Monday, April 27, 2009

It my birfday!

In high school, I had two friends named Patrick. One went on to become a civil engineer and begat five daughters. In his spare time he curls using his minivan as the stone and once a year disappears to a cabin in the woods with his brothers where no voice higher than a baritone is permitted for a few days.

The other had somewhat of a vivid imagination and wide creative streak and would routinely enlist us to make life-sized papier mache mannequins which he would dress in hunter's gear and strap to the hood of his sister's jeep for a quick ride through town. He also had a whole repetoir of fictional characters he would tell wildly amusing stories about.

A set of these characters was loosely based on Carol Burnett's "Mama's Family" and Mama and Eunice were present except that Eunice was a little younger, meaner and had a brother who was a few fries short of a happy meal.

Patrick named him "Timmy" about 20 years before South Park was a glimmer in any censor's eye. Patrick, like Patrick and like me was essentially raised on seventies television. We all lived in a part of the country where in winter you had two choices in the evening: Watch TV or go out and freeze to death.

Patrick noticed that in sitcoms, cop dramas, action dramas and whatever gendre was being tossed our way between Dr. Pepper ads, every time a slightly lower functioning, special needs, challenged...

Aw hell, retard was introduced the kid invariably was named Timmy.

So Patrick created Timmy as a nephew, younger brother, cousin, whatever to Eunice and Eunice would regularly torment Timmy 'cause, let's face it, he was a quart low but Eunice and Momma weren't running with full crankcases either.

One night, in Patrick's story anyway, Eunice got up at around two a.m., went to Timmy's room, woke him up and announced:

"Timmy, its your birthday. Now you go down to the old recliner in the basement, the one in the corner by the furnace. Now you sit there and wait and we'll all be down shortly with your presents."

Timmy, all excited, dashed down to the chair, sat there expectantly until Momma came down with a load of laundry at about eleven the next morning.

"What you doing there Timmy?"

"It my birfday!"

"No it isn't! Land sakes, its June and your birthday is in September. What ever got that idea into you??"

Emotional torment. Patrick recognized that. He had a keen insight into the human condition which allowed him to be so successful in later life as a...

Drug dealer.

Now before you go casting moral dispersions, consider this. He was just out of college, needed to pay loans back, didn't have many other prospects and really just found a need to fill. It was, in a sense, market research with a bong.

The Timmy story's stuck around my brain and I told it to Thumper a couple of times. She found it funny so last week I woke her up at two in the morning, told her it was her birthday and she needed to go downstairs, sit on the spare couch in the basement by the furnace, the one the cat now lays claim to and wait for me to come down with her presents.

It was of course her birthday in fact. She kissed me, rolled over and went back to sleep. The next morning I got up, put on a robe and went to make her coffee. She started to giggle, laugh, um...

What is it that girls usually do? Oh yeah; titter.

Uncontrollably which I found amusing in that women in bed with me usually laugh at me undressing, not putting a robe on. But Thumper's different.

She was laughing at the Timmy joke I played on her in the middle of the night and kept laughing about it all day. Beyond the actual birthday present, beyond coffee and a newspaper in bed, beyond dinner out. In this she began to remind me of my cat. This would be the animal you can max out your charge card on in kitty gyms, catnip filled balls, feathers tied to fishing line and whatever else looks amusing but the cat invariably bats at it once or twice and then retreats to a corner to lick herself where you wish you could get to on your own body.

But give her a crumpled up page-day-calendar date and she's amused for a month!

I think Patrick went on to become a musician because the nine to five grind of corporate cannabis got to him. Feeling creatively crushed, he rebelled.

Like I said, the other Patrick is up for another bass weekend.

Thumper gardens and sometimes wonders, given the economy, if the local sheriff aerially surveys the town.


