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Posts tagged "UncleToddTuesday"

#UncleToddTuesday - blog 17

You may remember the story from childhood about the Pied Piper leading the lemmings over the cliff. It’s an old story. Older than the word lemming. No one uses the word lemming anymore and frankly, I’m surprised I’m using it as well. But deciding on whether to wash my clothes using hot, warm, or cold water gave me the revelation that I might be a lemming myself—a MANSY lemming.

How did this happen? Did my mother tell me the darks go in cold water? Did an old girlfriend tell me the polyester blends are supposed to go into warm water? And why the whites in hot water? Is white clothing superior to dark clothing? Is dark clothing so badly dyed in Indonesia, Vietnam, and China that they will always run into the whites if mixed in the same load? And then the spin cycle. Delicates? Permanent press? Ralph Ellison wrote a terrific book called The Invisible Man. Should I write one and make myself the protagonist and call it The Invisible Idiot?

If you saw the laundry room in my building you might wonder why I’m bothering with this at all. It has a quasi Silence-of-the-Lambs feel to it; exposed brick, naked light bulbs, wooden storage units that are off at the hinges, and strange hissing and grunting noises behind the apartment door attached to the basement/laundry room. Nice. And it was here, at this moment, deciding on washing temperatures that I realized that maybe middle-class society has already gotten the best of me; that this is actually something to think about and consider; that none of this has any significance whatsoever and that white and dark clothes will end up just as clean and fine in cold water as in hot water.

Maybe.

Washing your clothes will not turn you into a lemming. You may already be one. What might have happened to you may have already happened to you—which is nothing. But having hot and cold water to begin with is way more than the majority of the world’s population.

Perhaps this Mansy lemming should shut the hell up and just put the clothes in the dryer.

—Uncle Todd


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"One more Mansy, late in life, still looking for attention. At least they patted down a few grandmas along the way in case they were going to set their shoes on fire."  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 07



He was a bull. An old one. Tall, barrel-chested, and with a bald, pink head, if you put a cowboy hat on him you would have thought he was the football coach of Odessa high school or for a small university in Texas somewhere for thirty years. But he wasn’t. He was just walking. Slowly. Blocking the lane. With all one hundred or so of us following him.

Air travel is stressful enough. Everyone has arrived at the airport in some state of frenzy. Add to that the security checkpoint (the hassles of which are almost a cliché now.) But when bull-headed, slow walking Mansy is taking up the narrow S-shaped lanes leading up to the security checkpoint, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t say anything, or you’ll get in trouble. You can’t do anything, such as duck the ropes, or you’ll end up in federal prison. You can’t cause a scene, because you know you will need patience as you disrobe, take off your shoes, get trichinosis from the filthy disgusting carpet through your socks while you take off your belt, empty your pockets, take your laptop out of the case, wonder if you have a pacemaker, put your winter coat in another box, while your blood pressure spikes because you know you’ll be holding up one hundred people behind you. Oh no. Now, you are one of those one-hundred people because your blood pressure is spiking because you’re thinking about all the stuff you have to do once you reach the security checkpoint but now it’s doubled because pink-headed barrel-chested non-Texas-high-school-football-coaching old-ass soft-shoeing Mansy is taking his dear old sweet time to get to the security checkpoint.

Once he got there, he stopped.

I studied him carefully. Lest I’m insensitive and missed that he had some physical handicap or was physically restricted in some way. I looked. Carefully. But so did he. He looked behind him—at all one hundred of us—looked at the rest of the travelers entering the stalls, paused, and smiled.

One more Mansy, late in life, still looking for attention. Put it in the books. At least they patted down a few grandmas along the way in case they were going to set their shoes on fire.

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“‘It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.’”  — King James Bible


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 16



Is Mansy thousands of years old?

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with The Duchess of Maryland, our very first guest in our interview series Ordinary People, Extraordinary MANSY. She brought to my attention that in the Book of Proverbs in The Bible, there are many passages that describe a man’s inability to handle himself, and the consequences thereof:

Proverbs 27:8 — As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

Proverbs 27:10 — Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.

Here and now, should the Mansy Commandments begin? Thou shalt not allow yourself to abandon your true purpose in life in the name of Mansy? Thou shalt not abandon the counsel of your true friends and family in the name of Mansy?

