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The Bay Area Brit Is One-Year Old…

…which would likely explain the maturity level of some of the jokes and cartoons.

Valentine’s Day is the The Bay Area Brit’s one-year anniversary. And what better way to celebrate by giving fake awards to Brits who have popped up on the American radar in the last year.

Award For The Funniest And Meanest Way To Get Back At Your Celebrity Wife 

"I'd like to thank my iPhone and Twitter for this award."

Russell Brand exposed his wife, Katy Perry to the TwitWorld sans makeup. Normally this would be a “so-what” situation: a woman without makeup–big deal. I like to see it as the first layer of exposure. Next comes Brand’s homemade audio files of her singing off key in the shower and then of course the inevitable porno tape. Who knows what started it? Perhaps a fight over whose maid should do the dishes, or maybe there was a verbal joust regarding whose 15 minutes would be up first. Either way, we here at the Bay Area Brit commend Mr. Brand’s efforts to prevent boys aged 13-77 from lusting after his wife.

Monty Python: Funny. Jeremy Clarkson: Unfunny.

Award For Putting Your Foot In Your Mouth And Then Not Only Failing To Remove It, But Trying To Cram The Other Foot In There As Well.

Jeremy Clarkson is the host of a popular British TV show called “Top Gear.” On a recent episode, he referred to Mexicans as “lazy, feckless, flatulent oafs” and Mexican food as “refried vomit.” Understandably, Mexicans are angry at the comments, and Clarkson has failed to apologize; in fact he continued to make even more racist comments that he believes is “humour.” To make matters worse, he claims that, “the Mexicans have no sense of humour.” Which is kind of like me taking a crap on his floor and telling him that, “he’s only mad at me because he hates cleaning his carpet.”

We here at The Bay Area Brit think that Jeremy Clarkson’s the one lacking a sense of humor.

Award For Pissing Off Hollywood Celebrities By Making Fun Of Them 

No need to apologize for being funny, Ricky.

Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes for the second year in a row. It’s refreshing to see an awards show host who is secure and comfortable enough to fearlessly make fun of the irritating pomposity that these affairs usually bring. I mean he’s drinking a beer at the podium for God’s sake. He skewered some easy targets but even went after the guy that signed his paycheck that night: the President of the Hollywood Foreign Press. One of his best lines made fun of the Cosmo-swilling cougars from Sex In The City.

“I was sure the Golden Globe for special effects would go to the team that airbrushed that “Sex In The City” poster. Girls, we know how old you are. I saw one of you in an episode of Bonanza.”

The distinction between Gervais and Clarkson is that Gervais targets himself as much as others. Plus, Gervais went for the jugulars of the wealthy and famous, Clarkson cruelly generalized and negatively stereotyped an entire nation.

Celebrities seen here demonstrating outside Ricky Gervais's hotel

Award For Most British, British Movie Star : Colin Firth

Colin Firth: Seen here not dressed as a King

Colin Firth’s portrayal of King George VI sealed this year’s award of being the “Most British, British Movie Star.” Cheerio, pip, pip and all that rot, Colin. Good luck winning a real award at the Oscars for “The King’s Speech.” We are all counting on you.

Award For Best Attempt At Killing Your Career Just As You Were Making Money And Achieving “C”…Maybe “D-List” Status In America

British soccer analyst Andy Gray covered the 2010 World Cup in the United States and received positive acclaim and attention with his excitable, yet no-nonsense approach and analysis. He was recently fired by Sky Sports for making sexist comments regarding a soccer official during the broadcast of an English Premier League game. “Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don’t know the offside rule.” 

Well done, Andy; women don’t know how to drive a car, change a flat tire, fly a plane, be an astronaut, or lead a country, and they certainly couldn’t possibly understand the complicated offside rule. Idiot!

Happy Birthday, Bay Area Brit, here’s to another year. Oh, and in case you missed it–here you go.

"I'm sorry I called you a stupid, British monkey...Please don't Tweet that pic."

The Fine Art of Diplomacy

When I was a kid, my friend Edgar and I were at his house in South London watching a film about American frontiersmen. The adventurous family was heading west in search of a new start. All of their possessions were packed tightly onto a raft made of tree logs and some extra-strength tree vine. Their vessel was slowly drifting down the river and the film’s soundtrack indicated all was well with “cruising down the river at a nice leisurely pace” music.

But then the music changed, it became a little quicker and louder.

