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A A Spay

(Note: I originally penned this piece on Dec 20th 2007, and due to the various fervors around then, I neglected to post this until now.)

So, I have decided that it would be a good idea to post the tale of the most spiritual event of my life thus far. If only because after the impending birth of my son, I shall no longer be able to refer to this story as the most spiritual event in my life without risking several angry calls to social services.

Suspiciously predictable, this transformative moment of my life occurred in front of a computer. More precisely, in a computer lab. Further precision nets that it is a computer lab full of outdated Apple IIe computers in the 9th grade "Keyboard 101" class of a certain Central Jr High.

The teacher is renowned for his monotone delivery of the requisite keyboard strokes. I myself have simply read ahead of him, out of the book, completing my assignment well ahead of the others.

The class was seated alphabetically, as was common, and so to the left of me was a familiar face of a girl whose last name very closely followed mine.

She was an unfortunately large girl, and as is common with such girls in 9th grade, she wore a particularly dour frown upon her face. She was staring blankly off into space, apparently too morose to even finger peck away at the letters our teacher was so slowly intoning.

I have often sat by this girl or the past 2 and half years of Junior High, but for some reason, on this day I couldn't help but stare at her expression. The blank, deeply jowled look of despair on her face struck me. Were this scene set today, I no doubt would be describing what a breathlessly empathetic moment this was for me, as I felt the weight of her pain .

However, being 15 at the time, my response was instead "I wonder if she realizes how pathetic that expression makes her look..."

It was at this point, that I caught my own reflection in the dark mirror of the monitor. My brow furrowed, the corners of my mouth downturned in concentration, I stared at myself there, and had the greatest of revelations.



So, the astute observer will notice that my goatee is back already, less than a week after my pledge to not grow one.

As it turns out, I am far too vain to walk around looking like a 14 year old with the mumps, even in the support of a worthy cause.

"But Kyle, what of the writer's plight?", you impolitely ask.

Fear not, for much like a philosopher Indiana Jones, I have found a vow of exactly equal weight to deftly replace my old one without the media companies or writer's guilds being any the wiser.

However, since vows do not contain any actually weight, I had to find some way to estimate the value of my original vow.

The only sane measurement seemed to be that of facial surface area dedicated to the cause. Which, for my "anti-goatee" pledge, ended up being about 12 square centimeters.

The exact same amount of area which one of my sizable sideburns takes!

So my right sideburn is now dedicated to the cause of the writer's guild. Which is far more convenient, since Elyssa doesn't really have an opinion on my sideburns.

"But Kyle, what of your other sideburn?", you ask.

A good point, it would seem a waste not to dedicate that to anything, so let's say that one is in support of... AIDs relief efforts in Africa.

Beard Strike

So last night my wife and had the following conversation:

Wife: You need to shave.
Me: I'm growing a strike beard!
Wife: No you aren't.
Me: But the writers need my support!
Wife: The writers don't know you exist.
Me: They do too, I bought them pizza!
Wife: Fine, but you still aren't allowed to grow a beard.

This argument is not new. I have informed her that at one point in my life I will be a disheveled old man with a full and graying beard, ideally similar to that of one Alan Cox. And for some reason she keeps denying the eventuality of this facial-hair prophecy.

But you'd think after knowing me for so long my wife would learn to phrase requests in a more careful manner, like Homer ordering a sandwich from a monkey paw.

In any case, rather than just shaving the "forbidden follicles" upon my jaw line, I decided to go whole hog.

The result you can of course view here.

Update: I realized last night that I should have shaved the bottom of my goatee and gotten a shot of me with a mustache. This missed opportunity gnawed at me.

Luckily, I possess thousands of pictures of me from the same angle, so it was a minor bit of computer wizardry to simulate what I would look like mustachioed.

About Walking

It was a cold 'un this morning, and the above relationship where my "patience" can be empirically measured in seconds was particularly noticeable to both me and, perhaps, my dog.

To see where I stole (borrowed) the format, as well as far funnier uses of it please see this very clever blog.

(Recommended by my male friend who doesn't have a blog named Chris).

5 pizza pies, extra solidarity

So I have canceled my cable in solidarity with the writers. This is the first time, save for a couple months my first year of college where I will be going without the comforting glow afforded by 100+ channels.

However, that didn't really seem to be "enough" really.

So, on further consideration, I decided to use the money I was saving each month to send the writers striking outside the Colbert Report some pizza.

So 10am this morning, I called up 9th Avenue Pizzeria in New York City, and tried to explain what I wanted to the man.

Third sentence in, I believe he thought I was looking for directions to the studio, and he interrupted me somewhat exhasperated saying "Ima makina pizza here!"

Which I had to try hard not to laugh at him.

I instead switched gears and started stating things more to his liking "I want to buy 5 pizzas, I will pre-pay for them with a credit card."

This made him more cooperative.

After providing him with an address, he asked me "what floor ima gunna deliver dis to?", to which I responded "outside, anyone marching with a picket sign". He made me repeat that order a couple more times.

He agreed, I then provided my credit card number info. It wasn't until later that I remembered he never actually answered me when I asked how much the total would be...

So, in short, this plan isn't a very good one. The man could charge my credit card and run, and I would be none the wiser. I could have given him the wrong address, in which no picketers were standing outside of. The wga union might even have rules stopping them from accepting anonymous food donations.

If anyone can think of a better way I could do this next month, let me know.

Update: I got a call from the front desk at the building there saying my food had arrived. She spoke fluent English, and thus I was able to explain who the food was intended for. So I'm pretty sure it got to them, where hopefully it can then fill the fridges of their, presumably, one bedroom apartments tonight.

CC Update: The charge showed up online on my credit card, the cost of all those pies was within a dollar of what I was paying for satellite TV!

Box of Lonliness

One of my guilty pleasures is reading the personal ads on craigslist.

Now, lest you think I'm trolling for some infidelity, allow me to assure you that it is for the entirely opposite reason.

Reading those ads makes me remember what it was like to be looking for someone. The cold fear that is wondering what another person's boolean opinion of you is. Not having to face that again is almost as much of a relief as the knowledge that I will never have to write another term paper ever again.

But, it's also more than that, sometimes I can't help to look at the ads, if only to wince at the ones so clearly written in the desperation of the midnight.

And the fact that it is so endless, the steady stream of posts renewed each day, the exact same hopes expressed by different people. It's as if each craigslist city has it's own wolf on a hill, howling in unending sorrow..

But, lucky for us, humans do not scream at the sky when they are feeling hopelessly alone. Which I think is a small blessing, as I fear that if every human wailed when feeling emotionally isolated, the sound would be deafening.