Growing up my mom used to have this old blue Chrysler with bench seating in the front. My mom is 4’11” so when she moved the seat up, we all had to move up. The AC didn’t work, but she still turned it on in the summer. My face would be three inches from the vents, getting blasted by scalding hot air, and I couldn’t even cry because my tear ducts were dried out.
The most salt that got thrown in my game ever, happened in college at a party at my house on Halloween. I was dressed up as Jack, from Jack in the Box. I even had the ridiculously oversized head.
I was talking with a group of friends holding the Jack in the Box head under my arm and this random blacked out drunk girl confused me with her ex-boyfriend screamed, “You said you loved me!” and slapped me. Everyone at the party stopped. Then she ran off crying.
All the girls stared at me like I was an asshole. The rest of the party they kept asking, “Why is your girlfriend so mad at you?” I kept saying, “I don’t even know her!” They’d say, “Uggghhh. Don’t be like that, you’re just emotional right now.”
I was sitting in the corner pissed and some girl tried to sympathize, “It’s okay. I get into arguments with my boyfriend too.” I looked forward and said, “I don’t know the woman.” She said, “that’s how I feel about my boyfriend because we’ve both changed so much. I feel like I don’t know him, but I do. You’ll work it out. You both love each other.”
I was so mad. Now that’s what I think about every time I go to Jack in the Box. I stare off in a daze, the cashier thinks I’m contemplating what to order, but I’m really just reminiscing about the time I got slapped while wearing a stupid halloween costume.
When my son asks me how we came up with his name, I won’t have a good story for him. I came up with Starlin because Starlin Castro is a baseball player that was on my fantasy team and it sounds like a guy who can play ball. I came up with the middle name Dominic because Dominic was always the cool kid growing up. He had all the newest clothes, wore an earring, had a $50 bill in his Velcro wallet, and was always on a skateboard.
He’d skate by my house and hand me some illegal fireworks, “Here’s some firecrackers. Have fun, but be careful. Listen man, I have to jet.” Then he’d take off. He was always going somewhere. I’d yell, “Where you going Dominic?! I want to go...” Then he’d slowly disappear into the sunset. I knew him, but I wasn’t friends with him. I wanted to be, but I wasn’t. I have so many Facebook friends and zero of them are named Dominic.
My dad is a nut. When my older brother had his first baby, he went off on a rant in the waiting room, “You know, your brother doesn’t automatically get Father’s Day now.” I said, “What are you talking about?”
He said, “He’s not a real dad yet. I’ve been a Dad for 35 years. He’ll only be a few months in. We’re not peers all of a sudden. He doesn’t get to just hop in on my day. He should have to wait ten years. Father’s Day for him should be on a separate day in like October.”
My first car got wrecked because of a hit and run, so for a few months I had to drive a Buick Skyhawk my dad had. Not a Skylark, a Skyhawk. This car was so damn ghetto. It was light blue and the paint was almost completely rusted off the top.
My dad kept two big trash bags full of cans in the back seats, but never recycled them and he wouldn’t let me throw them out. The rattling of the cans made noise every time I made a turn. It was summer and the a/c and radio didn’t work. He also kept a stapler in the car to keep the roof from drooping and hitting your head. Unfortunately, staples don’t stick into the ceiling that well, so every time you got in the car you had to restaple it.
He would try to have normal conversations with me as he stapled the roof, “You going to see mom tonight? Ccchhh. cccchhh. cccchhh.” I said, “what are you doing?” He looked at me confused, “Stapling the roof, what’s it look like?”
I went to a friends party and parked two blocks away. I couldn’t have people see me stepping out of that whip. I ended up hooking up with someone and she asked for a ride home in the morning. I panicked, “you didn’t drive? Maybe someone else here can drive you home. Let me check.” She said, “you’re stupid...just give me a ride.”
We walked to the car for what seemed like an eternity. We finally got to it and she said, “this is your car?” Then I had to explain my situation, “this isn’t my normal car, it’s in the shop. Got into an accident, this guy...he hit me. My other car was way better. The cans in the back aren’t mine, I meant to recycle them, but my dad won’t let me. A/C doesn’t work, but the hot air feels good sometimes, as the coke cans rattled in the back seat like maracas. I pulled over after a few blocks. Almost forgot, if you could push the material from the roof up for a second I can staple it, so it stops hitting your head. You’ll have to staple your side though, I can’t reach it.”
