Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Your butt is absolutely stunning in that shade of lipstick.

Good old Eddie Haskell. Lord bless his smarmy, disingenuous heart.

What words come to mind when you think of Eddie or others of similar ilk?

Kiss-ass? Suck-up? Bootlicker? Ego-stroking, backstabbing, brown-nosing weasel?

Or maybe just a guy who knows how to play the game.

Ed McMahon's nostrils seemed to consistently caress Johnny Carson's lower large intestine.

If Sean Hannity's proboscis stuck any further up Sarah Palin's tuckus, she could perform a rhinoplasty on the guy simply by consuming too many Grape Nuts.

And we're all quite aware that had Karl Rove not illegally emmigrated his entire cranium up Bush's Rio Grande, our simian commander-in-chief would never have bought into the whole "Jesus decided I should be the decider" shtick.

So why do some hop onto the Brown Nose Express while the rest of us witness its eventual derailing and explosion on the floor of Shame Canyon?

I'm not sure why, but I know it begins early.

Remember back in elementary school, when everyone plopped a Christmas gift down on the teacher's desk on the last day before winter break? And that one kid, who raised his hand all the time, recklessly scattered the small eight packs of See's Nuts and Chews to clear a space for a scale model of the teacher's house, constructed from Almond Roca, Red Vines and Magic Shell?

"Merry Christmas, Miss Prudenta," he boasted. "My mom stayed up all night making this but it was my idea. Good thing for Google Maps."

The south end smoochers seem to grow more brazen as they age. My college Accounting 451 class contained approximately twenty-three percent strokers, all seated in the front row and all vying for the professor's attention and approval. Occasionally, our instructor liked to launch into a bit of accounting humor.

"So I said to my colleague, if you capitalize that fixed asset, any amortization could lead to an extraordinary loss. Talk about a change in working capital!"

I remember sitting in the back row, puzzling over his comment, desperately mining it for any humorous content. I found none. The front line of students erupted in doubled-over throes of laughter, a couple of the more rabid bottom nuzzlers actually dabbing their tears.

Apparently, my brain's centers for pity and extreme loathing are next door to each other.

I am now employed by an American corporation, and I'd like to remain employed by this American corporation, so I shan't be delving into the amount of brown nosing which occurs in this environment. It is, however, substantial, and those who excel at it usually fare quite well in this palace of unclothed emperors.

So happy, so satisfied I am, that my DNA has withstood the temptation to prevaricate the facts, to pander for nothing but personal gain.

And I'm totally serious; those pants didn't make my wife's butt look fat.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I was a fat kid who didn't like skating.

"Dad, look at that kid. He's totally faking it. I saw him fall and there's no way that hurt. He obviously doesn't want to skate."

My eleven-year-old daughter and I gazed over at the portly, young man. He struggled mightily, spilling his body onto one of the rink's spectator benches, his mother hovering patiently with an ice bag and warm looks of concern. The Kitchen Aid gyration of his too-tight skates finally slowed to a stop as his bean bag bottom finally balanced itself on the painted wood. Success.

I wanted to approach the kid and tell him things would turn out fine for him, that his ability to operate four-wheeled boots should not and will not define him.

Then I changed my mind. Creepy.

It's Saturday afternoon at the roller rink and I'm here to tell you—over the past forty years, so much has changed in the world of tween entertainment—this has not.

Upon entering, I'm overcome by those same aromas of polished wood and disinfectant, finishing with an essence of overheated popcorn, spilled Mountain Dew and newly forming sweat glands.

The distorted din of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" has succumbed to the wailings of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, but this casserole contains the same ingredients. The repertoire still includes "reverse skate," "couples only" and of course, the races.

Even today, the skaters can be classified. The first grouping requires only maximum speed; form and consequences be damned. These are usually boys and they frequently resemble eleven-year-old Gilligans.

Others circle the floor in packs, lip-syncing whatever song is playing, never watching ahead because their heads are thrown back and their mouths agape in throes of laughter. These are usually girls.

