Category Archives: Blog

“The Blog.” Musings and meandering thoughts on whatever strikes me as amusing or interesting at a particular moment. There is no rhyme or reason to the posts you will find here. Trust me.

Why I blog

I started blogging because of a girl.

It’s true. Five years ago, I dipped my toe into the zany world of blogging so a crush of mine could be impressed by my witty, deep thoughts.

Once that relationship fizzled, my blog morphed into a silly, bipolar collection of rants much like the one you see today.

Still, it all began because of a girl. And, one way or another, “a girl” has been my blogging muse ever since.

After the first girl came and went, I continued blogging. I did this mostly because I enjoyed it, but also because I wanted her, if she ever visited, to see how well I was doing. Yes, we men are such fragile creatures.

Somehow, blogging led me to the next girl in my life. She found my blog, read my amusing/annoying anecdotes, saw my dashingly-handsome profile picture, and contacted me.

She lived in Minnesota. Eventually, we met. Eventually, we became a couple. Eventually, she picked up and moved across the country to be with me. And eventually, and sadly, we discovered it just wasn’t meant to be and went our separate ways.

That relationship lasted thirteen months. During that time, most of my blog posts were inspired by her in some way, shape or form. For example, my “Man Narrowly Misses Watching Chick Flick” post was inspired by a visit to Blockbuster we had. She wanted to rent the Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker rom-com Failure to Launch. I, on the other hand, want to die a slightly less painful death.

My silly “Hey Jealousy” post was inspired by a pair of shoes I owned that were loathed by this particular girl.

“That Guy”, my epic call to arms where I implored my fellow man to stop holding the purses of their wives and girlfriends was inspired by, well, our running joke where I refused to hold this girlfriend’s purse whenever we went shopping.

The next few months found me blogging, mostly, as a coping mechanism. It gave me something to do. It took my mind off things. The occasional venture into the dating world also helped take my mind off things, but blogging was the main distraction. I twice redesigned my blog. I averaged several new posts a week. I made “making my blog popular” a priority.

The resulting increase in traffic eventually led to two new acquaintances within a span of just a few weeks. And yes, by “acquaintances” I mean girls.

I never met the first girl, but we became great friends. For about five months, she inspired (and once actually wrote) my blog posts. And even though during this period of time the thought of her marrying someone would have agreed with me like an Obama speech agrees with Congressman Joe Wilson, when she married a great Christian man last March I couldn’t have been happier for her.

The second girl I did get to meet.

I am not going to go into specifics, but I will say I believe I became smitten with her back in January of last year. That is when I received an e-mail from her that contained references to Christmas, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill Maher and gum ulcers. And, yes, I realize “Bill Maher” and “gum ulcers” are redundant.

That e-mail also included a smiling photo.

Numerous phone calls, e-mails, text messages and months later, I got to meet her. That meeting eventually inspired a particularly melancholy blog post about missed opportunities and the hope for second chances.

The tone and scope of my blog changed that day. Sometimes, I wrote to inspire myself. Sometimes, I wrote to occupy my time. Mostly, I wrote in the hopes that doing so would help this particular girl not forget about me.

With almost an entire year now passed and my readership down to a level that could rival the number of members in Emilio Estevez’s fan club, the time has come where I need to rethink my purpose for blogging.

Who am I writing for?

Truth be told, this blog should never have been about any one person (or series of persons), unless that person was me. I don’t need a muse. I don’t need any one person to read what I write in order to validate what I write. This blog needs to be about making numerous people, yours truly included, think and laugh.

That’s why I blog.

Or, at least it’s why I will blog from this moment on.

Charm City

Women, for the purpose of this blog post, are always asking me how I got to be so gosh-darn charming.

“What’s your secret,” they will ask me. “Could you give my husband any pointers,” they will continue. “Can I have a lock of your hair,” they will beg. “Drink this…it’s not spiked with knock-out pills,” they will promise.

“Ladies,” I will tell them, after waking up, groggy, while tied to a chair.

“Being charming is easy. I can teach any man how to do it. Now, please, let me go home.”

