Friday, June 10, 2005

To Help Ease the Situation.

Craig’s Guide to Easing a Horrific Hangover.

Fitting, because I am hungover right now. Right. Now.

To begin, it is important to note that there are a variety of potential hangovers. Each having their own specific anatomy, which is useful in discovering the clearest way to handle them.

I am not going to bother with the smidgen hangovers which result from having “one beer too many” on some random Tuesday night while watching Seinfeld reruns. That’s not a hangover. A headache and weird dreams do not a hangover make. Besides, all you need is some Bayer, a quart of whatever “sports drink” is available, and a spoonful of shut-the-hell-up to get beyond those hangovers, so there’s no need for a guide.

I’m talking about the MONSTERS of the species. The major, post-fubar variety. This variety. Where you’re wishing for death but know you’re even unluckier than that because you have to actually DO something while in the hazed grips of a crippling hangover. Your body is still boycotting your use of certain vital organs, yet you still have to mow the lawn, make the donuts, give a sales pitch to the idiots of the Southwest Sales Division, or see your parole officer. Under normal circumstances, your average person would quickly fold and toss in the towel. They’d call in sick.

Well, that’s not the way of The Masters. You must learn to deal with the evil after effects of your night of insanity in a constructive way. Embrace the thing. Make it your own. For two reasons: 1) So you’ll understand that getting obliterated on a school night has consequences, so you better make that night of drunken idiocy kick some serious ass to make up for the punishment you are sure to receive. And 2) because it’s your lot in life to suffer immediately after a good time. That’s what being a human is all about. Peaks and valleys (or some metaphorical shit like that). We all ebb and flow, and that’s okay. Welcome to the club.

To flesh out my guide, I’ll use what I consider to be the foundation of the worst of hangovers: The Careless Drunkard Mix. It usually starts off with a Wednesday happy hour, consisting chiefly of beer. You have no intention of making a marathon drinking event out of the evening, you just wanted to “wind down” or whatever the light-weights call it. You have your beers, and on the third one, someone recommends another place. You’re feeling good, so you give the plan a thumbs-up and follow along. It’s only eight o’clock after all. Before you know it, arriving at midnight involved half a bottle of wine, three shots of Jager Meister, a stolen Vodka Tonic (yes, I capitalized that, out of respect) four more beers, two Jack and Cokes, and a pint of gasoline (well, that’s what it tasted like anyway). Now you’re in the “fuck it” stage of Careless Drunkard Mixing. Full force. You’ll drink anything that spills. And you don’t remember much of what happens after midnight.

What you DO remember is that you owe some cool bartender a twenty for getting you and your Careless Drunkard Buddies a cab. Oh, and your car was probably towed, since it was double parked in a pay lot. But those are specific problems for you to address, and while this guide may help you to handle those problems, they aren’t the hangover, which is what my rambling jumble of caca is supposed to help you with.

When you wake up with your mouth feeling like was lined with pumice, your left eye completely dried up, your pants halfway off, your front door open, and you’re twenty minutes shy of egregiously late to something, this is the guide you will need.

1) Everything you do should involve water. Specifically, the consumption thereof. Take every opportunity to do this. The first thing you need to do is get a glass of water. A liter, preferably. Drink half of the glass immediately. Just down it like you did those surfer-on-acid shots that those two biker dudes bought for you. Remember them? You kept telling them that they “really made a cute fuckin’ couple”. They might have been responsible for your charred left pant leg. Come to think of it, they probably didn’t buy you those shots. They bought them for each other and you “intercepted” them at the bar. Such a sweet couple. The bigger one might have punched you too, but those bruises could have come from anywhere, honestly. So you drink half the cup of water. Now pour the other half over your head because you don’t have time for a real shower. Ta-da, you’re clean.

2) Take three of whatever pain killers you have, but stick to the off-the-shelf variety. Don’t go popping any muscle relaxers, nerve benders, or mood variants of any kind. They will do nothing but complicate an already volatile situation even further. Stick with Tylenol, Bayer, Advil, whatever you aren’t allergic to. More water. Feel free to take a second shower if you’re up to it.

3) Take all your current clothes off and set them aside. Throw them in a corner or something. Keep them separate from your wardrobe. They smell like a bar full of corpses, corpses comprised of olive juice and smoking Marlboro Reds. You don’t want that to migrate over to your other threads. Plus, you have no idea what you did while wearing them. We’re talking evidence here. Some scene-of-the-crime type shit. You’ll probably have to burn them later, so it is best to quarantine them for the time-being.

