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Funny Messy Life


Stories about life, relationships, and culture delivered in a way that will help brighten your day or at least make you ask, "What is he smokin'?" But don't worry. It's all in good fun and it's family friendly. I'm Michael Blackston and these are tales from my blog - in audio form - all based on real experiences from my Funny Messy Life.


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Stories about life, relationships, and culture delivered in a way that will help brighten your day or at least make you ask, "What is he smokin'?" But don't worry. It's all in good fun and it's family friendly. I'm Michael Blackston and these are tales from my blog - in audio form - all based on real experiences from my Funny Messy Life.






The Time I Passed Out On The Toilet

It seems like a favorite of my stories for listeners is the one I titled, “The Time I Peed On My Leg”. Apparently people enjoy hearing about embarrassing moments and I’m more than happy to be the guy you turn to when you need someone for a good point and laugh. To my mother and my wife’s dismay, I’m a person who enjoys sharing the little things that most people would rather forget. I revel at the thought of seeing the faces of those around me when I tell one of these stories in a crowd and I invent expressions in my mind for those who hear these tales after I record them. This will be one of those stories. And although I fear I might have spoiled it a little from the start by offering the reveal in the title, there’s still a lot of meat in the middle for you. I’ve been gone for a while. I’ll get to the reasons why after the story because that’s what you came here for, isn’t it? The story? All I will tell you right now is that I had pretty much given up on Funny Messy Life and I had good reasons for it. But after listening to an audio book about good storytelling, I discovered there was still something left to give. I might just need to adjust a few things to get it right. So to get things started in the way familiar to regular listeners, I’m Michael Blackston and I invite you now into a painful, and an embarrassing part if you think about it, of my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ I’m about 18 years old and we, my mom and stepdad, have just moved into a new home. We’re all trying to acclimate to our surroundings, so I don’t think any of us are sleeping well, which may account for the reason my mom was so quick to jump to my aid. Mom’s attention to things that go bump in the night aren’t the details to be observed at this moment though. Right now it’s the extra tall glass of eggnog that I’m pouring for myself right after downing two burgers slathered in cheese, mayo, mustard, and parmesan. Mom’s fried burger patties are a favorite of mine and so is eggnog, but I don’t think the creators of those two delicacies ever intended them to be smashed together into one meal like a caveman might do. But I’m 18 and I don’t think about things like healthy eating, healthy sleeping, and the very real effects that can happen to a body - both loudly and painfully - when one or the other is ignored. There’s a football game being played and the pictures and sounds coming from it do nothing to help me with my frame of mind. It’s all about what’s going on between the hedges in Athens, Ga and I’m celebrating a victory for my Dawgs the only way a non-drinker who couldn’t get a beer without help anyway because he’s underage can. I’m cramming anything and everything that’s edible down my gullet. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, actually. I am a human, so two fried burgers with cheese, both american sliced and in graded fake parmesan form, and a sloppy lake comprised of mayo, mustard, and ketchup, coupled with a herculean sized glass of eggnog, is enough to make any referee throw a flag for unnecessary stuffedness. The 37 to 27 win against Auburn justifies my gluttony and what is waiting for me just a few hours from now holds no weight as far as consequences go. We have triumphed and all that exists to do in the moment is celebrate unabashedly, rewarding the players and coaching staff, and the entirety of BullDawg Nation by injesting grease and fat and sugar. I’m jubilant to say the least. We will lose three games this season, but tonight … tonight the stars blaze with the fire of victory! If God had shown Eve this game before telling her not to eat of the fruit, she may well have gnawed down the whole tree without thinking about it. Rabid jubilance will do that to a person. We jump ahead now a few hours. Enough time for the ingredients I’ve partaken in to mingle and find that they have nothing in common. They bicker and insult each other so that before long, there is turmoil. Turmoil I do not see coming. I’m sound asleep in my...


Band Dad - 078

The past few weeks have been extra hard on me, and as I sit here and write this out, I really don’t feel like it. See, on top of everything else that’s going on in my life, my son is graduating high school, and I never thought about the idea that we would be experiencing so many “lasts”. I’m definitely a proud dad, but there is pain that tags along with it. So I think it’s time to vent a little as my oldest child becomes a man. I’m Michael Blackston, and as much as I don’t want to have to admit it, these are necessary events along the path of my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ Pomp and Circumstance rings loud and quite obnoxiously in the distance. I used to like that song. It’s regal. It tells a story of celebration and accomplishment. And lately it rudely smacks me upside the head with the sour flavor of truth. Now the song doesn’t ring as jolly as before, because my son Noah is graduating. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for him. Any parent with a strong-willed child who doesn’t like to be told what to do can relate to the sigh of relief that comes with the aspect of never again having to make sure projects are done on time and homework is turned in. We’ve had some epic battles over the years, but that relief is bittersweet. It means we also lose the anticipation and excitement of football season and sitting right next to the band so we can glance to our left for most of the game and watch that handsome boy play his saxophone in his snazzy uniform. So let’s start earlier. Way earlier. When I was in sixth grade, the band teacher at the middle school came around to test the students and see which ones were suitable to start band the next year. To my recollection, they gave us some sort of ear test and graded us based on how we understood tones, beats, and the essential elements of music. I think the grades were something like, Superior (obviously the best grade), Good, Okay, Good Enough To Play The Triangle, and Just Give Up And Join The Chess Club. I believe I was the only one in my class to be graded a Superior. I might be wrong, but I’ve worn that badge this long, and I don’t intend on taking it off until someone tells me differently. I do know I actually scored a Superior, and I remember the band director begging me to join the band. I didn’t though, because I was already going to be in chorus, and I was terrified of learning an instrument. My wife’s story is similar. I don’t know how they were tested, or what she scored, but I know she never joined the band, even though she has always had a gift for music, and eventually earned a degree in Vocal Performance. She tells me to this day how much she regrets never joining the band, and I feel the same way about my decision. Our son Noah, did join the band, and began as a trombonist. He liked the instrument, and had a knack for it, but it wasn’t long before we found he was better suited for something else, and he took up the saxophone. He would sit in his room at night and wail away on that horn, actually making the right note once in a while, and we loved every second of it. Once a friend made the statement that he bet I couldn’t wait to find a reason to get out of the house when that started, and I surprised him. I told him it was just the opposite. I often sat in the recliner just outside of Noah’s door and soaked in the notes - every single one, good or bad - that came from the lungs of my son, and out of his sax. And I wasn’t lying. Kayla and I both found immense joy in those moments, and soon enough, more and more notes found their marks until songs and rhythms began to fill our house. In eighth grade, he was asked to join the high school marching band a year early, an honor not everyone gets. Next thing we know, the concerts and recitals, of which there have been so glorious many, were replaced by the grueling business of band camp, practice every day after school, and Friday nights under the lights of one of Georgia’s finest, and most notable...


