Category Archives: Awkward

Sheep, Velociraptors, and Home Remedies That Don’t Work

Everyone’s been there. You’re sick, or you can’t sleep, or there is some other minor inconvenience going on with your body and somebody always comes up and tells you some weird little practice that’s supposed to help you overcome whatever ails you. They usually say something like, “Trust me, my [uncle, mother, grandmother, etc.] taught me this when I was a kid, and it totally works.” No, it doesn’t. You think it works because they told you when you were a kid, and you got all giddy and ran into the other room to try it, and in the course of doing so, stopped bitching to them about having the hiccups for a couple of minutes. It’s just a defense mechanism for adults to get you to leave them alone, just like pretending that they don’t have a life and are just really boring people that only sit around and watch the news and made for TV Hallmark Channel movies. It may have taken me a long time to realize all of this, but here are a few of my own personal experiences with home remedies that are complete bullshit.

Let’s say you’ve got the hiccups. Everyone hates the hiccups. It’s the worst feeling in the world because you can’t control when it happens, or how severe it is. It’s a ten minute period of your life filled with nothing but complete and utter hopelessness and shame. And it seems that every time anyone gets them will invariably find God and bargain with Him just to make them stop before you see that girl you kind of like. But then they don’t and you get that horrific notion that, hey, maybe this is it. Maybe this is the time that I get the hiccups and they never go away and I’m known as the hiccup guy and everyone will start to get annoyed with me and never hang out with me again so you start to hyperventilate and make the hiccups even worse, and you’ll never be loved again because of these stupid little fucking hiccups. Or maybe only I think that. But regardless, before you go into a complete mental breakdown, some motherfucker comes up and tells you this great little trick for getting rid of them, and all you have to do is breathe in for ten seconds, hold the breath for ten seconds, and then exhale for ten seconds. Does it work? No. Of course not. But you still try it because you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of them.

So you start off by breathing in. One…Two….Three…Fo-hiccup. Fuck. Start over. One…Two…Three…Four…Fi-hiccup. You tell your friend that you want to give up, but he tells you to keep going. Soon enough you’ll reach ten. But that’s when the horror starts. The first time that I tried it and reached ten, I immediately hiccupped and regretted every decision I had ever made that allowed me to be in the exact circumstances that I was in at that moment. When you breathe in for ten seconds and then hiccup, it’s like an air overload in your lungs, and you feel like they’re going to burst. It’s a worse feeling than when you have a sneezing fit and try to hold all of them in. It’s a worse feeling than when you’re closing the bar and someone convinces you to take just one more shot of Jaeger. It’s a worse feeling than tasting even a drop of Rumpleminze. But I digress. Eventually, you’ll make it all the way to the end of the breathing exercise, and you’ll feel mildly accomplished. Ten minutes of trying and failing to do a thirty-second home remedy and you finally reached then end. And just when you’re about to look at your friend and tell him, “Hey man, thanks a lot, that really worked,” you hiccup again and figure it’s probably just best to go back to bargaining with God.

Not dissimilar from the hiccups, the common cold is something that everyone has to deal with every once in a while. It’s miserable, it’s inevitable, it’s incurable. Everything about it sucks, especially after you learn that the cold virus is completely harmless, but your immune system thinks that it’s some swine flu type shit and goes into overdrive and gives you stuffy noses, coughs, sore throats, fatigue, and the rest of the nine yards. And since it’s incurable, the only thing you can really do is treat the symptoms of the cold (i.e. the sore throat, cough, etc.). Everyone has their own way of going about it. Some people call into work and sleep that sonofabitch off. Me? I load up on every over-the-counter cold medication that I can find and just get stupid stoned off that shit for a week (But be careful to never fall asleep with a  cough drop in, because that shit’ll stick to your beard and never let go). And then by the time that you decide that you’ve got in under control enough to get back to your life and go out in public, people will still notice that you’ve got a cold, and give you their best tried-and-true remedies for how to cope. Out of the seemingly millions of ways to treat the cold, the one that always comes up is always the one remedy that I’ve got an issue with: drink a lot of tea.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’ve got nothing against tea per se. But it just doesn’t seem to be an advantageous fluid to be pushing when your nasal passages are so blocked that you won’t even be able to taste it. “But it clears up your nasal passages because it’s a warm, soothing beverage!” Yes, but I go hard. And when I go hard (which is all the time), I tend to overdo things. So instead of drinking a cup of tea here and there, I’ll drink 10 cups of tea in a two hour span. Is it smart? Probably not, as you will see. But it’s clearly the most logical thing when you’re flying through your day filled to the brim with Dayquil and cough drops. And when you drink a shit ton of tea in a short time span, you need to pee a shit ton in a short time span. And when you’re pumped full of cold medicine, you’re fatigued and your balance is usually not at it’s best, so you sit down to pee even though you’re a dude. And since you’ve just drank a ton of hot, soothing liquid, you’ve just gotten a bunch of steam in your face and nasal passages so all of the mucus starts to run. Sure, the tea did it’s thing, you could say, but it doesn’t change the fact that you end up pissing sitting down with a pint of phlegm streaming from your nostrils, and then, just to top it off, your body sees everything that is going on with you and decides that this is a perfect time for you to randomly start crying for no fucking reason (or perhaps for a really good one, given your condition). Is tea a simple, responsible, and healthy way to soothe your cold symptoms? Maybe. But is it worth your dignity?