For most of us, charm isn’t something you’re born with. You’re not born with a mullet, Crocs and a Japanese tattoo that supposedly means something cool but there’s really no way for you to know for sure since you don’t speak Japanese, right? No, you had to acquire those things over time. Charm is the same way.

So, how do you acquire charm? How do you learn it? How do you become it?

Easy.


“Hush, minions. Don’t interrupt the Barack when he’s talking. Sit quietly & worship me.”

Like every other charming, successful man in this world, I owe my charm and success to two individuals: George Clooney and Barack Obama.

Ever watched an interview with George Clooney? Ever seen Barack Obama give a speech? Ever seen photos of either man? Ever paid close attention to their faces?

That unmistakable quality you notice? That, my friends, is smugness; the “I am so much better than you” quality that cinema patrons and voters just can’t get enough of.

Just study these two individuals, mimic what they do and you’ll be set!

You see, most people are too stupid to distinguish between smugness and charm. Just perfect the former and you’ll be thought of as the latter.


Horror has a face. A smug one.

It’s so easy even Sean Penn can do it!

Note: Nothing about this post, except for the parts about Clooney and Obama being smug, is true. The day I model anything after either individual is the day I take an art class and my teacher tells me to use clay to mold something utterly horrific.

Dr. Strangekev or: How I Learned to Stop Accumulating and Love Minimalism

It’s taken me thirty-two years to do so, but I’ve learned to embrace the simpler things in life. “Less is more” and all that jazz.

In short, I’ve become somewhat of a minimalist. “Keep it simple, stupid” has more or less become my life’s mantra.

My reasons range from an aversion to needless clutter (I come from a family of pack rats), my innate sense of frugality (I value quality over quantity), and my desire to avoid stress and drama whenever possible (Mo’ things, mo’ problems). Minimalism, or at least my version of minimalism, allows me to address all three issues.

What are some examples of my minimalist ways? Why, I’m glad you asked!

When you live alone, there really is no need to have more than one chair in your living room.

Seriously, why do I need to be able to accommodate seating for four or more when 90% of the time there’s just me in the house? That’s just wasteful!

My philosophy: Have one recliner in the living room and one fold-up chair in the hall closet. If you have one visitor, they can go grab the chair from the closet. If you have more than one visitor, they can fight to see who gets the chair. You can sit there, comfortable in your recliner, content with the knowledge you haven’t been wasteful, while watching your brothers and sisters duke it out for your entertainment. It’s win-win-win!

This philosophy also works with dining room chairs, plates, forks, spoons, mugs/glasses, bathroom towels, cue sticks for billiard tables, and antidotes for rare poisons you keep around your house that are disguised to look like M&Ms and Skittles.


“Hey kids! Ol’ St. Nick is bringing sexy back! Ho, ho, ho!”

Girls might like extra poundage on a guy since it reminds them of their first childhood love, Santa Claus, but a slimmer physique has many benefits that outweigh the reduction in female attention.

For starters, you don’t have to bring a sewing needle, thread and a button with you everywhere you go. No longer do you need a “what if the button on my too-tight pants pops off and hits someone in the eye like a delicious, delicious pizza pie” contingency. Those sewing items take up valuable space inside the glove box in your car, which is the opposite of minimalism.

The main upside to slimming down is the simple fact that having less YOU is the very epitome of minimalism.

“I’m not anorexic. I’m a minimalist!”

Granted, no one could ever accuse me of having an eating disorder. But a minimalist can dream can’t he?


“So THEN Michelle said to Uncle Jesse: ‘You got it, dude.’ Isn’t that hilarious?!”

Instead of having a collection of DVDs, own one DVD that you watch over and over and over.

The benefits of this one are almost too numerous to list. For starters, since it’s your only DVD, no friend or family member will ever ask to borrow it from you. And if they do ask you can just give them the puppy dog eyes and say, “But it’s my only DVD!” Never having to loan a DVD means you never have to nag people until they return it to you. This is a huge time saver.

