Alright. Let’s get one thing straight right off the hop. I fucking love to cuddle. Yeah. You read that right. I love to fucking cuddle so much most people can’t even fucking believe it.

There’s this stereotype that goes around, about men, about how they don’t like to cuddle. How they just want to bone and get the heck out, or roll over and go to sleep, or something.

Now, I find this generalization to be not only offensive, but baffling too. Who the hell are these guys? They don’t want to cuddle? What, do they also not want this fucking cheque for a thousand dollars and this gift basket full of beer and puppies? Do they have some sort of problem with things that are fucking awesome?

Oh, but it’s not macho to cuddle, it’s way more manly to just pop ‘em ‘n’ drop ‘em like James fucking Bond, right? Be all about banging ladies with ridiculous puns for names on top of fighter jets then use them to stop the bullet heading for your skull and toss them aside as you sip on a dry martini? No fucking way, man. Not for me. That dog will not fucking hunt.

Gals, I will fucking cuddle you all. I’ll cuddle you in the morning, I’ll cuddle you at night, I’ll cuddle you when you get home from your fucking hot yoga class and you’re sweatier than a fucking South Carolina stevedore. Then I’ll cuddle you when you’re in the shower. I don’t even give a shit. I’m fucking bonkers for cuddling. Hell, I’ll cuddle you all the live-long fucking day if you want to. Let’s just stay in bed. I don’t get hungry if I’m cuddling. Think you hear my stomach rumbling? Nope. That’s my goddamned cuddle engine kicking into overdrive, and I run it fucking hot.

Do I want to hold hands as we walk down the street? You’d better fucking believe I want to hold hands as we walk down the street. That shit’s like cuddling for your fingers. You want to get all up in these arms at a movie? Let’s fucking do it. I’ll even cuddle you at a goddamned play. At your niece’s school fucking play if you want me to. You roll with me, girl, you’re going to get mad fucking cuddled. You ever been cuddled at a bar mitzvah? A bat mitzvah? I’ll cuddle you at all the fucking mitzvoth you can handle.

If you want me to rub your back, I’ll be all over that shit. Rub your feet? You just try to fucking stop me. You take your socks off them and I’ll be slobbering for those things like a hungry hungry hippo in a marble factory. Your feet will be getting pampered more than the motherfucking royal baby.

Let’s spoon. I’ll be the big spoon and wrap myself around you like a damn cuddle vampire in his cuddle crypt. Or I’ll be the little spoon and camp out in the warmth of your fucking embrace like it’s goddamned all outdoors for so long that Jon Krakauer writes a fucking book about me.

I’ve got enough clean-burning cuddle energy running through me to power a fucking city. Cuddle City, population you and me. Where our chief export is cuddling, our motto is whatever’s Latin for “let’s fucking cuddle,” and I’m the mayor who just got re-elected for my tenth consecutive term in a fucking landslide. Right now we’re holding a town hall meeting in my bed, and guess what? Yeah, it’s about cuddling. Next up on the docket: more fucking cuddling.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with all this, I know it’s a lot to take in. You might even be wondering if you can handle all this cuddling. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret; you will be able to, because I’m fucking terrific at it. You don’t cuddle as much as I do without getting goddamned great at it. They say it takes 10 000 hours of something to become an expert at it. If that’s true, then I’m not just an expert, I’m a fucking virtuoso.

But, hey, if you’re thinking you’ve gotten along fine with the shit amount of cuddling you’ve gotten so far in life, and wondering why would you need more now, that’s cool, by all means keep telling yourself that you’re satisfied with your limp-armed boyfriend’s half-assed cuddles. But one day, when you grow up a bit and realize you’re looking for real fucking cuddles from a real fucking man, you’ll look for me. It’ll be a damned shame for you, though, because I’ll have died happy of fucking suffocation brought on by a terminal case of cuddling.

 

Photo by nicholasjon via Flickr

Let it never be said that Johnny Scott does not know heartache.

I began my painful life of pining for the gentler sex when I was still in diapers. And through the years the longing in my heart, like the diapers on my bottom, has only grown deeper and wider. I’ve had many loves in my life, many lost and many never-to-be. And the one common thread running through the whole absorbent, leak-proof tapestry is that each one was so cavalierly tossed aside at the slightest hint of a mess, like so many soiled Attends.

So, maybe being a great lover isn’t my strong suit. Maybe every love I’ve had has ended with me prone, halfway on some item of furniture, too debilitatingly heartbroken to move to reach the near-empty two-litre bottle of wine that has so carelessly rolled just out of my reach. Rolled just out of my reach like so many women before it, who also did so once their delicate bodies were no longer full of two litres of wine.

And this is what’s led me to the dawning comprehension that whatever my failings may be in maintaining a successful romantic relationship, the inverse is true of my skill as a passionate practitioner of the art of longing. Yes, however badly I cock up my pursuit of the love of a lady, I make up for it tenfold with my subsequent life-consuming yearning for her.

It’s a tremendous skill to have. Because what’s better to be able to do, woo someone with promise and successful delivery of an eternal love and devotion, or remind them constantly of an inextinguishable misunderstood preoccupation with what could have been if only they’d succumbed to your anguished advances? Clearly the latter shows a much greater degree of effort and commitment. Troubled desire is the intense, misshapen cousin of healthy love; and much like my intense, misshapen cousin at a family gathering, it’s hard to look at but impossible to ignore.

Now all of this, societally acceptable pursuit or degenerative brooding, is geared toward one thing: finding a partner. So if, like me, the former isn’t your bag, you might as well try your damnedest to be the best degenerate brooder you can be. Do everything you can to make yourself miserable in the name of longing, and do it right. Get adequately prepared, because wallowing in a puddle of your own despair is harder work than it sounds. And you want to make sure the object of your torch-bearing knows you’re not being lazy about it.

If you’ve got a job, you should probably consider quitting it, or at least taking some time off. You’re not going to be leaving your home for any reason whatsoever for a while, with the possible exception of occasionally putting on a long coat and staring pensively out over a body of water, internally comparing its depth and coldness to that of your own ravaged heart. Oh yeah, so make sure to buy an appropriately large amount of toilet paper before you start, because your whole image of stone-masked turmoil is undermined if you’re clutching a pack of Cottonelle puppies.

You’re not going to be eating very much, or wearing any clothes most of the time, so spend most of your grocery and laundry money on good, full-bodied red wine or mid-quality brandy. If you don’t yet dabble in heroin, now would be a great time to start. Ether is another good choice, if you can get it. The goal here isn’t to get right messed up on any of these, but to maintain a constant, days-at-a-stretch languor which dulls the pain smouldering inside you enough that you can focus on all the things you’d be doing at any given moment with your erstwhile soul-mate if only they’d finally see that they’re meant to be with you.

The soundtrack to your furious craving should be stark. I suggest the ceaseless drip of a kitchen faucet between songs on the same side of a beat-up Hank Williams record that keeps replaying itself again and again. Whatever you choose, it should be played indefinitely, to serve as a constant reminder that your suffering will never end.

Most importantly, keep a record of your pain. Great writing and music and art throughout the centuries has been created because of profound heartache, and what’s been the point of all this if your torment isn’t known to those around you? To that person whom all of this has been an effort to impress upon how lost you are without?

So fill your Facebook feed with vague status updates of lovelorn agony. Tweet relentlessly of your desperate search for meaning without the only person who can steady your shambling life. Instagram snapshots of the squalor imposed upon you by your burdened soul. And, always, blog blog blog.

 

Photo by Johnny Scott

Look, I’ve had a lot of sex in my life. More than you have. With several women. I know it’s not a contest, but there are a lot of guys out there who feel deep down that they should be doing better in that department.