Finally, everyone occasionally has trouble falling asleep. And what’s the one thing that, for some reason, people tell you to do? Count sheep jumping over a fence. It makes sense. Think about something so boring that you have no choice but to fall asleep. A dark field, stars glistening in the background, and a short, wooden fence stretching as far as the eye can see. All of a sudden, a seemingly endless supply of sheep form a single-file line (which is bullshit, because sheep don’t travel in single file lines, but rather amorphous herds. Besides, anybody who has seen Jurassic Park 2 knows that the single file line is the simplest way for predators like the velociraptor to pick you off one by one starting at the rear and working their way toward the front so it by the time the whole group realizes what is going on, four or five of their loved ones are dead as shit. Sure, sheep probably haven’t figured out how to work a DVD player, nor do they necessarily have the cognitive ability to learn lessons from second-tier cinema, but they’ve survived long enough to probably have learned a few things by experience, like the benefit of traveling in the aforementioned amorphous herd). They slowly, but surely, jump gracefully over the fence and trot off to the other side of the field. I’m not sure why they’re traveling at night (again, they should know that when you’re universal prey, you don’t travel at night) or where the fuck they are actually going, but it’s the stereotypical image associated with the practice of counting sheep jumping over a fence. And then, after however many sheep it takes, you’re supposed to drift into a splendid slumber. The only problem is that it simply does not work out that way. At least not for me.

My experience starts like everybody else’s: I’m tired, it’s 4:30 AM, and I’m laying there vainly trying every different combination of pillow, blanket, side, and position for the secret formula that will make me sleep. Then I remember the sheep thing. So, I find a comfortable position, close my eyes, and set the scene for myself. The field. The starry night. The fence. The group of sheep doing everything wrong by traveling in a single file line at night. The first one comes up to the fence and gracefully launches itself, floats slowly over the fence, lands softly on the other side, and then quickly goes on his way without even waiting for any of his fucking friends to catch up. And as he trots out of my vision, an illuminated number one appears in the sky for a moment before the second sheep comes to the fence. This happens the same way for the second, third, and fourth one. But by the time the fifth one is coming up to the fence, I get bored, and completely subconsciously make weird shit start to happen. The fifth one has a little bit of a limp in one of his legs, so he can’t run as fast or jump as high as the other ones. When he’s passing over the fence, his hoof knocks one of the fence posts, and he takes a tumble as he lands. He’s not hurt by the tumble, but he turns back to look at the fence post in disgust. The next sheep is even more hurt. He has a significant limp in his leg, and can’t jump, but fuck it, his friends are going to leave him if he doesn’t hurry up, so he climbs the fence (it’s a short fence), and follows his brethren into the darkness. The next sheep has another horrible leg injury, and needs help getting over the fence. Luckily for him, the sheep immediately behind him is of full health and gives him a boost before doing a standing jump over the fence (no two sheep are created with the same athletic ability). I go back to a couple of regular sheep, but then something weird happens. The next sheep is almost completely shaven, except for it’s head, tail and legs. Like a big, ugly poodle, except not attached by a leash to a far more pathetic looking human being. It’s alone, tired, shivering from the cold because some suburban mom really wants comfy socks to wear around he house. It jumps over the fence, and collapses upon reaching the other side from sheer exhaustion. Luckily, it has enough strength to crawl out of my vision before I start to feel too bad about it.

Then there’s the stoned sheep. It walks up and stares at the fence for a while, turns back, walks a couple feet, then remembers that it has to get over to the other side, and slowly climbs up the fence and then back down the other side. When he reaches the other side, again, he stares at the fence for a minute, and then turns to follow his friends. Then the drunk lonely sheep. Walking crookedly, disheveled, and looking way too much like myself, it stumbles up to the fence, but doesn’t see it. It trips over his own hooves and does a faceplant at the base of the fence. He gets up, let’s out what I assume is the sheep-talk equivalent of, “Fucking shit-fence,” jumps over it, and continues on his lonely way. Then, probably the lowest point in the night for me happens. I just saw the lonely drunk sheep pass over the fence, but it was quickly followed by the drunk horny couple. They stumble up together, the guy sheep bumping up against he as they walk, the girl sheep trying to lay her head on his shoulder. They get to the fence and they look at each other and say, “Well, shit, it looks like we need to get over the fence.” The male sheep, like any gentleman, insists that the woman go first, and gets behind her with the intention of being a support for her to step on to get over the fence. Maybe it was the starlit night, maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the sight of freshly preened wool on her behind, but as the female sheep has her front hooves on the fence to try and pull herself up, he takes the opportunity he has been looking forward to all night. He slowly climbs her body, stomach and chest sliding up her curly-q-esque back wool, and places his hooves on hers, a move he himself was never necessarily comfortable with, but he still did it for her, as he remembered she enjoyed being with a dominant, controlling man.

At this point only about ten minutes has passed, and I’m still not asleep. I’m not sure if I want to be asleep, or if I just want to start my day and pretend like nothing ever happened. All I know is that that night was the end of my innocence. Why couldn’t they just jump over the fence like normal sheep? Why did I have to watch that? Why did they all have to behave like humans? Where were the velociraptors when you needed them? All I have now is questions and a mental image of grotesque sheep fucking. Nothing makes sense. Nothing’s fair. The only answer I have is that counting sheep to fall asleep does not work.

-Panda


Cost-Efficiency, Haircuts, and Big, Big Breasts

As some of you know, I live in the Milwaukee area and probably, for better or worse, always will. I used to think that this city was amazing, until just recently. A few months ago, I found out we were getting a Lady Jane’s Haircuts for Men on the West side of Milwaukee. Now, if you’ve never heard of Lady Jane’s, here’s a link to their website. I’d like to take a few minutes and explain to you all the things that I find wrong with this place.