The family’s raft seemed to be picking up speed, the water moving more unpredictably. The music had alerted us that danger was coming.  It was all very exciting and Edgar and I were sucked into the moment. One of the kids looked ahead down the river and yelled back to his parents with panic:

“LOOK OUT! RABBITS!….RABBITS AHEAD!”

Edgar and I looked at each other in astonishment. “Rabbits? In the river? Can rabbits swim? Even if they could, should they really be feared as if they were a school of long-eared piranha fish?”

After about a minute of eagerly awaiting these flesh-eating, cotton-tailed bunnies, Edgar and I figured it out. “Oh, rapids—they’re worried about rapids. Well that makes much more sense.” We hadn’t understood the American child’s accent.

In this instance no harm done. Kids watching TV. What if the context were different and the stakes much higher? What if the President of the United States was given information in a foreign language that was incorrect because the person conveying it misheard or misunderstood what was intended.

Enter The International Translator.

The international translator has the most important job in the world. Failing to decipher the real meaning of a sentence filled with ambiguity could be the difference between war and peace.

Example: “Let me give you some fruit punch.” Translate this from English into a foreign language and then back into English. You can bet that any rearrangement of words in that sentence could lead to trouble and perhaps even a scuffle.

In the game Chinese Whispers, one person whispers an original sentence into another’s ear, and then that person to the next person and so on. The last set of ears might receive some words totally different from the first. Depending on the room this can be dangerous. For example at a mafia meeting, “Can you pass down the coffee?” Could quite easily become “I think we should whack Don Corleone.”

The responsibility of the international translator’s job is beyond compare. Yet, who are these people? They stand off camera, lurking on the edge of the shadows with headphones on, a whisper away from the President’s ear. Do these people have relationships with their international counterparts? After the summit do they joke about how good it is to finally have a President that can properly pronounce the word “nuclear?”

Surely these multi-linguists must have relationships with each other, after all, they are the kings and queens of diplomacy and communication. If an argument arose they could settle their differences with a well-chosen turn of phrase, with a multitude of languages to pick from to get the nuance just right.

After a hard day’s work, does the international translator lie awake at night wondering whether he conveyed to the President that the Russian Premier might have been being sarcastic when he offered to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons stationed in Cuba?

Words in a sentence or inflections in a word, perhaps a raised eyebrow here, a cough, a pause. All of these things change the meaning of what has been said.

So, kids, when you’re in school and told that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was the reason that the world was catapulted into war in 1914—don’t be so sure. Someone may have ordered the assassination, but they might also have simply been asking for someone to pass down the coffee.

2011 New Year’s Resolutions: How I’m Doing So Far

This is the 50th Bay Area Brit blog, and the first one of the year. I have catalogued my Ten New Year’s Resolutions and will reveal how I’m doing.

1. To Be A Better Person.

Well that’s working out pretty well, because the better person I wanted to be was Mother Teresa. As it turns out Mother Teresa is dead, and therefore by just existing I am a better “person” than she is. However, regarding otherworldly incarnations she’s got me in a heavenly headlock.

2. To Help Others.

So I take the train a lot, and every single night at the BART station I see this guy pretending to be flustered because he just lost his wallet, and he only needs another $2.80 to get back to the City. Again and again he pitches me the same story, like he doesn’t remember me. I’m going to help him by not giving him an angry glare when I see him shuffling towards me, and I’m not going to say: “Every time I see you, you’ve lost your wallet.” Instead, I’m going to tell him that  they now have these little chains that you can attach to your wallet and loop onto your pants.

3. To Be More Tolerant.

Who am I the Pope? No, wait, I am more tolerant than the Pope.

4. To Drink Less.

Every summer they tell me there’s a drought on — an actual water shortage, people. And so I am fighting the fight and being responsible by drinking more beer and less water, hardly any water in fact. SAVE OUR PLANET!

5. To Eat More Healthily.

Well that’s kind of relative. You see I do eat more healthily than a whopping 34 percent of the country. If you were a baseball player and you hit better than 34 percent, you would be in the Hall of Fame.

6. To Set Realistic Goals.

Writing down and fulfilling any form of New Year’s resolution was an unrealistic goal. FAIL!

7. To Do Something Exciting And Adventurous

To me riding a rollercoaster is terrifying because I imagine the headlines the next day:

FUNLAND ROLLERCOASTER DISASTER: ONE DIES.

