Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Off Season Post 6: Three Things that Piss Me Off

Hello, Readers, and welcome to the next off season installment of the blog you all rely upon to fill your hearts with laughter each Tuesday when you purposely and nefariously shirk your work day responsibilities in favor of seeing what drivel has spilled from my overactive mind since the last time you feverishly hit the “refresh” icon on your screens.

As you are all painfully aware, I’ve been in an exceptionally foul mood over the past few weeks. It’s not always puppy dogs and ice cream when you’re Some Guy in Austin. Frankly, I’ve often felt like drowning a puppy dog in a puddle of ice cream lately and I’m not sure how long my crankiness will last. I’ve been so miserable I’ve actually considered writing a Russian novel.

There’s a Jason Boland song called “God is Mad at Me” that comes to mind. Incidentally, the rest of that album is fairly decent. Try also listening to “Bottle By My Bed” and “Comal County Blue” if you’re interested. Few things in life compare to a song when trying to capture an emotion. Compared to the power of music, I might as well be a chimp with a crayon.

In spite of the emotional desert I’ve been wandering around in I still manage to put on a happy face each day and, with the exception of those that are close to me, very few people can spot the difference—particularly after a couple of Lone Stars. I appreciate all of the well wishes and because I’m a professional, I will continue to feed your need for a big break in your Tuesday.

I once heard a story about Michelangelo that claimed he was an angry, contentious, and increasingly dissatisfied person who had horrible bouts of overwhelming self doubt and monumental creative blocks despite being one of the most prodigious and accomplished artists of all time. The story claimed that a frustrated Michelangelo once screamed at the block of stone that eventually became transformed into one of his most famous works, Pieta, “Talk to me, damnit! Talk to me!” as he tried in vain to find inspiration. Of course, he screamed that in Italian, but that’s neither here nor there.

Incidentally, if you’ve never seen that sculpture Google it. The entire thing took him less than two years to complete with 16th Century tools and, along with his famous statue of David, it was completed before he turned 30. Incredible. Again, I’m a chimp with a crayon.

Annnnyyyyhooo . . .

After going on an Easter Sunday hike through the Barton Springs Greenbelt here in Austin, I pondered many possible subject matters for today’s post. I settled on writing about a few things that really piss me off. I reasoned that topic would provide me with a great platform from which to vent while also providing you with some good water cooler fodder. With that said, let’s get to it.


I know that most of you are currently rolling your eyes in disbelief at my claim that topless bars aggravate me. I’m sure you’ve all heard your husband, boyfriend, or close male friends flippantly and insincerely dismiss these places in the name of saving face or trying to distance themselves from a drooling, macho heard of potential suitors. I will agree that most men that I know either love these places or don’t mind going every now and then. However, I happen to deplore them.

Disclaimer: I don’t think that every man who steps into one of these places is an unconscionable misogynist. However, if I wanted to find an unconscionable misogynist, a topless bar would be a good place to start. I’ve been in topless bars probably a dozen times in my entire life with the vast majority of those being in my early 20’s when friends went for bachelor parties. I also used to go on Tuesdays to a place here in Austin called the Yellow Rose out of sheer curiosity to watch Jell-O wrestling, and that too was in my very early 20’s.

In the past 10 years I’ve set foot in one topless bar on Bourbon Street and was eventually physically removed by a very large man after I got molared up, fell out of my chair, and began to do pushups on the floor. Remind me to tell you about the time that MH and I went to Bourbon Street when I was 18 years old so I could try out for College Jeopardy. I was actually tackled by two strippers in the middle of Bourbon Street. Oh, and I didn’t make it on Jeopardy. Back to my rant.

Upon initial examination, one might find it necessary to distinguish between the local nudie bar and the “upscale gentlemen’s club;” however, nothing could be further from the truth. You can put a silk hat on a pig all day, but it’s still a pig. You can put tassels, silicone, and glitter on that pig and name it after a spice, a fruit, or a city in Nevada too. It will still roll around in filth. By the way, palindromes like “Hannah” or “Elle” or “Ava” are also popular choices for stripper names for some reason. Odd.

There are some major differences between the two types of clubs. Parking at the nudie bar consists of pulling in discreetly around back and hiding your valuables in your glove box or middle console. Parking at the gentlemen’s club consists of pulling triumphantly up front under a heavily ornamented porte cochere and handing your keys to a guy in a fake soldier uniform so he can discreetly pull your car around back before backing it into a space and rifling through your glove box and middle console. I have no idea why backing a car into a space is necessary at these places. Perhaps it makes for a faster exit when the Vice Squad inevitably comes barreling through the back door.

The other major difference is the price of things in these clubs. A beer at the local nudie bar will probably run a “gentleman” around $7.50, which is twice the cost of an entire six pack of Lone Star beer at the local bulk liquor store. Incredibly, a beer at the “gentlemen’s club” often goes for north of ten dollars and real drinks go for even more. Throw in the latest way to legally rip a person off—bottle service—and the bill starts to increase exponentially. Believe it or not, buying a stripper a glass of champagne—one glass—will often run around $100 and having her rub her fake, glittery assets all over the place will run anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on the club. Ridiculous.

How do I know this? You’re forgetting that I’m a lawyer. I have a small family law docket and do some divorce work. You’d be surprised what pops up during a little process called discovery. If you ever want to see a really guilty man squirm and sweat like a whore in church, put a camera in front of his face, a court reporter to his left, present him with his own credit card bill, and ask him to explain thousands of dollars in charges to an innocuously named L.L.C. that is actually the official business name of The Spearmint Hippo, The Landing Strip, Big Daddy’s, PT’s, TJ’s, Hot Lips, Pandora’s Box, Vertical Smile, The Happy Clam, The Pink Monkey, Beavers, Treasure Hunt, or whatever “clever” name is emblazoned in white lights on the front of that aforementioned porte cochere. Those cases tend to settle quickly.

I could go on for days; however, I’ll sum it up like this: The entire business model of topless bars is focused on taking every penny in a man’s pocket by falsely catering to that side of him that tells him he could have any woman in the bar. Speaking of chimps, those places are equally, if not more, degrading to the men sitting there shelling out hundreds of dollars to a woman with nothing better to do than adopt a fake name, cover herself in glitter, and bilk men out of their daughter’s college funds by shaking her cooter around while AC/DC blares throughout the dimly lit room than the are to the women working there.

Granted, the topless bar is nothing new. History is replete with versions of these businesses. However, I will say that there is no purer version of capitalism than a sexually oriented business. People should be free to spend their money how they see fit and other people should benefit if they can figure out a good way to make them spend it. If a guy wants to throw away a few grand talking to “Jasmine,” “Cherry,” “Reno,” “Hannah,” or “Ginger” about her Master’s thesis for a couple hours between lap dances over a few ten dollar beers then let him do it. God Bless America.

If you’re reading this and happen to either frequent these places or actually work at one, I’m not judging. I just choose not to go. If I want to have a younger, marginally attractive woman with fake boobs and real daddy issues who needs a few glasses of wine in order to find me tolerably attractive, take her clothes off in front of me, and tease me with the sole intent of taking all of my money then I’ll get married.


No, I’m not referring to the kind of magazine that comes discretely concealed in a brown wrapper behind the Pakastani clerk at my local convenience store. I’m actually referring to magazines like Men’s Health or Men’s Fitness and their ilk. These magazines typically have a female equivalent and are published by the same publishing companies. Rodale Press is one that comes to mind, but I’m certain there are more based upon the vast selection I perused at the Dallas airport the last time I was unavoidably delayed on my way back to my beloved Austin.

I actually picked up a few of the female versions of these magazines to see if my problem with the male versions was unique to the male version or if the same formula was applied to the female versions. My suspicions were confirmed.

