Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Plain Brown Wrapper

It all started with Charles Atlas. Remember Charles Atlas and his Dynamic Tension exercise system? Did you send away for it? I did, and it arrived in a plain brown envelope. All of the exercises were demonstrated by Mr. Atlas himself, who was wearing nothing but a thong.

Now that I look back at this moment in my life, the creepy factor is way up there. A man, who died in 1972, sent me a book of exercises two years after his death, and he was wearing a thong in all of the pictures because as he put it in the booklet, “You should work out in the nude, so you can see all your muscles.” Was he once an assistant football coach? Amazingly, this man was never arrested!

If someone today started a business where he sent pictures of himself working out in a thong to a bunch of boys, advising them to work out naked … well, we all know how that would turn out.

I will bet more than two-thirds of the boys who ordered the Charles Atlas system were no more than fourteen years old. Therefore, in bedrooms all over the country, pre- and mid-pubescent boys were performing the Charles Atlas system behind closed bedroom doors, wearing nothing but a determined look. How many mothers walked in on their sons mid-workout of the day, or as Cross-fitters call it, WOD?

I don’t know what would be worse, being caught by your mother lifting weights naked in your bedroom or jerking off to her latest issue of Redbook? Martha Stewart gets me hot.

I didn’t stop with Charles Atlas. I also ordered the Universal Bodybuilding System because the guy in the advertisement in my DC Comics was big and ripped and the ad claimed good abs led to good digestion. I have always had a Jewish stomach, so this was a selling point for me. Like the Charles Atlas porn … I mean workout, the Universal Bodybuilding System also arrived in a plain brown envelope. However, it didn’t arrive when promised. I checked the mail before everyone everyday, and it never arrived.

Then my brother said to me, “I hear a lot of guys at school are getting the Universal Bodybuilding System in the mail.” Not only did he intercept the envelope, he opened it!

At that moment, I learned the lesson of the plain brown envelope and the nosy brother. For more than a decade, I didn’t order anything else that would appear suspicious … until ….

When I moved out of the house, my brother and I were living together, and I ordered my first pornography. Keep in mind this was before the Internet. Back then, we flipped through real pages. My brother was home when the mail arrived, and I immediately took my plain brown envelope upstairs to my bedroom. He kept asking me what was in the envelope, and I wouldn’t answer. He found the Universal Bodybuilding materials and opened them, so he had enough information for a lifetime as far as I was concerned.

Later, I took my envelope with me, got into my car then drove over to the K-Mart parking lot. There, I sat in my car, and I experienced gay porn for the first time. Wow, I am now realizing how creepy that was. I was reading porn in a 1971 Plymouth Valiant Scamp (dark blue with a black vinyl roof if you are wondering) in a parking lot with all the windows rolled up.

It is a good thing I didn’t order videos. Hooking up our Betamax and TV to the cigarette lighter would have been a bitch. Today, cars have DVD players, which makes being creepy in a K-Mart parking lot that much easier. Thank God, none of my cars today even have electric windows. I can resist temptation.

As the years moved on, and my social life became less active, I still occasionally ordered something that came in a plain brown wrapper, but the only print portions of the materials were the instructions.

Like you never ordered an adult toy. Get over yourself.

With the occasional purchase of personal exercise equipment comes the dilemma of where to store such items. If you have a dog, as I always did, you need to keep your personal items where they won’t pick one up and trot it out during a Thanksgiving dinner.

“What does Daisy have in her mouth?”

“It looks like a dildo ... I didn’t know they came in that color.”

“That’s gotta hurt.”

Here is a bit of advice. Do not put your toys in your night stand. Condoms and lube are OK, but not toys. When you do get lucky enough to actually have sex with another human being in the room and not a battery operated friend, you don’t want to open up a drawer and display your toy box. All the questions about this and that and “how does that work” and “isn’t that too big” and “where did you find that” will spoil the mood. Just saying.

Also, once you are done, put it away. I once left a chrome cock ring out on my dresser. A neighbor wanted to see my new bedroom curtains. She asked what the cock ring was. I told her it was a crankshaft bearing for my 1959 Rambler then I immediately shoved it into a drawer. It is a good thing I am a fast thinker, and thank God, she wasn’t a mechanic. Later, I laughed at the fact that I said crankshaft.

I never had a blow-up doll, so I have no advice on where you are to hide Emma. But, don’t pinch her tits, for she will fart then fly out the window. That is the punch line of a joke about two Puerto Ricans in a whorehouse my father couldn’t tell in less than twenty-five minutes because he would be laughing so hard.

All this reminds me of when we had to “de-homo” the house when my ex’s mother came to visit. She knew we were together, but she didn’t need to see any of the accessories our living arrangement required. I am full of euphemisms today. What is this? 1967?

In other words, she didn’t need to see all the toys, leather, chains and other paraphernalia two big horny fags needed to spice up their pig-inspired sex life. And if you are wondering, none of it worked. We barely made it past vanilla. I think we once achieved Jamocha. Unfortunately, my favorite is pistachio.

A few years ago, a new toy was introduced called the Fleshlight. If you have not seen the Fleshlight, let me describe it for you. Inside a plastic casing that resembles an old fashioned flashlight (the kind that used to take three D batteries, hence the name Fleshlight if you are slow today) is an insert made of a material that is a combination of foam, neoprene and left over flesh from ritual circumcisions. The “opening” is either shaped like an ass or a vagina.

A straight friend of mine was ordering one, and he asked why ass was five dollars more than vagina. The best reply I had at the moment was “shit costs more.” I was not in my best form that day.

This toy has not only found favor with gay men, who are willing to spend five dollars more for ass, but also the vagina version, as well as the recently added mouth version, are popular among my second best demographic – straight men. I know this because I have advised several straight friends on the correct model for their needs as well as how to care for their new friends.

