My Deciduous Loveseat, Or, A Loveseat for the Nap Connoisseur – $100 (east Austin, near downtown)

If you are a true nap and lounge enthusiast, this is the loveseat of your dreams! With its award-winning comfort and internationally-renowned softness, the loveseat and its forest green material will lull you into the sweetest dreams of stunning, tree-filled vistas, where you will frolic with abandon among such majestic creatures as the Yellow-throated Warbler, the Great Horned Owl, and if you’re really lucky, perchance that cutest of God’s wonders, the Black-capped Chickadee. Dreams of zip-lining over water in a race with a Southern Flying Squirrel have also been reported by multiple nappers.

The sheer merriment of the adventures dreamed while lounging and sleeping on this loveseat will be surpassed only by your well-rested, refreshed and invigorated mind and body, allowing you to get up, wipe the sleep from your eyes, and tackle a very real, and very challenging forest adventure. Or, you could make a very real sandwich. Either way.

We would keep it, but we don’t have enough space in our new apartment, and we’re kind of transitioning to a tundra theme, anyway.

Email me for directions. Conveniently located right off of 35, not too far from Franklin’s BBQ. We and the Tufted Titmice of your deepest REM sleep eagerly anticipate your response.

My Deciduous Loveseat

Leave a comment

Filed under Austin, Humor, Personal

Four Years of the Incredible Shrinking Brain

Have you ever walked into a different room of your home, stopped, and suddenly realized you don’t remember why you walked into that room?  Maybe it’s the kitchen, and you’re standing in front of the open refrigerator, beer and milk and butter staring back, and you think, “What was I just doing?”

What about standing in front of the refrigerator and thinking, “What was I just doing…for four years?”

I’m not in front of a refrigerator, but in a coffeehouse in Austin, TX, and in three days I will turn twenty-nine years old.  I moved to Austin on my twenty-fifth birthday, and looking back, this latter half of twenty has possessed an unimaginable momentum, a speed proportional to gained years, but a mindboggling speed nonetheless.

English poet and essayist Charles Lamb once wrote, “The young man till thirty never feels practically that he is mortal.”

Which is to say:  Yay!  This feeling of immortality has life left in it yet!  368 more days of mindless, unbound, electric youth!  I can swig booze and maraud the midnight streets with immunity, engage in jittery fistfights with the sunrise after an all-night coffee and writing binge, digest entire taco stand inventories with nary a spark of heartburn, and swagger beard-first through Ladytown like I’m the muscled mayor of their every fantasy.

But let’s be honest with ourselves here.  The last four years have been a gradual slipping, an encroaching entropy.  Thirty won’t be a flipped light switch that plunges me into darkness, where I’m alone in a room and staring at projections of arthritis and memory loss on the wall.  It’s more of a dimmer switch, with age-related susceptibilities slowly coming into focus, ears gradually tuning to the frequencies of recommended prostate exams.  (How exactly does one reconcile rectal realities?  Does alliteration distract enough from the probing physician?  Let’s heartily hope so.)

At this point in the blog, those already into their 30s, 40s, and beyond are surely muttering, “Oh, woe is you.  Weep for your dying youth,” and not without a merited sarcasm.  But, allow me my pity party.  I already suffer the pains of my greatest gustatory loves, pizza and coffee.  The heartburn, or possibly serious acid reflux, eats away my insides; flames lacerate their way up into my chest and into the bottom of my throat.  I love pizza and a mean caffeine buzz, and I’d like to imagine myself bravely marching from barista to pie-maker and back again for decades, but that march will likely come with a bandoleer of Rolaids and a Maalox mustache.

Oh, and these coffeehouse girls, obvious undergrads increasingly too young for me.  I overhear them studying biology, words like “eukaryotic” and “mitochondrian” affirmed by their partners as right answers.  They multi-task with a mental bandwidth that’s panoramic and fluid – studying cell structure from a textbook while playing music from their laptops while sending texts while Instagramming their entire coffee table tableaux.

