Monday, September 28, 2009

Oh how does the DMV suck? Let us count the ways.....

We all know the DMV sucks. That is no surprise.

The surprise is that the DMV doesn’t seem to know that everyone knows it sucks. Or they don’t care. I like to pretend it’s the former, for at least the removes vindictiveness from the process. And that makes me feel better. Somehow.

So the story starts at 1 a.m. in a town called Wilton. Wilton, for those of you not from Connecticut, is Native American for “So rich I live where you can actually see stars and, sometimes, a bear.” It’s rich. Not much happens. Except for rampant teenage drug use and aldutery. But we don’t talk about those things here. And the cops there don’t have much to do. Except, apparently, harass motorists and supply them with misinformation.

Here's the quick story: Family party. Few drinks. Not severe. 1 a.m. Sirens. Sir you’re speeding. Whatever. License. Registration. Wait. Wait more. Sir, your license is supended. Officer that’s impossible. Have you been drinking? Sobriety test? Suspended you say? Tell me more.

Yes my license was suspended, but I didn’t know. Stemmed from a year old seat-belt ticket in New York City. A seat belt violation! There’s no hate crime or crane collapse to worry about? Grrrr. Anyway, I couldn’t pay that ticket online due to a misspelling of my name by the cops. But no, they are not dumb.

So while I awaited my court date and settled up the suspension question (8 business days, handled by mail. Went seamlessly - Only the postal system can shine in the shadow of the DMV) I needed to obtain a non-driver state ID, also issued at DMV. Ug.

Line 1: Information line. Which turned out to be the lack-of-information-but-heres-the-form-you –need line. Okay, at least I’m moving forward

Line 2: Type your name onto this touch-screen computer that 15,000 Connecticut residents have touched since the last time Windex was in the budget. Okay, that’s cool, the picture part is done.

Line 3: Find out you don’t have the proper documentation by an unforgiving DMV employee. (But if you can go get a copy of your birth certificate today, you can bypass lines 1 and 2. Uh, what part of I don’t have my license don’t you understand)

(Go get my birth certificate; return hours later to line 3)

Line 3, Part II: Welcome back honey, what do we have here. Two copies of birth certificate. Excellent. Give me all your papers, and go to the license renewal line. I’m gonna give them all your documents. Huh? You’re keeping my birth certificate? Thank God I got two!

Line 4: License renewal line. With 45 of my closest friends. Hmm, that girl is cute. Yeah….you get your license at age 16… Well, her mom is cute. 45 friends, 75 minutes. Could be worse. I’ll have my ID when I’m up there.

Line 4.5 License renewal discussion (by the way, the license renewal line irony has not escaped me). Okay, everything’s here. We got your birth certificate (but a ha, I have two!), forms are good. Take a seat, doll, and we’ll call you up to have your picture taken

Okay, this is the part I don’t get. I took my picture. It was on line 2, remember, earlier today. I see the copy of my picture there and, might I say, I look kind of dashing.

Baby doll, that’s for internal DMV purposes, so we know it’s you handing in your forms.

Uh, don’t you have like the last five drivers license photos of me? Look, it’s the freshman 15! Right there!

They’ll call your name when it’s your turn

Well, it’s my turn after 45 of my closest friends have their picture taken. That one’s kind of cute right? No, the mom!



Wait more



Shit, was she before me or after me?

Who the hell is that guy? Where’s he been hiding


Mr. McFreeley?

Really? Where do you see the R in my last name. Just call McFeeley and smirk to suppress the laugh like everyone else. This is not Brett Favre where you can play games with the alphabet.

Behind the line. Look straight at the camera. No, honey, straight on. Not at an angle.

But. But that’s my good side. See, no wandering eye.

Straight on honey.


Wait with my 45 closest friends. Maybe that girl is 18. I could ask to see her new license. Then mom would get pissed. Damn. Decisions, decisions



What time is sundown anyway. I’m so hungry I could eat that fat guy over there. Or maybe that pen chained to the desk over there.


Ug. But wait – that means I’m done!

Grab the non-license ID from the license renewal photographer/bureaucrat

Hey, I’m a handsome devil.

So that was it. Seven lines, and seven hours (not including the birth certificate side trip) later I had my loser-you-lost-your-license-because-New-York-AND-Connecticut-DMVs-fucked-up state ID

My question remains. Well two questions. DMV – don’t you know your reputation? Wait, don’t answer that. Second question – why take my picture twice in the SAME DAY when you could have saved me two and a half hours of my life (that will be 400 dollars in lost work please – ha!) because of your “procedure”

I swear I need to run the world. Then you couldn’t get your license til you were 18. Only thing worse than bureaucracy is ambiguity.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Of Course You Love Your Kids; Now Get The Hell Out of My Way

Anyone who knows me even a little knows that little tiny stupid things really annoy the crap out of me. Lie, cheat, abuse my pets – no problem. But a handmade sign that uses incorrect punctuation – that shit will have me muttering under my breath for days. Sometimes weeks.

So it’s with that backdrop I tell you about one of my biggest pet peeves. I’ve been walking a lot over the past week or so (another blog for another time) and I’ve noticed on more than one local street the sign that makes my blood boil every time.

“Please drive slowly We Love Our Children.”

This sign is wrong for so many reasons. Let us count them:

1. As you see, the sign never specifically says "love" but uses the heart symbol. Clearly the sign must have been created by an Irish Catholic family that couldn't use the actual word "love" to describe family members. But if Jesus was around the block, those four letters would have been in bold, capital letters, underlined two times.

