I am a smoker. And, if there were enough hours in the day I’d probably smoke a carton. I’d smoke four at a time – lighting fresh ones with butts – blowing smoke rings out of my nose. I’d blow it in the faces of innocent bystanders where am I going with this? Ok, I don’t like smoking that much. But I still like the shit out of it.
Despite how much I like smoking, it was probably the stupidest thing I ever did.
I quit one time, and the first week was on par with heroine or methadone withdrawal. I bit one of my fingers off. There were shredded napkins everywhere. My eyeball fell out. I might have thrown up blood at some point. But other than that, things went pretty well.
You don’t really realize how engrained it is in your routine until you stop doing it, and after that, you get the crabby panty syndrome, or what I call, ‘Cigarettes Tourette’s’.
It goes something like this:
CH: I don’t know what to do with my FUCK hand I need to smoke something SHIT and this straw is not working LLAMA not DICK working at all and this gum FUCK sucks and it tastes like rubber and SHIT chalk I can’t see straight and the lights are FUCK dimming.
And that’s why I quit the first time. Because somebody said to me somewhere once that this is a healthier alternative to smoking. I felt fine before I quit, and then that. Peer pressure. Again.
That’s without a doubt the worst part about being a smoker – having to listen to some obese man with a cholesterol problem lecture me on the reasons why I should quit smoking while he is chewing on a rib bone. Duly noted, sir. And now please wipe the sodium-rich barbecue sauce off your face because it’s making me look at it.
But all these ads with smoking fetuses, and some girl with cigarette butts on her tongue, and voice box guy – it’s all too much. SHUT UP I’m trying to concentrate on smoking. I get it. We all get it. I’m waving the white flag indicating that you’re right. You win. Smoking is bad.
So here I am now, staring at a box of Chantix and wondering what the shelf life is on this drug is. It’s an ugly box. A stupid box. I’m not sure when I’m going to eat them. I not sure I want to eat them. If I eat them it’s going to be like that scene in Titanic at the end when Jack is sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic:
Cigarettes, come back.
Come back, pack.
Pack, come FUCK back…
**Bonus Contest Alert **Bonus Contest Alert**Bonus Contest Alert**
If you guess correctly what kind of cigarettes I smoke, I’ll make you a free banner or some badges for your Facebook/Twitter pages. But one guess only, cheaters!
And don’t stop smoking, because quitting is bad for you.
Have you ever had one of those moments where suddenly, out of nowhere, you felt really nervous for absolutely no reason? Maybe, like, you’re standing in line at the grocery store, staring at someone’s bananas on the conveyor belt…
…and then you begin creating this catastrophic what-if scenario in your head in which you all of the sudden FREAK OUT and hold up the register with a banana under your shirt, which leads to some kind of hostage situation, which leads to police helicopters and news reporters and swat teams, which leads to your mugshot being flashed on CNN headline news everywhere, which leads to getting hit in the head with one of those bean bag guns, which leads to you going to prison, which leads to having to share a cot with some guy named Dimples who likes to cuddle, which leads to a terrifying stroll down the death row corridor with a potato sack over your head, which leads to being strapped into the electric chair…
…and then the very polite girl at the register timidly says, “your total is $4.99”, sir, and you’re all like,
“PLEASE DON’T SEND ME TO PRISON IT’S JUST A BANANA LOOK!”
And then everybody looks at you with weird looks on their faces, and probably thinking to themselves that that’s exactly where you belong…
That’s called Anxiety. I do that sometimes. Well, sorta..
But it got me to thinking (irony) about how much anxiety (and depression) have helped me write stories. After all, that’s basically what anxiety is, right? I guess it’s all in how you look at it. Are you a “poor, helpless anxiety sufferer”? Or, do you have the gift of being a fucking great fiction writer? When you think about it, having a freak out episode, or an anxiety or panic attack, or a grey matter meltdown, or whatever you wanna call it, is nothing but a series of creatively fabricated events that never happen. It’s fiction. A lot of the time, it’s really good fiction.
So I thought it would be a cool idea to celebrate our varying degrees of mainstream neuroticism by kicking of a BLOG HOP starting HERE this Thursday. Anxiety deserves a laugh, and for that matter, Depression does too. Rather than sit around and cry about it, why not recognize these things as gifts? They are weird gifts, yes: “Gee, thanks for this, um, gift stuff…”
The point I’m trying to make is this: Apply it to Something. Many already do, and just don’t recognize it. Maybe you’ll learn to recognize it beginning today?
