Charles Atlas Shrugged

By: John Jasper Owens

First off, it’s pretty clear that when I kicked sand in your face it was an accident. I was running to catch a beach ball, and in turning, I inadvertently knocked up some sand, which, just by happenstance, flew onto you, and partially on to Sylvia. I’m non-confrontational by nature, so I was truly shocked when you chose to make an issue of it moments later. I mean come on, it’s a public beach. What would you have done if a Frisbee had landed on your towel — shattered it across your forehead? You need to lay off the Red Bull or whatever. Your pupils were a bit dilated that day. All I’m saying.

So I may have said a few unkind things when you chose to make a federal case over a little sand, like the rest of your beach trip was going to be sand-free and were it not for my feet, no sand would’ve besmirched your JC Penny $5.95 towel. Yes, I have a nice body — I put a lot of time in at the gym, and not just on the arms and chests, like some boys I could mention. I work the whole package. Back, calves, neck — everything. Yes, I’m gay, and yes, I’m still mostly in the closet, but I’m working on that, which is another reason I really didn’t need what went down that day — that girl you were with started following me around.

I know I’m cute, but what sane woman finds getting sand kicked on her and her date attractive? Sylvia’s a psycho, man — she’s just one more mojito binge away from ending up a case study, maybe a Dr. Phil special. I didn’t want her and meanwhile my friends think her squeezing by biceps and breathing all over me is just the most hilarious thing since Kat Williams. You could’ve said something. Anytime you wanted you could’ve come up to me on the beach (I live on the beach) and I’d have said, “Take her back, Mac. Take her, I’m begging you. Here’s a fifty — take her to dinner.” I carried fifty bucks in my trunks all summer just in case you reappeared. But you didn’t. What did you do?

You went home and kicked a chair. A chair. Listen, man, ever think about Pilates? Aromatherapy, maybe? Valium?

Good thing you didn’t own a dog.

Months go by and I pretty much forgot you existed, while you spent the whole summer alone in your room — and I’m sure you’re no stranger to that — doing that weirdo workout thing when if you’d just come by the gym like a normal person, we could’ve straightened this out in two seconds and you and the crazy girl could’ve lived happily together until she screwed your father or killed you in your sleep or some other Sylvia-esque action.

But no.

Instead, you choose to sneak up on me back at the beach, just when I’ve got full frontal attention on trying to pry off the barnacle on the prow of my love life that is Sylvia, and sucker punch me. I hope you enjoyed all that “”King of the Beach”” nonsense — I’m sure the irony of my sort of crowd is lost on lunatics like you and Sylvia, so I can only hope that the next time some poor sap accidentally, I don’t know, spills salt on your table at Burger King or whatever, you manage to show a little restraint.




By: John Jasper Owens

A Bull in a China Shop: Most people try to move the bull. That’s the hard way. Have one person hold the bull’s tether closely and feed the animal from an oat bag while the other person boxes and removes the china from the shop. Relocate stock to new location. Remember to leave “We Have Moved!” sign in window.

A Wet Hen: The mistake most people make is trying to dry the hen off with a towel, which moves it immediately from mad to furious. Hens prefer to dry in natural sunlight, so try heat lamps and a blow dryer, with some Yanni in the background and soft lighting (candlelight is good, but go unscented).

Nervous as a Long-Tailed Cat in a Room Full of Rockers: Jump up on one of the rocking chairs, tuck your tail, and go to sleep. You’re a cat, for god’s sake.

Off Like a Prom Dress: What the hell is going on here? I thought we raised you better than that, missy. Put your dress back on and march yourself out to the car. You are so grounded.

A One-legged Man: Get a stool if you plan to have any sort of hope in this contest. It’s all about the ass kicking, which you can’t do if you need your only foot planted in order to remain vertical. You can’t kick asses from the ground — not effectively. So get a rhythm going — hop on stool, kick ass in front of you, slide off stool, move stool to next available ass. Do that and you might have a shot at this thing.

A Chicken With its Head Cut Off: It’s her own fault for getting so upset over a little water.

Sweating Like a Whore in Church: You won’t be so nervous if you just stop, take a breath, and break down why you’re nervous. You’re obviously not a pious woman, or you wouldn’t be living the whore lifestyle. So you don’t fear His wrath. It’s probably the societal disapproval that’s got you jittery — but whores, by definition, require partners, and I bet a few of them are here, so look them right in the eye and dare them to say something. Don’t worry about how you’re dressed, all the kids dress that way nowadays — it’s whore chic. You do have to worry about a confrontation with a woman whose husband you’ve slept with. The conservative surroundings and perceived support she receives from a place that reinforces her belief system may embolden her to shout, “Jezebel!” and slap you a good one right across your overly rouged cheek. Come to think of it, you should probably just leave.

Dumb as a Sack Full of Doorknobs: Stupidity is not a curable condition, unlike ignorance, which is simply a lack of education. The stupidity of inanimate objects, being absolute, is particularly insurmountable. This one cannot be solved.

Both Hands and a Flashlight: Put down the flashlight. Even in the dark, you don’t need it. People believe just because they’ve been given a flashlight, they have to use it, which is just the kind of thinking that earned you this reputation.

Bleeding Like a Stuck Pig: Among mammals, pigs actually suffer from poor circulation. A pig spouting blood in any notable quantity has almost certainly been stuck in the Anterior or Posterior Vena Cava. Luckily, even arterial ruptures, caught early, are easy enough to staunch. Cover the stuck area with a towel and apply steady pressure. The primary concern here is actually infection. A pigsty is a nasty, nasty place. Remove pig to a more sterile environment as soon as possible, apply anti-microbial ointment to wound area and begin a precautionary round of antibiotics.

Not Playing with a Full Deck: How is that possible? I just opened that deck. Give it here. Well, well, well. It seems that in the short time this deck has been unsealed, an ace has gone missing. How odd. We’ll just have to open another deck. I’ve got my eye on you people. I don’t know, Roger, did it seem like I was looking at you when I said that? Shut up and deal.

All She Wrote: Well, seven books is a lot for anybody. I’m sure she’ll write another one after a suitable break, maybe even another Harry. In the meantime, have you tried the Philip Pullman books? Go read those.