2. You assume I’m driving too fast. Okay, that’s a fair assumption for me personally (another blog for another time). But you assume everyone who reads the sign is driving too fast.

3. If said driver is driving too fast, would you: a) hope he takes his eyes off the road to read a street sign with more words than almost any other sign you can imagine, or b) watch the road where your careless children might be carelessly riding their crappy scooters you bought them for Christmas at TJ Maxx.

4. The sign assumes the driver does not love his or her children, or perhaps nieces and nephews, but that the unique caring individuals who dwell on these particular streets have this loving commitment to their offspring that most parents do not share. Give me a break.

5. What if you don’t love your children equally? Or you realize the youngest one is a complete turd-on-a-stick? Will you trick that child into walking dead on into oncoming traffic? Will you put up a sign that says “If you see this loser child, step on it and have at it, Speed Racer?”

6. It’s not an official traffic sign and therefore is probably illegal. But loving your children is such a nice warm sentiment, we won’t ever blow the whistle.

7. It’s very limiting, suggesting only children are prone to automobile accident victimization? How about “We love our Depends-wearing, moth-ball-smelling, whisky-smellling grandparents who think they are walking down the Boulevard to the speakeasy before they take in a burlesque show?” Or “We got a retard on the block. He’s not technically a child but one day last week he bit a social worker, a neighbor and the head off a dead bird in the same day. Take it easy, okay?” Or “We are a bunch of newlyweds on this block and we don’t yet resent our spouses or ask ‘what if Jimmy Burke did kiss me at prom’ so could you keep our love whole by being careful on our street?”

8. And it’s just too damn passive-aggressive. And that might make the Catholic- or Jewish-guilt ridden child like myself (uh that would be Catholic; I never looked good in a yarmulke) unknowingly lead-footed on that skinny pedal. And the amount of guilt stored up could result in a crash involving not only your perfect children but both your white haired grandparents and Special Fred, especially if he’s hugging the tree into which my Pathfinder careens.

9. Oh yeah, and it absolves all parents on the street from being responsible and watching their children. It encourages “Gabby was out of work for two weeks and came back with killer bosooms” kind of gossip by neighborhood mothers; it allows 6 dads on the block to stand over one barbecue to supervise the intensity of a charcoal fire, work that requires a can of Pabst Piss Ribbon or whatever cheap swill that your neighbor Steve brings to your house while he stocks his fridge with Stella Artois. This sign allows people the false confidence that allows them to use “But I was in watching The View. Scott Peterson’s girlfriend was on” as an excuse for their beautiful shining child getting scraped off the grill of a Chevy Silverado.

So there you have it. Nine solid reasons to speed up in one of those " our children" neighborhoods. Good luck and Godspeed. Lots of Godspeed!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fine, Don't be My Imaginary Friend! I'm Not Mad -- Really!

The world, it is safe to say, is a strange place. It is getting stranger by the day, even with the death of Michael Jackson (chimps and children DO breather easier however).

Technology is changing our lives before our very eyes. I, for one, have embraced the social media (sites like Facebook and Twitter). Why, you ask? Why, thank you for asking. Two reasons:

1. I crave attention
2. It's better than doing work.

(If you are a client of mine, I mean the work of other clients, of course)

But the social media can create some sticky situations, for sure.

My Facebook account was recently suspended indefinitely. I tried to find out but I got a canned email that said basically "It could be one of the reasons listed below, and we may or may not reply to tell you about your case."


They didn't end up telling me, but I think it's because I blogged about feces. It is a mini-obsession of mine ("how many times do you go everyday?" "what color is your poo usually?" "It felt a lot bigger than it looked!").

Who knows where my account went. In any case, I had to start from scratch and build another profile. I had 450 "friends" on my account. I use the quotes around friends because none of them were Jennifer Aniston. Mmmmm, my best friend.

So...I found out when you start an account on Facebook, you can only send friend invites to a certain number of people before the vigilant Facebook police tell you literally "to slow down" or "face suspension."

See -- that's what I'm talking about -- a little warning. What a concept!

So people found themselves not on my friends list. Which means their walls no longer contained references to poop, retarded people (sorry handicapable?), midgets (sorry, little people), or dumb people (sorry - Yankee fans).

Quite frankly, their lives went dark.

So I kept getting these e-mails from very good friends.

"Uh, dude. I'm not sure if you're angry with me and my wife, but we noticed you un-friended us on Facebook. If there's something wrong, you know you can always call. Okay, you can text us and we'll have a two hour conversation instead of five minutes, but you know what I mean. Be in touch, love, Skippy."

Okay, I have no friends named Skippy. But I might just have a buddy Jif.

So I've been in this crazy holding pattern of remembering whom I had befriended on Facebook 1 and whom still awaits an invite on Facebook 2. Meanwhile I've been heavily Tweeting..... "Um, no Ma, tweeting is not a sin. Even if you're not married. You see, there are these things, called Tweets and they must be 140 characters long....No, not like Disney characters... Never mind. Want another Nilla wafer?"

So if you thought you were no longer my friend, well, you're better off keeping it that way. But if you don't see me on your Facebook page, look me up, send a request. Or if you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm at

You'll like me better on Twitter. You're limited to 140 characters (or 1 character -- Grumpy), so Twitter is ideal because people can only handle me in small doses anyway.

And, no I'm not mad at you. Unless you don't laugh at my jokes. Then I'll have to inundate you with Lil' Green Patch requests.