Another benefit to owning only one DVD and watching it over and over is you became an expert on that DVD. This ability to drop knowledge bombs onto people’s heads comes in very useful in everyday conversation. Besides, nothing impresses a person quite like hearing someone quoting an entire episode of Full House.

Seriously, though, I am beginning to shift towards a minimalist lifestyle. I want to remove as much clutter from my life as possible. Old clothes? If I never wear them, why keep them. Assorted knickknacks around my home? Less is more when it comes to decoration, I think, especially if you’re a single guy. The latest and greatest technological gadgets? All I need is a phone, a laptop and an iPod.

Of course, I really think I’m on to something with that “one chair” idea. I’m going to implement that one immediately!

I’m very flexible

Those who read the title of this blog post and hoped to be dazzled with the story of how the 18-year-old version of yours truly learned to do splits for the sake of the game of baseball are going to be sorely disappointed.

There will be no tales of how a young man who was dedicated to improving his craft as a 1st baseman practiced stretching day in and day out for several months. There will be no explanation as to how being able to stretch farther enabled him to catch baseballs thrown to him milliseconds sooner, and how those milliseconds helped his team win ballgames. There will be no description of the “oooohs” and “ahhhhs” his exhibits solicited from the baseball-viewing crowds.

No, there will be none of that.

This is a blog post about how I value — nay, demand — flexibility in my life. I like to have options. I like knowing that I can react to the things life may throw at me without the burden of being tied down.

The gym of which I’m a member wasn’t chosen because it had the best selection of equipment. It wasn’t chosen because it was the least expensive. It wasn’t chosen because it was closest to my home. No, it was chosen because I did not have to sign a contract. There was no long-term commitment. I am month to month, and if a better gym option ever comes along I can pounce on it without penalty.

The same is true with my cell phone carrier. My family used AT&T, so I used AT&T. Two years ago, when my contract expired, I didn’t renew. Sure, I kept AT&T as my provider, but I didn’t sign another contract. I am a month-to-month customer. If a better deal ever comes along, I can leave AT&T without having to pay a fine for breaking my contract.

And then there is the little matter of my lodging.

One year ago this month, I moved into a nice little rental home with a swimming pool. It had a nice lawn, a nice screened-in porch, and a nice, long, 12-month contract.

I didn’t like committing myself to a contract for that long, but I gambled that I would not need to relocate from the area within that length of time. Besides, as a friend told me, 12 months isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things.

So, I signed the lease. I correctly gambled that no life-changing event would happen that caused me to regret such a decision. I completed the 12 months and now have a deja-vu dilemma on my hands:

“Do I sign a new long-term lease, or no?”

A week ago, my landlord mailed me a new lease contract to sign and return. It was exactly the same as the one I signed last year. Same rent, same stipulations, same 12-month term.

I contacted my landlord this morning and told her I would not be signing it.


Last May, while looking for a new place, I dubbed my future home “Fort Awesome.” (Click to enlarge)

No, I’m not moving. I’m staying put. However, I am choosing an undeniably non-frugal path for the sake of obtaining the ultimate in flexibility.

Under the terms of the lease I signed last year, if it lapses without either party (me or my landlord) choosing to terminate it, it is renewed on a month-to-month basis. Every term of the lease remains the same, and I have the ability to cancel the lease without penalty at any time by giving a 30-day notice.

The only catch is my rent increases by 10%.

So, for an extra 10% each month, which I can afford, I gain the flexibility of being able to pick up and move at any time — either across the street or across the country.

There is no other downside, as far as I can tell. My landlord can terminate the month-to-month lease by giving a 60-day notice. But she can terminate ANY lease — month to month, 6 months, 12 months or 12 years — by giving a 60-day notice.

In short, I’m swapping a little extra dough in exchange for freedom.

Why is flexibility so important to me? I don’t know any other way to answer than, “it just is.”

I don’t know where my life will be six, twelve or two hundred months from now. I am a single guy with no ties to the area other than family, but I hope/pray/know that will not always be the case.

