Tag Archives: comedy

100 Days… More or Less

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Lately I’ve been pondering life’s imponderables, and recently found myself paying heed to an activity which the average person spends approximately one hundred to one hundred sixty odd days of their life engaged, and quite involuntarily as a matter-of-fact, there’s no choice in the matter. That’s more than enough time to slog through War and Peace or Marcel Proust’s ‘In Search in of  Lost Time’ or if you’re adventurous, maybe both. Hell, if you’re a warrior maybe you could throw in James Joyce, because in my opinion, Finnegans Wake is the cure for constipation. That’s right sports fans, while driving the other day I found myself doing the math and figuring out how long the average person spends answering the call of nature, and I’m talking about the Number Two Son.

You’re probably asking why would anyone be inclined to think of such subjects. My answer is that engineering firms are paid $Billions to make sure we don’t give poop a second

Me being a Turd in a Punch Bowl.
Me being a Turd in a Punch Bowl.

thought.  Not to mention that I don’t listen to a radio when I drive and that allows my mind to go into uncharted territory. Driving is my alone time, I often think of plots, characters, and events when I’m behind the wheel; it’s kind of like time travel, because when I get lost in thought the next thing I know I’m at my destination without remembering most of the drive. If you have ever driven past me, it explains my spaced out look. But I’m rambling, lets get back to the subject at hand.

So, how did I come up with such a number? I know there are theoretical physicists waiting with bated breath for my answer. Here is Zunstein’s theorem of Scatology:  A * BMY / H *HPA * ALS / 24 = DSP    I know it doesn’t look impressive to many of you, but for a mathematical retard such as myself this is a breakthrough accomplishment, especially considering I did it in my head and without the aid of a calculator. Long drives in the mountains certainly produce miracles. Heck, one drive produced the word Karmamyalgia – whose meaning will be explained in my upcoming work Montana Rural.

Shit Happens!
Are you a poser?

Here’s the formulaic primer:

A = Average Time Spent on Hopper.  For the sake of argument and simplicity, I will use five (5) minutes a session as a baseline.

BMY = Bowel Movements per Year.  Again a major variable, but, I have to start somewhere, so I chose four hundred (400).  It allows for both good and bad days and those in between.

H = sixty (60), for minutes to hours conversion.

HPA = Hours Per Annum spend pondering on throne.

ALS = Average Life Span. Another Variable, for this example I’m using 80 years.

Twenty-four (24) = A number between Twenty-three (23)  and  Twenty-five (25), used for the number of hours in a day.

DSP = The magic number: Days spent pooping.

Placing these assumptions into the formula, I will walk you through the process and allow you to see how much time you’re devoting to literature, posing like a Greek statue,  and/or other pursuits of pondering.5 * 400 = 2000    2000 minutes a year doing the act.   Divide 2000 by 60 to determine the hours a year you’re spending to keep air-freshener companies in business.  By my math the answer is 33.33 hours.

33.3 hours multiplied by 80 =2664 hours in a life time.  That a year’s worth of full-time labor plus a healthy dose of overtime.   Divide that total by twenty-four to convert hours into days.   Again by my math, and for this example, the person in question spent one hundred ten (110) days on the hopper. I know people who haven’t taken 110 days vacation in their life. I’ve also known people who haven’t worked that many days. If you’re looking to catch up on your reading and want or dive into the classics, just add two minutes a session and by ZTS (Zunstein’s Theorem of Scatology) you can increase your DSP to one hundred fifty-five.

The image I saw in my bathroom floor's linoleum.
The image I saw in my bathroom floor’s linoleum.

Don’t feel that time spent is limited to reading. Other skills are waiting to be developed. Just last month I improved my observational skills by noticing a face in the linoleum floor at the foot of my throne. (I really didn’t see Hitler in bunny ears, but as of this writing I misplaced my camera and the pictures of the coy phantasm.) When I told my wife this, she suggested that I see a psychiatrist. I almost took her up on the offer, but not for the reason you may think,  it was more of the creep out factor from not noticing a face staring at me for the better part of ten years. She still claims not to see it. I think she’s in denial. She says that a creative mind lingers on a precipice. I just shrug my shoulders; she’s taught me that arguments such as these are unwinnable.

