The 1950s: Bouffants, leather jackets and me in a wet T-Shirt

So we went to a 1950’s themed birthday party. Not the most exciting thing in the world maybe, but I didn’t bitch about going because my costume consisted of a pair of cuffed jeans jeans, a white T-shirt, Converse sneakers and a leather jacket.

The finishing touches were a pack of smokes rolled up in my sleeve and a crap ton of hair goop that, in my advancing age, made me more like a crappy vampire than a 1950s ruffian, but that’s neither here nor there.

My total prep time for the party was like 20 minutes, and that included the goop in the hair.

Dagmar dressed appropriately in polka dots and sporting a bouffant hairdo, nailed it of course.

The party was OK, kind of fun actually. Serving drinks behind a bar was a 19-year-old over-the-top gay kid in a bowtie around his bare neck with a slightly overweight Goth-chick sidekick.

To me, those two alone made the night worthwhile.

The lady who hosted the party went all out. She’d  set up a professional tent complete with wood flooring and one of those propane heaters, there were strobe lights (likely unheard of in the 1950s) and there were more than a few chicks just slinging boobs, likely not very party-theme-appropriate, in low cut dresses.

It even had posters, poster without cleavage but still, posters.

It even had posters, poster without cleavage, but still, posters.

About that gay kid, he was serving up some kind of a drink in a margarita glass that was red, sweet (I had a sip) and that the ladies would’ve had out and out sex with if they were able to. It was a popular drink at the party, that much was obvious after Dagmar had her first one and declared, all too loudly, “This was the best fucking drink ever.”

A bit of background. Dagmar informed me a few weeks ago that we were going to this party. We were almost guaranteed to know only a handful of people there because we barely knew the person who invited us. I hoped, god I hoped, that Dagmar would forget about it, but as the day drew closer that became less and less likely.

It was one of those things that I think husbands agree to because their wives want them to, but all the while secretly hope they’ll be able to weasel out of it.

There was no weaseling out. Dagmar talked about it endlessly for weeks beforehand. Oh, there was going to be no weaseling out at all.

I knew the moment we arrived and my wife loudly proclaimed that the “red drink” in the margarita glass was better than sex, that I wasn’t drinking. I asked the gay kid if he would kindly brew some coffee and settled into what was clearly my rotten luck this night.

Funny thing happened though. I was having a good time — stone cold sober. Tweaked out on coffee sure, but otherwise sober as a priest, or judge or whatever profession is normally associated with sobriety. National president of Alcoholics Anonymous maybe, I have no clue.

I worked the room, talked to the hostess, stared at the hot chick with exposed cleavage. Maybe I’ve missed the boat and this sobriety thing isn’t so bad after all.

One chick, who I’d met before and who is absolutely fabulous, had on a particularly low-cut dress, the kind of dress that said, “The minute this party has a slow point, I’m out and I’m going clubbing.” I think the dress also said, “Watch out, I might make some decisions I regret later that involve nudity and/or hot slippery sex with you, Todd?”

Drunk Todd would like to call "party foul" on sober Todd.  The French chick on his left is clearly hotter.

Drunk Todd would like to call “party foul” on sober Todd. The French chick on his left is clearly hotter.

Dagmar wouldn’t let me find out the answer to that question.

She’s a kill joy.

Anyway, at some point in the night — again with me completely sober and my wife getting drunker and drunker on “Red drink” — it was determined I had spilled coffee on my T-shirt.

This fact was discovered by my wife.

At a party.

Like most parties, there weren’t a lot of bright lights, so how she noticed this is a mystery for the ages. But sure enough, there was, in fact, a small brown drop where I’d spilled coffee on myself.

Dagmar whisked me off to the guest bathroom, tore off my jacket and ripped off my T-shirt. Finally, I thought, “hot party sex in a guest bathroom!” I momentarily thought of inviting big-titty chick in for an awesome threesome to prolong the inconvenience to other partygoers by occupying the only bathroom for an inordinate about of time, but quickly dismissed that idea because I didn’t want to stop the heat of the moment.

Then, when I felt our passion was rising to a point that no guest bathroom could contain, she tossed my shirt into the sink and began to run cold water and hand soap over it.

I’m now topless in a guest bathroom with a drunk person who has decided to “wash” my shirt in a sink. Keeping the water only on the area with the coffee spill was quickly overcome by inebriation. Before I knew it my entire shirt was in the sink with coconut-smelling bathroom soap being vigorously rubbed into it.

Hot and wet bathroom ... tee-shirt washing.

Hot and wet bathroom … T-shirt washing.

I don’t often get a chance to watch “drunk logic” while sober, but this was an awesome example if I’d ever seen one. There was no questioning her decision to wash my shirt. My fancy logic about the party being a generally dark place and the coffee stain small and not at all noticeable fell on deaf ears.

I’m not a hairy guy. I have some hair in the middle of my chest, around my belly button and nipples. That’s it. But sure as shit, when I put on the ice cold rag that had once been a fairly clean white T-shirt I immediately  sympathized with everyone woman who’s ever entered a wet T-shirt contest.

If “hairy nipple dudes” were a sexual fetish for any of the partygoers I might’ve made their night.

While the jacket covered most of it, the T-shirt was still very obviously wet and clung to me.

The next hour or so of the party was filled with me answering why my shirt was wet.

“There was a wet T-shirt contest in the front yard,” was the best answer I could come up with and it actually worked for a few seconds if said with an absolutely straight face. I could see the partygoers minds click through the thought process; wet T-shit, in the front yard, I just missed it … hey wait a minute, you’re a fucking guy, guys don’t enter wet T-shirt contests.

Well, I did pal, and I lost.

Hot pool boy, blistering Iberian sunshine and an annoying rug merchant

Sunny Spain! The Iberian peninsula! Bullfighting, seafood, long beautiful coasts and those things Spanish chicks click when they dance.

Having just returned from two weeks there with my family, I can assure you it was a completely awesome vacation because no one in the family killed anyone else in the family.

Sure, there were a lot of stab wounds, but they were non-lethal stab wounds. What’s a non-lethal stab wound among family anyway but a, “wound of love?”

On an unrelated note — if any of you are thinking of shoving four adults into a small, REMOTE, two-bedroom house without English-language television, a functional internet connection or other distractions of any kind, call me.

I may have some useful advice.

Our only collective distraction at the house was a deck of cards purchased by my stepdaughter at the airport. By the end of week two those cards were broken, beaten, stained, torn and falling apart — much like our ability to remain in such close quarters for another moment.

