Thursday, November 4, 2010

Off Season Post 7: DP Tells All . . . Again

Hello, Readers, and thank you for hanging in there with me during my hectic week. To be fair, I did warn you that this post would be up a couple of days late due to my “real” job, but I do apologize for the break in continuity over the past two weeks. The wonderful news for the reader is that I will be back on schedule with a Tuesday post on November 10. “Make yourself necessary to somebody,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson and I suppose that’s what I’m trying to do.
This week's shout out goes to one of my closest friends, Suzanne. She's a fancy schmancy Hollywood type and her movie ExTerminators just came out on Time Warner Pay Per View in 80 million homes. She wrote and produced the movie. It stars Heather Graham, Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler's mom), Joey Lauren Adams, Amber Heard, my friend Farah White, and the lawyer from Scrubs. It's about some women who take revenge on men who have wronged them. It's right up my audience's alley. It's funny, smart and worth the four bucks. Rent it and let me know what you think. Congrats, Suzanne. I'm proud of you. With that said, let’s get to it.

It’s time again for another installment of DP Tells All. I have to confess that I was a bit hesitant to invite the onslaught of emails and Facebook messages in order to assemble this round of questions. The blog has been growing and I’ve actually been officially recognized on two separate occasions, which was, in a word, weird but flattering. Also, since the last post, I’ve been getting more requests for really personal information.

With that said, I appreciate all of you for sending in questions and comments. Keep sending them. If I find it too personal, I’ll at least respond and let you know that. We’re all friends here. I just don’t want the FBI calling me to tell me that they busted into a suburban home in Anytown, USA or Anytoooon, Canada and found a shrine dedicated to me. If you feel inclined to make a shrine, I greatly appreciate it. However, please refrain from kidnapping buxom women and starving them before carving them up and inserting a rare butterfly in their mouths or making it rub the lotion on its body or giving it the hose.

Nonetheless, validation is important to sensitive writer types and yours is much appreciated. Now that I’m validated, I’m relieved that I can avoid withdrawing totally from society for the better part of my adult life to a cabin in the woods in order to write my poems believing that no one will ever read them. It worked for Emily Dickinson, but when was the last time anyone ignored an inbox full of work on a weekday in order to read any of her poems and guffaw like Foghorn Leghorn behind a closed office door in hopes that no one hears? Seclusion my ass.

I’ve narrowed down the questions I received to the top 12 questions and I’ll answer as best I can. Here we go.


1. Boxers or Briefs?

I forgot to mention that these questions are in no particular order of importance; especially this one. I will own the fact that I invited you to ask questions and will therefore answer it. I wear boxer briefs. I’m certain you’re all aware of what these are, but I’ll explain regardless. This is the brilliant marriage between the baggy, free-as-the-wind boxer and the sterilizing snugness of the tighty whitey (see Tom Cruise in Risky Business and Top Gun).

I’ve never been a proponent of boxers aside from their usefulness as a cover up when mulling around the house, watching TV, or waiting patiently for the maid to enter my hotel room. Without getting too graphic, the Texas heat and humidity does not lend itself to a boxer friendly environment. Let’s put it this way. Given too much freedom to roam, certain things stick to certain other things and become uncomfortable. Combine that with the fact that—while snug in all of the right places—my jeans are not tight enough to keep the aforementioned boxers in place and an inordinate amount of bunching occurs. It’s like wearing a support bra with that three inch thing of hooks on the back of it and a pair of panty hose in the summer. It’s miserable. I do, however, own 4 pairs of boxers and do lounge in them from time to time.

Likewise, I am not a proponent of the tighty whitey. Although I have fond memories of the tighty whitey as a child, I no longer see the need to wear them. I no longer wrestle with my brother and I don’t take over my parents’ bed to play fort. If I want to show off my package that badly, I’ll move to the South of France and rock a Speedo on the beach. As fun as that sounds, I prefer the comfortable reliability and subtle, yet effective support of the boxer brief. Thank you so much for that question. I can’t wait until the people that I work with read this. Next question.

