I woke up with a hangover yesterday morning. It was one of those cruel, oppressive hangovers that linger all day and make you bitterly regret not only your excesses of the past 24 hours, but also just about everything you’ve done for the past 30 years.
As I was wandering around the house that morning, dressed in my ratty bathrobe and slippers, feeling sorry for myself and muttering about the essential unfairness of life, I happened to glance at a mirror and was shocked by what I saw.
I looked like an ugly old man.
My face was puffy, my lids were drooping, and my eyes were still bloodshot. I hadn’t shaved in a week, my hair was standing on end, and my skin was off-color, almost jaundiced.
To be honest, I looked like shit. And I didn’t like it one bit.
Of course, most people look terrible when they wake up. But after cleaning up — showering and attending to toiletry details — they generally look a lot better.
Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me. After showering, shaving, trimming my eyebrows and nose hairs, and tending to the follicular growths sprouting from my ears, I still looked like Shemp Howard after a rough night.
Rolando, Benny Jay and Milo…..
Maybe I was being too hard on myself. Perhaps the hangover was skewing my perceptions. So I decided to get a second opinion. I asked my wife, the lovely Mrs. Milo, “Honey, do I look okay to you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. I guess I’m feeling kind of old and ugly today.”
“Well, you’re not that young anymore.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“And if you quit drinking and smoking so much it might improve your appearance.”
“If I think of something I’ll let you know.”
Thankfully, I don’t have to rely on my looks to keep my job as Society, Lifestyle and Religion columnist here at The Third City. Nobody cares what a blogger looks like. It’s like being a radio personality. Appearance is meaningless.
Milo in his good-looking days….
Now that I think about it, except for Ms. No Blaise, who happens to be a fine looking young woman, most of my colleagues at this blog site are mangy looking fuckers.
Benny Jay, for example, is an ugly bastard. He’s got a face that would give Stephen King nightmares.
Jonny Randolph has seen better days. I’d be willing to bet that he hasn’t gotten laid since the mid-1980s. And I doubt things will improve anytime soon.
Rolando is a nasty looking brute. People cross the street to avoid him. The local kids dress up like Rolando on Halloween, just to scare the neighbors.
Jim Siergey is another homely bastard. Years of obsessive cartooning have ruined his looks. He’s come to resemble a cartoon character himself. If he had a handlebar mustache, he’d look exactly like Yosemite Sam.
I suppose I shouldn’t dwell on appearances. What could be more superficial than judging people by the way they look? After all, some of the great people in history were not much to look at.
Abraham Lincoln was homely, to put it kindly. Mother Teresa could have used a touch of lipstick and a little rouge. Winston Churchill resembled a bulldog. Golda Meir probably had a tough time getting a prom date.
That said, I couldn’t shake the thought that I was becoming an unattractive older man. I was walking along Clark Street later that afternoon, depressed by the notion that time was working against me, that I was only going to get older and uglier, when I saw a very attractive young woman walking in my direction. As she passed by she gave me a beautiful smile and said, “Hi.”
I started feeling better right away.
Walking the dog. Head in the clouds. Not really minding where I’m going. When….
I look up to see a weasley looking schmuck in a bathrobe standing on his front porch.
“Yeah?” I say.
I look at the dog. She’s doing her business.
“She’s peeing on my lawn….”
I don’t know what to say. Yes, that’s true. But — so what?
“Move her,” he says.
The guy’s starting to irritate me.
“I don’t care where — just not on my lawn. I pay taxes….”
I could have done this to the guy….
Now he’s really irritating me. “I pay taxes too….”
“What about squirrels — can they pee on your lawn cause you pay taxes?”
“Don’t be an asshole….”
“I’m an asshole? You live in a city and you don’t want dogs to pee on your lawn and I’m the asshole?”
“I’ll call the police….”
