Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Oct 5, 2018

 Society has a lot of rules, but being that I live in the Land Of The Free, society around me likes to bend them, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Laws are different, so don’t get the two confused. It’s a RULE of society that you shouldn’t play the music in your car so loud at 3 am that you wake everybody in the neighborhood as you pass through. But it’s a LAW that I can’t install a tire spike system in the road in front of my house that I can access at the push of a button the next time some thug does that.

 We’re going to have a look at some of the rules society likes to scoff at and I’ll put in my two cents about what I think you should think society should think about doing differently. We’ll tackle the Pants Hanging Down and Shorts Too Short issues, I’ll remind guys about the proper behavior in a public restroom, and I’ll give you a play-by-play of my frustration about people being too slow.

 I’m Michael Blackston and that’s all ahead as we take an opinionated look into my Funny Messy Life.


 I never wanted to be THAT GUY - you know, the geezer who puts up a sign in the yard that screams, “STAY OFF THE GRASS!” or that fella who hates any new music for no better reason than because it’s not the same as his, (although don’t even get me started about the stuff kids listen to these days that bears no resemblance to music.) I wanted to stay hip and NOT sound like every older generation that ever cringed at the younger one. What I’ve learned is that there are some things that aren’t trends, but ought to be lasting rules we follow as decent people. That’s why I’ve adopted the self-description of ...

 The Trendy Curmudgeon

 If I were asked to describe myself in terms of my outlook on world culture, I’d have to say I’m a complicated mess of trendy-slash-curmudgeon. I’m the forty-something man in McDonalds sitting at a table typing away at a laptop and drinking a steaming cup of java while surrounded by other, much younger, people typing away at their laptops and drinking steaming cups of java.

 Yay me. I’m with it, man. I’m hip.

 But I’m also the guy who looks up from his laptop with a scowl decorating his otherwise merry face every time a thug walks in with his trousers around his ankles or a girl that can’t be more than twelve is at the counter with shorts on so tight around her bottom that she’ll need a window scraper or possibly some sort of paint thinner to get them off. In both cases, I feel ashamed to even be in the same room.

 It’s a tightrope walk being the kind of guy that believes in a strict system of morals but also enjoys watching the world progress in positive ways. I just have old-fashioned (and, I believe, correct) views about a lot of things that the younger generation either pays no attention to or would make a Facebook meme about, nicknaming me, “F. Duddy.”.

 You’d probably call me pretty darn progressive for the most part. I love change when it brings the positive. I like the variety that human imagination is capable of and the invention that science has gives us. But some things should be sacred, don’t you think? And I’d have thought they’d be common sense.

 For instance, men, if your pants could hold an entire army of Zulu warriors, including the spears, and you’re not wearing a belt, then your britches are going to fall down. Now, I would say that common sense and decency should win out every time. No one wants to drag their pants around like they’re on the chain gang while the cheeks of their butt are segregated from the almighty real world by only a very thin covering of under-fabric. NO SANE PERSON WANTS THAT! But just take a look at the current climate and you’ll see that sanity doesn’t have a place in the world any more. Some young men would have it no other way but to do deep knee bends to get to their pockets. I’d hoped that the fad would go away like most do, but it hasn’t.

 It wasn’t long ago that I walked into a local retail store and witnessed an older teen sitting on a community stool at the customer service area with his pants so low around his thighs that only his underwear made contact with the padding. It got my dander up because here was a young man who had crossed a line. This was no longer a matter of my being an old fogy with my old fashioned ideas. The man’s BUTT was pretty much at liberty to do no telling what all ungodly manner of offenses to that stool. The fabric separating cheek and orifice from the same surface somebody else would soon unknowingly sit on is no match for a mighty wind or an unwashed … I can’t even say it.

 It rhymes with Hut Bowl.

 It amazes me that no laws seem to have been broken here. There ought to be a fine that goes along with the first offense; a hefty one. People caught walking around like that in public ought to be made to pay a lot of money and they should have to lick the seats where others have committed the same offense.

 The ladies wearing painted on shorts need to think before they step out as well. While there is a difference in the reasoning for this look and the one mentioned above - one is meant to look sexy and the other is meant to make you look like you’re asking to be the victim of a drive-by shooting - there’s still cause to mention the dangers of it.

