Category Archives: Mrs Bison

No Stone Unturned

It’s the day after Christmas, or as the civilized world calls it, Boxing Day, and I’m starting to feel marginally less shit than I’ve done for the last six days. It’s a mistake to take time off work and relax because I can always guarantee that the moment I stop working a miserable cold/flu virus will descend on me from a great height and fuck me up. And that is indeed what happened precisely one day after coming home. Of course, like all normal males, I had not done one iota of Christmas shopping prior to this, having planned on the five remaining days before Christmas being plenty within which to accomplish the pathetic series of near-desperate purchases that normally make up my gift list.

I didn’t plan to be down for the count for six days, but fortunately I made the effort (greatly assisted by assorted medications) to visit the stores on Monday, just to get the whole exercise out of the way and ensure that Mrs Bison had something to open on Christmas morning. (Mrs Bison is a patient and wonderful woman, but like all women has an elephantine memory for such transgressions, and although she cares little for fancy gifts, I could not risk being slyly reminded for the next, ooh, let’s say thirty years, about the year she had nothing at all to open.)

We long ago stopped trying to impress each other with gifts, which does take the pressure off, and instead we just buy fun junk. If there was anything we actually wanted we would already have bought it, and it’s amazing how much crap you don’t really need when you get right down to it. Not exactly the consumer behavior the retail industry is dreaming about this season, and judging by the swarms of crappy people clogging up the roads around the mall on Monday, not a very common attitude either. So I patiently avoided running over the moron family who wandered out into the road, the dumb woman on her phone who didn’t look where she was going and the bitch who didn’t seem to care that between her and her bus was an active road, and parked the car at the mall. By this time I’d bought the more “fun” gifts, but I had it in my mind to check out some jewelry, because Mrs Bison is an excellent spouse, and wouldn’t it be fun to surprise her?

So I cruised a few jewelers in the mall, looking for attractive necklaces that didn’t cost the same as a small car. You have to be careful doing this – the trick is to wander through and glance sidelong at the merchandise, but without making eye contact with the lacquered harridan behind the glass counter, who will immediately ask what she can show you, and then proceed to attempt to guilt you into buying some overpriced tat. I had a narrow escape with one Eastern European assistant who wanted to direct me to silver jewelry coated in gold (“so you mean gold plated crap?”) but after three stores I had seen nothing remotely interesting. Last shot – Macy’s. Credit where it’s due, they had more attractive looking stuff, and my attention was drawn to one necklace – a gold chain with some diamondy bits, including one larger stone. Of course they had elegantly folded the price tag underneath the item, making it impossible to determine whether this was in the price range I was looking for. Along came the assistant to ask if I needed anything. “Sure – can you just tell me how absurd the price tag is on that necklace?” (No, that’s really what I said.) Out comes the necklace, display it, touch it, describe it, and then out comes the calculator for the myriad discounts, the result of which was $750, unless I wanted to get a Macy’s card?

Let’s leave aside for a moment that the gold chain was so insubstantial as to be near invisible, and that there’s a fine line between “delicate” and “cheap”. Let’s also leave aside that I thought the item would have looked better as a gold thing with glittery bits, and absent the solitaire stone, and also let’s leave aside the fact that I wanted to spend about $500 less than that. I was suddenly reminded about why I hate shopping for jewelry. It’s impossible to know if you’re being ripped off. (Actually it’s almost certainly the case, but let’s just pretend for a moment.)

The most expensive part of that necklace should certainly have been the single diamond; the gold chain and setting could have been bought for next to nothing in China, and the diamond fragments are worthless even if pretty. So what was the big stone worth? Well that depends doesn’t it? Forget the fact that it’s actually worth nothing without the artificial inflation of diamond prices by a worldwide cartel, and just consider its worth within the rigged market: was that stone a clear E color stone with no inclusions, elegantly cut to maximize brilliance? Or was it a yellow piece of near-industrial grit, knocked up in a cheap shop and glued to a gold setting in a Chinese factory? I have no way of knowing. I can’t pull out an eyepiece and examine it, partly because I don’t own one, and partly because I wouldn’t know what to look for in a million years. If I had that $750 necklace appraised, what would its value be?