One of the more embarrassing moments in my life happened when we had our baby shower at my sister’s house and I went to use the guest bathroom. I ended up clogging the toilet. I started panicking and ran to the master bathroom to get the plunger. I then had to walk back through the living room full of family and friends holding the plunger as my sister yelled, “oh, hell no you didn’t!!!” I now know how Atreyu felt walking through those statues at Sphinxes’ Gate in “The Neverending Story.”
I’ve never been good at fixing cars, but I wouldn’t want a girl I was dating to know that. One time, a girl I was dating said, “my car was making a funny noise on the way over here.” I said, “pull it into the driveway and I’ll take a look.” She pulled her car up and popped the hood. I said, “turn it off for a second.” I pulled out a wrench and tapped the battery a few times. “Okay, try starting it again.” She started it.
I waived my hands and yelled, “wait, turn it off.” She said, “what is it?” I wiped my hands with a towel and said, “dammit. It’s worse than I thought. You might need a new alternator, or timing belt, maybe even a transmission. The rotors are all out of whack. I’d take it to an auto shop, but don’t mention what I said. I don’t know, it’s hard to tell with all this damn wind blowing. I’m starving, let’s go get something to eat.”
I get impressed by the simplest things in life. I went to this rich guy’s house, nicest place I have ever been in by far. The house was huge, wine cellar that had to have thousands of bottles in it, white marble floors, ridiculous bar area, cigar lounge, $2 million worth of cars, and then he handed me some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out the refrigerator.
Everyone started asking questions about the house. The statues that lit up as torches, the crazy security system with cameras everywhere, then he hit a button and the stove came out of the counter. I interrupted. Wait a minute, “you just keep these Reese’s in the fridge? So simple, yet so amazing. ” Someone said, “out of everything you’ve seen, that is what you’re impressed with?” I said, “yeah, I’m never gonna own a Lamborghini or wine cellar like this guy. But the Reese’s thing I am doing as soon as I get home.”
When Michael Jackson died, there was a lottery you could enter to attend his funeral at the Staples Center. My older brother was the biggest Michael Jackson fan. His wife entered and won two tickets.
But my brother is the kind of guy who never misses work for anything. I called to congratulate him and he said, "thanks, but I can't go. I can’t miss work right now.” I said, “the odds of you even winning were impossible. You have to go.” He said, “I wish I could, but I’m just way too busy.” I said, “Dude, you're not busier than Morgan Freeman, Stevie Wonder, and Kobe Bryant. Even Mariah Carey’s crazy ass is gonna be there.”
Now I get insulted at family parties when he starts dancing to Billy Jean, “you didn’t even go to his funeral. What kind of fan are you. Michael Jackson’s ghost should be moonwalking away from you right now.”
Went to use the big bathroom stall at my office, but when I opened the door a co-worker was sitting on the toilet. I don’t know why, but it full on flung open like a cowboy walking through a saloon door. What made it worse was when I went to grab the door, it had opened so far I actually had to take a step into the stall further violating his personal space. I know it was only a fraction of a second, but the eye contact we made seemed like hours. I reached for the stall door as it ricocheted off the wall and missed with my hand. I just looked down, shook my head, and said, “my bad dude.”
My older brother told me I could call him if I was ever in trouble and he wouldn’t ask any questions. It happened once back in college. My friend hit me up, “I got some THC pills from a guy at work. There’s 15 of them and you can have them.” I didn’t even smoke like that, but they were free. I picked them up and he said, “The guy said just take 1-2 pills.” I got home and my cousin took two. A little later I asked, “You feeling anything?” He said, “nah, not really.”
I left to pick up my friend Gabe to go out that night. I said, “I got these THC pills, but they must be expired because my cousin didn’t feel anything. Let’s just finish the rest. I’ll take 7 and you take 6.” He said cool and we went to Del Taco. I started passing out in the drive-thru. I forgot we even took them. I said, “I don’t know why I’m so tired. You drive.”
