Leave Of Absence

If you’ve been a long term Dogs on Drugs reader, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything during the last couple of weeks. That’s the longest I’ve ever gone without posting, and I believe that my readers deserve an explanation, so here it is: I took a leave of absence for medical reasons. More specifically, I took a couple of weeks off to better serve my community by ebola-proofing my neighborhood. Sure, I raised a few eyebrows when I began nailing cow tongues to front doors in order to ward off evil spirits. And yes, people became “concerned” when I bought a high powered hose and began blasting bleach through mail slots and into people’s homes. And ok, maybe I did go “completely overboard” when I began viciously pistol-whipping anyone caught outdoors not wearing a hazmat suit. But you know how many cases of ebola have been reported in my neighborhood? None, that’s how many. My record speaks for itself. Who’s laughing now, enraged neighbors? Well, ok, the enraged neighbors are. Jesus, you’d think they’d never seen someone get tased in the neck and dragged off in cuffs before.

This isn’t the first time I’ve saved my neighborhood, mind you. It wasn’t too long ago that I prevented a lot of needless deaths by going door to door and making sure that everyone’s refrigerator (especially those holding beer) were Y2K compliant. I also prevented any Kurt Cobain copycat wannabes by hoarding heroin and shotguns in the 90’s. And way back in the 1980’s, I ran an Underground Railroad and spirited people away from the horror of the Cola Wars. Did I get a statue erected in my honor? No. A plaque? No. But I did get my name on a special list down at the police station, and that is good enough for me. I don’t do what I do for the glory, or the money, or even the fawning admiration of those the court described as “too young or too stupid to know better”. No, I do it because I’m off my meds. You’re welcome.

One thing I didn’t do a lot of during my hiatus was watch TV. A while back, a bad cable splitter began causing problems with my internet connection, and so I bypassed it by routing the cable directly into my cable modem, greatly improving the quality of programming on my TV by eliminating it entirely. That was four months ago, and no one has missed it. If there’s something I want to watch, I’ll find it on the internet and watch it when I feel like it, thank you.

Which leads me to an embarrassing admission: I watch Sons of Anarchy. I’m not proud of this fact, but there you have it. If you’re unfamiliar with Sons of Anarchy, I’ll bring you up to speed in 60 seconds: It’s a show about a group of outlaw bikers, and here is a capsule summary of each season:

  • Season One: Everyone does a bunch of violent biker shit.
  • Season Two: Everyone does a whole lot more violent biker shit.
  • Season Three: Lame
  • Season Four: Really Lame
  • Season Five: Unbelievably Lame
  • Season Six: Unconscionably Lame
  • Season Seven: A Black Hole of Lame

The first couple of seasons were great because they pandered to our need to live vicariously through the actions of vicious thugs, something we’ve been doing since the days of Dillinger and Capone. In the first season, for instance, one of the main characters brutally pummels a guy in a convenience store for cutting him off in traffic.

Biker: (brutally pummels a guy in a convenience store for cutting him off in traffic)

Me: Yes! Take that, motherfucker!!! (drives super-carefully for the next five years)

You should see what he does if you bring too many items into the express lane!

You should see what he does if you bring too many items into the express lane!

Everyone just kind of went apeshit, killed lots of people, broke all kinds of laws, and everything was great. Then, the entire series was destroyed in less than a minute with the introduction of a plot twist so contrived that they may as well have had a Great White amble onto the set and say, “I am a shark. Perhaps you would like to jump over me?”

In a nutshell, a member of the IRA kidnapped a newborn baby and flew off with it to Ireland, forcing the entire motorcycle gang to go to Ireland to try to get the baby back. Really. This required an entire season and a Herculean effort on the part of the viewer to suspend their sense of disbelief. I mean, what would the IRA want with a baby? You can’t boil it like a potato, you can’t drink it, hell, you can’t even blow up a car with it, so what the fuck?

They also “Irished up” the show by adding a Celtic twist to the opening theme song and introducing Irish characters who spoke in a brogue so thick that you needed whiskey and brain damage to decipher it.

After that, things only got worse. One of the cardinal sins of any kind of visual entertainment is, in my book, the Introspective Voiceover. The thinking here is that the viewer is too fucking stupid to understand what kind of emotions the characters must be going through, so someone’s just going to fucking tell them. And it is ALWAYS stupid and lame as fuck. The more introspective it gets, the more mind-bendingly retarded it becomes.

So of course Sons of Anarchy introduced the Introspective Voiceover, which at first I found kind of funny. I mean, it’s a biker gang. If they wanted to do a voiceover, they should have at least made it realistic. “I hope they have some bitches to rape in the next town!”

But no, the main character would get all fucking profound and say shit like, “We live in the shadows of our past. The choices we make inform the reality we live in. The question is not how to escape our fate, but how to escape ourselves.” No, asshole, the question is why the fuck do you think anyone cares?

A picture of the viewers who care.

A picture of the viewers who care.

Another show that used to do this (and I guess still does) is Grey’s Anatomy. My ex-wife used to watch this show, and just being in the same room was too much for me to bear. The main character would constantly spout off about how fucking profound it is to be a doctor, and I’d be thinking, “It’s not that profound. You put your finger into buttholes on a daily basis.” Seriously, I know doctors, and at the end of the day they don’t wax poetic about their existence, they tell their friends about what they did. “Hey, today I had to pull a bottle of Mrs. Buttersworth out of this chick’s cooter.”

