A matter of shame

It has finally happened. That thing that I KNEW was coming. That moment I have DREADED for the last year. That thing that I have suspected was a likely inevitability for the last 2 or 3 years. The thing about which I have mocked my best friend from high school for the last few years. I refer to, of course, the wall of shame.

A wall of shame, by definition (probably in Wikipedia) is a shrine located in the parental homestead, dedicated to the marital prowess of every child that crawled forth from the homemaker's womb. All the children, that is, save ONE. So, the wall of shame then pertains to the one celibate sibling remaining--his or her wall of shame.

Now, the intensity of the shame associated with this most dreaded wall is dependent upon a few different variables. The first and foremost being, the unwed child's age status in relation to the rest of the siblings. If, for instance, the youngest child is the owner of the wall of shame, said wall would be infinitely less shameful. For a time. However, as one's birthing rank increases, so does the level of shame exponentially and consequentially increase.

My friend, for example, is number 3 of 4. Having only one married younger sibling somewhat lessens his level of shame. Except for the fact that his younger brother has been married about 3 years. Which brings me to the next variable--time length.

One's shame is increased in conjunction with the longevity of said wall's existence. I am certain there is a measurable amount of shame (probably a metric equation) that is accrued with each year. In his case, it would be 3. Pretty damned shameful.

Also, some amount of shame may be accrued depending upon the number of years that one has remained single, as compared with the married siblings. For example, I have another friend with 4 married sisters. She happens to be the youngest, which greatly reduces her level of shame off the bat. However, every single sibling was married by 20. She, being nearly 24, has added a heaping shit load of shame to her wall.

Unfortunately, I have pretty much every variable to consider with my own wall of shame.

I was talking to my sister last week, who informed me that my baby brother was engaged. I had talked to him at Christmas, and he had informed me that were things to continue progressing in a similar manner, said engagement would most likely occur. So I was sort of expecting this.

I am the oldest. STRIKE ONE. Major shame associated with my wall from that variable alone. My next sister down has been married for about 3 years, my baby sister for almost a year. 3-4 liters of shame, at the very least. And me, being nearly 28, will be likely be single anywhere from 6 to 10 years longer than my siblings. Hectoliters of shame to be sure.

In fact, in relation to the rest of the extended family at large, the only cousins who remain unmarried are a 19 year old missionary, and a 17 year old female. God help me if she pulls a similar feat as my baby sister. The shame would be too much.

It was a weird feeling when I found out my brother was engaged. At first, I laughed. Because I didn't really know what else to do. Because my life equation is so very different than his. Because to me, he is still just a little guy, barely home from a mission. Yet he is taking such a huge step in the direction of "adulthood," one which I for whatever reason have yet to take. I can't imagine having been married for the last 6 years. I don't think I was ready.

After laughing in incredulity, it really sank in. I AM the last. I really really am. At that point, I felt very melancholy. Which I wasn't expecting. Although I had spent some time dreading this particular occurrence, I really thought that I, for the most part, didn't care. Wouldn't care. But I cared. I really did. For the first time, I felt left out. Like I had failed. Like I would no longer fit. Like this would put me on such a different wavelength than the rest of my siblings, that things would no longer be the same.

At that point, I needed a McRib. And a cheeseburger. God knows, NOBODY EVER needs a McRib and a cheeseburger. And 2 gallons of Dryer's Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint ice cream. I drove to the nearest McDonald's (at midnightish) and sat in the drive through for a minute. I thought about the ground up patty of mystery meat, pressed into the shape of a riblit, slathered in bbq sauce. And then thought, "What the hell am I even doing? I don't want that thing even a little bit." Shoving that filthy thing down my gullet was as bad an idea as I had recently entertained. So, I aborted mission and went for the Dryer's thin mint instead.

