Monthly Archives: July 2013

Let’s race!

You want to race? I’m always racing, people, groups of people, I can’t help it. I’m just so competitive. Like one time I was playing basketball and these guys on the other side of the court challenged me and my friends to a game of basketball. Like I said, very competitive, which, when we’re talking about basketball anyway, all of the competitiveness in the world wasn’t going to help. We got crushed. It was humiliating. And not really entirely my fault, anyway, not totally, Frank missed the majority of his shots, when he wasn’t getting blocked.

But even though basketball in this case happened to be a race to twenty-one points, yes, I’m talking about a race, race. Right after the game, and maybe I should have cooled down a little bit, maybe I should have just taken that high-five from the other team’s big guy because, yeah, I guess it was gracious at the time, but I couldn’t. “Let’s race!” I started getting in their faces.

And not the big guy, although, he did surprise me, how quick and light on his feet he was for a big man. And it was like that Sandra Bullock football movie, the big guy was like, hey man, I actually don’t like being called big guy. And I was like, sure thing big man. But I was just trying to get in his head. Again, I probably shouldn’t have discounted him entirely, making fun of him for accepting the challenge in the first place. Because like I said, he was pretty quick.

Not quick enough, because he didn’t win. But let’s be honest, he was never really in the running, pun totally intended, like running, get it? No, it was the little guy with the crew cut who looked like he might be the fastest. “What are you talking about race? Who’s got the next game?”

I got right in this kid’s face, like you’re not going to accept? Fine, I’ve got to make you accept. I threw the ball over the tall fence on the other side of the park, and while he was busy being all, “What the hell man?” I was like, “Come on, what are you scared? You little baby? You little scardey cat? Buck-buck buckaw!”

It worked, he took the bait, although it was a little dramatic, the way he ripped his shirt off, easy there Turbo, it’s entirely possible to run a race without taking your shirt off. But, whatever, if his intended effect was to intimidate me by showing off how ripped he was, like totally in shape, very cut, then yeah, I’ll admit it, it was slightly unnerving, I was caught just a little off guard, like shit, I had better win this race, like how did he get those bumpy muscles under his ribs so well defined? He’s got to be doing something besides cardio. I hope he’s not a runner.

“So what are we doing, like laps around the park? Four? Five?” It was the big guy asking the questions, and I was like, “Take it easy big man. This is between me and Turbo over here.” I was actually calling him Turbo all game, like trying to get in his head, but I don’t know, my whole smack-talking game, one, it’s much more effective when my team is solidly in the lead, and two, it just wasn’t really on that day, I don’t think it’s ever really on. But we’re never getting pummeled that badly, and I guess that was my lesson to learn, on shutting my mouth with the amateur smack-talk when I’m getting destroyed by this team of semi-pro guys, just all really built, like not everybody as built as Turbo, but man, all really pretty cut.

“Go!” and that was it. Turbo wasn’t a runner, it turned out, so you know, I stayed with him for the first three laps, just to make sure he wasn’t saving anything for the end, and then on that last lap I took off. Like I got so far ahead at one point I even turned around, started running backwards, I was like, “Is that all you’ve got Turbo? Ha!”

And yeah, that was all Turbo had. But the big guy, I think I mentioned already, he gave me a little scare, he definitely saved a little something for the end, and so I had to abandon my smack-talk, which sucked, because this was exactly the type of blowout that would’ve made even my talk sound like it was smack, like smacking. Smacking talk? No. You see what I mean?

I won, barely, and I was way too out of breath by the time I crossed the finish line to do any sort of a convincing gloat. “Whatever man,” Turbo was being a sore loser, “Just go and get my ball.” And I was like, “What? Loser gets the ball.” And he was like, “Says who? You threw it!”

But I refused. And he didn’t really have a choice, he had to hop the fence, a big one, like two stories tall maybe. On the other side it was just trash, just like a weird space between the neighboring building. And he jumped down and tiptoed around all the garbage to his ball, he was like, “Fuck man! It landed on a piece of glass!”