So, pretty standard family vacation I think. Starts off like a honeymoon, around the middle everyone is slightly annoyed by everyone else, and then, by its conclusion, you’re mentally flogging yourself for having gotten into this mess in the first place and everyone hates everyone else.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. Where’s the fun in that? Family drama, betrayal, a hot pool boy named Juan and tears? Oh no, I’m saving that shit for the book, you’re not getting that story free. I mean none of you even click the fucking ads here for Christ’s sake.

Sorry ladies.  This is what happened every time a photo was taken of Juan.

Sorry ladies. This is what happened every time a photo was taken of Juan the hot pool boy.

Nope, I want to talk about Tangierien rug merchants, because I sure as shit don’t want to discuss the weeping I did after my stepdaughter repeatedly crushed my soul during our 4,379th game of rummy.

Really, who beats someone at rummy 498 to -865, tell me that.

Tangier, if you’re somehow unaware, is a city in Morocco which is a country in Africa. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to visit Africa, so when the chance arose to stop being beaten like a rented mule while playing rummy and to instead take a trip to Tangier came up, I took that shit.

Like this but with more of my tears on them.

Like this, but with more of my tears on them.

We boarded the ferry to cross the Straits of Gibraltar just an hour south of our beautiful vacation home in Spain-turned prison. The ship’s bow cut through the water majestically, the sea breeze filled the air and the boat had a bar.

Beer in hand, I looked toward the approaching African shore with a tear in my eye (the sea breeze was salty).

I recalled Julius Caesar’s quote when he tripped disembarking his boat on the African coast. In an attempt to play off the misstep with his superstitious comrades, he cried out, “I embrace you Africa!”

If I tripped that was exactly as I was going to play it. I. EMBRACE. YOU. AFRICA!

"I didn't trip," Julius Caesar.

“I didn’t trip,” Julius Caesar.

But mostly I drank beer and thought, “Wow, I’m going to Africa.”

Before we had left, a friend of ours who lives in Spain had visited Tangier many times suggested we contact a tour guide she’d worked with by the name of Majidhumidikawordsgoheredaifia.

OK, the joke about his name is only “so” funny so I’ll drop it. His name was Majid, as in “Mah-jid”. He’s a tour guide in Tangier and through some miscommunication he thought we were arriving there at 8 a.m. when in fact we were arriving at 10 a.m.

After some initial difficulty we linked up and shit was wonderful!

Majid was great. He spoke perfect English, had a van ready and waiting with the A/C blasting and explained that normally Tangier serves beer, but because Morocco was a Muslim country and Ramadan was ongoing, the city was dry as a bone at the moment.

Sigh …

But still it was a great tour. My stepdaughter and her wife rode camels. Dagmar and I having once had the “pleasure” of an hour-long camel ride declined the privilege (both our asses still have bruises). There was a snake charmer with a no-shit cobra. We were also driven to all the places where scenes from the movie, “The Borne Identity” were filmed.

Also there were snakes.

Also there were snakes.

The fact that none of us had seen the movie deterred Majid not one bit.

“This is where they filmed the gun fight on the roofs,” he explained while we  shrugged and promised to watch it the moment we could.

There were stops at several historical landmarks where Majid patiently described this or that historical event.

Here’s the marker where the ancient city of Carthage set up a trading post and there’s where the car bomb scene from the Borne Identity was filmed and here are Old Roman walls and there a new harbor is being dredged.

I hung on to every word. This was the best tour ever.

He even asked if we were hungry. Everyone was. There wasn’t much time, but we could have a little snack once we arrived in the old city.

That seemed perfect.

Then it happened.

I should’ve seen it coming. I should’ve known it was coming. The words, “I didn’t see it coming” should be tattooed on my forehead as a warning to others.

Walking through the old city, pestered constantly by merchants selling trinkets of dubious value, our foursome was led into an oasis by Majid.

It was, to borrow from Hemingway, a clean well-lighted place.

The ground floor was a beautiful mixture of amazing crap you can only find in a place like Tangier and crap that is sold to tourists around the world. Replicas of ancient muskets, jewelry of a hard-to-define style, swords that … look it had a lot of stuff. The owner of the shop, hell the whole building, took us to the roof and pointed out that from his rooftop you could see the a mosque, a synagogue and a Christian church.

Truly, Tangier is a place of religious harmony.

“Is anyone hungry, does anyone want some tea,” the owner asked. The girls did. Hell I did. I did want some tea! I was hungry.

We descended from the rooftop and the owner, after offering us some snacks and tea, kicked a fucking rug show off.

Bear with me a moment.

Dagmar and I had been through almost the exact same set up once before years ago and we didn’t see it coming this time. There’s a tour with the promise of refreshments followed by a high-pressure sales pitch. Last this had happened to us it was in Thailand and it was cheap gold. This time is was rugs. Woven, you can call them oriental if you like, rugs.

Here’s the problem no one involved anticipated. Dagmar and I have almost five years in Afghanistan and Iraq under our ammo belts. We have so many rugs I could have rivaled this guy with on-hand inventory alone. Literally, I have a stack of folded up of oriental rugs in my basement right now. That stack is about four-feet high.

I have honestly given rugs away to friends and others to family members.

Rug merchants in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t rely on high-pressure sales tactics. I think with the guns, bombs, abject poverty and death there just isn’t time. It’s more of a back and forth. I’ll give you X amount of dollars, you tell the merchant. He counters with Y and you settle on Z.

Voila, rug is purchased.

Not so in Tangier. It’s more of an hour-long class about how the rug is made. I think virgin-nomad women weave them out of dream fiber unicorns shit out during full moons or something. Admittedly, I wasn’t really paying attention. I considered paying a few thousand for two rugs just so we could get the fuck out of there, but then remembered that my fucking unused rug collection would be a few feet higher for my efforts.

Nothing I said made any headway with the rug merchant.

“We already have too many rugs of this nature,” I said.

“Yes, but they were not hand knitted with elf penis on the African plain south of here,” he countered.

“It’s the exact same rug! The color is different, the pattern is different but really it’s the exact same rug,” I said.

He literally tried to set his rug on fire with a lighter at one point to prove they were better rugs.

They might have been. I’ve never tried to set any of my rugs on fire, but maybe I should if only to reduce my inventory.

I’ve never, yet, been to one of those high-pressure timeshare sales pitches. I figure this was like that though, only you don’t really know it’s coming till it smacks you in the face.

After a painfully, painfully, painfully (I’m going to say it again), painfully long time we were able to leave the rug shop.

Majid continued his tour. Oddly, he seemed agitated, though. I couldn’t figure out why. I chalked it up to his not being able to drink water or eat because of Ramadan.

“Poor dude,” I thought. Early afternoon must be the hardest part. I’d be grumpy too.

The girls went into another shop he took us too and I stayed outside with him.

“What’s taking them so long,” he griped.

