Thursday, November 30, 2017

The One That Got Away


When I was a kid (still am) I loved K'nex. I had all the good stuff. The Big Ball factory. The Training Tower. Bulldozers. Remote powered trucks, cars, scorpions, dinosaurs, everything.

I was spoiled rotten. That's not important.

However, there was one K'nex set I could never get my hands on. Item number 63030. The K'nex Rollercoaster. 8 feet long. 3 feet tall. 2400 individual K'nex pieces. I wanted it bad. Unfortunately, they stopped making it and we could never find it. I remember we tried to order it through Toys R Us, but even that worthless, good for nothing, Giraffe couldn't get his hands on it.

My dreams were destroyed. I was destroyed. My life? Not worth living.

This all happened in the mid 90's and we were still skeptical about the internet. What is the purpose of the internet when we have like 2 libraries in this town?! All the information you can handle, bro.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving this year. My dad is cleaning out the shop and wants us to get all our "shit" out of there. I unearth my K'nex. I throw the 5ft x 2.5ft x 3ft container in the back of my wife's 4runner. She is very impressed with my K'nex collection. She wants to make love to me. She some how restrains herself.

Welcome home my preciouses. I missed you.

This all got me thinking about that beautiful, incredible, illusive- coaster. So I start googling. Then ebaying. The excitement builds. My lips are dry. My hands. Trembling. I'm 33 years old, but I don't care. I click "buy it now". Merry Christmas.

The one that got away... nope.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Operation Golden Retreiver

Its a sublime Colorado summer morning. It's early. I'm not sure the exact time. I have my black murse (formerly a laptop bag) loaded with only the essentials: tank top, cellphone charger, shorts, civic wagon t-shirt, sunglasses and a one way ticket to Hell.

Rewind 48 hours or less.

The wife and I are eating pizza at Jazz In the Park with our neighbors Tom and Jenna. We live in this bizarre pleasant-ville neighborhood where Jazz In The Park is a thing?.. Its like the Truman Show, only everyone is watching everyone else clean up dog poop. Anyways I start telling everyone about this trip to Hell I have planned to pick up a Civic Wagon from this guy that I know on Instagram. My wife hangs her head in shame as I begin to explain myself. She regrets marrying me at this moment in time.

I explain that I simply like Civic Wagons (the economy car) for no specific reason and I am on the hunt for an 1984-1987 rust free wagon. Unfortunately the only place you can purchase such a majestic unicorn- is Hell. I jokingly ask them if they want to join me. To my surprise Tom says "yes". He starts looking at flights on his phone. He finds my same flight for 99 dollars. He books it without hesitation. His wife now regrets marrying him as well.

We arrive at the airport early, but still a dash late.  

The security line is backed up like TSA started slinging cheap flatscreen tv's at bargain basement prices? We take our place in the madness. Tom. Tom is prepared. While in the security line, he starts asking me which route we should take home?

Me: Route?
Me: O, there's more than one? I had no idea, I was just going to ask Siri. Seriously. (*I had yet to do so. I am not prepared.)

Attached to Tom's back was a black back pack, I had no idea what was in it, but will find out later that it will be crucial to our survival. We manage to break through the Black Friday crowds and sprint to our gate. We barely make it. The gate keepers take our picture before we board the plane. As I take my seat, a tiny little sliver of doubt creeps in, "what am I doing with my life?"

Before I can answer that question, the wheels touch down.

The plane lights on fire. "Hello Hell."

The devil cheerfully replies back on the overhead speaker:
"Welcome to Phoenix"

Its hot. Even inside the air-conditioned airport, its hot. I text my Instagram friend that we've arrived. He is on his way in the wagon. It's happening! He is a real person. The wagon is a real person. We made it to Hell. We immediately get Starbucks.

A golden cardboard box screeches up to the airport curb. Bird poop on the hood. "This must be us."

We hop in and we roll out. The wagon is exactly as described! Down to the bird poop still on the hood from 2 weeks ago when I received pictures of her. Tom and I take the wagon for a private stroll to fully examine our ticket home. She passes inspection. I buy the majestic creature. We waste no time starting our adventure out of the bowels of Hell.

The wagon in running perfectly as we approach a fresh black pavement on an uphill slope. It's 700 degrees outside. Give or take a degree. I notice a new car on the side of the road with smoke sneaking out of the engine bay. I look down the dash. The engine is a little hot, but we stay cool. We notice car after car overheated on each shoulder of the road. The wagon scoots by the stranded motorists mocking them with its obvious charm.

