Monday, June 20, 2005

...Memories Good and Bad

At 31, I’m probably still a bit young to get overly nostalgic for my lost youth. In fact, there are few people on Earth I believe more deserving of a sock in the mouth than relatively young people who feign shock at getting slightly older (“I can’t believe I’m actually turning 26! That’s so OLD!”).

However I do have enough consistent responsibilities in my life – taking care of my family of 5, the new house I’m purchasing, running the company I co-own – to make me occasionally long to relive certain periods in my life when my everyday burdens were fewer. Times when simply having pure, unadulterated fun was a much higher priority than it really can be now.

What gets me through these occasional blue periods is reminding myself of all the past experiences I wouldn’t want to relive. For example, college was a whole lot of fun. Who wouldn’t want to relive those 4 years of constant partying and random sexual experimentation? But would it really be worth it if I had to sit through that entire dreadfully dull semester of Geology for a second time? Hardly. And I certainly wouldn’t want to have to write my Senior Thesis again.

Watching my stepsons go through what is likely the most carefree period they’ll ever have in their lives, it’s hard not to long to be a kid again. But there’s no way in hell I would want to relive those 4 miserable Summers spent at Jewish sleepaway camp either. The one where they made you eat stale pieces of bread at almost every meal just to force you to have to say the Birkat Hamazon afterwards. Yeah, that’s great fun when you’re 9.

All those doctor appointments where I had to sit in the waiting room for 2 hours and the exam room for 1 just to have a 5-minute check up. The long plane flights when I forgot to bring a book. The miserable temp job I had shortly after graduating college where I had about 30-minutes of actual work to do per day that I had to try to stretch into 8 hours, all without my own phone and a antiquated computer that *ONLY* ran a particular inventory tracking program (so no Internet or email). 4 separate visits to traffic school.

I found myself getting surprisingly emotional as I went through the final walk-through of our now “old” house Saturday night, making sure we didn’t leave anything behind. Walking past the kids bathroom I nearly had a mini-breakdown knowing I was looking for the very last time at the bathtub where I used to have the immeasurable pleasure of watching my baby boy experience absolute pure joy every time I put him in the water. That got me to thinking about bringing him home from the hospital 10 months ago; watching him as a 2-day-old sleep in the family room, in the bassinet we just recently gave away to our friends who are expecting a child in January. Which led me to think about coming home from the hotel the day after my wife and I got married – opening the presents which seemed to take up the entire living room. I could go on and on about all the memories contained in that house – a very modest 3 bedroom that we outgrew almost from day one. But I’ll spare you since I’m aware such memories are obviously far, far more interesting and meaningful to the one who experienced them.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to relive any of the memories I have of living in that house either. Because if I did, I would also have to re-experience the process of moving this weekend. And that’s just about the shittiest memory I can imagine.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

...The Best of Year One (Part 2 of 2)

The Things You Don't Talk About
The one thing I didn't bargain for when I married a divorcee with children is just how crazy, hectic and poverty-inducing the Christmas Season would prove to be. It's not like I can't understand why. All logic, reason and sensibility aside, who wants to be known to the kids as the house with the shittier presents? Trying to find some humor in an otherwise stressful situation, I thought of the idea for a quick, little, funny post where I would mention, from a Jewish perspective, how silly the whole Santa Claus concept seems since it transfers all of the credit for your hard work (and financial sacrifice) onto a fictitious character. As I sat down to write the post I got the idea that it might be funnier if I started off with a more sincere discussion of religion in general before I finished off with the ridiculous punchline. Turns out it's just like they say - nothing sets people off quite like politics or religion. This post, which was supposed to just be a quick joke, led to my receiving well over twice the comments I ever had previously.
Cultural Relativism

Tequilla Shots Goggles
I'm no prude, but I am absolutely shocked by how openly some people write about their sex lives on their blogs. I guess to me it just seems odd to the degree that past a certain age pretty much all of us have done it; it's not exactly a taboo subject. Is it really shocking or all that interesting that someone occasionally has sex with their wife or husband or girlfriend or boyfriend? In other words, just talking about sex for the sake of it really doesn't interest me. Talking about sexual experiences that were completely humiliating and cringe-inducing on the other hand...
The Rest of the Story

Gym Wars 2005
What a great thing a blog is. A forum for all of your pettiest bitches and complaints. Truth be told, considering how bad I've been about going to the gym lately, I've probably come to resemble some of the people I complain about in the following post. At the risk of tooting my own horn, (and I'm aware that this is a classic "that and $2 will get you a cup of coffee" scenario), this was a featured post at LA Blogs
Space Invaders

