Valentine’s Day for the Emotionally Unstable Pt. II

2 years ago, today, I did a post on Valentine’s Day. Those were the days when I still thought I was pretty rad at Microsoft Paint and still not jaded enough to know that love is hopelessly futile and carrying on drunk conversations with that Furby you got when you were 8 fills the same void in your soul that love ever could. And maybe even better, because that Furby’s love never dies. No really, I’ve tried.

It wont die. The Furby won’t die.

Anyway, I’ve redone some of the ones I did when I was enchanted by the high realism and texture of MS Paint art, and made some more!

 

 

 

TherapistLove

 

 

 

 

FallingStumbling

 

 

 

 

ValentinesPressure

 

 

 

 

FriendsWithBenefits

 

 

 

 

NotColorblind!2

 

 

 

 

The Nighteater

 

 

 

 

NailedIt

 

 

 

 

HospitalBed

 

 

 

 

BasementLove

 

 

 

 

HeadBoner2

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The Polar VorteXXX

Note: In memory of the Polar Vortex and its toll on my friends and family, before I start things off, I’d like to post some chilling photos of its devastation:

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VARIOUS

hoth

Computer Man

ONE DAY I’m going to sit my children down and tell them about the Polar Vortex.

Eyes wide as very small ostrich eggs but also regular sized robin’s eggs, they’ll lean in. “Polar…Vortex? Wow. That sounds insane.”

Me: “In the membrane. I think everybody remembers where they were when the Polar Vortex hit.”

Them: “So where were you?”

Me: “Probably in bed. I spent a lot of time there.”

Them: “Did you –”

Me: “Okay yes I was eating chocolate icing out of a Buzz Lightyear cup.”

Them: “That’s not –”

Me: “Okay yes, I was also drinking wine straight from the bottle with a sour straw. You ask too many questions.”

Them, being little dicks: “Geez dad, were you ever a real person?”

Me: “No.”

Them, yet again: “Okay, well we’re going to assume that the polar vortex was some sort of…twister filled with polar bears?”

Me: “Not quite.”

Them: “A blizzard? A huge snow storm? A flood caused by a sudden melting of the polar ice caps? A real-live Mortal Kombat villain-triggered catastrophe?!”

Me: “None of that.

But, I mean, it was really cold.”

Them: “What?”

Me: “Yeah, but really cold. Like…mega cold. Nothing was dropped but the temperature. It just wasn’t hot enough.

Them: “Ookay…”

Me, trying to save face in front of my children: “I mean, I swear I got frostbite.”

Them, tongues lolling: “You got frostbite?!”

Me: “Well, I swear I basically did. I was so numb. Plus, our thermostat was acting up, and wouldn’t go over 55 degrees.”

Them, scratching their necks: “So…did you see any of your friends hurt or injured?

Me: “My roommate slipped while getting pizza from the Domino’s biker delivery guy. It apparently [exaggerated air quotes with my prosthetic hand*]  ‘Hurt like a bitch.’ ”

Them: “What’s a…bitch?”

Quick side-note: You should know that my children at this point are 20 years old, but children are difficult, so thanks to futuristic science, I had their minds and spirits transferred to much more manageable poodle bodies instead of messy human ones. And it’s a well known future fact that poodle-children can’t physically process profanity, so there’s that.

Me, ignoring the question: Y’know, I did hear about a pizza delivery guy who died that week from getting hit by a car. That could have been our guy.

Poodle-Children: YIP YIP.

Me: That’s a good point. I suffered too much through that week to think about others. Besides, I’ve seen enough photos of suffering during the Polar Vortex. It was just really insensitive for Gillette to come out with a Polar Vortex line of aftershave. And for Icee to come out with a Polar Vortex flavored drink. And, now that I think about it, for me to name you guys Polar Vortex and Frozen Cyclone.

Although, not so much, because those names are badass.

Polar Vortex and Frozen Cyclone, looking sad and far-away: So many frozen coffees that weren’t supposed to be frozen coffees.