As their biology terms mix with descriptions of boys in their class, I go into a haze of half-listening, and I begin to dwell on biological facts of a more depressing and personal nature:

The brain peaks in size at 25, after which it begins to shrink, lose weight, and fill with fluid. 

The heart continually becomes a less efficient pumping machine.  Joint function steadily declines.  The lungs become less elastic; you can’t fill them as full or empty them as completely of stale air. 

You simply can’t take in as much of the world, and you can’t let go of that you’ve absorbed.   

I may need something stronger than an iced coffee.  Something with whiskey.  Maybe nothing with whiskey, just whiskey.  And yet, even my capacity for drinking seems diminished.  I’m reminded of a recent, embarrassing memory:

The scene opens to tunnel vision, with fuzzy edges around a too-slowly-receding perimeter.   I see pale, fuzzy knees sticking out of shorts, and the depth of field shifts allowing me to see flip-flop covered feet around the same time I feel them splattered in vomit. 

Localization is gradually determined:  this planet, this state, this city, this patio, this lawn chair, this hunched over body.

Those puke-covered feet. 

My feet. 

I’m on the rug-covered patio belonging to people I’ve only recently met.  The friend who brought me here is missing.  In fact, I’m alone – the only person filling a chair in a circle of chairs previously populated.  It’s dark except for the light of two mosquito-repelling candles.

I’ve either just woken myself up vomiting, or I woke up just in time to vomit.  I’m not sure which one is more ridiculous, but I am sure contemplating the distinction isn’t going to make this any easier to explain.  So, when I find my friend in the kitchen, I don’t.  I just suggest we bail, and I end up passing out on her living room floor next to her cat. 

I never once, through high school or college, was the person who threw up in a socially unsanctioned location.  “How does someone just puke like that?” I used to indignantly wonder.  I wish I hadn’t found the answer.  Blackout puking is for the young.  I mean, I have dental insurance – I’m too old for this shit.

I need a bagel or a muffin or a –

With age, muscle mass declines, metabolic rate slows, and caloric intake should be subsequently reduced.    

Ugh.  I should probably get out of this coffeehouse and go for a walk.  Do I have the right shoes for it?  I should probably stretch first.  Can I even touch my toes anymore?   It’s dark out; I should wait til daytime.  But it’s so hot all the time.  Maybe go to a gym instead, with air conditioning and treadmills.  They have TVs in there.  I could make a running playlist to encourage me.  Yeah, that sounds good.  I’ll start on my birthday.  Yeah.  Research for a few days, build that high-energy playlist.  Start walking, then jogging.  Maybe even look into yoga classes.

Exercise is known to help brain function.  Perhaps I can hinder or offset the shrinking of my brain.

That way, maybe I’ll have a better answer when I’m 30 and in front of the open refrigerator, staring back at prune juice and almond milk and light margarine, and asking, “What was I just doing…for five years?”

But right now I just remembered I wanted a chocolate chip, banana bread muffin.  And I should probably go ahead and pop an antacid before things get carried away.

2 Comments

Filed under Drinking, Health, Humor

(Van) Damming Up Whiskey River, or, the Truths Revealed by House Party 2: The Pajama Jam

The 290 West exit off of South I-35.

That’s a shot of Jean Claude Van Damme playing yours truly in a biopic about what I’ve been up to lately.  Namely, growing out a greasy mullet and toting handguns while practicing gnarly motorcycle tricks on highway overpasses.  Also, my knees have begun to emit steam.  You know, typical macho bullshit.

Let’s take a look in the ol’ reader mailbag, shall we?

Dear Fat Fingers Justice,

Did you know that if I Google “Sam Elliot Mustache,” the Fat Fingers of Justice is the ninth image result?

