Saturday, October 18

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #13.

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#13 - "26 Things That Suck About Turning 26."
(Originally Published February 1, 2008.)

Busted In 1986.
(Two black eyes and a broken nose in 1987. To this day, my nose is slightly crooked.)

Today is my twenty-sixth birthday. In all of my life, I've never celebrated such a mundane, uneventful, apathetic and craptastic occasion. Nobody cares about 26; not even I care about 26.

So, instead of singing the praises of not stepping in front of a cement mixer or drinking ammonia for another year, I decided to be honest with myself and determine exactly why the age of 26 is the worst yet for everyone that experiences it. You can take this as either words of wisdom, or the bitter ranting of someone who's at least 33% dead. Tally-ho!

1. There's nothing left to look forward to concerning laws that pertain to age. When you turn 25, you can legally rent a car, but that's pretty much the end of it. All I have left now is the option to run for President of the United States when I turn 35, and my odds are looking a bit sketchy at the moment, to be honest.

2. Teenagers and mothers of teenagers no longer want to have sex with you. You've gone outside the box of acceptable age for rebellious teenagers and lonely housewives alike. The ship has sailed, grandpa, and if you weren't already on it, the best you can hope for is a postcard from someone that was.

3. When you were 22, you were only four years removed from High School. Your opinions concerning fashion trends, pop culture, music and film were still relevant in the eyes of the young. Now, you're eight years removed, and you instantly know nothing. You might as well be jitterbugging with Ginger Rogers and listening to Herb Alpert on the Victrola*, because you are old and obsolete.

(*I do listen to Herb Alpert records on my turntable from time to time.)

4. It's difficult to enjoy professional sports when the athletes become younger than you are. When you're a child or teenager, you look up to these superheroes; you tape posters to the wall and pretend that you're them on the playground. Now, I find it increasingly harder and harder to care if some 8-foot tall, 17 year old will enter the NBA Draft a year early. How can you honestly say "You're the man!" to someone that's almost a decade younger than you? You know, assuming you're not a complete douche noozle*?

(*Go ahead and start using 'douche noozle.' It's okay.)

5. Nobody knows how old you really are. Every day, I hear people estimating me at somewhere between 19 and 30. At some point after college, you just become another faceless, MTV Generation turd that looks like he was born at some point in the early 80's. This may be true and well-deserved, but does our mediocrity need to be rubbed in our faces so much?

6. Everything sucks all over again. When you were a youthful, rebellious teen, you would reject all things mainstream, because you wanted to embrace the scene of the underground and appear cultured (if you were cool, that is). When you're 26, you once again attempt to buck the status quo, merely because nothing entertains you like it used to or should. It's a bleak, mediocre world out there. The underground sucks, the mainstream sucks, the tastemakers suck there's no scene left for you to crawl back to. Good luck with all of that.

7. You no longer get a free pass. You're an adult now. No borrowing money from mom. No paying bills late (not that I ever have, but still). No getting drunk on a Thursday; regardless of if Lost is on or not. No excuses, no safety net and no bitching. For the next 20 years, don't expect anyone to do absolutely anything for you, for any reason. If you're lucky by the time you're 45, you'll have kids that are in High School, and you'll get to start the vicious Circle of Poop all over again.

8. Your job has to be more than just a job. In school, anything that netted you a paycheck was considered welcome, acceptable and free of ridicule from your peers. When you're 26, grilling 'Sammies' at Quiznos just makes you look like you're missing a chromosome. Your employment is now your new social status scale; it's the first thing that anyone will ask you when you meet them. Fortunately for me, I can tell people that I'm an author and actually mean it, never mind the mere pennies of income it has netted me over the last four years.

9. If she's under 18 and you're talking to her, you're branded a pervert of the highest order, end of story. Case in point: Cargirl. I like Cargirl. She's sweet, intelligent, funny, well-written, has a good direction and point of view, and I think she'll be doing great things by the time she's out of college. However, every time I speak to her, I can feel Chris Hansen's frigid index finger tapping me on the shoulder and holding the transcripts. If I were pantsless and waving a teddy bear out the tinted window of my Chevy Van, it would be one thing, but I'm not and I still feel like I need a shower sometimes. Not cool; I blame my Catholic upbringing.

Cargirlita.

She's not helping things, either.

10. You start to buy albums that your parents listened to. U2. Stevie Wonder. Michael Jackson. Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd. Even the Bee Gees. These are all timeless and brilliant musical artists that everyone should probably own, but when you were younger, there was no chance in hell that they were ever going to show up in your CD collection. How do those words taste?

11. Things continue to hurt after you hurt them. Pull a muscle playing Wii Sports? Tweak your knee doing the Soulja Boy dance? Dehydrated after a marathon lovemaking session*? You're still going to feel it in the morning, Icy Hot or Vitamin Water be damned. 26 certainly isn't 46 in terms of aches and pains, but if you don't take care of yourself on a base level, the ibuprofen and Valium won't know the difference.

(*Your lovemaking sessions may vary.)