Let me clarify something; I am NOT some marriage hungry fiend, wallowing in sorrow from failure after dating failure. I really am OKAY with being single at this age. It will happen for me when it happens. I'm not in a hurry. However, on a different (albeit somewhat related) level, I'm still a little bummed about being the last. About my most thoroughly shameful, wall of shame. I'm just bummed about the dynamic change, and all of the familial wondering about just WHEN I'll get married. It gets old.

Now, after a week, I am okay with it again. My life time frame is just different than that of my siblings and most of my cousins. And I'm okay with that. There is not ONE damn thing wrong with being 27.6 and unmarried. Not a thing.

As long as my seminal vesicles don't dry up, who cares if I'm in my 30ies before I trick some girl into marriage?


My american dream

Somehow or another over the last couple of years my political leanings have migrated towards conservatism. I think one of the few subjects about which I remain fairly liberal would be gay marriage. I just fundamentally can not be opposed to it. Actually, I would love to see the government completely shed marriage from policy, and merely grant civil unions, and then let churches marry whomever they will.

I'm sorry conservative gods, but I just don't believe that my future hypothetical children will be rendered gay by being taught that sometimes men love men and women love women in public school sex education. I think that if one relies upon the public school system to instill morals in one's children, such a person shouldn't be shocked when his or her kids are getting hand job's and dropping acid in junior high. Just because I knew what a hand job was in 7th grade, and heard kids talk about getting them, didn't mean that I was suddenly in the market for one. My parents taught me better than that. Plus I was chubby and unattractive. My point is, I just don't think "gay" rubs off.

On most other policy, however, I feel that my views trend fairly conservative. The thing that bothers me, is all of the inherent labeling that goes on in politics. Such as, "all conservatives are ignorant, inconsiderate, science hating gay despising truck driving earth destroying rednecks." Or something to that effect. Because I am NONE of those things.

Let's consider inconsiderate for a moment. Liberals love to label conservatives as inconsiderate because we would prefer that the government stop bureaucratic swelling in order to provide services to people who otherwise are unable to help themselves. Or because we oppose policy that places extra burdens upon those who "can afford it."

Well, do liberals ever stop to consider that certain economic policies meant to help "those in need" end up hurting those who supposedly "have plenty?" Take for instance the small business owner, who has toiled for decades for countless hours to build a business. Late nights. Early mornings. Weekends. Had to disappoint his children because he couldn't attend school functions or sports events, because work needed his attention. The man who provides employment for many individuals. Who has put his house, money, possessions, and family on the line to make said business work. Who has lived under the threat and fear that failure means a loss of EVERYTHING. How is forcing this person into bankruptcy in order to provide unaffordable insurance for employees COMPASSIONATE? (Republicans are guilty here too) Or enforcing stringent environmental regulations that would put him, amongst many other small manufacturers, out of business? Thus unemploying millions? Where is your compassion now? Don't lecture me on compassion because I don't relish helping people who refuse to help themselves. There are other ways.

Let's consider ignorant. I'm certainly not that. Simply because I disagree with liberal policies in favor of those which are more conservative, does not mean I am uneducated. I have a degree. Cum Laud, asshole. I have probably read more books than most care to imagine. I am informed. I read news from different sources. I think Rush Limbaugh is an asshole. I believe in evolution, and that it fits in beautifully with religion, and in fact, further validates the existence of a supreme being.

You think that because I am skeptical about global warming, that I am ignorant? There is an equal amount of science disproving global warming (if not more) than that which supposedly proves it. You, by your own definition, would be just as ignorant as I supposedly am for ignoring all of the counter evidence. Popular media coverage does not validate a claim.

I don't drive a truck. I don't even want a truck. But if I had a truck, it wouldn't automatically signify that I wanted to run over herds of seal pups, or burn down every rain forest. Maybe I simply would prefer not to be crushed to death in a GD Prius by a collision with a cyclist.

I am labeled inconsiderate because I think that the welfare system is a joke. Well, each month I donate to a church welfare system infinitely more capable and effective than what our government attempts. A system that actually helps people get on their feet, rather than enslavement through dependency.