By the way, the guy at my local convenience store is actually from Pakistan. I talk to him every time I go in there, buy a Diet Coke, and scan the titles of the dirty magazines behind him. Occasionally, my curiosity gets the better of me and I’m tempted to purchase one. However, I haven’t yet mustered the courage to speak up and say, “May I please have copies of the latest issues of ‘Sort of Legal’ and ‘Young Buns Quarterly?’” Perhaps one day. . . sigh.

So, why do “legitimate” men’s magazines piss me off? I’m happy to tell you.

The entire content of every one of these magazines can be categorized into three stories:

1. Get Better (insert body part) in Just (insert small number) Days,

2. Secret Diet Foods, and

3. (Insert large number) Things that Every Woman Wants in Bed.

That’s it. Thousands of issues and that’s it. Every article revolves around one of these three subject matters. Throw in a shirtless McConaughey or Lutz with a smug look on his overpaid face on the cover and boom, you’re selling subscriptions out the wazoo.

I realize that this blog makes me appear like an intellectual giant. (Remember that chimp with a crayon comment earlier?) However, I do like a little substance, even in my light airplane reading. The in-flight magazines are more interesting for crying out loud. However, for women I suppose these subjects are sufficiently stimulating if they are read atop a stair master or treadmill during an afternoon workout while trying to ignore the creepy guy next to you who constantly peeks at your speed and pace in an effort to adjust his speed and pace a few notches above yours to prove his manliness via some sort of pseudo gym mating dance like one of those birds with the giant blue chests they puff out in order to win the affections of an indifferent female, pork her, and perpetuate the species.

The reverse doesn’t apply, though. I don’t think slapping a Men’s Health issue down on that plastic holder thing on my elliptical machine at the gym and reading “69 Things to Try on Your Woman” while sweating and grunting like a feral hog is likely to attract hoards of nubile young women to me. Granted, it might attract some hogs, but that’s an entirely different problem.

Like topless bars these magazines boil men’s corporeal needs down to the most basic form. Sex, food, and appearance are the Alpha and Omega in this world. I suppose I wouldn’t have a problem with a magazine offering identical advice on those subjects week after week in spite of putting a different color bow on it and a different, albeit stereotypically similar, shirtless hunk on the front of it if it was honest about it what it is.

Alas, Rodale Press still sells a billion issues a month and I’d be willing to bet that as long as washboard abs and sexual prowess are on men’s minds, they’ll continue to sell them. In other words, forever.


Look, I realize that the upcoming nuptials of the balding, big-eared, fence-toothed Prince William and Kate Whatever is as sacrosanct as The Notebook to some of you, but I can’t resist commenting. I was debating on tackling this subject, not because I felt as if I had anything substantive to say about it, but because I wasn’t sure if I could stomach writing about it. My mind was made up for me when I opened up my ABC News app on my iPhone at lunch yesterday and saw that below “Local News” and “World News” they actually have an icon for “Royal Wedding.” For the record, of the three things on this list, this one pisses me off the most.

Literally for centuries, the Royal Family has been the only family in England living on government handouts and smiling about it. Curious, I actually Googled, “What’s a Queen earn?” This inquiry is not to be confused with the age old question, “What’s a Greek Urn?” The answer to that question, of course, is “about ten bucks an hour.” Granted, that joke is funnier when spoken, but I’ll still be here all week, folks. Tip your wait staff and be sure and try the tenderloin.

Back to the freeloading Royal Family.

For reference purposes only, the average Dairy Queen earns about $95K a year and the average Queen Bee lays 2000 eggs per day for 3-5 years. Now that’s a queen with a real job. Unlike the Queen of England, she deserves to get her stinger kissed. By comparison, the Queen sits atop her throne for the glory of the common man. There are some queens in San Francisco who sit atop a commode manning a common glory hole, but that’s an entirely different story altogether. I doubt that pays well.

What’s the Queen earn? Get this. The Queen as a Monarch and the Head of State receives around 80 million dollars a year. That money is to pay for the official royal residences, royal train, state royal trips, royal cars, royal household staff, royal official employees, royal secretaries, representative funds, security, and all of the other crap she never earned but inherited because of her bloodline. Hell, A-Rod doesn’t even make that kind of cash and he’s good for fifty home runs and a hundred plus RBI’s a season.

Actually, that whole birthright thing is not entirely true. Elizabeth was not even supposed to be Queen. Save for the fact that her uncle actually abdicated the crown after becoming p*ssy whipped by an unapologetic, Nazi-loving, American strumpet thereby making her father—the next brother in line--the King of England, she’d likely be peddling frozen Weight Watchers dinners on television like the only (former) royal to ever have a job, Sarah Ferguson, Dutchess of Somewhere. Hell, even she never even had a job until she ballooned up and Prince Andrew dumped her for another woman who was undoubtedly more attractive than that pasty, horse-faced Camilla Parker Bowles.

In addition to her undeserved stipend, the Queen is also the private owner of thousands of acres of land, private residences, shares of stock, hedge funds, investment accounts, and a bunch of other shit she bought with money given to her by the English people and has a private income of around 30 million dollars a year. Her estimated net worth is about 85 BILLION dollars. In short, being the Queen of England is a good gig if you can get it.

Searching for the slightest benefit of doubt, I found an article entitled “What Does the Queen Do?” written by J.F.O. McAllister in the April 14, 2006, issue of Time Magazine. After reading the three page article, the best description of the 80 million dollar a year “job” that the Queen performs is “Ceremonial Responsibilities.” Good God. In America we call those people Event Planners and they don’t make 80 million dollars a year for smiling at people and getting their asses undeservedly kissed. Keep in mind that I haven’t even gotten to her spoiled grandchildren and her coattail riding soon-to-be granddaughter-in-law yet.

I want to be clear that I have no problem with anyone earning a ton of money. The operative word in that sentence is “earning.” If someone offered me 80 million dollars a year because I was a great blogger, I’d take with without hesitation. My issue with the Queen and the entire Royal Family is that they are nothing but a bunch of money-sponging lay-abouts who perform meaningless functions in the name of the “Kingdom.” Royalty is an archaic and out-dated concept and I see no reason why in this day and age that a person’s bloodline should be a lottery ticket. I’m not suggesting anything be done to remedy that situation. I’m just saying I find it foolish.

Oh, and spare me the “well, Princess Diana did charity work” argument. She was nice and seemed more normal than the rest of the bunch and her death was tragic and way too soon. However, let’s not pretend like she was living in the slums of Calcutta, India and tending to bloated, starving children existing in a perpetual state of squalor. She visited a landmine site and a few orphanages every now and then and made a speech or two between month-long Mediterranean vacations on her boyfriend’s yacht and royal events where she was literally shrouded in enough diamonds to pay for every one of those bloated starving children to eat for years. She was a nice lady, but she wasn’t Mother Teresa. Then again, very few people are.

Diana’s loveless, arranged marriage to the boring, homely son of Queen Elizabeth, Charles, produced two sons, William and the other one who smokes pot and dresses as a Nazi on Halloween. It is William who is going to marry Kate Whatever on Friday. I’ve said before, an arranged marriage is where your parents pick out a crazy woman that they would like for you to marry instead of letting you go out and find a crazy one to marry on your own. And here we go.

I have a tendency to overstate things for effect, especially in the blog. However, I can unequivocally state without exaggeration that there is nothing that I could be less interested in than watching these two personality-less, over-privileged, freeloading, twits tie the knot on Friday. I’d rather go to a topless bar and pay "Cinnamon" to read Men’s Health to me in the VIP area.

Who in the hell gets married on a Friday anyway? It’s bad enough that they have the gall to shut down the entire island and hijack every television station in the world for this garbage, but they do it on a work day? I’m sure my English fans will be thrilled to have the day off, but come on. What, was the palace booked on Saturday? I suppose we could ask the Queen. After all, she is the local Event Planner.

It has also come to my attention that many women—in America no less—plan on having slumber parties and staying up until 4 a.m. in order to watch the wedding. I assume the painting of each others toenails, talking about boys, and the pillow fights will take place well before the actual wedding, but I digress. We have a thing called a DVR in this country and you don’t need an adapter to plug it in. Record the damn wedding and get some sleep. The last people to lose that much sleep over a royal decision were Kathryn Howard and Ann Boleyn. We all know how that turned out.