A third class exists which welcomes both genders, and this is a group to which the aforementioned "injured" boy, and I, held membership. I'll call it the "Plutos."

Plutos slowly orbit the far reaches of the skating rink. And just as in the scientific world, most at the rink don't acknowledge Pluto's status as a planet.

That's okay; Pluto just wants to pass the time quietly and with little fanfare. We Plutos only roller skate out of necessity; it's either a birthday party or one hundred percent peer pressure.

To an overweight kid, skating parties take a back seat only to swimming parties on the scale of undesirable themes.

Memories of Pluto Club membership flooded my consciousness as I surveyed the spectacle. I reminisced about palming the peripheral wall like a drunken spelunker, expending maximum energy to stave off any type of wheel revolutions. A high center of gravity is not friend to the five-foot-tall, one-hundred-twenty-seven-pound skater.

Naturally, I bowed out of any speed skating competition, and when the couples skate rolled around, I usually grasped the opportunity to buy a Big Hunk or look at the condom machine in the boys' restroom.

Girls never asked me to skate with them anyway, which was totally cool; they all wanted to pair up with this kid named John Freeman, who was handsome, could balance on one wheel and kick a soccer ball the length of the field.

Usually, by the end of the session, I could skate sort of cross-country ski style, in three foot strokelets, and if I fell, I could stand up, rather than crawling Vietnam-style to the nearest railing. Solid progress.

The turned up lights signified the conclusion of our day, and my daughter and her friend skated gingerly toward me on the worn, green carpet.

"Did you guys have a good time?" I asked.

"Dad, that was so fun. Can we come back next Saturday?"

"We'll see," I replied, "and next time, I'm skating."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

" God. sorry."

"Oops. Sorry about that."

"I beg your forgiveness...please accept my heartfelt apology."

Let's face it: apologizing bites. At its best, it's an emotionally painful, yet highly effective gesture, and at its worst, insulting to the apologee and a notch lower than no apology at all.

No sooner do we learn how to interact with other humans than we begin apologizing. At first we don't even really understand what it means, but we have to do it anyway:

"Now, Tim, big boys don't bite, especially in the eyebrow. Please apologize to Eddie and get me a couple of band-aids, some Bactine and a large, older towel. How will I explain those tooth marks, especially those caused by your molars, to Mrs. Jangsmargin?"

We mumble a "sorry," and go about our business, checking human brow lines off the list of unexplored textures and remorseful only about getting in trouble.

To exasperate matters, we currently occupy an era of nonaccountablility, where expressing contrition is like exposing our pristine, gluteal hemispheres to a biting Nor' Easter. We avoid true apologies with greater vigor than when someone knocks on the front door, holding shiny magazines and wearing church goin' clothes.

The statement, "I'm sorry," is hurled around frequently. But don't be fooled.

When that familiar voice proclaims, "We're sorry. You have reached a number which is no longer in service," why should anyone be sorry? And who is "we"—Debbie, the digital computer voice, plus her friends Mr. Coffee and Epson from the fifteenth floor of the phone company?

Or how about when you slide your cafeteria tray up to the cashier and offer your credit card, your eyes locking in on the slowly congealing Kraft Single which blankets your burrito. Almost happily, the exchequer proclaims, "Oh, I'm sorry, sir. We only accept cash and Blotto's Burrito Bucks."

Dead in the water, you seek out a place to bid your non-eaten lunch farewell. Your mind screams, "You are NOT sorry! In fact, I think you enjoyed telling me that! You evil, evil man, depriving me of this nasty goodness."

After comparing your experience to Neil Armstrong being told by NBC that he cannot descend the stairs to the moon due to a phallic Tang stain right below his NASA patch, you rally with some Old Gold pretzels and an orange Fanta from the machine.

Celebrities are notorious for the non-apology apology. I can't remember if Rush Limbaugh actually said this or not, but I'm sure it went something like:

"If I have offended or repulsed or pounded home anyone's suspicions that I am a gurgling pill burglar, I am truly sorry and I assure you that any drugs I purchase on my next sex vacation to the Dominican Republic will be safely transported in my expansive colon. You have my word, my friends."