The Duchess also pointed out many passages that could correlate and underline Mansy’s relationships with women:

Proverbs 29:19 — It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

Proverbs 27:15 — A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

The Mansy Commandments should continue thusly: Thou shalt choose to be alone rather than give in to Mansy by staying in a problematic relationship; Thou shalt not give in to Mansy by not handling his own situation by ignoring constant nagging.

Perhaps constructing The Mansy Commandments would have its merits and value. From the Bible to Shakespeare, the power of old texts have demonstrated their importance in how to live our lives better and to see the truth in human relations.

AmericanMANSY.com is truly a preventative guide for the 21st Century.

(Source: The King James Bible.)

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"Leering at a young woman on public transportation while you’re drawing her picture - unbeknownst to her - is not only Mansy, but it may lead to stalking."  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 15



First sign: He wore a hat that had nothing to do with warmth or rainfall. Second sign: He kept staring across the aisle on the bus at a pretty young girl who had no idea he was staring at her. And the final and most creepy Mansy sign: He was drawing her picture. And smiling.

I’m all for art in public places. But this is quite different. We see people getting their picture drawn all the time; at the state fair, on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, or pick any random European city during the summer and you’ll see any number of portrait artists or people painting themselves green or silver to pretend they’re statues. But leering at a young woman on public transportation while you’re drawing her picture—unbeknownst to her—is not only Mansy, but it may lead to stalking.

I don’t know if he was any good. This doesn’t matter. His drawing caught everyone’s eye while they waited to exit the bus. And it’s probably it’s strange to observe Mansy observe a woman while he draws her picture. But this guy was actually craning his neck around the woman sitting next to him to get a better view. Quite the effort, quite the performance. At the very least, I thought, maybe this is his way in. Maybe this picture-drawing Mansy is too shy to approach women and this is his way of breaking the ice. He’ll finish it with a flourish, hand it to her, hope she’s impressed, and go from there.

He didn’t. When the bus arrived at his stop, he put his Moleskine journal away, gave her a glance, and exited the bus. At the very least, he should have ripped his Mansy masterpiece and given it to her for visually stalking her for his entire bus ride. It might have even been a form of an apology for being the creepy Mansy that he is. But no.

As the bus pulled away, he kept looking at the bus from the sidewalk, watching until it pulled away. At the very least, she never met him. And never will.

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"The show usually appears in iTunes somewhere between 10pm and midnight. The following morning, I check our numbers and the same two listeners have downloaded the show — somewhere between 10pm and midnight."  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 14



A country is only as rich as its gold reserves. If the gold is never accessed, it’s there. It’s real; it’s tangible. Throughout war or financial crisis, knowing it’s there is peace of mind, and a standard that must be lived up to. American Mansy Radio has a similar standard. Since July of 2011, after thousands of downloads and subscriptions in countries around the world, there are two people that hold us to a high standard each week. And we’ve never met them.

After much preparation throughout the week, Dave and I record every Thursday. I edit and publish it for the rest of the day so that it’s ready for iTunes that night. Sometimes, things come up. I might accidentally erase something. I might have to discard some music or images that I had thought would work. Or, I might have to start all over from scratch. But it has to get done—for the world, but especially for our two midnight listeners.

After the show is finished, I usually have dinner that evening at a good friend’s house with his beautiful family, a friend you may have heard me refer to in our shows as The Redneck. Sometimes I need to bring my laptop to his house for some finishing touches. The show usually appears in iTunes somewhere between 10pm and midnight. The following morning, I check our numbers for downloads, stats, advertising, marketing, subscriptions, etc., and without fail, the same two listeners have downloaded the show—somewhere between 10pm and midnight.

These two listeners have been with us since the beginning. They are our standard bearers. I never want to disappoint them. They inspire us to be consistent, to put out material of the highest quality, to make sure that we are always at our best. They are the common denominator. As our programming expands and our company and subscriptions continue to grow, we will always keep these two people in mind.

In our excitement for our upcoming edition of Ordinary People, Extraordinary MANSY — When You Give Up Everything For The One & Only Love — we put out audio and video trailers of the show last week. We hope they were of the same high standard we shoot for. Because wherever these two listeners are, no matter what lives they lead—even though we’ve never met them—they will always have the final word.

This, for us, is an honor and a privilege.

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"Proud dog owners know the effectiveness of the following three words: Go Lay Down. The next time your wife, girlfriend, husband, or boyfriend decides to let their rude, inner idiot shine in public, be sure to tell him or her the same."  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 13



Boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives—all need to keep each other in line. Especially those who don’t get out much. This has become apparent here in Chicago since Valentine’s Day through to the end of Restaurant Week, where many people are letting their inner idiot shine.

