Holiday Prep…

Barber: This time of year is the calm before the storm. Gets crazy busy right before the holidays. Just busy every minute of every day.

Manny Furious: (trying to be sociable and funny for once in my cursed life) People want to look sharp while they’re shoving a shit-ton of turkey in their mouths, amirite?

Barber: (observably repulsed and peeved by this idiot customer with no sense of sincerity) Well, no. They want to look sharp for their family who they haven’t seen in a year. Sometimes longer.

Manny Furious: Oh.

A Snippet of a Conversation Between Manny Furious and One of His Bosses about Professionalism

“Are those Spider-Man socks?”

“Yes.”

“That’s not professional. Those aren’t professional socks.”

“I don’t understand what socks are professionals? Like, I wasn’t aware there were certain socks that got paid for highly-skilled job of being socks.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. you know what I mean.”

“Don’t I do a good job?”

“You’re one of the best Family Networks Education Recovery Deliminators I’ve ever seen. And the clients love you.”

“Do I ever give you cause for concern about the way I do my job?”

“Beyond your occasional naivete and obliviousness and concerning lack of common sense? No.”

“So what does it matter what kind of socks I wear?”

“It’s in the employee handbook Manvil. We are to exude an air of professionalism at all times.”

“And what do socks have to do with that?”

“They’re Spider-Man socks. They’re the socks of children. Not professionals.”

“But I’m a professional. A good performing one, at that. And I’m wearing them. So you’re wrong.”

“Change your socks tomorrow, or you will be put on a corrective action plan.”

“Ok, so, tonight, after work, I’ll run to the store, grab me some black socks, ok?”

“Yes. Good idea.”

“And in the morning I’ll walk in to my office, lay the socks on this here chair I’m sitting on, and the socks can do my job for me. Professionally, of course.”

“…”

“…”

“Ok, fine, Manvil. Have it your way. Wear your childish stockings. But whatever the Empty Suit does to you if it happens to see you wearing them is on you. Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.”

“Thank you.”

“But I’ve noticed your button-up is short-sleeved today.”

“But it is a button-up. With a collar and everything. A very professional shirt. Probably got an MBA before entering Old Navy’s inventory.”

“Perhaps. But your tattoos on your arm are showing.”

“…”

“…”

“And?”

“And…again, as per the employee handbook, we are determined to exude an air of professionalism at all times.”

Sheer Drowning

Picture 15-year-old Manny Furious. Wild hair looking as though it were straining to get as far away from from the chaos inside his skull. That same perpetually befuddled look in his eye that existed partially from being perpetually befuddled, but also because he still didn’t wear his glasses, even though he now knew he needed them. And that same, oblivious, naive demeanor.

Picture him at a high school track meet, in his joggers. Enjoying the warming of the spring air, where the sky itself seemed to thaw and crack at the soft heat of actual sunlight. Picture him on the greening grass, inside the track, with dozens, if not hundreds, of other track athletes from a dozen different schools all scattered about like malfunctioning ant colonies. Picture a smattering of tents throughout the field where the athletes can escape the sun, if need be. Picture him catching a a looksee at a pretty girl from the Canelo High School track team. Canelo being the nearest town over from Rio Frio. Picture her with long curly hair, dark skin, braces, and that endearing awkwardness teenage girls tend to radiate.

Picture 15-year-old Furious thinking to himself, “It’s time. I’ve got to be a man, dammit. If I want a girlfriend, I have to make it happen.”

Picture the Canelo High School girl crawling into a tent with several other young women from Canelo High.

Picture 15-year-old Furious ambling over.

Picture 15-year-old Furious sticking his head in the tent and saying:

“So, uh, is this the fine girls’ tent.”

Oh god.

The looks on those poor girls’ faces. Picture them. Sheer horror and embarassment.

Sheer drowning.

The silence that hung in the air was heavy and thick, suffocating, as if everyone involved had suddenly been caught up in a sudden and catastrophic avalanche of silence, and not a single one had a plan out.

…Twenty years on and Manny Furious still loses sleep over that one, occasionally.

Dizzy Tongues….

The doctor didn’t look like a doctor. He was kind of short, kind of thin, and he had the complexion of a 16-year-old. He must’ve been fresh out of med school. Though he had certainly seen more than you or I, as far as all the myriad crazy-ass things a typical doctor sees, he probably hadn’t seen much yet.

And so he gazed upon Manny Furious’s shoulder as it dangled disinterestedly from it’s home socket. And he frowned.

“What did you tell the nurse happened here?”

“Well,” Furious began. “I got out of the shower this morning. And I was going to wear this blue button-up with a blue and gold tie, because I wanted to walk into Starbucks before work–“

“Uh-huh.”

“And there’s this barista there, Gabrielle, she’s so cute, Doc. Like my tongue gets dizzy and my words can’t keep their balance–“

“Right.”

“And so I like to walk in there before work with a tie on, so I look really important and stuff.”

“Ok.”

“And, but, when I wear a button-up like that, they’re really uncomfortable. So I wear an undershirt. Well, as I got out of the shower this morning, I didn’t really dry off so good and I put undershirt on when I was still wet–“

“Sure.”