The golden girl has never had any major surgery or minor botox of any sort, she is still equipped with the original radio and speakers too. Once outside any sort of civilization it becomes immediately apparent the radio is no longer picking up stations and the speakers sound like Stevie Nicks with a cold. Tom grabs his bag and pulls out a very sizable bluetooth speaker. "That's what you packed?!" Tom; "yes." So many questions I have, but I just appreciate the good fortune. Tom hooks up his phone to the new sound system and we now have virtually unlimited music, podcasts, and entertainment.

Everything on the other side of the windshield is red and gold as we roll on. We are ants stuck under a magnifying glass. Giant windows and no tint, we realize our skin is rapidly approaching the color of our surroundings. Mary Poppins grabs his magic bag. He pulls out some beach towels. Poppins is prepared. We wear the towels like scarfs to protect our necks, arms, lives. That becomes too hot. We jam the towels in the windows. We can no longer see out the windows, but it seems like a small price to pay to keep our skin.

We escape Arizona only to be greeted by Utah. We stop in Blanding Utah for a greasy burger at a local dive. We park the wagon under the only tree in the "city" to let it cool off. As we exit the wagon, a silver sedan pack full of Blandings welcoming committee rolls past us and screams "ITS LEGAL NOW!"... Gay marriage had just passed. They called us gay. Welcome to Blanding. We eat our bland gay burgers and bounce.

We sail into the dry Colorado coast line in our gold dinghy. The "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign is a welcomed sight. The sun has begun to saunter down the horizon and we are able to lower our sails (take the towels out of the windows).  We stop at port after port to refuel and replenish. Our golden schooner paddles over wave after wave (mountain pass after mountain pass) at a wicked 28 knots. The ocean can be an unfogiving wench. Other, sleeker sea vessels pass us in anger while honking their horns and waving hello. They may have a newer ship, but not as worthy-a-crew as Poppins and my new imaginary parrot, Clarence. We propel into Denver and not a moment too soon as I am now referring to the wagon as a ship and have packed it full of an imaginary crew.

I drop Poppins off on his porch and thank him for navigating the red sea.

I back the golden girl into the garage and tuck her in. She made it.

Clarence, the parrot, fly's out of the garage without setting off the garage door sensors and winks at me as he soars away. I wink back.


Thursday, April 21, 2016


Cumpleanos. Honestly, I don't know what that word means. Its clearly espanol. If I had to use my context clues I would guess it means "companions"?... So begins the beginning.

Not so long ago I got an invite to my friends birthday party. The invitation was in Spanish, because the party was a fiesta. (a Spanish word I understand). So I got this e-vite, (is that what they are called?), an email invite to "La Fiesta De Cumpleanos De Ali".  Hrmmm let me decode this real quick "Le' Party with companions at Ali's house".  Nailed it.

The email was from Blake (her esposa? I'm just making up Spanish words now), a month or less goes by and I forget all about the e-vite. A day or so before the fiesta my phone alerts me of an upcoming situation. My iphone some how had saved this fiesta to the calendario. Coolio! A party tomorrowio! Who doesn't enjoy a good day drinking every now and then?!

So I prepare for the party.

Let me describe how my thought process is going. *brain: Blake sent email to party. It's at Ali's house. He lives there too, but who cares. It's a birthday party. It's Blake's Birthday party! Let's go get him a present!

I get out of Sunday school (am I 7 years old? Yes.) and go straight to Zumiez (I know, but its so close to my house). I pick up some white and gold skateboard wheels and matching gold hardware. Super proud of my purchases I proceed to wrap them up in shark wrapping paper. I'm not sure why we have shark wrapping paper.

I grab a cold one, and my favorite coozie, and head over to see my companions!

Beer in one hand, presents under the other, I enter the party with the confidence of high school football quarterback. I Cosmo Kramer through the door and spew "hey-o" like Ron Burgundy if he were on top of Colorado's highest mountain peak. I am immediately greeted by Ali, this is her house after all. So that makes sense. I ask where I put the presents and I'm not sure if I said "where's the birthday boy?" or "where's Blake?". I would like to think/hope/pray that I said the latter. She points and says "he's out on the patio". The party goes on. I chat with everyone. I ask Blake how old he is. All the standard stuff. Thank goodness I brought one single cerveza, because I couldn't find any booze at this party to save my life. Where do they hide the alcohol? What kind of ruse is this?

But, as this is a fiesta, there is a pinata. Ali gets blind folded and breaks the colorful cardboard paper mache blob. Candy spews out. They throw all the sugar packets into a basket. I eat some of it. Ok. I eat all the oversized Sourpatch-Kids I can find out of the sugar basket. CAKE TIME!

The day of the dead skull cake is lit with candles. Blake is holding the beautifully crafted cake, showing it to Ali. It's his birthday, he can do what ever he wants with his cake. Show it off! The song starts. "Happy Birthday to you, *(I join in), Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Bla  aaali.... *gulp." The others finish the song. A bead of sweat spews from my forehead like a faucet. It hits me. This is NOT Blake's birthday party at all. This is Ali's birthday party. I glare at my shark presents. They glare back. I panic.

