Tag Archives: I’m an idiot

Peas in a Pod

One of the things that I think makes writing such a solitary activity is the fact that more often than not it’s something that’s done alone. Of course there are exceptions: the occasional novel has more than one author, but to say it happens once in a blue moon would be remarkable understatement; non-fiction often has more than one contributor; research papers can be found with scores of names underneath the title; and if you’re a fan of comedy, some of the funniest bits have been written by a comedy duo.

You have to go back a long way to see the beginnings of the double act, and even though it was more than 80 years ago you’ll probably still recognize the names – they were that good:

  • Laurel and Hardy
  • George Burns and Gracie Allen
  • Abbott and Costello

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=airT-m9LcoY?rel=0]

    Probably one of the funniest bits of all time. Pure comic genius.

    As we move into the golden age of television some equally familiar names start to appear:

    • Bob Hope and Bing Crosby
    • The Smothers Brothers
    • Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner 

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGTPPrkgovw?rel=0]
    Funny men for more than half a lifetime. They’re in their 80’s now and still got it.

    The list goes on and on:

    • Dan Aykroyd & John Belushi
    • Gene Wilder & Richard Pryor
    • Mike Myers & Dana Carvey
    • David Spade & Chris Farley
    • Cheech & Chong
    • Jay & Silent Bob 

    Granted, some of the pairs listed to this point are another class of comedian altogether and never had to rely on their audience being fantastically high to get a laugh, but they all leveraged the concept of a comedic duo to fantastic success.

    So what is it that makes a the double act work so well?

    In my assessment it’s because everyone needs a life partner, someone who provides those things that you happen to be lacking yourself. Life, in all is frailty, requires balance. Unfortunately, what this means is that at any given point in time one of you gets to be the idiot, and if any of you have seen my talk “I See Dumb People” you’ll know that it’s usually the dude.

    Image courtesy Linda Ryan

    For better or worse, I’m the idiot in my relationship with my wife. We’ve known each other for more than twenty years, been together for more than eighteen, married for almost fourteen, and I am unable to count the number of times I’ve heard her say, “It’s a good thing you’re cute.” That’s just how it goes. I married my straight man. Um… you know what I mean. Stop judging me, it’s legal in Canada and some part of the U.S.

    Comedic duos feed off each other and the good ones have that chemistry that just clicks. They never miss a beat and the audience in turn feeds off them and are ultimately able to relate to one or the other. In relationships it’s slightly different: instead of serving up jokes, the straight man is there to keep the idiot alive just long enough for the insurance money to matter.

    ~ Andrew

    It’s a Good Thing I’m Cute

    So lately I’ve been obsessed with my backyard. Specifically my one corner where I put the kids’ pool. Over the last several weekends I’ve been slogging away in the backyard trying to make it a little more functional, and a little more aesthetically pleasing to stare at whist I’m barbecuing.

    Here, in all its glory, minus some grass seed (going down this weekend after the heat wave) is what I ended up with:

    Ta da!
    Click to enlarge.

    So, a brief explanation before I get to the reason for sharing this post. The pool sits where a shed used to sit (I moved it to the corner by the house & out of the way to free up backyard, but leaving behind a dirt pile). So I cut out a bit more, dropped a retaining wall down and a tarp and some anti-slip mats. Tossed some rock in the back (not pretty, just rocks) with a couple urns with tall grass in them (hard to see, but they’re there). Put a small bush/tree thing and some wood chips beside the rocks (also hard to see the bush/tree) then some peas, some pumpkins, some peas, more wood chips and another one of those bush/tree things (I dig rectangles and symmetry). Add a box for toys, the pool, the pump, and voila! Oh yes, can’t forget the GIANT tennis ball. Water logged 6 year old optional.

    The pool is an 8 foot round, self inflating thingamabob. It comes with this shitty pump and some chemicals to keep it from getting algae and some chlorine to keep it from infecting the kids with bacteria or something. It holds 2300L of high quality H20 and takes a bugger of a long time to fill up – at least in the kids’ minds it did.

    That black contraption on the fence just by the skimmer? Oh yes, that’s my “heater”. We affectionately refer to it as “the contraption”. It’s a black garden hose with some plumbing parts chemically bonded to each end so they fit into the hose for the pool. I used “The fucking strongest adhesive we sell. Don’t get it on your hands”. This is precisely what the 15 year old at Rona said to me when I asked him for “Something like caulking that I can get wet that holds like a sonofabitch”.

    The water is supposed to snake its way through the black hose cable tied to a lattice piece also painted black, get heated by the sun, and output to the pool. A couple problems with this setup were clear from the first minute:

    1. The pump was screaming like its ass was on fire
    2. The water was not moving very quickly through anything and the pool was getting stagnant
    3. The filter in the pump works better if the water is moving through it at its designed speed

    After a couple weeks what I appeared to have was a not-so-awesome looking 2300L of brownish water that was a fraction of a degree warmer than without the contraption. Plus, I’m not exactly sure the contraption’s super caulking wasn’t slowly leaking chemicals into the pool.

    So, tonight I lay the contraption to rest and decided to check the water quality with the strips they give you. A bit too much chlorine (overcompensation is the likely culprit) and a little alkaline. Easy fix. Add more anti-algae stuff (couldn’t hurt, right?), lay off the chlorine for a bit, and add more water. Wait a couple days and see what happens.

    I put the hose in the pool and turn on the water. I had a few inches of wiggle room before I hit the “do not fill past this line” line. I left the hose to do its thing and went upstairs to read my daughter her book.

    Lo and behold, I completely forgot about it.

    When I did finally remember what I had done I ran outside and the pool was about to crest. Quite the meniscus on the damn thing even. It was awesome. I didn’t take a picture, but I should have. It was a freaking thing of beauty. Could’t help but think, “now what?”

    Well, I’ll tell you what. I decided to drain some water. There had to be a reason to not go beyond the “do not fill past this line” line. I then had a flash of brilliance. I would use one of the hoses from the pump to drain some water. Not wanting water to pour out of the spot where the hose used to be connected I did what any backyard level genius would do: I lifted the pump up above the water level. I was totally using science! [mumble] years of university have never felt so worth it.

    So far so good.

    Only, I needed another set of hands and my wife would most certainly not come out and help me. She already was ticked I forgot about leaving the hose on. So I did what any backyard level moron would do. I put the pump down.

    On the edge of the pool.

    Not so gently.

    Well wouldn’t you know it, the top of the pool caved quicker than it took me to yell out an expletive and a complete shit-ton of water poured out of the pool at breakneck speed (assuming the neck being broken was some sort of small rodent or large insect).

    The mats were swept away. The “decorative” rocks that were holding the basketball net in place were washed halfway down my lawn, and was briefly standing in several inches of water, as the pool continued to pour out a steady stream beside me.

    It took way longer than it should have to un-collapse the side of the pool, but when I did I took a look and the water was just slightly below the “do not fill past this line” line.