People need to take care of their own. I’m referring to adults, not children. While out scouting last week, I discovered a perfect example. A couple in their forties were drinking at a bar, waiting to be sat in the dining room. The maitre d’ approached. The guy started screaming and yelling like a child—Mansy—about how much the table sucked, that if it was like the one they were shown earlier they wouldn’t sit there, that they were going to write a letter, etc. etc. The poor maitre d’ slinked away to accommodate their request.

His wife or girlfriend said nothing.

Why didn’t she put Mansy in line? Why is rudeness, childishness, and Mansy-assness allowed in public? Acting like a real man or real woman—an adult—helps to make our godforsaken species more civilized. Having manners and mutual respect are not Mansy. Not calling out idiot behavior is 100% Mansy. Maybe this couple found each other and was attracted to their shared, complicit Idiocy. Good for them, bad for the rest of us. But there is no excuse.

Proud dog owners know the effectiveness of the following three words: Go Lay Down. The next time your wife, girlfriend, husband, or boyfriend decides to let their rude, inner idiot shine in public, be sure to tell him or her the same.

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"The specificity in predicting the end of the world is one thing; documenting the daily progress of a relationship is quite another. This young woman should run like hell—now."  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 12



Unless you’ve been hunkering down in a concrete foxhole waiting for the Mayan blue chunk of ice to fall from the sky, it’s Valentine’s Week in America. The MANSY Double-Spend—pre-Valentine’s Saturday, and the day itself. Applebee’s has never been happier. And never before have I encountered the MANSY Psychosis of a 500-Day Anniversary Celebration.

Psychotic behavior starts small. Over the weekend, I learned of a couple celebrating their 500-day anniversary. In no way, shape, or form was this campaign launched by the woman. I don’t have proof, and don’t need it. It reeks of garden variety, corn-fed, left-by-the-side-of-the-barn, 100% homegrown MANSY. And the smell is deafening.

Proud parents begin tracking the ages of their children in weeks, then months, then years. Sane, sober-minded adults track their relationships and marriages in years. But the 500-day anniversary? Numbers don’t lie, trends don’t lie, so let’s break it down so you can enjoy your psychotic moment of the day:

Their 500th day of shared space together was this past Saturday, February 11, the 42nd day of 2012. Five hundred minus forty-two is 458.

The non-Mayan Western calendar has 365 days in a year. Subtract that 365 from 458 and you have 93. This puts the start date of their shared psychotic bliss towards the end of 2010.

Day 1 of 500 fell on a Thursday—September 30, 2010.

Can you imagine the shrine set up in MANSY’s head on this sacred date in MANSY history? Can you imagine what happens each year on this date? Can you imagine the imminent psychosis that will develop after the extra day of leap year throws a monkey wrench into the mix? Can you imagine the psychosis of digging up old calendars to find the date?!?!

Need we go further?

The legacy of the Mayan culture and their famed calendar has left us with not only the joy of an early retirement, but something more: specificity. The specificity in predicting the end of the world is one thing; documenting the daily progress of a relationship is quite another. This young woman should run like hell—now—in order to enjoy the end of the world in peace. When that day comes, she should sit still like hell, and enjoy the silence. Twitter will crash, Chad Ocho-Cinco will go silent. And the sound of one man clapping is the only sound she’ll hear.

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"The specificity in predicting the end of the world is one thing; documenting the daily progress of a relationship is quite another. This young woman should run like hell—now."  — 'Uncle' Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 12



Unless you’ve been hunkering down in a concrete foxhole waiting for the Mayan blue chunk of ice to fall from the sky, it’s Valentine’s Week in America. The MANSY Double-Spend—pre-Valentine’s Saturday, and the day itself. Applebee’s has never been happier. And never before have I encountered the MANSY Psychosis of a 500-Day Anniversary Celebration.

Psychotic behavior starts small. Over the weekend, I learned of a couple celebrating their 500-day anniversary. In no way, shape, or form was this campaign launched by the woman. I don’t have proof, and don’t need it. It reeks of garden variety, corn-fed, left-by-the-side-of-the-barn, 100% homegrown MANSY. And the smell is deafening.