I own a .45, but I am certainly as far from being a redneck as a guy can be, and still own a .45. I understand the proper usage of was vs were, seen vs saw, come vs came, and I don't ever use the expletive "sum bitch." I just want to be able to shoot a guy in the chest if he tries to murder me in my house. Or shoot a guy in the chest if he tries to murder you at Trolly Square.

I guess what I am saying, is quit stereotyping conservatives. I don't think every single liberal is a tree humping communist. I understand that people have fundamental belief differences. Thank God we live in the United States, where (in theory) we can all use our voice, attempt to choose the least corrupt from amongst a legion of corrupt assholes, and send them to Washington to do our supposed bidding.

I just want to live my American dream. I want the government to have as little to do with that dream as possible. I don't need Big Brother. I can make it on my own. In the words of Less than Jake, "My American dream is to have it, a little bit better than my parents ever had it." With the direction in which this country may be headed, I no longer know if that will be possible. But I am HOPEFUL. I am hopeful that I will be able to use my brain, and my abilities to make my dream possible. That I won't be crippled by my own government, and taxed more than half of what I earn to give jobs to bureaucrats and fund unnecessary endeavors.

I just want a suburban home.


Oh, the regret

Tonight, I saddled myself with my biggest regret so far of 2K10.

2 friends and I went to Chili's. Because what the hell else is open after 10 pm that isn't some form of fast food? Although arguably, Chili's isn't too many steps above fast food. Maybe like a step and a half. If, on the scale of food steps, fast food is like step three, proceeded only by a microwaved cheese hot dog, or a slice of bologna on white bread slathered in mayo, Chili's would then be about step 4 point 5.

After sitting in the booth a few moments, I looked to my left and saw what appeared to be the most awkward situation I have ever witnessed, without knowledge of what was actually occurring. There were 2 guys sitting in a mini booth. The guy on the left was sitting with his hands on each corresponding leg, looking either above the head of his date/friend, or awkwardly around at the television. Or sometimes down at the table. The guy adjacent to him had his hands folded in his crotch, and was staring slightly down and to his right, a look of such despondence plastered on his face, I expected him to pop a cyanide pill at any moment.

For 20 minutes this occurred. Well, let me rephrase. For 20 minutes, NOTHING occurred. Not a word was exchanged. Food sat untouched. No eye contact. The guy on the left would occasionally swivel his head here or there, but never really looking at his counterpart. The other guy, eyes glazed, stared at nothing, occasionally twiddling his fingers in his lap.

I wanted so very badly to ask just what was going on. And thus is my regret, that I did no such thing. So instead all we could do was sit there and surmise the meaning behind the almost palpable awkwardness. Was it a first date, and there just wasn't enough random shit on the walls to foster 45 minutes of conversation? Because I noticed for the first time, that Chili's is a little more low key than other similar establishments when it comes to finding every single random shit in existence to hang on the wall.

Perhaps we arrived just moments too late to witness the finale of their relationship, and the ensuing silence was the bi product of a harsh breakup. There just wasn't anymore to be said.

Maybe they had made love for the first time, and it was silent, staring, hands-folded-in-the-crotch guy's first time. And afterward, he felt really bad, and so swivel head was like, "calm down. I'll take you to Chili's." But 2 fajitas later, all was STILL not well on the gay front. And the awkward silence simply grew thicker, as hands-folded-in-the-crotch guy dwelt upon the ramifications of consummating the team switch.

The one reason for which I couldn't bring myself to ask them, "Hey guys, why are you the most sad right now?" was a fear that the answer would be horrible, like "Because his mom just died, a-hole." Or, "Because he just found out he has the HIV, a-hole." So rather than risk it, we just sat and observed the FUNNIEST awkwardly silent couple I have ever seen.

And I now teem with regret for not asking. Maybe they were just a couple of awkward buddy dudes, out for a night on the town.