“I don’t know, lemme go police them up. Chicks and shopping Majid you know,” I replied wishing I could sooth his Ramadan hunger/thirst.

“You know those were actual knots tied by Berbers,” he said to me outside another shop.

“Yea,  well my rug’s knots were tied by Bedouin nomads … dude I think all this shit is just made in China,” I said.

He just sighed.

Slowly we made our way back the boat.

On our way back to the boat someone put a monkey on my daughter-in-law’s shoulder without Majid’s permission and he lost his shit at the guy. My daughter-in-law seemed to enjoy it, her wife seemed to enjoy it and hell I thought it was awesome, but Majid was not fucking amused one bit. Some very frank, native language was exchanged, the monkey was extracted and we were through customs a moment later and on the ferry.

The Ferry slowly filled with passengers and we took a seat near the bar. The engine started and we slowly pushed away from the dock. I ordered beers and relaxed.

Available at the Ferry bar for the low, low price of all of your Euro ...

Available at the Ferry bar for the low, low price of all of your euro …

Wow, what a day. Majid was super awesome. Well he was super awesome for the first part of the day at least. After that he became cranky. Who can blame him though. Ramadan must have that effect on almost everyone. Up until the rug shop that guy was cool as …

Up until the rug shop …

Holy shit, the rug shop!

I got the attention of all three girls, most of whom were trying to sleep. I put on my serious face and asked in my most serious of voices, “Hey do you all think Majid was in on the rug shop sales pitch?”

I think it was Dagmar who, after a long, awkward silence, said, “You finally figured that out, Einstein?”

Honey, why did you give away my beer fridge?

An open letter to my wife.

Why did you give away my beer fridge? No, really. Why did you do that? If I was some degenerate and we were broke and needed money, I could kinda understand it. Only, I still don’t understand it because you gave it away.

My beer fridge magically produced chicks that served me beer.  Fuck you, it did.

My beer fridge magically produced chicks that served me beer. Fuck you, it did.

At least if you had sold it we’d have sweet, sweet money. But we (I) have nothing now except a long walk to the basement from the backyard to get a cold beer.

To be fair, the beer fridge was given to us by friends, so, yes, the initial investment was zero. Had you sold it for $20, that would have been like a billion-percent profit or something.

But you didn’t sell it, you gave it away to some fuckhead you work with who lives in an apartment.

Now sure I have some culpability in all this. I agreed with your decision at the time. But that agreement was akin to confession under torture considering my circumstances. I wasn’t in a frame of mind where I could make such a decision rationally you see.

You took advantage of my weakness but more on that later*.

The fuckhead you gave it to, the one living in the apartment — he’s likely never more than a room away from his kitchen in which, I presume, there is refrigerator. That’s like 30 steps in order to get a beer. I bet he’s placed my fridge in the room he likes to drink beer in. Now he only has to take like five steps in order to get a cold one. Lazy bastard.

Me though? I have to mount an expedition to get a beer. While I should be basking in the few rare months of warm weather in Germany, I’m instead hiring Sherpa’s, plotting desert (aka living room) crossings, descending steps into the basement and then repeating the process in reverse, as if I’m some schmuck who doesn’t have a beer fridge.

Because I am now a schmuck who used to have a beer fridge before you gave it away. Sure it was an absolute piece of shit, I know this. It raddled when it turned on, it was banged up and it had those weird hooks in the back that were once used to attach it to a kitchen countertop.

But I didn’t insist that our guests come look at it. I didn’t keep it in the dining room, guest bedroom or bathroom (except for that one time and I admitted I was wrong). No, I kept it in the garage out of sight.

The beauty of it was that is kept beer cold and handy, which I think is everything anyone could ask for in a beer fridge. Google turns up exactly no results for “beautiful beer fridge.” Go ahead check that, zero links. The temperatures this week in Germany have been in the 90s. That means by August the temperature outside will be “death in a fiery ball of heat.” If I had my beer fridge I could at least endure “death in a fiery ball of heat” with a cold beer. But I can’t. You gave away my beer fridge.

I know you hated it. You did, don’t lie. I know this because of that one time I came home and discovered you had unplugged it and exorcised it of its empty beer shrinkwrap, unopened beers and large chunks of weird-smelling freezer ice. You think I forgot that shit? Well, I didn’t. It’s filed away under “Weird shit wives do,” right next to the file about the time you cleaned out my toolbox.

Yeah, you hated my beer fridge. If we owned a shotgun, (and this is the reason we do not own a shotgun) you would have blasted a hole in it. You always hated my beer fridge.

The aftermath

The aftermath

Sure, we’ve agreed I can buy a “new” beer fridge, but that beer fridge will probably suck. You see, a proper beer fridge is something that isn’t fit for “fridge” status anymore. A proper beer fridge is one that works beautifully, but is ugly as hell and, in an epiphany, gets transformed into an amazing beer fridge. Anyone reading this who bought their beer fridge new agrees with me. If we store baby formula and food in our “beer fridge” we know instead that is a refrigerator and not a proper beer fridge. Sure it’s capable of storing beer, but it’s not a beer fridge. A proper beer fridge always smells vaguely of mold, has innumerable dents that are like notches in a headboard measuring the years of good times, and is never, ever a clean reflective white. Why did you get rid of my beer fridge?

Sure if you're fucking Ned Flanders

Sure if you’re fucking Ned Flanders

* To be fair you asked me if we could give the beer fridge away when we were in the fucked-up stages of moving houses that involves me carrying a lot of heavy shit up and down stairs. Movers put your weight set in the basement and you need it on the top floor, OK honey. Movers put the TV you like to use in your workout room in the subbasement and you need it on the roof, OK honey. What’s that, the movers put your collection of lead-filled lifelike statues of Henry Kissinger busts in the neighbor’s basement and you want it moved to the second story only to decide after I set it down that it really looks better in our basement? OK honey.

If you’ve moved a lot you know this stage. It’s the “you mean I won’t have to carry that up/down or sideways” question. It wasn’t fair and I resent it. My muscles overruled my beer brain and concluded that the beer fridge was 40 fewer pounds they’d have to cart somewhere so they agreed. Fuck you muscles, I always hated you too.

Impossibly (un)Rotten Tomatoes

Every spring I get a giant garden boner and start obsessing about plants.

Yeah,  that’s what I’m going to write about, gardening. No one is coming here for Kim Karsashian wedding news so there shouldn’t be any complaints about my garden boner.

I blame my love of gardening — or more truthfully — thank, my mom. Her love of gardening rubbed off on me. In my youth, my family and I lived in a modest home in a middle-class suburb of Phoenix and despite the lack of “farmable land” Mom always made a go of gardening. She even enlisted me in my teen years to dig up and till parts of the backyard in a desperate attempt to scratch out a few fresh vegetables from a meager 15-by-15 foot plot of land under an unrelenting Arizona sun.