Gabe hopped in the driver’s seat, we got our order, and headed towards the freeway. I started eating and looked over. Gabe was making the tacos on his lap, picking out hot sauce out of the bag, and eating like he was at a dinner table. I was like, “that’s cool, we’re eating. Wait…who’s driving?” I look up and I was the highest I had ever been in my life. Outside looked like a video game, like I was inside of Super Mario Brother’s 3. We were about to hit an island, he swerved, and I said, “pull over man.”
It’s like 10:30 PM and we pull over in a business parking lot a few blocks from where I grew up. I turned down the music because for some reason I thought the cops would hear it. I called my brother, “I need you to pick me up.” He said, “Where?” I said, “We’re in a parking lot.” He said, “What? Where?” I said, “there’s a van…and a green tree next to us.” He said, “I don’t know where that is. What the hell are you on?” I got frustrated, “I’m not on anything. There is a white van, a building with a light on, and a tree. Just come get me. I’ll turn up the music so you can hear us.” I didn’t turn up the music. I was so paranoid I stopped eating my tacos because I thought the crunching of the shell was making too much noise.
I don’t know how, but he found us and took us back to his place. Gabe and I start playing pool. He’s double jointed in his shoulders and does this weird trick where he gets a pool cue, goes backwards over his head, under his legs, while holding it with both hands. I forgot he was double jointed and it freaked me out. I thought, “Well, that’s just great. Gabe broke both of his arms because of me and he doesn’t even know it. I’m going to bed.”
I may have a tendency to overreact in small situations. I went to the cafe below my work and ordered a taco salad. They gave it to me and I started walking back to the office. I opened it up and there was no lettuce. Just chips, salsa, meat, and sour cream. Which is basically nachos, but there wasn’t even cheese. So they couldn’t be nachos. No one orders nachos and says, “hold the cheese.” Then you’re just ordering chips asshole.
I was confused. Maybe they changed it and there’s no lettuce now, but then it’s not a salad either. I lifted up the meat with a chip and saw four strands of lettuce. Then I thought, maybe they cut back on the amount of lettuce and hid it under the meat. Why should I have to dig through meat and search for lettuce? I asked my co-worker at the elevator and she said, “there should be lettuce, go back and get some.”
I started walking, but then I realized I don’t want to be the guy I’d hate. I’m not gonna walk to the front of the line, look like I cut, ask for lettuce, while the people behind me are getting pissed. They’ll go back to their office and talk about the guy holding up the line to ask for lettuce on his nachos. They probably would have thrown the lettuce on top of everything, now I have to dig back through the lettuce to even get to a chip, like it’s an egg at the bottom of a god damn Easter basket. I’m not a puppet on your strings. I just went back upstairs to eat my chips and salsa.
We all have that one friend whose manhood we question. For me it’s Marcelino Alcantar . We were doing Tough Mudder a few years ago and he said he had been training, which I didn’t believe at all. The race started, Marce collapsed before the first mile, and was sitting with his head down. Other participants were checking on him, asking if he needed water, and signaling the medic for help. I got close and whispered in his ear, “What are you doing? Get up, you are embarrassing us. We haven’t even gone a mile yet.” He said, “I’m dizzy.” I said, “That’s what happens when you lie about training. Now get up. There are pregnant women passing you.”
The two pregnant women stopped and asked, “Is he okay?” I said, “He’s fine. He’s just realizing he’s not a man right now.” I’ve never been in the military, but I imagine being in a war and Marce is one of those soldiers that gets the entire platoon killed because he sprains his ankle stepping on pine cone running through the forest. We all have to go back to get him, he’s screaming in pain, the enemies hear, and we all get annihilated. Selfish. Pull the pin on that grenade and take yourself out.
Another time I questioned his manhood was when a bunch of my friends and I went to jump off a big rock next to a waterfall. It was pretty high up. We hiked to the top, jumped, even a 12 year old girl did, except for Marce who was terrified of heights. He was the last one left. There was a crowd of about 50 people at the bottom, looking up, waiting for him jump. He paced back and forth, sipping a gallon jug of orange juice, looking over the ledge. The 12 year old girl yelled, “Jump! I did it!” He looked over and said, "I can't." She yelled, “Jump! Are you a man…or a mouse?!!” He shook his head, took another sip of orange juice and yelled, "I'm a mouse." Everyone started booing him. It was amazing. I’m willing to bet in all of human history, it was the only time someone got booed in front of waterfall.
