Signs of manopause

Then you realize … you’re the old guy at the party

Realizing I was getting “older” didn’t all happen at once.

It was a gradual unfolding of occurrences over and over and over again until I slowly and with great hesitation began to accept them as reality. (By which I mean drank heavily and began closing my eyes when I walked by mirrors. Oh, how I wish that weren’t true.)

I will never forget back in the early 2000s when I was still rocking bleach blonde hair and a sweet Guy Fieri spike and spatula.

One of the waitresses was waiting for her food in the window between the cook’s station and the front of the restaurant while I put the order together and she said “Looks like your hair is starting to thin.”

I laughed and said that, no, I just have really fine hair. And that the gel made it look that way.

I really-honestly-seriously-and-for-true had no idea I was losing hair.

It wasn’t until I took to shaving my head for a few years and then let it grow back that I was treated to a balding patch on the front right side of my forehead.

I was dumbfounded, flabbergasted, even flabberfounded! You get the idea.

I’m pretty sensitive about my hair, so it took some years before I allowed myself the realization that the thin patch was not going to thicken back up.

My hair had a one-way ticket to the shower drain and there was no getting it back—regardless of what Joey Fatone promises.

Slowly, I began to notice other symptoms of this syndrome we call middle-age.

As I am wont to do, I compiled a list of things that tipped me off to my life change.


  • I began using the phrase “The young people.” (Now it’s just part of my working vocabulary.)
  • I get more excited about new snow tires than I do about sex.
  • I make noise every time I get out of a chair or bed or fart.
  • At the end of the day, a body part, like an arm or leg, just stops working so well. And, and when I’m tired, I walk like a cartoon old person.
  • I have begun thinking about how I’ll fall in different scenarios.
  • I try to plan how I’ll land if I slip in the tub or on the icy driveway or the steep basement stairs. I never worried about falling when I was a kid, but a broken hip or twisted knee could really cause me trouble.
  • And, the older you get, the better chances there are that a fall could kill you. (Those “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials ain’t so funny now, are they smart-ass?)
  • Naps. Also known as “you’re too old to get through the day without sleeping.” Turning into a giant newborn, a very real part of manopause.
  • Butterscotch starts to taste really good. Admit it (if you are over 40), you’re getting horny just thinking about it.
  • I realized snoring can kill you.
  • Sleep apnea is no joke.
  • Now when I see the Three Stooges doing their loud obstructive snoring routine I yell at the screen: “Wake up! You’re suffocating!”
  • I’ve begun planning my day around bathroom trips. I know I can’t do any interviews before 9 a.m. because there is a chance I’ll be on the pot when they call back.
  • Everyone under 30 seems to be an idiot. (I suspect this one is more than just a feeling.)
  • 18-year-olds look like babies. How was I supporting a woman and child when I was 19? It just doesn’t seem possible. (Oh yeah, I was doing it badly.)
  • Old people don’t look as old as they used to, and they don’t look at me suspiciously any more. It’s almost like I’m becoming one of them. (One of us. One of us. Gooble gobble!)
  • Toenails become like heat-treated glass. And, if left unattended, can also kill you.
  • New found obsession with with the weather. Never used to care about the forecast. Just figured it was going to do whatever it was going to do. But, now? I mean, have you seen what they’ve done with the Weather Channel? It’s amazing.
  • Dessert has become a mandatory part of supper.
  • I’ve begun to call dinner “supper.”
  • I head into the shower with the care and preparation of a mountain climber, knowing each trip could be my last. (See also: falls kill)
  • I pay more attention to the obituaries than I used to. (Wracking up silent victories over everyone I’ve outlasted.)
  • I finally “get” jazz.
  • I still bitch about my taxes but I secretly realize their necessity.
  • Music that came out when I was a kid is now being played on the oldies station. (This one irks the shit out of me!)
  • I keep catching myself telling the same few stories over and over again. But, with a little luck and a few years, I won’t be able to remember that I’ve told the stories before, and people will be too polite to tell me they’ve heard them before.
  • The only problem is, I keep catching myself telling the same few stories over and over again.
  • Birthdays look less like Christmas and more like toll booths on the way to the graveyard.


Failed model turns to the mean streets of journalism

Going through some oldish files not-so-recently, I found the first newspaper column I ever wrote. My editor at the time decided I had been writing news stories long enough to give column writing a shot. I asked him what I should write about. He told me to write a column introducing myself as the new full-time general assignment reporter. I had no idea what to write. Sure, I’d read lots of local columns and followed a handful of national pieces by folks like Georgie Anne Geyer and David Broder and that scamp Dave Berry but I had no idea what to write. So, perennial smart ass that I am, I wrote the following—assuming it would be rejected outright and my editor would kill the idea of forcing me to write a weekly (or so) column. It backfired. He enjoyed it and so did some of our readers … and an ego was born. “It’s a bouncing baby fragile need-machine!”

Originally published in Charlevoix Courier, May 20o5

I survived my first week on the Courier staff and I must say things are a bit different from when I was a freelancer.

The dress code for one: I used to work out of my home office so I spent most of my time in pajamas. My new editor frowns on the idea of me showing up to work in a bathrobe.

The other major change is the condition of my new office; clean, organized and replete with every convenience imaginable, while my old office looked like a grenade went off in a flea market that specialized in children’s toys, empty cereal boxes and vintage typewriters.

The biggest advantage I’ve seen so far is that my wife is now unable to tape to-do lists to my computer screen.

Before I go any further, I must be honest, as much as I love my new job, working for the Courier wasn’t my first career choice. Two years ago I left food-service in hope of becoming a fashion model for Tommy Hilfiger in Hollywood—my wife’s ear piercing and incessant laughter told me otherwise.

It took a week of crying myself to sleep before I decided to go after my longtime (and slightly more attainable) goal to write for a living. I wrote news, feature, advertising, sports and websites for every publication that would have me. The more I wrote, the more opportunities showed themselves.