When I asked some of my female friends why they planned on watching, some of the canned answers I got were, “because she’s a princess and every woman wants to be a princess” and “I want to see the dress and her jewelry.” First of all, if you haven’t already, Google Kathryn Howard and Ann Boleyn and see how wonderful it is to be a princess. Hell, Google Lady Diana and see a modern example. Sarah Ferguson and Grace Kelly should shed a little light on what it’s like to be a princess as well. Like the monarchy itself, the entire concept of being a princess is an archaic, over-romanticized bundle of crap. With very few exceptions the Royal family is filled with miserable, emotionally tortured women who had the word “Princess” in front of their name. Fairy tale, my ass. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel were all princesses too. Even in fairy tales, they endure misery until some effeminate Prince in pink tights and ballet slippers kisses them. Do any of you really want to marry a guy who dresses like a matador? I doubt it.

As for Kate What’s Her Face being “stressed” before the wedding, I’ve never heard anything more arrogant. Try paying four bucks a gallon to drive your three year old gas guzzling car that you plan to pay off in two years all around town seeking bargain after bargain all the while listening to your mother nag you about inviting her church friends who you haven’t seen in 15 years to both the wedding and the reception despite imploring her for weeks to narrow her version of the guest list so that you can stay under budget on your wedding. That’s how real people do it.

Going to parties, getting outfits custom designed for free, getting your ass kissed, and showing up for photo ops is not stressful. You’re marrying a golden goose, for crying out loud. Granted, it’s a balding, big toothed golden goose, but it’s golden nonetheless. It’s not like he’s got a sales quota to meet and if he fails to do so you can’t go to Boca Raton for four days this year or buy that new comforter at Dillards’ that you’ve had your eye on for some time now if it would only go on sale. Stop complaining.

As for “Wills” being stressed, this is even more laughable. Try saving three months’ salary because the commercials say you have to spend that on a ring and then going to every back alley loose diamond dealer in the diamond district of whatever city you live in search of the perfect color, cut, carat, and clarity in order to get the largest diamond you can afford on your savings so it can be carefully placed in the expensive setting that you purchased on a payment plan months earlier and have been hiding in a shoebox in the closet you share with your girlfriend in a 750 square foot one bed, one bath apartment so you can save money for a down payment on a modest, thirty year old town home just North of town where the commute will be challenging but the pricing per square foot is within your budget and your exhaustive research on the area says that it will appreciate well above the average market rate for comparable townhomes in similar neighborhoods across the city so you can sell it in a few years when you plan to have your first kid and hopefully afford that larger house in the suburbs where the commute will be challenging but the pricing per square foot is within your budget and your exhaustive research on the area says that it will appreciate well above the average market rate for comparable houses in similar neighborhoods across the city so you can sell it in a few years when you plan to have your second kid and hopefully afford that larger house depending on how your career track is headed at the job you don’t love but don’t hate but are comfortable enough in performing so as to be able to take ten full days of vacation around your wedding in order to help your fiancé prepare everything. Granted, you're mother is not around to nag you about the wedding, but come on. 

In short, shut up, you spoiled, entitled, dumb-lucky, English a-hole and get married. Like everything else in your life, it will all be taken care of by someone else. The least you can do is step back and appreciate it. You’re not any better than anyone else and you’ll never work a day in your life. Good for you, but please don’t expect me to watch you get married on television.

Well, there it is. DP’s vitriol-filled rant on three things that piss me off. Sure, it’s a tad negative, but it’s healthy to vent every now and then. Until next week, take care of yourselves, enjoy time with someone you love—even if that someone is yourself--, and tune in next week. In the mean time, if you need me don’t call me at 4 a.m. on Friday. I’ll be sleeping. DP

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Off Season Post 5: A Friend Does His Duty

Hello, Loyal Readers and other bored people who may have stumbled upon this blog for lack of something better to do. I suppose if you’re reading this on the porn machine . . . errrr . . . laptop that your company loaned you when you got hired, you probably have very little choice when looking to fill a few of the inevitably monotonous, duplicative moments in your day when that little voice inside of your head literally screams at you demanding an answer for the choices you’ve made in your career. Incidentally, that’s the same voice that makes you say aloud after a night of debauchery and poor decisions that you’ll never ingest an alcoholic beverage again. Regardless of the reason you’re here, I appreciate your readership. I’ll try to entertain.

Before I get to this week’s subject, I want to thank my dear friend, Lincee Ray, of www.ihategreenbeans.com fame for posting a rebuttal to my last post regarding the Golden Fleece of chick movies, The Notebook. Her points are all well-taken and her words, as usual, were entertaining and insightful . . . dead wrong . . . but entertaining and insightful nonetheless.

It appears that our little volley has spawned a rather large desire for another He Said/She Said post relating to female oriented movies. Lincee and I are currently trying to decide on one chick flick and one guy movie to review. We’ll get back to you. “Thanks” again, Lincee, for posting my underwear picture . . .for the third time. Actually, if you count the time you stuck it to the file cabinet in full view during your video blog segment, it’s the fourth time. The regret that fills my heart when I think about agreeing to a bet with a wager like that after a few too many Lone Stars is hard to describe. Props to you for winning, and props to you for rubbing it in. I’ll give credit where it’s due. Now let’s get to it.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been a bit sad lately—even despondent. Believe it or not, that edginess is fertilizer for my usual reality posts because is shortens my patience and sharpens my tongue. However, it’s not so conducive to fostering tiny, happy buds of humor from the depths of my brain and nurturing them until they blossom into perfectly formed anatomy jokes. In short, between that and the mountain of legal work I’ve had over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been a bit dry in the idea department. How do I handle it, you ask? Well, I suppose I handle problems like most people: denial, finger pointing, and alcohol. I find that all of those work effectively alone or in combination.

These moods never last for me; although every time a period like this descends upon me I often think about people I know who struggle with the darkness in their lives on a permanent basis. Going where there is a lack of light and color is a necessary place to go sometimes, but it’s an awful place to pour a foundation and build a house. Note to self: Pray for those people in my life tonight.

As is my custom when I’m uninspired, I go to reader emails. If I ignore the messages about The Notebook, I’m left with a lot of emails asking me to tell another funny story about my childhood. It occurred to me that I’m like a modern day Uncle Remus to some of you. After some thought, I recalled a good one . . . a really good one. For the record, this will probably be the last childhood story post of this off season. I don’t want to bore you with details of my sophomoric escapades any more than I have to. On the other hand, the feedback from the My Sex Scandal post was phenomenal. So, in the spirit of that post and just in time for the warm weather, here is another story involving that now infamous community pool.

Now, if you’ll recall from my Sex Scandal post, I lived in a relatively small town about 26 miles North of Houston. For those of you who lack the skill to use Google Maps, I’ll also point out that Houston is about an hour away from Galveston Island. When we got sick of waterskiing in the filthy, murky waters of Lake Houston or looking for snakes in the equally disgusting San Jacinto River, we would inevitably plan a road trip to the beach in Galveston. Sure, I would have preferred to go to some exotic location like Belize or perhaps Hawaii. I hear the island of Guatalottapoontang is nice this time of year. Trust me, that one is on my Bucket List.

As I grew older and got my license, it was not uncommon for me to go down to Galveston to play in volleyball tournaments, try my hand a surfing, or simply dodge tar balls deposited by the oil rigs located miles offshore. Anyone who grew up on the Gulf Coast will tell you that it was always a good idea to wear last year’s bathing suit to the beach because the tar would inevitably ruin it.

