She just hangs up

Buddy and Gary sit, quietly sipping on some new exotic coffee drink recommended to them by the barista, a young twenty-something, who goes by the name Four, as in the number.
Gary scratches his hind leg with his left paw, rapidly. Buddy watches him with a slight glance of the eyes.

“So right in the middle of the brief conversation, everything goes silent. ‘Hello. Hello,’ I say. Then, Buddy, I receive a text message from Gwen. Sometimes, it’s four or five texts in a row–140 characters, you know. It usually starts with an apology for not talking on the phone. She says it’s the cell phone, cancer thing. But she’s stopped using that one. Then she will send a picture of herself eating something like dessert, in a strange standing pose. Does this seem odd to you? I mean, face to face would be great, but I would even settle for a few minutes talking on the phone; two cans with string; anything. I really don’t think it’s so much to ask.”

“Nah, not too much. Maybe she has commubia.”

“Is that when a person can only communicate with a cell phone or pictures, but is fear-struck when real, face to face verbal communication takes place?”

“Yes it is, Gary; and, most of the communication is done by texting on the phone, not by talking on the phone. I’ve read that many have developed severe cases of commubia and, as of yet, they have found no simple remedy other than complete separation from the communication device. They even hold weekend clinics which set out to cure this modern, social malady. Success varies, depending on the individual, experts say. Is she young and restless? Is she one of the bruzias who spends constant hours on her device texting? Okay, Gary, does she have ADD?”

“Does she have ADD? Yes, but she has the other ADD. You know, it’s the close cousin to not being able to focus and concentrate. She has ADD+, where she doesn’t receive enough attention. Now that’s true Attention Deficit Disorder. But that doesn’t explain her inability to hold a conversation other than in text messages.

“If we only had a way to communicate with others without texting or speaking to them face to face, Buddy, that would be amazing!”

“We do, it’s called writing letters; and we gave that up decades ago, along with lobotomies, Corvairs, and panel wagons. Okay, let me explain something to you.”

to be continued…


Holly.cheerleader“Okay, this is just about enough for me, Buddy. I can’t take it. I’m getting very annoyed with Howard.”
“Hold on, Holly. Can I have a little of my bagel before you start in on the issues? I love bagels and cream cheese; and when you put some marmalade on it, forget about it. Oh, and this coffee is the best French Dream. It’s good to be alive! Would you like some?”

“No. Thank you, though.”

Buddy puts the cream cheese and marmalade on his bagel and slowly sips his dark, French Roast Dream, the hot liquid that helps him see things more clearly, smile a little brighter, especially when reading the paper in the morning; he even talks a little faster after his first sip from his favorite bone-shaped cup.  They have only been in the cafe for about fifteen minutes, exchanging short but polite phrases, as is customary, when Holly begins to explain the details of her issue with Howard.

“Why does he continue to talk about his past, as if it had just happened this morning?  I don’t get it. This was in high school, a time of growth and maturing, fun and laughter, heartache and tears. It seems that Howard only experienced one thing during those four years, and it’s all wrapped up in one Friday night, for about four minutes. Does a football game really mean that much to a guy? I mean, it’s not like it was a professional game or anything.  It was just high school!  He likes talking about his friends in high school, too. Is it just me, or does this seem a little strange that a guy in his twenties would still be living in his high school world? He still sees his friends at least once a week. He calls them his dream team, his entourage. I’ve seen them together, all five of them.  They are still talking about high school sports and joking about people they haven’t seen in years. How long will this go on? Will he be sixty years old when he finally wakes from his high school dream? It’s pathetic!  And, I’m bored.”

“Holly, what do you talk about when you go out? What is the point of topic? Is it about you, your present life, your past, or is it about Howard?”

“Well, I usually just listen to him–and he gives everything in great detail.  Sometimes he adds to the story, just to make it a little longer. The first time, it was twenty-one yards to the end zone where he miraculously caught the game-winning pass. The next time, it was forty-two yards; then, it was seventy yards.  This, of course, was followed by hundreds, no thousands, of cheers, then handshakes, and pats on the back. I don’t get it. How can this story just keep growing and growing? Maybe it’s a guy thing to exaggerate everything–I’m sorry, I mean: color the story differently.”