There was one thing about Grey’s Anatomy that I liked. I caught one five minute segment during which a surgeon discovered that a patient he was working on had a bomb inside of him. Right on the spot, he declared a Code Black, which made me think, “You have a code for that? Wow! You guys are really fucking prepared!” I mean, how did this come about?

Hospital Administrator: Hey, look, we need to come up with some codes for various emergencies. You know, like we could say that we have a Code Red when someone comes in with a case of ebola.

Doctor: Why? Why can’t we just say, “Hey, this dude’s got ebola”?

Hospital Administrator: Have you seen the bills we hit people with? We need to confuse them so that they won’t discover that all we do is prescribe aspirin to everyone. Turning stuff into a code makes it sound like we spend a lot of time classifying various health emergencies. That requires a lot of effort, and therefore a lot of money.

Nurse: Ok, so explosive diarrhea is henceforth a Code Brown.

Doctor: And raging vaginosis is a Code Green.

Nurse: That’s disgusting

(four hours and a whole lot of hospital-grade morphine later)

Hospital Administrator: All right, so a patient with a bomb inside of him is a Code Black.

Doctor: Seventeen people stuck jammed into a clown car is a Code Plaid.

Nurse: And a guy named Earl with a railroad spike jutting out of his forehead is a Code Earl.

Hospital Administrator: I have estimated that in order to compensate for the money we earned having this conversation, we will need to charge every patient $82.50 just for walking through the door.

Nurse: We’ll bill that as a Code Green.

Doctor: No, that’s raging vaginosis, remember?

Anyway, back to Sons of Anarchy, it got to a point where I’d put so much effort into watching the show that I didn’t feel like I could stop. It’s like having sex with a really unattractive person: You’re not sure how you got into this predicament, but you’re going to see it through anyway.

I do like the warning they show before each episode. You know how the rating system got totally out of hand, and now they just splash random letters on the screen so they can claim to have warned you so you can’t sue them just because your kid saw a split second of side-boob? They do that before each episode.

In fact, it was while laughing at the most recent ratings warning that I came up with the term punch-fucking, which now that I think about it, is probably a real thing on the internet. That’s usually the way it works. You come up with something horrific, and find out that there’s a large community of deviants and psychopaths that have been doing that shit for years.

Anyway, the term came in handy when dealing with a recent email offer I received to turn the Dogs on Drugs logo into a t-shirt. I felt that the logo wouldn’t sell as well as a snappy phrase, and offered the following suggestions:

tee1 tee2 tee3

I, uh, haven’t heard back from him.

Switching gears, I got my car washed today. While I was sitting there waiting for it to be ready, I thought about how much more fun car washes used to be. Back when I was a teenager and driving the Deadly Dinosaur, my friends and I discovered that a wonderful way to duck out of the public eye for a moment while we were driving around was to get the car washed. We’d pull up to the car wash, and have this exchange:

Me: Hi, I need to get my car washed.

Attendant: You’re driving a rust-encrusted piece of shit and it’s raining out. And you want a car wash?

Me: Yup!

And the instant we got into the car wash, we’d start smoking pot. By the time we came out the other end, the car was full of smoke, and we were giggling like idiots, a state of affairs that the Mexican shammy-guys always thought was hilarious. They’d breathe deeply as we rolled down the windows to air things out a little bit. One time we tipped them with a large joint. Life was a lot more interesting back then, often including wonderful sentences such as, “I think we need to lay low on the car washes for a while. The car wash attendant is getting suspicious.”

Pro Tip: This does NOT go down well at a charity car wash.

Pro Tip: This does NOT go down well at a charity car wash.

I have a coworker who maintains a large bucket of candy on her desk. Seriously, I think she owns stock in a dental supply concern. We go through mountains of candy in the office, and since she has a penchant for going out and finding old, retro-style candy, we often find ourselves having conversations such as this:

Me: Necco Wafers? Somebody explain to me how this is a candy. Necco Wafers are made of powdered billiard balls and sadness.

Coworker: Fine, if you don’t like Necco Wafers, then have an Oh Henry bar.

Me: No, thanks. I’m inherently distrustful of any candy whose name is a moan, followed by a dude’s name.

As you can see, my campaign to not get invited to any more meetings continues unabated. Today I abruptly ended a meeting with the following sentence when I noticed multiple coworkers eating Raisinettes: “Raisinettes are nothing more than chocolate-covered rat shit”.

I tell you who’s right on board with me and my candy opinions: My eight year old son. I fairly beamed with pride when he remarked that it seems wrong that a smaller version of a candy bar should be designated “Fun Size”.

Son: I mean, there’s less candy. How is that fun?

Me: Exactly! I thought the same thing at your age. A candy labeled “Fun Size” should have a wrapper big enough to serve as a sleeping bag.

Son: Wouldn’t that be AWESOME?!?

Me: You know it!

Son: If we can find a candy bar that big, can we buy it?

Me: No way!

I don’t let my son eat door-sized candy bars, of course, because that’s not healthy, and if there’s one thing that I’m about, it’s health. Just ask my neighbors. They’re easy to find: They smell like bleach.