Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a lot of birthdays to keep track of

This is another quote directed at Jessie. (Remember to read that as JehhsIEEEE.)

I can't remember how she came up in the conversation. I think she had recently barged in on a family event as is her wont and a couple days later my dad and I had gone to Mamaw and Pawpaw's for something and were driving home together. Dad started talking about Jessie's flaws and quirks, describing her mountains of videotaped soap operas and her herd of semi-tame cats. He mentioned that she was bad with money but that she had enough from a trust fund of sorts that she should never want. The problem, he felt, wasn't that she would outspend her means. No, the problem was that she couldn't be bothered to take the trust fund check mailed to her home, endorse it, and take it to the bank for deposit so she could use that money. The way he put it was, "She can't decide whether to eat another twinkie or deposit her check so she can pay bills. That's a big decision for her." I'm certain that's almost a direct quote from a fairly meaningless conversation 20 years ago. Be careful what you say around your kids, they remember the most random shit.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Looking to the future

Here's the leading candidate for the redesign of what this space will become in the next couple months. I've got an idea what I'm going to do. It won't be as light-hearted, but hopefully it will be as useful to me as this year has been.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Changed up the format for this one because the quote was so long. I thought about just using "You know he ain't clean!" but ultimately liked this way.

Recently I was home and the subject of eating at my grandparents' came up. For some reason my parents, especially my mom -- but dad, too, have always had a hangup about eating at my grandparents' home. I will probably never figure out what the reason was years ago, but I have a clue as to why my dad resists it currently. His dad, my grandfather, has gotten infirm at an accelerated pace the last few years. He can't raise his arms above his head, he can't turn his neck, he's nearly blind from glaucoma and macular degeneration, he's only not deaf in comparison to his wife, and he's got some mild cognitive impairment. Also my grandmother has chronic pain issues and probable psychiatric problems, so he is doing most of the cooking and putting away of food. According to my dad, Pawpaw no longer has the strength or dexterity to use utensils for putting food away, so all the turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, brisket, and green beans get picked up in his bare hand and tossed into a container that he assumes is clean (because he can't see for himself).
Anyway, while I was home we were trying to plan out the next day's events and the subject of eating at Mamaw and Pawpaw's came up. Dad put on uber-disgust face and uttered, "I will not eat there, ever." I laughed and asked why. The response is above, delivered with the disgust turned up to 11. My favorite part is the end where you have to imagine why this former physician wouldn't be clean. It gets a lot less funny when you realize it can only be because he either can't move his arms enough to get to the soap and water, he's too blind or otherwise sensorally impaired to find the soap and water, or he's too demented to remember to wash his damn hands after he wipes his ass -- if he can reach his asshole in the first place.
God this post went depressing on me in a hurry. I miss playing Scrabble with Pawpaw. I miss it a lot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

counting down

Down to just three more posts to write to complete the cycle of 52. I've got 47 up already, and two in the hopper. I've got another two already started. That leaves just the ultimate post, and I already know what it's going to be. I've really enjoyed this blog, and I'm going to miss it.

what's coal?

I'm disappointed in the strip for this quote, but I got tired of trying to find a better one. I've usually been able to find a strip where the quote fits or adds some sort of absurdist humor to the situation, and where the original punchline gives a twist to the quote itself as the title. This one just makes no sense, sorry.

On to the story.

For a few years my family and those of two of my dad's high school buddies would crash my grandparents' vacation home for a week or so. The males would all go fishing balls early, come back smelling of dead shrimp and beer around 1p.m. and take a nap. Then around 5 they'd fire up the pit for dinner and start pounding beers again. I typically spent the day either stretched out on the porch swing reading Louis L'Amour or Douglas Adams or with my mom over at Grandma's.
At least two or three days of the week (often more) the men would curtail the morning fishing and we'd head out to either Sunday Beach on Matagorda Island or Decros Point. Sunday Beach was seeing more traffic and I think we were looking to change things up a little, so this time we went to Decros.
We had the place to ourselves. It was like heaven. Gulf of Mexico rolling in, just enough wave action to body surf a few feet, hot sun, cool wet sand (and scorching hot dry sand further back), and no interlopers. It starts to get close to lunch time, which means that probably 20 beers and two packs of cigarettes had been consumed among my dad and his friends. My dad had been walking the beach looking for rocks or fishing from the beach or something. The rest of us were chilling on lawn chairs waiting for lunch after frolicking in the surf for a couple hours. We saw another boat come up and choose the spot 200 feet from us out of the several miles of open beach available to them.
I think there were three or four people. The guys were wearing cutoffs and baseball caps with motor oil stains on them over their dirty blonde mullets. Shortly after they started unloading their coolers of Natural Light my dad wandered up. "Who are these Seadrift-looking shitheads?" he asked in tone suggesting interlopers were not welcome in his domain. I think either they left or we did shortly thereafter.

