Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Lawn Mower

I hold down the lever and yank back on the cord as I hear the rumbling, feel the vibrating in my hands. The lawn mower shakes off brown dust the way a dog shakes off water. It roars at me in anticipation of the blades of grass it will soon eat. The mower knows it is time for its weekly meal. It is Saturday.

My dad wants me to use the riding lawn mower, but I don't for two reasons: I enjoy the walking, the pushing. The act of being the mower. Also, when I was younger I tried the rider and I couldn’t reach the brake and almost collided with my mom’s car.

For years I mowed with this same push mower—a professional, I called myself. Then, abruptly, I stopped mowing because my left hip was removed and I could no longer walk. It was my job, my duty, my responsibility no more. For years I was used to someone else using my lawn mower, or worse, not using it and instead relying on the riding mower.

It was not easy getting my job back, not because my dad loved mowing so much, but because he didn’t believe I was able. I had to prove it.

I grab the mower and pull it out of the garage. The thin, black handle is just as I remember it. The slightly messed up front right wheel is just as I remember it.

Gasoline? Check. Collection bag secured? Check. Long grass ready to be eaten? Check.

I start it up and take off down my front yard, making a straight line like at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I reach the corner at the back of the yard and wonder how I’ll handle it, when previously learned instincts take over. I plant with my good leg and stop, transfer the mower’s weight to the back wheels, pull it back and pivot so I can turn around. I start down the second row and make another perfect line adjacent to the first. It is Saturday and I am a professional.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, May 11, 2008

In Yo Face, Will Smith

Completed Rubik's CubeIt took Will Smith just a few minutes to complete the Rubik’s Cube in The Pursuit of Happyness while it took me 18 years. That makes me 3 million times smarter than him, 17% of the time. Think about it.

I still remember me and my brother playing with it when we visited my dad’s friend, Coach, when we were youngsters. If only we knew to match the colors instead of make smiley faces.

Last year my roommate, Mr. Mountain Dew, practiced the Rubik's Cube so many times he could finish without the instructions. I could tie my Velcro shoes without instructions. That was obviously more impressive.

On two separate occasions I reached the next-to-last step and then fucked it up. It took over four hours each time. I vowed to finish the cube one day, then cross it off my list of life goals, just like I did for the "Hell" level of difficulty for Sudoku.

Each is officially checked off. Getting as ripped as Will Smith is next.Ripped Will Smith from I Am Legend

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

If We Fightin', We Fightin'

"Bosssss-tuuuuun!" we screamed countless times on the way to Boston last January to visit our old roommate, T-Unit. Mr. Mountain Dew and I had been meaning to pay him a visit for over a year. Vodka/Benadryl tagged along because, honestly, who wouldn't want to hang out with T-Unit?

T-Unit's two-year-old son was excited to see us, and showed off by running around the house until snot poured from his nose and he could barely breathe. Unfortunately, he had a cold. Lil’ T-Unit wanted to touch me and I looked at him like he was nuts. "Don't you know that sharing your microorganisms will spread your respiratory viral infection?" I asked him. He understood. Lil’ T-Unit is so smart.

My other friend, Zeke, still kept in touch with a girl we met at spring break in Mexico almost a year before named Kandy. She lived in Boston, so I asked Zeke for her number. I called Kandy the second night we were there. "Hey, it's Ben Rubenstein."


"From spring break last year."


"Remember, we went on the zip line where the movie Predator was filmed."


"…I'm friends with Zeke."

"Oh yeah! Hey Ben!"

The three of us met Kandy at a bar near her school, Boston University. Mr. Mountain Dew took no time before hitting on her. But the quantity of alcohol he had already consumed made him very touchy-feely. Kandy avoided his creepy ass as much as possible.

T-Unit, Vodka/Benadryl and I let Mr. Mountain Dew do his own thing, and he quickly found his way into a friendly group of four guys. Every once in a while he would look over at the three of us with a smirk. We would've gone over to hang out with him, but Kandy came back to talk and we didn't want him to scare her away, again.

We finally made our way over to Mr. Mountain Dew to see why his new friends were so much cooler than us. It turns out they weren't friends at all; the four guys wanted to fight Mr. Mountain Dew. For over an hour he took their verbal abuse because he didn’t give a shit. Also, the Boston guys were chumps: Mr. Mountain Dew was calm as can be, not even finding the need to call us over.

I tried to decipher why they disliked Mr. Mountain Dew. After careful observations and short talks with my incoherent friend, I gathered that Mr. Mountain Dew became touchy-feely with a second girl, the sister of one of the four guys and girlfriend to another. They told Mr. Mountain Dew to leave, but out of principle he wouldn’t back down. They continued berating him until the rest of us showed up.

Vodka/Benadryl wanted to fight, but he didn’t want to drag T-Unit into it. Vodka/Benadryl asked T-Unit how he felt about fighting. T-Unit, always thinking thoroughly before speaking, said, “I'm married, I have a little boy at home and I'm 29. I would rather not fight tonight…but if we fightin', we fightin'."

The Boston guys wanted nothing to do with us. It was probably my huge Abe Lincoln beard that scared them off and not the killer look in the eye of Queens’ own, T-Unit.Benjamin Rubenstein with long beard

My best impression of an intoxicated Lincoln.

Everything was cool until a new girl came by screaming at Mr. Mountain Dew. I think she was friends with the other girl he made uncomfortable.

I had enough. When she told Mr. Mountain Dew "Fuck you," I yelled it back at her. She didn't see that the words came from me and assumed Mr. Mountain Dew said them. So, she yelled it even louder right in Mr. Mountain Dew's ear. "No, FUCK YOU!" I screamed a second time.

The bouncer heard us. He, too, thought Mr. Mountain Dew said it, when really he was just having a very bad night. I'm pleased to say that thanks to me we all got kicked out because I said "fuck you" to a pretty college girl I had never met before. Twice.

Maybe I could’ve won her heart if I let her spend time with Lil’ T-Unit. Chicks dig virus-ridden toddlers with green, gooey snot covering their faces.

Leia Mais…

Friday, May 2, 2008

f*©k cancer

Read these first:
T Minus Four Days
T Minus Two Days
Cancer Freedom in Every Way

As part of my five-year cancer-free celebration, I attended the drunken debauchery known as the Foxfield Races in Charlottesville. Unfortunately, this year I didn’t get to see anybody passed out on the ground, but I did see girls squatting to pee. Some squatted and faced toward instead of away from people. Those were the special* ones.
*completely sloshed

The piss troughs are where the real excitement is. I’ve never had the opportunity to witness guys do trough slides—frolicking through a shallow pool of urine collected from hundreds of dudes’ johnsons. Last year a guy dropped his sunglasses in the massive urinal while he was pissing. Everyone started chanting, “PUT THEM ON! PUT THEM ON!” Sure enough, he reached into the piss, grabbed his sunglasses and put them right back on his head. Don’t worry – urine is sterile and good for the skin.

The good people at CancerFreeTees.com also contributed to the celebration by sending me one of their t-shirts. I should’ve worn it to Foxfield. It would’ve been one hell of a conversation starter.CancerFreeTees.com shirt
Better yet, maybe I should’ve worn a Bob Saget shirt.Bob Saget t-shirt


Leia Mais…