Friday, December 21, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: We've all been Student #4

The teacher asked his four students their conclusions on the material.

The first student said, "If there is a God, He must be a chemist."

The second student said, "No, God is chemistry."

The third student said, "No, God is what chemistry truly studies."

The fourth student said, "I thought we were supposed to read up to Chapter 6...."

Bathroom Monologue: Fatal Corkboard

I mean, "Hellraiser" is pretty much a series of movies about a rubix cube of doom. There are bondage demons, but they are all captives of the rubix cube. Freddy Kruger's trademark is a glove. Yeah, it's a glove with knives on it, but he doesn't even need it with his dream powers. Isn't "Saw" just about a guy with far too much time, bear traps and real estate on his hands? "Friday the 13th?" Hockey Mask. "Child's Play?" A freaking baby doll of death. That's the trademark! It's a killer cabbage patch doll. I could take a cabbage patch doll in a fight! If you lay these things side-by-side, you’ll find that most horror movie trademarks aren't very scary. Rubix cube, hockey mask, baby doll. Shouldn't it be easier to come up with horror movie weapons and villains, then? Like, could I make corkboard scary? Could an undead serial killer stalk a half-naked movie star with his trusty Nintendo 64 in hand? It doesn't seem so. There must be some kind of code. But I'm going to crack it. Because when I do, it'll be the new dawn of product placement. iPods, pulp novels, and maybe a shredded 7-Up can used as a mask. I'll be rich. And no one will be safe to go in the water again...

Bathroom Monologue: Down the Freudian Stream

You see, there are post-Freudian writers, and then there are post-post-Freudian writers. Post-Freudian writers have studied his theories and apply his concepts and symbologies into the constitutions of their characters and plots. Post-post-Freudian writers have heard something about Freud, and write about everyone wanting to bang their moms and their boss looking like that bully from second grade. Post-post-Freudians are part of a greater pandemic of authors who overwhelmingly seem to have written more books than they have read. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if the first post-post-Freudian writer wasn't Sigmund Freud.

Bathroom Monologue: Things from the Train Station P.A. that Utterly Derailed Bathroom Monologues

-"Can anyone who speaks Spanish please come to the Information Desk?"
-"Attention: due to technical difficulties, the 52 train is canceled. It will arrive in fifteen minutes."
-"Attention: Velvet Ray is needed at Club Acela."
-"The 72 train to Birmingham, New York and Brooklyn, Vermont is five minutes late. Please stand by for track assignment."
-"Have a good day, Franky."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Eventually, you get to do a 'Long Ago'

Long ago, when the Ogres still had some wisdom, they bowed to the wind. The lord of the wind was Kierneg, and he rewarded their worship with music. He invented many instruments for them, like the horn, the bagpipes and the tuba. They were mostly ostentatious instruments, but they were invented by a god, after all. There was one instrument in the horde of gifts that only Kierneg could play: the wind chimes. The Ogres learned how to make them and make them right, but no one made them sing like he. Its songs came when he passed through, telling the Ogres when there god was near, and nary much more than a day went by before he rode through, wiggling his invisible fingers over the wind chimes and tinkling out a melody. Sometimes it was a sweet tune; on others, it was frantic and warned of storms. The Ogres knew what every song meant, feared none, and cherished all -- until their intellect waned. The wind has never left us, though.

Bathroom Monologue: Beware, 'Lest the Spoils Spoil You

I look at you from across the road, and later from across the hall. Your black limousine looks like a hearse. Your tie is no better than a noose. That three-piece suit is only missing the zipper up the back. You sit on your plush leather chair in an office with your name stenciled on the door, in the same font they use on headstones. That liquor in your desk fills you up, makes you burn and kills your head, only a little slower than embalming fluid. Do you live in a skyscraper because you're afraid you'll never go to Heaven? I only look at you and wonder, will your coffin be silk-lined, like your bed?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Something you've probably never seen in a book before

Jim waved as the ticket taker came up. "Good afternoon," he said. Then his eyebrows rose. Of course, it wasn't afternoon. It was 7:00 in the darned morning, but Jim had so often slept 'till noon that he was wholly out of practice at saying anything other than 'Good afternoon' or 'Good night.' "Sorry," he apologized and held out his ticket, "It's actually 'good morning.'"