Proud parents begin tracking the ages of their children in weeks, then months, then years. Sane, sober-minded adults track their relationships and marriages in years. But the 500-day anniversary? Numbers don’t lie, trends don’t lie, so let’s break it down so you can enjoy your psychotic moment of the day:

Their 500th day of shared space together was this past Saturday, February 11, the 42nd day of 2012. Five hundred minus forty-two is 458.

The non-Mayan Western calendar has 365 days in a year. Subtract that 365 from 458 and you have 93. This puts the start date of their shared psychotic bliss towards the end of 2010.

Day 1 of 500 fell on a Thursday—September 30, 2010.

Can you imagine the shrine set up in MANSY’s head on this sacred date in MANSY history? Can you imagine what happens each year on this date? Can you imagine the imminent psychosis that will develop after the extra day of leap year throws a monkey wrench into the mix? Can you imagine the psychosis of digging up old calendars to find the date?!?!

Need we go further?

The legacy of the Mayan culture and their famed calendar has left us with not only the joy of an early retirement, but something more: specificity. The specificity in predicting the end of the world is one thing; documenting the daily progress of a relationship is quite another. This young woman should run like hell—now—in order to enjoy the end of the world in peace. When that day comes, she should sit still like hell, and enjoy the silence. Twitter will crash, Chad Ocho-Cinco will go silent. And the sound of one man clapping is the only sound she’ll hear.

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"She probably asked me because, yet again, I looked like an undercover police officer. And she probably knew, because of my dumb answer, that I wasn’t."  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 11



I’ve never been with a hooker. I don’t care if this makes me less of a man; I don’t care if this makes me more of a man. Paying to contract communicable diseases is unappealing to me. But it wasn’t until I had agreed to help a friend paint his condo that I would see for myself.

It was one of those afternoons where you’ve agreed to help a friend out—to move, to paint—but he’s ill-prepared; nothing is boxed up, the walls and baseboards aren’t taped with blue tape, the floors aren’t swept. My friend owns quite a few condos and was prepping this one for a new tenant. I came to paint. I’m always ready to help in these situations, but if the prep work isn’t done, then time slips away, the day slips away, and the real reason you agreed to help out arrives far earlier than expected: to drink beer. In the two hours spent waiting, pacing, drinking, pacing, drinking, sweeping the floors, drinking, and not painting, I wandered over to the porch and saw a strange looking ‘business’ nestled between two condo buildings.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“A massage parlor,” my friend said.

“Really? No shit? Maybe-since-you’re-not-prepared-with-the-blue-tape-yet-when-you-said-you’d-be-ready-by-eight-o’clock-in-the-morning-and-now-it’s-eleven-o’clock, I’ll go get a massage. I could use one.”

He looked at me. “No. A massage parlor.”

I don’t know what compelled me. “I’ll be right back,” I told him. At best, I thought, it will be a study in anthropology. At worst—a story for the books.

You couldn’t see through the smoked-out glass front door. It was locked. I knocked. Nothing. I knocked again. A woman of indeterminate ethnicity let me in and walked behind the desk. Her feet made a sticking sound to her shoes. A spiral ‘appointment’ book with hand-drawn lines to separate ‘appointments’ lay on the desk.

“You have appointment?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “Do I need one?” She probably asked me because, yet again, I looked like an undercover police officer. And she probably knew, because of my dumb answer, that I wasn’t.

“Forty dollars.”

Nervous, I gave her the cash and she led me to a small room with a massage table. It looked like any ‘legitimate’ massage room I’d been in before. She closed the door. Purple light filled the room. There was the sound of trickling water. Generic New Age music came on. I took off my clothes but kept my underwear on. (Mansy?) I laid facedown. Through the hollowed-out face portion of the massage table I could see her childbearing ankles. She put the cheaply perfumed lotion on my back. Her hands pushed against my shoulders, my upper back, my lower back, my legs.

I fell asleep.

When I woke up the music, water, and purple light were off. “We finished,” she said. The overhead fluorescent light came on—the light of reality. It felt like five in the afternoon. In the lobby I didn’t know what to say. Thanks? Goodbye? Do I tip? And how much? Then I said something that had the dead ring of I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing-and-I’ll-never-see-you-again.

“How late do you stay open?”

She answered the idiot question with the idiot answer that’s probably listed on their business license. “6am.”

I handed her twenty dollars. “Maybe I’ll see you later?”

She smiled.

When I went outside the glare of daylight kicked me in the face. Paying for sex is pathetic. And Mansy. And if you fall asleep in a whorehouse? You never really wanted to be there in the first place.