So yes, skydiving or bungee jumping is completely out of the question, especially because I would likely post on Facebook that “I’m going to leap out of an airplane from thousands of feet in the air; I hope the chute isn’t made by ACME INC. Har-Har!”

Because if the parachute does actually FAIL, my stupid Facebook post about the ACME INC. parachute will be there forever. The Bay Area Brit’s final status update. At first it would be sad and tragic, and then the more you saw it, the funnier it would seem.

8. To Quit Smoking

Ta-da, easily achievable, since I didn’t ever start smoking. But since I didn’t start by definition I cannot quit. FAIL!

9. To Be Polite And Understanding To People Who Think They Are Funny But Are Actually Boring

This kind of falls into the “be a nicer person” category, but there are people out there that are just (through no fault of their own) dull and uninteresting. I resolved to listen and nod politely, smile, and even laugh when prompted to do so by their own laughter indicating that they’re finished with their tedium.

You may now laugh or nod politely.

And Last But Not Least:

10. To Always Finish What I Sta…

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Copyright 2011        www.TheBayAreaBrit.com

Get Out Your Butterfly Nets

Thanks to the small army of insane men and women roaming the San Francisco Bay Area streets, it is possible to observe a large variety of conversational monologists. While it is not politically correct to refer to the mentally disturbed as “insane,” I feel in my case it is okay, because for all you or I know, I might be “insane.” And if I am “insane,” by the unwritten rules of modern day name-calling I can call “insane” people whatever I want–right?

There are different types of conversational monologists.

The Angry Ranter might threaten violence, as they play out moments in their life, screaming something that they said, or wish they had said. These are the ones you have to watch for, because more often than not, they don’t want anything from you, and therefore have no reason not to shank you with a rusty corkscrew. If confronted by The Angry Ranter, stand your ground and slowly walk backwards while making a bleating sound like a baby goat hungry for its mother’s teat.

Mr. Mumbles sits quietly on the park bench talking to imaginary pigeons who are eating imaginary scraps of food that he dropped from an imaginary sandwich, bought with his imaginary money which he earned from his imaginary job. Mr. Mumbles is safe to sit next to if you’re waiting for a bus, but don’t get started in a conversation about life being like a box of chocolates.

Cellphone Bluetooth Prick is the most obnoxious monologist. If I see someone (dressed in business attire) gesturing and yelling randomly while walking down the street, I am unsettled. I secretly hope that the man has just lost his life savings on a bad stock deal. However, this kind of wishing can lead to dangerous consequences. Cellphone Bluetooth Prick’s life may be spiraling downwards and he might want to take someone down with him. Perhaps he might be on the brink of purchasing a high-powered rifle; minutes away from embarking on a spree, of the non-shopping variety. Fears are assuaged however, when the Cellphone Bluetooth Prick stops every ten seconds to meekly say, “Can you hear me now?”

The Whitney Houston Syndrome Monologists vary in levels of irritation. They were probably once told by someone that they have a nice singing voice, and so they demonstrate their skills (not by applying to be a contestant on American Idol) but by roaming the city streets and public transportation wearing headphones while singing loudly and out of tune, scaring passing children and small dogs. These are the most selfish of monologists because they don’t hear the torture they are serving.

The Delusional Writer Monologist is usually locked away in his studio apartment molding his borderline tasteless, semi-amusing gibberish into something tangible. He’s usually editing his manifesto or working on that hilarious buddy cop screenplay. However, every now and again he will leave the security of his writing environment to sit in a café or a bar with his notepad and pen and chuckle as he reads his musings to himself. Occasionally someone might overhear his mumblings and interrupt to ask, “Are you a writer?”

His answer of course, is “No, I’m just insane.”

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The Not-So Polite Brit, At Your Service

       This is an old morality tale.

        I used to work at a restaurant with a guy named Thomas, that’s what I think he called himself. As far as I remember everyone just referred to him as “Stinky” but not to his face mind you. Thomas had–insert echoey reverbed voice–B.O.
And it was bad, really bad. None of us could believe how this normal, academic looking white-bread character wasn’t aware of his complete and utter underarm funk. I’m not talking about the musky smell of a recently exercised male here. I’m talking about the smell from the depths of Satan’s ass that made you gag as he wafted away. He wore a white waiter’s shirt that must have been deathly allergic to cleaning chemicals and only held together by its own stubborn understains. Heaven forbid any of the poor wretches that he waited on.

