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Not quite ready to say goodbye to one another after leaving office, the Obamas and the Bidens decide to move into one big house and live together. Shenanigans ensue.
This is… Meet the Obidens.
Joe makes the four of them record an elaborate group answering machine message.
BARACK: Hello. You’ve reached the Obamas…
JOE: …and the Bidens!
MICHELLE: We can’t come to the phone right now…
JILL: …but leave a message and we’ll get back to you at our earliest convenience.
JOE: YA DINGUSES! *cackles*
BARACK: *sighs* Joe, you can’t–
JOE: *slams the ‘save outgoing message’ button*
* * * * *
Joe keeps instigating petty arguments with Barack in hopes that two of them will end up in a fight and he can hilariously divide the house in half with a line of tape.
* * * * *
Joe scores hot dates to a big event for Barack and himself, forgetting that he already promised another set of dates that he and Barack would attend the event with them. The boys spend the rest of the night making excuses and covering for one another, while trying to divide their time between both sets of dates.
CUT TO: Michelle and Jill at home, completely unamused.
* * * * *
While attempting to do a wheelie in his bitchin’ Camaro, Joe accidentally drives the car through the kitchen wall.
BARACK: Joe, of all of the dangerous, irresponsible things you–
JOE: MICHELLE DID IT FIRST!MICHELLE: I did NO such–
BARACK: *sigh* He means on Full House, honey.
* * * * *
Joe bursts into Barack’s study.
JOE: Dammit, Barry. We’ve only got six minutes left! You’ve got to do something!
BARACK: I’ve told you before, Joe, I just don’t think we can solve the problem with ISIL in under thirty minutes.
JOE: Have you tried a heartfelt apology and a hug?
JOE: IT WORKS ON TV, BARRY! YOU’VE JUST GOT TO GIVE IT A CHANCE!
* * * * *
Barack walks in on Joe, who has just finished making a phone call.
JOE: I just sent fifty large pizzas to the White House! *cackles*
BARACK: Well, that was nice of you, Joe. I’m sure the new staff will appreciate the chance to unwind and get to know each other with an impromptu pizza party.
JOE: Wha? No, but–
BARACK: You know what? Here’s my credit card. Call the pizza place back and order another hundred on me. I’m not sure if fifty pizzas will be enough to feed everyone.
JOE: You ruin the best pranks, Barry.
* * * * *
In a very special episode, Joe tries to pressure and Barack into smoking a cigarette behind the shed in the backyard.
JOE: C’mon. Don’t be a nerd, Barry. One cigarette’s not going to kill you. Or are you scared?
BARACK: Joe, you know I’m fifty-five, right? I smoked for years.
* * * * *
Barack tucks Joe in bed after reading from his favorite book.
JOE: Just one more chapter, Barry?
BARACK: Now, Joe, I’ve already read you three more chapters than I should have. It’s time for bed.
JOE: I wanna glass of water.
BARACK: You’ve had your glass of water for the night and, before you ask, you’ve already been to the bathroom.
BARACK: Yes, Joe?
JOE: If I have bad dreams again, can I come sleep in your bed?
BARACK: I think you should try to sleep in your big boy bed tonight but, if you need us, Michelle and I will be right next door.
JOE: OK. ‘Night, Barry.BARACK: Goodnight, Slugger.
PAN OVER TO: Jill Biden, who has been sitting in bed next to Joe this entire time, reading quietly.
JILL: I can’t believe we have to go through this every night.
BARACK: For the last eight years. And, hopefully, for a long time to come.
[FYI: This post is a stream of consciousness about hospitals and death and dying and feelings. It’s raw and barely edited, but fairly tame in its descriptions of death. If this is not something you think you can handle reading, though, no offense taken if you close this tab.]
People have asked me how I’m holding up and I say “I’m fine,” because that’s all anyone wants to hear, that’s all anyone can really handle hearing, but the truth is that I still have no idea how I am. Not really.
A couple of months ago, my mother went in for a routine endoscopy and colonoscopy. They found a mass on her colon roughly the size of an oblong tennis ball. My family has a long history of neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue, stretching back generations. What they found in mom was a schwannoma, a rarer form of NF. (Do yourself a favor and don’t Google Image search either of those.) It was benign, but her doctors thought it best to have it removed before it had the chance to grow bigger or cancerous.
