Tales from a Fourth Grade Something


Doesn't this just make you crave cranberries and stuffing?

Today, we have a special guest blogger. The 4th grade version of my husband. You see, when we bought our little house, we inherited about 55 file boxes full of Evan’s various works. I sat down and went through them all. There was a theme. That theme was violence. Tanks, missiles, guns, jets and battle scenes. Oh, the battle scenes. Thousands of battle scenes.

At one point I came upon a beautifully drawn and colored Thanksgiving turkey. “Oh!” I thought, “how sweet! He WAS capable of depicting something non-violent!” The turkey’s little wing was folded under itself. I straightened it out. The turkey was holding an ICBM. Ah, yes, nothing says Thanksgiving like an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The first bit of writing I came across was a letter Evan, then a kindergartner, wrote to President Ronald Reagan, who he clearly saw as a like-minded man. The letter was simple and to the point.

Dear Mr. President,

I would like to raise an army of children.


Eventually, I came upon a journal Evan had been directed to keep by his 4th grade teacher. I gather the students were told to write whatever they wished for certain amount of time. This was Evan’s first entry:

You may find my stories interesting. My illustrations are extraordinary as well. If you think Michael’s stories are good you ain’t seen nothing yet. I intend to write a book soon. Your favorite author, Evan.

Evan grew up with a lot of love and support.

One of the fascinating aspects of living in Clemson, and of being married to Evan, is that all of the characters in these stories are still a part of our daily lives. I went jogging with Michael just the other day. Not only that, but we still make the same jokes. Why, it’s been no more than a week since we last mocked Darren’s sizable skull. Here is a later entry, the first in a series entitled, Darren’s Date.

One day I walked bye [sic] Dian’s house. Then I saw Darren inside. I went to a knot hole and I looked in. Just in time. Darren was getting mushy with Dian. WOW it was getting heavy.

Just then Wyatt smashed down the door and tackled Dian and started kissing Dian. Darren got up cussing then Wyatt and Darren got in a fight. I walked in and through [sic] Wyatt out the window.

All of a sudden John came in and though [sic] Darren in the toilet and tried to flush it. Boy was Darren mad. Darren cussed John out. John kicked Darren through the roof. Crash slam! Darren came down in the sewer.

Me and John were hanging out at the Clemson pub that night. Then Darren came in. Boy did he stink. He tried to tackle me but he crashed into the wine and beer bottles. He got kicked out and totalled 22 cars with his thick head.

Wyatt, the one with the window bill, was in bed. Darren walked in and wap! smash! Wyatt kicked him out the window of the 50th floor of the hotel. Darren landed on his head so it didn’t hurt anything. Then Darren took a loan for $200,000 to pay for the cars. After that the pub manager sued him for the liquor bill. Which was another $1,500.

Wyatt was over at Dian’s house, me and John stuck a bunch of firecrackers under their sofa. Boy were they scared. Darren came out on his motorcycle. We got in our truck. We led Darren to this ramp we set up for him. Wam! He must have been 50 ft. in the air. He landed in the sewer again. He stunk for months.

Darren was so scared that we’d flush him down the toilet again, he had to live in the sewer.

By Evan.

I am struck by a number of things in this narrative. Firstly, I enjoy the reference to the pub life of ten year olds. Secondly, I enjoy the surprisingly accurate monetary damage assessments. Thirdly, they drive. Also, violence. It’s a theme.

Lindsey Vonn and a Difference of Opinion

Recently, Good Me and Evil Me sat down for a discussion about the Olympics and America’s Golden Girl (TM) Lindsey Vonn. Here is a transcript of that discussion.

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn, a fireplace, and Lindsey Vonn's ego.

GOOD ME: So, the Olympics! A lovely thing, the Olympics! I’ll never forget Shaun White making the birds jealous with his flights over Vancouver snow, or the Canadian figure skater who captured both the bronze medal and our hearts after the tragic death of her mother.