2. Where was your new Facebook Fan Page profile picture taken?

I found this one interesting. Notwithstanding the fact that this could be a thinly veiled attempt to stalk me, I’ll go ahead and answer. That picture was taken by a friend of mine at The Mean Eyed Cat, a bar in Austin. I go there often. In fact, if I was in there any more than I am now, I’d be a bar stool. Notice the nuances of the picture. Of course, there’s me, Lone Star in hand, sporting my usual pearl snap, relaxing with my boots up on a bar stool. The pearl snap is a blue gingham pattern featuring white snaps and long sleeves. You’ll notice I’ve taken the time to roll the sleeves up—not too much, but just enough to scream “he’s as serious as it gets but he’s relaxed right now”. Yes, the soft blue color let’s everyone know that I’m holding on to Spring while the long sleeves say I’m ready for Fall. I’m a man in transition and my outfit reflects it.

There’s also the Texas-shaped Lone Star Beer neon sign to the left in the background. That’s my beer and that’s my state. I love that sign. There’s the soft, comforting dim neon lighting gently diffused through the bar like refreshing mist from a jungle waterfall and assorted Johnny Cash memorabilia that liberally covers the entire bar along with the pictures sent in from around the world of various patrons wearing Mean Eyed Cat t-shirts in exotic, far away locations. Paradise.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll see the back of a woman over my left shoulder. She’s standing in front of the old school Wurlitzer juke box that features sad old country songs from the 50’s to the 70’s. Then, there’s my hair. Ah, yes. My hair. Like the bar itself, it’s carefully constructed, yet oddly casual and pleasant to look at. It’s all Elvis but not Elvis impersonator. That’s what I call a Sunday night in Austin, Texas. A beer, a jukebox, a casual place, and friends to laugh with. That picture is a small slice of what became a perfect evening. I dig it and that’s why I posted it.

3. What is your off season “process” for writing and how does it differ from the other posts on the Bachelor?

Wow, it’s nice to see I’ve added the creative writing student demographic to my audience. Actually, it’s a good question. You might imagine that coming up with what translates to 6-7 single spaced pages of new material every 6 days is not easy; especially when there’s not a douchebag like Jake in sight from which to draw.

Incidentally, I see he has a new beard . . . I mean girlfriend. There’s not a doubt in my mind that they deserve each other. Far be it from me to wish anything negative on another person. But in this case, I’m certain that I don’t have to. I’m sure that “relationship” will work itself out without my intervention. I’ll look forward to Jake’s next “acting” job on the WB and I’ll look forward to her Playboy spread and tell all interview when he dumps her for the man he’s secretly been seeing. Anyyyyyyhooooo . . . back to my process.

As I stated in the first DP Tells All, I typically watch the show once while taking notes, let it sink in for an hour, and write from 11pm to 2am. During the off season, I just pay attention to what’s around me all week and then write. I may make a note during the week if something strikes me as funny, but for the most part, what you see here is the first stuff that popped into my head when my fingers hit the keyboard. I think that’s one reason why it works and I’m not going to tempt fate by trying to reinvent that.

“I fear explanations explanatory of things explained,” said Abe Lincoln. I think Abe was right. Some things just “are” and need not be overanalyzed into oblivion. Remember back in the late 80’s or early 90’s when Coca-Cola had the “brilliant” idea to change its formula and reinvent itself? Lesson learned. If it ain’t broke, don’t go tryin’ to fix it. To be fair to the reader who asked this question, I suppose my process could be described as “experience.” I literally put down on the page exactly what would go through my head if I weren’t trying to write. Sure, I polish it a little, but what you see is what I think. Get it?

4. Where do you get your quotes from?

“Originality is the art of concealing one’s sources,” said some cynical guy who believed that no new ideas are possible. I think what this question implies is that I have some source material or I go to the Internet for quotes. I actually don’t. I’ve always been a word person and I have a very good memory for things I find interesting. I’ve always been that way.

