Monthly Archives: August 2015


Maybe I Should Have Started Freebasing Heroin Instead

The kids and 10,000 YouTube videos wore me down and made promises my carpet wouldn’t see kept. We got a puppy. It’s surprisingly difficult to actually get your hands on an actual puppy in Southern California. The shelter waiting period is longer than one for a handgun—they clearly think you’re starting a dog fighting ring. In the end, we found an ad in the furniture section of Craigslist that was entirely in Spanish except for the word “beagle,” and our fate was sealed.


I sent an email in Spanish to which the family responded by having their English-speaking father call me. Clearly, I can’t pass for a Spanish speaker even in writing.


Here are the good things about having a puppy:

  • Extreme cuteness
  • Shiny black nose
  • Saintly sleeping


Here are the bad things about having a puppy:

  • Every other thing on the face of the earth


You know when you buy a 1982 Mitsubishi Eclipse and add the $500 rims and now you need an LED underbody kit and a horn that plays “La Bamba”? No? Me neither, but when you get a puppy, now you need a collar, tag, shots, deworming, crate, playpen, and a horn that plays “La Bamba.” A dog picked up full of fleas and worms from inner- city Oakland racks up enough expense to outfit an Eclipse pretty quickly. It’s like a baby without the shower gifts.


I work at home, so now I have a companion. She’s like every annoying office colleague I’ve ever had rolled into one. Ashley who eats your yogurt—the puppy eats your furniture. Melissa who won’t stop talking—puppies have seventy-five different ways of getting your attention, all of which include copious quantities of noise. And Elaine’s messy files have nothing on a pile of crap under the dining room table.


Like babies, God tricks you into a puppy with cuteness and takes away your better judgment with sleep deprivation or the streets would be filled with Moses in the bulrushes baskets of puppies. Take the dog and the money’s yours. You can even resell them on Craigslist, but try the pet section this time.


I’m Three Neck Tattoos Short

My dad cruises all the time. According to him, it’s the only way to travel, but as I waited in line to check in, I couldn’t imagine him there. I was having trouble imagining me in this line. I’ve got a strong WT streak in me (white trash for the uninitiated). I’ll stay at Motel 6, and a Denny’s grilled cheese always hits the spot, but I don’t camp out at The Dollar Tree for four days. It appeared the rock-bottom fare on the cruise line I’ll call Circus was a siren song to the loud, scantily clad, heavily rouged, blowing through their unemployment benefits crowd—a booze cruise for the 40-oz. set.


The ship, let’s call it the Inventiveness, runs 3- and 4-day cruises from Southern California to Mexico. She sails up and down the coast of California and Mexico . . . never anywhere else. She doesn’t peel off and head to Europe or even the Bahamas. She just ferries boatload after boatload of drunk fast-food workers in for a good time Fresno with décor lifted from the Vegas Tropicana.


My good friend Kate and I have been traveling together since we found a snake in the pit toilet at church camp. She’d been on this cruise before, years before, and was designated a VIP, entitling her to one free 33-oz. bottle of water. You connoisseurs may recognize this size as “the more than you can drink in one sitting.” We didn’t let the snake stop us in 1979, and we weren’t going to let the unwashed masses stop us this time.


Cruise we did. We got the fruity drink in the cup shaped like a fish whose colors exactly matched my cruisewear top I lovingly call my Boca Raton wear. We played the heck out of bingo and sang along at the piano bar, which involved a great many keys in each and every song. We did skip the “art” sale. I was afraid that after a few days on board a Velvet Elvis above my fireplace would seem just the ticket. A narrow miss.


But on our last day aboard, Kate went prospecting and stumbled on the Serenity deck—so serene that at first we feared it was only for VIPs—read Kate. But no. It was for all of us. Complete with special yellow towels and situated at the back of the boat, we scored front row seats with only our toes between us and a view of the wide-open water. There we camped, outlasting three rounds of bachelorette parties until our stomachs called us to dinner and the Kathy Lee Gifford wine, Gifft. If you didn’t know that existed, you’ve been hanging out at all the right places.


The Gifft was flowing at the Illusions Lounge that last night. If you’re a fan of people watching, a night at the Illusions Lounge will require your prescription to be adjusted. It starts out as dancin’ to the oldies and at 10 p.m. moves into “I can twerk better than you in an outfit that would get me arrested in thirty-seven states” club. Our evening culminated in listening to a lover’s quarrel coming from the stateroom across the hall in between the slamming door and unique combinations of the seven dirty words, which I desperately tried to drown out with a rerun of The Love Boat but to no avail.


It was a cruise for the ages. A hearty thank-you to Circus Cruise Line for opening my eyes to a great many things I once believed only existed on TV—or maybe on Hollywood & Vine. I do want to be clear, though, I’m not saying don’t go on a Circus cruise. Just make sure you have all your shots. The Inventiveness in all her tarted-up glory is waiting for you.