Archive for April, 2005

Time Being

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

So, I’m gonna post some pictures from the final bedroom, studio and front bedroom. I’m doing this now because tomorrow is my last day of internet access for a while. Jordana and I are not going to have access at the new house until next Wednesday, and we’re moving Saturday, and I doubt I’m gonna spend a lot of time doing this crap while we’re away.

This is the studio, just before we bought the house.

This is the studio now

This is the bedroom before we bought the house.

This is the bedroom on the eve of us moving in, so it’s a little messy.

It may not be totall clear, but the water damage has opened the seals in this room. This picture is right before we closed.

And this is as close as we’re gonna get before we move in.

I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls and lots of email… and tons of second hand email from my friends that I haven’t seen in months, so I just wanna give a shout out to my family, the poon, the VC, and all you independent email-ographers to let you know that I get stuff forwarded and yes, I do check my messages, and y’all know I’m a hopeless pathetic affirmation junkie and I wouldn’t have been able to power through this without y’all telling me that you think I’m awesome. I’m chagrined by how much of this I’ve screwed up, but, on the other hand, the whole place is gonna keep the rain off our heads and give us a place to have parties, so if you’ve called, written or emailed, even if you did it to someone else, and you said I did good, I will invite you over and give you alcohol. Any kind you want.

And now, for your continued viewing pleasure, a sleeping baby.

Another Slogging Step

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

I’m posting just two pictures, because they show both how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go.

This is the wall of obsession.

I am including this picture because by tonight, this wall will be yellow, or “Pismo Dunes” as we like to call it back on the West Coast, and the ceiling will be done. We also will have the carpet ripped out, tied in bundles, and left out for the garbage men to ignore.

This is the scheme we’re going for downstairs, which is where we discovered and fell in love with Pismo Dunes.

As you can see, there is no floor molding yet, and there may not be any when we move in on Saturday. I also never replaced the soffit, which was job number 2, probably. But I did build in the closet where we want it, and with the new carpet and walls painted, the soffit looks like a soffit running down the center of one wide room instead of two different long skinny rooms, which is what we wanted.

Oh, okay. Here’s the carpet and new closet I built, if you’re gonna be so insistent.

You can still see where the old closet was because we haven’t finished painting the ceiling yet, and we haven’t put up any crown molding, which is why you can see the crack at the top of the closet wall. And the soffit’s not done.

Let’s face it, I’ve done the bare minimum, which is, y’know, how I play. But we’ve got some final steps to take the next two days to make the house move-in-able, and then I’ll worry about the rest later.

More Pikshas? I Hardly Know Yas

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Jordana was just seconds away from saying, “Dude, can you stop taking pictures and try and help me?”

A few blogs ago, I listed “Sanding the Ceiling” up with “Finding Out Friends Are Dead” as things I don’t want to do anymore. I have to admit, if it would get me out of working on this house anymore, I would *totally* take one of my friends dying.

The fucker’s just drying out now, up there at the top. Of course, I’m doing all this work because I’m trying to preserve as much of the original plaster ceiling as possible. Yeah, right. I don’t want to hang drywall on another goddam ceiling so I’m keeping the original and patching in drywall, and it’s really tough to get even.

The truth is, I’ve messed some stuff up in this house, and there’s very little I can do about making it better. There are doorways where the drywall doesn’t meet the opening, there are exposed pipes and wires in the basement that I’m not gonna cover for a couple of weeks, and we still haven’t even *ordered* our kitchen cabinets, and that takes six weeks to deliver.

I’m not gonna lie, yesterday I’d had it with this house, and today I didn’t feel any better. I need another month, and not in that “OhmyGod, it’s tech week and we aren’t gonna be ready to open” kind of way, because the show opens and you can drop *every single line all frickin night* and you still won’t be sleeping in a room full of plaster dust. We are gonna move in on Saturday, and then on Sunday we are gonna leave to celebrate our one year anniversary.