I remember walking to the bus stop in first grade and quoting “And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” which was a book my father would read to my brother and me before bed. I read somewhere that Dr. Suess shopped that book to 27 publishers before burning the original manuscript. He obviously went on to get it published. I wonder if that inspired him to write “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”

When I was in college I had about a 15 minute walk from the bus stop to my first class. I used to spend those 15 minutes trying to recite various Walt Whitman or Lord Byron poems in my head. I always wonder if Whitman or Byron ever pictured the scope of their work reaching that far where a hung over college kid could actually recite it on his way to class, generations after it was written. In case you think I’m weird, I used to also recite Bon Jovi lyrics to myself. Life is all about balance, after all.

If something I see reminds me of a quote, I include it in the blog. If I can’t remember it exactly, I usually just refer to it generally. I will confess that I do fact check the literary references from time to time. I’ve been incorrect a few times, but I’ve been in the ballpark. I’m a fan of quotes and of language in general. I find them easy to recall and to relate. I’m glad the reader who asked me this question noticed.

5. Have you ever written anything besides the blog?

Yes, I’ve written a book that I’m currently working on putting into final form. I plan to self-publish it early next year. It’s not funny. In fact, it’s about serious stuff, but I’ll give the readers a heads up when it comes out. Truth be told, it’s been done for a long time. I just haven’t had the kind of time I need in order to really sit down and polish it. That’s not a piecemeal activity.

I’ve also written a few books worth of poetry. Believe it or not, that all occurred between the ages of 17-21. I simply can’t do it anymore. I don’t know why, but the words don’t come to me like that anymore. It’s very Arthur Rimbaud of me, I suppose, except for the fact that my stuff isn’t exactly Season in Hell. At any rate, a few of those poems were published years ago, but I’ve long forgotten where. I’ll see if I can find them for you.

Also, I used to write for an entertainment magazine in college. My infamous college roommate, Lenny, and I were “entertainment editors” for a local magazine. Fancy title aside, that meant we were tasked with going to every bar, restaurant, event, concert, or cook off in town in order to drink, eat, and shake our respective tail feathers, and then write 500 words about it. It was a fun time in my life. Giving us that job was like giving the keys to the hen house to the foxes. We definitely took advantage of it. I stumbled out of many hen houses back in the day.

I’ve written a few short stories for various creative writing classes I took in college. I’ve written several professional articles and countless pleadings, motions, releases, and all of the other stuff litigation lawyers draft on a daily basis. I write the occasional love note, thank you card, and text haiku as well. It’s a little more difficult to get on that last list, however.

6. What other Ke$ha songs do you know?

Until last week the answer to this question was “none,” but thanks to my big mouth I’ve received a slew of emails from readers chiming in on their favorite or most despised Ke$ha songs.

I actually took the time to pull up a video called “Dirty Picture” on YouTube because several parents sent me emails saying that they literally cringe when that song comes on the radio and they are in the car with their kids. Yet another reason to spend the five hundred bucks on the iPod hook up for the car.

I’ll give Ke$ha credit, though. Between “Take it Off” and “Dirty Picture” her song titles don’t leave a lot to the imagination. Dude, she’s dirty. Not good dirty either. She’s just dirty.

7. Do you have any dogs? What kind?

I’ve had a few dogs in my lifetime, but I don’t have one right now. When I was a child, both of my parents had a penchant for finding and bringing home strays. When I was a little kid we had a mutt named Buttons. I liked Buttons. My brother and I would torture the poor thing by riding him, putting clothes on him, and generally bothering him for most of the day. He was always very gracious about it and we never got bitten, although we probably deserved it.

After that, I had a black Labrador named Magic. She lasted 17 years and was eventually put down by my parents when I was in college. Labs are great dogs—well, that is if you can make it past the first two years when they cause more damage to a house than a coked up Charlie Sheen in a Los Angeles hotel room. You gotta love that guy.