Israel Revisited
Like many bloggers, I'm sure, there was a time in my life where I fancied myself a future best-selling novelist. That was until I took a creative writing class in college and discovered that I was physically incapable of coming up with any original ideas and instead fell into the trap of writing thinly veiled autobiographical fiction where I simply retold actual events from my life but changed the names of the people involved. Kind of like this blog. A slightly different version of the following post was my one attempt at "fiction" in the class. Keep in mind I went to an *EXTREMELY* ultra-liberal, politically correct university. The very notion that someone would ever endeavor to travel halfway across the world with the intent of having intimate relations with members of the opposite sex sent shockwaves throughout the class. One classmate called me a "true vulgarian" in his critique of my paper. The version presented here is far tamer than the more sexually explicit version I presented to my class 13 years ago. What is it they say about guys at 18?
Making Out in the Middle East

A Piece of History
One of the indirect reasons for starting this blog was my wife's pregnancy. While pregnant, my wife tended to go to bed really early, leaving me to find new ways to keep myself entertained in the evening. Thus the birth of not only a son, but also, "The Gooch On..."
Little Gooch

Ok, enough with the sentimentality. Tomorrow is our final day of packing and Friday we move. If I come out the other side somehow intact, I'll blog again.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

...The Best of Year One (Part 1 of 2)

I can't say for sure when my blog's anniversary is. I deleted my first post because I suspected that a friend who was mentioned in a not-so-flattering light within the post had discovered my blog (He hadn't, I mistook him for my wife who worked at the same company at the time and thus had the same domain address). Also, it was pretty dumb. So while I can't narrow down the anniversary to an exact date, it's sometime around now.

The idea of picking out my own favorite posts from this blog seems more than a little obnoxious. Comparatively speaking, it's roughly the equivalent of laughing out loud at your own jokes. Then again, what is a blog, really, if not a self-centered, self-absorbed ego-fuck? Plus, I have exactly one week to get my entire house packed up and moved into our new rental, so there's not going to be a whole lot of time for new posts. And it's rerun season anyway. So let's revisit, in no particular order, great moments in "The Gooch On..." history. I'm breaking this up into two posts since many of these are a little on the long side and that's way too much reading in one sitting.

The Forgotten Post
Unlike the faux humble claims of some of my fellow bloggers, I never had any illusions that I was writing "for myself". I wanted recognition for my great wit and clever wordplay from Post 1. Which is why I whored for comments immediately, making lots of unoriginal, marginally funny comments on other people's blogs in hopes that doing so would lead traffic back this way. And for the most part it worked. Except for this post. This is the one post in this blog's history that never received a single comment. What the fuck? Trust me, if you knew the guy, it's hysterical. I know this for a fact because when my sister, who knew the subject in question, discovered my blog this was the first post she mentioned:
A Bizarre Form of Social Retardation

Toilet Humor
One of the great things about having a blog is the way it creates an entirely new audience for some of your oldest stories. For example, my real life friends tend to roll their eyes whenever I begin retelling the incident discussed in the following post. Not because they don't think it's funny, just that it's less so after they've already heard it for the 2000th time. What can I say, I love toilet humor. Shoot me:
How I Rid My House of Pests

Work Posts
Upon entering the blog-o-sphere, I quickly discovered that many of the most popular blogs were the ones that dealt exclusively with the unique occupation of the writer. Whether it was behind the strip club door stories from TJ's Place, tales from the perspective of a bouncer at two of New York's most popular nightclubs or the adventures of a real life Texas police officer, well-written, vocation-specific blogs appeared to guarantee a large readership. Being the part-owner of a small business, I considered for awhile having this blog focus exclusively on the daily adventures of running my start-up company. Problem is A) Compared to the aforementioned professions, tales of running an audio-visual-technology-systems-integration company might appear a bit dull in comparision, B) While I very much enjoy what I do for a living, the last thing I want to do with the few free hours I have away from the office is spend it writing about work (Same concept as how I used to hate it when I'd get home from school and get asked by my parents how my day in school was) & C) There is always that irrational fear of the .01% chance that one of my customers or vendors will discover my blog. But I managed to get a couple decent work-related posts in here. Here's one about my old boss/now business parter, Bob:
Unique Learning Disabilities

and here's one where I rant about all the shithead customers I've dealt with over the years:
How Customers Can Be Sleazeballs Too

The Gooch Manifesto
A lot of bloggers like to use this forum as a means of spouting off their political opinions. Not to be judgemental, but to me these type of posts too often come off as Rush Limbaugh-lite (or Al Franken-lite depending on which side of the politcal fence the blogger sits on). Which is why when I write about my views on the world, they tend to be of a far more mundane variety:
What I've Learned So Far Part I and Part II (nearly a year later, it looks like I was wrong about the American Idol thing considering the pretty girl won this year's edition. Also, a historical note, since writing this post the then-Anaheim Angels become the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. A piece of history right here on "The Gooch On..."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

...Talent and Lack Thereof

So it turns out I don't have any good skills at backing up a pickup truck with an attached trailer.