I am a proactive person. I view life as a game of chess, so it behooves me to look ahead into the distance. Do I know what my future holds? No, but I know there is the possibility I could get to a place where contracts and commitments could make moving on to the next stage in my life harder than it needs to be.

My future could be here, in this town, for decades to come.

Or it could be somewhere else.

It’s for this latter reason I am willing to sacrifice my precious frugality for flexibility. When God taps me on the shoulder and presents to me a situation I should jump at, I want to be able to jump without anything holding me down.

And, to me, that’s worth a less-than-stellar gym and an extra 10% per month in rent.

What can I say? I’m unusual. And if this story didn’t convince most of you of this fact, go reread my introduction about doing splits!

My favorite quotes from my favorite writer (Hint: It’s Me!): Volume 2

Since it was such a big hit yesterday (1 whole comment! Wowza!), I present to all of you the second volume of favorite quotes from the SKOS archives. Just like sliced apples, an open jar of mayonnaise and a pot of coffee, SKOS quotes are just as appetizing the second day.

Regarding the soft spot I have for people who have been smitten by Cupid:

“Whether it’s a shy teenager or an awkward man in his forties who still lives in his parent’s basement, it warms my heart whenever I hear Cupid has struck someone in the buttocks with his pointy, rusty arrow. It brings out both the romantic and the doctor in me.”

Regarding the reason I am not afraid of our country’s recession:

“Probably because it sounds so much like ‘recess,’ the word ‘recession’ doesn’t scare me. Whenever I hear someone say the word I begin daydreaming about being a kid again, climbing monkey bars on a playground and ‘accidentally’ knocking the other kids down. Good times, good times.”

Regarding the way items still smell like “grandma’s house” years after leaving her domain:

“I don’t pretend to understand the science behind it, but it’s nothing short of magical. (…) That smell (has) been living in the house for several decades. It (has) become a living entity. It (is) alive, it (is) powerful, and it (is) angry.”

Regarding my practice of only rinsing out my coffee mug with hot water:

“Some might say that this is still unsanitary. I would argue that coffee’s abundant awesomeness purifies and cleans the mug better than any soap or brush ever could. And by not recklessly using soap, I am helping save the environment.

To those who might ridicule my practice, I ask: why do you hate the environment? What did it ever do to you? Rain on your wedding day is no reason to hate the environment, Alanis.”

I go on…

By not washing my coffee mug I have allowed it to remain in its original, pristine state. Imagine if Leonardo da Vinci cleaned the Mona Lisa with soap every day. (…) The constant cleaning would’ve meant Leonardo would have been too busy to write his movie script for The Da Vinci Code.”

Regarding…um, well, this was the closing line in a blog post about a disappointing baseball pitcher who had been euthanized, became a zombie, and was now pitching against the team that put him down. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds:

“It’s always nice when you get the chance to prove your doubters wrong and eat their delicious brains.”


“Why does it feel like I forgot to do something? Oh! My second bucket of fried chicken!”

Regarding how unusual it is for me to sign a credit card receipt without reviewing it:

“I’m methodical when it comes to finances, so this oversight is the equivalent of a surgeon forgetting to wash his hands or Rosie O’Donnell forgetting to eat her second lunch.”

Regarding a person being pinched for not wearing green on St. Patty’s Day:

“Who on earth invented this practice of pinching anyone who isn’t wearing the color green on St. Patrick’s Day? Was it the same guy behind all those Leprechaun movies? If so, dude, haven’t you done enough?”

Regarding the brutally blunt and aggressive way I describe the different categories of female attractiveness:

“In Kev-speak, ‘cute as a button’ is the highest praise a female can achieve for her appearance. It ranks just above ‘pretty’ and ‘she seems like a very nice girl.’ I hope this language doesn’t offend any of you. Kev-speak can be quite forward sometimes.”

Regarding my disdain for our overly litigious society:

“I wish I could sue people who file frivolous lawsuits.”

Regarding my body’s amazing ability to heal itself:

“On numerous occasions during my life, I’ve cut my face while shaving. Miraculously, a few minutes later, the bleeding will stop. True story.”