Now, I don’t normally like to brag about my sexual conquests, but this is for the sake of education so I’ll permit myself to do a little. About the sex I’ve had. And how much of it I’ve had. Which is so much more than you. My dick has seen more wet action than Steven Seagal in Under Siege.

Anyway, the point of all this bragging is that I’ve had a lot of sex. And to have a lot of sex, you have to know where to find available ladies to have sex with. If you’re thinking, “oh, that’s easy, trendy bars and hip nightclubs,” then just shut up for a second and listen. Bars and nightclubs aren’t a good place to pick up women, they’re a good place to pick up VD. Forget them.

And forget the cute girl at work, or in your class, or who collects your garbage on garbage day, or who brings you your tuna salad sandwich at the deli and “totally gives you vibes, man.” She doesn’t. Forget all of them. And forget what it’s like to not be fuckin’ so many times a week that you develop serious posture problems and have to seek chiropractic care at great expense for the rest of your life.

I’ll let you in on a few of the secrets to my success. These are the places you’ll find the women you seek. You’ll be getting so many sexts your messages will read like your spam email folder. You’ll be greasin’ more breasts and thighs than KFC. Your bed will see more smokin’ bodies than Steven Seagal in Fire Down Below.

I’ve been around enough that I’ve got a foolproof list of places you can’t go wrong with. Where the babes are myriad as the stars in the night sky, you just need to have the right telescope, friend. Trust me on this one, I’ve had more rolls in the hay than John Deere. I’ve chased more tails than Sonic the Hedgehog. I’ve had so much sex that I could write an article on where to go to meet ladies to have sex with. Oh, right, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.

Anyway, like I said, ditch the bar scene, that’s not a prime place to be if you want to get laid more times than an Islamic prayer rug. You’ve got to be more creative than that, you’ve got to think outside the box if you want to get inside the box. When you’re done reading this article you’ll know the tricks you’ll need to get the ladies’ legs to spread easier than Miracle Whip on a hot ham sandwich.

Now, look sharp. Because where you’re going to be going, the ladies want a well dressed man, and if you look the part, soon you’ll be all up in more salad than Newman’s Own. So get ready, because you’re about to be stuffin’ more guts than an Aberdeen butcher on Robbie Burns Day. You’re going to be seeing more holes in bodies than Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds.

Okay, so here it is. Prepare for your crash course. Once you learn what I have to tell you you’ll be waxing more booty than a pirate janitor. You’ll be riding more bareback than Earl Bascom. Drilling more mounds than a Texas oil magnate. Dropping more balls on mattresses than Simmons Beautyrest. Shaking more ovaries than an earthquake at an Oprah taping. Grabbing more handfuls of ass than Steven Seagal between takes on the set of any of his movies.

Okay, I lost my point. Anyway, I hope you learned something from this wisdom that you can use. Except, oh shit, I forgot to tell you literally anything.

 

Photo by Pliketi Plok via Flickr

There’s something magical about Halloween. It’s a holiday that’s fast been emerging as many people’s favourite. One at which we eat even more treats than at Easter, party later than New Year’s Eve and drink almost as much liquor as it takes to get through Christmas with our families. But what is it that makes Halloween so special?

Halloween means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To children, of course, it’s a night to take over the neighbourhood on a quest to fill as many pillowcases as their little arms can carry with candy of all ilk. The candy haul, roughly the equivalent to one adult foot lost to diabetes, is the immediately apparent allure of Halloween, but the real magic at work on this quaintly heathen celebration is something else. It’s the freedom they have to be whatever they want to. Whatever their tiny little brains can fathom, without bound or constraint, up to that at which their parents’ limitations have stunted them.

For one fleeting night a year, they can truly be whatever they put their mind to, without suffering the crushing disappointment that will come later in life when they realize that that favourite encouraging maxim of parents and teachers alike is the most widely-spread and rancorous lie perpetuated against children in the Western world.

This reveling in being someone or something else doesn’t ever leave us. Though it does recede for a time into the scornful wasteland of teenagedom, where it is just one of thousands of things heaped in the scorned pile of fuckin’ lame stuff that we’re totally better than. But, as adults whose dreams have been chopped down to a debilitatingly realistic level, this longing to live briefly as someone or something else returns to us. Much in the same way the nightly crying and bed-wetting of our childhood returns with renewed fervor. (Right?)

With make-up and masks and costumes–and, of course, the most effective modifier of all, liquor–we allow ourselves to let loose in a way that we’re not able to any other time, because we aren’t really ourselves. This is what leads to crazy parties where werewolves poop in potted ferns and Draculas wake up in the beds of Pink Power Rangers. Or the bed of one of the other Power Rangers; like I said, it’s a night to be someone else, and maybe Bill from work wouldn’t let his curiosity lead him to Green Ranger’s basement bachelor apartment to blow on his mystical dagger-flute, but perhaps Disco Dracula would.

Yes, it wasn’t Mandy who accidentally backed her car into the fence, it was a cat inexplicably wearing a corset. It wasn’t Tim who puked in the fish tank, it was one of The Avengers. The one whose super power is being a huge asshole, apparently. It wasn’t Jake, John, Sue, Thom, Terra, Miguel, Sophie or Liam who spilled red wine on the carpet, it was one of any number of zombies who didn’t get the memo that zombies have been played-out since like five years ago.

It can be a night of passion and discovery, where Gina and Phil, both too shy and awkward to tell the other how they feel, are finally able to ignite a romance as Wonder Woman and some dwarf or gnome or some shit from The Hobbit or whatever. A romance that blossoms and shines brighter as the jack-o-lanterns grow dimmer, and which goes on for five years longer than it should as they resign themselves to the blandness of each other and try desperately to recapture the spontaneity of that night.

Whether planned for months or thrown together last minute, made by hand or bought from a cheap novelty store, classic and instantly recognizable or so pretentiously esoteric that the whole party has to suffer through the same inanely recondite explanation each time someone new arrives, everyone is essentially dressing for the same reason.

For that little bit of adventure that takes them away, however briefly, from their mundane lives of offices and taxes and AA meetings and lets them act out in mischievous ways that they can only do in a spooky alternate universe where ghosts, witches and goblins exist, and STIs don’t.

 

Photo by hanna_horwarth via Flickr

To whomever finds this letter,

I do not know what will have become of the world as I know it when these words are found, or indeed if they ever will be found. But I feel it is my duty to record the horrors of the last few hours of the world as it was until recently known. In the hopes that future sons and daughters of this great Earth may learn from the mistakes of us, their cursed forebears.

It’s funny, in a macabre sort of way, that the end would be heralded in such a mundane way. No great trumpeted roar from the bowels of the planet, or blood-red comet slashing its way across the still skies. But a poster. A poster no different from any other poster you’d see plastered to the wall of a building, or stapled to a telephone pole.

A poster with band names virtually indistinguishable from those on all the other posters tacked up on the bulletin board at the coffee shop. Advertising a show at a tiny bar not unlike the tiny bars on the rest of the posters hanging in the entrance of the record store. With the same nondescript artwork, drawn by the same friend of the band, as the others in the crooked lineup stuck to the wall of the university hallway.

The posters appeared about a week and a half before the events of the night that civilization perished. Few noticed these grim harbingers, and those who did gave them little heed.

I admit, I turned a blind eye to what I now see as an unmistakable foreshadowing of destruction. Ravens, silent sentinels perching heavily atop each streetlamp post this grim mark was taped to. Strange, unsettling glyphs drawn onto the sidewalks surrounding the community events boards the ghastly prophecy was affixed to. A terrible hooded Facebook avatar offering up free tickets for those willing to part with their souls.