  1. $10 Haircuts:  At least for the Milwaukee location, they are advertising haircuts for only $10. Now, I understand that for most hair stylists, this is a decent price. But keep in mind, as a guy, my hair grooming preferences are really rather simple: short, preferably not douchy. And this is how most guys are about their hair, too. And so instead of going out and spending $10 on haircuts, I buy my own clippers and do it myself. In my lifetime, I’ve spent maybe $60 on two sets of clippers, and I’ve gotten almost five years of haircuts and beard trims out of them. So I’ve clearly made all my money back, and then some. Furthermore, I doubt the people at Lady Jane’s would be willing to do ANY sort of manscaping (let alone for a reasonable price (it can be so expensive to be beautiful)). And on top of that, I can give myself a little “Happy Ending” at home, for free, on my own time, and not ever have to worry about the fact that there are ten pairs of sharp scissors within fifteen feet of my penis.
  2. Big, Big Boobs:  Don’t get me wrong, I love women. I love beautiful women. I even love women with big, big breasts, even if I know that they can’t be that big without getting annoyingly floppy. But I’m sick and tired of the fact that people try to sell me stuff with the use of really hot women. I’m much more likely to respond to, “Hey, try this shit for free and then buy more later if you really want to,” than “Hey, check out these tits and give me your money.” But there’s no reason for a man to be convinced that he will be getting a good value just because there are hot women giving the services. Sure, every man knows that there is a very strong correlation between a man’s happiness and the proximity of that man’s face to a pair of breasts, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stoop so low as to have to pay for it (especially if I’m not even going to get to do anything fun with them).
  3. “If we added beer, it’d be a sports bar!”:  This is an actual line from one of their radio ads. Lady Jane’s prides itself on offering big screen TVs, lots of sports, and leather recliners to make it as comfortable as possible. Thus, they think that they are practically a sports bar. Well, sure, if that’s how you look at it. But I think you need to make a decision: you’re a sports bar or a hairstylist. Choose one and go that direction, but you can’t have both.  If I had a vagina, I’d be a woman, but I don’t tell people that I’m practically a woman.
  4. They have Maxims in the magazine rack: I don’t know about you, but whenever I go anywhere where I have to wait in a room, I enjoy it when there are magazines lying around. That being said, don’t give me Maxim. Again, if you want to give us porn magazines, give us porn magazines. If not, give me a fucking Newsweek. And out of all the magazines to cater to men you choose Maxim? Hell, I get more worked up and aroused glancing through the American Apparel catalog than I do Maxim.

Ultimately, I find Lady Jane’s to be a complete waste of anyone’s money. On top of all the crap that I’ve already stated above, it seems that the only haircut that they actually do is the faux-hawk, which is the single douchiest haircut on the planet. But luckily, when they moved to Milwaukee, they set up shop next door to the Sonic, which is an almost perfect fit. That way, you can go and get your haircut by women that really aren’t even that attractive in the first place (makeup and big breasts can only hide shitty, shallow personalities so much), and then when you leave without their phone number you can go eat away your sadness.

Take it easy,

-Panda


Romance of the Panda, Part 3

In light of the single most overrated holiday, Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to open up to my blog readers. It’s time you see my romantic side, the softer side of Panda. This is the second part of a three part series.
Feel free to read the first two parts:

Part 1:  Here

Part 2:  Here

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A few months ago my coworker Antonio and I were working at the same table, getting to know each other a bit. The topic of girlfriends came up. After telling him that I did not, in fact, have a girlfriend, he looked at me, shocked, and said, “You don’t have a girlfriend? How come? I mean, I even have a girlfriend. Don’t you want someone?” Now, this was a somewhat strange moment for me, because Antonio is usually the guy that comes up to me on Sundays asking me in a thick Hispanic accent, “Hey John, how was your weekend? Did you get any hot, young poo-ssy?”  So the honest, sentimental side of him threw me for a pretty big loop. But like any question about my personal life that someone asks, I deflected the shit out of it, saying something like, “bitches can’t hold me down” (I figured this would shut him up about the subject, and it did).

Then, about a week ago, I started to think of what I should post for Valentine’s Day, and that conversation came to mind. Then I started to think about why I don’t have a girlfriend (which is never a fun thought process). Granted, some of you all, my devoted blog readers (particularly those who don’t personally know me), are probably saying, “You really need to think about that? Isn’t it obvious?”  Well, you only know me through my blog, and so I totally understand that I come off as just some asshole who spends his nights getting hammered in pursuit the most sapless woman with low enough self-esteem to sleep with me, cunnilinging her in hope of nothing more than potential fellatious retribution, and using my free time to come on the Internet to spit disturbing and hypocritical venom at all these haters. But deep down, there’s a softer side. At least I used to think so. But then I realized that, in reality, I don’t have a softer side, I’m just really fucking awkward, particularly around women.

In my defense, there seems to be a particularly fine line between being overly awkward and being not-an-asshole. Finding the correct level of not-asshole is incredibly difficult, particularly if you add any amount of alcohol to my system. Take this last weekend, for instance. I was at the bar with some friends of mine, and I see, across the bar, a lady that I realize later works with me. She sees me too. She smiles real big and starts waving at me. Now, here is what my thought process looked like: “Hey, look, there’s a lady. Ok we just made eye contact, be cool. LOOK AWAY TO NOT SEEM CREEPY. OK, done, look back at her to make sure she turned away too. No, she’s still looking at me and now she’s smiling. At who? Why is she looking at me? She can’t be smiling at me. Now she’s waving at me. She’s not waving at me. She can’t be waving at me. Women don’t wave and smile at me. Wait. She looks familiar. Is she that lady that I work with. Yup. PRETEND YOU DON’T SEE HER. PRETEND YOU DON’T SEE HER. STOP STARTING.”  And during this entire process, (which, in reality, probably only lasted six or seven seconds, but felt like three minutes), I was literally just standing there, staring directly at this lady I worked with with a completely blank expression on my face, not acknowledging any of the smiling or waving that she is sending my way. And if that’s not bad enough, she’s one of those ladies that you don’t want to do stupid stuff in front of or act like an asshole to. You know, the everything-you’d-want lady.  Real pretty, super nice, intelligent, AND she’s a Star Wars fan.