Herein lies the problem. The material that is used to create this most lifelike and pleasurable toy needs to be taken care of better than an insecure girlfriend with special needs. One can only use a water-based lubricant. Leave the baby oil for massage purposes. Every once in a while, you can put corn starch inside to keep it soft and reduce friction. I wonder if corn starch works in a … nevermind.

In addition, and this is the best part, it must be washed in plain warm water without soap and air-dried separately – fake flesh and plastic that is, meaning pull the fun part out of the plastic casing and put both on the counter in case you are still not keeping up with me.

As I told you, the Fleshlight is as big as an old fashioned flashlight. If you live alone, this is not too much of a problem because you don’t run the risk of having someone see your toy on the kitchen counter. I once left mine out to dry and forgot about it. Curiously, my dog walker never asked me about it. Maybe she ordered one. She and her husband do love buying stuff online. 

If you are married and you ordered one for your own personal enjoyment, you are going to need to make plans.

After discussing the care of the product with my straight friend, he almost cancelled the order. But, I helped him solve his problem. I said order a toy that will rock her world, then tell your wife, “Look what I got for us to enjoy!” It worked.

What would straight men do without me?

Did our parents have these problems?

Do you have better sex when you’re alone? Follow me, join me. Buy my book by clicking here

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Whatever Happened to Class?

This morning while I was waiting on the platform for a train, a young man walked by wearing an A-shirt (some call them wife beaters, but I would never use that term … publicly), blue boxer briefs, and jeans. How did I know he was wearing blue boxer briefs? His tank top was tucked into the briefs, and his pants were hanging so low that I could not only see the brand of underwear, but also I could see the crotch flap. I couldn’t figure out what statement he was making or why he bothered putting on pants. Is there no more stupid style in the world than wearing your pants below your ass?

I wish this were a passing fad, but I remember the wearing the baggy pants down past the ass thing happening during my last year of teaching high school English, and I have not been in a classroom in twenty years! Yes, folks, this whole show your ass in public crap has been going on for more than two decades. That means we have kids and their parents dressing like this.

There are published studies that talk about how a whole generation of men will have hip problems from trying to walk with their pants below their hips. What is fun is watching them run from the police on Cops. One hand is holding up the pants and the other is trying to grab the fence, so they can hop over. They never do.

I really don’t get it. Apparently it started with kids wanting to show their support for their peers in prison whose pants didn’t fit. Lately, it has been theorized that prisoners whose pants were hanging low were the ones who took it up the ass. Unfortunately, even that bit of knowledge doesn’t seem to deter kids from showing their asses in public.

A kid once made a comment about my dog being so small and gay, and I turned around and said, “You know that wearing your pants like that means you like a hot cock up your ass.” His friends laughed, and he was mortified. Curiously, he continued to wear his pants below his ass.

Sadly, the days of seeing a hot ass in a pair of tight jeans are long gone. Even those who wear their jeans cinched at the waist, wear hip huggers, so when they bend over, we get a coin slot, or in my case, it would be a credit card machine. It is no longer plumber’s crack; it’s everyone’s crack. Thank God, I don’t own a pair of jeans.

Women aren’t excused because as I was walking up the escalator, I had the privilege of checking out a large woman’s thong. Usually, I get a view of bunched up granny panties courtesy of low cut jeans and a really big tuchus.

If all of us just walked around naked, that would be fine, but instead we are showing off our underwear, and usually it isn’t underwear I want to see.

In my day, and I love saying in my day, we didn’t show our bra straps; we didn’t even show our jock straps! Olivia on Jerseylicious wears her bra as if it were a top! Even at the gym, this wearing of the pants below the ass thing is part of everyday workout wear. Not only are you showing me your underwear, but also, I have to sit on that piece of equipment after you did your business with only a thin layer of cotton between you and the vinyl. There aren’t enough wipes to erase that image from my mind.

Have you noticed they also wear the nastiest underwear? If you are going to show me your briefs, the least you could do is put on a clean pair. Yccchhhhh.

There are times when I am walking down the street, and I want to yell, “Pull up your goddam pants!”

However, it doesn’t stop at baggy pants. Let’s talk about nose picking.

My father said that to get a license to drive in Virginia, where I grew up, you had to steer the car, shift gears, and pick your nose at the same time. Well, Virginia, it looks as if your version of the driver’s test is now used from coast to coast.

In my day, and I love saying in my day, we were discreet when picking our noses. You had to flip the couch completely over to see where we hid our buggers. Now, drivers sit at stoplights with their hands so far up their nostrils, you can hardly see their elbows. And, these cruddy bastards make no apologies. Keep your windows closed, or they will flick a bugger right into your passenger compartment or worse, hit you with a zinger while you are in the crosswalk. Funny how the kid in fifth grade who ate buggers is no longer the grossest thing.

A friend of mine finds people who blow their noses at the dinner table gross. Well, I think men who close one nostril then blow onto the sidewalk are more disgusting. I have seen this more times than I care to recall. Buy a pack of handkerchiefs; they are only five dollars at Walmart!

What is happening to us? What happened to class?

In my day, and I love saying in my day. Women wore hats and gloves when they went out. Men wore a suit to the movies. One never, and I mean never, wore shorts to a restaurant unless he was eating at a tiki bar on a tropical island, and you never wore shorts after sundown. You never wore jeans unless you were doing jeans things. I don’t know what jeans things are because I don’t wear jeans.

I never leave the house without full hair and make-up, except for that one quick run to Lowe’s, and everyone knows how that turned out.

I understand that people like to be more casual these days, but does casual mean we throw all decorum out the window? Apparently so because now people perform their bodily functions just about anywhere.

Once, when I was living in DC, I was walking to synagogue one Friday night when this man raced past me and onto a lawn then behind the bushes, and from what I could hear, and believe me, I heard, he took the nastiest crap of his life – farting and shitting himself a new asshole in the process. I was mortified … and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it.