My pet peeve is apologies which begin with "if." I guess if your not offended, Rush isn't sorry.

Inspiration for this particular post wasn't hard to come by. I fear that I may have severely offended someone and, for whatever it's worth, I'd like to offer an apology.

My transgression was of the five-star variety—a Major League, Premier Division, Zagat-rated gaffe, and hopefully the offended person reads this and knows who he or she is.

I screwed up. No "ifs," no qualifiers, no contingencies.

I'm sorry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

These Badlands Ain't So Bad, Dad.

The following is a brief excerpt from a four-hour car ride between Billings, Montana and Medora, North Dakota:

Me: "Hey, Dad, can I try to program that GPS?"

My Dad: "I think there's something wrong with it."

Me: "Do you think it really helps to hold it out of the window like that?"

My Dad: "Yes."

Me: "Can I at least give it a shot?"

My Dad: "Not right now."

My Brother: "All we need to do is go straight. "

My Dad: "Damn thing. There's something wrong with this damn thing."

What happens when three alpha dogs, when three Moes and no Curly or Larry, when three chunky loaves of manliness, delve themselves into a four-day odyssey of togetherness? I can't answer completely, since this is only day three, but I can paint a fairly accurate picture.

The three Haywood men are in North Dakota to attend my aunt's memorial service slash family reunion. We've congregated at a village named Medora, the original stomping grounds for my mom's side of the family, where her Irish immigrant father acquired some free, arid real estate pursuant to the Homesteading Act during the early twentieth century.

One doesn't simply fly in and take the airport shuttle to this tiny hamlet, since less people occupy the entire state than the attendance of a college lacrosse game. What is required is a cozy ride in a jet fetus, followed by a four-hour stint wedged into a compact rental car smelling of pine and burnt split pea soup.

We're a fairly compatible, if not predictable, travel team; while sequestered together for hours on end, my dad often initiates conversations with bold, politically controversial statements. I will counter with equally inflammatory challenges to his belief systems, and my brother will tie neatly tie everything up in a highly offensive, shiny red bow.

For example, as my father walked into my motel yesterday morning, I was dressing for my aunt's memorial service. Here's what transpired:

My Dad: "Tim, I thought I taught you better than to wear that kind of underwear. It is quite precious, though."

Me: You know, I don't remember getting any kind of underwear lesson from you. Maybe I forgot about it between my lessons for creating fire with a toothbrush and some loose gravel, and killing a buffalo with tweezers."

My Brother: "Dad, don't make fun of Tim's underwear. Victoria's Secret was having a great two-for-one sale that day. And look how he's modified it for male use. Tim, doesn't that Velcro chafe a little?"

Whatever, I thought. Go ahead and make fun of me because I don't wear white butt huggers, a polo shirt and Dockers. Not everyone needs to look like Ward Cleaver, 2011, Papa.

And it's probably fortunate that my dad didn't witness what my brother and I saw last night.

I think he would have been confused.

We'd previously decided to sample each of the town's four bars, and yesterday evening, we picked a smaller one named "The Little Missouri." Although all public establishments in North Dakota forbid smoking, the air hung thick and murky as we walked into a room cluttered with cowboys...hats, boots, Copenhagen, the whole deal.

Badlands, indeed.

My brother and I pulled up a chair and assessed our surroundings. Dad would like this place, we agreed, except for the smoking. He's always loved cowboys and he might feel like John Wayne or Roy Rogers or some other childhood idol in this place.

Country music blared from the speakers. Our eyes simultaneously locked onto two of the most grizzled cowpokes in the room as they slid off their bar stools, Budweisers in hand, and began dancing.Their slow, precision two-step accelerated in its cadence and technical execution. These guys were masters.

Soon, the two men of cows had pivoted to the middle of a makeshift dance floor, and it became apparent that they were dancing...with...each other. It was like Village People meets Bonanza, where Hoss decides he'd rather cotton eye your joe than punch you in the ear.

Good thing Dad didn't come with us.

