Wednesday, September 7CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #24.
#24 - 'The Communist Search Party.'
(Originally published 7/6,14,20,27,31/09.)
Beloved Writer Snaps, Disappears.
Award-winning author and blogger Ryan J. Zeinert has been reported missing since the early hours of July 5.
No more than a week after deleting his Facebook account on the evening of June 26, it appears as if Zeinert, creator of the humor blog ‘The CDP,’ suffered a traumatizing anxiety attack, causing him to strip off his clothes and scatter wildly into the Nature Preserve located near his home in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He has not yet been located, but is presumed to be alive and sweaty, traveling with a small pack of coyotes that frequent the area.
Rumors have surfaced concerning the cause of Zeinert’s recent mental difficulties. These range from crippling OCD, a ‘shameful’ caffeine addiction, or as a way to somehow avoid paying off the remainder of his student loans, which now number in the low seven-figures.
Rampant egotism and questionable anger management skills could have also played a sizable role.
Zeinert, a State employee, husband, cat owner and Civil War-era Barbecue Sauce historian, had been reported as acting ‘a little off’ in the weeks leading up to his disappearance. His wife Celia, notes that drastic changes in his behavior caused concern, such as laughing out loud during episodes of the television series Scrubs, taking a newfound interest in Lo-Fi music, and making seemingly incoherent cultural statements, such as, “I don’t know…Jim Belushi seems like a funny enough guy.”
“That Belushi thing was a red flag for me,” said an openly-weeping Celia. “Towards the end…I didn’t even know who he was anymore.”
Other members of Zeinert’s family voiced their concerns.
“He has little-to-no experience in the wild, or anything outdoors, really,” quotes his mother, Tami. “If he didn’t remember his sunscreen, we might as well start selling his comic book collection off right now, [be]cause he’s never coming back.”
Zeinert, a legally-recognized albino with a medically-untraceable amount of natural skin pigment, will have to deal with unseasonably-warm temperatures throughout the month of July if he is to somehow survive the elements. “He probably just did this to get out of going to the Flag Parade with me downtown,” said his wife. “He’s always doing selfish [things] like that.”
“What an asshole,” she added.
If Zeinert surfaces or any updates should arise, they will be posted here immediately.
(The last-known, unfathomably fruity photograph of Zeinert.)
EXCLUSIVE! Missing Author Possibly Caught On Camera.
Beloved author and blogger Ryan J. Zeinert, missing and presumed uncomfortable since July 5, may have been photographed by a local hiker/alcoholic.
Benjamin Jenkel, an outdoor enthusiast and amateur whiskey connoisseur, took the following vivid snapshot while on a hike of the area where Zeinert is presumed to be hiding out and/or crying softly.
“I was reaching for my flask when I saw this…thing emerge from the brush,” recalls Jenkel. “I just grabbed my camera and started shooting.”
“The stench was unbearable,” he added. “He literally smelled like [excrement].”
Jenkel then rocked back and forth on his heels for eight seconds, before vomiting and passing out in the parking lot of the ‘Wok-N-Roll’ restaurant where he was interviewed.
Zeinert has not been seen or heard from publicly since July 4, when he suffered an anxiety attack and ran into the nature preserve that surrounds his Sun Prairie estate. If this photo is indeed of him, it would offer a relative amount of comfort to his wife, family and legions of dedicated fans who have been praying for his safe return.
One such fan, known only as ‘Sherry,’ has kept a candlelight vigil on her porch every night since Zeinert’s June 27th ‘colossal freak-out.’ When asked to comment, Sherrry apologized for the confusion, stating that “the candlelight just kept the Junebugs away.”
She added, “Who the [expletive] is Ryan Zeinert?”
We will have more information as this story develops. The CDP continues to run archival and 'lost' essays in his absence.
(In this anonymously-submitted photograph, it has been speculated that the background figure is Zeinert.)
Since being initially reported missing at the beginning of July, popular blogger and humorist Ryan J. Zeinert may have once again been accidentally photographed within the Nature Preserve surrounding his Sun Prairie estate, where he is believed to be currently hiding.