12. You've done nothing with your life. The dude that started Facebook is 23 years old, and he's a freaking billionaire. LeBron James is 23 years old, and he's being compared to Michael Jordan in terms of popularity and prowess. You know what I did when I was 23 years old? THIS! I sat on my ass, wrote funny stories, put on 30 pounds, drank whiskey, watched wrestling, read Entertainment Weekly and played Guitar Hero four hours a day. The 10 year old Me expected far greater things from the 26 year old Me. I'm letting him down on an hourly basis, and he really deserves better.

13. Everyone has heard all of your stories. Unless you're single or an astronaut, chances are that you've exhausted every interesting thing that has ever happened to you by this point in your life.* Your friends don't want to hear it, your spouse is tired of hearing it and strangers couldn't care less about it. You're out of memories; make more.

(*Not me, though. I still have hundreds more for you. Good ones.)

14. Vices are no longer cool. Hitting the casino for 16 straight hours? Chain-smoking a carton of Marlboro Mediums in your parents' basement? Riding that second ecstasy wave while lapping a Red Bull Bomb off of a Coyote Ugly dancer's taut tummy? Guess what? It's uncool and unoriginal. That kind of behavior was expected of you years ago, and now it's akin to the lonely guy at the club, leaning against the wall and tapping his foot out of sync with everything. Sure, it's still a lot of fun, but nobody else thinks it is, which is exactly why it isn't.

15. Nobody cares about your achievements. Learned to play an instrument? Well, there's an infant down the block that makes your guitar playing look like Stephen Hawking hitting himself in the head with a tambourine. Just got the new high score on XBox Live? Enjoy it for the three seconds before it gets trounced by some 10 year old Asian that did it blindfolded. Face it; you're too old to be proud of stuff. Just do it the best you can, exhale, and do something better next time. Put on a happy face for your mom, though; she's proud of everything you do.

16. Your parties are boring. When you were a kid, your parties were all about video games, music and candy. When you were a teen, your parties consisted of booze, nudity and louder music.

When you're 26? Yup, more video games and candy. It all comes full circle, but at least you have a nicer TV now.

17. You will do anything to remain youthful in the eyes of the young. If that 16 year old girl at the Buckle thinks that you look cute with the $250 Fossil watch around your waist, you'd better buy two of them and keep that gut sucked in. When your world revolves around High School, 26 is considered 'old.' Honest to God, old. Never mind that this is the same 26 year old that became the youngest person ever promoted to his current employment position. The truth is that each phase of life has its own sacred code, and you'll fight tooth and nail to cling to each passing one.

18. Your life is at least 33% over. If you're lucky, you'll make it to your 80's, but when's the last time you've been lucky about anything? Nope, your pie graph is engulfing upon itself, and no amount of hair gel or The Hills is going to change that. Start exercising for your body, doing sudoku for your mind, and taking Lexapro to stop the voices that remind you of your impending doom. You're dicked.

19. You flat-out stop remembering stuff. The Missus told me that when I was in the second grade, I did a magic act for the school talent show that she was in attendance for. Not only was this the first time that I was made aware of this story, but it was also the first time someone told me something about myself that was 100% unverifiable by me. I don't remember a second of that day. It's not foggy, it's not hazy and it's not vague; it's non-existent and it never happened in my brain. This is frightening to me, because if I don't remember that, what else don't I remember? Who should I try to avoid at the next reunion? How am I going to keep all of my lies in order if my head gets soft?

20. You're constantly hassled about starting a family. Me and the Missus don't want children right now. We'd much rather have a nice house, accompanied with nice things to put inside of said house. Our superficial tastes far outweigh our parental instincts right now, and I feel that at the very least, we're being honest. Better to get the hedonism out of the way early, as opposed to being a selfish parent later on. Children are always an option; I can adopt a kid on my death bed if I so choose. In fact, that'll probably be around the time I'm ready to accept that sort of responsibility. Stop asking; I don't care about children.

21. It's impossible to make new friends. How many friends have you made after the age of 25? I don't mean 'surface, outer-circle' friends, either. I'm talking about good, solid, 'hang-out-every-weekend with pillow fights and secret-sharing' friends. Probably not too many. That's because it's freaking hard. I'd have better luck going to a bar and finding random women that want to sleep with me, as opposed to a regular dude that just wants to talk about football and music, and that's just sad.

22. You measure your life differently. When you were younger, you'd save your money for the weekend. For a new video game. For a party. Now (if you're responsible), you save your money for retirement. For investing. For a new home. The Big Picture has taken over and swallowed the little goals and accomplishments that used to be so damn fun. You used to plan ahead to be happy a few days from now. Now, you plan ahead to be happy 40 years from now. What happened to the space in between? Where's the fun? It's still there, right? Right?

23. You're too responsible. Every purchase requires a moment of reflection, projection and quick subtraction. For example, I'll be buying an HDTV and 5.1 Home Theater as a birthday present to myself today. You'd think it would be impossible to keep my excitement discreetly tucked away in my pants, but nope. I'm miserable, because I'd rather the money go towards my credit cards. I owe this to myself, but I can't bring myself to be happy about it. How in the hell can you be depressed when you have a Home Theater? Unbelievable.