But I VERY much doubt it.

Just a little recreation.



At times, one may find him or herself faced with the most harrowing of circumstances, where action can only be necessitated through the most desperate need. A moment where one's heart must rise above crippling fear, although the terror be a raging torrent of inadequacy, self doubt, and utter dread.

I speak of having to face spiders, of course.

Every time I think that I have taken a huge step in the direction of a recovering SISSY, I am reminded that I am a spectacular coward.

I entered my kitchen last night in search of some form of sustenance. As I passed the fridge, I noticed a little green dangling spider, suspended from the bottom of my cabinets, hanging almost equidistant between the 2 sinks. My immediate reaction was a resounding gasp, followed by (or in conjunction with) an approximate backward leap of 1 foot, and a consequential "shit." At that point, I began to immediately scan the room, and also my brain for the best and safest manner in which to dispose of the ungodly creature. Time was of the essence, because the spider was slowly inching its way up the silk line, into my cupboard. Or wherever his spidery heart desired, upon reaching the apex.

The only thing I could think of, was grabbing a paper towel, draping it across my open palms, and then quickly clapping the spider into oblivion. Which was a real big problem for me, because that would mean that there would only be a very thin layer of cheap papery substance between the spider and my skin. SCARY. I sat there a moment, contemplating which thought I loathed more; the spider possibly escaping into my home, or smashed between my hands so feebly protected. "Quit being a bitch," I berated myself, and clapped away.

At that moment, upon feeling the spider's tiny body crushed between my hands, I felt like I had climbed a small, difficult mountain. I had never slain a spider in this manner. In fact, even the destruction of a centipede, earwig, or other similar creature will typically involve no fewer than 5 wadded inches of toilet paper or paper towel separating my hand from the deed. And then I have to smash unnecessarily hard, to ensure absolute death, and then quickly toss the carcass into the nearest toilet bowl for a burial at sea. In clapping the arachnid, I had overcome a fraction of my dreadful fear. I let the paper towel gently fall from my hands, and drift to the counter top. Upon landing, it unfolded. Enter vision--smashed spider. Cue repeat--resounding gasp, backward hopping "shit." Also--add some minor wrist flailing.

All dignity lost. Again. Every time.

I think the root of my spider (and general bug) fear can be traced back to an uncle I once had. I say once had, because he decided that family was less important than other clandestine, devious pursuits. But I always thought he was wayyyy cool. I mean, the dude said "damn," and "hell," with wild abandon. Was a democrat. And had an earring (left ear.) And had a tee pee in his back yard (north side.) And had tomahawks. Which could be thrown from or near the tee pee (from south to north, never east to west.) The guy was a rad uncle. Also, he was terrified of spiders.

I recall being in a movie. Galaxy Quest, featuring Tim Allen and Alan Rickman. There was a part where a bunch of flying space spiders began to approach the ship. My uncle said, "Ohhh damn, (probably) I'm not going to like this part." Now me, thinking he was cool, also thought it might be cool to be even MORE afraid of spiders than what was natural. So I think my impressionable mine programmed that most irrational fear to further dictate the remainder of my body-to-spider physical reactions, for the duration of my life. The crippling fear. The swearing. The wrist flailing.

Thanks for the arachnophobic stain, uncle. At least the earring never took.


Spandex escape plan

Turns out that I can pick up the interweb from the eastern most corner of my kitchen. The expected 2K10 miracles are already piling up. Unfortunately, 2K10 has not yet seen fit to provide me with a proper kitchen seat (or table, for that matter,) so my ass and a microwave are sharing a cart on wheels.

Today I was setting up my rollers (an apparatus which, combined with my mountain bike, becomes a stationary exercise device) in the kitchen, and had just climbed on my bike when I got a call from Patty the cat lady down stairs. On our previous meeting, where she managed to ensnare me for 40 minutes, she informed me that she had a television which had been rendered obsolete due to her purchase of a high definition television. Which she told me all about. She wanted to know if at a future date, I would carry the useless TV to her car, so she could take it to DI. I said sure. She was calling to collect on this favor.

