The bell tolls, marking the final week of my summer break. Soon all will be seating charts and cafeteria food once again.
This summer did not pass without some successes. I administered a good number of baths to adults at my summer job, which certainly counts for something (albeit something unpleasant). I went on several walks with my family, which were uneventful but made me look good in front of my neighbors. I also threw myself down a flight of stairs to delight my son without becoming concussed.
On the other side of my summer ledger, I also changed over 100 diapers and once cut away the filth-encrusted hair from my cat’s anal region, an act that probably represented the nadir of my existence. Close behind was tonight’s excitement in which I left my newly mobile daughter Alice on a bed to go retrieve her brother, only to hear the dreaded “thump” on the wooden floor a few moments later. Can’t say I enjoyed that. Thankfully, Oliver was there to narrarate events for me as they happened in case I missed anything. (“Alice fall down off bed! Alice crying!”)
Thanks to Oliver’s new obsession with the DVD, I have also endured listening to the opening sequence to the children’s show “Little People” maybe 50 times. I can’t get over how strange the song is – it’s like it’s been translated from another language – and the fact that it’s sung by R&B star Aaron Neville makes it even more bizarre. I’m convinced at this point that the voice of Satan must sound like a dozen Aaron Nevilles speaking in unison.
So that’s it. After these eight weeks of Aaron Neville and child abuse I’m about ready to head back to school and get my social studies groove on. Lunches with my family will soon be replaced with puzzling over how to make the ancient Phoenicians interesting and relevant to 15-year olds (the answer, as always: pass out laptops to the students and hope for the best).
Happy sadness to you all!
My wife is at work and my children are asleep in their beds, lying as still and silent as a raccoons freshly smashed by a Ford F-150, except they are living and human and pleasant. The house has been cleaned, at least insofar as I clean anything, and the homemade anti-government vaccine (French’s mustard and water) has been injected into my rectum. This should be an ideal moment for reflection and repose, but it is not.
Instead I pace back and forth across my kitchen, lost in thought, an anxious tangle of hopes and worries. At issue is my longstanding desire to film a shot-for-shot recreation of the original Footloose‘s tractor chicken race scene with all human characters replaced by cats.
As you have no doubt already surmised, this revelatory move would surely unlock the scene’s subtext and an entirely new level of meaning would unfold as the losing cat jumps into the ravine only to have his tractor tumble on top of him, crushing him to death (a twist in the narrative meant to reflect America’s role in the world, post 9/11). Atop the melodromatic hysteria of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero”, our hero cat would get his claw stuck in a tractor mechanism only to be redeemed and win the love of another cat who would then end the scene by presenting her ripe hindquarters.
Sadly, I’ve encountered one obstacle after another on my way to cinematic triumph. Where am I supposed to get a dozen cats? Who is willing to loan me a couple tractors? Is Kevin Bacon interested in doing an extended cameo as a homeless onlooker writhing atop a pile of cats? My wife has thus far responded unfavorably to my repeated requests for funds and for some reason our date nights spent scouting abandoned ravines have ended in frustration and silence.
That’s why I’m writing this, dear readers. If you’re interested in seeing my vision brought to the screen, please email your credit card information to me immediately. In return, you will be credited as an executive producer and can lay in Kevin Bacon’s catpile.
Email now! Don’t let your mind stop what your emotions need!
Out of sheer laziness I recently decided to start a Twitter account (@PeterWelle). For eight and a half years, I’ve been trying to write funny posts on this blog, and while I intend to continue, it doesn’t always come easy to me these days. The main issue I wrestle with is finding time to commit to writing anything worthwhile – something written with the richness and aggressive awfulness I find so important to give the world. I’ve got two kids to raise and two jobs to work and two cats to forget to feed. Where does blogging fit into my life?
This Twitter account will be dedicated solely to carefully documenting the strange and unnatural throughts that regularly pass through my head. This way I can quickly fire them out without much work, rather than building a 300-word essay around them like I would if I were blogging. In my first week of tweeting, there ended up being around 50 such efforts (you can read them for yourself or click the link on my blogroll to the right, if you’re dumb).
Long story short, this isn’t the end of the JLP. I’ll still post whenever possible because I like writing and my wife can’t handle my elevated level of weirdness when I haven’t blogged in a while. If you like the JLP, then follow me on Twitter, or better yet, follow me in real life, listening in on my mumbled self-talk and a series lectures delivered in the bathrooms of the Metrodome where I expound on the topic of rabbits.
