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Please Leave Us Alone

Some colleagues from work and I recently went out for a few drinks last Friday at a local bar close to our office. We ordered a couple of beers and picked a table close to the door. After knocking back a beer or two we decided to sit outside on the patio to enjoy the summer weather. Conversation was bouncing back and forth between numerous topics when we were suddenly interrupted.

A man wearing a Marine Corp hat sitting by himself at an adjacent table leaned over and stated that he too liked “intelligence conversation” and pulled his chair up to our table. At first I didn’t know what to make of Adam as he introduced himself. I typically have a lot of respect for veterans and would probably have bought him a beer if things had gone differently.

There were several signs though that quickly made me realize that he was either completely drunk or “touched in the head.” After asking him if he served in the Marines, his answers were evasive at worst and nonsensical at best. I didn’t want to belabor the point, but he talked mostly about how he had hurt his hip falling down a fire escape and couldn’t give a clear answer as to where he had served or any other specifics about his time in the Marines.

Okay- I was willing to cut him some slack. Maybe he had been injured by an IED or had some other type of injury that he didn’t want to talk about. But there is a natural flow to conversation and certain rules that generally are followed when discussing topics or meeting strangers for the first time. Adam followed none of these.

First he would tell us some fact about himself like that he lived very close to the bar and that he walked over but it was difficult because of his hip injury. Then he would ask us if we knew where his apartment complex was. I actually used to live in the same complex years ago and told him that yes, in fact, I did know exactly where the apartments were.

Then he quickly segued into how he got arrested because he apparently had climbed the fence surrounding the apartment complex pool after hours and was caught by the police for trespassing. So there was that. What were we supposed to say? “Yeah, that was probably a bad idea?”

Then he started talking about another bar that was close to the apartment complex that he worked at. By this time, I began to realize that he was not even close to going back to his table. His words were slurred and he would go on long monologues about topics that my coworkers and I may or may not have been discussing. Mention any topic and he would begin talking and just not stop.

It was at this point, that I tried to extricate our little group.”Man, it’s pretty hot out here, you guys want to go inside?” I quickly indicated to my friends that I was going to head back into the bar. They followed my lead but so did our new “friend” as well. This was not going according to plan.

Don’t get me wrong. I am generally a pretty amiable guy but this was getting a little bit much. Adam followed me up to the bar as I ordered another round and then proceeded to sit down with us at our original table. I could tell that my coworkers were just as annoyed with Adam as I was but I couldn’t really think of a way to politely tell him to fuck off. The only respite from his constant talking was when I went to the bathroom and I am reasonably sure that given enough time, he would have followed me in there as well.

I imagine that this is probably a scenario that every female on the face of the planet deals with but I was at a loss as to how to proceed. I didn’t want to hear anymore about how he cheated at video games with mods or how he was underpaid at the bar he worked at and how he stole beers because they weren’t paying him enough.

Quickly after this, some of my coworkers started to leave. I took the cue and soon followed suit. Last I checked, Adam was out on the patio and had just pulled his chair up to a solitary woman smoking out on the patio. She rolled her eyes at us as we were leaving. I guess Adam was making another new friend.

After discussing the evening with my coworkers a few days later, none of us could really pinpoint what we could have done differently to rid ourselves of this hanger-on. And now I am pretty open to suggestions. How do you handle situations such as these when all you want to do is drink with your friends? I didn’t want to be a jerk and he wasn’t aggressive or anything, just extremely annoying.

So far the best suggestion I’ve heard is to just take turns buying him shots until he passes out. I guess that will be my game plan going forward. It might be expensive but it just might be worth it- to enjoy a drink or two with some friends in relative peace and have some actual “intelligence conversations.”


A Prince Albert Retrospective…

I used to have a Prince Albert piercing. (Warning: there is a dick pic on this Wikipedia article.) I say “used to” because I no longer wear jewelry in the piercing although the hole is still there- even after years of not having a barbell in it.

