Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dear Diary: Hallowed Be Thy ‘Ween

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dear Diary:

The day began like too many others, which is to say the morning prior.  I had not slept since awakening Friday morning with a glimmer of hope in my eye and a Hall & Oates tune haunting my thoughts.  (“Private Eyes”.  It was the song “Private Eyes”.)  Per usual Hall & Oates provided a welcome respite from the fog I had been in since learning I wasn’t adopted.  Did this mean that I was stuck with these people?  That I was their “keeper”?  That I may, one day, have to “keeper” one or more of them?  Are there no prisons?!?  Are there no work houses?!?  Relax, Damion.  That’s what “retirement communities” are for.

It was going to be a busy weekend, but worth it.  Not only was it Halloween; it was the 1st Annual McCloud Cousins Reunion.  If there’s anything more difficult than getting McClouds to agree on getting together at a certain date and location, it was getting them to follow through on that commitment.  (McClouds: We Would, But...)  What would we doing?  Who knew?  Who would be in attendance?  Couldn’t tell you.  When would the festivities kick-off?  Your guess is as good as mine.  For you see, the only thing more unpredictable than Colored People Time is McCloud Time.  (McCloud Time: It’ll Be There When We Get There.) 

But more importantly, it was Halloween, which is my Christmas.  (That makes Christmas my Martin Luther King, Jr Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr Day my Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Man deserves two days.  Suck it, Arizona!  Suck it.)  Since I was staying at a hotel – I had spent the previous weekend at my sister’s house, and, honestly, there is a thing as too much family time. – I had packed several cans of Coke Zero and bottled water in a cooler, because Damion McCloud doesn’t pay hotel prices for refreshments.  (I also packed tights, make-up, a wig, a studded choker, and my Halloween costume.)

I stopped off at a Rest Area to rest my areas and open the pressure valve on my bladder.  As I headed to my car after successfully “venting my frustrations”, I noticed a young man rapidly approaching me.  This unnatural (and undesired) behavior made me uneasy.  Turns out, his battery had died and he needed a jump.  After unsuccessfully trying to use my portable charger (I really need to read the instructions), I got him up and running using the traditional car-to-car method.  I didn’t even have to move my car, because “Steph’s” battery is in the trunk.  I called my sister to let her know I would be arriving later than expected.

Me: “I gave someone a jump at the rest stop.  So, I will be a bit delayed.”

Sis: “What did she look like?”

Me: “Like she was a he.”

Sis: “What did the girl in the car look like?”

Me: “There was no one else in the car.”

Sis: “What did the woman in the vicinity that you were trying to impress look like?”

Me: “There were no cute girls in the vicinity.  It’s a little thing I like to call ‘The Golden Rule’.”

Sis: “I’m impressed.  Wait, what ‘Golden Rule’?”

Me: “You don’t know what ‘The Golden Rule’ is?”

Sis: “Oh, I know what it is.  Just wondering what YOU think it is.”

Me: “Everyone has at least one hot friend.”

Sis: “Ummm…No.  How ‘bout ‘Do unto others’?”

Me: “Yeah…’Do unto others, because everyone has at least one hot friend who, one day, may be looking for a long-term relationship, or who just got out of a relationship and is looking for revenge sex and / or a weekend of drunken regrets.’ –Galatians 12:32.”

Sis: “Why do you think everything’s in Galatians?”

Me: “Leviticus?

Sis: “Nope.”

Me: “Well, I know it isn’t Ezekiel…Is it Ezekiel?...It’s Ezekiel isn’t it?...Yeah, it’s Ezekiel…”

Sis: “When are you getting here?”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m not there, yet.”

I then placed a call to my brother.

Bruh: “Hello.”

Me: “Gonna be a bit late.  Helped a dude at a rest area get his car started.”

Bruh: “Golden Rule?”

Me: “Yep.”

Bruh: “Whelp, everyone has one.  Gotta love Isaiah.

Me: “Isaiah!”

I made it to the hotel without incident or further acts of kindness.  When I arrived at the hotel, I parked in the pay-to-park lot next to the hotel.  Did the hotel not offer parking services?  As was the case with most bourq-tique hotels, yes, it did.  However, as is also the case with most hotels of this nature, it only offered valet parking.  Anyone who knows me knows there to be two self-evident truths:  First of all, I’m pretty in the face (aka “face-pretty”); secondly, I don’t valet.  (I’ll pay for a valet-only spot and have the attendant tell me which spot to pull into, but I don’t valet.)
I made it up to the room, “made light my burden”, caught up with my brother, headed to my sister’s place to catch up with family; after which, I headed back to the hotel to get ready, because…Christmas.  (I’d write more about the Cousins Reunion, but this is about me…and Halloween.  The siblings made a cameo.  Not by name, but…you get it.)

I made it back to the hotel, “fired in the hole”, lit a match, and started getting ready for the weekend I, and numerous others, had worked for.  As I was putting the final touches on my makeup, I received a text from an acquaintance informing me that there was a costume contest in Charlotte.  I already made plans to attend the “Beer and Fear Bash” at Castle McCulloch an hour or so away in Greensboro, but made note of the event and headed out.  I freaked a couple of people out in the elevator (guess they weren’t expecting to see a guy in Gene Simmons KISS makeup when the doors opened) and the parking lot before going to make the rounds. 

Before heading to Castle McCulloch, I headed to Twin Peaks to fill my belly with sustenance and my face with cleavage.  (Twin Peaks, because who doesn’t like to peek at twins?)  After getting dressed in the parking lot, something I had done numerous times for Halloween, for Comic-Cons, and for…kicks; I was approached by several Asian women wanting to take pictures.  LOTS of pictures.  I happily obliged, because ‘twas the season.  Besides, how can I say “No” to a group of cute, Asian women? [Editor’s Note: Or a group of cute women of ANY ethnic group?  …or a cute individual woman?  …or a guy whose cute girlfriend is taking the picture?  …or a guy within eyeshot of a poster of a cute woman?  Sorry, hadn’t commented to this point and didn’t know when I’d get another chance.]  After fulfilling my noblesse oblige, I made my way to the entrance.  As I grabbed for the handle, the door swung open, and a young woman screamed.

“Jesus Christ!” she screamed.

“Not quite,” I responded. (Yes, I know that was a quote befitting one of my other costumes [Pinhead], but it seemed to fit the occasion.)

“You scared the hell outta me!  Can I get a picture?”  A sentiment that would be expressed numerous times throughout the night.

“Of course.  Can I get a picture, as well?”

“Hellz yeah!”

She asked if she could see the picture taken with my phone.

“I like that better.  Can you send it to me?”

“I don’t have your number.”

(Grabs my phone) “Here ya go.”  Never got her name, because she looked about 19 on a good day, and I needed plausible deniability for the judge and / or “48 Hours” special.

After taking pictures with the other two hostesses and several customers, I placed a To-Go order.  Posing for pics had taken more time than I estimated, and it was getting late, especially if I was going to make it to Greensboro and back in time for the costume contest.  (Not that I knew what time it started.)  I headed to the bar to await my order.  The problem with waiting at a bar is…drunks.  The problem with waiting at a bar on Halloween is…really drunks, especially when Halloween falls on a weekend.  They got nowhere to be in the morning.  Following is part of a conversation I had with one of them (This is all true):

Drunk: “Jeezus, man!  You’re a big dude!  Great costume!”

Me: “Thanks.”

Drunk: “What size shoes you wear, man?”

Me: “14.”

Drunk: “14!  Damn, man.  Like a baby’s arm down there.  Am I right?” He says while gripping his elbow and swinging his forearm.

