Makes Me Wanna Holler

Dude, I ran across the greatest poem today. I posted it over in my journal. You simply must find some way to have it read aloud to you to find the full cadence and glory.

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Over the weekend Koz had his 34th birthday. He was complaining that I have never written him a birthday column. Despite the fact that he has appeared in more columns than anyone else, he's right. So, I pulled one out from Thanksgiving, 2001. It is abysmally written---seriously; you're going to howl at my lack of skillz--but somewhat fun too. It's so long ago Koz still had the apostrophe in his name. Back before I had a huge audience and website and hot women trying to kill me (well, as many), I had The Hyperion Chronicles.

So, for K'oz. Happy birthday, big guy. I miss the old days, when it was just your mom who ordered you around, not your mom AND your wife.

#69 Makes Me Wanna Holler

OK, I admit it. Maybe I was a little high-strung. I had ignored the second piece of advice my mother ever gave me. The first was “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.” But this was followed closely by “Never go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.” But, my friend K’oz wanted me to go with him, and I owed him a favor or two. Anyway, we were in his truck, attempting to go from one mall to another in search of the elusive sweater for his fiancée. (Incidentally, the first mall was actually run by a credit card company. Talk about cutting out the middleman!) As you can imagine, traffic was heavier than an Oprah confession show, and there was much jockeying for position. K’oz let several people in as we wound our way to the exit, and not one driver gave the little wave. We became more and more incensed as we watched this display of bad manners. I’ve heard every excuse from women don’t want to lead guys on to people are afraid of getting shot and I’m not buying any of it. If someone lets you in, you do the right thing and wave! I tell you the truth; it makes me so mad I wanna holler.

Ever the one to use anything as a column idea, I pulled out my notebook and K’oz and I started to list other things that set us off. Staying with the car theme, K’oz brought up how he hated it when people blocked the intersection. People, in heavy traffic, you don’t go into the intersection until you’re sure you can get all the way through. It also occurred to me—and maybe I’ve mentioned this before—that I hate it when I’m in the car listening to the radio and I hear a new song I really like, and the don’t tell me the name of the song or who sings it! That should be against the law.

(This sweater has nothing to do with the column, but it gave me an excuse. Guys understand.)

Over the next few hours, as we searched 41 stores for a sweater that was now taking on mythical status, we continued to list things that really bothered us. We got on a kick about TV. First of all, I realize we are in the midst on an ongoing national story, but Cable News channels know absolutely no bounds. It’s not like this is a new practice: Remember before September 11th, when all the news could talk about was Gary Condit? Whatever the story—from shark bites to war—the media becomes obsessed with super-saturation. I know we need the news, but we don’t need the obsession. And while we’re on the subject of news, why does the local news feel compelled to depress us every night? K’oz and I think there should be a law that for every negative item the news should be required to report something positive. Finally on this subject—and maybe this is just us—we hate it when we’re watching sports and the networks cut away to local news before the event is completed. Hey: unless someone’s getting invaded, I want to see whether Tiger can win again. Who’s with me?

Walking around millions of strangers (OK—hundreds of thousands), and still in search of a sweater that I was now convinced was being worn by Jimmy Hoffa, K’oz and I branched into etiquette with people we’ve just met. For instance, when you meet someone, and they give you their name, that’s what they want to be called. If they wanted a nickname, they’d have given you a nickname. If you don’t know the person, call them what they want to be called. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but when I’m in line to buy tickets or waiting on a table to eat, there is nowhere else I can stand. It is therefore the height of bad breeding to light up when I’m standing there. Lastly on this subject, when you’re talking about a movie with a great ending, just assume everyone around you hasn’t seen the film. For the love of Evon, don’t ruin the ending for others—or so help me, when I’m in charge of the world I will come for you! OK—I need a few deep breaths.

This daylong saga for colored wool had made us pretty hungry, and finding a place to eat brought up a whole new round of things to holler at. First were the restrooms. I’m happy to say our restaurant had great facilities, but it underscores the point that you can tell quite a bit about an establishment by how they keep their restrooms. I mean, why spend all that time and energy arranging entrées to look great and then gross everyone out in the privy? Our server was outstanding, but this brought up another point. I will never tip a server poorly, but when they keep the coins when returning my change I feel like they think I’m going to stiff them and they’re going to keep whatever small amount they can. That offends me. Bring me my bloody change, and I’ll take care of you.

The bill came—and this made me think of something to holler about myself (after all, if I’m going to scream and yell at others, I need to be ready to point the knife inward). You see, I had been investing in the Futures Market—having wanted to keep my truck and my home in the future—by paying rent and the car note, and I was a bit short of funds. I had planned on not eating at the restaurant, and K’oz had to browbeat me into letting him pick up the tab. I have a hard time letting my friends and family do things for me, and that’s not a great trait. It’s good to have pride, but if people who care about you want to help, let them. Otherwise it’s like slapping them in the face. And speaking (or writing) of others, I have this problem (and I’d bet money if I had any that you do too) of knowing how to take a compliment. Most of us have a poor self-image, and we can’t imagine someone would say something nice about the way we look or act. If people compliment you they mean it—or at least they’re trying to be nice—so let them.

Well, K’oz and I came to the end of our day with no sweater and all hollered out. I know hollering made us feel better—and it can work for you too. Write and tell me what makes you want to holler and if it’s any good I’ll include it in an upcoming column. And don’t worry, with the holidays coming up I plan to inundate you with good cheer; positive things about this time of year, and how not to kill your relatives. See you again soon!

November 23, 2001

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sniff, sniff, the good old days.