Sincerely,

Sam Elliott

P.S. Call my agent asap!  I just finished your script, the Old West period piece, and I’d be honored to play the mysterious, widower sheriff who dispenses folky wisdom and hides a revolver in his mustache.  My current stint as the voice of Smokey Bear is a decent gig, but there’s only so much nuance with which you can deliver “Only you can prevent forest fires.”  And the lack of character depth is very frustrating.  I mean, did his parents die in a fire?  The love of his life?  Does he have survivor’s guilt?  Let’s just say the U.S. Forest Service’s marketing team isn’t the creative epicenter I’d been promised. 

P.P.S.  How is Smoky Bear totally not a gay icon?  I mean, c’mon, look at that fucking bear.  Ah, but I ramble.

YES, I do, legendary actor Sam Elliot.  WordPress is very informative in terms of helping me manage and finely curate my surely-at-any-moment-award-winning content.  ‎”Sam Elliot Mustache” is among the top five search engine terms that lead to my site. The others?  “Bee gees hairy,” “porcelain cats,” “truck nuts,” and last but not the least insulting, “fat man with beard.”

Fuck you, too, Google search matrix.  You could put down the hoagie and run your ass around the block a few times yourself.

But I know it’s just tough love.  You see, as recently as two years ago, friends and foes alike were asking, “Fat Fingers, how do you always seem to be in peak physical condition?  Your mental agility and acuity is rivaled only by your rippling musculature.”

Others would add, not incorrectly, “If polished stones of various shapes and sizes were to achieve consciousness and quickly evolve cooperative abilities, they would hold a brief meeting and unanimously decide to combine to form the perfect rock-hard body – your body.”  (They would also make a truly horrifying and unstoppable rock army that I only hope could be reasoned with.  But none of my appreciators considered that rock army situation, as they were too full of lusty thoughts to think it through.)

Ex-girlfriends would sell semi-nude photos of me to pay off their student loan debts.  Unsurprisingly, the images received nearly universal, vaginal acclaim.

But surprise, surprise – experiment with alcoholism for a few years, come down with a chronic case of taco-itis, and almost literally forget how to exercise, and the results are not good.  Other than a solid beard and decent shoulders, I’m pretty much a “Before” picture waiting for a makeover.  I’m the left side of the screen when visually breaking down pre- and post-ownership of a Bowflex.

The only peak condition I’ve found myself in recently is peak drinking condition.  And maybe peak sandwich hunting condition.  I’m often found valiantly thinning the overpopulated sandwich herds in the deli savanna.

Unfortunately, those shirtless photos have proven to be slightly less lucrative.

So, perhaps it’s time to cut back on drinking and eating with the gusto of the condemned.  It’s time the Fat Fingers took hold of a healthier lifestyle.  I never intended the Fat Fingers to be literal.  Corpulent appendages were not the goal here. (Editor’s Note: “What was?”  Me:  “Shut up, Editor.”)  I fear getting to a point where I find  myself getting winded making a sandwich.  Or breaking a sweat getting dressed, because then you’re clothes are all sweated-up, but you can’t just change shirts, because then that second shirt would be all gross, too.  Man, life is tough on the lazy.

So, enough of the whiskey coke floats and waffle grilled cheese sandwiches.  Enough of the buttered cigars, the chocolate-covered curly fries, and even my favorite cheesy broccoli recipe – 4 parts cheese, no parts broccoli.

However, perhaps worse than the physical toll the booze and poor diet takes, is the mental.  My brain is just a bag of gin-thinned chowder and crushed, mushy saltines.  And my memory, oh lord my memory.

A recent experience solidified this concern.  While perusing Netflix’s suggested films, I discovered that the website’s “Best Guess” for my rating of “House Party 2:  The Pajama Jam” was 3.0 stars.

How could Netflix believe I would like House Party 2 more than I wouldn’t like it?  How had this happened?  Netflix, you’re supposed to know me.  Who am I?  How have my life’s choices and beliefs led me to this misunderstanding?

