Tuesday, November 19, 2013

That time I traded romantic favors for money

This is my dating life in a nutshell:

The only girl who ever gave me her number without my solicitation was an 18-year-old who was wearing a Sesame Street hat and a pink tutu over her jeans. Though I was not interested, I decided to reward her for her moxy. I texted her.

She never texted me back.

And that's my dating life in a nutshell.

A couple weeks ago I got a text from my friend, Mancub.

Mancub: The photo shoot is at 4.
Me: Beg pardon?
Mancub: The photo shoot for the charity date auction is at 4.
Me: ?
Mancub: Did I not tell you about that?
Me: Guess not.
Mancub: Okay. Well I volunteered you for it. Can you make it to the photo shoot today at 4?
Me: Do I have to dress like Slave Leia?
Mancub: If you're lucky.
Me: I'm in.

I thought the charity was just to get me a date, but apparently it was some sort of canned food drive. All I know is that I was told to show up on a designated street corner dressed in fishnets and leather. Okay, that's not entirely true. We actually met at the Crossroads.

Before I got up to be sold, the computer crashed and my introductory video was lost. So Mancub, the MC, just interviewed me on stage.

He asked me to talk about myself. My mind went blank and all I said was: "I'm Tanner. I'm 23. I'm from Arizona.... that's it." The next question: "Can you do your favorite dance move?" To the horror of all those present, I could.

As I was putting the jig back in gigolo, the bidding began. "One can. Do I hear one can? Anybody? One can? Guys, it's for charity.... Charity suffereth long, and is kind... seeketh not her own. Somebody please!"

A girl raised her hand. Then another raised hers. The bidding took off. To my surprise, several attractive girls bid. Then to my greater surprise, my friend Livia, affectionately known as Voodoo Mama Juju, started bidding, AND THEN NEVER STOPPED.

Let me clarify something. Voodoo Mama Juju received her name after administering witchdoctor potions that almost killed me in an attempt to cure my cold. VMJ is like ten inches taller than me. She is going on a mission in a matter of weeks.  The chances of us dating are slimmer than Billy Graham dating Ozzy Osbourne. Yet, she continued placing bid after bid.


Each time she raised her hand I became more and more concerned. Girl after girl dropped out until it was only VMJ and one other girl left. From the stage my eyes shouted, "LIVIA! STOP THIS NONSENSE! THERE ARE NOT 2,100 CANS IN THE LAND OF REXBURG!" Apparently she didn't hear my eyes.

Without warning, the competitor dropped out. VJM's smile dropped immediately as the reality of paying 2,100 cans of food came crashing like, well, like 2,100 cans of food.

The one time in my life where girls were literally paying to go on a date with me, ended with me getting sold to a friend who did not want to win.

But Tanner, didn't you get to meet the girls who bid on you after the event? Nope. I had to leave right after my auction to get to the Comedy Brawl where I met a total of zero girls.

As I sat contemplating the grand irony of the situation, I got a text from none other than the Tutu Girl.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Revolutionary War was a Hoax

A team of scholars specializing in American history have declared that the Revolutionary War was a hoax. They point to "strong evidence" gathered from old journals, letters, firsthand accounts, and their own conjectures.

Often referred to as the War that Birthed a Nation, the so-called "American Revolution" has puzzled historians and layman alike. "There are just too many loose ends," says Dr. Scott Herpich's, professor and author of the book, American Revo-TRUE-tion, "Things just don't add up."

One of Herpich's key criticisms is the lack of any photographical evidence.  "What kind of war takes place without a single picture being taken? I mean, even the Pope has taken a selfie. You're trying to tell me that old George W (not Bush) never had three seconds to take a picture? It's more likely that the man we call George Washington was the evolved combination of Native American legends mixed with European values, and not the actual political hero we make him out to be. It is also probable that the idea of General George Washington was perpetuated by the Continental Congress as a way of unifying the American people."

With no photographical evidence, researchers have turned to paintings in hopes of unraveling the tapestry of deceit.

A close examination of the famed "Washington Crossing the Delaware" reveal shocking details about the conspiracies surrounding "the war." Look closely at Washington's hat. Invisible to the casual observer is the symbol of the All-Seeing-Eye above the uncompleted pyramid embroidered in "Washington's" hat. Clearly, if there ever was a man by the name of George Washington, he was a servant of the Illuminati. It's no wonder that America was referred to as the New World, if Washington himself was a symbol of the New World Order.