On April 5th, we drove mom to the hospital. We were told to be there at 10:00 AM for a 12:00 PM appointment. They ended up not taking her in until after 2:00. Her surgery lasted just under six hours. When the surgeon came out to speak with us, he said that the tumor was larger than they thought and, in fact, were multiple tumors. But everything had gone well, they removed a good six inches of her colon and all of the tumors they could find, and she should recover with no problems and go home within four-to-six days.
She was only supposed to be in the hospital for four-to-six days.
They kept her on a liquid diet for the first several days. There was no way her system could process solids, not with a stretch of her colon missing. She was doing well, though. She was getting stronger. She was up and walking, just a bit, the day after her surgery, and traveled farther and farther around the third floor of the hospital as the week went on. I was so proud of her.
However, due to a little more bleeding than the doctors would like, and the fact that she was taking in liquids be not expelling, her stay was extended a few extra days. She was cut off from all liquids and they inserted a tube up her nose and down her throat to suction excess fluid out of her until she could urinate on her own again.
At this point, she had been in the hospital for five days and hadn’t eaten anything in over a week.
Because she hadn’t eaten in over a week, her hear medication wasn’t being absorbed properly and her heartbeat became very erratic. They moved her to the ICU on Monday the 11th, fearing that she might have a heart attack. They stabilized her, got her back on a liquid diet, and moved her back to the third floor the next day, where she would stay under observation for the rest of the week.
That Wednesday, in order to prepare her to go home again, they took her off her the morphine and, when I went to go see her Thursday the 14th, she was off of all IV pain medications she was on. She could still receive meds when she needed them, but they would be in pill form and given only when asked, instead of at the push of a button. The only thing she was still hooked up to was oxygen and an IV port.
That was a bad day.
After ten days in the hospital, that was the first day that first day that my mother had felt the full brunt of her pain from surgery. She could barely move, her voice was low and weak. The nurses told her that she needed to get up and walk but, whenever she sat up, she felt dizzy and had to lay down again. A nurse looked her over, then called in another nurse. Then, all of a sudden, there were several more nurses and doctors in the room. They did a quick EKG and then started packing things up, telling us that they were going to move mom down to the CCU.
Mom had a minor heart attack. It was just before 2:00 PM.
They usher my dad and I into the CCU waiting room and left us to worry and pace for an hour and a half. My sister, who was at work at the time, called each of us several times to see how mom was doing that day, though, we let her calls go to voicemail. She didn’t know about heart attack yet and dad didn’t want to upset her at work until we knew for sure what we were dealing with. Because, at this time, we still didn’t know for sure what we were dealing with.
When the doctor came to see us around 3:30, he told us that, yes, she did have a heart attack, but it was a very minor one and that mom was going to be all right. He told us that she had a complete blockage in her left ventricle, but there was nothing that could be done about it. In fact, he went on, the blockage was so intense, no surgeon would touch her for fear of killing her on the table. But, he assured us, her body was already working to heal itself, as bypass veins had started growing to move blood around the blockage. The doctor told us that he wanted to keep her in the CCU overnight for observation, move her back to a room the following day, where she would stay for another week so they could run a few tests and EKGs and keep an eye on her, until she was strong enough to be discharged. He shook our hands and told us that my mother was going to be all right.
Six hours later, she would be gone.
We found mom in bed six, awake but groggy and in pain. As the next hour passed, she became a bit more alert. She started drinking. She was talking. She cracked a joke or two.
At 4:30, when it seemed like she was going to be all right, I left the hospital, drove home to let the dog out, then picked up my sister from work. I had been at the hospital all day, she had been at work. Originally, our plan was to go home, get some food and sleep, seeing as how we’d have to get up early the next day and do it all over again. I pulled the car over. I told her about the day’s events. Then, we drove back to the hospital, just so she could see that mom was all right with her own eyes.