24. You can't enjoy remakes of movies, the Nintendo Entertainment System was released over 20 years ago, and your Woodstock festival was an embarrassment. Your nostalgia is starting to become a distant reality. The 80's have been thoroughly mined for pop culture gems, and they're coming for the 90's next. You'll realize this soon enough, but believe me when I say that it was far easier for our parents to explain the 80's away than it will be for us to explain the 90's to our kids. It's a ludicrous decade, Clinton or not.

25. When you were a kid, it was as good as Christmas. Now, you're lucky if your office's 'Sunshine Club' remembers to tie a mylar balloon on the wall of your cubicle. And you'll like it, too. You'll thank them profusely and carry that stupid balloon home for your wife to see. That's who you are now, and it's absolutely hilarious, even if you do contemplate suicide hourly.

26. If you think 26 sucks, 27, 28 and 29 are even worse.

That's it for me, kids. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. Happy Birthday to me.

Friday, October 17

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #14.

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#14 - "Kickin' It With Cliff."
(Originally Published November 17, 2006.)

(Today's post was written by Cliff, the older brother of the CDP. Since 2002, Cliff has been living in the basement of CDP Headquarters, where he has been financially supported and cared for by the CDP and the Missus. This is believed to be his first foray into the Blogosphere.)

Hi, me Cliff. How doing?

Me want to talk to peeple today, becuz Cliff have something to say. Most day, Cliff say nothing. But this impordant. More impordant than Judge judy, which I think on right now.

Everypeeple think CDP so funny. He not. Everypeeple say he so clever and smell nice. Not reely true. I the funny one, he take funny from me and pretend like HE the funny. He steal all my joke, like Robin Williams, only CDP have no drug problem. Me give him that.

Two day ago, he come down in basement, or like me say, Cliff Hedquarters. See? He already take one joke from me! Like I saying, he come down and say, 'I go to store, want anything?' I tell him I need new left shoe and wrestling magazeene. He say no problem, he be right back.

When he gone, I sit in dark and eat cold hot dog. He no let me use microwave, becuz I put to-go box in there once and burn house down. Cannot Cliff make one mistake? Cannot he forgive?

When he come back from store, he sez magazeene for him and store don't sell no left shoes. I know not true, becuz I used to work at store as greeter. I say hi to magic door when it open, sit on stool, make 10 cents a day. When I tell him he lying, he say I can't read anyway and don't need to wear shoes.

He make a good point. But still mean.

Me a writer, too. He learn from big brother how to make storys good. I tell him that peeple like to reed about scary things, like fireworks and baloons. I say that they both pop and make loud noise, and that scary as hell to me. He take me to firework show in July, me poop on car hood and try to make a brake for it. I run over 14 kids in park, crash station wagon into lake Michigan.

He very mad that day. He say, 'You live in basement forever now.'

Feemale kids and teens his target demo, so I tell him to be hip and cool on blog page, like the MTV. I say, 'You get Xzibit to pimp blog.'

He cut cable in basement, I not know what cool anymore.

Me not even supposed to be on computer. He spend $1600 on new Mack, tell me I no touch it ever. He no tell me what to do, though, I my own man. He just scared I tell wife about seecret naked folder he have. He no have naked foto of actress or news ankor, he just have naked fotos of himself. Me no know why he take so many, or why. All I know is he need to see doctor more than me.

I hear his car in driveway, better go back to basement. Me take a few hot dog for the road, though.

I Cliff. Me funny, too.

(You can e-mail questions to Cliff at communistdance@yahoo.com, and he will answer them in the order that they are received. Depending on the fluxuating state of Cliff's well-being, he will be featured every Friday during Lost's absence.)

Thursday, October 16

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #15.

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#15 - "Your Karma Ran Over My Legma."
(Originally Published April 4, 2007.)

You're On Notice!

THE BEGINNING.

On a classic episode of Seinfeld, Jerry begins to realize that he is 'Even Steven.' No matter what positive and negative actions seem to take place in his life, he always finds a way to break even. Throughout the episode, his friends begin to resent his apparently wonderful relationship with the Gods of Karma and Fate, while Jerry becomes more and more relaxed and confident in the outcomes of things.

The problem with breaking even, however, is that you never get anywhere. And I am living proof.

When it comes to money, I've been breaking even for most of my life. No matter what positive monetary force comes along, an equal and opposite one is right around the corner, stinking of compost and aluminum cans, waiting to shove me right back into the unshakable funk of what has become by everyday existence.

It never fails. If I get a raise at work, my student loan interest rates will go up. If my Mom sends me $100 as a gift, my electric bill will be that much more expensive for the month. If I want to buy a new microwave, my vacuum cleaner will start on fire. There's nothing, absolutely nothing I can to do get even the slightest bit ahead in the financial department.