The dog’s done so I head off. Pisses me off. Keep thinking about the guy as I walk along. Always meeting jerks on the walk — this neighborhood’s crawling with them…
My day goes on. Do this do that. Hours pass. It’s nearly midnight. I’m taking the dog on her last walk of the day. My mind’s on a million different things. The leash tightens. I look over. The dog’s going into her squat. You know, she’s gotta take a crap.
Only — get this. She’s crapping on the lawn of Mr.-I-Pay-My-Taxes. That’s right. I know, Freud would say I subconsciously steered the dog to this lawn. But, I swear, I don’t control the dog’s bowels….
The dog’s taking her freaking time. She’s walking in a circle. Like she does. By the way, what’s that circle walking all about?
I’m thinking: What if the guy see us? What if he comes out of his house? Will he call the cops? Maybe I should tug the dog to another lawn? But, then, why should some other guy pay for his neighbor’s jerkishness? Plus, you gotta take the dog’s feelings into consideration. How would you feel if someone dragged you by a leash just when you were all set to take a crap?
So I let her do her thing on the guy’s lawn. I get out my plastic bag. All ready to scoop it up, when I have this thought….
Fuck this guy.
I mean, really. There’s no better revenge then leaving a big pile in his yard. With any luck, he’ll step in it….
Then think: Ah, two wrongs don’t make a right. So I pick up the crap, throw the bag in a garbage bin and go home.
But the dog still has to pee. And, get this — she’s pissing on douche bag’s lawn! Out of all the other lawns on the block. Is this dog smart or what?
“Good dog,” I tell her. “Good dog….”
She looks up at me. I swear to God, she’s smiling.
I get a lot of weird looks and odd questions whenever I tell someone my last name.
We prounounce it ih-thee-err.
Typically, the first thing people ask is, ‘What kind of last name is that?’
To which I usually respond,”It’s French, from the south of France, specifically.”
What usually follows that question is, “But you’re Puerto Rican, aren’t you?”
To which I reply, “Yes, I am.”
Now the questions that follow after those initial ones depends on the person I’m dealing with.
You get those types that speak a little French that try and correct the way I pronounce my last name.
“It’s pronounce ih-tee-ay,” one such douchebag said to me the other day. “You’re mispronouncing your name.”
“That’s one way of pronouncing it,” I replied.
“No, that’s the proper way, the French way.”
“Well I’m from Chicago, and it’s my name, so I’ll pronounce it the way I want to.”
Then you have my fellow Ricans, some of who tend to not focus so much on the pronounciation of my last name, but on the fact that I’m of Puerto Rican ancestary and I have a French last name.
“That doesn’t even make sense, bro” one of my childhood friends said to me when he first learned my last name. “You’re Puerto Rican, you’re brown and you have a French last name?”
“What can I say? I didn’t choose it.”
“Do they even have Puerto Ricans in France?” he asked. “Do they even have brown people?”
“I’m sure they have a couple,” I said amused by his line of questioning. “I’m sure they have black people too.”
“That’s crazy, bro,” he said in disbelief. “Brown and black people in France?”
“I know, right?”
“That’s cool, bro. Your like a Puerto Rican French dude.”
I just let it go. It’s amazing the hassle a French last name can cause
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Editor’s Note: Jon Randolph — aka, Chicago’s greatest photographer — is indisposed at the moment. He called to say he was “lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Easter time too.”
Then he said: “my gravity’s failing and my negativity’s not pulling me through.”
“Don’t worry cause — I won’t put on any airs when I’m down on Rue Morgue Avenue. They got some hungry women there and, man, they really make a mess outta you.”
Whatever you say, Jonny. Meanwhile, enjoy some of his great work, everyone….
Riding in the rain….
Growing on trees….
KMA — Mayor Rahm!
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The time has come for the editorial board of The Third City to officially congratulate the Miami Heat ….
I can’t stand the fucking Miami Heat!
They won won last night’s ball game.
Or, for that matter, the entire state of Florida.
And the playoff series against our beloved Bulls.
With the exception of my in-laws, of course.
