I think there's a lesson in this for all of us, and it is this: Some people are scarier than the stories they tell.
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Signature on snowman's butt
Ed Womack Says:
The other day I was walking down a hallway when I heard two women conversing behind me.
Woman 1: You've been suntanning, haven't you?
Woman 2: Yes, everyday!
Woman 1: I can tell! You look great!
Woman 2: Thank you! But you know, my boyfriend keeps telling me bad things about tanning. It gets kind of annoying. He keeps saying "You'll get this, you'll get that! blah blah blah!"
Woman 1: Yeah, uh-huh. I read about that stuff all the time too. But it just looks so good that I just want to forget about all that until later. And my husband loves it.
Woman 2: Yes (giggles) I agree. Why worry about things that haven't happened yet?
I think there's a lesson in this for all of us, and it is this: denial is the spice of life.
Put that in your shoe and squish.
Stunning Goose Portraits
Ed Womack Says:
This friend of mine has fallen in love four times over the past week. Each time he swears that he's found "the one", but another woman always comes along. What's strange is that he seems to fall in love with a little piece of each one. Last night we sat on the deck of his condo and he rambled on for hours about it. The conversation ended something like this:
"Love sucks, I tell you. Sherrie has this great neck. I suppose it's giraffe like, but it's creamy white. I've never seen such a perfect neck in my life. I want to give her hickeys all over it. I love her, man. But she's pretty quiet and doesn't say a lot, you know what I mean? And Jennifer really, whoa, she has legs that would kill a lesser man than me. Plus, she really digs politics, and I dig politics. But you know, she has that big nose. I don't know. I can't see myself waking up and looking at that monument of hers. You know what I mean. But I really love her. I love talking to her. And Xiang. Wow. Hot China girl like no tomorrow. You know, skinny as a fencepost but she still has it where it counts. Wowee. But she has this horrible temper. The other day she got really pissed at me because I started reading the inside of her shoe. Why would that upset anyone? But I love her, man. And oh man, there's Wendy. Whatta Wendy! You know what I mean? I think you do. I love her. I can't stop thinking about her. In fact, I can't stop thinking about Sherrie, Jennifer, or Xiang either. I'm in love, I tell you. It sucks! What should I do? I wish I could cut them all up into pieces, take the good parts and glue 'em all together. Then I'd have one great woman. Of course, if I could avoid stich marks. I don't want to lay with no Frankenwoman [here he laughed at length while I continued to watch the ducks dive head first in the pond; their feathery butts stretched in the air]. Man, you gotta tell me what to do, I'm really in pain. I want to marry at least one of them."
I asked him, "Have you dated any of these women more than once?"
He seemed shocked by the question, "No, what does that have to do with anything?"
"Well, how do you know you're in love after one date?"
"Listen to you, man. What a stuffed shirt. Love is all about feeling. It's not about knowing everything about the person. You get a feeling from someone and that's love."
I sighed deeply, "Just make sure you're not confusing love with something else."
My friend threw his hands in the air, "Man, you're not helping me at all! You're just lecturing me. I might as well have asked my grandma."
Ready to give up, I threw out some nonsense, "Maybe you could invite them all over to your condo at once and ask them penetrating questions? Then based on their answers you could decide in one fell swoop."
His eyes widened and he stared at me with a gaping mouth. "That's it! Yeah! I knew you could help me! I could have a little quiz show with all of the women I love. Of course I wouldn't tell them that I'm testing them, and they wouldn't know a thing. But yeah. I like that. I've got to start writing questions. You can hang around if you want."
I decided to leave after he read me his first question: "When you see a man naked, how do you judge him?" I walked home and spent the evening struggling with feelings of guilt and pride.
Great Moments in Rural Art
Ed Womack Says:
Recently, I had to abandon a friend in an antique store. A few days prior to this forced flight, he had come into town for the first time in years. When we saw each other, we quickly and shamelessly regressed to puberty in the worst possible ways: Puerile humor, a shower of "friendly" blows to each other's shoulders (after two days of this we had both accumulated large multicolored splotches on our upper arms), playing Schoenberg at ear piercing decibels with the windows rolled down, putting pencils up each other's noses, etc. A total disentegration occured. Everyone who came within ten feet of us instantly loathed our very being.