I could'nt imagine shitting in the bushes. I am not a bear. I don’t even have chest hair. I don’t even fart in front of other people. I will hold a fart until my ears pop before I let one loose in public. Apparently, I am the only member of my family who holds farts. My mother couldn’t walk forward without farting. We were once exiting a restaurant, and she looked over at a guy’s plate and said, “That looks good.” Then she proceeded to fart one continuous fart from his table through the restaurant and into the parking lot.

My father would fart and blame it on an invisible duck.

Lately on every trip home on the Metro, at least one person drops a stink bomb, and usually, not a silent one. My friend Kelvin thinks that public farts are funny. It isn’t funny until the doors open, and you can move to another car. What do these people eat for lunch?

Finally, there is language. I admit I have a mouth that is so dirty sometimes, I wouldn’t kiss your mother with it, but I have never stood in a grocery store and yelled the f-word to someone across the aisle as if I were just saying peanuts. For those who don’t know, the f-word is fuck. I always cringe when there is an old woman standing there, and some teenager is dropping one f-bomb after another.

“Bitch, why are you buying that fucking brand of detergent? That mother-fucking shit won’t get dirt out of anything. Wasting my goddam money. Shit.”

The first time I heard my mother say it, she had just mopped the kitchen floor, and my father walked across it with dirty shoes. “Goddam it, Arnold, I just mopped the fucking floor.” I excused her because I think my mother only mopped the floor three times in twenty-two years.

I just wish I could understand what happened to class. It just doesn’t make any fucking sense to me, and just one more time, “Pull up your goddam pants!”

Do you fart in public? Is your underwear falling down? Do you drop f-bombs? Follow me, join me. Buy my book by clicking here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

In the Buff

I recently participated in one of those team building exercises, but I can’t remember the names of the people in my group, nor will I ever see them again.

In one of the activities, we had to answer questions about ourselves, and my favorite question came up. How much television do you watch in a week? Of course, I told the truth – thirty-three hours. You should have seen the looks on all the other participant’s faces. Then, I said, “No one ever admits to watching television, but let’s do the math.” I then asked them the following questions:

Do you watch the news in the morning? Answer: Well, while I am getting dressed, I have it on, but I am not actually sitting in front of the television. If the TV is on, you are watching.

Do you watch the news at night? Answer: Well, I am making dinner, but I am not actually sitting in front of the television. If the TV is on, you are watching.

Do you DVR favorite programs? Answer: Well, I do DVR The Closer, Rizzoli and Isles, Castle, Royal Pains, Jerseylicious, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Hot in Cleveland, Happily Divorced, The Exes, 20/20, Sixty MinutesStop, stop, you have just admitted to watching almost nine hours of television plus the news, which adds another ten hours, so you are up to nineteen, and you haven’t even mentioned Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, which would add another seven!

When all was said and done, half of the participants in the group actually watched more television a week than I do, and those were the ones who gave me the looks of dismaytion when I told the truth. Do you like my new word – dismaytion: of or being dismayed. Use it in a sentence.

Since I don’t care what other people think, I don’t lie when it comes to what others considering embarrassing questions. For example, I relayed a story to a co-worker about how I passed a Popeye’s while walking home in a snow storm and bought a family size chicken dinner, eight pieces, eight biscuits, and three sides then went home, and in six hours consumed the entire meal, mostly over the sink while throwing the bones down the disposal. He likes telling people this story. Everyone has a story like this, but how many of you would admit it? Hardly anyone will admit what they actually ate in a given day, unless they are on Weight Watchers and counting points, but I’ll bet some of them lie, too.

For all of you embarrassed to tell the truth, I have eaten an entire Bundt cake in an hour. I have eaten a dozen donuts in an afternoon. I have consumed a half gallon of ice cream while watching Extreme Makeover, Weight Loss Edition. I once ate an entire box of corn flakes for breakfast. Do you know what I call those whole rotisserie chickens they sell for $5.99 at the supermarket on Fridays? Lunch. The next question you may ask is how much time have I spent on the toilet in my lifetime. I buy toilet paper in bulk.

I am eating while I write this. I have not missed a meal since 1962, and that was only because it was my Bris or Brit Milah. Having one’s foreskin removed affects one’s appetite.

Speaking of my Bris, have you ever calculated how many people have seen you naked? How many doctors, nurses, teammates, tricks, Mohels, cable guys, neighbors, pizza delivery boys … over a weekend, a month, a year, a lifetime? Do you really want to know?

I will make it easier for you by doing my own calculation.

Let’s start with my birth. It was in a Catholic hospital, Mary Immaculate in downtown Newport News. So my mother’s obstetrician was the first to see me naked. Interesting story (or not), I was his first full term birth, and he predicted I would be born on Thanksgiving Day 1962. He was right. I was so large that my mother had a seventeen-stitch episiotomy and had to sit in a chair with a fan blowing on her nether regions to aid in healing. Her friend, Bootsie, came to visit and fainted when she got a glimpse of my mother’s stitched up snatch. I love alliteration.

As a result of giving birth to what was essentially a toddler with a very large head and shoulders, my Bris was held at the hospital. So, I figure about ten nuns, they love white fish salad, the doctor, the Mohel of course, and all the guests, probably around twenty-five. If you’ve never been to a Bris, you must know it is customary to be sure the Mohel does not cut on a bias, so everyone watches.

A man was standing at a urinal and said to his friend who was urinating at the adjacent urinal, “I know who circumcised you. Mohel Greenberg in Chicago. He cuts on an angle, and right now you are pissing on my shoe.”

That means by eight days, I had been seen naked by at least thirty-seven people not including my family.

