Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Off Season Post 5: Land, Lost Love, and Latex Castles

Hello again and happy Tuesday. I hope your current responsibilities are squared away for the next half hour or so. If not, I hope you can fake like they are. I can literally hear the office doors closing and sense computer monitors from Orlando to Ontario and from Bangor to Bakersfield being strategically positioned so as not to tip off the powers that be that they are about to pay an employee to read my thoughts. I love it.

I actually had one of those half sleep, half awake, pre-dawn I don’t want to get out of bed yet dreams where I imagined myself negotiating with all of the employers around the country who were sick of their employees reading my blog during work hours. After some Erin Brocovich-esque discussions, I agreed to take 25% of the number of productivity dollars lost in exchange for agreeing to post my blog on Saturday instead of Tuesday.

The good news for my readers is that you’ll know if that agreement ever comes to fruition because I’ll start posting on Saturday and I’ll change my name to Some Guy in a Mansion Atop a Big Giant Hill in Hawaii with Nubile Polynesian Women Bringing Him Lone Star Beers and Rubbing His Feet.

Before I begin, let me give a huge shout out and congratulations to my college roommate, the now infamous “Lenny.” Of course, you are familiar with his antics via the beef heart and blinking traffic light stories that I conveyed a couple of weeks ago. To my utter shock and my genuine joy, Lenny actually won an Emmy award this weekend for his work on a television commercial. Let me say that again. Lenny won an Emmy—a real Emmy.

Let’s put that in perspective. Lenny has as many Emmy’s as Susan Lucci. He joins the ranks of DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, Juicy J., Crunchy Black, Gangsta Boo, and Koopsta Knicca from Three 6 Mafia who won an Oscar for “It’s Hard to Be a Pimp Out Here” from the movie Hustle and Flow. Lenny has one Emmy. Do you know how many Emmy’s Chuck Norris has? Zero. Santa Claus? Also a big fat zero. Nice job, Lenny. Call me when you get the Grammy nod and I’ll fly out for the ceremony. We can party like Biggie and Puffy except without the getting shot at the end of the evening part.

I have to confess that I’ve had a busy week since the last time I wrote. I’ve had both personal and professional obligations to fulfill and a lot of negative junk in my life this week. Such are the ebbs and flows of life and my spirit is undaunted, yet still affected. That often leaves me feeling like the best looking hooker on dollar night, but I was able to come up with a few ideas based on some random occurrences during my week. I’m feeling more reflective and serious today, so I won’t make any representations as to the laughs contained in this post. Keep in mind that it’s also 2 in the morning as I write this. With congratulations done and the off season in full swing, let’s get to it. Oh, and I’ll get to Womack later.


For the past few months, I’ve been searching the Hill Country just West of Austin, Texas for the perfect piece of ranch property. In places North of here, they call that a “farm,” the Kennedy family would refer to it as a “compound” and use it for amoral behavior away from the peering eyes of the media, and in Louisiana—which makes up its own rules about everything—they call it a “camp,” but it’s essentially the same thing: it’s a piece of land I own and unless there’s polygamy or revolt actively occurring within plain sight of the Federal Government then just about anything is legal. For the record, I could never be a polygamist. Not because I have some overriding moral objection to the lifestyle, but because I don’t need one woman nagging me about doing things around the house, much less two or ten for that matter.

Can you imagine how many trips to Home Depot I’d have to make or how many curtain rods and wall sconces I’d have to hang? My “Honey Do” list would be immense. I’d go broke sending out Save the Date cards for my multiple weddings. Then there’s the bed problem. I’m having enough trouble selecting and affording bedding for one king size bed. I’d be hard pressed to go through that exercise more than once. That brings up a thought. Perhaps places like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware should actively target polygamists in their mailing campaigns. I’m going to write a letter. Incidentally, I took a lot of your advice from last week’s post. I’ll give an update on my bedding situation in the near future.

Annnnnyyyyyhoooo . . .