No ma, I'm not giving away lilypads....It's this thing -- Oh never mind....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

R.I.P Gloria -- Now Can I Turn off the Heat in This Foyer??

I've shared this with many of you, and I mentioned it in my last blog, but it does deserve its own post.

My neighbor, Gloria, passed away in late May. She was 83.

You remember Gloria from my blog posts:

"Meet the Neighbors: The Golden Years" -

"Say It Ain't So: My Girl Gloria is Cheating On Me" -

"Love Notes from Gloria" --

I cleaned her car off in the snow. I bought her cheap wine and made sure to give her the exact change. I "fixed" her answering machine, in reality erasing the messages when the inbox was full. I even mistakenly bought her a Christmas gift once, when it turns out the other old lady neighbor was the one who left me a snowflake pencil and what i think were bath beads.

She went into the hospital for a procedure (remember the note about hoping the doctor knew what he was doing) that I didn't care to ask about, for I feared knowing too much about this woman. The procedure went well, but she suffered a fatal heart attack 3 days later in the hospital.

I found out when a couple, which turned out to be her son and daughter in law, were taking grocery bags of food from Gloria's apartment to their mini-van. They had trash bags also which I assumed contained clothes and other possessions. I thought it was a bad sign, but that maybe she was in a rehab facility or nursing home. She was having a lot of trouble climbing the stairs to her unit lately.

When I introduced myself as the next door neighbor, the daughter in law said "Oh, you're the wine guy!" I told some neighbors about Gloria and I attended the wake. Some of the things I heard and learned:

* Neighbor: "Oh, you were her wine guy. I was the grocery girl. I think someone else was the mail guy but I can't be sure."
* Relative at the wake: "Oh, you're the wine guy. She loved you! Tom? Tom McSeeley, right? (Close enough)
* Gloria's birthday was September 11, 1925. I feel such a sadness for anyone born on that day. I hate being born on Dec 21, for selfish reasons, but Sept. 11 is worse, and far more sad.
* Gloria had some hot granddaughters and extended family. I stayed at the wake for about a half hour, despite not knowing anyone. During that time I wondered about the etiquette for flirting at a wake. Surely SOMEONE has met SOMEONE else while mourning, no?
* More than one person literally walked in an out of the funeral home in under 3 minutes! Sign the book, kiss a few cheeks, mutter a few "sorry for your losses" I'm sorry, this isn't speed waking. Pay a little respect and turn off the mini-van's engine.

My first memory of Gloria came before I even met her. I moved into my apartment two years ago on Memorial Day weekend. It was a good 85 muggy degrees outside. When I walked in the foyer leading to our units, the heat was on, full blast. It must have been 100 degrees.

I turned it down.
She turned it up
I turned it down.
She turned it up.
I turned it down.
She left a note to keep the heat on so she won't be cold while waiting for her rides.

Okay, sauna/foyer it is. I just hope I don't have to pay for that.

So the day she went in the hospital, it was a warm day. The foyer was about 4 degrees cooler than the sun. I turned the heat off, knowing she was gone for a few days.

It was the last time anyone touched the heat. And she's gone. Her note is still there.

Rest in Peace, Gloria.
And Rest in Warmth

Monday, June 1, 2009

May -- The Dryest Month of the Year. Well, THIS Year

I'm not the smartest guy going. I know this. Sometimes as soon as I say something, I immediately wish my words had a little string on the end of them, so I can pull them back in. (Never mind, the string on the end made me think of tampons and.....ew)

Anyway, my good friend Jeff was going to visit a brand new doctor in late April. Over our weekly breakfast, he tells me he wants to build good healthy habits, drop a few pounds and get reinvigorated. Sounded like a good idea to me.

So I made one of the dumbest suggestions. Ever.

"Well why don't we go on the wagon for the month of May," I said. "We'll give up drinking and try to build some good habits."

My egg-white ommelette tasted like crap that day, by the way. My mouth got dry, and not the way I like it to.

So we did. May came and we stopped drinking. A few days in Jeff asks "You meant getting drunk, right? Like we can have a couple of drinks, but no more getting tanked, for the month."

"Jeff," I began to reason with him with my new, clean mind. "if you're drinking you NEVER think you're tanked. Unless you've lost the feeling in your legs, and you'd probably blame that on your belt anyway."

Sure, drying out for a month sounds like a great idea. But picking THIS particular month didn't make much sense. Consider:

* May had five weekends. FIVE. That's like 10 percent of the weekends for the WHOLE year.
* I was invited to two birthday parties in May, including a 40th birthday barbecue. Ug.
* Mother's Day. Extended family time. I even babysat my two nieces for a whole day and didn't cave.
* Golf season. I'm not good when I'm focused. Lose a couple brain cells, lose a couple strokes.
* Memorial Day. I felt un-American by not honoring our fallen veterans by getting a little lubed up on imported beers.
* My next door neighbor Gloria died late in the month. I wanted to at least hoist a very cheap glass of read wine in her honor, but I settled on a few prayers.
* Baseball. I have about 18 lonely beers in my fridge. Every day another Met got hurt. It wasn't looking so good. I needed liquid company!

My cousin always goes dry in February. He says it's so he knows he CAN give it up for health reasons if someday he needed to. But, let's face it -- February is the softest month of the year. Shortest month, barely any sports (though the Super Bowl is now played in February, but still)

I didn't tell many people about this "experiment." Frankly, I got tired of hearing "YOU gave up DRINKING. For a MONTH!? Are you dying?"

