The Savage Casual Boxing Fan

I’ve found myself playing a lot of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!! on Nintendo because I just found out two weeks ago that Mike Tyson, our favorite tattooed-face-heavy-weight-champion is going into the ring again.

Can you believe that shit?

Not many people can. Tyson, who is 54, is set to fight Roy Jones Jr, who is the youngster in this match at 51 years old. Apparently, it’s only supposed to be a sparring match with no judges and of course, no crowd. They’re supposed to take it easy on each other.

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There’s brief footage on Instagram of Tyson’s practice session where he’s pummeling some dummy bags and let’s be honest, the bags defended themselves better than Michael Spinks did in 1988.

To quote Teddy Atlas, Tyson’s former trainer from the 1980’s, after he watched the video… well, I won’t directly quote Teddy Atlas because he rambles more than Ozzy Osbourne, but to paraphrase Teddy Atlas, he said, “If you put Henry Aaron in a batting cage at 65 and he starts hitting some dingers, are you going to say, ‘Pack your bags, Strausberg! Hank Aaron is back’? No. You’re not going to do that.”

Sports analysists, in their infinite wisdom, are not interested in these guys butting heads and are downplaying the whole affair are saying no real boxing fan is going to pay $50 to watch this “fight” on Pay-Per-View. I mean, I’m going to do it, but I’m not going to be happy about it.

The fight was originally supposed to be on September 12, but Tyson thinks they can generate more revenue if given more time to promote it.

Roy, strangely enough, agreed.

The benefit of having more time is that we can watch Tyson slowly (or rapidly) unfold from the funny, caring persona he has built over the past 15 years and back into the lispy, foul-mouthed, maniacal powerhouse that bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997.

When responding to the boxing manager’s statement that this wouldn’t be a “real fight,” Tyson disagreed.

“We want to kill each other, man. The people are coming to see us fight because they know we want to kill each other. They’re fucking savages—they want us to kill each other. They want blood.”

Now, Mr. Tyson, come on. I’m not a savage. I just want to see you go into the third round without a mouth guard in so you can get a good grip on Roy’s nose with your teeth and chomp it off. But that’s just me as a casual boxing fan; I don’t think it’s savage.

And for 50 bucks, I think it’s fair to expect that someone’s extremity, I don’t care which, leaves one of your guys’ bodies and hits the canvas floor still twitching a little bit.

Or eat it. If I pay 60 bucks, would one of you guys eat it? I hear if you eat the other guy’s finger or nose you absorb his powers. Fine. $65 but no higher than that. This is a game of integrity and honor.

White Lies

And a jolly good morning to you folk(s). This is Mike Jenkins. Has it been (looks at watch, winces) since I last golden-showered you with my wit? You poor person! I apologize to all of my reader.

Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a moral quandary since the beginning of October. It was consuming my every thought and I didn’t know what to do about it. I’ll tell you what happened.

I was watching “Wheel of Fortune” one night (We just call it “Wheel” in our house) and as the always-charming Pat Sajak quipped his guest into “giving that wheel a spin,” after the contestant guessed a letter (I think it was an “R”), Vanna, looking sparkly, sashayed her way to the letter and before she could touch the side of the screen, the letter flipped over.

I dropped my hot chocolate in shock.

“Grettle,” I said quietly in disbelief. “I don’t think Vanna is actually turning over the letters.”

Grettle barked in protest, unwilling to admit the truth. She’s always been a loyal Vanna fan.

Grettle
You can’t see it because of the fur, but there is a “Vanna 4 Life” tattoo across her chest

It takes a keen eye to spot these things, but I did; that’s what you pay me for. But guys, listen: I think that Vanna’s role on “Wheel” is completely superfluous.
Look, I didn’t want to make the discovery, ok? But I did. I looked at past episodes and there’s even a section called “Toss Up” where Vanna “presses a button” so that all the letters appear automatically one at a time until someone guesses it right and Vanna just stands off to the side the whole time.

How could we have been so blind? Trust me, now that I’ve pointed it out, you’ll never un-see it: She is completely unnecessary.

So, the problem I had over the past two weeks was whether to let the producers of “Wheel” know about it. If they did know that Vanna served no real purpose, she’d be let go.