Me: {smiled politely?  I ask, because I never know if I’m smiling.}

Drunk: “I’m a size 10.  I’m okay, but…DAMN!  14?!?” He appeared much more comfortable talking about my penis than I was about having him talk about it.  “Have you taken a picture with [name withheld to protect the innocent…and, because it escapes me at the moment]?  She’s hot!”

Me: “Yeah?”

Drunk: “Man, she’s so hot, I’d [I’m gonna leave that part out, because it’s worse than anything you’re imagining at the moment.  Well, most of you.  Some of you have a…’gift’?  You know what?  I’m gunna finish.  We’re all adults here…God, I hope we’re all adults here…else. Where was I?  Oh, yeah…] I’d lick her asshole after letting her take a dump on my chest.”  [Now that I see it, I should’ve gone with my initial instinct. Whelp!  Hindsight…Am I right?]  “My man,” he says hitting his buddy on the shoulder. “You get me, right?”

Drunk adjacent: “Don’t pull me into your sickness.”

Drunk: “Hey,” he says motioning to one of the waitresses. “this guy wears a size 14!” (…and we’re back to my penis.)

Waitress (looks me up and down): “Yeah?  I can see that.”

Drunk: “Like a baby’s arm…” Again, with the elbow.

Waitress: “Just how big are the babies you hang out with?!?” she asked pointing out that any baby with an arm the length of a grown man’s forearm from elbow to fingertips, would be a very large baby.

Me: “He won’t stop talking about my penis.”

Waitress: “Don’t mind him.  Love your costume, by the way.  Do you have the rest of the group with you, or are you alone?”

Me: “It’s just me.”

Waitress: “Well, it works.  Some guys came in earlier trying to be Mötley Crüe.  Totally didn’t work.  Yours works.”

Me: “Thank you.  I like your outfit, as well." I tried to say that in the least lecherous way possible (i.e. while trying to not look down her top, which was not easy at this height.)

When my food came out, one of the bartenders, who was all of 5-feet tall (in heels) and dressed as a sexy cop, asked if she could take a picture with me.  Again, nobility knows no end.

Cop: “Can I take pic with me handcuffing you?”

Me (looking away to no one in particular and, yet, to everyone): “Here or…?”

Cop: “Here.”

Me: “Sure(?)”

Cop: “I’m so short compared to you!”

Me: “Well, I AM wearing 3-inch heels.  So…”

Cop: “But, you’re taller than me even when I’m standing on this stool!”

Me: “Well, you’re a lot cuter than I am.”

Cop: {death stare.}

It was at that moment that I realized grown women (grown in age, not height, because…you get it) don’t really like being called “cute”.

Me: “Prettier?  Should I have said ‘prettier’?  I should’ve said ‘prettier’ shouldn’t I?  Yep.  Well, you are…prettier, that is.”  Whelp, there would be no number from this particular woman…nor further use of those handcuffs.

I paid for my order, took a few more pictures with customers and waitresses, and headed to Castle McCulloch.  I had planned to make a stop down the road to Hooters, but time was of the essence.  The drive to Greensboro was uneventful.  Until I arrived at the turn off, that is.  I was looking forward to a night of grown-up fun.  I learned about the “Beer and Fear Bash” the prior year when my Halloween plans had fallen through at the last minute.  I was unaware that there was a castle in Greensboro, much less a Halloween party.  This was not a party for drunken teenagers to act a fool and ruin everyone’s night.  This was for the grown and sexy.  You had to be at least 21 to attend, tickets were $50 a piece, and that only covered admission.  It did not cover food or drink.  There were fire performers, live bands, DJs, blood wrestlers, artists doing body painting, exotic dancers, and women dressed in outfits that still bring me comfort on sleepless nights.  They even had a tent for spankings.  (“Oh, you’d better believe that’s a paddlin’!)  Last year, I was in sensory overload and remained in the shadows.  This year, I was ready to take more than just a peek behind the curtain.  I had my freak flag ironed (presentation is everything), and it was ready to fly.  You only live once.  Unless, of course, zombies.

When I got to the exit, I turned off my navigation system (1st mistake) and followed the line of cars (2nd mistake).  After awhile, I began to wonder if I was in the correct line.  Things did not look familiar. 

“You have only been here once, and you drove in broad daylight.  They said they made changes to parking based on feedback.  You’re fine,” I said in an attempt to reassure myself.  “Besides, what are the odds that there’s another large event in the same area?”

Turns out, the odds were great, but more about that later.  The line was moving incredibly slow.  Doubt kept creeping in my head.  “Doesn’t seem right.”  Then, I’d see something that calmed me: people (men and women) getting out of their cars to pee in the woods, people (again, both sexes) getting out of their cars to pee in someone’s yard, etc.  I began to get frustrated with how long it was taking to get to the parking lot, but I couldn’t turn around.  Not only was I driving ‘Steph” whose length made turning around impossible, but I was also on a trail in the woods praying that “Steph” would not get stuck.  After being in line for 45 minutes, I started to calculate the odds of me  being able to do both this event and the costume contest.  Remember, Charlotte was an hour away.  By the time I arrived at the gate, I had been in my car for an hour.  Still waiting to park.  I rolled my window down and received a warm reception from the officer.

“KISS!  Yes!!!  Favorite costume I’ve seen all night!” the officer exclaimed.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Hey, man, is your tongue as long as his?”

“I don’t think so.”

“C’mon, man, let me see it.  Show me your tongue.”

First, some guy talks about my penis.  Then, an officer insists on seeing my tongue.  Not wanting to be detained, or shot, I obliged.

“Nope. His is longer,” he says turning to his buddies.  “The guy from KISS has like a 9-inch tongue.  You should see that thing!”  If this were the only time I was asked to show my tongue tonight, I would be disappointed.  However, my hope was that the next such request would be made by a woman.

Finally, I was able to park and start getting dressed.  My confidence that the line to get in was strong, but not as strong as my sense of denial.  (A sense aided by the fact that I still hadn’t slept since Friday morning before work.)  There were multiple signs that I was in the wrong place.  I was approached for pictures several times before getting in line.  One time, a girl who looked to be 12 asked for a pic. 

“This is supposed to be a 21 and up event,” the voice in my head stated. “Why is she here?”

“Midget,” I told myself.

When I was in line with what appeared to be a man with his granddaughters, doubt crept in again.  That doubt went away when I saw a plume of fire in the near distance followed by an even larger plume.  “Fire dancers!” I thought to myself. “Right place.”  It wasn’t until I was almost at the front of the line and saw prices for zip lines and hay rides, as well as prices for children versus adults.  It was settled, I was in the wrong place.  Now, how to get out of here without looking like a complete idiot.  I grabbed the cellphone from my pocket and acted as though I was receiving a call.  That got me out of line.  Seeing how I was dressed and from where I was coming, the ticket takers let me in without asking to see a ticket.  They simply asked for a picture, told me not to scare the children too badly, and let me in.

The more I walked around, the more I realized the depth of my mistake.  There were fun house mirrors, crafts, hay rides, and cheesy Halloween scare tactics.  How did this happen?  The area had been broken into two main parts: One was an adults-only den of debauchery and shame; the other, Nickelodeon, and I was about to be slimed…and not in way I had hoped.

“Why do you hate me, Jesus?”

“I can’t take credit for this,” a voice said from on high. “Too bad, because this…is…EPIC!  Can’t wait to tell the others.”

Just as I was about to cry myself into a sinkhole, a little girl tapped me on the leg, showed me her guitar, and asked if I would take a picture with her.  Behind her, a line had formed.  They all wanted pictures and thought I had been hired by the proprietors.  They were willing to pay.  I, strangely, was not willing to charge.  (At $5 a pic, I could’ve cleaned up.)  Parents told me stories about how much they loved KISS; kids told me about going to concerts with their parent(s); and kids who were initially hesitant had big smiles.  This was why I loved Halloween.  This was why I put so much time into making costumes.  Not to win money or get phone numbers.  This was the reason for the season.