 First, to speak on the sanity issue, there’s usually not much more material between your cheeks and the public seats you’re sitting on than the thug. A thong is NOT proper enough under girding to be considered any sort of a barricade against the craftiness of a determined crack germ.

 So if I can see your chutt beeks hanging below the bottom of your shorts, you’re showing too much and they’re too tight, young lady. And you’re probably too young to be showing that kind of skin anyway. If I ever see my daughter walk into a room wearing something that revealing, I’m shooting her with a tranquilizer dart and telling her grandmother, who will then swoop in with a new outfit and a guilt trip she’ll spend weeks digging out from under.

 The problem with the stuff that’s too revealing isn’t only that it leaves nothing to the imagination, but that there are people walking around in that sort of get up who have no business wearing it.

 Don’t argue that it’s comfortable. It’s cutting off your circulation. So take that and stick it in your pocket that’s hanging below the hem of your shorts. If, that is, you can manage to squeeze anything thicker than a strand of fishing line into those pockets.

 I know I sound like your dad, your granddad, or an old man on a park bench feeding the pigeons and using phrases like, “Back in MY dayyyyyy ……”, and I’m sorry. I do like a lot of the stuff that teens and twenty-somethings are into and I tend to get along well with that age group. I can play a first person shooter with the best of them. Actually, my son Noah kills me at HALO, so never mind that.

 Looking back at the beginning of this, I suppose maybe I’m not that trendy after all. I’ve just reached the age where I can say curmudgeonly things and mean them. I don’t yet have to trim my ear hairs, even though I do have that one that grows rebelliously in an impossible curl straight out of my ear. At least I can grab it with my fingers and yank that puppy out like a boss. I don’t currently use the word Whipper-Snapper in any way other than comical, and nothing is, to me, new-fangled.

 I just have a sense of decency that’s always been there, thanks to my raising, even in my teen years.

 Ladies, you are beautiful and special, so please treat your body that way. A God-made pearl is rare and valuable. It’s kept chaste inside the shell where it’s being created until it is ready to be found and presented in its true glory. A man-made pearl is fashioned by hands too eager to be handled and sold and is thus, not nearly as valuable.

 You’re the God-made pearl. Don’t allow the world to convince you to show too much of yourself too early.

 I’m not saying to close yourself off and be a fashion hermit. Just see the value of who you really are – who you were wonderfully made to be – and don’t just give it away.

 And guys, pull up your stupid pants. You look like idiots.

 Remember … Thugs just take whatever they can get for free. A real gentleman prefers a real pearl.


 I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I know I’m too opinionated to open my mouth on a lot of issues in the public forum. That’s why I rarely engage in political discussions. I’ve been told my tongue is wicked and has a habit of being hurtful when I’m opposed, so in order to be a kinder, gentler Michael, I stay away from that sort of thing. There are some things, though, that almost every person inside of a specific group will agree on. The following is one example of what I’m talking about. They are ...

 The 8 Commandments Of How To Behave In The Men's Room

 An interesting conversation took place last Sunday at my grandmother’s house over the fried chicken and mashed potatoes. By the way, I’m not a concerned about etiquette at Grandma’s. I eat with my elbows on the table because it never hurt a thing to do so. I also drink from tiny glasses without stretching my pinkie finger way out because I feel no need to prove how quaint I am and whatnot.

 However, as rough around the edges as I can be, I do recognize scenarios which require the practice of preordained etiquetty stuff and one of these is where the conversation went around the dinner table over the butter beans and corn bread. Specifically, my cousin Chuck, my uncle Greg, and I discussed the rules of engagement in regard to the expected behavior in a public men’s restroom.

 They are rules that have stood the test of time and have served as canon for all men. Call it whatever you want to, but breaking the commandments of the men’s room is dangerous territory. Personally, I identify exactly as God made me, man parts and all, and so I can’t speak on the rules of the women’s restroom, especially about special machines that offer special products for special things. But I’ve visited my share of men’s facilities for a long time now and I can tell you horror stories. So now I shall list these commandments, which were chiseled in a tablet somewhere after the first awkward encounter between two dudes relieving themselves in the same vicinity.

 The commandments are as follows:

 The First Commandment: Thou shalt not SPEAK to another human person or yourself while standing at a urinal or sitting in a stall.