Times are tough right now and with the amount of cash and prizes “Wheel” gives out on a daily basis, they could surely use some of that freed-up Vanna scratch to send a contestant on a trip to pick some apples in upstate Massachusetts.

She makes $4 million dollars a year. That’s a shitload of apples.

I wonder how her contract negotiations work. Does she walk toward the producer’s office and before she gets inside, the guy shoos her away, slams the door and slides the contract underneath? Or maybe she’s invited in and as a goof the producer asks her to explain why she should get paid $4 million a year, stifling chortles and nyuks the whole time.

On the other hand, doesn’t Vanna deserve to have a job? From the show’s inception until the late 90’s, Vanna did physically turn over letters. It looked like hard work, especially when vowels were concerned.

Vowels are like, in every word.

Fast fact! The most commonly used letter in the English language is “E.”

It must have been hard work back in the day because she even wrote an autobiography in 1987 called Vanna Speaks which I now sadly have to read because it’s 190 pages when it should only be one sentence: “Sometimes I get blisters.”

vanna speaks

Oh, fuck me, there’s 32 pages that are just photos.

In the end, I decided not to let the producers know about my discovery. I figured, she’s not hurting anyone with her “White” lie (get it?) and she is pleasant to look at. Who knows, maybe the time she takes to walk from side to side is valuable to contestants who need an extra second or two to think about the puzzle’s solution.

However, it does feel odd to sit back and watch television and see someone whom you’ve never met, has no idea you exist and yet you still wield this incredible power over her. It’s thrilling and unsettling at the same time.

I have the letter written, but unsent. I hold it in my hand every evening from 7:30 to 8:00, waiting for Vanna to screw up. To draw a swastika on the side of the puzzle board, queef into the microphone, or say Tom Petty was mediocre– anything really that will cause a disturbance and upset my viewing. Then I’ll bring the hammer down.
If she only knew.

Check Out My First Book Review!

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It’s a daunting task, getting your self-published book reviewed. There are many sites to offer reviews, however, some may ask for upwards of $425 for a review (I’m looking at you, Kirkus Reviews). I tried making a list of other things I could purchase with $425, but all I could come up with was 42.542 paperback copies of my book, Ask Me About My Grandcats. It’s available on Amazon. No big deal.

Fortunately, I found a website called BookLife that offers free reviews. Check this out:

BookLife is a website from Publishers Weekly dedicated to indie authors. The site provides a free and easy way to submit self-published books to Publishers Weekly for review, and offers editorial content—success stories, interviews, author profiles, how-to pieces, news, and features—geared toward helping indie authors achieve their goals. Whether an author is focused on writing and editing, art and design, or marketing and distribution, BookLife has valuable resources that can help along the way.

The question I had to ask myself was, am I ready to be one of their success stories? Imagine me, Mike Jenkins, granting interviews, inspiring others to pursue their dreams, running down hotel hallways from sexy groupies. Don’t trip on your way to the limo, Mike, lest the throngs of pretty girls overtake you!

After buying a Costco 50-pack of black sharpies for autographs, I submitted my book. They also asked if I wanted to submit my book into their yearly BookLife Prize. It only cost $99 to enter my book, but you could win $5,000 not to mention a profile in Publishers Weekly. Have you heard of them? Oh, good.

The only problem I had with entering is how it might ruin the chances of some other author who thought they might win. It felt like using a shotgun to swat at flies, but hey, we’re all on the same playing field. For now.

After just 3 short weeks, BookLife got back to me concerning my free review. The website warned that it could take from 6-12 weeks to receive a review, but obviously they couldn’t resist this. So, what did BookLife have to say?

Dear Michael,
Thanks for submitting your BookLife project (Ask Me about My Grandcats: And Other Essays) to be considered for a Publishers Weekly review. Despite the strength of your project, our editors have decided not to send it out for review.

Well, that’s…I mean…the thing about it is…

Imagine being so good at something that nobody wants to give you a chance. I hope they give my $99 to someone who actually needs the help.

It’s The Author Media Push!

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After months and months of hard work and finally procuring a manuscript in which to publish, most authors are subjected to a media blitz upon publication of their book to create buzz (and therefore, money). Here’s Michael Jenkins, author of Ask Me About My Grandcats giving a rather candid interview with Wayne Kirkpatrick.

