Monday, January 9, 2012


A long time ago, at least  like a year or something, a young couple came to stay overnight with us.

I knew a week ahead of time they were coming, and it ate away at me.

The depth of my social anxiety is such that the very thought of having house guests causes me to see death, horrible things, awaiting me around every corner.

I could be holding a winning lottery ticket and you could call to tell me someone is coming to sleep in my basement, and all my millions would be ash in my hand. 

So what I am a millionaire, I have to small talk with someone in my kitchen.

So what I can ride around in my transforming jet boat now with a Soul Train dancer on each arm, I still have to sit at the dinner table with someone who is going to talk to me about terrifying mundanities like the weather.

They called to say they were ten minutes away and I blurted out "Brownies! I need a pan of brownies! ahhh...god...brownies."

Nothing was helped by their physical perfection, nothing made better by their apparent whatever-is-cool attitude of no pressure houseguesting.

There they were in my driveway and I saw myself as a giant Moonpie.

I was eating myself, tasting how good I was, till when they came in I was only a few crumbs on the floor.

The man of the couple, so smiley and earnest, still stooped down and attempted to find my little chocolate hand, so to give it a happy, extroverted shake.

I wondered then, as I have several times since, if there is a chance, however small, that I might, to some very minimal degree, be a bit of an occasional emotional eater.

For example, my little son starts school tomorrow for the first time, and tonight I went to the gas station and bought a pony keg of nacho cheese and one of those giant bags of tortilla chips that puff a cloud of salt and MSG in your face when you pull them open.

I ate it by myself and felt sad for my son.

We tried to home school him because I don't really think much of schools as a whole.

In my completely biased and unfair opinion, schools are often staffed with more than their fair share of dullards and overly cheery simpletons. 

I have been in faculty meetings like this:

We tried to home school him because putting your child out in the world, even to such a small degree, means surrendering them to all the influence and input that you cannot control. 

You fear all the new tricks someone will teach your pet monkey, because some of them may involve throwing feces.

But the world is always falling apart on some terrible scale that consistently out does itself, and starting kindergarten for a five year old boy and his parents is so despicably minor, so miniscule of a drop of sadness in the expanding ocean of human sorrow, that it is almost shameful to think even twice upon it.

Yet, in my mouth went chip after chip, the cheese tasting like the smell of Sunny Delight when someone drinks too much of it mixed with vodka and then throws up in the backseat of your car.

Which reminds me that I cannot stand commercials for Sunny Delight.

Those urban hipster middle schoolers, swapping tales of how much they love the 'D.

Is it wrong to want to kick people you see on television?

Or read on the internet?

Because on some pathetic level I also want to kick the authors of the Sleep Talkin Man website.

I am not jealous.

They are lying.

Nobody talks in their sleep using the exact vernacular that is so popular with internet writers; the same flavor of non sequitur, the same bone-headed sexual doofism that makes bored office workers cram their sentences with LOL.

I guess I just want to kick them out of my deep need to be right, and I know I am right that they are making the whole thing up.

Like many, many people, I have always been right, especially when I was in college. 

I remember when my new girlfriend and I walked into a common room where a big group of people were watching a movie.
It was State of Grace, an old Sean Penn movie, but they all thought they were watching Reservoir Dogs.

I knew they were wrong, and I practically screamed at them that they were watching the wrong movie. 

My nails dug into my girlfriend's palm and she stared at me in shock.

I like to think the shock was due to the absolute sexiness of how right I was.

She'd never been with a man who could express his opinion with so much whiny and unnecessary righteousness. 

Inexplicably, she broke up with me a few days later, and I drank a lot of whiskey because it's easier to win girls back when you do that.

When she shook her head 'no', I turned and vomited into the bushes in front of my dorm.

Later that night, I drew all over myself with magic marker and walked the halls of that dormitory.

In the morning, I noticed that the lines I had drawn from my nipples to my chin had left my sheets blue.

Since then, I have learned to put down the marker and take up the Choco Taco.

It's a battle standard, a light in the darkness. 

As my son steps through the doors of his new school, hears the deafening voices of too many children crammed together, shrinks from the offered hands of smiling strangers, I hope he will reach into his coat pocket and find the little treasure I left for him there; the dollop of nacho cheese on a napkin, carefully rolled up, with some broken bits of tortilla chips buried in it, waiting like little treasures to be found.


