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huh

My full time best friend and part-time editor/muse ( Musitor? Edimuse?) made a writing suggestion to me today. It’s interesting having a woman as your best friend, because women remember select things we menfolk said that we weren’t necessarily paying attention to when we were saying them. “Yeah honey, Neo- Feminist Broadway musical “The Mighty Va-Jay” with an all deaf mute gay male cast…got a big write up in the Times? Well now, we’ll just have to get tickets for that.”

Fast forward to the AFC Playoff weekend…

“When did I say I wanted to see this? WHEN? I don’t care, the guys are coming over, I have spent 2 weeks pay on chips and beer, Armando is going to fire up his new grill right here in the living room…OK honey, stop crying, we’ll go….we’ll go…we’ll go, Oh I can wear my lucky Patriots hoody to the musical and were going out for Ethiopian buffet after with the ever-clucking hens from your office? That’s your compromise?. Well just kill me now God. I can die happy”

Women store up this information. Then they bring these things to our attention. They usually do this when they begin to lose an argument and need to switch to a higher caliber ammunition to get the job done. Let this stand as a warning for all men to ignore. They are always listening when we are running our yaps. They are storing up all that nonsense you’re happily spewing forth, and they WILL bring it up again, to be used against you at a most inconvenient time. You heard it here first boys.

“Know what I think you should write about?” The Gow asked me semi-rhetorically. I answered in the negative. “You should write about that time when you were making yourself upset about asking your dad to pick you up from the train station”. I vaguely remember this. Scratch that. I don’t remember it at all. However, the part of the sentence “making yourself upset” I can easily relate to, so maybe that’s why it seemed familiar. Sounds just like me.

I spend a lot of time making myself angry, anxious and upset. This is not so strange or uncommon I suppose. What is a little whackadoo where I am concerned is that I make myself angry, anxious or upset by imagining possibilities of things that have not happened. This is fascinating as I am quite easily one of the most anxious and angry people I know…and I know lots of angry and/or anxious people. Frankly, it is my opinion, that if you’re paying any attention whatsoever, you should be anxious and angry. Yet, despite being A&A, my silly little brain has to cultivate new and even fictitious things to keep me feeling “normal”. This is one of the curses of creative people. Our funny little brains are always on the go, knocking on doors, creating scenarios.

Now as I said, I don’t recall the exact reference that my musitor ;The Gow was speaking of. Apparently one time when I was going to visit the Pater, and I was making myself angry because I had to ask him to pick me up at a train or bus station, and I had expected my father to hem and haw over this, in turn I’d get angry and revisit every childhood trauma in the ensuing argument. I rehearsed in my head what I’d say, and every possible response. I got angrier and angrier at my goddamn selfish asshole of a father, who couldn’t be bothered to pry his ass from the couch and pick up his son who was coming to visit him. God forbid the bastard ever comes to see me. Oh NOOOOOO that would be too difficult. Visiting your son? How absurd, and another thing dad…let me just say for the record, I remember, oh I remember all too well that you were busy watching the Immaculate Reception documentary with your buddies, when I begged you to help me with my spelling homework. You blame ME for quitting school? Yeah, uh maybe think that one over Ward Cleaver…and another thing..

Get the idea?

By the way, according to my archivist, The Gow said my father told me he’d be happy to pick me up from the train station. Not a millisecond’s hesitation.

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

I think most people imagine and rehearse possible conversations, encounters and confrontations. Doesn’t everyone dream of telling their boss off and making them cry and beg you to stay with a huge raise and an apology?

What is scarier, where I am concerned regarding these inner dialogues that I rehearse all the live long day, is that they don’t always stay up in my head. Often they actually make it south down to my almighty cake hole and I start arguing with myself when I’m alone. Well, “muttering” is perhaps a more accurate description. I’m a big mutterer.. I finally figured out something about myself. I often tell people how important and valuable “my alone time” is to me. Now I know why. I have too many internal arguments that need my immediate attention. It’s important to keep on top of these things or I’ll run the risk of hurting the feelings of one of the little voices in my head. Can’t have that. I wrote about this once before…Well, sort of.

I like to think of myself as entertainingly and creatively insane, but not quite ready to be “taken away”. Although the psychiatric community may disagree with my vast and extensive community college expertise, but I think the difference between entertainingly crazy and need-to-be-taken away crazy, is that I don’t make up different little voices for my many and extensive inner disagreements. Know how I came to this theory? First of all I made it up, and second because Norman Bates did it in Psycho. I have also had the chance to observe that kind of behavior first hand, and it’s both scary and funny.

