Monday, July 28, 2008

How to be Happy

Hi everybody,

Lately I can't help but wonder if its been "too much about me", regarding the subject nature of recent posts. Sure, it IS my blog and - as the immortal Bobby Brown so eloquently put it - "my prerogative" to post as I please. And we are all guilty to some extent of seeking gratification in its various forms wherever we can, whether it's through our blogging or by cruising the seedy areas of town (and then blogging about it).

But sometimes I feel the need to "give back" to the community, and I don't always have the luxury of drinking until that uncomfortable feeling goes away. Now don't take me literally. I certainly don't mean "giving back" in the form of returning all of the crap I've stolen oven the years. Thanks to the reach of eBay, those items could be anywhere by now.

However I CAN adopt a minimalist approach to this affliction by - at least - posting just once in a way that reaches out to others without the usual inappropriate groping.

So here goes.

I noticed that - while "needy" in some way or another* (* which I am NOT disparaging, since if you folks WERE well-adjusted ... there goes my audience) - the majority of you appear to be fairly happy. Sure there are a few who wish their life could be better, or existent, but - to give the benefit of the doubt - that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

But for each of us, there is a time when perhaps we should take inventory (as my neighbors have learned to do with their possessions), in the form of calm, lucid moments of self-reflection (clothed or otherwise). Are we truly as happy as we can be? Do we set ourselves up for happiness through our thought processes and actions? If not, how can we improve in this area?

Well, here are some tips for doing just that.

1) Take a Pass on Perfection

Trust me. I know you people enough by now to confidently state that in all of your cases this is a futile effort. So let's lower the bar a tad, and simply have you strive to annoy others as little as possible. That may boost their happiness, which should make you happier. Remember that we are all part of the fabric of society. Don't be the itchy part of the fabric.

2) Find Your Balance

I know this may be a foreign concept, so stay with me on this one. While walking upright does indeed require some degree of balance, "finding your center" is really what I'm talking about. It's being comfortable within your own skin, unlike the creepy Buffalo Bill character from that Jodie Foster movie* (* the name of which escapes me, it may have been "Nell", but I'm sure someone will remember the title in the comments). Perhaps for some of you, it's realizing that holding this Pug captive in your cellar as a sex slave is merely a temporary solution at best.

Wait ...

With the possible exception of one or two of you, I just realized that I don't nearly have enough time or space to properly explain how to find your balance. So let's find your center. As homework, I want each of you to look through your local phone book for any type of center that will keep you off of the streets. Could be AA, the YMCA/YWCA, Gambler's Anonymous, Army Recruiter, or even the local Recreation Center. Anything to keep you busy and your mind occupied.

3) Don't Try to Buy Happiness

Especially late at night by the airport. They just might mistake you for the next Green River Killer. Trust me on this one. 'Nuff said.

4) Switch Gears

My personal preference is "Park". That's when the booze in the glove box, blanket in the trunk, and Air Supply CD in the stereo come to party. For the rest of you, at least try to get out of first gear.

5) Lose Yourself in the Moment

The key is to focus on the moment in the same manner that you do on your cell phone conversation. Pedestrians and fellow motorists, and their self-centered attempts to live and distract are completely blocked out, aren't they? Use this same technique to visualize the moment (whatever the hell that is) as the only thing that matters and therefore exists.

6) Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

You can start by thanking me for this advice. And then, assuming the acid reflux hasn't gripped completely, you may want to thank me for my friendship. Then gradually work to the point to where you can even appreciate stop-and-go traffic.

7) Share the Love

By this, I don't mean that you should participate in orgies. So get your minds out of the gutter. This means you, Lamby. No, I mean that we should be more loving of each other (at least initially) without our own self-gratification in mind. When is the last time you went up to a total stranger and hugged them for no reason? Probably the last time you were arrested. Well, haven't you waited long enough to try it again? Do what I do: ease into it by starting with attractive members of the opposite sex. Initially stay north of the equator. If the reaction is not positive, pretend that you thought she/he was someone you knew from church.