I Changed My Mind - 077

There’s a snarky saying about how women change their minds. It goes something like, A woman’s mind is cleaner than a man’s because she changes it more often. In my experience, women won’t mind you saying that when you’re with a group of people and everyone is smiling, laughing, and generally having a by-golly swell time. Experience has also taught me that there is a time and a place for everything. Saying that when it’s only you and your wife in the car after you’ve been arguing about where to eat because at first she wanted a burrito, but now she’s decided she’s in the mood for baked ravioli, and she’s already giving you the stank eye because you said something like, “Make up your mind”, … you probably ought to think about not whipping that nugget out of your grabbag. She ain’t in the mood for your shenanigans. I don’t really think it’s that fair of a quip anyway, because I am A Man, By Thunder, and men can be just as wishy-washy. From Atomic Red Studios, which is being moved again because I keep changing my mind about where to put it, I’m Michael Blackston, and I’m about to highlight some decision making issues from my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ Ladies, don’t let your man get away with it. I’m on your beautiful indecisive sides all the way. He’s likely to one day say something about how you can never make up your mind, and if I’m right, you’ll immediately be able to bring up some of the things he’s guilty of in that same arena. For me and a lot of other guys I know, it’ll show up in the category of our toys. We’ll tidy it up and call it collecting, or upgrading, but in reality, it often comes down to indecision. I know musicians - especially guitarists (Good LORD, guitarists are bad about it) - who are never satisfied with the last instrument they bought. They saw it in the guitar store, played the most impressive riff in their personal catalog, while pretending not to care who’s listening, loved how it felt, and just had to have it. Then when they get it home, they decide it doesn’t play right. The action isn’t as good now as it was in the store when they were hammering out Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption as everyone else around them secretly rolled their eyes. There’s a funky twang in the pickups they suddenly don’t like. And Is it me, or does that sunburst look different in this light? They have changed their minds. Case in point, Atomic Red Studios, and my setup for recording these podcast episodes and other audio. I’m not going to try and remember exactly how many different versions of my studio there have been, or in how many different places I’ve tried to put it. It doesn’t matter, because here’s the problem: I keep going to great lengths to make a new, better version, then changing my mind about it. This last place seemed to be perfect. I was allowed to convert a small room at my church, free of charge, into the perfect studio space. My house is small, and there’s just no room for a sound studio, so I went to great lengths to set one up at the church. The plan was to record Funny Messy Life, as well as audio books, and do voiceover work. Okay, I counted, and if I’m not leaving anything out, there have been approximately 562 versions of my studio, none of which gave me the great audio I was looking for. The problem with the church site is, any time I want to record, I have to get stuff together and go there. A home studio is more convenient for me because none of the stuff I do so far earns me one red cent.. I have, at last count, ten different microphones. I started with one - a SURE SM58. Old Reliable. The trustworthiest of trustworthy microphones. It’s so durable you can glue a hook to it and use it as a fishing lure, and it’ll still work when you plug it in. It’s been a standard in the professional vocal world since the beginning of time. The SURE SM58 is the microphone God used when He said, “Let there be light.” But I heard about another microphone that would be better for my podcast. It...


Welcome Back ... Back - 076

Let’s see … how should I describe my back issues? Um …. If there was a further sublevel of hell past anything Dante came up with where the devil himself would say, “Nope, nope, nope!”, then you pushed into a dank corner of the sewer system of that hell where stagnant, rotting remnants of the bowels of the worst demons that have ever existed have gotten caught in a gooey, churning cesspool, it might - and I say might - come close. Because, my friend, your humble host recently slipped a disc in my back, and the subsequent agony was the worst thing I’ve ever endured. It’s part of the reason for another lengthy delay in episodes of this podcast, and I’m about to tell you alllll about it, including the lessons I’ve learned, both spiritually, and in the area of my own stupidity. From Atomic Red studios, I’m Michael Blackston, and if you thought a whiny man with a cold can be bad, wait till you hear about this latest test of my endurance straight out of my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ I sit and prepare this episode of the show feeling rather comfortable and relatively pain-free. The name of the restaurant I chose rhymes with Hizza Put, and I’m enjoying a simple order of breadsticks with extra seasoning, and a cup of alfredo sauce, instead of marinara to dip them in. (Yes, you can ask for that.) I’ve sort of gotten addicted to the breadsticks from Hizza Putt because when this whole thing started, it’s all I could think of when people insisted I eat something to stay alive. And once I decided it was an sensible enough request, it was just easier, when my wife annoyed me by asking me to make decisions in my state of pain, to scream, “Breadsticks!” Now, let me be clear. My wife was not actually being annoying. What she was doing was trying her best to take care of a man in his late forties who was floating in a pool of hell’s poop water. In reality, my wife, God bless her, was an absolute saint, along with several others who helped me, or prayed fervently for me, or both. In fact, I found out just how amazing my support system really is. So here’s what happened. I’m going to go back to before Christmas, because I believe it’s the start of the whole thing. I’ve known for years that I have a weak back, and there are a couple of reasons for that. Since I was a teenager, I’ve dealt with back trouble because: I have always hated to exercise, so I have a weak core, and …I gotsGamp Back. “Hey, Mike … what in the name of all sewer stankwater pain is Gamp Back?” I’m glad you asked. If you listened a few episodes ago when I talked about my perfect Christmas, you’ll hear me emote lovingly about my grandpa and how he would sit quietly watching his family as we lived our lives around him. He called himself The Gamps, obviously a babytalkish way to say Gramps, and it stuck. So while he was watching us, there were likely times he was doing so in agony from a back that gave him trouble, and because genes have this cute way of repeating themselves down a family line, a whole bunch of us ended up with torsos that easily make the decision to test the boundaries of our pain tolerance by taking a spinal version of Rumspringa. That’s the period of time where young Amish people are allowed to break from tradition and do shameful things, like chewing gum and moving their feet slightly to a beat. During Spinal Rumspringa, members of our family will develop the aforementioned Gamp Back. Knowing this was a possibility, I should have insisted that my son, who is a young, strapping 17-year-old, change his own tire. It was that last stupid lug that did the trick. Whoever put it on must have summoned the power of Thor, and like the God of Thunder’s hammer, the lug did not want to budge. I was apparently not worthy. Yet, I insisted I was still man enough to do it, and I did, but not before I felt a slight twinge in the lower left side of my back. “Haha. That’s gonna smart for a few days,” I laughed like a character from Father Knows Best, and...


Ghosts of Podcast Past - C1G (Stage Stories Part 2) - 075

Part of a conversation with my friend, Toni King from a previous podcast called, "Cue One Go - The Theatre Show". We're talking about things that happened onstage.