Years ago many of my friends and I moved out of the parental nests and jam packed ourselves into questionable roommate situations. One such situation involved my friend Colin, this girl I barely knew named Francine, a few dozen couch surfers and McKinley Moore. Professor Moore, as many people called him was more or less a street person and acid casualty from the 1960s. There were quite of few of these creatures bopping around my college town home. McKinley subsidized his income by buying liquor for high school and college kids who weren’t quite 21 years old yet. It may sound odd, but I assure you, there was money to be made doing this in a Massachusetts college town with strict liquor laws.

Regardless, McKinley was an odd duck. Like many street people, he had developed an aversion to bathing, which in turn caused an aversion to our getting within 10 feet of him in the hot, humid Summers. “Yeah McKinley, can you get me a six pack of Heineken and a pint of Jack Daniels. No the money’s over there waiting for you under that brick next to the VW Beetle…No no, don’t come any closer, I have uh poison ivy…Just get the liquor and slide it over to me with a broom stick.”

Bathing is a lonely business

Bathing is a lonely business

So, the eccentric and smelly McKinley lived with Colin, Francine and several others crowded into a two bedroom apartment. Francince’s room was actually a large walk in closet with a tapestry for a door and for privacy. McKinley’s room was next to hers. One evening, Francine tapped on Colin’s door when we were drinking beer and playing cards. She entered looking a little frightened. “McKinley is talking to himself” she said when we asked what was wrong. “Yeah? So?” we answered. This really wasn’t such an odd occurrence given McKinley’s overall behavior and his mannerisms. Francine got impatient and said “He’s having a conversation with himself and people who aren’t there…and he’s doing all these… different little voices for all of them.”

We exploded with laughter.

“It’s not funny you guys.” Francine whined. “I don’t have a door and I don’t want one of his imaginary friends coming in and killing or raping me in my sleep.”
“You’d rather be awake for the sex?” I offered. (An asshole and smart-ass even back then.)
Francine kicked me.
“When did he do this?” asked Colin laughing.
“Right NOW!”
“I gotta hear this.” said Adam who was there that night.

We all crept out of Colin’s room and toward the stairs quietly, or as quietly as tipsy men tend to think they are being and listened to McKinley’s convo. Sure enough, Francine had been telling the truth. McKinley had a funny and distinct voice. It reminded me slightly of the Cheech and Chong black blues-man character “Blind Melon Chitlin”

McKinley’s voice: ” I wonder if I should pop in and ask Francine if she has any….uh…grass.”
McKinley doing a weird high-pitched woman’s voice ” I don’t think she’s in her room.”
McKinley” Uhh are you quite certain?”

We listened to this bizarre conversation for a few more minutes, trying not to crack up. Francine changed rooms the next time someone moved out. Although I have always felt that McKinley was more or less harmless, I think I’d be a little disturbed hearing such conversations also.

So, luckily I am not making up other little voices for my inner dialogues. Not yet anyway.

Just Thinkin'

Just Thinkin'

Something about the supermarket, bus stations, the subway, doctor’s waiting rooms, the gym and the laundromat gets my creative juices flowing. Perhaps it is taking part in something with the general public. I am back from a stop at the supermarket and lo and behold I am now inspired. I got to thinking about way back when, before cell phones when it was socially acceptable, in the event of a pressing matter or emergency to ask a person on a pay phone politely “Are you going to be long?” It was a way to test the waters, or to nudge someone along, without being rude. I suppose “Are you going to be long” is still used in some social situations. People say it at the gym.  “Can I work through?” they say when someone is resting between sets, yet occupying one of the coveted workout benches. I never ask if I can work through. I just make several dozen impatient glances at the person I am waiting for. How dare they use the bench I wanted to use at that moment? Actually, I am reasonably patient with people working out. It’s the people who sit on the benches and text message, that I fantasize about braining with one of the 25 lb dumbbells and immediately after taking a bow to the thunderous applause of the rest of the room.

I guess it isn’t appropriate to ask someone in or entering a bathroom if they’re going to be long, although I seem to remember people asking if they can go before me when they feel there might be an impending accident. It is leaps and bounds more socially acceptable for a person to ask if they can go first when it’s “#1”, than when it’s “#2”.  Numero Dos is almost always a tricky situation. I am close to and fond of my current roommate, but even I; Mr Potty Humor would feel awkward telling her “You better go first.” if I had to lay some cable. Leaving a bathroom after a particularly noxious boom- boom when someone is waiting to use it after you is never an easy situation and almost always lacking in couth.  It’s interesting to note that my cat Chong often has intestinal callings when I am on the throne reading a book and Lamaze breathing…but Chong and I share a special level of closeness and familiarity. His sandbox is 2 feet in front of my toilet.  Maybe our crapping together is some kind of feline bonding ritual that I have been lucky enough to be invited to. But I digress . . .