The only time fate has ever worked in my favor to let me break even was the last time me and the Missus went to a casino. I managed to lose over $300 in a half-hour, yet the Missus won exactly that much cash an hour later. As it turned out, I didn't know how to play poker as well as I thought I did. Don't get me wrong, me and the Missus are doing okay; it just seems that we could be doing so much better if fate wasn't such a greedy and backstabbing jerkass.

Nowhere does this come into focus more than when I get my extra paycheck.

I've mentioned this before, but I get paid once every two weeks. This equals about 26 paychecks a year, which means that there are two months out of every year where I receive three paychecks instead of two. For those of you who manage their checkbook and monthly bills like I do, you'll know that the bonus paycheck is a truly wonderful time of the year. You handle all of your typical monthly expenses and bills with your first two checks, and the third one is purely extra income. To me, it represents an extra grand or so that I can spend on whatever I want. Strippers, blow, smack, crank, rock, ice; the whole kit-n-caboodle.

Problem is, I've never had the chance to enjoy the full benefits of the bonus paycheck. Not once in the last 3 years have I been able to actually spend that extra money on whatever I wanted.

Why?

Because twice a year, every year, my car breaks down. Can you guess when?

If you ever see me on a weekday morning, riding shotgun to work with my wife, it's pretty safe to assume that I recently came into some extra cash, and was being punished severely for it. I am simply not allowed extra money beyond what I need to survive and eat sub sandwiches.

This month was supposed to be my month. This was going to be the first time that I actually shook fate off of my back and did something special for myself. All of my bills were paid, there were no outstanding expenses, and all of my responsible planning was paying off in spades.

My reward? An 80GB Video iPod. Something I have been waiting to purchase for over a year. For weeks now, I've been meticulously uploading each and every one of my 2000 CDs into iTunes for the upcoming migration. It's been tedious and annoying as hell, but I knew it would all be worth it in the end. Before I knew it, I'd have my entire musical library at my fingertips, allowing me to listen to absolutely anything I want, at any time, anywhere.

On top of that, I was fortunate enough to have an AUX input in the front of my Aiwa stereo, allowing me to listen to my iPod in the car without having to use that dumbass FM Transmitter that costs $65 and doesn't work for crap. I simply bought a $5 connector cable and hit the ground running.

Truly, luck was on my side for this one. Today was my day.

What I didn't know was that fate had something extra special planned for me.

Like, say...death.

THE MIDDLE.

Yesterday morning, I pulled out of my garage and headed for work in the pouring rain. With my current 1GB Shuffle by my side, I plugged it into the AUX input and got just a small taste of what was waiting for me once I upgraded to the 80GB. The tank was full of gas, I was wearing Khakis and eating a Pop Tart; life was good.

I merged onto the highway, turned on my lights and hit the windshield wipers. The rain was coming down hard now, and I didn't want some sort of nasty compound fracture to ruin my day.

"Man," I thought to myself, "the wipers sure are going slow."

I cranked the wipers to a more vigorous setting, only to have them work even more slowly than before. My head cocked to the side as my view of the busy 4-lane highway started to slowly disappear in the downpour.

"This can't be right," I said to myself. Then all hell started to break loose.

First, my stereo started flickering, eventually turning off after a few seconds. The wipers stopped wiping completely, and my headlights dimmed and flickered off a couple seconds later. The 'Check Battery' light popped up on my dash (no kidding?), and it was followed by just about every other light on the console. Within 10 seconds, I had gone from a carefree and content man to the pilot of an invisible car, careening along a dark and busy highway at 80 miles per hour, in a blinding thunderstorm with no wipers. I could see absolutely nothing, and I was pretty sure that nobody could see me. For all intents and purposes, I thought I was about to be abducted by aliens.

Or be horribly killed in a wreck. Whatever happened first.

"Damn it!" I said out loud. "Damn that extra paycheck! I knew you'd come back to finish the job!" I shook my fist to the sky, as horns beeped and cars swerved.

I exited the highway as soon as I could see anything that even remotely resembled an exit. A few illegal U-turns and profanity-laced prayers later, and I had my wife on the cell phone:

"Hey, are you still at home?"

"Yeah, but I'm just leaving. What's wrong?"

"My alternator died on me in the middle of the highway. My lights are out and my wipers don't work. I'm going to try to make it home, and I guess you're going to have to drive me to work. I have a really important meeting today, and I can't miss it."

"Okay, be careful... third paycheck, huh?"

"Yup. Love you."

"Love you, too."

(click.)

THE END.

The Missus left work early, so she could pick me up and drag my car to the repair shop before they closed. One alternator, air filter, transmission fluid flush and oil change later, and the bill came out to $347.

The total cost of an 80GB iPod? $349.

Once again, I broke even. The Curse of the Third Paycheck had struck again.

Well, I get another bonus check in November, maybe I can buy something nice then.

Wednesday, October 15

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #16.

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#16 - "Snap, Crackle, Poop."
(Originally Published August 29, 2007.)

I'm Gunna Puke My Pants!