       Who knows how many first dates he ruined by failing to acquaint himself with a bar of soap?

           I won’t go into it too much more, but when he had left the scene of a conversation I swear you could still smell him a minute later. His odor was probably temporarily lost without him, like a puppy off its leash for the first time. If he came back before the minute was up, it was like he lapped his smell on the track forging an uber-funk that was seal up your nostrils with window putty intolerable.

           So anyway, one morning after we all agreed that Thomas needed to know (he was having a particularly bad (underarm) hair day or something) I volunteered myself for the mission. Well, everyone knows I can be a dick, and I didn’t really care whether Stinky thought less of me for telling him.

         So I said, “Dude, did you take a shower this morning because you fucking stink?”

         Okay, so yeah, I could have handled it better (story of my life) but I said it. He was shocked, startled, embarrassed, and had not a clue that his underarm odor was being ridiculed by every single employee at the joint–including, might I add, all of the managers–none of whom wanted to say anything.

        So after the deed was done, I mentioned what I had said to Thomas to some of my co-workers and everyone was grateful and relieved. They said things to me like:
“I can’t believe you said something! I hope he gets a clue.”
and
“About time someone said something to that stinky muthafucka.”
and
“Thank God, Matty Stone, you are a true savior, let me worship your genius while I gently massage your genitals and feed you peeled grapes.”

        Okay, okay, that last one was obviously a lie. Just making sure you’re still paying attention.

       The next week Thomas comes up to me and says, “I need to talk to you.” And I assume he’s going to thank me for saying something to him about his hygiene issue, and that people have been a lot more willing to talk to him for more than a few seconds at a time.

       Instead he says: “You know, I asked everyone the next day if they thought I ever smell bad, and not one of them said I did; you’re a fucking dick.”

      While he was correct, I can be a fucking dick, I couldn’t believe that not one of my co-workers backed me up–not one.

     So the moral here, if there is one, is this:

      If I tell you you stink, and you ask other people if you stink and they say no. You still stink, and they’re just a bunch of cowards who would rather make fun of you behind your back rather than confront you about a problem that could easily be resolved with a bar of soap.

     All of which still makes me a fucking dick.

The Bay Area Brit Travel Guide Presents: The Greek Islands

Here at The Bay Area Brit, we do not have an actual budget per se. We have pretty much alienated every potential corporate sponsor. As a consequence, this week’s Travel Section article about a trip to the idyllic Greek Islands is comprised entirely from a dream that I had last night, as I have never been there. Enjoy!

In my sleep I read the brochure and knew it was the place for me:

“You’ll come for the sun, the beautiful scenery and the sights and sounds of a different world; you’ll stay because you have been summoned to Mount Olympus and chosen by Zeus to fight Cerberus, the three-headed dog-dragon that eats bushy eye-browed babies and nubile young women bearing vowel-less names.”

On the isle of Mykonos, after unwinding in our sun-drenched chalet, my traveling companion and I walked the cobbled pathway to the pier to find repast at one of the restaurants. We had seen the fishing trawlers come back to port as dusk moved in, and had been told that restaurant owners bought fish fresh from the boat. We made ourselves comfortable at a table near the water and I ordered an anisette-based aperitif called Ouzo. My companion ordered Retsina: a white wine that tastes of pine needles. Our waitress approached, and bizarrely it was a woman called Mrs. Eleanor Firstein who was my piano teacher when I was nine years old. She used to have a freckle on her cheekbone that was shaped like a caterpillar. Strangely, the freckle had grown and was now shaped like a butterfly.

         I ordered the anchovy and feta salad and suddenly heard a bellowing growl come from the horizon. The restaurant’s windows cracked and the olive trees in the grove nearby bent in half. I rubbed my eyes and watched in horror as Poseidon himself, silhouetted as he rose from the water, began to advance towards the shoreline. He was the size of a forty-storey building. I knew what I had to do…

I was suddenly awake and needed a pee. I padded to the bathroom, did my business and trudged back to bed. I gradually drifted back to sleep so that I might continue my sojourn in the Greek Islands.
It was the next day, and we were kicking around in the rubble at the Acropolis in Athens. My travel companion informed me that I had defeated Poseidon (who was disgruntled after eating an iffy kebab) by making the “God of The Sea’s” head explode after singing an off-key rendition of “Ain’t Misbehavin.’”
The Acropolis’s tour guide looked exactly like Abraham Lincoln…except, for some reason, he was completely naked but for his tall hat and a pair of bright red stilettos. I asked him why he wore no clothes and he told me that former Presidents that have been dead for a century and-a-half shouldn’t have to wear garments if they didn’t want to. I joked to him that it was all well and good, but I had no desire to see that porker Taft in the nude, and then Lincoln stepped on my foot with his high heels and then smeared chunks of pineapple all over my face.