Hilariously, we were supposed to have a longer honeymoon last year, but we just left for three days. It’s been a year, we’ve taken no vacations since then, and we are cutting our trip (to upstate New York, by the way, so it aint like it’s the Bahamas to begin with) short because we’ve got to get back and deal with the disaster that is this house.

I have a niece that’s growing up and I’ve seen her, like, twice. I went to play golf with my brother and we played *six holes* because I had to get back.

Look, I know I’m lucky, I know these are problems that 80% of the world would kill for. I’m landed, I own land, I’m basically the ari-frickin-stocracy and I have no right to complain, being a fat greasy unemployed moron without a high school diploma who woke up the other day as the proud owner of a home that will be worth a million dollars at some point in my lifetime, but I’m really goddam tired and I really wish I didn’t have all this shit to do.

Progress? I Hardly Know Ya’s

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

This is how the wall looked once I stripped all the drywall and insulation off. This is not a finished brick wall, this is the wall that holds the ceiling up. There are external bricks on the other side. In other words, this is an external wall.

In order to attach drywall to brick, I had to attack strips of wood, (furring or firring strips, I’ve seen it spelled both ways). In order to do that, I had to drill pilot holes through the wood, then the brick, then drop mason screws in. This was hell.

This is the wall, now up, but not yet taped and puttied. That, we did from 10:00 until just before midnight last night. I now have to go back to work.

Seder? I Hardly Know Her…

Monday, April 25th, 2005

I am a sucker for musical theater, and no matter how you slice it, that’s all a seder is. There’s the religious theater, which I have to admit, is not only my very favorite way to digest anything religious, but it’s also one of my favorite bits of theater, and there’s all the singing. Also, sitting with more than three members of any family immediately becomes an Albee play, so if you’re not finding a way to enjoy it, you’re just a fool.

I’m not Jewish, but my wife’s family is, and at this point I spend as much time with her family as I do my own (which is my own family’s fault for living so damn far away). Just to clarify, when I talk about either of our families, I always think of them as “our” family, instead of mine and hers. She said the other day “our brother and sister-in-law had a baby” because, I guess “our brother and sister had a baby” has a totally different meaning, even to Northerners.

Anyway, in our family, we do two seders, the first two nights. And, although we don’t eat bread at the meal, the whole leavened bread thing isn’t applicable. If Jordana went eight days without bread, I probably would to, at least in front of her. I fast with her on Yom Kipur, although it’s a “fluid fast” which includes not only drinking water, but also coffee and diet coke. So, Jordana and I split a turkey and cheese sandwich on wheat bread yesterday for lunch, we just didn’t tell her folks.

So, some highlights from the two nights.

Night one.

1. Jordana suddenly found herself the youngest person at the table and, in a sweet small voice, sang the four questions. I nearly died. She has a sister who is three years younger, so the only time she has done the four questions was when she was old enough to know what the hell was going on and her sister was still too young to. Jordana looked at the haggadah and read the Hebrew without much ceremony, it’s a song she knows in her hindbrain the way I know “Longer” by Bread or “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach.

2. Jordana’s mother, who is genetically incapable of allowing something to happen without offering help, began singing along, completely uninvited, with Jordana’s four questions. This is a woman who lives to be of service, who has faced traffic in both directions just to be on hand to paint at our new house, who will get you a drink if she suspects you are thirsty, but who will also remind you to turn left into your own driveway lest you might forget. One has to take the good with the bad when the motivations are identical, and I certainly wouldn’t want her any other way, but I would love to have heard Jordana finish the song.