When I began training for the 'Book'n It Fun Run To Promote Literacy' back in early July, my only hope was that I didn't do anything foolish, like puke on camera or break my legs. And while there's still no confirmed footage out there of yours truly 'yodeling groceries,' I did confirm my suspicions that my right tibia had been fractured.

Come to think of it, I haven't thrown up since September of 2002. That's a long damn time, considering that I have nightly heartburn and I'm guzzling gin as we speak.

If you recall, I developed shin splints in both legs during my training, which caused me to rest for 2-3 weeks prior to the race. As the date loomed, however, I began to overtrain, heightening the inflammation of my joints and also pulling my left hamstring in the process (that's a red flag,).

Even though I was considerably hobbled on the day of the race, I ran anyway, resulting in 34 of the most painful minutes of my life. Makes sense, considering I was running on a broken bone, a pulled muscle and two severely inflamed joints. My ankles were so swollen after the race, they looked like your grandma's ankles.

My mantra throughout the entire training process was "Don't be a pansy," although I replaced the word 'pansy' for something a little less blog-friendly. You get the point. I accomplished my incredibly stupid and not-at-all worthwhile goal and was about to pay for it for the next 6 to 8 weeks.

After two weeks of limping around, downing Ibuprofen by the economy bottle and pouring Jameson whiskey on my Froot Loops every morning, I finally decided to go to the doctor. By this point, there was acute pain in my right leg (far beyond shin splints), leading to numbness and tingling running up the back of my femur. At any moment, I was expecting the entire works to crumble like an oak tree that had been ravaged by termites.

I couldn't walk around or stand up for more than a few minutes, I was acting like a real dick to my family and friends, and I was sleeping on the floor so I could elevate and ice the leg. Also, I was trying to refrain from accidentally booting the Missus in the ovaries in a fit of pain-induced rage while she slept. It was a rough 10 days.

There's something about going to the Doctor that always seems to make your symptoms go away. Every time I find myself in the office, I have to try to explain that I felt bad yesterday, but for some reason I feel 100% better today. Come to think of it, a poor man's health insurance should just consist of scheduling the appointment, watching the symptoms magically disappear, and then canceling the appointment later in the day. I understand that it's an evolutionary tactic to not show weakness in the presence of dominant opposition, but I also knew that I wasn't going to get any pain pills unless I convinced this guy that I needed them right away.

My Doctor in Middleton (The Best City In America, 2007) referred me to a Sports Physician downtown for x-rays, where after three hours of radiating and re-radiating, they finally determined that I had shin splints in the left and a fracture in the right. The x-ray technician kept messing up, so I probably got blasted with about 3000% more Tumor Juice than anyone should ever see in their lifetime.

I also appreciate that they make a point to cover my testicles with a lead blanket, as I can only handle one serious problem at a time. Something tells me that the sight of my gonads melting would have been a little too much for me to take on a Tuesday morning.

After the x-rays, the Sports Physician listened to my story, called me an idiot and told me I shouldn't do a damn thing with my legs until after I had an MRI and was put on a rehab program. They also made me take my pants off and wear a pair of communal shorts that I'm sure hundreds of tiny men have hitched up over the years.

They were green and I was very embarrassed.

I also found out that I currently weigh in at 164 pounds with all of my clothes and shoes on. While I'm in good shape and look dead-sexy in a tight shirt (still a size Small), this is the most I've ever weighed and a good 50 pounds larger than I ever thought I'd be in my life. You have to understand that I tipped the scales at 112 pounds my Senior year, where my Gangly Factor (GF) was off the charts. I always sort of thought I'd be like that forever.

I also never thought I'd be sitting in a Doctor's office, wearing someone else's clothes while a Sports Therapist tells me that my tibia was broken. Oh, and I have a hedgehog in my living room. Jesus Christ.

So, that pretty much brings us up to speed. The MRI is next week, the follow-up appointment is the week after that, and I've been instructed not to further injure myself anytime in between. Once they get a good look at me, I'll probably get a soft cast, some medication and a very busy wife. Until then, I'm limping on eggshells and avoiding concrete.

What I love more than anything is my mother, who still fully denies that there's anything wrong with me. When I called her before the race and told her I was hurt, she called me a baby and said I was fine. When I told her afterwards that I was hurt, she said I was not. When I told her I thought I had fractured my leg, she again called me a baby and said I didn't. Just today, when I told her about the x-rays, MRI and Doctor's word that I had a fracture, she told me that a fracture isn't the same as a break, and that I was exaggerating. Thanks for the compassion; I'll remember this when I choose your nursing home.

Sound off in the comments section and attempt to make sense of all this.

Tuesday, October 14

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #17.

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#17 - "Evan Takes A Vacation."
(Originally Published January 5, 2007.)

(Note from the CDP: The following post was written entirely by Evan, the Official Spokesbaby of the CDP. Any expressed opinions are his own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the CDP. He merely wanted to discuss his recent vacation in an open and public forum.)

Evan Sez: Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year, bitches!

Man, the holidays stressed me out big time, yo. Adults was everywhere, gettin' all up in my business, pickin' me up and ticklin' me and s***. Is every Christmas like this?