The next thing I knew, I was offered the position as staff writer. Due to the competitiveness of this market, I know how lucky I am to be here. As far as my goals, well, for the most part I’ve achieved them. I have my dream job. I live in the most beautiful town I have ever seen. And, I have a wonderful family with which to share my good fortune.

The only other goals I have now are to report the news and avoid those damnable to-do lists.

And just one more thing, Tinsel Town has nothing on Charlevoix, but if you run into me on the street, please, don’t ask about the modeling career—it’s still a bit of a sore spot.

Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Meyers and Leatherface … on vacation

movie killers jason voorhees, freddy krueger, leatherface and michael meyers

What do famous movie killers do in their downtime?

They slash, they stab, they saw, and they are all around inconsiderate to the rest of society.

While Jason, Freddy, Mike and Bubba (aka Leatherface) do spend a good deal of their time terrorizing the populace, murder isn’t their only love.

For the first time (and god knows it should be the last) I take an in-depth look at what our favorite silver screen killers do in their off time.

JASON — Having died at around age 11, yet somehow managed to become an adult-sized hulk of around 6 feet, 8 inches and weighing nearly 300 pounds, Jason Voorhees has spent so many years killing hapless sex-crazed teens that he neglected his own needs.

Now, after extensive psychotherapy and heavy doses of Lithium, Jason is focusing on more “me” time. Oh, you’ll still find him off in God’s country, but instead of swinging a machete at foreheads, he’s swinging a nine iron at a Titleist.

“There was a time when I thought there was nothing more to life than stabbin’ sinners,” Voorhees said. “But, the more humping teens I killed, the more depressed I got.”

Voorhees has made peace with his mother’s killer, and he’s done his best to make amends with the families of the counselors he massacred.

Recently, he even started a charity called “Jason’s Kids” which provides at-risk inner city youth with machetes of their own.

“Nowadays, when I hear that ‘Chi-chi-chi-ha-ha-ha’ sound in my head, I go out and hit a bucket of balls,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I still kill, but I do it for me—and not to impress my mother.”

FREDDY — Life ain’t easy for an undead pedophile with third-degree burns over 99 percent of his body. Try logging that shit into and see what kind of results you get.

“Dr. Neil Clark Warren can suck a squid’s dick,” said Krueger, who doesn’t sugarcoat his long history of piling up body counts.

So, what does a supernatural murdering fiend do when he’s not terrorizing sleeping teenagers? He volunteers his time as a political fund-raiser, and works the phone bank for various political campaigns.

“Sure, I got off to a rocky start with my, ‘Hey, bitch, be sure to vote Democrat on Tuesday’ pitch. But, after some coaching and a whole lot of vicodin milk, I managed to tone down my vulgar language and penchant for diddling the young people. Listen to me, ‘The young people.’ I sound so old.”

You might be wondering if Freddiy is a red- or blue-stater. The answer is, he’s both.

“I tried volunteering at the Catholic church, but even they wouldn’t take me. Something about ongoing scandals and not needing any help scaring small children,” Krueger said with a snort.

“Then, one day, while I was jamming a political yard sign through some 15-year-old’s spine, it came to me: Politics is my passion. So, instead of wasting my evil on little brats who don’t put out half the time, I could do some real damage to the world by supporting the never-ending line of moneygrubbing scumbags who run this country.”

Krueger had been facing over a dozen life sentences for his horrifying crimes, but the Koch brothers simply donated some cash to a few congressmen and the whole thing went away.

Krueger added, “Democracy, bitches!”

LEATHERFACE — Decidedly not the sharpest ax in the torso, Bubba aka Leatherface is a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Still a devout cannibal, Bubba thinks it unconscionable to eat any animal products or by-products.

You may have seen his now infamous commercial where he uses his chainsaw to quarter a human for eating a cheeseburger.

The commercial was banned, of course, because it was real. (And, apparently, the producer didn’t have permission to use the particular brand of chainsaw seen on camera.)

“Bubba love kitties and puppies, but not to eat,” said Bubba. “Bubba realize him stance on animal cruelty directly conflict with him pathological desire to kill human but Bubba no perfect.

Me believe it Nietzsche who said, ‘Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.’ But, what me gone to do?”

He added, “Bubba love kitties and puppies but not to eat.”

Nonetheless, Bubba has made it his life’s mission to free the world’s animals from the tyranny of meat eaters by marching with celebrities and unveiling his own line of vegetarian meat substitutes which, ironically, contain 15% human.

Ask your local grocer if he carries “Chainsaw Sunrise” brand luncheon and breakfast meats.

MICHAEL MYERS — Certainly the quietest of the bunch, Mikey is also the poorest.

While Freddy and Jason are supernatural creatures, and even Leatherface has a family home at which to hang his hat (granted, a hat made out of the faces of people), only Michael Myers is homeless.

But, that hasn’t stopped him from dressing like a plumber and driving aimlessly around in a van.

And, really, what better occupation is there for an escaped mental patient on the run than the plumbing and heating business? Have you met my plumber?

While he cannot speak—due to an unfortunate but sexy Lincoln Log incident while in prison—Mr. Myers was able to communicate for this interview through a primitive form of sign language.

He said most of the time he can find worm on a contracting crew for a few weeks, and when his globs are completed, he can collect his gay and hop a bust to the next town.

In fact, Mike communicated, he has found he enjoys the worm so munch, he maybe just consider salting down someday and opening ump his own shoe, and perhaps even startling a family.

Of course, that’s only if he can get the good Dr. Loomis off his bass long enough to find sweaty work and get set up in a new frown.

Oh, yes, Michael Myers may seem like an absolute psychopath in the movies, what with the stabbing and the choking and the stab-choking and all, but what they don’t tell you about are all the horrible things his doctors did to him while he was serving his sentence in the hospital for the criminally insane plumber.