Bathroom Monologue: Men on the Long-Fabled Feminine Tradition of Greeting Cards, OR, To a Great Godnephew

Let the word go forth from this time and place: cards suck. Christmas cards, Birthday cards, Independence Day cards, it doesn't matter. If they aren't attached to a sports bike or don't contain a check, they're lame. I don't need evidence that you are so unmotivated and unoriginal that you needed to pay Hallmark two bucks for a two-sentence compliment. Oh, and to those people who put their family photos on cards - stop it. Stop mailing the cards. Stop making the cards. Stop having a family, if you can. Your kids are ugly and no one else likes them. Keep them to yourself. If you don't like someone else enough to buy them something they'd actually enjoy, don't mail them proof. A card is paper that folds. You're not fooling anyone.

Bathroom Monologue: Things I'd like to see a clown do

-Get creative with the grease paint for an NFL offensive line.
-Run in on a bukkake with a seltzer bottle. If you don't know what that is, don't look it up.
-Tame a chair with a lion and a whip.
-Fend off a zombie invasion with nothing but the contents of a bakery.
-Run a Poland Spring franchise for twenty years, totally deadpan. I defy you to find a better use for a clown in full make-up than to show up at your house instead of a union guy every time you run out of water.
-Explain the metaphysical aspects of Smashmouth's "Tubthumping" as part of an Oxford lecture series.

Bathroom Monologue: Chance Encounters of the Third Kind

Before we knew it, Wakeem was pulled aside by Uncle Archie. Uncle Archie was a good guy, but the Gulf War disillusioned him. By disillusioned, I mean that he rarely leaves his room, updates his blog every four hours, and gets hives if he's away from cable news for too long. And Wakeem was sucked into that smoky, dimly-lit room for the entire party. At midnight he stumbled back out again. My erudite friend, who I was supposed to take care of while he was in our country, and forgotten almost all the English he'd learned at university, in favor of three phrases: "National healthcare is for pinkos and border jumpers," "In cash please now," and "I don't like the women. They are having the AIDS." It didn't help that he debuted the third phrase on my mom while she was offering him finger sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: It's all about image, people

Unbeknownst to the public, companies do not just run advertisements for all their products willy-nilly. For instance, the Pepsi Cola Company has divisions for marketing beverages independently of each other, including specific accounts with separate advertising firms representing Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Mountain Dew and all of the non-traditional specially flavored variant drinks, like Code Red, Jazz and We-Swear-We-Came-Up-With-It-Before-Coke-Did Pepsi. Sure, the specially-flavored ad division has a feud with the Wild Cherry division (on many a night ad executives in the Wild Cherry wing can be heard crying, "If only we had specially-flavored's budget!"), but the worst feud is between Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. Not a commercial goes by when the diet brand doesn't claim it tastes just as good as regular cola. No, you aren't the only one who knows this is bullshit. The regular Pepsi pushers know it too, and they've been mad over it for decades. Decades of pent-up rage. But this winter, the Pepsi Cola Company will finally let the regular Pepsi ads fight back. In a revolutionary series of commercials, drinkers of any diet soda will be cast as ugly, awkward, effeminate social rejects with bad complexions and friends who don't really like them. Yes, next year it won't just be about Diet Pepsi (and diet drinks in general) not tasting like regularly sweetened Pepsi; the ads will see these "dieters" ditched outside of reststops, laughed out of nightclubs, and contracting cancer for no apparent reason aside from the can of Diet Pepsi in their hands. Their fashion sense will be mocked, their exercise regimens will be unfairly criticized, and their sexualities will be questioned. And while it may not sell more soda, the Pepsi Cola Company expects to draw a lot of attention with their new "Diet Pepsi is for Fags" campaign.

Bathroom Monologue: Ayouism

"Atheism has opened up a whole new worldview for me, but no, it’s not atheism. It's denial. I love it. When I really don't like someone, I'll just stop believing in them. I've already stopped believing in a lot of atheists, and a lot of religious assholes. Not their gods. Just them. Jesus Christ lived, but if you ask me, the 700 Club is a total hoax. And the I.R.S.! I was so sick of owing them money every April. But now? I'm not paying tithes to an imaginary institution. Supposedly your taxes pay for all the government projects, but I've had a pothole in front of my house for fifteen years and the road service never filled it up no matter how much I prayed to the Transportation Bureau. I thought they were lazy, but now I get it. They're not lazy. They're just not there."