(By the way, everyone calls it the four questions, but when I’m following along, it looks like it’s one question followed by four answers. Maybe it’s one big question “Why is this night different from all other nights?”, and then an array of smaller questions, like “why do we recline?” Even weirder, we don’t recline, and I don’t know what the answer to that is…)

3. Jordana’s dad flipping through the movie times while the Hebrew is being sung, belching loudly and eating the fruit salad out of the serving bowl using his fingers. It is no wonder Jordana married me. This is a guy who doesn’t know what the hell is going on, is basically disgusting, and somehow he gets away with it through sheer charm. Jordana found me disgusting and thought, “Aha, this is the man for me!”

4. Grandma Clara’s fiance (yes, they are getting married at the end of the summer) putting on his tape of Passover songs. I won’t be able to do this justice, I wish I could include a clip, but it’s a tape of synth-rock songs which set the themes and tunes of the Passover service to late 80s medium hard rock ballads, sung by a moany, floating RockStar who found himself a niche. If it hadn’t been quite so loud and if I hadn’t really needed a nap, I would have enjoyed it more.

5. Clara’s six pounds of kugel, eight trays of side dishes, three pound chicken, giant stew pot of *amazing* matzo ball soup, two whole large fish and 21 pound turkey to feed seven people. The difference between the amount of food when we started and the amount when we were past-sated was almost indistinguishable.

Day Two

1. 22 people at a table that fits 16. Every bite of food you took was like a romantic toast, your arm entwined with the person next to you.

2. Gabby’s baby, now three months old, doing the four questions. Gabby sang them with Skylar in her carrying sling, honest-to-God, staring at the Hebrew in the hagaddah the whole time. Gabby has a lovely singing voice, and she reads Hebrew better than anyone at the table, and Skylar, who’s a bit of a talker and singer, was silent the whole time like she was trying to memorize the words.

(I apologize for how much this means to me, but people have been singing this song as children and infants for thousands of years, in different languages and in different cities, sometimes in gorgeous homes on Long Island, sometimes while bombs were going off over head, sometimes while in a tent, running from a pogrom. The songs from this night are a connection to something more historic than archaeology, more meaningful than the musical trivia we’ve committed to memory, more holy than church hymns. I’ll write on this later, but this is why I want my children to know the songs, to have the ceremonies, even if Jordana doesn’t care.)

3. The inevitable political discussion. Politics start, and I hang my head and hide. Y’see, the Jewish population voted for Bush to the tune of 8% in 2000, and in 2004, that jumped to 12%. Jews are still mostly democrats, but there is a powerful conservative movement that is wooing Jews, and our family has become part of that. Every family gathering, it’s the same Hillary bashing bullshit.

So, imagine my surprise. The Schiavo case has turned almost everyone, (except my father in law) against the Republicans. And the Christian right has pissed off the Jews, who are all pro-choice, anti-prayer in school, anti-Christians Rule The World. They were united in a hatred of Arabs, the Christians and Jews, but if the successes in the war on terror (or so-called successes) continue, the Jews may swing back.

4. In one three minute stand, John Kerry was called “the most liberal man in the senate” and “a man who didn’t stand for anything.” It was noted that “all of his positions were radical left” and “we didn’t know what he stood for.” Man, Bush had his cake and ate it too, then pooped it out, and the poop was more cake, and these people ate that poop.

5. Jordana made our excuses because we had to return a piece of equipment to Home Depot.

It should be said that I love these things usually. I really love the Jewish side of our family, there’s nothing in the non-religious side that matches up. My brother’s wife has bemoaned the lack of any kind of ceremony surrounding things like Christmas and Thanksgiving, and she should, but my family just wants to sit around, snack and talk shit, there’s no way to wrestle any kind of religiosity into this group. I am grateful that I have this other side.

But this year, it happened when I was at my crankiest. No sleep, heavy lifting, hard jobs that I’m simply guessing how to do every day, so my patience was a little short.

Anyway, enough time wasted writing blogs. Coming soon, a pictorial history of the front two rooms, and my actual feelings on the passover story.

Y’all Are Sucka MCs

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Okay, back to how awesome *I* am. I don’t give a crap about Lucy.