4) Stand in the middle of the room, looking stupid for two minutes, because you have no idea what the hell is going on. Scratch yourself periodically. That’s not really part of the guide, but that’s what I usually do, so I’m throwing it in here for continuity.

5) Dress in your finest threads. Your upper-echelon “business casual”. You just poured a cup of water over your head and your eyes are the color of butter, so you’ll need to do something to redeem your appearance. Pressed clothes and nice shoes go a long way when you’re trying to convince people that you’re actually responsible. Wear long sleeves if possible, to cover up any stupid stamps on your hands (lower arm, elbow, collar bone, wherever).

6) Remember to brush your teeth. Many novices skip this step because it is time-consuming, and they don’t realize that their breath smells like the drain trap of a frat-party sink. Brush real good. Get in there and really scrub around. Get that tongue. The same tongue you used to lick the face of that waitress. She spilled her whole tray, you know. That’s not cool. But whatever, because you probably tipped her four hundred dollars because you got all confused when they kicked you out and you had to sign your tab. You kept calling it “this month’s rent check”, and they never bothered to correct you. You can’t do addition in that condition anyway. You might have tipped her $4HH.8n because you suck like that. Regardless, remember to brush your grill.

7) Check your face for anything too incriminating. Turn on the bathroom light while doing this, it seriously helps. Check for the following: black eye(s), missing teeth, swollen lip(s), cuts, shaved patches of hair, missing ear(s), new earrings/tattoos (especially if the tattoo is ‘tribal’. If it is, then just kill yourself immediately because there’s no living that down. Ever.), blood (yours or someone else’s), or stamps that transferred from your hand to your face as you slept like a gunshot victim in the entryway. Clear up anything that is easily handled, and make up something believable (which no one will believe, but they’ll appreciate the effort) for the big stuff. Black eye? You fell down some stairs at the homeless shelter where you read to feral children. Patch of hair missing? Your half-brother is going through chemo and you’re showing some solidarity (I am so going to hell). New earring? You’ve started pirating as a hobby. Tear-drop tattoo? Someone had to die, and that’s how you and your roll-dogs handle shit. Whatever you think will fly, given the audience you will be receiving. This exercise should be very involved, because it will help you keep your mind off of how much pain you are in.

8) Go to whatever task you are responsible for that day (job, a hangin’, Al Qaida meeting, whatever), immediately make your presence known (hey, you showed up right?) and then LAY LOW. All you have to do is subsist until the booze wears off and the hangover gives way. Feel free to let that phone go to voice mail. You can call them back after lunch. Hang out in bathroom more often than normal. Tell anyone you have a face-to-face with that your allergies are beating your ass, and the medicine you’re taking is seriously making you drowsy. They’ll stop listening to you after they see how yellow your eyes are, or after they get hit by the “stench of bar” wafting off your person, but that’s okay. Again, it’s the effort they’re looking for.

9) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. To pull through this like the soldier you are, you will need to flush your system of all toxins as fast as possible. The true end of a hangover is marked by the immense bomb you will drop in the nearest porcelain pelican. It will be impressive. It may scare you. It may even talk to you. Ignore it, as you owe it nothing. Flush, and be gone.

Eat a greasy lunch and take a nap as soon as possible. It is best that you continue to avoid anyone of authority or importance in your life. You are still liable to say something stupid, smell like compost, or pass-out mid-sentence. So, steer clear of anyone whom you worry will judge you for being such a dumbass.

And so ends Craig’s Guide to Dealing With a Horrific Hangover. Feel free to add your own wisdom to my guide. I always appreciate the advice of professionals.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Carpe Diem, for the Self-Centered

Craig’s Guide To Making Things Entertaining. For yourself.

There’s nothing more irritating than finding yourself in a situation which is beyond your control, and you are conscripted to remain there. You may have volunteered for it, or it was thrust upon you. Regardless of how the situation started, it spiraled into the oblivion of boredom, and you have become a potentially hopeless captive. I say “potentially hopeless” because you have options. And I am going to help you explore them by way of this guide. My examples will be discreet, but the principles applied can be used wherever and whenever you find yourself muttering “man, if this doesn’t pick up quick, I might have to stab someone in the neck.”

Situation one: The Strategic Planning Meeting.