And I wish that that were the only kind of awkward that I am. I’m the kind of guy who, when I like a girl, I’ll try to play it cool.  I won’t put my feelings out there right away, but I’ll still flirt and do everything right, make her want to see me more, talk to me more, etc. But then I’ll start to play it too cool. Instead of waiting a reasonable amount of time to make my move, I’ll wait too many months. Then I’ll think to myself, “This is a good idea.” But I completely forget the fact that in reality, since I don’t want to be an asshole, I have all but stopped even talking to her. Then, I get myself pumped up to make a move, meet up with her somewhere, and THAT’S when I realize that I really haven’t seen or talked to this lady for a long time, and then I get nervous, which leads to me not talking, which leads to me thinking too much, which leads to me saying something really stupid or awkward.  Usually, at some point, the sentiment of, “you’re finally getting around to telling me you like me now?  Where the hell were you months ago?” is expressed by her.  So it’s really just kind of a giant circle of awkwardness for me.

With all this awkwardness, can it really be any surprise to you that I really dislike Valentine’s Day? I mean, I screw up even the most simple acts of kindness and sweetness, so of course I’ll mess up the holiday dedicated to love and couples. I’ve done it before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. The fact that a relationship can be so affected by one stupid fucking day is reason enough alone to hate Valentine’s Day.  And I know some of you are thinking, “Well, you’re a guy, so you only hate it because you’re the one on the hot seat.” Yes. Damn right. I prefer being able to prove my love and care for someone else throughout the year. There’s less pressure that way. And beside, I’d hate it even if the roles were switched. I’d want my someone to do stuff throughout the year for me instead of one “big” thing. And I think that’s what we should all be looking for. I don’t view me cooking and cleaning for a woman as a special gift only to be given on one day, I view it as the exchange rate for her being the one who has to kill all the spiders that I see in my apartment and I am way too much of a wuss to kill myself.  Forget flowers, give your lady the first pick of the Doritos so she can eat all the ones that have the most flavor powder on it. Instead of giving road head on the way home from a special Valentine’s dinner, how about when I go in to the gas station to get us pints of ice cream to eat while watching Gilmore Girls, you go grab one of those complimentary squeegees and clean the outer edges of the windshield of all the salt that’s built up because the windshield wipers can’t reach that far; it’s a far sweeter and more ladylike thing to do.  Don’t wish that I’d bring you flowers, but try to understand that me coming home drunk at 3AM, waking you up and splitting a Jimmy John’s pickle with you while I tell you stories about the night is my way of saying that you’re really special to me.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t fret about what you’re supposed to do. Doing what you think you’re supposed to do is a bad, bad, bad idea. There was one year where I thought that I was supposed to buy the girl a heart-shaped box of chocolates. And so I did.  That didn’t really work out.  Go out and continue doing what got you to this point in your relationship in the first place. Don’t think that you need to do something super special because it’s Abe Lincoln’s birthday plus 2.  Me?  I’ll probably end up at the bar again. Last year, as some of my other single friends and I were leaving said bar, they played Michael Jackson’s hit song, “Beat It.”  We all started to laugh, but only to hide the sadness.

Take it easy,

-Panda


Romance of the Panda, Part 2

In light of the single most overrated holiday, Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to open up to my blog readers. It’s time you see my romantic side, the softer side of Panda. This is the second part of a three part series.
Feel free to read part 1 HERE.

This is another poem that I wrote for a class. It’s about loss, specifically the loss of a great thing in my life that I took for granted.

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Farewell

Tonight will be the first night
I don’t get to go to bed
with you as the last image in my head
and last echo in my ear.
Three years, you’ve been there to
hum me to sleep,
stay by my side when I was sick,
asking for nothing in return,
except to be taken care of.

I grew complacent.  I thought I could
keep you here forever, and so I neglected
your basic needs.  I couldn’t see the obvious signs
that something was wrong, until it was too late.

My sophomore year,
we met in the aisle of Walgreens.
I figured I’d keep you around for the summer,
give or take a month, it couldn’t hurt.
But we started off stronger than I could have hoped,
you spending every night at my place, and it began
to seem like this might turn into
something more than an end-of-summer fling.

The next two years, running on high,
we were both happy with our place in the world.
No worries about graduation, no wondering
what would come next or if I’d move away.
A full year was gone by
and nothing stood in our way, and it seemed like
this could last forever,
and for a while, it was timeless.

But two days ago, you were quieter than
usual, no spritely humming, no soothing songs
to relax me.  I thought nothing of it,
hoped for the best, stayed positive,
maybe just a bad day, not considering
that perhaps your heart had stopped spinning.

Yesterday, you sputtered around in my apartment hopelessly.
Clearly exhausted, I still felt no need
to bother, but this time because I didn’t want to face
the facts, that this was probably the end.
You’d hit the wall, finally exhausted, and I
guess I’ll someday understand.  You
tried and worked your hardest,
did anything for my comfort, efforts that
certainly weren’t well reciprocated from me.