I don’t know about some of the advice my dad gives me on raising my son. He said, “it gets better, just wait till they get older and you can tell them “NO” just because you feel like it. There’s nothing like seeing the disappointment on their face of having their dreams crushed. The rush you get is amazing. I can’t even explain how good that power feels.” I said, “what are you saying you maniac? I thought you did that to teach me a lesson?” He said, “Yeah, I guess I was...but that rush is amazing.”
My freshman year of high school, I took a pre-algebra class because it was easy. This class was bad though. One time, we had this substitute teacher who thought she’d let us play board games, put on a movie, and relax. Wasn’t happening. It was so hood in this class.
A couple kids were hitting beats on a desk and rapping in the corner of the classroom. Two students were trying to mind their own business and play chess quietly, then this big Mexican dude came up and said, “I’m playing now, I been waiting” and jacked their chess board. I don’t think he even knew how to play chess, he just wanted to punk them for the board. The class was loud and getting out of control.
As soon as she hit the lights and turned around to put the movie on this little dude named Mario walking in the front of the class looked around, smiled, finished his soda, and then threw the empty can towards the back of the class. Chaos ensued. Everyone started throwing shit: paper, pencils, pens, calculators, chess pieces, I took change out of my backpack and chucked it.
The teacher bent down below her desk to take cover. It was dark so you couldn’t see anything, but you could hear stuff hitting the walls. Then someone threw a quarter and it shattered the clock above my head. Glass went everywhere. That pretty much ended it. She turned on the lights and called security. Everyone sat back at their desks.
Security came and kept asking who did it. One of the students who got jacked for the chess board yelled, “hey, someone stole my Gameboy!” Complete silence, no one said anything. The substitute started picking up the broken glass and said, “no one is leaving until we find out who broke this clock and he gets his Gameboy back.” This was the last class of the day and school was almost out.
My dad was picking me up and he did not like me coming out late. I walked up to the substitute and said, “hey, my dad is picking me up and he is gonna be pissed if I’m not out on time.” She said, “I don’t care, I’ll deal with him when he gets here.” I said, “I don’t think you understand, he has a temper and he’ll yell at you.” She said, “trust me, I can deal with it…now sit down!” We stayed in that class for another 20 minutes, they finally let us go, and she walked out with us towards the front of the school.
My dad was walking towards us at the same time. His temper was ridiculous when I was younger and was heated. This was the first time in my life I was glad he was pissed. I felt excited, like I knew I was about to unleash a pitbull on an unsuspecting robber. He yelled at me, “where were you?! I’ve been waiting!”
I turned around with all the students and gave the double point to the substitute, “she kept us.” He went off WorldStar style. Her face turned bright red. All the students started hyping my dad up, “get her ass! She wouldn’t let us leave!”
He started painting all these imaginary “what if” scenarios she had no answer to, “you will not keep my son after class! What if he had to come home to watch his sister because we don’t have daycare! She’s only 8!! She’d just be home alone?! I took off work early and left a meeting! Did all these other kids miss their bus?! Did you call their parents?!! Now they have to walk home?! What if they had to be home to take care of someone with a disability? What would you do if someone got kidnapped?!!”
She looked at me for help, eyes beginning to water. I just bit into an apple I’d been saving all day and said, “told you he’d yell at you.”
Doing comedy has given me thick skin. My girlfriend and I took the baby out for the first time in public to Toys “R” Us right before Christmas. It was packed and he wouldn’t stop crying. She started panicking. I was like, “just let him cry, he’s already been changed and fed.” She said, “all these people are going to think we’re bad parents.” I said, “I don’t give a damn what these strangers think. I just bombed in front of 80 people last night and I was trying to make them happy.”