“Thanks, God,” I said while looking to the sky.  “I needed that.”

I walked back to my car, got undressed, and set the nav system to Charlotte.  Upon leaving the parking lot, I saw a sign that read “Beer and Fear Bash”.  I had a decision to make: debauchery or costume contest.  There was no way to do both.  It was already after 11:00 and there would undoubtedly be another line for both parking and entrance.  I decided on Charlotte.  I might not get there in time to enter the competition, but maybe, I’d get there in time to see it.

I was in Charlotte and dressed by midnight.  The contest wasn’t starting until 12:30.  The costume was well received from the outset.  I took a lot of pictures and made promises to several waitresses and bartenders that I would take more after the contest.  But all was not unicorns and rainbows.  There was a troll in our midst.  This dude came up to me, started talking, and would not leave me alone for the entire night.  He was one of those people who you wanted to tell off, but also didn’t want to engage.  So, I was politely rude.  While he was talking to me, several women came up, complimented me on my costume, and asked for a pic.

“You know why all these women are coming up to you instead of me don’t you?” he asked.


“C’mon, you know.  You seem like a smart guy…It’s, because you’re big.”


“Look, I’m sure you’re an okay looking guy under that makeup, but look at me.  I’m a great-looking guy.  If I had your height…”


“They also know you’re black.  You’re big and black.  Probably have a big penis.  Me, not so much.”  This made the second guy who made reference to my penis, and two guys talking about my penis is 40 guys too many.

I was saved, albeit briefly, by the contest…which I lost.  After the Best Costume: Female was over (winner: Poison Ivy; real name: April) the DJ asked me to come back onstage, and announced that I was getting $100, because there was a large sentiment that I should’ve won the $500 for Best Costume: Male.

Tiny Tim continued his monologue.  “Look, I know I’m not supposed to say this, but I’m the smartest guy in the room.  Not supposed to say it, but it’s true.  I know people.“ 

“Don’t engage,” I kept telling myself.  Fortunately, our “conversation” was interrupted by April who had come to speak with me.

“I’m glad to hear you got some money.  You deserved to win.”

“Thank you.  Judging by audience applause is always sketchy.  Money isn’t important.  Just glad people seem to enjoy the costume.”

“Did you make it yourself?”

“I designed it and put it together,” I said before telling her how I did everything.

“I like creative guys.  Can I get a picture?”


When she asked my shadow to take it, his response was infuriating, “I don’t know if I want to take it.  Hey, man, you want me to take this picture?”

“That’s the reason women talk to me and not you.  Not, because I’m big, but, because you’re an asshat.  You’d know that if you were as smart as you think you are.  Now, take the friggin’ picture and go back to the Shire!” Is what I desperately wanted to say, but that kind of talk is wasted on arrogant douchebags, especially intoxicated ones.  So, instead, I simply said, “Yes.”

Thankfully, my little buddy decided it was time to head home lest goats cross his bridge unimpeded.  
That’s when I saw her.  Her name was Lindsey.  She was gorgeous -- long legs, strawberry blonde hair, yellow cat eyes (contacts) – and smelled like buttermilk and hope.  [Ed’s Note: That’s right on the border of paying a compliment and serial-killery.]  She also had a long neck, which, though had a pronounced slit from which blood flowed into her cleavage, was still enchanting.  [Just crossed the border.]

“Who did your makeup?”

“I did.”

“I like a guy who can do his own makeup.  What’s your name?”

“Real or stage?”


“Damion, but I also go by ‘Black Silk’.”

“I like it.”

“Can I get your number?”

“And how many numbers have you gotten with that costume tonight?”
I hesitated, because I didn’t know if the number I had gotten earlier that night counted since I didn’t ask for it…and I can’t lie to women.  Fortunately, she continued before I could answer.

“No matter, I don’t give my number out on the first date.”

“How do I get a second date?”

“That’s for you to figure out…’Black Silk’,” she smiled then walked away.

“I love that woman…”

Another woman approached me.

“Please tell me you have a job that allows you to use your creativity,” she said.

“I work for a bank.”

“That’s a shame.  By the way, she didn’t want me to tell you, but April is the one who gave you the $100.  She gave it out of her winnings, because she thought you deserved something.  Just thought you should know.”


I walked around for a bit taking pics with bartenders and waitresses.  Another woman came up to me.

“Hi, it’s your friend from earlier.  I changed out of my costume,” April said.

“Hey.  Congratulations again.”

“Thanks.  Can I buy you breakfast?”

“Depends.  What’s on the menu?”


“Yeah?  You want some cheese on those eggs?  Some cheese and sausage?”

“I’d definitely like some cheese on these eggs?  And I LOVE sausage!”

“I love eggs…The eggs in your Fallopians…Got milk?”

“Oh, I gots milk…Take me!”

Obviously, everything following her offer to buy me breakfast was made up.  Sometimes, breakfast is just breakfast…idiots.  Having been up since Friday morning and in makeup for over 8hrs --not to mention the fact that I had just asked out one of her co-workers, a co-worker who was mad at her, because she had been told that employees could not enter the costume contest-- I politely declined and headed back to the hotel.

Once I arrived, I headed upstairs, "let slip the dogs of war", took off my makeup (those poor hotel washcloths), lied down on the sofa, and settled in for a brief Autumn’s nap.

“Pri-i-vate eyes are watching you…”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dear Diary: Hate Your Game, Player

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dear Diary:

From the time Eve was created from Adam’s rib (Science), it has fallen upon Man to approach Woman if a formal meeting of the minds…and bodies (procreation, people) was to occur.   In order to break the initial awkwardness, Man, who viewed Woman as he did any prey, felt he needed to invent a way to lure her.  Being a part of the species Ragineous Idiotus, Man invented the pickup line.  In fact, the first pickup line ever recorded was used by Adam who, when first attempting to court Eve, uttered the following: “You came from my rib; how would you like to come on my ribbed.”  [Editor’s Note: There are no words…There. Are. No. Wor—“Dear, God, please direct all lightning to...”]  True story. [Was that thunder?]  Old Testament.  Look it up.  [How uncomfortable can Hell be?  Is it like Tucson?]  This led to the phrase “Not if you were the last man on Earth”, the Apple, shame, and, ultimately, banishment.

Why would Adam say such a thing, because he, like all men since, did not fully understand the meaning behind his words.  In fact, it wasn’t until The Age of Enlightenment that men actually started to listen to what they were saying.  How can someone not hear what they are saying?  There are two universal truths: Women are crazy; men are idiots.  The latter, while not excusing the behavior, offers insight into why it occurs.

This entry is a Public Service Announcement that will, hopefully, help this and future generations see the error of their ways and correct / never engage in the type of behavior described herein.
It was Thursday.  I had just completed another long day of work…ing from home followed by a 15-mile, uphill (1% incline) bike ride.  After watching sports talk shows on the ESPN and showering (whore’s bath in the sink), I became aware of two things: 1) It was approaching dinner time, and 2) I had eaten both breakfast and lunch without the accompaniment of boobs in my face.  Being one who likes to kill two birds – serves them right for soiling meine autos – I drove to my local [If you can call a 90-minute drive “local”.] watering hole for good food [boobs] and conversation [they speak to him].

Seated at the bar were the usual cast of characters: that guy, that other guy, and dude.  I made my way to the bar and took my usual seat (i.e. the one that was available…but not too available, if you get my meaning) [Don’t strain yourself.  People rarely get his meaning…he doesn’t like to be flanked by dudes.]  Later that evening, a new guy game sauntering into the bar.  (In reality, he could have sashayed.  I don’t pay much attention to how dudes enter a room.)  He sat three stools from me at the end of the bar in a location I like to call “minimum safe distance”.