I wish I could say that I was sad, but I knew that
this would happen one day.  College only
lasts so long before the real world calls us to
become real ourselves.  And when it does,
I knew I’d be at a crossroad, a chance to
be a better person, give another one
a better chance,
and that I’d only be able to hope the same for you.

Today, I walked in and you were silent for
the first time in three years and I know
that nothing more can be done.  I don’t argue
or try to fix what is beyond repair, I just walk you out
for the final goodbye, as I selfishly think to myself,
how will I get to sleep tonight?

In the end, it won’t be so bad.  Maybe one day
I won’t feel that I need you, just so I can fall asleep.
Maybe one day I can move on and find a better
version of you, better fit for me.  Maybe one day I’ll
take care of it, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
I can’t pretend that this won’t upset me for a little while,
but one day I’ll forget about you, and live my life as it is.
Because after all, you were only a box fan.

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When we read our poems in the workshop, we would generally read our poems aloud, then have another person read it so we can all hear the poems from a different voice.  Normally, we hold all comments to the end of the second reading.  Normally, we start off with strengths, things we like, etc., then move on to constructive criticism.  As soon as I finished reading it the first time, one of the more reserved girls who sat across the room from me smacked her desk and shouted, “OH MY GOD, you jerk!  I was actually feeling sorry for you.  I thought you were finally opening up to us.”  Nope, just found another way for me to be an ass.  But in my defense, I had originally started it off as a sincere poem about a rather significant (for me at least. That bitch.) failed relationship, and THAT’S when my fan died, so I decided to just kind of switch it up a bit.

Besides, if you want to actually read me being sincere about love, you’ll just have to come back to read the forthcoming part 3 of my Romance of the Panda series (see what I did there?).

Take it easy,

-Panda


Romance of the Panda, Part 1

In light of the single most overrated holiday, Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to open up to my blog readers. It’s time you see my romantic side, the softer side of Panda. So this is the first part of a three part series on love.

When I was in school, I was in a poetry class my last semester of my senior year. And so when it came to the week of Valentine’s Day, he made us write love/Valentine’s themed poems. It was originally supposed to be a sonnet, but I couldn’t get it to work well enough with the strict parameters, so I told my professor it was a more “free-form” sonnet, with no real regard for metrical or rhythmical rules. Sucker bought it. But anyway, the following was the result and, unfortunately, is how far too many of my actual romantic pursuits turn out.

Almost Valentine’s Day

Hey, I was thinking that maybe,
Since I’ve got nothin’ else to do,
Instead of being all lonely
Maybe…I could hang out with you?
On, uh, Valentine’s Day
Since all of our friends have dates.
Oh. No, I haven’t met Ray
But yeah, I’m sure he’s great.
And very sweet too I bet
Yeah, that’s fine, that’s cool.
Wow, he bought you chocolate?
Yeah, he seems just perfect for you.
Well, in that case have a great time,
I’ve got to get going to find my Valentine.

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Be sure to be on the lookout the next few days for the second and third part of this series, and, as always, thanks for reading.

Take it easy,

-Panda


My Dentist Told a Sex Joke

So about a year or so ago, I was at the dentist.  It was the first time in about five years that I had gone to the dentist, and so I ended up having a bunch of cavities.  I know, I know, I should go to the dentist more, but there’s this one little issue that I have about hating every dentist in the worlds fucking guts.  That, and when it comes to dealing with them scraping my mouth with metal shit and drilling holes, I am quite a little pansy.  And so, since I am such a pansy about it, I figured, “Hey, maybe I’ll just try that sedation dentistry shit.  Worse comes to worst I’ll at least have been able to take some sweet drugs.”  And sweet drugs did I take.  I honestly believe the world may be a better place if we simply pumped Valium into the drinking water supply.  (Did you know that Valium works as a muscle relaxant?  So the messages from the brain to the muscles are much fewer and far between.  This can be dangerous, because if you’re laying down and you want to stand up, it takes your legs about ten seconds of slowly lower your weight onto your legs until they’re actually ready, otherwise you’ll start to fall.  But not your standard fall.  I mean like that video of those ladies at the end of the Iron Man race who were so destroyed that it looked as if their legs just didn’t really want to do what they wanted them to do.  That kind of falling.  (Also, for those of you who care to know, ejaculation takes place when the male’s pelvic muscles engage in a series of quick muscles contractions, forcing the ejaculate from the genitals.  Muscle relaxants slow the brain signals and muscle contractions, so when you have sex (or masturbate, I suppose) on muscle relaxants, you aren’t really finished when you think you’re finished, and ten minutes later you think you’ve just pissed your pants because it gets warm and then you go to the bathroom and realize what it actually is so you just kind of get really confused while you look for some tissues and a new pair of underwear.  So I’ve heard.))  But if everyone took a little bit of Valium, nobody would get road rage because nobody would ever feel like driving faster than 45 MPH on the highway, domestic violence rates would go down because every red-necked, wife-beating deadbeat would realize, “Meh, she ain’t that bad,” and political debates would have just the mildest, ever so slight tingle of tolerability.

But either way, let us fast forward to what happened after the procedures.  I woke up in my bed, (after all those drugs generally the only thing you really want to do is sleep) groggy and sore.  Just like I do after any bender, I try to recall just what the fuck actually happened.  I remember going in, sitting down in the chair, and then waking up in my bed ten hours later.  So first and foremost, I’m trying to figure out how I can get a hold of more of these drugs.  But then I decide to deal with that another time, and go downstairs to talk to my dad.

