Matches and Surveys

“So, you really want to get back into World of Warcraft?” I asked, somewhat taken aback by my friend’s regression into geekdom.

“Absolutely,” Dasad said in between sips of a chestnut praline latte – I swear Starbucks is taking advice from Yankee Candle in their choice of holiday blends. “Look you need something to occupy your free time outside of grading . . . mole tests or whatever the hell you teach in chemistry. MMOs are the perfect outlet.”

I nodded. The last week before my school closed for the Christmas break had proven . . . stressful, so much so that I considered stealing away around noon for a several pints of spiked nog. The mounting terror of children, emails, ungraded labs, January’s midterms, cloying principals, overbearing parents and those last-minute quizzes that you thought would provide an easy grade but . . . ah, the to-do list sought to smother my sanity. Only with three o’clock bell did the anxiety begin to drain away like poison from a wound leaving me exhausted and with a slight migraine.

I had met with Dasad hours later for drinks and coffee, confessing my near panic attack and utter thankfulness for the Christmas season.

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Hydra“Dude, I’m thinking about . . . kinda getting into Magic again.”

Dasad paused the game, his beefy in-game character frozen while carving the body of a subterranean orc-mercenary. High-res blood and brain-matter splattered the screen, proof of the game’s ‘M-rating’ and hundred-billion weekend sales. He stared at me, his eyes screaming silent chords of betrayal and disbelief as if I had confessed to operating a meth-lab in my spare time . . . and refusing to split the profits.

“Why . . ?” he stammered. “Why would you play again willingly? I thought you were going to register on eHarmony with me . . . well, not WITH with me, but . . . you know, figuratively cruise for potential female life-mates on a digital frontier?”

“Well, Magic doesn’t prevent any of that.”

“Unless you plan on lying on your questionnaire, it does. Face it, you’re mutant-bait.”

“Maybe, but role-playing strategy games cannot hurt my love-life any worse than ’33-years-old and still living with parents,'” I remind him. “Or my dream of owning my own house to solely to store my extensive comic book collection . . .”

“. . . and Japanese porn . . .”
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Irish Sisters Make Excellent Assassins

The Irish Flag“So which one are you again?” the young girl asked cutting a piece of ice cream cake with her fork.  The rest of Bree’s friends sitting on the asphalt looked up from their desserts and smiled.  Over the years most of the family has grown accustomed to questions of this sort.  All big families must suffer similar interviews: What’s your number in line?; Were you born before or after Sean?; How many years apart are you guys?  Luckily I developed my own patented response for situations like these.

“Murph, I’m Brigid’s oldest brother.  Eldest and best looking of the bunch.”

“Yeah right . . .” Bree mumbles her mouth full of cake.  “More like a hairy sasquatch.”

Bree has developed her own counter-response apparently.  Brilliant. Continue reading

A Strange Evolution

Kevin made a startling discovery this morning at the orthodontists office, while perfect strangers probed and prodded his gums.  As the doctors adjusted his braces, my brother listened absently to the nearby, offering an occasional grunt to the nurse’s questions.  I sat outside in the waiting room reading, my mouth comfortably free of fingers and metal implements.

“Did you hear the radio, Murph, while you were waitin’?” he asked me afterwards.

“Only the ‘Tiny Dancer’ song,” I answered.  The local oldies stations maintained a robust playlist of about ten or twenty songs comprising solely of half-a-dozen Elton John singles, a few scattered Guns N’ Roses covers, and Don McLean’s ‘American Pie,’ repeated usually once an hour. Continue reading


The last line of the digital notice Pat and Tiff sent me prior to our blind double date read “have an open mind and no expectations.” I think that this was Tiff’s way of trying to assuage my fears and rising anxiety about the whole dating-process.

Dating and I are like oil and vinegar. We rarely mix well and end up tasting really bland on the dinner table over iceberg lettuce. Years ago, my first date involved the sister of a friend in college, who I only briefly knew, and judging by our short unappealing conversations, my friend thought that we might make a good couple. Though disaster hung about my head like a guillotine, I agreed after some persuasion, if anything for the sake of curiosity about the whole dating-process. I had witnessed individuals dating before – mostly on TV and in comic books – and I thus wondered if the ritual truly reflected the fun and excitement of these examples.

The short answer was “No.” “Please Lord, let this night end,” would provide an even longer but still pretty accurate answer. After picking up the girl, whose name I remember incorrectly as Alice, we drove off to a flick and some dinner afterwards. Alice knows little about movies, cares little about them, and possessed the personality of a clam. Every “Have you seen any good flicks this year?” or “Hey, what do you think about those previews? Anything look interesting?” or “How’s classes going? Have you decided on a major?” seemed to only draw her even further into a vegetative state. Now albeit I probably was a little annoying, trying every conversation topic possible to provoke . . . a pulse or two, yet nothing seemed to pry open her shell until I asked about music.

