Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Mr. Black & Blue offers advice to the lifelorn.


DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: My fiancee, “Nate,” is a fine guy -- loving, attentive, a hard worker with a good job. He has, however, one quirk that puzzles me -- he likes to drive around in his car naked.

Once a week or so, usually on Saturday afternoon, he climbs into his 1989 Volvo sedan naked and spends a few hours driving around. Last Saturday, he drove naked from our hometown, Corvallis, OR, to the Pacific Coast community of Yachats and back, a trip of about 150 miles. He doesn’t ask me to go along on his rides, so that is not a problem. And he usually drives on deserted rural roads, so I don’t think he’s out to “flash” other drivers or pedestrians. He says he just likes to be in a car without clothes on.

What I want to know is, should I be worried about this? Should it affect my marriage plans?


DEAR FIANCEE OF N.N.: Let me tell ya, girlie, Mr. B&B recalls spending a lot of time naked in cars during his youth, but usually it was at night and the cars were parked in apple orchards or behind abandoned lumber mills and Mr. B&B was not alone, if you catch my drift.

What I’m saying is, I suspect Nate is in the grip of nostalgia. He’s reliving yesteryear, but he does it on the move because it would be pretty boring to sit naked in a car parked behind an abandoned lumber mill all by yourself. He probably doesn’t invite you along because he figures you would say no. Show him you’re a good sport, doff your jeans and join him in the Volvo next Saturday. And after you two are married, keep the spice in your relationship by driving over to visit the local apple orchard a night or two a week.


DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: Three months ago I told a neighborhood boy, “Duncan,” that I had a crush on him. We’ve been going out ever since.

Recently, though, I’ve been bored with Duncan. I try to avoid him at school and I have my sister tell him I’m not home when he calls on the phone.

Duncan has said he loves me and he would kill himself if I “dumped” him. We are both 13 and I have never been involved with a boy before, so I don’t know how to handle this.

I don’t want to be responsible for Duncan dying, but I don’t want to be his girlfriend any more, either. What should I do?


DEAR INEXPERIENCED: What should you DO? Get used to it. All men are 13-year-old boys at heart, so you have a lifetime of “handling” this sort of stuff ahead of you. Odds are, though, Duncan won’t off himself if you jilt him. He’ll probably just whimper a bit at first, then stalk you at school and stand outside your house at night for a while, then finally tell all your friends HE ditched YOU because you are such a slut. No biggie. Go ahead and dump him. And with the next guy, make sure he says he has the hots for you first, so you have him by the nads from the get-go.

Monday, October 06, 2003

If my wife can’t find her toothbrush, she wants to use mine. Doesn’t this strike you as odd?

She doesn’t see anything problematical about it. “You kiss me,” Cookie Jean says, “how could sharing a toothbrush be any different?”

Well, it just IS. We’re talking personal hygiene here. I don’t share my toothbrush, just as I don’t borrow another man’s jockstrap or blow my nose on someone else’s hanky.

I saw a squib in the newspaper the other day about “the five-second rule.” I never heard of this idea before, but I guess it is quite prevalent, according to the article. The concept is that if you drop food on the floor but pick it up before five seconds elapse, eating it will be safe because it won’t be contaminated. Some young chemist researched the “rule” and concluded it is valid except for a couple of major exceptions, including salmonella. I’m sorry, but salmonella is a big enough exception for me. I ain’t eating no slice of steak retrieved from the kitchen linoleum. Some might scoff because of this, comparing me to neat-freak comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who did things on his TV show like replace his shoe laces if one dragged on the floor of a public restroom, but I would rather be safe than sick.

Which reminds me of a woman I know (name omitted to protect the guilty) who threw a big dinner bash a few years ago. I walked into her kitchen while she was smoothing the frosting on a cake with a spatula. The spatula started dripping, so she lifted it to her mouth and licked it clean, then resumed spreading the frosting.

“Yuk!” I said.

“What?” she said. “It’s clean. I brushed my teeth ten minutes ago.”

Yeah, well. I didn’t eat that cake. And I haven’t eaten any cake at her house since. A guy has to have standards.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Come to Jordan International Speedway! See the Sunday Seven! Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Top-fuel humor! Funny wit! Superstock insight! See it all this Sunday, at Jordan International Speedway! (This ad paid for by Writeright, Inc. All opinions expressed are those of the sponsor.)

1) What are you wearing?

The red, white & blue striped, long-sleeved shirt I refer to as my mattress ticking, because that’s what it looks like; blue Levi jeans; white cotton Adidas socks; rubber flipflops (at this in-between time of year, the weather is too warm for fleece-lined slippers, too cool for flipflops alone).

2) What are you reading?

“The Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger.

3) What’s for dinner?