“I am NOT crying. I just have a little makeup in my eye!”

Regarding my tongue-in-cheek defense of Alex Rodriguez after it was revealed the baseball player fainted when his wife was giving birth to their first born:

“So what if he stays up until 3 AM every Friday night to watch Steel Magnolias and cry his eyes out? It would take a robot not to cry at that movie.”

Regarding my disbelief at how I am single, yet Charles Ray Fuller — the man who tried to cash a $360 billion check — has a girlfriend:

“My handwriting is exquisite. Mr. Fuller, based on the scanned image of his forged check, has very poor penmanship.”

“I have a moderately good sense of humor. The funniest thing Mr. Fuller has ever done, based on the evidence at hand, is try to cash a $360 billion check. Granted, that is funny. But is it ‘ha ha’ funny?”

“Mr. Fuller was unlawfully carrying a weapon. I have never unlawfully carried a weapon, unless you count these two fists of fury attached to the ends of my wrists.”


I don’t WANT to tell your kid I will murder Santa Claus if he doesn’t behave, but doggone it I will if you don’t get him to stop throwing cereal at that poor old lady.

Regarding my open letter to parents asking them to start teaching their children the proper ways to behave in society and to stop waiting for good Samaritans like myself to do it for them:

“Don’t wait for me to throw an orange at the head of your teenage son when he doesn’t hold the door open for an elderly lady walking behind him. Teach him manners. Teach him to respect his elders. Teach him that oranges hurt if they are hurled at your head with great velocity.”

Regarding my inability to give someone a backhanded compliment:

“I wouldn’t know how to give a backhanded compliment even if a compliment was written on the back of my hand.”

Regarding the reason my poor sense of direction and my innate awesomeness are related:

“Most men are born with a compass in their forehead. But when God was handing out compasses, I asked Him for an extra helping of awesome instead. True story.”


Nothing will discourage rebellion in students quite like the possibility their teacher is a deranged psycho who might hurt them.

Regarding my advice to a teacher who was having trouble controlling her classroom:

“Write ‘I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die’ on the chalkboard or whiteboard at the front of the classroom. Write it in big letters. Leave it up all school year, but never make mention of it. Being mysterious works when dating, and it works when trying to keep students guessing as to whether or not you’re psycho.”

Regarding my assertion that I am the same humble, down-to-earth guy I was when I first started blogging:

“It’s just like I was telling my butler, Jeeves, the other day after I threw my glass of 1997 Romane Conti in his face:

‘Red wine should be served at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you buffoon. This tastes like 61 or 62!’

Wait, no, that wasn’t it. What relevant thing was it I told him? Ah yes, I remember.

‘I am the same humble, down-to-earth guy I was when I first started blogging.’

And you know what Jeeves said?

‘The master is correct, sir.’

See? If that’s not concrete proof, I don’t know what is. Ol’ Jeeves is a straight shooter. He wouldn’t lie to me.”

I honestly can’t say whether lots of reader comments would encourage me or discourage me from posting a Volume 3. Hmmm. I guess it’s a darned if you do, darned if you don’t situation, depending on your point of view. Best just to leave me lots of comments and hope for the best!

My favorite quotes from my favorite writer (Hint: It’s Me!): Volume 1

Partly because this feels like a random day and partly because I cannot decide what to blog about, here are some of my favorite quotes from the SKOS archives. Read and (try to) enjoy. There’s more where this came from. And yes, that’s a threat.

Regarding the questionable purity of “virgin” olive oil:

“Color me confused, but if Extra Virgin Olive Oil is as advertised how is there seemingly a never ending supply of the stuff? Granted, I’m no expert on the reproductive habits of olives, but something just doesn’t add up. Methinks a few olives aren’t being entirely truthful.”

Regarding my need for a tan:

“If I had fangs, I’m fairly certain people would mistake me for a vampire if I was walking around at night in a graveyard (as I often do).”