Ghosts of Podcast Past - C1G (Stage Stories Part 1) - 074

Due to my busy schedule, I'm going to be giving you a look back into the history of my podcasting. In this episode, I'll introduce you to my friend, Toni King, who co-hosted a podcast with me called, Cue One Go - The Theatre show. I really miss C1G and I hope listening to this episode brings you as much joy as it did for me.


The Uncanny Consequences Of Being Me - 073

The Uncanny Consequences Of Being Me The title of this piece reads like a fancy-pants movie they’d show at a film festival where the people in the audience all eat their popcorn with a fork so they won’t get their fingers greasy and spot up their turtle necks and skinny jeans. I’m sorry about that. I don’t mean to make you feel like you’re one of those people. You might prefer your popcorn the way I do … floating in a bucket of butter oil that resembles a gigantic vat of cereal that’ll stuff your arteries like a Thanksgiving turkey. I mention my arteries because they’ve been on my mind lately. My doctor told me they’re as clogged as a man’s who eats movie theatre popcorn the way I do. Which got me thinking … I’d love a bag of that Lance Movie Theater Extra butter popcorn I talked about in episode 71, titled Diary of a Rage Monster. Which got me to thinking … I’d probably not be able to find it anyway because that’s how things go for me. Which brought to mind … Hey, I wanted to write about that! Well, now that you’re supremely confused, let me bring it back around to the title of this piece and tell you about my bad luck. From Atomic Red studios, I’m Michael Blackston and I’m calling this The Uncanny Consequeces Of Being Me because sometimes that’s what it feels like to live my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ Have you ever heard of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis? It’s composed as a series of correspondence between two demonic forces - Screwtape, and his nephew Wormwood. The nephew is a rookie demon assigned to a poor, unsuspecting human and his job is to bother the man enough that he never comes to know God, or worse, curses Him altogether. Screwtape is a crusty old veteran and is trying to help his nephew in learning the ways of evil and messing with humans. It’s a classic book that has helped many understand the powers at play in the realm we can’t see, and I have come to believe I have a Wormwood of my own. I understand that not every inconvenient thing that happens to me is the work of evil minions. Just because I crank the side of my finger in the ratchet thingy that tightens the straps when I secure granite to my trailer doesn’t mean the devil did it. Just because I drop a piano on my two big toes like I told you about in episode 16 - I think - the part titled, I Can Do It All By Myself, doesn’t mean Satan waved his hand and caused the piano to fall. Just because I look like an idiot when I try to bust a move doesn’t mean the forces of evil are actively trying to stop the beat. No. Those things simply mean I’m clumsy, stupid, and a terrible dancer. But alas, there is uncanniness afoot, and it happens when I find something I adore. I’ll become enamored with the item and start to desire it with the desire an obsessed man will desire a thing and suddenly, even though I’ve seen it everywhere, it’s gone. Nowhere to be found. Vanished into thin air and as unseen as the whisps of a flatulent butterfly. Okay, most of the time it has to do with food I shouldn’t ought to be eating in the first place, so I suppose one could argue that it’s actually the forces of good that are directing my path. However, since I get so turned upside down about it, I feel better laying the blame on my own moron of a demon, or maybe he’s a genius. In light of that, I believe I’ll borrow from C.S. Lewis and present my own version of correspondence between the teacher and the newbie imp. I’ll call him, Sugar Poot. (I’m sorry, Mama - it’s the first random nickname that popped into my head and it made me laugh out loud in the restaurant. I spit out my tea and got it all over my shirt. Sigh. Thanks a lot, Sugar Poot.) The master bad guy will be Vernon McDirtbag. Here go the conversations I think might take place between them: Dear Uncle Vern, I reckon mama’nem told ya I got my first assignment this week, and I been tryin’ real good to git him to fly off’n the handle. It ain’t workin’, though. I was plannin’ to hurt him right...


Special Christmas 2021 Episode

A Christmas interview with my 8 year old daughter, Merida.


My Perfect Christmas - 072

My Perfect Christmas I told you so. I suspect a few of my regular listeners didn’t believe me when I said I’d be back to Funny Messy Life after a brief hiatus, but here I am. I’ve been gone for a few weeks because it’s hard to find the time to write out full episodes of this podcast when there are other things that I have to do in place of it, like editing the final draft of a novel, which is what has been going on with this last break. But every break has to come to an end at some point, and while I’m not done with editing Mr. Long Said Nothing because my life is too full with obligations, I’ve been thinking it’s time to get back in the podcast saddle. The question was this: Should I jump on back in now, or give myself the rest of the year and jump back in at the beginning of 2022? I mean, it’s only about a week now, right? Then something happened. I received a Christmas card from my friends, the ________, in Minnesota and my heart soared. By the way, _________, I wanted to send you an email to thank you, but I got a fancy pants new iPhone and in the data transfer, I lost your info, so drop me your email address if you don’t mind. Anyway, I decided that if someone who knows me through this podcast feels strongly enough to send me a card, then maybe others of you do too … just maybe not as much as the __________’s because they put that they were my biggest fans right there on the envelope, so …… SO! - without further ado, I’m Michael Blackston and Merry Christmas! Here is the first episode back after my hiatus, and now I present to you, for your holiday pleasure, a few words that describe what I think would be the perfect Christmas in my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ Let us start by jingling all the way back to my childhood in the 1970’s and 80’s to get the family Christmas tree. In. my extended family, we had a tradition. We always met at my grandma’s house on Sunday afternoons for lunch and a few hours of fellowship. The grownups gathered around the kitchen table after the meal, while the kids were expected to go outside and frolick merrily around the property, regardless of whether or not it was 20 degrees, or 150. If it was 150, we came back in at the end of the day with sweaty, gritty dirt lines circling the perimeters of our necks. I may have mentioned before that we called these rings of grime and funk, Granny Beads. If it was twenty degrees outside, we’d still have them, but they’d be frozen into magical frozen filth beads. Either way, the adults would inevitably tell us at the end of the day, after being the very ones to banish us to the hours long whimsy of nature, Y’all smell like the outside! But every year a couple of weeks before Christmas, it was the entire family who got to smell like the outside. Why? Because it was our tradition for everybody to march into the woods together and pick out our Christmas trees from the wild cedars that grew behind Grandma’s house. The men took up their saws, we kids ran untethered through the forest like we didn’t have no good raisin’, and the women kept a keen eye out for the perfect tree when they weren’t yelling at us kids. “Quit runnin’ around like y’all ain’t got no good raisin’!” Every once in a while, one of the young ones would find a tree we wanted to take home. “Let’s git thissun, Deddie!” But it was never the right one. It usually had a huge bare spot in the middle, or the top looked like the Jolly Green Giant had used it to scrape the granny beads out of the creases on his jolly green neck. Eventually, the angels would descent, shining a holy light on the perfect tree, and the man who claimed it would begin the arduous task of cussing it down. Did I say cussing it down? Ha ha, no. Of course not. I meant cutting it down with interesting, and quite colorful words as a way to encourage the saw to stop getting stuck in the sap midway through. Once we got the tree home and decorated, the house smelled delightfully of cedar and burning cedar...