Pshhh, anyway...

I needed to have a few weeks to myself, you know? Just to kick back in a hotel somewhere, let the concierge change my diaper every hour on the hour, and watch a little Nick Jr. on the hotel television.

"F*** this s***," I said. "I'm going to Vegas."

Evan Sez: Double Down!

The Vegas chicks were all up in my grill, probably because I was straight rocking my CDP t-shirt (available at the CDP webstore in all sizes and colors). The pit boss brought out a special stool for me and everything. I was suckin' back strained carrot martinis out of a baby Pimp Cup all damn night.

Evan Sez: You're Teh Gey!

I met these two fruit boots on the way back to my suite. They was all, "Vaht is a baby doing crawling avound in dee hallvay by himself?" I had just about enough of their crap, so I kicked they asses shortly after I posed for this picture.

They old as hell, and the dude on the left smelled like pickles.

Evan Sez: I Didn't Pack A Suit!

I got sick of the scene after my first day in Vegas, so I took a cab to the ocean. Peeps on the west coast get me, you know? They laid back; nobody more laid back than me, though.

Evan Sez: Pray For Me!

Wack-ass shark didn't scare me. I popped that fool right in the nose, and he scurried away like a little bitch. He'll think twice the next time he decides to screw with Evan.

Evan Sez: I Refuse To Bathe!

I only spent a day in Paris. Those fools smell worse than me, and I'm constantly crawling around with fresh crap in my pants. That s*** is inexcusable.

Evan Sez: I Don't Believe In Animal Rights!

Dat' bull didn't know what hit him. I used my CDP Throw Pillow (available at the CDP webstore) to knock that fool straight off his game. Five minutes later, I was parading his heart around like a bowling trophy. Vegetarians can suck it; they don't know me.

Evan Sez: I Might Die!

I straight-up told that elephant a joke about his mom, and dis' is him laughing his ass off. He was pretty cool, though.

Evan Sez: I'm Teh Drunk!

Now that I've discovered beer, I found out that I don't need to leave my house to take a vacation. I just get straight-up ripped every night.

Shut up; y'all don't know me.

-Evan.

Monday, October 13

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #18.

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#18 - "Shove That Crystal Ball Straight Up Your Chute."
(Originally Published January 24, 2007.)

Sylvia Browne.
An Open Letter To Sylvia Browne - By: The CDP.

Dear Sylvia,

Hello there. My name is the CDP. I want to talk to you about your job.

You know, Sylvia, people don't believe in you because they think you have a gift. They believe in you because they want to think you have a gift. They may not know this, but it's true.

Your gift gives them hope for the future. It allows them to think they'll see deceased loved ones again. It allows them to think they'll find their missing car keys. You are in the business of selling hope, which is always a hot commodity. Who doesn't want something to believe in? Who doesn't want to know there's something else beyond their homemaker status, dumbass husband and filthy children? (Most of your fans are women, because men are less apt to put blind faith into something that isn't a football team.)

Personally, I believe in a lot of things. I believe in logic, knowledge and understanding. Don't get me wrong, I have my faith and spirituality, but I'm fairly certain that the God I know wouldn't bestow such a phenomenal gift upon a 14 pack-a-day smoker with 4-inch fingernails. He's got a sense of humor and all, but there's no way that he'd feel good about his decisions after watching you and your cement-mixer voice on Montel for a few minutes.

That all being said, people take pleasure in your words because it gives them something that they cannot get without you.

Well, sort of.

I mean, I could stand on stage and do the same exact thing that you do for an hour or two, and end up with a similar percentage of accuracy. Why? Because I'm good at psychology, magic and perception, and I can read people just as good as you can. There's no doubt in my mind that with the right marketing and Minor key theme music, I could have a whole slew of followers hanging on my every word.

We don't need to tell them it's a trick; they're not going to listen to logic anyways. Believe me, I've tried. People that believe in your gift are a stubborn lot, and for good reason. After all the money, all the hope and all the faith these people have put into you, it would be pretty disheartening to find out that you're a fraud. That's why your followers ignore your glaring examples of fault. Even a broken clock is right two times a day, and that's all people need to cling to you like a dryer sheet to a down comforter.

Damn. Sylvia, your followers are more loyal than Cubs fans.

Here's one thing I just don't get, though. You also take a lot of pleasure in destroying lives. Never mind all of the money you've taken from losers, spiritualists and the terminally ill. You also seem to get a kick out of telling mothers that their missing children are dead, regardless of if this is the truth or not. I don't know what kind of enjoyment you can take out of watching someone crumple in a heap, but you're the psychic, not me.

You've blown a lot of calls, though. A whole lot. Way more than you've been correct. If you're rattling off the names of spirit guides to a room full of nodding heads, it's impossible to disprove your findings. Good work; you can't be wrong if nobody can prove that you're right. However, there have been a few times where you've told someone that their kid was dead, only to have them pop up the next week, alive and well. It's a great ending to the story, and no doubt, the family will let you off the hook for speculating that their son or daughter was a corpse.