You’d be a little loopy too if you were subjected to 20-some years of electroshock therapy, heavy doses of long-since-outlawed tranquilizers, Dr. Phil and group therapy with some of the world’s biggest nut cases. (There was also some serious homoerotic farm animal stuff going on that he doesn’t want to get into.)

Nowadays, with the advances in anti-depressants and Obamacare’s promise that no one will ever again go without hastily-brought-to-market mystery substances whose side-effects far outweigh any potential benefit, our little Mikey just might have a shot at a normal life … or at least the life of an NFL player.

I wish I could quit you Taco Bell

There’s nothing funny about domestic violence … unless it involves me getting my ass beat by a giant taco.

I’m not saying I don’t deserve all of the blame for the position I find myself at this midlife juncture but I am saying I plan to blame everyone else for my problems.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried really hard over the years to take responsibility for my mistakes, be they minor faux pas or king-size clusterfucks.

The truth is I’m tired. I just don’t have the energy for introspective. Nor do I have the stomach for reflection followed by positive action.

After all, if people who smoked all their life can sue the tobacco companies and win big fat paydays, then I should be able to squeeze the tits of Nabisco and McDonald’s for a few million each.

Granted, most of the blame for my weight belongs to me being undisciplined when it comes to Taco Bell.

I want to quit this abusive relationship but our passion keeps me crawling back, no matter how destructive our love is to one another.

Cops: “We received a complaint from the neighbors about the noise over here.”

Taco Bell: “I was just leaving.”

Cops: “Mr. Gohs, is everything alright?”

Me: “Yes. Just fine. We were having a discussion about politics … (I pause for nervous laughter) and I guess it got a little heated.”

Taco Bell: “It got heated because you’re a stupid bitch what don’t know when to shut her mouth!”

Me: “Don’t mind him, officer, TB just has a wicked sense of humor.” (more nervous laughter from me)

Cops: “Easy, Mr. Bell. You folks mind if we come in and take a look around?”

Me: “Sure. I’ll put on some coffee.”

Taco Bell: “You fuck faces got a warrant?”

Cops: “Please, Mr. Bell, just have a seat and try to remain calm.”

Taco Bell: “Nobody but nobody tells me what to do in my own home!”

Me: “TB, please! You’re just going to make things worse!”

Cops: “It looks like somebody did a number on this place.”

Taco Bell: “What number is that? A number two? You sayin’ my house looks like shit?”

Me: “I’ve been spring cleaning, officer. Please excuse the mess.”

Taco Bell: “Only thing you ever clean is crumbs from the bottom of the cookie jar, you fat pig.”

Me (sobbing now): “You didn’t seem to mind when I was eating your burrito last night.” (more sobbing)

Taco Bell: “I’ve had better.”

Cops: “Mr. Gohs, what happened to your face.”

Taco Bell: “Ugly parents. Ha!”

Me: “I-I-I fell down the stairs … and hit my face on his fist.”

(Cops grab Taco Bell, trying to restrain him from hitting me.)

Taco Bell: “You bitch! How could you do this to me?”

Cops: “Alright, Mr. Bell, you’re coming with us.”

Me: “Don’t! Please! I love him! It wouldn’t have happened if I wouldn’t have brought the wrong beer home.”

Taco Bell (hogtied and dragged from the domicile): “You did that on purpose, you bitch! You know I only drink Rolling Rock!”

Does Weight Watchers have a plan for that?


Things are big and tough and hairy all over

Why did I write about Bigfoot going to Alcoholics Anonymous? I don’t know. Why do you do any of the stupid shit you do?

My name is Philip Bigfoot, and I’m an alcoholic.

[Hello, Bigfoot! Welcome to AA]

I guess the drinking started around the time my second wife left me.

I came home to an empty brush pile after a long day of gathering pine cones and wood grubs.

She had taken everything: the kids, the furniture, even my scratching stick—she knew I loved that stick.

Things were pretty rough there for awhile.

I stopped hunting and gathering in the forest.

I quit picking the lice off my body and eating them.

I didn’t even bother scraping the poop off my leg fur anymore.

It was about six months later while drinking tequila and licking a big block of salt outside a human hunting cabin that I had the epiphany that made me give up the drink.

You see, I’m normally a pretty happy drunk. But, when those hunters started shooting at me, I went berserk. I chased them into the cabin and started screaming and foaming at the mouth.

Seeing the terror in their eyes had always been enough before, but something inside me was broken.

I was beating this hunter over the head with the stump of his buddy’s arm when I caught my reflection in a Coors mirror.

“Who is this bloodthirsty savage?” I asked myself. “What happened to the Phillip K. Bigfoot who used to play slow pitch softball and moon truckers out on the interstate?”

That was my rock bottom moment.

Well, needless to say, my apology didn’t go very far.

It was then I knew I had to get my shit together.

In the days following, it took some soul-searching, but I finally realized Sharon didn’t leave me because of who I wasn’t. She left me because of who she was.

Sure, I’ll never be rich like the Yeti or handsome as the Sasquatch. But, if the Skunk Ape can hold his head up high, then by God, so can I.

I’ve been sober for almost three months now, and I’m feeling good.

I’m back to banging rocks against trees, and my bloodcurdling night screams can be heard all over the forest.

The other day I even let a reclusive nutcase take some grainy video of me walking through the woods.

A couple weeks ago, I began dating this real nice black bear. Who knows, she might be the one.

Sure, her parents disapprove, but they’re from a different generation.

And, if I can change for the better, then so can they.

Parenting never ends … ever!

Children ruin everything.

Those words should be stamped on our genitals.

Joy in its every form is a booby-trap.

Eat a chocolate-chip cookie, get fat. Smoke a cigarette, get cancer. Date a model, get herpes. Have sex … get children!