I just bunny on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Past Posting's Penance (Knitting Circle Mud Run)

The fact that is was raining harder than most times Harry had been hit in a schoolyard didn't deter him from getting up at a weekday hour on a decidedly weekend day. It was Saturday and today was the race, the Mudfest he had been training for by running around the park evenings, a total of about 2 1/2 miles that he convinced himself was more like five or six because of the damn hills in town. Didn't matter, he was ready and up for it, or at least as up as you can be when you notice the beer glass you got for finishing two years ago says its a nine and a quarter mile race when you were all prepped for seven something miles. Doesn't help when you're polishing off your third beer when you notice it either.

The rain reminded him of the rain that was coming down one Saturday a few years ago when he and Chris had signed up for a charity thirty mile bike ride. He had woken up on time, heard the rain, climbed into the shower, got his stuff, mounted the bike on the rack, come back inside and kissed Chris goodbye to which she woke, fleetingly, said "you guessed right" and rolled back over.

Today Sue was up, had cooked oatmeal, packed four or five energy bars into a pack along with a couple of quarts of Gatorade, a map to the race site and a note telling him to do well and how much she loved him all before six on a Saturday.

He lived with Sue and loved her but still only lived with her. Harry had gotten to the point of convincing himself that he would soon marry Sue once the time was right. Of course, the time would eminently be right when Harry grew a set of balls. In the dark of a rainy evening, he knew that. Rainy mornings were a different animal.

If he left at seven, he reckoned he'd be at the Mudfest around 8.30, the time he and Mike usually arrived. It was their fifth annual Mudfest race together and like an old couple, they had gotten into a habit neither dared break out of. They got to the parking lot by the baseball field around 8.30, grabbed an energy bar and a sports drink, then hopped around the parking lot trying to stay warm until the ten o'clock start time, bitching about getting there so early when there was really nothing to do and damn, was it cold. Trouble was, if you actually applied common sense and got there shortly after nine, you'd throw karma off and either Harry or Mike would be pissed off because the run "wasn't the way it was supposed to be." So for the better part of five years, every Saturday before Easter, you could find the two of them atop a mountain jumping around a parking lot.

This year was going to be no different and even bringing the truck to a sudden stop for a mallard and his mate in the middle of a highway didn't portend trouble ahead. The road sign that said "highway closed ahead, " that was a different matter. Harry dutifully took the detour and noted that it was a quarter of eight. Ok, forty five minutes, still plenty of time to get there assuming I am where I am on my mental map and I don't get stuck on this detour behind some piece of farm equipment. And while I'm at it, I wonder how many anagrams I can pull out of "International Harvester Farmall." Guess I've got a little time.

The detour ended and "Fucking Slow Sonofatractorbitch" which really wasn't an anagram anymore but seemed to be the only recombinant left in Harry's brain turned right so Harry turned left and north, happily on the state road that came to a "route 53 ends" sign in the next town.

Not a problem. Harry knew where north was and took the most logical route; "Buck Cabin Road" that way which led to a decision of "East Mill Post Road" versus "South Church Road" so Harry took the latter and was perfectly confident that he was following his inner compass until he passed the "No Turns in Parking Lot" for the third time. There wasn't a map in the truck other than the one showing the way to the race assuming the state did its job and kept the roads open and passable. Here of course lay the danger of assuming. There was a phone though and while Harry no longer knew where he was he did know that Sue was somewhere in a warm house near a website that had maps on it. He dialed.

"Hi honey." he said trying to sound as unlike a small child in a large dark warehouse as possible. "Can you get on the net and tell me where the fuck our lousy governor's stimulus program has put me?"

"Have you passed Jen's Corner?"

"Yep. Just now."

"On your right or on your left?"


"So you're heading the wrong way. You should have passed on your right. Turn around, pass it again, take Hay Bale road on your left and that will lead to 736 east which will get you on the main highway."

