Ah that’s just drunk talk, sweet beautiful drunk talk.

Alcohol… There are few things closer to my heart, and none closer to my liver. Come to think of it, there are few things closer to my heart than my liver. They say to write about what you know. Not sure who “they” are, but I’m certain I was drunk when I heard it. (The entire opening of this blog should be read as though spoken by Groucho Marx.)
I’d like to preface the remainder of this blog by saying:
          1. I don’t have a problem.
          2. I can quit any time.
          3. I learned it from watching you, okay!
I can’t remember when I had my first taste of alcohol. My dad used to let me have a sip of beer if I brought him one from the fridge. (No need to alert Jeff Foxworthy. I know what I might be.) I’ve been drinking for the joy of it since High School, but I don’t think I came to a mature approach to drinking until my late twenties. Before then it was always about getting drunk, usually for social reasons. These days I’m more of an anti-social drinker, and only occasionally drunk.

My favorite drink is wine. I prefer a Chiraz or Cabernet. This is a great cheap way to get woozy, and one of the only ways I can get a buzz without getting full. As cocktails go, I like Jack and Coke or Pineapple Rum and Coke. I drink my Jack and Coke from a special cup used only for that purpose. The Rum and Coke I drink from a 44 ounce glass filled over halfway with rum. I also enjoy a sweet salty Margarita. That taste of tequila triggers a puke memory in most of us, right? Of course beer is universal. It goes with everything from Monday night football to Saturday night baseball. (Don’t let that sentence fool you into thinking I take Sundays off.) I hate it when I get to that first Budweiser commercial and there’s no beer in the house. I will pause a game and go buy beer if that happens.
Most nights I have a drink when I get home. Usually it’s just a glass of wine, but at the end of a difficult day it may be far more serious. I have no qualms about drinking alone. I don’t know where that social hang up came from, but “drinking” and “alone” go together quite nicely. Sometimes they like to invite “in the dark” and “in my underwear” to the party. 
One night I got tired of getting up to refill my wine glass, so I brought the bottle back to the living room with me. Lisa saw me refilling from the couch and said, “You don’t have to use a glass on my account. You know you want to drink from the bottle.” I considered it, but decided that’s a line I don’t need to cross. Not yet, at least.

Bananas Foster or: How I Almost Married a Chubby Girl Because Her Hot Cousin Dumped Me

Thanks to Facebook, I have reconnected with a bunch of people with whom I have been out of touch for many years. When I look back at the past 20 years, I find there is not a single person I’ve been in touch with consistently. I suppose this is normal in the years after high school. So I will quickly fill in the gaps for all my new friends and reconnected friends and family:

1990 – 1993 Hot Tub Time Machine
In Hasbro’s “The Game of Life” you get to choose the path for college or career. Both paths lead to the same place, and ultimately come out pretty even, but the career path requires crap work and low pay at first. In my life I tried college briefly, but chose the career path. I worked lame jobs and hard jobs during those years and many of the years that followed.
Most of that period was spent hanging out with Matt and Lee, my two best friends from High School. Those were wasted years, but fun times.
1994 – 1998 The Empire Strikes Back
I was orphaned in my twenties. I lost my mom in ’94 and my dad in ’98, both to cancer. I lost both of my grandmothers in the same week in February of ’99. I lost my faith somewhere along that road. Then I found it, then I lost it again. That’s probably a story for another blog.
I’ve been married twice and almost married a few times more. I married my first wife a month before my mom died. I almost bolted from the church that day, but I looked out of the groom’s room and saw my dad rolling in my mom in a wheelchair. She had literally left her death bed to see my wedding. So I went through with it. Four years later, a month after my dad died, I threw out the first wife. If my first marriage was a book, it would be children’s book, the kind with big innocent cardboard pages, simple words, and almost no sex, like “Goodnight Moon”.
1999 – 2001 Doctor Strange Love or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
I highly recommend first marriages. It’s a great learning experience. For example, I learned you shouldn’t marry your prom date. I also learned that I love sampling wedding cake, but I hate weddings. So after my first marriage ended, I got engaged a few times, but always avoided setting a date. Between 1998 and 2002, I sampled a lot of cakes.
2002 – present Field of Dreams
I met my second wife, Lisa in 2002. Our marriage is a dream. Lisa is my best friend, and my one true love. I could write pages about Lisa, and I will, but not yet. We have a terrific son. He’s a smart and talented kid with a well developed sense of humor. It sometimes really pisses me off to see myself reflected so perfectly in another person.
I learned the value of hard work early on, and those lessons have served me well. I now have great job that I enjoy going to every day. What I do is also fodder for another blog post.
As I approach my middle years, I am satisfied with my life. I am married to a woman I love. I have a job I would do for free. We’re mostly healthy and mostly happy most of the time. My life is full of laughter, and when I see the bald guy with the grey chin whiskers in the mirror, I generally like him.
Now… we’re all caught up. I’d ask how you’ve been for the last twenty years, but I’d rather read it in your blog. So get to work everyone, and start sending me those links.