As people sitting at a bar, except me, often do, he attempted to strike up a conversation.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” I didn’t actually say that much, rather I briefly turned my head, gave him a nod of acknowledgment, and went back to watching the American Football match.

“You want some of these nachos?  I can’t possibly eat ‘em all.”

“No, thanks.”  Again, I may be exaggerating the breadth of my response.  [Speech mode, Boss.]  I have two rules about sharing nachos and dudes I don’t know: Not, and gunna happen.  Why don’t you just cut out the middle man and stick your fingers directly into my mouth?

During the course of the night, the bartender, who had gone out for a smoke, struck up a conversation with the aforementioned patron.  Seeing that he seemed interested in her cigarettes (not a euphemism…yet) she told them that her boyfriend rolled them and offered him one.  He took it, because…boobs.

As the night dragged on, and his alcohol intake increased, he became more enamored with the bartender.  As his “enamoration” grew so, too, did his bravado.  (Keep in mind that she had mentioned her boyfriend on several occasions.)  Warning: The following events are true and illustrate, in stunning detail, how NOT to spend quality time with a happenin’ lady.

An hour from closing, the patron, decked out in a blue (could’ve been purple. I’m colorblind.) bandanna with matching shirt and pants, started his move.

Dude (roll of bills in his hand): “What time do you get off?”

Bartender: “Midnight”

He puts a $20 bill down in front of her.

Bartender: “What’s that for?”

Dude: “That’s for you…It’s a tip.  What time does this place close?”

Bartender: “Midnight.”

He puts down a $10 and tells her that it, too, is for her. (Not sure what his tipping structure is based on, but seems insulting.)

Bartender: “Thanks.  I’ll put this towards my ‘new coach fund’.”

Dude: “Have a drink with me.”

Bartender: “I can’t drink on the job, and I have to cut you off soon.  I’m working tomorrow, though.  You can come see me then.”

Dude: “I’m leaving town tomorrow.”

FREEZE IT!  Teaching moment.  Rewind it, and play it back with just his parts.

What he probably thinks he’s saying: “I’m a good-looking guy, and you’re a good-looking woman.  I’m only in town for a short time.  What say we get out of here when you get off work and get to know each other?”

What he’s actually saying: “I know you mentioned you have a boyfriend, but I’m hoping you’re a ho.  I’m leaving town tomorrow, but, before I go, I’d like to sleep with you.  I have money and am willing to pay for your time.  Let’s start the bidding at $30.”

Here’s a tip: Asking a woman out while simultaneously handing her money…not a good move.

Unfreeze.  Back to the action.

Though he was unhappy with her initial response to his advances, a man who dresses like an extra from Laurence Fishburne’s “Biker Boyz” (don’t act like you haven’t seen it) is not one to be easily thwarted.  No, Sir!  This minor setback only served to steel his resolve. He was going to claim his prize or go down swinging.  Time to bring out the big gun.

Dude: “Can I have some salt?”

She hands him a salt shaker. He then proceeds to pour salt into his beer, which causes it to bubble.

Bartender: “Be careful.  That’s going to spill all over the bar.”

At no time did even the slightest hint of concern appear on his stoic visage.  Not one drop of sweat appeared on his brow.  Why so confident that his quest to impress would not end in disaster and the ire of the one who would have to clean it up not be raised?  Two words: Science magic.  He had placed a common household drinking straw across the top of the glass.  When the bubbles came into contact with straw, they receded.  As if by magic!  Was he some kind of wizard or man-witch?!?  The bandanna the source of his wizard powers??? The confidence with which he executed this trick exposed a simple truth: this was not his first rodeo.  This was, in fact, his move.  A move that looked a woman straight through her eyes into the very depths of her soul and whispered, “your move…”
To his chagrin, her move was immediate and in the opposite direction.  Fortunately, I was there to offer a comforting word…or run him through with pointed sarcasm.  Either way, I was there.

Me: “I don’t know about her, but I’m wet.”

Dude: “Come again.”

Me: “Easy, Killer.  Save some for later.”

Dude: “What?”

Me: “Look.  Alls I know is that women like two things: money and science-magic.  You put those moves on me…there’d be a goddamn rainforest in my lady region.”

Dude: “Seriously?”

Me: “Hellz yeah!  That charm, that wad o’ cash, that bandanna.  You’re monochromatic up in this bitch!  Throw science-magic into that elixir… Maaaaannnn.  Like the muthaloving Amazon up in this piece.  Not a dry eye in the house…you get it.”

Dude: “I do?”

Me: “Dagum right, ya do.  The problem lies with her. She was obviously leading you on.”

Dude: “Leading me on?”

Me: “Did she offer you a cigarette?”

Dude: “Well, yeah, but –“

Me: “Everyone knows that’s code for ‘I want my hot butt in your mouth.’”

Dude: “Actually, I –“

Me: “Wondering why she mentioned her boyfriend over and over and over and over and over a –“

Dude: “She di—“

Me: “I’m not done yet…and over again.  I’m done now.  You know I’m done when I say ‘again’.  Why?”

Dude nods.

Me: “Two words: Devil’s threesome.”

Dude: “Devil’s threesome?”

Me: “Yeah, you know, a bro-nage-a-trois.  Ménage-a-brah?”

Dude: “Are you screwing with me?”

Me: “I’m the only self-respecting person in this place who would.  Ya feel me?  Yeah, you feel me.”

Look.  Are there women who are willing to cheat on their significant other?  Yep.  Are there women who just want a one-night stand? Sure there are.  In my experience, however, people, of which women are a part, simply want to be treated with respect.  Who knows?  Maybe she just says she has a boyfriend to weed out the jerks, or has a friend she’d be willing to set you up with.  Change your game.  Maybe, you’ll change your luck…and that’s one to grow on.

Cue the rainbow…

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lost Diaries: There Will Be Blood…and Urine

Thursday. October 15th

Dear Diary:

The day began like any other, which is to say with me finding ways to ruin things for the white man by making seemingly innocuous things appear racist.  Case in point: Did you know that the song used by your “friendly” neighborhood ice cream man has the same tune as an incredibly racist song from our Nation’s less-enlightened age?  No?  Well, it does. So, Ice Cream Man = racist.  What’s that you ask?  Does the fact that “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” has the same tune as “The Alphabet Song” mean that English is the same as Astronomy? Yes. Yes, it does. [Editor’s Note: No.  No, it doesn’t.] No, it doesn’t, but you’re missing the point…Racism!  (Forget the fact that the idea of children chasing a stranger in a van down the street without parental supervision is somehow okay, because he has treats and plays a catchy tune.  No, let’s focus on the song.  You can always more children.  That’s just Science.)  What new evils did I uncover (i.e. invent)?  Did you know that “Black Friday” is so named, because the first slave in America was sold on a Friday?  [Ed’s Note: That is so not true.] Well, it is.  [Nope.]  Enjoy your flat screens. [Buy American.]

After I had reached a stopping point [Which should’ve been before he began] I got dressed and checked my appointment calendar.  On the schedule today; follow-up lab work to check my blood sugar levels.  Needed to see if things had improved since I had been diagnosed as pre-Diabetic back in July.  I was feeling pretty confident, having lost 17 pounds since the diagnosis.  (A number which has since increased to 25 lbs.  I’m using holes on my belt that I had previously thought were only for decoration.)