A quick message about the show

I'm taking a short hiatus. I have to finish editing the final draft of my novel, Mr. Long Said Nothing and I can't create podcast content aty the same time, so I'm taking a little break. Don't worry though, I'll be back soon. Love ya, mean it! -- Mike


Diary Of A Rage Monster - 071

Well, I felt really stupid this morning. And then I felt even more stupid around lunch time. And then I felt supremely stupid at the end of the day. Why? Because I was having a bad day. Actually, check that. There was nothing particularly bad about the day. I was having one of those days when it seemed like everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - was out to irritate me. From Atomic Red Studios, located in a secret bunker somewhere in Northeast Georgia, I’m Michael Blackston and sometimes I have days when waking up on the wrong side of the bed is an understatement. The problem is, the stuff that gets under my skin, really shouldn’t. By the end of the day, I can find myself in a ridiculous headspace, and I’m not alone. I’ve seen footage of people just like me. One young man at a gas pump got so angry with a door compartment on his motorcycle that when he’d had enough, he reared back to kick it. Luckily for the bike, his friend intervened and wrestled him back from his maniacal discourse before anything bad could happen. So, with a heart of transparency, let’s peek inside the pages of a diary. The diary of a rage monster. _________________________ First, I had gotten up at 4:30 am to get started on a trip to Sumter, SC for work. I’ve been traveling less recently, and I’ve been leaving out the evening before when I do travel, so I can get a good night’s sleep in my hotel room before getting up to etch my fingers to the bone. It’s a nice routine, but Sumter is close enough to where I live that the drive isn’t so bad and I often just get up little before the roosters. I like Sumter. There’s plenty to eat, a movie theater should I decide to drop 80 bucks for a single ticket and concessions, an Air Force base that’s cool to pass by because I can pretend I’m Maverick from Top Gun, except I’m not in my twenties, driving a cool motorcycle, and about to go make out with Kelly McGillis. Other than that, it’s almost identical. And they actually have a Swan Lake in Sumter. They have an actual lake with swans. All that to say there was no reason for me to already be having a bad day not an hour into my commute. Dearest Diary, This morning broke my slumber finding me well in temper. My good wife and the firstborn of my loins, the male child, had been away at concert the previous eve, in the communeship of Buckhead, near the capitol of our fair state of Georgia. I was aware of the late hour they should return and had dressed our second born, a girl child, in her night clothes and bade her pleasant dreams. She went amicably, allowing me the advantage of an early turn-in myself, being that I must wake prior to the crow of the cock. I feared the tally of hours might not be enough for my sleep, but upon waking, I felt refreshed and eager to turn a key to the day and all the promise that lay waiting beyond that mysterious door. The initial hour of my drive was without event, and I dare say the next ones might have followed suit, had my hunger not played the beast and my bladder cried out also. I shall stop, then, I uttered to no one in particular, and led my iron carriage into the next store of convenience. There I found the necessary venue for silencing the cries of my bladder, and though my intent was not to gather food here, for I had seen the golden sign ahead that told me the time was Bo and my mouth lathered at the thought of a buttery biscuit stuffed with Cajun filet, I did, indeed, endeavor to procure a vat of cola from the fountain. The fountain brought forth a delicious brown syrup and water mixture in a cascade over a mountain of crushed ice inside my cup, and did so at the mere touch of my finger. My spirits were on high with the aspect of such cold refreshment and soon, I should feel my taste buds seizing, then giving in to the salivatory seduction that is the Cajun filet biscuit with two slices of cheese. Could such rapture be met with foe, and at so early an hour? Surely I would have thought Nay! But alas, fine diary, rock...


Southern Card Declined - 070

I make my home in the Deep South. Northeast Georgia to be exact. I was born and raised here, I love our traditions, I love and respect my mama, I’m proud that there’s a church on every corner, and my rear end is plopped on the couch every Saturday in the fall because behind God and family, college football is king. Go Dawgs. BUT ….. I’m not your typical southern boy. In fact, I spend my days expecting any minute to hear a knock at the door because I’m finally getting the visit from the South-Land Authentication Authority Works, otherwise known as S.L.A.A.W. They’ll be asking me to hand over my southern card. “Ye’uns ain’t from around these parts, ere ya?” “Yes, sir. I was born and raised right here in the Peach State. I like grits!” “Oh yeah? Cooked or instant?” “Instant.” “Hand over that cahhhhhhd!” It’s true. I prefer instant grits to cooked every single time. It’s what I grew up with and I like the taste. I particularly favor the brand with the Quaker guy on the front. That alone isn’t enough to have my southern card revoked, though. I know others - others who prefer to remain nameless - who like instant grits over cooked. One little hiccup in a person’s heritage does not a traitor make. Unfortunately for me, there is a long list of things that traditionally give a southerner their stamp of approval, and I don’t match up with a lot of them. For instance … I don’t like country music. Many of us around here don’t but I get physically ill when I hear most of the stuff coming out of Nashville today. There was a time when I was quite engaged with the country music scene. I worked for two different country music radio stations and during that time in the mid-nineties, I enjoyed it. Now though, my snobbery which emerges from my distaste for poorly written lyrics and cliched creativity has me plugging my ears with closest thing to me, even if that thing is an ice pick, or a chunk of broken glass. I don’t like cornbread.(What?! Say it ain’t so!)It is very much so. I like a corn dog and I can eat my weight in hushpuppies, but don’t ask me to take a bite of an actually by golly piece of cornbread. I’ve tried. Believe me. I just can’t make myself like the texture of it alone. There’s something different about a greasy hush puppy dipped in an ungodly slop of tartar sauce. I tried dipping cornbread into tartar sauce and it’s not the same. While we’re on food, don’t offer me fish of any kind, including fried catfish, bream, or bass.(MMMM, boy! You don’t know what you’re missing out on. Them’s good eatin’.”) I know, but I’m the guy that makes it necessary to have the alternative chicken strips at every fish fry. You might be thinking,Well I don’t have chicken at MY fish fries.And that’s fine. Just don’t invite me, because I ain’t coming. Neither me, nor my wife will eat anything that comes from the water. Again, we’ve both tried. It all tastes like fish and we hate the taste of fish. But Tilapia doesn’t have that fishy taste. Yes it does. We’ve tried it. But Mahi Mahi tastes more like chicken than fish. YOU SIT ON A THRONE OF LIES!!! And while we’re still on the topic of food, I eat my fried chicken with a fork.(Fried chicken, suh, is to be eaten with your hands.)Well, good for you. I don’t like the smell chicken flesh leaves on my fingers and it’s super hard to get that smell off. Collard greens? No thank you. Eggs.(Boy- I say BOY! Is there gon’ be anything on this list what don’t belong in the food pyramid?!)I’m starting to see your point. Other than country music so far, it’s all been about my finicky palette. Still, eggs are a staple of breakfast and I can’t stand to even smell them being cooked. I’ll eat them on occasion as long as they’re really well scrambled and have a whole block of cheese mixed into them. Otherwise, keep them away from me. Even my sister, who loves eggs, will go to the trouble to get the “wiggie” out of every egg she cracks before doing anything to it. I shouldn’t have to explain what...