Me: I don’t even want to think about it.

Children: So don’t. Is there even any point in lingering on topics that make you feel unpleasant?

Me: I certainly doubt it.

Children: Have you ever tried actually stealing candy from a baby? It gets a bad rap.

Me: Yeah, and they’re just swimming in the stuff. The very fact that babies and candy is a ubiquitously paired thing means that it should probably be taken from them.

Children: Wait a second. Are we actually your children or just figments of your imagination, here to validate your self-doubt and general life of assholery?

Me: Probably the first one.

Children?: Then why did we actually just suggest stealing candy from a baby?

Me: Eat your treats and shut up. It was really #*&@ing cold, alright? A bunch of other people were trying to speed up global warming during the Polar Vortex, too.

Children?: Wait, what year is it? It’s like 2015, isn’t it? You’re only 25, and this whole thing is a product of your overactive imagination, isn’t it? Get a girlfriend or some–

Me: I have treats!!

Imaginary Poodle-Children: Ooh!!

The moral of this story? I will die alone.

* A prosthetic hand that I will carry around with my real hands at all times in case I need to make really exaggerated air quotes.

Man Struggles With Upturning Economy

Whoo hoo, the economy is finally picking up!

…Wait, really?  It actually is this time?  No no, I’m happy.

That’s great news. Really great.  …You know, because of the obvious reasons: ambition and taking charge of my own destiny and stuff like that. At least, that’s what comes to mind immediately.  Although, on second thought, I don’t know if my destiny really needs to be taken charge of.  I think it may be pretty comfortable watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and not wearing pants.  It’s not so much stuck in a directionless void as just resting there. And only last week it found the perfect cushion set-up for its couch in that void: y’know, when it doesn’t feel like the couch is quite swallowing you whole, but maybe like it’s holding you gently in its fluffly mouth.  Like if you were a wounded sparrow, and your pillow dog best friend wanted to tenderly transport you to TV Land.

Am I intentionally getting off topic?  No, of course not.  I’m just talking about what my destiny wants.  I, on the other hand, am not the biggest fan of finding the perfect balance of snugness and support for what I sit on.  No, I’m more goal-oriented than that.  Office chairs are more up my alley.  In fact, I can’t wait to get back into the office and pursue my professional dreams. It will be such a relief to have take-home work — super goal-oriented take-home work — to distract me from the season 3 finale of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  After all, my future is more important than the struggling but genuine friendship between a single mother and her child as they support each other through a world that can seem both desperate and hopeful.

PantsWeb

Isn’t this just like the economy, though? It is being a bit insensitive. What I mean is that I’m just worried about what the kids at work will say.  Especially Kenny. Since I’m shift manager of the paint department at Lowe’s, he naturally looks up to me.  When I tell him of all the myths and tall tales from my past office life — which I’m very excited to get back to, by the way — he hangs on my every word.  Stories like of the time I stapled both ends of the client’s report as a prank, or of when I cleverly inserted the word “balls” into the same brief without them noticing.  Kenny and the rest of the kids at work even have nicknames for me: they call me Poppa Paint and Paint Remix.  Probably because of my near superhuman ability to flawlessly mix paint colors to specification. At least, so I’ve been told.  One of my nicknames for Kenny is “son.”

I don’t know if he’ll be able to take it is all.  He’ll be crushed.  It’s not that I want to stay at the paint department at Lowe’s.  I mean, why would I?  There’s no challenge: it’s not satisfying being the absolute best in the surrounding Lowe’s corporate district at something that comes so easily and innately to you – almost like you were always meant to do it.  No, everybody knows that dreams a little bit out of your reach are the ones you were meant to strive for.  Like self-fellatio, marital bliss, and manual tinting paint using only 12 colors and pure instinct to make a gallon of a very specific color.  Although, I guess I achieved that last one.

