Up until the summer of ’03, I had never owned an air conditioner in my entire life. The thing is, I never, ever wanted one. Rather than being practically boarded up inside the adobe all summer long, (as we are all winter long) I always preferred to have all of the windows open as wide as they would open. I enjoy hearing the sounds of summer in Wilkes-Barre--the kids playing on the street, the neighbors yelling niceties to each other from opposite sides of the street and, yes, the big city sirens wailing away--as well as appreciate the occasional breezes that might have made their way indoors. Was I always comfortable? No way, but sweating a bit and being savaged by Paper Mites sure as heck beats winter.
During that summer of 2003, I found myself unable to catch any Zs on the hottest and, or stickiest of nights. And being dead on my feet all the time wore me out to the point that I went and got some 21 billion jiggawatt monster of an air conditioner. It took me a half hour to figure out how to make it fit in the car. And when I got it home I hoisted that mo-fu>ker up there in the window and joined the swollen ranks of the pampered masses that can’t even handle that environment of theirs they are so intent on saving. I got weak. I pussed out. What can I say?
My sister, who just happens to be six years younger than I, claimed with an accompanying giggle that this proves that I’m getting old. According to her sources, old people simply cannot handle the summer heat. This, coming from someone who needs meds upon meds to get through a given week, did not annoy me in the least. If being able to cycle, on average, 3,000 miles a year and being able to paddle down the middle of a river whenever invited is what it’s like to be old, I will gladly take it. But the fact remains, if the freakin’ thermometer absolutely refuses to dip below 60 degrees by midnight, I simply cannot sleep.
Where’s my cane?
Earlier today wifey all but forced me to drive her on up to Sprawl-Mart so she could buy some “Made in America” imported sheets. And I bitched all the way up there. These sons-a-bitches are forcing Rubbermaid to transfer jobs to Asia. These fargin’ sockcuckers are not only category killers, they are community killers. This funking outfit ought to have local terrorists burning them out of a sale. These…
She stared straight ahead during the entire ride up there and uttered not a single word in Sprawl-Mart’s defense.
Here’s the bad part. I went in there scared sh*tless that someone I know might spot me in there with the rest of the Access Card Association members. Everybody knows how I feel about Sprawl-Mart. Hell, I’d date an Eagles fan suffering with a rare foot disease before I’d willingly shop in that scuzzball of a place. I’d even wear a Yankees ball cap at high noon on Public Square before I’d head on in there of my own free will. That’s assuming that council hasn’t already banned the wearing of ball caps on the Square. What the fu>k? They wanna ban practically everything else. Damn, man. I’d vote for Tom McGroarty rather than becoming a regular in that highly offensive place.
So what did I do? Not only did I walk in there without wearing an Al Franken mask, I freakin’ bought something. Sure, it was a really good price. But I know better. And if that’s not enough to get me leaping from the middle of the Market Street Bridge at high acidic tide, I went and bought another air conditioner. All it took was two days of 90 degree heat and I’ve gone and lost the last of my remaining scratched up marbles? Maybe my sister is on to something after all.
Forgive me Father for I have sinned. These are my sins: 1) I put together a rather specific game plan for what I would do if Millo Jovovich happened to join me in the shower. 2) I bought an air conditioner. 3) I bought it at Sprawl-Mart no less!
A 12 mile bikeabout through the streets of Wilkes-Barre despite the weather geeks having predicted a record high temperature for today. To say that my skin is red would be a gross understatement. I look like I just finished a handball tournament fought out in the belly of a nuclear reactor leaking water. And we all know the cure for sun poisoning, don’t we? Yep. Sure enough. More beer.
Plus, I spent my entire day baking in the hot sun at Knoebel’s Grove yesterday. And it was well worth it. For the second consecutive year, the entire clan celebrated Gage Andrew’s birthday at that green, clean and user-friendly amusement park. Simply put, I love that bucolic hideaway. You can have your Dorney, your Hershey Park, your Six Flags and your freaking Wally World. When it comes time to have my hand stamped, that’s where you’ll find me.
And, yes, believe it or not, Gage Andrew is a whole four years-old already and his mommy has gotten to discussing the pre-school options available to her. School? Gage? Won’t that interfere with my spur-of-the-moment bikeabout adventures? We’ve still got baseballs to hit, crayfish to frighten and model rockets to launch heavenward. This organized school tomfoolery will not only serve to interfere with mine and my little buddy’s hastily-arranged adventures in boyhood, it’ll teach him little more than what zero tolerance means, why having two daddy’s is preferable to a nuclear family, how global (pick a whacked-out scientific thesis) is killing the innocent frogs, and why he should embrace the people that want him dead only for the accidental nature of his birth. School? This kid is pretty smart. He has real potential. Why would we want to send him to one of those locked-down federally-manipulated facilities that have about as much to do with learning as snorting copious amounts of balsa sealer and staring at a strobe light does? (You’d swear I’ve done that, heyna?)
Whatever. I certainly can’t condemn my kids for making the same mistakes that I did many years before. Turns out, wifey was right all along. We should have sent the three of them to St. Boniface. Then again, consider the following. If Gage Andrew ends up attending public schools, his teachers should be warned going in that any tree-hugging, American apologist, or rubber-over-cucumber bullspit they force-feed to Gage will result in their having to meet Gage’s grandfather. And I can guarantee you they will not enjoy such an encounter one bit.