I made it to the Health Center 30 minutes before my appointment, as I had been fasting and was eager to begin eating as soon as possible.  Forty-five minutes after my appointment was scheduled to begin, I was called to the back.  Apparently, they had forgotten I was there.  I managed to sit there patiently without causing a stir; a skill I had learned as a child who had to walk home from school on multiple occasions after being forgotten by his parents.  (Ah, to be the middle child…Love; exciting and new)

“Sorry, we forgot about you out there!” the nurse said.

“Used to it,” I replied.

“Middle child?”


“Well, we’ll try to take better care of you from here on out.  I see you’re here for a blood and urine sample.”

“Separately, I hope.”

“Remains to be seen.  Do you have a preferred arm?”

“Well, my left arm is my ‘heroin arm’. So…”

I unbuttoned my cuff, rolled up my sleeve, and looked away.

“Awww.  You don’t have to look away.  It won’t hurt.  I’m pretty good at this.”

“I’m not worried about it hurting.  I’m a grown man!  I was just reading that notification over there to make sure I understood the standard operating procedures of this healthcare facility.”

“You mean that sign that says ‘No Food or Drink in the Lab’?”


“The one right above your drink?”

“That would be the one.”

“Uh-huh.  Well, I’m finished.  I just need to put this gauze on and you can button up your sleeve.  Leave this on for at least 15 minutes.”

Having misapplied the gauze, she had to remove it, which tugged at the hair on my arm.

“Don’t you have any band-aids what don’t give me the ‘ouchies’?!?” I asked with exactly zero tears in my eyes.

“Sorry, grown man, I do not…Unless you would like a children’s Spider-Man band-aid.”

{I stared, tilted my head, and raised a brow as if to say, “Yes”…because I was saying “Yes”.}

“Oops, it’s my last one.”


“I guess I could pick up some more on the way home.”


“Fine!” she said as she placed the band-aid on my arm.”

I clapped rapidly like a kid in a candy store…given, of course, that the kid didn’t have Diabetes.

“Anyhoo,” she began, “I’m also going to need to get a urine sample so we can make sure your kidneys are still in peak condition.”

“Am I going to need to cough at any time during this exchange?”

“Not unless you need to clear your throat.”  (Oddly enough, “Let Me Clear My Throat” was the song I had queued up in the event this examination would be…thorough.)

“Good, because, to be honest, it’s like an aerial view of Freddy ‘Boom-Boom’ Washington arguing with Mr. Kotter down there.”

“Thank you for that.”

“You’re welcome.  I believe in honesty.”

She led me to the bathroom where I was to provide my fluid.

“Take one of those cups, provide your sample, place it in here with the top off, and remember to write your initials on the cup…Just your initials.”

“Well, I wasn’t planning on writing a haiku…Not that I hai-couldn’t.”


I followed her instructions to a tee.  Unfortunately, I followed them in the order in which she gave them.

“I had an accident,” I informed the nurse as I pointed to my shirt sleeve.

“Did you try to write your initials AFTER you filled the cup?”


“Here’s another cup.  Write your initials while I watch.”

“Whom should I make this out to?”


“To whom should I make this out?”
{Crosses arms and tilts head}
“Out to whom should I make this?” I ask in my Yoda voice.
{Cracks a smile.}

“There it is…”

I provided my sample without incident.

“Were you humming in there?”

“I find it aids the pro-cess.”

“Do I want to know what you were humming?”

“’Do It, Fluid’ by The Blackbyrds.”

“That was a rhetorical question.”

“Shoulda been clearer.”

After my appointment, I headed out to lunch since I hadn’t eaten in almost 14 hours.

“What can I start you off with to drink?”

“Unsweetened tea.”


“Yeah. I was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic.”

“You’re a black male.  Of course, you’re pre-diabetic.  Did they also say you were pre-hypertension and pre-incarceration?”

“Touché.  Did you know the first white sale was to commemorate giving smallpox blankets to Native Americans?”  [Ed’s Note: So wrong; so many levels.]

“That’s horrible!”

“Ain’t it, tho’?”

Cue the music…

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dear Diary: Nutri-System

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dear Diary:

The day began like any other, which is to say, with me awakening on the front lawn to the pfft-pfft-pfft of the sprinkler shooting water in my face after another night of regrettable behavior.  At least, there would be regret if I could at all remember it.

“Man, this lawn is so lush and soft!  No wonder dogs mark their territory.  I wouldn’t want to share this. This is delightful!  Money well spent, Mr. McCloud.  Money. Well. Spent.”  That’s when it hit me: I didn’t have a lush lawn, or a sprinkler system, which explained the lack of a lush lawn; and I certainly don’t spend money well, which explained the lack of a sprinkler system.  It was all one giant circle of cause and effect.

“How do I keep waking up on other people’s lawns?” I wondered aloud in silent contemplation.  “Doesn’t reflect well on the local Neighborhood Watch Program; that’s for sure.”

A cloud of anxiety had been hanging over my head for more than a month and a half. [Editor’s Note: Forty-two years more.] My lab results, which had come back two days before I embarked on my quest to heal a broken nation, suggested that I was pre-Diabetic.  Based on this “suggestion”, the company nutritionist said that I needed to modify my dietary habits and instructed me to keep a food journal.  Today was the day we would review that journal aka “Judgment Day”.

Keeping a food journal that will be reviewed by a certified dietician is a lot like hiring a housekeeper.  You don’t want the housekeeper to think you don’t keep a clean house (even though that’s why you hired that person); so, you make sure to clean your house from top to bottom before he / she arrives.  You don’t want to make the house too spotless, however, because you don’t want them looking around for the truth and stumbling across “the drawer”.  The same holds true with the food journal.  Your body is a temple, and you don’t want people thinking your temple is unclean…Even though it is.  You start eating fruits, vegetables, and salads.  You learn what kale is.  You don’t eat it, mind you, but you order it, because if it’s on your plate with your curly fries, then your curly fries are healthy.  The good qualities of the kale have rubbed off on the curly fries without ruining their tastiness.  That’s just science.  Osmosis to be exact. [Ed’s Note: Yes, on “the drawer”. No, on the curly fries.]  You don’t want to eat too healthily, however, because 1) you’re there for a reason, and 2) you don’t want her to go looking for your dietary “drawer”.  Your “drawer” could be that you mainline coffee; that you eat a slice of cheesecake before bed (and you count an entire cheesecake as “a slice” as long as you don’t cut it); or that you can’t seem to eat a meal without boobs in your face (i.e. you spend a lot of time at Hooters or eateries that fall within that culinary genre). Little known fact: the original slogan for Hooters was, “Have a meal with boobs in your face.”  They later shortened it to, “Hooters makes you happy.” It’s more family-friendly.)  [Ed’s Note: Nope.]

As I waited in the…waiting room, I reviewed my journal and practiced my responses to the questions I anticipated her asking.  “Do you expect me to believe you didn’t eat sweets in New Orleans?” (Answer: Yes, because it’s true.)  “Do you even know what cauliflower is?” (Answer: Broccoli’s albino cousin.)  “Can you eat a meal without boobs in your face?” (Answer: Yes, but why?)

“Damion,” the voice called from the doorway.

“Yes,” I responded.

“Are you ready for this?”  The room immediately darkened, a disco ball descended from the ceiling, and the waiting area filled with smoke and laser lights.  (None of that actually happened, but that’s what I envision whenever someone utters that phrase.)


“Jock Jams?”

“Excuse me?”

“Just wondering why the pause.”


 We went back to her office to start the interrogation.

“I like to get to know the people I’m working with from a holistic perspective.  Not just what they eat, but how they eat and why.  So, I’m going to take some measurements and ask you a lot of questions.  Sound good?”

“Am I going to need an attorney?”

“Not for this, but based on your HR file, it wouldn’t hurt to have one on-call.”

“Just one?”

“I was being polite.”


She had a scale in her office and asked me to take off my shoes and empty my pockets so she could get an accurate height and weight measurement.

