Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

The Worst Headache Ever

Posted on August 12, 2010

The worst headache I ever had was probably the time I got kicked in the head by a horse. Woof. That was a rough day. [By the way, never throw a surprise party for a horse. They hate surprises.]

The funny part was that the headache, itself, snuck up on me. You’d think it’d come on immediately after the horse punted my forehead. But, I must have been in shock. [Which is understandable, because it was shocking.]

I said to my friends, “Hey, guys, Captain Thunderbolt just kicked me in the head.” But, nobody saw it happen, because they were busy hanging birthday streamers. And, no one believed me at first. I specifically remember Catherine saying, “Are you sure? That doesn’t sound like Captain Thunderbolt.” [Which is true.]

Even when I showed them the crescent, horseshoe-shaped dent above my eyebrow, they were still suspicious. Mark tried to find a picture of me on his phone to prove the dent had always been there. [I should explain that I met most of these friends through Captain Thunderbolt. So, it’s understandable that they’d defend him.]

Anyway, right about then is when the headache hit me. It came on like a tidal wave. Everything went kind of pulsating red, and it felt like my brain tried to push my eyeballs out through my nose. The pain was so intense, I felt nauseous. [That might have been all the party mix I had eaten while we were waiting for the horse to show up.]

I found a place to sit down on a little stool in the corner. Well, I guess Captain Thunderbolt isn’t used to people sitting there, because I spooked him, and he kicked me in the head again. This time it caught me above my right ear. [He really clipped me hard that time. Full horse kick.]

Again, for whatever reason, no one saw. My headache got way worse. At that point, I was seeing spots, and I could hear a phantom calliope playing somewhere. I asked Cathy if she had some Aspirin, but she said she was busy cutting the special oats-based ice cream cake. [My idea, thank you very much.]

My headache was so bad I was having trouble keeping my arm from spasming. But, somebody reminded me that I was in charge of the piñata, so I pushed through the pain. There are whole sections of the party I don’t remember after that. [Which is too bad, because that horse knows how to party.]

Yeah, so yeah. That was the worst headache I’ve ever— No wait. Oh my gosh, I just remembered that that wasn’t my worst headache. The worst headache I ever had was when dynamite blew a rod of rebar through my skull and out the other side. That was my worst headache.

But, that one’s not really that interesting of a story.


My Art’s Meaning

Posted on August 11, 2010

Don’t get me wrong—I love being an artist. I love making art. I just wish I had more control over how it’s received. No one seems to understand my art’s deeper, disgusting meaning.

Everybody refers to my paintings as “pretty.” They like the bright colors. They enjoy the soft lines. Can’t they break through the façade to grasp my work’s off-putting and disturbing subtext?

Take for instance this piece titled “Dragonfly Picnic.” Yes, all the insects look chipper in their top hats and parasols. But, do you notice anything about the shapes of the lily pads? How about the look of fear in the ladybug’s eyes? There's clearly a relationship between the dragonflies and the willow tree that frightens the ladybugs. Did none of you study WWI Balkan History? If you did, you’d cringe at my scandalous take on “dragonfly/ladybug” relations.

Or, the piece called “Turtles First Bicycle.” People look at a turtle riding a Victorian-era velocipede and take it at face value. I’ve never once had someone come up to me to talk about the horrifying sexual symbolism, let alone my comments on the class structure of contemporary South Africa. I don’t get it; it’s all right there in plain sight.

Sometimes I wish I could just tell people my art’s deeper, icky meaning. But, that’s not what art is. Art is about the back-and-forth. It’s about an artist challenging the viewer to grapple with inferences and implications.

Yet, somehow, none of the families at this library art fair seem interested in being challenged. One woman bought my piece “Bunny Finds Its Pencil”, saying it matched the green in her daughter’s nursery. I must assume she failed to notice the allusion to the deep psychosocial scars left behind amongst a landmine-ravage Pacific Ring. Nor, did she realize by extension our culture's fetishizing of commercial products made by— Oops, I almost gave to much away.

I don't know. Maybe she did get all that, and she just wants to expose her child to complex, disquieting concepts at an early age. Some people are weird like that.


Types of Wrenches

Posted on August 10, 2010

The following is a list of types of wrenches in order of my favorite to least favorite:

Crescent Wrench – Adjustable, dependable, space-efficient.

Combination Wrench – Open at one end, with a ring on the other. You can twirl it on your finger.

Pipe Wrench – Grabs the hell out of pipes. You ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til you’ve seen a pipe wrench go to town on a pipe.

Ratcheted Socket Wrench – Makes an awesome “trtch trtch” sound. Also, you can pretend you know about cars if you’re holding one.

Monkey Wrench – Hee hee hee … monkeys … holding wrenches.

Lug Wrench – Good for taking out of your trunk to look busy while you wait for AAA.