As an aside for those who may not be well-apprised of the local bay community hierarchy, Seadrift is a town on the intercoastal waterway much like Port O'Connor, only dirtier and with more Vietnamese immigrants (two unrelated qualities, I'm pretty sure). Now, in full disclosure, most of my knowledge of the hierarchy stems from my cousins based in Port O'Connor. What they tell me is that Port Lavaca fancies itself the top, followed by Seadrift and Port O'Connor in no particular order. Port O'Connor considers itself above Seadrift, and Seadrift seems to disagree. According to them, POC folk are Bay Rats, Port Lavacans are Wharf Rats, and Seadrifters are just Rats. I think this view informed my dad's comment, and, Will Waghorne notwithstanding, I think it's probably correct.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

due to my getting pulled to cover stroke last month I haven't completed the post for this week. regular posting to resume next week. because afraidtofail, like jesus, will rise from the dead next week. for now, content yourself with these awesome pictures and imagine the blog posts he'll someday write about me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

THERE is an ultimatum

After I graduated from Baylor and found a job, it didn't take long to realize I was going to end up suicidal if I continued to be a generic drone. I started weighing my options. Fortunately, I had done well in school and still had most higher education doors open to me. I briefly considered law school. I had worked for a pretty cool attorney in Waco and even took the LSAT (cold turkey, with the flu, in a room full of cocksuckers -- miserable experience), but I knew lawyering wasn't my bag.
I then considered healthcare. I was pre-med when I started college but fell off the wagon somewhere along the way. I think it was shortly after my American Romantics course but before I tried to read every word written by Hemingway. It may have coincided with the borderline alcoholism and onset of 6 years of depression wrought by my ex-girlfriend's mind-fucking of me. (Don't blame her, my mind's a slut. It gets fucked by just about anything.)
Now that I had experienced something that made Dilbert real to me, medicine had a brighter appeal. I still thought of the whole medical school bit as a trifle cliche, however, so I was looking for something related but more interesting. I'd always loved genetics. Turns out there is an entire clinical field known as "genetic counseling". I found the American Genetic Counselor's Association website and tracked down some practicing GC's and even got to sit in on a few patient visits. It was very cool, and I was sold.
Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of genetic counseling programs out there. Or at least, there weren't at that time. Most of the programs that are out there only take one to three applicants per year for their two-year program. Wow. I applied to about 15 programs and got two interview offers. I only ended up taking one of them. It was to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Yonkers to be exact. This was the largest and oldest program in the country. I had a decent shot at getting in since they took like 12 applicants per year.
My interview went really well, and I was awaiting my financial aid report from them. I was talking to my dad about my plans. He and my mom, being risk-averse as mentioned before, thought my plan to go off to New York for school was foolish. But they hadn't tasted the pirogi and wine that Summer and I had on my interview trip. I digress.
One of the objections my dad raised to the notion of sending one of his Grays up to the Yankees for a couple years was that he had never even heard of this school. I guess it's not exactly Notre Dame, but Sarah Lawrence is pretty well-known to educated folk. I mean, it got name-dropped by JD Salinger, for Christ's sake. (In Franny and Zooey, I think, but don't hold me to that.)
It became a moot point when I realized I was looking at adding at least $50Grrr in debt to potentially qualify for jobs that paid $35k/yr. Ultimately I am my father's son and I just couldn't pull the trigger on that deal. Which is how I ended up the world's most bitter neurology resident. Maybe if my dad were a bigger Salinger fan none of that would have happened.