Another perusal of the painting reveals what many scientists have been saying for years, that there was no ice on the Delaware River when "Washington" purportedly crossed it. Almost imperceptible to the naked eye, is an incriminating revelation. Written on the "ice," is the name, Fake Ice Inc, the largest manufacturer of fake ice in Northern America.  For years, critics have speculated about unlawful ties between this monster corporation and corrupt government officials. Stock reports from that period mark a significant jump in Fake Ice Inc. stock just hours before the river was "crossed." It is interesting to note that Fake Ice products were found at the scene of both the Lincoln and Tupac assassinations.

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation from this painting is the evidence that exposes extra-terrestrial influence. When researchers zoomed into a small dot in the corner of the painting they discovered what appears to a metallic unidentified flying saucer. This may be the first documented case of alien influence in the American government. Since that time, various public officials have sought to maintain positive relations with the extra-terrestrials by legislating fairer treatment of illegal aliens.

Though ivory tower scholars have labelled Herpich and his colleagues as conspiracy theorists, kooks, and Chinese, a recently-discovered artifact proves the conspiracies to be true. This letter, found on the internet, appears to be written from King George of England to George Washington (or rather, to the idea of Washington):

This document offers irrefutable evidence that the Revolutionary War was a complete hoax imposed on the American people as a way of feeding the War Machine and the Illuminati elites that profited therefrom.

Though proof is undeniable, there are some who choose to cling to the false notions about the Revolutionary War that have been maintained for 200 years. "There are too many corrupt sources of information nowadays. It's almost impossible to learn the truth," says Herpich. "Just goes to show, you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Global Warming: A Convenient Truth

I support Global Warming. You're probably asking, "Tanner, don't you mean you believe in Global Warming?" Okay, first of all, it's called Global Climate Change, so call it the right name. How would you feel if someone called you the wrong name all the time? They'd be like, "Hey Keith" and you'd be like, "I'm not Keith, I'm Chelsea!" That would be frustrating wouldn't it?

I support Global Climate Change. We know that everything Science (or guys named Bill who speak in behalf of Science) says is true. And Science says that this planet is heating up. I say, "Bring it on!"

If there's one thing I hate, it's when people don't do the dishes. If there's a second thing I hate, it's when people disrespect their mother. Well listen up folks, Mother Earth is getting chilly and she wants to turn up the thermostat. I SUPPORT OUR MOM!

Maybe it's because I was born in the hottest summer in the history of Arizona (the state where the devil keeps his summer home), and lived in the dry desert for 11 years. Maybe it's the fact that I spent two years living on the equator, or maybe it's because I'm a sensible human being, but I think cold weather is the greatest hoax of all time.

I'm tired of winter. It reminds me too much of a girl I took out once: cold, flaky, white, and showing very little signs of life. Winter is expensive. Think winter clothes, heating, snow tires, hot chocolate, ski resort passes, etc. The only reason we have Christmas and New Years in the winter is so that we have an excuse to celebrate.

I'm not the only one who thinks that winter is overrated. Earth thinks so too. That's why Earth is heating up. I think we should help her out. Let's get rid of this cold once and for all. Grab a can of CO2 and go to town. Leave your car running. Let's startle Guinness with the world's largest carbon footprint. When you are relaxing on a warm beach in January, you will thank me.

I figure that some of you might doubt the reality of Global Climate Change. If that is the case, let's imagine that you and I are alone in a room where we can talk openly and freely, just the two of us. I imagine our conversation would go something like this:

