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It’s Not Just Midnight Pomegranate, It’s A Test November 5, 2009

Posted by tmorty in Uncategorized.
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Women seem to have all different kinds of scented soaps in their bathrooms, especially single women. I guess for the most part, the  novelty of the scented soap (I call it smelly soap) wears off after marriage. Or by then has it merely fulfilled its secret purpose?

Be kind, provide unscented soap as a second option.

The other day, I was visiting a friend and had to use her restroom. When I was finished attending to business, the only soap at my disposal was the scented soap in the picture above. Great, my hands are clean, but now they smell like Midnight Pomegranate.

Later, I could be watchin’ the game and all of the sudden, “Why do these nachos smell like pomegranate? Wait a second, it’s not the nachos, it’s my hands and they don’t smell like pomegranate, they smell like Midnight Pomegranate! It’s true that Midnight Pomegranate is a clever name. Anything with the word midnight in it has to be at least semi-cool, right? But let’s face it, I don’t want the stuff all over my hands. I wish there was an unscented alternative soap for when guests pay a visit.  I wouldn’t mind having a choice. However, it is my belief that something more sinister is at work here than just the utter humiliation of a woman making a man smell like an exotic fruit basket.

It’s now my belief that having the smelly soap as the only option is a test for us men. This is exactly why more single women carry smelly soap than married ones. Let me explain further.  It’s to test whether or not a man will 1) swallow his pride and wash his hands with the smelly soap, 2) wash his hands with water only (not recommended), or 3) not wash his hands at all (this should be illegal). If a man comes out of the bathroom smelling like he’s spent too much time near a Bath and Body Works, a woman can be sure that he not only has good hygiene, but he is also a humble person for doing so. If a man comes out of the bathroom void of the Midnight pomegranate scent she will think, “Wait a minute. Something’s wrong here. You don’t smell fruity.” And she’ll know that he is either prideful, or has bad hygiene. Either one is a deal-breaker so it makes it easier for a woman to narrow down the list of potential mates. This is why married women don’t carry smelly soap as often because they have already conducted the experiment and only repeat it every now and then on a man that had previously passed the test just to keep him on his toes. If he doesn’t pass one of the random post-marriage smelly soap experiments, is that possible grounds for divorce? I’ll let you be the judge.

Let me be clear. The author has always bitten the bullet and come out smelling the part. I’m not advocating that anyone go out and buy soap that smells like barbecue sauce or bacon for when a man comes over to visit. I’m not even suggesting that a woman should buy unscented soap as an alternative. I simply wanted to shed some light on something that at first glance may seem like a harmless activity, when in fact it might just be much, much more.

“It Gets Easier The Higher You Climb” October 19, 2009

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I couldn’t get to sleep right away, so I thought I’d share a story.  Several years ago, my friend Phil invited me to go rock climbing with him.  I had never been before, but had always wanted to go. We drove out to Parley’s Canyon and just stopped off  somewhere on the side of the road.  There are plenty of good spots to climb in that canyon.  My friend Phil offered to go first so that he could take a rope up for us that would make it safer for those who had never done it before (me).  The rope would also allow us to repel down the mountain so that it wouldn’t take so much time to get down once we had reached the top.

Parley's Canyon

Parley's Canyon

My friend Phil made rock climbing look so easy.  When he finished, it was my turn.  No backing out now. I think I was actually more afraid of repelling down the mountain then I was of the actual climb.  I started up the mountain. However, I did something that wasn’t very smart. I hope there are others out there that have done this, but I’m probably alone in my foolish blunder.  As I started up the mountain, for some odd reason I only used my arms to try and pull myself up the mountain.  I didn’t even think to use my legs for strength (stupid I know, but that’s how it went down).  When I was about half-way up the mountain, I started to lose all my upper body strength until my arms fully gave out. I let go of my holds on the mountain and gave in to gravity. I started to fall.  Luckily I was hooked up to the rope that my friend Phil had put in place.  However, the rope would not have done me any good if Phil had not been keeping an eye on me from the bottom of the mountain. As soon as he saw me start to fall, he grabbed a hold of the rope and I didn’t fall more than a foot or two before I was suspended in the air. For a minute, all I could do was just hang there. My strength had fully given out.  While I was hanging there in the air, Phil shouted some words of encouragement, “Don’t worry, it gets easier the higher you climb.”  This was a total lie.  It didn’t get any easier but the encouragement helped me anyway.  However, I was smart enough to use my legs and arms once my strength came back to me after hanging there for a few minutes to think about what went wrong and I eventually reached the top of the mountain.  Repelling down was no problem as I knew my friend Phil had the rope below and wouldn’t let me fall.

