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Mike’s Next Adventure

Why I’m Weird

Roam About Dad has the right idea

I get called weird a lot.

It’s a common occurrence; I make weird noises, do an impression or some random thing, and receive a “why are you so weird?’ response from family or friends. Recently, there has been an abundance of these ‘weird’ moments and it  got me thinking – not whether I am weird, my freak flag is tattered – but WHY am I so…bizarre at times. Am I  predisposed to be ‘off’? Am I prone to some contaminate in the water?

Most people look at the photo above and think, wow Roam About Mike, Sr. looks like a fucking serial killer, or how did he get such a hot wife in Roam About Mom? Did he threaten to dissect her family?  Then they look at my ET shirt…awesome!

I look at this picture, and follow my dad’s shoulder down through the discoloration of the photo to what looks like his very small baby hand pinching my ET shirt, and I laugh hysterically. Dad has a baby hand! Haha!

Weird.

The beautiful couple above are to blame for majority of my genetic weirdness, and a large part of the environmental influence.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a fantastic childhood growing up in a cul-de-sac within Nautical Themed development ‘Aurora Shores’ in the ‘burbs of Cleveland, Ohio. Our street name was Smuggler’s Cove. And if you’d like to know your Porn Name, it’s your first pet’s name, plus your first street. Mine?  T.J. Smugglers.

Tangential, I know, but this precisely the weirdness I’m talking about!

On the impending birth of my little sister, Christy:

“Mom? How are babies born?”

“Well, after 9 months in Mommy’s belly, a special door opens up, and out comes the baby.”

“A special door? Like a microwave?”

“Yes, like a microwave.”

For a few years, I thought a woman’s belly literally dinged like an Amana microwave, and swung open after nine months to expose a finished baby, cooked to perfection.

Then I learned about vaginas in sex ed class and everything was totally set straight….

Baby’s Done!

On the diagram of a penis entering a vagina in 5th grade Sex Ed class:

Nurse Johnson: “…the man will lay on top of the woman, and insert his….”

“Mrs. Johnson? How long after a man lies on a woman does it take to… ejaculate?”

Giggles from the class.

“Two hours.” Mrs. Johnson, completely serious.

“Whoa!” Class, in unison.

“That’s like, 4 episodes of The Simpsons!”

For 2 years after this episode I thought sex was robotic – a ‘heterosexual only’ club, man and woman, laying down, staring at each other for exactly two hours until the time comes (pun!).

Then, a video watched starring oscar-winner Ron Jeremy at a friend’s house set me straight. And by straight, I mean my sex education went from the stagnant (yet tantric) Nurse Johnson, to the horrible, hairy game of failed leap-frog starring Ron Jeremy. Ack!

Hopefully, Nurse Johnson has since strayed from ruining the sexual expectations of budding girls, and boys everywhere.

Weird.

When I was 11, I started having frequent and happy little seizures. I would be at the mall, shopping with the fam, and without warning lights out, smash my face on the ground, eyes rolled back, unconscious floor dancing. Per the doctor – no baths, no swimming at the pool, no sports I loved so much.

After a year or of testing, needles, prodding, CAT scans, MRIs, butt scans, freaked out parents, the doctors prognosed I had epilepsy. Roam About Dad, a pharmacist, called bullshit, did some research on his own.

His findings? Donald Rumsfeld and Ronald Reagan tried to kill me. Stay with me here.

‘Merica!

Donald Rumsfeld was once the CEO of a company called G.D. Searle which owned the original patent to sugar substitute aspartame. In 1980, Rumsfeld was a part of newly elected President Ronald Reagan’s transition team, which hand selected Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. as head of the F.D.A. Soon after, aspartame was approved, and within a year, the first carbonated beverage containing aspartame was released to the consumer market, even though testing had garnered horrific results on test subjects including cancers, violent seizures, and fourscore lasting erections.

Hayes soon resigned due to fall out/sketchiness in his approval process and illegal kick backs received (and G.D. Searle was bought in 1985 by a delightful little factory of chemicals called Monsanto).

I’m horribly allergic to aspartame, saccharine, Nutra-sweet or however they sell it, and during my pre-teens, drank Crystal Light with each meal. The doctors misdiagnosed, almost put me on some very powerful epilepsy pills with a complimentary bike helmet accessory. It was during this time I became aware of being slightly different.

Weird.

I’m also allergic to non-organic apples, carrots, celery, pears, and any movie starring John Travolta.

