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Douglas Paszkiewicz is an nationally (Eisner Award and Harvey Award) and internationally (comic-dom Award) award nominated writer for his own books and numerous national and international magazines. Here are his thoughts this week. just a man....

Another Christmas is creeping up. Another year to reflect on how far off course my life is and all the foolish decisions that have lead it so far away from the norman rockwell painting i almost had just a few years ago...well a norman rockwell painting with a bunch of malado kids runing around. Like the guy who dropped the ball at the homecoming game i sit and stare hard into years past watching painfully in slow motion as the brightest spot in my life crumbled away. I sit and try to will it all change back, but that is like trying to catch smoke in your hand.

Speaking of moving in slow motion and bad manual dexterity, there is a retarded guy at my gym. Happy as a clam every single day. He brings a gallon of chocolate milk with him and keeps it in his locker. As the gym closes and I end another round of trying to fight off old age, trying to focus on something, anything besides lose and regret, he shuffles up and pats me on the back and says "chocolate milk!! noooot bad!!" and takes a hulk sized swig off of his room temperature milk and smiles. He...washes dishes for a living...has a girlfriend who is also retarded and looks like sort of like him in a wig. He probably has an i.q. around 80 and will continue to wash dishes and drink warm milk until the day he dies. He isn't a famous world class illustrator, he doesn't have my razor sharp wit, my charm, my non classical but still compelling good looks, he doesn't have my ambition or fans...and yet he is happy and i am miserable.

so i began to wonder why he is so happy. It is lack of ambition? Could it be that the thing that drives me is also the thing that is ruining me? Could it be his slow wit? His inability to focus on the things that make smart men sad? Perhaps he, through double Y-chromosome glasses, only has the ability to see the simple and the notice the delicious artificial chocolate flavoring and not notice the disgusting luke warm, fatty, thickening with each passing second, properties of his "nectar of the tards". Is there any hope for me at this late stage to learn from him? He is the ghost of Christmas present wearing a tie dyed t-shirt with a streached out neck, pointing out the true meaning of happiness with big sausagey fingers.

Then i think again...not why he is i could make him sad. How could i ruin his little dough eyed existence. How dare he be a shining example of the lessons that lying grown ups all told ups all preached to us when we were young like "it's what's inside that counts" and "beauty is only skin deep". I learned early on this was all horsecrap...and yet here he is with the audacity to show me that perhaps it was all true. My eyebrows tilt down and i feel horns scratching their way out of my forehead. I imagine sneaking into his locker and poking a big hole in his chocolate milk container so that as he clomps over to his locker at the end of a day he sees damp smelly clothes and an empty milk jug. i imagine slitting my own tongue with a razor and marching over to his boss to complain about a glass that he washed having a chip missing out of it. I picture him fired, wandering home with a wet duffle longer would he have his little i. d. badge from work that he wears everywhere even though he only needs it at work and refuses to listen to me when i tell him to "take off the badge you don't need a work badge at the gym why are you still wearing the badge???!" which he replies by holding it up and yelling/gurgling "8 bucks and hour...noooot bad!!" ...i picture him stripped of this badge...of his laminated "bling"...and i smile...then i laugh! And there we both are at the exit ...laughing, me laughing at what i now plan to do to him and him laughing ...because...i am laughing. He takes a swig of warm milk and a stray dribble rolls down his pudgy fat smiling face, and i realize that much like the grinch that stole Christmas, this plan is doomed. He would find another job, and perhaps enjoy damp clothes that smell like sour milk. Happiness is more than your job and your possessions.

An epiphany begins to claw up my spine and make me a better person ...a thought hits me...his girlfriend. His girlfriend makes him happy ... His troglodyte girlfriend who can watch traffic come from two directions at once...SHE is the key. i'm alone and he's not! And a plan forms ...I will seduce her. I will steal her away. And the cell phone he uses to show up pictures of them in the park will get filled with picture messages from me...of his EX girlfriend and me in all sorts of sexual positions, naked occasionally taking a real strong drink...then more naked laughing rithing...her as many entangled positions as i can explain to her feeble confused mind ...i will of course have to not send the hours of me explaining what goes where and the stick figure chalk board diagrams i have to show her...and the test of patience it will be to get her to forget about the sponge bob square pants cartoon and the funny thing patrick said during it when i bring up the term "starfish"...yes it will be a time consuming "citizen king" degree of editing...but it will be worth it! worth it all to have the crappy cell phone that he used to shove in my face to show off pictures of his happiness become his personal pandora's any man he will be unable to stop himself from opening picture after picture. Tears not chocolate milk will roll down his face AND...he will be ruined. And I laugh..and he laughs...and i laugh louder and with an annoyed look on my face because he isn't supposed to be laughing.

Am I a bad person for conceiving such a thing? It's only my nature after one blames HIM for being a smiling simpleton...he was born that way. Well perhaps I was born this way. We are only two men following our natures after all, it's pretty zen when you break it down. We are just two men trying to be happy, why should he fail and i succeed? IT'S NOT RIGHT! And as Morgan Freeman said in unforgiven "i'm tired of what ain' t right"...or was it the guy in silverado? whatever ...a great injustice is afoot here with his simple happiness through enjoying the little things and my unhappiness because of his ability to enjoy the little things. WELL next year when the ghost of Christmas past shows up to haunt me he will have to sit through hours of me having sex wit a retarded person ...stick that in your wreath and smoke it! hmmm...of course that means i will have spent hours having sex with a retarded person...the logistics and silly putty like textures now creep into my brain. And i also realize that seducing her away might be easier said than done. I now picture myself on a couch watching hours of "phenious and pherb" and having the conversation keep drifting back to him and how much she likes it when he laughs chocolate milk through his nose during this show. Perhaps she would see right through me, perhaps his unshakable glee would overpower my charm and wit. Doubtless my commentary on the republican presidential primary's would be lost on her, and i never could make fart noises with my armpit ...I would be going at this unarmed...and doomed to spend Christmas with the knowledge that i lost out to a guy with the head the size and shape of a watermelon with a 400 word vocabulary. my dark jaded soul could never outshine him, which is perhaps the root of the problem. He is good, and kind and simple and looks on the bright side. That is the lesson here ...I have to change HIM! I will get HIM to ruin it! I will start tomorrow! It's not too late ...I will start pointing out other women and point out how much money she is costing him ...perhaps an equation of how many dishes he has to wash to pay for each date...NO that's too complicated he won't get it ...I will point out how many gallons of chocolate milk he is missing out on buying by dating her "that'sssss bad!" i'll say. I have to find out what he likes in a woman and point out her shortcomings. Find some small thing she does that annoys him and get him to focus on it ...focus and blow it out of proportion! yes...YES! I'll convince him that just because she doesn't know what kkind of mood he's in the instant he walks into a room that she doesn't understand him...isn't the one...only thinks about herself..I'll get him to pull away, get him to dwell on work and be distant. I will achieve his happiness by bestowing upon him my ill nature.

there see...making a connection with your fellow man, what is more x-mas than that?



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