I was awake again! My 4 month-old kitten had jumped on the end of the bed and woken me up by first landing on my feet and then cantered up the bed to lick my face like it was made of tuna. I had a gash on my foot from her needle-like claws. I put some Hydrogen Peroxide on my wound and hobbled back to bed.

Damned! I was going to need another vacation after this trip.

After a heated conversation with a three-legged goat regarding the pros and cons of pasteurization while I was in Corfu, I woke up in a cold sweat.

I’d had enough of Greece and the Greek Islands. For it was a silly place. And I decided that I would travel around the U.S. a bit more, as,
a) it was within my budget, and b) because (to the best of my knowledge) nothing strange or bizarre ever happens in the United States of America.

Unless of course you count something as insane as dressing up your four year-old to look like Miss America.

The World Wide Wank

       Back in porn’s golden age (which for the sake of argument we’ll call the 1970s and 80s) if you were pretty good looking, had a decent body, and were able to have (or realistically fake) at least five orgasms a day you could be a porn star. Providing you didn’t catch a disease, or die from the drugs, you could have had a career for as long as ten-to-fifteen years in the industry. That is of course until your body parts inevitably drooped and sagged and then you’d watch enviously off-camera as the new kid on the block took over your porno pool party.

  

             Then along came the Internet. In the last few years, cyberspace has become saturated with porn. There are so many sites dedicated to the bizarre and obscure, it’s difficult to know what really defines porn any more. The age-old question of “Is it art or is it pornography?” has been seduced and abandoned. Porn has gone from “the absurd” to the “OMFG WTF?”
Thanks to industry standard plastic surgeries, the ever-increasing accessibility to porn via the Internet, and the growing diversity in our generations’ sexual quirkiness, anyone can become a Porn Star.

        And that means you!

         Yes, regardless of your age, size, or ethnicity you too could have a career in Internet Pornography. Have you ever heard anyone say this: “My grandmother was a porn star in the Seventies.” You probably haven’t, but it’s more than likely that someone, somewhere had grandparents who starred in classic movies from “Porn’s Golden Age.”
But now, thanks to websites like “www.MatureGrammies.com,” your grandson can boast to his friends, “My grandma is a porn star and she is in her seventies.”

        British and want to show off your hard drive? Not a problem, go to “www.NiceAccentShameAboutTheTeeth.com.”

        Vertically challenged? Well you guessed it; even littler people than you are getting into the action at “www.HornyLittlePeople.com” Watch out for the puppy, unless you’re into that, then you should cock your leg and whiz all over “www.HornyLi’lPups.com.”

         Exhibitionist? Well thanks to the digital age, you can get your naked-on in your local supermarket as unsuspecting shoppers buy their groceries in the next aisle over, at “www.SupermarketAisleSex.com.”
“Security, we’ve got a lurker in the Produce Department.”

          Has your porn career been temporarily sidelined by a pregnancy? Then fear not, at “www.EightMonthsIn.com” you too can keep making films until your water breaks…Uh-oh, clean up on Aisle 3.

       What about the disabled? Don’t they want to get in on the act? Who doesn’t love a little hot “wheel-on-chair” action? Hobble or wheel yourself over to “www.MyBlueErogenousParkingSpot.com.” It’s a great place to meet different sex partners of every kind of disability. Amputee? No problem, even the short-of-limb are getting in on the act at “www.DoingItOnAllThrees.com.”

         Are you a man trapped inside a woman’s body that thinks it’s a llama? Perhaps a llama that feels the need to stomp on young men’s testicles? Then we have the site for you, at “www.AngryTransgenderLlamas.com.” Saddle up and go there now!

       If you’re into watching mice having sex with multiple partners of the mice-like variety dressed as 11th Century Roman emperors. Be sure to check out those naughty little cheese-munchers at “www.LittleRodentCaligulas.com.”