Even now, after everything I hold dear was lost or slaughtered, I still do not know whether the bands involved were somehow part of the plot for the world’s demise, or if they were unknowing marionettes guided into gruesome pantomime by a much more sinister hand.

When I arrived to the scene, I was asked by the gnarled, ghoulish gatekeeper working the door if I was on the guest list, which I was not. I still maintain that the cover I paid was the toll that saved my life that night, that all those who were on that list of the damned were destroyed. But saved me for what kind of life?

If my suspicion of the apocalypse had before been only a distant inkling, stepping into that dank bar turned it into a very real fear. An opening band mewled listlessly in some offensive tongue and lurched with shambolic determination toward something obscene only it could see. A member of one of the other bands hissed and spat venom at a bartender in dispute over a bigger bar tab.

And scattered in ragged clumps around the stage were stagnant-eyed patrons, absently gulping at drinks to dull their senses to the mounting onslaught of doom around them. Were they all, like me, morbidly drawn to this hexed gathering by some intangible force they were greatly unsettled by but too fearful of to disobey? Or were they all just friends and family of band members who weren’t quick enough to create an excuse not to be here?

I drifted amongst them with a growing sense of unease. I had a horrific moment when I came upon the merch table, and face to face with the hollow spectre tending it. A poor, wretched creature, girlfriend to one of the band members. No doubt once quite beautiful, now a shadow of a person, like a child’s crude Crayola approximation of what a human being looks like.

Her eyes were dead galaxies in which I could see the ghosts of every lively social engagement she’d passed up to sit disenchanted at the head of this table. Doomed to hawk misshapen idols printed upon t-shirts that cracked and flaked in the atmosphere outside of the boxes that had long ago become their crypts.

As I backed away slowly, almost paralyzed with disgust, I became aware of a burgeoning sensation of dread in my ears. One that spread like a ravenous cancer to my heart, and dropped with an uncontrollable messy splash through my anus. I knew with unassailable certainty that this was the end. I turned to see that which I already knew I would see. The main act had taken the stage. And, in a cruel knife-twist of brutality, had not done their sound check beforehand.

I tried to exit the building, but it was too late. I saw briefly through the closing doors that fire was already raining down upon the streets, and jagged thrusts of ice were erupting from sewer grates and manholes. The crowd inside was cheering now, a nauseating sound like a chorus of half-run-over dogs. The stage lights blazed on with hellish fury, just as the guitarist hacked out the first chord. And I knew then that all was lost.

What happened after that I cannot recount in this letter. To spare you, poor reader, and because the specifics of that horror are indescribable. The world was never again as it was after that monstrous night of cosmic abandon and indie rock. Few survived, and even fewer know what really happened.

I think I might be the only one who escaped ground zero unscathed. Physically unscathed, that is. The terrors are unrelenting in my brain. And so I leave this record. Before I take my own life to finally escape the rancid demons that continue to torture me.

So I ask any who may chance to read this to heed my tale, and carry forth my message. And that message is this: Jimmy, your shitty band really sucked Friday night and you’re really an asshole. Worst show ever.

 

Photo by FlickrDelusions via Flickr

 

 

Autumn brings with it beautiful crisp weather and a magnificent change in the colour of the landscape, making it ideal for long walks in the park, or even just down particularly leafy streets. It also brings with it the seasonal migration of many kinds of birds and the trees and skies are teeming with all manner of species that we don’t see any other time of the year.

If, like me, you are an avid participant of the genteel pursuit of bird watching, fall is a time of year that compares to no other. I had the good fortune of being able to spend the entire day in the park yesterday watching my fine flying feathered chums. Here is a log of all the marvelous things I saw.

7:45am: The sun is just beginning to crest the horizon. Its delicate glow is penetrating, slowly dispersing the low hanging wisps of mist that gently swirl about the dew speckled grass, and, with the compassionate ache of a wearied mother tenderly slipping a blade between the ribs of her mortally ill child to spare him the horror of painful dilapidation, it stabs its warmth into the hanging chill of the pre-dawn murk.

Fuck this, it’s too early. The birds will still be there later. I’m going to sleep a bit longer.

9:21am: The sun is bright, and a cool gentle breeze is my companion. The park is starting to bustle with activity. There are tights-clad joggers, alone, in pairs, in groups. There are couples walking their dogs and children playing carefree in the leaves. I see at least one other bird watcher. He’s staked out in some bushes not far down the path from me. Though he seems less than equipped, wearing sneakers and a dark hoodie, with no discernible binoculars or bird checklist. But it’s not my place to judge the level of other bird watchers’ professionalism, and it’s nice to see another birder taking advantage of this perfect day!

Of course, it’s not the human activity I’m here to observe. And the park is alive with flaps and chirps. Besides the usual sparrows and robins, I’ve already spotted a Green Throated Thrush, a Hellman’s Dipping Piper, and three Grey Gorgecocks. It looks like it’ll be a good day!

10:56am: Wow, can’t believe my luck! I just caught sight of a male and female Spangled Heron doing their harvest dance! Not many people can say they’ve witnessed that!

I introduced myself to the other birder, in the hoodie. He seemed skittish and reluctant to talk to me. He said his name is Tom, but I practically had to force it out of him, and he wouldn’t ever look me in the eye. Haha, takes all kinds, I guess!

12:12pm: I can’t believe how great this day is going! It’s barely into the afternoon and I’ve already checked off so many birds on my list! I saw a flock of Stevie’s Crossbeaks and just now got a good long look at a Red Tipped Running Lark. And the whole time I was eating my lunch under a tree, I was treated to the beautiful song of a Smeckel’s Whistler in the branches above me.

I don’t think Tom is faring as well as me. In fact, I think this might be his first bird watching excursion. He’s scared off several rare birds as he’s skulked through the brush, as if he didn’t even notice them. And at one point he seemed totally oblivious to the Reticulated Mud Goose that was practically right in front of him. He seemed more concerned with a jogger who had stopped to tie her shoes. He was hunched over, and I don’t know what he was checking off in his list, but whatever it was it looked like he was doing it pretty vigorously. Maybe I should give him some pointers.

3:45pm: I think this is turning out to be the best day of birding I’ve ever had! I’ve waded with Marsh Hawks and heard the crying of an Orbison’s Blackbird and felt the spray of the Flaxen Ridged Sputterer. It’s a great day to be a birder. Well, at least it is for this birder. Tom’s luck seems to be getting worse. Last I saw him he was climbing up the riverbank, covered in mud. Must have taken a tumble. He might have hurt himself, too, because he looked to have a lot of blood on him. I would’ve offered him some help, but I’d just spotted a pair of Jameson’s Forktails and I didn’t want to spoil this great roll I was on.

7:20pm: It’s getting pretty dark now, and the park will be closing soon, but I’ve still got a bit of time to try to catch sight of a few nocturnal birds. I’m really hoping I’ll see a Diner’s Nighthawk. That would just be the icing on this already sweet day! I didn’t see Tom again for a while, and thought he’d given up, but just a few minutes ago I saw him by the fountain. It looked like he was trying to wash something.

9:35pm: Well, I must say that was a day that I won’t soon forget! I never could have imagined that I’d see as many species as I did! I can’t wait to tell everyone at the bird club about this at our next meeting. I bet they’ll be pretty jealous!

I can’t help but feel a little bad for my new friend Tom, though. It didn’t look like his day went so well. I have to admire his tenacity, though, he was still at it when I decided to call it a night. Just digging and digging this big hole in the ground. What a guy! Haha, that’s the most determined I’ve ever seen someone to spot a Silver Crested Burrowing Owl!