Double Weird.

A lot of this genetics talk is really just a cover for the experiential confluence of curiosity, imagination, and mimicry – a trifecta of untamed bizarre carving zig-zag paths of education and occupation.

After highschool,  I wanted to be a surgeon, but couldn’t stay focused for more than five seconds, which is never good for the operating room.

“Scalpel…oooh look a penny!”

Got kicked out of the University of Akron for  failing every class. I decided to become actor, but couldn’t act worth a damn, so I become a spokesmodel for various products of swill, hocking sugary beverages at Festivals, Car Shows, and Tradeshows. This led to a permanent job with the Tradeshow circuit, traveling the Southeast US for a couple of years, which led to the move to New York City when I was 23.

I have hundreds of NY stories, better suited for a book, but the epitome of NYC is summoned up with this tale:

I modeled for a bit in NYC – wasn’t very good at it, meaning I made little money, mostly because I hate(d) vanity and superfluous egos; a terrible disposition to have in the modeling biz.

There I was, a goofball among all the pompous Dominics, Xanders, Ashes, Angels, and other mononymous twits. My manager was a 6’8″ uber-effeminate black dude from the Virgin Islands named Dimitri, who pronounced my name MY-coallll, purring the ‘L’s. Dimitri failed to book a single gig for me in the two years I was with Uptown Management. He was the nicest guy, but also one of the strangest, and laziest.

“MY-coallll, you must be patient” – Dimitri

“I can’t! I need to eat something aside from Ramen noodles. My hands are all puffy from the MSG in those silver packets. I need work. ” – Me

“Ok-ay, MY-coalll. Come back tomorrow for an audition.”

“Thanks, Dimitri.”

“And shave your chest.” – Dimitri

“What?”

“Shave your chest, and your bell-llly.”

“No, I heard you. But why the hell would I shave my chest?”

“To look smoother.”

“I’m all ribs!”

“Shave it.”

I’ve always been a hairy guy, I also have sensitive skin that breaks out when shorn. Why? Because I’m a mammal who’s supposed to have hair all over, not shave it off to look sexually androgynous like Tyler Durden in Fight Club.

Next day, turns out Dimitri had lied, it wasn’t an audition, but a learning session in how to walk down a runway. I spent an hour stifling laughter, itching my freshly shaved splotchy chest, watching twenty-something year old “men” (including myself, in a mirror he had propped against the wall) strut down a fluorescent lit hallway while Dimitri yelled random commands at us like, “Look more fortunate!” “Care less!” “More primitive!”

I started to distrust Dimitri’s managerial abilities, and second guessing my logic.

The last straw –  Went to an ‘audition’ in an industrial ‘body-never-found’ section of Brooklyn. I passed the address twice as it was a nice, but eerie townhouse near a tortilla factory, and a car audio shop. Never one to back down from adventure, I knocked on the door.

A very short, slight gentleman invited me in, was very cordial, and gave me a quick tour of the front rooms. Everything was completely normal except for all the puppet and muppet bodies strewn about in various stages of completion. I moved a detached orange puppet arm from the couch and sat down.

The guy, who never gave his name, said his client was searching for a particular look, which I apparently had, for an upcoming modeling show.

He asked if I wanted some coffee.

Yes please.

Sweet! Getting a gig!

He came back  after about 10 minutes of murmured deliberation in the kitchen, without coffee. He said his client (who was either: A. A large puppet B. Watching from CCTV C. Both) is offering $2,500 for me to go to a hotel on a regular basis, and masturbate in front a group of people, whose identities would remain anonymous. Normally, I would have punched the guy in the face and stormed out. But, broke, starving, my thought process went a little like this:

“Dude, that’s a lot of money.” Me

“I know! You masturbate all the time. What’s the diff?” Me

“For one, I’m not gay.” Me

“So! The client could be a lady person. C’mon! $2,500!? That’s rent for two months AND at least a bag of groceries!” Me

“The puppet thing is pretty weird….” Me

“You love The Muppets!” Me

“Touche.” Me

“Are we really considering this?” Me

I fled Jim Henson’s House of Puppet Penis with my pride in tact, getting on the N train towards Manhattan, bound for Uptown Management – where I would tell Dimitri I was quitting his agency.

Stepping off the subway, I swear I recognized one of the puppets from my ‘audition’, smiling at me from an advertisement for Avenue Q….

Weird.