Yeah, that kind of sucked, it was all deflated. But he was behind a fence, so what was he going to do? I had like a good minute, minute and a half head start, and by the time he made it back to this side, I was gone.

My three favorite candies

I love candy. I know the my tastes change and sometimes I’ll get bored of certain things, but I’ve got to say that my favorite candy is definitely Sour Patch Kids Watermelons. Don’t get me wrong, regular Sour Patch Kids are good, but after a few handfuls, they don’t taste sour anymore. A few more bites after that, and they don’t taste like anything at all. It’s just sweet, which eventually turns to not so sweet, but you can’t stop eating. You shouldn’t have bought the big bag, but the little bag doesn’t really cut it, doesn’t satisfy the Sour Patch craving, but justify the big bag purchase all you want, all you’re doing now is ruining the fun, each bite further and further diminishing your tongue’s ability to distinguish sweet from anything else, and you’re thirsty, but the water’s making you nauseous, and there’s all of the Sour Patch residue wedged deep in the spaces between your molars way, way back. It’s a mess.

sour patch watermelon

With Sour Patch Watermelons, yeah, there’s a similar progression of problems, but they’re delicious, the watermelon flavor totally outweighs any of the negative consequences associated with regular Patch. I say bring on that stomachache, I’ll gladly skip dinner because I ate too many watermelons. And you get to the end of that bag and, while you still have that last mouthful only partially chewed, you tilt your head back and pour all of the leftover sour crystals down your throat, that last sour kick, man I’m salivating just imagining it, I have to ball my hands into fists with my jaw clenched, I’m shaking my head from side to side just thinking about the flavor.

What I don’t get it why they don’t incorporate the watermelons into the regular Sour Patch mix. Yes, the Sour Patch kids are noticeably different from the watermelons, the former being in the shape of actual kids and the watermelons a little bit more realistically formed in the shape of freshly cut watermelon slices. But I wouldn’t mind the disruption in shape consistency. Maybe a few watermelon wedges would eliminate all of those Sour Patch Regular problems I was talking about in the first paragraph.

My second favorite candy is definitely Sour Gummy Lifesavers. I’m sure you’re noticing a pattern here, the gummy-like consistency, the sour crystals. I just want to make myself clear though, there are two types of Sour Gummy Lifesavers: regular, and then mixed reds. Personally, I like the regular. I like reds too, but I don’t like all reds. I’m not saying that I’d like to eat a bag of only yellows or just greens, but I find it’s through that mix that the flavors really come alive. It’s like when you’re eating Skittles (seventh favorite candy) you don’t pick out all the purples, greens, etc. It’s meant to be enjoyed as a fruit medley.

The title of third favorite candy goes to the Slim Jim. Ha, I bet you feel pretty silly for assuming that I only liked things gummy and sour. To those of you saying Slim Jims aren’t candy, I say, that’s crazy. They’re right there in the candy aisle. They go great with sweet snacks, you know, that whole sweet and savory combination that’s so popular lately.

Slim Jims are great because, while candy satisfies your primal urge for sugar, it doesn’t really get at the simultaneous need for meat. And the whole point of eating snacks is usually because you’re in between meals and you’re trying to hold yourself off until lunch, dinner, or dessert. Slim Jims are perfectly spiced, just the right amount of vinegar, of heat, and of course beef. They’re amazing. They’re like little sausages on the go. And they come in so many different flavors: classic, mild, habanero, Tabasco.

I was at a gas station the other day and I saw a new variety: classic, but jumbo. I don’t know if they called it jumbo or something else, but it was awesome, like as long as a regular Slim Jim, but also as thick as a breakfast sausage. I was skeptical at first, I wondered, will the subtle vinegary moistness of a regular Slim Jim be overpowering in a thicker shell? I’m glad to report that the answer was no. It’s even better, even more satisfying. Wouldn’t it be cool to have like a hot dog, but instead of a hot dog, you could just have two of those jumbo Slim Jims? That sounds delicious.

Anyway, those are my favorite three candies. Just thought I’d go ahead and write them down and put it on the Internet.