This is what the studio looked like when we first took a look behind the boards. Yeesh

This is when we discovered that, although the ceiling and walls were horrible, the floor wasn’t too bad.

Walls, ceiling, all primed and ceiling painted, and track lighting installed. Tomorrow, we paint it GREEN!!!

Okay, Dammit, one picture of Lucy.

Lucy Photos

Monday, April 18th, 2005

So, just pictures of the baby, then back to 24/7 Seansploitation!

Tessa on the phone with her mom, Lucy trying to get closer to her face. Every generation stands on the shoulders of giants.

“All right, Lucy, if someone says “tar” then you say…?”

I said to Jordana on the way home “how can you love someone who hasn’t done anything yet?” and she snapped at me, “she’s done a lot! She’s perfect!”

“Wait. You’re saying this is *my* kid?”

“Right, you’ll be sitting like this and he’ll ask you what you want for Christmas and you say, ‘No, No, nothing for me, but my dad needs these items from… You got that?”

I was on the phone with Ian and he said “I sat and played piano with Lucy” and I, jokingly, asked, “Oh yeah, how was she?” meaning, of course, how well did she play. In a far off voice Ian said, “She was just sorta making noises and looking around. She hasn’t really developed to the point where she knows what’s going on, but she sorta made noises along with the piano.” I think there’s no words for what being a father does to some men, but if there are, I’m pretty sure Ian won’t be able to come down long enough to come up with them. He changed the baby three times while we ate dinner, the third was to make sure Lucy was changed *before* she got mad about it.

I can’t believe he ever worried.

Things You Don’t Want To Do

Monday, April 18th, 2005

I am now going to reveal how incredibly easy my life has been, because I’m going to, off the top of my head, describe the ten things I can think of right now that I really don’t ever want to do again.

10. Be Adjudicated As an Instrumentalist. I have played any number of instruments in any number of situations and then anxiously awaited the result, and it is absurd. You get numbers back from three judges, none of whom heard the same performance, and you have to wade through the contrary bullshit that they say about pitch and timing and rhythm. The truth is, I’ve always done pretty well in these things, but it’s just misery.

9. Have a Teacher. I’ve spoken enough about this, but even the teachers I’ve like have been collosal pricks. All you shitheads who think that because you’re teaching school, you’re changing the future of American and molding tomorrow’s minds? Just remember how *small and cruel* you can be, because every child in that room is picking up on it.

8. Sand the Ceiling. No, this isn’t a euphemism, I’m talking about sanding down the joint compound between two suspended pieces of wallboard. I can’t complain about doing this yesterday because it acually affected me in such a way that I had to stop and let Jordana do most of it. Okay, okay, all of it. I’m confident enough in my masculinity to allow for Jordana to be tougher than me.

7. Be Made Unconscious. I’ve been knocked the fuck out several times in my life, and only once was it ever in a hospital bed. Every other time, the fall was nearly as bad as the blow, or the drug, or the drink. I’ve had it. I’ve been knocked out… I’d say twelve times in my life. That’s enough. If I have to go under for an operation, I’m sure I’ll have bigger problems than this, but I just don’t want to ever have to do it again.

6. Get Divorced. There are more reasons to not want to do this than the standard “I Love My Wife” thing. I was pretty unhappy in my first marriage and it was still barely worth the pain and humiliation of divorce. It is admitting to the whole word that that party you threw for yourself, that you made everyone show up to and bring presents, wherein you smugly declared that you would succeed where more often than not everyone else fails, that all of that was an enormous misunderstanding on your part because you are just *dumb*. I have failed at things too numerous to mention, from high school to college to my professional aspirations to my dedication to my friends, and getting divorced is, by a huge margin, was the most humiliating failure of my life.

5. Hustle Business Contacts at a Party. It almost isn’t fair to put this on the list because I went to these parties, got drunk, and started trouble. I’m terrible at this, I’m on the outside looking in *always*, and if I’m not I make sure and alienate the crap out of myself. Unfortunately, this is one thing I am almost definitely *going to do* again.