We walked back, discussing how this may be our final true road trip with our pa, our last experience going on an adventure with a man who's taken us on many, mostly as the father to a crew of screaming, hair-pulling kids in the back of a Chevy station wagon.

We alpha dogs have a day-and-a-half to go, and I intend to savor it, while wearing disapproved underwear.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm in love with Michele Bachmann. There, I said it.

Please remind me, since it's been a while since I've fallen so hard for someone.

What are the telltale feelings?

A churning in the pit of your stomach, a desire to squeal like a feral boar, an overwhelming sensation of having been grossly and profoundly offended?

If all are true, and I think they are, I'm hopelessly and sloppily in love with Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota.

There, I said it. IloveherIloveherIloveher. I feel alive every time she opens her mouth and serenades us with such gems as, "The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It's all voodoo, nonsense, hoakum, a hoax." What a woman.

I'm in love with the way those tiny crop circles of rain bead up on her well-sprayed hair. I'm in love with how she so effortlessly portrays the part of Barbie's crazy aunt who prays every night for that homo Ken.

The manner in which she announced her candidacy for the Republican Presidential Nomination at a debate for Republican Presidential candidates was masterful, and yes, I was turned on.

Highly offensive, and way hot.

I'm not easily offended, which is why I'm sure it's a sign that I'm smitten with this woman who has pasted her personal bumper sticker on America's three-wheeled Radio Flyer of Crazy, the Tea Party.

Seriously, not much offends me. For instance:

When someone decides to sand her fingernails next to me on public transit, dusting my eyes with collagen-inspired particulates, I'm not offended. Heavily grossed out in a DNA terrorism victim kind of way, yes, but not offended.

When a car pulls out in front of my bike, nearly transforming my body into road pudding with a plastic helmet, I'm not offended. Am I extremely pissed, since I'd previously taken every measure to ensure that I'm lit up like Caesar's Palace with a spandex moose knuckle? Yes. Offended? No.

When certain people with whom I work, speak of "needing" those Stuart Weitzman pumps or that Kate Spade New York handbag, I feel pangs of amazement. Their shallowness rivals only the summer kiddie pool at Lincoln Park around four o'clock when it's two parts water, one part urine, yet I'm still not offended.

So when my Micky (my new pet name for her) announces that she will abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, instituted by none other than Richard Nixon, as one of her first executive actions, I feel so offended that I may have no choice but to leave my wife and take a chance on this vixen.

I realize I may discover her in bed with Exxon Mobil, spooning in the afterglow of another "drill, baby, drill" moment, but I'm ready.

And highly offended.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Day I Got Back My Yo-Yo.

" more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks."

"Finally, I won't be a kindergartner any longer. No more naps and I hereby vow to return as a non-thumb-sucking first grader. Will, too!"

"I'm going to dress up, not like the first day, but more than usual, so she'll remember this vision of me all summer."

"Ah, decent. This is the last day I have to sit by Brian, who smells like toast, plus I get my confiscated yo-yos back."

"I can start next year with a clean slate and know that it's been at least a year since I accidentally wet my pants during reading group. Next time, don't be polite. Just go, man."

"Why do we always have to race each other on the last day of school? I don't need any more 'participant' ribbons."

"Somehow, I'm going to have to sneak The Happy Hooker out of my desk."

"I should take advantage of my big dog status, because next year at junior high, I've heard you have to poo standing up or you'll be attacked by ninth graders and given a swirly. I'll  practice this summer."

"No smoke-filled school buses for three months. Hallelujah."

"Let's see what she wrote in my yearbook...she thinks I'm cool (good, I guess), she thinks I'm funny, (good, I guess), and she thinks I'm cute (bingo!). She says I'm not like the other guys who she'd go out with. I'm much more than that; I'm a good friend. (Shit)."

"Wow, I've known those four since kindergarten, those three over there since second grade and him and him and her and him since fourth grade. Unbelievable. Okay, I've got to walk straight or this cap's going to fall off. Oh, my god. There's the music..playing for us this time. Don't cry, you fool. Here we go."