I have a tattoo on my upper right arm, something I designed when I was 17. Within the tattoo is the Kanji symbol for ‘unique’ or ‘weird’, or so I thought. Danny over at Don’t touch my mustache corrected my tat during a party a couple of months back.

“No. It actually means ‘small peninsula'”, he said, to the perverted, euphemistic joy of the party-goers.

I’ve had a tattoo degrading my manhood for 15 years, and didn’t know it.  – Mike

*********************************************************************************************************************************

I feel comfortable enough asking – If ever I needed feedback/comments on a piece, this is it. This is the super rough draft for chapter 1 of my maybe/who knows book. Please, please tell me what sticks, and what stinks. Thank you everyone.

43 comments on “Why I’m Weird

  1. Nathaniel Hahn says:

    Ha…first of all…you should write a side story on your dad’s baby arm…I laughed my ass off after staring at it again and again….I also would like that E.T. shirt…in a larger size.

    I think your blog posts like this one are very fun and easy to read. I love the conversations that you have with yourself…or with others…like a script it kind of speeds up the reading, as opposed to reading paragraph after paragraph….so it could be a really interesting structure for a book and would make it hell a entertaining.

    Sounds like you have a slew of stories from your travels early on in life, especially in the NY years…is played out properly and in a really entertaining fashion like this post I think it would be the kind of book that people could pick up, read a chapter or two and then set down and come back to without worrying if they are keeping up with the flow of the story. I say that as a good thing… I for one hate to read because I am a horribly slow reader and my mind wanders…I will read an entire chapter in a normal book and drift off into thinking about 100 things and not remember a single thing from what I read…. your blog keeps it simple and entertaining…so for R-tard readers like myself…this would be great…especially with pictures!

    I think you have a great start going here and probably a lot to pull from….looking forward to reading some more insanity… and I think you should just run with Roam about Dad having a baby arm… real or not…its hilarious and could play really well into other stories.

    Keep up the great work Roam About!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Nate. Really appreciate the feedback. The dialogue is definitely a tool I use to speed things up. I get bored of reading myself, and I’m not sure the pictures will fit in a short-story novel.
      This is a pretty scattered piece, and things will come together, but I’m hoping it’s the start of something/anything.

    2. mabukach says:

      And a definitive yes to the baby hand.

  2. free penny press says:

    This reminds me of a routine comedian Steve Harvey does on people that get Chines tats.. funny as hell..
    What is it you want us to read? No link ??

    1. mabukach says:

      Yep, I’m that guy…with the cool looking, not-really-what-it-says tattoo.

      Just this post. It’s a rambling of brainstorm. Not sure any of it will stick, but thought I would throw it out there.

  3. christine says:

    The stories stick, especially the ones with great details. I think it’s a bit all over the place for a chapter–I think a little bit clearer opening might help lay the path for the weirdness that follows. The book idea is interesting and you have a strong writerly voice (says the professor in me).

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks Chirstine! It’s definitely all over the place, and I actually thought about scrapping the whole thing. There are details missing, I just didn’t want to make it any longer than it was (for a blog post).
      Awesome! That really means a lot.

      1. christine says:

        I’d love to read a chapter when you’re done with it! Keep writing!

    2. mabukach says:

      I’ll definitely let you know!

  4. martibabcock says:

    i love your small peninsula. a lot.

  5. Dmitri deserves his own chapter. The sex talk stuff, oh my word, I was cracking up!!

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Fish. I’ve googled him a lot, and can’t seem to find him. The management company as well, closed up, gone. But yeah, he was one interesting dude.

  6. Tisha says:

    I love this post. I was containing my laughter, until here: “And by straight, I mean my sex education went from the stagnant (yet tantric)” …at which point I laughed (literally) out loud and the people around me stopped and glared a bit. 🙂 Then you mentioned seizures… and I felt like an asshole. :/

    For real though, this is good stuff! I agree, Dmitri deserves a chapter!

    1. mabukach says:

      Haha thanks, Tisha! I’ll have to write more about Dimitri, less about more allergic reactions. 🙂

  7. danielks says:

    After a more thorough inspection (of the kanji, not your small peninsula), 奇 does in fact mean strange, weird, curious, etc. But, it’s less common (in Japanese at least… Chinese may be completely different). I am more familiar with that particular radical from 崎 (i.e. small peninsula), which seems to appear in just about every Japanese family name…

    1. mabukach says:

      So, you’re saying there’s a chance…? Guess I’ll have to visit to Japan to reaffirm.