Even more unsettling than that, however, was discovering that on March 8th I apparently watched 22 minutes of it.  I don’t remember this, and I don’t think it’s a subconscious attempt at saving any brain space for more important things, like famous cat trivia.  It was because one lonely night I’d been drunk enough to think it was a good idea to watch it.  Not coincidentally, that level of drunkenness is also the level at which you kill the brain cells required to remember making such a decision.

I watched part of it today as research for this blog, and in case you didn’t know, House Party 2 isn’t very good.  Should I have watched the original House Party first?  Would that have helped?

Clearly, I need to get my mind right. I need to do some soul – and liver – searching.

Beyond the lapses in memory, I noticed my social skills have suffered.  My brain needs to be exercised in ways other than laps in the liquor pool, because my conversation skills have withered horribly.

It’s never good when all I can think of to say on a date is, “Did you know my roommate’s cat can fart as loud as a person?” and then raise my eyebrows like, “Pretty amazing, huh?”  While that may be true, it’s not a great conversation piece.  (But stay tuned for a 3-part startling expose on feline digestive issues in the coming weeks.  By God, Cat Fancy’s finally going to get that Pulitzer.)

Other times, I may share too much, too soon:

“I combed my beard, and a fly fell out.”

“Ew, gross.”

“Oh, settle down.  It was still alive.”

It’s a shame, really.  Because all that conversational ineptitude comes just after I’d discovered a failsafe way to ask someone out – “Would you like to eat dinner and have drinks and consider engaging in a short to long term power struggle with me?”  Guaranteed to work on that cute cynic you’ve been eyeing!

I decided I better get my shit in gear, better get myself in some better health before my heart or liver or both decide to mutiny and leave in the middle of the night, replacing themselves with papier-mâché replicas.

My goal, perhaps rather ambitious, is not to have a single drink for two weeks, then filter in the weekend-only drinking.  I will also cook more meals at home instead of continuing construction on a delivery tube between my bed and the taco truck behind my house.

I’ll let you know how that works out, considering this bottle of whiskey throwing itself at me.

2 Comments

Filed under Drinking, Food, Health, Humor

Join Me as I Travel the Country in Search of America’s Most Delicious Eucharists!

Easter rises again this Sunday, along with the typical rumors of man-sized, brain slurping, mutant rabbits coming for our nation’s most adorable Christian children.  (the ugly pagan ones cause diarrhea)

Many news stations in smaller media markets, hungry for ratings, stoke parental fears by warning of impostor Easter bunnies laying candy eggs filled with cyanide or razor blades.  Or worse, razor blAids, razor blades coated with Aids.

Meanwhile, Fox News reports Easter may in fact be cancelled by the Obama administration and his big government bureaucrats.  After both the EPA and the FDA passed job-killing candy egg regulations, the Easter Bunny may be out of a job.  (“Did ObamaCare Send the Easter Bunny to the Unemployment Line?”, Fox News, April 5)  Meanwhile, weapons dealers report surging sales to confused gun rights activists who fear their egg-hunting days may soon be over.

“Big government vampirism threatens to suck the freedom out of yet another American tradition,” reported Bill O’Reilly.

You and I both know that’s nonsense, a smoke-screen.  The real danger is from out of control consolidation of the nation’s food system into the hands of a few multinationals and their unregulated production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  The results can be calamitous.

I speak, of course, of Peeps monsters.

Half-human, half-marshmallowy mutants!

Unfazed by multiple shotgun blasts!
(photo courtesy of Reuters)

While we’re distracted by partisan political feuds, foody Frankensteins are busy altering the DNA of our plants and animals, unleashing unholy inedibles.  The indestructible marshmallow candies, if consumed, will never break down via digestive processes.  Instead, they will fester in the stomach cavity.  If you’re lucky, your symptoms will be limited to nausea, vomiting, circulatory gelatinization, tachypnea, candied bowels, convulsions, coma, sugary-sweet urine, and necrosis of hope.