I was once driving home from work on the Hardy Toll Road when I lived in a town called Spring just north of Houston. I saw a puppy trapped on the middle divider struggling desperately to get away from the speeding cars. I stopped my car across two lanes of traffic during rush hour and walked back in the opposite direction of traffic while dozens of drivers honked and yelled at me.

Sensing that I was coming for him, the dog lodged himself beneath a stopped suburban. The driver exited her car and she and I crawled under the suburban to rescue the damn dog. I took off my work shirt, which was already covered in grease and road dust and wrapped the puppy in it. I took him straight to a local vet and paid $300 to have him cleaned and treated. The very next day, my air conditioner broke and I called “The Guy” to come out and fix it. He brought his 8 year old son with him and as his dad was up in the attic fixing the A/C the son told me a tearful story about how his dog broke it’s leg and ended up being put down.

When the dad came out of the attic, I told him about the dog and asked if he’d be interested in seeing it. They followed me to the vet and ended up adopting the dog—who they affectionately named “Hardy” after the toll road where I’d found him. About 6 months later, I received a picture of the little boy and a happy Hardy playing in the backyard. I still have it.

That’s a true story and I smile when I think about it. Sometimes I believe that we need reminding that we don’t really control a whole lot of anything down here. I think that was one of my “sometimes.” So if you’re one of the people who honked and swore at me on that fateful day, put that in your tailpipe and smoke it.

8. If you were a flower, what kind of flower would you be?

I don’t know, but I’d have a huge stamen. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Next question.


9. What is the world’s fastest land animal?

The world’s fastest land animal is the cheetah provided that the word “fastest” refers to the speed at which a land based animal can run. Thank you for reading and writing in with a question, Lenny. I’m happy I could help you out.

10. How tall are you?

I’m 6’1”, although I wear boots (“cowboy boots” in some states) most of the time, so I’ll go with 6’3”. Thanks again for reading and writing in with a question, Lenny. I’m happy I could help you again. I’m sure the readers are too. I should have smothered you with your filthy pillow when we roomed together in college.

11. What is the meaning of life?

True love, my friend. True love. I stole that from St. Elmo’s Fire, but I think it’s true.

12. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you? Be honest!

Alright, I’ve saved the best (or worst) for last. This was actually one of the first questions I got and I had to think about it for a day or so before visiting my therapist and forcing myself to retrieve this memory via hypnosis. Here goes.

A couple of years ago I was at a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course in Houston. CLE’s are required courses that lawyers have to complete each year in order to keep a law license current. Big Brother starts sending me “friendly reminders” about 3 months before my birthday because the yearly requirement is measured from birthday to birthday. Like my mother, the Bar Association has mastered the fine art of nagging me into submission months before something is due. By the way, my mother has recently learned to nag via text and email; a practice I fondly refer to as E-nagging. She should teach a CLE on it.

At any rate, CLE’s are usually fairly boring and the object is to sneak out as early as possible after signing in (proof of attendance), collecting the necessary course materials, and eating the free lunch that is included in the price of admission, but return close enough to the end of the program in order to cash in your nametag for the two free drink tickets at the meet and greet in the lobby bar after the course. It’s not unlike the strategy used by the killer boyfriend in the early 80’s Charles Bronson thriller, Ten to Midnight, except instead of killing someone you go to your hotel room and sleep off last night’s hangover. Annyyyhooo . . . (when was the last time you got two of those in a single blog entry?)

So I’m at the morning session of the CLE and, of course, I’d been up late the night before drinking at the hotel bar. Since they didn’t have Lone Star (it was a shi shi hotel), I drank my fancy fall back non-liquor beverage, Guinness. I can drink about 100 of those. It’s like a liquid candy bar. Mmmm. Because I had to be up early for the CLE, I limited myself to about 80 of them. What’s life without discipline, right?