 The original text would have used the terms “bush” and “tree”, respectively, but has been changed to reflect modern times. Some scholars suggest that medieval texts may have replaced the original words with “hay bale” and “on a peasant”. Whatever words are used, the understanding is clear that no spoken word is to be uttered from one man to the next whilst amid relievement activities. The introduction of the smart phone and blue tooth has placed an uncomfortable wrench in the cogs as now it’s possible to hear one side of a conversation from the man in the next stall or urinal. For the first little bit, it was hard to figure out whether or not you were being spoken to and the sturdiest portion of this commandment was being broken. Now it’s usually easy to know that you’re just being made privy to a private conversation in the privy.

 The famous Can You Spare A Square episode of Seinfeld still gives me nightmares. While I don’t know if that sort of things actually goes on in a ladies room, I can say with fiery-eyed certainty that it should never happen in the men’s room. What would I do if I forgot to check the state of the toilet paper inventory in my particular stall and found out there was none? I would sit quietly and wait until the place shut down for the night, then I could freely get up and find something to finish the job with. What if it was one of those 24 hour places that never closes? I’d sit in silence, lamenting my stupidity, and wait to die.

 The Second Commandment: Thou shalt look neither left nor right whilst standing upright at the urinal while others are about.

 Staring only straight ahead is permitted. If you’re alone at the urinal bank, looking left or right to be aware of all who may enter is permitted, but once you‘ve been joined by others, the only area of interest is directly in front of you. Looking around means you’re interested in something else and probably scoping out the goods. You automatically become the creepy guy in the trench coat waiting in the alley. At least that’s what you think it looks like. Staring straight up at the ceiling is also acceptable. Larger convenience store chains that offer long banks of urinals understand this and have taken it to higher levels by marketing to men who’re in the trap. They post posters of all the cool guy stuff you can get in the store like CB radios and remote control helicopters. Some pages show the junk food options available. With such a captive audience, it’s a smart move because I have to admit that the last power inverter I bought was due to the sale I noticed they had on satellite antennas. Don’t ask me why, but it made sense at the time.

 The Third Commandment: If thou accidentally looketh in the direction of another man at the urinals, thou must quickly look away and clear thy throat all manly-like.

 We’re human and sometimes we don’t think. In these cases we might absentmindedly look around. If that happens, you are to bow out your chest to seem as large as you can and grunt. Cocking one eye up as if you think you’re All That can help too, and you might also take on a bit of a strut like a cowboy as you zip up and walk to the sink to wash your hands. If you have a lazy eye or happen to resemble a Chinese Pug, you might consider wearing a patch over the eye that is the loose cannon. This will enable you to only have to deal with controlling one eye and should that get slippery on you, at least you can “Yar!” like a pirate as you do your overtly cowboy style walk. Nobody messes with a bow-legged pirate.

 The Fourth Commandment: Thou shalt ALWAYS leave at least one empty urinal between you and whomever goteth there before thee.

 My cousin added that if it’s filling up and there isn’t that option and all the stalls are taken and someone would notice you peeing in the corner, then, and only then, do you fill in at an empty urinal between two other dudes. And even then, you make sure one of the dudes is shorter than you. I have to admit that it’s easy for him to say because he’s tall. I’m not that tall, so it becomes a harder task for me. Tall, dark, and handsome will never apply to me because not only am I not tall (I’m average height) but I don’t tan. I break out in skin cancers or simply burst into flames when exposed to sunlight.

 The Fifth Commandment: Thou shalt wash thy hands after touching thyself.

 And you better be touching yourself, dude, because if you ain’t holding it, you ain’t aiming.

 I saw a man at a QT leave the bathroom without washing his hands recently and the only thing that stopped me from saying anything to him was that I was afraid he might smack me with his unwashed having-recently-touched-his-junk hands. He was also wearing an eye patch and walked like he thought thar wan room enough in the bathroom far th’ both of us. The plain fact of the matter is that if you don’t wash afterward, you’re telling your fellow man that no matter what kind of funky goo you have on your hands, you don’t care about their well being and are willing and ready to spread your filth hither and yon. Don’t doeth it. Thou art swine if thou doeth it.

 The Sixth Commandment: Talking at the sink is permitted only if the “Man Nod” shall not sufficeth.