This is a situation you’re in because you have risen to a position of authority wherever you ply your trade. You’re so high up, they want everyone at your level to stop actually doing work, and get together to ‘strategize’ some shit. We all know that these meetings are based on the best of intentions, but really, they’re just a venue for that douche balloon in Finance to ramble on-and-on about some new bullshit ‘initiative’ which will invariably involve either a) buying some of his cousin’s crash-happy software to ‘optimize’ something or other, b) ‘implementing’ a new ‘business process’ which will more than likely lead to nothing more than a bloated discretionary account for executive lunches, or c) the hiring of some ‘new talent’ to bring ‘fresh perspective’ to ‘current corporate practices’, which probably involves hiring the waitress from the titty-bar he was at the night before.

So you need not listen, unless you’re the one proposing such beneficial ‘initiatives’ in the name of strategization. Bring a notepad, black pen and a nice #2 pencil (WITH eraser, seeing as how you are not Picasso). First, while the Douche - we’ll call him Mr. Balloon (out of respect of course) - is rambling on about expenditure this, and streamlining that, you draw a detailed picture of your own genitals. Feel free to look down there every now and again, to make sure that you are sketching a reasonable representation. Honestly, it should be enough that you are appearing to be taking notes whilst adding cool shade to your baby maker, but not everyone is entertained so easy. If this fails to entertain you, then you may choose to take it up a level and write “smells like” just above your art, with an arrow pointing to your sketched naughty machine. Hold it up to the speaker, somewhat discreetly, and as soon as he sees it: pinch your nose, squint and start pointing at whoever is sitting next to you. If this fails to entertain, then you are an insensitive communist robot, and you’d probably enjoy his shpeel on ‘departmental best practices’ anyway, so don’t bother.

Situation two: The Baby Shower.

This is for everyone who is not directly involved with said shower. All the best friends and the mother should be all over this party like it was a… baby shower. I have no idea what would be more entertaining to them than that. Seriously. Ever been to one? It’s like an explosion of love and support that would make the Care Bears jealous. But if you’re one of the boyfriends, or a second-hand friend who was invited solely because you always buy people the coolest shit for birthdays (and it was assumed that your giving nature would transfer to a pre-person), then you may need to do some self-entertaining to get through.

Now for the record, I have never been to a baby shower that I was not honored to attend. All my friends' babies are amazing. Seriously. I don't mess around when it comes to my friends' babies. They really are special. That withstanding, I can still proceed because my imagination kicks much ass and I can totally see how these events would suck to an outsider. To my friends, I love all your babies, and I appreciate the invites (I like to buy the little tikes a SWING! Because swings are by far the coolest baby-thing on the market today. Or ever).

So you’re at the "Hooray Baby!" function, and you’re praying that the games would just speed up a bit. Or that you had a fifth of bourbon in your pocket. Or a stunt double. Whatever. You aren’t going anywhere for a LONG time, trust me, so you need to get comfortable with what you’ve got. And what you have is your sharp wit, some deep-seated animosity for mankind, and an impressive ability to accost random strangers. The assumption being: you don’t know very many people at this event. And even if you do, it won’t really matter.

Start talking like a baby. Just do it. Bah-bah-kee-kee-DO! You know the jibberish I’m talking about. That “hey-look-baby’s-learning-to-use-words!” shit. If anyone gets cranky about it, just tell them it’s what you always do at these things. Something of “a testament to the baby’s development” or some shit. Wander around, eat some cake, address some strangers, all the while talking like your head is still soft. But what you’re really going to do is pull what I like to call a “Kinney”. You see, there’s a shitty little cartoon floating around out there, way past its prime, where this one kid always gets killed. Well, he mumbles everything he says due to a hooded-coat which covers his mouth. Like a crappy caucasian version of Mush Mouth. And in the opening song for this cartoon, and pretty much whenever he ‘speaks’, the writers are actually muffling an unintelligible string of perverse obsenities, which is quite possibly the only redeeming quality of this steaming bowl-o-dick cartoon.

And you’re going to pull a “Kinney” by way of baby-talk. Your sounds will be a disjointed mix of blah-blah, but you’ll be telling strangers that you’d put money on their bondage habits. Tell the father that the baby is yours (even if you’re female, because how often do you get THAT kind of opportunity?). Tell someone that you will be the first one to get that baby high. Or that you plan to use the Michael Jackson Babysitting Techniques manual. Hell, tell them whatever you want. You have carte blanche goddamnit! Tell deep dark secrets about your sordid trips to Africa to star in Congolese Porn (one of the most popular searches to bring people to this site, I guarantee you). Tell them what you did to your little cousin at the pool that one time (you sicko). Discuss how you voted for Bush because you knew he would win anyway, but you always lie about it and claim you voted Green. Go for it! It’s all you! Whaa-whaa-bah-bah bitches! Sweeeeet!