If you buy a used Ford Taurus its value is largely a function of age and mileage. Buying a piece of jewelry in a mall store is like buying a used car without knowing either of these facts. “Here’s a beautiful blue Taurus, black tires, brown seats, lovely clear glass. How about this?” “Fifteen thousand? Yeah it looks nice, I’ll take it.” You’re spending significant money on something about which you cannot possibly know enough to gauge value.

And that’s where the whole jewelry business has its hands round your balls. You’re expected to buy jewelry for women because they like it, and you can’t buy glass or zircons, even though no-one could tell the difference, because then you’re a “cheap bastard who doesn’t think I’m worth it.” But if you do buy something how do you know whether that diamond is any good? Is that blue stone a pretty natural sapphire, or is it an artificially colored piece of crap produced in a factory? You could ask, but what sort of answer do you think you’ll get from the commission-based slime bag at your average jewelry store? “Yes, this is priced at $1100. It’s actually worth much less because the stone is very flawed, and the setting is mass-produced, but we make a 500% mark-up on this so I strongly recommend it to you.”

So I retreated from the store as gracefully as a shivering, run-down man with flu and three days of stubble could, probably leaving the assistant believing I was some kind of meth addict, and returned home.

Yesterday Mrs Bison and I exchanged fun gifts, and Bison Daughter got real gifts, and I managed to cook the turkey, even though I felt like crap, because that’s the tradition here, and Bison Daughter said it was excellent, and that basting with phlegm obviously helped, and then we did what everyone should do on Christmas Day, which is nothing. And later in the evening I recounted my jewelry story to Mrs Bison, and she laughed and told me she would have been pissed off with me if I’d spent $750 on a necklace, which is why she’s such a great spouse, and why I felt like I needed to buy something to show her that, so you can see my problem. But it’s a good problem to have, and I wouldn’t swap it for all the crappy diamonds at the mall.

More Fat Please

Maybe real men shouldn’t admit to eating yogurt – perhaps it has the same stigma attached as quiche, manicures and man-bags – but I have to confess that I eat the stuff. I justify this on the basis that it’s proteiny, but sweet enough to count as dessert and (perhaps) allow me to resist the siren call of thousand calorie cakes. Yogurts used to be simple things, but recently they’ve started to grow in size, and cost, so that you’re being asked to pay an obscene amount for a small bucket of Greek yogurt. As though we’re bailing out their miserable economy one pot at a time.

Greek yogurt is supposed to be good for you – more protein, which is right up my street – but it doesn’t taste better. In fact it generally tastes as one would imagine the congealed nocturnal emissions of a diseased wino would taste, only with fruit on the bottom. We seem to have reached the point where yogurt all tastes shite, it’s just a matter of how shite you can stomach. But the other day Mrs Bison unleashed a yogurt revelation on me: small pots of yogurt that aren’t labeled LOW FAT and, apparently as a consequence, taste great. Like real food. Like you’d eat one out of choice rather than duty. And it suddenly hit me – ALL yogurt could taste this good if we only stopped obsessing about low fat foods.

All those attractive sounding but ultimately disappointing flavors that you see in the supermarket chill cabinet could really taste like key lime pie, or strawberry shortcake, or whatever it is they claim to be. And they’d all taste great. But instead we live in a world of mealy-mouthed, low-fat, calorie-counting self-denial, where luxury is an ever-larger pot of something that you just know will taste like fruity dog semen.

Mrs Bison says yogurts all used to taste like that, but I don’t remember those days. I don’t think we had yogurts when I was a kid, and I certainly didn’t buy them when I lived alone because they didn’t fit my “lots of protein, lots of carbs, and just enough fruit not to get scurvy” low cost shopping plan. Nevertheless I can’t help wondering why, in a country that is quite prepared to chicken fry steak, there isn’t just a little bit of room on the shelf for non-low-fat yogurt.