As a parent, you are Wile E. Coyote, and children are the explosion that leaves your head blackened and hairless.

I know what some of you are saying. “But, Ben, children are a miracle. The only reason we exist is to have children and propagate the species. Children should be loved and nurtured and revered as a national treasure.”

Hey, I love my children. Everybody loves their children. It’s what keeps us from selling them to the Gypsies. That doesn’t change the fact that child-rearing takes arguably the best 20-or-so years of your adult life and leaves you a fat, wrinkled, nervous, and penniless mess.

With all the babbling, puking, pooping, snotty-noses, incoherent screaming, lying, manipulating, stealing, destruction of property and combativeness, raising kids is most akin to working as an orderly in a psych ward—or maybe a German porno.

Except, I’m going to guess the turnover rate for psychiatric hospital orderlies is much higher than the turnover rate of parents.

Yet, unlike the psych ward, you can’t just up and quit.

OK, I guess you can abandon your kids but most of us stick it out because we love them so dearly.

That, and for fear of being blamed once the little lunatic grows up to be a big lunatic and starts blabbing to some smart prick with a Ph.D.

Your kid: “I think the reason I drink is because my mother refused to buy the name brand cereal.”

Smart prick with Ph.D: “Tell me, how did that make you feel?”

Your kid: “Inadequate. Buying generic choco-poofers was mother’s way of telling me I wasn’t good enough for her … or Cocoa Puffs.”

Look, I’m not saying parenthood doesn’t have its fair share of good times. I’m just saying the price tag is awfully steep for a few poorly crafted Christmas ornaments and the occasional macaroni artwork.

You’re not fooling anyone, Tommie. We know you traced your hand to make that turkey.

We Had Our Kids Young

Of all the valid reasons you should not have children when you yourself are quite young—lack of maturity, lack of patience, lack of money, lack of housing, lack of life experience—there is one excellent reason to do just that, and it involves simple mathematics.

See, when I was just 19 and had a woman and newborn son to support, I watched with a generous portion of envy as my friends all continued to play the role of high-schooler-plus.

They were all still living at home. Few had jobs. None were planning to attend college right away, and that left ample time for drink and drugs and women and mischief, and as much free time as they could possibly hope for.

Remember what it’s like to be bored? I don’t.

Your average post-graduation interaction went something like this:

“Hey, Ben, wanna go to this concert?”
“Can’t, I spent all my money on diapers and a car seat.”
“Hey, Ben, you going to Florida with us for spring break?”
“Can’t. If I miss any work I won’t make my bills.”
“Hey, Ben, we’re going to the Foosball tournament in Vegas, you in, brother?”
“I’d love to. But, this weekend I’m planning on stuffing myself into a wood chipper.”

Year after year, I watched my pals splurge their youth and vitality on adventure after adventure.

Hell, some of them didn’t have their first kid until just a few years ago.

What this all means, for those of you who are as bad at math as I am, is that, while my kids are both college-age, my friends are dealing with everything from diapers and the Terrible Twos (and threes and fours and fives and sixes) to the early teen years … and at twice the age and half the energy at which the wife and I endured child-rearing.

Nowadays, the conversations (at least until my daughter moved back home with us) went a little something like this:

“Hey, Ben, you coming to my daughter’s second birthday?”
“Sorry, the wife and I are converting the family room into a wet bar.”
“Hey, Ben, my son’s Little League game is this Saturday.”
“I’d love to, but I’m going to stay home naked all weekend drinking whiskey.”

I am chagrin to report the instances of wine-related shenanigans and spirited house-wide nudity dried up approximately ten minutes before our empty nest returned to three’s a crowd.

It was a fun year but college isn’t for everyone. And, how hard could I come down on my kid?

After all, I made it exactly one-half of a semester before giving up. Of course, I’d been out of my parents’ house for damn near a decade when I decided to fail miserably at going back to school. So the only wrath I had to face was that of the wife. Oh, the wrath!

Of course, when your kids are in college, you haven’t really gotten rid of them.

They still spend nearly half the year creating dirty laundry for you to wash and dishes for you to wash and dirty floors for you to wash and medical bills for you to pay and grocery bills for you to pay. (I guess I’m trying to say there’s a lot of washing and paying still happening. Don’t go. It gets better, I promise.)

Something they don’t explain to you in bad parenting 101 is the strange dichotomy you eventually face when your child-children become adult-children. Legally, they are free to do as they please.

Yet, they still need to be parented to a certain degree. They demand to be respected as adults but sometimes expect the same amount of praise, attention, and material support they enjoyed back when they were still the unemployed midgets under your legal guardianship.

As the wife told me the entire time the kids were growing up: you have to parent your kids as individuals. What works for one may not be right for the other.

She was right, the wife, but now I’m using that same logic in parenting our adult children and it’s not flying so well.

The wife decided we should have been done parenting once the kids reached college-age. And, to be fair, that’s when she and I were out on our own with no help.

Though, we did end up moving back in with parents a couple times until we finally got things figured out. So, I guess we’re stuck until the kids hit their early 20s.

Regardless, the wife was really looking forward to the empty nest. I didn’t know it until it happened, but I was, too.

We had our kids way too early in life and that caused us to both miss out on a whole lot of living.

Nonetheless, good parents never stop parenting their kids.

Apparently, neither do mediocre ones.

That being said, I am under no delusion that I have all the answers now any more than I did when my kids were two and three.

So, out of boredom as much as curiosity, I recently stumbled across a Focus on the Family article about parenting adult children.

The author—a divorcee who apparently knows a lot more about how to maintain a healthy family than the rest of us—wrote that she was distraught over her relationship with her son, who was apparently making poor life choices.

She said she began sobbing during a prayer meeting and asked what she could do.

She was assured by an older lady that she needed only pray for her relationship to improve and God would snap his celestial fingers and make it all better.

