Monday, January 28, 2013

Online Sweetheart

I am not a Facebook stalker or anything like that. I’m really not. No more than any of you out there.

I barely go on the damn thing. But there is this one girl, who shall obviously remain nameless, that I find very attractive and I keep tabs on her. Okay. . . that sounded creepy, “keeping tabs” on somebody you don‘t even interface with, I’ll concede that, but its not like I go to her page daily, and obsessively think about her when I’m not on her page, refreshing the browser over and over checking for new pictures. God no! It’s more like a bi-weekly check up. Like getting a paycheque. Maybe I occasionally go to her boyfriends page to see other pictures of her as well, but come on, leave him out of it, this is about her.

 Im happy to report that as this divine Jewish woman from the GTA moves into her mid-twenties, whom I’ll refer to as M, her petite, well proportioned features light up every picture she’s in, making her friends, who are okay by comparison, look like Bruce Vilanch. With Aids.

M is still going steady with her boyfriend. Appears she’s been dating him for about a year because that’s how far back pictures of the two of them together go. Her boyfriend (who does not come across as a douche-nozzle, as nice as that would be. Sadly, he doesn’t have a thumb ring and/or a ponytail). Of course he’s from good stock--tall, nice wavy brown hair and clear skin. I expected as much; M would certainly not date any scrubs. Not on my watch.

By the way, who are you kidding? It’s not like you don’t look up old flames and former classmates to see you how stack up. Sitting behind your anonymous screen surreptitiously peeling back the curtain and taking a look. How can you not? Humans (and Canadians) are naturally curious, and our past lives are only a click away, so . . . what are you waiting for?

Let’s face it: we are a culture of cyber stalkers and we do it without even thinking. It’s not like I set out to find this woman--I accepted her sisters’ friend request and came across her rather organically (excuses excuses). I wasn’t intentionally looking for a beautiful Jewish woman to do bi-weekly Facebook checks on. Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.

Facebook: What a tool for Manti Te’o wild and crazy guys!

It’s just too easy nowadays for weirdos and creeps, innit? In the good old days, they (not we, I‘m not one of them!) would have to brave the bone shattering cold of a Saturday night in February peeping through windows and pulling on a flaccid penis trying to hid inside your body with an old pair of soft mittens. That’s so 90‘s. Enough already with all that heavy lifting! Once humans find a shortcut there’s no stopping us. It reminds me of that scene in True Stories where the fat rich lady is laying in bed being fed by an electronic spoon. If we have the means and the technology, well . . . make it so number one.

It’s digital, but our lives are so digitized that it’s even better than the real thing.

At this point I’ll address the elephant in the room. I have never, repeat never, masturbated to any pictures on her page. Maybe YOU do that, you sicko. Not for this cowboy. Maybe I’m a desensitized 21st century digital boy, but generally speaking, I need hardcore sex scenarios to get my rocks off, not some picture of a woman at a poetry reading, no matter how heavenly looking. Date and love and sire children with her? Yes. Jerk my crankshaft to? Negatori. Plus, M’s a good girl. Her pictures, like most seemingly normal women in the GTA, consist of M at her sister’s graduation from university, and on holiday in some tropical paradise with the whole extended clan, what looks like aunts and uncles and grandparents. And call me crazy, but it’s tough to get the poison out with Auschwitz survivors flanking the object of your desire. Very distracting.

* * *

One night, after months of watching her from afar, like Neil Young, but definitely not watching her every step and every breath, like Sting, I decided to reach out and make contact. I was stoned and drunk and just didn’t give a flying karate kick anymore. Though I resolved to make contact, I was still much too scared and sensible to send her a personalized message--like, umm . . . I’ve been watching you for a while and I just wanted to say that you’re totally fuckable; here’s my digitz. I tried a different approach: I sent her a link to my website without any accompanying message. One cup of anonymity with a sprinkling of mystery and a dash of intrigue. That’s me. The line up’s over here ladies. It was probably some article about getting head from a tranny, or smoking crack, or smoking a tranny cock, or sucking a crack pipe and smoking a tranny cock at the same time. I know, I know, kinda super lame for an introduction. The next morning when I woke up and turned on my computer with a clear head I couldn’t believe I actually reached out to her, albeit only digitally, across the vast expanse of cyberspace. Half of me was praying that there wouldn’t be a message from her in my inbox, that the cruel hands of actual love in the real world wouldn’t be able to go for my throat. The other half of me hoped that this was the beginning of our march towards marriage and true love, a happy life together achieving our goals and buying a home, raising children, reading the Sunday newspaper, being concerned about planet Earth, what we’re putting into our bodies, what the world we leave will be like for our kids . . .