Those who know both Jeff and I wondered who would crack first. We never even bet on it, we both decided to just do it, and believed we both could, so we never considered betting. Me not considering competing!! Can you believe it!

May came. May went. No alcoholic beverage touched my lips.

It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought. So what did I learn?

* Water is your friend. I feel like a freakin' fish I drank so many gallons of water;
* Hangovers suck. Most mornings I was rested, refreshed. It was weird. I almost liked it.
* Finishing something is way harder than starting it. The last week was hell. I think my Bombay Sapphire was literally calling my name. Oh, BS, I'll be there soon.
* My ADD is not solely attributable to Heineken. I still forgot stuff. Woo hoo! I think....
* Bars actually charge you to drink seltzer water? One place stuck me for $3.50. And no free refills!!! Hell for that kind of money, I should have been drinking a G&T at half the pace!
*Susan Boyle really is ugly. Drunk or sober.

So today is June 1. It's almost 2 p.m. No liquid lunch, no shakes, no hives (other than the one on the deck the bees built)

So cheers to me! Gifts of gin, Heineken mini-kegs and Advil are currently being accepted.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What is a "Road Game" and other pressing fecal matters....

Death, taxes and potty humor. They are the constants I'm finding out.

So I write about how full of it I am (yes, 1.68 pounds) and I get alllll sorts of feedback. Most of it came offline because people are still shy about talking about fecal matter publicly. Seems there are a lot of questions. So, let's get to it. This weeks edition of Tom Talks Shit.

Q: What exactly is a 'road game?'

A road game, as you might imagine, is when you relieve yourself away from home. At work, at a friend's house, on an airplane, at a Chuck E. Cheese. Hell, it could be in the woods.

Q: Is it natural to feel uncomfortable partaking in, um, a 'road game?'

While it is quite uncommon to feel some level of angst, guilt, discomfort or even shhh! (constipation), the act itself is among the most natural of human functions.

I have a friend we'll call Bean since, well, that's what we call him. He refuses to, under almost any circumstance, visit a foreign bowl. I'm not talking about letting fly in China or Italy. I'm talking about ANY road game. I think it's a germ issue, though there is clearly overall discomfort.

This guy will work a double shift and hold it all day just so he can make a home deposit. I think he's crazy. If you have a family heriloom that needs to be protected, Bean's your guy. He can tuck away anything in safety for an extended period.

Now I get that. There are some horribly disgusting places that are disguised as restrooms. I would have to be nearly dead to use a gas station toilet, for example. Airports are a tough call, especially if you are about to board a flight. What's worse -- a couple germs on the cheeks or having stomach cramps while sitting next to Jobba The Hut on a flight to Vegas? "Uh, no prune juice for me, thank you very much!"

Q: How long is too long to hold it? How many times a day should one 'drop the kids at the pool?'

Ah, one of life's big mysteries....One of the ongoing debates that Bean and I enjoy.

I think it's easy. "Three meals, three times," right? I mean you don't want your PB&J running up against your pork loin now do you? Or your brown rice and your egg whites. Then you get in a whole Rodney King situation in your colon and NOBODY wants that.

But because I don't know everything... (I'll pause while you get over your shock)... I turned to a professional nutritionist, whom we'll call Alison Held because, well that's her name. Here was Alison's take:

"2 or 3 times daily is optimal. Only once is not ideal at all."

There you have it. Three Meals, Three Times. Maybe I do know it all.

Q: What is the deal with corn?

I know!!! What IS the deal with corn? I don't really know (okay, I did look it up but it's too scientific for a humor blog. The only funny thing about science, in history, was Beaker the Muppet. But I DO know this. We should make houses and space shuttles out of kernels of corn.

I also stumbled upon this discovery/science project. I have imbibed an adult beverage or two in my day. I happen to really like Guinness. (I know, it's like tar. Take my friend Jimmy O's advice. Drink two pints and then tell me it sucks. You can't.) So one night I'm drinking Guinness at a barbecue where there is obviously corn on the cob. Now, when I say I was drinking Guinness, I mean you could line I-95 with the amount of tar I consumed.

So, next day, after a home game, I take a glance before the flush (Come on, you KNOW you do it too) and it was almost black and infused with corn. I call it the Bumble Bee, but I can never get the stripes of corn in a perfect row. But, like a Rubik's Cube, I know have something to try to solve, to form the perfect Bumble Bee.

Oh, I'm sorry, am I talking out loud? Oops. Maybe I've more than answered your questions.

Until next time, this is Dr. Feces -- signing off. I "gotta go" anyway!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Full of (Sh)it is Tom Anyway????

So I've been told I'm full of it. Okay, I've been told I'm flat out full of shit. (Yes, it was probably YOU who said it.)

But recently, I wondered......hmmm. HOW full of it/shit am I? How does one measure this?

Then, in an awkward place, I found my answer.

I was a guest in someone's home and I had to urinate, or "tinkle" as we said as kids. I'm not sure why parents and kids make up cute words for pee. Just call it pee, right?

Anyway, I embarked on Mission Tinkle in someone else's home. I walked in their tastefully decorated bathroom. It was like a library with a toilet. Which, I thought, wouldn't be such a bad thing. We would all read more if the toilet was in the room where all the books were. At least we'd make it through the first chapter. And, let's face it, if you like the first chapter you're gonna read the rest of the book. I wonder if the Reading Is Fundamental people have thought of this approach. Is that group still around or is RIF RIP. (This is how my mind works. You wonder why I'm always tired?)