Growing up, I was told by several of my mother’s friends that they had witnessed, participated in or actually changed my diapers, so let’s add five to the number, bringing us to forty-two. Add my family, and that brings us to forty-seven. Don’t you love knowing that your Aunt Anita changed your diaper?

I went to day camp and overnight camp, was on swim and football teams, so I was seen by peers and counselors and coaches and teammates, and unfortunately, I saw peers and counselors and coaches and teammates (they never look like the ones in pornos), so that brings us to around … are you ready for this ... one-hundred-fifty, and this is before I had my first sexual encounter!

There have been doctors and nurses, so we have now hit the one-hundred-seventy mark. Oh hell, I had surgery twice, so let’s make it one-hundred-eighty-five.

Intermediate school gym class is the most interesting. I remember before entering eighth grade worrying about having to shower with other guys. Our biggest concern then was having pubic hair. My friend, Scott, asked me if I had pubic hair yet because he was worried about looking like an eight-year-old Ken Doll. My how times have changed. Now many guys who work out, both gay and straight, shave everything, so they look like eight-year-old Ken Dolls. I have never had a lot of hair, so I don’t have the urge to shave what little I have. I also worry about guys with smooth legs – it looks creepy to me. Anyway, if I add up two years of intermediate school and three years of high school gym classes, that brings us to three-hundred-ten, and I still had not had a sexual encounter yet.

As an adult, I joined a gym, which had open showers. This is difficult, because five showers a week, a rotation of regulars with newbies and resolutionaries each January, and the occasional pervert, I think we have finally hit the five-hundred mark.

Am I making you wonder about your own numbers? I reached five-hundred without having a sexual encounter, or at least any I will admit to, considering my gym had open showers. Nuff said!

Now, we need to include random sightings of Sasquatch, or as I refer to him – me. I am sure in any of my apartments I was seen walking around in the buff by pedestrians or people in buildings across alleyways. In Rockville, my apartment had a view of the Bank of American office building. Anyone on their upper floors could see directly into my apartment, and the best part was that if I left my bathroom door open, they could get a clear view of me taking a dump, which as you know from my food confessions above, was quite often. With twenty-six years of apartments, I will bring the total to five-hundred-fifty.

I have vacationed twice in clothing optional resorts, so that brings us to six-hundred.

Can you believe it? Without including sexual encounters, I admit that six-hundred people have seen me naked.

What is your number?

And, if you want to know the number including all tricks and relationships, sorry guys, here is where even I won’t tell you the truth! Besides, I don’t think my keyboard could handle all those zeros.

If you like what you just read, follow me, or better yet, BUY MY BOOK by clicking here! The Gay Jew in the Trailer Park on Amazon Kindle now; hard copies available in September 2012.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It Was a Joke Dammit!

As defined by the Internet, and if it is on the internet, it must be true, a sense of humor is “the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous.” I would like to add that a sense of humor is the ability to take a joke as well as make one.

My favorite is the dry sense of humor, which is defined by the internet, again totally true, “as people who don't get jokes or don't find them funny even if they do get them.” In other words, no sense of humor.

Recently, I had a conversation with my friend, Ed. Actually, when you have a conversation with Ed, he talks, and you listen and interrupt every few minutes, so he is sure you are still there and breathing. Or, you just breathe heavily; he likes that. Ed has a great sense of humor, so he will find this to be funny, or he will never speak to me again, but Ed is chatty, so that will never happen.

Where the hell was I?

Oh, yes, I was listening to Ed on the phone and breathing heavily, when the subject of a mutual acquaintance came up. I then interrupted to say that this individual takes everything I say seriously. Ed said, “He has a dry sense of humor.” I disagreed violently, hung up the phone, went to a bar, ordered a drink then called Ed back.

I said, “A dry sense of humor is just another way of saying someone has no sense of humor and by default, no personality either.” (Please see the definition above.)

People with a dry sense of humor have an advantage. They get hired easily, move up the corporate ladder, and offend no one. When they do quit their jobs, no one can remember their actually being employed by the company, so references are sent to HR, who can only confirm they showed up and cashed their paychecks, but they cannot provide a physical description of the employee.

Those of us who like to make jokes rarely get promoted because someone will be offended at something we said on a daily basis, or our co-workers like having us around so much that they do everything possible to keep us in our present positions. At least that is what I have convinced myself. I have been in an entry-level job for twenty-five years, so I must be really funny.

People with no personality are a curiosity to me. All seriousness aside, how do they manage to have the longest lasting relationships? Answer: They are usually married to some loud talker with a big personality and a wild sense of humor – or just a loud mouth.

So, where is my humorless lump of flesh/life partner?

In reading what I have written so far, I realize none of this is funny, but I will continue anyway because there is a point in here somewhere.

There are all kinds of funny people. My favorites are the unintentionally funny.

Grandma, my father’s mother, was unintentionally funny. When a young couple moved in next door to her, she said to them, “You must have bought a new record; you were playing it all night long.”  When she was in assisted living, another resident took a liking to her, and he would sing whenever she walked by. One day, he wasn’t singing, and she asked why. He said it was his day off. She said, “You’re off every day.”

Nana, mother’s mother, had no sense of humor. None. My father, of course, took advantage of this. Once when she was visiting, she disappeared for about an hour and when she returned, she said she stayed in her room because she thought we had company. My father said, “How do we imitate company.” Later that same visit, she was standing in the kitchen holding a broom, and he said, “Leaving so soon?”

Dad thought he had the greatest sense of humor because he would make fun of everyone, but God forbid anyone should make fun of him. You know the type, can dish it out but can’t take it, and as I have noted before, he and my mother would accuse everyone else of not being able to take it.