The other thing to do at a CLE in a room full of lawyers is, you guessed it, look for hot chicks. Now I’m not suggesting that I go to these things to hook up. I don’t. However, when you’re sitting through an 8 hour presentation on the finer points of the latest statutory updates and Supreme Court decisions affecting construction litigation, you tend to wander a bit. I’m just saying.

As I walked up to the buffet table to fill my giant 40 ounce coffee cup for the second time, I noticed an attractive woman and remembered her from my Bar Exam preparation class. She recognized me too and we began chatting. She moved her things a few rows down and we sat together through the lecture. I entertained her with witty stories and she did the hair flip, giggle thing letting me know that she was undoubtedly fascinated by me. Keep in mind that we’re in a construction law seminar. Paint drying would be more interesting. Things were going swimmingly and I was encouraged by the fact that we'd be sitting together all day. I made a note to ask her to dinner after the class.

About 30 minutes into the first speech the effect of my 80 ounces of coffee began to weigh on my bladder like a fat woman on one of those big rubber balls that they do sit ups on at the gym. Wanting to be smooth, I waited for a break in the action and politely excused myself about 10 minutes before the scheduled end of the morning speech when I knew that the auditorium would be filled with people in the aisles all headed to the nearest restroom. In short, I couldn’t wait that long. I had to pee like a Russian racehorse (whatever that means) and I got up.

I politely asked a hotel employee where the nearest restroom was and she pointed me to a small sign about 300 yards down at the end of the conference hall. I was honest and said, “look, I really have to go. Is there a secret one closer?” She laughed and pointed to a shallow hallway about 50 feet in front of me. “That’s the handicapped restroom.” I thanked her and walked toward it, my bladder pressure building.

I opened the door, walked in, locked the door behind me, and hit the light. It was a typical handicapped bathroom with rails around the walls, plenty of room for a wheelchair, and a single commode. Here’s where it begins to get embarrassing.

When the light went on I was shocked to see that the restroom had already been used by someone else in dire need of a place to go. However, whoever had used it before me did not have a bladder problem---he (or she) had a colon problem. A big colon problem. The entire commode, the back of the wall, the toilet tank, and most of the surrounding area looked like some sort of fecal rendering of a Jackson Pollack painting. If Mount St. Helens would have been a rectum pointed at a toilet, this would have been the result.

I was disgusted, but man, I had to go. I carefully made do with the situation. I backed up and washed my hands in the sink before checking my hair and winking at myself in the mirror. I looked at the horrible aftermath of the explosion that had occurred behind me and chuckled to myself. “Poor bastard,” I thought. “That guy must have been hurting pretty bad.” I considered my late night drinking binge and thanked the Lord that I had never been put in such a horrible situation.

Still thinking about someone running desperately down the hallway, ass clenched tightly, ready to explode, a big smile came across my face and I actually began to laugh to myself. I simultaneously opened the door in order to return to the seminar. As I exited the restroom—smiling—I looked up and standing there—alone--waiting to use the restroom—was the hot girl I’d been sitting next to. My smile disappeared and I began to stutter. Just as I was about to attempt to explain, I heard my name being called. It was another friend of mine and he was walking toward me to say hello. I took one step forward and he shook my hand. As he did, the girl walked into the bathroom and shut the door. Horrified, I looked to the crack in the bottom of the door and saw the light go on.

I talked to my friend through the entire break and never heard a word he said. After the break, I never saw the girl again. She didn’t sit down next to me, say goodbye, or sneer at me from across the room. Nothing. She vanished. I’ve since attempted—twice—to friend her on Facebook but to no avail.

And that, my loyal readers, is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me.

Well, that’s it. The second installment of DP Tells All. I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll get back on schedule next week. Thanks for reading and thanks for being patient. Until next time, if you need me, I’ll be cleaning my bathroom. DP

17 comments:

  1. DP, those are all great! Thanks for sharing and no I don't plan on putting up a shrine in your honor, sorry! I love the quote references you make in all your blogs. LOVED the dog story...I believe we all have a reason for being here and if we can add a smile to someone then our day has been fulfilled. Have a great week, Kim in Nevada

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  2. Great post this week. Your story is horrifying but I do love that you checked your hair on the way out the door. David Sedaris has a great essay about a similar situation. Read it if you have not already, it is hilarious too.