We ended up staying for just over two hours. Mom was talkative. We watched some cooking competition show together. Dad tried to feed her some Jell-O. Mom snatched the Jell-O from his hand and hungrily spooning it into her mouth. This was the first thing she had eaten in days. At 7:30, mom said that she wanted to rest. My sister and I, also tired and hungry, not having eaten or rested all day, said our goodbyes and left the hospital.
After stopping to get food, we went home, let the puppy out, shoved tacos in our face, and more or less collapsed in exhaustion. My best friend called, I filled her in on what was going on, and, in the middle of our conversation, my sister – phone in her hand and tears in her eyes – told me to get off the phone and get in the car.
While I was on the phone with my friend, my sister had called my dad to tell him that mom needed her rest and that he should come home and sleep, too. When he answered, she couldn’t understand what he was saying, he was crying so hard. The call dropped. She called back. My mom’s cousin, who had randomly stopped in to see my mom, answered my dad’s phone. He told my sister that we needed to get back to the hospital as quickly as we could.
Mom had a massive heart attack, ten minutes after we left her.
We raced back to the hospital. My sister was a mess of tears the entire way. I kept it together, partly out of denial – Mom had a heart attack or two over the years and she was always all right afterward. Hell, she had a heart attack not even six hours prior. She was going to be OK. – and partly out of obligation – I couldn’t fall apart because everyone else was falling apart and someone needed to keep it together for everyone else. I was that person when my grandfather passed. I was that person when my aunt passed. I would be that person again now.
I dropped my sister off at the ER entrance, to let her run ahead, and then scrambled to find a parking spot. I ran into the ER and immediately stress-vomited four tacos into the closest bathroom I could find. I held it together as long as I could, but I was still a ball of anxiety inside.
I ran down the hall towards the CCU. I was stopped by hospital security. It was after 9:00 PM and all visitors needed to show ID, get their picture taken, and wear an ID sticker. My mom’s cousin met me at security and yelled at me to hurry up as I waited in line. I got my ID and we took off down the seemingly mile-long hall to the CCU, my mom’s cousin yelling at me to “let’s go” and “keep up,” even though I was only three paces behind him.
We were within fifty feet of the CCU when I saw my dad leading my sister out into the hall, tears in their eyes. My sister collapsed to the floor, sobbing. I rushed into the CCU, past doctors and nurses, and found my way to bed six.
My mother’s chest was bloated. Her throat bulged from the incubation tube sticking out of her mouth. There was a large strawberry Jell-O-colored vomit stain on the bed directly to the left of her head. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t breathing. She just stared up at me with open, lifeless eyes as the doctor called time of death.
You have no idea how upset I am that this is the last memory I have of my mother.
My father and sister eventually came back into the room. He told us that he was sitting with mom, holding her hand and, ten minutes after my sister and I left, she started to shake uncontrollably. He called for the nurses and they rushed in and started to work on her. After an hour, they decided there was nothing more they could do. It was just her time.
I had only ever seen my dad cry once before in my life, six years ago, when hospice took my grandfather – my mother’s father – off of life support, quiet, stoic tears ran down his face. The night my mom passed, he couldn’t stop crying.
We sat in silence for a long time that night. I must have held her hand for hours, not wanting to let go, not wanting any of this to be real.
We left the hospital well after midnight. We were told, when we got home, someone would call with questions regarding mom’s medical history, as she was an organ donor.
A few weeks later, we would receive a letter from Eversight Ohio, thanking us for mom’s donation and that, because of her gift, another person can see again. I’m so proud of my mom for what she did, but I still get anxious at the thought of randomly bumping into some who looks at me with my mother’s eyes.
The next few days were a whirlwind of funeral prep and phone calls and paper work and no sleep. I was in shock for most of that time and still down remember much of what happened, but I will never forget the following:
- having a panic attack in the basement of the funeral home while trying to pick out a casket out for my mom
- having a panic attack in the funeral home every time I got anywhere near my mom laying in a casket
- having the exact same conversation about what exactly happened to mom with everyone who called or came to the funeral
- constant trips to the water fountain, as repeating the same story over and over again left me in a perpetual state of dry mouth
- reconnecting with a younger cousin who is in her sophomore year of high school and an avid comic reader : )
- my best friends and my godson driving 150 miles to be with me at mom’s funeral
- a certain manipulative, controlling great aunt who decided that she had to be in charge of the funeral and in the middle of every conversation
- that same great aunt questioning anyone she didn’t recognize (which was A LOT of people) as to who they were and why they were there
- “My stuff, Mary! My stuff! MY STUFF! Do you think that he stopped [taking care of his sick, elderly father] for ONE MOMENT and thought about MY STUFF?!”