The beach in Galveston is far from the white sands and crystal blue water of Destin or Cabo San Lucas, but it was an hour and a half away, it was free and more importantly, it represented the freedom that every teenager craves. During the summer before my senior year in high school—which is when this story took place—my friends and I routinely spread our wings by piling as many of us that would fit into whatever car was available and heading for the beach. It was a great time in my life and, although those trips have undoubtedly been bronzed with romanticism as time has passed, they will always serve as a sign post signaling the end of my adolescence and the beginning of my adult life. That summer was a last hoorah of sorts and, as is Some Guy’s way of life, I enjoyed every moment it offered.

To this day, my closest friend is a guy we’ll call “Ted.” Like MH before him, Ted and I grew up together. We met when we were 8 years old, attended the same junior high school, high school, and college and still manage to see each other several times a week here in Austin. I spent a large portion of my high school career with my bare ass hanging out of the window of the light green Caprice Classic station wagon that Ted inherited from his mother. Mooning was funny then and it’s funny now. I know Ted would agree. Ted is a kindred spirit and he’s been a major part of my life for a very long time. We’re both a lot older than we were when this story took place and Ted has even lost the vast majority of his hair. When the last pool story was posted, Ted and I laughed over a few more a couple of nights later. The following is a true story.

Because Ted was chronologically a year older than me, he was one of the first of our group of friends to get a job and a driver’s license. Ironically, Ted was fortunate (and smart) enough to invest his money so well that he literally retired about 3 years ago. Even when he was 15, he managed to put money away in mutual funds. Sure, he had to drive around town in a green station wagon, but hey, he’s done well enough to buy a fleet of them now. For the record, Ted is probably the only person in Austin who drinks more Lone Star and I do. Granted, he has an extra 40 plus hours a week in which to do it, but he manages to get it done. It’s that kind of dedication that I respect in him. Back to high school.

When he was 15 Ted applied and was hired on as a lifeguard at—you guessed it—our local community pool. The job paid well above minimum wage and allowed Ted to sit atop a lifeguard stand with a whistle and a pair of sunglasses and tan for 8 hours a day. As far as I could discern, his only responsibilities were to announce “Adult Swim! Everyone under 18 out of the pool!” after authoritatively blowing his whistle and stack the pool furniture at night. Oh, and if someone happened to get a cramp, he was supposed to jump in and assist that person in order to avoid having to deal with a drowning. All in all, it was a good gig.

It is important to note that Ted was a bit of an overachiever. He was like Rudy or that one guy in the neighborhood who ruins if for every other guy in the neighborhood because he buys his wife flowers all the time and doesn’t play golf when she asks him to paint something. Because Ted was an overachiever, he was asked by the person in charge of all of the community pools in town, Mike Rowland, to return every year.

I suppose in a position where success is measured by neatly stacked patio furniture and the absence of a floating, bloated corpse in the deep end, it’s not difficult to stand out. After three years on the job, Ted was promoted to the enviable position of Head Lifeguard and given a nice raise. Unlike say, Head Nurse, the title was well-respected and didn’t involve dirty knees.

As we all know, the word “promotion” is Latin for “a bunch of extra sh*t to do,” and the Head Lifeguard position was no exception. As part of his new responsibility Ted was given the closely guarded key to the pool gate and told that he was now in charge of making sure the Opening and Closing Checklists were accomplished prior to anyone swimming in the pool in the morning or any employee leaving at night.

That key might has well have been thrust into a granite rock outside of the entry way like some modern day Excalibur. Apparently, Mike Rowland and the rest of the Homeowner’s Association Board members were under the impression that the six foot wooden fence surrounding the pool was as impenetrable as Hadrian’s Wall or the Great Wall of China. Frankly, the key was irrelevant. At any rate, we now no longer needed to hop the fence in order to trespass at the pool. The big difference was that Ted could no longer risk getting caught.

Life that summer was simple and rewarding. I worked full time at the local country club doing everything from golf course maintenance to fine dining service. My schedule was busy but I was my only responsibility personally and financially and that gave me a lot of time for recreation. My friends and I spent a lot of time talking about our upcoming senior year and generally clowning around.

Speaking of clowning around, I once dated a woman who made a living performing as a clown at kids’ birthday parties. Unfortunately, I had to break up with her. Everything was going well until one night I tried to have sex with her and she twisted my penis into a poodle. I’m certain that joke was worth waiting an extra day to read. I’ll be here all week, folks. Sorry about the late post. Annnyyyyyhoooo . . .

As I mentioned, Ted was a solid 10 months older than most of us and therefore had his driver’s license and, more importantly, a car. Ted’s light green Caprice Classic station wagon was the perfect vessel for us to load up and head to the beach. On a slow day, we could fit 10 people in it and would usually end up taking a couple more people than we should have taken in the first place. Ted was unequivocally the first choice to drive and, God bless him, he never complained about it.

As summer progressed Ted found himself carrying more and more responsibility in the aforementioned Head Lifeguard position. He showed up early and often stayed late trying to keep the other teen employees in line. The famous checklist, which consisted of a couple dozen to do items preceded by a small box intended for Ted’s initials upon deeming them satisfactorily completed, sat perpetually dangling on a clipboard hung from a nail behind the entrance desk to the pool.

“Stack chairs,” “Close Umbrellas,” “Check Chlorine,” and “Replace Toilet Paper in Restrooms,” were examples of the items to which Ted, via his rung by rung, three-year climb up the metaphorical lifeguard ladder, had earned the right to order completed by lesser-seasoned lifeguards who, upon inspection of said items, would be granted reprieve from their duties when Ted mercifully scrawled his initials in the box beside each item.

Ted ran a tight ship and Mike Rowland knew it. In fact, he knew it so well that at some point during the summer, Mike actually stopped showing up at the pool to inspect Ted’s inspection of the checklist items in favor of simply phoning Ted around opening and closing times and taking his word that everything was in order.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

The golden whistle bestowed upon Ted’s shoulders at the beginning of the summer quickly turned into an albatross; not necessarily for Ted who was earning decent money and gaining invaluable management and business experience running the pool, making schedules, and generally holding people accountable, but for the rest of us who relied upon him and his station wagon for transportation. It seemed like such a waste to drive the thing a couple of miles to the pool parking lot and have it sit there all day and we routinely let Ted know it.

For most of the summer Ted graciously let the criticism roll off his back and even worked his schedule around a couple trips to the beach. However, as summer went on and his responsibility increased, Ted became frustrated with Mike Rowland’s increasing indifference toward his job as Ted’s boss and his repeated “delegation” (read “dumping”) of responsibility to Ted. In short, he knew Ted needed the money and he took advantage of it. As a result, Ted began to cut a few corners.

For instance, the pool would close a few minutes early or open a few minutes late or perhaps a few of Ted’s friends would be invited to “help” him close the pool in favor of staying a bit late for a few beers in the deep end. You get the picture. Ted was conscientious, but he knew he was being taken advantage of and he didn’t appreciate it. Keep in mind that teenage boys are basically middle-aged men with a constant erection minus a soft midsection and a wife to nag them into submission. Left to their own devices, all kinds of stuff can happen.

On one particular night Ted called my house, which you will remember was less than a mile from the pool, and suggested I walk down and meet him so we could head out for the night. He told me that he’d already called a few friends, including our friend Jeff who lived a few blocks over. We met up, helped Ted and the remaining lifeguards with the checklist, locked the gate, and headed out in Ted’s car to one of those famous three dollar all you can drink keg parties. In retrospect, all of the bad ideas we had as teenagers were spawned at one of those parties.

At any rate, Ted was in an exceptionally foul mood because prior to leaving the pool he received a call from Mike Rowland. Mike checked on the checklist and informed Ted that he needed him to arrive early at one of the other community pools in order to assist the other lifeguards with opening because Mike had chosen to do something other than work at the pool for the weekend. Granted, Mike was Ted’s boss, but giving someone less than 12 hours notice was uncool—at least that’s the way we viewed it on that night.