I decided that remaining in spandex shorts and zero shirt would be my best possible escape plan. I didn't think that a 70 year old cat lady had any interest in having another 40 minute conversation about cat dander with a shirtless guy in spandex shorts, with a padded ass. She informed me that she needed to go to the bathroom, but that she would be ready for me in about 10 minutes. It wasn't difficult to deduce from the given time frame just exactly what would be occurring in the bathroom. Thanks.

So, approximately 12 minutes later (I decided to give an extra 2 minutes for unknown variables) I descended into a haze of smoke to retrieve the television. As she opened the door, I noticed that her eye looked like it was about to rot off of her face. It appeared that she had contracted a dreadful eye infection. Which, she clarified for me a moment later when she said, "I have a dreadful eye infection. It migrated from my ear. Don't worry, it isn't contagious." At least there was that.

She also seemed surprised that I had arrived in spandex, sans shirt. Now, let me point out that I am in no way thrilled with the current state of my body. Quite the contrary, I am rather ashamed of my buddy (stomach) at this particular juncture in my life. But I wanted to get trapped in her house for a chat infinitely less than I didn't want her or anyone else to see me shirtless, in spandex. "Aren't you freezing?" "Yeah, but I'm just getting ready to exercise. Sooo, where is the TV?"

2 minutes later, I had loaded the TV in her car, and was opening my front door, ready to bolt upstairs, letting her know that if she needed anything else heavy moved, to let me know. All the while, trying REALLY hard not to stare at her festering eye.

I just wasn't ready for another 40 minute conversational trap. I feel like I can deal with that once a month if necessary, but it has not been nearly a month. I think successfully avoiding that trap was just another 2K10 miracle. Unfortunately, the chola adjacent to the cat lady happened to come out of her house and see me and my buddy. But she was wearing True Religion jeans with extra thick white stitching.

So like I CARE what she thinks.


Confusing numbers

Entered 3 very VERY old people into Carrabbas. I approached the table, less than thrilled. 3 sets of eyes peered at me from behind thick, gold rimmed glasses. Wispy, white hair in various states of sparsity. Eyes squinting, upper lip raised and crinkled into the the area just beneath her nose, mouth ajar, looking most confounded, one crone said, "Now, I might be retarded, but what are these numbers?"

Didn't really so much expect her to say that.

"Um, those numbers would be the prices."

It is a bad sign, whenever this query is posed. It typically means that the patron is unfamiliar with a menu that doesn't actually have a dollar sign next to numbers, and is therefore unaccustomed to eating places fancier than Denny's. Like, they are shocked that the 14 doesn't refer to the amount of shrimp they will be getting, or 23 ounces of filet.

"Now, we seen on a commercial that you got a special for all you can eat pasta, all you can eat soup, and all you can eat salad for $7.99" (I'll include the dollar sign here to avoid confusion.)

"Sorry, we don't offer infinity pasta, soup, and salad for $7.99. I think that was probably a different restaurant."

"No, now I'm pretty sure it was this one."

"Well, I'm fairly certain we have no such specials. In fact, we don't even have TV commercials. Maybe it was Olive Garden?"

"No, I think it was here."

"Perhaps Macaroni Grill?"

"No, that don't sound right."

"Well, we do have a special for a 7 oz top sirloin and grilled scallops and shrimp for 17 dollars."

She looked on the verge of panic at that suggestion. "Well, maybe I should call my brother and see if he is somewhere else?"

"Gosh, you should probably do that. Sounds like a GREAT idea. I bet he is at Olive Garden."

They left. THANK GOD.

One more reason why I hate my job. And yet another miracle from 2K10.

Thanks again, 2K10.