“Just how many different topics does he talk about when you get together? Is it fewer than five?”

“I would say two: his friends and his four-minute football feat. I think he believes it to be greater than growing up. He seems to want to stay in that moment forever, and never leave that time. His ten year reunion is coming up in three years and he’s already making plans…and with me.  Maybe that’s his issue. Peter Pan? Believe me, there are more important things to talk about in this life.”

“What do you talk about, Holly?”

“Oh, I was a cheerleader.”

Buddy sighs…



My Hex…

hound close upBuddy and Jill sit in front of the bookshelf, adjacent to the south corner window of the living room. Jill is explaining the difficulty of ending a relationship, her relationship with Jack.
“Buddy, what is the term for the transitional state between together and apart? Married and divorced? A couple and not? How do I refer to him? How does he refer to me? Soon-to-be seems so long, and such a painfully worn out term. Is “ex” too early, and is it describing it clearly?”

“No, that’s a term used once that transition state has passed. It’s the period between; it’s that emotional state between the fights and the acceptance that it’s over. It’s that Hex place; it’s that Hex period. She is not your girlfriend; she is your Hex girlfriend. He is not your boyfriend, he is your Hex boyfriend. She is not your wife, she is your Hex wife…and so on. It’s that period of time during the confusion of it all; the period before the clear end.”

“But what does that mean, Buddy?”

“Well, it means a lot of things for each of us. It means you no longer have to laugh at his jokes. You know, when he says the same old joke, over and over, thinking he’s just about the funniest man alive. In front of friends, you feel obligated to laugh and save him, especially when it’s really not that humorous. And you continue to laugh about you know not what anymore. You’ve heard the same joke so many times that you’ve forgotten what makes it funny. In fact, you’ve heard it so many times that you’ve now begun to tell the same joke. Pitiful! Well, you no longer have to do this joke parroting or the obligatory laughing session which follows. For men, it finally means being honest. Maybe he really doesn’t love that old, blue dress that makes her look twenty pounds heavier. It’s just not that attractive! Now, she might consider donating the dress to someone less fortunate, which may become something really unfortunate for someone else. If he is tired of this old, blue dress, then I’m sure everyone at the parties, weddings, and holiday get-togethers are just as tired. They are probably nauseous, but fight to be kind. It’s also about not having to constantly tell her that she looks so, so young, especially when she tries wearing those jeans all the twenty-somethings are wearing. It means he no longer has to treat her best friend as though she were his best friend. It means he no longer has to refer to his sister-in-law who dresses in 80’s wear as unique and individually stated. You no longer have to pretend to love the five-dollar Starbucks gift card his aunt Louise gifts you for Christmas, forgetting that she gives you the same thing every year. He no longer has to tell her that her younger sister looks much older and far less attractive than she is, even when it’s a blatant lie. Because she knows, as well as her Hex husband, that her younger sister is smoking hot. It means you no longer have to gasp and awe at the things he says, as though every word was the most interesting word ever spoken; as though every conversation should be documented and placed in a time capsule for future generations to ponder upon. Wow! This alone should make life so pleasant, even during the demise of the relationship. I know it was for me, and I know it will be for you.

The Hex state is perhaps the best state before all endings. It prepares you for upcoming change. Think of it as spring training before the new season. Think of it as an early release program, a program that prepares you for the next stages of an eventful life. Many are often lost in this acute state, since it’s new and different for each of us and is usually over quickly. I think it’s the perfect stage: you’re not in, in all the turmoil, and you are not quite out yet. Remember, consider it a priceless gift once the decision has been made to end all things. The Hex state is short-term schooling for the soon-to-be-lost. Approach it well, and you’ll be just fine.”

         “Couldn’t we just call it the I should have never state?”


