Monday, May 31, 2010

"What? Oh, you mean the big explosion just now? That was nothing, don't worry about it! It's just our neighbor with his cannon is all!"

Happy Memorial Day! Our holiday was started early this year by our neighbor, the proud maker and keeper of a small cannon. No joke. A cannon. A monster just goes ‘bump’ in the night, but this thing goes ‘BOOM!’ all night long. What is more, last night our neighbor kept it loaded with not just the cannon equivalent of a blank, but with pretty fireworks as well. Of course, said fireworks exploded right over our house, so they were heard instead of seen, the opposite of what many retires say children should be like. I can forgive the noise pretty easily, though, because the mere fact that the man has a cannon is simply too awesome for words. He once told me that he took it down to the Ohio River and launched a tennis ball across. If noise is any indication of power, then I believe him. The first time I had a friend over during the Fourth of July I had a heck of a time explaining the window rattling explosions to my buddy. “What? Oh, you mean the big explosion just now? That was nothing, don’t worry about it! It’s just our neighbor with his cannon is all!”

My family is well suited to this neighborhood, though. This morning I woke up to a rain of plastic pellets on my window as my dad tried to chase the squirrels off the birdfeeder. When I came for breakfast I took my turn with the pellet gun, too. My aim is terrible. Luckily the squirrels have been hit enough that they run at the sound of the little gun, so I scared them off without even pinging one.

For fear that someone will start screaming about cruelty to animals, I will now inform you that our little old pellet gun could MAYBE take out a fly. Even a direct hit barely stings. I know from personal experience. I feel more guilt over the ant traps we set out in the summer.

I learned an important lesson today: sleeping in the middle of the day results in some really weird dreams. I think I already knew that, but today I actually remembered part of them, and they were really weird, even for me. There was something about sea lice, only they weren’t really sea lice, and looked a lot like little green circles with eyes and legs. I thought they were nasty. Who dreams about sea lice? And Darth Vader was in it, too. He was mourning his broken family with Luke and Leia. I haven’t watched Star Wars in over a year. Sea lice and Darth Vader. Who woulda thunk it?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Brain Storm

There’s the weird, there’s the wonderful and then there are the things that are just plain barmy. If we lived in a book, the world would make sense, because you have to sell the reality of a book. Get too weird and people stop believing. Reality, fortunately, doesn’t have to sell itself. If you stop buying reality you’re either dead or living in a padded cell with a straightjacket and the voice in your head that you like to call Larry.

Any writer knows – and dreads – the step of classical writing composition called brainstorming. This is where you let your thoughts fly wild. If you’re lucky you hang onto them long enough to nab some feathers and force them to compose coherent thoughts on paper. I have yet to meet a writer who likes this step; most, in fact, skip it. You can’t REALLY skip it, though, because reality is always brainstorming for you.

Welcome to my brain storm.

I knew a long time ago where I got most of my more noticeable oddities, such as my obsession with pranks or my love of tormenting loved ones. My dad generously donated a carbon copy of his own politically incorrect, socially unacceptable downright obnoxious sense of humor. And I love him for it. Just the other day my dad, my sister-in-law, my one-year-old niece and I were all in the car. It was a nice day, Dad was targeting the sewer lids (if you hit them at JUST the right angle they go clank) and everything seemed normal. Then I looked down and saw the rubber chicken. This was no ordinary rubber chicken, mind: its face was a mask of terror, its mouth and eyes opened in a permanent scream of utter terror. My dad bent down and gave the thing a healthy squeeze and it SCREAMED. It screamed long and hard and loud. The thing was so terrifying that it actually made my niece (who will laugh in your face when you give her a smack on the bomming) cry. Apparently he won the thing for a month at a business meeting. His new game is to roll down his windows at stoplights next to another car with its windows rolled down and squeeze the thing. Really, though, I shouldn’t be so surprised. After all, this is the same man who honks at road kill because if it was dumb enough to run in front of a car once it might do it again.

So, if you are ever at a stoplight and you hear a screaming death rattle from the car next to you, roll down your window and blow a raspberry at the man driving the car, because it’s probably my dad.