The night went off uneventfully save the fact that when I was in the upstairs bathroom at the party I managed to find a jar of Vaseline in the medicine cabinet and put a light coat of it on the toilet seat in anticipation of the next user. Sure enough, a few girls entered the bathroom and one of them proceeded to drop trou and place her rear end on the seat only to slide off onto the floor in front of her friends with her pants down to her ankles. I still remember her name, but I’ll have the common courtesy not to mention it here. See, I’ve matured. They only suspected that I was the culprit, but man, did we have a laugh.

The next morning a dutiful Ted arrived at the other community pool only to find the three lifeguards assigned to work that day sitting out in front of a locked gate with their belongings in hand. When Ted asked why they had not yet begun to complete their version of the holy checklist one of the lifeguards let them know that they had discovered an incident of trespass and vandalism that would render the pool inoperable for a full day.

Upon further inquiry and an unfortunate inspection, Ted became aware that someone had broken into the pool and christened it by depositing his own feces into the deep end of the pool. According to Health Code Regulations, the entire pool would need to be closed, purged of the foreign body, and chemically scrubbed. The water would need to be tested and deemed “clean” prior to the pool reopening. Frustrated, Ted supervised as the problem was addressed and, after making a hand made sign with a piece of paper and a marker reading, “Pool Closed Due to Health Code Regulations. Will Reopen Tomorrow. Sorry, Mgmt.,” he called Mike Rowland and let him know what went down. Ted was surprised when Mike chuckled, gave some general instructions, and told Ted to take the day off. An hour later my parents’ doorbell rang and Ted and I were on our way to the beach with a few friends.

For the remainder of the summer we tanned, worked, worked out furiously, re-enacted the volleyball scene from Top Gun, chased girls, and of course, mooned any moving car within sight of us. In fact, we became so proficient at mooning that we actually had names for each carefully executed version of the moon. Let’s see, there was the double moon (that’s self explanatory), The Captain (which entailed the passenger taking the wheel and putting his foot on the accelerator as Ted mooned someone from the driver’s seat), The Rear End (mooning from the giant rear window of the wagon), The Shakey Leg (this entailed actually putting a leg out of the window and shaking it violently in order to create movement in the relevant area), and finally, there were two signature moves aptly named The Dead Squirrel and The Fruit Basket, which are frankly too disgusting to describe here. Ah, memories.

As we neared the end of the summer, a real sense of urgency fell over us. We knew that in just one year we’d be high school graduates planning our move to Austin, Texas in search of higher education and lower class women. When asked, we all feigned excitement and even cursed our parents’ houses in the name of being on our own. However, deep inside we all feared the end of our childhood and we all coveted what remained of that final summer. Incidentally, I find it’s a lot easier to covet something that involves free rent and a tan.

One particular morning I awoke to a knock on my bedroom door. It was my father telling me to pick up the phone. I did and it was my friend Jimmy on the other line. He had arrived for his 7 a.m. shift at the golf course and was calling to let me know that I didn’t need to come into work at my scheduled 9:30 a.m. time because of a scheduling error. I gladly accepted my unanticipated day off and hung up the phone. I suppose today’s equivalent of that phone call is finding ten bucks in my jeans pocket. I immediately woke up my brother across the hall and we called Ted to see about a trip to the beach.

Ted answered the phone and I told him about the recent developments in my otherwise busy schedule. Regretfully, Ted told me that he was walking out the door at 8am to head to the pool for a day of head lifeguarding and checklist management. Unimpressed, I implored Ted to find a way out of his shift.

Remembering the incident that occurred at the other pool a few weeks earlier I offered a solution. “Just call Mike Rowland and tell him someone took a dump in the pool. He’ll close it and we can go to the beach.” Silence filled the air as Ted’s brain processed all of the permutations of making that phone call. Sensing that Ted was slowly but undoubtedly falling off of the metaphorical fence in my direction, I said nothing.

“F*ck it. Alright. I’ll call you back,” he said and hung up the phone. I lied back in bed fully expecting an “I’ll pick you up in 30,” phone call within a few minutes. God bless the over reactive bureaucrats at the Texas Department of Health, I thought as I slid back into a satisfying half slumber only to be awoken by the ringing of the phone before I could fade back off to sleep.

Instead of negotiating a pick up time, Ted let me know that he had some bad news. In a nervous voice Ted said, “I told Mike that someone took a dump in the deep end and he told me that he wants me to meet him at the pool in thirty minutes.”

Uh oh.

Another detail about Ted: He doesn’t panic. When we were in college we were once at an Elvis Tribute show on Elvis’ birthday at a place called Pearl’s here in Austin when the Elvis shrine in the back of the bar caught fire and the entire place literally went up in flames. As the crowd and the Elvis impersonator fled, Ted and I instinctively (and foolishly) jumped behind the bar and filled two buckets of water and proceeded to douse the flames. As the fire grew out of control I turned around to see the entire place filled with flames and smoke and my brother making his way back into the bar through it all like Kurt Russell in Backdraft to get Ted and me out.

I ran around to the front of the bar and toward the exit with my brother. Ted actually stood behind the bar calmly and after perusing the selection, grabbed a bottle of Macallan Scotch before strolling toward the door. The place literally exploded in flames minutes after we left and as my brother and I stood in the parking lot giving an interview to the local news crew, Ted sat in the passenger seat of my car patiently awaiting a ride home while sipping 18 year old, single malt scotch out of a bottle. Back to the pool.

“What are we going to do?” Ted asked knowing he was about to meet his boss in order to hunt for a non-existent human turd. It was at this point that I had a stroke of genius. “Let’s call Jeff,” I said.

As I mentioned earlier, our friend Jeff lived literally within sight of the community pool. His parents’ house sat on a neatly manicured corner lot just yards from the trail we rode our bikes across as children in order to get to the pool. It was not uncommon for us to retire to Jeff’s parents’ house from a day of swimming at the pool in order to have a snack and play some video games to escape the heat of the day and the stinging of the chlorine in our eyes. Jeff was a regular passenger in Ted’s wagon on our various trips to the beach and also our mooning excursions.

Embracing technology, Ted clicked over on his line and dialed Jeff’s number before clicking back over and putting me on the line. After an inordinate amount of rings, Jeff’s sleepy mother’s voice offered a weak and confused, “Hello?” on the line. Keep in mind that it was now approximately 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

“Hello, Mrs. C---, it’s DP and Ted. Is Jeff there?”

Our hearts raced as we fought the urge to order her out of bed and into Jeff’s room.

“Uh, who is this?”

“DP and Ted. Can you get Jeff? We want to see if he can go to the beach? Sorry about waking you up.”

With that we heard the phone get put down on what we assumed was her nightstand and heard her rustling to go and wake Jeff. Moments later, Jeff picked up the phone and in a combination of comatose sleepiness and flabbergasted anger asked us what in the hell we wanted. I took the lead.

“Hey Jeff, good morning. We’re going to the beach. Do you want to go with us in about an hour?”

“Uh, yea. I gue. . .”

“Great. Listen, I need you to get on your bike and go take a dump in the deep end at the pool.”

“You what?”

“Yea. Jimmy called from the country club and let me know that they were overstaffed for the women’s golf and brunch thing and that I didn’t have to work and then I got excited and called Ted and told him that it would be a wonderful idea if we could grab a few friends and pack up the car and head down to the beach because after all we’re teenagers with no real responsibility and no wives to nag us into submission and really how long can that possibly last since we’re going to be graduating next year and heading to our respective schools and in fact if I’m not mistaken Texas Tech has recently approved your fairy tale of an application and Lubbock is eight hours from Austin so this is technically the last real time we’ll have to spend together as friends but anyway Ted and I made the decision to call Mike Rowland and tell him that someone took a dump in the pool so Ted could have the day off and we can take his car to the beach because it’s sunny and hot today and the refreshing feel of the saltwater on our skin would bring joy to our young faces even though there is tar in the water and trash on the beach but Mike Rowland didn’t believe Ted’s Someone Took a Dump in the Deep End story and called his bluff by telling him that he needs to meet him in 30 minutes which is now 20 minutes and counting at the pool in order to confirm that there is in fact human feces in the deep end before making the executive decision to shut down the pool for the day in light of the existing statutory provisions contained in the Texas Health Code thereby giving Ted and more importantly his car the day off so we can go to the beach so we need you to get on your bike and ride to the pool and hop the fence and take a dump preferably in the deep end but wherever you find it convenient to do so and then sneak back over the fence and go home and pack your bag for the beach.”

