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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Laugh Attacks

There was a moment, not too long ago, when I sat in a room full of very important people that were having a meeting. Of course, I was not a direct participant in this meeting, because frankly, I’m not that important. No, I sat in the back with a couple of other people that I knew through work. As the important people, whom numbered around sixty, carried on with their important meeting, I watched my friend walk back to his seat next to me with a cup full of pretzels, which he then proceed to drop on the floor.

I’ve always tried to conduct myself in a professional manner, and I’ve also always tried to act appropriate for any situation that I find myself in. Even so, sometimes I lose control. There was something about the way those pretzels flew onto the ground that sent me into a fit. I launched into a full laugh attack, and I laughed and laughed to no end. The people around me noticed the pretzels first, and then they noticed me laughing. Tears fell from my eyes. I couldn’t breathe. I tried my best to cover my mouth and crouch over to keep any noise from coming out, and I was able to partially manage, except for a few squeaks that escaped. I couldn’t keep up the secret though, and when I glanced up to see if anybody was watching, I did see some curious onlookers giggling quietly at me. This of course sent me back into my laugh attack.

The solution in a delicate case like this is only to cover my face, pretend I had an important phone call, and leave the room immediately, which I did. I proceeded outside, and unleashed the full fury of my laugh, which without doubt gathered me some curious onlookers from outside too, but I didn’t care about them. I was lucky to be in the back of the room during the meeting, and as I had found out later, the important meeting participants had not noticed me at all.

The laugh attack is something special that happens to me every here and there. I remember that the previous one before that happened to me about six months earlier while watching a movie at the drive in. There was no need to hide that one, of course. My wife has them too. When I told her about my episode at the meeting, she laughed of course, and then proceeded to tell me about hers which had happened while she had been reading a blog with pictures of awkward pregnancy outfits and poses.

I’m not sure if everyone has laugh attacks, but some people like us sure do. I decided to do some research one day, and I found a lot of interesting information on the subject, including the link below, which depicts a televised laugh attack for an on-air announcer during a game. Obviously, the announcer tried his best to remain professional as well, denoted by the period of silence and short, subtle squeaks. Anyhow, for anyone out there that hasn’t experience a laugh attack, I sure hope that you get the chance to, and if you do, I hope that it’s when you are free to laugh out loud.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Refusing to Break

It was during the week between Christmas and New Year that I found myself at a gas station, dropping some serious coin on fuel. As I was pumping, I leaned back against my car as usual to check out the scene. It was empty, in the middle the afternoon, except for one other person. As I watched the slovenly beast, I looked closer, and noticed that he was not the usual slovenly beast that I’ve been used to. He was middle-aged, maybe close to fifty years old, and very overweight. His shoes were worn badly on the outside edges from years of walking bow-legged, and his jeans and t-shirt were worn out and too tight.

He didn’t seem to notice much of anything going on outside of his personal area. His small pick-up truck was full of lawn mowing equipment, which was a rare sight these days as most of the landscapers around these parts are Latinos. The thing with this guy was that he was alone, and he looked very sad and downtrodden. I couldn’t help feeling bad for him in that moment.

The thing with me is that I have unfortunately been born with a soft heart. It has always been my weakness, but it doesn’t mean that I am weak. Even when I was a kid in school, I often found myself sticking up for the weak when they were being picked on. I have compassion for those that lack the strength and courage to stand up to bullies or to persevere over the hardships that life deals out. On the flip side, I find comfort in watching justice prevail, and watching the bullies, liars, and cheaters of the world receive their sentences from life.

I’m not a complete fool, of course. This man appeared to be sad, and I really knew nothing about him. He appeared to be a nice man, and even though he was cutting lawns and looked to be very poor, the situation in reality could have been the opposite. He could have been rich, and retired, and the lawn cutting was merely something he did to keep busy. Maybe he had been an asshole all of his life, and was indeed a liar and a cheat, and this was life’s karma coming back around to him. I don’t really know, but my tendency to assume that he was a victim of life’s harsh reality always wins the battle in my heart. It is something I know all too well about myself.

Either way, I am proud of this man. He is hanging on to life by a string. He is refusing to break, as am I. That day, we were in it together, even if he didn’t realize it. This economy has been tough, and life is not easy, but we are not giving up. We are working hard. We are both probably better than what we are getting paid to do everyday, but that doesn’t matter, because we keep moving forward no matter what life creates for us. Maybe he will rest in the shade, on a grassy knoll someday, rich with love and happiness. Maybe I will too. I hope so. I hope we all do, except for the assholes, of course.