Allen Wrench – Also known as a Hex key, because old Gypsy ladies cast hexes with them to make your IKEA furniture break.

Fire Hydrant Wrench – Would be the most awesome wrench ever if it didn’t get confiscated by the fire department every time I use it.

Spanner – Same as a normal wrench, but in England. Hey, Brits, learn how to talk real English already.

Spoke Wrench – Used by dirty bike messengers to fix their dirty bikes. Right before they knock the sandwich out of your hand at the crosswalk. Yes, the same $9.49 sandwich you just bought seconds ago. That sandwich.

Torque Wrench – Thinks it’s so cool. Get over yourself, torque wrench.

Box-End Wrench – My least favorite wrench. Probably because my wife’s lover killed me with one, and now I’m a ghost haunting his hardware store. I mostly just knock things over and make lists.



Posted on August 9, 2010

Tree Rings

Son, come over here and look at the rings on this tree stump. You can learn a lot about the life of a tree from its rings. Count out from the center, and each ring represents a year.

See here, that darker ring around year 22 means the tree survived a forest fire. And, here, where the rings are so skinny around year 34—that was probably a drought. Or, it could be the tree had just gone through a divorce and was trying to “get back out there.”

Notice how this ring has a pink tinge around year seven? That’s probably when the tree went through a Hello Kitty phase. Everything had to be Hello Kitty. And, here in the teens, where the rings are all banged up—that’s when the tree was getting into fights after school under the bleachers.

Look at this ring around year 13. See how it has a rougher shape and is thicker towards the valley wall? That’s the year the tree’s parents got divorced. That would explain the fights at school. But, this thick ring in the mid twenties. It learned how to love again. It met a nice pine in grad school.

Oh look, around year 29 the rings get super porous and then thin. That means the tree got promoted to Senior Manager. Good for it! I’m sure the tree busted its roots for that.

But, after that the rings get very light at cracked. The tree and the pine were starting to grow apart. That happens. I hate to say it, but I’ve never known things to work out between a birch and a pine. Different priorities.

Ahh, look. Just after its own divorce the tree decided to get artificially pollinated, and it had a sapling. It must have been hard nurturing a bud all on its own. That’s lovely, though.

Look at this ring—the really fibrous one. I’m pretty sure that means the tree met a tall oak at a single parents support group. And, they hit it off. Look how healthy and wide the rings get after that. But, the tree still loved its sapling very much, and it would never choose the oak over its sapling…

Honey, you get that this is a metaphor, right? I’m trying to tell you that Bob and I are getting married.


Low Key – August 8, 2010

Posted on August 8, 2010

Fall of the Roman Empire


Crowded Fallout Shelter

Posted on August 6, 2010

Boy, this nuclear fallout shelter got crowded real quick, huh? I guess it's understandable, but geez louise! Everybody must've had the same idea.

That's the thing about a big city. You think you're the only person who knows the secret location of a fallout shelter. But, even if only one in a hundred people also know, that shelter is gonna fill up fast.

I'm not sure why this particular shelter is so popular, though. It has a very distinct old man smell. Maybe nobody else notices it.

But, whatever. Where else are you going to go on a Friday night during a nuclear disaster? Its not like I can be mad folks know about my "special spot." I don't own the place. I think that guy with the shotgun does.

I just wish I had enough room to turn around. I saw a can of chipped beef on the shelf behind me, and I could really go for some chipped beef. I haven't eaten since the sirens went off.

Do you think anybody might get tired of the crampedness and leave before the nuclear holocaust is over? Probably not. People tend to be stubborn about this kind of stuff.

Anyway, I had an idea to help pass the time while we're down here: a sing-along. Everybody likes a sing-along. Hey, everybody! Who wants to have a sing-along? Maybe Sweet Caroline? Nobody? I guess they can't hear me over the weeping. DOES ANYBODY WANT TO SING SOME NEIL DIAMOND? A SING-ALONG? NOBODY? Yikes, tough crowd.


Man, I can't believe I got stuck in the lame fallout shelter. Bunch of wet blankets, if you ask me. I am not looking forward to spending the next few years of Armagedon with you mopes. For real.


“Busted” at The Moth

Posted on August 5, 2010



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In honor of the Real Characters storytelling show I'm putting up tonight (and every first Thursday of the month) at Ochi's Lounge, here's an audio clip of one of my Moth StorySLAM performances.

Unlike almost everything else on this blog, this story is completely true. Still funny, though. Don't worry; I wouldn't subject you to one of my sad stories. That's what I pay my therapist for.

The theme for the night was "Busted," and I'm grateful to fellow storyteller Luke Davin for recording it from the back.


The Evil Dr. Hypnotic

Posted on August 4, 2010

Dr. Hypnotic

Your dastardly plan will never succeed, Dr. Hypnotic! I don’t care if you do have me tied up in your evil lair. You’ll never destroy Metro City! Not while I’m… a… chicken. Bawk b’kawk!