It occurred to me the other day that it might be useful for people to know some of my experiences with this particulary piercing so they can make informed decisions about it. So in no particular order, here are some questions and answers that I thought may be useful for educational purposes.

What inspired you to get your junk pierced?

Truth be told, I didn’t have any standout experience that precipitated me getting my penis pierced. Basically, I was young, already had my eyebrow pierced and thought it would be neat.

Did the piercing process hurt?

Not really. I am a redhead so apparently while my pain tolerance is more sensitive than most of the population, it wasn’t terribly painful. I was more intrigued by the person doing the piercing than the actual pain itself. More on this later.

How did the actual piercing process go down?

I imagine that it was pretty standard practice for penis piercings. The piercing artist has a sterilized curved needle that they basically push into the urethra and then push through the bottom of the head of the penis. Then they inserted a barbell through the new hole and whoola, a Prince Albert piercing.

Was the piercer a professional?

Yes. Although I did have a few shots of liquid courage before the actual process, I made sure that I went to a reputable tattoo and piercing salon before giving the okay to have a man drive a needle through my penis. His appearance was pretty interesting though as he wore a kilt and had beads surgically implanted under his scalp which kind of made him look like a lumpy lizard.

Any complications with the process?

Yes. After getting the piercing done, I went out for a night of drinking with my friends. After using the urinal and pissing a little bit of blood, I realized that I couldn’t find the barbell that had been inserted hours before. I called the piercing salon and apparently the issue was that they had used a gauge that was too small so basically the barbell had slipped into my urethra and was hidden inside.

So what did you do at this point?

I went back the next day and had to have the piercing guy repierce me with a bigger gauge needle and then insert a bigger barbell. This one didn’t get lost as easily.

Was sex better after getting the piercing?

Yes and no. Basically after I had healed up, I did notice that my dick was more sensitive to things. Now everytime I readjusted myself or walked or whatever, I could feel the barbell rubbing up against my boxers or jeans or what have you. This did make for some awkward times when I was trying to be serious and accidentally had a massive erection. I also learned that I had to be more careful in general though, like making sure that partners didn’t get too rough with my penis as it sometimes hurt a little if it was tugged too enthusiastically.

Any regrets?

I wish someone had told me that the piercing never actually closes up after you remove the jewelry. Now when taking a piss, I have to consciously remember to “plug the hole” if I don’t want to dribble on my boxers or dress pants. I imagine it’s a bit like playing the flute.

Embarrasing moments?

Oh yeah. The barbell ends had a tendency to come unscrewed while I was walking. This led to more than one occasion where I would be walking with friends only to have a ball drop off the barbell and roll down my pantleg and onto the floor. The most embarrasing thing was that I would have to chase it down because the jewelry was expensive and I didn’t want to keep having to replace loose balls all the time.

Future Plans?

For now I am content to just have the hole there. I can imagine at some point though that I will probably will start wearing jewelry on my penis again. If nothing else, the idea of some cute nurse trying to insert a catheter into my junk when I’m old and decrepit and being completely surprised by my cock bling may be worth it.

When “CASH” Doesn’t Mean Cash

My wife and I traveled out of state a few months ago. Our visit with family went well and we enjoyed our trip until we reached a toll road in Pennsylvania. This is when things began to unravel.

As we approached the toll both there were two lanes clearly marked “CASH” as opposed to other lanes labeled “E-ZPASS.” Since we don’t have E-ZPASS, I navigated the car to one of the cash lanes on the left. After waiting in line for a few cars to pass through, it was finally our turn to pay the toll and continue on our way home.

It was at this moment that I quickly realized a few things. First of all there was no tollbooth worker in the booth. Secondly there was no way to insert dollar bills into the toll machine. On top of that a car had just pulled up behind us blocking us in the lane. And lastly we had no change.