"Thanks Hon." Harry was quietly glad for a number of things: that even though it was getting on nine o'clock, he still had a shot of making the race and catching up with Mike and Jim whom he hadn't seen in over eight months. That he could rely on Sue and a computer to get him out of the current misdirected mess and mostly, that he wouldn't have to knock on a farmer's door to ask directions and forfeit money, urban wisdom, anal virginity or betrothal to a daughter who was every orthodontist's wet dream to get a clear route home.

"Fucking A, Harry." when Harry met up with Mike in the sign up line at about twenty of ten. "I barely just got here myself. Seen Jimmy around?"

"Nope." Harry shivered back.

"This has to be one of the worst."

"Unlike last year." Harry said, "Dont'cha remember? It was 28 degrees and snowing when we started out. They marked the course in flour which of course shows up real nice in snow."

"Year before was worse though, comrade." Mike said. "Remember that temps hit the seventies? We were dying."

"We weren't dying Mike. We just lost time in the stream crossings. Everybody stopped mid-river to cool themselves."

"Duly noted but I still think that that was the worst."

"As opposed to today. When its pouring. It will continue to pour for the rest of the day. There will be mud everywhere, we will be soaked and cold, we'll stop for one beer out there and leave as soon as we hit the finish line."

"Paradise as I know it."

"Mike, will you at least hang around for a post race hot dog?"

"And miss the live version of 'Sweet Caroline'? I'd sooner sign up for lifelong membership in the Republican party."

"Cool. Meet you at the finish line. By the way, I'm a Republican."

"And I'll beat your time."

"Only if you can jump deer carcass higher than I."

"Didja see Jimmy yet?"

"No. Wasn't he coming with his wife?"

"Yeah. He and the missus are running together this year. I dunno. Kind of miss you and me and Jimmy finding a pacer and spending a few miles noting her finer attributes. Didn't you invite Sue?"

"Nope. Sue and I have a rule. Races equal guy time."

"At least somebody keeps the faith."

"You know what I've noticed? We've done this for five years now. We do it every year and we'll probably be here next year no matter how much this sucks."

"Yeah?" Mike asked.

"Its a mantra. Every year we run. Every year the weather is what it is. Its hot, it snows, it rains like a sonovabitch and every year we run through it, trying to better our times. Every year its either hot, cold, wet, miserable and we hate it and it sucks and we bitch all the way through it. Then we eat lousy food and listen to a couple of octogenarians sing old Neil Diamond covers, go home, soak in a hot bath with a cold beer and thank the gods that be that its over."

"Your point?"

"Whup your ass by fifteen seconds!"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Even I Don't Get Me

So here's how much I want to write this blog post, fingers poised above keys, I glance at the file folder I keep bills in and whoops, seems Amex wanted a little coin two days ago. Fortunately there's one thing I'd rather do less than post. That's pay.

I will of course. Amex is a fine firm that extended me my first credit when I was a dumb college graduate earning a handful of nuts and berries every two weeks in one of the most expensive places on earth. I remember my first dinner out, I took my then girlfriend out for Chinese and almost passed out from anxiety when the bill came. I put my card down and waited for the waiter to return, toss my card at me and say "They were just kidding. This is no good. You owe us $23.50"

It never happened. He came back with the receipt. I signed, tore off the carbons (remember?), left the tip in cash and completed my first transaction. The girlfriend was duly impressed. I married her eventually.

Several years later she came back to the table, tossed our marriage license at me and said "I was just kidding. This is no good. You owe me $23,500. Oh, and give me your Amex."

I got rejected from a blogger's club, society, whatever, recently. It kind of upset me. I thought I'd fit right in, in fact eventually rise to be one of their leading members. Instead they less than politely rejected me and I took it maturely, spamming their member's sites with porn links.

No. Not really. Guys, I'm middle-aged. I've no idea how to do that shit.

I originally thought that they read the Bunny, didn't find it funny and then rejected me. After I dried the tears and sobered up, I reckoned that they probably looked at the number of eyeballs that the Bunny attracts and realized this was the blog version of Pluto. Yeah, it hangs around and is technically one of us in this solar system. But getting there means blasting the shit out of something, hanging in space for a couple of lifetimes and really just landing on another dead chunk of rock. Verdict: No planet. No Bunny in club, society, cult of satan worshipping concubines, whatever.