While I toiled away, I pretended I was busting sod like some 1823 explorer in northern California,  and she enjoyed cheap labor. It was a win-win.

It mostly worked. Despite my father’s insistence that whatever was planted was just another obstacle to mow around, a decent bit of veggies could be harvested and I always found that cool.

I didn’t want to eat any of them, mind you. God no, they might interfere with my diet of Big Mac and weed.

My mother’s love of plants never left me and for that I’m thankful and always look forward to springtime. That bug has long since also bitten Dagmar and it’s become a mutual labor of love.

Because we move around a lot, Dagmar and I plant our gardens in containers. Over the years we’ve amassed a fine collection of pots and every spring we dutifully drag them out to the backyard and carefully discuss the planting options for each container.

Then we go to the gardening store, collectively lose our minds, buy a shit-ton of plants we hadn’t planned on along with some potting soil and come home.

Once home, I unload the plants from the car while she lines the backyard with plastic bags explaining to me that this is how Martha Steward gardens. I then call Martha Steward a fucking retard because who cares if potting soil gets on the lawn. Dagmar then storms inside the house mad at me for debasing the benevolent Martha Stewart and I’m left to pot my plants in peace for three minutes.

Page 27, "Use a trash bag to protect your lawn when potting a new plant."  Seriously look that shit up. Actually while captioning this I asked her and now she claims she saw it "somewhere".

Page 27, “Use a trash bag to protect your lawn when potting a new plant.” Seriously look that shit up. Actually while captioning this I asked her and now she claims she saw it “somewhere”.

Once I admit that Martha Stewart isn’t an idiot and Dagmar admits that potting soil isn’t bad for a lawn, we get down to the serious business of arguing about root balls. Specifically, how much you should fuck with a root ball.

I think that our new family member should be introduced to their new home by gently loosening the root ball of the plant. Dagmar prefers some sort of “fuck your roots, you’ll grow new ones” approach.

So while I gingerly shake the soil from the new plant’s roots, Dagmar prefers the “kill the old soil and roots with fire” approach.


We’ve had mixed success stories obviously.

One of our recent plants never looked good, not even the morning after we planted it. (She planted it, of course.) Throughout the week it looked worse and worse. When I finally checked on it I discovered she’d separated the plant from the roots. Physically broken them apart and hadn’t realized it.

Point mine, honey. Point mine.

Back to the story.

I bought one of those gimmicky tomato plants sold in gardening stores that already has a bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine. Some are ripe, most of the tomatoes are still green, and fuck, why wouldn’t you buy one of those?

They’ve got tomatoes you can eat right now!

They’re perfect because they’re so easy. But yeah, nothing good is really ever easy is it?

When you garden you can expect failure. Some plants don’t get enough sun, some plants get too much water, some plants have their roots molested to death by Dagmar and some plants can’t handle being peed on a few times by some drunken ass from the house.

You know, failure.

The gimmicky tomato plant was a failure. Inside of a week, the leaves looked like hell and the branches drooped. Although the tomatoes themselves looked awesome, the plant was in that, “well that’s going to die” phase anyone who’s been around a blade of grass longer than a week can recognize.

Dagmar and I debated the plant’s root treatment. She accused me of just pulling it out of the plastic pot it came in and sticking it directly into the ground. I accused her of violently attacking the roots like a vicious tomato plant hater.

We unceremoniously ripped it up from the stem because neither of us knew why it was dead. It was an impulse purchase, it was a gimmicky impulse purchase and yeah, it was almost dead.

Dagmar cried, I said a solemn prayer and … who am I kidding, I just took the mostly dirt-free root ball plant to the back of the yard behind the shed where I dump all the failures, ash from our BBQ and urinate when I’m drinking outside.

The dead plants are all piled up behind the shed. I like to call it composting and not dumping, but really, it’s just a pile of dead plants. I occasionally poke the pile with a stick, sometimes I pee on it and rarely do I give it a second thought.

The gimmicky tomato plant went to join the natural order of things in that ungodly pee-infested “compost” pile.

End of blog post right? I made some fun jokes about how my wife and I differ in our methods of gardening; you now know I pee in my backyard;  I worked in a Fuck-Martha-Stewart reference; and shit let’s crack open a beer and high-five, blog is done. Fuck those tomatoes!

But it isn’t — because that shit happened like a month and a half ago and look at it now.

See, root ball destroyed

See, root ball destroyed

OK, OK, I’ve since hung the “dead” tomato plant on a tree branch, but shit, after like three weeks back there (I pee back there more often than I’ve let on), I started to wonder why the tomatoes weren’t rotting.

I’ve tossed tomato branches from normal tomato plants (started from seeds or bought as starter plants) into similar piles and the fucking tomatoe’s rot right along with the rest of the plant.

This is some weird Chernobyl shit right here. Why (and this photo was taken last week*) do those red tomatoes still look delicious? The leaves and vines are withered and dead. Why do the green tomatoes not rot and fall off or more importantly look exactly the same as the day I tossed them back there?

What the hell is going on in my garden … what kind of madness is this?

* Okay since writing this, the tomatoes have started to rot. They’re getting kind of gross now in fact. I’m not at all sure what the point of this whole thing was, I thought the tomatoes weren’t rotting, but it turns out they are? Fuck, no idea. Let’s just all forget this and move on okay?

Traffic wardens, meter maids and mayhem

I’ve learned something today — something valuable, something that is meaningful and something that most of you already know — parking enforcement officers are utter dicks.

I like to call these officers “traffic wardens” because that’s what they call them in Germany (0r I’ve watched Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels a million times too many and whenever I see one this clip comes to mind).

Regardless, I’d be a shitty traffic warden if only because I’d always default to the line of thinking that goes, “Well, she’s pretty, I’ll let her go.”

Let me explain.

Dagmar had an appointment in the city of Weisbaden recently and because she can’t drive I had to take a few hours off to drive her there.

Through an unusual set of circumstances that I won’t describe here we ran into the wife of one of my coworkers who opted to join me for a quick drink while my wife went about her business.

My coworker’s wife was parked illegally because she was responding to a semi-legit emergency and assumed she’d be in and out of the area in minutes. Then I threw a monkey wrench (or in this case a screwdriver) into the plan. But parked illegally or not, she wasn’t blocking anything, she was just parked in one of those spaces that inexplicably have stripes running diagonally. The adjacent bus stop wasn’t terribly impacted by her parking job, though it would have been less affected if she had stayed there for only the anticipated five minutes and not the entirely optional and entirely awesome 30 minutes to have a drink with me.