  8. Laura says:

    Oh, Mike. You made the Friday-I-wasn’t-supposed-to-be-at-the-office just a little better with this. First: Believe it or not, the FIRST thing I saw in photo #1 was baby arm! I thought, “Oh, like that Kristin Wigg character on SNL!!” (have you see that? Hilarious). Second, I think you’re overthinking the small peninsula thing. I mean, it could be referring not to your man parts but your man patch, you know, a tidy little scrap between belly & legs. Or, when you lose the rest of your hair, it could refer to the bit that’s left, floating around the edges. Isn’t that better? I sooooo understand your feelings of being a fringe-dwelling weird person. I was called that a lot, too, like when I was taking my pet turkeys for a walk around the block, killing roaches with a fly swatter because the turkeys were too stupid to “catch” them by themselves (this saved considerably on food costs) when I was 11. Weird? Not to me. I’m so glad your seizures were figured out before heavy meds made it worse! Have a great holiday in nuts NY…

    1. mabukach says:

      Thanks, Laura! Glad I’m not the only one who saw the baby arm and YES i love the Kristen Wiig skit!! Cracks me up.
      HHahahahah ‘man patch’ it shall be from now on.

      Walking the turkeys? I want to read YOUR book.

  9. Brigitte says:

    Mike, you know I love your writing. I can see a few places, as you say, that need work, but seriously this is wonderful. I’d break it up some; maybe with ellipses and/or funky subtitles (you could have some really great ones). You know what I mean; it makes the reader pause, until the next hilarious anecdote/tale — cause you have many within this.

    It reminds me a little of Augusten Burroughs (which I’m sure you’ve read) and that’s a HUGE compliment. I love his writing and the self-deprecation you got going on here makes me like you (the character) a lot, root for you and want to know more, more, more…

    I’m certainly no expert, but you asked for an opinion and there you have it.

    1. mabukach says:

      Not sure why, but your response went to spam. poo.
      Wow, that is a HUGE compliment. I love his work. Thanks so much Brigitte!
      There is more, I just have to chill out, maybe take some time off work, and attack. Then my thoughts will be more fluid.

      1. Brigitte says:

        Well that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy….going into spam. (kidding) who knows why? It’s really great though, Mike. Have a good weekend.

      2. mabukach says:

        I don’t know why you keep falling in there. You too!

  10. enkimoz09 says:

    Several of the concepts in this post could be expanded, so you have much more than a chapter here. I agree that you should definitely write more about Dmitri, but also your parents, your sex ed class and probably your entire high school experience. Also, be sure to let us know how your peninsula research project in Japan turns out. Don’t think that we expect fewer blog posts just because you are writing a book. There is no rest for the wicked.

    1. mabukach says:

      Cool – thanks for the constructive response. Seriously, it means a lot to me.
      I’ll take some time to iron out my thoughts, and try to create complete thoughts.
      Dimitri! Is so popular…hahaha. Such an odd bird.
      True. I write for a living, try to keep up with the blog, and try to write bigger things…it’s a bit much, but an exercise in pacing.

  11. MB Sr. says:

    It seems as though I must set a few items straight.
    1- that is NOT my arm but the arm of Mike Jr.
    2- I did not sign an authorization to publish or use this photo or facsimile in any way.
    3- I am NOT an “f-ing ” serial killer even though Mike Jr could have caused me to become one during his pre 30 year old phase, (as proven in the above diatribe)
    4- If I would have used Ritalin on him, he may have become a physician.
    5- He may have failed at Akron but was a Rock Star at THE Ohio State University.

    1. Brigitte says:

      I see where Mike gets his funny. :).

    2. mabukach says:

      Hahaha! Classic. It’s always a good post when Roam About, Sr. chimes in. Thanks, Pops – sorry I made you consider murderous tendencies – I was merely testing the water of life.

  12. sarafoley says:

    Oh my god! I am cacking myself. Small peninsula!! Look, you’re funny, clever, you write well, and you’re spunky as well as unique…and you know how poisonous artificial sweeteners are: I love your work 🙂

    1. mabukach says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever been called spunky before…maybe I’ll take on the spunky moniker as opposed to the small peninsula.
      Thanks, Sara!!!