School's out.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saying goodbye to an old friend.

Ah...Saturday. Who doesn't love a relaxed Saturday morning?

Okay, maybe people with new children or puppies, the two entities oblivious to the sanctity of an official sleep-in day. Saturday or Tuesday—doesn't matter when your kid has just awoken to a soaking diaper and hankering for a little human lactose smoothie.

Okay, maybe also those who must work weekends, those who aren't fortunate enough to stick to the same schedule that they had growing up and going to school; non-cubicle jobs like waitress, fire fighter, weed dealer or newspaper carrier.

Speaking of newspaper carrier, the circle has now closed on my initial point. I know I've spoken about this before, but it's time to mention this topic again, because an era is ending. The familiar act of cracking the front door and bowing my stiff lumbar to scoop up the paper, engulfed by the aroma of the crisp morning air, is ceasing.

I've cancelled my newspaper subscription.

Subscribing to Seattle's last printed paper,
The Seattle Times, runs approximately two hundred dollars for a year's worth of weekend service. It's really not much until you consider that the Saturday edition is now about the size of The Chinook Wind, my elementary school newsletter. Those two Benjamins could be better spent buying four hundred dollars worth of Groupons for pole dancing class.

I'm not particularly happy about contributing to the demise of an institution, just as I'm sure no one felt good about spending an entire day at the mall searching for digital camera film. But, as the Reverend Harold Camping proclaimed on May 22, "Apparently, life goes on."

Let's face the facts. Most of us only scan the headlines because most of us have grown acclimated to perusing our monitors and drawing conclusions from tiny bytes of information. Even the older among us, and I include myself within that group, have become quite adept at gleaning an article's essence from just a few words.

To illustrate my point, the following headlines appeared today on, and I'll demonstrate my carefully honed aptitude for deciphering the gist of a story:

"Weiner to take a 'leave of absence,' seek treatment."

For a minute, I thought they were referring to most guys over forty, whose weiners left for vacation with no forwarding address, but then I realized this headline is expounding on the tribulations of a congressman who refreshingly opposed any type of cover up.

"New Yorkers weigh in on Weiner."

Ouch! Get off! You've flattened it, you bastards!
Okay, no more Weiner jokes.

"Palin emails show work, feuds."

I don't even care about this headline. I'd rather take giblet gravy beer bongs than read Sarah Palin's emails.

"Buffet lunch auctioned for $2,626,411."

That would only have been $1,313,205.50 if that person had used a Groupon.

"Chewable Viagra popular in Mexico."

Aha! Finally we have a forwarding address for all those vacationing weiners.
Oh, sorry, I did say no more weiner jokes.

"Morgan apologizes for anti-gay rant."

Good idea.

"Marines honored for heroism."

That's like saying "Urologists honored for prostate exams." Marines are all heroes.

"Gingrich vows 'whatever it takes'."
I'm not sure if Newt wants to be making such a statement, unless he's willing to change political party, intelligence, attitude and race, and heretofore refer to himself as Barack Obama.

Kidding aside, I feel bad for the employees of America's slowly dying newspapers, especially those who rise, rain or shine, at ridiculous o'clock to assure that the paper is waiting on our doorsteps. Thank you for a job well done.

I heard Newt is hiring.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Send. Oops.

I'm talking to you.

You, the savvy pilot of all things digital.

You, the streetwise navigator of the wide world of web.

You, who surfs the ether with greater agility than Duke Kahanamoku shredding the tastiest waves that nineteenth century Waikiki could serve up.

I'm talking to you...and I'm talking to me. Think once, think twice, think twelve full cycles of thought—before hitting "send."

How many times have you read something, whether from a friend, a foe or a complete stranger, that sparked such an inferno within your upper intestinal tract that your lungs felt sweaty?

If this were 1991, you might phone that person who so angered you. Naturally, you'd measure your words and tone down your ire once speaking with a live human. Then again, you might just talk yourself down from such a personal confrontation altogether.