The blog-hopping story – similar to the one told at the intro to this post – will mozy on down a long trail of other crazy people – all with the ability to produce great anxiety-inspired fiction. If it works (it’s already working), you’ll get a chance to read a really funny, highly outlandish story, collectively told in very small parts by a lot of really talented writers. You’ll get to visit all off your buds, click the like button, fart, and move on to the next blog in no time flat.
Sound like fun? It will be!
Want to join? You should!
Sign on the dotted line in the comment section!
Oh, and Psst! Ericka Clay is playing along at some point along the story path, so you know it’s gonna be 2 legit to quit. Nothing like a good old fashioned name drop.
Good Sunday Morning. I should probably be in Church right now absolving my sins, but I have to clean and stuff.
See what I did there?
You probably missed the keyword in the second sentence unless you were looking/listening for it. This is already starting to feel like a grammar lesson…
*Grabs pointing device and slaps chalkboard with it*
The word I’m talking about is should.
Or, if you’d like me to make it sound a little more intense, I can add a broken German accent to it:
*Grabs pointing device and slaps chalkboard with it while speaking in a broken German accent*
Ah! Zis vurd vright he-are! Dus is eine vurd, “Shood”
It’s such a shitty word – a shouldy word – and whether it’s spoken with a broken accent, or fluent English, it’s a bad word. It’s worse than fuck, shit, bastard, moist, or snow, and that’s because it has guilt smeared all over it like cream cheese on a bagel.
When you break it down, it seems like should implies that you’re not doing something that you’re supposed to be doing, or that you’re doing something that doesn’t meet another person’s standards, or that if you don’t do something, you’ll miss out on something great.
It’s like a really subtle form of controlling somebody via the guilt trip, or a take-away of personal power. It’s one of those trigger words that PISSES me off whenever I hear it, and yet, I’m aware that I also use it too. Break it down, and it’s like being conditionally accepting of somebody else’s current state of nirvana.
I have a folder full of preachy-sounding articles sitting on my desktop right now, and none of them will ever see the light of day because I’m not qualified to be handing out ‘life advice’. I have my own pile of dirty dishes to attend to. But I thought this might be an interesting conversational piece, and I’m curious if it has the same effect on you.
How big is the should pile in your life?
Talk to me.
I might get myself into a heap a shit today with the some of you this morning, BUT! Just another routine day at the office…
Today it’s time to do some ball-busting, and those cheeseball inspirational posters that everybody plasters all over their social media pages are due for a call-out. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those really sappy quote posters about “climbing to the top of the summit and blah blah blah..” and “You’ll never know what you had until you blah blah blah…”
The only thing this inspires me to do is stick my finger down my throat and tickle that hangy-down thingy until I throw up…
There is a subliminal message in each of these too, and I’m pretty confident that I’ve cracked the code. I think. So grab your Friday Java, and make sure you don’t drink any of it while you’re reading this list, because I cannot be held liable for coffee sprayage all over your high-def Samsung computer monitor.
CLICK HERE for all the action happening over at Long Awkward Pause today.
I promise it’ll deliver.
Or it will completely suck.
One or the other.
Life is funny. It seems to always find creative ways of throwing metaphorical curveballs at your face the same day that you metaphorically got your braces installed. I’m talking about those “oh no, not now” moments – those things that happen at the most inopportune or inappropriate times, and you find yourself shaking a clenched fist at the sky.
We all have those moments. It’s part of the cosmic joke.
So I guess I’ll preface the list by saying that there’s nothing worse than that moment when…
…You’re exactly halfway into your morning commute, and you realize that the fiber bar, apple, three cups of dark roast coffee, and bowl of oatmeal with flax seed sprinkles on it is close to winning the battle. Red light.
…You drop a dime on the floor while standing in line and are suddenly unsure whether or not to embark on a recovery procedure for it. The guy behind you picks it up. You’re suddenly filled with regret.
…You’re cleaning out your fridge, and as you’re dumping the pork roast leftovers from three months ago into the garbage, you carelessly miss the hole. Not only does it smell like Satan’s armpit after a long afternoon of racquetball, but you’re out of paper towel. You wash your hands twice just to be safe.
…Somebody in the Netflix movie that you’ve never seen before that you’re watching with your Grandma says “masturbate”, and then you pretend you didn’t hear it. You think to yourself that hopefully Grandma doesn’t know what that word means. And then you think that she’s probably hoping the same thing.