Merle Haggard sang, “big city turn me loose and set me free” and that’s been on my mind lately. Some Guy needs Some Space. It will be my Monticello, my Neverland, my Graceland, my Dollywood, my whatever Abe Lincoln called his house. The good news is that I’ve found a place and I’m in the process of making it mine. I used to camp and hike a lot in college and it always centered me. I’d disappear for days at a time and venture out to random state parks in and around Central Texas. I always found the need for me to do that very confusing considering my penchant for attention and social contact. Regardless, it always made me happy.

I realize that not all of you think the idea of schlepping a heavy backpack full of supplies miles into the woods in order to build a fire and sleep on the ground while foregoing any attempt at hygiene for a few days is liberating, but it works for me. Having a place to escape to is a good thing and I think we all search for that in our lives. Mine just happens to be in the country and I’m fortunate to know that considering the fact that I previously searched for it in the bottom of every whiskey and beer bottle west of the Mississippi for years. It’s not there. I hope you find yours.

It’s only about 25 acres, which in Texas is like a tiny mole on a fat lady’s back, but hey, it’s enough space to sit in my cabin and write my anti-technology manifesto before building letter bombs and mailing them across the country. Perhaps I’ll just stick to writing love letters to Jodi Foster. Once I get settled, I’ll be interviewing impressionable young ladies to join my commune and do my bidding. Oh, and I’ll need a Tex Watson type too, so please pass this on to your male friends. It’s never a good thing to lead a “family” without having a Tex Watson type to blame everything on in the event of a raid. (See Jim Jones, David Koresh, and that wacko that killed himself when the comet flew by a few years ago.)

I’ll keep you posted as to my progress. In the meantime, I need some name suggestions for my property. Please stay away from anything with “Lone Star” in it. As you might imagine, that’s a pretty popular name to use in this neck of the woods. It’s like naming something “Big Sky Whatever” in Montana or naming your daughter “Maria” in Mexico. I’ll share some of my favorite name suggestions next week and put them to a vote.

Lost Love

The second big thing on my mind this week is a close friend of mine who is in an impossible situation with the object of his affection. See, he’s been dating this woman for five years and—without going into too much detail—the relationship is destructive and it’s been getting worse. In the past few months, he and his old lady have graduated from bitter texting and screaming matches to stalking and lying in wait outside various Austin establishments and his home. The drama has begun to spill over into everyone’s lives and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. It’s excruciating to watch and unsettling to everyone involved.—just like a Justin Bieber video.

Memo to anyone trying to hold on to a relationship: Unbridled jealousy is not constructive. Monitoring Facebook posts, incoming calls, outgoing calls, texts, emails, and any other interaction with another human being in an attempt to control the person you “love” is not only impossible, it’s creepy. It didn’t work out for a certain group of Germans known as the SS and it’s not going to work out for you. Squeezing a cute little bunny tightly in order to hold on to it ends up killing the bunny. Put down the infra red binoculars and pick up a copy of Of Mice and Men.

Also, attempting to manipulate someone with the threat of infidelity is not only cruel, it’s futile. Trying to keep someone in a relationship by threatening to sleep with other people if he doesn’t stay with you is freaking crazy. I don’t care if the hooha wears a big red cape with an “S” on it, anyone who gets an ultimatum like that ought to run like the Chief from the insane asylum after he killed McMurphy and smashed through the window.

Oh, and another thing: being deliberately mean and spiteful in order to guilt another person into submission for simply living his life is not a romantically desirable quality in a partner. People should be allowed to talk to other people and confide in true friends who care about their well-being. It’s easier to be a homosexual in Uganda than date you.

Isolating a person from others is a control technique used by some of the aforementioned cult leaders in this post. If you’re going to go that route, you might as well consider something more subtle, like waterboarding or killing a pet. Trying to force a person to love you is like lying on the beach and begging the waves to stop: the person doing the forcing ends up exhausted and beaten and the waves never respond.

The last two paragraphs may sound a little preachy, but it’s hard to see a friend in that situation and it’s impossible to talk him out of it. We’ve all been there, but usually when we’re very young. In the end, it’s difficult to make someone who loves someone else realize that a person is bad for him. It’s also hard to for a person in that situation to accept that each person in a relationship is responsible for its success or its demise. In the case of the latter, it’s usually the last person to make a mistake who gets all of the blame. We all get exactly what we put up with and my friend is no exception. Perhaps I’ll invite him to be a member of my commune. Perhaps he can be my Tex Watson. As Forrest Gump once said, “that’s all I have to say about that.”