I hesitantly opened up my ‘favourites’ tab and clicked on my hotmail account, fourth from the top, my mouth dry and head throbbing, clicker finger trembling over the mouse. Before the page loaded, with the blue circle on the screen going roundandroundandround, my overheated and impatient mind took off on a tangential daydream, allowing the fantasy of our potential future life take over.

They would be half Jewish, after all--our kids, that is--and religio-social-political decisions that will shape their young lives would need to be made. As parents it‘s our duty to nudge them in the right direction: do we celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, or some combination thereof? Maybe Chrismukkah? Or maybe Hanukkismas? Should they learn Hebrew as a second language, or French? Or Spanish? I can already see myself at a dinner party arguing vehemently for Israel against encroaching Palestinian territories and missiles--they have a right to defend themselves, ya know! Jesus would have wanted that land for the Israelites!

After years of love--five? Ten? Who knows--our union slowly, but inevitably, crumbles, as love in the real world is wont to do, and one night, after imbibing too much, as I am wont to do, we argue, and I drunkenly hurl a Menorah at her right at the throat--going for the kill shot. Eight candles of death spinning through the air like a pimped out ninja star and only barely missing her head, lodging firmly into the wall. She tearfully declares, “I’m taking Seth and Nina to a kibbutz, away from your tyranny!” And that’s the end of familial bliss, I think to myself, alone in the house, hung over as fuck, spackling the eight gashes in the wall and sipping on a morning beer, waiting for the mud to dry so I can sand ’er down.

I call M’s cell phone and immediately get her voicemail. I decide that the last message I ever leave as her better half will be in the form of a joke: “Do you know why Jewish women like circumcised men?” Dramatic pause.

“They like one third off.”



* * *

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that she didn’t get back to me--(sigh)

In today’s economy, who needs a restraining order, so I gathered my wits about myself and went back to gazing at my ethereal Jewish beauty from the telescopic confines of my computer screen, as if combing the skies of a distant galaxy . . . a galaxy full of buxotic Jewish girls, and half French, half Swedish girls, 50/50 where it counts!

At work one day I popped on to her page to make sure all was well in her world. A typical day; she was due for her bi-weekly check up. For whatever subconscious, inexplicably slippery and fleeting reason, I was assaulted by the futility of the whole enterprise. The feeling hit me like lightning. I mean, what could I possibly do if there was a death in the family, or some guy broke her heart? All I am able to do is click onto her Facebook page and piece together her life from the images she has posted and the comments that are left. We are still separated by a divide that the digital world can never bridge. If something tragic (or wonderful) happened, there’s no way for her to know that my heart would break (or glow) right along with hers, that if we’re lost, we are lost together. Well, I haven’t been to her page in months since that day.

M was the star of my Truman Show.

This is the eulogy.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

UFC: Both In The Flesh & Not

Because of the NHL lockout, I have changed my stubborn ways with the sports I like and become genuinely interested in other ones, namely the UFC. I always enjoyed a good knockout as much as the next guy, but never actually sat down and watched the sport and kept up with it. Saw a few highlights here and there.

It was the UFC on Fox that aired in December where Rory Macdonald beat the ever living shit out of B.J. Penn that made me think twice about the sport. The main event was Benson Henderson mugging Nick Diaz. Both fights were simply fantastically entertaining bouts between two men laying it all out on the line with mind and body. Who cares if you don’t understand the nuances of full guard or Ju Jitsu arm locks. All that techno-jargon doesn’t matter. You have to love the brute simplicity of the sport: knock the other muffa-fuffa out. That’s what you gotta do. And in fifty years it’ll be the same damn thing. How can you not love that? Sheer power and domination over another human being. Making him your bitch.

I had never heard of the Canadian fighter Rory Macdonald before the night. The TV played a clip of him walking through the bowels of the stadium in Seattle before the fight. He was immaculately doffed in an overcoat, neatly concealing a sharp suit and tie underneath. His hair was slicked back a la Patrick Bateman. Here was a legit Canadian Psycho! An absolute fucking death squad killer.

In the ring against Penn, a guaranteed future hall of famer MMA fighter lured out of the doldrums of retirement, he faked kicks to the chest and with a snap of the ankle hit Penn right in the face. Granted I’m new to the sport but I’ve never seen kicks like that before. He pummelled Penn with unpredictable, unique combinations, and Penn never even had a taste; only landed a few nice rights which Macdonald easily ate up. Too bad Rory didn’t finish him. Was damn close. Heard Penn had to go to the hospital after the fight with broken ribs. He visibly winced when Rory landed with a clean gut shot. Penn’s a tough guy, and the tough absorb so much punishment without being KO’d, and man, he looked fucked up at the end. A big bald bean of a man bruised and broken. Refried. He’s probably still limping around to the grocery store with a techno-coloured faced. Late in the fight with the only thing left to decide was whether Rory would put him to sleep, Macdonald did the Ali shuffle, a gesture not so much about taunting, it seemed to me, as rubbing it in the opponents face the fact that he’s beat and there’s nothing he can do about it. It’s about humiliation. It was funny as all hell to me. The kind of guy you love to hate. Knee jerk boo’s immediately poured from the stands. But if any athlete can get away with obscene arrogance it’s MMA fighters. I can’t think of another sport where an inflated ego and confidence helps more so than the UFC. This ain’t curling.