Thankfully, by the third day things started to calm down. People accepted us into their presence once again, and our bruises began to heal. My friend then suggested, somewhat prosaically, that we go "antiquing". It sounded harmless enough, so we drove south to the land of highly priced musty items. After visiting a few shops we had bought nothing, but my friend seemed energized by all of the old paint jars, table implements, unwanted books, and other obsolete miscellany that was splattered all over every possible inch of each store. So we entered another one. We separated right away, and I began to rummage through old sheet music, some of which featured long forgotten performers in blackface. As I cringed at some of the song titles, I suddenly heard my friend's voice bellow from across the store. He sounded like he was in pain, but I couldn't make out what he was yelling. A second creaky voice, unknown to me, soon joined in the screaming and formed a hideous duet. I followed the trail of wailing and found my friend yelling point blank at a wizened old man. Both gesticulated wildly at a locked cabinet.
My friend howled, "Do you know how long I've been looking for that? I can't believe it's sitting in your cabinet!" The old man shouted back "I purchased that from Mrs. Haing, no one stole it from you! Now stop this nonsense immediately!" My friend wouldn't let up "But it's mine! I bought it when I was seven, thought I lost it, but apparently someone stole it and sold it to you! I demand that you return it to me!" The old man returned fire "Stop all this baloney! You can buy it if you want and that's that!" Apparently not satisfied my friend grabbed the cabinet and tried to force the door open. He kept yelling "Give it to me!" At this the old man rushed to the telephone, but my friend beat him there and unplugged it. "Open that case!" he shrieked at which point the old man started shouting "Help! Police! Help!" Apparently their quarrel had drawn some attention, because I heard distant sirens. When my friend returned to the cabinet and starting hitting the glass with his elbow, I quietly snuck towards the door and tip-toed out into the street. The sirens kept getting louder, but I was around the corner and out of sight within moments.
I never did find out what happened. For all I know my friend is still in town. He hasn't contacted me.
Great Moments in Rural Art
Ed Womack Says:
The other night a group of people at a party I attended started discussing horrible childhood experiences. One guy, probably in his late thirties, sat listening to our stories as though he had a whopper to unleash. But he remained silent. While others railed on about the traumatic snuggies their siblings subjected them to or the painful disappearance of their favorite toys, he just sat there, smiled patiently to himself, and nodded his head gently. Finally, after someone told a long-winded story about having their 10th birthday cake eaten by the family dog, he rose with an emphatic gesture. His confidence stilled the room, and the story went something like this:
"When I was almost fifteen years old, my father burst into my room while I was reading a porno magazine. He grabbed it from my hands, spit on it, and violently jerked me out into the hallway by my arm. He slapped me in the face twice, which knocked me to the floor. Then he proceeded to drag me outside and into the woods behind our house. First he dragged me to the toolshed, slapped me again, grabbed something from the shed, and continued to drag me into the woods. After what seemed like a half an hour, he stood me up against a tree, slapped me again, and bound my arms and legs to the tree with twine. When I started to scream he shoved a cloth into my mouth. He shot me a fierce and spiteful look. And then he walked away. After the sun went down I realized that he wasn't coming back. I couldn't move. Eventually the moon began to peek through the trees. Every once in a while I heard rustling, hooting, or growling nearby. The temperature plummetted. The twine wouldn't give no matter how much I struggled. It gouged into my wrists. Fatigue eventually overcame me, and the next thing I remember was my mother cutting me loose in the sunlight. My wrists were literally bleeding from the pressure. I fell to the ground. Mom helped me up, and she walked me back home."
By this point silence had fallen thickly on the room. Everyone stood gaping at the strangely smirking man.
He continued: "As awful as that experience was, it taught me something."
"What did it teach you?" A stunned woman asked.
"To run away from home," he responded proudly.
And so he did. Now, all grown up, he runs a small but successful IT outsourcing business.
I think there's a lesson in this for all of us, and it is this: Most of us really have nothing to complain about.
A Timeless Work of Impenetrable Beauty
Ed Womack Says:
This friend of mine knew a guy who found the social custom of shaking hands tiresome and trite. "I don't want to shake anyone's hand! So why should I? It's all bogus!" He told my friend one day. So this guy decided to try and subvert the tradition. From that point on, whenever anyone held their hand out for a polite shake he would say blankly:
"If you knew where my hand has been you wouldn't shake it."
His plan worked brilliantly. People stopped shaking his hand. In fact, he subverted the handshaking ritual so successfully that people started to just plain ignore him after meeting him. My friend kept trying to introduce this guy to other people, and invariably they would later privately complain "What's up with that guy? Do you really hang out with him?" Soon, out of embarrassement, my friend stopped introducing him to other people, and soon after that he stopped returning his calls. In fact, nearly three years have passed since they've spoken.
I think there's a lesson in this for all of us, and it is this: Success is a highly relative concept.
