Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm Fit To Be Tied

I recently underwent a major life-changing event of such magnitude that I find myself questioning such things as the very nature of my existence and the assertion that a balanced Major League Baseball schedule is impossible without daily interleague play now that Houston is in the American League.

Actually, it’s nothing very earth-shattering at all; simply that I am now employed with a different state governmental agency than I was previously.  In fact, the only substantial change (other than the job itself) is that the dress code is that of Business Professional, rather than Business Casual, meaning that I had to learn how to tie a tie (my appearances during the first week, wearing, on consecutive days, an ascot, a cravat, and a bolo were met with disapproval.  I would have gotten away with the clip-on were it not for the fact that it was a remnant from my pre-teen parochial school days and only reaches to mid-chest now).  Even complying with the explicit direction that the tie be one conforming in length, width, and pattern to the prevailing societal norms, my experimentation with various types of knots has resulted in the policy manual being updated to require a Half-Windsor.

I walked across the street yesterday after work to say hi to a friend*, and we had this exchange:
Friend To Whom I Was Saying Hi (walking down the stairs and before even so much as a “howdy!”):  “Wow, you look like a cartoon character.”

Dead Acorn:  “Umm … nice to see you too.  Why do you say that?”

FTWIWSH:  “Well, you have your nice jacket and tie, and your nice long dress coat, and then your goofy looking ski hat and gloves, and you’re riding a wooden bicycle through the snow.”

DA:  “That’s stupid.  No one would watch a cartoon like that.”

FTWIWSH:  “I didn’t say you looked like a popular, critically acclaimed, and much-watched cartoon character.”

DA:  “Ouch.”
One disheartening aspect of having to get all dolled up is the realization that people really do treat others differently based on subtle variances in appearance.  It would be nice if we were able to avoid making assumptions about our fellow (wo)man based on our initial encounters, but such is the nature of our species (based on the evolutionarily advantageous categorization of novel stimuli into “types” based on neural “hard-wiring” and one’s personal experiences; while this attribute can have negative consequences, such as various types of prejudice, it still helps, survival-wise, that we don’t have to individually assess every charging tiger as to its intent).

On the plus side, I’m getting a lot more winks and ass-grabs from Marlene down at the Gas’N’Go (she’s surprisingly fiesty for a nonagenarian) … maybe Ossie Davis’s character in the movie “Joe Versus The Volcano” was right, and clothes DO make the man.

Or maybe she just likes cartoons.

* No, I don't think it's weird or creepy at all that this friend, with whom I spend quite a bit of time, as we seem to enjoy each other's company to some extent, was the one who alerted me to the open position, which happens to be located right across the street from where she works.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Haven't Had A Toddy This Morning, But ...

I got tolly lit up over the holidays.


I was inexplicably invited, once again, to the EMDAMOTLA’s* Annual Open House Extravaganza/Illegal Fireworks Display a couple of weekends ago.  I suspect that it has something to do with providing evidence as to how one can make monumental mistakes in life and still recover and move on.  In any case, I always consider it a kind gesture and a great honor.  The crowd invariably comprises various dignitaries, politicians, heads-of-state, and other members of social strata that I do not generally encounter in my otherwise low-brow life.

On occasions such as the AOHE/IFD, I make every effort to appear a civilized and well-bred individual, feigning erudition and taking great care to ensure that my shirt buttons are aligned properly.  In other words, something other than my everyday self.  One would think that going to such lengths would preclude me being set ablaze by the hostess.  One would be wrong.

There remains, as I write, a debate as to whether she was actually trying to murder me or just burn my clothes (a third explanation, that it was an accident, is simply laughable and need not be further discussed).  I suppose there is a foundation for the latter argument, as evidenced by this transcript from the courtroom during our divorce proceedings:

Judge:  “What reasons can you give, MDAMOTLA, for wanting to end this sacred union?”  (This was, of course, prior to the addition of the “E” at the front of her acronym.)

MDAMOTLA:  “umm … Your Honor, have you even looked at him?”

Judge (to me):  “What … what … what the hell are you wearing?  Is that a robe?”

Dead Acorn:  “Why, yes it is, your eminence.  I see that you’re wearing one as well.  They’re quite comfortable, aren’t they?”

Judge:  “First, this is MY COURTROOM, and my robe is a centuries-old tradition befitting my noble calling.  Second, mine is NOT pink terry-cloth with Hello Kitty patches sewn all over it.”

DA:  “Well, I can’t help it if your boring tastes lead you to wear such uninteresting crap.”

Judge:  “THIRTY DAYS!  Bailiff, escort this man to jail.”

On the other hand, I distinctly recall her threats during the birth of The Live Acorn:  “YOU!  YOU DID THIS TO ME!  I WILL KILL YOU!”  I did not take that as an idle threat then, nor do I today.

Anyway, I was standing in the dining area with The Person With Whom I Was Attending (And Likely The Real Reason I Was Invited), leaning against a table, when I detected a foul odor, as if someone wearing a loose knit sweater had backed into a votive candle and had caught fire.  “Sugar pie babykins,” I said to TPWWIWA(ALTRRIWI), “do you detect a foul odor, as if someone wearing a loose knit sweater has backed into a votive candle and has caught fire?”

It took a few minutes of discussion concerning whether the smell was more likely due to the burning of wool or of a synthetic fiber, and what color of dye was used that would result in the particular scent, as we were trying to deduce who would be stupid enough to back into a votive candle, before TPWWIWA(ALTRRIWI) noticed the flames climbing up my back, lapping at the ceiling, threatening to ignite the entire house, and which would have undoubtedly eventually left the entire city in a pile of smoldering rubble:

Above:  A little duct tape, and it’ll be good as new.  And yes, those ARE delicious homemade popcorn balls!

There was precious little actual concern among the partygoers after she bravely risked her own life to pat it out; on the contrary, there was mostly coughing and laughter, with perhaps the loudest laughs coming from the city Fire Chief**.  I’m glad I could be of some amusement.

I suppose it was a productive evening … The Live Acorn got another “yeah, that’s my dad …” moment, the EMDAMOTLA got rid of a 15-year-old sweater, and I am virtually guaranteed an invitation for next year’s AOHE/IFD, as the rest of her societal guests will certainly ask if she’s going to have the clown show up again.

There’s got to be an asbestos-lined ugly Santa sweater on the internet somewhere.

* Ex Mrs. Dead Acorn, Mother Of The Live Acorn
** Not true.  He was there, but he only chuckled mildly.