        Have a desire to get your business on with inanimate objects? Oh yeah, if you know how to serve up a salacious salad or like to punch fruit with your private parts. Then check out “www.PhallicFruitPhuckers.com.”

      Ladies, ever make it with your car’s gearbox? Don’t forget to use your handbrake at “www.ICannotBelieveI’mHavingSexWithMyCar.com.”

          Yes if you’ve got a bizarre sexual kink there are hundreds of thousands of websites. Do you get turned on watching the rain get the pavement all wet? Like watching trees blowing up against each other in gale force winds? Do you drool when branches shed their leaves while swaying their inhibitions in the breeze? Then check out all the action on http://www.TheWeatherChannel.com.

        Oh, wait.

Okay, as you were, chaps.

Take A Bath With The Bay Area Brit

I get remarkable things accomplished in the bathtub. Admittedly I’m not learning to speak Swahili, baking a truffle soufflé, or taking the test one needs for a license to fly the Space Shuttle. (Imagine flashing that to a Highway Patrol Officer when caught speeding.) No, my accomplishments are kind of boring comparatively, but are important to my daily existence. I’m talking about plucking something from the air and turning it into something that might briefly entertain someone.

The most common question asked of artists (of all kind) is a variation of this: “Where do you get your ideas?” My answer to this strange question is always this, “My inspiration comes when I’m in a bathtub.”

Most of my writing and cartoon ideas evolve while I’m soaking in hot water. The reason is super-obvious…and no it’s not because I’m a Human Bean. It’s because there are usually far fewer distractions in the tub…unless of course one is not alone. (Pass the soap.)

When my mind is in that place of calm and tranquility, anything can happen. This is how I write: I think randomly, and without censoring myself I write down everything that I think is funny. On one page in one of my notebooks I found these examples.

Two light bulbs playing Scrabble…one of them comes up with a triple word score and a smaller illuminated light bulb shows up above his head.  (cute kinda funny)

Two friends at an Alien Abductees Support Group fear the worst and forlornly look to the sky when they notice their friend Bob is not at the meeting.   (pretty funny)

A lonely child writes false names and well wishes on the cast of his broken leg to ease his misery.  (funny and sad)

From my dampened notebooks you’ll find the seed of an idea scrawled in black, barely legible smudges that suggests that Purgatory is hilariously bureaucratic for an afterlife station. You’ll also find notes for an idea about a germophobic teenager that discovers his grandmother’s four previous husbands died mysteriously. Both of these rambling, inky smears turned into 320 page novels.

I’ve written over a hundred or so short stories and blogs. I’ve dreamed up a couple of thousand cartoons and have three or four more book ideas with anywhere between 3 and 200 pages written (not including the two sequels to the two books I’ve mentioned.) I also co-wrote a third book (a “How to” spoof which in its current incarnation is an iPhone application created by my co-writer.) All of these weird thoughts and ideas (for better or worse) might never have existed if it wasn’t for the bathtub…and of course my avoidance of distractions.

Distractions are the enemy, oh yes. At all cost I try to avoid distractions.

I have over eighty notebooks that have been steam-wrinkled (much as I have been) by spending hour upon hour, day upon day, week upon week—dare I say month upon month—in the bath. All of these notebooks are packed with sketches, jokes, or story ideas. Some pages are funny and clever. A large percentage of them are mediocre, and some are wretchedly awful and tasteless. Even more are completely unfunny bits that just don’t work. Most of the contents of these books will never see the light of day.

But I try hard to come up with the next great idea, joke, story, or cartoon. However, I cannot do it if I’m distracted.

Yep, some men are the strong silent types. Not me. I’m the kind of guy that figures if he keeps talking and making jokes, eventually, even if it’s by accident, he’s going to say something funny or clever. It’s the infinite number of monkeys taking an infinite number of baths theory.

So yes, the bathtub is my fortress of solitude, where, for me, all the good things that make me happy start to come alive. Guess where I wrote this?

I had no choice.

Something was causing a massive distraction in my office. Distractions are the enemy, even when they’re really, really cute.

I Speak American Real Good

Most British kids grow up watching American TV and films. As a consequence, we learned to imitate the actors and movie stars we watched. As a twelve year-old I could do a pretty mean Clint Eastwood; I had the squint too. Unfortunately I was about as intimidating as a geriatric goldfish.