EVIL ME: For me, the Olympics were a lot of meh. Also, I’m curious. You say you’ll never forget, and yet you do not name the Canadian figure skater.

(awkward pause)

EVIL ME: Do you know her name?

GOOD ME: Of course! It’s Le-umm-uh-*cough* Roachette?

EVIL ME: Yeah, that’s what I thought. At least I know the name of the athlete who stuck out in MY mind – Lindsey With-An-E Vonn.

GOOD ME: Are you still on that?

EVIL ME: After she cost Mancuso a medal? Damn skippy!

GOOD ME: By crashing! You’re well named, Evil Me.

EVIL ME: Don’t wear it out. But you know my issue isn’t so much her costing Mancuso the medal as it is that I hate her. Like, a lot.

GOOD ME: *sigh* Please don’t use the word “hate.” It is an ugly word and you do not actually hate Lindsey Vonn. You DISLIKE her because NBC promo’d the holy heck out of her, and I ask you, is Lindsey Vonn in charge of NBC programming? I’ll answer on your behalf – no, she is not. It is not Lindsey Vonn’s fault that NBC decided to make her America’s Golden Girl (TM) and shoved her down our collective throats.

EVIL ME: Let me ask you this, Good Me, did you get the sense Lindsey minded too terribly much?

GOOD ME: How would I know what’s in her head?

EVIL ME: Your evasiveness shows nothing so much as agreement. Besides, I think we all know where Lindsey Vonn’s head’s at ever since the prom thing.

GOOD ME: You and the prom thing.

EVIL ME: She said TWICE, WHILE CRYING, that she’d missed out on so much and the only specific thing she could name was her PROM. HER PROM, DUDE. I mean, c’mon. Could I give up my prom in exchange for becoming the champion of the universe downhill skier? BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

GOOD ME: I can’t talk to you when you get all cappy and ragey like this.

EVIL ME: And even you, Good Me, must accede the point that the crying was ridiculous. Her own husband/trainer/guy had to say to her, STOP CRYING. In all caps, on national television, he had to say to her, STOP CRYING. I wish Simon Cowell had been there to call her performance, “indulgent.”

GOOD ME: She just won a gold medal! Emotion is to be expected!

EVIL ME: But let us not forget that the immortal Heidi Klum had the last word on crying: “Maybe at night, alone, into your pillow.” Just because the Germans made a good faith effort at genocide doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge their rightness on the topics of beer, pastries, and crying.

GOOD ME: Oh come on! The poor girl gets injured, she has so much pressure on her as the huge favorite, OF COURSE she’s going to cry, from sheer relief if nothing else.

EVIL ME: Yeah, but she CRIED and CRIED and CRIED… it went on FOREVER. Also, a bruised shin? I’ve played through worse.

GOOD ME: We’re not even going there, Evil Me. On another note altogether, do you not concede that the woman is a phenomenal athlete?

EVIL ME: I won’t argue the point.

GOOD ME: And you love dominant, powerful female athletes!

EVIL ME: This is true.

GOOD ME: So what’s your deal? Lindsey Vonn is the most dominant US female downhill skier ever. You should love that.

EVIL ME: I think it’s just the fact everybody keeps insisting she’s so beautiful.

GOOD ME: Are you going to try to tell me she’s not attractive?

EVIL ME: Eh. She’s fit, she has beautiful hair, and a reasonably symmetrical face. Ergo, the world reads her as attractive. But give her five years on a couch eating chips and put her in Cameron Diaz’s wig from Being John Malkovich and then get back to me.


EVIL ME: I’m just saying, I think the locus of her beauty is her hair. If Julie Mancuso snuck into her Olympic dorm room in the middle of the night and shaved her head, it’d be Britney 2.0. And you know my theory about true beauty.

GOOD ME: (quoting) “A beautiful woman is beautiful even if she’s bald. See, Portman, Natalie.”

EVIL ME: Awww! You do listen to me sometimes!