Who Am I now?

Buddy.concentrate1.jpgBuddy is lying down along side Charlie, who is sipping his coffee loudly but slowly, so as to not burn himself with its heat.  The visible gray, snake-like swirls make shape around his nose. The sofa is comfortable; they take up about half of the space since Charlie is not really sitting straight.

“Listen, Buddy, I don’t  know about you, but I think women can be toasty: sometimes they are just right, other times they’re just not.

Okay, so now Amy wants me to be a woman. Can you believe that? At least, that’s what I think. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but nothing else makes sense. I take her shopping on Saturdays–every Saturday. We go to all the stores on the pavement strip. And, just because I do this, I am now obligated to leave my manhood at home, in a drawer, and instead, put on some pretty pumps and a purse, metaphorically speaking, of course.”

“What?”  The expression on Buddy’s face could not be more clear. Buddy rests his chin down on his two front paws, demonstrating his attentiveness. His eyes casually looking up at Charlie. Buddy is perplexed.

“So here we go into our first store, Roman’s. She is so excited because they have a section of new purses for her to hold, touch, and try on–she’s in heaven. She immediately becomes this fashion model in Paris and I’m her best  girlfriend, a very homelier looking version at that. I’m the friend who must really love purses; I’m the one who doesn’t dress nicely; and I’m the one who is always overlooked at the party. It’s like we’ve become two different people when we are in a woman’s department store.  Am I her girlfriend now?  Should she just call me Charlene? ‘Charlene, is my dress too old for me? Charlene, is the dress too young for me? Charlene, is my dress too tight? Does it make me look fat, Charlene?’  This is not my roll, Buddy, is it?  If we were roll-playing, then she should have told me, right? I have a sailor costume. Uh…never mind.

I just wanted to do something nice, and take her to a few stores down the strip. I know that she enjoys shopping, and even if it’s not the thing for me, it’s for her. But I never agreed on the character play. Is this the way women are when they go shopping, or out to dinner, or lunch?  Do we all play a part? When I’m not there, who is the homely girlfriend? I am not a woman! I’m not a woman! I’m a man!  Please don’t ask me to walk, talk, and eat salad until I’m starving.”

“He doth protest too much,” Buddy thinks to himself.

“I should be the one impressed when I see clothes for the first time, right? I should be the one to ask what it cost, right? After all, I’m her husband, not her girlfriend, right?

How did I get here? I thought my job was to stay home and take care of the fort while the woman was out gathering berries for dinner. I know, I know, we men need to take a more supportive role. I know! I know!  But what about the women?  What about their understanding of what a man is and isn’t?”

“Charlie, what should a man do?”

“Well, stay away from the recreational shopping would be a great start.”

“Then do that, Charlie.”

Buddy nods his head downward and upward, winks with a smile, and closes his eyes.

“Good night, Charlie.”

She’s Got This Killer Look 2.0


mutt“Okay, I’ll give  you the straight: They do, and they have many, many more looks, my friend.   They have the looks that command you to take out the garbage, stop talking,  quit being so loud, and what you just said was plain stupid–and much, much more.  There is a catalogue of looks, you know; I have a copy. The most common look is a furrowed brow with a slight head tilt to the left, half-squinted eyes pointing in the same direction. That’s the look given to most men. It’s really a harmless look in terms of the Look Hierarchy. This one probably ranks at about a 1.5 on a 10 point scale.”

“Are you kidding me? Why do those looks ranks so low? I mean, they seem pretty powerful to me, Bud.”

“Well, it depends on the offense. Take me, for example. I once dated a woman who saw me looking at another woman, a bruzia; she gave me the most contemptuous look I have ever experienced.  I wasn’t even looking at the other woman as attractive, but as someone I thought I knew from sometime in the past. Now her look at me was different: the head was straight; opened eyes the size of small melons, piercing directly into mine; teeth clinched; jaw muscles flexing with every breath she took; nostrils flaring open large enough for flies to make emergency landings if needed. I could have sworn I saw two small horns raising from under the skin on her sun-baked forehead. She always denied that one, though.”