And I can’t tell you how liberating it will be to come home and not have an excuse to head immediately to the computer with a bowl of Beerios (Cheerios in beer), watch kitten GIFs, and then – after a few more bowls of Beerios – try to replicate the kitten GIFs with myself in the place of the kitten.  Now that the economy’s taking off, my professional ambition can really pay off.  I was fool to ever think that I could take the kitten’s place, anyway.  I mean, now the only sane thing to do would be to take advantage of this economic upturn and the opportunities it will bring, right?

To be honest, I convinced myself this wouldn’t happen.  You know the economy: it just goes up and down and up and down.  But sometimes it doesn’t go quite as up as it does down. And maybe it goes a little sideways and then comes right toward you.  And when it gets to that point, it usually, y’know, jerkily spirals a bit, and that’s exactly what I thought was going on.  Because of my business background, the kids at work trust me on the economy.  I tell them that it’s kind of like how people are always comparing it to a bear.  Or a moose, standing in the road, not letting tax-paying, law-abiding citizens pass without running it over and reluctantly eating it for dinner. You get my drift.

But now that the economy is acting like a less stubborn animal – like a mermaid, or pikachu – I guess I should go dust off my resume, snapchat it out to some executives, and retire my title of “Paint Master.”  Although, it is only one letter away from “Pain Master,” which sounds pretty daring, so I’ll just include it in my resume in case they’re skimmers.  According to said resume, things I’ve always loved include: bringing bold and ambitious ideas to life, daring to be bold, bolding text to be daring, taking advantage of marketplace opportunities to deliver research-driven results, and cat GIFs – because I’m also fun.  And I’d say all of that is super accurate (although my employers will never quite understand my connection with those cats).  So watch out, economy!

Right after this bowl of Beerios and another episode of Gilmore Girls, that is.

Stop Brooding, Don

Hey, Don. May I call you Don? You’d better hope that I do, because “Donald” kind of strips away all that deep-seated mystery and seductive charm you’ve tried so hard to cultivate.

Speaking of which, Donald, we need to talk.  I have one question: why?   Why do you act this way, Don?  No, not to your wife.  Or your ex-wife.  Or your lovers. I’m talking about me.  You know, your viewer.

Look, I get it.  You’ve created a certain image for yourself: brooding, secretive, compulsively self-destructive.  And I know that is central to who you are, and part of what makes Mad Men so compelling.  To a point.   To a point, Don.  You’re so relentless about it.  Can’t you let up every so often?  Maybe take a destroying-the-lives-of-those-around-you vacation?   Because that stuff is really a bummer, and I don’t know how much more I can take.

DonaldDraperMonogamous

Look, Don: there’s more to life than brooding, booty and self sabotage.  Do you remember that one episode in which you had just gotten married and were happy and stuff? I sure as hell do, because I’ve had to repress every other episode.  You probably don’t, because happiness means you have to feel something, and you’ve made it excessively clear to us all — episode after damn episode — that you don’t like doing that.

The problem is, you’re stressing me out.  My finger hovers above the pause button for the entire episode, every episode, ready in case you commit adultery yet again.  This is how carpal tunnel happens. I just can’t handle it.  I’ve started mousing over the Netflix bar to preview little snippets of the episode, just so I know what Draper-esque assholery to mentally prepare myself for.

What I’m trying to say is that, when your personal life wasn’t in shambles, I really enjoyed watching you.  How about just one episode that consists entirely of you pleasantly eating a casserole with your wife and laughing excitedly about your future together for an hour.  I would watch that, and I would love that.   You want some drama?  Sure, maybe she wants to name your future child Rick, but you want to name him something equally as stupid as one of your names — Daffy, I guess.  You could argue about that, but in a non-threatening way, because that shit doesn’t actually matter.

Although you’d probably find a way to make it matter.