- that same great aunt telling my sister and I that we can “kiss [our] mother goodbye now” because “people were waiting,” as we said our final goodbyes before they closed the casket
- people telling me afterward how beautiful my mother’s church service was and saying “I know,” even though I was so zoned out through most of funeral and mass that I don’t really remember any of it
- my best friend holding my hand or rubbing the back of my head to calm me down whenever she saw I was getting upset
- watching the pallbearers carry my mother’s casket up the hill to her final resting place
- too many people wanting to talk to me and offer condolences when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball in the corner
- deciding against a large dour memorial luncheon (as is tradition) and instead taking a dozen close friends and family members out to the bar for a much more celebratory meal and drinks
- my aunt Diane’s comically large salad that I told her not to order with her meal
- splitting a meal and chips and guacamole, which was the first thing I had eaten in days, with my best friend : )
- drinking three very large beers
- feeling quite drunk after drinking 66 oz of beer, having not eaten for a day and a half beforehand
- going back to my parents’ house after everything was over and actually being surprised that my mom wasn’t there
And that’s kind of where I’ve been for the past month.
People have asked me how I’m holding up and I say “I’m fine,” because that’s all anyone wants to hear, that’s all anyone can really handle hearing, but the truth is that I still have no idea how I am. Not really.
I’ve been in this weird state of shock and denial, ever since the doctor called time of death, that I haven’t really felt much of anything. I love my mom. I miss my mom. SO MUCH. I have cried for my mom. But… there is still this very large part of me that hasn’t quite accepted the fact that she’s gone yet. I still expect her to be there when I go over to her house. I have to stop myself from asking how she is when I call. None of this feels real yet.
Everyone grieves differently. I know that. Rationally, I know that. But I look around at all of these people who knew and loved my mother, crying and grieving and feeling, and I feel like a bad person, I feel like a bad son, because she’s been gone a month now and I’m still just so… NUMB. I have stood at my mother’s grave, three times now, while my father and sister cry, and I may as well have been standing at a complete stranger’s grave. I don’t really feel anything. Just empty and alone.
And I know – I KNOW – that months from now, when I least expect it, there’s going to be this trigger, this tiny insignificant little thing, the mere mention of my mother’s name or seeing an old photograph of her or, hell, a fucking car commercial and it’s going to finally hit me like a ton of bricks that my mother is gone and I will never see her again and I am going to fall the fuck apart, seemingly from nothing, to anyone lucky enough to get front row seats to what should be a pretty glorious meltdown. Reserve your tickets now!
Anyway. I’ve been rambling for several pages now and I’m not even sure that anyone is even reading this still, so I’m going to wrap it up, I guess.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has offered condolences, sent cards/flowers, checked in on me, or kept us in their thoughts since mom’s passing. I would like to specifically thank: Kevin & Jody, for driving all the way to Cleveland for my mother’s funeral and for being the emotional support I’ve so desperately needed these last few weeks; Ashley, Christine, Jesse, & Elizabeth, for sending flowers and checking in on me on a regular basis; Adam, Lindsey, Nina, Brian, and Cara for talking to me when I really needed someone to talk to; and vodka, for getting me through the tough times.
Life is short. Tell the people you love that you love them. Tell them a lot. Tell the right now. Tell them you love them every chance you get. It’s important to say and it’s important to hear. Because you never know when it’s going to be the last time you’ll get to say those words and, when it is, more than anything, you’ll wish you could tell them “I love you” one more time.
And I do. I love and appreciate you all. You make my life better, during the good times, sure, but especially during the bad. I hope you know that. I know I say that a lot, to the point that maybe you think it doesn’t mean anything anymore. But it does. It means everything to me. I love each and every one of you so much. Even if you never believe another word I ever say, believe that. You are loved.