A local hiker, taking a candid photograph of his daughter Sunday afternoon, snapped the above image, which unbeknownst to him at the time, contained a mysterious humanoid figure in the background. After careful scrutiny and analysis, photograph experts at Kodak have verified that the image is genuine.
It has not yet been concluded that the image is indeed of Zeinert, but he has been known in the past to wear a spacesuit outside of the house in moments of extreme duress and/or intoxication. In a recent interview by Zeinert's wife, she has verified that his spacesuit is missing from CDP World Headquarters.
"He's...such a goddamn idiot," she remarked, burying her head in her hands and sobbing lightly.
If any additional news surfaces, it will posted here immediately. In Zeinert's absence, the CDP continues to run 'lost' and archival essays.
EXCLUSIVE! PHOTO OF MISSING BLOGGER VERIFIED BY WIFE.
Ryan J Zeinert, the beloved author that has been missing since July 5, has finally been legitimately photographed by an unknown source that is now verified genuine by Zeinert's wife. Previous submitted photographs of the missing writer have now been proven false.
The above picture, taken by what is assumed to be an underage escort hired by Zeinert to criss-cross the Tri-State area with him, is indeed Zeinert, in what appears to be an elevator within the Hotel Julien, a newly-renovated lounge in downtown Dubuque, Iowa. This had added credibility to the swirling rumors that Zeinert has been traveling along the Mississippi river for the last three weeks, working on his next book.
"What the hell is he doing in Dubuque?" wondered his wife, Celia. "And why must he always wear that disgusting plaid shirt everywhere he goes? He looks like a bulimic lumberjack."
Authorities say that they are now closer than ever to capturing Zeinert and getting him back to Wisconsin safely, where he will be forced at gunpoint to continue writing essays.
"He owes us big," chimed one lifelong CDP fan. "His site has been borderline unreadable all Summer. Even more so than usual."
As always, if you have any tips or news to share, please send them to email@example.com. The CDP will continue to run archival and 'lost' essays in Zeinert's absence.
(Photo of Zeinert as authorities kicked down the door of his penthouse suite.)
EXCLUSIVE! ZEINERT CAPTURED!
The search is officially over. Ryan J. Zeinert, the beloved blogger, author and freelance whore who has been missing since July 5, has been located, captured and dragged screaming into custody by authorities.
After many false-starts and misinformed leads following his disappearance, Zeinert was finally photographed late last week by an anonymous tipster in Dubuque, Iowa, where he had been seen galavanting/cavorting with an underage escort. This escort turned out to be an informant called in to track down and located Zeinert as he cris-crossed the Tri-State and Mississippi River landscape. We have now learned that not only was she was responsible for providing police with information behind Zeinert's whereabouts, but that she was actually a man.
When questioned, Zeinert replied, "B*tch set me up."
While it is still unknown why Zeinert fled his home at the beginning of the month and began his reclusive trek, the question on everyone's mind is how soon he can get back to writing essays for the CDP, and how soon can we expect his next book to be completed.
Zeinert's remarks were cryptic. "Never. Never and shut up," he replied.
The CDP should return with a month's worth of all-new essays next month.
Tuesday, September 6CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #25.
#25 - '10 Hard-Hitting Questions.'
(Originally published 8/18/08.)
1. You wear glasses or contact lenses. Suddenly, a miracle pill comes along that will fix your eyes perfectly, without the aid of surgery. For a relatively low price, your eyes will remain 20/20 until the day you die. The only catch is that after you take this pill, you can never again wear glasses, hats, earrings, or any other cranium-based accessory for the rest of your life. Eye makeup is also not allowed.
Do you take the pill?
2. You want to be in a band. One night, the Devil makes you a deal that will instantly rocket you to super-stardom, multi-platinum success, instrumental and songwriting talent, adoring fans and critical acclaim for the duration of your musical career. The downside is that in exchange for this fame, your all-time favorite band will cease to exist. Any memory of their music or historical legacy will disappear forever, and you will never be able to hear any of their songs ever again.
Do you take the deal?