I moved into a new area six months ago and my neighbors may think I have some anger issues. Around Christmas, all of the houses were lit up and decorated. An older lady from two houses down asked my girlfriend’s dad, “hey, aren’t you guys going to decorate this year?” He said, “I don’t live here” then came inside and told me.
I had the decorations gathered already, but was lagging on putting them up. Now, I am staring at the stupid decorations and realize I can’t put them up because she will just think I am decorating because she said something. I can’t let someone have that type of power over me. She probably went back into her house with an obnoxious smirk on her face to her family and said, “I talked to them. They’ll put something up.” As she watched my house from her window, sitting in a worn leather rocking chair, sipping on Chamomile hot tea while stirring it with a silver spoon like the mom in “Get Out.”
I grabbed four of those candy canes that light up and planted them in the garden near the door. I even brought out a ladder and leaned it against the garage. I was hoping she saw the candy canes, the ladder, and was riddled with excitement. She yelled to her family, “oh my goodness! He’s decorating like I asked! He’s finally in the Christmas spirit!” I never came back outside. That was all I decorated all of Christmas. Just those four candy canes and I never even plugged them in. I wanted to plug them in, but I couldn’t out of spite.
I got a sense of happiness every time I came home to see those four pathetic candy canes. I just imagined her looking through her window mumbling, “Just four candy canes? Why even decorate? Does he know they aren’t plugged in? Why did he take out the ladder?” I would come home and see the boxes full of decorations that could have been put up: lights, wreaths, more candy canes, even a god damn snow man. I felt a small sense of victory.
The second thing happened this morning. I woke up in a bad mood because I was up with the baby all night. My girlfriend was driving us to work. When we got into the car there was frost on the windshield, so I got out of the car to scrape it off with a squeegee. As I was scraping it off she accidentally turned on the windshield wipers and they hit my hand. I didn’t even want to be squeegeeing. Come to think of it, I don’t think I am ever in the mood to squeegee anything.
I completely lost it and chucked the squeegee in the air like I was throwing a javelin in the 86’ Olympics. I watched it fly majestically through the air in slow motion like a bald eagle soaring over the Grand Canyon...as it landed on the roof of my house. All of my anger was gone, as I realized how irrational I was being. I knew there was a small chance my neighbor was again staring at me through her window, sipping homemade apple cider that she immediately spit out, as she saw the squeegee land on my roof. I can’t wait to get home to see that squeegee. I’m up 2-0 against an old lady who doesn’t even know she’s in a war with me.
I’m not that Asian. I don’t like racing cars, can’t breakdance, and hate karaoke. I can’t wait until I’m that old Asian man walking with my hands behind my back and sweeps up random sidewalks in downtown for no apparent reason.
I enjoy finding out about someone’s personal problems out of nowhere. I was eating at a Denny's with some friends and we were all sharing food. My friend Chris was picking food off the sampler plate. When the bill came we split it evenly, but he didn’t put any money in.
He said, “I didn’t order anything.” I replied, “yeah, but you were eating off the sampler plate. Just put a something in.” He argued, “If I would have known, I wouldn’t have eaten anything.” I said, “just leave the tip.”
He finally just broke down, “alright you guys...I got fired from my job today! Is that what you wanted to hear? They found me sleeping on a couch.” I was said, “Jesus man, they fired you for that?” He looked down and mumbled, “it was the third time they caught me doing that this month.”
When the Kings used to win a home game you used to be able to get a free Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carl’s Jr with the purchase of a large drink. In high school, when me and my friends were hungry I’d always suggest Carls Jr. I never had any money, but I always had Kings tickets since my godfather was a season ticket holder.
We’d get to the front of the line to order and I’d tell my friend, “never mind. I’m not that hungry, I’ll just wait till I get home.” I’d stand next to him and wait until he ordered his combo meal. Then I’d slam my Kings ticket down in front of cashier and say, “bam! Plus a free western bacon cheeseburger!”
He’d get mad, “why don’t you go halves with me?” I’d say, “dude, just act like I’m not here. The money has already been spent in your head. Nothing has changed in your life. Besides, me buying something defeats the purpose of the burger being completely free. Food always tastes better when it’s free. What’s done is done. It’s in the past. Now let me get a few fries and a sip of that soda to wash this bad boy down.”