Me: Son, I have something very important to tell you.
You: I'm not your son.
Me: Not yet, but once we sign the papers you will be.
You: What papers? What are you even talking about?
Me: Never mind, I can see you're not mature enough for this conversation. Your mother and I will have to wait until you are older.
You: You don't even know my mother. What conversation?
Me: I certainly do know Mother Earth! I know her better than you do and I love her with all my heart!
You: This is getting weird. Can I go?
Me: Not yet. The door is on a timer and won't unlock for another 6 minutes.
You: Okay.... what did you want to talk about?
Me: Global Climate Change. Your mother and I think it's important that you finally get with the times and start supporting it.
You: Oh yeah, I've seen the Inconvenient Truth. I believe.
You: Did you get that from The Santa Claus movie?
Me: That's right. And Santa is going to continue freezing his tail off if we don't do something. It's not enough to just watch the video of the ex-future-first-lady's-husband. You have to act Keith!
You: I'm not Keith, I'm Chelsea.
Me: Whatever.
You: I know you have to act. You have to use less water and electricity. Obviously the most important thing is to drastically curtail CO2 emissions both as individuals and as corporations and...
Me: WHO DIED AND MADE YOU AL GORE? You've got this all wrong! Don't you get it?! We are trying to heat the planet up! It's time to do away with winter! It's time to have bermuda shorts and Beach Boys albums going all year round! It's time for Earth to become an Eden again!
You: .................................................
Me: Sandwich?
You: No thanks.
Me: Well, I'm glad we had this talk. Here's a some plastic. Go burn it.

Now that you are convinced of the reality of Global Climate Change, it is your responsibility to do everything in your power to make sure this planet gets warmer. I can't survive another Rexburg winter if you don't. Remember it all starts with you. As Gandhi once didn't exactly say: "You have to be the change you wish to see in the world."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hell's Kitchen

Hell doesn't have a kitchen. Hell is a kitchen. It's a kitchen with white tile floor so that you see and feel every particle of food waste that drips on to it. A kitchen with a stack of dishes so high that they call it Mt. Doom. A kitchen with trash that reeks of rotting meat and old cabbage. A kitchen where all the pots and pans are way to high too reach. A kitchen with infinite Tupperware but no lids. A kitchen with a microwave that doesn't rotate, a stove that smokes, and a refrigerator that doesn't stay closed. In essence, Hell's Kitchen is my apartment kitchen.

God has given me a few Catch 22s to work through. The quagmire that has so particularly vexed me of late is my love of eating vs. my hatred of cooking.
Guys, I love eating, but I hate cooking.
Like, I never get so close to swearing as I do when I am cooking.

I'm going to college so that I can make enough money to never cook again. As far as I'm concerned the purpose of getting rich is so that you don't have to make your own food. That's why a Culinary Arts degree is the biggest joke in the world. WHAT'S THE POINT OF MAKING GOOD MONEY IF YOU STILL WIND UP COOKING FOR YOURSELF?

When I'm stirring a pot I feel like all the elements of the universe have conspired together to stir the pot of my life. Only, my life isn't a pot; it's a hornets' nest. I'm not crying because I'm cutting onions. Oh wait, yes I am. I just hate cutting onions so much that I can't hold back the tears.

Some people were born to cook. I am not one of those people. "Make your own food," they said. "It'll be fun," they said. Two hours later the house is a mess, the embers of an unidentifiable mass are still smoking, and you can't tell that I've been crying rivers because I'm soaked from the explosive sink that showered me when I tried rinsing off a spoon and now I have to explain to everyone I talk to for the next half hour that I didn't wet my pants... again.

When I make cookies for people they say, "Thanks for the biscuits." When I make barbecue chicken, it has to be thrown away because it breaks four health code restrictions, five UN ordinances, and two terms of agreement of the Geneva Convention.  My roommates sees my outcast food and asks who vomited in the trash. Only all my hopes and dreams.

It all started with the bread maker, or rather the dough maker. Whatever it's called, it wasted my hard-earned dough and didn't make me bread. It just made me sad. IS ONE SLICE OF HOMEMADE BREAD TOO MUCH TO ASK?! OH THE HUMANITY!!

I can't have my cake and bake it too.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Time I Joined a Gang: Crips vs. Bloods

Tonight I joined a gang. You may have heard of them. They are called the Crips. Crips wear blue. Their arch nemeses are the Bloods who wear all red. Crips want to beat Bloods always.

Surprised that I joined a gang? Would it also surprise you that I started a gang in the third grade called The Running Wolves? Godfather much? Godchild? I didn't choose the thug life; thug life chose me. 

The occasion for joining the gang was the annual Blood Bowl, a rumble of famous gang leaders that is broadcasted to all the members of the respective gangs world-wide.

Like a good Crip, I was wearing blue clothing. I cheered when our opponents were beaten to bloody pulps. I cried blue tears when our brothers were crippled (welcome to the blog where puns are always intended). There was a lot of energy. It was a riot. A literal riot.