8) Help Yourself by Helping Others

How often have we seen one of our neighbors moving in or out? Have we even once stopped to offer our assistance? Why not? Well, stop asking questions and get involved! You just may make a new friend, or perhaps acquire a new stereo that you didn't have to budget for. This is known in my circle as "paying it forward".

9) Choose to Choose Less

Think you own your possessions? Quite the opposite, my friend. Your possessions own YOU. They keep you from being nimble in your life choices and your decision-making. Be like me, and learn to envy those who can make a home from a poorly guarded foreclosure, with nothing but a knapsack and some basic tools to rip out the copper plumbing.

10) Introduce Your Body to Your Mind

I try to do this at least twice a day. But this is a personal journey that I'd rather not share on a blog that does not require a paid subscription.

11) Be More Forgiving

You can start by forgiving me for this and the other posts of mine that you've been subjected to over the past few years. Later on we can continue to test your resolve in this area by having you lend me money.

12) Pick Out the Positives

Everyday, I see many of my fellow motorists "picking out the positives" from themselves when they think no one is looking. That isn't one-way glass, pal. But that isn't what I want to talk about here. I'm thinking more in terms of reflecting on aspects of yourself and your world that you can feel good about. You haven't killed anyone, right? Well that can be considered a positive, depending on where you live. See? It's that easy.

Anyway, I hope this "advice" has been helpful; and that in some small way it has you convinced that you are entitled to happiness, despite anything your fellow bloggers may say to the contrary. Live well, my friends, and go in peace. Or better yet, just go.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Seduced by a Cougar

When did we first connect? I wasn't sure. Nor was I confident in remembering the precise circumstances. We males are just wired that way, I suppose.

But once we did, I knew that my life would never be quite the same again. I was hooked. She exuded confidence and a sexuality that would come off as brazen and undignified in a younger woman. I found this refreshing.

And that body. The manner in which her slinky dress instinctively knew where to end and begin again; the way it tenderly caressed her curves while shimmering and shadowing in all the right places. It was only with great difficulty that I could avert my eyes at all.

I've never been fond of wildlife comparisons to describe these encounters. I've habitually chosen to avoid using terms such as "predator" and "prey". If something is meant to be, there should be no element of capture or conquest to it.

But for some strange reason, ever since first hearing the term "cougar" to describe an older, attractive and available female who is drawn to younger men, I have been enamored with it. This obviously contradicts my aforementioned stance; though this is not unusual for our species and as such I readily admit to and embrace this paradox.

Perhaps this is partly because of the image that a cougar evokes in my mind: sleek, bold, smooth, graceful. It is therefore a perfect representation of the sophisticated and sexy older woman.

I felt fortunate to be in a position to vie for her attention the very next time our paths intersected at that black tie affair. Maybe it was fate. Whatever the case, it became apparent soon enough that the feeling was somewhat mutual, as we deliberately gravitated toward each other while the presence of others dissipated into the ether.

Thus began the tango of mutual desire and motives uncertain. We embraced. We kissed.

Arriving at my place, our dance continued. Soft music, wine, candles, hushed tones speaking what need not be said. The flow of intertwined limbs writhing over silken sheets. All of a sudden, a glimpse out of the corner of my eye: a spilled glass of red wine, delicately weaving its way along the sheet in close parallel to my leg.

Then I remembered.

It was an actual cougar that had me in its tight grip. The wine wasn't wine at all. It was blood. This was an embrace of death, not ecstasy. Why oh why did I choose to hike alone, and at dusk, of all times?

And yet, I didn't fight it. Perhaps it was the delusional state I was in, most likely due to excessive blood loss. Or it could be that I was - in some twisted way - infatuated with my captor? After all, Stockholm Syndrome has been well-documented in many hostage situations. Was I not a hostage to this most elegant of hunters?