Do you know what the best part is about having two cats?
No, it’s not all the extra feces another cat produces, nor is it the pattern of one cat peeing on the floor when they decide they don’t like how the other cat has used the litter box. It isn’t the way they woke me up at 5:30 this morning, forcing me out of bed and into my blogging harness. It isn’t the way they contribute absolutely nothing to the human experience, either.
Also, it isn’t the way that they sometimes grind on each other even though their genitals have been disengaged.
Want to know what it is? It’s the fantasy that they might somehow kill each other while my family sleeps and then somehow eat their own remains so that there are no messy consequences left for me to deal with. Wouldn’t that be amazing? It would almost be worth living with two arrogant, idiotic cats that demand attention and insist on waking us up in the middle of the night every night for five years to experience something like that. It would be like M.C. Escher’s Drawing Hands, but in reverse.
Now is not the time to get into the specifics of which cat would initiate the killing cycle or how they would manage a mutual fall down our stairwell but still have enough energy and enmity remaining to go through the disgusting process of eating each other to death. I lay all those details out in an elaborate Power Point presentation I insist on delivering to my wife every night before bed.
Aside from that, there’s really nothing enjoyable about owning two cats. They don’t even fetch as much money on the black market as you’d think they would, given the number of disgraced scientists looking to conduct unethical cat-exploding experiments I imagine there are out there.
Thanks for checking in. I hope you found reading my thoughts to be an enriching experience. Come back next week when I share my opinions on the economy.
Hey gang! Today is my 34th birthday, a good occasion to take stock of things in a clinical, dispassionate manner. As I usually do on this blog, I will now set aside all hyperbole to communicate as accurately and reasonably as possible.
Thus far, my summer has been one of inane pleasantries and falseness. My nights have been filled with desperate longing while my days have been weighed down with hazy tedium. My children arise each morning at the unmerciful hour of 5:30 and I stay up at night reading a book that I despise until my mind can no longer sustain even this meager consciousness.
As unwelcome as a bloated, maggot-infested rabbit carcass tossed on a doorstep, my birthday has arrived. Now 34, I’ve entered the no man’s land of the mid-30s, an age marked by weight gain and an increased enthusiasm for classic rock radio. To celebrate this impending surrender to banality, my wife and I went out to a restaurant, ate some bread pudding for dessert, and submitted ourselves to the void.
And so another year has been notched off on the bloodied leather belt of life. I find myself burdened with unrelenting responsibilities and no closer to achieving my childhood dream of becoming Kirby Puckett’s best friend. Like the debris at the bottom of a box of shredded wheat, my once-fertile ambitions have been crushed into sugary dust. Alone in my desperation, my hopes unfulfilled, I am left searching for comfort in my loving family and generous faith community and enriching career, like a three-legged rottweiler with a post-graduate degree.
Well, now that I’ve hit rock bottom, I guess there’s nothing left to do but to go on a walk with my wife and hold her hand and talk about our life together, like some kind of stupid idiot.
Yesterday I got together for lunch with an old friend I hadn’t seen for five years. Our time together was beautiful, like bacon grease flowing down the Rocky Mountains.
Though the years may have thickened our midsections and shriveled our genitals, the bonds of friendship have remained strong, like a transcontinental railroad of emotions, built by Chinese immigrants and shiftless Irish layabouts. The burgers we ate were the golden railroad spikes that sealed our union, and the succulent beef juices that dribbled down our chins were like the joyful tears of Union Pacific stockholders when the graft-laden government contracts for the rail line were finalized.
My old friend and I regaled one another with tales of our lives from the past few years. Stories of marriage, children, and cat-loathing bandied back and forth, punctuated by hearty smiles and immediately-regretted winks. Our conversation sped wildly but wove a beautiful, geometrically precise story, like a spirograph of friendship. Assuming that the other customers at the restaurant were listening on as we spun our stories, I loudly shouted for everybody to leave us alone. So chastened, they returned to their meals and we to our apple-cheeked conviviality.
At the end of our time together, I took my old friend’s hand in mine and shook it firmly, a long-practiced Western custom. With evenly maintained eye contact and slightly moistened lips, we bid each other farewell and wished one another luck in our future endeavors (for him, impending fatherhood; for me, eating a large block of cheese).
Then, of course, since I don’t know how to quit while I’m ahead, I went to Dairy Queen by myself and ate three Blizzards, thus dooming myself to a long evening on the can.