Look, I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the other drama in your life.  Curb stomping clients, fighting your way to the top in a cutthroat advertising world, and developing a boldly alternative creative voice — all damn exciting.  But after you do that, just come home to a loving wife and let her cook you some damned meatloaf, and like it.  I’m even cool with side characters like Peggy having soap opera-like surprise pregnancies.  Just rely on them for the drama in your life.  You know those times you’re just sitting there with a glass of whiskey and the camera is slowly panning around your face and that’s all that’s happening?  Those are my favorite times, because I get to pretend that the moment might actually just be about you relaxing and have a refreshing glass of whiskey to take the edge off.  I know that shit’s really meant to be a subtle indication of your inner darkness or whatever, but at least I get to pretend.

Here, I looked up some existing episode titles, and I have ideas about how they should be renamed:

S4 E3: “The Good News” to “The Good News and That’s All the News”

S4 E9: “The Beautiful Girls” to “The Beautiful Girls and Their Beautiful, Committed Husbands”

S5 E9: “Dark Shadows” to “Man, Those Shadows Are Dark. That Looks Dangerous. Let’s Be Careful Not to Stray Into Them.”

S5 E11: “The Other Woman” to “The Other Woman at Speed Dating Also Said That It Was Stupid, But We’re Going to Get Drinks As Gal Pals And Still Enjoy the Night.”

S3 E5: “The Fog” to “The Fog is Hard to See Clearly In, So Let’s Find a Place Less Foggy, in Both a Real and a Metaphorical Sense, While We Reconsider Our Actions.”

S4 E10: “Hands and Knees” to “Hands and Knees Are Both Vital and Useful Parts of the Body, Let’s Use Them to Clap and Jump.”

Oh, and Jesse. Yeah, you, from Breaking Bad. Pick your nose up from those white lines and listen up: can’t your exciting secret life of drug dealing and production maybe…not have any repercussions on your personal life? I had to stop watching after the second season, because you and your girlfriend were giving me a heart attack with that whole ruining your lives over drug use and being in constant mortal danger thing.  You know what drama goes on in my life?I forget to do laundry before work and wear an old shirt, then somebody mentions that the office smells funky, and I try to pretend like it’s not me.  It’s not your drama, but it’s scary enough for me.  I don’t know how you pack so much of it into your life.  Except, of course, that you’re a fictional character.

JesseSoap

I can’t be the only one who would be perfectly content with an episode of Breaking Bad in which Walt, without moral trepidation, shoots a couple of bad guys, and then comes home to an intact and loving family.  I can’t be the only one who would love an episode of Mad Men in which Donald Draper kicks ass in the presentation room, and then gets some monogamous ass in his marriage bed.

I know you changed your name, but you’re being a real Dick, Don.

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Adult Life

Real Life 3

I Demand Christmas Joy

This past Christmas was the first Christmas that I truly felt devoid of most of the magic I had experienced as a child on the holiday.  

You see, I am infatuated with how infatuated I was with Christmas as a child.  I had a ritual that I went through – and still do – early every christmas morning.  Even now, if anyone or anything obstructs this ritual in any way, I pile the all-mighty wrath of broken Christmas joy upon them.

Christmas Is Magical

Here’s what I would do:

First, I would wake up at precisely 4:30 am, tiptoe out of my bedroom, peek downstairs, and a semi-truck of Christmas spirit driven by Santa would immediately bulldoze into me.  My vision would become blurry and I would feel instantly faint; I was clearly drunk on joy (either that, or secondhand eggnog from my grandfather).  It was like witnessing the birth of Jesus himself.  Okay, maybe not; births are actually pretty disgusting.  It was more like witnessing the birth of Santa, which I assume involved less bodily fluid and more confetti.  I would tiptoe downstairs, not for fear of waking my parents and sister up, but for some fear of somehow disturbing the Christmas miracle that had inexplicably visited our household the night before.  My eyes wide and brimming with wonder, I would ever-so-gingerly stroke the objects overflowing from the stockings.  If I somehow managed to disturb even the smallest piece of the stockings that I assumed my parents had spent hours arranging, I knew that I would look back on that Christmas as the one that I had callously ruined with my overzealousness.