But I can name the first 25-30 WWF Intercontinental champions, IN ORDER, from memory.

See y'all on the flip side. Off to Vegas. For work. Seriously.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

...Non-Rose Tinted Glasses

Some movies are timeless classics, eminently viewable by just about anyone at anytime. Others tend to get more dated, meaningful only to a select group of people who happened to be of an impressionable age at the time the film was made. To people like me, whose formative years were primarily the 1980s, no films quite define our generation like “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club”. Yet I’m sure those people who were born either 10 years before or 10 years after me see nothing particularly special about either of these movies since they are so inherently 80s, and thus probably difficult to relate to if you weren’t a teenager during that time.

Memories can be like that too. When the recent “Did she or didn’t she” scandal regarding Paula Abdul maybe or maybe not schtooping a former “American Idol” contestant made headlines, I was reminded of a classic 80s memory that occurred at the height of Abdul’s career as a pop star.

I can even narrow down the date to sometime between October 7th and November 6th, 1989, the time period in which my buddy Gordo turned 16, received his drivers license and first car, but before I did the same.

After school one Friday afternoon Gordo and I celebrated our long awaited freedom from begging our parents for rides by taking his shiny new Honda Accord on a cruise to downtown Walnut Creek. Passing by a bus stop, we were flagged down by two very sexy girls, about our age, who asked if we could give them a ride home.

Now, just being in the same vehicle with two girls this attractive was sort of a gift in itself. Icing on the cake was arriving at the requested destination and being asked if we’d like to come inside.

This is where the quintessentially 80s memories come in. Prior to 1989 I had never heard the term “Straight Up” uttered in conversation, and come to think of it, I haven’t heard it much since. But in 1989, when Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” (Straight up now tell me do you really want to love me forever/Or am I caught in a hit and run/Straight up now tell me/Is it gonna be you and me together/Are you just having fun) spent several weeks at #1, the term became all the rage for a time. As much as I anxiously awaited the get naked and have sex part of the afternoon that clearly appeared to be on the agenda, I couldn’t help but get annoyed at the hotter of the two girls tendency to respond to just about every piece of conversation with, “Straight UP!”. As in:

“I hate getting homework over the weekend”.
“Straight UP!”

“I think it’s stupid that you have to be 21 to buy alcohol”
“Straight UP!”

Irritating for sure, but a small price to pay for what was sure to happen next. And this wasn’t just overly optimistic wishful thinking on our part either; they really did seem to be interested. They kept modeling different (and progressively skimpier) outfits for us to help them decide on one to wear to the carnival that was going to be taking place at their school that night, at one point not even bothering to go into the bedroom when changing tops, just letting us see them right there in their underthings. What would *YOU* have thought was about to happen?

Which is why is was so incredibly disappointing when the same “Straight UP!” hotter girl said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m going to have to ask you guys to leave. My mom is going to be home soon”.

They sort of semi-invited us to the aforementioned carnival, letting us know where it was and what time it started but not actually giving us any exact indication of when or where to meet them specifically. We did go, searched high and lo, but never did run into them again.

This was the first, but most definitely not last time in my life where what I thought was an absolute Sure Thing (another very underrated 80s movie, by the way) turned out to be a total dud.

Like the time my junior year of college when Angela, a girl with long, flowing blond hair and a stunningly beautiful face, who just on looks alone always seemed so far out of my league that I never even bothered pursuing her, informed me after a party that her roommate was out of town for the weekend and asked me back to her dorm room to spend the night. Little did I know her invitation to sleep with her was meant to be taken literally. Easy for her. Not as easy with a loaded stick of dynamite in your pants.

Or the time just a few weeks after I first moved down to Southern California and went out with a group of friends from work to spend the day in Long Beach. One of my co-workers brought along a friend of hers, Sally, who I bummed a cigarette off of after a few hours of heavy drinking. This quickly progressed into a conversation about her undying love of and passion for anal sex, a long makeout session, and a request that I stay behind with her after the friends who I drove in with were ready to take off back to Orange County.

I’ve always been the kind of sports fan who prefers it when my team is winning by a lopsided score, something like 17-1, as opposed to a close game where the outcome is uncertain. I'm not one for stress. Which is why this situation was so much to my liking. Not even a month in SoCal and I already had a guaranteed hook-up. Except for the part where the woman in question, on the walk back to her apartment, decided we should stop in at one more bar first. Where she met a guy she apparently determined to be more to her liking. Want to know what it costs to take a cab from Long Beach to Laguna Beach? $75.

I guess you could call this a quintessential mid-90s memory as this was one of my last trips to the bars before California enacted a strict non-smoking ban, making it infinitely harder to pick out the sleazier girls. But I prefer just to remember it as a quintessentially fucked up one.
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