Forty five minutes later I sat on the edge of my bed awaiting news of the success or failure of our hastily hatched plan. Anxious, I stood up and went downstairs to grab a bite to eat and as I made my way down the stairs into the foyer of my parents’ house, I heard a car horn honk and simultaneously saw the welcome site of Ted’s bright green Caprice Classic station wagon pulling into my parents’ driveway. I stepped out the front door as Ted and Jeff exited the car with huge smiles on their faces. “Grab your stuff,” Ted said. “We’re going to the beach.”

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction a person feels when a plan comes together, is there?

Well, there it is: another true story from my teenage years. It’s amazing to me how the details of that time in my life come back to me as sharply as if the events happened just yesterday. In a way, I suppose they did. As always, thanks for taking the time to walk down memory lane with me. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed retelling it. Until next week, take care of yourselves and have a Happy Easter weekend. I hope the Easter Bunny brings you everything you asked for. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be at the beach.  DP

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Off Season Post 4: I Drink from the Holy Grail

Hello there, Readers, and welcome to the fourth installment of this off season. I received a great round of correspondence concerning my big sex scandal story. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it. I’ve posted a picture of the now infamous pick up truck from that story on my Guy In Austin Facebook fan page if you’d like to check it out. Thanks to my “partner” MH for sending it to me. That picture brings back more memories than I can fit into my head. Hopefully, my story of teenage irresponsibility forced y’all to relive some of your own good memories. Incidentally, I have one or two more stories involving that particular pool. I’m saving them for a slow week, but now you know you have something to look forward to besides my general ramblings. Let’s get to it.

A bit despondent about some things this week, my thoughts took a darker turn than usual and I began to fear that inspiration would not hit me. Because it’s wildflower season here in Austin and the weather was incredible (sorry Midwesterners still shoveling snow), I decided to go for a run around Town Lake. My office sits on the northern shore of the lake so I packed a gym bag and made an upbeat playlist on my iPod in hopes of knocking some ideas loose after the responsibilities of my “real” job were adequately compartmentalized for the evening.

After work, I donned my running attire and hit the trail. As most of you are aware, I have the strength of ten men. However, on this particular day my mortality clung tightly on my back matched only by the first round of heat that Austin had seen in some time. We don’t technically have a “Winter” here in Austin. In fact, last year “Winter” occurred on a Thursday; however, temperatures through March are traditionally mild. On the day of my run it was unseasonably warm and I was clearly not used to it. Needless to say, inspiration remained several steps beyond my stride as I struggled to maintain my pace. Not even the Duran Duran on my iPod could push me forward. Alright, I’m kidding about the Duran Duran part---maybe.

As I made my way along the trail I turned onto the stairs leading to the Congress Street Bridge—a bridge inhabited by over 1 million Mexican free-tailed bats by the way—and began to run across the walkway on the west side of the bridge. As I did, I noticed my shoe had become untied and I stopped to fix the problem. When I looked up I saw a lone graffito on the newly painted white wall of the bridge. It simply read, “Smile, you look beautiful today.”

“Smile, you look beautiful today.” I love Austin, Texas. Even the vandals here have a positive message. Honestly, I did smile and as I began my run again my mind began to burst with positive ideas like the shores of Town Lake bursting with bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and purple wine cups. I owe a debt of gratitude to the miscreant who defaced the side of that bridge. Indeed a smile can be found anywhere if you’re open to it. Criminal mischief aside, seeing that changed my entire day. Thank you, positive-thinking juvenile delinquent.

Ideas juggling, I finished my run and came home to enjoy a cool shower and a giant glass of water. I read a little, opened some mail, checked some things online, and turned on the television. Flipping around, I eventually noticed the title of a movie I had heard a lot about but had never seen. My inspiration peaked and I knew I had the subject of my next blog. Yes, Readers, I had come full circle from down in the dumps to up in the clouds and I decided right then and there to watch from start to finish with an open mind the Holy Grail of all chick movies. I would review “The Notebook”.

Disclaimer: Look, I realize that it’s my job here to keep you entertained. Sometimes that involves blatant pandering to the audience and sometimes it involves me just saying “f*ck it” and writing what I want. I realize that the movie is one that evokes a lot of emotions in women. In fact, after tipping my hand and telling a couple of my female friends about my intent to write about it this week, one of them actually became visibly annoyed at the fact that I might attempt to slaughter the movie, which in her mind anyway, would lead to the utter destruction of true love itself. If you’re in the same camp, never fear, I’m certain Lincee Ray at www.ihategreenbeans.com will resurrect whatever I tear down.

After pondering the range of emotions that came to me after watching the movie uninterrupted from beginning to end, I realized that it appealed to different sides of my character. Like some modern day male Sybil, I had trouble reconciling my personalities’ reactions to the movie.

Ultimately, I decided to review “The Notebook” in two parts: My Inner Male and My Inner Female. I’ve carefully segregated the various aspects of my persona that had feelings about the movie. I’d love to hear which one you identify with the most. For the record, I liked the movie more than I hated it. Now, allow my personalities to elaborate.

For those of you who have never seen the 2004 movie—I’m probably speaking to my male readers here—it’s a story set in the 1940’s that focuses around a lumber yard worker named Noah Calhoun and a jobless rich girl named Allie Hamilton. The narration takes place in the present day at an old folks home where an old man reads the love story to a forgetful old woman. We soon learn that the old folks are, in fact, Noah and Allie in the waning years of their lives.

Noah reads to Allie in hopes that her dementia will subside long enough for a moment of clarity so he can have her again, if not for just a few minutes. The entire thing is based on the book by Nicholas Sparks. Normally, I prefer a book over a movie, but I didn’t read it in this case. I have no opinion on what type of writer he is, nor do I care for purposes of this post. This one is about the movie.

FINALLY, here are my reviews of “The Notebook” from two, very opposite sides of my personality.


The movie begins with a soft music and some guy rowing on a lake at sunrise while some old broad looks knowingly out the window as if she was trying to remember where she’d seen geese before. I was already bored stiff.

The guy from the Rockford Files comes into her room at the old folks’ home and offers to read to her but the cranky old lady refuses. Frankly, I would have wished her a good day, told her to enjoy her applesauce and water from a plastic cup and bendy straw and left to go play shuffle board on the quad in hopes of hooking up with a lucent sixty-something for one last roll in the hay.

Regardless, Jim Rockford ignores her bitching and begins to read to her about a guy named Noah and a girl named Allie as we flash back to the early ‘40’s before Pearl Harbor was bombed. Noah is played by Ryan Gosling. He’s basically a blonde version of Keanu Reeves when it comes to his range as an actor. He’s wooden, expressionless, and boring. However, he dresses like Brad Pitt, apparently works in a lumberyard, and immediately wants to have sex with Allie when he sees her. The guy who plays “E” on Entourage is his best buddy and despite also dressing like Brad Pitt, he’s basically “E” in “The Notebook”. He tells Noah that Allie and her hoity toity friends are out of his league.

Allie is played by Rachel McAdams who—with the exception of that horrible psycho on a plane movie—plays the same character in every movie, including Wedding Crashers. She’s pretty, virginal but not innocent, and was properly cast. They could have picked someone with bigger cans, but hey, she’ll do. Allie is happy, on summer vacation in Seabrook, South Carolina, and free of responsibility. Ignoring the fact that rich, spoiled girls can never be made whole by the man they marry, Noah decides to c*ck block her date and ask her out.