Latex Houses

This weekend, I had the pleasure of accompanying about ten five year olds to the local bouncy house for some weekend fun. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, I’ll explain. A bouncy house, or moon walk in some circles, is a giant inflated latex structure usually in the shape of something that kids love like castles, monster trucks, or sharks. Kids get in, jump around, and scream like banshees for hours at a time. Spawned from this particular invention are places with clever names like “Inflatable Wonderland” and “Pump it Up.” Unfortunately, with my warped sense of humor, I also think they sound like places to buy sex toys, but that’s neither here nor there. These are large places with multiple bouncy houses where normally responsible parents bring their offspring and slide slowly, yet purposefully away into a Zen existence and ignore the kids for an hour or two while they jump around like maniacs. It’s very therapeutic . . . for all of the parties involved.

Upon arriving at the bouncy house, corralling the kids, getting their admission bracelets secured to their wrists, and claiming a spot in the corner for myself, I sat back and observed. It’s been stated dozens of times before, but everything a person needs to know about life can be learned in a place like Inflatable Wonderland. It’s amazing to me how the interaction between a cross-section of children mirrors the reaction of adults.

Of the ten kids about half of them took off with reckless abandon toward the nearest bouncy house like marauders ready to rape the land and pillage its women. The strongest, most aggressive kids arrived first and proceeded to enter the house and jump around while the two that lagged behind did their best to follow. After a short time, one of the children emerged with tears in his eyes. Apparently, the others started a game of “jump tag” and he wasn’t invited to play. Rather than stay and fight, he chose to retreat and bother me for a solution.

It struck me that most people approach life this way. They run mercilessly toward the nearest oasis in search of something called happiness without taking the time to think about other options. The strongest and most aggressive of us usually succeed in finding something inside that oasis and quickly claim it as our own. Some lead. Some follow. And, as was the case on this day at the bouncy house, there’s always a whiney pus*y in the bunch.

Of the remaining five kids, one of them wandered off on his own in order to inspect all of the bouncy houses available. He was deliberate, careful, and reticent. I noticed he seemed to be talking to himself—weighing all of the factors that should be considered when selecting his perfect play time situation. He ultimately selected the bouncy house with various reptile animals and a bridge inside as opposed to the larger ones with the wide open jumping spaces. He’d made a good choice, but he failed to experience the adrenaline rush associated with taking a risk. In real life we’d probably refer to this kid as an Engineer or an Accountant.

Two of the girls of the remaining four took a seat in the side play area before choosing a bouncy house. One of them bossed the other one around before ultimately deciding which bouncy house would be suitable for both their needs. Clearly, that kid was destined to have her own talk show and I found myself thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t married to her mother. Even at five years old, the kid was working on a Type A personality and it was clear that she liked to be in charge. I made a mental note to tell the other boys to avoid her at all costs. They’d be emasculated eventually. There was no need to speed up the process.

The remaining two children, a boy and a girl, stood quietly, close to the sitting area unsure of what to do. They were scared. Ultimately, their parents had to get up and walk them toward the bouncy houses. The parents stood there, nervously watching their children as they jumped among the other kids, flinching each time another child got too close or their child fell down. “Sad,” I thought. Being afraid of anything but the Boogeyman at five years old is a hell of a way to grow up. “They’re in a rubber room!” I felt like yelling at the concerned parents.

Some kids are naturally shy just like others are naturally rambunctious. Teaching them to fear absolutely everything is not good. The good news is that after some prodding from the parents and after realizing that they were, in fact, in an inflated rubber room, they loosened up and enjoyed themselves. Like camping and hiking, it never ceases to bring a huge smile to my face when I see children laughing and having fun. If only we could visit that place as adults again, if even for a short time.

The problem with growing older is that there are fewer and fewer bouncy houses to discover. Seeing the pure unadulterated joy in a child’s eyes caused by something as simple as jumping up and down is perhaps the closest thing to perfection we might experience as adults. Remember that the next time you hear a child laugh or see a child cry. In teaching them, we often forget how much we can learn from them.