Worst-case scenarios involve irreversible mutation, like you see in the above, Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph.  At that point, one can only wish for death, although it is doubtful the Peep/Human mind is still capable of a thought process other than the most primitive desire to kill.

Military scientists report grim findings from studying captured marshmallow enemy combatants.

“We wanted to know what these things were made of,” says Gary Falcon.  They tried to melt them in a microwave, dissolve them in water, then corrode them in acid.  But the Peeps did not behave like ordinary marshmallows.  “We discovered that the eyes especially wouldn’t dissolve in anything.”

Yes.  Think about that for a while, dear reader.  When we’re all long gone, when humanity disappears from this planet, by Peeps themselves or some non-human-made calamity, all that will remain in the bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape will be pairs of midnight-black orbs staring blankly from within fluorescent, spongy and immortal bodies.  Bodies we once gleefully and foolishly fed to our own children.  Two onyx, sugary stones staring at our sweet-toothed ghosts.

Where will your resurrected god be then?

Oh wait, here He is –

Skynet will surprise John Connor and all of us by not destroying, but saving, mankind. Ladykind, too.

CyberChrist:  He died for your sins.  Now…

He’s killing for them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, Humor, News Media

Summer Madness!

It appears all of my recent blogs have been melted away by the summer heat.  That is unfortunate, as there is no other record of their existence.  You will just have to trust that their illumination upon the human condition and the rendering of humankind’s hopes in contrast to its heartbreaking realities was a bludgeoning of truth to the brittle, kleptomaniacal fingers that would keep tugging you back toward Plato’s dark cave.

And the dick jokes.  Oooh man, the dick jokes were transcendent.

Sadly, they will remain forever absent, liquefied into a digital soup by the summer heat’s blog-meltingly high temperatures.  This loss cannot be quantified accurately, but just know that there wasn’t a 5-month lag in writing – no way – just a meteorologically-induced Internet malfunction.

Moving on to the meat:

Summer Madness:  A concept that humans are simply not adapted to consistent 100+ degree temperatures.  It affects the human brain and may cause depression, obsessive compulsive behavior and a general cognitive decay.  Diets of beer and barbecue combined with confinement in either climate-controlled safe-havens or public pools yield separate yet equally damaging declines in one’s emotional and physical health.

Case Study #1:

Me, Ol’ Fat Fingers Justice.

My body is a temple where burritos go to die, and where humidity from large reservoirs of booze spawns black mold.  My mind feels rotten, is beginning to stink up my skull, and faint yet cringe-inducing whiffs escape from my ears whenever I try to concentrate, like something from a derelict refrigerator mistakenly opened a second too long.

And the heat for a hairy man is insult added to, or maybe multiplied by, injury.  I was once told I belonged on a Bee Gees album cover. Whether that was a compliment or a dig does not matter; it’s fact.

The Brothers Gibb were an amazing, allegedly heterosexual group of singing space travelers who brought us the technology of satin jackets and pants in the 1970s. They wrote “Islands in the Stream,” later covered by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, a rendition bringing this blogger nearly to tears.

Austin’s already approaching a month’s worth of days over 100 degrees, and it’s only July 10.  I’m subsisting on pitchers of horchata, bowls of spaghetti and hours of Korean revenge movies on Netflix.  My only exercise is a pretty intense combination of angry fist-shaking and yelling through the curtains at the sun.  It’s a sad scene, a drama of strenuous impotence.

This heat-reenforced hermitry is affecting my social skills.  The last few times I’ve gone out I’ve been overwhelmed by people, by swarms of words and other bodies radiating heat.  Jabbering meat machines, sweat on brows and beverage rings on tables – it’s all a hideous damp jungle.  I swear when I looked at a sunburned woman the other night I saw legs and arms as oversized ballpark franks.  Red, swollen, sour, sweaty meat through to the bone.