  13. Erika says:

    First off, your ADD is hilarious, especially because I suffer from it, too. It is evident in your writing and I just love it! The first evidence is how awesome you think your ET shirt is.
    The baby hand AND the serial killer similarity cracked me up so much I had to show the picture to my partners, siblings and mom.
    I found the explanation of how Donald Rumsfeld and Ronald Reagan tried to kill you, especially interesting. And it shows what a great father your dad is.
    I just looove the comparisons you use to describe anything: “…in an industrial ‘body-never-found’ section of Brooklyn”, “it off to look sexually androgynous like Tyler Durden in Fight Club”.
    Are the commands Dimitri yelled fictitious? If not, Dimitri does deserve an entire chapter; if they are, you are a genius comedian.
    The cherry on top was your failed tattoo! I thought those incidents only happened to celebrities haha.
    What can I say? I don’t know if I’m such a good critic considering the fact that I’m a huge fan of your craziness. What I do know is that your writing is exceptional.

    1. mabukach says:

      I may or may not of elaborated on what dimitri was yelling…:). I thought the tattoo stuff only happened to celebs as well! Oh well, it makes for fun writing. Thanks, Erika. I appreciate the feedback immensly!

  14. dontsumi says:

    I think all of these are worthy of further exploration and could possibly be their own chapters. Who dictates how long a chapter really has to be?
    Before I even started reading I was admiring the ET shirt, and then I was laughing out loud about the baby arm.

    So glad to know that I am not the only one with really strange food allergies, which I have broadened to include anything gross (that has eyes) which my father tries to feed me. Bet you didn’t think of them as an asset, you will when you go to Japan.

    1. mabukach says:

      Excellent, thanks for the input. I wish I still had that ET shirt, I would totally get the baby arm pic screen printed on the back.

      Oh yeah, super weird food allergies. What kind of weird things do you have?
      It’s not really the food for me, but preservatives, and pesticides. Which we shouldn’t be eating anyways.
      I’m not sure I could eat something if it’s looking at me. Have you been to Japan?

      1. dontsumi says:

        I have been to Japan, on several occasions. Once with my dad, and twice on my own. Dad likes to impress (gross out) Gai-jin with foods that are comprised entirely of the face of something. “No No No! Cheek is dericacy!” (He speaks Engrish.) It was great when dad was paying for everything, but I didn’t have to fake anaphylactic shock when he wasn’t around.

    2. mabukach says:

      I didn’t mean to, but the “cheek cheek is a dericacy” comment made me laugh a little. Always wanted to go to Japan, may have an opportunity in the next few months – so I’ll definitely pick your brain for places to go (if that’s cool).

      1. dontsumi says:

        Yay! That was my intention! Humorous writing is alway my goal, but usually I see (yes, through a computer) people cocking their heads to the side like dogs watching people dance.
        By all means, ask away about Japan. Tip #1- Don’t expect to be able to buy Engrish slogan clothing over there if you are American sized. I am taller than the average Japanese man, so even their shirts are midriff length on me.

        1. mabukach says:

          I only give the inquisitive dog look when I’m hungry, or when I want a beer.
          Sweet! I’ll let you know when I buy tickets. I’m not the Engrish slogan kind of guy. While it makes me giggle a little, I don’t think I could wear it. Plus I’m gigantic by Japanese height standards.

  15. twl says:

    I will write this in point form as I too am easily distracted and….SQUIRREL!

    Love your rambling style.

    Sacasm will get you everywhere with me.

    Your new series, “My Mother the Microwave” would be a hit.

    Your Dad needs those glasses that are only tinted on the top half to complete the serial killer personna.

    I was a Thalidomide baby who suffered no ill effects but it was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned the arm and had to go back to have a look.

    I did the model mistake as well and because my hair was thinning they had me shave my head instead (which I kept) but then sent me for head shots with a make up artist who had me looking like Marcel Marceau.

    Maybe its the aspartame that is causing my headaches

    Love the discussions in your head. I did the same when I took a job selling frozen meat door to door and had to give my wedding ring and wedding silver as collateral.

    Had me laughing from beginning to end. I’m a really friggin’ slow reader so I don’t read books but, this one I could read from front to back.

    1. mabukach says:

      Not sure how I missed this one.
      “My mother the microwave.” Ha! Love it. Sounds like an 80’s sitcom.

      Marcel Marceau did some print work for Calvin Klein ads back in the day….

      Thanks, TWL – will try my damnedest to keep you laughing.

      1. twl says:

        Watched an episode of True Blood the other night and one of the girls on the show was going into labour, light was shooting out the bottom of her skirt and I thought of your Mom 🙂

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