As we all know, good sportsmanship entails learning to lose graciously.
Fuck the Heat, fuck the Heat, fuck the Heat…..
And winning graciously.
When are we ever gonna win?
As always, the Heat’s resilience under fire was admirable.
It’s really hard to lose when you get all the calls.
They hit big shot after big shot.
Half of which came after uncalled charging fouls.
And they played tenacious defense down the stretch.
Which generally meant riding Joakim Noah like a horse or hacking the hell out of Jimmy Butler, like on his last three.
No foul here — huh, refs….
Our Bulls played fearlessly, though they were just not up to the match.
Cause half our team was in the fucking hospital!
We not only went without Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose, but Luol Deng, our all-star forward.
Cause someone thought it was a good idea to give him a spinal tap for the flu.
I think we speak for all sports fans when we said it would have been a more entertaining series had Deng been able to play.
Who gets a spinal tap for the flu?
We’d like to congratulate all the Heats great players….
How come their doctors don’t give them spinal taps when they get the flu?
Oh, why, oh, why didn’t you come to Chicago, LeBron!
If I have to watch Wade whine after getting called for a foul, I’ll need a spinal tap!
for their excellence.
I hate the Heat, I hate the Heat…
Just wait till next year, Miami!
In addition, a shout out to coach Eric Spoelstra….
Speaking of whiners.
and general manager Pat Riley.
I’ve didn’t like Riley when he played for Kentucky….
He put together an awesome team.
Or coached the Lakers…..
We know we speak for Chicago Bulls fan everywhere when we say — congratulations, Pat.
And I really, really, really didn’t like him when he coached the Knicks….
And good luck in the next series.
I never thought these words would come out of my mouth but — go Indiana Pacers!
We look forward to playing you next year.
Yeah, when D Rose is back!
Editor’s Note: Sorry, readers. Apparently, a hacker snuck into our computer system and added some disparaging comments about the Miamia Heat. Our IT department’s investigating this matter. We’ll keep you posted.
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My family all being in one room together, as they were this past Sunday for Mother’s Day, usually stirs up some scenario that is blog worthy. Or, at least it’ll be worth a mass text to my friends.
This past Sunday was no different. But, the bizarre event that I’ve chosen to write about today had pretty much nothing to do with my family being in close quarters.
As I was getting ready to leave to go back to my apartment (by this I mean, forcing my dad out of bed to help me find the car keys), there was a knock at my parents door. I responded to it by running in the opposite direction and yelling in a frightened voice to my mother that someone was at the door.
I am an adult!
She goes to answer the door and immediately I hear, “Oh my god, Susan! It is you!”
Though perplexed, I continue on my search for the keys.
Then my mom rushes up to me and says, “Nora, Alia is at the door. You have to come see her!”
To which I’m like, who the fuck is Alia? I resist my mothers ask, to which she responds, “It would be a tragedy if you didn’t come out and see her.”
Despite this being unbelievably dramatic, I give in and go out to see Alia. And every member of her immediate family. One of whom is recording this, and all of whom are trying to hug me as soon as I make it out the door.
I still have no idea who any of them are, but they obviously know who I am. Everyone is talking at once, hugging, kissing, etc etc.. I am solely on the receiving end of all of this, and if you know me I’m sure you have a clear vision of my facial expressions in this moment.
Then I hear someone say to me, “Yeah, I always remember that your birthday is July 30 because it’s two days before my brother’s.”
Say what? Y’all know when my birthday is? I have best friends who don’t even know when my birthday is!
Cough cough, Hannah and Rachel, cough cough.
This birthday date drop immediately loosens me up. Before I know it, they’ve got their iPhone’s out and we are all friending each other on facebook.
One big happy family!
As they all start to leave, they, of course, all hug and kiss me and my parents one last time. Alia is the last to hug me, and she includes a very genuine “I love you” to which I reply with a quick, “I love you, too!”
For Mother’s Day, I gained a mother!
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