Another Long Stretch of Continuous Soft Rock

Ah, yet another extended absence by Fat Fingers Justice.  And, as usual, I’ll trot out excuses.  So, let’s get on with them, I guess.

I’ve been working on the next Great American Facebook Update, one I’m confident will change Facebook updates forever.  When I post it, I’m sure many will say “Best facebook post EVER!!!”, and maybe even, “Hahahahahahahahaha.”

Also, I recently submitted my first ever entry to a short story contest, specifically the Austin Chronicle’s yearly prose cage match.  Three years of broken promises to myself finally ended when I finished the story in BookPeople, one of Texas’ finest bookstores, and dropped it in the mailbox December 10.

Over-scrutiny, perfectionism, and just staring at the damn thing too long had me hating it, to the point when what happened next seemed almost merciful, like fate had saved the judges from wasting any eyeball juice on my submission.  About a week later I walked into my apartment, and my girlfriend said, “I’m not sure I even want to give you this.”  She then handed me the manilla envelope in which I’d mailed my story.  “That’s weird,” I said, initially more confused than upset.

For reasons I’ll never understand, mostly because the post office’s message was completely illegible, the envelope was returned.  I’d even put two stamps on the thing, just to make sure it got there.  I went through emotions ranging from thankfulness that I wouldn’t be embarrassed by sharing what I had come to think was not very good, to frustration, and ultimately to a truly embarrassing bout of self-loathing and fatalism.

Fortunately, I was prodded into another phase of thought, a sort of ah-why-the-hell-not form of pessimistic-infused determination.  Thanks go entirely to my girlfriend there, as I had resigned myself to never thinking of the story or contest again, at least until I later explored every nook and cranny of regret at yet another annual broken promise.

Just a few days before Christmas, what I thought was surely too late, I delivered the story to the Chronicle offices directly.  In my head, I would be greeted by a front desk person frowning, humph-ing and haw-ing, muttering about the bureaucracy of having to check with a boss or submitting some sort of paperwork in order to accept it.  I, of course, would be overly apologetic and say, “Sure, yeah, no, I completely understand.  It’s sort of ridiculous, almost two weeks later, me standing here, even asking this.  I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Instead, there was a guy – I’d even call him a dude – in jeans and a t-shirt, who barely even let me make my case and submit Evidence A – the envelope clearly bearing the pre-deadline postmark – before he cut me off with, “Oh, yeah, sure man.”  He accepted the envelope with such nonchalance that I was almost irritated he didn’t let me plead my well-rehearsed case a little more.  He then walked, literally, five steps to his right, and with a casualness I won’t forget, dropped the envelope on top of a post office mail bin overflowing with similarly sealed submissions.

“Oh,” I said.  “Well, there it is.  Guess I can be pretty confident it’s been received.”
A month later, a time span in which I’d both already planned to completely revise the story in the hopes of posting it on this blog and yet also come to hate it yet again and completely abandon it, I received an email informing me I’d been selected as one of ten finalists out of 410 submissions.

This Wednesday, February 6th, BookPeople hosted the reception for the finalists.  Wine, sandwiches, brownies and tiny bottles of water were served.  My girlfriend (Vickie, as she also has a name, in addition to a wellspring of emotional and creative support), three friends, and my brother attended.  I forgot to wear a shirt dark enough to hide my anxiety sweats.  My pocket held a folded up copy of the story, in the off chance I placed in the top three and was invited to read it.

And then, moments later:  I’m standing before the crowd wondering if I’m reading too quickly.  So, yeah, third place!  Almost better than that, which was a very nice surprise, was having Owen Egerton, one of the judges, approach me and say how much he liked my story.  “I was really pushing for it,” he said.  He’s an area author I greatly admire, and I’d been thinking how cool it was that he was even going to be reading it.  For him to be championing it in the judges’ deliberations was unfathomable to me.

So, I read the story, and while the podium was not showered with bras, panties, or even roses, I think it was an acceptable showing.