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"I was too invested in a girl I knew that kept syringes in her purse, or the guidos who wore leather jackets that said ‘Sicily’ on the back. But a cop?"  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 10



My career as a non-undercover cop began in New Jersey. For reasons lengthy and dull, my junior year of high school was spent at a large public school in south Jersey. As teenagers do, they smoked cigarettes in the bathroom. Whenever I’d walk in, however, they’d spin around, hide them, or put them out. But they would never resume smoking. Why? The word was out. “That new guy? He’s a narc.”

I’ve never understood it. Maybe it’s physical appearance. As an aspiring actor and writer at the time, observing human behavior comes with the territory. I was too invested in a girl I knew that kept syringes in her purse, or the guidos who wore leather jackets that said ‘Sicily’ on the back. But a cop?

When I moved to Chicago, my career as a non-undercover cop continued. I’ve lived most of that time between Wrigleyville and Uptown. This area has and always will remain nameless—an ‘up-and-coming’ area as shyster developers used to call it before the crash of 2008. I learned this at the intersection of Broadway and Wilson. (Nothing good ever happens at the intersection of Broadway and Wilson.) An old guy looked at me and started screaming, “Five-0! Five-0! Check it out! Check it out! Five-0!” Five-0? Really? Is the guy trying to sell me tube socks and batteries an expert on who’s an undercover cop?

There’s a hyper-literary sentiment out there that everyone lives two lives; the one your currently living, and the live unlived—the life you should be living. Great. But I don’t subscribe to this. I’ll leave that to graduate level university English departments to hash out. But is it MANSY to enjoy the unearned protection this unprovoked attention brings? Is it a certain walk? Do I look like I can’t do a ten-yard dash? Does the large coffee cup from Dunkin’ Donuts I carry past the tube-sock-and-battery salesman prove the expression that perception is reality?

It had been a while since my non-undercover status had been revealed. Late to work last week, I got on the bus. On my way to my seat the driver started yelling, “Sir! Sir! Excuse me sir!” Did I forget to put money on my card? Was the black electronic strip on the back not working again? I walked to the front.

“Yes?”

“You used to work K-9, right?” he asked.

“What?”

“K-9, man! You used to work K-9!”

All the passengers were staring at me. “No, not anymore,” I said. “It got to be too much.”

I sat down towards the back and was happy the bus was moving to get me to work. Maybe I should have been a cop. No one’s ever mistaken someone to be a writer.

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"Maybe it is cool to wear sweatpants to a high-end steakhouse in downtown Chicago. Regardless: Throw on a shirt with collar every once in a while. Using body wash is the new black."  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 09



I don’t need coffee to wake up; I need coffee to sustain consciousness. Morning, afternoon, or evening, I’ll drink enough coffee to kill an elephant. So it was on a casual afternoon’s visit to my local Dunkin’ Donuts that I encountered The Mansy Millionaire*.

He owns the entire strip mall, one of the many he owns in Chicago. He was working the register. His interest in taking orders is less about down-with-the-people than it is about micromanaging his employees. But I don’t care. I don’t care about the Subway he owns with its interchangeable sandwiches that all have the same flavor. I don’t care about The Organic Take-Out Kitchen Restaurant Where The Cooks Have Studied At El Bulli In Barcelona. I don’t care about the Chinese restaurant with the kitchen I’d never want to visit in the middle of the night with a flashlight. But if The Mansy Millionaire* is going to roll out of bed, not shower, and take orders at the Dunkin’ Donuts he owns, he could at least throw on a shirt without any stains on it.

“Good afternoon,” I say.

Silence.

“I’d like a large coffee please, one cream, one sugar.”

Silence.

The attentive, professional girl behind him (with a clean uniform) begins to make the coffee without uttering a word, lest The Mansy Millionaire* objects to her speaking when he could have dragged a Q-Tip through his ears at least once. The price comes up on the screen. I think, now, maybe he’ll speak. Maybe he’ll tell me in his own voice what I owe, knowing in his mind the percentage that will go in the pockets of his fat-assed khaki Dockers pants. But no.

Silence.

I’m no fashionista. I dress not to draw attention to myself. But presentation is everything. There’s a casual half-assness about American millionaires. It seems the more money you have, the less you need to care about your appearance. From rappers to financial traders, there seems to be a tacit understanding that dressing like hell is the opposite of flaunting your money. Maybe it is cool to wear sweatpants to a high-end steakhouse in downtown Chicago. Regardless: Throw on a shirt with collar every once in a while. Using body wash is the new black.