You might want to sit down for this. It may not be easy to hear.
In the time that I’ve been away, I’ve had to deal with many personal, debilitating issues. I’ve kept my distance, suffered in silence, for the most part, so that I wouldn’t burden others with my problems. In time, I would have overcome these obstacles and returned a better man. But time has not been kind and, as I have discovered, may not be on my side.
So I turn to you, my friends, my loved ones, in hopes that you’ll understand my plight and lend me your love and support so that I may have the strength to continue to fight. Because I am afraid I’m fighting an uphill battle that I may not be able to win on my own.
I’ve never been one to sugarcoat my words so, please, forgive my candor, but it has recently been brought to my attention that…
I have gray in my hair.
[I’ll pause here for a moment while you gasp or cry or say a prayer, if you should so feel the need.]
It started a few weeks ago, but the memories of that morning are still so vivid, every detail crystal clear in my mind, that it may as well have happened this very morning.
That fateful day had started like any other. I woke, yawned and stretched, wiped the sleep from my tired eyes, then put on my old man slippers and made my way through the house, the pup dancing excitedly at my feet as I opened the backdoor to let her out.
My morning routine continued. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and, as I was getting ready to get into the shower, a quick flash of light caught my eye in the mirror, like the sun reflecting off of a watch.
That can’t be what I think it is, I thought. It’s just a trick of the light. It has to be. I’m too young to…
Before I could finish that thought, I saw it: a long silver strand had sprouted from my head, shining like Christmas tinsel amongst my otherwise dark brown hair. I quickly ran my fingers through the rest of my hair, hoping that maybe this was just some sort of freak accident; one rogue follicle. But then I found a second. A third. A fourth. There were dozens of silvery sleeper agents hiding throughout my hair, waiting, plotting to take over my head, and one thick stark white strand nestled in my fiery red burning bush of a beard.
All of my worst fears were coming true.
Instead of breaking down and reducing myself to a pile of tears, I decided to be proactive. I showered, dressed, and drove to the nearest Urgent Care. Because I needed to be cared for, urgently.
“Yes, this is very serious. Very serious, indeed,” the Urgent Care doctor told me. “Looks like you have a pretty nasty case of… Aging.”
“Omigod,” I said. “Is there a cure?”
“I’m afraid it’s terminal.”
“How… how long do I have left, doc?” I asked.
“If you’re lucky?” he said. “Maybe another thirty or forty years.”
Only forty years left to live. At most! Can you imagine what it’s like to have your expiration date so casually thrown in your face like that? A single tear ran down my cheek.
“Look, kid.” he said. “You’re thirty-three. You’re not eighteen anymore. You’re getting old. These things happen. Hell, you’re lucky you haven’t started losing your hair yet.”
It was about this time that I determined he wasn’t acknowledging how obviously serious my condition was – Lose my hair. Hmph. As if hair was as easily to misplace as car keys or credit cards or small children. – so I left, hoping to find a second opinion that wasn’t quite so flippant or cavalier.
I was lucky enough to find hair specialist, named Dr. Gina, at a nearby private clinic called General Hair Care Salon, who could see me right away.
When she asked me what I was looking to do today, I told her that I was in search of a cure for the silver hairs that had invaded my head. She told me about a radical procedure called a “dye job.” I was nervous, but willing, until I found out that it would only mask the symptoms; not cure the disease.
She told me that she could always cut them out, but I decided amputation should be a last resort. And, anyway, as I learned, cut out one gray hair and two more will grow in its place, like some twisted hydra monster.
Feeling alone and out of options, I looked to my family for support.
I sat my parents down and broke the news to them gently. “Mom, dad,” I said. “I have something to tell you that may be hard for you to hear. Some of my hair has started turning gray. I’m afraid I’m… aging.”
They took the news well, laughing for a good ten minutes and, then, after they had calmed and composed themselves, laughed for another five as the sifted through my hair, trying to spot all the grays. “There’s another one!” my mother cackled.
I’m thankful that they were able to remain so strong in light of such devastating news. Their strength gave me the strength to carry on and start speaking publicly about my condition.
My name if Frank Cvetkovic and I am a person with gray in his hair. I suffer from a terminal disease called Aging and I may only have forty years left to live.