GOOD ME: It’s impossible to avoid.

Conversations with a Drunk Horse


Affable Bob, in more sober times.

Recently, I’ve been handwalking my friend’s horse. We will call him Bob. (It’s not good form to out those with substance abuse problems.) Bob went into a period of stall rest as a very fit thoroughbred. As you can imagine, he has built up some excess energy during this time of recuperation. So to make these walks safe for Bob, safe for me, safe for surrounding inanimate objects, Bob goes into these walks drunk. Or rather, on acepromazine, aka ACE. Every horse reacts a little differently to ACE. Not surprisingly, the affable Bob becomes the 1,100 pound version of that guy we’ve all found ourselves babysitting at one time or another.

He comes out of his stall ready to rock. Head up, steps quick, I have to jog to keep up with his long-legged strides. “Where’s the party at?” Bob says. Adding a gratuitous, “WOOOO!!!!”

I determinedly try to steer him along a flat path. “C’mon, buddy, let’s just walk around in circles over here.” Suddenly, Bob makes a screaming right hand turn. “I WANNA GO OVER THERE!” he shouts. This, however, is better than the occasional screaming left hand turn he makes directly into me. He looks up, eyes bleary, “I totally didn’t realize you were there, man! I love you, dude,” Bob slurs. I give him a pet on the neck and assure him, “no blood, no foul,” and we continue on our weaving way.

Eventually, his pace slows. His head dives down. “Dead leaves!” Bob hollers. “I need to eat these dead leaves!” I haul on his head, trying to get him to lift it, “no, Bob,” I say, “you don’t want to eat those dead leaves, I promise you.” “Okay,” he agrees, once again walking full steam ahead. “A clump of hay! I DEFINITELY want this hay!” I let him stop and eat the three errant stems of hay. “This hay is so good,” Bob says. “This is the best hay I’ve ever had.”

Fifteen minutes in and Bob starts getting tired. “What if I just curled up and went to sleep here on the sidewalk?” he suggests. “You guys could come get me later.” I tell him this is not a good idea. “Let’s get you back home, buddy,” I say. With much manuevering we negotiate a little hill and he finds himself back in his stall. “Oh. I’m here,” Bob says. “Did I eat some dead leaves?” I assure him that no such thing happened, and tuck him into bed. “I could have sworn I ate some dead leaves.” I give him one last pet on the neck and tell him I’ll see him Friday. “It’s going to be awesome!” Bob yells. I agree, it will be awesome.

Peter and Pookie

Koreatown Denny's

The very doors that New Guy turned his back on. On another note, a nice looking Denny's, no?

This is a tale of murder and mayhem, violence and vendettas. I don’t usually find these things funny, but when a principle participant’s name is Pookie, things change. When Peter Exline is involved, all bets are off.

After many months of bowling at Pico One, Peter called an audible and we switched locales to a bowling alley in Koreatown. Now, I don’t want to cast aspersions upon Koreatown. I haven’t lived in L.A. since 2003 and things change. Suffice it to say, at the time of this story Koreatown was generally kinda okay-ish with a heavy spice of occasional crazy. Like a Subway sandwich carrying a stray jalapeno. On this night we would run into that stray jalapeno, and her name was Pookie.

The evening began with a merry round of bowling. A regular had brought along a friend. New Guy was charming, funny, tall. Taller even than Peter. New Guy was a star. After the bowling we decided to walk a few blocks to a Denny’s. It was late. Midnight-ish, maybe after. It was an unusually large group of us, at least ten bowlers. We pushed together several tables and New Guy sat at the head of the table, his back to the front door. Peter and I sat facing the kitchen, a vantage point that gave us front row seats to the drama that would later unfold.