 

Photo by blmiers2 via Flickr

Few things have humankind dedicated more time and resources toward than the search for an effective hangover cure. It’s a testament to the complexity of the problem that after this long in the timeline of human development we still have not landed on something that really works. We’ve proven ourselves to be more than capable at creating stronger and more devastating hangovers, with inventions such as Jag bombs, beer bongs and family reunions, but the elimination of a bad hangover still eludes us.

But, while there is still no foreseeable cure, there are some actions that can be taken to relieve the symptoms. Clearly not drinking isn’t an option, so when you can’t resist the shimmering allure of that open bar at your cousin’s wedding or siren’s call of that bottle of navy rum hidden in the toilet tank at the office, here are a few tips that should help you minimize those next day aches and heaves.

First off, a huge part of what makes a hangover so uncomfortable is that all the alcohol you’ve consumed has caused your body a great deal of dehydration. So you’re going to want to drink a lot of water or Gatorade to take care of that. Make sure when you’re lying prostrate, trying not to move or hear any sounds that you have a ready source of water at hand. I’d recommend a hose, or at the very least tie a bucket to your cat and send her out to collect rain water.

Some people will tell you that the best way to get rid of a hangover is the old “hair of the dog that bit you” method of just starting to drink again. I can’t argue with the efficiency of this, but it’s a slippery slope. When does it end? I got really into this method a couple summers ago, thinking I would never have to deal with a hangover if I never let myself sober up. And, let me tell you, it works. But I figure I’m going to have to face sobriety sometime. I mean I haven’t had a hangover in two years, but I also used to have a job and a car and a home. And kids? I can‘t remember.

Anyway, those are the two solutions that come up the majority of the time you talk about hangover cures with most people. But I’ve got a couple more that I’ve discovered throughout my years that aren’t as well known and widely discussed.

Like adrenaline. Few things can blast the ill feelings of a night of hard drinking out of your system quite like it. But not just any adrenaline. Sure, bungee jumping or going for a ride on a roller coaster would offer some respite, masked robbery of a Red Lobster for some more beer money works satisfactorily too, but the real kind of adrenaline you need to crest that hill of nausea and shame comes from two and a half simple words. Auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Another really effective method is to be hit by lightning. This one isn’t as practical as auto-erotic asphyxiation, which really only needs a belt and a closet, because you need the co-operation of the skies themselves. But if you’re lucky enough to be caught in a thunderstorm during a hangover, climb a tree or stand in a field with something metal.

It’s important that it’s lightning, though, not just any electricity. Jamming a screwdriver into an outlet doesn’t have the same restorative power, and you’re likely to just make your headache worse. As an added bonus, one in every ten people who get struck by lightning develop powerful psychic powers. Or is it deep psychological issues? One of the two, I can’t remember. The good one, maybe. Only one way to find out, I guess.

Really, though, the only guaranteed way to beat a hangover is to not drink at all, and for a lot of people that would mean altering broader aspects of their lives. It’s difficult to be in certain situations and not drink heavily. Birthday parties, BBQs, orgies, concerts, parks, any kind of religious service, shopping, and bus rides longer than twenty minutes would all be next to impossible without the aid of enough alcohol to cause a hangover that could incapacitate a large elk.

Which is why there will always be need for good restorative tips. And I think you’re going to need one or two of these tips soon, if it took you even half the amount of liquor to get through reading this article as it did for me to get through writing it.

 

Photo by camknows via Flickr

If there’s one thing people say about me, it’s probably “he’s a real dirtbag.” If there’s two things, it’d probably be that and something about owing them some money for drugs, or some drugs for money. And if there are three things people said about me, it would be those two and that I’m a dead man for sleeping with their girlfriend/sister/favourite member of Wilson Phillips.

Okay, so if there were, like, seven or eight things people say about me, one of them would be “he sure looks really good all the time. How does he do it?”

Well, as you’ve probably guessed already because otherwise this would be a really short article, I’m going to tell you. Tell you as much as I can, obviously. I mean, a lot of what’s going on up in here that gets the ladies damp and misty is genetics, and I can’t teach you genetics. Who am I, Gregor Mendel? That guy looked like a pile of crap. No one this good looking becomes a scientist. No, if you weren’t lucky enough to be born in a line of statuesque genetic lotto-winners with a marble-hewn dick, then you’ll need to dress yourself up a bit if you want to be less glaringly offensive to the eyes of those around you.

You’ve got to be in shape, first of all. And not just any shape, like a bee or a steamroller, a good shape. Like the shape of a human who’s physically fit. The easiest way to do this is to go to the gym regularly or get a job where you’re active, instead of just sitting at a desk all day, like a mail carrier or a piano mover or a mugger.

And eat properly, too. They say you are what you eat, so if you eat nothing but burgers and tacos all the time you’ll be a big sack of greasy meat. But if you eat a lot of salmon you’ll be flaky and people will choke on your tiny bones. The best way to judge your physical appearance (and you should be judging yourself, all the time) is to look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly if you’d have sex with you. Y’know, like, if you didn’t have to have sex with you because no one else will.

Almost as important as the shape you’re in is the clothes you wear. In fact, it can sometimes be more important. You could be lithe and rippling with muscle as a California jaguar on the South Beach Diet, but if you dress like Ed Hardy shit on you through Kanye’s slotted glasses you ain’t even making your mom’s best dressed list. It’s a good play to avoid current trends altogether, because often they’re just terrible fads and in a year or so you’ll see some old photos of yourself at a party on Facebook and wonder how you didn’t get beat up more times than you did.

It’s best to stick to keep it simple and stick to classic looks. Wear clothes that fit you well, dress in layers, rub your entire body with farm fresh, unsalted butter before getting dressed for smooth, slick mobility and that irresistible scent of Ma’s home-cooked cornbread wafting from your sweaty junk.

You don’t need to shell out a small fortune on designer brands, either. Thrift stores are a great place to find classy and unique clothes for cheap, or if you want to delve a little bit deeper, try yard sales. If you’re really ambitious, keep an eye on the obituaries every day and if you don’t have any qualms about breaking and entering or late-night digging you can get some real nice suits for free.

Piercings and tattoos should be kept minimal and tasteful. If you’ve got a tattoo of a band, any band, have it removed. Along with yourself. Into exile, away from human society. Tattoo sleeves are often mistakenly thought to signify that you’re tough and alternative, but really just signify that you make terrible decisions.

Finally, though no less important, is grooming. You’ve got the body, you’ve got the clothes, but you’re going to look no better than a filthy drunken Irishman if you’re not kept kempt. Keep your hair a reasonable length, whether it’s head, face or crotch. Snake oil or fish oil or really any oil from an animal with scales is great for keeping your hair thick and gives it a sleazy sheen that insects and trollops can’t resist.

Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and really do a good go of it. If your mouth isn’t bleeding pretty profusely by the time you’re done, you’re not doing a thorough enough job. Mouthwash is tacky and leaves your breath smelling off-puttingly clinical, so I suggest a glass or two of white wine. It’s refreshing, and it gives your breath a charming bouquet. Don’t use red wine, it’ll stain your teeth and lips, and you’ve got enough red stains to worry about with all that blood.

Other than that, it’s pretty common sense. Make sure to shower at least once a week, keep your finger and toe nails as sharp as you can, and try to fit in at least four hours a week of anus strengthening exercise. And don’t forget to always wear your diaper. No matter how well you keep yourself and how well you dress and how strong your anus is, we all have accidents sometimes. And nobody looks good when shit happens.

 

Photo by paul goyette via Flickr

It’s better to give than to receive, they always say. I’m not sure who “they” are that always say this, I think they might be Santa Claus. Or maybe the court system. The courts make me do community service all the time. Whoever “they” are, I have to admit, I never really understood that saying until recently.