3. You are offered the sum of one billion dollars to never engage in any type of sex again. Breaking of this rule will result in instant death.
Do you take the offer?
4. You've been offered one of two options. One, you are allowed to continue living life as normal with your significant other, with the knowledge that he or she will die in exactly three years. You can never share this information with them, and they will never be aware of this fact. Or two, you can immediately terminate the relationship, and he or she will live a long, healthy live and die comfortably at the age of 90. The only downside is that you can never explain your actions to your significant other, and you will never be able to see them again.
Do you terminate the relationship?
5. You are offered a guest-starring role in the series finale of the ABC TV show Lost, where it is revealed that all of the happenings on the island have been taking place in the head of an autistic boy or girl, played by you. Should you choose to take this role, you will be a part of television history forever, but the backlash will be instantly and universally panned. Should you choose to not take this role, however, the finale will conclude under significantly more plausible circumstances, cementing Lost's place in history as the greatest television drama of all-time.
Do you play the role?
6. You are granted the power of x-ray vision for clothing only; you are now able to see anyone in the nude. However, you are unable to toggle the x-ray vision. For the rest of your life, everyone you look at will appear naked, and you will never be able to see clothing again.
Do you want this power?
7. Through an address mix-up at the CIA, you are mailed an envelope containing the unbelievably true stories behind the moon landing (faked), Kennedy assassination (cover-up), Roswell crash (UFO) and the interpretive ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey (beats me). Once you open this envelope, you will know the truth behind all of these events, but from that point forward, everyone you meet will be convinced that you are insane. No matter what facts you present, arguments you make or books you write, you will be branded a loon and be permanently ostracized from the life that you once knew. You will never be believed by anyone.
Do you open the envelope?
8. While getting the newspaper one morning, a Brinks truck crashes outside of your house, spilling tens of millions of dollars into your driveway. The driver, fearing losing his job for not following standard security protocol and for being drunk, offers you half of the money in exchange for your testimony that says you saw him get robbed at gunpoint by a street gang. In addition to this, the money contained in the truck was originally headed for the American Cancer Society to assist in the invention of an experimental device that may cure cancer (the odds of it working are about 15%). Without this specific cash delivery, the machine will not be able to be invented for another 17 years. The money can not be traced back to you in any way, and your testimony will be perceived as the truth by a judge and jury. If you refuse the money from the driver, he will shoot you in the kneecaps and flee, causing you considerable mobility problems and pain for the rest of your life.
What do you do?
9. Through a post-apocalyptic Death Race competition, you are crowned the champion and rewarded with anything you want for the rest of your life. The only drawback is that every time you blink, you will crap your pants. This is incurable and unavoidable in every way.
Is it worth it?
10. You're in a passionate and long-term relationship with a significant other named Pat. In fact, you love Pat so much that you end up getting the name tattooed across your windpipe, which can never be removed or covered up. Months later, you and Pat are forced to part under frustrating circumstances, and you're left to find someone else to spend your life with. Soon enough, a wonderful person named Chris enters your life, bringing with it just as much love and passion as your previous relationship with Pat. However, you also start a relationship with a new person named Pat. Your relationship with this new Pat isn't on the level as your relationship with Chris, yet it's decent enough to fulfill your needs.
Do you choose Pat over Chris because you already have a 'Pat' tattoo?
Think them through.
Monday, September 5CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #26.
#26 - 'MMA! UFC! CDP! OMG!' &
'I Have A Black Belt In Armchair Jiu-Jitsu.'
(Originally published 11/6/08 & 8/21/09.)
I don’t talk about it very much on the CDP, but I am a huge fan of Mixed Martial Arts. I own stacks of DVD’s, get most of the pay-per-views and watch all of the shows (on Spike as well as the constant stream of programming on HDNet). I’m even considering starting a MMA podcast, because, you know, the Internet really needs another guy yammering into a microphone with his pajama bottoms on.
