Conundrums. Always conundrums.

Here I sit at the computer, writing instead of shaving because I don't trust my inquisitive nature. And the Wifely's not home to look at me like I'm crazy. See, part of the gene package I was handed in the womb was a complimentary set of bigass thick eyebrows. I've kept them in check via the scissor method since adolescence, and that's worked for the most part. But there's always that strand that gets missed, and it taunts me from window reflections throughout the day, until I get home and completely forget to do something about it.

But as I was using my Wahl Beard Trimmer this morning (highly recommended, by the way), it occurred to me: Would this work on my eyebrows? Probably, but what would they look like? Would Bob Geldof's Pink stare back from the mirror? And it's not like moustaches and beards, where if you screw up, you can just shave them off and pretend you meant to. If your eyebrows are fucked up, you're just a freak. And I definitely don't need to give my neighbors any more reason to stare at the Big, Dumb Honky. I dunno, I'll think about it while I write.

Last week, I forgot to mention that I've finally taken the Contact Lens Plunge. Yep, I'm touching my own eyeballs. Blugggh. It's something that has scared the hell out of me for freakin' ever, but it seems that I'm on a quest to vanquish all of my fears all of a sudden. The casualties so far:

1. Fear of needles. Various stupid illnesses over the last 4 years have rid me of this.

2. Fear of hospitals. Ditto the stupid illnesses.

3. Fear of enemas. This was a fear I wasn't even aware of until discovering I had to get one. And though they no longer frighten me, I'd really rather not have another, thanks.

4. Fear of Dallas. This has transformed into loathing, which is preferable.

5. Fear of New York City. Guess I whipped that one. Though I haven't traversed The Bronx yet...

6. Fear of marriage. I'll get back to you on that one. Ow. Damned over-the-shoulder readers.

Not bad, compared to those still to go:

1. Fear of skydiving. Which only makes sense for wingless beings. And for those who have seen Quality Assurance departments in action and would rather not trust in parachute workmanship guarantees.

2. Fear of hipness. A tough one to shake, and not entirely without its usefulness.

3. Fear of scorpions. Though I haven't been plagued by it since moving northward. Speaking of...

We're eating with some relatives at my parents' house last week, and my cousin discovers one of Satan's Stinging Lobsters in his drink. The fact that he didn't leap up and scream like a girl is interesting to me, for it seems that to do so is the only course of action for people with any sense. Now I don't trust him. What kind of man calmly places his glass down and reports quietly that there is a sinister minion of the Dark Lord floating sinisterly in his iced tea?

But enough of Thanksgiving in Texas. For it seems Christmas in New York began this week. With snow. SNOW, for the love of Pete and all his Peteness. 3-6 inches, depending on the neighborhood. I mean...damn. And it was aggressive snow, too. I tried to walk outside while it was falling, and kept wincing for all the snow blowing into my eyes.

I didn't get to see much of the snowfall, actually, because I worked a 2nd shift at ye olde Brooklyn Army Terminal that evening. Which was about as much fun as the last time I worked there, except Rocky The Sweaty Thighed One wasn't running the joint. This time it was Biff. Biff's my age, and he likes management. A lot. He likes it so much that he read a book about it called Mein Kampf.

As soon as he barked the first "Break!!" command, I knew there would be some Norma Rae shenanigans whether I liked it or not. And I wasn't mistaken. 4 hours into the shift, Biff shouts, "Lunch!! You got 20 minutes, but finish the bucket you're on first!!" Okay, there are two things wrong with this order:

1. By law, lunch has to be at least 30 minutes.

2. We all have different amounts left in our buckets, since we weigh and stamp mail at different speeds depending on the size of the pieces. So someone isn't even gonna get 20 minutes.

I decide I'm gonna let the second one slide, because I only have a few pieces left. But by gar, I'm gonna take my 30 minutes. I slowly eat the chicken nuggets I brought, savoring what little there is to savor about chickenesque food product. I look at the ol' watch, and there's about 10 minutes left in my legal lunch. So I saunter back to my desk and begin to read a book. But I know what's coming. One of Biff's female sub-managers approaches me.

