Monday, February 21, 2011

Nerds In Space

Whz:  Vowel Conservationist
I am concerned about reports of recent developments in interstellar travel as described by a sixth grader named Whz. Whz has a knack for identifying both leanings in galactic politics and trends in cafeteria food. My wife and I met him while judging the science fair at Newt Gringritch Elementary – home of the Fighting Salamanders.

Many would shrug off Whiz’s’ report and its detailed description of future planetary colonization and instead concentrate on avoiding the PTA when they call for volunteers to judge the science fair. My wife, however, has opted for a different path. She is readying herself for her astrophysical adventure on the red planet.

Now, I keep telling her to relax and have faith in the current political climate, that we as a country can find our way out of this financial/political mess. I assure her that the new health care program is not an indicator of the collapse of the world as we know it and even then wouldn’t require a mass exodus of planetary proportions.  Like she listens to me.

It is with her not paying attention to me in mind, combined with her tendency to act somewhat rashly that I am creating a list which I will then laminate and attach to the medical ID necklace I now wear. This is in case I somehow become incapacitated and my wife chooses to leave the planet with me in tow instead of waiting for me to regain consciousness.

Here are the reasons I will not be signing up to colonize Mars.

First, a lady at the kiosk in the mall says that I am an “autumn” and that I should stick to browns and blues. My best colors on the pallet are sorely lacking on Mars if the set designers from Total Recall are to be trusted. The lack of breathable air is another thing one could focus on if the image of me wearing red wasn’t so horrifying.

My next worry is the appalling lack of information concerning the number and locations of convenience stores. I need refills every hour on the hour. I have a habit to feed, and apparently diet coke doesn’t grow on trees. Also, are there any trees?

I don’t believe I am being selfish in asking for more information. I have a family to care for. My youngest son is concerned that those on Mars would not be focused on important, status gaining measures like football. Are there any good teams on Mars, or would he be better off in Canada? He did the math (or at least paid Whz at school to do it for him) and he would have to gain eighty three pounds at the very least to stay on the offence line due to the difference in gravity. I can’t afford to feed him eighty three pounds worth. I can barely afford to pay my son to pay Whiz to do his math for him.

Unreliable Internet service is another real deal breaker. I am used to personal service here on Earth: I call; he comes over and fixes my IT problem immediately. And the wait time off-planet to speak to a live agent would be unbearable.

The only trepidation my wife has is that we not may be able to have visits from her folks or see the next two Kevin Costner movies when they are released. On the up side, we may not be able to have visits from her folks or see the next two Kevin Costner movies when they are released. Another positive: Rent-to-own, unlike on earth, would actually make since.

Additional benefits to calling Mars home would be not being asked to substitute teach in Sunday school, considerable fewer shark attacks, and I wouldn’t have to judge the science fair and make pleasant conversation with Whz. I try to keep it professional between him and me. I call, he comes over to fix my Internet connection, and I give him a blue ribbon – strictly professional.

If I could just get him to stop talking about Mars in front of my wife.  She doesn't do well with moving.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Love And Other Plagues

Just Add Honey
I don’t need the stress. This year I got such a late start that Valentine’s Day will be a complete bomb unless there is a cancellation with the skywriter. The only other viable option I thought would salvage the day was if the Green Bay cheerleaders, The Cheesettes, got my message in time and spelled out my wife’s name in giant crackers during half time of last Sundays super big game.

No crackers. Game over.

So, I have but days to pull off the ultimate in romantic demonstrations. Truth be told, I am not very good at figuring out the difference between, a) what will be romantic, and b) what will get me hospitalized or arrested. Moreover, and regardless of any sudden noticeable developments in wisdom or maturity, I am probably never going to be allowed back into the stadium. Suffice it to say that anything with a bungee is out; and no, I would rather not talk about it.

When I was young, all I had to do was trace my profile onto a paper heart shaped doilies. Then I would wax quixotic and instruct my teacher to write something charming and repetitive on the back like “You are Supper, Supper!” Not sure what I was going for but it was clear to everyone even at that young and tender age that I needed a spell check. I can’t get away with adorable and daft anymore like I did in grade school.

Generally, when it comes to grand gestures of romance I am passions equivalent of oil based paint – my efforts smell funny until enough time has passed.

Case in point. When I first started seeing someone I bought a gallon of fabric dye to color the fountain water in front of the courthouse a rosy red to show undying devotion to my girlfriend who I had been dating for five days. On paper it was dramatic, daring, and quirky. Practically, however, what looked like Hawaiian punch spurting out of an aquatic clam shell may have been a little too Old Testament. Hind sight being 20/20 I probably should have stuck with a balloon-o-gram instead of a failed plague on Egypt.

Next case: I heard in a Disney movie one of the characters being referred to as a diamond in the rough. Such a sweet and childlike thought! What could possibly express my love more than to acknowledge my partners untapped, undiscovered potential. I was determined to demonstrate to her that I, if no one else, knew her real value. And yes, I did this by presenting her with a hunk of coal.

Ever heard of creating helpful coupons for the object of one’s affection to cash in later? I thought it was a great idea, too. So I made cards with bright construction paper for a touch of homemade whimsy. I combined it with a promotion from a local business for a gift of self improvement that couldn’t go wrong – colorful vouchers for a terrific deal on laser hair removal. At least I wrapped it.

My greatest debacle was early this century in what my wife refers to as the time of deep shadow. That was the year I painted the front of our house a lovely if unexpected shade called “begonia”. My thought process was that I would shock my wife for a day by fooling her into thinking I was serious and then paint it over the next day. However, the weather turned cold and colder into an arctic nightmare, work sent me to Albuquerque, and the front of our house stayed flaming pink for two and a half months. The neighbors paid Google maps to blur out the image for the entire block and had traffic cones to divert traffic. My mother in law suggested we go with the flow and hang a velvet paint of Elvis on the garage door and put a couch on the lawn. Suddenly everyone’s a decorator.

Now there are only a few days left and I am fresh out of ideas. How will my wife know I love her without a hazardous and herculean stunt? I thought to make a scale replica of Devils tower with my mother’s fudge recipe and Spackle. I could then attach blinking Christmas lights like an incoming alien space ship, we could all hum the theme song from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and I could say something like Our love is out of this world.

My wife says to forget outer space. She says that if I really love her I will show her how much I care by staying out of the hospital and by being sweet to her--quietly.

I guess I could try a rose and a poem. It would give me another year to heal.