Speaking of Mother. She had a wicked sense of humor. Mother would say something to you that would make you laugh, and an hour later, you would realize you had just been insulted. Or, if she was in a particularly wicked mood, she would just insult you directly with a mean joke. She asked to see a friend of mine’s necklace, then said, “It is amazing what they can do with aluminum these days.” It was gold. Mother once said to my sister-in-law, “I am glad you found a flattering shade of lipstick.” She wasn’t wearing lipstick.

However, I have a marvelous sense of humor, which brings light and joy to all who encounter me and my witty remarks. Oh, how I crack myself up.

I have been told I have a very strong personality, which goes with my being a number eleven (read my former posts to see what a number eleven is). I have also been told that my humor can grate at times. Or is it great at times? And contrary to popular belief, I can take a joke and often make jokes at my own expense. A former boyfriend once told me that I was no fun because I never gave anyone a chance to make fun of me, for I would beat them to the punch. For example:

At work, they asked if any of us had a picture of ourselves at five years old for an Every Child Deserves a Fifth Birthday campaign. I asked, “If I give you one of mine, can you scan a cave drawing? Will you be able to crop out the spear?”

Last weekend, I was at the beach, and four Green Peacers (is that the right term) tried to throw me back into the ocean.

Whenever I go into an all-you-can-eat restaurant, the owner cries.

When I sing, cats commit suicide.

If you really want to see how funny I am, have sex with me.

As I get older, hair is growing in all the wrong places. I now sleep with curlers in my ears.

I walked by a plastic surgery center last week, and the receptionist grabbed me. I then spent six hours there, and that was just for the estimate.

Stop me. Please. Seriously, stop me.

Many years ago, when I was working at Sammy & Nick’s Steak House in Williamsburg, this particularly disagreeable waitress said to me, “Do you ever say anything serious.” I said, “Yes. You’re ugly and you smell like a goat ... and you may want to reconsider that blue eye shadow.”

The point is I can be serious, but if you have no sense of humor, and by default, no personality, you will not be able to tell the difference. You will either take me totally seriously or think everything I say is a joke. More often than not, you will be offended, which is a win-win for me because I love nothing better than offending people. Political correctness is for pussies.

For the record, I did not spend six hours at the plastic surgery center; it was three. I also don’t sleep with curlers in my ears; I braid the hairs. The picture of me at five years old is not a cave drawing; it’s a daguerreotype.

Cats may hate my singing, but dogs love it when I belt out a Harold Arlen tune. Those were Esmeralda's favorites. 

If you have a sense of humor, follow me, join me, forward me, buy my book, The Gay Jew in the Trailer Park on Kindle and available in hard copy September 2012, and that is no joke!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Let Me Talk to My Manager

There are certain milestones in your life that should bring you much joy, but for many of us, they bring nothing but frustration. Have you ever met a happy bride? Have you ever met a well-rested new parent who wasn’t covered in either apple sauce or poop? How about a new homeowner? Actually, you have met that one. I truly enjoyed the home buying experience, but then again, I didn’t buy an overpriced fixer upper in an unfinished neighborhood created by a bankrupt developer.

The most common joyful moment is the purchasing of your first new car. I have owned sixteen cars, but only four were new. The first three I bought at a family dealership, and the fourth was bought when I walked from Car Max, where I test drove a hunk of crap, to several dealerships down Route 355 in Rockville on a cold, rainy day. I think I bought it because I was tired and just wanted to go home.

Although I belong to and am president of a gay car club, I hate the new car buying experience. I always feel as if I am either being ripped off or I am not getting what I want – especially when it comes to the color.

Car number one and car number four were lemons. Let me tell you about car number one. The year was 1986, and I was a young lad making less than $20,000 a year and in need of a new car. I wanted a Plymouth Reliant. What I ended up with was a Chrysler LeBaron coupe. It had a vinyl roof and opera windows, and it was burgundy. I was talked into buying it because I was apparently getting a Chrysler for a Plymouth price. I really wanted the Reliant. I still want it.

The moment I drove off the lot, the speedometer quit working. That was just the beginning. Then the paint started peeling off the trim around the vinyl roof. It developed a rough idle they could not fix. One night a few months after I bought it, I was out with my friend Sharon, and this lovely car decided to shut off completely on the interstate. It completely shut down – everything! I remember Sharon saying, “I don’t think it is supposed to do that.” I cannot repeat what I said.

As it turned out, every time you stayed at fifty-five miles per hour for more than five seconds, the computer would completely shut down the car. You coasted to the shoulder then played with the ignition switch until the car decided to run again. The real problem is that when Lee Iacocca said, “If you find a better car, buy it,” I didn’t listen.

Would you believe of the sixteen cars I have owned, seven were Chrysler products? Apparently, I am into BDSM.

The last new car I bought was a Scion Xb or is it xB? Who cares? I really liked this car until it developed a problem Toyota would not acknowledge. The windshields would break, and every time, it would develop the same L-shape crack in the same spot. The dealership kept insisting a rock must have hit the windshield. I could believe that twice, but six times! Also, the windshield would be fine, then in the morning, I would get in my car and when I looked forward, I would see an L-shape crack.

After having the windshield replaced six times, the frame around the windshield started to rust, and rust was developing around the rear quarter windows as well. When the temperature was below forty degrees, the windshield washer and radio would not work. Why? Because there was a leak around the windshield where the rust had developed. Toyota finally admitted to the problem and reimbursed customers for two windshields, but by then I had sold the car.

When it comes to cars, I am old school. I really don’t like Japanese cars. I prefer American.

I decided at that point that I would just drive vintage for a while until a new car came along that just blew me away … or at least came in green. Speaking of which – what in the hell happened to color? Every car you see on a dealer’s lot is white, black and silver. Who wants a white, black or silver car? Apparently, everyone. And speaking of the dealer’s lot, what happened to build sheets? Now you buy whatever they have in stock, which brings us to white, black and silver.