I would have made love to it with the last of my fleeting energy, if it had so wished. Alas, I could only take solace in knowing that our molecules would soon become virtually indistinguishable. I'd be but a passenger on the new journey that awaited me.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

No Country for Young Pugs


What did he do to deserve this? Evil was on his tail, and there was no shaking it. If he could only get to a safe place and be afforded enough time to think, he could get himself out of this jam.

But alas, life was never this easy for the Pug.

However he hadn't a clue as to what brought this on. Sure the Pug had found that satchel full of cash in the desert, along with abandoned pickups, corpses and dying Mexicans. But that was a routine occurrence here in the great southwest, and a source of income for many of the locals.

His pursuer was relentless, and not in the flattering, amorous way that he'd come to expect from his bloggers. The females in particular. Not only that, there were those odd quirks. What was the deal with that metal tank the man carried by his side? Why the bad hair, which was laughable even by Canadian and mall salon standards?

It was obvious to the Pug that he had to flee. And quickly. Sparing no time, he hastily packed his belongings and departed the trailer that he'd one day hoped to fix up and share with his beloved Lamby. Now the prospect of hearing her little hooves scrape across the linoleum every morning as she served him breakfast seemed more than ever out of reach.

Little did he know, that a hidden transponder would be tracking his every move from here on out.

Meanwhile, his pursuer continued to be one step behind. A cruel man, he would cooly respond too those who dared to poke fun at his haircut; offering them life or death, depending on the flip of a penny (what was the significance of using a penny?). Those fortunate enough to make the correct call were still provided with a bowl for use as a template as they were forced to cut their hair to match the pursuer's. Neil Young and Liza Minelli were just two of many who were subjected to this humiliation.

The metal tank was soon revealed to contain helium, which the pursuer would use in a particularly sardonic manner. For those who were slated to be killed, the pursuer would calmly and repeatedly insist on knowing the victim's favorite zoo animal. He would use the helium tank to fashion the animal out of balloons. Then he would pop the creation and shoot the victim. It was pointless, really. Much like this post.


The Pug zigzagged throughout the great southwest, hoping to throw the pursuer off of his trail long enough to make it to Leelee's shop, where he - like many others - could launder the money, and disappear into the Bermuda Triangle.

But the pursuer was relentless, chasing the Pug to the Mexican border, which was surprisingly easy to cross. Soon the fear of the pursuer temporarily gave way to the lure of Tijuana. The Pug was a huge fan of Herb Alpert and his horny sound, and hoped to encounter the legend in one of the town's few brothels, where Herb was known to give the girls trumpet lessons.

Unfortunately this did not come to pass, as our intrepid canine was immediately contacted upon checking into his hotel. The pursuer had a proposition: if the Pug gave himself up, the pursuer wouldn't harm any of his fellow bloggers. Not even the ones deemed expendable.

The Pug refused.

Sneaking back across the border into the U.S., which was surprisingly easy to do, the Pug made his way to El Paso, which was a pleasant 1-degree cooler. He checked himself into a cheap motel where he was flirted with by a sultry Jmeped, who was lounging by the pool in a topless bikini.

Distracted by the blonde vixen, the Pug's guard (but not his gourd) was down as he entered his room, and he failed to notice his pursuer sitting on the bed. The Pug knew the chase was at an end. Sitting down and resigning himself to his fate, the Pug asked the pursuer why he went to so much trouble over a trivial satchel of cash.

The pursuer explained how this was never about the cash. He hadn't been aware of it in the first place.

He then went on to explain how he had been in a long line at the gas station one rush hour morning, while the Pug was at the front, attempting to pay for his fill-up from a huge jar of pennies. Thirty minutes later, after the Pug had finally departed, everyone in that line - including a County Sheriff - chipped in for the pursuer to track down the Pug and exact justice in the form of a penny-laden enema.

The Pug knew that the region had always been violent. Perhaps he was vain in thinking that his impish personality could somehow make a difference. He now feared for his fellow bloggers, who could easily be tracked down via the Pug's sidebar and eliminated one by one.