Two Scoops Of Ice Cream, Five Different Crayons

Inspired by how much happier I have been not knowing about all those children or who blames whom for the perpetual state of what or who plans to effort election in order to direct the lives of whom, I have been, the past six months, aggressively cutting those things out of my life that I believed were bringing nothing to the table. A partial list of the cuts that have noticeably improved my life:

* Internet criticism. I used to be a fairly regular reader of a small handful of Keys-related message boards, of Chowhound, and of AICN’s talkbacks. Then I realized that 90% of the time, I left my visits to those sites annoyed with someone or something. I wish it were possible to have Agenda and No-Agenda sections on the internet, like restaurants with smoking sections. I miss some things about them, but life is short, and one must weed if one is to reap. Cut.

* Law & Order: SVU: After about the third consecutive episode — last straw was the one where Blair Underwood set Michael Michele on fire — that ended with me feeling bleak enough to wonder why it was I watched SVU in the first place, I decided that there was no reason.

* TV I was watching for the sake of watching TV. It is hard for me, now, to think of something that brings less to my table than television that I’m watching ’cause there’s nothing else to do. Now that Jesus has given us DVDs of shows, there’s no reason to watch pretaped commercial television at all. (It’s a shame downloading shows isn’t legal, because that would really make life nicer, but, alas, file-sharing is illegal, so I certainly can’t step over that line. I am, after all, Mr. Respect For The Law.)

* The Drudge Report: I don’t want to know up-to-the-second standings in politics, sensational crimes, celebrity rumor, and freaks. I used to check it out of habit, from back when I used to have to see if anything had happened in the last five minutes. Matt, I love what you did to the Old Media, and I was even responsible for a headline of yours way back, but you’re cut.

* Arguing with religious people about being religious. Whatever gives you comfort and gets you through the night is fine with me. A polite “No, thanks!” works just as well as a lecture. (This goes for political cause leafleters, too. No more sneering at the people trying to give me brochures at the Farmer’s Market; their religion is weird, but no weirder than the rest of them.)

* Spoilers of movies I was/am looking forward to. It’s tempting, that instant gratification, but what’s the point of seeing the movies if I know what’s going to happen? It lessens the pleasure of it. Takes some serious effort to avoid. Worth it.

* The view of golf balls and white dress shirts as lasting possessions. Much, much better to consider them single-use.


Three people, directly related to me by blood or marriage, are practitioners of the Instant Callback. If they call me, and I do not answer my phone, they immediately redial and ring it again. This is fine when the phone is turned off. However, when I don’t answer it for a reason — moving a couch, say — the Instant Callback move is so annoying that it has led to the early death of two cellphones. Now, I recognize my innate bias — I am a proud and open telephobe — so tell me, you people: Is the Instant Callback common practice, or am I just living among the tediously persistent?

From The Unassembled Desk Of…

* It’s very disorienting to be unpacking an apartment you moved out of twenty months ago. I whip back and forth between feeing like we just moved out of the last place two weeks ago and thinking “Wow, I haven’t seen this in forever.” I need to say, though, that if you ever start taking things for granted, box everything up and move into a scorpion hovel for a year and a half. Seriously changes your perspective on having things.

* Target has more than one vacuum cleaner that costs more than I thought it was possible for a vacuum cleaner to cost. Seriously, if you gave me $500 and told me to go buy a vacuum cleaner, and to be sure to spend every cent, I would have called Sharper Image and asked if they had a Roomba that climbed stairs.

* This really happened: We were wandering around IKEA last week, looking for a bunch of things they didn’t have, and I was idly thinking about setting myself on fire. Honey turned around not two minutes later and said, “Why are you wearing your I-wish-I-could-set-myself-on-fire face?”

* We packed astoundingly well. Only two casualties, and they were the result of a collapsed box. More proudly: We have encountered less than one box worth of “Why the hell did we keep that?” items, and no “Hey, did we give that away? I wanted that!” items. The possessiocidal cleansing appears to have been efficient and successful.

* My mother’s taste in heirloom furniture and my adult aversion to credit buying have left me with knowing how to obtain two kinds of furniture: Extremely nice and extremely not. I know where to buy Kittinger, and I know how many quarters I’ll need to buy a complete desk set at the Salvation Army. Middle ground, though…what should two non-cardboard bedside tables and a dresser that doesn’t become a trapezoid if you put books on top of it cost?

* Amidst all the busyness and disorganization, I did not get a chance to recount the first three minutes of last Friday: I woke to someone skipping around the new place wearing Tinkerbell gym shorts and a Little Miss Chatterbox t-shirt and singing, “I’m a real-ly grown-up! I’m a real-ly grown-up!”

Happy 30th, Honey.

Beats Never

Previously, on “Blood and Thunder”:

“As my thirtieth birthday present to myself, I’m moving Somewhere Else for a while.”


“I always wanted to live near the ocean.”


“The parade to the Lock-Up — the self-storage joint near Kiddieland, which I cannot recommend highly enough — has begun.


“Why don’t you just move?

Because we don’t WANT to move. Because the aforementioned family-friends are still here. Because I have Bears season tickets. Because Chicago is home.”

* * * * *

We thought it would take four months, not twenty. But the Florida practice is on cruise control, the Dorm Room is clean and empty, the Lock-Up is in the rearview, and the lease is signed. Right near Harlem & Touhy. Bought some furniture today.

Chilluns…we did it.