By cutting just one minute a session, you could make time for an African Safari!
By cutting just one minute a session, you could make time for an African Safari!

On the other hand, if you’re stressed out and don’t think there’s enough time to do your honey-do list or whatever chore that is torturing your thoughts, just cut a minute from your bathroom time and add twenty-two days to your life. Just think of the possibilities! You could go to Hawaii, explore Alaska, or go on an African Safari just by eliminating one minute of elimination time. The world is your oyster, just be careful shucking.

Montana Rural Sneak Preview

images (10)This post could very easily be an addition to The Barroom Chronicles, except that this is a fictional story, even though the Humming images (10)

Bartender may or may not be inspired by someone who is destined to receive his own episode of the nonfiction series. The voice is James Morrison, the narrator of Cemetery Street. Montana Rural is the continuation of his story. Enjoy this sneak preview of my work in progress, Montana Rural.

By the time we reached the bed and breakfast all I wanted was sleep, but my father insisted on buying me a beer. The three of us trudged down the street and slipped inside the semi-crowded bar. We plopped ourselves around a small table and within moments we were accosted by a humming bartender with an alien tattooed on his neck. “Hmmmm…  Welcohmmmm to Boyd and Chadwick’s, where the beer’s warm and glasses are dirty, tonight’s special is if you don’t like it you can shut the fuck up! Hmmmm… What can I get you? Hmmmm?” he asked.

Diane and my father looked at each other and I tried not to laugh. I had firsthand knowledge of Reginald’s antics and until I noticed him when we walked in I never thought of subjecting my guests to his whims. When we hesitated, he said in a fairly good English accent: “Come on now mate, hurry the fuck up, I ‘ave other inmates to attend to.”

Dad and I ordered two beers and Diane ordered a Cosmopolitan.

“Hmmmm, I’ll be right back… Hmmm,” he hummed and shuffled away.

“That was rude,” she commented and then added: “He’s kind of a strange bird.”

“You can’t imagine,” I told her.  “He’s name’s Reginald and he’s a local legend. People come from miles around.”  What had me interested was what kind of drink he would whip up for Diane. I was fairly certain he had never made a Cosmopolitan before and he wouldn’t waste his time looking it up; he was known for throwing concoctions together and demanding that you finish it.

A few minutes later he returned with our round. “Hmmmm  Two Beers and a Cosmo – politan.” He somehow managed to switch accents from gay to English between syllables.

Diane looked from her drink, which almost glowed neon green, back to the bartender.  “Ummm, this isn’t a Cosmopolitan.”

“Hmmmm… What do you mean? It’s good enough to be on the cover of any magazine. If you don’t like it, take it to the compliant department.” He pointed to the front door where a Compliant Department sign hung over the doorway.  “Now if you’ll be kind enough to pay me eight dollars I won’t complain. Hmmmm”

My father handed him a ten and told him to keep the change.

“Hmmmm… Blessed plenty,” Reginald said in a southern accent before humming and shuffling off.

“Wow,” Diane said watching Reginald again switch gears attending to someone else.

“The best part is that he believes he was abducted,” I said.

“By?” My father asked.

“Aliens.”

“Wow,” Diane repeated before turning her attention to her cocktail. “I’m afraid to drink it.”

“And you thought there wasn’t any culture in the sticks.  You wouldn’t find someone like that in a city,” I said.

The both of us watched as Diane sipped her drink. “It’s not bad.” She couldn’t contain her fascination with the bartender as he bounced about.  It wasn’t long before he came back to the table to check on us: “Hmmmm… ’ow’s your drink m’lady?”

“Good, what’s in it?” Diane asked.

“You like it? Hmmmm.”

Diane nodded.

“That’s good, because it’s Alien Piss with a pinch of Spanish Fly…  Someone will be busy tonight. Now if you’ll excuse me… Hmmm” He clapped twice, pirouetted one-hundred eighty degrees and shuffled off.