“So what happened?”

“I don’t remember; I passed out in the restaurant: fell out of my chair, tripped a waiter who spilled four dishes on me and people at the next table, I was told. The next thing I knew, I was in the emergency room, hooked up to a heart monitor. When the doctor finally spoke to me, he said ‘looking at another woman, huh? Then you passed out. Then they rushed you in to see a doctor in the emergency wing.  I see this all the time. It’s that look!  And I’ve seen them all.’

So, when I got out, I spoke to Charlie, who indicated to me that a woman’s gazing looks are many, and vary by degree. Each one of them hold some power and the potential for immediate destruction to the recipient of said look. He has had many friends lose it all over that look. He once had a friend who drove his car into oncoming traffic.  His friend tried feverishly but failed to escape the gaze; and he got the look by simply asking the wrong question. Each woman decides, for herself, which look she will give, based on the offense.

But, Wilard, it all begins in childhood for a woman, a bruzia. Charlie says that women attend special gazing conventions.  These camps, or killer’s look conventions, are dedicated to manipulating look training.  They go through months of rigorous training as very young children. Then, when they are done, and it becomes intuitive, almost second nature, they are released to the world.  By the time they are three, these skills are codified in their personalities, Charlie says. All women, at some point, realize they have it, but never speak about it to one another.  It’s another example of that unspoken, feminine code.

The downside to all of this is when a woman, a bruzia, recognizes this powerful trait and becomes overly aggressive with it, that killer’s look. It’s like a power hungry executive needing to wield her power. It can get out of control. A loose canon, out of control! I’ve also lost a few friends to oncoming traffic, deliriously running onto car-filled streets, looking to escape this gaze.  It’s that gaze that drives many men to suicide.  When I asked about the friends I’ve lost to traffic, they say an accident, but I know better. The only advice I can give you is to be aware, and be very, very careful.

She’s Got This Killer Look

muttIt’s Tuesday morning, and Charlie is sitting on a bird drop covered, green bench, in Central Park. The pigeons have landed for their morning meal, which sometimes lasts the entire day or until each one has filled its reserve.  It’s a crisp 50 degrees, and it doesn’t appear that the day is going to warm up any more than it has at this point.

“Oh, no, here comes Wilard and his roommate, Rex,” Buddy says to himself. “I loathe these two. Rex always calls me Bubb. Call me Budd, Buddy, Budster, but not Bubb. Where are we, on the farm?”

“Hello, Charlie,” greets Rex, extending his hand as anyone who hasn’t seen a friend in a very long time would.

“Hello, Rex. Sit down. Rest a while.”

“Oh, no. That’s just great!” dismisses Buddy.

Wilard quickly walks over to Buddy and begins his small talk. “Buddy, why are you so quiet? You didn’t say hello, or acknowledge me as I walked up. What’s up?”

Buddy rolls his eyes upward to the sky and says, “Oh, sorry, how are you doing, Wilard?”

“I’m glad you asked.” Willard pants aggressively, tongue dropping out of his mouth, as though he’d been running briskly.  He stops and slowly sits beside Buddy, trying to control his breathing and his shifting body movements. “Where do I begin?”

“How about from the beginning? Why don’t you catch your breath first.  What, did you run all the way over here? If you’re not careful you will die a young death like so many of your breed do. I told Charlie that we should get some air this morning, so he brought me to the park where I could stretch out and enjoy the sun.” Buddy stretches his long torso to a downward dog pose, then back up again.  “That apartment makes me crazy sometimes. So what were you about to say?”

“Well, it’s Whitney, a girl I’ve been seeing for about two months now,she is wearing my patience thin. Maybe it’s me, but I think she’s developed this killer’s look.”

“What do you mean a killer’s look?”