Wait a minute! No! Your hypno-powers won’t work on me. I’ve trained my whole life to do battle against evil doers. My mind is a steel… drum… There are steel drums on this beach. Ooh, piña coladas. Don’t mind if I do.

Aarrgh! Must… resist! Mustn’t look at… spinning spiral of hypno-evil. But, it’s so… mesmerizing. And, I am indeed getting sleepy. Very sleepy.

Dr. Hypnotic, you fiend! Can’t you see you’ve gone mad? Does nothing remain of mild-mannered psychologist, Leo Silverberg? Something of him must have survived the tragic, accidental death of your wife during a hypnosis session intended to curb her craving for cigarettes. Also, the toxic waste spill at her funeral that fused a swinging pocket watch to your hand.

I swear, when I break free of these chains that are also snakes… Hey! Chains can’t also be snakes! I must be hypnotized. Why, there aren’t any chains at all. So, I’ll just stand up and punch you in the face. Like this.

There. Done and done. Dr. Hypnotic’s wicked plans have been foiled once again, and Metro City has been saved by me, The Masked Defender.

Yes, thank you for that congratulatory thumbs up, baby elephant standing atop a mountain... Huh... I wonder if I'm still hypnotized. Well, shoot.


Delicious Popsicles

Posted on August 3, 2010

Listen, if it were up to me, everybody would have popsicles.

But, it’s not up to me; it’s up to your mother. I was given strict instructions as your babysitter—no popsicles for the kids. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my popsicle.

Don’t look at me that way. Rules are rules. Without rules, it’s chaos. You’re too young to understand, being ages 3 and 5, but one day you will. Whoops, my popsicle is dripping! Let me just get that … mmm, delicious.

I wish I could give you popsicles. I do. Especially because there are tons in the freezer. Seriously, your mom must have gone to Costco. But, she gave explicit instructions. “Do not give Madden or Quinn any popsicles. It will ruin their dinner.” And, I refuse to ruin dinner by giving you yummy grape popsicles like the one I am eating right now.

Pouting isn’t going to get you anywhere, Quinn. In fact, it makes me less likely to sneak you a popsicle against your mother’s wishes. Which I could totally do. But, I won’t. Even though I could. Because I’m the adult.

As an adult, I am not bound by the “no popsicle” rule. See? That’s why I can break open this second popsicle for myself. But, you guys are children—children who aren’t allowed to have popsicles. It’s a fine but important distinction, and I am truly sorry that it exists.

One day, you’ll thank me. Some day in the distant future. Maybe a swelteringly hot day, like today. You’ll say, “Andy, thank you for refusing to give us popsicles—no matter how hard we begged. It taught us an important lesson.” I’m not sure what that lesson is, but then again, I’m not the one in charge. Your mom is.

Ouch, this second popsicle is giving me a cold headache. Do you kids ever get those? They’re the worst. I’m gonna have to throw away the rest of this sweet, tasty popsicle. You probably shouldn’t watch while I … open up the trashcan … and done. No more popsicle. It’s a shame. So delicious.

Anyway, who up for starting dinner? Let’s see what’s in the cabinet. Ooh, I hope you guys like lentil and barley soup!


My Life Goals

Posted on August 2, 2010

I thought I’d share with you guys a list of my life goals. I haven’t read The Secret, but from what I’ve cobbled together, it seems like you’re supposed to externalize your desires. Then, at night, Oprah Winfrey comes and leaves a new car under your pillow. So, this is me externalizing. My life goals are to:

- Someday own a second pair of shorts.

- Travel to Istanbul and really Istanbul it up.

- Remain roguishly handsome.

- Finally get Esperanto up onto its feet.

- Ride on a motorcycle without wetting myself.

- Build my own home. Or, my own Build-A-Bear.

- Finish writing my bucket list.

- Wear more whimsical hats. (“More” both in number of hats and amount of whimsy.)

- Stop hitting on my bosses’ wives.

- Learn how to play two ukuleles at once.

- Buy second ukulele.

- Meet Jim Henson and shake his hand. (This one might be tough.)

- Own a dog that looks like me. A roguishly handsome dog.

- Somehow have my blog “discovered” by the Colbert Report folks, and be instantly hired to write for the show. Failing that, win the lottery.

- Slowly become crotchety and/or curmudgeonly.

- Became better at proofreating.

- Work at a frozen custard stand. Steal as much custard as I can fit in my pockets.

- Stop watching Glee. It’s horrible, but I can’t look away.

- Dance like no one is watching.

- Have kids that look like me. Roguishly handsome daughters.

- Die in an epically heroic manner.

- Have it turn out that I survived somehow. Be lauded.

- Find that pen I lost.

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