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Friday, February 7, 2014

Anecdote-O-Rama

This image I snagged off of Google has only a tangential relation to this article, but I liked it, so here it is.

From time to time, certain events occur that are worthy of note but aren't exactly the intricate, complex sagas that people base great works of literature around. However, just because they are brief and relatively inconsequential does not mean that they are not worthy of record. Now, my memory isn't exactly the world's greatest, so I'm fairly certain that incidents fitting this description have occurred roughly 17,000 times in my life, and I have forgotten 16,997 of them. As such, before the last few melt away into a Memento-esque haze, I figured I would share them with you in blog form. Hopefully they entertain you as much as they have entertained the homeless drunks that hang out behind my local 7-11.

1. My friend, collaborator and secret lover Garrett Steel and I went to Jack in the Box on one of our typically unhealthy escapades, this time to sample their late night Munchies Menu. Our ill-advised mission that night: to order every single item on the menu and taste test them all, thus adding to a longstanding tradition of gradual death wish fulfillment. As we sat there, enjoying our rapidly congealing food, a man neither of us knew came up to us, sat down and starting yammering on at a mile a minute pace about the various ways in which one can scam hotels and restaurants for free food. Garrett offered this man half of his Brunch Burger in exchange for his opinion on the food (and, I suspect, a few precious moments of silence), but the man declined on account of the fact that his entire row of bottom teeth had been removed earlier in the day. Eventually Garrett asked him as tactfully as possible to allow us to finish our meal alone, as we had things to discuss. Surprised but quite understanding, the man acquiesced and thanked Garrett for the politeness of his dismissal before wandering away. Moments later, an SUV with the American flag and a tiger (!) painted on it rolled up in front of the restaurant, and the shadowy driver started blaring the horn. The man picked up his guitar and dashed outside into the SUV. Then he ran back in and gave Garrett and I a handful of VIP passes good for two complimentary self defense classes, after which he finally departed for good. The SUV roared off into the night, presumably blaring Lynyrd Skynyrd. In case you're wondering, the Munchies Menu was largely underwhelming.

2. My parents' old house was a strange place. For the most part, it was benign and fairly pleasant (give or take the presence of my parents themselves), but at times an unsettling vibe would hover over the place. Certain events would occur, now and again, that reinforced this sense of eerieness. Some of these events could be easily played off; for example, one day while my father was home alone, he said that he walked into the living room to find two candles on the mantle lit, when just moments before they had not been. This sent him into a panic, as he took the inexplicable flames as a sort of death omen and called my mother in a panic. Now, this may sound scary, and even a little sweet, but bear in mind that my father is the sort of guy that wakes up at 6 AM to get an early start at his drinking. I doubt he remembers half of his activities in the past 30 years, so it certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility that he lit the candles in a stupor and promptly forgot about it. When one has to choose between alcoholism and paranormal behavior as a cause for peculiar events, I tend to favor the former most of the time.
Some occurrences, however, proved somewhat more difficult to explain. Back in my high school days, I always used to sleep in a white t-shirt and pajama bottoms. It was the official uniform of Joey Marsilio's slumber, brought to you with limited commercial interruption by KFC. One morning, I awoke to find my previously relatively pristine white shirt was stripped of its whiteitude; instead, it was covered in scribbles from what appeared to be a felt pen. The most likely explanation, of course, is that I had accidentally left a pen in my bed and had rolled around on it all night. However, there was no pen to be found and, stranger, there were no pen marks on my sheets (any stains on my bed would likely have been of a more organic nature). It was as though the marks had simply appeared by themselves, or perhaps that someone had snuck into my room and drawn them on me. But everyone claimed innocence, and besides, I'm a pretty light sleeper. I doubt I would have remained unconscious while someone rolled me over, pulled back my blanket and wrote all over me. Yet there I was, with my inexplicably marked-up shirt. To this day, I have no idea what happened there. 
Another, somewhat more visceral event took place one summer afternoon. I was upstairs doing something or other when I was disturbed by a hue and cry from downstairs. As I rushed out to see what was the matter, I witnessed a most peculiar incident. My Nintendo 64, which was hooked up to that television, had apparently turned itself on. Now, I did not bear witness to that portion of the event. What I did see, however, was Super Mario 64 on the TV screen and the single game system controller lying on the floor by itself. The game started itself, chose one of the four save files to begin playing (something a game demo would not have done), and proceeded to make Mario run around, seemingly of its own accord. Again, no one was anywhere near the game controller, and yet the game was apparently being played. Mario dashed aimlessly around for a little less than a minute, and then the system shut itself off and everything returned to normal. I was never quite sure what the cause of all that was, but if it was a ghost, he or she really sucked at Super Mario 64.

3. I used to have a co-worker who was seemingly in love with the use of the word "redundant." Every day: redundant this, redundant that. He used the word so much, in fact, that he even used "redundo" as a slight abbreviation for it. The thing is, though, he was constantly using it incorrectly. It seemed as though he thought the definition was essentially the same as that which is colloquially used for the term "retarded." I should note that I am not defending using this word in this way, but merely attempting to draw a parallel. He would say things along the lines of "Ewww, he's wearing a lime green jacket to a business meeting? How redundant," or perhaps, "She's eating her yogurt with a fork! That is totally redundo. Absolutely redundant."  He would redundantly use redundant incorrectly.
The truly maddening thing (and I'm not sure if this is because I am an English major or because I am a fussy asshole) is that perhaps 5% of the time or so, he would use the word absolutely correctly! Just a perfectly cromulent use of "redundant." This would upset me far more than his misuses of the word, because it indicated that he knew what the word meant, but was choosing to use it incorrectly all the time. Or perhaps he thought that "redundant" and "redundant" were two different words, both spelled the same and pronounced the same, that meant different things. Homonyms, if you will. This is not unprecedented; "smelt" can mean several different things, from a type of fish, to a process involving metal, to the past tense of having smelled something. But it's possible that I'm overthinking this. Maybe he was just being redundant.


Joey Marsilio is absolutely disgusted by the sort of shameless self-promotion that would drive someone to advertise their own novel (like Henry Garrison: St. Dante's Savior, available for purchase right now for your reading enjoyment) after an article that had nothing whatsoever to do with that topic.

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