I sniggered.

“He’s unreal,” Diane said half-amused, half-insulted.

When we turned in for the night, I couldn’t help burry my head under the pillows. Just in case Reginald wasn’t lying and he did spike her drink, I wasn’t sure how thick the walls were and I didn’t want to hear the results.

Is That What I Think It Is? The Barroom Chronicles… Episode 10

The Grumpy Easter Bunny

When the view starts seeming normal, you may have been in the asylum too long. If you haven’t been to our asylum but enjoy the shenanigans from afar, you may have already begun to accept them for not too far out of the ordinary. If you’re new here…  :laughs:  “Good luck!”  You see fair reader, a grown man adorned with bunny ears and carrying a cross is par for the course.

Bin Laden hanging out before his date with Seal Team Six.

But, we’re not going to talk about said Easter Bunny. This week it’s all about the cross, not to mention our penchant for crucifying people in effigy. A heart-felt thanks goes out to our resident grump for the cross, for it has become one of our favorite conversation pieces, along with the blue balls, the buffalo, the parking meter and the palm tree.

It’s been said that timing is everything, and the timing of the cross’s arrival thrust it into immediate use.  As the above picture proves, in the days prior to Bin Laden’s date with Seal Team Six, he was spotted hanging out in our fair bar.

A prophet appears during 2011’s Rapture

A few weeks later, during 2011’s infamous rapture, it was also put to use when a prophet from God mysteriously materialized to enjoy a beer and tell our aging biker that his bike is indeed green.

But behold, the cross had yet to find its niche, that would come in the following months, when the town was introduced to a one-legged wonder we dubbed Peg-leg.   You must understand when you pedal your way up a sidewalk, stop in front of a packed bar and chew an apple while staring down a gaggle of people on the deck and your prosthetic leg falls off, you’re destined to become an instant legend.  For more on the legend of Peg-leg click here and here.  The links will take you to previous posts about the one-legged wonder. I’ve written about this gem twice…  It is required reading for any true fan.

The Bar Nazi admits the cross makes him nervous

Anyway, after Peg-leg rode the rail out of town, the idea to crucify Hitler arose one afternoon while a couple of us watched The Pianist.  Someone said they had a Hitler doll at home. I found this a little strange, but this is our town.  He returned with a Charlie Chaplin doll.  Hey, Chaplin did play Hitler in The Great Dictator, so it’s all good. Without a second thought, we taped the doll to the cross.

A reminder to potential disruptive customers.

When the Humming Bartender came in for his shift (more on him in a later post) little did I know an icon would be born.  That night he broke a leg of the poor doll and glued a peanut – which he painted red to simulate a bloody stump – into the void. I wish I had a dollar every time someone asked “What’s up with the cross?”  I know, I know, the expression is a nickle, but I have a reputation to uphold.

Aw, yes, I think you’re starting to agree that our asylum’s, errr, our establishment’s collective  twisted mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Don’t you agree, now that you’ve been here a while, it really does seem quite normal.

What’s that?  You want to know what the bumper stickers atop the cross read?

Stupidity Kills – just not fast enough, and my personal favorite, the one that answers that age old question: “What would Jesus do?”

Jesus would slap the shit out of you!

Yes, my world is fertile ground for an author. With this kind of inspiration, I better have interesting characters, or I’ll risk the reader slapping the shit out of me.

The Parking Meter… The Barroom Chronicles, Episode 7

The meter relaxing after hours.

Even though I can’t remember the date, I’ll never forget the day. It marked the arrival of the most controversial conversation piece of my tenure. This object has been kidnapped more than Patty Hearst. It has been held ransom, it has been rescued, only to be kidnapped again. It’s been stowed away in a Tee-pee and went missing for almost two years. It has been given up for dead. It is… The Parking Meter.

Little did I know when an old regular brought it through the door, it would come with more drama than a cute bar fly.  The old regular found the parking meter washed up along the river bank. Knowing my sense of humor, he brought it to the bar and donated it to the cause.