Noah butts into Allie’s date and Allie’s date sits there like a pansy in a flowerbed despite his date being openly hit on by Noah. Perhaps her date was bored with him as well. At any rate, Noah climbs the Ferris wheel where Allie and her date are riding and proceeds to hang from the ride one handed until she agrees to go out with him. Whatever. If I had been Allie’s date Noah would have been forced to swallow his Brad Pitt hat long before the stunt on the Ferris wheel. Also, if Allie had agreed to go on a date with him while I was shelling out cash for carnival rides and Ferris wheels, she would have been walking her romantic ass all the way home. Romantic moment or not, dance with the one who brought you, Allie. Trolling for men while you’re on a date is not cool; especially in front of your date.

In a very Danny and Sandy-esque fashion, Noah and Allie proceed to gallivant around Seabrook for the entire summer. Despite having a back breaking job in the lumber yard and apparently no money, Noah manages to find time for daytime walks, bike rides, and picnics as he and Allie play a perpetual game of grabass until we learn from Jim Rockford that they fell madly in love. The old lady remains cranky but interested. She bitches some more at James Garner as the stereotypical overweight black nurse enters to give him his medicine before he continues reading. He should have reminded her that Silence is Golden. Either that or he could have reminded her that Duct Tape is Silver. She finally shuts up, preferring golden silence to silver duct tape and he continues reading.

We meet Noah’s affable father played by Sam Shepard, a real life Pulitzer Prize winner, and he makes Allie some pancakes while recounting embarrassing stories about Noah’s speech problem. At least we had a frame of reference for his lack of personality, I thought.

Eventually, Allie’s rich parents come from Atlanta to retrieve their daughter and discover that she’s dating some poor lumberyard worker who dresses like Brad Pitt and acts like Keanu Reeves. Dad and his weird mustache don’t care too much but her domineering, judgey mother does and she and Noah’s plans at happiness are destined to be thwarted.

We later learn that mom fell in love with some guy from the lumber yard but married dad because—all things considered—he was a nice enough guy in spite of his weird mustache and was dripping with cash. Frankly, that scenario was the most believable in the movie. I found her hatred of Noah and her assertion of him as “trash” to be inconsistent with her character. She fell in love with a poor lumber yard guy and ditched the guy for cash; a move she apparently made peace with but regretted for a lifetime. Calling Noah “trash” diminishes the validity of that relationship and her belief in the true love that this whole thing is supposed to be about—in my mind anyway. Allie has family money and is free to pursue her heart. I have no idea why her mother wouldn’t support that. Perhaps it’s because the book was written by a man. It seems that the father should have been the one with the problem and not the mother. Annnyyyyhoooo . . .

Noah takes Ali to a dilapidated plantation home called Windsor Mansion and exposes her to the dangers of unstable ceilings and flammable, brittle wood. He tells her of his dream of restoring the place if only he had the money to do it. Then they stand across from each other and undress before “E” sounds the alarm that Allie’s parents are back in town. Dude. He put up with bike rides, picnics, and flowers all summer and didn’t get any? I began to see why this movie was so sad.

Noah and Allie eventually fight and regretfully break up before her parents haul her spoiled, rich ass back to her mansion in Atlanta. Noah broods a bunch and eventually enlists in the army after hearing about the Pearl Harbor attack. How romantic. Despite undoubtedly being stripped of all his belongings and identity and being shipped off to basic training until eventually ending up on a packed warship and traveling overseas to be placed in the gun sights of angry Aryans vying for world domination and watching “E” from Entourage die on the battlefield, Noah manages to write (and mail) Allie one pristinely penned love letter per day for 365 days. After no response for a year, his pen gives up—but alas, his heart does not. Come on. I laughed to myself at the thought of Noah having the wrong zip code or house number. We eventually learn that her lumber yard-whoring mother has been intercepting all of them.

While Noah is dodging shrapnel, killing Germans, and watching his best friend die, Alli poontangs around the Atlanta social scene with Lon Hammond, a rich guy she met while pretending to volunteer at some place for wounded soldiers. She loves Noah so much that—get this--she boozes it up with the rich folks at fancy galas and eventually gets engaged to Lon Hammond and his money. True love, my ass.

Noah returns home to Atlanta and sees Alli poontanging around with an engagement ring on her finger. Heartbroken, he returns to Seabrook where his dad fortuitously tells him that he’s sold his house so that Noah can buy and renovate the Windsor Mansion. His dad kicks the bucket unexplainably and Noah miraculously and singlehandedly renovates the entire plantation into a perfectly finished and manicured piece of artwork in less time than it takes him to grow a beard and appear Amish despite having limited funds and a new war-widowed girlfriend who undoubtedly insisted on picking out the colors for the walls, drapery, and all of the bedding.

All by himself? Hell, the guy didn’t even ask a contractor for a rough estimate. I asked a guy for a rough estimate once. He kicked me in the balls and then quoted me the price. I’ll be here all week, folks.

Noah even manages to include a furniture shop for himself and a painting studio for Allie complete with the symbolic blank canvas awaiting her return. I assumed the canvas symbolized Gosling’s absence of depth rather than Noah’s undying desire for a blank future with Allie.

While getting her ass kissed in her wedding dress, Allie sees Noah’s picture in the paper next to his high dollar house and faints because she believes he is now Amish. She bathes in her veil and eventually meets her rich, understanding, good looking, tolerant, well-mannered, doting, successful, non-possessive, supportive, giant ring-buying, sensitive fiancé at his office where he happily takes a few moments away from earning a living so she can have the finest things to which she’s become accustomed in order tell him that she’s going to Seabrook to poontang around there for a bit. Incredibly, the guy agrees. Bull. Sh*t.

Allie fills the car her fiancé bought her with gas purchased by money he gave her and heads to Seabrook in search of Noah. She arrives at the new house and after faking like she’s not there to sleep with him she and Noah have a rekindling of sorts as he respectfully recognizes her pending nuptials and opts for a friendship instead. Sparing her the details of his arduous battlefield missive writing, he instead throws her in a rowboat and takes her to see a flock of digitally created geese in a swamp and pretends like they are romantic symbols of their love rather than the angry, noisy, disease carrying fowl that they really are. Allie sits there in her sun dress in amazement as Noah overcomes his sore, pre-arthritic joints and his post traumatic stress disorder so he can transport her spoiled ungrateful ass across the lake. Meanwhile, her fiancé continues to work in anticipation of a family with Allie.

On the way back to the perfectly renovated mansion Noah confesses that he is not, in fact, Amish even though he dresses like he is, wears a beard like an Amish person, and builds wooden furniture. He tells Allie that he’s dedicated his every waking moment since that day on the Ferris wheel to her happiness, even at the cost of his own. As it begins to pour Allie has the balls to drop a “why didn’t you write me” and Noah eventually realizes that he should have used FedEx with a signature requirement rather then relying upon regular mail.

Allie then makes the conscious decision to cheat on her rich, understanding, good looking, tolerant, well-mannered, doting, successful, non-possessive, supportive, giant ring-buying, sensitive fiancé and ends up getting slammed against an antique cupboard while ripping off Noah’s wet, Amish clothes and throwing them on the newly finished wood floor where they undoubtedly soaked into the finish and ruined that section of the wood before Noah ravishes her in the same bed that he ravished the war widow in the day before. Details.

I’m certain that while Allie was painting topless in the studio Noah built her with nothing more than his bare hands and the labor of his undying love Noah was downstairs the following morning sanding the water damage out of the floor in order restain and reseal it. Eventually, her mother and her fiancé figure it out and we avoid the messy conversation about betrayal, dishonesty, infidelity, and self-centeredness that was appropriate. Instead, we get a watered down version of her rich, understanding, good looking, tolerant, well-mannered, doting, successful, non-possessive, supportive, giant ring-buying, and sensitive fiancé actually being—well, understanding, tolerant, non-possessive, supportive, and sensitive about it all.