Mission Tinkle...Yes that's right. So I begin the fumbling around (zipper, raising the toilet seat, etc.) and something catches my eye which, of course, gets my brain to thinking.

A digital scale in the bathroom.

Now these scales are the devil. If you think you're 175 pounds it will tell you 175.8 and then you're forced to mentally round up, or to allow for your 5 pound jeans.

I remember 175 pounds. My junior year in high school was so much fun.

So the scale....I look at it, and realize I do need to do more than pee. I needed to do "Number Three" (I could never remember the numbers; which was number one, which was number two, so I created a number 3, for when you have to do both.)

But, of course the problem was I was a visitor in someone else's bathroom. A "road game" is either uncomfortable for the visitor or socially frowned upon by just about everyone. (Unless it's a relative's house, then you can let 'er fly anytime. And take great pleasure in doing so.)

I needed to know, I decided.

So I weighed myself before making the deposit. Then I read a chapter of whatever was available. Then I stepped on the digital scale again. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who's ever done this. If I owned a digital scale, I would do this every time I had a "home game.")

So what was the result? Drum roll please (there's a rim shot joke in there somewhere, right?)

1.68 pounds

So, if I were 175 pounds let's say, the 175.8 could have been (oh I shouldn't have had the cheesecake), but instead I would have REALLY been 174.12 pounds (look out bitches, I'm fit and trim).

So does 1.68 fecal pounds dictate "full of shit?" I don't really know because, I've never weighed other people's dumps. Nor have I asked about it. Kind of a delicate issue, and you need a digital scale. But the few friends I've told this story too seem to think it's a lot. But like the adage of your shit don't stink, I think people underestimate the bulkiness of their waste matter.

I'm sure there is a website where you can enter your weight. I guess I'm not THAT caught up in my ranking against the median weight of my personal dung that I would search for such a resource.

The long and the short of it (actually it was kind of dense, not particularly long or short) is that I STILL don't know how full of shit I am. I just know I left skidmarks in a really nice bathroom. I wonder if they noticed.....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Love notes from Gloria

You've all read about Gloria, the 84-year-old neighbor (see this post:

She knocks on my door yesterday. "Tommy! Tommy! Are you in there? Are you sleeping?" I had just come out of the shower (hmmm. Impeccable timing or opportunistic vixen?) so I was dressed only in my skivvies and a t-shirt. Throw on some jeans and answer the door:

Gloria: Oh, you ARE there. Were you sleeping?
Me: No, I was just in the show---. Uh, I was getting dressed.
Gloria: Oh, you're going out?
Me: Yes, but I won't be home til the evening.
Glo: Perfect. Can you get me some wine?
(Now, I've done this for her; fetched two large bottle of red swine, I mean wine, that she favors, so this isn't an unusal request)
Me: Sure.
(Long, uncomfortable silence ensues. Me wondering: 1. What was the cheap brand again? 2. Where's my money you needy wench?)
Her: Oh, they know what I like.
Me: (Thinking: 1. Who are "they" exactly. I'm now a psychic and I know where you buy your wine now? 2. Where is my money you needy wench?)

(Did I mention I'm not a nice person. I don't think I'm hell material, but I'm not Gandhi. Yes, I tend to eat quite well).

So I figure I can remember the bottle when I see it. It will be the biggest bottle for $5.99 in the joint. And I know the approximate location of said wine)

So, an hour or so later I leave for my afternoon meetings and appointments (I gotta work to support Gloria's drinking habits.) There is a note outside my front door. And $15 in cash.

Now Gloria is 84, as I said. She sometimes leaves notes "Open this" for her goose-neck Clorox toilet cleanser or "I'm sorry you didn't clean off my car yesterday (in the snow)."

Direct, to the point.

But here is the note from yesterday:

"Tom: 2 of these (note next to empty bottle of Livingston Burgundy Reserve Red Swine, I mean Wine.)

Thank you for taking garbage out. *

I'm waiting for the doctor to tell me when he's going to do the job. **

See you later. I'm going to go for the mail. I hope I make it." ***

Okay, after resisting the urge to swallow every capsule, tablet, drug and cleansing product in my condo, I thought the following things from this note.....

* I had no choice but to take the garbage out. Gloria leaves the foyer at about...hmmm... 100 degrees, so she's warm while waiting for the taxi pick-up most days. Even during the summer. (Anyone who's been here knows I am NOT exaggerating). I usually take her garbage out anyway, but this day she left the garbage outside her door in the morning. When I left that evening, her garbage included: an empty tuna fish can and an empty (I think) cottage cheese container.
Okay, I mentioned the 100 degree thing, right? Blistering heat. Tuna fish. Cottage cheese. You get the idea. I had no choice to take out the garbage or else risk the smell of hot vomit when I got home.
I'll wait while you go vomit yourself too.

** Um, Gloria and I talk once in a while but I don't know her last name, how many children she has, where she was born. None of that. Our conversations are limited to the length of time I can stand breathing in 100 degree air, or until she asks me my cat's name ("Fumbles" I tell her, followed by her saying "Hello Tumbles." This has happened five times already). These conversations last about 38 seconds or roughly the amount of time my first layer of skin takes to melt.
So what's with this too-much-information note about the doctor and doing the job?? Uh, I got nothin' Glo Worm. Usually a line that includes "doctor finishing the job" would be ripe for humor, or adult movies. But this was kinda sad in a "maybe you shouldn't be drinking shit wine" kind of way.