I mean, you’d rather get a cool gift from someone like a set of steak knives or a crossbow than spend your hard gotten cash on a gift for someone else, right? Giving sloppy, disinterested oral sex doesn’t compare to receiving sloppy, disinterested oral sex, yes? That’s the philosophy I lived my life by for many years and look where it got me. I’m a sad, unfulfilled man who doesn’t get invited to birthday parties and who even Mormons with brochures won’t talk to. Or at least I was, until I discovered the purest gift of all: Giving.

It turns out there really is something to be said about this whole generosity thing. Giving for the sake of giving, who’d have thought? I always thought all those filthy hippies were just about awful music. Awful music and crabs. But then one day that all changed, like a strawberry alarm clock going off in my head, I suddenly got all that brotherhood of man bullshit.

It all started when I found a really nice looking gold bracelet in the hallway of my building. Obviously I was going to pawn it, I needed oxygen money for my recreational oxygen machine. But it was late, so I decided to wait until the next day.

On my way out the next day I noticed a poster up by the door in the lobby about a lost bracelet and a reward. I figured a reward was just as good as pawning it, and I wouldn’t even have to go outside into the fresh air, away from my oxygen machine. So I returned it. And I got a ten dollar reward. Ten dollars. I probably would’ve gotten at least a hundred for it if I’d pawned it. I might as well have gotten nothing. And that’s when it hit me. Like a rush of pure oxygen to my brain. That I had done something good for someone, for nothing.

It was unlike anything I’d ever felt before, and I began to crave feeling it again. I started to do good deeds for people anywhere I could find them. I helped a little old lady cross the street, and even when she became hysterical because she thought I was assaulting and robbing her, I persisted. I even called an ambulance for her when we’d gotten to the other side of the street and she collapsed. And the money she desperately thrust into my hands in an attempt to get me to leave her alone I used to buy beer for some teenagers.

Speaking of beer, I embarked upon the noble pursuit of being a designated driver. A grandly selfless gesture, that one, saying to a group of people, “go ahead, get as drunk as you want, make merry and bad decisions, but be safe in the knowledge that I will get you home soundly.” And as long as I stayed within my limit of nine beers or seven cocktails, they did. Minus the occasional dent or scratch on their vehicle. But what’s that, really, when compared with peace of mind?

Then I really hit on something. Nothing brings greater joy to someone than the safe return of a beloved pet that they had feared dead or eaten or worn as fashion. So, I began reuniting people in the neighbourhood with their cats. It was pretty easy to start scooping up these cats as I encountered them walking down the street and hang on to them until the missing posters started going up. The difficult part was keeping track of which cats I’d returned and how recently. People start getting suspicious if you return their cat to them more than once within a week.

I got pretty good at it after a while. I started keeping a chart of cats from around the city with photos and addresses and schedules for bringing them back. It was beginning to be a lot of work. Plus it was starting to get expensive looking after and feeding all these cats in the interim. And I guess some of the cats weren’t fixed and they were having cat sex constantly, and now there are these kittens too. It’s like a full-time cat shelter over here, so I decided if I’m going to keep doing this I need to start charging people. And things have really taken off.

Hey, twenty to adopt a cat, that’s a good price. And I’m a reasonable man, so if you can prove it was your cat in the first place I’ll give you two dollars off. The kittens I’m selling for $15 each. These are high-end kittens. And I’ve got a special promotion going right now, for $50 you can take home a pregnant cat. That’s four to seven cats right there. That’s a really good deal, man.

I’m the main cat guy in town now. I don’t just move cats anymore, I produce cats. I’ve built what you might call a cat empire. These cats ain’t got shots or tattoos or nothing, these are real, yo. Pure. Straight from the pussy’s pussy. No messing around with licences or permits or any of that official shit. Just straight cat. No questions asked. You want some white cat? Black cat? Some of that sweet motherfuckin’ calico? You come to me. Don’t be messin’ with those South Side motherfuckers. Their shit ain’t even cat half the time. I heard they cut it with vole.

 

Photo by harry harris via Flickr

Dear sir,

I am writing this letter as a former customer of your establishment. I regret to inform you that you will no longer be receiving my patronage or the patronage of anyone with any sense whatsoever who reads this letter, which I am also sending to all local newspapers and several national newspapers.

I am not one to complain regularly, and I’m usually a very tolerant person, but the experience I had with your store was just too much for me to ignore. It was unpleasant and offensive to me, and I’d like to go over all the details of the experience so you may realize the full extent of its egregiousness.

First of all, the colour of your store is gaudy and I don’t approve of it. Did the person(s) who designed the look of the building buy the cheapest colour of paint they could find, or were they just colour blind? It is an eyesore. Also, the smell inside the store is sickening and too strong. The product you use to keep your aisles so clean is bothersome. I have a very sensitive nose, and my wife, before she left me, said once that the smell gave her a headache. And while on the topic of clean floors, I feel that you keep your floors too clean. The glare of the lights reflected back off of it causes discomfort to my eyes.

As for the products you sell, there are simply too many. I do not have the time or patience to sift through all of these items, nor do I agree that I should have to choose from among several varieties of the item I’m looking to purchase. I have enough to think about without having to spend hours deciding between different brands and styles of things. I am a busy man.

The music you play in your store is inexcusable and vulgar. Maybe these loud and lewd songs are all right for a dancing club where people are using cocaine and buying condoms in the dirty bathroom stalls, but this is supposed to be a family-friendly establishment. I can’t even fathom the amount of damage done to a poor innocent child when he or she is browsing through your toy section (which I also have several major issues with) and the latest rock and roll track from Bob Dylan or Mike Jagger and the Rolled Stones starts playing. Why not some soothing whale song instead? Or better yet, no music at all. My wife and I used to listen to music on compact discs and then she left me for another man.

And then there are your employees. Wow, what a sorry lot these people are. Where did you round them up from? Did you lift up the closest rock and hire whatever scurried out? After knocking over and smashing several expensive items, an employee of yours came rushing over to clean it up, as if he had been just waiting for me to break them. As if just because I had broken some items a few days before, and once before that, I was going to do it again. And his name tag said “Chip.” Chip! What kind of name is that? That’s not even a real name! Don’t you have any kind of screening process for the people you hire? As he was cleaning it up, this “Chip” had the audacity to look me right in the eye and smile. He told me that it was “okay” and “no big deal” and “not to worry.” Like I’m some kind of child.

After shoving him a few time and demanding to talk to his manager, I was directed to a man I was told was the assistant store manager, who had a moustache. A moustache! Do you realize what kind of men have moustaches? Degenerate men, that’s what kind. Sleazy pervert men. The kind of men that other men’s wives run off with.

This is when things got truly unacceptable. After some more shoving and yelling, “Chip” and this brute, whose name I never got because I was too blinded by his deplorable moustache, began trying to bribe me. They said they were sorry and that they were “sure we could work this all out” and offered me a free gift card if I’d just stop “making a scene.” That we could talk about this rationally, like “calm, reasonable adults.” They didn’t seem to be very reasonable to me. Acting like they could just pay me off with a gift card. Like I’m some kind of whore. A whore like my wife who ran off with one of the employees of this store.

The whole ordeal ended after an entire shelf got knocked over and fell on a little girl. Ambulances and police were called and I figured it would be best to get out of there. There was no use in trying to deal with these people. It would be much more productive to skip town and contact the source of all this. And that’s why I’m writing this letter to you.