At one point we saw some bloody Bloods on our turf. We were in public so we didn't physically abuse them, but my gang was content shouting obscenities and slurs. I tried to join in:

Hey losers! Red is a stupid color! Red-iculous, am I right?! Hey, where did you get that shirt? Target?! Karl Marx called, he wants his favorite color back!

The guys next to me were like, "Okay, that's enough bro."
Gang can't even handle me right now.

Apparently there are a lot more gang members than I would have suspected in Rexburg. People came from all around to watch the rumble. Some brought their kids. It was interesting to see otherwise good Christian folk lose all human decency in the midst of the melee. These people probably work together, worship together, and heck, maybe they play Chutes and Ladders together on the weekends. But the minute they don the red or blue it's as if they have insulted every homeland, mother, and child of the other. It's like Batman and Robin suddenly becoming Batman and Joker. Makes you wonder. 

When the dust of the battlefield finally settled, I began to think. Why do we join gangs? Why do we buy all the blue clothing and merchandise if the gang doesn't do anything for us in return? Why do we hate members of the other gang? They probably never did anything to hurt us personally. Why do we give absolute devotion to the gang like it's some sort of cult? I don't even personally know the leaders of the gang. They sure don't know or care about me. 

Wait..... what? I can't believe it........ Stop the press!....... How stupid of me!......... That wasn't a gang rumble at all. I was watching the BYU vs. Utah football game! 

What a hilarious misunderstanding.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ask Ethel- Back to School

Note from the editor: Ethel Epstein is a native of New Jersey who started writing this advice column in 1973. Since then she has helped countless people with her quick wit, concrete principles, and no-nonsense approach. After several requests we have added her column to the blog. It helps if you read with a New Jersey accent. The contents of Ethel's column in no way reflect the attitudes, views, or opinions of Tanner or Bryan.

Dear Ethel,
    Today is my first day of college. Do you have any advice on how I should dress, what classes I should take, and particularly, how I can attract men?

Yours truly,
Freaking Out Freshman

Dear Freaking,
     Oh how I love to hear from Fresh-fries. You all are so adorable in you little roller backpacks and your hopelessly lost expressions. It reminds me of the first time I accidentally wandered into a army barracks after hours. But that's a different story dear. We're here to talk about college, and I am the perfect person to do so. After all, I hold several degrees from prestigious universities.

     First of all, there's no need to "freak out."Compose yourself darling, you're an adult now... unless you're one of those freaky home school children that goes to college when they're ten years old. My, that's horrific. Imagine a toddler in college! Not that there's anything wrong with homeschool, mind you. I myself home schooled my son Johannes Brahms well into his 30s. Unfortunately the lousy excuse for our government doesn't recognize his degree as legitimate. They even said that Canasta Theory and Practice isn't even a real course! As if! How insulting. What happened to America?
     Don't worry about classes. I never graduated college (or high school for that matter), and I never regretted that. Why worry about class when you have bigger proverbial fish to fry? College isn't about going to class; It's about having class! Which brings us to the next point...
     What should you wear? The worst mistake that a college girl makes is dressing like a jungle floozy who could only be comfortable on a corner of 7th Avenue. Here are my "Five Don'ts of College Fashion:" 1) Don't wear read. It's the color of flappers, stop signs, and fire hydrants. 2) Don't wear leather. Leave that to the animals and mature humans. 3) Don't wear too much makeup. A woman's face is a canvas, and unless your name is Leo Da Vinci, you shouldn't be painting. 4) Don't expose yourself. Wolves like raw meat darling. Wolves. 5) Don't wear lots of expensive jewelry. It will intimidate a man. He will never buy you pearls or diamonds if he thinks you already have enough.
     Now we arrive at my specialty, attracting men. It's a curse really. I've never touched a man, but oh how they flock to me! Why Robert Redford once told me.... oh dear, I'm getting ahead of myself.... Let's just say we all have our crosses to bear, and beauty is mine. So what's the secret? Genes, dear. Genes. You got it or you don't and that's the truth. I won't sugar coat it for you. However, if your genes don't quite cut it, you can read another one of my letters about How to Win a Man.
     Remember, college is all about being who you want to be. Love yourself. Do what makes you happy. Clothes don't make a person. Classes don't define your class. And good strong relationships begin with good strong individuals.