Regarding the incompetence of a certain restaurant in Macon, GA:

“The Olive Garden is to Italian Food as (the movie) ’10 Things I Hate About You’ is to William Shakespeare.”


Back in ’04, Robot Gore had no idea Tipper would someday leave him for a toaster.

Regarding the evils of the (then) popular MySpace:

“If Al Gore was alive to see what has become of his precious invention, the Internet, I believe he would weep. Well, he wouldn’t actually cry (robots cannot cry), but he’d be sad.”

Regarding why we smile whenever we see a baby:

“When we see a baby, we think of birthday cake. On that baby’s first birthday, there will be cake. On its 10th birthday, there will be cake. Assuming the baby lives to be 100, there will have been 100 birthday cakes created and eaten in his/her lifetime to celebrate the passing of each year. Why do we smile? Because we think maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to eat some of that cake.”

Regarding the 1980s television show Murder She Wrote starring Angela Lansbury:

“Every episode she would go somewhere and a murder would happen. She would *conveniently* solve the murder. Why didn’t anyone put two and two together and realize this woman was a serial killer who was pinning her crimes on innocent people?”

Regarding the resiliency of coffee machines:

“Coffee machines simply do not ‘break.’ They’re like alarm clocks, blue jeans or tooth brushes in that regard – once you have one, decades go by before you need another.”


Behold, their demon seed will someday destroy us all.

Regarding the love child that will one day destroy mankind:

“Someday, FoodTV ‘personalities’ Rachael Ray and Emeril Lagasse are going to fall in love and have a child. And that child will one day destroy the world. Ironically, however, the child will not be able to cook.”

Regarding misleading movie titles:

“As a kid, I never thought I’d get over the disappointment of The Never Ending Story being only 102 minutes long.”

“Am I the only one who expected Kindergarten Cop to be about a 5-year old who fights crime?”

“I’m sure that many a moviegoer was confused to see Rosie O’Donnell in the film Beautiful Girls.”

Regarding the inexplicable-ness of Bluetooth headsets:

“I have seen the future and it is not pretty. Society is divided into two groups: 1) Those who wear Bluetooth headsets on their ears, and 2) Those who want to punch in the face those who wear them.”


Note to self: Bring chocolate, flowers and silver bullets.

Regarding a Chinese fortune cookie that read, “The next full moon brings an enchanting evening”:

“Does this mean I’m going to meet and fall in love with a werewolf?”

Regarding how I look like Brad Pitt when I sneeze:

“You know how sometimes you feel a sneeze coming, you prepare for it, and then nothing happens? If you’ve ever seen someone do this, you know how silly it looks. That is, except when I do it. When I do it, I might as well be posing for a magazine photographer. How else do you explain the multiple co-workers who have taken pictures of me in the act with their cell phones?”

Regarding the question, “Why do baseball players spit?”:

“It’s a fair question, but a difficult one to answer. It’s like asking why a rugby team stranded in the snowy Andes mountains after a plane crash would resort to cannibalism in order to survive. It’s something you have to be a part of to totally understand.”

Regarding the opening line to a speech I once gave to an auditorium full of people:

“Hello. My name is Kevin. And yes ladies…I’m single.”

Regarding the psychological warfare I employed while on strike until my work’s break room restocked the supply of French Vanilla coffee creamer:

“Whenever someone asked me if they could borrow a pen or pencil, I told them I didn’t have one. But I really did.”


I would sooner slaughter a village filled with puppies and kittens than let Paris get her hands on me!

Regarding the news that Paris Hilton was looking to date a “nice” boy:

“Needless to say, this revelation has terrified me. (…) Hear me well. As of today, a new Kevin is born. A new Kevin who, for lack of a better phrase, is pure evil.”

Regarding the “cats versus dogs” debate and the dog’s ability to save his owner from a burning building:

“My cat might leave me to die if my home is ever on fire, but at least he has the intelligence to remember me after I’m gone. ‘My owner was awesome,’ he will tell his cat friends years later. ‘He fought those flames until the bitter end.’”

Regarding…well, I’m not really sure:

“If eyes are the window to the soul, why does it sting so badly when I spray them with Windex?”