It is speculated that the parking meter has lived a tough life.

Nursed back to health.

It obviously was Shang-highed from it’s original location, had its guts ripped out, was thrown into the river and left for dead. Who would have thought the meter would survive such a perilous journey only to wash up on the banks of our humble town?

We nursed it back to health, welded a wheel to the post enabling it to stand on its own. For years it stood sentinel in front of the bar, bilking quarters from gullible tourists.  Often I’ve been asked: “What’s the deal with the parking meter?”

To which I still reply.  “Ours is a poor town, we can only afford a single parking meter. Everyday a business takes its turn hosting the meter. ”

I have to say, nothing yells sucker like seeing a schmuck throw a quarter in the slot and turn the knob. Especially when the glass is so mucked up you can’t see the meter’s hand. I guess its condition adds authenticity to the the town’s economic status.

Standing sentry at the White Trash Bash.

Life quickly settled into routine for the Parking Meter.  Spending sunny days standing before the bar like a guard before Buckingham Palace. At closing it was faithfully carried inside only to be returned to its post the next afternoon. Soon its hours were increased and it stood on duty twenty-four hours a day. Who would have thought that anyone in our fair town would set their sights on the parking meter.

Partying with its captors! An outrage!

But bar wars, jealousy, and pranksters are funny things, and the meter’s existence became interesting. I fear its morals have been corrupted, and it has seen the inside of more bars than most. As you can see by the picture, our meter is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Our beloved expressing its opinion.

Ours is an opinionated meter. Often it displays its thoughts via signs posted on its body. Maybe it outspoken nature contributed to its troubles.  Whatever the reason, our meter went missing.  It seemed lost forever. Despite rewards, bounties (with all due respect to the New Orleans Saints), All Points Bulletins, it whereabouts remained a mystery.  For two years, speculation was rampant, the idea that a pissed off Kawasaki owner was put forth.

Then, something miraculous occurred. Last month, a bartender showed up one afternoon with a huge smile on her face. “You need to come outside. You’re not going to believe what we found.”

In the back of her boyfriend’s pickup was our meter. A little banged up, but nothing a little TLC and a weld couldn’t fix.

Sea foam green or Powder Fairy Blue?

Where was the meter found? Along the river bank, in the same area where it was originally discovered. Hmmm. The plot thickens. Despite the intrigue, the meter is home, standing sentry in front of the bar, ready to let it’s opinion be known, especially when it comes to matters of importance such as the color of the bike to our right. I say it’s powder fairy blue. The owner insists the owner’s manual claims it’s sea foam green. To which I respond. You’re right, the sky is green. If the meter goes missing again, I think we have our guy!

The Midgets are Coming, The Midgets are Coming – The Barroom Chronicles… Episode 5

You’re going to have a what?  Really? We can throw midgets? Where did you find the midgets? You sure this isn’t another April Fool’s joke?

No doubt about it, the previous year’s prank was going to be a hard act to follow, truthfully, I didn’t think it could be done. You may remember The Name Change Party.  If you’re new to The Barroom Chronicles, check out Episode 2,  The Prank That Keeps On Giving.

I had serious reservations that the latest idea would fail miserably. The reactions to the previous year’s stunt were such that I thought everybody would know I was up to shenanigans. My level of resignation was such that on the day of the ‘Midget Toss’, I was going to write April Fools across the Midget Toss banner and call it good.

But thanks to the enthusiasm of an employee,  the event created memories, spawned a tradition, and relegated The Name Change Party to ‘opening act’ status.

“What do you mean write April Fools across the banner? Don’t be a putz,”  Wendy Rae scolded  “I’ve been getting phone calls all week. We’re going to pull this off.”

To the rescue!

The problem was, I didn’t have a clue how, and as far as I knew there wasn’t a midget cavalry coming to the rescue.  The joke was on me.  That afternoon, I learned that well laid plans are great, but sometimes it’s better to improvise.  As the hour approached, I left home armed with the two dolls that would serve as midgets, my computer (for DJing), and a reinvigorated imagination.

