Cadaver Caper

I really should be saving this for next Halloween.

You know what? I can't - this story is too good to share and I don't ever want to forget it.

My better half had a coworker who, contrary to her bright, life-affirming disposition, had a previous career as a mortician's assistant. While this, in and of itself, is worthy of ample amounts of dissection (dear goodness, no pun intended) over a happy hour, the seeming disparity between her persona and the occupation are not the heart of the matter. No, an event on the job, a particular incident, is what prompted me to jump to the keyboard. This was simply too amazing and horrifying to let slip into the ether. I feel compelled to share it with the world.


A brief word on the nature of our inevitable end. 

We're all doomed. Death is one of the few things in the world we will all experience. There is both a universality and taboo surrounding it. We are fascinated by it, yet speak of it in hushed tones. Our lives are seemingly spent in denial of it, yet only when we embrace it do we live to the fullest extent. We are meat containing something special. When that light behind the eyes goes out, all that remains is a vessel, a shell. What we leave behind is not us, but a reminder that we are something more than bags of mostly water. There is, to say the absolute minimum, a mental phenomenon unlike anything else we've seen in the universe. It is to be treasured and valued. Having been present at the moment a loved one has passed, there is certainly clear distinction between "they are with us" and "they are gone". It is simple, yet wholly distinct. 


What I am about to impart is meant in no way to desecrate that remarkable, ephemeral essence. Instead, it elucidates the mechanical nature of our existence that we mistakenly assume to be the beginning and end of who and what we are. But enough preamble. On to it.

This happy little pixie of a woman was a mortician's assistant. She assisted, among other duties, in the preparation for burial through the embalming process. This process involves draining the body of fluids and replacing them with substances that preserve our remains. At some point in the process a high powered suction device is used to drain the body cavity. It would seem that one must always be mindful of where you place such an item when taking a break, because this happy-go-lucky woman made the unfortunate mistake of dropping the suction device on the open throat of a deceased person. The suction and force of the device dropping onto soft tissue allowed it to break through the wind pipe, and begin drawing air (backwards) through the throat and over the vocal cords. The uncanny scream that erupted from the deceased's throat was enough to send the woman sprinting from the room, too terrified to return until the physical reaction was properly explained. All the while, due to the mechanism of the vacuum, the impossible screaming continued.


A horrifying little tale, no doubt. However, it reaffirms the absurdity of our mortal confines and allows me to thoroughly creep out friends around Halloween. I just wanted to make sure I could share it with everyone before the memory escaped me. So have fun with that, and feel free to share!


Enlarged Heart

Hi hi hi.

I've been watching footage of my wedding. It was exactly one year ago today that I married my best friend and the love of my life. Having celebrated this past weekend and watching the footage a year later, tonight, it all seems so ethereal now. It's this amazing bundle of footage of all of my family and best friends in one room, laughing and eating and hugging and drinking. Watching it gives me that same, heart-full feeling I had that night, where you can't believe there's so much love in one place and everyone is so happy to be together.

It is super cornball, but you're super corn dog for calling me on it.

At some point, my snarktastic brothers pinned me with the labels of wistfully reminiscing and idealizing, especially when I have a couple drinks. Yeah, I'll cop to it. So long as I'm looking at my past with rose colored lenses, I'll take that charge for my wedding. It really and truly was a joyous day filled with everyone our hearts could fit and good lord this does sound corn ball doesn't it?


The point is, sometimes it really is as sincere and sappy as it sounds. I love my better half with all my heart, and all of our families and our friends. I am fully aware of the sickly, self indulgent vanity of it all, but the world can be a cruel, uncaring place sometimes and you need to take pleasure when it comes along. If I want to embrace a very focused day of self importance, I'm going to. My better half was and continues to be the most beautiful woman I've ever known. Sometimes I worry that my family and friends don't know how much I appreciate them. Seeing the footage of one massive, amazing party helps to reaffirm the notion that these people care and care very much.

If you've been in my life and shared something special like this with me - thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please know if you're my friend or family, I don't say the L word that much (beyond the context of media consumption, admittedly) but I feel it in my heart. Like all Americans, I'm vain. But I'm also full of gratitude and love.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for celebrating with me. Thanking you for supporting me when I'm down. Thank you for being as awesome as you are and putting on a good face even when it feels like the whole world is against you, because when YOU make believe like life is easy, I believe you. No joke, all love.

My heart is still full.



This is the only post my parents asked me not to write.

They relented, though, after determining the statute of limitations had probably put them in the clear by now. I doubt Los Federales will come knocking but I can understand their trepidation, I suppose. You see...we had bats. Lots of them.

As I explained last time, our house was very, very old. Such old houses have a way of becoming host to uninvited guests. I never saw a mouse or a bug (that started when we moved to the country - HUGE spiders) but damn did we have some flutter-mice. The attic, technically the third floor of the house, was host to who knows how many bats, sleeping and pooping during the day and leaving and swooping at night.