Ethel Epstein is a mother, cosmetician, fashionista, Christian, Jew, Bingo player, 2 time winner of the New Jersey State Lottery, and athlete (Gin Rummy). Questions to "Ask Ethel" may be posted in the comments section of this article.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

If We're Not Friends, Don't Add Me

As of this moment, I have 54 unanswered friend requests on facebook. I know I'll probably never accept or decline most of them. I'm too tender-hearted to say no, but too practical to say yes. This is a letter to those people:

Dear Person,

Sorry for not calling you "friend." Well, I'm not really sorry. We are not in fact friends. Sure maybe we met at a party a year ago, but that was the last time I saw you. I didn't even catch your last name. I probably don't remember your first name. I probably had to creepily look through your pictures to see if I even recognized you. I don't think that one encounter was grounds for me having to read every status update that you post for the rest of your mortal existence.Trust me, if I was that interested in the lives of total strangers, I would watch reality TV.
Person, you don't know me so you probably don't realize that I can hardly hold on to a serious relationship for a week. Imagine the pressure you are placing on my shoulders by asking me to accept your friendship request that for all I know is valid til death do you part. Every time you listen to Lady Gaga on Spotify, or like One Direction's page, or cryptically complain about vague problems, or post pictures of your homemade pasta, I have to see it. The more strangers that I add, the more time I have to spend scrolling through my news feed until I find people that I actually know. Now with advertisements, my news feed is infinity long, and I just can't endure the possibility of it becoming more dense with information about people I don't know.
"What's the big deal?" you might ask. "I just wanted to get to know you." I guess I have a different outlook on interpersonal relationships. Call me old fashioned, but I like to meet and get to know people face to face.
If you don't know what I'm talking about when I say "face to face" then ask your grandparents. They can tell you about times shortly after the Jurassic era when there were no cell phones, the internet was in black and white, and you could buy a new home for a nickel. Back in those days they didn't have facebook. Instead, people would use their mouths to talk to each other! Crazy right? Like, what's the point of having thumbs if you aren't even going to text people? In those times, people didn't have ipods either, so they actually used their ears to listen to what others said. Sounds exhausting right? But that's what they did. And guess what, that's what I prefer also.

So if you want to be friends, come to La Jolla 102. We can talk, laugh, cry, bake cookies, frolic in a meadow, play Truth or Dare, create inside jokes, watch funny videos, or do a host of other things that real friends do.
Your less-than-friend,
Tanner G

Thursday, August 29, 2013

In Loving Memory of Tony

One year ago today.... ish.... our friend, Tony, passed away. In reality he was blown away. Bryan shot him. Dead.

Tony was prairie dog, and like most prairie dogs, Tony loved to dig holes in the West Family yard. Unfortunately this posed certain danger to the family's horses who could break their legs by accidentally stepping in the holes.

Knowing of our talent in hunting, horsemanship, trapping, and other manly skills, the Wests invited us to help eliminate the prairie dog plague. We knew they also wanted us to model for pictures to be published various cowboy/rancher magazines, but we always do business first. That's our policy.
To use this picture in a cowboy/rancher magazine, or for tips about modeling
 for cowboy/rancher magazines, leave a comment below.

We are used to hunting with bazookas and hand grenades but they only had .22s so we used those. When in Rome... 

We knew that we didn't need to kill all of the prairie dogs, we only needed to kill their leader. You guessed it, Tony. If this top dog of under dogs was eliminated, then his dawgs were sure to quit dogging us.

Bryan, our expert marksman took his aim, and pulled the trigger. Tony fell over and kicked his legs into the air. He yelled his final words, "Eiik! Eichuthuckeikeik!" We think that is prairie dog for, "Remember the Alamo!"

Seeing the defeated Tony lay lifeless in the dirt touched something in Bryan's manly hunter heart. He began to lament the killing of this creature. It was kind of like in West Side Story when the human Tony got killed and everyone was like, "Dang, that escalated really quickly. Man, what were we thinking?"

Here is our conversation soon thereafter:

Bryan: I immediately regret this decision.
Tanner: Well, it's too late now. Tony is dead.
Bryan: King Tony
Tanner: Pardon?
Bryan: King Tony. His name is King Tony.
Tanner: He wasn't a king.
Bryan: He was a king to me!
Tanner: He was just a prairie dog.
Bryan: But he died like a king!
Tanner: Actually he died like a prairie dog.
Bryan: At least he died doing what he loved.
Tanner: Yeah, being a pest.