*** The mail is literally 20 feet from our foyer. Look lady, I removed the steamy bag of garbage (by bag I mean the little plastic shopping bags that old people use for trash containment. And next time Glo Glo, can you tie it up at least?). And I'm buying the wine. Don't guilt trip me into the mail thing. Just because my name is Mr. McFeeley doesn't mean I'm a mail delivery expert. My uncle did that crap with that cheesy Mr. Rodgers til he had to go postal on the Neighborhood of Make Believe. It wasn't pretty. Or make believe.

And, besides Glo Stick, if I do this mail thing, then it's gonna be "Can you reach that can of 10 year old pea soup. I'm just so weak, I can't do it" or "Come change my light bulb. It's so dark and I'm so weak. And I can't even see the can of soup I'm going to ask you to grab for me." And we all know what will happen. My sweaty hands in your 105 degree condo will drop the can of soup, hit you in the head, and then I'll have to somehow call your family (if you have one) or go to the emergency room with you. At least the ER will be more comfortable.

So later in the day I leave the wine outside her door (with the two dollars change. She asked me once where her $1.17 in change was, though never offered extra money when I bought one extra bottle of swine, I mean wine), and I barely get into my place when she swoops up the wine and the money.

I haven't heard from her since then. Given the daily treks to the mailbox, the vague doctor/job reference and the hope I make it crap, who knows if she got to finish either of the bottles yet.

I won't get worried until I smell rotting cottage cheese -- from INSIDE her condo. Or, is that REALLY cottage cheese that's rotting????

Wow, I AM going to hell afterall. I hope they dont' serve Livingston Burgundy Reserve Red Swine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm Not Always Nice, But Am I Going to Hell?

So yesterday on my Facebook page, I posted something you might call "mean." Okay it wasn't nice, but I was joking.

It said something to the effect of: "I think Susan Boyle is just Taylor Hicks in drag.....I'm sorry, but she's just too ugly to look at."

Okay, definitely not kind, but come on....She's only famous BECAUSE she is ugly. And she's only famous because she's ugly because we, as a society, have made attractiveness as important as talent in determining celebrity.

So, in my opinion, this "uplifting" and "touching" story is a non-story. It's our own fault it's a story.

And, by the way, if you put Taylor Hicks in a dress.....that's what he would look like. I'm sorry, I'm not wrong about this.

So, seconds after I post it, I was the object of a online firestorm. People, and by people I mean women, were shocked and appalled. They called me mean and said everyone's been called ugly or fat in their lives and this was such a good story blah blah blah.

The underlying message? "You're the devil."

So then I thought "wait a minute, AM I going to hell? ME????"

Personally I don't believe there is a heaven or a hell. I think it's a cool religious fable to "teach" us to be good. I think you become a rotting corpse or some ashes over your favorite park or body of water, or bar. Other possibilities might include afterlives as a dictator, a frog, or a porn star.

But I wondered, wheh my time comes, how the interview for heaven might go.......

St. Peter: Ah, Tom McFeeley. I've been waiting for this day. I was afraid you'd come on my day off. When St. Patrick gets the gate, he lets all the Irish dudes in. Except those who had pet snakes.

Me: It's okay. I'm not that fond of St. Patrick's Day. I hope he doesn't read blogs. But, hey, you get days off?

St. Peter: Dude, it's heaven. The benefits up here are ungodly. Ooops, I keep saying that. But, we have lots to talk about. Would you like a seat in the heavenly recliner? There's a cold Heineken in the cup holder.

Me: A recliner? Outside the gates? Cold beer waiting? Sweet.

St. Peter: If it's that good outside the gates, imagine what it's like inside.

Me: Strippers?

St. Peter: If you get in, you'll find out. Now let's talk about this Susan Boyle thing.

Me: Pete, I'm really sorry. I was kinda tired that day. I was tired of the whole Susan Boyle thing. You see, it's only because she's ug -

Pete: Relax, McFeeley. It was freakin' funny. Taylor Hicks? That's just genius. But don't worry about that one. God made her ugly as a test.

Me: A test? What are you talking about?

Pete: Yeah, first God invented boils. On the feet. He thought it was funny, but you guys got all medical about it and didn't get the humor. Then he sent you Peter Boyle. Now that guy was odd, and very funny. And you still didn't get the joke. Well Gene Wilder, he got it. "Puttin' on the Ritz?" Pure genius. The big G loves that scene. We have a big party planned for Mr. Wilder upon is arrival.

Me: Peter Boyle is funny.

Pete: WAS funny.

Me: Oh, yeah he died.....Wait, he just died....Then we discover Susan Boyle. Is there a pl--

P: There is always a plan my man. Now you're getting it. She's 49 and never been kissed? Never did the tickle pickle, come on. Could we put ANYMORE fish in the sea. Clearly we just invented her this year.

Me; Yeah, otherwise she might have ended up with William Hung huh? (I chuckle)

P: Yeah, William Hung was St. Alyousius's idea. I'm telling you, you give a saint a fucked up name and he fights through it with good humor. It's like naming a boy Cody or Courtney or one of those other bullshit 21st century names.

Me: Yeah, I didn't have kids when I was married.

P: Thank GOD for that.

Me: Well, I guess you can. Where is the big guy?

P: Around the corner, but you gotta take an angel quite a distance. The G-man can't wait for Hefner to get here. God's pad makes the Playboy Manson look like a Studio Apartment.....Now, let's move onto the real business....We liked the Susan Boyle thing. Your appreciation of Stephen Lynch is somewhat disturbing. But that song about him waiting for his AIDS test? Funny stuff. So is there anything you wanna tell me?