The Missus is also a pretty big fan, which pleases me on a level that’s far beyond what I could properly summarize in print. I’m just not that good of a writer, even though I’m actually a pretty awesome writer that hasn't written anything awesome in well over a month, including the essay you're reading right now. I'm of the opinion that you will find it somewhat scattered, random, and lacking a worthwhile ending. I ask you to cut me some slack; it's been awhile.
Moving on, I want to also make it clear that I’m not some fairweather MMA fan; some douche that jumped on the bandwagon when it became popular a few years ago. I shelled out $40 for UFC IV in 1995, at the age of 13, during a time when the UFC was on the verge of getting banned nationwide. Classless, out-of-touch nimrods like John McCain classified the UFC as ‘Human Cockfighting,’ the sport went underground and re-emerged in the 21st Century as the defining sport of a generation, after being sold to promoters that believed in strict regulation, solid marketing and the legitimizing of the brand. In Middle School, I wrote every report and made every speech I could in defense of MMA, explaining the rules, virtues and standards applied to a sport that had received such negative publicity in its mishandled infancy.
And yes, I’m writing all of this out just in case Dana White, the President of the UFC, is reading and possibly looking for an Executive Assistant of some sort. I make great coffee and don't wheeze when I breathe.
I honestly see a time in the near future where MMA becomes an Olympic event, and when you really think about it, it should probably be the only Olympic event. At the end of the day, events like badminton, luge and field hockey all boil down to one burning question: "You think you can kick my ass?"
Well, maybe not the luge; that just looks like a lot of fun. I bet all of the competitors go out for pizza afterwards and high-five each other with the bewildering amazement that they get to ride a sled for a living. I suppose some of them do get shot out of the tube and die every once in awhile, but I'd take those odds.
Nonetheless, my love for MMA has began to actually trick my body into thinking that I should attempt to enter the world of MMA. Start training. Take classes. Get my body into fighting shape and step inside the Octagon. This, as you can already tell, is a recipe for a failure so rich and buttery that even I know it’s a shade more retarded than anything I’ve ever bothered to talk myself into thus far. In fact, should I ever get myself into an MMA fight, I’d wind up a legitimate shade more retarded than I already am, and this is from a strictly medical and psychological standpoint. When I told my Physician about my aspirations, he told me that my wife should start casket shopping. I’d leave on a stretcher if I was lucky. In reality, I’d probably leave on two stretchers.
See, me and exercise don’t get along. I stay in shape, eat decent food and maintain a Lightweight density of approximately 155-160 pounds at any given time, but it’s due to fast metabolism, anxiety and coffee, not Hindu squats, wind sprints and Tony Little. Drumming keeps my arms strong, running from the Paparazzi keeps my legs tight and good-old-fashioned HGH takes care of the rest. The mood swings and non-existent testicles are a small price to pay.
So, the other day, I saw a commercial for a new MMA gym that was opening in my area. The place was beautiful; it had pretty much all of the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that you see the UFC guys using at the Las Vegas gym on The Ultimate Fighter. The trainers were experienced, decorated and taught by some of the most popular and greatest MMA fighters of all-time. The urge to become a part of this was getting harder to ignore; I wanted to go to this gym badly and kick some ass. Practice Round Kicks on those rubber cylinders that look like crude, doughy humans. Do victory laps around the Octagon like I had just knocked out Anderson Silva. Jog in place, pee in the sauna; stuff like that.
Logically speaking for a moment, there are easier ways for me to get involved with the MMA game than merely being a fighter with no professional experience to speak of (as I’ve stated before, my street fight record is 2 wins with 1 loss and a draw, and these all took place before the 7th Grade; Kimbo Slice I am not). I could be a promoter. I could be a reporter. Hell, I could be a lot of things in the fighting World that didn’t involve slipping in and out of consciousness while the medics reset my femur and placed what was left of my nose into a plastic bag full of ice cubes and shattered dreams.
Furthermore, they do frequent drug testing in MMA, which meant that I would finally have to accept the fact that I could never freebase meth again; something I wasn’t quite ready to deal with at the age of 26. I still have too much expendable income and almost all of my adult teeth.