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  3. LOVE these Tell Alls! As always, lots of different emotions here - my heart melted at the story about the puppy, and I wanted to hide behind my couch cushion reading about the bathroom story. And my favorite line? "I entertained her with witty stories and she did the hair flip, giggle thing letting me know that she was undoubtedly fascinated by me." I don't know why, but that made me literally laugh out loud! I have a feeling many of your readers (myself included) would do a giggly hair flip when talking to you as well!

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  4. Wow, that bathroom story was classically horrible! The only saving grace would be after that women left the bathroom if a really good looking guy entered after her. Just a thought.

    And the puppy story makes all the girls go 'aaww' and yes, I teared up as well. No crying, just knowing that a little boy is happy with a dog and the intervention to make it happen. If someone doesn't get that yes, there could be a reason for why things happen - they need to read your story.

    -Post It Girl

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  5. Oh... My... Awesomeness. I can't believe that bathroom story! I can picture it now- just brutal!

    The puppy story is the sweetest thing ever. You rock!

    Love the Lenny questions! Too funny!

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  6. Laugh out loud and tears....great post!
    My grandmother used to clean up after the old ladies at the Community Center...she was like 20 years older than them...but she called all of them little old ladies because they didn't do anything but sit on their butts....but they always managed to "spray" the walls in the restrooms! You nailed the description!!
    Keely from Houston

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  7. You are welcome for the question about unmentionables! Hey, it could have been worse. I could have inquired about your choice of hot dog toppings.. another great post :-)

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  8. Giggly hair flips aside, thanks for the comments. We're a little light on responses this week and I appreciate the die hards coming and and stepping it up. Oh and Lindsay, I like mustard and relish on my hot dogs. DP

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  9. Of course the dog story was my favorite this week! Karma points to you for saving the puppy and finding him a great home.

    The bathroom story was bad, but it could have been a lot worse! I look forward to next week.
    -Tiff

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  10. Love reading your stories..you are a great writer! Cringing just thinking about the bathroom story..maybe through some twist of fate she'll end up reading this blog and know the truth :) Good luck writing your book..I happen to be trying to break into the editing business, so if you need one, let me know!

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  11. I can imagine how you must have felt when you opened that bathroom door and found her standing there. Ouch!

    Of course the puppy story melted my heart. I am a HUGE animal lover and even own a rescue dog. You are now tops in my book.

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  12. Wonderful blog once again! I, too, was in "awwww" land with the puppy story, and the potty story? OMG, that's hilarious ... I feel your pain, though not as badly. I swear, years ago I was on a plane and Alec Baldwin was on the flight. After takeoff, I really had to pee, so when they let me, I booked to the back of the plane. Whoever beat me to it had a similar problem to your pre-potty-person, but rather than miss, he just made it stink. Really bad. So, I held my breath, jumped in, went, washed all holding my breath then jumped out, inhaling majorly and crashing into ... Alec Baldwin, who had come back to say hello to the flight attendants. I just pointed at the restroom and yelled, "I didn't do that!" and ran away.
    Keep up the posts!! I really look forward to them!
    Clare

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  13. Love,love, love the tell all post. I guess I missed the first one. If I ever happen to be in the Austin area I would certainly check out The Mean Eyed Cat Bar with the hopes of meeting you in person, not in a stalker way of course(happily married) but it would be nice to meet a guy who make me laugh on such a regular basis! Also, keep up the quotes, it reminds me that I wasn't the first person to ever have a clever thought :)

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  15. I'm in hysterics over this one! So hilarious! Send that chick a link to your blog so she'll know you weren't the bathroom bomber.
    Loved the Hardy story.

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    Houton Home Security

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  17. Lately I came to your website and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my initial comment. Keep writing, because your posts are impressive!

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