4. Be Unprepared for an Audition. This is the worst I’ve ever felt over a two hour span. There is no comparison to that sick, didn’t-do-the-summer-reading feeling combined with a room full of actors with perfect quaffs and set jaws. The world of an actor is a horrible world that draws in the worst sort of people who are willing to do the most reprehensible things to get ahead, and you are facing these people armed with a ten month old headshot, a reasonably memorized two minute monologue and a teaspoon of talent. You really don’t want to be in that position.

3. Find Out Someone’s Dead. Obviously, this is gonna happen again. But, man, you find ways of not forgiving yourself for shit.

2. Meet Some Girl’s Parents. I said it at the time, so I don’t mind repeating it now, I got married the first time because I didn’t want to have to meet some other girl’s whole damn family. I think we get our claws in pretty deep the first couple of times you sit and talk with some girl’s mom all by yourself and she finds you charming. When the break-up happens, it’s just a nightmare.

1. Spend More Time Working Than Not For More Than Four Months. I think the threshhold is four months. If you disappear for four months, you still have friends with similar lives when you raise your head. If you wait five, then your best friend might have met a girl, dated her, broken up with her and be dating someone else, and then you’re at a party realizing you missed a *whole chapter*. And maybe it isn’t that important, but there was some good jokes, some melancholy pain, some strange behavior, and now it has entered the “too long a story to explain” area, and you’re basically meeting your good friends all over again. And that sucks.

BONUS- Write A Blog With An Arbitrary Number of Things In It Off The Top Of Your Head When You Should Be Working On Something Else. Yeah, I’m not ever doing *that* again.

In The Sky

Friday, April 15th, 2005

I want to write about little Lucy, my niece, who was born frickin’ *yesterday*. I can’t because it isn’t my story, and also because I don’t know what to say about this little mermaid of joy, this little “girl” who was breathing fluid one minute and looking askance at me a few hours later, but I will say this. She does a double yawn. She did it a bunch of times. She starts yawning, the yawn crests and she looks like she’s done with it, but she finds a whole nother gear of yawn and commits, slamming the yawn, jaw unhinged head back, legs stretching.

And, as those of you who have ever been up almost all night drinking scotch with Ian will realize if you think back on it, that’s Ian’s yawn. Ian will start the yawn and then halfway through just go for it and let it rip. Ian yawns like Jordan used to hang in the air, just as you think he’s coming down he goes up a little higher. He yawns like Lucy, and there’s no way she could have learned it from him.

No, there’s another blog that goes here. There’s a blog about the fact that we were rejected by the New York Music Theater Festival. There is a blog about potential energy vs. kinetic energy. There is a blog about the fact that Lucy, so far, has done only a couple of things with her life – managed to be both fat and cute at the same time, managed to hold the attention of a group of people in the room with her, managed to make everyone laugh who is predisposed to do so- and to compare those things with where I currently am in my life, capable of the same things and almost *nothing* more due to the fact that my potential energy has never become kinetic, that even when I do try, even when I bend my back to the task at hand, I achieve exactly as much as I do when I do no work at all and I sit around drinking with my friends and watching movies and having fun. That, although there is not a single inkling in me of belief in the supernatural, that I have never thanked God for anything or felt his presence in my life in any way whatsoever, somehow I can still feel the hot breath of failure, the magical impulse of destruction that hangs just outside everything I attempt, waiting to swoop in and make bad anything I am working on the second I hold on with only one hand instead of two. That, although I can’t believe in angels guarding over me, I am constantly given proof that there are demons, or more likely imps, nasty creatures made of mischief not malice, that spare me cancer but give me GERD, that bless me with the passion to attempt the things that they deny me the talent and opportunity to see through, that allow me to hear and understand greatness but hide from me the secret keys to recreating that genius, that not only trip me as I work my way toward that which means more to me than anything in the world, but also inspire me to run before I trip, and trick me into believing, every time I fall, that I am building character, that I am becoming stronger, that I am closer this time than the last, so that I get up and take another terrible galloping sprint-stagger toward the goal before falling and failing again and again and again and again.