Further, the article says I’m supposed to recognize and respect the differences between us—the kids and the wife and I. I think that will go a little something like this:

You: “Son, I recognize your desire to smoke weed and drink beer instead of studying, and I respect the fact that you are OK with a C-minus in Algebra.”

Your kid: “Dad, I recognize that you worked really hard to have very little money in the bank, and I respect your decision to keep handing it over to me.”

Next, I’m supposed to share my wisdom and insight without being critical. For example—a completely made up and not at all real example—you should address your adult child’s decision to use an entire roll of toilet paper to clean up a puddle of dog puke instead of getting the mop and bucket by saying something like, “Dear child, it is my experience that warm soapy water will do a better job of un-funking that barf stain than all the bathroom tissue in the world.”

In reality, what I want to say is, “What in thee actual frick are you doing with my toilet paper? Are you telling me that you’re so goddamn lazy you’d rather waste a whole roll of butt-wipe than go fill up the mop bucket and clean this the right way? No matter how dry you get that spot with TP, the living room is still going to smell like doggie upchuck, dumb-ass!”

But I don’t say that, because I love my children. And I don’t want the wife to slap me.

Lastly, I’m supposed to relinquish my kids to God. Let’s be realistic: He didn’t stop the Jews from being gassed; He didn’t prevent Princess Diana from dying in a car wreck; and, He allowed Jimmy Fallon to take over The Tonight Show. If He can’t deal with real atrocity then He sure as hell isn’t going to remind my kids to stop leaving leftovers out on the stove at night.

However, I am running out of excuses and ideas. So, maybe I’ll work some prayers into my regularly scheduled bouts of sobbing.

My midlife crisis bucket list

There is zero chance I’ll be getting a new sports car or a hot little mistress or any of the neato toys the other fathers will get for their midlife crises so it’s up to me to make my own fun.

With that in mind, I present to you my midlife bucket list. The following are listed in order of how badly I had to pee when I wrote this list.

Enjoy it or don’t … you’re not paying for it.

• Punch a shrimple

• Kiss Tom Selleck (but would settle for a hug)

• Beg a little person for forgiveness (stop calling them “shrimples”)

• Read all Marvel’s “Secret Wars” I and II

• Send death threat to Jimmy Fallon (watching you, laughing boy!)

• Get restraining order filed against me by Jimmy Fallon

• Moon a cop

• Get maced by a cop

• Have beer with cop who maced me

• Laugh while he maces someone else

• Become pen pals with an Amish

• Win a trophy in something, anything

• Build something out of LEGOs

• Paint a picture of the fabled bat-bunny

• Eat a blueberry cheesecake

• Get drunk and light off fireworks inside LEGO creation (kaboom!)

• Throw-up most of a blueberry cheesecake

• Fly a helicopter around a parking lot (no higher than 10 or 12 feet)

• Baba Booey CNN (look it up)

• Meet John Waters for coffee and cigarettes (try not to swoon)

• Dip a sleeping person’s hand in warm water to see if they pee the bed (I don’t care if you know it works. I wanna see it for myself.)

• Get ass kicked by drowsy person in wet pants

• Let a monkey loose in a courthouse

• See how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop (without cheating) – Wiggle eyebrows at people while licking, then try to explain to cops I’m not a pervert

• Learn Chinese

• Swear in Chinese at a person who does not speak Chinese

• Call Buckingham Palace and ask if they have Prince Albert in a can

• Drink entire bottle of prune juice … and wait

• Give a Jehovah’s Witness who comes to my door a Spider Man comic and ask if they’ve heard the good news about Stan Lee … then sick attack hippo on them (Be sure to get attack hippo)

• Forward mail to White House; see how long before anyone notices

• Replace church organist’s sheet music with death metal

• Give homeless person a bag of money

• Dress in drag and perform “I touch myself” in a burlesque theater

• Watch Blade Runner, Vertigo & Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

• Mix and drink a Shirley Temple

• Officiate a gay wedding

• Send batch of Ex-Lax chip cookies to DMV (sit in lobby & wait)

• See both kids living on their own

• Shave my head bald again

• Sit in bathtub on hill at sunset while sipping wine

• Eat a piece of apple pie with cheddar cheese on top

• Pick up a hitchhiker

• Survive hitchhiker attack

• Convince cops hitchhiker was not a hooker

• Build a doll house for wrestling action figures (replica of Pee Wee’s Playhouse should do)

• Eat a six-pack of Taco Bell hard shell tacos … with beef!

• Run down street naked, screaming “Save me Jesus!”

• Get a star named after me

• Go drunk driving on a lawnmower

• Spend the night in the drunk tank

• Get lawnmower out of impound

• Return neighbor’s lawnmower

• Make hot sauce popsicles for my nephews

• Do something hilarious just before I die like maybe say “Pudding pop!” in Bill Cosby voice or do the robot. (By “do” the robot, I mean the dance, not make sweet love to a robot)

Middle age intimacy: nothing remotely resembling sex

As much as I’d like to regale you with erotic stories of my time as a naughty park ranger in need of a good thrashing, the wife forbade me to write this chapter.

And, as bad of a listener as I usually am, I’m not a complete moron.

She’s not real keen on “the little stories” I write in general, and that goes quintuple for something as taboo as issues amorous.

Whenever I get to waxing moronic about some ridiculous event in my life, she ends up fielding a bunch of questions from coworkers and the little old ladies at church about some ridiculous thing Ben did or said.

I even had to change the title of this section because, even though we’ve been together for over 20 years, and even though we have children, and even though we sleep in the same room, as far as the world is concerned, we have never had anything remotely resembling the act of reproduction.

I suppose it’s better for the mental health of my children and the public at large to maintain the facade of celibacy.

The problem is, you really can’t talk about aging or midlife crises or relationships with any ubiquity without at least touching on the issue of intimacy.