My dad was the one who transported my stoned ass to and from the dentist.  So I asked him what happened when I was there.  For the most part, apparently, I was very good, until I gained more consciousness and the ability to talk back.  The general policy for any time that a patient is sedated is to transport the patient from the doctors’ office to their car via wheelchair.  I did not like this.  Apparently, I said, “I don’t need a fucking wheelchair.  I’ve got fucking legs.”   I’m not on the best terms with the support staff at my dentist’s office anymore.  And then, I’m told, I became quite hungry on the way home.  My dad asked me, “Do you want a burger?  We can go to Kopp’s if you want.  Or do you want something big, like a Whopper?”  “No,” I replied, “Whoppers are for pussies.  I want Wendy’s,” (What an interesting choice of words, as you will see).   I apparently only ate like, half of it before I went to my room and passed out.

But then as I was truly coming around, I noticed that the underside of my tongue was quite sore.  I went to the mirror and looked, and the son-of-a-bitch dentist carved me up good.  You know how your tongue has that connector piece underneath it?  Well, mine was very large, in that it went fairly far up the underside of my tongue, almost to the tip.  This, apparently, isn’t the way that everyone else’s tongue is.  Apparently, normal people’s tongue connector doesn’t go very far up the tongue at all.  And it looked as if my dentist had decided to just go right on ahead and cut my connector off.  So I’m pissed, because I all of a sudden just have these open sores on the underside of my tongue that hurt anytime I eat/drink/talk/breathe/hold my breath/brush my teeth/etc.  And then I get to thinking, “why the hell did he do that?”  Well, my friends, let me take you back to my appointment before this sedation procedure.

I was sitting there, and the assistant was doing her thing with cleaning and checking my teeth, when she said, “Oh, you’re tongue-tied.”  I had no idea what she was talking about, and she proceeded to tell me that the connector underneath my tongue shouldn’t be that far forward.  I brushed it off because I truly did not give a single shit about my tongue connector.  So then my dentist came in.  Here is how the dialogue went from the moment he noticed my tongue connector:

Dentist:  Oh, you’re still tongue tied.

Me:  Yeah, I guess, I just found out that this wasn’t “normal” like 3 minutes ago.

Dentist:  Well, don’t worry, we can take care of that, just a snip or two.  It’ll take like two minutes.

Me:  I mean, I don’t know about that, I haven’t had an issue with it.

Dentist:  You’d be surprised.  It’ll give your tongue more mobility and range of movement. It’ll come in handy, trust me.

And as he said “trust me,” he winked.

At first, I didn’t make anything of it, but then I realized.  Did he really just do that?  Did he really just make a sex joke to one of his patients?  Did he really literally just commit malpractice for the sake of helping me become a better lay?  Does he realize that I can never go back to his office again, not because I’m offended, but because the waiting room has pictures of everyone in his family, including his wife, and I won’t be able to get that horribly disturbing image out of my head.  Shit, no wonder this guy has five kids already.

As awkward as my entire time with that dentist was, he wasn’t so bad.  I mean, he gave me great drugs, made me healthier, and helped my performance.  Nevertheless, he was my dentist, and I don’t want my dentist making sex jokes.  Not if he’s going to be spending so much time in my mouth.  But anyway, to anyone who felt really uncomfortable reading this, sorry.  And to any women who have spent roughly 15-25 (depending on how drunk I may have been) minutes of mildly regrettable and thoroughly average passion with me, 1) I am so, so sorry; and 2) you can thank my dentist for it not being truly regrettable and below average.

-Panda


On The Benefits of Grandma Dying, Meta-Reality, and Scarves: Merry Christmas

We all knew this would come.  We knew we couldn’t stop it.  Christmas is here.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit here and spit venom about many people’s favorite holidays.  Rather, I am simply going to tell you all about how strange I find the Christmas season in general.

To me, Christmas time is quite possibly the strangest month or so of the entire year.  You see, my family has never been super close, so the whole getting somebody something that they don’t even know that they want yet has never really been a possibility.  Thus, we’ve come to rely heavily on the Christmas list, which has a strict deadline of Thanksgiving dinner to be handed out to our relatives, otherwise they will call you every day until you actually get them some type of list.

So, a few days before Thanksgiving I sit down, and start writing out a list.  Now, after twenty-plus Christmas’, I’ve come to figure out a few key rules on making the Christmas list:

  1. The more items you put on the list, the less likely you are to get what you want:  Pretty simple, but it needs to be mentioned.  Plus, if you put the thing you really, really want on the list, there’s a decent chance that someone just won’t get it for you because, in their mind, giving is better than receiving and all things on your list are created equal (Two things we all know are goddamn lies).   That’s why you cut the list down to only about 3-5 things that you actually want, and then just list, “Assorted Gift Cards, & etc.” at the end to cover any loose ends.
  2. Make sure there is something for everyone’s price-range:  In my family, everyone puts a price limit of how much they love you.  Er, I mean, how much they are willing to spend.  This is very important, because you don’t want to put a whole bunch of really expensive items on your list when you know damn well that your aunt has a gambling issue that nobody talks about (so much so that your parents got mad at her because she kept thinking Powerball tickets and scratch offs are acceptable Christmas gifts (which, let’s be honest, there is nothing cooler in the world to a 6-year-old than a scratch off)), so they don’t usually have that much spendable money laying around, and you certainly don’t want to make them think that they need to head to the casino to get more money just so they can buy you an iPad or an Original Collector’s Edition Furby.  Or maybe you just have frugal relatives, and you know that your uncle has the uncanny knack for finding the most affordable (coughcoughcheapestcoughcough) knock off item that he can find and then still leave the price tag on so that you see it and start to get upset that he spent so little on you and then you start to feel bad that you would stoop to the level of judging someone based on how much they spent on the gift that they gave to you for no other reason than that they still believe in god and the “true” meaning of Christmas being about celebrating the birth of the savior, not about getting bomb-ass gifts, so you just think to yourself, ‘fuck it,’ and accept it and never mention it again until you get an anonymous blog and you can talk all the shit you want without ever needing to be worried about answering for your opinions or letting your family know that you’re a materialistic bastard.  Again, gift cards work really well for this purpose.
  3. Always be as specific as possible:  I understand the hesitation behind being too specific; you want to make the list seem like an idea generator, not a shopping list.  But keep in mind that the season is about giving, so your family may as well be giving you the exact thing that you really wanted. If you’re just generalizing your list, you may end up disappointed.  If you put down, “exercise equipment,” you might end up getting the Shakeweight instead of the Shakeweight Pro that you really wanted.  Or if you put down, “DVDs of good TV Shows,” you might get a couple seasons of Ugly Betty instead of the entire series of Gilmore Girls that you secretly wanted but didn’t want to tell anybody about because you’re a guy.  Or maybe you put down, “Good books,” and you’ll end up with a collection of James Patterson’s finest pile of shit.
  4. *sigh*