“Hop up on the scale, turn around, and face the picture of the watermelon.”

There were other things in that area: a chair, a potted plant, books. Why’d she have to focus on watermelon?  Seemed racist.

“Okay. Now, we’re going to measure your body fat percentage.  Stand up with your feet shoulder length apart, and your arms out in front you.  When you grip this device, it will shoot an electrical current through your body and tell me what percentage body fat you have.”

“Do I need a ball gag and a safe word?”


“Ouch!  What happened to being polite?”

“What happened to not being a smart ass?”

“Don’t think I ever agreed to that.”


“Dammit!...Are you single?”


“Are we doing the ‘One slap for yes; two slaps for no’ thing?”

“Be seated.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Okay.  I got your height, weight, BMI, and % body fat.  How old are you?”

“According to my birth certificate or the internet quiz I recently took?”

(Furrowed brow. Head cocked to the side. Look of exasperation on her face) “Marital status.”




“I have exercised-induced anaphylaxis.”

“You mean exercised-induced asthma?”



“Shortness of breath, strange taste in my mouth, cramping at times, turn red, which is crazy, because
I’m red-green colorblind—“

“You’re colorblind?”


“Which one?  Red or green?”


“I’ve never met anyone who’s both…What color is this?” (Points to plastic fruit)

(I look away to a non-existent camera with an expression that says “Really?”)  “I assume it’s red, because that fruit is either raspberry or blackberry, and it doesn’t look black.”

“That was too easy.  I’m going to point to these bowls, and I want you to tell me what color each one is.”

After completing “What Color Is This Bowl?” she was finally satisfied.  “Yep, you’re definitely red-green color blind.”

“Well, it’s not like it helps me pick up women…”

“Do you drink?”



“Well, let’s see where this goes first.”

She raises her hand, but does not strike me; seemingly satisfied with my anticipatory flinch.  She continues the interrogatory.

“Do you take any recreational drugs?”


“Are you promiscuous?”

“If you’re asking if I’m a man-whore, the answer is ‘No’.”

“Is that by choice or by the choice of others?”

“You’re funny,” I say placing my elbows on her desk with my head nestled upright in my cupped hands. “I like you…We may have that smoke yet.”

“Elbows off the desk,” she said with a shooing motion and slight smile.

“Yes, ma’am…You know, I was joking with a friend the other day that I have one vice, sweet tea and soft drinks, and she’s going to take that away from me.”

“I’m sorry.  You have one what now?”

“One vice.  I don’t drink, smoke, do recreational drugs, sleep around…”

“You remember, I HAVE seen your file.”



“That doesn’t count.  I’m a McCloud. We say, ‘muthafucka’ and / or ‘nigga’ in every sentence as a matter of course…a matter of course.”

“I’ve never heard you say ‘nigga’.”

“It’s understood.”

“So, the ‘nigga’ is silent?”

“Yes, the ‘nigga’…is silent.” [Ed’s Note: She didn’t actually say ‘nigga’. So, let’s not get the woman fired.  And, no, it’s not okay for you to use that word around me if’n you ain’t black.]

“Alright. Two vices.  Happy?”

“You really want to do this?” she asked as my file landed on her desk with a thud.  She then proceeded to list out my vices.

“I was working my way through college,“ I said five minutes into her reading.

“What about this?” she asked pointing to a line item.

“Is that my permanent record?” I asked.

“Not the version that Saint Peter has, but it’s fairly complete.”

“Hm.  Well, they were working their way through college, and I helped them as someone had helped me when I was in a similar situation.  That’s not a vice…that’s paying it forward.”

“Did you say ‘paying it forward’ or ‘paying for it’?”

“First off, well played.  Secondly, the former.”

After 30-odd minutes of judgment and point-making, she concluded her series of “Why Are You Such a Mess?” questions and entered the “Here’s How to Fix You” phase.

“If I give you dietary goals, do you think you can follow them?”

“Yes.  Like I said, I’ve already cut out sweet tea and soft drinks, except for that Coke Zero I got today, but I really needed it.  I lost seven pounds while on my trip as a result.  So…”

“You know Coke Zero doesn’t have carbs.  So, you can have that…Mr. McCloud?”


“Are you crying?”

“Little bit.”

“Are you getting aroused?”

“Little bit…The tears were supposed to distract you from that fact…I just really enjoy the Coca-Cola.”

“Coke Zero. Not Coca-Cola.”

“Don’t you ruin this for me.”

“Whatever.  You need to start eating breakfast.  Everyday.  Smoothies during the week, and your regular sausage, eggs, etc., on the weekends.”

“I can do that. Guess I’ll need to buy a blender.”

“You can buy a Magic Bullet or whatever at Wal-Mart.”

“Magic Bullet???  I mean, sure, there have been times, when I haven’t slept and am feeling kinda punchy, where I’ve wondered what the appeal was.  But I’d never—“

(Slap!) “The Magic Bullet is a blender, nimrod!”

“Oh…this falls under doctor-patient confidentiality, correct?”

“No one’s that interested in you.”

“You really know how to hurt a guy.”

“You’re also going to need to buy a food scale and this calorie-counting book.  This is a pocket-sized one, but they make a larger version.  Not sure why I didn’t buy the larger version, I came out of the womb carrying glasses.”

“You and me both.”

“Your eyesight’s been bad for that long?”

“No, the previous doctor left them in there…He wasn’t very good.”

(Sigh and eye roll.) “Get out.”


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dear Diary – EDucation: The Truth about Erectile Dysfunction

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dear Diary:

Before I begin, I’d just like to reiterate that, as I mentioned during my physical last week, I do not suffer from Erectile Dysfunction.  As everyone knows, all statements made during a physical are done so under oath, and violators can face up to 12 years in jail or public stoning in the town square. [Editor’s Note: No one knows that, because it’s not true.]

On my way home from Raleigh, NC, where I watched the United States Women’s National Team defeat Japan in the World Cup of Lady Soccer, a commercial for one of the many remedies for male-pattern invirility came on the radio.  These types of advertisements, while pleasantly absent during the Women’s World Cup, were all too commonplace during the NBA Finals, March Madness, The SuperBowl, The World Series of Poker, and The Scripps National Spelling Bee.  (“Scripps, where words aren’t the only things that are hard”…is a slogan which they, inexplicably, turned down.) [Editor’s Note: I wouldn’t say “inexplicably”.  Their concerns were quite splicable.] 

The problem with these advertisements, other than bringing to light that which should stay cloaked in the warm blanket of denial, is that they paint an unrealistic picture of erectile dysfunction.  Man sees his significant other painting a bench, planting flowers, eating Cracker Jacks at a youth league baseball game, sitting in side-by-side bathtubs in the backyard, or buying a Fiat; knowing glance; and, next thing you know, implied sexual encounter.  That’s just not realistic.  First of all, who’s buying a Fiat?  It can only be explained by sudden blood loss, or, more accurately, blood redirection.  Secondly, where’s the awkwardness?  The fumbling?  The following skit outlines what I imagine (Again, no direct knowledge.  Seriously, it’s like “Terminator: Rise of the Machines” down there.) a typical evening of a man suffering from erectile dysfunction to be like.

The scene: A man at dinner with a woman for whom he has strong feelings.  He has yet to mention her to his parents, but his boys know she’s hot.  Hotter than his ex.  The ex what did him wrong…so wrong!

Woman: “This has been a lovely evening.  I’m so glad we came here.”

Man: “Yep.”

Woman: “It’s been really great getting to know you.  Thanks for not pressuring me. I’ve made the mistake of moving too quickly in the past and I promised myself that, going forward [words…]”

Man: “Hey, ya gotta…Am I right?”