Nothing to worry about here, I'm not a patient man.

Nothing to worry about here, I'm not a patient man.

Back to the supermarket and the consistent source of inspiration it is to me…I got the idea while scouting a check out line to join. I must say, I have the world’s worst instincts in these matters. I know better, but I guess I am a hopeless romantic. I always think that this time, the little old lady with the four items won’t take more than 45 minutes in line, and I step in behind her, hopeful, wide eyed and moments away from inevitable disappointment. You’d think I would have learned by now, but apparently I have not.  Wouldn’t things be better if it were socially acceptable to ask the person in line in front of you; “Pardon me, but are you going to be an absolutely oblivious and clueless pain in the ass?” Then the little old woman, mother of 6, or whatever room temp IQ person would turn and say “Oh yes, I’m going to be a tremendous  pain in the ass. I plan to argue with the cashier about the price of every other item. I have coupons here in my purse, but I’m not sure where in my purse and at least half of them have expired. I am going to wait until the cashier has scanned every item prior to snapping out of my stupor and paying for my purchase…via check. I will have to ask the date and who do I make the check out to, because surely it can’t be the same entity I made last weeks check out to. For a finale, I will stand back as the cashier bags my groceries, because God forbid I should help or do it myself. Then I will take another 20 minutes to pick the bags up and move along. Sometimes to keep things fresh I leave the line and go looking for something I forgot, giving you the chance to share looks of disgust with the cashier.”

After that onslaught of painfully refreshing honesty, I’d thank them kindly and find another line to get into. In my careful research over the years, I have determined that a thoughtful, intelligent person with many items to check out takes the same amount of time as a clueless person or annoying old lady with only a few items. Maybe I get in these lines out of some subconscious need to be annoyed which, would speak volumes as to what a poorly adjusted little man I am.

This kind of blunt yet time saving honesty could be used in many different contexts. Of course I instantly thought of my own job, waiting tables. As I do so a smile is creeping across my bitterness lined face and I think of a party of eight coming in to my restaurant…

Me: “Hi folks, are you here for dinner?”

Dad: “Yes.”

Me: (gathering menus) “How many?”

Dad and Mom: (in unison) “Eight.”

Me: “Eight…ok, if you’ll just follow me..”  I lead the large party toward the dining room before I turn and say.  “Oh I’m sorry, I forgot to ask…do you people suck?  I see you’ve brought an infant in with you, so I’m inclined to think that you do, but I just wanted to make sure.”

Dad: “Oh goodness yes. We suck tremendously.”

Mom: (nodding) “Yes,  you will need to get drunk tonight after dealing with us. We’re a nightmare. First the baby is going to scream throughout the meal. We’re used to it, but other good customers will get up and leave.”

Small Child. Age 4: “I’m going to run around and get underfoot, I will also knock things over which neither me nor my parents will pick up.”

Young Teen Girl:  “I’m going to be a spoiled little princess brat with a lousy attitude. I will make disgusted faces at every dish you bring and I will be text messaging throughout the meal, ignoring you when you ask if you can take my plate or if I’d like another soda.”

Grandmother: “I’m going to complain about the temperature.”

Grandfather: “I’m going to complain about the prices.”

Mother: “I’m going to be staring at the menu 5 minutes after everyone else has ordered, I will ask you questions that I could find the answers to by looking at the menu…oh, and I’d like my water refilled 9 times.”

Uncle: “I’m an inappropriate and mean drunk. I will be making bad jokes throughout dinner and repeat them until you’ll have to placate me with your well practiced waiters fake laugh.”Baby: Screeches.  My nose begins to bleed.

Dad: “Oh, and I never leave more than a $5 tip regardless of the cost of the meal.”

Older Teen Daughter: “I’m going to mumble my order and not touch my food.”Baby: Screeches louder just in case someone 10 blocks away might have missed the first screech. Mom smiles. Mothers are the only creatures in the universe who can tolerate the glass shattering screeching of babies.

Grandfather: “My daughter has been known to write lengthy emails of complaint, filled with lies and warped exaggerations to the owner that will get you in trouble.”

Mother: (nodding) “So don’t forget to keep that water glass full sonny boy.”

Grandmother: “It’s cold.”

Uncle: “Can I get a Jack and Coke…easy on the coke…haha…didja hear me? I said easy on the coke…get it, easy on the coke…Regardless I will complain about the amount of alcohol in every drink.”