It pains me to see the look in someone's face when they realize that you're nothing. To watch the years of loyalty and faith melt off of their faces is a great awakening, but it comes at a depressing and somber price. Just yesterday, I watched a clip of a woman asking you if they would ever find the remains of her husband. You told her that he drown in the ocean, so no, they would never find him. She then informed you that he was a firefighter that died during 9-11. In an effort to save face, you told her that she was wrong.

Just before she sat back down, I saw the look in her eyes. The look that people get when they realize they have been duped. The look that people get when they realize that they have sacrificed their intelligence, credibility and emotional worth in exchange for false hope and faith. I'm sure you've never felt that, but it's a bad feeling, I can assure you.

I'm not going to get into exactly why you're a fraud, because most decent and intelligent people have already figured that out by now. You're intuitive, you read a lot and keep abreast of current events. Cold reads and educated guesses are all you need to write a book, as John Edwards and many others have figured out. It's a pretty sweet gig being a medium; but I guess you already know that.

Every year, me and my wife stay at a bed & breakfast that's owned by a self-proclaimed psychic, and I've had three readings with her in the past three years. I enjoy these readings because the psychic in question is an incredibly intuitive and deep human being. For the most part, we talk about things in our lives and what we can do to better them for ourselves. Anything that she brings up concerning 'the future' is always taken with a grain of salt, and considered more of a suggestion than a fact. She makes certain that we know that, as human beings are capable of changing their lives any way they please.

Does this make her a fraud? Absolutely not. People pay her money for therapy, entertainment and guidance, NOT because they should shape their lives around her words and accept them as the gospel truth. Even she dislikes you, because ripping off the gullible isn't her motive. She's in the market of getting people to see that we can all be as happy as we choose to be, and I like that.

You know, in a strange and perverse way, I very much envy you. There are many days when I wish that I was cold and ruthless enough to take advantage of the stupid, faithful and grieving. There's always money to be made at the hands of disaster and folly, and it's all there for the taking; provided you have the unmitigated gall and lack of conscience required to snatch it all up. Yes, you most certainly have a gift that's shared by very few people, but it ain't predicting the future.

It's almost not your fault. As long as there are people more than willing to give you money in exchange for hope, it would be silly of you not to take it. Hucksters have been around since biblical times, and they will be here until the end of the world. Preachers, faith healers, pyramid schemers, psychics, sideshow barkers, tonic salesmen and magicians make the world go round. I'm sure the money is great, but how can you sleep at night knowing what your job is? I can barely sleep as is, and I grade tests for a living.

In conclusion, I hope that your years of smoking give you a baseball-sized tumor right in the center of your chest. I also hope that it grows out in 9 different directions and you get the New Age doctor that doesn't believe in anesthesia.

Bet you didn't see that one coming.

There's a special place in hell for people like you,
-theCDP.

LINKS:
How did she die?
(Watch Sylvia blow the call with grieving parents.)

Where did he die?
(Watch Sylvia blow the call big time with a 9/11 widow.)

Is he really dead?
(Watch Sylvia tell parents that their son is dead. He's not.)

Stop Sylvia Browne
(One of the better collections on the web.)

James Randi Foundation
(The greatest skeptic site in the world.)

Sunday, October 12

CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #19.

Photobucket Image Hosting

#19 - "Do You Know Who You Are?"
(Originally Published March 7, 2008.)

Do You Know Who You Are?

So, here it is. The big secret. The reason that I've been downtrodden, ill, douchebaggy and unreasonable all week. I'm letting it spill because there's really nothing left to lose.

I interviewed for a major promotional position at my office on Tuesday.

This position has been weighing heavily on me for a couple of weeks now, turning me into an unfocused, emotional zombie around the house and causing the CDP to slightly dip in quality (either that, or I've fallen in love; the symptoms are about the same). What better way to shake off the funk than to completely air out my problems through the very public forum I've created for the sole purpose of leaving my actual problems behind?

The advancement between what I do now for a living and what I will potentially be doing for a living is massive. So massive, in fact, that...well, let's just get right into it, shall we?

What I do for 40 hours a week now is a job. I do what I need to do, and when I get home I shake it off and live the life I want to live. The money is fair, the work is easy enough and I enjoy coming to the office in the morning. Should I get this promotion, however, it would now be a career. Overtime. Business trips. Round-the-clock suits and ties. Handshakes and toothy grins. You know, that kind of person. The kind of person that has fought his or her entire life to get to that deserving position of power, and are truly content in being remembered after death as a businessman and professional. I respect that; I really do.

I, on the other hand, have been pulled into this void through forces beyond my control. On my first day with the agency in 2004, I spent most of the day sweeping out a supply closet while wearing the nicest suit I owned at the time. From there, I answered phones, opened mail, worked the Hearing Impaired switchboard and was essentially given every job that nobody wanted to do. I was so low on the totem pole that most employees thought I was a Summer intern. When I came back to the agency after getting married, most people had forgotten who I was.