Woman: “Anyway, I think I’m ready to take things to the next level.”

Man (sits up straight, eyes forward): “Wait…what?”

Woman: “I just feel so comfortable with you.”

Man: “Me, too.  Can you excuse me?  I need to use the facilities,” he says before getting up and leaving the woman at the table alone with her thoughts…and cellphone…and, therefore, various social media apps. 

Man comes back to the table after emptying his bladder, ingesting a pill, checking his breath, and thoroughly washing his hands.  (He may not be an employee, but he also wasn’t raised by wolves…unhygienic wolves, because normal wolves wash their hands.)

Man: “So, did you want to get dessert?  Preferably one that takes no longer than 30 – 45 minutes to order and consume?”

Woman: “Sigh”

Man: “What?  We’re still going to…next level…”

Woman: “How can I possibly think about being intimate when [something tragic about the children, animals, the environment, or celebrity breakup]???”

Man: “Isn’t being close with someone just the thing in light of the [situation at hand]? Besides—wait are you serious about not leveling up, or is this one of those ‘You just want to know that I’m sensitive to what’s important to you’ things that’ll blow over by the time the flan arrives?  By the way, I ordered flan.”

Woman: “I just don’t think I can give my whole self to anyone in my current mood.”

Man (frantically searching for SNL clips, videos of adorable animals doing adorable things with adorable children, or pertinent quotes from the Dalai Lama): “Are you serious right now?  I don’t want to be ‘that guy’, but if you’re serious, things are going to get really awkward in about 20 – 35 minutes…and, according to the label, could remain awkward for up to four hours.  If awkwardness lasts for longer than four hours, I will need to seek medical attention.  And while we’re on the subject, who settled on four hours as the cut-off?  I mean, who has four hours of material???? I got asthma!”

[Editor’s Note: Seriously.  Who has four hours of material?  Just to set expectations, if I go for four hours, it’s gonna be like a 1990s rap album: 30 minutes of original material mixed in with a bunch of remixes and questionable skits…and, afterwards, you’ll be asking yourself, “What DIDN’T make the album?!?!”]

Woman (completely focused on the news of the day by this point): “Sigh.”

Waiter: “Here’s your flan.  Enjoy.”

Man: “Thanks.  Can I get the chocolate mousse?”

Waiter: “That’ll take about an hour given the backlog in the kitchen.”

Man: “I got time.”

And scene.  

Once again, I must reiterate that the above skit was a complete work of fiction and not based on actual events.  My testosterone levels are, and I quote, “exceptional”.  [Editor’s Note: He’s quoting himself.  So…grain of salt.] It’s like "Sharknado" down there...if "Sharknado" were about testosterone rather than…whatever the hell "Sharknado" was about.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Dear Diary: Be Well

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dear Diary:

The day began like any other, which is to say way too early for my tastes.  I greeted the morning with a sigh and a trip to the “Snooze” bar.  Ah, the Snooze Bar, where everyone knows your name and time is measured in 5-minute intervals.  After several such trips, I greeted the day:  “Conjunction Junction, such dysfunction…Piling up exes and crying myself to sleep…”

It was at this time that I would usually check my calendar to see the latest time I could get to the office without being missed.  This day was different, however, because I knew the exact time of my earliest appointment.  Was this due to a sudden bout of conscientiousness?  Not at all.  My earliest appointment was my annual physical, and the reason I knew that, other than the fact that I had fasted the night before, was that it was the key to unlocking monies what were owed me. 

My employer has a healthy-living incentive program (known as “Be Well”) that awards employees a certain number of points for accomplishing specified tasks.  These points translate into cash.  To this point, I had accumulated enough points to earn $100.  The catch: before you can receive any of the cashish, you have to complete an online Health Assessment and either a biometric screening or full physical.  To lessen the blow of having to jump through hoops to receive monies you had already jumped through hoops to earn, the company gives you $50 for completing a biometric screening or full physical.

After getting dressed, and I do mean dressed: black, cotton undershirt with moisture-wicking properties, a long-sleeved, lavender dress shirt, black dress slacks with thin pinstripes, argyle socks, dress watch, and silver-rimmed sunglasses; I grabbed my laptop bag and made my way towards “Steph”.  [Editor’s Note: Yes, he put on underwear, as well, but this is a family-oriented blog, and he’s a gentleman.  Besides, if you want to know what kind of underwear he has on, you’ll need to buy him dinner first…Gentleman.]  After nestling into the cocoon of subtle luxury that can only be crafted by the artful hands of a Brit, I fired up the engine and headed towards my place of employ.
My journey ground to a halt almost as quickly as it had begun.  For before I could make it to the first stop sign, my progress was impeded by a cat that had decided to stretch out in the middle of the road.  I could not move forward, even slowly, lest the cat move unexpectedly and end up under one of my tires.  This would, in turn, result in several of my female friends putting me underneath one (or more?) of their tires.  I could not back up and proceed in the other direction lest some other vehicle come along and hit the defenseless animal, which would, somehow, be my fault, and, once again, result in bodily injury.  No, my only option was to stay put until the cat decided to move. 

“You could always get out of the car and move the cat to a nearby yard,” a voice in my head suggested.

“Forget that,” I responded. “I’ve seen ‘Cat People’. Not turning me into an undead slave of a feline demon spawn.  No, thank you…”

“First of all, if you’re referring to the 1982 film starring Nastassja Kinski –“

“I am.”

“—I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the plot.  Secondly, what?!?”

Steph suddenly jerked forward at an angle to block off the street.  One cat protecting another.  While waiting, I recognized this as the cat that liked to gently rub herself against my cars, let out a purr, and take a nap in the shade just underneath them.  When the cat finally got tired of being a…cat, it got up, looked over at me, gave a wry smile, and bounded safely across the street.

“Dammit!” I exclaimed. “Look at the time!”  Getting to my appointment on time would require some good fortune and some fancy driving.

“Dear God, please give me green lights, clear roads, and no cops.”

“Pretty sure that’s not how prayer works,” a voice remarked.

“Worth a shot.”


As I approached the first of eight traffic lights between my house and VA 288, I noticed it was green.  However, the speed limit was 25 mph, and I was too far away to make it.

“Guess the voice was right.”

Even though I couldn’t make the light, I could make a right turn before the other cars got going, and pop a quick U up the road…and that’s exactly what I did.

“Please be green, please be green, please be green…” I muttered while approaching the bank of lights again.  It worked.  Seemingly the only person who realizes that the speed limit in this area is 55 rather than 45, I channeled my inner “Rush” (the Ron Howard-directed epic about Formula 1, not the overhyped, Canadian power band) and powered up the hill past several slow-moving cars.  Halfway to 288, I found myself trapped behind a driver who apparently thought it was a 35mph zone, and beside a driver intent on not letting me pass.  (That’s 0 for 2 in the Prayer Department, which, interestingly enough, is next to handbags and man-totes.)

When the lane two lanes over opened up, I switched channels from “Rush” to “Return of the Jedi”.  And like Luke Skywalker evading his pursuers in the jungles of Endoor [Nerd], I slammed on my brakes, got behind the driver to my right, and made my way past.  Still, no cops.

I made it to my appointment with time to spare. No cops.  As they say, “One out of three ain’t bad.”  [No one says that.]

After checking in and filling out the standard paperwork, I sat and waited to be called.

“Mr. McCloud?”


“We’re ready for you.”

“You sure about that?”

“Put your bag in the chair, take your shoes off, and step on the scale.”

I did as instructed.  After stepping off the scale, I looked back and noticed that the reading was higher than expected.  For some reason, when I get weighed at a doctor’s office, not only do I leave everything on, I leave everything in…as in in my pockets.

Next up: The Eye Test

“Put your belongings into the exam room and come back out.”

