Saturday, December 11, 2004

The hour grows late and I am still awake.

This is not like me. Or rather, it is like me but like the me I was and less like the me I have been recently.

Hmm, I'm trying to figure out if I've insulted myself. I hope not.

I've been this new fad diet that is "all the rage" with Mexican-American males aged 22-23. I've been subsisting primarily on oatmeal and Claritin. The combination of oats and allergy medication helps me feel like a race horse and breathe like a champion.

An unexpected side effect is the 40% decrease in my need for sleep. It's very strange to me. But I feel pretty good so I guess I can't complain.

No rest for the wicked, I suppose.

* * * *

Sometimes I wish I had kids. Especially times when I read things like this.

"Phlogiston, Calx," I would scold. "Make sure to eat all of your vegetables. Remember, there are starving people up in space."

"Fine," Phlogiston would retort. "Why don't you go put the vegetables into a geosynchronous orbit and let them eat it!"

"Young lady! What have I told you about being smart at the dinner table!"

"Don't worry, Pops, she's not," Calx would snort, "A geosynchronous orbit has to be at 35,000 kilometers above the Earth and the space station orbits at 550 kilometers. The space station can't reach that altitude, ya dummy!"

"Boy," I would growl, "Don't call your little sister names. And what have I told you about using the metric system?"

"Naw-aw," Phlogiston would say, "A simple, low-energy Hohmann Transfer would take them right out of Low Earth Orbit, stooopid!" She would stick out her tongue and cross her eyes to emphasize the word "stooopid."

"Heh heh," I'd laugh. "'Ho man'. You kids say the darndest things!"

Friday, December 10, 2004

I jolted awake in the frosty darkness to the sound of my own teeth chattering. The alarm clock's red glare said 2:28 am, as I assume it does every night at 2:28 am. I failed to see the reassuring orange glow of the heater in the corner. The heater sat in cold silence and was certainly not heating anything.

As I grumbled out of bed to see what was the matter, a ghostly apparition appeared in front of me. It glowed faintly as it swayed from side to side. A bit of drool tried to escape out of the corner of my mouth as I stood aghast. A voice began to speak. "Guillermooge...Guilermooge..." (At this point, the bit of drool was recruiting others to join the liberation movement.) "Guillermoooooge..." the ghost continued. "I am the Ghost of Christmas Pants."

"The Ghost of what?!" I sputtered, sending droplets of saliva into freedom and darkness.

The ghost seemed to flicker, darkening slightly as if in annoyance. "Guillermooge...I am the Ghost of Christmas Pants."

"But I've got plenty of pants!" I snapped, my fear having turned quickly into annoyance. "So you're wasting your time. Now off with you! I don't fancy being woken up in the middle of the night by some bloody forgotten Old Navy commercial."

The ghost sparked and flashed like a heater with an electrical short. " will listen to me. I am the Ghost of Christmas Pants and I have come to offer you a chance for redemption. Do you know what day this is?"

"Yeah, it's December 10th. Aren't you out a bit early?"

"Foolish mortal! Today is Friday. Pants-Down Friday! Think, boy. When was the last time you celebrated Pants-Down Friday?"

I pondered a moment. "Ah, yes, I remember. Never! Now go away and leave me alone."

"You lie, Guillermo," the ghost said, "Think back to when you were a lad. Why, most people looked forward to Friday because it meant a coming weekend, because it was Casual Day at work, or even because it meant the school cafeteria was serving pizza. But not you. You, you couldn't wait for Friday because it meant you could drop your pants to your little heart's content."

"Spirit!" I cried, "You speak of a time long since past. I was but a scamp of 21, naive of the ways of the world and the astounding social pressure to keep one's pants up at all times. Now I am too old; I canna change. I canna possibly change."

"How old are you?" the spirit demanded.

"Twenty-two and a half."

"You are young, fool! I've got plot holes older than you! You can still change!"

"No, I can't."

"Yes, you can!"

I pondered a moment. "Hey, I never thought of it that way before."

"Wonderful!" the Ghost of Christmas Pants said with a glow. "Now sleep, sleep, and forget all about the strange and extraordinary events that occured here tonight...well, not the stuff about the pants and not about me being the Ghost of Christmas Pants. I mean, after all, forgetting everything would make this entire exchange pretty much pointless and-"

If the ghost said more I did not hear it for I was already back in bed and sound asleep.

I woke the next morning to sunlight streaming in through the window. Remembering my marvelous encounter in the night, I ran to the windowsill and stuck my head out. I saw a child sitting nearby. "You there, boy!" I shouted happily.