My coworker’s wife is awesome, good looking and a really cool person. While we had our drink, her illegally parked car was in our sight as we sat at an outside table of a cafe. She’s a grown up, I’m a grown up, and well, my car was parked legally, so there’s that.

Then the traffic warden showed up, and my coworker’s wife ran out to try to prevent the inevitable. But pretty/cute/nice wasn’t enough to overcome traffic warden douchebaggery.

Eyes were batted, smiles were smiled and a ticket was issued. Not blog worthy I admit. Cute lady is issued citation despite being cute, yawn.

With traffic citation in hand, my friend’s sad wife left and I almost turned back to my Kindle book about nothing, but the warden stuck around and holy shit just watching that guy was an education.

I guess it must be a thing that happens to even the most kindhearted traffic wardens — overtime they become jaded. In this guy’s case, he must have been on the illegally parked vehicle “case” since 1083 A.D, ’cause this fucker was jaded with a capital J.

I watched as this guy just relentlessly handed out ticket after ticket. He was like  a ticket-issuing ninja.

Little old lady delivering a quick gift to her grandchildren? Fuck you, move faster next time, that’s a ticket! Repairman dropping off heavy tools before parking the van? Fuck you, they should hire stronger guys, that’s a ticket! Deliveryman quickly running into a shop to drop off a package? Fuck off, scofflaw, that’s a ticket! Super hot (and I mean SUPER hot) German chick running inside and then moments later back to her car? Yeah, take your titties elsewhere, that’s a fucking ticket!


The dude was relentless. If Santa stopped there on Christmas eve this dude would’ve stapled a ticket to Rudolph’s nose. Dude would’ve faulted the Pope if he’s have stopped and washed a poor man’s feet.

I want to call out German efficiency here, but I’m sure the same shit happens in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Moscow and countless other cities in the world.

Jaded mothers be jaded and such.

A quest for common ground …

I’m not really sure how to write this and not destroy the noble and righteous name that is Had A Few Beers.

Really, the words I’m about to write may collapse the walls insulating our heroic, and might I say “inspired” blog as easily as the Roman siege engines ripped apart Carthage’s defense during the third Punic war.

Stoic really ...

Stoic really …

Was that reference obscure for you? Well then strap in, because it’s about to get worse.

Be sure to check for liquids that might, if spilled, damage the device your reading this on. When you discover the dark secret I’m about reveal, in a fit of panic, rage or orgasmic joy, you could knock that drink over and cause untold millions of dollars in collective damage?

If you haven’t checked for said liquids you should. Please remove them from your immediate reading area now.

Thanks. Did you also wipe up that little water sweat ring that forms when you put down a cold drink on a warm surface? If not, you should do such now. (That directive has little to do with this blog and everything to do with my having lived with a clean-freak for the last 600 years.)

Now, onto the revelation. DRUMROLL PLEASE …

My wife played Everquest with me!

No one was held at gunpoint, the lives of kittens did not hang in the balance.

She willingly agreed to play Everquest with me.

This came about because of reasons.

Like many couples, we try to do something together that’s just us once a week. Also, like many couples, that quickly devolves into, “Let’s sit our fat-asses on the couch and watch a movie together because that’s easy.”

One particular Saturday she suggested I watch some “chick flick” with her and I jokingly said something to the effect of “Only if you spend the same amount of time next Saturday playing Everquest with me.”

She, to my befuddlement, agreed. I spent the next two hours watching a movie about a couple who were clearly meant to be together, but who were separated by circumstance, then eventually come together, break up and then, and this is the shocking part, get back together to live happily ever after.

I did this without making rude comments or pointing out the absurdity of the situation. I don’t know how I did it either. I think I did it by thinking about how I would introduce her to online gaming while appeared to give a shit about the upwardly mobile woman in the movie and her romantic interest.

I do remember thinking, “How the hell am I going to do this?”

When I asked her what kind of video games she had played in the past, she said Pong. That was the last, and it turns out, only video game she’s ever played.

Pong, as in two pixilated sticks batting a pixilated ball back and forth across a, presumably, black and white television that used actual vacuum tubes.

I considered reminding her of her short stint with “Words with Friends” but thought better of it.

Evercrack, World or Dorkness, and all of these role-playing games are not that complicated, at a basic level. All online games are routinely mastered by legions of racist/homophobic 13-year-olds, as any online gamer can attest.

I don’t know if I should have set her down with a large white board for a 45-minute class about computer gaming in general and online gaming specifically or what, but I did realize that my wife was not so much a gaming partner as she was a gaming student.

Like this?

Like this?

Look, like it or not, most online fantasy-type games can be linked to Dungeons and Dragons. For those not familiar with the concept of Dungeons and Dragons, let me give you the Reader’s Digest version.

Dungeons and Dragon’s founder Gary Gygax basically read a crapton of fantasy novels and then physically had sex with all of the books. Really, Gygax carved a hole into each book and made sweet, sweet love to each of them.

The product of that coupling are today’s online games with racist/homophobic 13-year-olds somehow added into the mix.

Gygax basically codified the whole thing. He wrote down that Gandolf was a wizard, wizards are smart. Bilbo was a thief, thiefs are sneaky, Aragorn is a ranger, rangers are fast and good with bow and arrow. Trolls are on the internet making people angry. That kind of shit.

Yet, my wife has never heard of Gary Gygax and I’m pretty sure she’s slept through every one of my monthly drunken, “Hey let’s watch the Lord of the Rings until I pass out” super fun events.

There’s tons of better, more in-depth source material out there if you’re interested, but in a nut shell most (not all) online games have a variety of classes (think job or purpose) that a player takes on while playing the game. All players have to choose a class or their online character is unemployed and is forced to watch a lot of daytime TV.

My first task was to introduce my wife to the concept of “classes.” Everquest has a handy summary page that outlined what each class did and she, while rolling her eyes, read it. She decided on the enchanter. Which was great, until she decided that her race (yeah, these games have races like elves, dwarfs, trolls and ogres) was going to be troll. When I explained to her that certain races had restrictions on what class they could be and that trolls weren’t allowed to be enchanters she declared the game to a racist bunch of bullshit. Which still cracks me up.

An appropriate race was selected and a few moments later we were in the game!

I was excited and had like 87 nerd boners all at the same time.

She was in the game’s tutorial and she wanted to read every bit of instruction the tutorial provided. I’ve been playing this shit for years and quickly jumped into “facilitate her learning process.”

Are you laughing at that last sentence? You’re laughing aren’t you? If not you should be.

She later described me as basically a drill sergeant for dorks.