Take-out pizza, because my wife/live-in chef walked the 26.2-mile Portland Marathon with two sisters and a friend today, so she is too stiff and sore to cook.

4) What’s the best thing that happened this week?

I went with my sons Joe and Andy Friday night to hear Northwest writers Sherman Alexie and David James Duncan speak and read from their works. The venue was intimate (the old Congregational Church in downtown Portland) and Alexie and Duncan were relaxed and amusing.

5) What’s bugging you?

University of Oregon football. Two years in a row of rising to over-rated national heights only to execute a resounding belly flop. Agonizing.

6) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Circle Back, Texas.

7) What’s it all about, Dave?

The struggle, dudes. The struggle. Like the man says, it ain’t the destination, it’s the journey. You got to keep on keepin’ on.

The phone rings and I answer and the operator wants to know if I will accept a collect call from Buford A. Chase. With a sigh, I say yes.

“David, my boy,” booms Buford, “greetings and salutations!”

“Hello, Buford,” I answer. “Long time no hear. I guess you’re still operating your campaign on a shoe-string budget, huh?”

“Right!” Buford responds. “A tight financial ship! Gives voters confidence in my fiscal responsibility.”

Buford, a former Oregon state representative, is running for President of the United States on the Greed and Indifference Party ticket. His campaign headquarters is at his television repair shop in Dufur, where he was mayor before being elected to the legislature.

“Well, what do you want, Buford?” I say. “Since this is my nickel, let’s cut to the chase, as it were.”

“I’m calling to give you the scoop on my endorsement in the California gubernatorial election,” Buford says. “I know voters in that state have been holding their breath until I came out with an announcement.”

“Given the smell rising from that election, I think I’d hold my breath, too,” I say. “But let’s hear your endorsement. Not that telling me matters, since I don’t work in the newspaper business any more.”

“David, you always give me that disclaimer, but I note that what I tell you gets full coverage in the media. I know you still have your contacts. That’s why I always give you the first shot at my news releases.”

“Yeah, yeah. So what’s the endorsement?”

After a meaningful pause, Buford intones: “Gary Coleman.”

“Gary Coleman? The ex-kid actor who was in ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ on TV back in the eighties? The four-foot-eight black guy?”

“The same.”

“That seems like a bit of a reach,” I tell Buford. “Political pundits say the real decision is coming down to voting against recall of Gray Davis or voting for Arnold Schwarzenegger to take his place.”

“Not so, not so,” says Buford. “With my endorsement, a last-minute groundswell will carry the day for Gary Coleman. He is the best choice.”

“Coleman over Schwarzenegger? How do you figure?” I ask.

“Look at it this way. They bring the same positives to the table -- they’re both over-the-hill Hollywood stars who know nothing about politics. Name familiarity is their stock in trade. And as to the negatives, well, Coleman tops Schwarzenegger six ways from Sunday. Coleman is so short, if he ever groped a woman I’m sure he couldn’t reach past her knees. As to philandering, can you see that little twerp scoring with the ladies? And steroids -- if Coleman used illegal drugs to make himself grow, they dang sure didn’t work.

“Then there’s that Hitler thing. You know, how Schwarzenegger said back in the seventies that he sort of admired Adolf Hitler because he bootstrapped himself from poverty to power? Well, I ran into Coleman at a TV repair convention in Boise last week -- he was hawking ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ DVDs at a card table in the lobby -- and I asked him what he thought of Hitler. You know what he said?”

“No, but I suppose you’re going to tell me.”

“He said: ‘Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Buford?’

“He didn’t even know who Adolf Hitler was! Now, does that make him as pure as the driven snow, or what?”

“That’s one way to look at it,” I say. “Another is to recommend you consider other candidates for vice-president.”

“Oh, I am doing that, son,” Buford assures me. “I saw in the newspaper the other day that Martina Navratilova is talking about entering politics. She might add a lot to my ticket -- she has a solid base with women, homosexuals, tennis fans, left-handers and people who like a foreign accent.”

“But she was born in Czechoslovakia,” I point out, “so she can’t be vice-president of the U.S. She has the same problem Schwarzenegger does, in that regard.”

“We could fix that with a constitutional amendment, of course,” Buford replied. “People talked about doing that for Ah-nuld. But there are others to consider. Whoopi Goldberg might be good. She owns an Academy Award -- let Schwarzenegger and Coleman match that! -- and she’d appeal to blacks and feminists. And I’m still looking at Winona Ryder. The shoplifter vote could be huge.”

“I’m glad you’re giving serious thought to all this, Buford,” I say. “I’ll be hanging by my thumbs awaiting your final decision.”

“I’ll let you know, boy,” he replies. “And remember my campaign slogan: Ask not what Buford can do for you, but what you can do for Buford.”

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