Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Touché, Baptists. Touché.



(And before anyone asks: No, this was not a product of the Church Sign Maker. I snapped this photo while running errands on my lunch break. Welcome to Houston.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Effect of NeoPaganism on Manslaughter and Marigolds

A telephone conversation between myself and the sales clerk at a local occult shop:

Him - "Hello! thanks for calling [redacted]!"

Me - "Hi, I just have a quick question: Do you carry an herb called calendula?"

Him - "We sure do!

Me - "Great, I'll be right..."

Him - "Do you know the other name for calendula?"

Me - "Actually, I don't. But I just wanted to see if..."

Him - "Marigold! So if you're ever looking for calendula and can't find it, you can also ask for marigold."

Me - "Good to know."

Him - "Because you see..."

[Insert 10-minute lecture on the mystical properties and various ritual uses of calendula/marigold.]

Him - "... so after you've asked the Goddess for Her permission, leave the polished stones in a bowl of blessed water under the Full Moon. And that's how you use calendula correctly."

Me - "Well, wow, very interesting, thank you for the information. So I guess I'll drop by in a bit to pick up some calendula."

Him - "Oooh, sorry. We're sold out."

Had this exchange gone down face-to-face, I'm confident no jury in the world would convict me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote o' the Moment - In Which I Begrudgingly Accept The State Bird of Texas as Totem and Muse

"Mockingbirds are the true artists of the bird kingdom. Which is to say, although they are born with a song of their own, and innate riff that happens to be one of the most versatile of all ornithological expressions, mockingbirds aren't content to merely play the hand that is dealt them. Like all artists, they are out to rearrange reality. Innovative, willful, daring, not bound by the rules to which others may blindly adhere, the mockingbird collects snatches of birdsong from this tree and that field, appropriates them, places them in new and unexpected contexts, recreates the world from the world. For example, a mockingbird in South Carolina was heard to blend the songs of thirty-two different kinds of birds into a ten-minute performance, a virtuoso display that served no practical purpose, falling, therefore, into the realm of pure art."

-Tom Robbins

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Little TMI Between Friends

Back in college, I met these random straight guys named Patrick and Bobby. Through various twists of fate, the three of us imprinted on each other and quickly became the BFF Triumvirate Kings of Wacky Misadventures. The upside to this is that we've shared some amazing experiences and have truckloads of hilarious stories (surprisingly few of which involve us almost getting killed). The unfortunate side effect is that we know way too much about one another. As such, any two of us in tandem can read the third like a Little Golden Book.

With this in mind, you'll understand why, after meeting at our favorite pub last Friday, trading bro-hugs and settling into our standard booth, Patrick and Bobby instinctively sensed that Something Was Up.

"So dude, seriously, we haven't seen you in forever," Bobby said. "What have you been doing?"

"Not much," I replied. "Just working. That's about it."

"Just working?" Bobby asked, cocking an eyebrow.

"Yep. Lots of work. Work work work. Wooo, work."

Patrick and Bobby exchanged glances. "And what else have you been doing?" Patrick asked.

"Nothing, really," I said. "Just, y'know... stuff."

"Uh huh. What's his name?"

After a bit more cattle-prodding, I broke down and confided that I'd recently met a very cool guy, and that we'd been spending some quality time together.

"But we're not a couple or anything," I added. "We're just hanging out and getting to know each other."

And with my feeble attempt to downplay the situation acknowledged and discarded, the interrogation officially commenced, Patrick and Bobby both gleefully flinging barbed questions based entirely on my effed-up dating history:

"Is he a Republican?"

"No."

"Is he twice your age?"

"No."

"Does he live with his parents?"

"No."

"Is he twice your age and living with his parents?"

"No."

"Does he have a girlfriend?"

"That only happened once. And no."

"So where did you meet him?"

"Um..."

Patrick buried his face in his hands. "Oh God. You picked him up at a leather bar, didn't you?"

"No. We met at a party."

Another set of glances were exchanged. "What kind of party?"

"It was just a party," I said, trying my best to look meek. "Honest."

There was a brief, pointed silence, and then Patrick and Bobby were all, "You did something bad and will share the details immediately."

"FINE," I yelled. "IT WAS A POOL PARTY, OKAY? A BIG, GAY POOL PARTY WITH A BUNCH OF GAY GUYS IN A POOL BEING GAY."

"Ah, I see," said Patrick, nodding sagely as the group of people next to us suddenly decided to move to a different table. "You were naked."

Bobby's eyes lit up. "Oh, hey! So this was like that time you went to a hotel and had to give a password to get in the room and then..."

It was my turn to bury my face in my hands. "Okay, first of all, stop remembering that. And secondly, 'pool party' does not automatically translate to 'orgy.'"

Another pointed silence. Then, Patrick: "But you were naked, right?"

"Well, I mean, not everyone was naked."

"But you were."

"Does it even matter?"

"Only until you admit it."

A telepathic Mexican standoff ensued, with me pulling a bulletproof pokerface and Patrick making a valiant effort to see directly into my brain. Which was the moment Bobby decided to ask, "So was the other guy naked?"

I didn't have a snappy come-back on hand, so I just started banging my head against the wall.

"Well, I for one am very happy for you," Patrick said between bangs. "And to be honest, meeting someone at a pool party is a lot less creepy than the time you had sex in an orchestra pit."

Eventually, Patrick and Bobby finished laughing their asses off over that particular anecdote. [Ed. Note: No. I'm not telling.] So, with most of my forehead, dignity, and vengeance skills intact, I took the "honesty is the best policy" route.

"You know what? I was naked."

Patrick and Bobby smiled triumphantly, proud of themselves for successfully dragging a confession out of me.

"And most of the other men there were, too," I said, clearing my throat and launching into a dramatic monologue from To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar:

"Men wanting to be with one another. Men touching each other. Their stubbly chins rubbing up against one another. Manly hands touching swirls of chest hair. An occasional whiff of a rugged aftershave. Their low, baritone voices sighing, grunting. They hold one another in manly, masculine arms. Hold one another. Tight."

And then Patrick and Bobby were yelling, "MAKE IT STOP," and I was yelling, "I WIN ALWAYS," and our waitress was all, "Another round for you boys? Or... perhaps not?"

We took that as a cue to settle our tabs, tip generously, and head our separate ways.

My personal life under glass aside, it was an excellent evening. I don't get to see my best buddies anywhere near as much as I'd like, but their presence is always a touchtone; whether they realize it or not, and even if they are sometimes bastard demons from hell, they are instrumental in helping me remember and appreciate who I am.

Also, I really did meet a very cool guy. We're becoming good friends. Which means at some point in the near future, I am going to have to introduce him to Patrick and Bobby.

And if he doesn't run screaming into the night after that, then he's more than welcome to join us as the Wacky Misadventures continue.