Situation 3: Night in the Drunk Tank.

Now I’ve never been in there, and if I had, I would probably lie [brag] about it, so there’s no reason to front. But I’m pretty sure I would know all the people I could run into while there, and it is pretty easy to imagine that I would be hung-over (hello, I’m in a drunk tank) or blacked out, both of which I am familiar. So I feel qualified to speculate.

Blacked out is easy. It's self entertaining. Your body’s struggle to keep your liver from saying “man, fuck this shit” and calling it quits is more than enough drama to keep your comatose ass entertained. If your bid ends in sync with your ‘awakening’, then the stories people will tell you later about the peeing of the pants and the setting of the fires will entertain you for hours on end. Until you get the bills.

But if you’re still in there when you come to, and you’re without your standard forms of hung-over entertainment (greasy foods, cable television, sex-Jenga) then you’ll need this brief guide.

All the others in there with you are in similar situations, with a similar handicap. Some of them are potentially more seasoned than you at handling the one-two punch of jail time + hang-over. But you know what? They aren’t hardened criminals, they’re just drunken idiots. Like you! So get over your fears of incarceration and start a sing-a-long. The ones who are still drunk will sing with you, because (surprise) they’re still drunk! The ones who do not move are still blacked out, and they’ll be of no use to you. You must weed out the ones who are not singing and look pissed about how the rest of you are making a racket with your shitty rendition of The Flintstones Theme Song. Him. That’s the dude. He’s the guy you need to go make friends with. Because you’re going to entertain yourself by recommending that you both beat up that asshole in the corner who won’t stop singing that stupid-ass Flintstones song. Remember, this is about entertainment, not ethics or morality. Besides, you're in jail for breaking the law, it may be best that you leave your morals and ethics tucked away for the duration.

After you’re done with the hung-over beat-down, I suggest you take a nap. You'll probably need it after that workout. You’ll be fresh and ready to go when your sentence ends. Just make sure not to sing in your sleep, you hopeless drunk.


Monday, June 06, 2005

Look Me In the Eyes First. Thanks.

So. I decided to actually make good on at least ONE of my proposed guides. In all honesty, I had no intention of making good. It was all empty promises, thrown out there to what I presumed were empty seats. But since two good friends decided to jab me on it, I couldn’t avoid the challenge. So I'll deliver, but not what was requested of me.

I’m all enigmatic like that.

When I slapped that list up there, I wasn’t thinking too clearly. In fact, I don’t remember my reasoning behind half of those potential guides. However, I do feel very confident that I can successfully write any of them. The quality may be questionable, but the completion will be undeniable. Undeniably questionable, if you will.

And so, here we are, my first (and potentially last) “Craig’s Guide To”. I picked the one you’re probably most interested in to start with:

Craig’s guide to avoiding pushing crack dealers.

The first thing about crack dealers that needs to be understood is that they are businessmen. They just want to make money. If selling ice cream were a reasonable way for a fourteen year-old with no transportation to score themselves a 6 series BMW, then they’d be pushing that frozen sugar milk. But as we all know, working for Marble Slab is not what anyone thinks of when they think about dumping wheelbarrows of cash into their indoor swimming pool. No one has coined it as Baskin “bling-bling” Robbins for good reason.

So they’re in it for the money. What that means to you is that they are reasonable on at least one level with which you are familiar, you cash-mongering capitalist pig. (“What the fuck Craig? Are you comparing my motivations in life to that of a crack dealer, you insensitive asshole?” Why yes, I am. Cry somewhere else.)