My First: Fish

“Keep a picture of your first fish, first car, and first girlfriend.” – Unknown

I love a great quote/tip. No, I’m not saying this quote/tip is a great one. I’m just saying, in general, me likes a good quotable. This one? Meh. It’s alright. It’d be better if it was funnier. You know, if it threw in another “first” that was silly and completely inconsequential. Like, “Keep a picture of your first fish, first car, first girlfriend, and first toothbrush.” Then people would read it and think:

“First toothbrush? Why on earth would I want a picture of that? The others I understand, they make sense. But why a toothbrush? I suppose if I grew up to become a dentist such a picture would hold special meaning to me. Or maybe if my first toothbrush was one that had been passed down in our family for generations. But that is very unhygienic and gross. Taking a picture of it would only prove my family is crazy. Why am I even pondering this…”

[Editor's note: The previous was written before Kevin's morning cup of caffeine. The rest was written after. And yes, Kevin is the editor. This is me. Hello.]

Ahem.

The quality of this particular quote notwithstanding, it does give me blogging inspiration: Talk about my firsts! My first fish. My first car. My first girlfriend. My first…toothbrush, if I’m ever really strapped for an idea.

This sounds like it would make an excellent blog series. And yes, when I say excellent I do mean something far short of excellence. Up first, since it appeared first in the quote, I’ll talk about my first fish. Hmmm. I hope I can stay awake long enough to finish it.

MY FIRST FISH is a very boring tale. I’ll be honest. I’m a manly man who likes to do manly things, but I’ve never been fond of fishing.

I’ve said many a time (i.e. whenever I come across a fishing show on TV when I’m flipping through channels) that, “The only thing more boring than fishing is watching someone fishing.” And, I suppose the only thing more boring than that is writing about fishing.

Here’s the thing: Fishing requires a lot of patience, a certain amount of skill, and a little luck. I’m lacking in the first and last of those requirements.

To a novice (i.e. not a professional) fisherman like me, putting your hook in the water and snagging a fish is akin to putting on a blindfold and making a basketball free-throw. Is it exciting when it happens? Sure. But I recognize it for what it is: Luck. Happenstance.

There is nothing special I did to cause this fish to bite my hook. This fish did not think:

“You know…there is something special about the way this particular worm is tied to this particular hook. Whoever did this is an artist. I must meet him. But how? [thinks for a few moments] Martha (the fish’s wife is named Martha), I’m going to bite that hook. Don’t try to talk me out of it. Tell the children I love them. If I’m fortunate, this fishing god will take pity on me and allow me to return to you. But if not, hopefully he will turn me into a fish taco. I’ve always wanted to be a fish taco…”

[Editor's note: Okay, a second cup of caffeine is clearly needed.]

Ahem.

I short, I don’t enjoy partaking in activities where luck is the overwhelming factor. If I did, I’d spend my days trying to find four-leaf clovers and rabbit’s feet.

And yes, there is the little matter of me not having the patience for fishing. Most people who fish believe it is relaxing. I do not find it relaxing. I’m much too competitive to find it relaxing. I would want to catch every single fish in the water, leaving none for anyone else. I would want little children to cry and say to their fathers, “Why did that man catch all the fishies?” And I would want the fathers to respond, “Because he’s better than us, son.”

On that note, I will quickly (and finally) relay the tale of my first fish. When I was around 7 or 8 years old, my dad took me and my younger brother to a little pond. He showed us how to bait the hooks and all that fun stuff. Within the first ten minutes, I had caught a fish.

I would learn later that my dad wasn’t even sure there were fish in this pond. But I caught one. My dad did not. My brother did not. I did. I beat them. I beat them both. I won.

[insert evil laugh]

I might have a competitiveness problem.

Randomness

When walking with a lady-friend, it is considered gentlemanly to stay between her and traffic. This is a good tip, but what if you and your lady-friend are walking down the middle of a three-lane highway?

