the mainstream media about doing it than there are about embracing your inner rug rat.

So for now, I bide my time, taking comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in the struggle with this question, that we all are wondering when we should cut loose and let our wild and crazy out.

Oh, it’s just me, you say?

Never mind.

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Posted by on 24 April 2012 in Life

 

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