    Putting too few items on your list has its risks, too:  Namely, Scarves.  The issue that I’ve had when it comes to putting too few items on your list (in conjunction with rule number 1), is that people feel bad about getting you just one little store-bought thing, so they decide to make you something.  Now, I understand that it’s (supposedly) the thought that counts, but you cannot sit there and say that the thought wouldn’t be much more appreciated if it came with a real world use or application.  Thus, my family tends to get scarves.  My mom and sister both knit them, other people will buy them, and it seems like almost every year now, I get them.  Again, I appreciate that they care about my comfort and health and fashion enough to get me a scarf, but it just goes to show that they clearly did not stop for a second to put any thought into the gift that they got me whatsoever.  I have never worn, nor am I currently wearing, nor will I ever wear a scarf.  Ever.  Ever.  Ever.  I have struggled through too many years in high school of pathetic, desperate attempts at facial hair to not keep a full, thick beard at all times now that I can grow one.  And if you’ve never had a beard, it acts just like a scarf, except you don’t have to worry about it being too loose, and you will ALWAYS look more badass with a beard.  And I’ve had a beard now for about five years, so it’s not exactly like it’s a new development.  But, nevertheless, someone in my family will take a look at my list, and want to go the extra mile (for which I’m appreciative), and get me a scarf.  And I, in turn, will take that scarf graciously, and at the end of the night, take it up to my bedroom and place it on the coat hook all the way in back of my bedroom closet, with about ten other scarves that have never been worn.  Alas, the tragic life of forgotten knitwear.

The next strange thing about Christmas is the annual Christmas dinner. Every year for the entirety of my childhood, my family would hop in the car and head off to my grandmother’s house.  Before dinner was ready, we would munch on some appetizers (which, being from Wisconsin, means an untouched vegetable tray, a box of wheat thins, and about two pounds of cheese) while engaging in small talk about our lives as if anything major had changed or happened in the last month since Thanksgiving.  So that leaves me the choice between telling them that nothing is new, and opening the night up to more in depth discussions of my life and why my $120,000 English degree from Marquette is going down the drain by me working second-shift in a bakery, or I could just simply tell them the same exact stories that I have already told them.  I choose the latter, usually, and hope that I can somehow remember the stories that I made up to tell them at Thanksgiving well enough that they don’t call me out for one of those stories changing.  Sure, there is the third option of saying nothing and learn about the happenings in their lives, but I don’t want to know about how my Uncle was able to squeeze in a quick 18 holes of golf on December 10th because of the mild weather.  But like clockwork, before I have to go into too much detail, my saving grace appears.  The roast comes out of the oven, and we all stop what we’re doing and go to the dinner table to eat.  Same shitty food, but we all say we love it, and eat way, way too much of it (And we still do.  I mean, how else am I supposed to put back on the 25 pounds that I’ve lost since graduation? (“Who’s a sexy bitch?”  “I am!  I am!”)).  Roast beef sandwiches, pasta salad, 7-Layer salad (Hey, I’m from Wisconsin and it’s fucking delicious), dinner rolls, some type of vegetables which suffer the same fate as the veggie appetizer platter, and this strange concoction that my grandma just loved, consisting of candied fruits mixed into a tub of Cool Whip.  She called it salad.  Nobody touched it.

Now, that’s all fine and dandy.  I knew what would be good and what to avoid.  And the small talk would always stop because we knew that all that my grandma wanted to hear was how good the food was and how much we all loved each other and how great of a family we are.  Well, she’s dead now.  And it’s not like we didn’t see it coming.  70 years as a smoker has that affect, I’m told.  But for the last couple of years, she had been circling the drain and was always too weak to be moved out of her hospice room to our house for dinner.  So, this opened up a grand opportunity for us.  We could say, “To hell with tradition,” and we could eat, literally, whatever we wanted to.  Three years ago, we had barbequed beef.  Two years ago, we had lasagna.  Last year, we had bratwursts and Italian sausages.  It was amazing.  And it never struck me that we could actually do this.  It was as if our family was waiting for my grandma to kick it or to be too sick to cook or come to dinner to break out the good food.  And I have to say, it really made dealing with the awkwardness worth it.  And yes, we all miss my grandma and it’s a tragedy she died and all that sentimental stuff that you want me to say so that I don’t seem like a total bastard if you are reading this because of a link you found while surfing the, “Freshly Pressed,” section of WordPress so that I seem like a more likable narrator/main character (something my English professor taught me was necessary in order to have a successful piece of writing (Gotta put that degree to work)).  But goddamnit, I love lasagna.