So, since I can’t talk about doing the hunka-chunka in a marital way, I’m going to use this space to explore my own curiosities and observations about this most demonized of the most common natural occurrences in American society.

When you’re young and fresh, doing it (“it” being that thing of which I may not speak) is all about solving some great cosmic mystery.

What is it?

How do I do it?

How do I know if I did it right?

OK, for men, the most important questions are “Who am I going to do it with?” and “When can we do it again?”

But, as you get older, the act becomes less about the act and more about the nuances. When you’re starving, you’re happy just to have a bowl of gruel.

But, once the fridge is full, you’re faced with the opportunity to experiment.

You could eat a plain slice of cheese or maybe you could stick it between two different kinds of meat and stuff in into a pita pocket. (Hey, I’m not going to judge. Whatever four consenting foodstuffs do in the privacy of their own dining room is their business.)

Regardless of the reasons, I’ve gotten to an age where I’ve become more curious about some adult activities that I once dismissed as too weird or too labor intensive to bother with.

We might as well start things off with one of the big taboos—homosexuality.

Now, before my mother-in-law and wife and grandmother and everyone else I know faint, I don’t have a gay bone in my body. (Though that does sound like something someone would say right before they come out of the closet.)

The truth is I’ve always just been fascinated by gay people; gay men, to be specific.

Granted, most of my exposure has been through movies and television.

I guess what I’m trying to say is there is a small part of me that’s always wanted to be gay—and, no, I don’t mean my butt hole.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the sex I’m after.

I’m just enamored of the seemingly fabulous lifestyle.

I want a tastefully decorated home.

I want to have chats about drama queens over brunch.

I want to say something catty and refer to myself as a “bitch.”

I want to drink orange juice and champagne out of a fancy glass and say things like “Don’t go there, honey.” (I swear, all my horny-ness is aimed at women.)

And, I want to be able to cry in front of my male friends when I’m having a rather stressful day without them running away in terror.

Recently, I’ve been getting some real-world insight into homosexuality from a guy I know through my time spent on the radio.

My acquaintance lives in Chicago and is fabulous.

He has a great sense of humor and plenty of patience with my stupid hetero questions.

Just how fabulous is he? He recently took a panini press with him on vacation to a Wisconsin Gay Pride Day or some such event.

I don’t take vacations. But, if I did, I’d like to be able to take a sandwich press along, too.

Do I have to be gay to get away with such a thing?

I don’t know, but it probably wouldn’t hurt.

The truth is, I’d never make it as a gay. For starters, I cannot imagine kissing another man.

Second, I’m way too obsessed with breasts.

But, more than that, I don’t think I have the equipment for the job.

I’m not what you’d call large and in charge. Thanks to the genetic lottery, I have been cursed with mediocre hardware. (Thanks, Dad!)

It’s not tiny but it’s not big, either.

Certainly not something you’d go showing off at dinner parties. (People do that, right?)

If the wife and I ever truly engaged in maintenance of the marital variety—which she has explicitly instructed me to deny in all circumstances—I’m sure she would politely smooth my stubby “ego” with some lie about how only whores care about such things.

I don’t know for a fact that the gays are hung up on size more than their straight female counterparts but I know plenty of straight men … and everything is a competition with them.

So, I just figured, you know.

But even more so, these guys are not only vying for a mate who finds them attractive and sexually competent, but they all have the same mechanisms, so they know bad from good. I just couldn’t take that kind of pressure.

By now, some of you (much like my shrink) have likely decided this little literary exercise is just a steam valve for some latent homosexual erotic curiosity of mine.

To which I say “pish tosh you silly billies.”

But, if I was going to be a gay person, I would do it up right.

And, by “right” I mean stereotypical, over-the-top show-tunes-and-pastels, screaming sailor. (I used to use the phrase “flaming” for gay but I learned its history stemmed from when they used to use bundles of wood called “fags” to get fires going for witch burnings. They would burn the gays with the rest of the “fags” hence the practice of calling homosexuals “fags.” See, I told you you’d learn something.)

The next most pressing curiosity for me is this S&M stuff.

I just don’t get the whole leather outfits, whips and chains thing.

It’s not so much that I want to try it as much as I want to understand how someone can be sexually aroused by being spanked or having their groin stomped on by a woman in high heels or what’s so fun about being called horrible names.

Luckily for you, I found a very long list of kinky sexual desires I’d never heard of.

Maybe you perverts know them all but most of them came as a surprise to me.

I was even more surprised to see some of my darkest desires on the list. (Which ones? I’ll never tell!)

Electrophilia, also known as Ben Franklin Syndrome, involves people getting randy over electricity. Why would someone rather stick their winky in a light socket than in a VJ? Only the coroner knows.

Acrophilia is when people are aroused by high places. Look, in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s your mom and dad doing the hunka-chunka on the roof.

Harmatophilia is when you or your partner becomes sexually aroused by being with a bad lover. I’m guessing these folks get snapped up in the first round draft. How many jobs, other than an elected office or professional sports refereeing, can you excel at by being lousy?

Among some of the more bizarre desires were folks who like to have sex with amputees and mannequins, clowns and spiders, though not generally all at the same time.

Some folks get horny over the smell of flowers or the sight of high heels and some can get off through dancing. I find this last one difficult to believe because my dance moves have only ever led to falling and vomiting.

Coprolalia is being turned on by swearing. (Let’s do it, butt-face)

Is James Lipton of Inside the Actor’s Studio a Vicarphile? Maybe. After all, this kink is for folks who love to hear people’s life stories. The only thing I ever get from listening to people’s histories is sleepy.

Some people get excited over vaccinations, some over obscene phone calls.

Even weirder are the folks who go “boing!” over trains, reptiles and getting their teeth pulled.

Those of you obsessed with big weenies are down with the Haemophilia. (You tramp!)

If you have a hankering for plush animals and other stuffed objects, you are a plushophile … and a goddamn pervert!