Awesome. Normally this wouldn’t have been an issue as I believe the toll was only 95 cents or thereabouts and we could normally scrounge around the car for some loose change but we had just cleaned out the car before setting out on our mini-vacation and this included cleaning out the loose change from the consoles that we normally acquire over the course of our daily driving lives.We did have plenty of cash on us, just no change.

“This is fucking ridiculous! Why in the world would it say ‘CASH’ if it doesn’t take dollar bills?” I exclaimed as I turned on my hazard lights. Soon afterwards I see the gentleman behind me exiting his vehicle. “Oh great.” I thought to myself.

“So what seems to be the problem?” he asks through my open window as he casually leans an arm on my car.

“Well although the sign said ‘CASH’, apparently it means that you have to have change in order to get through.”

“Don’t you have any change?”

“Not really.” I said. What I was thinking however was more like “Yes sir, we do have the change, but I just decided to see how long I could hold up a line of traffic on a major thoroughfare.”

“Hey wifey, can you double check all the compartments and your purse again and see if we have any change whatsoever?”

“Sure.” she replies as she starts looking one more time in all the consoles and compartments up to and including the crevices of the seats. After searching them all and emptying out the entire contents of her purse, we came up with exactly 55 cents- still 40 cents short of the toll.

“I mean, do you have any change we could buy from you?” I ask the stranger standing at my window. “We have plenty of $20’s.”

“You don’t have any smaller bills?” he asks.

“No, unfortunately not.”

“Let me see what I can do.” he replies and then turns and heads back to his car. I can see him in my rear view mirror saying something to what I assume was his significant other. Then I see her take out some change from her own purse.

After a few seconds, the stranger returned to our window and gave us 50 cents in quarters. “You sure you don’t want any money?”

“No. Thanks though. Just throw your money in the basket and then we can both be on our way.”

So I did. I threw the money in the basket and the barricade went up and we were on our way. In retrospect, I don’t know if the stranger was simply being kind in helping us out or if he really just wanted to get through the tollbooth himself and didn’t want to be stuck behind some stupid Ohioans on their way back home. Probably his motivations were a little bit of both. Either way, I am grateful he took pity on us and helped us out.

I am not grateful to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Take it from a frustrated driver, when you label an entire lane “CASH” you should expect people will assume that means you can pay with CASH. Over and out.


Yay? It’s Skyline Time…

Every Thursday, a group of my current and former coworkers go to Skyline for lunch. I am still trying to understand exactly why. I guess there is a certain familiarity with frequenting the same restaurant week after week but I am not sure that this is really the reason. Sure, by now the waitresses know our orders by heart, but other than that I don’t really know what exactly draws my coworkers every Thursday to the same restaurant, sitting at the same table, ordering the same food.

In my opinion, the food itself can’t really be the reason. I mean the food is good for what it is, if you like meat chili ladled over hotdogs, spaghetti, or perhaps a potato- with cheese piled on top. But it is in no way superior to other fast food restaurants. I would equally be as happy to eat at White Castle or Panera or Jersey Mike’s or pretty much any other restaurant on Thursdays. So what is the draw then?

As I alluded to above, I really think that the allure is the feeling of familiarity- of knowing exactly what you are going to order and what to expect. There is also a strong sense of camaraderie as you get to know the same people just a little bit better every week. It’s a time to catch up with old coworkers and make new friends as well.

There is the curmudgeonly middle-age manager, the millennial hotshot, the hoary sage, and a whole host of other characters that stand at the ready with a word of advice, the occasional  joke, or simply to share their life experiences as you eat your fourth or fifth coney dog. I know, it sounds a lot like an episode of Cheers doesn’t it? But truly that is maybe the strongest appeal of the weekly Skyline lunch. It’s a place where everybody really does know your name- or at least your friends do.