Blackball Kia Motors

I never wanted to use this forum as an outlet to vent out about businesses that I didn’t like, or others that have otherwise treated me bad. However, the most recent events in my dealings at Kia Motors here in San Diego have caused me to change my mind about that.

Long story short, my wife and I tried to go down and lease a Kia Sorento, because we need to trade in her sports car for something more useful for her and the baby. Of course, being a struggling writer slash starving artist and all, my credit is not good, which I knew going in. However, my dear uncle, bless his heart, agreed to co-sign with us. We were assured that this would “close the deal”. Keep in mind, I wouldn’t be writing this if things had worked out.

We were able to sign the papers and roll off the lot in the new Kia, with signed lease documents in hand. We had thought that we scored a new, safe SUV for Mom and Baby Peanut. One week later to the day, we got a call from the finance director at FULLER KIA/FORD in Chula Vista, California, telling us that we “had to come and sign documents because our loan was approved”. I asked this gentleman, Telly Gomez, is his name, what he was talking about, but he would not elaborate, and in fact, he became annoyed that I even asked.

So we went down there to find out that our lease was denied and that they wanted to make us “purchase” the vehicle to keep it. This of course would bump up the payments by about 80$ per month, pushing this struggling writer out of the market for it. Our only other option was to return the car. As anyone can see from my previous posts, I love my wife very much, and making her return that car has broken my heart. Seeing her confused and disappointed face, is what I live to avoid. Just thinking about it now vexes me, but I am helpless to do anything about it.

As it turns out, for various reasons, Kia can break a contract like that. It is unlawful to do so, but then I’d have to retain counsel (get a lawyer) to fight it, which of course I also cannot afford. So here I am, back at square one with my old car back. I suppose that watching my wife completely ream the finance manager was a bit of sweet poetic justice. She is amazing. I absolutely can not argue the way she can, and it is as poetic as it is brutal, and they deserved every bit of it. Side note, we tried to record this part of the conversation, which I was planning to youtube, but alas in our frustration in the heat of the moment, we didn’t hit the “record” button on time.

I am grounded enough in life to know that even hoping for a new car, of any make, means I am fortunate. I can accept that I currently don’t have the means to buy a new Kia right now. Still, that doesn’t give the slime ball finance director and his clones the right to treat me like a dirtbag. Telly Gomez and his crew treated me like I stole something from them, and they tried to lie about everything, which is something I will call you out on. I may be poor, but I am proud, and I don’t take no s*%t.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Daddy-O Daddy-O, Wherefore Art Thou, Daddy-O?

While going through some old pictures during the Christmas break, I fell into a surprisingly deep reflection of my dear old dad. I’ve always had this pretty cool picture of him where he’s in a jungle somewhere, dressed as a Marine, kneeling down while smoking a cigarette. A picture of a pint-sized five-year old version of myself is superimposed on the very same picture. It’s a pretty snazzy setup when considering the era in which it was created. I don’t know where I got the picture, or who made it, but I’m thankful for it.

I do wonder from time to time, what my dad might be up to, and what his life is like. I met him only once, when I was twelve years old. I got to spend about two months with him in his home town of Sacramento, California, and it was an amazing time for me. He liked Gumby, he told me a bad joke about Rambo, and he laughed a lot. He seemed like such a nice guy, and he went out of his way at the time to impress me and befriend me. It is a bit sad to me now as I’m writing about it in this moment. I never really knew at the time what I could have been missing there, in a possible life with him. It’s not like I ever had a choice in the matter either. Maybe there was a lot that he could have taught me, maybe not, but I will most likely never know.

I’d rather not get into the parties that had been in my life instead. That subject would just depress and anger me, but suffice it to say that I’ve turned out alright, even without my dad being in my life. I have only heard bits and pieces of the story surrounding the reasons that he wasn’t in my life. This is information that I have only come to learn recently too, and it seems like he tried to make things work at the time. Anyways, I was never mad at him for not being there. I am still not. I supposed it’s been a situation where I simply didn’t know what I was missing, except for that one glimpse when I was twelve. Even in my thirties now, I wish I knew him.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here, but this sure can be a lonely life sometimes. If I didn’t have a partner to share it with, and now, my soon to be daughter, I’d have almost nobody. Maybe it would be nice to have a good relationship with a father, even if he were just my friend. He wouldn’t even have to be that amazing at all. I would just hope that he had a good heart. This is certainly wishful thinking, but hey, that’s what I’m all about. I’m a total dreamer. Hey, if you are reading this, and you happen to actually be my dad, shoot me an email, bro! I’d love to talk to ya and catch up. lol-ing !