All in all, the children had a wonderful time and so did I. If the truth is told, I have to admit that by the end of two hours I was ready to leave, but I left there with a renewed sense of the value of my own life and what it means to be an example and a mentor for young children.

I realize that this week’s post might disappoint those of you waiting for my usual sarcasm or bathroom humor, but hey, it’s my blog and this is where I’m at this week. I do appreciate the off season readers, but even I have to reflect sometimes. I hope you don’t mind too much. If it’s any consolation, I’ll be back in usual form next week, as I plan to tackle the usual Bachelor subjects, including the selection of our repeat bachelor, Brad Womack.

Until next week, take care of yourselves, enjoy your week, and take a moment to stop and smell some metaphorical roses—regardless of what those roses are in your life. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be exploring the deep vicissitudes of my character. DP


  1. I think I like this serious DP. :)

    I've got too many physical problems to be coordinated enough to have fun in a bouncy house, believe it or not. And I've certainly never seen an entire park of bouncy houses. That might be enough to entice me to go to Texas. ;)

  2. DP, I enjoyed your serious side as well. I was beginning to convince myself that you were single because you are so sarcastic. HAHA! I too realize that when I take the time to take my kids to the pool, park or some other fun place they seem to notice the small things that we as adults get annoyed by. Thanks for sharing.

    Can I also say my sister is in the psycho stage of her relationship. She is begging her ex-husband to come back to her...Come on, if he wants to move on and it doesn't include you then you need to deal with it. My husband said the other day the only reason why she calls you is to vent on something that hurt her feelings. I just want my normal sister back. They were only married for 1 year, so not alot of baggage in that one. Trust me I am old-fashion marriage is forever person, but there are times it just wasn't meant to be. Tell your friend to hang in there and not give her any reson to think he may be interested again. Cut off all ties! Great blog again, have a happy week! Kim in Nevada

  3. Well some guy this was a pensive week for you and it suits you! Thanks for the shout out to Ontario. I totally get your need for the country place...mine involves a lake in northern Ontario...known affectionaly as "The Cottage" There is nothing that cannot be solved by a few hours on the deck with a cold one. I liked that the bouncy house was a metaphor for life. Great post. And for the record...this week I read it on my own time!

  4. Reflection is good. Loved the Louisiana reference, it was spot on. All of us Mississippi gals love crossin' the river to head to "the camp", no name needed!

  5. Your post wasn't disappointing at all! So many funny things...Susan Lucci, your name change, your commune, that Applewhite comet guy.
    Good luck with your little mole! I love the hill country. So beautiful.
    The story about your friend is so sad. My ex-best friend was "that" girl. She victimized every serious boyfriend from 9th grade until our senior year in college. I could write a book about all the stalking, bashed windshields, faked pregnancies, intentional auto accidents...
    Hope your week gets better, DP.
    Don't bother with getting to Womack "later"...your personal life is way more interesting!

    The Woodlands

  6. Some guy I really enjoyed your serious side this week. I am a Grandmother and I bought my little ones a bouncy house. I love to hear the laughter coming from inside the structure. You showed an analytical nature and have a great perspective on life. And yes, I am an accountant. You are very profound in your observations of happiness and how to acheive it in life. About your friend, all I can say is be there to support them . Be as positive as you can be, because in the end you will be the one to help pick up the pieces and give them the push to go forward. Been there, done that! Good luck! On a side note, if your land has a pond or stock tank how about "Ponderosa". I know it is corny, unless you liked Bonanza growing up. Keep up the writing. I had tears in my eyes reading your take on the children. Loved, loved, loved it. Thanks, Debbie

  7. How about Some Ranch in Austin (or whatever locale you settle in)?
    Sounds like a nice get-away place. My friend owns a ski house in Vermont ... we get there about twice a year to get away, especially during peak-leaf season, where we get about 30 to 40 people up there in a couple of houses in their little neighborhood, sit around the fire pit and do nothing but eat, drink and chat. It's the best.
    Your bouncy house thing reminds me of my too-many-afternoons spent in that hell known as Chuck E. Cheese. With four kids ages 7 to 19, I've been there way too much for birthday parties for my own kids and for their classmates. We moms let the kids loose and sit and drink soda and eat pizza, stare at the clock and talk about the kids, school, teachers, whatever. Last time, the manager came by and asked if there was anything he could do to make the "experience" better. I said, "Serve alcohol!" and you know what? Some Chuck E. Cheeses do! Just not in New Jersey -- liquor licenses too expensive. Damn.
    Enjoyed the blog -- and tell your friend to run away from that woman, pronto. Run like Chief! I loved that reference.
    Take care!