My only regret was not being introduced with the biography I’d provided in advance:

Josh Justice, no relation to Buford T., can be found roughhousing cats or working on his upcoming autobiography, Eat the Extra Taco Now, or Save It for Breakfast? The Crucibles of an American Eater, at an overcrowded Austin coffee shop near you. This is his first submission into the gaping maw of American letters.

The story, published on the Chronicle’s website:

Another Long Stretch of Continuous Soft Rock

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Filed under Austin, Short Stories

Sure, the job looks great now, but it’s 8 years of school


 

First thought:  This woman must have a lot of pajamas.

Second thought:  I’ve always wanted to lie around for a living.  Starting my own franchise and catering to the ladies could be my only chance!  Although, I’d probably get more cat clients than lady clients, and everyone knows cats are terrible tippers.
Or, I’d probably face years of pro-bon0 work with the underprivileged and under-cuddled.  I guess you have to start somewhere though, you know, to get your foot in the cuddle door.

Link to news story

Link to the Snuggery itself, where you can read about Jacqueline’s goal “to make the world a gentler place, one snuggle at a time,” or you can peruse the FAQ section in order to satisfy what I imagine is a pretty obvious curiosity about what happens when a penis gets the wrong idea about all this snuggling.

 

 

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Filed under Health, Humor, Sleeping

CHEESEBURGER STABBING

Without question, that’s a pretty alarming headline.

But, let’s start with the good news.  The good news is, a cheeseburger didn’t stab anyone.  I repeat:  no one was stabbed by a cheeseburger.  Cheeseburgers are still safe to eat, folks.  Chances of being stabbed by a cheeseburger while you go to bite it remain at an incredibly low zero out of one hundred chances.  Cheeseburgers are not rising up against us, threatening global order.  They have not grown arms, hands, and opposable thumbs with which to yield sharp objects.  Humans retain the title of World Heavyweight Champions of the Food Chain.

Also sort of good news and a point of clarification:  No one stabbed a cheeseburger.  That’s right – according to my research, every encounter between a cheeseburger and a human being has ended in a straightforward, although sometimes mindlessly mechanical, sometimes overly ecstatic, consumption.  Nothing weird.  No senseless cheeseburger violence or cheeseburger hate crimes.  Humans and cheeseburgers seem to be getting along fine, as the Good Lord intended.  And while there are some reports of men discussing marriage to a cheeseburger, these thoughts all appear to be hyperbolic in nature.

Which brings us to the bad news:  Someone was stabbed over a cheeseburger.  More particularly, the absence of one.  On first thought, anyone could be forgiven their shock and outrage at this news.  But before you get all self-righteous, maybe you should think about some of the delicious cheeseburgers you’ve had over the years.  I mean, really think about them.  Turn those memories over in that gut of yours.  Savor them, if you will.  There have been some pretty good ones, huh?  That one at three in the morning after bar-hopping for five hours with your buddy, Jerry?  At the time, you called it, and I quote, “life-saving.”

Now, what if someone ate one right in front of you while taunting you in regard to your own lack of a cheeseburger?  If you and that person could just as easily have been eating cheeseburgers together, or even sharing the same cheeseburger, and yet they put you in your place, your sad cheeseburger-less place – is that not its own outrage?

Are you really above confrontation?  What lengths would you consider?  If you were really, really hungry in that moment, could you even make a rational decision?  What line would you, could you, draw?  Your head begins to ache.  You hear the growl of your stomach.  Your vision tunnels straight to the cheeseburger, everything beyond it a blur.  Suddenly, there’s a butcher knife in your hand – how’d that get there?  The other person’s chewing grows louder and louder, ringing in your ears, drowning out the voice of reason.  The crunch of bacon, of lettuce – it’s deafening.  In the heat of the moment, it’s practically instinctual.  Territorial.  Cheeseburger territory.  Could you refrain from gripping tight that knife and cleaving your all-due half?  Fighting, maiming if you had to?

My God, I hope you never have to be in this poor, young man’s shoes to find the terrifying answers.

And what kind of mother doesn’t bring her child a cheeseburger?  This family’s doomed.

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To Be, Or Not to Be (A Cheeseburger), That May or May Not Be the Question

This guy looks pretty happy being a cheeseburger.