…The same guy in the Netflix movie that you’ve never seen before that you’re watching with your Grandma that said “masturbate” is now humping somebody, and the chair you’re sitting in feels like it’s going to start on fire. And the channel changer is so…far…away right now. But that would only intensify the awkwardness.
…You’re a dude and you have a Freudian slip in front of another dude in public, which is unfortunate because you’re straight, but you can read his mind and he’s thinking, “I think this guy is gay” and you’re thinking back, “no I’m not you fucking dickhead. I’ll kick your ass.” and he thinks back, “Ok, maybe you’re not gay and we’ll pretend that it didn’t happen, bro.”
…You’re walking through a busy grocery store with nothing but milk and toilet paper and you’re trying to find a cool way of holding the toilet paper, like, under your arm, pretending that they are math books or something. And then you’re thinking to yourself, “It’s just toilet paper. Everybody buys toilet paper…”
…You’re walking through a busy grocery storing holding your milk and toilet paper in your ‘try to be cool about it” fashion and you notice somebody approaching you at the twelve o’ clock position not paying attention. They are walking in the English driving lane (the wrong fucking side), and then they do that awkward dance thing with you. They look at the toilet paper. They look at your face. You lose.
…You walk into the only public guy’s bathroom that you’ve ever been in that doesn’t have a urinal, and also has a woman applying her makeup in it. And you almost say out loud, “hey, get out of here, lady!” And then you pull your coat over your head and casually avoid making eye contact with the security cams on the way out.
…You’re returning a shoping cart full of empties at the store and you’re dressed down. And then you think that everybody thinks you’re a homeless person and you’re cashing in all of the bottles and cans you found in the woods. But then you think to yourself, “I’ll explain that I party a lot if anybody asks.”
…You have to explain to your blind date that something via text message has unexpectedly come up that you must attend to very urgently.
…Your blind date knows that you’re lying about having to attend to something unexpected, and the waitress is having somebody in a foreign country hold your tab while she is taking an abnormally long cigarette break.
…You fart right before somebody enters the room. They never enter this room. You optimistically use your nose as a vacuum cleaner. It’s not working.
It happens to the best of us…
Wait, does it?
I’m a painter by trade, so that’s what I’m busy doing when I’m not pretending to be a writer or a graphic artist. I’m not gonna front and say that it’s my dream job, but that definitely doesn’t mean that I don’t like doing it either. Plus, and I don’t wanna toot my own horn, but ok yes I do, I’m pretty good at what I do.
There are a lot of perks, like, for instance, I don’t have to work inside of an office tackle box like 95% of the country; I get to work in a lot of different locations on a variety of different projects; I get weekly gratification because of the quick turn around on most of our projects; and I don’t have to wear Khaki’s and a Polo and listen to some passive aggressive guy named Greg tell me about his kid’s tap dance recital by the water cooler every day.
One of the coolest ongoing projects that I have the pleasure of working on is a ginormous upscale shopping market in an uber hipster region of the metro-Detroit area.
It’s a night shift-only project, which is awesome for the first couple hours of the first couple of nights. It seems like every time I walk in there to do a job that Frankie Valli song from the movie, Grease, is playing on the overhead speakers. I think they do that on purpose, and I always feel like I’m in the climax scene of a really cool movie about painters or something.
*Slow Motion Entrance*
However, by hour four of every shift, and about 150 doo-op songs later, I want to swan-dive off the roof head-first.
Hey, Pop Trivia Time:
What is the most frequently asked question that I get asked as a painter while working at the market?
Answer: Daily Double.
The most frequently asked question that I get as a painter while working at the market:
The world is chalk full (<–blatant grammatical error) of observant people, and I tip my cap to all of you eagle-eyed lookie-lou’s.
But anyways, this store is huge. If I had to conservatively guess, there are probably about 40,000 employees working there because I’ve never seen the same person twice. There’s like an employee-making portal or something somewhere in the store that these people come out of before they promptly begin stocking shelves and crushing bulk pineapple slice boxes.
One person who I know for sure works there on a regular basis is Matt; a highly attentive, very slow-talking, Asian night shift dude.
Matt is a cool guy, but our conversations are full of too much information and they take a lot of time to complete. Matt gave us access to the intercom system the first night, so that if we ever need him for any reason, like, to move somebody’s coat or something, we could send out a page and bring him to the break room area where he will promptly move the coat for us.
As you might have already guessed, we’re abusing this privilege:
“Matt to the break room; we have a thermostat question. Not sure if 68 degrees is the preferred temperature in here or not.