As you can see, I have had nothing but bad experiences with this location in your chain of stores. I will never buy anything from your company again, nor had I ever before. I expect a formal, written apology from you and from everyone else involved. No, I demand it. And I also demand that you tell me which of your employees is the one who stole my wife. Was it Chip? Was it that moustached goon? Was it you, you son of a bitch?! I fucking know it was one of you!

 

Photo by KennyThong Candid via Flickr

Have you ever been fired from a job? It’s not a pleasant experience, let me tell you. Though it does get easier the more times it happens.

Myself, I’ve been fired from more jobs than I can count. Actually several of them I was fired from because I can’t count.

But one thing I can always count on is that no matter what job I find myself in, I’ll end up fired. It’s inevitable. Like the setting of the sun each day, or the rising of the sun each day, or the sun being right in the middle of the sky each day.

Whether it’s for something small, like stealing company funds, or something bigger, like driving a food truck full of cats into the side of a post office, my story always winds up unemployed in my underpants watching Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards repeatedly until my coffee table collapses under the weight of empty liquor bottles and my girlfriend leaves me because I’ve been watching Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards all day instead of taking her out for a birthday dinner. But how am I supposed to afford dinner for two? I don’t have a job. And I have to buy a new coffee table.

So how does one deal with the devastating and life-changing reverberations following a nasty job termination, you ask? Well, as someone who’s heard the words “you’re fired” more times than a lonely Trump-fetishist, I’ve long ago worked out a system for coping with it that I’ll now share with you.

It’s a three step system, three being the most mystical and powerful number in the dark arts practiced by the religious sect of which I’m an active member, and the horrific rituals of which have resulted in the loss of six jobs. But my four non-concurrent awards ribbons for Best Melded Anima in Show from the annual Soul Harvest Festival should make it pretty clear that it was worth it.

First off, it’s natural to be upset, so don’t fight it. Anger, sadness, despair and rage-arousal are all normal reactions to being let go. The important thing is that you channel these feelings in a productive manner. Starting a fire at your former workplace or defecating in or on your former boss’s property are not recommended as productive methods of coping with the situation.

Seducing and mating with the boss’s spouse or significant other is not discouraged, though the preferred way to work through these complicated emotions is to make the appropriate sacrifices and prayers that will result in his or her immortal soul being viciously tortured and devoured for eternity by the Putrescent Almighty, or the equivalent god/demigod in whichever religion you ascribe to (Jesus, Vishnu, Argus, Zarathustra, Phlim, Harkok the Wasteful, etc).

The second stage is acceptance. When you have worked through your emotional reaction to the job loss and allowed the truth of it to sink in without any further fighting against it. This is the most satisfying period of the entire process, so allow yourself to wallow in it for a little while. Let the tranquility wash over you in waves, let yourself let go.

Make sure that you give thanks to the hovering spectres of serenity for blessing you with this respite, lest they become spiteful and wreak nightmarish deformities and constipation unto your loved ones. Smear your naked, corporeal being with blood of lizard after drinking and regurgitating it. Never buy pre-regurgitated lizard blood, for it is a grave affront. If you cannot find lizards, or the pet stores start catching on to you, squirrel blood will suffice in a pinch, but you have to use twice as much.

The final stage is the progression stage, in which you move on to a new job, beginning the cycle anew. If the first two stages are completed satisfactorily you should be ready to get back out there.

It goes without saying that you must hurl guttural prayer into the Infinite Void of the Ravenous Leveler’s gaping maw as thanks for the strength to conquer this trial, but don’t be afraid to take some of the credit yourself. You did great, give yourself a pat on the back. Use the regular avenues to find a new job, local newspapers, Kijiji, reading the whispers of the Eternals in splinters of horse bones you’ve shattered with your Mallet of Turbulence.

Follow these steps, and before you know it you’ll be back out in the workforce, a productive and functioning member of society. And, when you do, could you put in a good word for me? I’ll send you my résumé. I’ve got a great reference from Gary, the highest ranking mage in our underground temple.

 

Photo by patman86 via Flickr

It’s that time of the week again, article time. Time for an article. Yup, time to write an article. Okay, here we go. Right now, let’s get the ball rolling. Ehh, you know what, I probably have time to masturbate first.

Okay. You ever get that feeling when there’s something you have to do that you have, like, a million other things you need to do, too? Like all of the stuff you’ve got to do suddenly has to be done at once and you don’t really get anything done? I guess that’s what they call procrastination. I don’t know if that’s, like, actually the definition of procrastination, but that’s pretty much what it is, I think. I wonder what the actual definition is. I’m going to look that up.

Merriam-Webster defines procrastination as “transitive verb: to put off intentionally and habitually” and “intransitive verb: to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought it would say. No real surprises there. But, hey, what’s the difference between a transitive verb and an intransitive verb? I’d better look that up, too.

Oh, that’ll have to wait, though, my stomach’s rumbling. You know what, I had so much to do today, I completely forgot to eat. I’d better order some food. But what kind? I’ve got all these menus. Not pizza, I had that yesterday. And not this Greek place, they take too long to deliver. Maybe Chinese tonight. Wow, look at this menu. This is a lot of dishes. It’s going to take me a while to go through all this. What the hell is Moo Shi? Or Ho Fun? Man, I better Google this stuff. And check Twitter.

Okay, Chinese is ordered, Twitter is all caught up, and I masturbated once more. It’s time to get going on this article. Alright, here we go. Oh, wait. Oh, I think I might have to go to the bathroom. Well, it’s not pressing, but I feel like it might be coming soon. I’d better go sit on the toilet and play a few rounds of Solitaire on my phone until this works itself out. Can’t be too careful.

False alarm. I did win one of my eight games of Solitaire, though, so there’s that. And I played a bit of Candy Crush for good measure. But now it’s time to really get down to it and write th– oh! Chinese food is here!

Right. Now I’ve eaten, I’ve shut off my phone, I’ve closed Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve masturbated one last time. Though really, I did eat a lot of Chinese food. I should probably go for a walk or something to burn some of these calories off. I mean, those sweet and sour chicken balls are full of sugar. And nothing’s really as important as my health, right? And once I get a bit of exercise, the ideas will really start flowing. Okay.

Home from the walk, and I didn’t notice while I was in here before, but this apartment is filthy. I should give it a quick clean. At least give the floor a sweep and do the dishes. And I’m kind of sweaty from the walk, I should take a quick shower, too. Might as well cut these fingernails while I’m at it, they’re getting a little long. Oh, and that copy of The Dark Knight Rises finished downloading. All of my friends can’t believe I still haven’t seen it, I told them I’d watch it this weekend, so I’d better do that.

Also, it’s been a while since I’ve visited my parents, maybe I should take a trip out to see them first. And I still haven’t really responded to that weird guy with the top hat who challenged me to a balloon race around the world. I’ve always wanted to visit Spain, I bet I could squeeze in a quick trip there before I need to do this article. But my bank account is pretty dry right now, so I’d better get a good, high paying job to fund that, although I think I’ll probably have to do a few years of university first, so I’d better get on that.

And I don’t want to be too old to see my children graduate, so maybe I’d better work on having some kids. First, though, I have to find a wife. I guess I could set up an online dating profile, maybe do some speed dating? I’ve always imagined I’d fall in love with a beautiful woman who loves classic literature, so I’ll start reading some of that, too. Probably start with Don Quixote, then maybe The Brothers Karamazov and move on from there. Wait, first I’ll have to learn how to read.

Alright, this is getting to be completely overwhelming. If I’m ever going to write this article, I have to just calm down and tackle each of these things at a time, one by one. No more excuses. Just get on it. Now, where is a good place to start? Maybe masturbate? Yeah, I can handle that.

