NRA Chief Quits, Finds New Passion

Wayne LaPierreIn a shocking letter received by the newsroom at thechildishman.com on Wednesday, the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced he was stepping down from his post, effective immediately. “I’ve been with the NRA a long time,” he wrote. “But, well, this is just too damn easy. I mean, we outspend the gun control advocates over at the Brady Campaign a gazillion times over. I’m just spit-balling, of course. And, honestly, what else is left to do? Americans own about 200 million guns, privately. That’s about one gun per American aged 20 to 80.”

At times, in the letter, LaPierre even taunts gun control advocates. “We gotta voucher muthafuckas! That’s right. Some aristo-crackers about 225 years ago wrote that we could have guns, as many as we want. And can you believe lawmakers and judges have not only continued to uphold this interpretation of the vague language in the Second Amendment, but they’ve actually started letting us walk around with guns hidden under our coats? I mean, that whole concealed weapons thing started as a joke. ‘There’s no fucking way they’re gonna let us carry firearms shoved in the back of our pants,’ we said to each other when the idea came up at a happy hour. ‘But I’d be pretty jacked to walk down the street knowing I was locked and loaded in front of all my piss-ant neighbors who were none the wiser,’ I added. ‘I guess there’s no harm in trying.’ Un-fucking-believable!

Third Amendment“But I admit,” he continues, “that my heart just isn’t in it anymore. So it is with great excitement that I announce my new endeavor – the Third Amendment Foundation (TAF). For too long the Second Amendment has stolen too much thunder and taken too much glory. My brothers and sisters, no more! There is a threat, right here in your town, that is virtually hidden. And that threat is the government’s infringement of your right to not have military servicemen quartered in your home. Oh but that doesn’t happen! you say. Wrong! Let me tell you a true story.

“Just a few months ago. I was living happily in my home and a nice, fit twenty-three year old blond woman friend who shall remain nameless, was living not far away in her home. Her husband was serving in Iraq or some other fucking place. And since she was lonely I often kept her company. Well, lo and behold, this guy comes back from overseas and now he’s, like, living there and shit! But wait a second, I thought as I do on occasion. This guy is an active member of the military. And she says she doesn’t want him there any more. She wants me! This isn’t right.

“So I pulled out the Constitution and actually started to read the Amendments. Wow. I should’ve read it before because there was some really good stuff in there, though I hoped there wasn’t much more since my head was starting to ache. Luckily, there it was, this poor bastard Third Amendment languishing between the gun-loving Second and the you-can’t-touch-my-shit-without-a-warrant Fourth. And that was it for me. I knew I had to do this. For my friend. And, oh yeah, for all those other fuckers out there.”

LaPierre makes it clear in his letter that he is not “quitting to spend more time with my family. Honestly. Doesn’t everyone know that just means the guy is banging his secretary or neighbor? Something I’m absolutely not doing.”

LaPierre ends the letter with a hand-scribbled post-script: “Oh, and sorry about that few days of silence over the weekend. Our servers were being all slow and crap, so I kinda took one of the AR-15s hanging on my office wall and tried to correct the situation. A few hundred times. And then again with my grenade launcher and flamethrower.”

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The Seer and The Skeptic

A week before our trip to Mexico, my wife became inspired by a co-worker’s recommendation to visit some Mayan ruins.  “But I don’t want to just stand there and look at them,” she said. “I want to walk up the steps to the temple!”

DSCN0601Having walked up and down stairs my whole life, I didn’t quite see the attraction.  I could even, from my own recliner, imagine what it might’ve been like on top of a temple a thousand years ago.  There I am, strapped to a rock slab while a short, painted man in full plumage dances around me and then swiftly relieves me of my head.  Having no want of mine since he’s been getting complaints from the Mrs. about having too many human heads at home already and now the neighbors are starting to gossip and why can’t he just get paid in goat’s milk and venison like Mr. Chicxulub does, he tosses it down the stairs to the crowd below, which, to show its appreciation, starts “the wave.”

Once in Mexico, we spoke to the resort concierge who mentioned Coba, one of the sites that still allowed walking on the structures.  But I jumped on the fact that it was three hours away and began to moan about spending “our entire vacation trapped in a van.” In light of that, the concierge suggested Tulum, which was closer although somewhat restricted.  At about this time, a woman I’ll call Margaret and her husband joined our conversation and said they were planning the same trip and asked if we might want to go together, split the cost of hiring a driver, and so on.  We agreed, and the next day we were off to Tulum.

On the way we chatted pleasantly, comparing family trees and asking the driver questions like “why do the Policia carry fully automatic weapons?” and “is that drug war thing really so bad?” or “what is the most popular drug down here?”

On the way back, Margaret asked my wife “so, what do you do?”  She gave a succinct yet detailed description of her entire career, while I looked out the windows hoping the subject would change.

The question bothers me.  I wish I had the guts to tell people I was a haberdasher or a monk, some fantasy life I could don for a few hours and then discard.  But I am burdened with a reality that includes having no prepared remarks about what I do, despite the fact that what I do is write, a deliberate and creative employment of words.