Me: Uh, I once almost set a willow tree on fire when I was five. I let my brother take the fall for something I did. Though I did try to bring him some dessert.

P: Oh, how noble of you, you little rat.

Me: Uh, I once cheated my Mom when she was my English teacher and the girl I had a crush on to win a chocolate bar.

P: A Whatchamacallit, right?

Me: Yeah.

P: Good choice. What about that day you hooked up with a woman at a bar after you walked your blind date to her car and came back? Or letting that crazy girl in college think your friend was a warlock? Or your ongoing childhood attempts to put your cat in the toilet?

Me: The hardest thing to do, shoving a cat in the toilet. Those cats are strong creatures.

P: Well, you ain't going in the morality hall of fame. But you do help your elderly neighbor. You're good to your Mom. You generally go out of your way to help people, though the vast majority of them are attractive women.... But you make people laugh and laughter is slightly less important than oxygen. And we do think your idea of Special Olympians playing college mascots in basketball, though rough around the edges, does have potential. Both financial and economic. Good thinkng.

Me: So....I'm in?

P: Yes, you get in. Let me find the right key here. You'd think we have one entrance, but everytime a baker arrives, Gandhi just attacks him. That is one hungry dude.

Me: (trying to hug St. Peter), Thank you so much. I really appreci-

P: ---- oh stop with that. Orientation is at noon. You do have to shower first.

Me: Well...what....where are my clothes.

P: Dude, it's heaven. Only the front gate guy has to wear a robe. We go au naturale up here.

Me: Sweeeeet!

And then I wake up and realize I'm definitely headed to hell. I mean who tries to stuff a cat in a toilet...Oh yeah, my brother Sean tried it too. We're both going to hell. That's how our cat Oogie would prefer it. Yes, Oogie, don't ask. I'll tell you about it in hell.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Welcome to the world's largest (and annual) funeral -- bottom's up!!!

I really don't like St. Patrick's Day.

What, you ask? An Irishman who enjoys a Guinness as much as the next guy, or ANY guy for that matter, does not like to celebrate St. Paddy's Day???

Yes, that's what I'm saying.

Why, you ask. (That's is you're practiced in the art of obvious question-and-answer banter.)

Several things, I say. Here they are:

1. He wasn't Irish. St. Patrick was actually brought to Ireland from Wales as a slave. Nice, huh? Peel these 80 dozen potatoes and, when you're done, we have a wee snake issue you might want to take a look at.

2. Snakes might not have existed in St. Patrick's time. Who knows about this -- I'm no reptologist or anything. But parting the waters or making Guinness out of water (or tar) was not original. Snakes! He can drive snakes out of Ireland (and presumbably into water since Ireland is an island), proving snakes or people are kind of stupid. Who knows which is really true. Are we to believe St. Patrick was the Samuel L. Jackson of his time?? "We gotta get these m-therf-cking snakes off this m-therf-cking island!"

3. Oh yeah, he's not a saint. He was not associated with any particular faith. He has never been canonized by any Pope. (Canonize, kids, does NOT mean he was shot out of a canon as a form of saint hazing; it's the act of naming someone a saint.) So for all you (us) Roman Catholics out there who are going to hell if we get divorced, have pre-marital sex, or are gay and want to get married, because that's not what the church teaches us we MUST believe and practice, then you're are probably a hethen if you celebrate on March 17. (But we're all going to hell anyway based on these beliefs/rules so might as well hoist another one!)

4. St. Patrick was not born on March 17. He did not invent beer on March 17. He did not become a Saint on March 17 because, you know, he's not really a saint. Nor did he create Oprah on March 17 (see Really Big Bang Theory for THAT one). He died on March 17. Yes, death....woo hoo! (I wonder how many points that Not a Saint Patrick That Really Cool Welsh Slave Guy Who May or May Not Have Driven Snakes In The Water would have netted in the Ghoul Pool??)
Though in dying on this day and having millions of people revel in death, he did create the Irish wake.
(When I broght an Italian friend to her first Irish wake, she whispered "They DO know he died, right? And that he's laying right there?")

I also don't like the day because I don't need to celebrate being Irish. I AM Irish. Every day.

And celebrating being Irish has more to do than silly Halloween leprachaun outfits, green beer, painting shamrocks on your cheeks (hmmm which ones), and drinking until you forget how many fingers you have.

No, being Irish is about going to church even if you don't agree with it's teachings. Being Irish is about never showing emotions until your family is completely dysfunctional. Being Irish is about never crying until Uncle Seamus loses his left foot to gout, and then getting blind drunk becuase you haven't seen your cousin Courtney since your visit to the old country 10 years ago. And of course being Irish is about drinking because you want to, not because it's March.

Oh, yeah you MUST love the Kennedys. Shhh - it's unconditional. Don't ask why.

Have a great funeral, er, day anyway. Leave all your troubles behind.

And if you don't like Guinness, please take a tip I received from one Jimmy O'Neil back in my college days. "Have a 2nd pint,'' he said. "If you really don't like it after the 2nd one, I'll buy them both for you and never bother you again."

His advice changed my life. At least the portions that I remember...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Introducing the "Mancation" -- MAAC Daddies on the loose

Every year there are four special days on the calendar. No, not Arbor Day silly, though I do have a growing appreciation for trees.