Apparently Alice loved David Matthews Band, to whom I occasionally listened on the radio, “Ants Marching” being a popular song at the time. Alice seemed to ready to stalk the man, citing every visit DMB made to the East Coast, which ironically enough coincided with various roadtrips she and her friends had made over the last few years. She knew every single, every band-member, every instrument, and CD cover. Over the few hours I nearly drowned in data about Matthew’s eating habits, dental records, and how if those bastards at the cleaners used less starch his clothes would not rip off so easily. It was around this time that I noticed the colorful necklace she wore and fingered while speaking seemed threaded with a plaid polyester dress-shirt.

The level of obsession here scared me, yet any attempts to change the subject met with a cold glare and gloomy silence for the rest of the evening. Later the following Monday, we exchanged brief pleasantries about the evening and I wished her well in her studies, almost afraid to broach another subject. A week later, my friend told me that Alice had decided to try homosexuality for awhile. Even now, I never found out whether he was joking or not.

PS: In the end Saturday’s double date ended quite well. We all enjoyed ourselves albeit after a surprising turn of events at the Belmont Stakes (Pat and I were hyped for a Triple Crown victory). Even the 104 degree temperature which left us sticky and slow, gave me ample reason to break my no-coffee rule with a mint java chip frappaccino. Mmmm . . . nothing says summer like sweet chocolate drinks and shattered New Year’s resolutions.

Digital soul mates

My sister-in-law suggests that I write up a personal description on this blog for dating purposes, to which I am thoroughly opposed. Personally, I never saw much dignity in such stratagems. Personal ads to me are like pinning “For Sale” signs on your forehead for buyers who are given free reign to criticize the peeling paint and giggle at the shoddy workmanship. No, methinks to continue posting random thoughts and stories, topics important to me. However, if you find that sexy, are female, and were born between1980 and 1985, then feel free to drop me an email.

Katie on a whim just recently signed onto an online dating service for young people with faith;, I believe is the name. Usually I avoid online dating sites, preferring my love life to reside in the 3-D realm: face to face and with as few masks as possible. Being quite foolish and odd by nature, I feel obliged to provide my date some level of honesty, which online sites always mar in some way, being easier to remain forthright with a live person than a computer screen.

Yet religious sites frighten me all the more, though not for any intrinsic conflict with my faith. To me any dating or matchmaking service centered on any religion, philosophy, club, or cult make me uncomfortable, as if haunted by some ghostly spoken mantra: “Come join us. Be with us. Breed with us.” Of course, one might simply argue that possessing similar values and beliefs is the foundation to any successful relationship, to which I would grudgingly agree, though I’m still not drinking the Kool-aid.

Anyway Katie signed onto a free account, whose main objective was to wet the appetite with a few stud-ly Catholic guys so that you fork over money to activate a real account and thus obtain addresses and phone numbers to these religiously-minded and hopefully lonely hunks. Jokingly she filled out the questionnaire with such entries as “. . . and I love drinking Pina Coladas, walking on the beach, and getting caught in the rain.” Overnight my lil’ sister found three guys who took an interest in her (or her memory for song lyrics): a father of three in Michigan, a 40-year-old guy in Ohio, and Jose who lives in Ecuador.

“What’s with all the old guys?” Katie shouted, after the third guy, Jose, asked if she liked to travel.

“I wish you’d stop visiting that site,” our Mom would call from the kitchen, “What kind of late 30-yr-old guy would hit on a 22 year-old girl? That Catholic site is full of dirty old perverts.” I’ll be sure to mention that to our pastor this Sunday.

Not wishing to be left out on this considerably robust dating market, I repented of my former provincial opinions and signed up for my own dating account. The opening screen showed a few pictures of beautiful young Catholics, smiling like sharks to a young guppy. A few more clicks later and I found myself stumbling over an appropriate opening line. Sheesh, what do you say to a bunch of sex-deprived Catholic singles? “Hello” came to mind, as did several other witty bits of blasphemy, but I decided with “Hey everybody, how are you doing?” until I could test out the humor-levels of my fellow singles.

Scanning through the other intros, I saw that most of the female members possessed about as much imagination as I did, “Hi” being the most numerous. Only one honestly answered that conjuring up an opening line for a Catholic singles site seemed pretty ridiculous. Personally I would agree. After years of extensive corporal Catholic schooling, I am pretty sure that flirting constitutes as a sin somewhere in the Bible – a fact often lost amongst all the begot-ings in Deuteronomy. Nonetheless, I recall the sharp thwack of ruler on bare skin and the reprimands of Sister Dorthy during our school mixers.

“Too close! Too close! Young men and women should keep a Bible’s distance from one another while dancing!” Her voice resounded off the gym walls like the edicts of the Metronome. Her Bible was the size of the Guttenberg. “Kevin Coolin, if you move another centimeter closer to Ms. O’Bryan I will duct-tape a ruler to your forehead!”

Earlier tonight Katie was surprised to receive among several emails from 50 and 40-yr-olds, an email from someone in DC. Someone young. And single. “Probably, another pervert,” Mom murmured. After several excitable screams, I realized that the site somehow emailed her my stats. We laughed at the absurdity and turned off our computers. So far, I have received no emails myself, which is fine. As I said before, if any of these posts excite you, drop me a line – but for my Mom’s sake no 50-yr-old perverts please.