Grandmother: “Why is it so cold?”

Me: “OK folks, right this way, let me get the new server for you.  They need to be initiated in a trial by fire.

If only…

What is a “Gow”?

Posted: July 9, 2011 by Gow in Editor's Notes
Tags: ,

Remember the guy on the left? "Cockroach" from the Cosby Show

“Gow” (or “Little Gow”) is a nickname I acquired a while back and it comes from one of my favorite pieces written by our intrepid author over there. It was maybe the third or fourth thing that I had ever read of his and I was laughing to myself for hours over his effective use of the word “gow” as an exclamation. Sadly, it’s a bit of a long story and the writing in question has since been lost. Before he had an “editor” Mr. Swenson didn’t keep or organize his work. In the days immediately following my giggles and gushing over how funny it was, he started answering the phone when I called with an excited “GOW!!”, or maybe he always answered the phone that way no matter who was calling. I guess I’ll never know for sure. But either way, it was obvious that this moniker was firmly entrenched as his nickname for me. As nicknames go, it’s a pretty good one. I choose to take it as a term of endearment and special connection and it’s certainly better than “Stinky” or something, right?

How about this guy? "Boner" from Growing Pains


Soon I had him convinced to let me proof read his work before posting it and to save it for posterity. Eventually, “we” decided to start a blog. He would do the writing and I would do all of the grunt work since he’s rather incapable in that area. (Did you read “Technophobe“?) I’m not sure how much of an editor I am. Really, I’m more of a friend, a fan and maybe a bit of of nudge. I often wonder if he ever regrets telling me to push him, to write with more frequency and maybe more discipline. I try to push him without being pushy, but that’s a balancing act I doubt I’m managing to pull off. I had a scathingly funny addition to a piece of his writing once and he had the good graces to laugh heartily when I told him my idea. Then he said “That’s really good! But, it’s not mine.” and he wouldn’t let me add those bits in. Can you imagine?

 

 

 

P.S.    Sometimes I hide little Easter Eggs in the pictures.

S. Trevor Swenson

Posted: June 24, 2011 by Gow in About

I am a 40 year old, perpetually angry and cynical, aspiring comedy writer.  I am a student, a son, a friend, a bartender, a curmudgeon, a malcontent, a grumpy pants, a bossy boots, a pain in the ass, a Leo with Libra rising and Gemini moon. I have problems with attention and anxiety and I delight in self medicating and self diagnosis

My hobbies and interests include: ridicule, complaint, observations on everyday idiocy. Irony and micro-annoyances. Cooking, music, coin collecting, film, reading, travel, football, boxing, gambling, true crime, vandalism, comedy, history, TV, political debate, wine and whine.

 
The topics that will be visited and usually ridiculed on here will include:  The human condition, political correctness, family, anit-fashion, cell phones/text messaging, potty humor, poorly behaved children, adults, and seniors, celebrities, lack of common sense, people and things that suck, my strange obsessions: Wonder Woman, Cookie Monster, Beaker from the Muppets, mental illness, and Charo.
 
Why should you read this? Because I’m funny, unique and I need the attention. If anything I write offends you, please feel free to stop reading.
 
My heroes and influences include: George Orwell, Gow, George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Ricky Gervais, Lewis Black, Cookie Monster, Bea Arthur, Vincent Van Gogh, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Patton Oswalt, Doug Stanhope, Bill Maher, Irvine Welsch, John Waters, Muhammed Ali, Elvis Presley, Stanley Kubrick, My Grandfather, Larry David, William S Burroughs, Johnny Rotten, Terry Gilliam,Harvey Pekar, Robert Crumb,William Shatner
 
People and things I can do without: Paris and Perez Hilton, Reality TV “stars”, celebrity chefs, Dr Phil, Dr Drew, Whoppi Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Dick Cheney, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Anti-Intellectualism, Rudolph Giuliani, Donald Trump, The Westboro Baptist Church, The Pope, The New York Jets, little girl beauty pageants and their pimp mothers, MTV, The Metropolitan Transit Authority, radical/militant feminists, racists and people who scream “Racism” at everything that doesn’t go their way, meter maids, Chevy Chase, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Fox News, rednecks, Lord of the Dance, waking up early, body odor, bars that only hire female cupcake bartenders, violations of my personal space, hip hop videos and “Bling Bling” hip hop “Culture”, yuppies, corporations and sociopathically greedy businessmen, crowds, people who walk too slowly in front of me, self righteousness, dress codes, fashion, modern parents (play dates, time outs and negotiation with children under 10) my former employer, lack of originality, hippies