Anyone who has ever organized an event will attest, the biggest fear is that it will bomb.  Despite all the good intentions, planning and advertising, people will find other things to do that night.  When that happens, it’s hard not to take the failure personally.  Whatever I was expecting driving into town that night  wasn’t what greeted me.  The bar was packed. There wasn’t a parking place within blocks.  The pressure was on; for me, pressure is motivation.

Eric the Midget

During the weeks leading up to the event, I spun a beautiful web of bullshit.  When questioned if this was an April Fool’s joke, I swore that it wasn’t, saying that the date was the only time the midget troupe was available. Then I deflected the questions by saying not only were we going to have a contest for longest throw, but we were going to put Velcro on the courtyard’s fence and hold a contest for highest toss.  I took it a step further and said that Eric the Midget from the Howard Stern show was the headliner.   I later learned the greatest skeptics were won over by this info.  The chief skeptic admitted buying my line after googling Eric the Midget and  seeing that he was a real person.

Up to this point my only real plan was to drop the dolls off at the Fat Belly Deli and asking Guido to hold them until they were needed.

Outside the bar I took a deep breath before stepping inside. The crowd welcomed me like a conquering hero.  As I set up my computer and got the music going I was swamped with questions:  “When are they gonna get here? Where are they now?”

My answer: “They’re coming from Seattle on a short bus. They’re suppose to be here by midnight. In the meantime take a ticket, we’re having a drawing, the winner gets to tase a midget.”

“What?”

“You heard me. Tonight we’re tasing a midget.”

Not quite a midget tasing, but you get the picture?

Now, that was an interesting sociological experiment. Some people were revolted and refused a ticket, others were fascinated, others were excited. One gentleman followed me around and asked for the tickets that others refused.

The buzz generated was as loud as the music. And then, as fate would have it, I received a phone call. Truthfully, I don’t remember who it was or what it was about, but the timing couldn’t have been better.  I got off the phone, went to the DJ booth,  interrupted the song and made the announcement that the midgets had just entered Montana and that they were about an hour out.  A rousing cheer filled the bar.

Fate conspired in our favor that night, the Ghost Rails Inn – our local bed and breakfast – was holding a murder mystery.  A costume murder mystery.  The group was dressed in 1920’s attire and had come to the bar for an ‘after action review.’  Little did I know they were employees of a Missoula newspaper and our stunt got an article.

As the minutes ticked down, I organized my elves.

Number One:  The ‘winner’ of the tase a midget raffle would announce April Fools over the PA.

Number two:  The man who would deliver the ‘midgets.’

Number three:  Two girls from the murder-mystery who  would climb up on the bar and unveil the “April Fools” banner.

Finally the time had come, I made the announcement that the short bus had arrived. A cheer went up.  We held the ‘tase the midget’ drawing. Our ringer was called to the DJ Booth. Guido kicks open the door and throws the two dolls across the barroom floor and yells:  “Here’s your F#$#ing  midgets!” Our ringer cries “April Fools” and the girls unveil the banner.

A moment of stunned silence fell over the bar.  Then pandemonium broke out:  Some people laughed, some clapped; others booed, some called me nasty names. A very large man from the murder-mystery group who was dressed in knickers and armed with a golf club, beat on a doll until he decapitated it.

Me: I was laughing so hard I escaped to a bench outside the front door. Soon I was greeted by a parade of the humorless.  I was called many nasty names, told I would lose many customers and that they would see to that my name was drug through the mud. I laugh even harder, pointed to another banner that read ‘Free beer tomorrow’  and said: “See you tomorrow.”  As you may have surmised, I subscribe to the idea that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Six months ago, the leader of the group stopped in for a beer. We talked about that night. He asked: “Do you know why I was so pissed?”

I shrugged. “Don’t know.”

“I can’t believe I fell for your crap two years in a row.”

To his credit, the midget toss was two years ago and he hasn’t fallen for another prank. But then again, we haven’t tried.  My dream, to find a big name musician who would play our humble dive on the first weekend in April.  Of course everybody would think it was a prank.  When word got out that it really happened, I would have a permanent prank license.  One can dream.

