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7:54 a.m. - 2004-08-20


So yesterday I decided to go pick up Andrew early from daycare so that he and I could spend some quality time before I had to go to work.

We pull up in the driveway with promises of blowing bubbles and playing with Play-Doh when I see her out of the corner of my eye.

Pesky Dennis' little sister, Pesky Denise.

When Dennis is busy bothering the shit out of other neighbors besides me, Denise picks up his slack and comes to test my every last nerve.

BEFORE I even get Andrew out of the car, she wants to tell me about her day.

"I did gymnastics today," she said. "Wanna see what I learned?"

Now then ... this kid who's four years old ... has somehow decided that I need to see every single goddamned thing she learns every single goddamned day of her life.

Andrew's not like this. With Andrew, finding out about his day is like pulling teeth.

"Did you have fun at school today?" I'll ask him.

"Yes," he'll reply all bored.

"What did you do?" I'll prod.

"I drawed," he'll mumble.

"What else?" I'll ask.

"NOTHING!" he'll yell.

Fine. Subject is closed.

Not so with Denise.

"I'm having a party for my birthday and it's going to be at the gymnastics center and everyone's coming and Andrew's invited and you're invited too and we're going to have cake and ice cream and I'm going to get lots of presents and I want a new Barbie car for my birthday and I hope I get it and if I don't get it then maybe Santa will bring me a Barbie car for Christmas and he'll bring me some Dora tapes and some balloons and some books and a new bicycle and I watched Spongebob today and it was funny and I pooped in my pants but only a little and I had to change my underwear and blah blah blah fucking blah blah blah please shoot me now because I'm never going to fucking shut up if you don't pull a gun on me and shoot me dead or at least pistol whip me maybe you can just pistol whip me to shut me up."

So we sit down on the front porch and start blowing bubbles.

Now Andrew has his favorite bubble wand ... it's the one that blows the biggest bubbles. He enjoys blowing bubbles every afternoon with this wand.

"I want that wand," Denise says, pointing to the wand Andrew's using.

I came THISFUCKINGCLOSE to saying "Denise, go the fuck home. Andrew and I want to spend some quiet time together blowing bubbles and enjoying each other's company without you being a fucking pest."

Instead I said "That's Andrew's wand and you can use it when Andrew's done with it."

(Knowing Andrew won't be giving it up anytime soon.)

Five minutes into the bubbles, even Andrew's sick of her blathering and wants to go inside to play Play-Doh.


You've been SERVED, Denise!!

Y'see ... Dennis and Denise's parents know their kids can be massive pains in the ass for their neighbors and do not allow their kids to go in the neighbor's houses without their constant approval.

And we both knew Denise wasn't allowed to come in our house without asking her Mom first.

So I told Denise that we were going in and she had to find somewhere else to play.

Five minutes into our Play-Doh fest, the doorbell rings.

"My mom said I could come in and play," Denise says proudly, brushing past me and heading for the kitchen table to play.

I quickly search for a blunt object to knock her out with to no avail.

Now ... Denise has NEVER EVER EVER came in our house and actually played with Andrew.

She comes in our house to continue her rambling conversations with me or Susie while Andrew plays quietly by himself and waits for her to leave.

So while I cook dinner, Denise is showing me every basic ballet move that she's learned in the last year.

"Mr. Bob, watch this" she says as she spins in a single circle.

Great. Fucking great. You spun around in a circle. Somebody hand Princess Jackass a Nobel Peace Prize.

She keeps babbling about the most inane bullshit known to man until I put in a Dora video which is the only thing these two kids can bond over and she pirouhettes into the den to watch the video with Andrew.

Thirty minutes later her Mom shows up to take Denise home for dinner.

Five minutes after that, Susie showed up from work and I left for work ... totally screwed out of quality time with my son by the neighbor kid.

I get to work and it's Karaoke Night. Whoohooo.

There's this old drunk guy at the club. Super nice guy by the name of Pete. Everybody loves Pete. I love Pete.

Except on Karaoke Night.

Pete has a Karaoke repertoire of four songs. The same four fucking songs every single week.

"My Girl". "Since I Lost My Baby". "Sixteen Candles". And "Under The Boardwalk".

Pete doesn't use the monitor to read the words since he knows the words by heart. I'm wondering if Pete can even read.

Pete expects me to cue these four songs up each week at various points during the evening, force the crowd to give him a big round of applause and then he grabs the mic, eschews the monitor and serenades the crowd in a drunken mumbling of the lyrics to each song.

If I do this early enough, before he's good and stinkin' drunk, he sounds halfway decent.

But if I wait until after 10:00, his renditions of the songs affect you like a rusted dentist's drill slipping and digging a jagged hole through your gums.

He can't stay with the tempo because he's not watching the monitor so he's always at least a line or two behind in the song. Which was funny the first time. Now it's just ... look. Contrary to how I might appear here, in real life I don't have much of a temper at all. I'm incredibly easygoing and laid back.

But this fucker's mangling of vintage soul songs makes me wanna throttle the bastard by the neck until he's vomiting body parts.

So last night, he finishes "My Girl", the crowd is giving him a weak reception through scattered bored applause and he glances up at me in my booth and says "Hit me with 'Boardwalk'."


What? Are you Sinatra all of a sudden??

"Hit me with 'Boardwalk'?!?"

I about hit him with the microphone. Repeatedly.

So now I'm on the microphone going "Ahhhhh...keep it goin' for Pete, ladies and gents. Pete ... yeah, Pete. What a heckuva singer, that Pete. Yep. Ollll' Pete. Pete's short for Peter, y'know...." all this while I'm desperately trying to find the disc that has "Under the Boardwalk" on it.

So we got assloads of dead air while I'm babbling about Pete and trying to find his stupid song so that he can just butcher the guts out of it.

I put it on and he starts doing the "Pete Dance" which is broken down into a few steps.

#1) Hunch over slightly.

#2) Stare at the people at the bar and keep pointing at them at random while you sing.

#3) Tap your right foot between beats so it totally fucks up your rhythm.

Suffice to say ... Pete was most definitely off last night.

And frankly, as much as I like the old man, I'm getting really sick of hearing the same goddamned songs week after week after week being twisted into a mishmash of wrong notes and insane drunken babbling.

For these reasons alone ... Pete deserves my weekly "You're Getting On My Nerves, Fucker" award.

Congratulations, Pete.

After lunch with my wife today, I plan on catching a matinee showing of "Open Water".

I must see this movie because it supposedly has a "surprise twist" ending that all movies must have these days thanks to M. Night Shmeccaleckahighmekkahineyho and his "Sixth Sense" flick where you found out at the end that the little boy had bad gas problems. Whoohoo. What a twist!

And while I don't go see every film that has a surprise twist ending, I must see this one because ... well ... what the hell kinda surprise can it be?

You've got a couple stranded 20 miles from shore with sharks swimming around them.

Here's the only twists I can think of:

* They DON'T get bit by sharks and instead grow old together 20 miles from the shore.

* They get eaten by sharks and then mysteriously get vomited by the sharks in one piece and live happily ever after 20 miles from the shore.

* They get rescued.

* They blow up the sharks with sticks of dynamite that they just happen to find 20 miles from shore.

* They're so hungry that they eat the sharks ... 20 miles from shore.

* The sharks are really just their friends dressed in crazy shark suits playing a wacky prank on the couple.

* Those aren't sharks. They're goldfish.

* They drown.

Regardless ... the surprise twist ending is supposed to be mindboggling and enough to garner great reviews for the flick.

Now, if you've seen it, please do not reveal the twist to me.

I'll hunt you down and get all sharkified on your ass if you do.

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