"Is time to work. Is break time over."

"No, actually, is not. We get 30 minutes, right?"

"30 minutes? Who say 30 minutes?"

"That would be the law."

"Wait here, please." And off she goes to Biff. Meanwhile my fellow temps are eyeing me sidelong as if I'd just dropped a prizewinning fart. I know from experience that they're determining which way the wind blows, and if they should drop their loads or curse the gas. At last the lady returns: "My boss, he want to see you."

Yep. Had to happen. I stomp over to the command center, where Biff's got his feet up on the table. Once I'm in there, he doesn't seem to remember why he wanted to see me.

"Yes?" I offer.

"Oh, right," he suddenly remembers.

"You know, lunch is 20 minutes."

"Not according to the law."

This throws him a bit. "Yeah, well, no...I mean, well, you DO get 30 minutes."

"We do?"

"Yeah, I mean..." searching, searching for excuses, ah, found one, "You know how you took a 20 minute break earlier? Well, they're usually only 15 minutes, but we make 'em 20, so when you add it all up, you get a total of 60 minutes break time."

"Ah." Interesting theory, though I'm pretty sure I don't buy it.

"I mean, usually we tell everybody, but today we didn't."

"Yes, I know."

"But normally we do."


"So it's 20 minutes."

"I see." Dammit, I've wasted the rest of my lunch in this stupid office. How to conclude this? I still don't feel quite right about this supposed system, but I'm tired of screwing with this idiot. "Well, you might keep us informed in future."

"Yeah, I guess I should."

"Okay, then."

Not really a victory for labor standards, I must admit, but I feel better for having brought it up. What the hell's the matter with people?

So anyhow, I was talking about the snow. There was a lot of it. And what's funny is the transforming effect it has on our somewhat tattered old neighborhood. All of the old row houses now look like cozy, grandmotherly abodes, and the view from the end of our street is like a Norman Rockwell piece, with strategically-gathered bits of snow on the tree branches and windowsills. Makes me want a Red Rider Carbine Action BB Gun or a Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring. And yes, we shall soon be watching A Christmas Story. Our friends in New Haven claim to have never seen it (the horror!), so we'll school 'em good at some point this month.

We cranked the original How The Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon the other day (Jim Carrey can bite my ass). If songwriters really give a shit about finding the perfect rhyme, they should read more Dr. Seuss. Seriously, how can you beat this:

"Then he did the same thing to the other Whos' houses/
Leaving crumbs much too small for the other Whos' mouses..."

I mean, damn.

I stomped around in Prospect Park the day after the snow fell, and it was a gorgeous sight. Rolling fields of white, geese wandering over frozen expanses of iced ponds, kids riding trashcan lids down perfectly sloped hills. I'll say this: You wanna get people to look at you like you've lost yer marbles, drop down on your back and make a damn 6-foot-4 snow angel. It's like tits on a frog.

The biggest news of the week, though, is that the Wifely and I will soon be published authors. Her company pays beginning authors one-time fees (as opposed to royalties) for writing their young adult nonfiction series books. But these fees are rather large, by po' folk standards. So we both picked a few titles from the series, sent 'em some writing samples, and they asked us to do one apiece. Hers is on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in the early part of the century, and mine is on the Six Day War of 1967.

So I gotta come up with 8,000 words to tell 5th-to-6th-grade readers about the Six Day War. It'll be a challenge, but it's definitely doable. The thing's not due until May, at which point I'll get paid. The gist of all this is that we've got a bit of money coming in during the Spring, which would be a dandy time to secure an apartment of our own. This is rather exciting, needless to say.

See, sometimes you just have to wait a few days for things to turn. Like the chicken from our local grocer. I don't know where they get this shit from (Alaska?), but you have to eat it before the Sell By date or it's stinky time. Consequently, we eat a lot of pork ribs instead. And Chinese food.

Which reminds me, I'm fucking hungry. I think I'll put that beard trimmer up before I go, though. Nothing good can come of sharp things in the hands of a nutrient-deficient mind.



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