“Push that button! Move the mouse like this! There will be an inspection of your copper pieces at 0400 and control your DPS until the tank has positive control, no not like that, like this!”

Yeah, I had decided people who are paid money to think though the intricate and detailed process of introducing someone to a complex game were idiots and that I knew better.

The high points from my CliffNotes tutorial were that she equated her inventory with her character’s closet and, for her, the basics of movement in the game was like watching a drunk baby attempt to walk. WASD (the keys on the keyboard that control your characters movement) were lost on her. Even now, a few weeks in, her skill at using the keys is barely at the level of a toddler that’s had too much sugar and who knows … I’m really crappy with baby analogies.

When I asked her the next day if she had fun her answer was, “I don’t know.”

She explained that she had no idea what she was doing and was just following my directions. Nothing about what she did at my direction made sense. She had pressed the number 1 on the keyboard because I told her too, not because she understood doing so caused her character to perform an action that was associated with the number 1 key.

Crestfallen, I asked if she would be kind enough to give it another try later.

She agreed and I went back to the drawing board.

I asked my guild for help, because fuck you I’m in a guild. But they were no help. Most of their advice ranged from how effective the enchanter was at high-end raiding, to mocking me for mistakenly referring to another (male) guild member as “hun” several weeks back. (That’s fucking hysterical! ~Fran)

The next time Dagmar and I played she picked a Ranger and I let her read every damned thing the tutorial had to offer. If the tutorial talked about how you could load a CD into the computer’s CD tray in order to listen to music, I let her read it. Years ago Everquest had an online feature that allowed you to order a real life pizza through some national chain. If that was briefed in the tutorial, she fucking read it because I butted the fuck out. I was there for any questions she had, but otherwise I kept my too-clever-by-half mouth shut.

It seemed to be working. She understood that she needed to attack the monsters with little to no prompting from yours truly. She grasped, on a basic level, the difference between a melee attack, a ranged attack and a spell attack.

What I mean to say is that things progressed. In a month or two I could see her and I having adventures in Everquest together. Fighting against the evil side-by-side. Dagmar’s ranger, Lordana, and I would eventually be fighting side-by-side, questing, slaying rare evil beasts and amassing great treasures. It would be our thing you see, our little fun thing to do on Saturdays when the weather was shitty.

Progress had been made, she still had a lot to learn, but that would come with time. This plan was going great. She dinged level 14 and asked if she needed to get new spells. She attacked the monster I was currently fighting instead of dragging every other monster within a 50-mile radius into the battle. She understood that the blue pants I have were better for her “Armor Class” than the green ones, even if she thought the green ones looked better on her character’s butt.

This was going great. I felt like we’d reached a common ground. I vowed to myself that any shitty chick flick she wanted to watch I’d try my hardest to enjoy, because clearly we had much more in common than I’d thought. After all, here we were, 17 decades into our marriage and she’d tried and liked, and was becoming skilled at something I enjoyed for the first time in the history of Toddmar.

Until this Sunday when I overheard her talking to our daughter on the phone.

“Yeah, we’re playing the game together,” she said.

Mumble mumble, I heard from her daughter through the shitty iPhone held to Dagmar’s ear.

“No, what? No, it’s fucking stupid. What? No I’m only doing it because he loves it so much when I do.”

So, anyone want to play Everquest?

Draw on my face, no trust me, draw on my face

Remember the contest to draw on my forehead? Yeah me either, or at least I’ve been trying to forget it.

Well, this is one of those good news/bad news situations.

The good news is that people read and participate in this blog. Hooray for us!

The bad news is that most of us can’t follow simple instructions, don’t own any sort of photo-altering software more complicated than MS paint and we collectively are obsessed with …

wait for it …

not dicks.

I fully expected a lot of dicks being drawn on my face. Maybe that’s all 2010 and magic-marker-on-a-passed-out-person’s-face nostalgia, but that’s what I expected.

It is not what I got.

I got a lot of “bitch” comments. As in, simple drawings on my forehead saying I’m a “bitch, “UR a bitch” and something I couldn’t read that ended in “itch.”

And scratchy maybe?

And scratchy maybe?

I like to pretend it said, “Well ain’t this a bitch,” which would have won because that’s a favorite phrase at the moment, but it didn’t.

Beyond the actual photos sent back, there were also comments left on the blog or others that were emailed to me.  One comment offered the following, “Todd, this is a great photo. You actually look young. This looks exactly like you. I don’t know why it makes me laugh so!”

But my forehead wasn’t big enough to handle all that text. I asked the guy at “Oh God my Wife is German” how much it would cost to expand my forehead in Photoshop and he guessed the time it would take could quickly reach four figures.

So, I was left to pick the winners from my email and Facebook instant messages.

There were – I think – four or five entries, Whittling it down to one wasn’t that hard thankfully. Posting a photo with the words “U SUK!” on my forehead, while mildly funny, isn’t very funny.

This entry by Nova did tickle my funny bone, however.


So, its as simple as that, Nova wins.

And the winner has elected to receive a beer stein because look at this photo …


Blumen zum selbstpflücken continues to baffle

There are lots of things that make living in Europe, and specifically Germany,  awesome. Bier gardens, students dressed as pirates floating up to your bier garden drunker than you are at three in the afternoon, the autobahn, mixed-gender nude saunas and did I mention mixed-gender nude saunas? These are all awesome.

I was hoping it would be a sauna photo too.

I was hoping it would be a sauna photo too.

But honestly, living in Germany is pretty much just like living in the U.S. If you make a stupid move while driving, you’re likely to get flipped off. Recycling is a mandated, but necessary, giant pain in the ass. The mail comes every day. Not every German frau is a blonde-haired, blued-eyed, buxom Bavarian farm girl asking you to “churn” her butter, and I’m constantly disappointed at how few times I can call someone a “kartoffelfopf.”

Which is sad really.

But, there is still one aspect of living in Germany (or hell other parts of Europe for all I know) that still, these many years later, continues to baffle me.

Now, I’ve talked about this before, and if you’re a fan from way back when this blog started you may remember — but one thing unique to Deutschland are the German flower fields. These are fields where you pick your flowers and then, with no one there to keep you honest, y0u slip the money for the flowers you just picked into a locked box.

Seriously, that’s it. You can pay by spitting into the coin slot, you can pay by waving your dick at the coin slot, you can pay for your flowers by yelling angrily, “No, Germany I won’t obey your rules!” Or you can pay by calculating the price using a guide posted next to the garden and then inserting that amount into the lock box.

I always insert the money, though I was tempted once while drunk to pay by shaking my dick at the box.