Sorry environment, but i really like books

I've decided that, despite being told that books are an evil, earth destroying entity due to the vast tree consumption, ink, dye, and bleach pollution integral to paper production, I shall still seek to have an eventually ginormous library collection.

Honestly, I hate polluting streams and poisoning wee fish and sundry crustaceans as much as the next nature lover. However, I think I LOVE paper even more than I love the aforementioned fishy crustaceans.

I suppose I feel that, of all of the everyday items that we consume as human beings which are, on some level, harmful to the environment (not talking about global warming here, but obvious, tangibly recordable chemical pollution) books are perhaps one of the most noble. Pollution in the name of literary advancement seems to be a great deal easier to stomach than say, the superfluous use of plastic. I mean, it is difficult to purchase anything that isn't packaged 2 or 3 times over in plastic. Store clerks seem almost offended when one tells them that a 5 gallon plastic bag won't be necessary to carry a package of tick tacs to out to one's car. So, I guess when I think about books in that context, I can't help but think, WORTH IT.

I realize that with the digitalization (don't care if that is really a word or not) of nearly EVERYTHING, the argument against the necessity of actually printing books is quite valid. However, there is just something about holding a physical copy of a book in one's hand that seems to be an integral part of the experience. I love reading something phenomenal online, or on a blog, or whatever, but I love even more having that physical copy in my hands. I love the smell of the paper and the ink, the feel of the pages on my fingers. The weight of the book, the crack of the spine. The feeling of satisfaction upon reading the last page, closing the book, and placing it on the shelf. And remembering the way the book made you FEEL every time you see it on the shelf. I don't want to lose part of the reading experience. I realize that the words and the content are the same whether digital or not, however I don't want to lose the physical part. I don't love my ipod like I love my favorite books. I love the artists on my ipod, but the machine itself I couldn't care less about. When that guy dies, I'm pist because I have to buy a new one. Inside and out, I love my books. Perhaps this is selfish on my part; but I don't think that I am alone in this sentiment.

I have decided that I am going to attempt to purchase 1 book a week, for the remainder of my life. I realize this is a rather lofty (and costly) goal, but I really want to have a vast library. And 15 dollars on a book is a much more worthy expense than 15 bucks on a buffet, or some other such nonsense. It was upon purchasing 2 books this week that I made this decision; Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathon Safran Foer, and All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy. If anyone has any suggestions for upcoming weeks, I'd love to hear them. I'd like to know your favorite book, and exactly WHY it is your favorite. Perhaps it will end up on my shelf, and you and I together can singlehandedly destroy the environment whilst strengthening our hearts and minds.


Wendover no parents 2009 all night christmas adventure miracle featuring "how to be a gentleman" and "the melancholy death of oyster boy "

I had a feeling that 2K10 was going to be full of miracles. I think I first had this notion on the eve of Christmas eve. Patrick and I had decided to postpone our Vegas no parents 2009 cheese factory Christmas Adventure miracle until the new year. Which would unfortunately make it a post-Christmas adventure miracle. Which, frankly, just didn't feel right to me. So on the eve of Christmas eve, Patrick and I were toiling away at Carrabbas. Twas a busy Christmas eve eve. I suddenly felt drawn to Wendover--the arm pit and/or asshole of north-western Utah. I suppose arm pit is more appropriate, considering the geographic location. However, it wasn't the Utah side in which I was interested. I wanted WEST Wendover Nevada, where I knew lady luck would give us a super good time.

I think I'm going to go ahead and skip to the miracle, which is the most important. We wandered over 4 casinos, trying to find a $1 roulette table, to no avail. Amidst my wanderings, I passed several slot machines with beaver themes. Being a natural fan of the beaver (I swear to you, I am ONLY talking about the animal here)I was tempted by each beaver machine I passed.