“Matt to the break room; we’re gonna need some imported beer up here pretty soon. If that’s cool with you.”
“Matt to the break room; we ran out of coffee.”
“Matt to the break room; we’re gonna need some help finding a spatula.”
Tonight is the third night of the project. My eyes are scratchy right now. I feel like hammered shit. I’m over-caffeinated. I’m listening to my neighbor talk about her appointment with her podiatrist this afternoon on the front porch. I’m crazy-laughing.
But that’s life in the Express Lane. Cue the Frankie Valli.
*Puts on Shades*
I have a Dropbox account, which if you’re not familiar, is a file sharing account for really big attachments. Standard email is to envelope, as Dropbox is to dump truck. Get it?
Anyways, I signed up for an account a couple months ago and used it one time only to forget about it. But I ran into a situation recently where I needed to send and receive a few big files with somebody, so I tried logging into my account one afternoon.
So I went through that mildly irritating password recovery procedure, which was a red flag, because I use the same password for everything that requires a password, because I have a hard time remembering fucking passwords. It turns out that I wasn’t using the wrong the password in fact; I was using the wrong email address and attempting to log into somebody else’s account. Somebody who used one of my email addresses to create it…
…Somebody by the name of Felicks Wolski.
There it was – staring at me in the eyeball from the top right corner of the screen: “Hello, Felicks Wolski”
I had successfully hacked into what was technically, my own account. And also who the fuck is Felicks Wolski?
I felt violated – like I was internet raped or something. Some Austrian man hijacked my email address in order to create his/my/our account.
Or is it possible that there is somebody else who was assigned the same address, and I’m now officially on a most wanted list because of my unintentional hack? Am I being reasonable in assuming that this man is from Austria? Does he probably have mutton chops because of his specific geological location?
I’ll never know the answers to these questions.
I can only assume that this is an alias being used to conceal the identity of a Nigerian Lottery Sweepstakes employee of some kind, because you spelled Felix wrong, and there is no reason to use somebody’s email address when there are many still available.
Here are a few suggestions, seeing that you’re having a difficult time creating an email account on your own:
In the meantime, my fruitless Google search continues in order to uncover the true identity of this shadowy email address-stealing person. I may never discover the true origins of the elusive, Felicks Wolski, or his motive behind opening a large file sharing account. But one thing I know for fact:
Mr. Wolski will not be using this account to send dick pics with, because that will definitely not require a large file.
See you in hell, you Austrian internet terrorist bastard.
On Long Awkward Pause we have a contact page called “Talk to us Here” that people can use to send requests asking us to write something specific or to answer group questions, or to request nude pictures from us, or to offer us bulk penis enlargement pills at low costs; but once in a great while, we get something really endearing that’s totally worth sharing.
I thought I’d pass on this note that was made out to Chris “The Boss” De Voss from a fan of the site.
I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for liking my post “The Amazing Niles Munster” on my website/blog Strange World With Dr. Mortimer Schnub. It took me a while to get this thank you out to you but better late than never.
I was about to quit, until my wife of 25 years, Michelle (who helps me type up the posts and puts everything together for me on the site and whom I am nothing without (can you tell she’s typing this email as I’m dictating to her? (She just wanted to make sure she gets her props)) pointed out that you liked the post and that you are a professional writer and well known in the humor blogging community, and that you started a joint blog of humor bloggers. So I have not given up hope that maybe in some small way our site will take off. I know it’s not the regular blog type site, so it will take longer to develop a following, but this has really given me a little more confidence to keep writing and posting. It’s not everyone’s taste but I am old school, my formative years were spent watcing SCTV, Saturday Night Live (the orignal cast), Monty Python, “the early funny” Woody Allen flicks and reading National Lampoon.
Thanks again and if you want to throw me another bone please follow the site as well.
Anthony Cortez (aka: Dr. Mortimer Schnub)
I’m not sure what your story is, Mr. Anthony Cortez, but you rock for leaving a cool ass note like that. Chris shared it with all of us through email, and it made me smile. Thanks for rocking and good luck with your venture.
If anyone is interested in showing this dude a bit of support and giving him a few comments to read, you can visit his site by clicking HERE. I won’t beg you to visit, but I was just thinking back on the first day of my “blogging career” and wondering if anyone would ever read my shit. They did, but a lot of people helped get to that point.
I think I’ll pay it forward now.