“I will come for you later,” I would lean in close to my stocking and whisper.  “Then, we will be one.”

Stocking Return

I would then tiptoe, in the dark, toward the christmas tree, assuming that all around me towered a strange and wonderful garden of toys: bicycles, scooters, new life-sized furbies that could feel emotion and heartbreak, etc.  I would reach out slowly – ever so slowly – with one finger (like in ET) for the tree.
I would touch the tree, then immediately scurry at top speed back upstairs to my room, a giant oversized pacman smile plastered on my face.
The first phase was complete.

Second, I would sleep for exactly two more hours.  No, “sleep” is a generous term.  I would…”wait.”  As soon as the clock hit 6:30, I ran out of my room, stumbling over the tangible residue of Christmas wonder I had left in my path earlier that morning.  I rushed into my sister’s room, scooped her up, and ran with her half-asleep form to my parents’ bedroom.  Here’s the worst thing: I’m the older brother. Barreling headfirst through my parents’ door, I would wake them up by touching their bed, scrunching my face up, and channeling pure Christmas energy into their bodies.
“Let’s do stockings!!” I would pant, breathlessly.
Then my mother would unfailingly reply with the same unforgivable thing every year:
“You get started without us.”

If you were ever a child, you must understand why this was unforgivable.  Everybody has their own childhood rules for Christmas that they stick to until they are forced to compromise them with another  family’s. Maybe, for you, they involve a ritual sacrifice, or your grandmother getting drunk and yelling racist slurs at your neighbors.  These are things that must happen to ensure full Christmas joy.  My rules included – but were not limited to – the following:

The Rules of Christmas

1.  Everybody must be present and alert when unwrapping or unveiling any form of gift.
2.  Gifts must be unwrapped or unveiled in turn, and loudly announced.
3.  Stockings will be done before – and only before – any gifts will be unwrapped.
4.  There will be a small stuffed animal sticking out of the top of every stocking. (If there is not, I put my own stuffed animals in the stockings before people came downstairs.)
5.  One shall not impede upon any of these rules.

You do not know torture like a person from a Round Robin-Unwrapper family thrown in the chaotic fray of a family who opens all their presents at the same time.

We soon did the stockings, and then the presents, exactly as I laid them out in the rules.  Everything magical.  EVERYTHING CHRISTMAS MAGICAL ALL THE TIME MAGICAL.

There was one more rule, one that only became relevant after I learned about Santa.  (For all my younger viewers, don’t worry: Santa is happily up in space right now in his rocket sleigh, fighting enemies of christmas spirit and space grinches.)
To me, this has become the most important rule, and one that I have required my parents to follow, year after year, to this day.

The rule is:
– There must be presents from Santa underneath the tree, placed there the night before Christmas.

You see, I only learned about Santa after my sister told me, who is two years younger than me.
It wasn’t that I didn’t think about it rationally.  The way I approached it, my parents would simply never spend so much money on me, so Santa must exist.

Santa Flowchart

Every year, my mother, about 2 days before christmas, casually informs me that she doesn’t “think Santa will come this year,” since I’m “a little too old, anyway.”
I calmly reply, right eye twitching, that “there will be christmas magic this year.”

Santa Presents 1

Santa Presents 2 number 2

Santa Presents 2 number 2

Santa Presents 3

Santa Presents 4 Maybe
For me, every Christmas after I learned the truth about Santa has become a desperate and steadily failing attempt to relive my former Christmas glory: to experience, as a complete package, that unadulterated Christmas wonder and mystery.  Santa presents are a big part of this.  Even knowing full well where they came from, I must have Santa presents.

Christmas Is Magical

I realize that these past few Christmases have been progressively emptier of childlike christmas wonder.  I also realize that many people will tell me to learn to love Christmas in a different way.

This is not okay with me.