The Mostest Goodest Times
Ed Womack Says:
A friend of mine recently wanted to show off his bilinguilism. He had studied Japanese for a little while and had learned how to type some characters into a computer. He could type "日本語" and "���ん���������" along with some other words. He often sent Japanese words in e-mails to people who had no knowledge of the language whatsoever. This usually annoyed them, but they kept quiet about it, as usual. So he had no reason to stop.
Recently he switched departments at work. As a final gesture of farewell he typed the following e-mail message: "I've really enjoyed working with you all. I sincerely mean that. I'll miss the friendly people and faces in this department. Let's stay in touch!" And for maximum impact he concluded with: "���よ���ら". He felt good about his parting message.
A few days later he visited his old department to chat with his ex-coworkers. When he walked in two people pointed at him, laughed outloud, and said "fart!" in unison. Though he didn't understand why they said that, he laughed back at them thinking that he was already out of the loop on departmental inside jokes. Then he walked into the cube of his friend Kyle who instantly laughed and said "That fart was brilliant! Way to stick it to 'em!" My friend became even more bewildered as he walked out of the department and three other people said "fart" as he walked by. He just shrugged his shoulders and chalked it up to his recent absence. He wasn't a big fan of potty humor.
When he returned to his desk he found himself bored, so he began typing Japanese into an online translator. He tried to type words that he knew the translator would know. "犬" returned "dog", "���も" returned "thank you", "���ん���ん���" returned "good evening", and "���よ���ら" returned "fart". He stopped. Didn't he type "sa-yo-na-ra"? He typed it again and the translator returned "fart". Something was wrong. He knew the word for "goodbye". He had typed it in before. Consulting his Japanese dictionary, he looked up "goodbye". There on the page he saw: "���よ������ら". Instantly he typed this into the translator and received "goodbye". Then he brought up a copy of his old e-mail, copied and pasted the "���よ���ら " into the translator and received "fart". Somehow he had forgotten a single "���" with rather drastic results. He swallowed hard with the realization that he had sent this message not only to all of his co-workers, but also to his supervisor, the Manager, and the Director of his previous department. Had the higher-ups, impressed by his mastery of a non-english language, copied and pasted the word into a translator and found themselves staring at "fart"? He sank in his chair and contemplated resigning.
He never heard from anyone in upper management, but he still has to tolerate shouts of "fart!" whenever he visits his old department. At least someone was impressed.
Great Moments in Rural Art
Ed Womack Says:
A friend of mine sings for a band called the "The Sibilant Fuggz." They haven't had any great success. In fact, they've had none at all. Even after five years of constant and exhausting gigging in bars and parties they have yet to play a "real" venue. They literally play anywhere, no matter how demoralizing: garages, basements, whorehouses, raves, vacant lots, anything. But recently, while playing a gig at a closet-sized bar near a college campus, my friend thought he caught a glimpse of success. Of course he should have known better. He noticed a ravishing young girl staring at him with wide longing passionate moon eyes. She danced zombie-like with an unwavering gape as he sang and gyrated through the set. He claims that her constant gaze and thin, almost transparent, body sock inspired him to new vocal heights. For the first time ever he felt like he really connected with someone through his music. Finally! So maybe he was wrong about his lack of appeal? Maybe he did "have it" after all? Of course he planned to have her, too. But after the show. His first musical conquest. Score.
After the last song he stepped off the stage and faced the sensuous young girl. He gave her his "meaningful look" and threw her a devastating "Hey!" She continued to stare at him doe-eyed, as though she were completely under the influence of some wizardry. Then she said, "You remind me of someone." Ok, my friend thought, corny line, but he'll bite. "Really? Who?" The girl looked my friend up and down slowly as if committing every inch to memory. She didn't even seem to blink. "You remind me of someone really special," she said. His curiosity piqued, my friend said, "Wow. Please tell me who it is." Her mouth sank as she said "He's dead, but..." She couldn't finish her sentence. My friend felt his face drop a few floors. "Oh. I see." The girl's eyes began to moisten and swell. In a moment of desperation, my friend said exactly the wrong thing: "So, how about dinner?" The girl turned and walked rapidly out of the club.
At their next show two nights later, my friend's voice cracked like dry mud, the crowd booed fervently, and the drummer forgot his bass pedal so he awkwardly kicked the drum with his boot instead. About an hour in, someone threw a maxi-pad (thankfully unused), with sticky wings unfurled, at the lead guitarist. It stuck to his guitar neck with a bristly metallic sound and required great force to extract. My friend walked off the stage, through the back door of the club, and out into the night.
I have yet to hear of any pending "Sibilant Fuggz"shows.
Get Milked Blog: Page 4