That’s the blog I need to write. But you should see little Lucy in person, you should see her stretch her legs out. She’s got Ian’s cheeks and Tessa’s face, Tessa’s ears and Ian’s nose, she’s got fingernails and batches of hair and, for some reason, my Mom’s thumbs. My parents wanted us to be better than them, as they wanted to be better than their parents. Lucy is gonna have it hard, being asked to be better than her mom and dad, and I guess there’s a part of me that wants to set the bar for myself before I bring in a little kneebiter. I want my child to want more than what I still can’t seem to achieve. I want some measure of greatness for myself, so that my child can achieve more than that.

So, it’s an emotional roller coaster today. And, I guess, I need to get to work.


Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

I’m not gonna lie, being boring has got to be one of my biggest fears. Let’s face facts, I’m not a terrific dancer, I’m not gorgeous (although I do have a full head of thick wavy hair), I don’t know what a lot of the words mean that my friends use and, in the words of my wife, I’m a “terrible speller”. But I’m pretty good to have at a party. Even if I’m talking shit about you to you, I can do it in a way that is at least interesting. Even when I’m *dead wrong*, which is often, I can be pretty funny.

But in the last couple of years, my mindset has shifted. I used to actually exist in a kind of lounge entertainer vibe. If I was doing something critical, there was a certain casual attitude that might be like Sammy Davis Jr. putting on his bow tie. Sure, it needed to be tied correctly, but any second we will have moved into the “hanging out, drinking scotch, cracking jokes and singing songs” sensibility. And who knows, maybe the tie comes undone and hangs around my neck.

Not so any more. I’m hopelessly on message. Ever since we started planning the wedding, October or so of 2003, I’ve been taking my shit pretty seriously. The wedding had to be exactly right, and actually it turned out pretty good. Then I pressed really hard on getting Lucretia booked. Total failure. Then I spent seven or eight months solid hammering out Fleet Week. Still waiting on that. And now it’s this house. In between all that, I recorded a bunch of music and did some shows.

So now I’m really nervous that I’ve gotten unfunny. And the thing is, if I’m getting really good at hanging drywall and building centerpieces, but I’ve lost my sense of humor, then my friends are gonna dump me. There are guys who hang out at delis that are really good at drywall. I wanna keep being one of those scotch nursing jerks who cracks wise.

My good friend Dani once asked me to explain my sense of humor, to explain how humor works in total to him. It isn’t that he’s humorless at all, it’s just that he won’t understand some jokes, and others he will grab hold of and laugh at for an hour, so it’s a delicate operation explaining it to him. I didn’t have notes prepared or anything, and I write these blogs with no editting, so bear with me, I’ll try to explain it the way I did to him.

1. Specificity

You walk in from the outside and it’s cold. The standard joke is to say “it is as cold as…” and then insert something. This is where you get to be funny. A Witch’s Teat was born of someone clever in 1712 in the far north east, where they had witches and knew how cold their teats were. I don’t even know what a regular teat is, so I don’t like this joke.

You choose your joke based on the group. If it’s a mixed group and you don’t know everyone very well, or if you do and they’re a little uptight, you can go with “an eskimo’s nose” or, somewhat more obtuse, “a dog’s nose”. If you walk in and say, “It’s as cold as a dog’s nose” people will laugh and then look at you strange and you say, “When a dog sneaks up behind you and you feel his cold nose on your bare arm? My *whole body* feels like that…”

Now, I generally go for the most obscene I can when possible. “…a dead hooker” would be a good one. But remember the specificity. Even funnier is “It is as cold as a dead hooker’s empty hip flask outside” barely makes sense but everyone will laugh. To recap, “Cold as someone’s nose” isn’t funny, but insert “dog” or “eskimo” and it becomes funny, and if you add “dead” before either, it’s hilarious.