However, if I spoke with a genuine American accent in this country, maybe I’d be taken more seriously when conversing with strangers. I cannot do it though, an American accent is just not my default setting.

My job dictates that I talk to a lot of strangers every day, and I’m often engaged to discuss many topics of interest. When I’m asked a question, it doesn’t take long before the more intelligent of the American species can pinpoint that I speak differently from them. More often than not, they’ll notice my manner of speech right as I’m about to deliver the punchline to a joke, or finish making a socio-political comment. That’s when I’ll be interrupted by the question.

“Where’s that accent from?”

I will be temporarily thrown off from my point and look at the person and say something like, “England, but in answer to your question about Cheney’s foreign policy…” Then I’m interrupted again.

“Oh, we just love England.”

It never fails. My point (if there was one) has evaporated faster than vulture piss under the Sahara’s Desert’s midday sun. My point is I feel objectified, in as much as I’m made to feel that I couldn’t possibly have anything interesting to say because my accent is “cute” to the American ear.

You might be thinking, “So what? You’re lucky that there’s something about you that Americans find different/interesting/attractive.” Or you might be thinking, “Well maybe you were boring them to tears and they were just looking for a way to stop you from talking.” I happen to think that’s completely impossible. I have nothing but interesting opinions and hilarious jokes….ahem.

I’m also often asked if I can talk with an American accent? The answer to this, of course, is yes. The follow-up is usually one of two questions:

“Okay, can I hear it then?”

or

“Well then why don’t you speak like that all the time?”

This is then almost always followed with, “Why would you speak like you do when you can talk normally?”

At which I point I’ll make a sarcastic comment or give them my look of indignation…you know the one. If you don’t know the one, just strike up a conversation with a woman, and just as she’s about to give you her opinion of Atheism versus Agnosticism, say something like:

“Hey, lady, you have great tits–are they real?”

See what happens next, and then think of me.

A Daydream Is Like A Low-Budget Independent Movie

     Daydreaming is a wonderful thing because in our conscious state we take our mind where we want to go. You’re at your desk in your office and you see a Safeway bag flutter by the window in the wind. That bag is the star of that moment and you think to yourself That plastic bag is free. Free to do whatever it wants. You daydream the possibilities of such freedom. The plastic bag can pause for a break whenever it wants. It doesn’t have to report to a boss. The bag is its own boss.

      You’re not really thinking about the other roles the plastic bag may have had in its past, say as a moccasin to a homeless man, or the future it may hold: as the overburdened bulging receptacle of lukewarm dog crap scooped from the sidewalk dropped by a 90 pound Doberman Pinscher. You’re just in that moment in the gentle comfort of your daydream-like state.
A daydream might occur while in line at the supermarket. I really like this girl working the checkout. I wonder if she thinks I’m cute, you think to yourself. It’s not a stretch. Your daydreams are like a film you might see on IFC or The Sundance Channel. You know the sort of thing: a slow-paced but charming independent film. In the end it was a good story based in reality with no car chases and nary a building exploding, but it sure was real.

            Okay, so yeah, daydreams are kind of boring. Let’s put it this way: I’ve never rested my chin on my palm in a moment of quiet solitude and gazed out of a window at a beautiful spring morning and daydreamed of being in a plane crash. Nor have I daydreamed about being shot at, stabbed, or fallen from a great height only to wake up from said daydream in a startled manner. Oh sure, seconds later I’ll be comforted by an Austrian nurse whose eyebrows are made of explosive camembert cheese, but these moments are reserved for my real dreams when I’m asleep and anything (and I mean anything) can happen.
Night-time dreams are like high-budget action movies. Seriously, people, Armageddon is coming and I need to be at my best to save all you motherfuckers. This is a dream and I had better bring my A-game or you are all in big trouble. Seriously, who the hell is gonna save your sorry asses in my dream when those aliens begin dropping from the sky and start pollinating our planet with pod-people? You? You, daydreaming slacker. I don’t think so.
Now please excuse me, for The Bay Area Brit has a big weekend to prepare for. Emperor Hirohito, Edith Piaff, Johnny Weismuller and his dancing crocodiles, the remaining living performers from the original Cirque Du Soleil, Eskimo zombies, Lady Gaga, a Bolivian fruit bat, the element fire, Mexican werewolves, Ursula Andress, Godzilla’s deaf aunt, King Henry VIII, and a rubber fire hydrant are all scheduled to appear in my dreams.
Nighty-night!