We decided it was time to end the adventure miracle. Patrick wanted to put $1 dollar in 1 machine. He did, and won 10 bucks. The first miracle. I decided that I needed to find one of those beaver machines. So Eleanor and I wandered around until I spotted one; Busy Beaver Dam Builder. I knew it was the one. I fed it a dollar. It was a penny slot, so I had up to 100 tries. I decided to push the button that used 15 tries at once. After that, wackiness ensued. So much dam building, log sawing, sexy (to a male beaver) female beavers dancing. And then I suddenly had 3200 credits. Since the math region of my brain suffers from some form of retardation, it took me a few moments to realize what that number meant. 32 bucks. Thanks, 4th grade level math. I cashed out, and got the hell outta there.

I think I shall attribute this miracle to 2K10, rather than 09. 09 was a mean old whore, and therefore deserves no miracles attributed to her. I rather think that 2K10 exercised a little bit of early magic, and sent a warm up miracle my way.

Thanks, 2K10. You are already the best.

Some pictures from the Adventure Miracle.

Dressed in Sunday best, ready for the adventure miracle to begin.

Eating as many chips as possible, on the way to the miracle.

Eating as many cuties as possible on the way to the miracle.

Just basking in the miracle.

Just stalling for a miracle.

Just laying on a miracle.

Just laughing at a miracle.

Just topping off a miracle.

Just like, a way indie miracle.

This was self indulgent. I apologize.

Oh, one other miracle I forgot to mention. The mustache is GONE.

2k10, year of the miracle

I think that 2K10 just might be the year of the miracle. One of the first miracles occurred this very day, in this very laundromat.

I am in a laundromat. I guess the sentence previous to the previous sentence alluded to that fact. Well, not even alluded. Stated. Perhaps a miracle even proceeding the miracle which today occurred in this very laundromat, is the fact that there is a laundromat 1 block from my residence that offers free wifi. The miracles are piling up. Cool, 2K10.

Upon arriving at Rose's Laundromat, I was a little dismayed to find that the apparent cost of 1 washing cycle was $1.75. Seeing several different styles of machine scattered about the place, I was hopeful to find cheaper machines. The Speed Queen would allow one to wash one's clothing for a paltry savings of 25 cents, but also looked like a real piece of shit. So I decided to stick with the Wascomat Jr. W-74, and pony up the full buck seventy five, even though we are in a recession.

Also, due to the recession, I was thinking about merely doing a load of whites, since what I most needed cleansed was my white work shirt. I gently fed a dollar bill into the change machine, which subsequently spit it back. Apparently my George Washington was a bit too crinkled for the taste of this particular mechanical diva. I found the 2 most uncrinkled bills I had, and shoved them in, and listened to the consequential shower of change. What a thrill, that sound. Makes you feel like you are winning something, even though you aren't even winning one single thing.

I retrieved my handful of quarters, and noticed that it seemed to be a much bigger handful than I had expected. Upon counting, the machine had blessed me with 14 quarters, rather than the 8 which I had expected. A post-Christmas miracle. Exactly the number of quarters needed for 2 loads in the Wascomat Jr.

I have a feeling that miracles shall abound in 2K10. Here are a few miracles I am expecting:

The acquisition of a grown up job. With my pitiful resume, the recession, and 78% useless History degree, this shall be a miracle indeed.

The acquisition of a wife. 2K10 just might be my year. I have been alive for 28 years. I think this miracle is approaching past due.

The acquisition of free internet in my household. I just have a feeling someone is going to have an open connection into which I shall be able to tap in the early months of 2K10.

Javier will get through 2K10 without catastrophic failure. My Honda Civic is going to run like a champion, all year long. I'm not going to have to sink 1600 dollars into him like I did last year.

The cat lady living below me will either give up smoking, or give up the ghost. I'd prefer she give up smoking, but I'll accept perish, that I no longer have to acquire lung cancer every time I unlock my front door.

The acquisition of 4 cats, should the cat lady perish. Wait. That would be a horrible miracle. I don't even want those cats.

Whatever else, 2K10 HAS to be better than 09. Right? RIGHT?