I may or may not have seen the Virgin Mary in a hipster’s pit-stain.

Look!  It’s even too hot for 70s-era Gene Hackman!  He is shirtless and forlorn.

“When, oh when,” ponders star of such 70s classics as the French Connection and The Conversation, “will I be able to wear long-sleeved shirts with my favorite windbreaker again?”

Too long, Gene.

It certainly feels like never.

I wish I could even quit my job and work from my bottom-sheet-only bed beneath the a/c vent.  I read recently of an opportunity which could afford me this very luxury!

Our government will soon be distributing these to the unemployed as an integral part of their bi-partisan recovery plan.

Grow rich while you sleep!  Have you always wanted to work less and nap more?  But you just couldn’t make ends meet on a nap-based salary?  Well, now’s your chance to dream yourself rich!

What if I haven’t dreamt in 4 years because I haven’t gone to bed sober in 4 years?”

Fair question!  But no worries.  Even if you don’t remember how you got home last night, or why you awoke spooning a grilled cheese sandwich, you will never forget waking up on a big pile of rich, dirty money.  Who cares if you don’t remember your dreams?  You’re now wide awake and living…the American Dream.

Prestige.  Power.  Women and/or men.  Things that are fast and dangerous!  Rare action figurines.  Exotic, bejeweled totebags.  Cats that play the radio!

You’re rich.  You can have all of those things and more.  It doesn’t even have to make sense.  Alligator chair vodka helmet!  Someone will figure out what that means and get it for you.  And it will be the best kind!  The Cadillac of alligator chair vodka helmets, no knock-off or outlet mall version.

Grow rich while you sleep – you’ll always be on the cooler side of the pillow.  (Because you’ll be able to hire desperate laborers to gently turn it over for you, and you can shamelessly scold them if they wake you in the process.)

Unfortunately, the heat haunts me even in my sleep.  You see, my apartment’s thermostat is haunted by a cruel shithead.  That, or in a race to feeble, geriatric senility, I’m befuddled by this most simple of technologies.  I cancel all program settings and simply set it to run at 75, and yet, I’ll awake at four a.m., sweaty, to a thermostat reading 84.  Through a fog of sleepiness, I push buttons angrily.  By the time it turns on, I’m wide awake.  And still poor.

The other night, not the one where I may or may not have had the religious vision in a dinner-plate-sized, underarm sweat-ring, I engaged in a dating discussion with friends and a couple strangers.  A woman, not the ballpark-frank lady, talked endlessly about a guy she was dating but who had recently been acting strange and distant.  It was one of those, “Hey, this is what happened – do you think I’m crazy for being worried” kind of things.  A seemingly great month-long romance evaporated mysteriously over a weekend, with broken dates and promises, and should she continue to pursue it or confront him?

Little did she know she was asking someone whose paramount mission was to avoid summer madness, so my advice was not particularly welcomed.

I told her I had a new rule:  I don’t date in the summertime, and others should seriously consider adopting that policy.  It’s just too hot.  Plus, the nights are shorter.  You should drop that zero and find yourself a heroic fan.  Focus on what’s important – avoiding brain damage.

In conclusion, let me address a solution to the temperatures I’m sure many of your heat-radiated brains have been pondering.  You see, this summer madness causes many to indulge in something I find disgusting – public swimming pools.  I’ve never been a big fan.  It’s a meat soup.  The big chunks tightly strapped into nylon/spandex while little nuggets offer additional seasoning with stealth urination.  This soup will get in your mouth.  And yet, so many people will chase it with warm beer and keep laughing.

That’s ultimate summer madness.

Sometimes, dead bodies marinate in this soup, and nobody notices for days.  If you see me in a public swimming pool, kindly prepare me a padded cell.

But please, for the love of God, have it air-conditioned.

Leave a comment

Filed under Austin, Humor, Summer