To mourn the passing of this great prairie dog leader, we held a graveside service. At the end, each of us poured a handful of earth over Tony's grave, all of us except Bryan, who held the dirt in his hand, as if comprehending a life after death where he could be together with his beloved Tony forever.

We left a grave marker that said, "Here lies Tony, proud father, digger, and yard pest. He is survived by his 83 children, all of whom are likewise named Tony. He had a lush garden, a beautiful woman prairie dog, and... a collection of Russian nesting dolls. May he rest in peace."

Though Tony is gone, his memory lives on. And that rhymes so it must be true. Tony was a true friend, and we loved him right up until the moment that Bryan shot him. We will never forget his love, his life, or his legacy. Rest in peace Tony!

Seriously, any cowboy/rancher magazine talent scouts out there, feel free to contact us.


Story Time With Tanner: Mr. Bootcamp

I am discovering how therapeutic it is to blog about past experiences. Much more therapeutic than watching entire seasons of Leave it to Beaver in one sitting or recreating scenes from the Battle of Gettysburg with my sister's hamsters (They never get it right), which heretofore have been my primary forms of stress relief .

Today, I wish to talk about a figure from my past. His name is Mr. Bootcamp (name has been changed to protect the innocent, mostly myself. Who knows what would happen if he read this).

Mr. Bootcamp was my middle school gym teacher. Middle School was already wonky enough for me. I was a good foot (sometimes two) shorter than everybody else, which provided a bountiful share of nicknames like Small Fry, Shrimp, Bite Size, Short Stack, and Turkish Delight (They started with the food names and apparently got carried away). I had braces that were periodically busted off when I would fall off the top bunk on to the nightstand. It was also during that time that I was pressured into experimenting with certain risky substances. No not drugs! Who do you think I am?! I'm talking about Axe. Let me tell you, there is one surefire way to make a middle school locker room smell worse than a middle school locker room: excessive amounts of Axe body spray.

As stated above, Mr. Bootcamp was my gym teacher. I am calling him Bootcamp, because that is the topic that permeated, oh, 93% of his verbal communication. To this day, I'm not sure that he ever made it into the actual armed forces, for I never once heard a story beyond boot camp.

Mr. Bootcamp was tall, stocky, with a white beard and a bald head. He wore only white t-shirts that didn't quite cover his large hairy belly and khaki shorts that didn't quite cover his large hairy thighs. He made a "sh" sound when he pronounced the letter S, kind of like Sean Connery. So imagine if Mr. Clean and Sean Connery had a baby, a 6'5", 300 lb baby. That was Mr. Bootcamp.

Mr. Bootcamp loved surprises. Some times he would surprise us by giving us all spoon fulls of macadamia nut cookie dough. Other times he would surprise us by lifting his shirt to expose his belly. Sometimes both of those things would lead to surprise trips to the bathroom where we would throw up, to the surprise of the other people using the facility.

Mr. Bootcamp was an infamous fight-watcher. Where other teachers would break up fights, Mr. Bootcamp would watch with curious fascination. Mr. Bootcamp was limber. He taught tumbling and everyone would stand in awe as this bulky giant, wearing hiking boots and a grin, would perform somersaults and round-offs with all the grace and nimbleness of a Persian Swan.

He was strong. Though he could have boasted in his own strength and prowess, he preferred to set the bar with other kids in the class. "Look at Ross's pecks gentlemen. Yes, Ross (or Rosh as he would say) has some exshellent pecksh."

When we would run laps around the field he could be seen shooting at the kids with an imaginary rifle. He would say, "You boys are deer, and I'm shooting you with a shniper rifle. Just like at boot camp."

One day we were standing at attention in front of the pool. He called out, "Tobaco, shtep forward and exshtend your right arm and leg." Steven Tobaco did as he was told. With the finesse of a ballet dancer and the strength of an Olympic hammer-thrower, Mr. Bootcamp grabbed Tobaco's arm and leg, swung him around and then sent him sprawling into the pool. He landed on the gelatinous surface and after sinking briefly into the mold-colored depths, he started paddling around like a dog lost at sea. The rest of us were ordered into the water.