Part 2:  The Day After

It may seem that the poor midgets got lost in the shuffle. Nonsense, they both have earned their place in infamy. The poor decapitated doll’s head currently rests on the bison’s left horn. The surviving doll didn’t survive much longer. The next day, Easter Sunday,  we pushed the line further and created a new tradition.

A longtime regular, who was a ringleader in the wheelchair episode,  stopped by the get the midget toss story.  Somehow or another the idea came up to tie a noose and hang the doll from the road sign.  Is it obvious we have a macabre streak?  I believe it stems from a misspent youth watching too many reruns of the Aadams Family.

Imagine the scene, a beautiful Easter Sunday, a dozen or so  people of all ages standing on the front deck with hands over their hearts as the noose is set and tied off.  The  ‘midget’ swaying to the rhythm of Jimi Hendrix’s  Star Spangled Banner.  I still chuckle from the looks we garnered from passing motorists, not -to-mention that poor young family, dressed in their Easter best, who just happened to be walking past.

Much like the lighting of the Olympic flame, the hanging of the midget has become tradition.  Almost every special event is kicked off by a similar opening ceremony. For the midget, it’s Groundhog Day.  At least she gets to hang out in front of  a cool bar.

The Lightweight… The Barroom Chronicles… Episode 4

A long, long time ago, on a mountainside far, far away…  an object was found that one customer wishes would have rusted into oblivion. This object has been the center of much controversy, and once was even kidnapped, only to be returned to the aforementioned customer’s chagrin.

We’ll call that customer The Lightweight – not because  of his size, or because of his boxing classification; he was neither small nor a boxer, he was a barroom athlete who mastered the sport of face planting. Many a night, after his third beer, he practiced his art from his barstool by planting his face squarely atop the bar.  During one of these episodes, he was introduced to the object.

The object was introduced to the bar Halloween of 2005.  We weren’t the owners then, and nary a soul knew my wife and I.  Dressed as a pregnant nun, my wife rolled me in – yes the object is a wheelchair and I was playing a mentally challenged paraplegic priest.  My job was to imitate Noah Percy from the movie “The Village.”  People say I make a convincing village idiot.

One of the benefits to being a village idiot is that no one expects you to posses math skills. Belief me, I don’t; but, I did stumble upon an interesting equation: Booze + wheelchair = fun.   Like any mathematical equation, this one could be readily expanded upon.  It was, and we’ve discovered:  Drunk + wheelchair +  Duct tape = Lots of fun.  It’s not the theory of relativity, but the following experiment proved the equation’s validity.

After Mr. Lightweight plunged from stool to bar top, someone asked

Don't drink and ride!

if there was duct tape in the house. I could tell by this customer’s grin that he was onto something I would appreciate. When he asked the whereabouts of the wheelchair, I was wearing a wide grin.  Within minutes we had the Lightweight secured upright in the wheelchair  and were pushing him out the door and down the sidewalk to the other bar. Hey, we’re good sports, we duct taped a beer to his hand.

Once there, we knocked on the front door and scattered behind parked cars. The bartender came to the door, looked at the Lightweight, looked up and down the street, shrugged and went back inside.  “Who knocks on a barroom door?”  the bartender said later. “When I saw him, I knew you p$@!ks were up to no good.”

Like I said, we’re good sports.  After that stunt we rolled Mr. Lightweight home and planted him on his couch. You would think that he would have learned his lesson.  Nope, it took a different equation the next night.

Instruments of Terror!

Sharpies + Drunk = Art Class…

This isn't the Lightweight, but it's still funny.
This isn't the Lightweight, but it is funny.

Like all art classes a painting surface was needed.  That night’s class was held on the Light- weight’s face.  The same pot stirrer managed to draw an erect male organ on the Lightweight’s forehead.  No big deal you say.  I agree. Until, we  learned that the next morning Mr. Lightweight didn’t look in the mirror before going to work.  I think he had a bad day.  The moral of the story? Brushing and flossing keeps the Penis Monster away!