 

Photo by ginnerobot via Flick

It was just after ten in the morning and I sat at my desk, typing up the expense account from my latest case. It was raining outside, the kind of rain that makes a man think about all the mistakes he’s made in his life. I should’ve had the salad for lunch yesterday instead of the hot dog and nachos, I thought, at this rate I’ll never slim down in time for the Autumn Pumpkin Festival. The kind of rain that makes a man think about what a fatty he is.

I put out my cigarette in the ashtray and just as I was lighting another one the door burst open and a dame walked in. And what a dame. Lips and dress and fingernails all the colour of freshly sprayed blood. Hair wavy and black as drunken midnight. And legs that wouldn’t quit. They must have took a coffee break, though, because she sat down across from me.

I handed her a cigarette and lit it for her. “You’re here about the cat,” I said, not really a question. I’d never met her before, but I had a gut feeling she was involved in the case I was now neck deep in. She stared at me for a long time before answering, taking long slow drags of her cigarette. I don’t know how many minutes we stared into each other’s eyes, but it felt like an eternity. I could have stared for a lot more eternities into those green eyes. Infinity eternities, maybe.

Finally she answered me. “Pardon me?” and coughed on some smoke.

“The cat,” I repeated as I lit her another cigarette, “you’re here about the cat.”

She nodded. “I saw your ad,” she wheezed, in the breathy way only the young, rich, sexy ones from this crazy town can wheeze, “and I just had to come right over.” She gave me a look so thick with meaning I could’ve taken a bite out of it. I would have, too, but I was being conscious of my waistline because of that goddamned pumpkin dance. “I just had to come see if you’d really found him. If you’d really found my little Ginger Snaps.”

“I found him alright.” I stood, walked around to the other side of the desk and sat on the corner. I lit her another cigarette. Looking down at her from this angle she looked like the kind of broad you‘d marry and take home to mama. Marry and take home to mama all night long. “Two nights ago, when I was walking home from the bar.” What a noir night that had been. All rain and sirens and steam coming out of sewer grates. The whole bit. “Plucky little orange and white thing, cute as they make ‘em. Meows like a sonofabitch before bed if he doesn’t get his saucer of milk.”

Her eyes lit up, much like the cigarette I was now lighting for her. “Yes! That’s him!” She jumped up and for a moment it seemed like she was about to leap into my arms, but instead she started coughing violently and shaking. She coughed up some sticky clumps. It wasn’t terribly ladylike, but it wasn’t altogether unladylike, and I retained my prominent erection.

When her coughing fit was over she asked me if she could have him back now. “Not so fast, dollhead,” I said as I lit her cigarette, “there’s still the matter of my expenses. I had him for two days, with meals and gas that’s a hundred and twenty-three dollars. But I’ll round it to an even one twenty because I like your mug.” She was drinking coffee from a really cute mug that said ‘I’M A ZOMBIE WITHOUT MY MORNING COFFEE’ and there was a funny drawing of a cartoon zombie on it.

“A hundred and twenty dollars!” she fumed, “Expenses? Why would you have needed gas if you found him walking home from the bar?”

“Wait, cats don’t take gas?” I had to think about that for a moment while I lit her a cigarette. “That would explain why he wouldn’t let me fill him up. Okay, let’s make it fifty then, to cover the cost of getting the carpet cleaned over there where there was a big poop this morning.”

“Alright,” she said, counting out the bills from her purse, “thank you for finding him, and I’m sorry he pooped on your carpet.”

“I didn’t say he pooped on the carpet,” I said, taking the money, “but the fact remains it needs to be cleaned.”

I got bold, all of a sudden. I stopped in the middle of lighting her another cigarette, grabbed her around the waist, pulled her close to me and kissed her, hard, on the mouth. She resisted a little at first, then she melted into it, like butter. Then, like that same butter after being put into the fridge, she stiffened again, then softened yet again, like the butter had now been put into a microwave oven. Damn I was hungry. The kiss was long. I’d never kissed like that, or ever before. Finally she pulled away. She slapped me. She tried to slap me again, but I caught her hand and put a cigarette into it and lit it.

“I do believe that was wildly inappropriate,” she glared at me with eyes like cigarette smoke.

“Don’t worry about it, toots. Frails like you are a dime a dozen in this lousy town,” I rummaged around in my desk drawer, pulled out her cat and tossed him to her. “Now turn that tail outta here, I gotta go to church.” She stormed out of my office in a huff. Dames like her have made storming out of places in a huff into an art. I sat down, lit myself a cigarette and poured myself a drink.

Another case closed. It wouldn’t be long before another one walked in that door. It never was. I poured myself another drink. Maybe even tonight. Cases were trouble, and trouble always had a funny way of finding me. It wasn’t hard, what with my penchant for getting blackout drunk and stealing people’s pets.

Picture by Nyco Rudolph

Alcohol is a weird thing. We like it because it loosens us up, tempers our inhibitions and makes it easier for us to deal with social situations that might be a little too overwhelming otherwise. We like that it makes us more fun. Or, at least, makes us think we’re more fun.

Alcohol affects people wildly differently. It makes some people want to fight. It makes some people want to fuck. It makes some people want to joust each other with lawn care equipment in shopping carts. No matter how it affects you, better or worse, there is one thing that anyone and everyone who has ever gotten intoxicated has experienced at least once: Regret.

Maybe it was something little, like telling an off colour joke at the office Christmas party that didn’t go over well, or getting unreasonably mad and yelling at someone for saying they don’t like Calvin & Hobbes. Maybe it was something big, like having sex with your sister’s husband, or driving your dad’s car off a pier. Maybe it was something really big, like taking over the music selection at a party and making everyone listen to a bunch of Doors songs.

Whatever it was, the awfulness of the next-morning hangover is compounded exponentially when you start to piece together what happened the night before and realize what you did. And that you’d better swallow your pride, like the eight shots of Jack you swallowed to get into this predicament, and apologize for it.

Apologizing for something you did when you were drunk can be an especially awkward apology, because in addition to the shame you feel about what you did, there’s already the built in shame that comes with just being that drunk to begin with, and the fact that your memory of it, if you indeed have any memory of it, is hazy at best, and you’re not really sure how bad it got.

So, with all of that in mind, I’d like to take the opportunity I have right now to apologize to some people for some of the stuff I’ve done while drunk in the last few years. I won’t mention any names, but you’ll know who you are.

Here it goes:

I am deeply regretful for my behaviour last night. I am sorry for arriving so late and for leaving so early without telling anyone. I’m sorry I disappeared for 45 minutes. Then came back soaking wet and got dirty water all over your carpet and couch. I’m sorry for urinating on the side of your house and off your balcony and in your potted plant and in the urn containing the ashes of whichever relative it contained. I’m sorry for forgetting which relative you said is contained in the urn on your mantel.

I’m sorry for forgetting your birthday. I’m sorry for passing out on your lawn. And your kitchen table. And the hood of your car. And in your dryer. I’m sorry for hitting on you shamelessly. In front of your boyfriend. That wasn’t cool. I’m sorry for hitting on your boyfriend shamelessly. And your sister. And your girlfriend. And all your girlfriend’s friends.

I’m sorry for accidentally urinating on your shoes. I’m sorry for accidentally stealing your shoes. I’m sorry for intentionally urinating into your shoes. For breaking that beer bottle on your kitchen floor, and that other one on your living room coffee table. I’m sorry for getting belligerent with your landlord when there was a noise complaint. I’m sorry for trying to hit your landlord. I’m sorry for hitting on your landlord.

I’m sorry for making you cry at your own party. And for getting the police called. And for daring your little brother to jump off the roof onto that trampoline. And for the hospitalization of your little brother. I’m sorry for hitting on your little brother.