2. Words

This is a bit of a grey area. Sometimes the specificity is enough, but the word choice can really improve a bon mot. There are certain words that are funny all by themselves. Rutabaga. Duodenum. Ass-end. Eskimo. It’s nice to get a bunch of these words and have them at hand for use in daily conersation. “I was so sick last night” isn’t funny, it’s a medical condition. But “I was so sick last night, I felt like someone was tap-dancing on my stomach” is a little bit funny. However, “I was so sick last night, I thought lilliputians were doing “Chorus Line” on my duodenum”, suddenly it doesn’t matter that you were pooping blood, everyone is laughing.

These things have to have contextual fluidity, though. You can’t say, “It’s as cold as a dead hookers rutabaga.” People will be forced to ask, “Do most hookers have their own rutabaga?”

Actually that’s funny as shit. Which leads me to…

3. Surreality

If you can steer backwards, you can use surreality to your comic advantage. You have to set it up so someone asks the clarifying question. The most obvious type of this joke is the “Deez Nuts” variety, where you ask someone “Be careful of that rope.” and hope like hell they ask “what rope?” at which point, you rejoinder with, “the rope you are swinging on like Tarzan before you hit smack into DEEZ NUTS!”

It’s a terrible joke. I can’t stop making it, and it always makes me laugh. There is a whole lexicon of “your mamma” jokes that fit this pattern.

Better, though, is the lead off that sets up an actual joke. If you can get one of your friends to ask the question “Do most hookers have their own rutabaga”, then, in a way, you’ve already won. But if you answer “it’s ten dollars more if you bring your own.” they will start laughing. Then you can continue with, “they want to make sure the quality and size is just so. They’re very picky about rutabagas. (pause) Eggplants too.”

See, we don’t even know what the hell we’re talking about. Someone will eventually make the banana joke, or some other suitably phallic fruit or vegetable, which will kill the joke because you’ve come back around to a literal food-in-the-vagina joke, which is not really all that funny. Once you’ve entered the world of the surreal, it’s good to just give it lots of gas and take your hands off the steering wheel.

These were the three things off the top of my head to help my friend Dani. In action, it goes like this.

There is terrible traffic on the way to a party. You come in to the party making your excuses.

“The traffic was completely backed up. I guess everyone was coming to this party!”
“Traffic was terrible. They don’t call it rush hour for nothing!”
“I’ve been staring at break lights for half an hour, which must be why I’m seeing red!”

Etcetera, you get the idea. Totally literal, totally obvious, totally without charm.

“The guy in front of me, it turns out, supports our troops to the tune of six magnetic ribbons”
“On the way here, I got to listen to all of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and how often can you do that?”
“It was perfect, I had enough time to get *this* arm tanned, then the sun moved and got my face nice and brown and then came down through the other window, and I got *the other* arm tanned. Traffic is really why I’m so gorgeous.”

“If you leave any space at all in front of you, some jack-booted spastic football fan will caroom in front of you.”
“Every car jumps forward only to screech to a halt, like a bulltoad mounting his mate…”
“Sorry I’m late. Apparently, today was geriatric jallopy day on the interstate.”

“It took me an hour to get here, but I just curled up in the back seat and took a nap.” (works only if you’re the only one in your car)
“Traffic going the other way was fine, so next time, I’m gonna start here and we’ll have the party at my house.”
“It was like the tortoise and the hare, except instead of the hare taking a nap and the tortoise winning, both of them were driving in cars really slowly with thousands of their tortoise and hare friends.”

All right. I pray that I can be at least a little bit funny as the years go on. I’ll try to remember these rules, and if I don’t, feel free to reprimand me. Right in DEEZ NUTS!