I bet I’d be happy if I was a cheeseburger.

The life of a cheeseburger is probably pretty great.  You’re delicious, and you know it.  People desire you, and they know it.

Cheeseburgers never have to worry about money, or time management, or if the thoughts in their cheeseburger hearts come out exactly as they intend from their cheeseburger mouths.

Plus, cheeseburgers don’t have to work – ever.  They don’t have debt and don’t get frustrated calculating interest on repayment plans.  Have you ever seen a cheeseburger crunching numbers?  I haven’t.

They don’t grow bitter over never using their degrees from Cheeseburger College.  Cheeseburger parents are never disappointed when lil’ Whopper Jr. announces his theater arts and journalism double-major, because they’re fucking cheeseburgers and they do what they want.

Furthermore, you’re really famous, especially in the United States, where cheeseburgers are so important you get your own king, like you were a country or something (The Cheeseburger Confederacy).  Idols are made of you and distributed to children as pro-cheeseburger propaganda.  Entire teams of the world’s best in marketing and advertising constantly advocate for your existence, allowing you to relax and just do cheeseburger stuff all day.

There’s talk of replacing Benjamin Franklin with a fatass cheeseburger on the hundred dollar bill, with the bill’s slang name evolving appropriately to “cheeseburgers.”

Sure, there are obstacles.  A big one that comes to mind is, you know, being eaten.  You’re literally torn apart bun from burger by big gross mouths, straight up murdered by a ruthless gang of teeth.  But, it’s a very noble death.  A lot of people die FROM eating cheeseburgers.  You get to die AS a cheeseburger.  That’s a big difference, and most of the time you’re contributing to death’s very opposite – life.  You’re a martyr to the noble cause of delicious gratification, a surefire ticket to Cheeseburger heaven, where you’ll be reunited with your loving French fry and soft drink family.

Or, if you were a dirty, no good cheeseburger, perhaps you’ll be reincarnated as racist taco guy:

Unlike cheeseburger guy, notice that taco guy doesn’t get to maintain his human genitalia, only one of many downsides if you’re keeping score at home.

Actual product description from Amazon:

“You don’t have to drive across town to get your favorite Mexican food with this taco costume! The adult costume consists of a poly foam taco suit that has the appearance of a hard shell taco. It comes complete with toppings including lettuce, sauce and cheese. The suit has holes for the head and arms as well as an open bottom for easy movement. You’ll look good enough to eat in this funny taco costume!”

“An open bottom for easy movement” – that sounds dirty to me.

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Diagnosis: Blog

I am no doctor, and the results are far from conclusive, but all my current research indicates that a fierce regimen of naps coupled with reading and eating ice cream in the bathtub can cure a cold and sore throat.

If conditions return, a further prescription will be to lounge listlessly on my patio while enjoying a paired dosing of the setting sun and a cough syrup popsicle.

I probably should have made a Belgian waffle sandwich, but I didn’t think of it until now.  Oh well.  Science is all trial and error, I guess.

Chance of complete restoration of health and vigor?  85%

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I’m Not Entirely Sure What’s Going on in Canada

…but I’m concerned.

Concerned that America’s dropping the ball creatively, that is.

We can’t afford to rest on our creative laurels while Quebecois wrestlers dress as animals and monsters, performing sexually suggestive acts before a crowd of paying customers.  Put on your creative hats, Americans.  We’re losing our place in the global order!

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You Know who Doesn’t Get Saluted Enough?

Those who drunkenly stuff sandwich meat in their mouths at 2 in the morning.

Those are some heroes right there.
Braving the harsh glow of the refrigerator, courageously opening the in-the-moment complexly-sealed plastic container, navigating the obtuse geometry of folded meat slices through a drunken mouth – these are the warriors in the shadows.

And by God, I boldly step out of those shadows to join my brothers and sisters in (probably flabby) arms.

Because sometimes sandwiches are just too hard to deal with, an Everest to a body barely capable of a mole hill, and I’ll unashamedly have a deli mustard chaser with my shot of ham-sandwich meat, thank you very much.

 

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