Sunday, August 27, 2006

buns of steel

I picked a friend up from LAX yesterday and got on the 10 headed east. I was going about 40 mph in typical late afternoon traffic, listening to my friend talking about paragliding in Yellowstone, when I suddenly realized with some degree of embarassment that I had been clenching my buttcheeks in rapid fire succession for the past 15 minutes, a behavior which can only seem to the uninitiated to be... a bit bizarre. I would alternate between my left and right buttcheeks, clenching one at a time, so that it corresponded to the gaps in the highway lines. On a highway there are, of course, a lot of gaps, thus explaining why my ass was firing like a machine gun set to kill and destroy.

I think it may be a sign of OCD.

I have, quite frankly, been doing this ever since I can remember. As far back as middle school, with my dad driving, I used to clench my buttocks whenever we'd cross intersections, not just once or twice, but during the entire drive marking every single break in the curb with a little squeeze. Reading Catcher in the Rye might have had something to do with it. Especially the part where Holden Caulfield describes his fear of disappearing every time he stepped off the sidewalk onto the street. I identified with him the most right then, he gave voice to something I didn't even know was there. In any case, it's not something I've thought about much since, it's just something I do... usually unconsciously... and it gives me a sense of overall well-being. Over the many years that I've been doing this, it has also given me a pair of very tight buttocks.

I don't want to claim that I have OCD lightly, because it is apparently a serious medical condition that people suffer from daily. And I'm not sure if I have the "obsessive" part or just the "compulsive" part of it. Supposedly, "obsessive" behavior is when you obsess about an unreasonable fear or anxiety while the "compulsion" is to neutralize those fears with some sort of repetitive act. If Wikipedia can be considered an authority on the matter, it seems that I have at least a few telling characteristics of OCD. For instance, a fear of "human body secretions such as saliva, sweat, tears or mucus, or excretions such as urine or feces." But who doesn't have these fears? Let's save that discussion for another day.

The more I think of it, the more this buttclenching compulsion seems okay to me. I bet everybody out there has a significant degree of compulsive disorder. I think this tendency is programmed into us to make up for our lack of innate behaviors like rabbits or lizards have. It's a survival mechanism. Just one that no one really talks about. And if anyone has ever seen Nomar Garciaparra up at bat, they'd realize that greatness can only be achieved by the truly compulsive. So it is with one butt squeeze at a time that I too will try and make my mark upon this world.

Monday, August 14, 2006

my plums are better than yours

"This is Just to Say"

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

--William Carlos Williams

(I know what you were really thinking...)

(shame on you)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Despite my complete disinterest in George Clooney as an actor or sex figure, I spent the greater part of my dreams last night stroking his stubbled cheek with the back of my hand. I can still feel the prickliness of it. It was so tender and intimate that I think I am now totally smitten with him. Can someone give me a good reason to feel otherwise? I really don't want to have to give Joe Mantegna the boot.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

picnic at the tar pits

At an outdoor screening of Cinema Paradiso this past weekend, I saw Joe Mantegna, a guy who I've had a crush on since I saw him in The House of Games in which he, a professional card player, delivers my all time favorite line:

"So, you wanna see how a truly bad man plies his trade?"

He had me at "so". Never mind that he's a hundred years old now. I could recognize that buttery soft voice anywhere. But alas, I think he's already taken. If a stranger happened to sidle up next to me and whisper that line in my ear, I think I'd have to bear his children.

In any case, this topped off a spectacular night outside. Just spectacular enough that I finally managed to stay awake through the whole movie, which in the past was not for a lack of trying. Cinema Paradiso ranks among my top ten snoozers, right up there next to Yentil. And at least Yentil is broken up with some catchy song and dance numbers... "Papa, can you hear me...?"