Even with all of the damning evidence mounting against me, I still logged onto the MMA Dojo’s website and saw what they were all about. Then I saw the price tag, and remembered just how popular MMA is right now. Then I passed out, hit my head, woke up the next morning in front of the computer, saw the price tag again and proceeded to pass out and hit my head once more. It appeared as if the decision was made for me.
If I could afford what they were asking to train me as a fighter, I wouldn’t need to fight for a living in the first place. Apparently, the only way you can be expertly trained in MMA is if you were already sponsored by a company, or are some maverick billionaire with nothing better do to than choke people. Sir Richard Branson should jump at this in a second, just as soon as he gets sick of taking his rocketship to the Moon, or wherever the hell takes it nowadays.
I'm down but not out, however. My path will converge with MMA at some point in the near future. With any luck, I'll have the good sense to kick it in the balls and run like hell.
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take in my first-ever live MMA event, when I attended the Madtown Throwdown here in Madison, Wisconsin. The show was fantastic, the production and talent were top-notch, and I honestly think that we have an awesome group of up-and-coming fighters that could potentially make waves worldwide in the next few years.
The Missus had a prior engagement that night, so I flew solo for the event. This caused a slight bit of discomfort, as I was given a bleacher seat wedged between two of the fattest dudes I've ever seen outside of the Guinness Book of World Records. I'm a small enough guy, but it was a tight fit to say the least, and the event itself lasted for somewhere in the neighborhood of six hours. Still, I faught through the pain; they were nice guys and took great pleasure in drunkenly shaking me back and forth whenever they delivered the punchline of a sexist joke. Good people.
As I sat there and attempted to immerse myself in the action taking place inside the cage, I began to hypothesize (absurdly so) about my own potential talents as a Mixed Martial-Artist. I mean, I'm in good shape, adequate height and weight, good diet, lots of energy, free of cigarrettes and drugs, great knowledge of the MMA game and all it entails. Hey, why not me?
Who's to say that after a solid year or two of serious gym training and getting whipped into fighting shape, that I couldn't step inside the Octagon and have an honest crack at knocking some bitches out? I'm smart, I'm tough, I'm dedicated and I love the sport! Yes...YES! I'm going to peel myself off of the proverbial Couch of Life and GO FOR IT!
This epiphany had made me quite hungry, so I decided to take a break from the previous four hours of decrepit, fetal bleacher seating and grab some nachos. Without stretching and with an unnecessary amount of upward propulsion, I squirted myself free from the crushing Black Hole of the huge guys on my left and right, took a big step forward and promptly pulled my groin.
Read that again. I pulled my groin at the Madtown Throwdown...as a spectator...because I stood up too fast to get nachos.
I tapped out to nachos. It finally went away entirely early this week, but it taught me a very important lesson about not only the ravages of age and mortality, but that I should never, under any circumstances whatsoever, try to fight for a living.
Sunday, September 4CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #27.
#27 - 'Eel The Pain.'
(Originally published 1/7/09.)
Over the past couple weeks, me and the Missus have been catching up on the unbelievably breathtaking documentary Planet Earth. This Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series is more or less the greatest nature spectacle ever produced, taking over five years to shoot and capturing almost 11 hours of never-before-seen footage. I encourage all of you to either buy the DVDs or watch the repeats on the Discovery Channel when they re-air; you’ll piddle a little, and that's a promise.
Of the many things that Planet Earth has reinforced for my eternal respect and love of the world we live in, it’s also done some irreparable damage to my psyche in the form of a brand-spanking-new fear: Eel Schools.
I’m a guy that has very few fears. I don’t like the water, the infinite and certain inevitability of my death is constantly looming over my shoulder, and if a grinning midget peeked around the corner of my cubicle at work, I’d probably crap straight through the seat of my ergonomic chair. But that’s about it. However, upon watching the ‘Shallow Seas’ portion of Planet Earth, I saw footage of about ten billion eels slithering in tandem through the waters, and I freaked out so hard that I dropped my veggie burger onto the remote control and cranked my head away from the TV until a Bowflex commercial came on and cooled me out.