Point is, I am always shocked that this system works. True, you really — lacking a welding torch — can’t steal the money, and there’s probably a lot to be said about the honesty of a population that says, “Wow look a bunch of flowers raised by a person who trusts me to pay for what I harvest.”  What’s the theft rate? I’ll bet it’s close to none. I know I pay more than is required each time I stop and pick flowers for my wife because I’m just too aware of what’s expected.  I always pay a bit more out of some nervous feeling that I might just be on some German hidden camera show where the German version of John Quinones ambushes me as I try to slide into my car asking me why I underpaid for the blumen.

Yeah, I do stop at these fields to pick flowers for the wife from time to time. There are exactly zero husbands laughing at me right now because all of you have brought home flowers for your wife at one time or another. You’ve done it, fuck you, yes you have. If you haven’t you’re a filthy lair or a disgusting wretch.

And I don’t just mean flowers for Valentine’s Day, or a birthday or because you’re hoping for a blowjob that night, I mean flowers because you know unannounced flowers for no particular reason are automatic plus symbols in the ledger of life. They also sometimes lead to blowjobs.

Flowers to a wife are the universal sign that we, the man, think about you, the woman, even when you’re not around. In this world of LGBT enlightenment I’d further guess bringing home flowers for no particular reason is just a way of saying to any significant other, hey I was thinking of you.

I also like to bring home flowers because nothing says I’m sorry for that $400 Visa bill from “” like flowers do.

Germany makes bringing home the posies just too fucking easy with these fields. Would that sort of thing work in America? I wrote long ago that I thought the fields would have been destroyed by freeloaders stealing flowers and/or teenagers doing donuts in the fields because, I dunno, thrashing flowers with your car is fun and/or teenagers are idiots by and large?

It likely wouldn’t work in the U.S. I grew up in the 70s and 80s on the outskirts of Phoenix. A part of Phoenix sadly now known for its bigoted asshole sheriff, packs of feral Chihuahuas and not much else. One thing I do remember growing up there as a kid, though, is the flower girls, or orange girls or fruit girls wearing short shorts and a bikini top hawking their wares at various intersections.

Even though I was only a prepubescent little shithead, I remember thinking “Holy crap, look at the hot chick wearing a bikini top.”

I don’t ever recall my father stopping at one of them, but a few of my friend’s dads did. These girls, 18 years or older, sold fruit, veggies or flowers along lonely intersections on the outskirts of Phoenix.

It was the pre-internet-days version of a savvy marketing plan and that meant tits. Still though it’s the closest thing I can think of to the German version of roadside flower pick up, and it’s still not very close at all. Sure, the German one lacks a rack in a bikini top, but I still maintain that their system is just as good.

Of course my solution to most problems is boobs. World hunger? Boobs. Our nation’s debt? Boobs of course. Russian aggression against the Ukraine? Boobs. I get voted down a lot in staff meetings at the office for reasons that are unclear to me but damn it boobs!


The key to life, a happy wife … where’s my beer

As you know my wife is the organized one.

She keeps our life organized.

If Dagmar ruled the world.

If Dagmar ruled the world.

Bills are paid, obligations are met and we’re solvent because she’s organized.

I, on the other hand, consider it a good day if I remember to wear pants.

That said — into the lives of even the most organized among us a bit of chaos must occasionally fall.

My wife spent several hours Saturday in a semi-controlled panic because she misplaced her house key.

Due to the fact that I’m currently our household’s only driver, she hasn’t had to use her house key once since early November.

Literally, every time she’s entered our house since that day I’ve used my key to open the door.

Really, since Nov. 5 our house’s key hole hasn’t been penetrated by any other key but mine, which is about as dirty as I can make that sentence.

To add to this story’s build up, I need to mention that she also has some weird obsession with not keeping more than one key on a key chain. Really, it’s fucking weird. There’s the key ring with the house key on it. A separate key ring for her now unused car key and a third key ring for her (gasp) two work keys.

Her logic regarding her strict key segregation is that circa the 1920s or something her mother had a lot of keys on a key ring and this extra weight, pressure or, for all I know, “space alien black magic” caused her mom’s car’s ignition to function without a key. You could just turn the key receptacle and it would start.

The extra weight, pressure or whatever certainly could’ve have caused the problem with her mom’s car. I don’t pretend to know. (Todd, Dagmar isn’t crazy. You may have been stoned at the time, but that was the big myth going around in the 80s. A heavy key ring damages your ignition. I scoff at it and continue to lug around my 25-pound key ring with no adverse effects. But Dagmar’s mom’s-ignition-switch story seems like a good reason for her to be cautious. Case in point. So get off her jock. ~Fran)

Considering that Dagmar’s car starts not with a key, but with a plastic disc that she inserts and never twists like a metal key, I find her logic regarding key rings on par with someone refusing to use an umbrella because it scares horses when you open the umbrella.

I mean, it might be true, but it’s completely irrelevant.
It’s just one of those married things you just eventually ignore about your partner. Sure it’s a bit weird, but we’re all a bit weird, and if that system works for them who are we to argue?

My wife’s key habits are important because I’d be a few hundred words short of a blog post without them and because they factor into the lost key story.

On Friday, for the first time since Nov. 5, she had to let herself into the house. I had to go on a day-long business trip and wouldn’t be home until late that evening. A friend agreed to give her a ride home. I came home at 7:30 p.m., let myself in and found my wife in bed with a satisfied look on her face, two margaritas deep and a half pint of some chick-flavored Ben and Jerry’s ice cream utterly destroyed in the trashcan.

Interesting to know I can be so easily replaced actually.

Fast forward to the next morning and the ritual of grocery shopping.  In the driveway she discovers not only that she forgot something inside the house, but that her house key isn’t in her purse. She borrows mine while I impatiently wait in the car in the driveway — grocery stores are such a pain on a Saturday if you don’t go early.

I’ll spare you the details, but through the course of several hours, the key search escalated into one of those “holy crap where is that important thing I really need,” moments for my wife, and admittedly, not at all for me.

Elgato Smart Key: Trackable Key Fob & iPhone app. We're nothing here at HAFB if not informative.

Trackable Key Fob & iPhone app. We’re nothing here at HAFB if not informative. A

I misplace my wallet, keys, passwords, dignity and whatever all the time. I call that shit Tuesday. I do it so often I’ve become very good at hiding the fact that I’m looking for something from my wife.
She, on the other hand, never does this, so the shock of it tilted the axis of her world view.
It’s anarchy for her and not the good kind that Johnny Rotten sang about either.

Let’s review.
1. While she keeps all her keys separate, they are all on a key ring of some sort. This one has a little beer opener attached to it.

2. She hasn’t used the key for almost six months, but she did use it the day before when she was dropped off after work.

3. This doesn’t happen to her. She’s anal retentive to the point that she would literally keep the keys in her ass if that was physically possible, along with her wallet, her phone, our bank account holdings and you can see the logistical problems this sort of storage system would present.
And finally.