The Mansy Millionaire* gave me my change. When I got my coffee I walked out the door, and noticed the ‘Find Us On Yelp!’ sticker in the window of The Organic Take-Out Kitchen Restaurant Where The Cooks Have Studied At El Bulli In Barcelona. Maybe I’m a critic with no credentials like the people on Yelp. But the sound of a yelp—from anyone—is the last sound I want to hear.

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"Was he thinking his hair wasn’t right? Was he wondering why she didn’t notice him? Was his narcissism insufficient to gain her attention?"  — Todd Behrend


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 08



Being a beautiful woman must be a pain-in-the-ass. Being a beautiful woman that needs to use public transportation must be a bigger pain-in-the-ass. Especially when a beautiful woman is trapped sitting next to the Encroaching Mansy on a train.

She was stunning. I couldn’t help but notice her when I got on the train. Long black hair, brown eyes—beautiful. The car was empty. I sat a few rows behind her, was minding my own business when the Encroaching Mansy entered. He was wearing one of those stupid-ass earmuff things that wrap around the back of your head so you don’t mess up your hair. Because Mansy needs to keep his hair perfect at all times – even when it’s 10 degrees outside. And what do you think he did next? Did he grab his own seat by himself like everyone else? Did he survey the car, realize it was empty, and enjoy the option that he could sit without getting crushed by rush hour travelers? No. He went directly towards brown-eyed girl and sat right next to her.

He smiled at her. She didn’t notice. She was occupied with her Smartphone. The next stop came and went. And then the next. The Encroaching Mansy stared straight ahead, not saying a word. Her stop finally came. She looked up and politely asked him to move. The Encroaching Mansy’s eyes were fixed on her while she waited for the doors to open. She still didn’t notice him. When she got off the train, he looked at himself in the window’s reflection. Multiple times. Was he thinking his hair wasn’t right? Was he wondering why she didn’t notice him? Was his narcissism insufficient to gain her attention?

Men approaching women they don’t know on trains are creepy. And desperate. Desperate men are Mansy. If the Encroaching Mansy wanted to justify his creepiness, he should have at least had the balls to talk to her. The Hollywood Brainwash has sentimentalized and romanticized the notion of strangers on a train. For the most part, people are just going from one place to another. Mansy should realize that noticing a beautiful stranger on a train is a small gift from the gods on a cold winter’s afternoon. Appreciate it. That’s enough. And call it a day.

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"What was she thinking? Maybe she was thinking she’s found the love of her life. Or that she could lose him like a set of keys."


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 06



He wore a black mock turtleneck. It might have been a spray-on tan. Maybe he just got back from a resort in Mexico or something but his skin was not the color of a Chicago city dweller in wintertime. When his girlfriend of twenty-years younger came back from the bathroom, he got up from the bar, pulled out her bar stool, smiled, and whispered in her ear: “Of course, love.” They made out. The food arrived. He cut her steak. “Anything thing for you, my love.” The bartender asked if they wanted anything else. “Whatever you want, my love.” They held hands under the counter. They whispered to each other. When she stood up to search for something in her coat, he stood up also. When she said she was going outside to smoke, he said, “I’ll be here, my love.”

One question ladies: Annoyed?

Having good manners is essential in urban life. It should be passed down through generations. Good manners demonstrate that you are considerate, thoughtful, that the other person is important. We are all savages practicing civilized behavior, and good manners help cover this and keep things in line. So when does Mansy overdo it? At which point do manners become Mansy which turns into worship? Is the man that’s always at your beck and call a huge turnoff? Is Mansy worship of you worse than bad manners? Is there anything less attractive than a doting, fawning, obsequious Mansy?

They finished their lunch. He turned his chair sideways in order to gaze at her. She gazed back also. But what was she thinking? I’m no mind reader. Maybe she was thinking she’s found the love of her life.

Or that she could lose him like a set of keys.

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“‘That’s unbelievable.’ (Hand-on-shoulder.) ‘Look at my glasses.’ (Poke.) ‘They’re the same rims that Woody Allen gets in New York.’ (Hand-on-shoulder-again.) ‘Hey man, will you please stop touching me?’”