“But I realized I put it on backwards. So I had to take it off to put it on right, but it was all stuck to my back. Like it was just sucking at my back like a goddamned octupus or something. So I had to wrestle the fucker off. So I’m twisting and grasping, and this damned shirt just won’t budge. It’s suctioned to my back. So at this point I’m just manic. I’m frustrated beyond all get out–“

“Of course.”

“So I don’t even care if I rip it. I want to rip it off. I just want it off of me. But it won’t come off. Meanwhile, in the course of trying to get it off, I’m twisted up in some indescribable position, my arms looking like a gnarled lump of spaghetti, and I hear this sound like a shotgun blast. It echoed and everything, doc, I swear.”

“Makes sense.”

“And it took a moment. I had to take a moment to figure out what was going on. And I look in the mirror, and I’m blowing air like I just survived a street fight, and there’s my arm, looking like it was drawn on by a drowsy kindergartner.”

“Jesus.”

“And here I am.”

“You went to Starbucks before coming here, I see,” said the Doc.

Furious took a sip of his very masculine “Pink Drink” from Starbucks.

“Indeed. It was too romantic, doc. Van Gogh had his ear. I had my shoulder.”

“And what did Giselle think of all of this? Did she find it romantic?”

“I don’t know. She wasn’t working today.”

A snippet of a conversation between Manny Furious and El Crow about capitalism and language….

“So, if the government tells you to be more productive, to the point of having to pee in bottles instead of talking a restroom break, that’s…”

“Authoritarianism. Tyranny.”

“Amazon does the same thing to their employees….”

“Oh, well, that’s just good, smart business, Furious.”

“Ok, and an individual asks you to be mindful of the things you say….”

“That’s obviously political correctness and a blatant stifling of the first amendment of the constitution of the United States of America. Isn’t it clear?”

“Uh-huh. But when your place of employment asks you to watch what you say….”

“That’s just company policies, Furious. Businesses are private property. They have the right to regulate such things.”

“Right. Moving forward, when a nation has a large percentage of its population on welfare….”

“That’s big government. Socialism.”

“When a large corporation has a large percentage of its employees on welfare….”

“That just means those workers need to learn a more marketable skill, and/or learn to live within their means.”

“Sure, so what you’re saying is that no matter the problem, it’s always due to individuals or governments, but never because of big business? Which wields large amounts of influence and control over both individuals and governments?”

“Businesses have the right to create their own policies, that look out for their own best interests, Furious. Corporations are people too.”

“So are governments. And, you know, actual people.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

[El Crow’s synapses misfire to such a degree that a miniature black hole is created at the center of his amygdala, imploding El Crow’s brain and sucking everything within a six block radius–including Manny Furious and a boba tea shop, two pizza shops, a Staples and three burger joints–into its inescapable Void.]

Third Eye Tingling….

When Manny Furious was at the beginning of his philosophical journey, he went up to his teacher, and asked her the obnoxiously silly question, “What is your spirit animal?” She replied, “The chupacabra.” It was the world’s most perfect answer. In Furious’s own mind he began to refer to her as “El Chupacabra the Apathetic” although she would’ve found the whole thing trivial and obscenely psychically wasteful. But Furious had fun with it.

Soon after, he asked an even more obnoxious question. He asked El Chupacabra the Apathetic, “What is this mindfulness thing all about?” She stared at him dumbly for several too long seconds, a heavy red cloud of perturbation slowly obscuring her face. Finally, she got up, grabbed a thick coffee mug that was sitting on the table in front of them and hit four quick times in his left shin with it. Each time the mug landed on the bone it made a sound like a ringing church bell.

The pain was extraordinary, especially for a 12 year old. Furious howled like a two-bit sinner in the midst of a Catholic exorcism.

SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE A PRETTY GOOD GRASP OVER THIS MINDFULNESS THING!” she hollered over his cries. The old hag.

Furious is not a smart person. At least not in any meaningful and useful way. Even less so when he was a pre-adolescent. But he caught the gib of her thrust that day, and he felt his third eye tingle, I tell you.

That time Manny Furious, El Crow and Thinktoomuch met Kung Fu movie actor, Don Wong, who was substitute teaching a Taekwondo class (don’t ask)….

“Oh, wow. It’s an honor to meet you Don Juan.”

“Dude, it’s not Don Juan, it’s Don Wong.”

“Don Wong? That’s ridiculous. It’s Don Juan.”

“Wait, I always thought it was Don Wan.”

“Well it’s neither Don Juan nor Don Wan, it’s Don Wong.”

“I’ve been calling him Don Juan for, like 20 years.”

“Please, just call me Don.”

“Well, who the hell’s Don Juan then?”

“Don Juan or Don Wan?”

“Don Juan.”

“He’s nobody, Just a giggolo.”

“Who, Don Wong?”

“NO, DON JUAN.”

Like a knight in shining armor….

Recently, Manny Furious had made an 80s playlist with a bunch of corny 80s love songs, because people apparently do get lame as they get older.

Anyway, should’ve seen the faces on the Cholos chilling outside of Adolfo’s Mexican Restaurant as he drove up with Peter Cetera’s, “Glory of Love” blasting from his red, cancer-ridden Nissan Rogue.

He tried to tell them the song was from the Karate Kid part 2 soundtrack, but the significance of which was visibly lost on them.