  8. Last week two of my friends and I went to Orlando to celebrate the 30th birthday of one of the friends. There were so many unadulterated belly laughs of joy coming from little kids and there are few better sounds in the world. It turned us into kids again, just for a little while, and it was a beautiful escape from reality.

    I'm sorry your friend is stuck in such an awful situation and isn't ready yet to dig himself out. He will have his moment of clarity, and I hope it's sooner than later. Until then, as you know, there's nothing you can do to open his eyes. Someone in a relationship like that needs to figure it out for themselves, as painful as it is to watch.

    I'll have to give some thought to your ranch name. I'm thinking something with DP. Deep Peace Ranch...Dodging Pandemonium...Discovering Paradise...

  9. I like the suggestions of "Some Ranch in Austin". That's cute.

    Or you could just call it "Some Place".

    My parents got their Shangri La many years ago and because my mother always liked homes with tile roofs and a Spanish flair, she named their place "El Costa Lota".

  10. Great post! I think the question remains...did you or did you not get in one of the bouncey houses yourself?

  11. I would just like to know WHY you were with ten 5-year olds at a bouncy place? Is anyone else wondering that? ;)

  12. Fave quotes...
    "It’s excruciating to watch and unsettling to everyone involved.—just like a Justin Bieber video."
    "Put down the infra red binoculars and pick up a copy of Of Mice and Men."
    Good stuff...keep it coming!

  13. DP, I also enjoyed your serious side, it was refreshing and very good.
    Too bad about your friend and his warped relationship but he won't walk away from it until he comes to accept what a hell on earth it is. There is nothing anyone can tell him that will make him open up his eyes. That's just life.
    The bouncy houses are really popular with kids, once I tried getting into one at friend's child birthday party. Believe it or not, I got motion sickness and had to get out ASAP.

  14. Love the comments and I appreciate you all seeing beyond the anatomy jokes in my usual posts. It's been a rough week and comments like these make a big difference. Thanks to all for reading. Oh, and I have been known to enter the bouncy house on occassion. DP

  15. To put 2 and 2 together means add up what evidence you have...and come to the conclusion. Some Guy is a daddy!

    On a side note, this is hysterical:

  16. I liked the serious side. I'm brain dead from craziness at work, otherwise I'd chime in on the name ideas- but I kinda like "Some Ranch in (fill in the blank)"!

  17. I completely get your desire to get away from it all. While I am a city girl, I recharge my battery in Boulder every summer. There are few things as relaxing as eating a smushed pb & j on top of a mountain after a long hike and drinking an ice cold beer at the end of the hike. I need more info on your new digs before I can make any suggestions on a name.

  18. Great post, DP! Like someone else said ... you're personal life is more interesting that Brad Womack. :o)

    I like the Some Ranch naming ideas, as well as something DP-related. I'm sure it will be clever no matter what you choose.
    Lisa in TX

  19. Funny, I have been in a reflective mood as well. Your views with the 10 kids and bouncy houses were spot on. I hope your guy friend gets out of the bad situation and things for you get better. Hope you have a enjoyable drama-free weekend!

    Post It Girl

  20. hmmmm. DP names? ... well, if it's a ranch that's gonna take away your Lone-Starability because of costliness ... how about Draining Pockets Ranch
    Clare (again)

  21. Some Guy...an appropriate name would be: "Some Land" or something similar. Like you, simple but complex.

  22. Regarding Land acquisition, I think that Lone Star beer held a promotional contest that gave away Texas land. I noticed it on the inside cover of a 12 pack I was drinking while cleaning up my garage one week.