If I had it my way, I would build a time machine, go back to 1960, buy an Ambassador by Rambler Custom Country Club hardtop station wagon in pink with white accents and transport it back to the present. But, I did not do well in physics in high school, so I am stuck with black, white and silver.

Driving a thirty-year-old station wagon was fun until little things started to go like the water pump and the transmission. For the first time since 1986, I had to call a tow truck for one of my cars, and he knocked off one of my hubcaps, which are almost impossible to replace on my AMC. The time had come for me to buy a new car and let the AMC rest and be used for Sunday drives and car club events.

Unfortunately, that meant I had to visit a dealership where I would hear those words I cannot stand, “Let me talk to my manager.” You know what they are really doing. They are out back having a cigarette while they talk about last night’s game or the tits on the customer who just paid too much for that minivan. Then he comes back and says, “This is what we can do.”

Once in Florida, a salesman made me wait three hours while he talked to his manager about an Escort wagon. He had the keys to my Plymouth Colt, which I was going to trade. When he finally returned and said, “This is what we can do.” I said, “You can give me back my keys and stick that white station wagon up your ass.” I kept the Colt another two years.

As you can see, I will walk. Over the last few months, I have visited a couple of dealerships and test driven a few cars. All were white. Ucchh.  And in each instance, when they came back with a price, I would ask, “Do you have any other colors?” I never got a straight answer because they were so intent on reducing their inventory, so I walked.

What I really wanted was a compact pick-up truck in any color but white or silver. I was even considering blue, a color I hate, but my best cars were blue, and my worst were burgundy. Oh, the AMC wagon is burgundy. I should have known better.

So, I did what everyone does today; I began with internet searches for compact pick-ups. It turns out only one company actually makes a real compact pick-up – General Motors. I have never owned a GM. My family once owned a Corvair – a car I loved.

The worst part about internet searches is that before you can check the inventory, you have to give your contact information. Some people set up a temporary email address to avoid the annoying sales people. I used one of my alias emails and names from my erotic writing work. Little did they know a pornographer was shopping for a truck.

Then the emails came. Was it this annoying for our parents? No. Back in the day, you dealt with one dealer. If your family drove Chevys, they always drove Chevys, and bought them from the same dealer. You went to visit Martin and told him what you wanted. If he didn’t have it on the lot, you filled out a build sheet, put down a deposit, then waited a few weeks for your car. Or you bought a demo. Remember demos? My father bought two – a 1972 Mercury Comet and a 1967 Mercury Monterey, the prettiest car he ever owned.

Also, dealerships were family owned, and they only owned one dealership. Now they own several and sell different makes under one roof. They no longer build a car for you, but they claim they can find one. Yeah right, if they really try. And, it will only come in white.

The biggest problem is that I am not a dealer’s favorite customer. For one, I don’t need a luxury car, nor do I need the top of the line model of any car that interests me or all the bells and whistles that go with it. To me that is just more crap to break down. I just need air conditioning, a radio, a steering wheel, and pedals. And, I want any color but white.

One dealership contacted me and said they had two trucks meeting my criteria, so I called them. Here is where it got interesting. They actually did not have what I wanted but located them at another dealership of which it was not clear if they were affiliated or not. Then she said it, “Let me talk to my manager.” She then told me that in order to have a truck for me to test drive, I would have to commit to buying it. What? I have to commit to buying something I have not seen or test driven before you will have it ready for me to see or test drive? I guess the economy is so good you can dick around a customer. I said no thank you.

Another dealer had a similar model in stock, but he wanted to have me test drive a bigger truck. Did he not hear me? My driveway is too small for a big truck, and I didn’t want a big truck. I wanted a compact truck. Why can’t I ever get what I want?

This, my fellow Americans, is why I continued to drive a thirty-year-old station wagon.

Would you believe I once considered being a new car salesman? I would be lousy at it. For one thing, I would never try to talk a customer into something they didn’t want, and I would rather try to save them money than make myself money. I hate watching people spend too much money on something. I would say things like, “Do you really need to have heated seats? Wear thicker pants? Why do you need a navigation system? You will find it eventually. Why do you need On Star? If you get in an accident in this thing, you won’t survive the impact.”

My brother, on the other hand, loves to spend other people’s money on new cars, so he was determined to see me in a new compact pick-up. I was ready to give up when he sent me a link to a one-year-old GMC Canyon with only 300 miles on it that someone won in a raffle and refused to pay the taxes on it. Seriously, the taxes could not have been more than $1,100. For $1,100 you would have had a new truck. I have never won a raffle, but if I did win a truck in a raffle, I would sell my virtue to raise the money for the taxes. “Just leave a hundred on the dresser and toss me my cell phone.” Eleven tricks, new truck. Simple math.

I called the dealer because the other thing I found was that their website might indicate a vehicle is in their inventory, but when you visited them, there was no such vehicle, nor was there ever such a vehicle, except in white.

The salesman, who turned out to be the actual sales manager, said he would walk outside and touch the truck to be sure it was still there. I knew I would like him when he said that. The truck was there. I made an appointment to go see it.

When I arrived, the truck was out front ready for me to drive. The salesman, whose name was Ernest, impressed me right away. He realized I knew what I wanted, and he didn’t try to sell me up. I test drove the truck, which did not have power windows or door locks, but had all the other conveniences that are now standard equipment. It didn’t even have the styled aluminum wheels. It had steel wheels and what we called in my day, button hubcaps or poverty caps. Not once did he say, “Have you considered the Sierra or a 2012 Canyon Crew Cab?”  As it turned out, he also drove a compact pick-up that although a different make was similar to what I was considering and understood a customer who just wanted a basic compact truck.  We had a connection, and it doesn’t hurt that straight men between forty and fifty-five are my demographic.  