Those days are the "mancation" for me and four buddies. If you know me well, you probably have heard about this. Me and three buddies venture to some exciting city in the northeast: Buffalo, Albany, Bridgeport CT, and -- pinch me -- Trenton, NJ for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball tournament

The MAAC is one of those small school conferences you've probably never heard about whose team names are creatures or beings you've never heard of or will ever encounter. Golden Griffins, Purple Eagles, the Gaels. I went to Iona (home of the Gaels -- it's an Irish warrior, think Fighting Irish minus the Notre Dame). The other three guys didn't go to Iona, or any other MAAC school. And one weekend -- 10 years ago -- they apparently had so little to do, that they came to Albany, NY with me to watch teams (and creatures) they've never heard of to play basketball.

Ten years later, we are back. We have not missed a MAAC weekend since and we're not afraid to let it be known. We've labelled ourselves the MAAC Dadddies (I know, it's really lame. But it stuck). We've been written up in the newspaer (more than once in more than one city). We've had beers with coaches (and their mothers). We are known throughout the conference and, most especially, in the arena bars. We are not small time.

To illustrate what this weekend means to us, consider:

* My sister's birthday is March 4 and most years I'm the jerk little brother who misses her birthday five out of six years;
* One guy attended the tournament when his two-week old prematurely born son was still in the hospital. Oh relax, he was fine. Oh relax, the kid is six now and out of the hospital. He's lucky he popped out early, so that his Dad can be there on his birthday every year.
* Another MAAC Daddy had a mandatory regional manager's meeting that weekend one year. He blew it off.
* I lost my job two days before the tournament one year. Financial worries immediately set in and I ponied up for my share of the hotel and adult beverage consumption fund. I didn't eat for a month, but whatever. Beer has grains.

How bad is it? When I go to the arena in Bridgeport, CT -- a few miles from my house -- the bartenders, security guards and some random weird people say "Hey....where are the rest of the MAAC Daddies?" I guess it's our 15 minutes of fame.

I know what you're thinking. "Uh....why not go to South Carolina to golf? A trip to spring training or a five cities in six days baseball trip during the season?"

Let's put it this way....The year we first attended the tourney, we walked in a mostly empty arena on a Friday afternoon during a women's game. (Yes, we watch the women's games too. Sometimes.) There was a scramble for the ball, three players fell to the floor as timeout was called.

One of the guys, without thinking, yelled down to the court....wait for it...."Clean the wet spot!!"

That was the moment we knew we'd return every year forever. And our jackets were still on.

So while we might break our record for earliest beer consumed (9:38 a.m.) this weekend, please say a prayer for us. But think about your guy. (If you're a guy, don't to that. Think about your girl) Wouldn't he love four days away every year to blow off some steam and get the mancation he deserves.

Okay, fellas stop thinking about your girl. Or finish up. Either way, carve out your mancation today before you lose your mind. Oh, and clean the wet spot.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Say it Ain't So, Glo! My Girl Gloria is Cheating on Me

Today was a snowy, quiet day. I made up a couple of minor errands just to get out of the house. You know, return a Blockbuster movie, mail the rent check....Ooops, is it March already!!!??

One of my inspirations to get moving this afternoon (hey, I didn't say anything about bright-eyed and bushy tailed. You presumed that!) was that I typically clean off not only my Pathfinder, but the ancient, little green vehicle of sorts that belongs to my 84-year-old next door neighbor, Gloria.

I've mentioned Gloria before. She's the woman for whom I open toilet cleaners and roasted red pepper jars; I "fix" her answering machine (that is erase the messages after I've instructed her about 122 other previous times how to do the same); I take her garbage out.

So, you know, me and Glo are tight.

And I take this car-cleaning thing seriously, even though she's told me her family doesn't want her driving. Sometimes she's just GOTTA get somewhere. Hey man, she's an 84-year-old on the go! (She gave me 5 dollars during the first snowstorm. I didn't want to take the money so I bought that swill-wine and earned a nickel extra for when I need 2 minutes in a parking meter. The next time it snowed, I didn't go out that day, and she left a note on the door "Sorry you didn't clean my car today." So that's what we're dealing with here)

So I put on my winter layers, hat, gloves, goofy ski hat that makes my head 178 degrees. I trudge down the stairs, grab the shovel and walk outsi.......

What the? Who the? Dude....Someone cleaned her car!

Gloria is cheating on me!

So I dug out my Pathfinder, half brooding and half wondering who could be more benevolent than me!? Impossible! Whoever it was is an early bird, eagerly getting out before 3:30 p.m.!

I did discover that the new saint in town failed to shovel a path to Gloria's driver's side, which I not only happily did, I cleared a path on the passenger side too! Take that rookie!

So as I'm about to begin my trip to Blockbuster, my downstairs neighbor comes out with his own shovel and nods to me. I nod back, expecting that to be end of it. He says to me "I bailed you out this time, I took care of Gloria's car."

Newman! He's the guy! I actually kinda like him. And decide to drop my grudge. For now.

I said "You didn't have to do that. I told her I'd take care of it."

"Nice of you," I added.

"She gave me 10 bucks."


Bad economy and Gloria's upping the ante. Interesting. She drives a hard bargain that Glo.

I got over it in a hurry. I parked outside of Blockbuster, used my nickel for 2 minutes at the meter while I retured the movie. When I returned home, Gloria's garbage was outside my door.

The true test. The wasted tissues, empty tuna cans (or is that cat food), and empty Parmalat boxes of an admiring 84-year-old. Come on rook, step up. This is what it's all about. We can all be the Shovel For Hire, but let's see what you got on garbage day!

Make sure my foyer doesn't smell like elderly refuse tomorrow. Be sure to pick that up tomorrow by 2 p.m. I have an early day.