Or, maybe you'd write them a letter, mail it off and read whatever lame defense they may present a week or so later. Since all emotion and possibly most memory of your irritation would have significantly diminished by then, you certainly wouldn't write back.

Oh, but now, twenty years later, revenge is as close as your fingertips. Tread carefully.

Another victim fell prey to the awesome power of cyber stupidity several days ago, when Congressman Anthony Weiner texted a photo of his kielbasa wrap to a young woman in Bellingham, Washington.

I questioned what motivates men to engage in this sort of behavior back in October, when quarterback Brett Favre was exposed for having texted a picture of his bratwurst to a female employee of the New York Jets. Now we all know why, no matter whom the guy played for, he was always given number four.

It's hard not to believe that these two guys didn't know what they were doing, and that this imagery would eventually circulate to the masses. But maybe they didn't care, or even relished the idea.

Perhaps these men intended a similar result to when everyone goes out for a nice work lunch at Claim Jumper. After eating, everybody's pretty full, so they decide to split a dessert, like the Ultimate Motherfudge Cake or something, six ways. Each person takes a turn plunging his or her fork into the cake as it orbits the table.

Ecstasy ensues in a counterclockwise manner.

When it's all over, the table cloth is bunched against a menu stand and all at the table wear the familiar afterglow of a culinary carnal carnival.

That's my theory, anyway. These dudes were so impressed with themselves that they believed a gross, grainy representation of a guinea pig in a blanket was hotter to the female gender than a candlelit massage and pedicure from Johnny Depp.

So please, if you're going to play in the fields of social media, where the room keeps filling up, yet no one leaves, give yourself a few simple rules of engagement:

Don't photograph and post images of body parts. They'll make you look like you have a cadaver fetish.

If you're going to photograph food all the time, I want to see everything you've been eating, not just the pretty stuff. Show me that plastic bowl of mayonnaisey tuna next to the frayed pack of saltines and a Mickey's Big Mouth you had last Sunday afternoon.

When texting, cut off the conversation sooner than you think you should. It's very difficult to stop; my teenager has sent only one text message, but it's lasted three years and involved 946 people.

It's totally fine to post boring and mundane statuses on Facebook, buy hey, isn't that what Twitter is for?

And finally, never, and I mean never, ever, write a blog.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A DAMN Father's Day Gift Guide

Father's Day is two weeks away.

Since almost all of us have at least a father or stepfather or ex-stepfather whom we still like but our mom and sister hate after that Fourth of July slip-n-slide incident, we need to begin brainstorming about a decent gift.

Fourteen days allows us enough time to utilize any means at our disposal to procure a memorable token of appreciation, whether via the internet, the sketchy, yet convenient, local mall, or Target.

And since nearly half of the adult men in this country are fathers, including this bloggist, I'd like to grab the conch of speakership for a new group I've founded, known as Dads Against Mediocre Niceties (heretofore to be known as DAMN). Our purpose is to raise public awareness about what we really like versus what you believe we like (I had considered calling my group Fathers United, but F.U. isn't a good organizational moniker when looking a gift horse in the mouth.).

We at DAMN also would like to declare a couple of items off limits in our critical analysis of Father's Day gifts: Any arts and crafts created by youthful offspring, such as unidentifiable, shiny ceramic wads, stick-figure crayon drawings or painted rocks are always welcome. The cute factor creates immunity for the young.

This guide pertains more to those who have the time and resources to consider a gift, but are swayed by advertising, stereotypes or procrastination. So, without further ado, here is the DAMN Gift Guide:

–You may think that we want a nice tie or expensive shirt, but we don't. Even if we wear a shirt and tie to work every day, we especially don't want this on Father's Day. It's like giving Sarah Palin a yard full of crazed racists for Mother's Day.

–We actually do like stuff to use around the house, like hammers, drills or even a new garden hose. Hey, it's not Freudian and I'm not overcompensating.

–Slippers are always good, but since it's June, they're not exactly a season-friendly gift. Most of us dads yearn for instant gratification on this day, so consider just handing us a Guinness and a pair of flip flops from the dollar section.