And I plan on spending that time living.
In case you were wondering how my day’s been going… I spent three hours this morning trying to get out of my bedroom.
When I woke up this morning at 8:00 – I work from home and make my own schedule, so no judgments for sleeping in a bit on a Tuesday, OK? – I started my usual morning routine: get up, slide into my comfy old man slippers, open the bedroom door, walk through the house to the back door, let the dog out so she could pee, go to the bathroom so I could pee, shower, get dressed, grab a drink from the kitchen, head in to the home office and start working.
Except today I got stuck on step three. Literally.
I live in my grandfather’s house. He lived there since the late 50s and passed away early 2010. I moved in about nine months later. It’s an old house. An old, cantankerous, stubborn-as-a-mule house. Much in the same way that my grandfather was. (Miss you, Pop Pop.) Some things work and, well, some things don’t.
One of the sources of almost daily annoyance is my bedroom doorknob. It sticks. Fairly often. The deadlatch gets jammed after closing the door and, when you try to open it again, the knob is harder to turn and it takes a couple of tries – sometimes even a couple of minutes – to get the door open.
This morning, like every morning, I grabbed the doorknob, made the doorknob-turning motions with my hand, and… nothing happened. It refused to turn. Like, even a little bit. So I tried again. And again. And again and again and again and again.
I tried turning that doorknob for half a fucking hour.
Mind you, I’m not a weak guy. I’m not super strong. I can’t bench press a car or anything, but I can turn a fucking doorknob. Except for, y’know, this morning.
So I sat back down on the bed, turned to the pup and said “Welp. Guess it’s a good thing the house isn’t on fire, huh?”
I took a ten minute break, tried to reassure the pup that everything was all right, that we were going to get out of here, and I was almost assuredly not going to have to kill and eat her to survive, before trying again.
After several more minutes of trying to open the door, failing, and feeling like the most pathetic man ever birthed, I decided to work smarter, not harder. I’m pretty sure I could MacGyver my way out of this room. I mean, if Richard Dean Anderson can defuse a bomb with a rubber band and a paper clip every week, then surely I can figure out how to take apart a door, right?
I immediately looked to the full toolbox kept beside the bed, but failed to find it… because I don’t keep a full toolbox beside my bed… because I am a normal human being. So I searched through dresser drawers and the nightstand, eventually finding a small pocket knife that contained one dull blade, a bottle opener, and something that wasn’t a flathead screwdriver but could work as a flathead screwdriver if necessary.
I jammed the blade between the door and the door frame, trying press down on the latch until it closed enough that I could turn the knob and open the door. I pulled out the thing that wasn’t a flathead screwdriver but could work as a flathead screwdriver if necessary and tried to unscrew the doorknob from the door, thinking I could get out that way. After several minutes, I managed to twist the very tight screws loose and take off the doorknobs, then, presumably, I could fiddle with the deadlatch a bit and finally remove myself from my bedroom. I even removed the hinge pins, thinking – worse comes to worst – I could just take the entire door off. (Had I a bottle, I would have used the bottle opener to open it and gotten drunk, just to make sure I took advantage of everything that pocket knife had to offer. Alas…)
At this point, after about an hour and a half of failed attempts to leave my bedroom, I was starting to get desperate. Not desperate enough to call the police, as they’d have to break down two doors in order to get me out and leave me with a nice bill, or – worse – my parents, who would come over, ridicule me for getting stuck in my bedroom, and then make passive-aggressive comments about how clean I keep my home. I mean, sure, they’d be able to get me out within minutes, but then my mom would be here for the rest of the day, cleaning what was already clean. So that was not an option.
No, I was getting desperate enough to think about climbing out the bedroom window.
Here’s the thing about my bedroom: yeah, it’s on the first floor but it has high windows. I stood on my bed, thinking that, if I absolutely had to, I could probably pull myself up and out of the window. The problem being, however, that I am terrified of heights and was looking at a ten foot drop onto some pointy-ass rose bushes. So… no.