I panic hard.

The crowd shuffles to the kitchen. I panic more.

Blake and Ali start cutting the cake. I look and feel like my shark presents. I wish I was swimming with with them. I quickly grab some ice cream, I don't deserve cake, I am a piece of shit. I scour the room for a purse that I could pull off? I need to hide these fucking presents. There is not one purse in my color wheel. No one will believe its mine. I scan the room for a possible accomplice. There is no one I can convince in time of the metaphorical shit storm I've created for myself.

I am alone.

I am on a silent sinking ship.

Meanwhile everyone is enthralled with one another in the kitchen. This is my only chance. I snatch the ONLY wrapped presents (everyone else's gifts were discreetly tucked inside nicely decorated birthday bag things with nice tissue paper on top). I run out the back door. I don't look back. I swim through the alley way like a ninja. I keep the shark presents close to my chest like a newborn child. I reach my car. I throw the presents on the passenger side floor boards. Literally, I throw them. So mad. So scared.

Do I go back?

I ask myself, "do I go back?". I should just leave. No. We have to go back.

I am Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

I scamper back through the alley way. Re-enter the party. Eating my ice cream. My anxiety is palpable.

The fiesta flows back outside. I quickly search Blake and Ali's fridge for any sign of alcohol. There is none.

Everyone knows the shark presents are missing. None of them are saying a word. I am on to them. I am paranoid. I write a quick text to the birthday girl saying what I have done. She doesn't appear to have a phone anywhere near her. I play aloof, but I feel like a loofa.

I panic eat. I destroy the rest of the guacamole.

I stick it out. I am one of the final guest. I am asked to take a parting party gift. FUCK ME. They got everyone who came to the party a gift. A cactus. Meanwhile I have done nothing to contribute to this party. I take one. I leave.

The sharks, the cactus and I ride home in a soaking silence.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bryan's Dad.

There's this homeless man that I give money to every once in a while... Kind of frequently, kind of not. Like, when I have dollars, ya know? I don't often carry cash and he's not always around, but sometimes he is and sometimes I have cash. Anyways, he can usually be found around the intersection on Broadway and 6th. He looks just like Bryan Williams' dad. I swear its Bryan's dad. I'm 7% sure its Bryan's dad. First I gave him some dollars because he complimented my favorite jacket. (How insanely narcissistic am I?) It's this hideous green corduroy suit jacket with half the buttons missing. Its my favorite. Usually if a homeless person told me he liked my coat- I would just give it to him, but I really like this jacket, so I just gave him some dollars instead.

*Now to get really sidetracked- One time a client I was making a commercial for- tried to buy this green jacket off me. True story. Super weird. He also tried to give me a 100 dollar bill- but I said no, I cant accept that, but instead "you can buy lunch".... The client then takes me to a glorified Colorado Hooters of sorts and during conversation he says "so whats the deal with that jacket?". And I'm like; "o I dunno its ugly, I like it." And he proceeds to try to buy it from me. I decline. I some how get myself in these super awkward situations; like a man trying to buy my blazer off of me at Hooters. I'm trying to cut back though.

*Back on track- It's a jacket from Goodwill, it was like 3 dollars. Apparently I look dynamite in it. Damn it, enough about me and the jacket. 

So there is this homeless man.
 I don't know his name, but for some reason I consider us friends. He's my homeless friend that I know nothing about. Now to the reason I really like him and continue to give him dollars. One day I was walking to the Chipotle, in the middle of winter, (like a month ago?), and I see my friend (Bryan's dad), and I have no dollars to give him today. No worries. He comes up and ask me how its going- I say something to the effect of "I'm good, little cold, but I'm good, how are you doing??"... Mind you, I just said I'm a "little cold" to a homeless man that has been begging on the street corner in the middle of winter. I am basically a terrible person and have no control on what my brain is going to compute to my mouth.
My homeless friend, unfazed by how ridiculous I am in my warm coat and clean khakis and stupid face, cheerfully replies "No complaints, man. No complaints. God is good."
Then I cry (on the inside) because this man has a better outlook on life than almost everyone I know, including myself. The dude is the most positive, happy (on the outside), person you could ever meet. Maybe you know him? He looks like Bryan's dad? He's out and about today- I gave him 3 dollars. Enough to buy a bitchen green jacket.


My friends have given me a false sense of reality. They told me to start a blog for my short stories. Probably because I keep clogging up their Facebook feed rambling on about nothing.

I write super short, super dull stories. Perhaps slightly better than reading the back of the shampoo bottle. Probably not though. And you won't learn anything by reading this garbage.

The stories are real. The people are real. Judge Judy.