When it was my turn, I rambled on and on, or as I’ve heard it put, “talked the balls off a rhinoceros.” And in my bout of verbal diarrhea, I mentioned that one of my biggest challenges is finishing a piece – the how does a writer know when he’s done problem that I’ve written about before.  And that, as a result of this, I abandon some pieces in favor of something new.

“You have adult attention deficit disorder,” she interjected.  “And did you know that it’s really a respiratory problem?”

Having already used most of the words in the English language, I could find no others suited for a response.

“I’ve noticed you have a little trouble breathing” she said.

“The cold that I have, perhaps?” I suggested, reaching for yet another tissue in my backpack.  But she shook her head.  A cold.  Please.

“You have a chronic lung irritation, and didn’t you say you’re a ‘light sleeper?'”  It was true I shared this, in addition to admitting my fear of snorkeling and how I believed “Hola” can mean hello, goodbye, or thank you depending upon your inflection.  She continued, “so, your brain resets during the day.  That’s why you have trouble focusing.”

Now my silence was intentional, and it gave her ample time to explain her experience in holistic medicine and why I wouldn’t read about any of this in the relevant research literature.

Margaret is a lovely person with whom I could even be friends.  A person just right for a company of travelers to the epicenter of the coming apocalypse.  Which brings to mind some advice I remember – don’t listen to anything someone says before the word “but.”  

But, my dear, I don’t buy it.

I am a skeptic, maybe sometimes to a fault.  I am dubious about someone’s ability to diagnose the condition of, let alone the causes for, something as complex as the attention of a human mind merely from a rambling response to a common question.  I must admit that she had blown herself up as a credible source even prior to this free behavioral consultation.

Earlier, while eating lunch, I mentioned something about wearing sunscreen and trying to avoid further run-ins with skin cancer.

“You need to eat green algae and seaweed.  Skin cancer is not only preventable but reversible.  I had a friend that had this rat (maybe she said it was a guinea pig) and it had a big tumor.  It wasn’t doing well and couldn’t even walk.  So I took it in and started feeding it fresh greens and vegetables.  And it lived another 18 months.  It’s all reversible!”

DSC02169So here I was, sitting at a little shack of a restaurant on the beach, drinking a local brew and eating fresh grilled fish that likely came from the clear blue-green water before me.  But more incredible than all of this was that I was eating lunch with the modern-day Jonas Salk.

Back in the van on the return trip, I managed to keep my cool and not turn into Asshole Man, a lesser-known superhero and close cousin to Childish Man, whose superpower is mocking and annoying his enemies until they shut up or go away.  And I managed to ask her, before my brain reset and its attention squirreled away somewhere, what I could do to fix myself.

“Oh, that’s easy,” she said.  “Eat turmeric.”

Coffee Totally F***in Rocks!

Within a few minutes of drinking my first cup of coffee this morning, I was busy drafting out a vision, or rather a lingering memory, of last night’s pee dream.  You know, the realistic and worrisome, but partially waking, thoughts you get when your bladder is full and it’s telling you to get up before it demonstrates to you and your wife how much closer you are in life to wearing Depends than to the night-time pullups your kids wear.

Last night’s episode was about what I would be like, how I would react, when I finally admitted that I had a brain tumor (I don’t, fyi).  Would I pull my kids out of school to spend the two remaining months of my life with them, or would I embrace a life of “letting myself go” by swearing off clothes, personal hygiene, and personal dignity?  Would I be a reluctant bastard screaming at the gods, or be accepting of the reality that I would be never feel what sex is like in my fifties, sixties, or seventies?

Then I wrote down some thoughts about Boba Fett living in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, taking his little Fetts to private school and then hunting down a drive-through sausage biscuit. Next came the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle of Parenting, in which I determined that both the whereabouts and attitude of my children cannot be accurately known at the same time.  I also made a note about the uncertainty of this Uncertainty Principle – that once you discovered this truth, it would no longer apply.  A sort of “opposite day” in Quantum Mechanics, thereby giving rise the Opposite Day of Quantum Parenting hypothesis.

I wasn’t done.

Under this I also wrote:

  • A list of my favorite Christmas marches, including Bizet’s “Farandole,” of course, but also “Carolan’s Concerto” as performed by The Chieftains and The Belfast Harp Orchestra.  Although not a traditional holiday tune, the Concerto sounded Christmassy this morning as I whistled it while completely stripping and re-decorating the tree
  • “the pipsqueak terror?”
  • “basket of sundry goods to the Jewish mafia”
  • And, finally, what I can now only decipher as “Xmas mauphes.”

how-about-a-nice-cup-of-shut-the-fuck-upAfter returning from taking the kids to school, I began searching frantically through the kitchen for my notebook, which I eventually found in my pocket.  But during the search I noticed inside the sealed glass jar where I keep the coffee grounds was a two-tone brown of a dark shade atop a sediment of tan, like a wholly uninspired attempt at sand art.  I realized I had forgotten to blend the caffeine and decaf grounds that I normally brew, instead going pure and uncut.

And now, I’m going back to bed.