Maybe it’s the next big thing: “Food You Can Enjoy”, but I can’t help thinking that the great marketing powers that be have decided that Yogurt = Health = Low Fat, and taste can just take a running jump. Pity, because nothing puts you off healthy eating like the taste of dog spooge.

 

Kill Me Now Catalog

Today the mail brought with it a horrific surprise for Mrs Bison. Mixed in with the bills, statements and assorted credit card offers was a free catalog addressed to her personally; it was a clothing catalog, just 64 pages long and only 8 x 11 inches per page, but the message it delivered was profound and unmistakable:

YOU ARE A FRUMPY OLD BITCH AND YOUR LIFE IS OVER…

… to continue reading this most excellent story see my book or go straight over to Amazon and buy a copy

 

20 Years Ago Today

The cake above bears witness to a notable anniversary: 20 years ago today the future Mrs Bison and I met, at a party. We lived in sin for years before marrying (and the sin was great, by the way) so we never really got round to marking the wedding anniversary, preferring instead to remember that original date. I am therefore one of the few non-single men who does not get shit about forgetting his wedding anniversary. (Most of the others probably being married to women with Alzheimer’s.)

This event gave us the opportunity to look back and take stock of how far we’ve come in 20 years. When Mrs Bison met me I was unemployed, and driving a ten year-old car. Now, 20 years later, she’s married to a man who’s unemployed and driving a ten year-old truck. Big progress!

To be fair to myself (which I fully intend to be, since no other fucker is likely to take the trouble) I’ve only been unemployed two weeks. I could write for a long time on that subject. In fact I could go on for the next x months about the struggles of the executive job seeker, the highs and lows, the daily challenges and the deep insights I would receive into my personal psyche, but no-one is going to give a shit, because, frankly, it’s going to be boring. So let’s skip over the whole job-loss thing. Suffice it to say that I worked my arse off so hard over the last 6 months that I’ve neglected my writing, disappointing my (possibly) one remaining reader, and the only moral I can take from my story is “Don’t Work Your Arse Off”.

Mrs Bison has been very supportive. She’s taken to referring to me as Dole Scum, a reference to the funny Job Seekers sketches with Pauline from the League of Gentlemen, an example of which which you can SEE HERE. She keeps asking me to let her know if it’s starting to piss me off, presumably in case I snap and end up burying her in the garden, in a shallow grave, but it’s very unlikely, especially if I keep getting cakes made for me.

No, let’s focus on the ten year-old car. I remember the piece of shit I had when I met my future spouse: it was an orange Talbot Avenger with a black vinyl roof, and like most cars of that era (it was made in 1979) it was a rust-infested nightmare. Avengers were renowned for the way the brackets around the headlights rusted away to nothing, and the front fenders always rusted too. The sills and the suspension mounting points were hotbeds of rust, and of course the exhaust system was designed to rust through and fall off at the most inopportune moment, giving the vehicle the sound of a jet engine coupled with the torque of a singly-occupied hamster wheel.

I once went to the scrap yard (which was where I obtained all the replacement parts I ever needed for my POS Avenger) looking for a front fender (or wing to UK readers). The scrappy informed me that unrusted fenders were “as rare as rocking horse manure” but I looked anyway. And there it was: not only was the fender in great condition but it was orange, a perfect match for my car, which was uncanny because the car it was attached to was uniformly red on all other panels. Not only was the fender orange but it had the same double-black pinstripe which ran down my car (mine had clearly been resprayed in a past life, and it was probably only the paint that held much of it together). Unfortunately it was the right side fender and I needed a left. Life has a habit of crapping in your lap sometimes, just for the fun of it.

So a ten year-old car in 1989 was a fucking rolling disaster, literally falling apart as you drove it. Now, in 2009, I have a ten year-old GM truck on which I have replaced only the battery and tires from new. I had to top up the fluid in the air conditioner this year but, let’s be fair, the only air conditioning in my Avenger was courtesy of the hole in the floor. Cars last a long time now, and look pretty damn good while they do it, which means that today’s feckless youth know little of the joys of welding around the suspension mounts to get their car to pass annual MOT inspection.