Thoughts From Anna

My cousin Anna has a great blog that she updates almost every weekday (http://annah40.blogspot.com/). I admire her dedication to maintaining it. Even more, I admire the thoughts she shares in her blog. It’s all very personal. The topics range from the mundane to the deep. She’s covered topics from her love of Easter hats to her waning spirituality. Early on she blogged about the death of her father. He was a huge influence in my life. I keep a picture of him on my shelf at home even all these years later. That blog entry hit me hard. It brought back so many feelings and memories, that it took fully a week for me to get back to normal.
Her blog has made me think about my smart-assy poorly maintained blog. I wonder if these are the thoughts we leave for posterity. When we die, will they somehow be maintained by ancestry.com or whatever archive we’re using when that time comes? Will our children, grandchildren or future decendants read our blogs to find out what we were like at this moment in our lives? Do I want my message to the future to be a list of things that make my ass sweat?
The short answer is yes. I do want my great great grandchildren to read about the things that make my ass sweat. I hope they get a chuckle out of it. But I also want to say more. I am going to try to do a better job of updating my blog. Five days a week is never going to happen, but a few times a month is a commitment I can probably keep. It may often still be things that make me laugh, but I won’t avoid covering other, more personal topics.

For the faithful five following my blog or those who browsed here from Facebook or Twitter, every entry may not be for you. Going forward, I may only link the funny ones to Facebook. For those in the distant future reading this, I hope your robot overlords don’t catch you slacking. If Ray Kurzweil is right, then I am probably one of your robot overlords, and I promise vengence on anyone caught screwing off. For my lovingly tolerant wife, this may be as close I am able to get to sharing my thoughts and feelings… so stay tuned.

Couple Friends

I’m certain most married men can relate to this. My wife, Lisa, is frequently trying to find us couple friends to hang out with. This involves starting with a woman she is already friends with, usually someone from work or from high school, then introducing the husbands into the mix. In order for this to be successful, the husbands (me and the other guy) must become friends. Ideally we would become the kind of friends who would hang out without our wives around, thus creating a sub-group within the couple friend dynamic. The statistical probability of this formula working is approximately 285:1 against. The obstacles to success are abundant, but I’ll pick off a few obvious ones.
Social Science. Men don’t quickly bond with other men. The bonds among men take years to form and are often shaped by shared tragedy or at least shared adversity. I’m pretty sure this is true of most male mammals. If you need examples, check out monkeys, lions or elephants. The herds, or whatever, are made up of females and babies. The males are either off somewhere alone or with males with whom they grew up. If a new male is introduced into the pack of males, it is summarily humiliated, beaten and assigned a lesser position in the chain of command or it takes control of the pack by ousting the current leader (this might happen in human groups if The Rock showed up).

Social Disorders. I used to think I was introverted, but now I’m certain that I’m antisocial. I’m comfortable in crowds, and I’m okay being openly antisocial. There is a quote in the new BBC “Sherlock Holmes” series where Sherlock says, “I’m not a psychopath. I’m a high functioning sociopath. Do your research.” I get that. As Lisa has tried to bring her friends’ husbands around, I have picked them off, one by one, as unworthy. I am willing to admit that if I had a problem with one man or two or even three, it could be them. But if my problem is with every man (or, let’s face it, every man, woman and child), it may be me. I remember when I was much younger, choosing not to ask a girl out because she had a bunch of friends, and I really didn’t like them. It seemed easier to just not try, than to start a relationship that would end with me telling her that everyone she knows is an asshole.

Offspring. We have a twelve year old son. If the other couple has a child of similar age, then they must also get along. If the other couple has a baby or toddler, then it’s just never going to work. I am past the point in my life where I want to make social arrangements around a little child. I don’t want to double date to a Pixar film or have to work around naps or listen to tantrums. Sometimes Lisa, who is a Labor and Delivery Nurse, will meet people at work who are having a baby and who seem like a perfect match to us socially. All I can think when I hear this is, “do I really want to spend a lot of time around a baby?”

Alcohol. We like to drink. I like it a lot. I drink in crowds. I drink alone. It’s one of the only ways I am able to function socially. That Lisa also likes to drink, and is okay with my constant drinking is one of the magic bonds that hold us together. Trying to be couple friends with people who don’t drink is a deal breaker. If their reason for not drinking is religious, all the more so.

Humor, politics, and religion. I have a very dry sense of humor, and a caustic wit that is fully engaged 95% of the time. If you look up caustic wit, you will probably find sarcasm as a synonym. If the other couple is not of a similar demeanor, this could be a problem. Lisa and I are both quite liberal in our social politics and in our religion. Of the two of us, she is the one you would describe as having a religion. Any one of these factors if discussed openly can make or break a friendship.

So if you’ve been friends with my wife for years, and your husband and I are on an equal socio-economic plane, and we have shared a trauma together, probably brought on by being drunk, funny and antisocial in a public place, then this could work. If it’s not a perfect fit, but you’d generally describe yourself as a secular humanist and you’re willing to let your husband narrowly avoid being arrested or beaten up in a bar fight then it may be worth a try. Provided you don’t have small children.