Archive - December, 2011

Wading Back Out

During a trip to Maui, for my sister’s wedding, I learned that I love to snorkel.

Against all odds.

When we got to the Island my brother took me to a dive shop where we rented a snorkel set and some fins. 10 minues later we walked out the back of our hotel room, waded into the water together and, aside from the actual wedding, never got out.

When I go back into the water, I don’t have to go back into the dive shop anymore, because I own my own gear.

I only need someone to go with me.

Growing up in California, I had never been snorkeling at the beach because we always went to swim and surf beaches, and the snorkeling is usually not very good in these locations.

My only previous snorkeling experience was during an ill advised trip to a theme park.

When I was a kid we visited “Marineland of the Pacific” in Palos Verdes. It was California’s first theme park, and it was kind of a pre-Sea World, Sea World. They had dolphin shows and fish exhibits and my favorite part was that Hanna-Barbera sponsored the park. This meant that as you were walking around the park you’d occasionally bump into characters like Mugilla Gorilla, or Quickdraw McGraw.

I remember going there with my family and seeing an attraction called “The Baja Reef.” The Baja Reef was the only exhibit in America that allowed guests to actually swim with salt-water fishes from the Pacific Ocean.

I begged my parents to let us swim in the reef. I promised to mow as many lawns as it took to repay them for the snorkel rental. To my surprise, they agreed. My Dad and my brother went with me to the rental counter to get our gear.

As we did this, we walked past a giant window that looked into the exhibit from under the waterline. As we passed the window I saw something out of the corner of my eye that gave me pause.

What I saw scooting past that window looked an awful lot like a shark.

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The Dead Fantasy



On Christmas day I flew from Portland to Los Angeles. As is the case with Oregonians and airports, I found myself surrounded by oddly dressed people… not the least of which were Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

That’s right, as I joined the security screening line I noticed that just 7 people ahead of me there was a couple dressed up as jolly old St. Nick and his wife.

Everyone was quite happy to see them!

I didn’t do a double take at first, because I assumed that it was a couple of young pranksters out for a holiday lark…

…if you’re going to fly at Christmas, why not dress up like the Claus family?

The double take happened when I realized that these weren’t young people sporting snowy wigs and beards, they were an honest to goodness AARP couple wearing richly handcrafted costumes… and the hair was completely home grown.

Whatever possesses a couple in their early 70’s to dress in full red-velvet tailoring on Christmas day must also have possessed the “Mr. Claus” several years ago, because his full, chest-length white beard and shoulder-length white hair had been ages in the making.

While I assume that this was a professional Santa Claus performance team, probably headed to a charity event where they would no doubt stir the hearts of many children at their final destination, they weren’t working any magic for the 6am travellers…

…or the TSA agent who had to frisk “Mrs. Claus”.

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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Christmas day is almost here and for many people this means celebrating the birth of Jesus with friends and family.

For some, this will be a joyful chance to catch up on what’s been happening on those branches of the family tree that stretch in a different direction than yours.

For others it will be mealtimes of awkward weirdness rivaling a merger of the Munster and Dynamite families!

Holiday gatherings with relatives of varying age and stage can be the kind of experiences that blend petty annoyances with hereditary grievance to create a fine tapestry of conflict avoidance… embellished with flourishes of passive aggression.

Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Others of you don’t have a clue.

For those of you who experience a lovely Christmas celebration every year, and are wondering what kind of scenario I’m describing, I’ve lovingly compiled a helpful list of 10 things you can do to make this holiday season a little more embarrasing for the people you love!

1.) Sing along with “Feliz Navidad”.
It’s a little known, and completely unsubstantiated, fact that no living caucasian knows, and can correctly pronounce, all of the words to this song.

This is proven every year when, upon first hearing of the song, every white person present attempts a hearty sing-along.

While surprisingly strong out of the gate, an “all-honky chorale” fades faster than a pair of Kirkland Signature jeans.

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