I honestly don’t know where this came from. I love eels. I always check them out at the pet store, and even contemplated owning one for a time (“You can’t keep it in the tub” was the Missus’ final ruling). Perhaps it was the sheer number of the damn things, or the terrifyingly precise way they sliced through the water like flying snakes. And goddamn it anyway, can you even fathom how scary life would be if snakes could fly? I mean, can you?
If, for some unforeseen reason, someone where to strap a scuba tank onto my back and heave me into the fringe waters of the Indian Ocean, I’d assuredly curl into a tight ball and vibrate until I exploded upon first sight of a roving Eel Mob. Sadder still, I just discovered a giant, animated eel in the ‘Koopa Cape’ track of MarioKart Wii, and I’m now having a hard time even wanting to play it anymore. And that was my favorite track, you bastard-ass eels!
This is serious stuff, it seems; and completely out of nowhere, I might add. I always figured that me and eels were cool. I wanted to get to the root of the problem and find out just where this was all coming from, so I called my mother, who reminded me that I was raped by an eel at a family reunion when I was five.
Totally forgot about that; mystery solved.
Saturday, September 3CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #28.
#28 - 'Free MySpace Poetry (Part 2).'
(Originally published 3/30/09.)
Are you a sensitive boy or girl on MySpace? Are you pining for that perfect piece of personal poetry or private prose that will perpetuate your pathetic pomposity? Do you want to appear emotional and deep, but just don't have the effort and creativity?
Look no further!
We here at the CDP have once again composed Free MySpace Poetry just for you! Simply choose the piece that best represents your suffering, lifeless and eternally tortured soul; then copy, paste and watch the friend requests roll in!
Example #1 - Four-Line Sonnet (ABCB)
It hurts so much to love you
Which leads me to inquire
Whenever we’re in bed
Must you always set me on fire?
Example #2 - Haiku (5-7-5)
Heart is on my sleeve
For you to do as you wish
Example #3 - Limerick (AABBA)
I work at a self-service station
And I’ll admit, it’s a weak occupation
But I fill up for free, and the coffee’s on me
During our Grand Opening celebration.
Example #4 - Rubaiyat (AABA)
You took off your clothes in front of me
And I saw everything I had been waiting to see
If I could ask just one question, I would say
Grandma, why are you doing this to me?
Example #5 - Cinquain (ABABB)
When I poked you on Facebook, you were one-of-a-kind
I knew you’d never bother me with meme’s and apps
But now it’s six months later, and there’s something on my mind
Why do you always write me in all caps?
WHY DO YOU ALWAYS WRITE ME IN ALL CAPS???
Example #6 - Terza rima (ABA BCB...)
Kiss me before this night is through
And I’ll never forget it as long as I live
It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m rockin’ with you
Even though you have nothing left to give
Just wrap your arms around me, Dick Clark
Oh, that’s right; forgot about your stroke. You forgive?
Example #7 - Ottava Rima (ABAB AB CC)
Tina Fey, you really have to stop calling me
For the good of my household and marriage
I fully understand your desire to make love to me
In the back of a horse-drawn carriage
But believe me; I’m telling you seriously
My wife will insist and disparage
She has Pampered Chef knives that are sharper than skin
And will see to it that you’re never seen again.
Example #8 - Petrarchan Sonnet (A8BBA8 A8BBA8 C8DE C8DE)
Let’s close down the bar together
We’ll flip the chairs and strike the lights
Drunkenly stumble into the dead of night
And wander around forever.
Rain, snow, whatever the weather
Your breath is warm, your eyes are bright
Your body is keeping me warm tonight
Am I driving you home? Never.
I’m never going to let you go
I know your moves, you’re not so keen
Nobody can conquer you but me.
Let’s drop the quarter; here we go
I’m settling for nothing less than a Kill Screen
Because you’re totally a Ms. Pac-Man machine.
Example #9 - Shakespearean Sonnet (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG)
This long-distance relationship has got to end
So I’m offering an ultimatum to you
Just admit to me that we’re better off friends
Just look me in the eyes and tell me that we’re through.