  1. I feel your pain, man, the pain of your stomach rumbling and declaring emotional subterfuge. My own stomach prefers chocolate over gas station nachos, the preferred brand being M&M's or Godiva in a pinch. Then, when you wake up in the middle of the night with some lump in the pocket of your flannel jammies (the ones with the snowglobes) you are rewarded with not a cheesy dollop with broken tortilla bits embedded there, but instead a melty mess of chocolate remnants that your younger son will notice at breakfast and say, "Mommy! WHAT IS THAT?" and you will look down and see a smear of brown and you will know *exactly* what he is thinking and if you tell him that he is wrong and that it is chocolate then you know he will most likely try to lick your pocket when it is laying in the hamper with the rest of the dirty laundry later and MY GOD how would you explain that to your husband, this licking of laundry thing, and so instead you do what any parent, any good mother in your situation would do: you say, "What do YOU think it is?"

    He thinks it is shit. You do not correct him.


  2. My son got in his first fight at school on Friday and I was so upset that I handled it like the perfect mother that I am. I went through the drive thru of Mcdonalds and got a plethora of chocolate chip cookies that I then stuffed into my esophagus while bawling in my car and screaming 'WHAT DID I DO WROOOOOONG?"

    We need to start a club.

  3. MOV-hey, no fair! Your comment is funnier to me than my entire post. Its a perfect micro-post you made there, MOV, and I am jealous.

    Mary-since you often take weird close-up pictures of your face, you should have snapped a quick one right then. I would have laughed at it.

  4. Gweenie - I'm with you 100%. I broke up a vicious fight (or more like assault) in November at Jack's school. I was the tallest mom around in a crowd of 5 footers, so they all sort of looked helplessly at the big mom to save the day. It left me thinking about homeschooling. But then I remembered I like to shop online and take naps while the kids are at school. Priorities, you see...priorities.

  5. Excellent post! There are so many emotions running around this post, but I can't help but wonder why 2/3 of the faculty in your memory are one-legged?

    I could have gone without the cheese napkin ball ending. That almost spoiled my appetite for my nachos.

  6. school is a scary business when you're talking about handing off your firstborn to it!
    MOV did have a great comment. i could just picture her standing in a corner holding up the piece of soiled laundry, licking it discreetly while hoping not to get caught. her husband catches her and thinks she's licking the poo off the jammies. it would make a great sitcom episode!

  7. My ex-wife is a teacher. I'm pretty sure you're spot-on.

    This also explains why she always brought home mini-Twix bars.

  8. This whole paragraph is amazing: "But the world is always falling apart on some terrible scale that consistently out does itself...."

    Also, THIS: "Inexplicably, she broke up with me a few days later, and I drank a lot of whiskey because it's easier to win girls back when you do that." ::falls on floor laughing:: I myself prefer certain kinds of comfort food. Like, bread doesn't do, but ice cream, YES.

  9. I don't have anything intelligent to add... but loved your post. I see the situation from two angles though. I agree that it's scary to send a child out into the world... especially today's world. On the other hand, I was home-schooled, which is to say that I pretty well wasn't schooled at all. And honestly, an education at this point would be very much welcome. Hope everything goes well :-)

  10. Oh so much to think about! Moon Pie naked bum. . .first day of school. . .movies and whiskey. . . MOV's poo jammies. . .*sigh* Brain overload.

  11. I, too, crave the neon orange glow of fake nacho cheese, I prefer it to be pre-slathered in the form of Doritos though. Something about the texture of fake cheese being a mixture of snot and vomit just gags me, no matter how many times I try. My son is homeschooled thanks to a ridiculous amount of food allergies, and I'm trying to decide what's worse, watching hundreds of other children eat food he can't, while dealing with the school factors you mentioned, or watching his mother eat food he can't, while casually mentioning that if I can't drink, I'm damn sure going to eat shitty food because I have to have some stress relief if I never get a second to myself, damn it.

  12. When I was a kid I preferred to be at school rather than at home. School was a refuge. You never know, he might end up liking his teachers better than you. I mean that in a good way, not in a way that will encourage you to engage in more emotional binge eating. Not that there's anything wrong with that at all, of course. Some of the nicest people I know are binge eaters.

  13. Wow Greenie ! When I said you would be a superstar blogger by the time I got back I was kinda joking but OMG just look how many followers you have now.

    Your guest post on mine got over 400 views ! Look at the bottom and see - it is now my most viewed post ever - and it wasn't even written by me lol.
    So well deserved, even if you do appear to have gotten a little bit maudlin... cheer up I'm back now :)

    I remember my boys first day at school. The thing I found hardest was when I tried to do the good parent thing and ask him about his day he was always kinda vague, it was as if he had something of his own and he damn well wasn't gonna share.
    ps State of Grace is one of my favourite films.