New Guy continued to delight and entertain the masses from his vantage point at the head of the table, and we were all having a good time. The restaurant was crowded, loud. Somehow, through the ruckus, we all simultaneously sensed a disturbance in the force. We craned our necks to find the source. There, seated at a small booth, were two young black women. Maybe early 20’s. One of them, the one named Pookie, had become enraged at her Korean waitress. We knew her name was Pookie because of her cousin’s neverending monologue. It went something like this: “POOKIE, NO! NO, POOKIE! POOKIE! POOKIE, STOP! STOP, POOKIE! POOKIE!” We knew she was Pookie’s cousin because she would occasionally address the crowd with the announcement, “I’M POOKIE’S COUSIN!”

Unfortunately, Pookie’s cousin and her emphatic use of Pookie’s name were not enough to stem the tide of rage that overfloweth from Pookie. She attacked the Korean Waitress. Korean Waitress, a surprise ninja, sprinted away. Pookie followed, swinging.

New Guy, the only one with his back to the action, suavely commented, “if anbody sees a gun, please let me know so I can duck.” We all laughed. Through the chaos, Peter found the salient point. He turned to me and said, “is New Guy funnier than me? I don’t know if I want him in the group if he’s funnier than me.” I, too, had my priorities in the right place. “I am concerned as well,” I told Peter. “This New Guy is disturbingly funny.” There was a strict comic heirarchy to our bowling group, and proper form was to be observed.

Meanwhile, Korean Waitress who turned out to be a surprise ninja managed to give Pookie the slip one more time. Then, in a move worthy of vintage Richard Dean Anderson, Korean Waitress vaulted the kitchen counter. Her lithe body perfectly swinging high up into the air, through the narrow channel, and into the safety of the kitchen. Pookie had been defeated, but she was slow to realize this. Pookie’s cousin, however, knew it was time to get. “POOKIE! COME ON, POOKIE! WE GOTTA GO, POOKIE! POOKIE! POOKIE! COME ON, POOKIE!” Reluctantly, Pookie allowed herself to be drug away by her cousin.


Pookie's Korean Waitress.

The restaurant breathed a sigh of relief and life continued on as though nothing had happened. Only Peter, his instincts forever sharpened by Vietnam, knew the truth. “This isn’t over,” said Peter. And he was right.

About ten minutes later Pookie’s cousin burst through the Denny’s double doors. She addressed us all. “POOKIE’S BROTHER DIED TONIGHT! HE GOT SHOT! SO DON’T YOU JUDGE POOKIE! POOKIE’S BROTHER DIED TONIGHT! YOU DON’T KNOW POOKIE! YOU DON’T KNOW NOTHING!” It went on at length. New Guy, his back to the front door and Pookie’s cousin’s soliloquy, wrly reminded us, “the gun thing? Yeah. Just sayin’.” We assured him we would let him know if he needed to duck.

Eventually, Pookie’s cousin left and we continued on with our dinner. We never saw Pookie or the New Guy again, which was just as well. Pookie was crazy and New Guy was awfully funny.

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, your opinion, man

A most exciting event has occurred in the young life of this blog.

See it here, under Leblogski, or go directly here.

It has come to light that not all of my friends are Achievers. While I find this dismaying, I feel I should offer some crib notes to those who haven’t been following along at home.

1.) Peter Exline, friend of the Coen Brothers, told them some stories about his real life. Primarily involving a rug that tied the room together as well as a failed attempt at interrogating a middle schooler suspected of stealing Peter’s car. Also, quotes about ‘Nam.

2.) The Coen Brothers took Peter’s stories, and after conflating them with the personality of John Milius and adding real life Jeff “The Dude” Dowd, they created an amalgamation now known as The Big Lebowski.

3.) Will Russell and other Founding Dudes took the newly formed cult classic and created LebowskiFest, a roving convention celebrating all things Lebowski.

4.) I brought Peter to their attention.

5.) I was thereby included, however minorly, in the Founding Dudes book, I’m a Lebowski, You’re a Lebowski.

This is what my long story was about. A story that April W, a commenter on Leblogski, calls, “priceless.” While those who are not Acheivers may say to her, yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, your opinion, man, those of us who are will simply say, far out.