Bathroom Monologue: The Refund of the King

Agentius was every ounce the rightful successor to the recently deposed throne of the Kyle Empire. He was the son of Celmets Kyle the 4th (and a buxom librarian), narrowly avoiding death in the coup by witlessly blending into the crowd of children in the local nursery - a curious skill shared by most infants. He was raised by humble monks until he reached that tender age when the elderly no longer feel guilty about kicking an irascible, ungrateful bastard child out of their monastery. From that day on, Agentius lived the life of any rightful rulers of a recently overthrown country - hand-to-mouth, with absolutely no chance or thought of becoming king. He had a hard enough time arguing digits off his bar tab. He met his best friend, fiancé, and twelve of his present co-workers at a rustic carnival, when he broke all of them out of their cages. Some might consider starting up a shipyard with twelve infant krakens to be a wee bit foolish. Some might consider getting engaged to an Elf whose normal diet consists entirely of human flesh to be unwise. Some might even consider their first meeting to be vandalism. He considers it highly satisfying. Indeed, the twilight hours on every Saturday morning, just before he and the last of his comrades pass out from their most recent frivolous celebrations, are the only times Agentius feels like a king. And, it's the only time he wants to.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A "While Walking from Home Depot to Borders" Monologue

Felix and Creed grew up on different ends of the same street. A curious zoning law shuffled and dealt children of that neighborhood between two different schools. Thus, these two boys only met for two weeks in their entire childhoods, when the plumbing at Creed's elementary school exploded and his class was temporarily reassigned to Felix's school building. During those two weeks, they had one memorable meeting: when Creed beat the snot out of Felix, and took his lunch money. Creed was a big, funny-looking boy, often mocked for his size, which was the primary reason he turned into a bully; and being beaten up by a big, funny-looking boy became the primary reason for Felix's pathological fear of large men for a decade afterwards.

Creed was kicked out of his house at thirteen for "causing more trouble than you're worth," as his father put it. Felix's mother, who was the rare sort of guidance councilor who might have helped Creed had they met more than once, died that same year. Felix's father did his best, but Felix still ran away from home three years later. Three years apart, the two youths followed almost identical paths down the Mississippi river. Their nearly identical paths leant them almost identical tastes for spicy foods, appreciations for jazz, and talents for finding somewhere safe to sleep. The trek also introduced Felix to a wide array of very tall men; some of them perverted, one whom hurt him badly, and one lanky paraplegic whose tenderness and endless supply of dirty Bible jokes began to turn Felix around on his phobia. This last gentleman, Mr. Corksworth, got Felix into a halfway house. There, the youth learned of a talent of gymnastics that would come to odd use later. Creed also visited this halfway house. He slept in the alley outside Felix's window one night. He ate breakfast there the next morning. He looked a little too "big, mean and gangly," for these parts, or so he overheard two girls commenting. So he left, coincidentally just as Felix came downstairs.

All Creed was any good at was picking fights. He spared the girls, because he only enjoyed hitting men. It'd started when he fought other boys for leftover beans or squatting privileges. Then it matured, if such tendencies can be said to mature, to amateur boxing and fighting in private clubs, where only underage performers were wanted, and the winner always lost a little more than the loser by the end of the night. By the end of the year, this kind of life drained the desire to hurt people right out of Creed. It was only by luck that he fell out of such circles, and into the circuits of the smallest of small-time pro-wrestling. Hitting people - for fake - but making it look real, for pathetically small crowds. They weren't pathetic to him, though; to him, they were intimate, like a gathering of friends. These crowds, sometimes only ten people, bought into his fake fighting, his absurd performance - something he thought only friends could do, and that made each crowd the closest thing he had to friends in his life. In this queer little art it was all about character, about passion, and about appearance. For a guy on that level, Creed was about the biggest and ugliest bad guy those companies ever saw, even before he turned 18. And when he turned 18, they could actually pay him over the table if he wanted (not that he ever did).