Delicious

This next particularly strange aspect of Christmas will most likely be new to you all, taking even me until just a few weeks ago to figure it out.  But you know when you eat Thanksgiving dinner and after the dinner and desserts and your family is just kind of sitting around talking to each other and waiting until it’s an appropriate time to leave and somebody finally says, “You know, that tryptophan is really getting to me, I think I need to go home and take a nap,” or maybe they just go into the TV room at your house and take a nap right then and there?  For some reason, it happens after Christmas dinner, too.  There’s no turkey in Christmas dinner, so what gives?  Sure, you could argue that it’s because it’s just a really long day in general (let’s face it, waking up early, going to church, opening presents, saying thank you a million times, watching Elf three-and-a-half times, and then eating dinner while suppressing any and all opinions on politics/morals/religion truly does take a lot out of you), or that it’s because of the sheer quantity of food that you consume in that short amount of time.  But I dare to venture to say it’s something different.  You see, it happens at every holiday.  And what’s present at every holiday?  Your family.  And what’s the one thing that you are happy about once the holidays are over?  The fact that your family left.  Sure, you love your family and all that, but it’s always a relief to get away after spending a whole bunch of time with them.  And who is the first one to “get tired?”  Your parents.  You see, they’ve been around the block a few times, so they know exactly what to do in order to have an immediate and foolproof exit from family events (A lifetime of seeing the same people who tell the same stories over and over again has got to be exhausting).  And everyone knows how tiring the holidays are in general, from shopping for your relatives, to shopping for yourself, to shopping for yourself again after Christmas to use up all your gift cards before you forget about them, so nobody really has the authority to question or call you out for wanting to go and take a nap.  It’s just like when you were a kid, and you knew how to pretend to be super sick so you could get out of school because you have a test that you didn’t study for that day, and yet miraculously be healthy and strong enough to eat the lasagna that your parents make for dinner (I’m sorry, but I really do love lasagna).

Future Perfect Parents

Our parents are simply the adult version of Ferris and Sloane.  Is it deceitful?  Maybe.  Genius?  Absolutely.

But perhaps the strangest thing about Christmas is actually the month or so leading up to Christmas.  For those of you who are super into Christmas, maybe you don’t quite understand this part, but being multicultural is a big part of being a good person, so keep reading.  For everyone else, you know what I’m talking about.  The phone calls from relatives, asking you why your Christmas list is a couple days/a week/two weeks late.  Those same relatives calling what seems like five or six times to ask what time they should show up for dinner.  Your uncle asking if he should make that Cool Whip salad that grandma loves so much just for tradition’s sake.  Your last final before winter break.  Your last day of work before you take off for the holidays. It’s those moments when you are forced to acknowledge that it, in fact, is the holidays, and that you, in fact, do have a family, and they will love you and talk to you, and buy you shit even if you somehow manage to have enough excuses for not getting them a list until the 23rd.  A family that will undoubtedly continue to pester you about your personal and professional life until you finally give in and admit that, while you aren’t married yet (I’m only 22, cool your fucking jets), you did see a cute girl the other day.

Hey, My Family Already Thinks She's Awesome

Granted, they don’t know that you were speaking in the absolute most literal definition of the word, “see,” and that no, you do not actually know Alexis Bledel, nor will you probably ever meet her, but when they ask about her you refer to her as Alex and describe the plotline of your favorite Gilmore Girls episode (preferably an episode from when she’s dating Logan and they get into a fight, because then your family will totally be on your side saying how they think that she just dump him because he’s being such a tool or scumbag and start marrying with you (Note: Constantly referring to a potential significant other by a non-gendered name such as Alex may cause your relatives, who have never met her, to ponder the possibility that you may be gay.  Even if you aren’t, it’s a fun little game to see who in your family becomes most uncomfortable with this possibility)).  All the little moments that break you from your meta-reality where you pretend like there is absolutely nothing notable is going on in the next few weeks whatsoever.  The world and reality that you choose to live in because you know in your heart of hearts what’s just around the bend. (It’s a lot like when you start seeing Facebook statuses about how much people hate the new Facebook, but your profile hasn’t gotten updated with it quite yet.  You know it’s coming, and you hate it and you want to take your profile, run away with it, and hide out in peace and quiet in a world stuck in a time even before even Facebook Chat and Timeline and that stupid fucking instant update of any and everything that your friends do).  Those moments, when you are walking a tightrope over the canyon of time, and you’re focused, looking dead ahead toward the goal of January, and every time you think that you’re almost there, you allow your gaze to drop and you realize that you’ve never done tightrope walking before, or anything acrobatic for that matter, and that you are doomed, at one point or another, to fall into the pits of familial love and endure the perils of quality time.

And so that, my friends, is the story of why I find Christmas time to be so damn strange.  It’s not that I don’t like the holiday or my family or anything like that (actually, that may be debatable), but it’s a stressful time, and everyone is on edge at least a little bit because of that.  And I’m certainly not saying that these strange things are by any means bad things.  God knows I’m a pretty weird dude, but I still maintain that I’m pretty decent guy (Did you hear that Alexis?).  Consider this some food for thought as you enter your childhood homes, or your grandmother’s home, or wherever you go for the holidays, and try to recognize your own family’s strange habits.  And remember, the loosening of the belt and yawn is way overplayed.  Try raising your hand to your brow to block whatever the nearest and brightest light source is, close your eyes, and try to suppress your yawn (preferably only one.  Two Max.) before you announce your exit.  Much more subtle, much more respected, much more effective.

Take it easy, and Merry Christmas,

-Panda