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O for a Muse . . .Henry V, Stinkbugs, and BMW’s

I have ADD. Seriously. It’s been documented and re-confirmed by doctors, employers, and shamans nationwide. Once, while filling out some sort of “diagnostic” form to determine the breadth and depth of my ADD, I found a grammatical error in the following question (paraphrased): “Do you often find and feel the need to correct grammatical errors in contexts where it’s unexpected?” I don’t recall what the error was – a misplaced comma or something. I circled it, wondering if this form was just fucking with me. Later, I asked my doctor if the error was put there on purpose. He said he didn’t think so, and he’d never seen anybody correct the question before. He also said I scored “pretty much off the charts.” This came as no surprise to me, I’ve always crushed tests with written answers. You need an essay on the fly postulating Shakespeare’s opinion of Drone warfare? I’m your man. You need 1000 bubbles colored in with a No 2 pencil? Not so much.

Anyway, in the spirit of my “condition,” here are some incomplete thoughts:

Zach Appelman stars as the young king, Henry V. Photo taken by Scott Suchman.

Zach Appelman stars as the young king, Henry V. Photo taken by Scott Suchman.

Speaking of Shakespeare, the wife and I took in a brilliant performance of Henry V this weekend at the Folger in DC (Took a trip back into the big city we did). Chocked full of lingual acrobatics, Elizabethan references, and character complexities, Henry V has long been my favorite work from the Bard. If you haven’t seen Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 film version, do it now. Seriously. Stop reading this drivel and fire up Netflix or something. For the sake of brevity, my good Duderino, Here’s the play in a nutshell: Henry is King of England. France pisses him off. England invades France. Henry gives some kick-ass battle speeches. England, outnumbered, defeats France. Having learned that England has won, Henry remarks, “Praised be God, and not our strength, for it!”

Pretty sure Ray Lewis said the same thing after the Super Bowl. Surely, the phrasing was different, but the takeaway is crystal clear. God is a fan of England and the Baltimore Ravens.

Probably the grossest thing you will find in our house is a rotating collection of re-purposed water-bottles half-filled with soap, water, and dead stinkbugs. If you don’t know about stinkbugs, your house was built sometime AFTER 1790 and/or you live closer to civilization than I do. I fucking hate stinkbugs. But I’m not all that much a fan of civilization, either. We all choose our battles.

Just like my long dead college hippie self, stinkbugs hate soap. Dawn seems to crush their spirit and leave their nasty little legs lifeless the fastest, so I recommend it highly.

In April of 2008, I left my job the way they tell you not to ever leave your job. I burned that bridge and salted the earth beneath. It was quite a show. We’re coming up on the 5 year anniversary and I should probably admit it was not my finest moment. That said, I don’t think I would have ended up married to my beautiful wife and I certainly wouldn’t have taken the plunge to move out to Waterford, VA (look it up, it’s beautiful). That gig was all-encompassing and I was really really good at it — for two reasons:

1. I am very charming when I need to be. What’s more, I can sell snow to a fucking eskimo if the money’s right. I hate this about myself. I really do. My ability to be genuinely disingenuous (or is it the other way around?) is borderline sociopathic. What’s even more, I’m a student of language. I can make words do things they weren’t meant to do. I’m not bragging (maybe a little). I can play the role of techno-saavy, swinging dick, shiney-shirted douchebag with aplomb like you would not believe. Unfortunately, I hate that guy . . .

2. I worked really really really hard. I thought “balance” was for pussies. Shiney-shirted douchebag cares not about relationships, worries not about having children. They would just get in way, right?

5 years later and I make less money and no longer hob-nob regularly with Directors and VP’s of (web/social/interactive/new media/permission/poop on my face) Marketing. I still work too much sometimes. And I do regret my Homer Simpson-inspired method of quitting my job/career, but it was clearly the best decision I ever made. Besides, I still have a few shiney shirts in the closet in case of emergency.

I recently saw a YouTube video of some Chinese guy losing his shit in an airport after missing his flight. He throws computer monitors, kicks the desk repeatedly, then grabs a chair and tries, unsuccessfully, to break a window. It was funny. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t understand how that dude was feeling. I’ve been known to fly into the occasional fit of rage. Take it from me, there is NOTHING more frustrating than losing composure, trying to break something, only to find that you can’t break it.

My 2005 BMW 325xi hit the 100,000 mile mark last week. To celebrate, we’re going to get that battery light checked out and possibly even take care of the fucked up wheel bearing that howls whenever I turn left at high speeds. I bought the car in 2008, right after I quit my job and had to turn in my company-provided Audi A4. I love my Beemer, but let’s be honest, it was not the smartest option at the time. In fact, it was an act of pure vanity. After bombastically stomping away from a rather good VP title the last thing I ever wanted was anybody to think I had “gone downhill.” So I bought a BMW and went downhill anyway. I could have done the same damned thing in a Honda, but Shiney Shirt didn’t play that way. Still, save for the occasional $3,000 oil change, I love that car. Besides, it’s paid for at this point. Ain’t going anywhere.

OK, that’s all for now. I’m building out an online forum using bbpress today and as per usual, I’m running a touch late. Good news is that I recently upgraded the WordPress theme on this particular site. It took me too long to start using LESS (or SASS, whichever) to build out my stylesheets. Now I couldn’t imagine NOT using these fantastic tools.

Having trouble trying to tie this gibberish together, Henry’s Chorus to the rescue:

Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen,
Our bending author hath pursued the story,
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that small most greatly lived
This star of England: Fortune made his sword;
By which the world’s best garden be achieved,
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crown’d King
Of France and England, did this king succeed;
Whose state so many had the managing,
That they lost France and made his England bleed:
Which oft our stage hath shown; and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.