4. Her husband is of no help in this situation.

Let me explain four.  See I’m of no help because I know where I would leave something like my keys — in the beer fridge, on the ironing table in my closet, behind the foot powder in the medicine cabinet, in the backyard on the self where I keep the hatchet next to the woodpile — these are all real places I have left the important, yet mundane, items we all use to function from day to day.

What she would have done with them, I have no clue.

All I can offer her in way of assistance is, “Honey they’ll turn up, or they won’t.”
Not really helpful I know, but it is a realistic approach.

Also I was sitting in the backyard drinking beer and key searching just was bumming me out. I mean, really, this is the first nice Saturday we’ve had since last fall and you want to spend it searching for keys?

A few hours of her frantically searching for the keys and me enjoying some wonderful spring weather later she presents me with her missing key hypothesis.

This, friends, is where two minds that have been together for many years split radically apart. Each understands where the other is coming from, but each disagrees with the other about the idea.

Of course I was right.

Her theory? Someone stole the keys out of the lock after she inadvertently left them in the door when she came home Friday night. We live next to a family owned hotel and obviously mobsters had been stalking our place in hopes of this very thing happening.

See, crime and wine go hand in hand as reenacted here in this episode of Law and Order.

See, crime and wine go hand in hand as beautifully reenacted here in this episode of Law and Order.

Between the time she arrived home at 5:30 p.m. and the time I arrived home at 7:30 the criminal masterminds struck. We would have to arm ourselves with weapons, buy a vicious attack dog and replace all the locks with retinal scanners because the criminals were coming, much like winter — or whatever the catch phrase from Game of Thrones is, I haven’t watched it yet.

My theory? The fucking keys are in the house. Chill out and have a glass of wine. They’ll show up or they won’t. Use the spare key in the unlikely event you need the key again anytime soon. If my theory isn’t good enough for your peace of mind fine, I’ll have the lock changed Monday. It’s a hundred Euros at best and if it puts your mind at rest all the better, but the fact remains that the key is in the house and we will someday find it.

My theory was mocked.

Living next to a hotel in wine country, we have groups gathering in the hotel parking lot on Saturdays to take wine-tasting trips on fancy wagons pulled by tractors.

This is an every-Saturday occurrence.

Dagmar pointed out the window to this Saturday’s group (parked closest to our house) and explained that they were the likely culprits.

“See, they’re changing their clothes,” she said.

I pointed out that if taking off jackets to enjoy a warm Saturday was an indication of criminal activity we were ourselves guilty at some point or another.

She was not convinced. They were sure to, at any moment on this wonderfully sunny Saturday afternoon, bust into our house in order to steal everything that wasn’t locked down, mock us for our poor key control and then they would violate the pussy …

… cat.

I again pointed out that a gang of criminals was unlikely to conjugate in broad daylight outside of their criminal target while drinking wine, carrying on loudly and boarding a fancy wagon towed by a tractor. If this was in fact an elaborate ruse, it was a stupid elaborate ruse and for fuck’s sake the keys are here, somewhere, in the house.

She was having none of it. It was part of their plan and she was serious.

Changing the locks Monday morning, as I had offered to do, gave her no solace.

Those criminal drunkards were to blame for her lack of keys.

I engaged her as much as I could for a laugh or two, she got a little mad every time I did because I wasn’t taking her innocent-wine-tasters-turned-home-invaders theory seriously and eventually she found the fucking keys.

They were in her purse the whole time.

They got stuck in a corner by some thread and she literally had to empty the purse, turn it upside down and shake it like a baby that wouldn’t shut up (was that too harsh) in order to free them, but for the rest of our days in this house I get to watch wine tasters boarding a trailer for a fun day of wine tasting and whisper to my wife, “be careful, they’re probably going to … ”

And that’s the kind of shit that makes life worth living.

Write on my forehead …

If you know my wife and me you know one thing – there are days that my wife is awesome and there are days that she would stab me in the eye with a butter knife because I sneezed.

This is a butter knife story.

As you know we live in Germany.  Living in Germany we have to keep our passports up to date.  Not a big thing, renewal for a passport only comes around …

Oh, to hell with it. I can’t bullshit you — this is a story about a “shitastic” passport photo of mine. I look like 12 kinds of “stupid” mixed with equal measures of “midlife confusion” and “anxious-scared guy in a jail” tossed into a blender where I promptly mashed the “whirl-together button.”

I mean look at the photo.

Police have asked for help ...

Police have asked for help …

It’s fabulous for all the wrong reasons.

This was taken at one of those photo booths where, after you put your money in, you cram five of your best friends inside and snap a serious of photos while as a group you look sexy, goofy, tough or whatever else was popular when these machines were in vogue in the 1040s.

These machines are the pre-internet version of a “selfie.”

This particular photo came about because my wife was mad at me for leaving her alone inside the machine to have her own photo taken (I was getting us coffee). The controls inside the machine were archaic at best and I wasn’t there to help.

So I took it without regard to my own appearance because I wanted demon wom … I mean, my wife, to calm the fuck down.

I showed this photo to Fran, my wife, a new co-worker and some hobo I met behind a bar and we all agree — it’ a funny photo.

Trouble is, we all agree for different reasons. Fran thinks my eyes look like the alien from E.T.; Dagmar concluded that someone was molesting my nether regions against my will; I think my forehead is visible from space; my new co-worker just laughed.

Separated at hatching?

Separated at hatching?

Oh, how she laughed.

I’m also just wondering what that little white blotch is on my neck. Is that cancer? Cancer isn’t a weird white blotch right? What the hell is that? Am I going to die? Also, why is my one eye a little droopier than the other … that’s a weird fucking medical condition isn’t it. Oh, god this whole blog was a terrible mistake.

This is the only pro bono work the Oh God My Wife is German dude has ever done. (

This is the only pro bono work the Oh God My Wife is German dude has ever done.

Anyway, here’s the deal, you’ve hung in there this long — you deserve something. I want you to Photoshop, caption or otherwise alter this photo and post it in the comments … the winner (the one who makes me look the coolest) will receive a free Had a Few Beers gift of their choice because fuck my savings.


Had a Few Beers note: I’ve been away for the last three weeks on a secret mission that I can’t tell you much about.  I can tell you that most of it was spent on the couch, asleep, with one hand tucked into my waistband, the other holding a remote and a bit of drool oozing out of the corner of my mouth.

In all seriousness, I just took a break. No clue why. I just did it. All of your subscriptions have been refunded the appropriate amount … you can all expect checks for zero dollars and zero cents to arrive in the mail exactly now.