Twas The Night Before Dentist - 069

You want to know what having ten teeth extracted at once will do for you? It will make you long for your happy place, that’s what it’ll do for you. I’ve made no secret that I’ve had some pretty major dental issues and I’ve been transparent about it. Why hide it? It’s part of who I am. And now, my dental issues have come to a head in a way that required drastic action. I had to get a denture plate for my top teeth. In the long run, it’ll be a good thing. As a matter of fact, I’m already reaping the benefits because I now have an attractive smile, but the hours leading up to E-day were stressful. What, exactly, is E-day? That’s what I’m going to tell you about. I’m Michael Blackston. Strap yourself in if teeth-related stuff bothers you, because that’s the town we’re going to visit from my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ E-day for me was August 16, 2021. The “E” stands for “extraction”, so Extraction Day! … not a day in your calendar where you would expect to plan a cookout, or exchange gifts, or sing happy songs about the joys of getting cavities. Oh the rot in your mouth is frightfuuuullllll! Oddly enough, I trust my dentist in the area of comfort to the point that I didn’t feel a ton of trepidation about it. Maybe I just pushed the thought to the back of my mind with other topics like paying overdue taxes and asking forgiveness for buying another microphone without running it by my wife. Whatever the reason, I didn’t think about it until it started getting closer to the day. For one thing, I had already had to reschedule it once. I had made a plan with another dentist. I was still going to get the teeth extracted, but instead of a denture plate, I was going to go for the more expensive snap-in implant prosthetic plate. I told myself I was too young to have dentures, and I have a friend who got the snap-ins and loves them. Being a performer, I was concerned that I might be in the middle of an awesome rendition of Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera and my teeth would fly out of my mouth unexpectedly, poking Christine Daae in the eye, and sliding down her face cartoon-like in a trail of spit and Cheezit crumbs from the snack I’d had right before the show. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my wallet, when I went to the dentist the Friday before my first scheduled E-day to pay for everything early so I didn’t have to worry about that with a numb mouth dripping spit, and blood, and Cheezit crumbs from the snack I’d had just before the appointment, I found out that particular dental office was being run by drunk monkeys. They didn’t have anything together, so I told them to forget it. I’d go somewhere else. After talking to several people who wore regular dentures, and being assured of the quality of suction available nowadays, not to mention the expense if half that of the snap-ins, I became convinced that a regular denture plate was the way to go. So I made an appointment with a former dentist I trusted. I mention all of that to say that I was just ready to get it done, and that might have contributed to my peace before going in. As the days drew nigh, though, the reality of what I was about to have done began to hit me. Snap-ins or not, it didn’t matter. Either way, those teeth had to come out. People asked me a lot of questions the closer I got to E-day ... They gon’ put you to sleep? No. They said they’d give me gas, but to put me to sleep would be more expensive and was something I’d have to have done elsewhere. It was too many steps. Won’t insurance cover that? I don’t know. I don’t have insurance because a self-employed man with dental insurance is rare. Dental insurance for a self-employed person requires $30,000 a month and selling your soul to Satan. So they ain’t gon’ put you to sleep for that? See my answer to the first time you asked me that. And by the way, this line of questioning isn’t making me feel any better about it. Can I have one of them Cheezits? As it...


Getting Old Is Getting Old - 068

It’s refreshing to be able to find a place to rest from a road trip and ease my mind from the perpetual gray asphalt desert that the interstate can be. There was a time in my career when I could hit the road at 3 am and keep moving till I got where I was going, no matter how far the destination, with the exception of bathroom and food stops. But I’m getting older by the minute, and I can’t make my trips as easily without taking a break. No duh, right? Every minute that passes, you’re another minute older, Captain obvious! It’s just that I used to be able to ignore it. I can’t ignore it anymore. I seem to be falling apart - something my younger self was warned about, but I pushed away from my mind because that was in The Future … Well now I’m coming to terms with the reality that my body has its own agenda. It wants to call it quits. It’s my body’s grand scheme to rot like that bag of salad you said you were going to eat, but then threw to the back of the refrigerator and forgot about. That salad got soft. Things turned colors they weren’t intended to turn. There is a smell coming off it that causes you to make a certain kind of stink face and when you finally take it out to throw it away, you exclaim, “That’s OLD!” From Atomic Red Studios in the heart of Granite Country, I’m Michael Blackston, and while some of you might still call me a youngun at the age of 48, I‘m not feeling it anymore. Let’s get acquainted with some of the things that are flashing bright red as a great big warning sign in my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ The first thing a doctor would tell me is that my biggest issue is my diet and exercise habits, or lack thereof. Dear old doc would explain that of course I wake up feeling like Mr. Magoo after he’s been run over by a dump truck hauling a ton of broken wheelchairs and walkers. When a person goes to bed at night after eating a family sized frozen lasagna and three Little Debbie Fudge Rounds, that person will naturally wake up with the sensation that they got too close to the cars of a Tilt-A-Whirl and all of the passengers were contestants on The Biggest Loser. Add to the fact that the last time I engaged in any sort of real, regular exercise, I was unable to grow facial hair, and there’s the answer. I know I haven’t helped my cause over the years, but my body still hates me. And I think that even if I ran five miles a day and ate only tofu and broccoli, the things I’m about to mention would still be going on. Let’s start with my teeth. I’ve mentioned before what a nightmare my smile is. I could be the grinning poster boy for horror movies, but theatres would never allow it because people would be too disgusted after looking at it to buy popcorn. My teeth started crumbling in my twenties and never looked back. For a while, I was able to fix my smile with veneers. Very expensive veneers, I might add. Thanks to my dad, I was able to put off the inevitable for a while, but because my teeth have always been weak, even that decayed after a while, and now the inevitable is at the door. At this writing, I’m eight days from getting dentures. I’m still having trouble with the thought of it. It’s not the extractions of the bad teeth that are left. I can handle that. It’s the fact that I’m having to get DENTURES! At least for right now, it’s only the upper teeth that have let me down. The bottoms are getting crowns. Again, an expensive endeavor. I’ve always been a singer, and that’s what I’m most worried about. I haven’t know anything but singing since I was four or five years old. I recently had an … episode … while I was traveling and had too much time to think while the gray desert loomed ahead of me. I began to think about what life would be like if my new upper plate restricted me from singing or speaking. I love my visual art, but if you asked me which activities mean the most to me, it wil be first leading worship at church, followed by performing on stage. And guess what? DING DING...