A wise man once said that a closed mouth gathers no feet. This is true, I suppose, assuming you don’t have a huge gap in the front of your teeth. Then tiny feet could work their way inside. I suppose the prudent thing to do in that situation would be holding your hand over your mouth at all times. Or maybe go see a dentist.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” I guess this means I’m an asset to have around if walking down a dark alley, so long as we avoid confrontation with long-winded criminals who like to talk to their victims for longer than five minutes.

Another Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”

This is why, whenever I see a man with a beard, I walk up to him and, without speaking, grab his beard and pull with all my might. If this results in loud screams and nonstop sobbing, as it has every single time to date, I apologize and say, “My bad, I thought you were a bully.”

The only pick-up line you’ll ever need to have success with women is, “Hi! How are you?” It shows you are bold, confident and do not play games. If you can also trick them into thinking you’re rich and famous, even better.

William Blake once said, “Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” I’m not sure if Blake was being metaphorical, but I have yet to experience anything even remotely great when meeting a mountain. Get your act together, Appalachian Mountains. I’m tired of carrying you.

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, once said:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

If I’m understanding Coolidge correctly: Ladies, this means you really need to give that untalented, dumb, ignorant guy who keeps asking you out a chance. One day, he will solve all the world’s problems. And you know what that means. Yep, someday he’ll be rich!

One of my new favorite quotes is from Henry Ward Beecher: “Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.”

I say these words, out loud, whenever I’m wearing a toga and eating baked beans with my bare hands.

The absence of smell

In my last blog post, A manly dichotomy, I pondered whether my frugality was inadvertently pushing me into quasi-metrosexual territory. In short:

To save money, I want to make a homemade after-shave balm/moisturizer to replace the marked-up products I buy from the store. However, I fear that making my own moisturizer, no matter the motive, is decidedly unmanly.

Okay, first off, for those who might think less of me after yesterday’s somewhat-prissy post, I’ll have you know when I got home I punched a pine tree. Then I stepped on an ant. Then I threw a rock at a kid who was picking flowers. Then I high-fived some guy for no good reason. That’s what men do! And I’m a man!!

Ahem.

In all seriousness, I omitted an important, secondary reason for wanting to make my own balm/moisturizer. The awesome Jenny reminded me of it in the comment she left me:

“…Smelling like a flower is (why a product) costs a bajillion dollars.”

Exactly! The fragrances (as well as the preservatives, which are needed to preserve them until the end of time) are why these products cost so much. (Well, that and the All-American store mark-up!)

I’m a guy. I don’t want to smell like flowers. I don’t want to smell like, well, anything. These “for men” products do not smell like women’s products, thank goodness, but they do have distinct smells.

And these distinct smells, naturally, are supposed to be “manly.” Many are, but many others smell like hospitals. Either way, here’s the thing…

If your shampoo smells like one thing, your shaving cream smells like another thing, your balm/moisturizer smells like another, your body wash/soap smells like another thing and your deodorant smells like something else entirely, the end result isn’t you smelling like a man. The end result is you smelling like a man who was attacked by several ninjas, each of whom had bathed in different fragrances before roundhouse kicking you.

If you add a nice cologne to the mix as many men do, including yours truly, the aromatic assault you unleash on the public can be considered criminal.

Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I want to live in a world where men’s products smell like…well, nothing!

I want to smell like whatever cologne I’m wearing that particular day. Nothing else. And on days where I choose not to wear cologne, I want to smell like whatever body wash I used that day.

That means I need unscented products. Unscented face wash. Unscented shaving cream. Unscented balm/moisturizer. Unscented deodorant. Unscented shampoo!

Or, at the very least, I need as many unscented versions of these products as possible and the rest to use a subtle fragrance like lavender or something.

And, that my friends, is the upside to figuring out how to make as many of these products yourself as possible. You can save money and control exactly what they smell (or don’t smell) like!

So, you see, I’m trying to save money, avoid wearing fragrances, and am attempting to bend the universe to my will.

And if that doesn’t prove I’m a man, I’m not afraid to throw another rock at a kid.

Rocks are plentiful and so are kids with large heads.