At the same time, an amazingly athletic, wiry young man named Felix Jester came along the professional wrestling independents. He was popular for sympathetically countering bigger opponents' offense with deft acrobatics, like he'd trained in gymnastics or something. He was so nimble that no matter how badly an opponent bent or stretched his limbs, he would look bored instead of in pain. The crowds loved it, and had no idea that Felix, their favorite hero, was living out of a used car as he traveled from show to show. The fans had no idea their most hated villain, Killer Creed, also lived out of a used car. Even the writers of the wrestling shows had no idea that these two cars were parked next to one another outside the arena, the night before the a first-time-ever match: Killer Creed VS Felix Jester. Felix was trying to sleep, while Creed was getting his jazz on with the new CD player attachment for his stereo that he could finally afford now on layaway. Felix rolled up his window, waved to get the guy to shut that crap off, before giving up, since Louis Armstrong was one of his favorites, too. He wound up tapping on Creed's window to ask if he would crank it up. They spent most of the night talking to each other from the front seats of two of the most beat-up automobiles in the state, their doors open, almost touching. It was 3:00 AM before one figured out the other was wrestling, and 4:00 AM before the other figured out this one was wrestling him. The next day they put on a Hell of a match, an especially impressive match for two guys who had never met before. Under the guise of characters they feuded for years, but they were friends and traveling partners on the road long after.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Bea Arthur: A Novel

Don't you want to slap authors who add " : A Novel" after their titles? Hearts: A Novel. Orchard: A Novel. Who are you helping here? The guy who restocks the shelves? It's sitting next to six hundred other novels. It's not my fault your horribly unoriginal cover doesn't convey what kind of book it is (it's probably a picture of a building, a road, an empty beach or a photo of you, isn't it?). It's a book in the Fiction section! Picking the thing up and flipping through it, which I'll have to do anyway if I'm going to buy it, will tell me if it's an anthology or a picaresque. If you shaped the book, say, like the Himalayas, disguising the pages as 1,000 meter-tall sheets of ice and rock, then, then I might need you to label it " : A Novel." I'd be quite surprised. I'd probably buy two, for stocking stuffers. But not your 250-page paperback of My Doves: A Novel in the middle of the Fiction section. It doesn't even say, "Checkpoint: A Good Novel," or, "Company: A Novel That Has Some Shortcomings, But There's a Really Clever Ending." Even culinary anti-artists like candy companies put more on their bags than, "Oreos: A Cookie." Given, they do have a more compelling product than most literary authors, but still. It's the principle of the thing, and novels are about the principle of the thing. How am I supposed to trust you with the English language for hundreds of pages when you're wasting words right on the cover? Strunk and White frown, madame. You know what I'd like to do someday? Drive past one of those capital offenders' houses and huck a stone with a note on it through her window. The note would read " : A Rock. "

Bathroom Monologue: When you grow up, you trade in "imaginary friends" for "characters"

"This is why you're so bad at reading the Bible, John. You feel bad for the Jews. You feel bad for the Christians. You think God should do more, especially if He's a Trinity. Then you turn from the full book to your empty notebook, and you feel bad for not helping your characters. You want to be a better god than God. It's cute, but it ought to give you more sympathy for the creator. Think of all the authors out there. How many of them don't kick, stab, rape, addict, orphan or otherwise savage their protagonists? And always the protagonists! Think of all the vile characters in literature that only suffer at the climax of the fiction, while the virtuous have a tough time from the opening. There are thousands of terrible gods walking the earth, raining down a perverted justice called "realism" on their fiction. How many souls would be sympathetic to God if when they died they found out He only did this to seem realistic? As a professional character let me say, I'd much sooner live in an unrealistic, poorly-written Eden than an edgy, sharply-detailed crack alley."

Bathroom Monologue: Those who do not suffer fools usually miss their own foolishness

Emperor Kyle did not suffer fools. If a poet stuttered at recitation, he was banned from the court. If a philosopher dared cite a disliked theologian, she was imprisoned indefinitely. If a doctor failed to cure him within a week, he was beheaded. He pushed science, literature and taxation to new levels - never had the culture been so rich, as everyone in his court could attest. Ignorance was not bliss; it was a crime. That was why it was so funny when the starving masses overthrew Kyle's government, for ignoring them so long.

Bathroom Monologue: From the Annals of Poorly Written Science Fiction, Volume 170

"My world has three races. The first two are the Whites and the Blacks. White people have a kind of tope- or beige-colored skin. Their hair is black, brown, yellow or orange. Black people have brown skin, and black hair. The third race that some people call Yellows or Reds, but those speakers are mostly ignorant. This race has mostly the same skin colors of white people when they've been out in the sun, but their eyes are a little narrower. Their hair is black, too. Oh, and white, black and yellow people all have the same color lips and scar tissue: pink. I guess I'll do it as beige sometimes, for variety. When any of the races gets older, their hair turns grey or white, or just falls out. There's not much rhyme or reason to it. Huh? No, white people are never really white. Truly white people are called "albinos," which is a word from a period in this world's culture that nobody cares about."
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