When I came down, all I thought about was how fun it was and that I had reached the top.  But now the experience means so much more to me.  Before this climb, I hadn’t seen Phil in a few years.  He and his family had moved away a couple of years before.  However, even after not seeing him for a couple of years I trusted him enough to know that he would catch me if I fell.  After he caught me when my strength had failed, I didn’t fear anything.  I’m happy to say that I’ve been surrounded by friends like Phil my whole life.  And I hope they know I would do the same for them.   Even though the climb didn’t get easier as I got higher like Phil suggested, the climb did get easier when I knew I had a friend that I could trust holding the ropes that was looking out for me and giving me the encouragement I needed to reach the top.  So, next time you see a friend who’s strength is about to give out, be the one to grab the rope and don’t let them fall.  Because it doesn’t get easier as you get higher, it’s still just as hard.  But good friends you can trust and words of encouragement will help you reach the top.

We Resorted to Ordering Pizza on Halloween October 11, 2009

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After a couple of years of being too old to Trick-or-Treat, my friend Rob and I got bored one Halloween. We were right at that age where we were too old to go around the neighborhood and ask for candy, but young enough that there weren’t too many Halloween parties for our age group going on either.  Rather than being lame and playing Parcheesi with the folks, Rob and I thought that we would have a little fun this year and scare unsuspecting Trick-or-Treaters that came to the house . We had the most brilliant idea that was sure to scare everyone that came to the house. I had an evil gorilla mask just for the occasion.

toy_gorilla

The plan was that I would hide below ground in the window well right next to the porch and when someone came to the door and knocked, I would jump out of the window well in a single leap and scare them all.  It was the perfect plan and we were set for a night of pure fun and entertainment.  However, the night ended up being quite different from what we planned.  My parent’s house was near a highway and most parents didn’t like taking their kids anywhere near a busy road (I don’t blame them now, but I did back then).  So, I waited and waited in the window well, but almost nobody came to the house.  My mom gave out decent candy too. None of that toothbrush or pencil crap.  I think that the original plan was for both Rob and I to trade-off wearing the mask. However, there just weren’t enough people coming to the house to make it any fun. Many people would turn around  a house or two before ours because they wanted to stay away from the busy road.

Rob and I weren’t about to give up on the whole night, so we decided to give it one last shot. People weren’t going to come to our house to trick-or-treat, so we had to get them to come to the house for some other reason.  By this time we were getting hungry and my mom had warned us not to eat all of the candy that we were supposed to give to kids that came by (We ended up being able to eat most of it anyway when almost no kids came to the house that night). So we decided that we would order a pizza. That way, we would get food and we could scare the pizza guy when he came to the door to deliver the pizza.  It was the second brilliant plan of the night.  Never mind that the first brilliant idea of ours didn’t pan out so well.

We ordered the pizza and shortly after, the pizza delivery man arrived.  Little did he know that I was lying in wait in the window well wearing a gorilla mask ready to scare him. I kind of hoped that he would be so scared that he would drop the pizza and run as buying a pizza was quite an expensive meal for me when I was that young and I could have used a free pizza.  As he approached the door, I jumped out of the window well and yelled as loud as I possibly could through the mask which I figured is what gorillas would do out in the wild just before catching their prey.  To my utter disappointment, my gorilla scare tactics had not even phased the pizza delivery guy. He didn’t even flinch.  Once I was done belting out my all-but-terrifying roar, there were a few seconds of awkward silence and the pizza delivery guy said, “That’ll be $14 please.” I honestly can’t say that I remember the exact amount that he asked for, but I gave him the money with a modest tip and felt like a huge failure.  However, I only thought about the failure for a couple of minutes and then I was just too excited about eating pizza.  I didn’t really talk about the experience for several years because if word had ever got out, I knew I wouldn’t ever get hired at a haunted house or corn maze because I would have been known as the kid that couldn’t even scare the pizza guy. I never ended up working at a haunted house anyway, but I wanted to have my options open just in case I were given the opportunity someday.

Killer Bees & Speedos September 30, 2009

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This pic combines two of my greatest fears: killer bees and speedos

This pic combines two of my greatest fears: killer bees and speedos

I have a confession to make: I’m afraid of bees and I have been since I was very young. I’m not really afraid of heights, snakes, spiders, etc. but I am afraid of bees. Why might you ask? Because I was stung in the eye by a yellow jacket when I was a kid. There was no permanent damage to my eye as a result of the sting, but I’ve known ever since then that bees were capable of doing anything. It was traumatic and I probably should have had counseling.  Just the other day, I was out in my front yard (I think I was mowing the lawn) when a bee surrounded me. It kept getting closer so I started to swing things at it in order to make it leave. I know I looked like a total idiot to all of my neighbors. Luckily, it didn’t seem like too many people were outside watching.  The bee just kept taunting me. Eventually, they forced me to go back inside the house once I  realized that the bee had invited some friends to play too. I knew I was outnumbered and so I waited a few minutes inside until they had gone to pollinate something or make honey. It’s been a few years now, but I’ve even had dreams where I was surrounded by bees kind of like the swarm of bees scene that went down in the X-Files movie.