My Jesus Shirt - 067

The older I get, the more I realize Mama was right … Your mouth can get you in trouble. Actually, the older I get, the more I realize Mama was right about a whole lot of things, and I try to implement the lessons I’ve learned as much as I possibly can. Take my chickens, for example. They’re always hatched before I count them. Well, they’re mostly hatched. My chickens are sometimes hatched before I count them. On occasion. Occasionally, I will wait to count only the hatched chickens. Once in a blue moon. Maybe it’s obvious I’m hard headed. And I have a mind that doesn’t always run my words through a filter, so I have to be careful about what comes out of my mouth. That’s why I have a shirt that I bought at the World of Wally to help me remember who I am. I’m a Christian and I should behave like one. My shirt says Team Jesus across the chest. When I’m wearing it, I feel like I’m getting a little extra mental discernment before I speak because people can see before I open my pie hole, what they ought to expect from me. But it can have its disadvantages too, and that’s the subject of this episode. From Atomic Red Studios in Northeast Georgia, I’m Michael Blackston and this is Funny Messy Life. _________________________ "So if you’re a Christian, what are the disadvantages of wearing a Jesus shirt?" It’s just what I said … People have immediate expectations based on what they know about Jesus. The word “Christian” actually means, Little Christ. We’re supposed make our best efforts to represent that name and His teaching. We are to try to be as much like Jesus as we can. I believe a person’s best witness is how they are seen in the eyes of other people. So, if you’re mouthy, like I am, and if you have a hard time filtering your thoughts before you spit them out MO-ron style, like I do, it can set a bad example if you’re misbehaving while wearing a shirt with Jesus brandished across the chest. Yes, it does help me to think more deeply about how I behave, but when I DO mess up, there I am with the name of the Son of God emblazoned for all to see. It’s a good thing, but it can be dangerous if you’re not careful. I know what I should and shouldn’t do or should and shouldn’t say according to my belief system, but I’m not perfect. There’s going to be something that I stumble over and somebody else might see that and start thinking, Not only is he a MO-ron, but he’s a hypocritical MO-ron. That doesn’t mean I’m going to play it safe though, and not wear my Team Jesus shirt. I have faith and it’s a discipline I need in my life anyway. It doesn’t escape me, however, that this would be a really boring piece if I left it there sitting in a puddle of psychological self-awareness and potential piety. Instead, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking, Michael, please give me an example. There MUST be some situations you can think of - some mental packet of mayonnaise you could squeeze onto the meat of this sweet, sweet literary burger. And you’d be right. In fact, that’s a good place to start. With condiments. Imagine I walk into a dingy diner where the walls are covered with people’s names written in Sharpie. This place has been a staple of this tiny town in the middle of Alabama since Columbus sailed the ocean blue. I deem this land the property of England and I shall endeavor to befriend the natives, teaching them the proper way to live and also the way to die if they don’t agree to the way I teach them to to live. And also, if I want what they have, but they refuse to give me it. I shall teach them how to die then as well. But first, we shall build dingy diners so fellow sojourners might scribe their names onto the walls with their quills whilst dipping fried potatoes into a paste deriven from the tomato plant! There’s no such word as “deriven”, sir. I claim it for England! What if I would like to dip MY fried potatoes into a paste made from the tomato plant, but when I go to tear a small corner of the packet, it catches...


Take This Job And Shove It - 066

Today, I’ll tell you that I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m blessed to get to do what I do for a living, and although the road getting here was long and winding, frequently taking turns onto dark and unfamiliar lanes, I can definitely track God’s plan. Some of those lanes got bumpy though, and those were never long. I’m going to tell you about a road along my career path that only lasted a couple weeks, and one that only lasted a few months, but both share a single common fact … I was not cut out for them. I’m Michael Blackston and at the time of this writing, the country is going through a new pandemic called an employee shortage, which is what prompted me to tell you a few new stories about my own work history during my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ Like I said, at this writing, the United States has a huge problem. Nobody wants to work because they’re getting free unemployment money from the government. There are two types of people in this scenario … Those who are willing to work because they can and have enough integrity, self-worth, and, by glory, intelligence to know that a society needs its people to pull their weight. Those who COULD work, but instead will ride this wave of political stupidity, with their lips suckled firmly around the government teat, as long as their fat, lazy, sorry, no-good, trashy selves can ……… not that I’m judging. I do understand that there are those who legitimately require government assistance to survive for whatever reason. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about the mush-brained, crawled out from under a rock, scum of the earth, pond scum that have no excuse, and have brought the country to a halt because they refuse to go back to work until they have to. They know who they are, and they don’t care. But that’s not even what I wanted to talk about here. And now that my rant is over, I can get back to the stories that are adorable little islands in the middle of Lake Me. The problem with my work history is that I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, I’ve always wanted to work for myself, largely because I get a lot more done when I’m the boss of me than when someone else is the boss of me. That’s why until I found etching, I never stayed at one place for more than 2 years. I can’t remember for sure, but that might be the amount of time I worked for the Walmart portrait studio in the mid 1990s. It wasn’t the worst job I ever had, but I didn’t really enjoy it, especially when it came to the selling part. I was working there when I got married and I began to think that I needed to make more of an income than the weekly block of cheap, moldy cheese and half bag of oats it felt like that job paid me. My stepdad was working for a motorcycle place in town and there was an opening, so he put in a good word for me. It was all commission sales, but the potential to make a better income was there, so I took the opportunity and quit blowing bubbles to make babies smile. It was also nice to not have to take the same photos every month for a woman that kept coming in to try and get headshots, but always made this wide-eyed extreme face like Dracula if you open his coffin in the daylight and he’s naked. There was an inherent problem with me selling motorcycles, though. For one to adequately and effectively sell motorcycles, it helps to actually know something about motorcycles. I mean even one thing would be nice. I knew then, and pretty much still do now, exactly zero things about motorcycles. I think they’re cool and all, but I’m afraid of them. Moreover, I’m afraid of the lack of respect a lot of other drivers have for them. When a potential customer came in and I had to try to sell them this metal horse with the potential of untold power they could wield under them, I had nothing to give. Actually, the power was very much told. I just didn’t know the details. And the customer could tell it immediately. That job was horrible for me because I realized at...