Rory is one of the two archetypal types of fighters. There are those who mock and trivialize their opponents before a fight on social media, during the weigh-ins, and what have you. Rory even takes it so far, in a humorous twist on the arrogant archetype, to feel sorry for his opponent, as in, “Gee whiz, I wish the guy the best, but it’s just too darn bad that he chose me of all people to fight.” He’s goddamn funny. To add to his Canadian Psycho persona, he’s entirely flat and affect less in interviews and his general demeanour, and he drives around in Porches, and has an unusually strong interest in men’s fashion. I mean come on! He’s Bateman North for Chrissakes!

The other fighter archetype, of course, is the respectful warrior. The man who will always be quick to hug his opponent even in defeat, his face a rearranged bloody mess, barely conscious. Though he is engaged in a violent sport, there is absolutely no personal hatred towards the other fighter. It’s all about the craft, the art of martial arts. It’s a poetic dance of carnage.

You’ll find this type of respectful warrior/arrogant prick dichotomy in most other sports. There’s just something so visceral and raw about the dichotomy in the UFC. It’s more pronounced. The adrenaline pumped through my body as I sat up on the couch, back arched and leaning into the TV and yelled, my teeth gnashed and snarling, “Fucking knock ‘em out!” Rory had Penn stumbling against the ropes. Penn was peering into the abyss, only half there, somehow hanging in there and hobbling around the octagon. The clock must have been ticking in slow motion.

Though it was fun to watch my fellow countryman absolutely molest his opponent, it’s equally fun to watch a similarly arrogant fighter, Nick Diaz, absolutely humbled by Benson Henderson.

I’d never seen either of the two guys ever in my life. Nick Diaz, a scowling, swaggering lithe Latino bad boy from California versus “Smooth” Benson Henderson. Now this Henderson kid, his long curly black hair swaying with each attack, is a pure fucking warrior with legs like two trunks of mighty oak. He destroyed Nate Diaz. Made him his bitch. Even when Diaz was bloodied and on his back, Henderson measuring him out to slam a fist right into his face to end the contest, he was still taunting Henderson, gesturing as if to say, “Is that all you got?” Well . . . yeah, it is all he’s got, and he’s pummelling the shit out of you, kid. But at least Diaz stays in character until the bitter end. An arrogant fighter can never break character. The only way he’d stop being the hot shot is if he got K-the-fuck-O’d. There would be no Nate Diaz there to tell Nate Diaz to be a hard ass. Henderson was close but Diaz’s consciousness remained intact, albeit a bit wobbly; might not have known which planet he was from by the end. A solid victory.

There are secret places in our nature that are stimulated when a man is beating another man senseless. It’s some kind of primordial erogenous zone.

* * *

I was downtown Barrie recently, which is delightfully seedy and full of Southern Ontario scum. I was making my way back to my parked car, waiting for the light to change so I could cross the intersection. There was a Latino couple waiting alongside me. The female half was cradling a Chihuahua, the creatures’ tiny matchbox legs trembling in the cold.

I knew trouble was brewing, though. Up ahead on the other side of the street, some crazy guy was sitting on one of the benches and yelling horrifically racist epithets at no one in particular. People were staring at this guy, and it was just plainly obvious that there is a nut looking for trouble in our midst. He was just kind of yelling racist nonsense out to the heavens above and then singling out people who passed him by, repeating the same phrases over and over. “It’s these Paki’s coming in and ruining our country! They should get outta here!” You get the idea.

“Where you from buddy?” Crazy Guy picks out a hapless slender black man in glasses.

“I’m from Mississauga, buddy,” he replied, quietly defiant.

“You should go back to fucking Africa!”

The man continued down the street, unwilling to engage, walking ten paces and then unable to control the urge to look over his shoulder, he makes sure Crazy Guy is still sitting leisurely on the bench.

I imagined what would happen if Crazy Guy singled me out for derision? What would I do? Maul him like a tiger the second he engaged me, pummel him with deadly lefts and rights to the ribs--switch--then work on his face a little, then--switch--back to the ribs? In the Octagon they call me . . . The Surgeon--cause I do work on mothafuckas faces. Ahh, I’m only pulling your leg. I’d keep on walking--walk on home boy . . .