It wasn't a constant, swirling maelstrom of nocturnal nuisances, but it was definitely a problem. You would be sitting and watching a movie with the lights off, not even considering the risk of rabies, when a dark shape would flit across your field of vision. Instinctively we would all duck and cower and make a bee-line for our parents room, which contained our only method of pest control.

A tennis racket.

Wii remotes have nothing on the feeling of swinging a tennis racket as hard as you could, connecting with a terror-inducing bat (Bruce Wayne was a dick, it seems) and sending that little airborne menace flying across the room. Seeing them thwack against the wall and drop to the carpet, lifeless, we would then grab a folded newspaper and sweep them onto it, to be deposited in to the trash barrels outside. So it would go, for the foreseeable time - them, occasionally finding their way into our living space instead of the night sky, us killing a protected species in a shameful act of self-defense/cowardice.

The dynamic shifted one day when my father said he'd had enough. Enough shrieking children. Enough cats doing nothing while a free meal circled overhead. Enough siting up in bed, grabbing a racket that was sitting next to the damn night stand and killing them without even getting up. He had hit his limit. He created something that astounded and horrified us all.

The Bat Trap.
You see, bats can't take off like a bird. The have to drop from a perch and swoop up to take flight. My dad figured out which eave of the house they were mostly flying out of at night and set about devising a solution. A containment system. Risking a broken neck, he climbed up to the top of the house (an impressive height, especially without scaffolding or any safety gear whatsoever) and affixed a bucket and pulley mechanism. At dusk he would raise the bucket. Bats would drop in by the dozen, unable to alter course in time. In the morning, he would lower the bucket full of bats and do something horrible - kill them all. I won't divulge the method he initially attempted, but I'm still impressed and horrified he was able to do it and then put on a clean shirt and have a cup of coffee. After this disastrous first attempt he realized he needed to simplify and streamline his approach. The solution: put water in the bucket. Bats drop in, bats splash around, bats sink. Voila.

Secret best part to the story - he found out he had to kill them because he tried simply burying them alive one morning, only to have a league of furious bats claw their way up from the earth, obviously in search of vengeance. So my dad decided "I'll have to kill them before they can rise from their grave."
Being a fresh homeowner now, I can sort of see how he arrived at his course of action. I just hope I'm not driven mad in a conquest against a similar vermin like some villain from Batman.



Hi kids, ya miss me?

It's been an interesting couple of weeks, getting settled in our new house. There's no finish line anymore, essentially. It's the kind of thing where you just keep improving and fine tuning. All of our furniture is in, a strong majority of the boxes are unpacked and it feels like a home. Not necessarily OUR home yet, but at least A home instead of an empty building where we've been crashing. We just need to give it time while we make it ours. Wallpaper needs to come down, things need to be rearranged, designations need to be assigned. We need to get our scent in there, you know?

In the meantime we're trying to resume life as we knew it. We've slowly been regaining the ability to prepare a decent meal instead of just sandwiches and salads. Cooking is what makes it feel like home, it would seem. Also, we still have no Internet. That makes getting posts done a lot harder. As a mea culpa, I thought I'd share a few anecdotes I recall about the house in which I grew up.

The Big Butt Alarm.

You see, our house was already over 100 years old when I was a kid (for vanity's sake say mid 80's to mid 90's). While it was a great old house with loads of...character...it had definite flaws, one of which was a stove/oven deal from the 70's that had a broken face plate on it. It still worked just fine, but the knobs and dials on the front for setting the oven required a bit of familiarity/intuition. Not really a guessing game, but you would be much better off leaving the cooking to someone well versed in its idiosyncrasies.

As a result of the broken plastic on the front, a timer would occasionally go off when jostled. It sounded like an incorrect answer tone from The Family Feud. Lean a little too close to the stove and touch this innocuous little knob and "BZZZZZT!" you get the sound of angry bees. Having a family of five in a small, outdated kitchen, our table barely fit in the space we used. Anyone who tried to sit on the stove side of the table ran a significant risk of knocking their butt against the knob as they sidled into their chair and setting off what we all began to refer to as the Big Butt Alarm in that short-hand way all families make jokes. Being a bunch of miscreants, we would all announce it when it went off.

My mom also tended to sit opposite of stove side when she would have coffee with her friends, most of whom were not aware of our dumb jokes. So when a friend of hers slid into place one morning with a cup of coffee and brushed against the faulty knob too hard, my mom gave the Pavlovian response when it buzzed and called out "Big Butt Alarm!" to her own dismay.

She told me her friend looked mortified and cocked her head askew, asking just what she was talking about. Cue my mom's profuse apologies and her swearing up and down that it was something the family joked about, and not a personal dig.

We don't have a Big Butt Alarm at our new house, but I'm sure we'll find something.