Wait, what’s going on?                                                                                                                   I’m so glad you asked! I’m Mike Jenkins and I wrote a book of comedy essays. It’s called Ask Me About My Grandcats; it’s full of chuckles. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it.

What do you want?                                                                                                                        Well, you know how the publishing business is, Wayne. I have to go parading around and do interviews like this to the mainstream media in order to boost sales. Hey, I don’t want to be here either, but that’s the name of the game. My book is available on Amazon in paperback and E-Book format.

I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a show! We’re standing behind a 7-11, this is crazy!
7-11, Walgreens, CVS, Wawa, Sheetz, Jiffy Lube, Target, I’ll do it all. No platform is too small when you’re peddling a book, Wayne.

Please put the gun down.
(sigh) Wayne, that’s not a question. How…how long have you been doing this? God, it’s like amateur hour out here.

Will you please stop pointing that gun at me?
Ah, there we go! A legitimate question! I’d love to, but I’m still sensing a little resistance…? So, I’m gonna kind of keep it as is…? I’m sure you understand. Look, I’ve printed out a list of interview questions you can ask me. A little professional courtesy between you and me.

“When–when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?”
Bor-ing! Come on, man. Let’s get our hands dirty. And why are you shaking so much? It’s not chilly out. It’s a beautiful spring day behind the local 7-11!

Uh..Um… “What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?”
Hmmm…(scratches head with barrel of gun)…that’s a good question. “Literary Pilgrimages.” Ummm… I’m sorry, I can’t answer that question without sounding like a pretentious asshole. You understand.

“Does your family support your career as a writer?”
(Wincing, waving gun) Next question. Next question!

Will you please let me go?
Ha-HA! Oh, Wayne, I love this banter! What a dynamic we have! Unfortunately, I have answered that question way too many times today, but this is good. We’re having fun.

“How do you celebrate the completion of a book?”
Excellent question! Back at my place I have a book-release party planned with various folks, including some A-list celebrities. I’m talking party hats, I’m talking kazoos, I’m talking sparklers…

Wait, A-list celebrities?
Look, if that guy holding religious signs outside the local Shell gas station isn’t considered A-list, I don’t want to know who is. Want to stop by? I still have to go inside the Sev and get some slurpees. It’s going to get crazy up in there! Is there a particular flavor I should get you?

You know I’m going to call the cops once this is over, right?
See, I want to believe you…? But I think I’ve charmed my way into your better judgement. I’m going to give you my address anyway. This is a good idea.

I just want to go home and hug my family.
Bring them along! I live above the local hearing aid place on Main street. Front-view apartment, no big deal. Oh Christ, are you crying?

You’re just so sad…
See you at the party, Wayne!

Ms. Amanda

Amanda, I hope this letter finds you well. When I came across your profile, so moved was I that I decided to forego my usual email that simply says, “Sup, girl?” In fact, I might even throw in some fancy-pants vocabulary words to impress you.

You ever been hit on by a guy who uses the word “indubitably”? Well, stick around, Amanda; today may be your lucky day!

Your photos show a lot of personality. I would have to say on my part, the last festival food I had was in the month of June when I had my first fried Oreo. You ever have a fried Oreo, Amanda? It’s a flavor I never experienced before, and as I felt a sharp, unforgiving pain radiate down my left arm as I took my last bite, I wondered, “Who is the culinary genius who came up with this?”

I also like the photos of you holding random children that aren’t yours. Don’t get me wrong, Amanda, I can and have lifted any number of my friends’ small children (I do pushups!), but there is a severe lack of photographic evidence in my circle of friends to corroborate my claim. And to be honest, I don’t hold them for too long, as I have a slight aversion to tears and urine.

I do apologize for a lack of questions to you on my part, but I wanted to show that this isn’t some form letter. I figured this format would be better than a bullet list of typical date questions like, “What do you do for a living,” or “How come you never see a homeless person drinking Gatorade?”

Oh, I do have a leading question for you though: which comedians are your favorites? I too enjoy stand-up comedy, although I don’t think I could ever stomach a cruise ship comedian who is always so close to bombing epically.