There, I said it

I’m going to go ahead and say it: I don’t like Starbucks. There, I said it. Come on, it’s like, why does everybody like Starbucks? They’re so stupid, with their dumb green signs, and their lines of people waiting to buy coffee. Oh look at me, I’m Starbucks, I sell bottles of water and little packages of fruit salad in an open display right before checkout. And get a load of this, I have Wi-Fi. Does anybody need to use the Internet? Because I have Wi-Fi.

And I’m going to go ahead and say another thing: I hate Wi-Fi. There, I just said that too. It’s like people can’t go anywhere without having to log on to the nearest Wi-Fi network. Every time somebody asks me, “Hey man, do you know if this place has Wi-Fi?” I want to be like, “Fuck you, man. I hate Wi-Fi. Why don’t you just use your cell phone’s data plan? Aren’t they all like unlimited data anyway? And even if it’s not, how much data are you really using, sitting there checking out Facebook at this Starbucks? Huh? And why are you asking me, do I look like I work here? Fuck no, man. A guy’s not allowed to wear a green hat, black polo, and green pants to a Starbucks without working at Starbucks? And who the hell are you, anyway? Where have you been for the past hundred years? Everybody knows that Starbucks has Wi-Fi, just look around man, what do you think all of these people are doing with their laptops open, huh? Playing solitaire? They’re not. Get lost.”

And I don’t even like coffee. Wow, I can’t believe I just said that, but there it is, I said it. It’s entirely way too much of a big deal over nothing. You ever see coffee in the wild? It doesn’t look anything like coffee. It’s these tiny little berry things, the kind of wild berry-looking fruit that your parents warned you not to touch as a little kid. OK fine, I won’t eat the berries, I’ll just cut them open, take the seeds out, let them dry, then I’ll roast them, grind them up, pour boiling hot water over them, and then drink the resulting brown liquid. What are you crazy?

You know what else I hate? Coffee cups. Let me get this straight, you make a stupid little paper cup to hold all of that boiling liquid, you pour the hot liquid inside, and then you reach to grab it, realizing that it’s too hot to hold. OK, that might have been an acceptable mistake the first time around. But to keep doing it over and over again? And you get those little sleeves? Hold on, I forgot to say, “there, I said it.” OK, I said it. So here, I’m saying it one more time, those sleeves are stupid. Just make a stronger coffee cup. Don’t take some piece of garbage cardboard and give it to me like, look, this is for you, so you don’t burn your hand. How about just don’t give me a cup of coffee, and don’t talk to me about Starbucks.

And you know what, I said that I hated coffee cups, but I hate all cups. It’s like, here, let me totally insult your intelligence and pour all of this water into some stupid receptacle, because you’re too dumb to figure out how to get that liquid inside of your mouth without me having to literally set it down right in front of you. Oh gee thanks for the cup of water. What, no instruction manual? Whoops, I accidentally poured everything out on the floor instead of in my mouth. Looks like I’m too much of an idiot to know how to use a stupid cup.

There, I said that too. I said it all. And I hate coffee, I hate cups, I said it. There. And I hate water. I hate the fact that we have to drink anything at all. What’s wrong with having a dry mouth? I like having a dry mouth every once in a while. There. It’s like, you ever have a conversation with somebody and they start talking really fast and all of the sudden they spit a little spit bubble in your mouth? I said it. I hate it. There. That would have never happened had humans evolved in such a way that they didn’t constantly need to wet their whistles with stupid liquid water. That’s why, given the option, I’ll always choose the intravenous saline solution. Because, fuck you biology, nobody tells me how to stay hydrated. You tell me what to do and I’ll do the opposite. I just don’t like it. I don’t have to like it. Everybody else likes it? I’m not afraid to go ahead and say it. I hate it. There. I said it. There.

Pass me the ranch

I just love ranch dressing. Pass me the ranch! That’s what I’m always saying, pass me the ranch. It tastes great on everything, chicken nuggets, celery sticks, popcorn, yeah, everybody knows that. That’s what ranch rookies use as a medium to consume their ranch dressing. But when I say it goes good on everything, I mean it. Like I put ranch on everything that I put into my mouth.

ranch dressings

Like even if I need a drink of water. Even if I’m playing basketball or running a race and I’m sweating all over the place and my throat is dry and I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it another second without some serious rehydration, while all of my teammates are running for their water bottles or all of the other runners are slowing it down for one of those Gatorade stops, you’ll still hear me saying, “Pass the ranch.”

