It’s been a rough week for perfect Minnesotans. The superior breed is really letting Blair Walsh have it after the Vikings kicker missed a 27-yard field goal near the end of the team’s 10-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Here are thoughts on Blair Walsh from people who have never made a (televised) mistake in their lives:
“Kickers make that 27-yarder 99% of the time. People are going to remember this for years to come,” said a cow milker who one time couldn’t figure out how to open a condom wrapper, and instead of using the 99% effective rubber birth control device, decided to have unprotected sex and now has to make child support payments for years to come.
“I could have made that,” claimed a vending machine repairman, whose bathroom floor is puddled with urine that never made it into the toilet.
“He stinks,” said an out-of-work dog whisperer who never learned to wipe properly and is perpetually surrounded by a faint poopy smell.
“Little purple gnome miss point and I mad,” said a camouflage enthusiast who does not fully understand English, his first and only language.
“He didn’t focus,” observed a fast food connoisseur who bit her own finger off after thinking it was part of a batch of chicken fries.
“I like to drag my ass on the carpet. Like a dog,” said a guy who likes to drag his ass on the carpet like a dog.
Did you know that my nom de plume for this blog, Michael Cedarwood, was concocted by using the classic porn formula of (middle name) + (street you grew up on)?
But did you also know that like NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo, I have more than one middle name? And that I grew up on more than one street? With all those names and all those streets under my belt, the identity of my blogging alter-ego had the potential to swing in many different directions.
I have compiled a list of my other middle names and streets that I grew up on. Let us now take a look at what could have been.
Veiny Von Opulent
Lactose Jackson (not to be confused with Catfish Jackson)
Here is a list of the books I read in 2015.
Armstrong, Karen—Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time (2006)
Barrett, Deirdre—The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists, And Athletes Use Dreams For Creative Problem-Solving—And How You Can Too (2001)
Bonnett, Alastair—Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies (2014)
Bowden, Mark—Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw (2001)
Bradbury, Ray—The Illustrated Man (1951)
Bryson, Bill—Notes From a Small Island (1995)
Bulgakov, Mikhail—The Master and Margarita (written from 1928-40, not published until 1967)
Chamovitz, Daniel—What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide To The Senses (2012)
Christie, Agatha—And Then There Were None (1939)
Cooper, Douglas—The Cubist Epoch (1970)
Danielewski, Mark Z.—House of Leaves (2000)
Didion, Joan—Play It As It Lays (1970)
Fernandez, Oscar—Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All Around Us (2014)
Funke, Cornelia—Inkheart (2003)
Gaiman, Neil—The Graveyard Book (2008)
Heath, Chip and Dan—Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (2010)
Heinlein, Robert A.—The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
Kaku, Michio—Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension (1994)
Moore, Alan, and Lloyd, David—V For Vendetta (1988)
Ohle, David—Motorman (1972)
Percy, Walker—Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book (1983)
Powers, Tim—On Stranger Tides (1988)
Pratchett, Terry—Thud! (2005)
Pynchon, Thomas—Inherent Vice (2009)
Stoker, Bram—Dracula (1897)
VanderMeer, Jeff—Annihilation (2014), Authority (2014), Acceptance (2014)
Walker, Barbara G.—The Secrets of the Tarot: Origins, History, and Symbolism (1994)
Watts, Peter—Echopraxia (2014)
Samsung has blown us all away with the release of its Virtual Reality Headset. For only one hundred dollars, you can strap your smart phone an inch away from your eyes, and be launched into alternate dimensions.
I went ahead and invented the next generation of this technology. For two hundred bucks, I’ll lead you into a forest, where you can pick out any old stump you want. For an extra fifty, I’ll provide an axe and let you chop down a tree of your choosing.
And for the low low price of three hundred dollars, I will bring you to a store, point you in the direction of the furniture department, and allow you to browse through stools and chairs, any of which you can easily purchase.
Then we’ll go to your house, and I will help you place your new Virtual Reality Ass Holder a foot in front of your television. After that, you can sit on it, and lean forward until your nose is nearly touching the screen. Depending on what kind of TV you have, the world in front of you could be over six feet long! Just compare that to the tiny screen of your smart phone. Congratulations, you are now experiencing a digital life separate from your own depressing, tortured existence, and you don’t need to have a thing strapped to your head.