We usually did laps for somewhere between 10 or 15... hours..... After laps we were allowed to play an aquatic form of football in the shallow end. Well one day, a boy's nipple ring was ripped out during the game. When the boy with the bleeding chest told Mr. Bootcamp, the reply came with a resolute finger in the air, "We musht find the nipple ring! Men, search the area." For the next ten minutes we searched apprehensively for the missing ring. It was like a treasure hunt. Except instead of gold and jewels, we were looking for a bloody ring that had been ripped out of someone's nipple.

My best memory of the poolside antics of Mr. Bootcamp was the day that Emilio (name has been changed because I can't remember his real name) whipped a custodian with a towel. The custodian who was busy painting the wall with a long-handled paint roller was obviously upset because he immediately turned on the student, beating him down with the paint roller. When the kid had fallen down the janitor continued his lunges with the furor of a abstract expressionist painter. It would have been artistic, if not so bizarre. When Mr. Bootcamp approached, he paused for a moment, and then with all the wisdom of Solomon said, "Never mess with a man with a paintbrush." And that was it.

Now it's your turn. Tell us about the weirdest teacher you had.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Most Terrifying Thing That Has Ever Happened to Me

After much counseling with my unlicensed psychologist (for a small fee Bryan learned the science of psychology from a sage in Mexico. Apparently the degree doesn't transfer to the U.S. as well as we would have hoped), I have decided to share THE MOST TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE.

This story officially supersedes all other former terrifying experiences, including, but not limited to: saying, "Bloody Mary," in the bathroom in third grade, seeing Bryan in drag, and almost getting hit by a bus with Matt Loper on our way to watch Kal Ho Naa Ho.

Last Sunday I was walking to church in the early hours of the morning. The city was still and the rays of the rising sun glinted off the dew-speckled emerald grass. But all was not well. Trouble was stirring. 

From the bowels of the underworld emerged a black beast as filthy as sin. Spreading it's begrimed wings, it rose into the air like smoke from the inferno. Passing not but a few feet from my head it let out a screech that could cause a bowl of Lucky Charms to burst into tears.

A raven, or it's scientific name ravenius humongous evilus willprobablykillus. The raven is not a mere bird. It is a freak experiment created in the laboratories of Hell through a vile combination of feathers, black, talons, and evil. It is rumored that eyes of the raven are plucked from the very souls of the damned. The raven is the token symbol of death. The harbinger of doom and despair. The symbolic embodiment of malice.

The beast swooped over my head and landed on a low-hanging branch nearby.  Glaring at me with blatant contempt, it continued it's cacophonous caw. Once I had passed it made another lunge for my head. I ducked and quickened my pace. The persistant poltergeist perched on a pole ahead of me. Then like an arrow from the quiver of Beelzebub himself, another raven shot toward me, adding his own caterwauling to the dissonance of the first. Desperately I tried swatting at it, but my attempts to deflect their attacks were as futile as trying to keep Bryan from cookie dough. 

At that point my only thought was Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." I was sure to die. This was an omen. I started to run, and through my tears begged for deliverance, confessing every sin since childhood, even the ones I hadn't actually committed (like etching my sister's name into our leather couch and changing my mom's texting shortcut from "thx" to "that's what she said"). I wished that I could disappear, be banished to oblivion, or magically be transformed into a scarecrow. Anything to be rid of those birds!

(Side note: If it weren't such a horrific experience, I think I would like to have been a person watching from a nearby apartment. )

Through some miracle I finally reached the outer doors of the church building. I dashed in, slammed the doors, and screamed, "Sanctuary! Sanctuary!" I fully expected the monsters to come smashing through the windows, but they didn't. A friend told me later that ravens have the ability to remember faces and hold grudges. I'm sure they are just down there in birdhell scheming and plotting to destroy me when I am out of reach of a dedicated building.

For the last week I have been on edge. I wonder if the other birds in the avian community are in on the conspiracy. Images of ravens flash like apparitions through my tortured consciousness and infest my sleep, making nightmares of even the most restful slumber.

When I first felt emotionally secure enough to recount the experience, I referred to the squawking spawn of Satan as "crows." However, I was informed that they were probably ravens, since ravens are notably larger than crows. Still, I have my doubts that they were even ravens. By their size and capacity to commit evil, I would say that they were pterodactyls, or probably the fellbeasts that the Nazgul ride in Lord of the Rings. (If they were Nazgul steeds, at least it would make sense why they attacked me; I do have hobbit-like features). 

Well folks, that's it. The most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me.