Because ranch has water in it. Everything has water in it. It’s basic physics. Water is one of the building blocks of everything. Right? So the trick in a situation where you really need some water it to just put down a ton of ranch dressing, like three or four bottles. And while I’ve been known to occasionally put my lips straight to the bottle, it’s really not in line with the spirit of ranch dressing, which by its nature, kind of suggests needing something to eat it with.

Usually something flavorless is better, like that celery stick I was talking about earlier. But there are so many tasteless, bland foods out there that make perfect vehicles for ranch consumption in heavy quantities. Lice rice cakes. Man, you get a solid enough rice cake, that thing can hold like half a bottle, maybe more if you’ve got a steady pour.

Or you know what’s a really professional ranch move? You go to an Asian grocery store, you buy some plain white soy paper, I think they use it for sushi or something, I don’t know. You moisten it slightly, I’m talking just moist enough so you can form it into a round cup without breaking. You make a bunch of these rounds, like one inch, two inches in diameter, you fill them with ranch and then stick two of them together to make a ball. Booyah, instant ranch bomb. One day I want to get in touch with one of those paintball manufacturers. Wouldn’t it be a cool idea to make like ranch paintballs? Because honestly, it’s one of the main reasons why I’ve never been paintballing: how are you supposed to make sure your ranch doesn’t get contaminated with paint? Ranchball, it’s going to happen sooner or later.

Or sometimes I like to go to restaurants that I know don’t serve ranch. I sit at the table and order a whole bunch of food, like chicken fingers, and fries, and onion rings, and more fries, and then when everything comes out, I’m like, hey waitress, where’s the ranch? I don’t even give her a chance to tell me that they don’t have ranch, I just keep peppering her with requests. Where’s the ranch? Bring me some extra ranch. Did you get that ranch yet? All while she’s still standing there passing out the chicken fingers and fries.

And then when she says they don’t have ranch, I like to make a big stink, like what kind of a place doesn’t have ranch? After the manager comes over and apologizes, usually he takes something off the bill, I send him away. And it’s OK, really, because I always have my own ranch with me. I keep a bottle in my jacket and a few emergency packets in my pants pockets. One time one of those packets exploded when I sat down too hard, and my sister, she was like, “Rob, are you still carrying around packets of ranch? I told you that was a bad idea, and now you’ve gone and done it.”

But I don’t mind, I love ranch dressing. What’s a little loose ranch dressing in my pockets? Now every time I go reach for my keys or see if I have any spare change, I can lick my fingers and get a little ranch pick me up. And I get to smell like ranch also. Or, I should say, I get to smell more like ranch, because I always cut my shampoo with just a little bit, just so if I’m working out and I start to sweat, when it drips down from my head to my mouth, it tastes a little ranchy.

Anybody looking for an easy investment? I’ve been trying to get this restaurant off the ground, we’d call either just Ranch, or Rob’s Ranch, I haven’t decided. I don’t want to make people think that I think that I own ranch, like it’s mine. Ranch is for everyone. But anyway, that’s not really important. It would be a regular restaurant, you know, grilled cheese, hamburgers, chicken fingers, but you wouldn’t have to ask any waiters or waitresses for ranch. No, there’s going to be a ranch gun installed next to every seat. So you just ask for some more celery sticks, and that’s it, you don’t have to bother anybody for extra ranch, like even more, like you’re only going to bring me two? You might as well make it four, or eight if you want to save yourself another trip back to the kitchen.

Hit me up, or if you see me on the street, let me know you’re interested. I’m the guy with the I Love Ranch t-shirt on, with the kind of greasy looking pockets, sometimes, usually. Yeah, it’s messy, but what can I say? I just love it. I just love ranch dressing.