And a note to the Skyline manager that always comes by to ask how the food is, let me tell you something- no one is ever going to say that the food was bad even if you ask. It’s Skyline for god’s sake, not a 5 star restaurant. As long as we don’t find a hair in our food or see a waiter or waitress drop our food on the floor and then try to serve it, the food will always be fine. Not “great” I remind you, but good enough to provide some type of nourishment and a place to connect with each other- even if it is to just share a mutual love of chili among friends.

Some Reasons I Don’t Have Personalized License Plates

Now that I’ve been driving for over 20 years, it occurred to me recently that I will probably never get vanity license plates for my vehicles. It’s not that the cost is prohibitively expensive; here in Ohio the price is $50 every time you register your car in addition to the normal yearly registration fees- so basically $50 more than normal to have your very own plates to proudly display year after year.

No, my main reservations about getting personalized plates is that they are in fact “too personal.” By that I mean, I don’t know that I want to broadcast specific details of my life to every complete stranger behind the wheel of a car. Do I really want everyone behind me in traffic to know that I’m a Game of Thrones fan or that I really love cookies?

Not only does the state of Ohio give you the option of picking what your plates say, but they also have a whole plethora of logos and other affiliations that you can select as well. Some of my favorites include the Superman logo, Future Farmers of America and The Ohio State Beekeepers Association- and these are some of the more well-known plates I could find.

There are also plates for less known causes or associations that I wasn’t even aware of such as The Eastern Star (which is apparently an offshoot of the Freemasons) and the Fallen Linemen plates which help spread awareness and memorialize electric linemen that have been killed while on the job.

But back to one of my main contentions with vanity plates… basically I don’t want the burden of having to represent a cause with my driving. While I consider myself a pretty safe and defensive driver, there are times when I inadvertently have cut people off or slammed on my brakes or generally driven like an idiot and I don’t think that people would appreciate my bad driving associated with their cause.

I can see it now. I cut someone off in traffic and then he pulls up to me at the next stoplight and starts cussing me out.

“You son of a bitch, go back to bee keeping because you drive like shit!” Or, “Hey jackass, why don’t you ride one of your horses instead since you obviously don’t know how to drive?”

In the same vein, I don’t necessarily want people to easily remember my plates. Not that I’m doing anything criminal but I can foresee a time when I do cut someone off where I would like to afford myself the luxury of quickly blending back into the flow of traffic and giving the offended driver some doubt as to whether I actually was the car that cut him off ten minutes before. That’s pretty hard to do when you have a clearly identifiable plate.

“Oh yeah, there’s that jack-hole again who cut me off yesterday, I would recognize that Ohio Beef plate that says ‘STEAK1’ anywhere. Let’s just give him a taste of his own medicine.”

So yeah, no personalized plates for me. I do encourage you to check out the Ohio License Plate Availability Checker site though as it provided me with some great entertainment as you can actually check to see if your desired personalized plates are available and it provides mock-ups of what they would look like.

“So young man, the reason I pulled you over is because several other drivers reported you driving dangerously and swerving erratically.”

“But officer, how do you know it was me? There are plenty of other silver SUV’s on the road.”

“Um, your plates are pretty unforgettable.”

“Oh. Yeah I forgot about that.”


Grumpy Old Neighbor #2

So recently I blogged about being the grumpy old neighbor because my neighbor was shooting off fireworks while the rest of America was sleeping. Some of you may have thought that I was simply being unpatriotic. I accept that. But this week I have a legitimate bone to pick. This week while mowing the lawn I stepped in dog shit. The problem is that I don’t own a dog.

It’s not that I particularly like mowing the lawn, but you do feel a certain satisfaction when you’re done mowing as you gaze upon the neatly mowed lines across your yard, but this was overshadowed by the fact that someone had let their dog shit in my yard- and that I stepped in it. And not to be overly sensitive but this was a spot that no dog would have gone accidentally.