Thanks for reading, Amanda, and take care. Would I like to hear back from you? Indubitably!

Cordially,

Mike

Ms. Kenzie

Kenzie, hi!

I came across your profile and thought I would write you an email. I admire your honesty in your profile, it was refreshing. It’s inspired me to tell you that I as well did suffer from anxiety. I’ve had two full-blown anxiety attacks in my life and they were quite the thrill! The last one I had was about 6 years ago and of course it happened while I was driving, because panic attacks really like to lay it on thick with the dramatics. However, it has really has given me a different outlook on things.

I have become a much more relaxed person and am able to focus more on things that I enjoy rather than problems I can’t fix. Basically, I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Unless we’re being literal and talking about actual small things; like bees. Ohhhhhh, I don’t know about you McKenzie, but I do not like bees, no no no.

Did I ever tell you about the time I was last stung by a bee, McKenzie? It happened just this past summer. I was playing a round of golf with my Dad and after I hit a shot I noticed there was this yellow-jacket clinging to my hand and when I tried to shake it off, I felt that nostalgic, familiar sting of a bee; a pain I have not felt in nary 20 years.

Reminding myself that I was 32 years old, I mustered up all of my courage and acted like a man as I shook my hand casually and was like, “I think I was stung by a bee. I hardly felt it, of course, because of my coarse skin and I have felt so much other pain in my life up to this point that a bee sting is trivial nonsense, but I saw the bee and I felt a wispy tickle, so I put 2 and 2 together…we got any whiskey?”

On the next hole, I was looking at my hand and I said to my dad, “Well, at least he didn’t leave the stinger in my hand.” And he informed me that yellow jackets don’t do that; they can sting repeatedly. And I said, “I thought only wasps did that.”
“A yellow jacket is a type of wasp,” he said.

And then I started to cry.

So now, to never forget that day of 3 months ago (7-26-15-never forget), I keep a spiteful jar of honey in my cupboard. Whenever I open the cupboard door, I take a look at the jar and I glance at my hand and go, “Eff you, bees. Eff you.” And then I was told by a friend that yellow jackets don’t actually make honey; they only manufacture and export pain.

And then, of course, I started to cry.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, McKenzie. I’m glad I came across your profile and was able to write to you. I hope to hear from you and if not, best of luck out there!

Bee-lieve it!

Warmest regards,

—-Mike.

Ms. Shell

Hello, Shell!
My name is Mike. I came across your profile and thought I would write you a letter. I am impressed that you have a horse. Isn’t that every girl’s dream, to have a horse? I can understand if you omitted in your profile that you are also a princess, as it might be a bit intimidating for us guys.

I also like to think that I am drama-free and have no baggage. I’m thinking about it now and the only baggage I have is my fear of heights, I suppose. Like, if you were to drag me into a hot air balloon or something similar, I will probably scream and smack myself in the head until I pass out, but other than that, no, I don’t think I have any drama, although that scene is pretty dramatic, to be sure.

I am an animal lover as well. I have a Golden Chow mix named Goober who turned 16 years old this year. Despite her age, she is still a happy-go-lucky dog, although she may smell like she’s 20 or 21. Do dogs live over the age of 20? I figure that with Goober by the time she turns 25, she will have reached the tipping point where she will be more machine than dog.

It’s a shame you’re reading the book American Sniper after seeing the movie. It takes away that snobby pleasure one gets when walking out of a theater and you get to say with your nose held high, “The book was soooooo much better.” Isn’t that a great feeling?
Have a great day, Shell! Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you.

Respectfully,
Mike.

Ms. Rockout13

Hello, Ms. Rockout13, I’m Mike2614231. I live in Glenside now, but I used to live in Green Lane. It’s true! I lived there for about 5 years, in a tiny apartment on the corner of 63 and route 29, by the Sunoco gas station. Have you ever been? It’s a nice gas station; they sell ice cream for kids as well as minnows for fishermen. And they also sell pornographic magazines sealed in plastic bags, which… well, look, I just know that they SELL them. That’s all I know about it, honest.

Honest.

