Friday, January 11, 2008

First Genuine Pet Peeve of 2008

When I've just called some sort of reception desk and the person working the desk transfers me without waiting for me to finish my sentence of explanation.


Them: Thanks for calling Rude Imporium how can I help you?

Me: Hi there. I don't know who the best person to speak with is but I think I need to get in touch with Dr. Johnathan Explodinghead. I'm calling from--



and then I'm transferred.

Then after waiting for Dr. Jonathan Explodinghead's voice mail to pick up I realize that he may not have been the best person to speak with. So I now need to call that same receptionist back to try and explain my story to them yet again, praying that they won't machine gun transfer me again.

This happened 4 times yesterday when all would have been solved had the person on the other end of the line actually taken 10 more seconds to hear me out.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Christmas Poem

I wrote this a few weeks ago for a Christmas Presence, a Wild Goose event. It was really cool. It was a basically a night of stories, poetry, musicians, all in the hopes of ushering in the Christmas Spirit. I don't know about everyone else but it did the trick for me. Afterwards I was feeling nice and rosy and comfy cozy. God Bless us Everyone!

As a child

Christmas morning in my family

was like the second coming of Jesus.

Which is interesting theologically.

An Armageddon of gifts

would trumpet themselves

into our tiny worlds and

a day long bow and tinsel extravaganza

would rapture our toy addled brains

until we’d slowly emerge from under a mountain of

tape and tissue paper.

This is not to paint a rosy

picture of family Christmas

akin to greeting card fodder

with pristine Polaroids

of matching sweater vested,

family crested,

nuclear household bliss.

It was more like nuclear war,

with squabbles evaporating

and seasonal tension escalating

turning the hap-hapiest season of all

into an a walk through a more

atomic winter wonderland.

But Christmas morning was special.

It was a canvas to paint on.

It was blissful hours of build up

where as kids we could act like children

as we pulled and prodded candy from stocking toes

and ripped decorative bows

and watched the way laughter grows

when people are generous with their hearts.

Childhood raced past though.

Now I was 20, half child, mostly man,

and Christmas morning was upon us in full force.

We were breaking for a leisurely 2pm breakfast

stretching our couch weary legs.

A glacier of wrapping paper was

slowly inching it’s way across the living room

digging out great lakes and tundra of carpet

in it’s rustling wake.

When mid stretch

like a snowball tossed carelessly my dad

says “We’re out of pop. I think I’ll run out and grab some.”


In the middle of Christmas?

Now understand that my dad’s pop

needs were not to be taken lightly.

The sweet nectar of Diet Pepsi drew him

like a mutant honey bee

to drain countless cups--

big gulps saved from previous fountain excursions

fizzing to the brim with ice and aspartame.

But now?

In the middle of present extravaganza 2001?

the biggest post Y2K gift exchange the world,

or at least the mid west,

or at least our living room,

had ever known?

He was not to be persuaded.

He trundled out into the icy world

intent on seeking out with vain hope

the one convenience store

open on December 25th.

The door slammed and out he went

to roam the blustery

ice slick roads in search of festive two liters,

holiday holy grails,

leaving us feeling Pepsi Challenged.

Twenty minutes later he arrived home.

The door slammed as he

festooned the vestibule with a cloud of profanity

Inventive exclamations

colorful enough for the holiday season.

“Go look at the CAR!”

He implored through venom and vitriol.

We trekked to the drive way

hot feet crammed awkwardly

into laced shoes

walking like bow legged penguins

to survey the vehicle in question.

The sight we were met with

shocked and awed our addled minds

here was a sight that did not fit

the pleasant picture of

Christmas morning niceties.

There sat the Camry with a

massive crushed indentation,

a perfect frontal perforation,

that split station wagon

down the center like a Christmas ham.

We sat in the frigid wind gaping.

Apparently in his quest

to find the effervescent elixir

my father had skidded

and hit the thinnest obstacle available.

A cable stretched tight for telephone pole support

had cleaved the family car in twain

like industrial dental tape


our two ton, maroon molar

at 30 miles per hour.

By the time the police showed up

we knew this would be

a Christmas morning to remember.

The officer was cordial

grabbing details like a harried magpie

collecting tib-bits.

“What were you headed out for exactly sir?’ he probed.

“Oh you know…” said my dad casually.


The officer nodded knowingly.

Post police we tried to nestle back into our routine

but like naked children

into too tight wool sweaters

the morning didn’t fit right anymore.

Never fear though.

Thoughtful parents quick to recover

brought out the big guns.

The hidden presents,

the high octane,

come find me in a different room

sort of presents,

were skipped to

like the best song on your favorite holiday mix.

The plebeian socks and underwear

left under the tree for later scavenging,

we made our way to basements

closets and crawlspaces

to retrieve the gargantuan gifts.

Forever known etched in my memory as

“The Christmas dad went for Pop”

Semicolon subtitle: “Christmas with a Cop”

The Yule legend was further cemented

when a mere day later

dad innocently said

“We’re out of Pepsi. I think I’ll just go out real quick”

Minutes later we found ourselves digging

the cleaved nose of the previously damaged Camry from a

Everest sized drift.

Since then , come Christmas,

we always make sure to have

pop a plenty on hand.