There was a good reason I stopped attending parent/teacher conferences after a while, and that reason was the fact that they served no productive purpose at all. Get out? My kid seems disinterested in the topic at hand. No foolin’? And why is it exactly that he should give a flying fu>k about what drives the Burmese economy? Or why the Indian people once preferred starvation over a Big Mac. Or why religions from all over the world should be respected to the utmost, while our own is all but banned from our culture. My kid isn’t paying attention? He’s not even trying to reach his potential? Consider the subject matter. And consider the source. Any normal teen-aged boy simply will not respect a Liberace wannabe who is lisping him the way of the world.
When I was in elementary school, more often than not, my report cards were littered with As. But then I graduated up the ladder to high school and my grades plummeted. And what did they really teach me? How to use the metric system. One of these days, I might actually need to know that Euro-bilge. How we could avoid the coming ice age, the sure to come period of global cooling. I’m still waiting. How to speak fluent French, only never to be use it again. Why violins and tubas are somehow preferable to a Gibson SG and a distortion pedal. Here’s a good one: Shakespeare and all of his fairies of the forest, which sounded more like French than even fu>king French did. I’m a better man for pretending to understand the machinations of that screwball. How ‘bout algebra? That really comes in handy three times a week. (?) Geometry? Big whoop, I can spot a parallelogram at a thousand yards. I’m wet with excitement. Poetry, Folk and Rock? Listen to this and tell me what it means. Wow! What a challenge as the stylus meets the vinyl for a bit of Cherokee People. Some even studied homemaking. What the fu>k was that? What did you do in school today, Markie. Um, I burned chocolate chip cookies. And some chick from Georgetown showed me how to sew two tattered rags together. She was leaning real close like. And she was wearing a halter top. And I could see…Gym class was good. That is, if beating on the fat kids is always acceptable was what we were supposed to take away from it. But…I can solder the loose wire in my AM radio when need be, so it wasn’t all for not.
Off on a major tangent? Yeah, I suppose. But I’m concerned not only for the future of my grandchildren, but for the future of what passes as a high school education in this flailing country of ours. Everyone points to the children as being the future of this country. And if they’re as dumb as crunchy water cubes, what, if anything, does that portend for the future of our society?
Anyway, Gage is now four-years-old and he had himself a full day of rides, food, family and friends. And by six o’clock, he looked about as spent as most of the attending adults felt. So we packed up the cars and headed off into the burning sunset. When I arrived back here in good ole Wilkes-Barre, I called his dad and was told that after a cool bath he all but collapsed into his bed. And so did his sister, Taylor. And so did his cousin, Zach. We tuckered the little ones out and we’ll do it all again next year.
Nice to hear from you, homo. (?) I suppose. Nah, despite the persistent rumors, Private Sector Dude has not been interned at Gitmo. Actually, he’s being held without bail by the authorities in Aruba, but I’m not completely sure as to why.
Drop me an e-mail pulse anytime. Yours is an intellectual endeavor (on Aruba--maybe) that I just happen to need much more of. (?) It sure beats eating mutating grasshoppers. And while I cannot lie to you about the frighteningly short average life-expectancy of a homosexual male, you certainly have my sympathies. Chuckle on, boy toy.
While I was anxiously awaiting Tom Leighton’s “I believe” speech, a twenty-something guy marched up to me and handed me a smallish card with a short, “Here you are, sir.” I was not going to make mention of this less than talented endeavor that can only thrive if the negative ninnies among us participate to a very large degree. But…now that the suicide rate has skyrocketed since the passing of The Times Leaders’ SAYSO claptrap, I figured I’d mention it here in an attempt to save many a life of those sharing this NEPA podunk with me.
As the card clearly states, “Because you like to complain…”
So let it rip, NEPA.
Because you like to complain.
By the way, if you get a chance, take a stroll (not a bike) through our downtown and take notice of all of the “I believe” posters prominently displayed in window after window after freaking window. Obviously, despite being seen as silly or stupid for doing so, some folks do believe. I am only left to imagine that they’d prefer to believe in something rather than complaining about damn near everything. Weird, aren’t they?
Here’s the latest from Scanner Land.
The time… 9:20 PM
The place… Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
562 to County: “I’ve got a guy sexually gratifying himself.”
Rutro! Better get somebody from city council on the Bat phone. I think we need another city ordinance thereby banning this sort of illicit behavior. This is almost as upsetting as having bike riders feeling as if they belong to the community at large.
Pursuant to Section 5, Page 713 of the City Code of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania…
…there will be no tossing off, jerking off, choking the chicken, stroking’ the pickle, pulling the pudd, beatin’ the meat, spanking it, yanking it, or pleasuring it in any way by penalty of incarceration.
We’ve got enough people stroking’ off at city hall. You have been duly warned.
COUNCIL HAS ASSUMED CONTROL!
COUNCIL HAS ASSUMED CONTROL!!
COUNCIL HAS ASSUMED CONTROL!!!
A shout out to Copper Dude who single-handedly patrolled all of Knoebel’s Grove yesterday. Dude…you sure have yourself one nifty family. Don’t ever sell yourselves short.