I demand Christmas joy.  The same joy I had as a child.  And I will not stop clinging to what little magic I have left.  I demand Christmas joy, and I deserve Christmas joy.  It is mine to take, and I will take more of it every year until I have enough to feel that same wonder I did as a child.
And if I do everything exactly the same and exactly right each year, this will happen.  Right.  Right?!?!
Everything christmas magical all the time magical.

A Letter From Halloween About Christmas

Dear Christmas-Worshippers,

I get it.  Christmas is exciting!  There are presents to spend money on, chestnuts to roast, and even a jolly diabetic man.  What more could you want in a holiday?  If your idea of a good time is to shiver around a fire with a bunch of eskimos, eating charred nuts while some Jack Frost character tries to take your nose, then Christmas is for you.  If your ideal alcoholic beverage is one whose predominant ingredients are harvested from the bottom ends of two separate farm animals, and you like getting embarrassingly drunk off of the unborn children of Chicken Little, then don that Santa hat!  And the music is great, too – that’s probably why everyone plays it for as many months as your mom played that Taylor Swift album.  I just kind of wish that the songs had a little variation as the months went on — y’know, so that boy actually gets to give those damn shoes to his mother.  On that topic, who doesn’t love a song that makes you feel awful about damning everyone you love to Hell when you stub your toe or drop your sandwich on the ground?

I get it.  Really, I do.  Some of my best friends celebrate Christmas.
But, just in case none of these things are particularly up your alley – if you, by chance, don’t particularly like seeing department stores that look like the Spirit of Christmas had a kegger with the 9 reindeer there the night before – then I have another holiday for you to focus on this year.

I’m called Halloween. Have you heard of me?

Of course you have.  But you were probably all: “oh, I don’t know if I’m going to really make a big thing of it this year.”  The very second I’m done, my costume shops are filled with Santa outfits.  Well, guess what?  I’m probably the most accessible holiday there is, and I don’t see Justin Bieber running out and making a Halloween album.  I mean, I’m the people’s holiday.  I’m your holiday – whoever you are.  That’s not to say that Christmas isn’t for everyone, too.  Y’know, unless you’re a Jew, a Muslim, non-Anglo Saxon, have a terrible family, are allergic to contagious joy, or are diabetic.  Me, though?  I won’t judge you.  Wanna slut it up in a Xena costume?  Live it up, girl.  Wanna act like somebody else for a day to escape the terrible truth of what you’ve become?  That’s what I’m for.  Wanna dress up your 8-year old’s doll and pretend it’s your second child so you can get more candy?  I respect the ingenuity.  Go ahead, have a war on me.  Really, I’m fine with it.  I’m all about releasing your inner darkness.

For Christmas, you worship some obese child factory foreman who gets his jollies by sliding into your chimney and eating your cookies.  Not that that doesn’t sound great and all, but there’s got to be a better alternative.  For me – for Halloween – you’re the hero.  You don’t have to tell tales about some other magnificent costumed man, because you are him.  Or her.  Or…gender nonspecific.  I don’t care.
And seriously, what is Christmas teaching our children?  Santa sets up obesity and cookie-robbery as ideals.  We’re lying to our children, and guaranteeing that at some point their hearts will be broken.  You won’t find that in Halloween.  No, siree.  We just give them candy.  We don’t have some mascot who – I don’t know – dresses up in a suit made of squashes and tosses candy-filled bats and caramelized Halloween spirit into people’s windows.  I mean, unless you want to do that.  In that case, go ahead.  That’s the beauty of Halloween.
…That’d be pretty weird, though.

All I’m saying is maybe not spend an entire ¼ of the year obsessing over Christmas.  I’ve established it’s at least a pretty mediocre holiday – some might even say good.  But you’ve got to admit that it leads to some pretty tragic stories: you know that story about the the couple who sold their watch and hair to buy each other christmas gifts?  Well, a similar thing happened to my friend: he bought his aunt a toy for her son, and she sold her son to buy him a new car.  True story.
Just…give me a chance.  I have candy.

Sincerely,
Halloween