Giving in, I scrolled through names in my phone contacts list, eventually stopping on my friend Steven’s number. He lives semi-close and is a pretty handy dude, so I thought maybe he could talk me through whatever options I had left and, if need be, see if he could come over, break into my house, and then break me out of my house.
Since I already had the doorknobs off, Steven told me to try wrapping a belt around the deadlatch and pulling. It would either loosen the latch and jostle it free or rip it out of the door altogether and, either way, I’d be able to get out.
So I tried it. For a while. After half an hour of pulling on this belt wrapped around the the deadlatch, it seemed like the it was starting give, it wanted to be free of that door as much as I did, but not nearly enough. Again, I am not exactly a weak dude. But this door was killing me.
Finally, I had enough. I thought, if I can’t pull this door free, then maybe I can knock it down. I threw all my weight into that door – and I have a decent amount of weight to throw – and nothing happened. I threw myself at that door again and again and again. I kicked at the deadlatch. The door still wouldn’t open and all I earned for all that effort were new black and blue marks.
Searching again, I found an old metal rod in the back of my closet. Don’t ask me why it was there. I slid it through the hole where the knob used to be and tried using it as a lever to pry the deadlatch free. When that didn’t work, I got frustrated and started hammering the hunk of metal at the latch. If I couldn’t get it free, fuck it, I’d just break the goddamn thing further.
At one point, I got angry enough that I even stabbed the door with the dull blade, hoping I could cut enough of door up that I could break through it. But, this being an old house and all, the doors are made of, y’know, real wood and all, so… no.
Meanwhile, the pup is still watching me from behind the nightstand as I wail on this door like a lunatic.
I hit the latch again and again. I threw myself at the door. I heard a snap. I had just broken the molding on the outside of the door. I hit the latch. I threw myself at the door. I hit the latch. I threw myself at the door. It was a seemingly endless cycle.
Until… the molding got knocked off completely. Another blow or two and my bedroom door, which usually opened into my room, was knocked open out into the hallway. It didn’t fall out of the frame or even break in two. It just sort of rotated in the frame, like a hidden door behind the fireplace, in old movies, that opens after you twist the candle sconce.
After three hours, three amazingly frustrating, panic-inducing hours, the pup and I were finally free to leave the bedroom. We walked through the house to the back door, I let the pup outside to pee, and I collapsed onto the couch, sore and tired.
So, yeah, I’m gonna take the rest of the day off, buy a new doorknob, and maybe get some tacos later.
. . .
BTW, if you’ve ever wondered how much liquid a healthy adult bladder could possibly contain first thing in the morning, the answer is 16 fluid ounces. If you don’t believe me, feel free to check the water bottle I usually keep on my nightstand that is currently resting comfortably in my kitchen garbage can.
Imagine your whole world is silent.
Sure, there are people everywhere, talking. Yelling. Singing. Televisions and radios blare endless amounts of noise. Cars drive by; engines rumbling, brakes screeching, horns honking. A dog barks. But you can’t hear it.
You are walking down a busy street, trying to send a text to a friend, but something is different about your phone. You can’t find any of your previous conversations, but instead discover photos you didn’t take. Photos of… dead bodies?
You are confused. And upset. You might throw up.
Your pace slows, as you try to wrap your mind around what you’ve just seen, and you look up just in time to see the head of the person walking in front of you burst open as a bullet passes through it. The faces of people around you contort in fear as they open their mouths to scream screams you will never hear. Some of them drop to the ground, trying to make themselves as small as possible. Others run for cover.
Now you are even more confused.
You turn around, looking for the answer to a question you’ve already solved. You see a man with a gun. You remember the thing in your hand; the phone that is not your phone, filled with pictures of… such horrible things. Suddenly, you realize who it belongs to.
You look back up. The man with the gun is coming towards you. At you. Fire erupts from the end of the barrel as he takes another soundless shot. A bullet flies by your head.
And then you run.
Our story follows Adrian Kim, a deaf steel mill worker, and his ladyfriend, Meg, as they find themselves on the run from a ruthless killer after Adrian accidentally mistakes the killer’s smartphone – filled with incriminating evidence of grisly murders – for his own.
