20 June 2007

Prune Back In Anger

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The earth's fragile, beautiful biomass. Kill it first before it kills you.


Got a yard? I wouldn't know. I haven't seen your new place. If so, does it have dirt in it? Hey, it's a fair question. Some places just have concrete or rocks or whatever that they paint green. Okay, so if it has dirt, are there any plants growing out of it? If so, -


Scorch the earth. Pour salt on it. Get thirty eight dogs, make 'em drink six quarts of coffee each and have them piss all over the whole deal until it is dead dead dead. I've seen what happens to a yard when you have plants and you let them grow, and let me tell you brother, it ain't pretty.

First off, just get used to the fact that plants hate you. They're not "pretty". They don't want to "coexist" with you. They don't care about whether you need the oxygen or not. They know that all you see when you look at them is salad. I have a blackberry bush all the way at the far end of my yard that is just itching to strangle me. Every day when I get home from work, I notice that it has grown five more tendrils of six feet each. I just know that one night it's going to creep in through my bedroom window and wrap itself around my tender, tender neck and choke me 'til I'm dead dead dead. (...or "dead cubed". -Ed.) Why? Because I eat its children with abandon. I make them into pie. I put them in fruit salads. The blackberry bush knows this and has worked itself into a bloated, vengeful rage. It will not rest until I am deep in the humus. Good thing I'm the one with the pruning shears...and the opposable thumbs.

This does not explain why my lilac bushes are such bitches to me. I don't eat their kids. I thought I was doing them a favor by deadheading all of them and clearing out all their dead brush and suckers. Well, they returned my kindness by sending legions of now-homeless spiders into my house to set up shop in my dishtowels. (I know the spiders must've been told to do it. They're smarter than to come inside where my spider-eating cat lives.) Anyway, fuck them lilacs. Just fuck 'em. Who cares about a plant that doesn't pull its own weight? It blooms once, and then it spends the rest of the year taking up lawn space that I could be using for suntanning or burning tires. If the wife wasn't so fond of them, I swear I'd have a nice crackling lilac-wood fire in the fireplace right now.

Don't even get me started on you, pampas grass (rhymes with "pompous ass"). Your day will come, se
ñor. And that day is this Saturday. You'll be staring straight down the blades of the shears that I have nicknamed Los Diablos Dos. I will first give you my special "butch" cut, the Howie Long special, The Flat-Top To End All Flat Tops. Then I will take my shovel, stab it into the earth, and tear out your still-beating heart....er...roots.

And you, House-Eating Camelia - I want you dead. I want your parents dead. I want your family dead. Your dog - if you had one - dead. Hamsters - dead.

So what kind of plant do I like? That's easy. Corn. It's tasty and makes a great fence. Think of it as "bamboo with benefits". And I like my cedar tree. It stinks pretty, keeps the bugs away, and provides shade for my surly old cat. Someday its mighty branches will be home to my Dubble-Seekrit Klubhaus (No Girlz!). And my three apple trees. Other than that, I could seed this whole place with alfalfa and be happy. And by that I mean that I could bury former child actor Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer in my yard were it not for the fact that he's been dead since 1959.

Hey, speaking of which, who are all those guys who are allegedly shaving the Amazonian rainforest down to the nubs? And what's their phone number? I have a job for them.



17 June 2007

My Hot, Hot Legs - And Other Father's Day Observations

Actual photo of my left leg. I don't know whether I should tan it or
baste it.


It's early Sunday morning - Father's Day, to be exact. I find myself puttering around the house in my underwear with a cup of coffee and a perplexed look. I've been going around the house looking for something, and by the time I get to the place where I think I must've left it, I forget what it is. I never understood why our Dad did the same thing - puttered about with a cup of coffee, mumbling to himself, "Now where did I - hmmm, oh! No, that's not it." All I know is now I do it, which leads me to believe that puttering is gene-based.