I made him an offer, and for once I didn’t hear, “Let me talk to my manager.” He was the manager. He accepted it, and an hour later, I was driving home in my new black pick-up.

Ernest didn’t make much of a profit on this truck, but as a good salesman he realized that selling a vehicle and having a happy customer that day was worth it. Also, I would recommend him to a friend.

The other two sales persons, the one who wouldn’t bring in a truck without a commitment and the one who wanted to sell me something I didn’t want, did not sell a truck that day – at least not to me.

When I am in the market for another new car, I will call Ernest. I wonder if he will be working there in twenty years?   

 If you like what you just read, follow me, or better yet, BUY MY BOOK by clicking here! The Gay Jew in the Trailer Park on Amazon Kindle now; hard copies available in September 2012.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Unexpected Goodbye

Esmeralda’s life was never an easy one — until she met me of course. She spent the first eight years in a cage being bred as much as three times a year in a puppy mill. Then, she ended up in a hording situation with aggressive dogs and an obese, chain smoking white woman with mental problems. Then, she was adopted by the Chatty Giant (guess who that is?), who thought it would be cool to move from a luxury apartment to a trailer park. Well, the last two years weren’t so bad, were they?

One morning while walking and looking for just the right spot to pee, Esmeralda collapsed. She wouldn’t get up and was breathing heavily. I thought she was having a heart attack. After a few minutes, she decided to get up and finish the walk. For the rest of the morning, everything seemed fine.

After lunch, she collapsed again and wouldn’t get up, so I carried her back to the house and called the veterinarian.

Unfortunately, her regular doctor was not in, so the doctor on duty examined her and said everything seemed fine, so it must be her back. I argued and said she had developed a cough, and it looked like congestive heart failure. All my dogs have lived to old age, so I have seen all the illnesses and ailments associated with old dogs.

The doctor wouldn’t hear of it, and she put her on Prednisone.

After five days, Esmeralda was miserable. She couldn’t catch her breath, and she was getting bloated.

On Tuesday, July 3, I came home from work early, and this time, she wouldn’t walk at all. I called Mrs. M to come over because I wanted to be sure I was not imagining her symptoms. As soon as she arrived, she confirmed that Esmeralda was not doing well at all even though she was fine during her two times outside. Then Esmeralda tried to stand up but couldn’t and sort of flopped around the room. She let out a scream and pooped all over herself. I dreaded the worst.

I cleaned her up the best I could and drove her to the Baltimore Emergency Animal Hospital.

They were very good and took her back immediately. The veterinarian came out and said they put her in an oxygen crate. I immediately protested and told them she would scream if put in a cage, but they assured me there were no bars. It was a Plexiglas enclosure, and Esmeralda had nested immediately. She then offered to let me come back and see her.

Esmeralda didn’t even react when I came back. She was just so uncomfortable and trying to catch her breath.

The doctor confirmed what I said all along. She was experiencing congestive heart failure. I asked if the Prednisone made it worse, and she said yes.

I was advised to go home and call back in a few hours to see if there was any improvement. Reluctantly, I did. For the first time, I was alone in the house.

At around 10:00 pm, I called back. There was no improvement, and they wanted to keep her overnight.

I prepared for bed, confused as to what to do, since I was used to walking Esmeralda first.

At 10:45 pm, the doctor called me and said she wanted to try another treatment, but I told her to wait, and I would be down in fifteen minutes.

I was dressed and in the car in five minutes, and yes, my hair was done, and my lipstick was on. I may have been distraught, but I was still me!

They immediately took me back, and Esmeralda looked worse. She didn’t even react to my arrival. I asked if she was on a medication that was making her drowsy, but she wasn’t. She was still struggling to breathe.

I then asked the doctor what the prognosis was. I was told that if she pulled out of this, she would no longer be able to walk outside on hot days. Her mobility would be limited, and she might have nine more months, but probably less. If the temperature was higher than seventy degrees, I would need to carry her outside, put her on the grass, and after she did her business, carry her back inside. She would also be on medication for the rest of her short life. In addition, since this had gone on for so long, her heart was becoming more damaged and weak with each passing hour. The doctor was also disappointed in the lack of any improvement in her condition. Esmeralda was not responding. She was clearly suffering.

The entire time I was petting her and the doctor was talking, Esmeralda had no emotional reaction. The look on her face said it all.

I told the doctor that I am a firm believer that if a dog cannot run, jump and play, she does not have a dog’s life. I also am not one to over medicate or put a dog through painful and miserable treatments just to assuage my own guilt or prolong the inevitable and avoid a tough decision. I also know that I would not want a life where I had to be carried everywhere and could not go outside for more than five minutes.

I was the one who had to ask my mother if she wanted a DNR. No one else in my family could handle it. I also have a DNR.

For the second time in my life, I had to make a decision no one should have to make alone. I decided to put Esmeralda out of her misery. The doctor didn’t even argue, and I could tell from her body language and speech that she agreed I was making the right decision.

They had me sign the papers and pay the bill, including the cremation arrangements. I guess it is easier to get money from someone who isn’t hysterically crying.

Then, they carried Esmeralda into the room. She just lay there. No reaction. She was so uncomfortable and struggling so hard to breathe.

Before giving her the second shot, the doctor said to her, “I’m sorry.” I felt more sorry for the doctor than for Esmeralda. My poor baby’s heart was so weak that it took much longer than it did for Serena, two and half years earlier, for the medicine to do the deed.

Then, it was over.

I stayed with her for a few minutes, arranged for her to be cremated then left the room.

There were people in the waiting room who knew what just happened in that room, so I avoided their eyes. While I enjoy being the center of attention and can be a drama queen when appropriate, I do not like pity. I left quickly, got into my car, and cried hysterically for ten minutes.

We had two years and two months together. Two crazy years while I tried my best to show a rescue beagle, I named Esmeralda because she sneezed, that humans can be nice and life can be good outside of a cage.