I didn't mind it. In fact, there are days where I wish I was still sweeping that closet. Days when I wish I had less responsibility, and could gracefully back out of adulthood and go back to my grandmother's basement and sleep until 2pm.

But I worked hard, made friends and got noticed. I was promoted two times in the next two years, dusted myself off and was thrown into an office. I was given more work, answered to less people and made more money. Through it all, though, I maintained the attitude I walked in with. 'Pay the bills and go home.' 'This isn't really my job,' I naively thought, 'this is just what I do so I can write in my spare time.' However, with the upcoming decision being made about the fate of my employment, this is far more than a change in scenery and duties. This is a life change that will effect everything.

I’m constantly reminded that if I get this job, it’ll all be ours. The finished basement, the tropical vacations, the retirement security, the American Dream; all of that stupid, pointless crap that I seem to care so damn much about. Had I just been content to function as a meager, struggling author for the remainder of my 20's, I wouldn't care less about that sort of hedonistic rubbish.

Truth is, however, that I'm not much for struggling, and no decent, married man would turn down the opportunity to make things better for his family, regardless of if that means sacrificing a little bit of his aspirations. In fact, I would theorize that this decision eventually dawns on every responsible adult at some point in their lives. When is the right time, if any, to set the dream aside? Everyone knows how much I oppose selling my blog out, so it would make sense to think that I'd have a moral issue with selling my life out. You'd be right, too. I've been aching like you wouldn't believe the past few days, completely unsure of everything for the first time in many years. I'm a smart guy, why is this so hard for me to understand?

The pros are as follows. This job will give me the financial security I need to advance fully into the world of successful adulthood that I was quite certain would never happen to me. We can buy the nice house, keep two nice cars in the garage, amass a hefty nest egg and lay to rest any issues we might have had in the past when it came to extra cash. Dare I say it, we may even be able to start a family. For a guy like me, that grew up kind of poor and barely graduated from High School, this is far more than I need or deserve to be happy on a superficial level. I'm extremely conservative when it comes to preparing for the future, and this position represents the harmony and peace that I've never felt when I fall asleep at night (albeit boring and lacking individual character).

Which brings us to the cons. First off, this job is hard, okay? As someone who has defied the odds and enjoyed almost every day of work for the last four years, taking a step into oncoming traffic feels a little dangerous, illogical and potentially lethal. What if I hate it? What if I can't hack it? What if I come home every day like a miserable 1950's dad, hassling his wife for dinner and pouring glass after glass of straight Brandy, counting down the seconds until I have to throw the tie back on and do it all over again? I'd hate myself, and I'd hate that I let my employment negatively effect my life at home, which is something I take pride in never doing. I can't turn into that type of person; my 1987 persona would travel forward in time to stab me while I slept, due to me turning my back on all the things that I was put on this planet to accomplish.

Furthermore, and arguably the most important on a personal level, is that fact that I will no longer have the time, resources and capabilities to continue writing and pursuing creative ventures like I do right now. The CDP will cease to exist as you know it. The creation and eventual publication of my second book will have to be relegated to 'hobby' status. In essence, I will need to put my 'real' job at the top of my priorities list, which is something I have honestly never done. I'd still write to make myself happy, but it would go without saying that most of the dream would be over. The stressors of work would have no choice but to come home with me, effectively draining me of whatever creative juices were left for the written word.

I have yet to determine what this is a clash of. Is it a clash between childhood and adulthood? Responsibility and irresponsibility? Security and pursuing your true path? Logic and heart? It's probably a combination of everything, and it's taking a far greater toll on me than I thought it would. If I get the job, this is the decision I'm forced to make. If I don't get the job, nothing changes and I'm left to wonder what could have been. I don't know what's worse.

It disgusts me that I let things like this have such emotional control over me. I think we all have this feeling from time to time, though. What was just a week ago supposed to be a nonchalant, 'we'll see what happens' interview, has now turned into something that I have absolutely no set opinion on, and will leave me with an equal amount of happiness and regret no matter what.

As I poured over my resume, cover letter and references before the interview, I listened to the Lifetime classic from 1996, 'Jersey's Best Dancers,' on my iPod. I couldn't help but to laugh at the irony of enjoying nostalgic, hardcore emo-punk from my teenage years, while prepping myself for my biggest foray into professional adulthood yet, sporting a tie and tucked-in $70 shirt. The blue-haired kid that bought this album at the age of 18 would be so embarrassed to see the 26 year old whore he turned out to be.

Then again, the 26 year old is pretty embarrassed of the 18 year old, too. He didn't understand what it meant to have a wife, constant monthly bills and increasing pressures from every corner of his waking day. He didn't know what it meant to be a responsible husband, corporate professional and a son that his mom could be proud of. How dare he step in and criticize something that he has no business attempting to understand? How dare he hold me back?

In a perfect world, I'd be a successful author. However, I'm intelligent and jaded enough to understand that I shouldn't be holding my breath. I should take what I can get. I should grasp that brass ring, accept the security and responsibility I've worked so hard for, and screw those hopes and dreams that eventually get us all nowhere. I can't do it, though.

I just can't do it.