The Ugly Dutchling - 065

I’ve been toying with some ideas about new kinds of stories to tell you. Originally, I thought I could get listeners to send in tales about their own funny, messy, lives because, let’s face it, I’m getting older, but I haven’t lived forever. I’m gonna eventually hit a wall and there won’t be much left to tell about my life. I’m starting to see that wall in the distance and I’m not ready to stop running my mouth. Pair that with the fact that nobody seems to want me to tell their stories and I have to start figuring out where my content is gonna come from in the long run. Then it hit me … every town in the world, from the biggest to the smallest, has interesting stories. I don’t want to dive into folklore too much - the podcast LORE by Aaron Menke does that just fine already. I don’t want to give an interesting history in the lives of famous people - the podcast The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe accomplishes that extremely well, thank you very much, and Mike’s got one of those amazing, deep voices that’s so buttery, Paula Deen would toss it in one of her recipes if she could. I recommend both of those podcasts highly, by the way, and I never miss an episode. But I realize that I could tell interesting stories whenever I come across them that seem to be at the heart of a place, and I came to that realization when I found myself reading a pamphlet from my own hometown, Elberton Georgia. It’s a story rich with history, brotherhood, southern pride, and some drunken shenanigans peppered in. This is the story of Dutchy. I’m Michael Blackston and while it might not be my own tale, it is a good one to tell about my own hometown’s Funny, Messy, Life. If you know anyone who works in the granite monument business, ask them if they’ve heard about a small town in Northeast Georgia who claims to be The Granite Capital of the World. They’ll say you’re talking about Elberton, Ga, named after Samuel Elbert, whose grave you can find in one of the famous old cemeteries in Savannah. We believe ourselves to be the number one supplier of granite in the world and if you argue about it, well … them’s fightin’ words. Sometimes people will ask how our little town got involved in the monument industry in the first place, and the story might surprise you. It starts, oddly enough, with an ugly, squat statue that everybody hated from the moment they laid eyes on it. It was 1908. His name is Dutchy. That wasn’t his name, originally. He didn’t have a name, originally. He got his name the way a lot of us have - meanness and the need people feel to put words to an emotion. Some kids get tagged with nicknames like, Stinky, Booger, Slim, or Back Seat Bertha … Dutchy got his name because of the way he looked. Those details are on their way. The American Civil War had ended 30 years earlier and the Daughters of the Confederacy wanted to erect a monument to the Confederate dead. I’m not really sure what Elberton did before then, but I’m pretty sure a lot of folks plowed the land, farmed the land, and made babies on the land. The monument industry wasn’t even a blip on the radar, which hadn’t been invented yet, so maybe I should change that to The monument industry wasn’t even a footnote in the Farmer’s Almanac. Anyway, when the Daughters of the Confederacy moved on getting the monument made, the first granite finishing plant in Elberton was created for that purpose alone. Later, that finishing plant would stay in business and become the first in a succession of granite sheds that dot Elberton’s landscape like God was holding a bunch of sheds in His hands because He wanted to carry them all into the house without having to make two trips, but there were too many, and He dropped a few in North east Georgia. A sculptor was commissioned to carve a statue out of the gray granite that runs forever under our feet. If you’ve ever heard of Stone Mountain just outside of Atlanta, it might interest you that what that huge piece of rock amounts to is an obnoxiously...


Bad Decisions - 064

As a whole, I’m happy about how my life has turned out so far. Hopefully, there is plenty more left of my story, but you never can tell. We live second by second, and minute by minute. I first learned about life in that context through Rick Springfield’s epic eighties ditty, Love Is Alright Tonight from his Working Class Dog album. That album is one of the things in my life I do not regret. My sister and I sang that song at the tops of our lungs while the LP played on her stereo before karaoke was a thing, and those are happy memories. The pattern on life’s wallpaper is not always pleasing, though. Sometimes you sit back in your chair, staring at the stains and faded designs that mark the walls of your life and you think, “That part wasn’t pretty. Or smart. Or made any sense at all, you complete moron.” It’s the complete moron marks of my history that I want to talk about now. The ones that were made in permanent marker. You can’t erase them because if you could, there wouldn’t be anything there to remind you not to be that stupid ever again. From Atomic Red studios in the heart of the Deep South where God would have placed Eden to begin with if it hadn’t been so stinkin’ hot in the summer, I’m Michael Blackston and these are things NOT to do that I’ve learned during my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ Starting from earliest to most recent, I will tell you a couple of things I’ve learned never to do, ever, for the love of all that is pure and holy, ever. Maybe you have the stomach of a goat. Perhaps your bowels are able to tolerate things like the Carolina Ghost Pepper, the mayonnaise at a county fair, and dudes over 30 singing emo music, without it putting your body in a state of incapacity. If that’s you, then congratulations. Enjoy the fair and grab yourself a turkey leg right before getting on The Scrambler. In fact,,,,,,, that reminds me of a disgusting thing that happened to my while riding The Tilt-A-Whirl with my cousin who did stupidly stupid things with me. And now I’ve made a note in my Stories-To-Tell app for this podcast/Blog/thingy. I don’t have that kind of intestinal fortitude, though. I can hold my own under normal circumstances, but when you introduce conflicting delicacies from the culinary world, as delicious as they may be separately, or in concert with their kind, my body will protest. It will say, “Nay! Thou shalt not combine these two things, you complete moron!” I found this out the hard way when I was somewhere around 18 or 19 years old. Part of the issue i have, being mildly Obessive Compulsive, is that everything has to balance. I’m uncomfortable with odd numbers, so as a younger man, it never occurred to me that I could eat just one of anything and make it out of the day alive. Enter my mom’s burgers, fried on the stove, greasy and perfect. I always ate two of them covered in two slices of cheese each, and lousy with mayonnaise. On this evening, I remained true to my ritual, but it was also the Christmas season and my mom had bought some eggnog at the grocery store. I love eggnog. I don’t much care for eggs prepared by themselves in any way, except for scrambled, and even then there better be a 2 to 1 cheese to egg ration. I’m cool with them as an ingredient, though. If I can’t taste the edginess of it all, it’s fine. I especially like it as a nog. And being that I wanted to enjoy some nog as a postlude to my cheeseburger feeding frenzy, and being mildly Obsessive Compulsive, I down two large glasses of the stuff immediately following supper. It didn’t happen for a while. It would have been nice if my stomach had given me some notice so I could mentally prepare myself for what was to come … Hey, buddy! I don’t want to alarm you ‘er nothin’, but later, you’re gonna regret what you just did there. I’m just giving you a heads up because this isn’t going to be a minor inconvenience. Nossir, this here is gonna be something you’ll tell your grandkids about. It’s going to be so...