I never could convince her that window treatments are not the enemy or wall-to-wall carpet is not a lawn.

Ironically, it was on the anniversary of Esmeralda’s first attempt to run away that she left me for good.

Who knew a trailer could be so quiet and lonely.

My friends, Brian and Ed, also lost their rescue dog, Jasmine, just a few hours before Esmeralda. July 3, 2012, was not a good day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Maybe the Mormons Are Right?

Did I get your attention? I became intrigued while riding the train to work late one morning last week. My car decided to quit transmitting – in other words, my transmission quit – and for the first time in thirty-one years, I had to call for a tow truck. After dropping it off at the garage, I rented a car and drove over to the Metro station. Rather than ride with my usual commuters at 7:45 am, I was now in a train filled with tourists at 10:15 am.

While I appreciate all that the tourists do for our economy, I will never appreciate what these morons from the Midwest do in our trains and on our escalators. One family actually walked through the emergency doors between cars, while the train was moving. This was the same group of fat asses who blocked the escalator rather than stand to the right. When the train arrived, they pushed past a blind woman to get on that car they eventually vacated.

The funniest thing is watching them choose a seat. They never sit next to anyone who isn’t white. I guess there are no Asians, Hispanics or Black people in Idaho or wherever they eat three-bean salad the other fifty weeks out of the year. Whenever one sits next to me, I have to stop myself from pulling out my latest copy of Yeshiva Hotties, opening it to the center-fold, and saying in my most fey voice, “Look at the payot on that hunk of kosher salami!” (My Jewish friends will notice my mixed metaphor – the rest of you can look up payot.)

I have decided to take my next vacation in Idaho and be obnoxious and annoying in all their public places next summer. No one will notice.

Where was I? Oh yes, the tourists on the train.

So there I was, trying to read my paper and hearing, not in their inside train voices, “Which stop are we?” “How many stops is that?”  “Why is that man’s skin so dark?”

I looked up and noticed a family standing in front of me (they weren't loud and obnoxious). Unlike most tourist families, this one looked happy. I have mentioned how my friend Chris would always say, “Most divorces happen after a family vacation.” The family was also unusual, consisting of one man, five children and obviously, two wives.

They were not one of your Jeffers compound families. They weren’t wearing Little House on the Prairie clothes and saying "thou" this and "thine" that. The adults were wearing walking shorts and polo shirts, and the kids were dressed like any other American kids. Even more surprising was how attractive they were. He had a shaved head and a beefy football player build, and his youngest child was in his baby backpack (what are those called?). In the right wardrobe, he would be a hit at the Eagle on any given Saturday night. The wives were quite hot and looked similar. I assumed the first wife was the one pushing the more expensive carriage. Both were blonde and looked to be about the same age.

Seeing this family dynamic got me thinking. Why are we so down on polygamy? What mother doesn’t need a little help around the house, and what tired mother just doesn’t want to swing her heels behind her ears some nights and wishes her husband would fulfill his needs in the other bedroom for a change? These guys never have affairs, they just bring home another wife, and when they do, wives one and two say, “I wonder if she does windows?”

Unfortunately, polygamy gets a bad rap in the Bible, but if it hadn’t been for polygamy, there would be no Jews, Muslims or Christians.

In the Bible, Abraham sent his second wife, Hagar, and his son, Ishmael, into the dessert at the urging of his first wife, Sarah. Ironically, Sarah arranged the marriage in the hopes of Hagar giving birth. Abraham was the first husband to say, “I’m so confused; just tell me what you want?”

A few decades later, one of Abraham’s descendants was quoted as saying, “Where did all those fucking Arabs come from?” Blame Sarah.

Jacob married Leah thinking she was Rachel, which is the reason brides must lift their veils and reveal their faces before the groom makes his vow … or vomits. Jacob eventually married Rachel then he treated their son, Joseph, better than the others. His other sons sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt. Then the rest of the family went there, had too many kids, became slaves, then left, became Jews and banned polygamy, eating pork, wearing cotton/poly blends, and other fun things.

Moses led them to the promised land and died before getting onto the tour bus. Then, there were kings and queens, and one of David’s descendants became a carpenter, tore his tunic on the way to synagogue one day and found a tailor, who made him a beautiful blue and white tunic in a few hours, so they opened a store and called it Lord & Tailor.

Had Abraham not married his second wife, we would all be Pharoists today, and cemeteries would be filled with miniature pyramids.

Back to the polygamist family. While I find all those compounds and cults disturbing and disgusting with their child brides and treatment of women, there is another way to look at polygamy.

In the gay world, poly-amorous relationships have existed for a long time. There are couples who bring in a third to add some sizzle, and somehow they make it work. Of course, rarely are there children involved, and the dynamic of three people of the same sex is much different than Jack, Janet and Chrissy sharing an apartment they rent from the Ropers.

Maybe, I have been going about this all wrong all these years. While I have resigned myself to being single to the end, mostly due to the fact that I prefer my own company to that of others, would it make more sense for me to seek a couple instead?

I could go off on my own and not worry about either of them being left out or alone. If I got bored with one, I could hang around the other one. And if I just wasn’t in the mood, I could send one into the other’s bedroom.

There is one problem. I, being a number eleven and, therefore, an alpha, would need to find two betas that have managed to stay together. I could seek out two separate betas and create my own polygamous hell, but that would require more work than seeking out one beta, and we all know how good I am at that.

Oh hell. Screw the whole thing. Observing one happy polygamous triple doesn’t make it the brightest idea. And with my luck, one of my descendants will start his own religion and cause tensions in the Middle West.

If you like what you just read, follow me, or better yet, BUY MY BOOK by clicking here! The Gay Jew in the Trailer Park on Amazon Kindle now; hard copies available in September 2012.