I naturally complained to Thumper who assured me that it wasn't them, it was me. Three days later when I crawled out of the bathroom and deigned to remove the towel from my head she went on to explain that she meant it in a good way...

What she actually said was that I color outside the lines, think outside the box, don't blend into a crowd and so forth. In other words, there's a distinct quality of weird in my work, way the hell out of the mainstream that is funny and unique in its own way but you need to work at it to get it.

Very much like MM said of me months ago. Not a first, second or perhaps even third time but eventually. He drove a few folks over. They read, read some more, didn't see any marvelous cliffhangers nor thumbs being stuffed up doggie butts and moved on.

That's ok.

There are no doggie butts, no cliffhangers, no moms on martinis here. Just me and some beer-goggling views of the world here. You either get it, or you don't, or you sometimes get it. It doesn't matter. Its neither high art nor prattle. It just is and it is for you. Hell, I sometimes don't get myself. I've no idea why Manhattanites thinking the smell of maple syrup wafting across their island invokes conspiracy theories strikes me as incredibly funny. Nor do I know why someone who taught their dog to smile by baring its incisors, scaring the crap out of a sixteen-year old me is incredibly sad.

It just is. It is the aggregate total of that that is the Caustic Bunny. There's more to come of course and I appreciate your being here. I've a couple of fellows I need to tell you about. We all ran together once and they called us the Knitting Circle. There's more about the old man and there's more about my daily misadventures.

But for just this moment, thanks for reading. Sorry if you didn't get it, glad if you did. Best wishes to you both.

Bunny on.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I'm Waaaaaitinnnng!

We're almost a week into April and I'm waiting for the April Fool's prank that is masquerading as current reality to end and someone to spring from the shadows to shout "April Fool's!"

But no.

I think this is what we're presently stuck with.

The weather hasn't found the thermostat yet so April showers are bringing April snows and that may bring cussing of a kind you have yet to hear. Parents, cover your children's ears unless of course you want to outsource "the talk" to me.

The economy is still in reverse but the local Safeway ran out of paper bags last night. Wall Street Journal picked that up as inventories dropping. So maybe somebody's buying something. Somewhere. Just hush up and listen. There!

No, that's GM collapsing.

It's their own damn fault. They built all those cars nobody wanted when gas shot up to $4.50 and a hummer to fill your Hummer. Ok, just because everybody walked into their showrooms dragging salespeople to the biggest hunk of steel and rubber on the floor pointing and asking how many Saturns could get mashed up in the wheel wells didn't mean they actually had to sell what people wanted. They could have steered them to the sensible four cylinder economy models, the ones that compete with little Hondas, Toyotas, Fords, Kias, Hyundais and others that come with a standard bell that rings every fifteen seconds to wake the driver up because they're so asininely boring to drive.

I'm back to holding women's purses but this time it's Thumper's purse and she shops at Home Depot. So while she's all over the new Bosch impact drill, I'll hold the Coach and scan decorating articles in the magazine rack.

And speaking of home improvement, that season is almost back upon us in full fury. Spent the last two weekends in the backyard of Paramour with a scythe and machete and ax to find that, indeed, Paramour has a backyard. Just got a little grown over. Like most in this economy, we're planning to plant a little vegetable garden. Unlike most, I'm mining it first. A little Claymore with your radishes?

So I guess there'll be no shouting. Things are about as dysfunctional as they always are in bunny world.

Toast one to April then, often called "the cruellest month" and that would be after January, February, March and those months when children are out of school yet not quite ready for summer jobs yet even though I don't see a problem with salt mines and field hoeing. We're getting soft when we expect our ten year olds to contribute nothing. Why, when I was a boy...

Shit. Don't tell me that's starting.

Bunny on.

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