At any rate, the apartment I lived in was an old house from the early 1900’s that was converted into 5 small apartments. Everything was slanted: the floor, the windows, the door frame… Hey, you remember in the movie Beetlejuice when Beetlejuice was going to marry Lydia and he created that crooked door in the wall for that old priest to come out and wed them in marital bliss? My door frame looked like that. When people came over I told them to enter on the right side of the door frame, lest they hit their heads on the short side.

Are the door frames where you dwell crooked as well? I didn’t know if I was living in some kind of architectural oddity or if that’s just the way things are up there. I am sorry to say that I don’t have a single piece of plaid in my whole wardrobe; not a stitch. You probably read that sentence and wondered how I get by, but somehow I do. Somehow.

I am envious of your wide array of photos. I especially like the professional photographer’s shots of you in the felled cornfield. I guess you could say the photographer was…”stalk”ing you? Ha, you’re welcome; feel free to use that and take it as your own, I won’t mind.

Have yourself a wonderful day!

Signed,

Mike (The guy with the Beetlejuice door frames and puns about corn, which are a-MAIZE-ing!)

Ms. Tara

Dear Tara,
I hope this letter finds you well. I was intrigued by your profile and thought I would write you. I have been called ‘funny’ and never ‘funny looking,’ although I have once been called, ‘unforgivably ugly.’ To be fair, the person who said that was referring to my personality and not my physical appearance, which—thank god, am I right, Tara? The phrase ‘irrevocably damaged’ also rings a familiar bell, but since I cannot recall the exact context, I’m not going to mention it.

I think your career path as a model is a brave one. I’m a bit too introverted myself (see: writer) to put myself out there the way you do. But if I were to model, I’m sure the highest I’d be able to reach career-wise would be as a sock model for a Kmart circular. And I’m talking tube socks with the bold yellow stripe on top, not ankle socks (let’s not kid ourselves here, Tara). And maybe I’m casually holding a football while donning these stunning tube socks that are on sale until Monday and I’m chuckling a little bit as if someone off-camera made a joke and broke the tension of the shoot.

Anyway, that’s about as far as I’d think I’d ever make it as a model.

I do not consider myself an INFP (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving) anymore. However, I do practice selfless acts whenever possible and listen to people more than I speak to them, but I suppose time and my own life experiences has made me incredibly suspicious of anyone that is willing to do the same for me. So what would that make me? I guess that would make me an HPRT (HyPocRiTe).

As for the other attributes that you are looking for in a partner, I do believe I possess them and I look for the same little nuances and quirks that two people can share to make a very loving, lasting relationship. But those things are only proven in actions, not words, so I will end my letter here and say that I would like to get to know you better. Have a wonderful weekend, Tara!

Sincerely,

Mike

Ms. Bird

Dear Ms. Bird,

I enjoyed reading your profile. I too, am a Bill Murray fan. For me, it doesn’t get any better in Scrooged when the props guy asks how to put little antlers on a mouse and Bill goes, “Have you tried staples?”

I admire your decision to work in the medical field. I have a couple of friends who are nurses and they say the work is as rewarding as it is challenging. It’s a lot of grace and stability under pressure and to be honest, when I am faced with such a task, I find that my go-to move is to pull on the fire alarm and run out the door. Sometimes I have to go running out of the building screaming, you know, really sell it, because there’s only so many times you can pull that off and make it believable. Hint: You can do it up to 3 times before people get a touch skeptical when they see you nearing the wall during questioning.

In the early mornings I write humor articles (hence the time stamp of this email) and during the day I work in the Chalfont area where my supervisor is an admitted former crack addict. True story, he smoked crack back in the day and now he falls asleep on the forklift.

Granted, it might be the apnea and not the remnants of inhaled cocaine from 1989 that causes the sleep spells, but whenever he approaches me and says for instance, “Here’s how I would have done this…” And if I don’t agree with him I simply say, “Yeah, but you’ve smoked crack, yes? Sorry, I just wanted to ask that again; I keep forgetting.”

Of course, if I find that I am completely in the wrong and have put my foot in my mouth (which, believe it or not, has happened), most buildings (if they are up to fire code) have what I call a, “Get out of Argument Free” lever on the nearest wall.

I hope you have a wonderful day, Ms. Bird! And I’ll leave you with my favorite poem by one Bob Wiley: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m a schizophrenic, and so am I.”

Cordially,

Mike