As for the Speedos, I guess I’m not really afraid of them, I’m just not a fan of the traditional Speedo and when I saw the hideous picture above while doing a search for killer bees, I couldn’t resist posting it.  A colleague of mine once said that men shouldn’t wear anything in public that broadcasts a “prominent package”. I think her words are wise and I fully endorse them. Some say it’s “European” to wear a Speedo, but I say that it’s not European, it’s just plain dumb.  I don’t really care if you like the way it shapes your junk, keep it to yourself and wear a real swimsuit buddy! I guess another fear of mine could be being attacked by bees while only wearing a Speedo, but that would never happen as there’s no way I’d ever run around in that modern-day loin cloth. When it comes to killer bees and someone sporting a pair of Speedos at the beach or the pool, I run as far away from both of them as humanely possible.

They Don’t Sing When They Speak In Italy September 23, 2009

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JERRY: I-I-I don’t like the opera. What are they singing for? Who sings? You got something to say, say it!

KRAMER: Jerry, you don’t understand, that’s the way they talk in Italy,
they sing to one another…

Seinfeld, Episode: The Opera

A few years ago I  had the opportunity to vacation in Europe with my friend James.  I got to spend two weeks in both Switzerland and Italy, of which I liked both for very different reasons.  We spent most of the time in Switzerland, but after a week in Switzerland we took a train ride from the Swiss capital of Bern through the Swiss Alps to Milano (Milan), Italy and then on to Venezia (Venice). While on the train, I’m certain we saw some of the most beautiful sights on this Earth.  It was especially nice because we were passing through some of the towns where my ancestors had lived centuries before.  On the train ride there, I remembered the lines listed above from one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes. For reasons unknown to James or myself, I decided to start singing all of the Italian words that I knew in an operatic voice rather than speak them, along with the names of the Italian towns as we passed by them on the train.  The people on the train weren’t singing when they spoke to each other, but they were smiling, and yes, I’m sure it was because they thought I was an idiot that had probably had too much to drink, but it was fun and the batteries on my iPod were running low, so I needed a way to entertain myself.  No one seemed to mind that much anyway because I wasn’t very loud.

Lake Como, Italy It was near impossible to take pics on the train, but here's someone else's pic of what it looked like from the train.

Lake Como, Italy. It was near impossible to take pics on the train, but here's someone else's pic of what it looked like from the train.

Once I decided to shut my mouth and stop singing, I noticed a young Italian girl sitting across from us on the train.  She looked as if she were about 13 to 14 years-old.  She seemed to be hanging on every word of our conversation. Not because of what James and I were saying was interesting, but because we were speaking in English.  As I looked closer, she had an English book in her lap and was studying for an English class.  Her mother was sitting next to her looking out the window most of the time, but every once in awhile they would exchange words in whispers, which I assumed they were doing because they were talking about us, the English speakers on the train.

Once we clued in to how closely she was listening in to our conversation, James and I decided to throw her a curve ball (it was mean, I know but we did it anyway) by speaking in a language other than English for awhile.  James started speaking in Portuguese and I in Spanish and being as similar as those two languages are, we could understand each other.  The young girl seemed a bit perplexed, so we didn’t keep it up for very long; only a couple of sentences.  As we stepped off the train at the station, the young Italian girl approached us alongside her mother and after a short pause (It was visibly obvious that she was trying to shake-off the nervousness) she said, “Have a nice day!” to both of us in the best English that she could muster.  We thanked her for her well-wishes and complimented her on her English.  Surely, she had planned the moment carefully as I remember that she appeared to be looking up quite a few things in her English book just before the train ride ended.  She walked away with a huge smile on her face as she turned red and quickly immersed her head into her mother’s chest as the temporary moment of boldness had left her. Her mother instinctively embraced the young girl in her arms to acknowledge how proud she was of her daughter’s noble efforts. That young Italian girl may not have known much English, but I could tell she understood the universal language of kindness. We did have a nice day. It was a great day, in fact and although I’m not sure it was all because of that little girl, her encouraging words definitely set the tone for the rest of the day.