A Huge Tooth Fairy

First, know that my team (yes, there’s a team of them so that should tell you something) of dentists and hygienists rock, hard.  They’re top-drawer, top-notch, top-whatever the hell other lame cliche you can conjure, just in case some of you know who these people are.  The following is substantially true.

Just a few hours ago, I settled in to the high-backed recliner and looked out through the large windows in my usual cleaning room.  A cool and sunny morning with the moon, although 240,000 miles away, appearing quite clearly like a wad of gauze hanging over the spire of the nearby Baptist church.

“I brushed my teeth this morning before I came in,” I said in hopes of impressing my hygienist whose name I can never remember.  “Longer and harder than normal to make the cleaning easier.  And I flossed, which I can never remember until I come in. It’s kinda painful when I haven’t done it in a while,” I noted while my tongue gently probed my gums, which had swollen significantly since leaving the house.

She wheeled her chair over to the doorway, leaned around the thick walls into the next room and said to someone, “I’m gonna need more cotton rolls.  Yep, just gimme that whole box.”

As she rolled back to me she said, “you really didn’t need to do that,” and began unpacking the box, adding more of the little swabs to a pile already on the tray.

“Oh, it’s no problem.” I thought I saw her face bunch up around the sides of her mask but maybe she was just itching her nose.

“Okay, we have you down for a cleaning, and x-rays today…” she said.

“Yep, that’s me.  Easy peasy!”

“…and a cavity.  No, sorry, make that two cavities.”

Trying to play it cool after fishing my tongue out of my throat, “Oh yeah? Huh, I don’t recall that.”

“We marked three and eighteen for replacement last time.  Was no hurry so we scheduled it for this time.  They’re the old silver fillings that often need to be replaced,” she explained.

“So you’re saying it’s not my fault.  Bound to happen sooner or later? That’s what I can tell my wife?” I asked to clarify that I was on solid legal ground.

“Yes, the material used for fillings is better now.”

She proceeded with the x-rays and the cleaning, and after tying up the trash bag full of reddened cotton rolls and giving me a towlie to wipe my face, she said I needed to move to another room for the cavities, and maybe something about needing to clean up her room more before her next appointment.  “But I really need to go pee,” I said. “To the bathroom down by the elevators?  I promise I’ll be back.”  I really did need to go.  As my family knows well, my bladder is the size of a lentil.

While in the bathroom I sent a text to my wife about the turn that my appointment had taken.  Her response was immediate.: “You’ll do great…you’re a big boy.”

Once I got seated the dentist came in, looked over my chart, and swabbed some pink slime to the base of my gums inside my right cheek and said, “I think we’re going to do this one on the left, number eighteen, without Novocaine.”

“Pardon?” I said, feeling my tongue trying to retreat back behind my epiglottis.

“A Novocaine shot on that side would be more painful than just doing without,” he explained.

“Uh, but you should know I’m a huge pussy.”

“Trust me.  The shot would be worse.  On eighteen I’d need to block the nerve to your whole jaw.  If you feel any sensitivity at all, just raise your left hand and we’ll do the Novocaine, OK?”

So I practiced a few frantic waves of my hand, closed my eyes, and put my head back.

Even more surprising to me than learning that nine metal rods and a suction tube could all fit in my mouth at one time was that the unmedicated side actually hurt less than the other.  Maybe I was a big boy!

After finishing, he got up and said see you next time.  And as I got out of the chair, I saw that my hands had sweat out a crescent-shaped blob, like fat smiling lips right across my crotch.  Nope, still a huge tooth fairy.

Sweater Meats and John Travolta

Here’s a little clue about what it’s been like to live my life.

Some years ago my wife dared me to put on a dark pink sweater of hers that even she wouldn’t wear and walk outside to get the mail.  Maybe I dared her to dare me, she said “whatever,” and then I felt obligated to follow through to avoid looking like a complete pussy. But whatever.

So I put it on and walked out to the mailbox, no problem, until I was a few steps on the way back when my neighbor roared around the corner and into his driveway in his Mac truck-inspired Dodge Ram pickup.  I hurried across my lawn.  Notice I didn’t say “I ran,” because I don’t.  Apparently, I learned to move from watching claymation films.  I flow-morph in an unbalanced and haphazard way to my final, and usually unfortunate, destination (Oh No, Mr. Bill!).  And standing inside the now-closed and bolted front door, at 6-foot-5 and wearing what looked like a vest made of salmon flesh, I wondered if he’d seen me.  Maybe he drives with his eyes closed, I thought.

“That was quick,” said my wife, briefly looking up from whatever she was doing.

“Ed just pulled in,” I said, trying to catch my breath.

“That’s a surprise,” she responded without emotion, having known that this precise thing would happen.

I sat down on the couch knowing that this big adventure into the world would be my last for a while.  I’d stay in my bubble until I got bored with its predictability and then I’d jump out with something else absurd, though maybe not quite so Ethel Mermanish next time.

So to hell with John Travolta.  He jumped out of his bubble in that movie and he died.  That, I think, is a metaphor.  And you don’t need to guess what would’ve happened if he’d stayed in the bubble.  Just look at the real John Travolta.  He gets famous, and then brainwashed, eventually dressing up like an alien shill for Dianetics.

And there you have it.