Metrophilia is the lust of poetry. I’ve been inspired and saddened by poetry but it’s never gotten me horny.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Cover your eyes
Now make me a sammich!

When noses turn you on, it’s called Neophilia.

“Oh, yeah, look at those nostrils. I am going to pick you all night long. Blow it baby! Blow that nose!”

Even worse is the desire to lick someone’s eyeball. I’m not going to bother telling you what it’s called but, rest queasy, it has a name.

When you like to bite or get bitten, it’s called Odaxelagnia. It’s also called felony assault, so be careful.

Some people are excited by the sight of insects and small animals being crushed.

If seeing a small creature get squished turns your partner on, you need to get out of the house immediately and call the police because that is some serious “it-puts-the-lotion-on-the-skin” trouble.

When you rub your weenis parts up against a stranger, say in the subway or walking down the street, it’s called Frotteurism.

Apparently this is really big in Japan.

Where I come from it could get you shot.

And, quite possibly, your victim would then rub their stuff on you after they shot you, and you’d totally deserve it.

We’re all familiar with exhibitionism, but it’s one that I actually found interesting; not because it sounds sexy or anything. It just seems like it might be fun to try, depending on where you are. (Like, maybe walking around with your pants down at the old folks home just to see if anybody notices. Or even better, streaking naked through the department of motor vehicles to see how fast you can clear the place out.)

Fetishism is the desire for inanimate objects. Not sure I get this totally but there have been a few big screen TVs that made me a little horny, and my new snowblower is definitely a lusty trollop.

Formicophilia means doing sexy things with ants.

I’m not sure what it means to do sexy things with ants, and I don’t want to know.

I might be able to give the whole robotism thing a try.

There are some mechanized sex dolls from Japan now that are dang lifelike.

And, for $7,000, you could have a lifelong sex partner who won’t look at you funny for your weird sex habits, be they involving fire or burglary or enemas or even ants.

And now for a moderately amusing list. Yippee!

The Top Six Middle Age Sex Positions
6. Mutual aggravation – Similar to mutual masturbation but there are seldom orgasms and often bruising.

5. 99 – It’s going to bed with the intention of sex but napping instead.

4. Walrus Style – A lot of heavy breathing and grinding but the genitals never actually touch.

3. Kitchen Sex – Where you tell each other to “Frig-off” over dinner.

2. Frantic Whisper – You try to have some “alone time” without waking up your spouse.

1. The “Adam & Eve” – This is where you both resort to using sex toys, by yourselves. (Preferably in a garden.)

For more hit and miss ha-ha’s and he-he’s, check out my book on Don’t let the fact that there are only three reviews scare you. (Run! Run for your life!)


Realistic descriptions of 53 Disney movies

not mickey mouse

Insomnia strikes again.

Instead of using all those hours I cannot sleep to work on my big epic slavery novel—yes, there really is one in bits and pieces—I decided to write more realistic descriptions for some of Disney’s biggest movies.

Why? Not even my therapist knows.
Please enjoy this bit of self-sabotage.

  1. Woodland communists pilfer the coffers of job creators and redistribute wealth back to the lazy 47 percent. Also, arrows.
  2. Naive housekeeper shacks up with a half-dozen-or-so midgets so you’d think, at some point, there’d be an awkward orgy but no.
  3. Heroic! Dog! Betrayed! By! Immature! Owner! Boom!
  4. Lonely pedophile’s sex doll comes to life. Also, other stuff happens.
  5. Mickey Mouse trips balls for two hours and five minutes. Beware the dancing broom.
  6. Mutant elephant baby breaks free from slave-masters. Racist birds crack wise. Circuses are evil. Seriously, animal slavery is a crime against nature.
  7. Young deer wanders wilderness after parents are slaughtered.
  8. The only way out of an abusive home for a young girl treated like an indentured servant is to find a rich white man. But, what’s new?
  9. What it must look like inside the drug-addled mind of a sexually ambiguous poker player with an eating disorder. (Hint: just remember what the dormouse said.)
  10. A-sexual man-child hounds one-handed shipping magnate through Florida Everglades. (At least, I think it’s in Florida.)
  11. Sooo far under water.
  12. Dogs from different socioeconomic worlds meet. Dogs fall in love. Dogs eat spaghetti. Ironically, movie contains no doggy-style.
  13. Beautiful coma victim can only be cured by sexual assault from an elitist already in jail for god-knows-what.
  14. Lawyer-turned-dog makes trouble for pharmaceutical company.
  15. Delusional girl refuses to see the awful truth all around her.
  16. Fencing Mexican foilz bad guyz.
  17. Mean bitch tries to steal bitch’s bitches to make a fur coat.
  18. This guy should not be working in the laboratory.
  19. Asshole twins refuse to accept parents’ divorce.
  20. Singing nanny endangers lives of children but it’s OK because Dick Van Dyke dances with penguins.
  21. Black pussy credited with FBI’s ability to bust kidnapping ring.
  22. Brown kid does brown kid stuff in a rain forest while being chased by a snake and a tiger.
  23. Animated Volkswagen has various adventures. Whether the car is possessed by its co-creator Adolf Hitler is unclear.
  24. Kurt Russell rips off Flowers for Algernon, sort of.
  25. Stupid boy from the northeast hallucinates large reptile.
  26. Tragic racial allegory explained to children with a red fox and a hound dog.
  27. Wife, I minimized the children in an otherwise tired premise. What happened to me? I used to be on SCTV.
  28. Half-fish half-human girl wants to live on dry land in order to get some mammalian D.
  29. Miserly Scottish duck’s greed knows no bounds. Also, he inherits triplets.
  30. Rodents have high adventures in Australia.
  31. Ugly rich dude. Poor hot girl. Evidently, this movie is based on true events of everywhere always.
  32. Emilio Estevez coaches a terrible hockey team—why not?
  33. Radical Islamic terrorist dabbles in the dark arts in order to bed a hot persian chick and gain wealth. Plus, Robin Williams.
  34. Age-old story of a divorced parent using the kid for economic gain. Apparently, Mark Twain felt 219 was the perfect number of times to use the king daddy of racial epithets.
  35. Jamaican bobsledders and, for some reason, John Candy.
  36. Candy bar namesakes fuck shit up old school during the French Revolution.
  37. Jeremy Irons kills his brother James Earl Jones in a power grab. Then, Nathan Lane and some fat guy escort an effeminate lion cub across Africa for revenge.
  38. That other movie that mixes Biblical themes and baseball. If you build it, Christopher Lloyd will come.
  39. Bad father accidentally kills and assumes the identity of a beloved children’s icon.
  40. The secret lives of playthings.
  41. A kid with big fruit.
  42. Freak in a church falls for a girl way out of his league and the town is so pissed.
  43. Brendan Fraser tries unsuccessfully to reprise his role as Stoney. (He’s no Johnny Weissmuller.) This movie could have been greatly improved with some Samwise and the Weasel … bu-u-u-ddy.
  44. Dog plays basketball and, apparently, everyone is OK with this.
  45. Matthew Broderick is a mentally impaired robot detective. Completely unwatchable.
  46. Joe Dirt becomes a llama. David Puddy hunts him down. Much funnier than you’d think.
  47. Hillbilly grizzlies screwed over by Christopher Walken.
  48. A look inside the juvenile criminal justice system with haunted Jewfro Shia Labeouf.
  49. Lost fish eventually relocated. Folks on dry land couldn’t care less.
  50. Refugees (not Syrian) get sidetracked (not prostitution) on the way to Australia (not Austria) and go native (not interracial marriage.) But, oh, what a tree house they build!
  51. Unpopular orphan wins contest and becomes king.
  52. This movie is not nearly as dirty or interesting as the title might suggest. Think less “50 Shades of Grey” and more Angela Lansbury as a Nazi-hunting witch.
  53. Guy gets sucked into a computer and battles a virus way before anybody knew what computers were for or what the hell a computer virus was. For some reason, everything is neon blue.