The child glared at me. "I'm a girl!"

"Eh, yes of course, sorry. Em, you there, girl!"


"What day is it?"

"Today, sir? Why, it's Friday."

"Yes!" I cried with glee. "It's Pants-Down Friday! Now listen boy-"


"Right, yes, girl. Now listen, em, girl, I want you to run down to the mall and fetch me the nicest pair of underwear you can find!"

"What are ya, daft? I haven't got any legs, mister. Why do you think I'm just setting here?"

I blinked. "Yes, that is rather odd. But no matter. It's Pants-Down Friday and nothing can go wrong!" I grabbed my hat, cane, and monocle. I put on a pair of my nicest pants and immediately dropped them. I shuffled down the stairs and out the door, cheering all the while.

Shortly afterwards, the police brought me to the jail house. They put me in a holding cell along with a few other troublemakers. One of them looked very familiar. "Hey, it's you, the Ghost of Christmas Pants!"

"Hello, Guillermooge," the ghost said cheerfully. "I see that you are a new man."

"You bet!" I paused. "So what are you in for?"

"Urinating in public."

"Oh. Yeah, they're really cracking down on that."




Make up your own moral!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

So I haven't been exactly straightforward lately.

I'll try to remedy that now.

In the past couple of months I have:

-gotten a credit card

-said goodbye to my precious '89 Toyota Tercel and hello to a '98 Mercury Tracer

-fallen asleep in the parking garage at work and stumbled in two hours late

-eaten sea urchin for the first and last time at the sushi bar with Matt

-gone to court to testify against my father

-been cut off by a rookie police officer which caused me to hit a truck

-gotten into numerous arguments with my biology professor

-donated money to National Public Radio

-gone to a strip club for a bachelor party where I was unexpectedly tackled by a dancer

-purchased a lot more books and another bookshelf

-taught my two-year-old neice how to skank in case ska ever comes back

-filled my co-workers desks drawers with popcorn (one rigged in such a way that when she opened the overhead compartment, popcorn showered down upon her)

-thoroughly enjoyed the films The Incredibles and Finding Neverland

-discovered that I can vomit standing on my tip-toes (with the aid of a dumpster) after a night of drinking and dancing at Hot Pink

-fallen in love with a woman I can't have

-abandoned writing a novel

-been struggling with the choice of sticking with the soul-dulling world of insurance or taking a drastic pay cut and teaching an after-school program

-gone to the "Fiesta of Lights" with Luis where we saw Barney the Dinosaur

-had a pizza-eating contest with Joel (there was no winner)

-finished three of the five books I'm reading.

But whenever people ask what I've been up to I still shrug and say "Work and school."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

At work, sleeping under the desks has been officially banned because of me.

To protest, the next day I wore socks with sandals because for some reason this absurd practice is allowed by the dress code.

I'll show them. I'll show them all.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Okay, story time.

A long time ago, there was a little princess named Nanelle. She was an energetic, enthusiastic girl and she loved to explore the vast gardens that surrounded the palace. One morning, she spied a little cocoon hanging from a branch. She called her father, the King, and asked her what it was. The king told her. "It is a cocoon. A caterpillar is inside."

"Why does the caterpillar hide in there?" the princess asked.

"Keep watching, my dear, and you may soon find your answer."

So the princess intently watched the cocoon all that morning. She wasn't used to sitting still, but her curiosity wouldn't let her leave. Finally, her patience was rewarded. The cocoon began to tremble. It split open and out climbed a beautiful butterfly. The butterfly rested on the branch and then flew off. The princess was delighted.

The next day, when Princess Nanelle was playing as usual, she saw another cocoon. "Poor little butterfly," she said to the cocoon. "You must be very lonely in there." She was a kindhearted girl and the thought of this made her sad. "I'll help you get out," she decided. She plucked the cocoon from the branch and carefully split it open. Inside, the butterfly lay still. After a few moments, she realized that it was dead. With tears streaming down her face, she ran to her father and told him what had happened. The king kneeled down and hugged his daughter.

"My dear," he said as he wiped the tears from her eyes. "I know you were just trying to help. But in order for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it needs to spend that time all by itself in the dark. It needs to go through the struggle of breaking out of its cocoon. Only after all this can it finally spread its wings and fly in the sunlight."

Princess Nanelle sniffled. "But why?"

"Keep watching, my dear, and someday you may have your answer." He laughed. "And if you do, I would be honored if you would let me know as well."


The moral of the story is: Leave it alone!