Once you understand their sole motivation (get that cheddar, son!), then it is important to understand what separates them from any other salesman you may run across in life. You see, salesmen like the douche who sold you your last Hyndai, your dad who pimps long-term annuities to confused retirees, or your cabernet-stained uncle Brandon who has been saturating his much-touted “Upper Mid-West Sales Region” (of which he was recently named VP, congrats Bran, you forgot my birthday again, you dick) with pharmaceuticals he is incapable of pronouncing, these salespeople are only different from the crack dealer in terms of operation within the law. You might think that to be a rather pronounced difference, and a thick, thick line to cross. Not so much. The only real difference is that after the initial sales pitch has failed, and the cash-money fades away, your annuity-peddling dad is bound by law to avoid shaking the old folks down. The crack dealer on the other hand, always has the option to say “fuck it,” and just rob your ass. But don’t think for a second that your pops hasn’t considered the same thing. We both know he mutters to himself, almost daily, “fuck these old bastards, hiding my money from me. It’d be easier if I could cut out this whole “financial product” thing and just beat ‘em with a pipe instead.” I don’t blame him. His job is complete shit.

The street pharmacist, on the other hand, is already operating outside the confines of civil law. He (I am using “he” to simplify this discussion, not to disregard all the hard working women and girls out there, busting their asses to slang that cane) sells an untaxed item and depending on how much he’s holding: makes him a felon. So he risks very little by adding aggravated assault/robbery to the ticket. Add to that the reasonable assumption that he is armed for protection purposes and probably has some lingering anger issues from a hardscrabble childhood not portrayed on Eight is Enough.

Now that the motivation (paper, benjies, mad dollahs) and capability (already a felon, .38 in waistband) have been established, it is easy to understand your fear when confronted by such businessmen. And if you happen to find yourself wandering through a strange part of a strange town (or your town, your neighborhood, your neighbor’s yard, wherever), are approached by an individual who is obviously moving rocks, and do not have the benefit of an automobile’s outer shell to buffer you from undesirables… then follow this guide, word for word. Word.

1. If he is alone, and actually asks you “would you like to buy some of this great crack I have for sale here?” then he is either a cop, or really green male hooker (fresh trade). Either way, you are, by rules of the streetz (not that I abide by such things) to kick him in the twins and yell “Armageddon is upon us, bitch!” or start to drag your left foot and drool while mumbling to yourself about black helicopters. Even though you are not dealing with a crack dealer, pushing is still not an option you should consider. I recommend acting retarded, but that’s because I’m too lazy to run from male prostitutes. They’re pretty fit for the most part.

2. If he is alone, chooses to stare directly into your eyes while fumbling in his pockets without saying a single word, and steps toward you as you approach, then you have probably met your first freelance slanger o’ rock. Or some creepy dude playing pocket pool, waiting for some eye contact to light his fuse. Either way, you don’t want to do any pushing here. If it is indeed a crack sprinkler, then you must tread lightly. He’s a freelancer, so he’s tough as nails. He is the most likely peddler to resort to a good ol’ fashioned stick-up. Again, he only wants your money, not your soul. Well, he may want your kicks too. Perhaps your watch, engagement ring, belly button piercing and monogrammed underwear too. But he’ll seriously settle for a sale. To avoid pushing, simply buy as much crack as you have the cash to. Go home and bend you a spoon for proper smoking. Feel free to become a repeat customer if you appreciate the quality of his product. After all, it’s the level of service involved that separates one pusher from the next. If it’s just some weird white dude with scruffy blond hair and beard, fiddling in his pockets, help a brutha out and look me in the eyes. Just for a second. No need to push or anything. Thanks.

3. If he is amongst others (better known as his ‘clique’, ‘mob’, ‘crew’, or his ‘boys’) on the front porch of a residence and acts pretty much the same as the freelancer, then just go ahead and buy the crack you showed up to buy. No one of average intelligence “accidentally” runs into those houses, and you know it. They’re out of the way, off the beaten path for good reason. If, by chance, you DO accidentally run across such a house, then there’s no time like that one to pick up a habit which you are obviously not intelligent enough to avoid. Because again, you are an idiot and crack might end up being the best thing to happen to you. Smoke up.

This is a rough guide, and your situation may differ slightly from the three scenarios described above. Perhaps it is family member who is offering you the crack. To avoid pushing them, you might consider punching them in the face. Or hitting them with a bat. Or your car. But remember what your mother always taught you: don’t push people, it’s rude. But busting a coke bottle over his head? Well, that’s fair game in my book.

Good luck with your next encounter. I’m sure you’ll handle it well. And just like everything else, the more often you do it: the more natural it becomes. Pretty soon you’ll be seeing your local crack dealer on a daily basis, eating banana peels, doing head-spins for change, and living behind Circle K! And that relationship, or your newfound life would never have blossomed if you had chosen to push the guy. See? Playing nice always pays off in the end.

Civil society kicks much ass.