Again, I did as instructed.  While heading toward the nurse, my eye caught a petite blonde heading over to one of the other exam rooms.

“I need you to turn around, Mr. McCloud.”

“I’m good.”

“We need to test your vision.”

“Can’t you just have her hold up her number and see if I can read it?”

Overhearing our conversation, the woman turned towards me, smiled, and raised her middle finger.

“I don’t think that’s her number,” I remarked.

“Can you read it?” the nurse asked.

“It’s not my first time receiving that signal.”

“You?!?  But you’re such a charmer,” she says while rolling her eyes. “Now, turn around, put this over your left eye, and read as far down as you can.”

I completed the eye test per her instructions: right eye…left eye…both eyes.

“You look good.”

“Well, a compliment.  Finally.”

“What? Sorry, I meant ‘you see well’.  English isn’t my strong suit.”

“Let’s continue.”

Next Up: Invasive Questioning

We headed back into the exam room for the medical interrogation.

“Are you married?”


“Dating anyone?”


“Do you have anyone that knows your wishes in the event of a medical emergency that prevents you from being able to speak for yourself?”

“You mean like erase my porn and clear my browser history?”

“More like do not resuscitate or things along those lines.”

“Do not resuscitate?  What the hell do you plan on doing to me in here?”

“I see your dad has Diabetes.  Have you ever been checked?”

“I assume so.”

“We’ll do a more comprehensive hemoglobin test.”

“Let me check something,” she said as grabbed my wrist.  I assume to check my pulse…or to slit my wrist. Coulda been either one with this nurse. “Anyone ever tell you that you have an irregular heartbeat?”


“Just breathe normally. I’m going to listen to your heart for a minute to see if I hear anything concerning.” 

(Not five seconds later, she removed her stethoscope from my chest.)  “Okay.  I know that wasn’t a minute, but I heard what I needed to right away.  I know you’ve had this done recently, but I’m going to do an EKG.  First, however, I need to take your blood pressure…It’s slightly elevated.”

“You ask me about Do Not Resuscitate orders, bring up Diabetes, and say there may be something wrong with my heart. Can’t imagine why my blood pressure would be elevated.”

“What’s that?”


“Okay. Get undressed down to your underwear, and put on the gown so that it opens in the front.”

Next Up: EKG

(A knock at the door) “You decent?”

“It’s a matter of opinion.”

“Lay back.  I’m gonna put these pads and leads on you. It’ll tell us how your heart’s doing…That’s odd.  This doesn’t seem to be picking up any activity.”

“Forgot to tell you, my heart’s on the other side.”

“That’s funny.  Do you have on lotion?”

“Do essential oils count as lotion?”


“Then, no.”

“I don’t much care for you.”

“I get that a lot.”

“Are you wearing a Fitbit or other device?”

“I’m in my underwear.  Where exactly do you think I put a Fitbit?”

“I know where I’d like to put it.”

“I get that a lot, too.”

“The doctor will be with you shortly.”

Next Up: The Doctor Is In
(A knock at the door) “Hello, Mr. McCloud.  Your EKG looks fine.  The machine seems to be acting up, but, other than that, your heart is fine.  Strong.”
“That nurse had me worried that I was this close to a heart attack.”
“Yeah. She doesn’t much care for you…Let’s check your numbers.”
“Before we do that, can I be re-weighed?”
“I had a lot of stuff in my pockets that I believe adversely impacted the results.”
“What did you have in your pockets?”
“Pack of gum—“
“That’s not gonna tip the scales.”
“Let me see your wallet…Why do you have seventeen ones?  Where are you planning to go after you leave here?”
“Would you believe church?”
“Would you?”
“Not particularly…car keys, watch, two cellphones, sunglasses, ankle weights.”
“Ankle weights?”
“Ankles aren’t gonna build themselves.”
“The answer is ‘no’. Now, let’s check these numbers…Whoa!  That’s not good.”
“What’s not good?”
“Laptop’s not working.  Be right back.”
After collecting my thoughts and making sure I didn’t wet myself, I waited quietly for her return.
“Alright. This seems to be working better. If you want to fix your laptop, just steal someone else’s.  Stealing’s not the right word.  I commandeered it.”
“Whatever you need to tell yourself.  Can we get back to me now?”
“So, it’s all about you?”
“You have a point.  While I'm waiting for your numbers to come up, anything special planned for the 4th?”
“No. I’m going on a 3-week, cross-country, round-trip, road trip in the near.  So, I’m getting ready for that.”
“Sounds fun.”
“Yeah. My parents don’t like to talk about it, because they think something bad’s gonna happen.”
“I have a daughter your age, and—“
(My right eyebrow raises, as if to say, “Go on…”)
“Why not?”
“Seventeen ones ring a bell?”
“You have a point.”
“Okay.  Numbers are up. Let’s see what we have here.  Family history. Check. Blood pressure. Check…Ever suffered from Erectile Dysfunction?”
“Me? No…Some of my dates have.  Am I right?  Up top…No?  Nothing?” (Arm returns slowly to my side)
“Do I need to test you for HIV or STDs?”
“Really covering the spectrum, aren’t we?  And no…”
“Do you check yourself regularly for testicular cancer?”
(Eyes looking to the left towards non-existent camera.) “Sure…that’s…yes.”
“Any blood in your stool or tenderness in your rectum?”
“I’ve been called ‘tender’, but not in my rectum.”
“I’m gonna do couple of quick checks.  Nostrils are clear, eyes look good, ears have a bit of excess wax, but your eardrums look good, lungs are strong, tonsils and teeth look good.  Could use a breath mint, but..Great!  Well, that’s all I need.”
“Wait…What?  That’s it?!?!  Nothing else?”
“Well, I did break the pull tab off of my soup and was going to ask if I could use your toenail to open the can, but that doesn’t seem sanitary.”
“No hernia check?!?!  No prostate exam?!?!?  Why do I pay for health insurance????  I got dressed!  I groomed!  Is this Obamacare, because, if so, I, for one, am NOT a fan!”
“Did you shave another Nativity scene in your pubic hair?”
“Fine. What is it?...Don’t touch those lights!”
(Grand Reveal…Though it would’ve been more grand with the proper light effect.)
“Impressive…and I minored in Art History. So…What am I looking at now?”
“Did you ever see ‘Breakin’?”
(She cocks her head to the side and raises an eyebrow as if to say, “Is that a serious question?”)
“Remember when Turbo got injured falling down the stairs after being chased by the construction worker?  This is Turbo lying in bed with a cast on his arm and foot held up by a pulley; that’s Kelly and Ozone pretending to be doctors; and that’s the cute Puerto Rican girl who cared for Turbo and didn’t want him to check himself out prematurely.  ‘No, Turrrbo…No...’” [Editor’s Note: It loses something when you can’t hear him saying the words, but, trust me, his impersonation is spot on.]  “I was going to do the scene at the end when the rival break dancers were working together to save the Community Center with a young ICE-T on the mic, but I ran outta pube.”
“Is that why you canceled your last appointment?”
“Needed to ‘re-blank my canvas’.  Another option was Questlove, but he started looking more like Cornel West.”

“Give it a few more years, and he would look like Frederick Douglas.  Am I right?  Up top!  No?  Nothing? Fine. Go see the nurse and give a blood and urine sample.  Preferably separately.”

“Can I get an at-risk pregnancy test?  That’s worth extra cash-ish in the Be Well.”

“That’s for women…and you’re not pregnant”

“Really?  Seems racist.”

“It’s not racist.  If anything, it’s sexist.”

“Isn’t sexism just gender racism?” I ask whilst smirking and tapping my right temple.

“Get out.”

All in all, another great physical.  Looking forward to next year.