Questions For God - 063

I don’t want to be one of those old men that constantly gripe about stuff because I’m just generally mad. I like to think I have a positive outlook most of the time, but I’m no different from anybody else in that I have my days. Even when I’m putting together a piece for the podcast, I at least give it an honest shot at putting a light, humorous spin on things if I’m complaining. There are some things though, that no matter how happy I’m feeling at the moment, no matter how full of flavor my crunch berries were that morning, no matter how much Ram I currently have in my Rama Lama Ding Dong, I will always hate them with every tiny, sinuous fiber of my being. I’m going to tell you what those things are and why, even though I respect and fear God to the uttermost, I’ll have a few questions for Him when I get to Heaven. From Atomic Red Studios in the Granite Capitol of the World, I’m Michael Blackston, and this is a thought provoking episode of Funny Messy Life _________________________ (The following is a pre-enactment. It’s how I think things are gonna go down once I’m comfortably in my heavenly mansion, which is inside a 24 hour Krispy Kreme, and God drops by to see how I’m settling in.) (Cue the music.) (There’s a knock at the door.) ME: Who is it? GOD: It’s God. (Pause) I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. (God howls with laughter.) Not really. (Longer pause.) It IS really God, though. I saw that the light was on. ME: OH! Sorry! Come in. GOD: This is niiiiice. You know, I’ve always remembered fondly on the day I created the doughnut, but all anybody ever appreciates is that chicken place. And they don’t even know how to spell “chicken”, ha! ME: I for one, am a fan of the doughnut. I’m glad You made that happen. GOD: Well, I saw that it was good. ME: God, can I ask You a question? GOD: Sure. ME: Promise you won’t get mad. Because I don’t mean any disrespect; I’m just curious. GOD: I’m not mad now, Am I? I already know what you want to ask Me anyway. ME: You do? How … ? Oh, yeah. The conversation will continue over fresh glazed doughnuts and coffee … (sorry Mormons, but God drinks coffee), and he answers my questions satisfactorily. Because He has His reason for everything; I just won’t understand them entirely until I get up there. With that in mind, I’m going to post the questions and answer them with the explanation that I believe, in my imperfect flesh, might be God’s reasoning. And because God has a cameo in this episode, and He already knows what my questions are, I’ll let Him ask them for me. Question #1. GOD: Mosquitoes are food for bats, but fire ants? What’s that about? Fire ants are a direct punishment for God for the fall of man when Adam and Eve bit that fruit. The Bible is extremely detailed - astonishingly so, but it doesn’t contain everything that was ever said by every character in it. I won’t add to the words of The Bible, but I’m certain that among the things God was explaining would be a punishment for going ahead and eating the apple He specifically told them not to nosh, He included that curse. “Survey says, ….. Fire Ants! How do you like THEM apples?!” Do we even have Aardvarks in the American south? I’m sure they’re a delicacy for some animal. Armadillos maybe? They kinda look like an Aardvark wearing sheet metal. It’s the only thing I can think of as a decent reason for fire ants. Food for Armadillos and a curse on the face of mankind to be endured through the ages by barefoot picnickers and anyone who dares walk anywhere in any grass anytime in the Deep South. Hate is a strong word - a terrible word. We don’t use it nonchalantly in our home, but I hate fire ants. Kayla won’t let me set the mounds on fire, but I often fantasize about what it sounds like as they die their tiny little devil deaths when they take the ant bait back to the queen. I imagine the squeals of agony and cries in the dark as they leave this earth to spend forever in...


A Day In The Life Of An Ape - 062

I have a laundry list of insecurities that keep me in a perpetual state of uncertainty. Uncertainty about whether or not the last thing I sang was on key, uncertainty about whether or not the last thing I wrote was up to par, uncertainty about whether or not the last thing I painted or etched would cause the viewer to retch and look for the closest bush. I even worry about the sound of my own voice because it never fails that I’m addressed as “Ma’am” at a drive-thru, no matter how deep I try to make my voice to avoid it. Just as I sat down to write this, my son sent me a text. And I quote: “Well, McDonalds just ‘yes ma’am’d me. So this is how that feels?” The two of us sound a lot alike when we talk, so I’m afraid he has a life full of annoying drive-thru lanes ahead of him. One of the ways I’ve always combatted being insecure around people has been to mirror their personalities. There’s a word for this that crossword filler-outers everywhere will recognize. It’s called “Aping”. For the most part, the ability to mimic a person’s personality has been a good thing for me, because the result is that I’m able to get along with almost anybody, but it’s never on purpose. It just happens, and I’m always afraid someone’s gonna notice it and call me out. “So there I was, minding my own business, when all of a sudden that hag comes out her front door and hollers for me to get off her lawn, like I’m the only one that digs up the neighbor’s flowers!” I reply with, “Giiiiirrrrrl, no she DIT-INT!” I’m not thinking about it. It’s just a knee-jerk reaction. But now, my neighbor thinks I’m on her side, and I really can’t say anything to her as she walks away from my bare rose bushes with three dozen long stems in her basket. That’s an exaggeration; I don’t have rose bushes, but you get it! I’ve decided that to make my point even stronger, I should dramatize a day in the life of an ape like me. Maybe it’ll help you get to know me a little better and to understand that the struggle is real. From Atomic Red Studios, I’m Michael Blackston, and this is a reflection, so to speak, of my Funny Messy Life. _________________________ The alarm rings to signify the beginning of a new day. I don’t feel like I got enough sleep last night, but I have a schedule to keep, so I go to the bathroom, then take a look at myself in the mirror and sigh in disgust. “Dang. Just dang.” I try to cheer myself up with a joke because I think I’m clever. “Time to scratch my rocks.” I laugh at myself. I’m not clever, but that joke never gets old. Once I’m out the door, headed to pick up whatever rock I’m actually gonna scratch, I know that I have to detour in the direction of coffee. Unfortunately for the drive-thru attendant, the last thing I watched before going to bed last night was MasterChef, and one of the hosts of that show is Gordon Ramsay. Can I take your order? Yes, I want you to make me the most amazing medium cup of coffee. Cream and sugar? Ah … cream, my darling. 6 to be precise, but no sugar. You can toss one phenomenal packet of Splenda in the bag, along with a stirring straw. $1.75. Pull around. This had better be a delicious cup of coffee, my darling, otherwise, what am I even doing here? Ordering coffee. Ordering coffee. You just don’t get it, do you? Wow. Wow wow wow! The coffee is fine, giving me no excuse to shove it back through the window, shouting, “LOOK AT IT!” I need to put gas in the tank before moving on, so I pull into a station. At the pump adjacent to me, there’s a teenager who helped me with a theatre set at some point or another. How are you, Julie? (We’re just gonna call her Julie, because I don’t want to use the actual names of any of the other young ladies who’ve helped me with sets over the years.) OMG, I’m totally doing awesome! How are you? (Here it comes) I’m totes awesome, too! Hecka busy, though. Right?! It’s like somebody turned on a busy faucet and totally forgot to turn it off! Right?! Right?! Totes...