More funny stuff in my new book Frickin’ 40: Funny Stories About Middle Age


Planning your own funeral

The Funeral I Deserve

Let me begin by saying that being of sound mind and body are two highly subjective criteria.

Is anyone in this world ever of sound mind and body?

And by whose standards are we measuring soundness?

Folks who believe in magical beings are thought of, by their peers, to be perfectly sane.

You can get away with talking to invisible Jesus but if I argue with an invisible rutabaga I’m a nutcase.

You see where I’m going with this. (Please tell me you see where I’m going with this.)

Nonetheless, I’m sure the probate courts can figure out anything that I may not have done right in this, my last will and testament.

For starters, what money I didn’t spend on planning my funeral went to hiring the undocumented immigrants who have been instructed to murder you in your sleep should you deviate in the slightest from my final wishes.

That said, funerals are just too damned depressing.

I’ve never actually been to one but I’ve seen plenty of them on the TV.

And, frankly, if you can’t put a little fun in funeral, then I don’t want anything to do with it.

So, here are my plans for the Benjamin J. Gohs Memorial Death-a-bration.

If I’m going to be stuck doing the traditional service thing, then I want it done my way.

If it were up to me, I’d just have my ashes sprinkled out in the woods somewhere. But, the wife says I have to have some kind of public service that allows friends and family to have an excuse to miss work and school.


You want me to have a funeral, then I’ll have a muck-a-ruckin funeral! But I want it to be my funeral.

I want the folks in the back row to scream “yee-ha!”

I want people doing shots of hard liquor during the eulogy.

I want the cops to show up because the neighbors complained about the noise.

I want at least one of my friends to get a hasty BJ in the balcony from a married woman while her husband is in the john.

I want TMZ to be showing pictures of my funeral on TV.

I want one of my brothers to punch a photographer in the face.

I want a priest to punch one of my brothers in the face.

I want someone to show up who is actually named “Hasty BJ.”

I guess it doesn’t matter what kind of a church my funeral is held in … as long as it’s Catholic. Most of my family was raised Catholic (I think) and, even though I am a heathen, I figure it might offer some of them a little comfort to show up at a venue they find familiar.

Now that the location is settled, we need to find hosts.

Obviously I want my brother Hammy to run the show but I have a short list of celebrities I’d like to have make an appearance and dote over my corpse a little.

They may or may not deliver the eulogy, as I’d also like to have someone emcee the long list of events which I have planned throughout the day. My go-to hosts include Patton Oswalt, Roger Clinton and Betty White (together) and, only as a last resort, Ted Nugent.

As far as the entertainment goes, I am thinking we should have two or three bands. You can’t swing a dead cat in my family without hitting a guitarist (or a dead cat), so that shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.

Now, as far as activities—so many activities—there should be a minimum of the following: dwarf tossing area, outdoor turkey shoot, bobbing for dildos (for the ladies), wet T-shirt contest, female bum fights, tattoo booth, make-your-own-sundae bar, petting zoo (for the kids), an Elvis impersonator, a Mexican man dressed as Santa Claus who will be referred to as “Santana Claus,” and Penn and Teller should do 15 minutes or so right before the half-time show.

The half-time show will consist of two teams of naked Chinese men shooting each other with paintball guns. Last man standing drinks free the rest of the night and gets his choice of lady bums.

The doors on the venue will be locked precisely at noon, and no one will be allowed to leave until their blood alcohol content is at least three times the legal limit for operating motor vehicles.

Rickshaws and tricycles will be provided for guest transportation home.

Now on to the eulogy.

I’ve decided I want Bobcat Goldthwait to deliver my tribute.

If he’s not available, then get Gilbert Gottfried. If not him, then I guess get Ludwig to do it.


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