Next year, instead of dealing with the whole Christmas gift racket, I’m doing this:
<Tell anyone that might be considering me as a gift recipient to instead write down what they would have bought for me
<I’ll do the same for them
<After sifting through the lists, both sides can decide if they would like any of the potential gifts, and go buy them if they want
<I don’t want stuff and I don’t like to shop, so I will end up buying nothing
<I will save a lot of time and money
<Others will save time and money too, unless they want to buy themselves a bunch of stuff that I wrote down
There are holidays going on this month. Kwanzaa, Hanukah, New Year’s Eve, Festivus, the winter solstice, Bodhi Day, and probably the biggest one, the birth of Philip K. Dick. Not much else. Unless you want to count the birth of Philip K. Dick’s twin sister, whose tragic passing at the age of six weeks provided a tremendous influence on the writing of her surviving brother.
As you make your way through this celebration-stuffed month, you may come across certain folks that get angry if you don’t wish them a ‘happy’ whatever holiday they celebrate, whether it’s Boxing Day or the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. And this is your fault, because it is December, after all, and if you are unable to take one look at a person and not know what holiday greeting they wish to receive, then, well, why are we even here.
So why not do this: wish people a ‘happy’ whatever is you enjoy, and don’t be mad if they wish you a ‘happy’ something else in return. After all, you will both be wishing each other happiness. Be happy about that. However, if someone becomes hostile and says ‘death to Iowa for growing corn instead of mangos, because we need mangos for National Fruitcake Day on December 27th’ just play it cool, and politely inform them that Iowa doesn’t have the proper terroir to support a bountiful mango harvest. Then maybe share a mango and read about corn together on the internet. You are now friends with someone who wanted to kill you five minutes ago.
I have somehow avoided all of this, even though I have been wishing people my religion’s greeting for some time now (it should be noted that I have recently converted from Discordianism to Pastafarianism). In my new belief system, every Friday is considered a holiday. I’ve been wishing people of all religions a ‘Happy Friday’ for months now, and no one has been offended. It seems that the loving, noodly appendage of our Flying Spaghetti Monster has reached down and wiped away the hate among people who believe some days are better than others, for not one person has corrected me with something to the effect of “Not everyone celebrates Fridays. You should really just wish people happy days.” So maybe people are just more accepting of Pastafarianism, or the key is to dwell in particulars when wishing someone ‘happy something,’ instead of cramming all holidays together into one giant fruitcake of a greeting. I don’t know.
The lesson of this whole thing is to just be happy, dammit. And also, instantly know the beliefs of everyone you come into contact with and accommodate them accordingly.
Sometimes you find yourself in an establishment, wondering about the strange trail people took to end up working there. That’s why I asked the guy that recently collected a sample of my urine how he wound up analyzing pee for a living.
Me: You sit in this room all day and wait for people to urinate.
Urine Collector: Yes, I do.
Me: So how does a guy get started in the urinalysis biz? Were you interested in urine as a child?
UC: Obsessed. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t thinking about urine—drawing pictures of it, bringing it to show-and-tell, collecting samples from my siblings and our pets. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
Me: Describe your ‘Eureka!’ moment, the time when you said to yourself, ‘This is what I want to do with my life. I want to collect piss in small plastic containers.’
UC: I was in fifth grade. By that time, I was always lurking in the restroom, because I enjoyed urinary environs—human friends didn’t interest me—and I would take in the smells, the sounds. I have a poem I wrote that day. Allow me to read it. (the room goes black, except for a single spotlight that shines down on The Urine Collector, who is resting on a stool, smoking a cigarette, and snapping a slow beat)
Behold now, these ancient echoes that reverberate as splashes of flaxen liquid strike the alabaster surface of a urinal!
Envelop me, O ethereal, pissy mist that floats over toilet bowls both old and new!
Bladders From Above, bless us with thy holy golden rain, and smite those that conspire to stop thine rivulets!
Me: That didn’t rhyme.
UC: Expressions of passion rarely do.
Me: So are you passionate about poetry too? Did you ever think about writing as a career?
UC: No. Writers don’t get to analyze urine.
Me: Of course they don’t. Be honest with this next question. Can you tell from a person’s looks if they are going to test positive for drugs? Like if some guy with dreadlocks wearing a Phish T-shirt walks in, do you just say to him ‘Nope. No way. Don’t waste my time. Get the hell out of here,’ or is that frowned upon?
UC: The brotherhood of People Interested in Scrutinizing Sewage (P.I.S.S.) requires us to take an oath of equality. Every person that comes through our door receives a cup, regardless of weight, ugliness, hairiness, whatever. Having said that, words like ‘stoked’ are a tip off, and spotting even the smallest traces of tie-dye on a garment raise red flags as well. Whiffs of patchouli will also garner special attention. In those cases, I personally get in real close and watch the urine come out of the urethra.
Me: That seems like a good place to end this. Thank you.
UC: No, thank you (he wraps both his hands around the container, like he’s holding a cup of hot cocoa, closes his eyes and sniffs deeply, taking in the aromatics and other unseen nuances that only a seasoned expert can detect).