  14. Just been having a catch up read... you got blog of note ?
    Big big congratulations !
    Couldn't happen to a more deserving blog :)

  15. What? Only one Soul Train Dancer on each arm,,, no, I would have two.

    It may be wrong to want to kick the teleBision set, but it is wrong to actually kick the teleBision set. The main reason is that Sony will no longer manufacture them in the near future.

    Watershed moment, the leaving the house at age five-six to leave mother and join the social smother is the big bad break wreck of society. That is why I home schooled mine until they wanted to play sports competitively in middle school. I had switched jobs and was no longer the primary educator, so yes, go play your sports, go lads, go. The first year away from home at the private school was an expensive year of nothingness. But that is where they asked to go, to be with their cousins.

    I have cherry cheesecake waiting, because its cheery.

  16. I am reading "Infinite Jest" for the first time, about two percent of the way finished, I think you might like it. Your writing reminds me of his. But, word of caution, the author killed himself a few years ago.

  17. Marianne-I like that you refer to yourself as 'the big mom'. It made me picture Andre the Giant for some reason.

    Alan-their legs are supposed to be tucked under them, but I see why it looks kind of strange

    SherilinR-hey you commented more on her comment than you did on my post....

    Mooog-yep, administrators use candy and mini-erasers to motivate their staff

    asplenia-I'm glad you liked it!

    Lady in red-yeah, i know people who came from home schooling ahead and came out of home schooling way behind, so it kind of depends on the home I guess.

    thescousewife-i try to be mentally challenging

    Megan-I absolutely love your comment, my son has food allergies and all the considerations you mentioned have been on our plate-thanks leaving this comment!

    Mandy-his teacher is young and cute; he will never like her more than me, it can't be possible

    dirtycowgirl-welcome back! I am glad that you returned safely and had a good time. I think all those views came from me, to tell you the truth. I kept checking to see if anyone left comments, and no one ever did. Then I realized yours are moderated.
    Oopsie. But thanks for the congratulations! I really enjoyed getting that ole blog of note.

    esboston-my arms are very short and easily fatigued, so two soul train dancers on each arm would kill me.

  18. esboston-never read it, but I have heard about how amazing it is. I'll have to take a look!

  19. I'm always right too. It's a pain in the ass.

  20. I am an emotional non-eater. I've tried to do the oppotsite,but without success. Also, I am staying at your house for a few days. I've to discuss the weather with you.

  21. Awww, I'm sorry you're stressing out of this. Don't worry, I'm sure you son will be fine! (or not. what do i know? but probably fine.)

  22. Reservoir Dogs?! Man, considering how recognizable that movie is, that is just unforgivable. And yet, that is what I snort laughed reading the post...well, that and the tiny candy bars. Why do they always think we want those?

  23. Vic-its an under appreciated burden to carry.

    nellievaughn-please don't come over. I will cry.

    Gia-not really stressed, just blogxaggerating. munch munch munch

    clare-you know where I went to college, so you can pretty much guess how they made that mistake. I am glad I am not the only one working in education who has had candy bars whipped at me.

  24. I home schooled my two boys. It's been wonderful. I think parents teach their kids whether they're at school or not, just the same as we cant's keep the world out when we homeschool. Little children, so full of hope know the world's an amazing place and with things like peak oil happening it probably doesn't matter what we do, as long as it's with the right intention. I didn't know your post was meant to be funny, it was beautifully sad to me.

  25. Julie-I think certain personalities work better for home schooling than others. We no have those personalities here. It was meant to be funny with an embellished bit of sadness.

  26. You have some sort of "Follow"ing parasite or something. Your posts have been disappearing and reappearing on my list for months! Either that or you didn't really like my comment and have found a way to remove me to prevent further contact. :P

  27. Who are you talking about people from around the world what?

  28. People all over the world came to know who itneyo.

  29. Great post Gweenbrick - you never cease to make me laugh, but is it wrong that now I'm hungry for nachos???

  30. Excellent post. You should definitely home school. If I had a kid, I'd send him to you for philosophy lessons.

  31. AH The high 5! Amazing! There is this extroverted guy at my office who always wants to give me a hug, because he thinks it will brighten my day. Little does he know that I spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to find out when he is coming so I can avoid the physical contact. I love your posts.

  32. OH DUDE, "I wondered then, as I have several times since, if there is a chance, however small, that I might, to some very minimal degree, be a bit of an occasional emotional eater." GOLD.

    What a bitter sweet tale of seeing your child start school. Funny how every subsequent year it's less *sob*, 'my baby's going to school' and more *kick up the heels* and 'thank CHRIST that holiday break is over'.

  33. Wow the guests appearance part was really awesome...I am just addicted to your posts as it really depict perfect human behaviours in fantastic cartoonist way....Awesome!!