Because Adrian is deaf, there is absolutely no spoken dialogue or sound effects in the comic. You, as the reader, are just as “deaf” as Adrian is. Which means that there aren’t any sort of advanced warnings of oncoming danger. No footsteps slowly growing louder or gunshots ringing through an alleyway; just bullets whizzing past your head.
Of the $7,000 we need to produce MUTE, fifty percent of the money raised will cover art production; a quarter will go towards printing the book; and the rest of the money will be divided up and used to pay for shipping, Kickstarter fees, and various campaign rewards.
The MUTE Kickstarter will run until April 8th at 11:59 PM EST.
As some of you may remember, I — along with the Amazing David Brame — used to run a webcomic, called Punch-Up, about a kid named Patrick, who gets beaten up for a living, and his slightly unbalanced stalker BFF, Kendra. So, with such a fantastically weird story concept like that, of course we had to do a special Christmas comic.
Santa, Baby ran during the Christmas of 2011 but, since then, the site has been taken down. It may have only been a five page story, but it was one of my favorite, more personal little comics I had ever written. It means quite a bit to me. I love this little bit of weirdness. Hope you enjoy it, too.
(click to enlarge)
Like Beyoncé, I’ve been busy these last few weeks putting together an album in secret that I planned on releasing with absolutely no warning. Unlike Beyoncé, very few people are going to care about this one. Ah, well. My fault for not being astonishingly talented and famous and good-looking. Something to think about for the next one, I suppose.
Yes! A Christmas mixtape! I made one of those! For you! Yes! You! Why? Because I like you, silly! You’re so kind and funny and your hair always looks fantastic and I just wanted to do something nice to show you how much I appreciate you and the friendship we share. It’s kind of the season for that, y’know?
What Christmas Means To Me is made up of several of my favorite Christmas songs. Some of them are super fun and just kind of make you want to dance and sing along. Some are all laid back and nonchalant and perfect for sipping on some egg nog by the fire.
01. Darlene Love: Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) // 02. Stevie Wonder: What Christmas Means To Me // 03. The Drifters: White Christmas // 04. Ella Fitzgerald: Have yourself a merry little Christmas // 05. Eartha Kitt: Santa, Baby // 06. Louis Armstrong: ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? // 07. The Ronettes: Sleigh Ride // 08. Ray Charles: Winter Wonderland // 09. Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby // 10. Bobby Womack: The Christmas Song // 11. James Brown: Let’s Unite The Whole World At Christmas //12. Vince Guaraldi Trio: Christmas Time Is Here // 13. Silent Track // 14. Jackson 5: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
You can download the What Christmas Means To Me here. I really do hope you enjoy it.
Happy holidays, you guys. Be good to each other.
My niece asked me to tell her a story, so I told her the popular children’s fable, The Little Prince of Bel-Air:
Once upon a time, there was a young peasant boy named Will, who was born and raised in the small village of West Philadelphia. He spent most of his days frolicking in the woods and meadows; chilling out, maxing, relaxing in a coolish manner, throwing rocks through holes in the trees behind the monastery. One day, a couple of knights, who were up to no good, invaded the village and started wreaking havoc on Will’s family’s land. He got into one little joust and his mother grew scared. She told him “You’re leaving at once on a quest for your aunt and uncle’s castle in the kingdom of Bel-Air!”
Will whistled for his steed and when it came near, the saddle plating said “fresh” and had the most peculiar gear. It anything, he could say that this steed was rare, but thought better of it and, instead, called out “Yah! Homes! To Bel-Air!” Homes was the name of his steed, you see.
It was a long and arduous journey, but Will arrived at the castle of his aunt and uncle, late into the next evening. He placed his steed in the stables for the night – “Yo, Homes.” he reassured the animal. “Smell you later.” Will looked at his new kingdom. He was finally there! And in a short time, after defeating the King’s own son in a duel of both wits and brawn, Will would claim the throne as the new prince of Bel-Air.
Ah, but that is a story for another day…
Because sometimes I need the reminder.
The Go! Team
The Princess Bride
The Brothers Bloom
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Parks And Recreation
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Cowboy Wally Show
Coffee Ice Cream
Finding new comic book pages from my artist in my inbox.
When I’m lettering a comic and the dialogue makes a near-perfectly round balloon shape.