We cut back to the modern day where we see that James Garner has suffered a series of heart attacks while Allie has drifted aimlessly in and out of interest in the story. We get a glimpse of their children and grand children as the old Noah tells them that he’s not leaving Allie alone. Eventually, she recognizes him for a couple of minutes and they share a dance before she freaks out and has to be sedated. He ends up sneaking into her hospital room and lying in bed with her and, after they agree that their love and conquer all, they die side by side holding hands and are discovered by the stereotypical overweight black nurse the following morning.

It’s at this point in the movie that we’re all supposed to have a tear in our eye and a tissue in our hand reveling in the presence of true, undying love. That’s not what ran through the cynical, macho, uncompromisingly male side of my brain. Basically, “The Notebook” is Forrest Gump except it’s not funny and Noah is not mentally challenged—arguably. The point of “The Notebook” is that no matter how much you love a woman she will inevitably go crazy and drive you to an early death. The entire movie is about a spoiled little rich girl who always got her way.

Picture this movie:

A poor, attractive, hard working girl from a single parent home with no money ventures out to the state fair where she meets the man of her dreams who is from a well-to-do family vacationing for the summer on the rich side of her town. They fall madly in love and spend a summer sharing the simple things that make life worth living. Eventually, the man’s parents send him away from the town and the woman is heartbroken. She spends hours upon hours writing letters in hopes of his return. She pines for him relentlessly seeking solace in no one and dedicating her entire existence to the hope of his return.

He goes to school, lives the fast life and beds dozens of women while living off his family money. He eventually falls in love with another woman with family money who supports him and buys him everything he wants. He accepts her affection and proposes a marriage of convenience only to return to town years later and pray on the affections of the dedicated woman. He lies to his friends and family and moves into the woman’s house where she has kept a room for him despite his lack of contact. He cheats on his fiancé and eventually calls of the wedding so he can be with the other woman.

Not the same movie, is it?

Double Standard. If a woman does this it’s considered “romance” or “undying love.” If a man does the same thing, he’s a cheater and a louse. It’s along the same lines as when a group of women leave their children and their husbands at home in order to get together to drink pinot grigio and pick out sex toys at a friend’s house. Can you imagine having a husband come home and announce that he was leaving for the evening to hang out with his buddies and use some of the family money to buy a couple of sex toys? I suppose that’s just the way the non-renovated plantation crumbles.

Now, for my sensitive take.


The movie begins with a beautiful picture of a mysterious man rowing through undisturbed water at sunrise as if he is the only man on earth. Sunrise symbolizes a new beginning; the dawn of something real; the new presence of light where only dark had been. The speed of is phallic-shaped boat disturbs the peace of pristine, white geese and they fly away catching the attention of a contemplative looking older woman viewing them from a far off window seemingly in search of an answer she once possessed years ago when her mind was clear and her heart was full.

A handsome, kind man enters the room of what we see is a retirement home and offers to read to the woman as her nurse assists her into her chair. We flash back to a positive time before Pearl Harbor when hope and dreams lived inside all Americans, possibility was abundant, and war was a thing that occurred overseas.

We meet the unassuming Noah Calhoun played by Ryan Gosling. His demure, understated manner does little to hide his masculine build and Southern charm. We also meet Allie, an innocent, happy girl on the edge of becoming a woman. She has no idea that fate has placed her heart—indeed her entire life—on a collision course with young Noah.

Noah sees what he loves and attempts to ask Allie on a date. She doesn’t love the man she’s with but is taken aback by Noah’s boldness. She continues to refuse until he throws all caution to the wind and climbs the Ferris wheel in order to convince her of what she already knows. She agrees to go out with him and from that day on they share wonderful picnics, bike rides, and walks through town. Noah is a perfect gentleman and despite his lack of financial resources he showers her with riches that no money can buy. They fall deeply in love and Allie soon realizes that Noah speaks all of her love languages fluently. She is fulfilled and smitten. He is indeed the man of her dreams. He is like a macho, younger, good looking version of Dr. Phil.

Incidentally, I consider myself a gentleman. I was once in the town of Progresso, Mexico at a bar called Belly to Belly where they had $1.25 Corona beers and a mechanical bull. After getting hammered and riding the bull a few times I offered to remove my pants so that one of the girls in the group I was with could put them on over her mini skirt so she could ride the bull. I sat there in my underwear in a Mexican bar while she put on my pants and rode the bull. Who says chivalry is dead? Back to Noah and Allie.

On a night when the summer air is cool and the humidity is low, Noah takes Allie to a plantation home named Windsor Mansion where he has planned a candlelight picnic with wine and all of Allie’s favorite foods. He shares his dream of remodeling the mansion in her honor; sort of like a shrine to their impenetrable love. Grateful, she undresses carefully in anticipation of his strong, calloused, yet gentle hands exploring her taut, young frame in ways she has dreamed of since seeing him hang like a jackass off a Ferris wheel. She loves Noah and knows that words like “banging,” “boning,” “porking,” and “screwing” are not part of his vocabulary. Indeed, the only thing on his mind is tender, passionate love making followed by spooning and cuddling in the soft candlelight.

Unfortunately, before the tender, passionate love making can occur, Noah’s best friend warns that Allie’s heretofore absent parents have returned to Seabrook in search of their daughter. Undaunted—and still passionately in love —Noah respectfully takes her home and listens as Allie argues with her parents about her forbidden love. Distraught, Noah leaves and eventually get stopped by Allie who passively aggressively breaks up with him in the name of saving his heart—and her own. Heartbroken, she is forced to leave town prematurely.

Devastated at the loss of his one, true love Noah dedicates his entire existence to the profession of that love. He pens daily letters from home, aboard ships, and even from the battlefield where every bullet, every German, every explosion bears with it the reminder of his separation from Allie. He longs for her and his heart breaks each morning as he rises from dreams of Allie and his eyes reveal the sight of the insides of his canvas tent miles from the home he longs to share with Allie after completing some difficult yet not impossible renovations by himself including, a small art studio in the westward facing spare bedroom for his true love.

Simultaneously heartbroken, Allie buries herself in her routine. College, fancy balls, charity events, and social functions fill her days, but not her heart. She secretly longs for Noah while pretending to enjoy partying until dawn with rich people on their dime and eventually settling for the affections of a well-meaning, well-to-do veteran she befriended while volunteering her time at an injured soldier hospital in a vain attempt to fill her heart with the love she knew during that fateful Seabrook summer. No, not even the giant diamond engagement ring that would eventually weigh on her left ring finger could compare with the weight of loss upon her heart. She’s forced to poontang around Atlanta, but never stops loving Noah. Yes, time flies like the wind, but fruit flies like bananas. She longs for a simple plantation life.

Engaged, she eventually learns via the newspaper that Noah has grown a beard and miraculously and singlehandedly restored her dream plantation home in less time than it took him to grow the aforementioned beard. She reluctantly deceives her fiancé and returns to seek her one, true love and his multi-million dollar house. They make passionate, unapologetic love after seeing geese and getting caught in a rain storm and eventually marry, have a family, and live a long, fruitful life before dying together, in love and in peace. Sigh……


See the difference? I’ll reluctantly admit that I found the movie both interesting and thought provoking. I really did. Yes, it was sappy, unrealistic from a practical point of view, cheesy at times, and very chick oriented. However, the larger picture is that true love never dies and that every woman wants to feel as loved and secure as Allie ultimately ended up feeling—everything else be damned. I get that and I’d venture a guess that most men would too if forced to admit it. As the lonely war widow told Noah, “a woman knows when a man looks into her eyes and sees someone else.” The same is true for a man. And as the old Noah said to his children, “that's my sweetheart in there. Wherever she is, that's where my home is.” That, too, is the truth. The entire movie reminded me of an old Vern Gosdin song titled “Chiseled in Stone.” That song takes two and a half minutes, not two and a half hours. Download it and listen. Let me know what you think.

Well, there it is: My take on “The Notebook”. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next week, take care of yourselves and remind someone that you love them. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be growing a beard and remodeling my mansion singlehandedly. DP