On this auspicious occasion I would say that my 20 year companion compares better to my 2009 truck than my 1989 Avenger. Bodywork in good shape, low maintenance, and the airbags don’t need to be replaced. That, along with the cakes, is the secret of a happy relationship, so I’m going to celebrate by buying her some furry dice to wear later…

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Happy Birthday Darling

Mrs Bison was out tonight, picking up Bison Daughter from her dance class, when she managed to get herself pulled over for speeding. She turned into a car park and the police car pulled up behind her. A woman police officer got out, which immediately struck her as bad news, since she figured she was much more likely to catch a break from a man. (I’m not sure how she worked this out – she’s never been pulled over in her life up until now. Probably watched too many cop movies. Just as well it wasn’t a male officer or she may have gone all “Cool Hand Luke car wash” on him.)

Anyway, she handed over her license and insurance, and after a minute the officer returned and told her she was getting a verbal warning. Mrs Bison thanked her, and told her that was the best birthday present she’d had. The officer said she hadn’t noticed that it was her birthday, wished her a happy birthday and sent her on her way.

It’s a good result, I know, but it doesn’t say a lot about my birthday present buying skills does it?

Entertaining


I recently hired a business director, and since he was in St.Louis with his wife on Friday, house hunting, I thought it would be hospitable if I invited them over for a drink. He’d already made dinner plans for the evening so I didn’t have to prevail upon Mrs Bison to cook something. This was probably a good thing: Mrs Bison works pretty much full time, and the things she cooks for us fall more into the “hearty home cooking” category than the “poncy showing off to guests” one. This means that anything wanky we choose to offer is very likely never to have been cooked by us before, and therefore to be something of an experiment. Some of these experiments don’t end well – things can look great in a cookery book but end up resembling afterbirth on a plate. However the things that we usually eat can be a little exotic for the Midwestern American palate, by which even onions can be regarded as “over-spicy food of the devil”. All in all it’s better if people don’t come for dinner.

So we got prepared with a range of soda (coke, diet pepsi, root beer) and some beer, as well as chips and little smoked salmon and cream cheese things on crackers, which were great, except that the crackers kept breaking every time Mrs Bison tried to spread the allegedly spreadable cream cheese on them, causing many bad words to be stifled.

The guests arrived; he asked for beer, so Mrs Bison got a bottle from the fridge. We had a very pleasant conversation – he finished the beer but declined a second one. I stuck with soda as I was playing soccer later that night. After a while they left for dinner and I went off to play soccer. (Two great goals but we still lost. Bollocks.) It wasn’t until the next morning that Mrs Bison noticed a bottle of root beer missing from the fridge. And a full complement of proper beer still intact. She’d given our guest a root beer without noticing, and he’d not said anything.

Of course I had to e-mail him and call him out as a pussy for not telling the boss’s wife that she’d given him the wrong drink. Some people are just too polite. Or maybe he thought we were teetotal weird bastards who didn’t believe in alcohol.

Some people are natural entertainers, and others are not. We’re in the “not” group. We haven’t actually poisoned anyone yet, but we did serve samosas to this Indian bloke and they were still frozen in the middle. It didn’t really matter though, because he was a cunt. Poisoning him would actually have been a bonus.

From now on I think we’re going to start fucking with guests for fun. If they’re too polite and/or scared to say anything we should try adding things to the food, just to see what they’ll choke down. How about half a mouse in the dip, or a large centipede on the lettuce? It would take more than a couple of root beers to wash that down…

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Fringe Benefits

While I was out buying a parakeet yesterday, Mrs Bison was busy getting her hair cut. She seems to have immense difficulty finding someone she can use repeatedly who won’t fuck it up, and this time she tried yet another different hairdresser, in the mall. The haircut looks fine, but apparently the Russian girl who cut it was rough, unfriendly and seemingly uninterested in knowing what the customer wanted before she started.