I’m sorry I told you I’m in love with you. I am in love with you, but this isn’t the way I wanted you to find out. I’m sorry I lingered in that hug a lot longer than I should have. And for how much butt touching was involved in it. I’m sorry I ate more than my share of the pizza. I’m sorry I didn’t pay for my share of the pizza. I’m sorry I threw the pizza into the pool because it didn’t have the toppings on it that I’d wanted.

I’m sorry I flipped over the Scrabble board because you played a good word. I’m sorry I did that with the Monopoly board, too. And the Risk board. And the Sorry board. I’m not sorry I did it with the Settlers of Catan board. Though, seriously? You should be sorry for making me play that shit.

I’m sorry for defecating in your garage. That’s not acceptable, no matter how long the line-up for the bathroom. I’m sorry for those inappropriate phone calls. And text messages. And emails, Facebook messages, DMs, postcards, and the mural of us interlocked in the tender act of passionate love that I painted on the side of your parents‘ house. Marv and Judy were really cool about it, though. Tell them I say hi.

I think that covers everything. For now, anyway. I’m sure I’ll have to do another one of these before too long. I hope you understand and can accept my apologies and we can continue to be friends. Oh, and if you’re looking for an apology for something I drunkenly did during sex, that one’s coming privately in a binder in the mail. It’s a little too personal for this forum, and, frankly, the number of apologies I have to make for that couldn’t fit in an article of this length.

 

Photo by Johnny Scott

Hey, buddy. How you doing? Look, I think we need to have a little talk. I know you’ve been feeling pretty down the last few days, and that’s perfectly understandable. You lost someone really close to you, and grieving is very natural. But it’s not all bad. I want to tell you about a special place. It’s a place called Pet Heaven, and it’s where dogs and cats and all the other pets go when they die. Well, except that hamster you had a few years back. That hamster was into some messed up shit.

Anyway, champ, Pet Heaven is a wonderful, marvelous place, where all the animals frolic and play together. They all get along together, and there are always Frisbees flying and there are balls of yarn as far as the eye can see.

In Pet Heaven, the dogs have all the cats they can chase up all the trees they can pee on. And the trees are filled with as many birds as all the cats can eat. And for the pet birds, there are more bugs than they could ever dream of feasting on. There’s no pet bugs, though. Having a bug as a pet is just weird, and pet bugs go to straight to Pet Hell. Much like their weirdo owners go straight to People Hell.

So dry those tears, sport. In Pet Heaven, cans of tuna open just by looking at them with a smug sense of detachment. And of all the many things there are to lick peanut butter off of, none of them come with a troubling moral quandary. There is plenty of shit to roll around in, and you only get groomed if you want to. Also, the pet spas don’t have aggressively awful puns for names.

See, things don’t seem so dire now, do they, tiger? In Pet Heaven, the vacuum cleaner was never invented. Thunder sounds like someone telling you that you’re good and it rains Friskies and warm milk. You can hump anything you want without getting sprayed by water and when you give birth to a litter no one judges you, no matter how many of your babies you eat.

There’s nothing so pretentious and presumptuous as vegan pet food in Pet Heaven. In fact, it’s the personal, ironic Hell of the inventor of vegan pet food and every day his body parts are ground up to make extra meaty selections chow.

All the fish and turtles that have ever been flushed flow right on over to Pet Heaven. The fish swim free and boundlessly in sparkling, clear water without ever again having to breathe their own poop. The turtles bask in the sun-drenched rocks, drinking in the warmth and fresh air. Happily they nod to each other, fish and turtle, content because here there is no memory of being abandoned for a real pet.

It doesn’t matter if you were squished by a car, shot by mistake on a hunting trip, or starved because the neighbour forgot to feed you while your owners were vacationing in Spain, all pets are healthy and able bodied in Pet Heaven. There are no vaccination shots, no fleas and no big dumb cones to wear around your head. And your balls? Yep, right back where they’re supposed to be.

So you see, old chap, there’s no reason to be sad. As happy as all these pets were in life, they’re even happier now and we should be happy for them. Because there’s no happier place in the world than Pet Heaven. Do you feel a bit better now? From now on, whenever it starts to get you down, just think of all I’ve told you about Pet Heaven and that’s sure to cheer you up. Think of all the animals running and playing and being joyful. I’m glad I got to talk to you about this wonderful place, and that now you know where your grandpa went.

Photo by bunchofpants via Flickr

So, you don’t have central air to pump through your home or a pool to jump into, but you want to stay cool this summer. When it gets hot, it gets too hot to think and you’ll need to do a lot of thinking. About things like how you screwed your life up so bad that you can’t even afford an air conditioner. Seriously, they’re like a hundred and fifty bucks.

But we’re not here to debate your terrible life choices, I’ll leave those to internally torment you in oppressive solitude, as mine do me. What I can do for you, however, is give you a few tips to help you beat the heat. Because you need them, but mostly because writing them down will give me a few precious moments of reprieve from the nagging self-doubts and painful memories haunting me, which I made mention of earlier in the paragraph.

1. Turn on your oven. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it really works, and it’s really simple. It won’t reduce the heat drastically, but it will lower it by a few degrees. I don’t fully know how it works, I’m not a sciencetist, but if you turn it on to bake and crank it up as high as it will go, it creates a sort of “heat vacuum” that sucks in heat molecules from the air around it.

Your kitchen will be pretty hot, but other rooms around your home will be marginally more tolerable because of the heat migration. I’m not sure if turning on all the stove elements increases the effect, but you might as well, it can’t hurt. If you don’t have an oven in addition to not having an air conditioner, then you need to stop reading this right now and seriously look at your life.

2. Drugs. Just do lots of drugs. Like, all summer long. Just keep doing them. It won’t actually do anything about the temperature, but you won’t really care about it anymore, or anything else for that matter. Though these crippling issues you seem so obsessed with might overwhelm you if amplified with mind-altering substances.

3. Owls. Owls are creatures of the night, and they bring the night’s chill with them wherever they go. In addition to the potent magic they possess, they are also cold-blooded, and the constant flapping of their wings in an enclosed area creates a cooling breeze.

This requires a little bit more effort than other tips on this list, because of the owls’ befouling of your home with their excrement and pellets, and you have to feed them. Though, if you already have a mouse problem this has the added bonus of solving that as well.

In any given summer I usually have five or six owls in my apartment at all times. Though not usually the same ones the whole time, when you account for all the deaths when they repeatedly try to fly out the closed windows and they tend to kill each other often. And, making a good thing even better, their loud screeching makes for a great distraction from inner turmoil.

4. Get rid of some of your blood! We humans, unlike owls, are warm-blooded animals. So what the heck do you think the effect is when you’ve got all that hot blood rushing around inside you? It makes you warmer!

So get a bit of it out of there. Don’t go nuts, obviously you need blood inside you to live, but you don’t really need all of it.

Be warned, though, that blood letting can be especially dangerous when you are wrestling with intense personal demons. Drain about enough to fill a pint glass and you’ll feel noticeably cooler almost immediately. About two pint glasses full will really take the edge off when you’re going to something like a wedding or a wine mixer where you have to be out in the sun and dress up. Don’t exceed that, though, and don’t drain yourself more than once a week, or you run the risk of passing out and maybe even dying, which would be really embarrassing at a wedding, and, come on, it’s the bride’s day, don’t steal focus.

I hope these tips will bring you some much needed cooling down this summer and for summers to come. And I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice, on the subject of appearing cool, which is perhaps the most important of all. Nothing projects that overall look of cool quite like smoking cigarettes. A lot of cigarettes.

 

Photo by davedehetre via Flickr