 Personally, I don’t need your thoughts about the weather or gas prices. I don’t want your opinion on the Braves or the Yankees. If you need acknowledgement, I will nod at you. In that nod I will convey all that needs to be conveyed, which is, I acknowledge that you exist and that is all. Now wash that stank hand of yours and allow me to leave this place. Ask me “How’s it goin’?” when we’ve broken the plain of the exit door.

 The Seventh Commandment: Getteth out quickly.

 Don’t stand in anyone’s way. Everything should be accomplished with quickness and precision. Lingering only makes you seem like a weirdo and let’s face it, if you’ve executed your directive in full and still feel the need to stay in there, you’re a weirdo.

 The Eighth Commandment: Thou shalt not buyeth a condom or a spritz of cologne from the dispenser on the wall unless thou art the only one in the room.

 Doing so in the presence of others will only let everyone around you know that you’re creepy and you’ll start to notice fathers holding their daughters closer to them as you pass outside. Both purchases also insinuate an urgent need and it will be assumed that you have recently made or are about to make another purchase from a person in the parking lot.

 Now that these protocols are out there, maybe you’ll understand why men usually get in and get out of a public restroom. I say usually because there are always exceptions. And if a man you’re with comes out of the restroom with a sudden need to buy a mag light the size of a telephone pole or an antenna that can pick up sounds from the dark side of the moon, you’ll know why. Lastly, if he comes out suddenly smelling like Stetson, keep a close eye on him.

 I’d imagine there are other rules I’ve forgotten and so if I left anything out, please feel free to chisel them in stone and add them to the list.


 Aaaaaand sometimes it’s just me being me. Like Banner turns into Lou Ferigno painted green when he gets angry, I too, have a rage monster that shows its ugly face in certain situations. Only my man-boobs are flabby, not sweet pectoral muscles like Lou Ferigno’s. No, I get right beside myself when I get behind someone going slower than me. That’s because ...

 My Slow Is Faster Than Your Slow

 Blackston’s Log …

 October 2015 – Universal StudiosOrlando, FL

 Day 1

 We arrived at our destination early and made our way into the World Of Harry Potter where alien childlike creatures with plastic wands and round glasses flit to and fro like Cornish Pixies. There are plenty of little Rons and Hermiones too, shouting Wingardium Leviosa in my face. Right away, I notice the flow of movement is very different from that of my own realm. The beings that surround us seem to be utterly baffled by the two protrusions they are being expected to use to propel themselves; protrusions we humans have come to call “legs”. They apparently don’t know how to use them. Some of these organisms, from appearances, could possibly be weighed down by gravity as their bodies have need to consume large amounts of unreasonably priced fuel, yet this observation does not account for the slow progress of those whose bodies have not taken in as much of the caloric fare as their wider counterparts.

 It is a puzzle. My wish was to glide swiftly along between the “attractions”, but I and my party cannot. We are constantly delayed by beings who would ease on down, ease on down the road and we are forced to tippy-toe ever so slightly among the crowd.

 They gawk at the displays around them, often stopping completely to engage their own party in a group photo-documentation via their communication devices. It would seem they find this behavior, and possibly my annoyance at having to be delayed, quite humorous. I know this by way of their constant smiling and laughing as the devices are pointed their direction. I also gather that most of these creatures are very fond of cheese, as they often tend to be invited to say the word by their leaders and the group obeys. Perhaps cheese is a code word for “Here comes that guy that wants to get around us. Let’s annoy him by our slow progress and merry disregard for everyone else in the vicinity.” If Day 2 is as difficult to traverse as Day 1, I may have to buy one of those $20 bags of candy I keep seeing on the side of the walkway as an incentive for patience.