Let me describe the scene for you. I live on a cul-de-sac and have neighbors both to the right and left of me. The aforementioned cop lives 2 houses down from me. This time I am pretty sure that the neighbor in question is my neighbor who lives literally right next door to me.

Here I am, sweating my balls off mowing the lawn, when the odoriferous smell of dog shit hits me. I pause my music as I investigate what has transpired. Sure enough, I retraced my steps and there it is. A pile of dog shit. Apparently I must have missed it as I was mowing. But now, it makes its unpleasant presence and aroma clear.

“Who would let their dog shit here?” I asked myself.

You have to understand that the spot in question is nowhere near the road or the sidewalk. Someone must have been walking their dog and decided that this was a fantastic place to let their dog do their business. While I still detest a dog shitting in my yard, I can at least understand the lazy dog owner that lets their dog shit along the sidewalk. This pile of dog poop however, was in no way near the sidewalk. Clearly this was either the neighbor or someone in the neighborhood that clearly doesn’t give a damn.

Here is an image of exactly where the dog shit made its presence known.


Needless to say, this is not a dog just a little bit off course. This dog had to travel at least 50 feet from the sidewalk in order to do it’s deed. My question is, where are the fucking owners? I mean, how did the owner of said dog see their dog shit in this area and not think that maybe the homeowner would be upset?

So yeah, I guess I am a grumpy neighbor. For the love of God, please do not let your dog shit in my yard again. There may not be a less enviable task then cleaning out the dog shit from the tread of your lawn mower’s wheels with a piece of mulch. Not to mention having to clean your shoes to boot. So yeah, thanks careless dog owner. Thanks for letting your dog shit just about anywhere. I’m sure that the fifteen seconds that it would have taken you to pick up the poop was really a taxing burden on your busy schedule…

A Little Bit to the Right… Or Left Maybe…

I am getting very close to banning Pinterest in our household. While I admit that there are some pretty neat ideas floating around out there on the interwebs, I am not sure that I want my wife to see them all.

I do find it endearing that she has the confidence in me to think that I can readily tackle any project that someone, somewhere, on Earth has completed before but let’s face reality. My carpentry and craft skills are probably only slightly better than a monkey with a hammer.

Even knowing that my skills are limited, she still believes that I should be able to execute whatever random project she happens to be “obsessed” with this week. Therefore, thanks to Pinterest, this week’s project was framing out our builder grade bathroom mirrors.

The projects almost always start out the same. My wife sees an idea and then mentions it to me like it is the most amazing thing ever. “Hey honey, did you see this? This is exactly what we should do in our bathroom.”

“What? I was sleeping. What are you talking about?” She usually finds her ideas during the week while I am already asleep in bed.

“Framing out our bathroom mirrors. It looks really simple and I’ve been thinking of framing ours since we bought the house. Can we do it this weekend?”

“Um, let me look at it I guess.” This is usually followed by me quickly scanning the article or post about how the person did it and then telling my wife that it is too hard to do.

“Yeah, it looks like it takes a lot of work. I don’t know that I want to spend all weekend messing around with molding.”

“Please honey? I’ll help you and it won’t take as long. Let’s go to Home Depot and Lowe’s tomorrow and then we can get started on Friday so we’ll be done by Saturday afternoon and you can have all of Sunday to rest.”

“Ugh. Okay. Can I go back to sleep now?”

And so it was that I found myself spending most of my weekend priming and painting molding and then caulking and painting it again after it was installed. A wise friend of mine advised me once that projects will always take twice as long to finish as you have planned and cost almost three times as much. And while this project didn’t cost as much as buying new mirrors for the bathroom, it definitely ate up most of my weekend time-wise at least. I hope it was worth it.

So here are some before picture of the mirrors in our master bathroom:

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And here are some pictures after the new molding was installed:

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I guess the mirrors look better this way. And it didn’t take all weekend. At least I still have time to go out to dinner and watch some Game of Thrones. I’ll save teaching my wife the difference between her right and her left for next weekend.