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 05



He’s that guy that hangs on you. He has to poke you when he makes a point. He hangs on the girls way too long. He wears too many rings. He sings.

And then there’s the cologne.

As far as local bars go in my neighborhood, there’s slim pickings. The only halfway decent one is where Touchy Feely Smelly Cologne guy hangs out. He’s the self-proclaimed ambassador of the place. He wears a beret – backwards – and has to spread all of his personal items on the bar in front of him: a pack of Parliaments, a Zippo lighter, Chapstick, wallet, two cell phones, his keys, and a shot and a beer. During the World Cup for women’s soccer this summer he was yelling at the TV about how so-and-so should have made that save, scored that goal, etc. He’s that guy you’ve met ten times, he never remembers your name, you’re tired of re-introducing yourself, and you wish you could just call it a wash and get on with your life. Wishful thinking. Especially when he started touching my shirt last week.

“This is tailored, isn’t it?” he said. “Beautiful. Where’d you get it done?”

It was late. I was on my way home. I wanted a drink, some sports highlights, and off home to bed. I didn’t want problems; I don’t want problems. I don’t want anyone else’s problems, and neither do I want to cause anyone any problems. Really. But is my shirt tailored?

“What?”

“You’re shirt. It’s beautiful. Where did you have it done?”

His cologne was kicking me in the face. “It’s a family heirloom,” I said. “Handed down from my mother’s side of the family. The Marshall’s side.”

“That’s unbelievable.” (Hand-on-shoulder.) “Look at my glasses.” (Poke.) “They’re the same rims that Woody Allen gets in New York.” (Hand-on-shoulder-again.) “Good taste, you have good taste.”

“Hey man, will you please stop touching me?”

He looked at me, puzzled, like he couldn’t believe what I had asked him. Is this really a news flash? Is it okay to go around touching people all the time? Uninvited? And if we choose not to be the audience in someone else’s performance are we in the wrong somehow? He gathered his things and asked for his check. He shook the bartender’s hand.

“Sorry I touched you,” he said. He left.

“He’s alright,” the bartender said. “He’s a big-time attorney downtown. He spends at least $30,000 a year in here.”

???

Maybe I just need to find new places to hang out at. There’s a nice, clean, well-lighted café in the Target down the street.

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"From the gun control debate to the washing of our own hands – are we really that afraid?"


#UncleToddTuesday - blog 69



I hate them. There’s nothing else in modern life that makes you feel more stupid. You’re standing there. Your hands are slathered in soap. You move them in front of the sensor, waiting for the stream of water to come out. Nothing. You move your hands again. Nothing. You move to the next sink. Nothing. You move your hands again. The water starts. You start washing your hands. The water stops. You move your hands again. The water starts again. You resume. The water stops. The stopping/starting lasts five minutes. You finish. You then wave your hands in front of the automatic sensor for the paper towel dispenser. It spits out two inches of paper. You tear it off. You move your hands in front of it again. Two more inches. You dry your hands. You slink out feeling ridiculous and frustrated at something you have been doing on your own since five years old.

What do automated faucets say about America? Please follow. The idea behind them is that by not touching anything, you won’t get any germs. Standing there, like an idiot, hands suspended, waiting for water to shoot out, will have kept you free from contamination. It’s the same stupid logic behind hand sanitizer. Once you sanitize your hands, the minute you touch anything, automatically you’re exposed to bacteria. Same with automated faucets. After the waiting, the moving, the stop/starting, the moment you touch anything, you are exposed to bacteria. Automated faucets don’t prevent the spread of bacteria; they encourage the spread of fear.

This might sound ridiculous. It isn’t. No one in his right mind would invent a faucet to encourage the spread of fear. Agreed. Automatic faucet inventors are too busy laughing their way to the bank. But automated faucets are a detail, a tell about our culture. As a grown, fully functioning adult who is not incapacitated – are you not capable of turning a lever, washing your hands, and turning the lever off? Of course you are. Those who wash their hands on a regular basis will always do so. Those who do not, won’t. Regardless, the automated faucet gives the illusion of protection from contagion. The need for this illusion comes from fear.

Maybe this is a stretch. One could over-analyze a grilled cheese sandwich. But what about the bathroom attendant? Not only is the faucet turned on for you, but also paper is handed to you, cologne is offered to you, and a tip expected from you. It’s the automated faucet idea on steroids. From the gun control debate to the washing of our own hands – are we really that afraid?

‘Uncle’ @Todd_Behrend


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