Rock On, Dr. Mortimer Schnub! \m/
P.S. Chris De Voss is technically a “Semi-Professional Writer” – just wanted to clarify. Oh, and he still confuses ‘their’ and ‘there’. Oh, and one more thing: he, misplaces commas too.
Ever since early childhood I’ve had this insatiable need to create things. Throughout life I’ve dabbled in just about every discipline, from music, to video editing, to drawing and painting wall graphics. The only thing that I haven’t done yet is singing. Well, if you count singing Guns and Roses in the shower, then I guess I’ve experimented with that too. But don’t let that get out, sweet child o’ mine, as I don’t have the time for any band tryouts at the moment.
What I discovered is that being involved in a creative project isn’t just something that I enjoy doing – it’s something that I need it in my life in order to be truly happy deep inside. That would explain why Art was always my strongest subject in school early on. The at-home dialogues at report card time usually started off with something like, “Look, Mom! I got an A in Art! And I flunked the shit out of Science!” And yet, despite the number of days I spent being grounded because of my disdain for repetitive, boring-ass T-tables, I’ve always thrown myself into a creative project to find that inner satisfaction. Whether you realize it or not, chances are likely that the same applies to you too.
The way I see it, we’re all creators, and everybody has creative ability. Art takes on so many different forms beyond drawing and painting too: needlework, costume jewelry-making, floral arrangements, dancing at the bar or in your living room, doodling, coordinating interior paint colors, picking out clothing, cooking from scratch, clay modeling and pottery, coloring, writing poetry, video editing, buying bath towels – all of these things require some type of creative process. Given the number of opportunities that we’re offered up everyday, I find it mind-boggling to hear somebody say something dumb like, “I’m just not very creative.”
Stop right there. Every human being on this planet is creative.
It’s a requisite – an ability that we’re all born with – and the same intrinsic needs that it satisfies within me, it satisfies within everybody else. The flavor might be different, but the need is there, and everybody has the potential to excel at some type of creative hobby. The goal shouldn’t be about becoming the next Rembrant or Michelangelo, but instead, it should be about personal expression, and about developing and learning what defines you and the type of art that fits your style.
Inevitably, sadly, from time to time that the well of ideas eventually runs dry, and the dreaded block occurs, stifling the creative flow. Sometimes it feels like it will never end and it’s frustrating as hell. When it happens, instead of dampening the canvas with tears, or cramming a paint brush into our eyeballs, sometimes it’s awesome to step aside from a project and go out into the real or virtual world and find something inspiring. It’s so easy to get consumed or preoccupied with your own ideas, and forget that there are a lot of other people out there with great ideas too.
Since we’re all Creative Geeks here, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions:
1.) What is the most fulfilling creative outlet in your life? and,
2.) Where do you turn for inspiration when you’re blocked?
In the meantime, here are some awesome YouTube Videos that I always check out whenever I need a kick-start:
Led Zeppelin, The Immigrant Song – Austrailia ’72
If I’m drumming and my hands are stiff, I always turn to John Bonham to kick me back into form. THIS is heavy metal, and probably the best live Zeppelin I’ve ever heard.
“Fresh Guacamole” by PES
Stop motion films are just incredible to me, and this is one of the absolute best. There is an explosion of creative happening here, and every time I watch it, it’s hard not to smile.
“Rejected” by Don Hertzfeldt
If you’re into dark comedy, and/or animation, this one is a must see. I absolutely love this guys drawings. Stick around for the ending – it’s the best part.
“Rubber Johnny” by Chris Cunningham & Aphex Twin
This one is just weird. You should probably watch this one at your own risk if you have trouble sleeping at night, but it’s definitely creative as hell.
I was lucky to grow up during a time when music was undergoing a dramatic redefinition – particularly in the Rock genre. The entire era was a rebellion against culture, politics, and fashion, and music was at the forefront leading the charge.
It was a harmonious melding of art, imagery, and attitude, that gave birth to brand new genres like Grunge, Alternative, Punk-Fusion, and Reggae-Fusion. So much of it was Progressive in its own respect, and none of it was straight up; they were completely new sounds that took four decades of Rock and Roll influence to be born.
The music that came out of the early 90’s was emotionally heavy; dark, melancholy, and depressing – yet it was powerful and proven timeless. It was an era that was so heavily saturated with some of the greatest bands in Rock and Roll history, and out of it came some of the best albums ever produced.
Here’s a list to skim through of some of my all-time favorite Rock albums that came out of that era: Continue reading