You knew that this would happen from the very start
Things just got out of hand way too fast
I stole your youth, and you stole my heart
And we need to leave it all in the past.
So kiss me once more, and I’ll walk out that door
Face the music and put my hands over my head
Do exactly as I’m told, and drop to the floor
So the authorities don’t shoot me dead.
Why didn’t you tell me that you were eleven?
Why didn’t you tell me that you were eleven?
Feel free to use as many of these as you want. I'll leave it up to you if you want to credit the CDP or not; I'm just here to help.
Friday, September 2CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #29.
#29 - 'Give Me All The Pomade You Have.'
(Originally published 3/31/10.)
It took me until about the age of 20 before I realized that you could get your hair cut at places that were stationed outside of a mall. As a man that didn’t pay attention or care too much about the quality or well-being of his hairstyle, I had always just gone to the easiest, cheapest place.
For the better part of a decade, this destination was exclusively Cost Cutters.
Going to Cost Cutters deep into in your teen years feels similar to the last few Halloweens you celebrate before you start to become acutely aware of your age. You begin to take notice of the clientele around you; notice the relative age of the stylists versus the customers. Once the realization hits that maybe you should start frequenting a different barber (say, the Master Cuts by the Aqua Massage kiosk, perhaps), it feels akin to being naked in public. All you want to do is disappear.
I remember the last time I ever set foot in a Cost Cutters. I was alone, reading a magazine in the red-and-yellow waiting area (it always looked like a McDonalds in there), when a grown man came shuffling through the door. He looked to be in his mid-to-late 40’s, wiry-thin with glasses and a ragged outfit on.
“Hello,” he said to the pre-teen working the counter. “Is Sarah working today?”
“I’m sorry,” she replied, “But Sarah has the day off.”
“Good,” the man muttered back, turning slowly to his left to reveal a massive bald spot that was seemingly gouged out of his scalp by accident. Presumably by Sarah. He took a seat next to me and exhaled deeply.
He was defeated. He didn't care. He was me in ten years.
Without making a scene, I gently set the Store Copy of People magazine on the table and hit the road. It had been a decent enough relationship, but at that moment, I knew that Cost Cutters and I were officially through.
Thursday, September 1CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('08-'10) - #30.
#30 - 'The Hole To Hell.'
(Originally published 1/13/10.)
"Describe A Favorite Childhood Friend, And Some Things You Did With Him Or Her."
When I was a kid, it's safe to assume that my best friend was my cousin, Scott. We had one of those relationships where we read each others' mind; could crack each other up just by looking at each other. We made each other funnier; our ideas were better when we worked on them together. Our projects and aspirations legendary in our own minds. We spoke our own language; invented our own slang. Created a world that was isolated, yet contained pretty much everything that made me happy at the time.
I was never more creative than when I worked on something with Scott. We wrote songs. Acted out sketches. Recorded ourselves announcing baseball and football games. We would play basketball until it was pitch-black outside. It was always 100%, and it was never work or forced, because it was always fun as hell. We did this for over a decade until the rigors of impending adulthood forced us out of our cocoons and into the real world. I still miss it sometimes.
One of my earliest memories of myself and Scott was when we were small children, playing in my sandbox in the backyard of my first house. The sandbox in question was an old tractor tire that had been filled with no more than 18 inches of sand. It was on this day that me and Scott decided that we were going to dig our way to Hell. That's right; we were going to be the first humans in recorded history to actually dig a hole so deep that it would pop us straight through to the center of the Earth. A place where, as Catholics, we believed Hell was.
Digging was easy at first; we used an old Tupperware cup to do most of the dirty work. The trouble started once we reached the 18-inch line: we were now through the sand, digging into the soil of my backyard. The soil was black; our town had a ton of bedrock that more or less forced you to use dynamite if you wanted to put a basement in your home. The hole at this point couldn't have been more than two feet deep and 6 inches wide.
I stuck my hand inside of it to check the temperature.
"It's getting hot!" I shouted gleefully. "We're almost there!"
Scott's on the left, I'm on the right. Unfortunately, we never made it to Hell.