Substitute teacher

When I was a little kid, every day I’d wake up for school, it was always the same drill, the same getting up way too early, way earlier than a human child is supposed to naturally wake up. Breakfast was a haze, I always remember sitting around the kitchen table, half-asleep, constantly pissed off at my brother reading the back of the cereal box while eating his cereal, annoyed in the way that an older brother gets watching his younger brother just sitting there content, minding his own business.

It was just a regular school day. Summer vacation would still be months away, even Friday felt impossibly out of reach. All I’d have to look forward to on any given day was going to school, sitting in class, bored, trying not to get in trouble for fidgeting in my seat too much. Then I’d go home, I’d have to do my homework, help set the table for dinner, and then it’d be bedtime.

But every once in a while the universe would hand me a present, would break up the monotony of the school year with its routines and assignments and homework. Every now and then I’d arrive at school, I’d line up in the cafeteria to wait for the teachers to bring us into the classrooms, and we’d walk down the hallway and I’d see all of my classmates entering up ahead.

Something would be different. I could hear giggling, euphoria. Whereas normally the chatting would be silenced by our teacher immediately upon walking through the door, this time something was definitely different, instead of shutting up, everybody was getting louder. What was going on? Who was inside?

And I could already sense it, that our teacher was out, that, for whatever reason, maybe she was sick, maybe she just took a personal day, it doesn’t matter, she wasn’t there. It would be a substitute teacher. And for the rest of that day anyway, all bets were off.

My school had a rotating cast of subs. The best was Mrs. Tackish. She should have been our regular teacher. She loved kids. She loved us. While our regular teachers would yell, scream, “Stop laughing! Get in your seats this second!” Mrs. Tackish would welcome us to the classroom with a huge smile, a, “Good morning children! I’m so happy to be substituting today! We’re going to have so much fun!”

And we would. Of course our regular teacher probably left some bullshit photocopied worksheets for us to fill out, but Mrs. Tackish saw right through all of that nonsense busywork. Let’s play Seven-Up instead. Seven-Up was the greatest, seven kids selected to stand in front of the class, everyone else remained seated, putting their heads down on their desks. With nobody watching, each one of the seven would tap someone on the head. A hand was raised to indicate you’d been tapped. Then the seven lined up back at the front and each of the seven who’d been chosen got one chance to correctly guess who had been the tapper. If you got it right, congratulations, you got to take a turn up front.

Or there’d be hangman. It’s actually not that great of a game. I mean, not for an adult. Recently I found myself at work, it was dead and so a bunch of us started playing hangman. The category was movies, my coworker put five dashes and then three dashes. He showed it to me and I immediately said, Cabin Boy, to which he stared at me in disbelief for like a while, because how did I get it so quickly, with no letters?

But in grammar school? Hangman was the shit. It was all about putting things up there that the teacher had no idea about, like names of cartoon characters, weird little inside jokes. Under normal circumstances, mild giggling would be acceptable while playing hangman, but with Mrs. Tackish, even a full-blown uproar was tolerated.

Unfortunately, The Tackish (as we referred to her with utmost reverence) wasn’t always available to sub. In that case, our school would default to the B-team, which included the recent college grads still looking for teaching jobs, a bunch of retired nuns who used to teach school decades ago or, if things were really bad, somebody’s mom or dad would have to fill in. I always felt really bad for whoever wound up having to sit there while their parent pretended to be a teacher. It was painfully obvious how bad of a teacher impersonation they were performing, and everyone would make fun of that kid for at least two weeks, how he had to sit there and either call the teacher mom or Mrs. and then his own last name.

I wish we could have subs in the adult world. I wish that I’d show up for work some random das and instead of my regular boss there’d be a sub, and even better, it would be Mrs. Tackish. I’m a waiter, and so tables would start complaining about this and that, and instead of me having to explain the situation without upsetting anybody in charge, I could just go to the Tackish and laugh, like, hey Tackish, get a load of these clowns at table twenty-five. And she’s go, “Oh Rob!” like trying to be in charge, but really just getting a huge kick out of it, out of all of us, just goofing around and having a great day.