The three of us began crossing the street, me lagging comfortably behind the couple a few paces. I was the weatherman and I knew which way the wind was going to blow. I’d known since we were waiting on the other side of the street. The couple were too engrossed in their conversation to take much stock of Crazy Guy’s rantings back then. Now that we were destined for a head-on collision, the couple could see and hear that they were walking right into a shit storm and they stopped their conversation and stared at Crazy Guy. The three of us were now almost parallel with the small cluster of benches that Crazy Guy has been using as his makeshift pulpit. We are moving through the belly of the beast. It’s now or never for Crazy Guy to strike.

What did he think of when he awoke this morning? Did he have this outburst planned? Or was it spontaneous? Did he know this is how his day would turn out? The guy doesn’t look mentally ill--in fact he wasn’t bad looking at all for a man in his 40’s.

“I bet you’re fucking Mexican, right?” Crazy Guy yells right at the Boyfriend. Boyfriend, clearly the larger of the two, a thick Latino man who wouldn’t look out of place in Maplehurst, snickered at him dismissively, like he wasn’t worth his time, and kept walking down the street.

“You fucking spic!” Crazy Guy ratcheted up his game a notch, getting bolder, going for the kill shot. “Get outta my country motherfucker! And take that fucking faggot little dog, too!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle about the dog. I knew it was going to factor in there somewhere. Put this man on a stage!

Other pedestrians were starting to really take notice, milling about in small groups trying to decide what to do, like office workers suddenly left without a boss.

We are now so close that Crazy Guy could lash out and, who knows, pry the Chihuahua out of the girlfriends hands and kick a forty yard punt down Bayfield Avenue.

The boyfriend is now getting visibly aggravated, and had to say something, perhaps to save face in front of his woman, perhaps because of the last comment. “Yo man, shut the fuck up or I’ll knock you the fuck out,” the Boyfriend said firmly.

Oooohhh, no he di’in’t.

Oh no, Crazy Guy is going to go for the invitation to rumble and what am I gonna do? Break it up? Hang by the sidelines with the girlfriend? I’m no hero. I mean, I am, in my head, until a situation that requires heroism actually unfolds. Crazy guy stands up and the Boyfriend stops walking and in turn, the Girlfriend stops too. Boyfriend turns to face Crazy Guy directly. At my close vantage point, I could tell that Boyfriend was very angry, not a man to be fucked with, and his words were merely vocalized vehicles for the sole purpose of inflicting damage. It didn’t matter so much what he said as how he said it. “You better sit the fuck back down you retard,” the Latino man says, letting the insults fly. No forethought whatsoever about what was coming out of his mouth. Pure emotion spilling out of him, heart thumping in his throat.

“You should get the fuck out of my country!” Crazy Guy inches closer, yelling, spittle sprinkling Boyfriend’s face. That’s got to piss him off.

I’m stunned, stopped right in my tracks.

Out of nowhere, Crazy Guy fakes a punch, or appears to make a quick ambiguous, vaguely aggressive movement, maybe he even stumbled, and the Latino guy apparently hears a ding ding ding somewhere, so he approaches Crazy Guy in a fighters stance and clocks him with a strong punch right on the button, and Crazy Guy crumbles into a heap on the ground. Not much of a bout. I’m feeling like I have to do something, but really what the fuck am I supposed to do? I stay on the sidelines with the Girlfriend and listen to her scream and her little rodent dog yap away at Crazy Guy. That damn dog wanted so badly to get out of Girlfriend’s arms and have her turn at Crazy Guy but it was over. He is trying to get to his feet, but the minimum requirements of equilibrium have not yet been reinstalled. He staggers, groping for something solid to grab hold of and failing miserably, he gives up and face plants into the ground, moaning unintelligibly.

I finally opened my mouth for the first time, not really sure of what to say. “Well . . . he deserved it,” I said, looking at Girlfriend reassuringly while Boyfriend muttered about how crazy that muthafucka was--in English now--how he shoulda known what was coming to him if he kept talking shit. Blood was cascading out of Crazy Dude’s mouth. He was simply a broken shell of a man; looked like a cheap Halloween costume.

The three of us walked away, continuing down the street, the couple walked faster now, away from the scene before the law showed up. No one went to help Crazy Guy. What did it matter? Should he lay there and bleed awhile? Would that be punishment enough? Some time to let the unorthodox thoughts screaming in his skull die down? Who knows. I didn’t offer my help. What could I do? He’d probably tell me to get the fuck out of the country. So I kept on keeping on. Someone will sort it out. Sort him out. That’s how this whole trip works. All gets worked out in the wash. Or something like that. Diffusion of responsibility, right? Maybe I’ll be a warrior one day. I got to my car, and drove all the way home before realizing I had witnessed a real life UFC event, a KO at the ten second mark of the first round. Goddamn, there's just no trainers in some corners.