I can tell you exactly why I putter without pants on, though. I'm old and my legs are hot. Hot as in temperature, not hot as in "damn!" Although, I must say that the last time I was in San Francisco - well let me just say that the fellows there know how to make a man feel appreciated. I went for a run one morning and got two - umm - compliments within three blocks. One was a rather passionate yowl from two bon vivants in a passing car. The other was when a guy walked out of a restaurant, ogled my legs and said, "WOOF! Oh honey I needed that!" This is not the same response I get when I wear running shorts around my own neighborhood, though. I stopped by my neighborhood Starbucks yesterday on the way home from the gym wearing the self-same pair of shorts that had garnered me so much praise in San Francisco. The septuagenarian VFW members in the cafe gave a few homophobic snorts and chuckles; the girls behind the counter asked my thighs if they'd like to try the new orange mocha. I suddenly understood that whole "eyes up here!" thing that women sometimes do. But I really don't mind if the girls at Starbucks only love me for my legs. They can talk to 'em all damn day if they want to. I'd be really concerned if they loved me for my wobbling mancakes (or "chesticles" if you prefer) or the wide selection of keratosii that cleave like sheaves of barnacles to my back and shoulders. I'd be even more concerned if they loved me for my ass, which is - well my ass is just wrong. That's all I can say about it. And I would gape in disbelief if they got steamed up over my pythons. When fully flexed, one looks like it has eaten a mouse; the other like it has eaten a piece of spaghetti with a knot in it. To put the whole thing into automotive parlance, I may have a nice set of rims but my upholstery is shot. Best to just gawk from the curb, ladies.

All of the above begs the question why my ex-wife spends any time trying to insult me when I already do such a good job of it myself.
But then again, perhaps there are some people who aren't strong enough to kick someone unless that someone is already bound, gagged, and face down. I often think of replying to her vitriol by quoting Cyrano: "I find your vain attempts to insult rather ineffectual. If you had really wished to skewer me you could have said, oh a great many things." But even being playfully facetious means that I'd have to walk the same low road as my aggressor, and that's something I can't afford to do if I really want to give more than lip service to "be[ing] the peace that [I] want to see in the world". That is something that I really am dead-sober-serious about. Perhaps I insult myself to inure myself to insult, which is also a way to concurrently immunize myself against the compulsion to return anger and hatred in kind. Maybe not the best system in the world, but it works okay for the moment. Besides, I don't really believe that I'm all that ugly. I do, however, still have to sneak up on a glass of water. And I must say that my teeth are so yellow that I spit butter. (Thank you! I'll be here all week, ladies and gentlemen!)

I have digressed. Indeed, digression is my forte (pronounced "fort" meaning "strong point", not "for-TAY" meaning "loud"). Therefore I have succeeded in completing the metaphor that I set out with: wandering around the house in search of that thing - you know, that thing! What was I looking for again? Jesus, I can remember the difference between "fort" and "for-TAY", but I can't remember the difference between my ass and -

Hey, did I tell you a dug a hole in the ground the other day? First time in years. I even have my own shovel now. I was installing a kitchen waste composter in the back yard. Coolest thing ever. Throw table scraps in there and it turn 'em into humus in no time. Has a lock on it to keep the rats out and everything. Got it from the city. Sweet deal. Plus I got a yard waste composter from the city as well, one of those barrel-shaped deals that you throw lawn clippings and whatnot in. And let me tell you, that sumbitch gets HOT! I took the lid off and took a gander inside and it gave me a complimentary facial steam. I'm sure Aveda will be capitalizing on the dermatological benefits of compost soon.

Which brings me to my next point of digression, which is that I have found that homeowning is not so much owning an object as it is creating an enterprise. My home is a veritable factory of domestic products which include construction, organic waste disposal, small animal (dog and cat) farming,
small animal (dog and cat) sewage treatment, junk mail recycling, neighborhood diplomacy, and homeland security (viz., keeping those goddamn kids from the flophouse out of my backyard). The only challenge now is to create positive cash flow from all of those pursuits, and to stem the tide of currency flowing out of the gigantic hole in the money-dike. Were it only as easy as digging a hole, I'd be set.

Hey look! I have legs!

Speaking of which, Teresa got me a manure fork for Father's Day. I am now the proud owner of yet another item on the list of Things That Make You A Man. My manure fork takes a place of honor alongside my stainless steel Coleman cooler, the cargo nets in the back of my Subaru, my 6,000 cu. in. vol. Gregory (that's the brand name) backpack, my JetBoil, and my Seneca-Wallace-autographed football. And of course my Johnson, which is the name of the tiny stuffed buffalo that I purchased in the gift shop at Yellowstone. Why, what did you think I meant?

Now I forgot what I was talking about.