“When she wants me to do something, for instance, she will straighten out her smile, look me directly in the eyes, and she will not blink.  Wherever her eyes move, that is where she wants me to move. Last night, we were watching something on television, I don’t remember what, when she wanted me to move to my right on the sofa. Apparently I failed to move quickly enough, so she gave me the look, followed by quick shove. I asked her what the problem was.  Her response was that she wanted me to move over. She looked at me perplexed, as if I were the confused one.  She could have just asked, right?   The next day, she asked me to go with her to see her brother downtown. So we went. Everything was fine: we were laughing, talking about a customer he had in his store earlier, the eccentric people he meets daily, and life’s little vicissitudes. I felt comfortable enough to ask about his girlfriend; I had no idea they had just split up.  Whitney shot me this look, a death gaze moving up then down. I kept talking. Her brother responded by changing the subject, so I went on talking. Tell me, Buddy, how was I to know that he had just split from her?  Am I required to know everything?

So on our way home, she began by staring at me with a piercing look; this one burnt so hot its razor bead could slice you in half. That look gave me a migraine so intense I thought I was going to die. I’m not kidding, that look made me nauseous and I twitched for hours. Is it just me or does she have some demonic gazing powers? Do all women have this strange series of looks that I’m not aware of?  Are they born this way or do they attend some strategic gaze training camp?

to be continued…

Why Is A Man’s Ability to Remain Observant So Short-Termed? 2.0


white terrier pup“Well, Izzy, it’s not as simple as saying he is not as observant as he was when you first started seeing one another.”

“But, Buddy, I’m not finished.” Angrily, her eyes refuse to blink. She remains there staring in his eyes.

There is a very loud silence which overtakes all sound in the room. The silence, which is only five to ten seconds, seems like hours of tense awkwardness. Buddy remains quiet. Izzy sighs, then begins again.

“Sometimes I will suggest things we could do the next time we see each other, or even places we could go to eat. Now this always brings him back from wherever he has gone in that little mind of his.  What do I have to do, put a steak around my neck, or carry a bag of chips with me?”

Buddy tilts his head to the side and asks, “May I speak?”

“What’s stopping you?”

Buddy shakes his head and begins. “You women may think you know us quite well, but there are many things about men, beyond all science and understanding. Look, I’m going to let you in on a little unknown fact, okay? Men, brozios, lose concentration and our ability to focus in about three minutes–that’s the duration of our focus.  You really need to catch us in that three minute window of opportunity or our minds readjust onto something else.  Now, the man who can focus more than three minutes still has this condition, but he has trained himself to concentrate on one spot on your face. He now has it under control. Follow me? It could be your eyes, your nose, your forehead, your lips, or many other points of focus.  So, he’s really not concentrating on blemishes or the steak sauce in the corner of your mouth, he’s simply found something to lock onto and is content in capturing that spot. Watch his eyes.  This is going to save him for the next three or so hours. When a woman asks a man to look her in the eyes, she is asking him to refocus. Now this is not our fault.  That’s just the way it is. It’s biological. Don’t fight it. It’s no use. That’s the height of our evolutionary ladder.  As I said, some men have got this skill down, and I applaud them. They have the ability to focus on one thing and take it in for hours. Ivan has found your shoes, dress, and other things that make you special. And, no, that’s not sarcasm. Keep in mind that after thirty minutes or so of readjusting, our eyes start searching for that sixty-inch wide screen.”

Izzy’s jaw drops, mouth wide open.

“Do you mean to tell me that men place more importance on a dumb game on television than the pleasant company of a woman? Would they rather watch other men run around chasing each other than to have an intelligent and thought-provoking conversation with a woman?”

“Throw in a sub sandwich, and yes!  I’m just kidding. It’s not the game, exactly; it could be anything; it just has to be moving. We just can’t be idle.  We can’t be stuck in park for more than three minutes.”

“So what do I do, now?”

“Okay, the next time you go out, time his focus for three minutes. Or, you can track his eyes. When they move, slap him across the face for a redirect of his attention. Look at him directly in the eyes and say Ivan, I know. That’s all you have to say.”