 Blackston’s Log - Day 2

 We re-entered the realm this morning, hoping for less of a crowd and easier foot travel. I was encouraged when employing the use of the moving sidewalk near the ticket booth and I found it curious that I had missed this wonderful feature the day before. As we stepped onto the surface of this conveyance, we were met with a slight disruption in our stride, but were quickly able to adjust our stance to accommodate the fact that the ground was now managing for us, our progress forward. Other beings around us feel the satisfaction of allowing this mode of carriage to be the whole of their propulsion while my party and I have discovered that if we walk at a goodly clip upon this surface, we are able to achieve a sort of super-speed and shorten our travel time by quite a bit. An unfortunate calculation on my part has led to the scientific discovery that a body in sustained motion will continue that motion after the flooring has discontinued its aid in travel. In other words, when the moving sidewalk stops, I do not. As a result of my not paying heed to the change in pace beneath my feet, I nearly flew face first onto the ground. A child-beast behind me holding a lollipop and with a snot bubble blowing dangerously large out of one nostril pointed and remarked, “HAHAHAHAHAHA!” I have found this world’s young to be rather aggressive and have steered as far from them as possible; a feat I do not find easy, yet worth the effort.

 As the day progresses, we notice the crowd is bigger than the day before and the mosey factor is at an all-time high. Elderly versions of these beings are employing the use of battery propelled vehicular units called "scooters" to get around and upon seeing this, I at first delighted that they should move with swift, mechanical aid and not impede our progress. But this is not the case. The scooters must be governed to only allow the pace of a three-toed sloth with a gimpy leg. These scooters seem to be made to drive best when pointed headlong into oncoming foot traffic and must be charged on the energy created when the riders say, “Excuse me,” or “Sorry,” or “Coming through!”  These scooters apparently alter the mind of the operator so that they begin to think they are a part of a race. One such operator, an elder female, drove one that boasted an emblem on the back that read NASCAR. She complained to the people around her that she felt that everything looked the same no matter where she went, as if she were going in circles. After watching her for a while, I suggested perhaps making a right turn every now and again might help change her view of things. But in reply, the lady creature spat at me what I could only describe as a tribal grunt. "VROOM VROOM!", followed by, “YEE HAW!” and puttered off to the left.

 The day seems to be coming to a close and I’d like to not walk now.

 Blackston’s Log …

 Late December 2015 - The Mall

 It was difficult to park our craft as we once again find ourselves at the mercy of those surrounding us and their slow-stepping ways. Inside the mall, we are greeted by beings with large bags draped about their entire bodies. Crowds squeeze into the stores on either side and the travel lanes outside are bottle-necked with people not caring that I am behind them and cannot get around to reclaim the speed I wish. Entire families walk side by side at the clip of a drunken turtle, taking up the whole path. When I communicate my desire to get by, they snarl and offer a hurtful look as if the phrase, “Move it, Grandma!” is somehow offensive.

 Blackston’s Log …

 January 2016 - Gatlinburg, TN

 Our thought was that a weekend getaway to a small town in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee would see our small party of two able to do touristy stuff without a bunch of hustle and bustle and people walking too slow in front of us.

 This territory is, as well, a hub of movement - all slow. We have found that the passage of the Christmas season has not halted the visitation of this place and the creatures who gather here are varied with the exception of the commonality of being in front of me too often. I had hoped the memo would have been received by those in charge that I was coming and would not wish to be delayed by beings around me “looking” at things.

 This destination is popular with groups of people, all of them crowding at once into the walking path and stopping there to engage in something called, “Fellowship”, so that I am frequently found at an idle between points A and B. I understand the allure toward this activity, however I detest the placement of it. I assume there are places with tables and seats where groups may assemble and partake instead of being in what I have come to know affectionately as “my way”.

 The only things that have served to soothe my savagery thus far due to the constant delay are the candy shops in abundance. Just as I feel my teeth clench, I am able to smell the aroma of chocolate covered everything and I am sated for at least a moment.

 At this entry, my navigator is asleep in the queen bed next to me enjoying what creatures with no children call, “a nap.” In a while, we will again embark during suppertime into the foray of the masses and attempt to be at peace with a leisurely pace.

 But my slow is faster than their slow. And because I’m hungry, I’m afraid harm may soon befall them. Godspeed to us.

 As a note of update, since the logging of these things in later 2015 and early 2016, my wife had surgery on her achilles tendon and was in recovery when we made a trip to Disney World. She ended up in one of the scooters and I have to say, it was awesome. People jumped out of our way when they saw her coming. It might have had something to do with the train horn I installed on the thing.


 I wish I could say I wasn’t so open with my opinions - that I have a filter that works all the time, but I can’t. My filter is pretty good most of the time, but if you catch me at the wrong time, the lava flow of nasty that comes out of me can burn. That’s why I try to contain it in places like this podcast and blog.