–Breakfast in bed is totally cool. And please don't argue with the kids when they suggest serving their favorite meal of Blueberry Pop Tarts with Strawberry Pop Tarts. We can be very flexible.

–Gift cards, while nice, aren't always carefully considered. Please peer a month into the future, after we've come home with an pseudo-vintage Jethro Tull concert T-shirt and our forty-second pair of Chuck Taylors, which we've purchased with that seventy-five-dollar Macy's Father's Day gift card, and you say, "Oh, those are useful." That's what we buy when we get those things.

We hope our DAMN Gift Guide has proven useful for those of you who have a fatherish figure to toast on June 19. Most of us don't want an expensive gift; we just ask for a kind word or a laugh. As my favorite philosopher, Jack Handey, once said:

"Dad always thought that laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Practicing compassion with a vengeance.

Would you consider yourself a compassionate person?

If so, does that include a capacity for forgiveness in every circumstance?

Remember when you saw that homeless guy standing in front of Safeway on that cold, winter night? And you went inside and bought him some soup and a sandwich, feeling pretty darn good about yourself? You couldn't wait to perform your compassionate deed, and as you walked out into the freezing night and handed him the steaming Styrofoam bowl, you anticipated a "God bless you, brother," or a "You're too kind," or a "Thanks," at the bare minimum.

But he said nothing. He grabbed your token of warmth and goodwill, turned and walked away.

Did you forgive his ungrateful behavior, chalking it up to extreme hardship or possible mental illness, or did you ponder whether or not to perform such a task in the future?

When that woman at work received a cash award at that big meeting for excelling on that big project and you knew you actually earned and deserved the money and accolades, did you bristle at her unwillingness to not only acknowledge your contribution, but not even slip you a small gratuity from her winnings?

Or did you empathize with her and write it off as being caught up in the moment?

In each situation, you eventually resolved to relegate the event to the scrap heap of minor irritations and move forward.

But what about when you didn't move forward?

A month ago, when Navy SEAL Team Six burst into Osama Bin Laden's Pakistani McMansion and aerated his chest and forehead with government-issued yard tools, a vast majority of the Earth exhaled deeply at the news of his demise, and in short order, continued living life.

A smaller, yet substantial number, celebrated in the streets with vigor normally reserved for Stanley Cups, Justin Bieber tickets or the best sandwich they'd ever eaten. Were they reveling in the discovery of a booty of intelligence data and the nerve center of Al Qaida?

Or ultimately, were they scratching that primal itch that can only be vanquished through nasty, frosty, bloodthirsty revenge?

You decide. Revenge is exacted throughout our culture, both legally and otherwise. It pervades the worlds of criminal law, athletics, even our schoolyards. And I'm sure I'm not above a little nibble of vengeful behavior from time to time.

Driving among faceless automobile operators offers the perfect conditions for exacting revenge. When someone cuts me off, my life's purpose becomes pulling even with the driver, glaring across like the toughest guy I can think of (probably Keanu Reeves) and darting in front of the offender for a payback cut-off.

Sometimes the vengeance derails itself at the sight of the elderly driver's silver hair and calcium-challenged shoulder slouch.

If someone occupies my favorite elliptical trainer at the gym, I surgically execute revenge by mounting an inferior machine and stepping way, way faster than they are...while staring at them. How intimidating is that?

Oh, and try this one. When you're eyeballing that last awesome slice of cheeseburger pizza at Whole Foods, and then some jerk snags it right before you, just spit a teensy bit on the back of his neck. Just lean forward like a tom turkey and make the "p" sound right behind his head. He'll never know and you'll achieve a nice peace of mind as you walk away with your slice of asparagus and feta pie.

Unfortunately, the lust for revenge seems as ingrained in us as...well...lust. And tomorrow, I'm challenging myself to be a better person, to remember that we're all woven together with invisible threads of compassion. People, if those threads unravel, we're no better than animals.

But if I catch my daughter leaving only one Oreo Double Stuff in the bag again, I'm going to...