Worse than that, she had very large breasts in a low cut top and kept shoving them in my wife’s face every time she leaned over her. You know, come to think of it, my hair’s getting a bit long too…

Dream? More Like A Nightmare…

It’s that time of year when summer colds are doing the rounds; both Mrs Bison and Bison Daughter caught one, and I’m trying very hard not to get it since I don’t have the energy to be ill. Colds are one of those things around which a great myth has grown up, namely that of the “man flu”, whereby men are supposed to be incapable of handling a simple cold while women, clearly a far superior and hardier segment of the species, could catch a cold and still climb a mountain with three children on their backs, without the need for Sudafed. This is patently a load of old bollocks, promulgated by certain wimmin to cover up the fact that for 10-15% of the month they are prone to unwarranted bitchiness, acne, bloating, whining and occasional homicidal urges.

Mrs Bison learned this lesson many years ago; after taunting me for my pussiness when I succumbed to a cold she promptly contracted it herself and immediately grew whiskers and retired to her basket. I always remember this and remind her of it in the event that I get some minor disease and she accuses me of being a giant wuss. Of course, being a man, I can probably remember about three occasions such as this while my spouse, being a woman, has a fully-stocked Grievance Database of all the hundreds of occasions when I have been wrong / screwed up / acted like a twat. It’s not that there have been that many occasions (well it’s not just that) but her recall of them is, uncannily, almost photographic.

Anyway, this is not the point. What is the point is that Mrs Bison informed me this evening that while she was hopped up on nighttime cold remedy she had a weird dream where we renewed our wedding vows. This is strange because we both regard the idea of renewing wedding vows as utterly ludicrous, the kind of fatuous suburban bullshit that gets married people a bad name. What kind of people renew their vows, and, more importantly, why?

A cynic might suggest that, having made the mistake once, deciding to do it again would be a bit like the experience of cutting off a testicle and then going back twenty years later and cutting off the other one, to refresh the memory. However, even as a happily married man (is that an oxymoron?) I have to say that any male who would willingly indulge in the “renewing your vows” charade should have his man-card forcibly removed, possibly along with his dick. Assuming he still has one. No real man would renew his vows would he? But how many men still have the balls left after two decades of wedded bliss (aka sack-withering oppression) to say “No, I don’t think that’s a very good idea” when their spouse suggests renewing their vows in front of their children, “just like Elspeth at the book club did last month”. Let alone responding with a loud guffaw, and “You’re fucking joking, right?”

Still, the fact that the whole idea is stupid (and that 50% of the participants are at best dragged into it unwillingly) hasn’t stopped a whole industry springing up to cater for the dumb bastards who do it. You can renew your vows on cruise ships, at Disneyland and in Las Vegas. You can’t vent your creativity with a gift list second time around but instead you can make up dick-shrivelingly excruciating new vows and force people to stand around with a straight face as you exchange them.

“Twenty years ago I promised to love and cherish you and now as I stand here at the crossroads of our life together I realise the enormity of my commitment and the depth of our bond. Honestly I would rather chew off my own nuts than be parted from you. No, seriously, you’re great, especially that thing you let me do in bed which is illegal in thirty-two states. And I don’t even mind that much about your tits hanging down, because, to be honest, when we do it face to face I’m usually thinking about someone else anyway. I hope we’re still together in another twenty years, so we can sit around in our own waste trying to remember each other’s names. Yeah, that would be great.”

You can even buy books to guide you through the whole unnecessary process, should you so desire. I wouldn’t bother though – my guess is that married people fall into two categories: happy ones (who don’t need to renew vows since their original ones did the job and they have better things to do) and fucked-up ones (who desperately hope that re-pledging their love will make it come true and somehow fill the aching, bottomless void in their sad lives).

And if you’re contemplating renewing your vows after only five years of marriage I would have to suggest that you wait. You’re still on the warm-up lap, dumbass. Go buy some electric pink love toys to while away the decades. It’ll give you something to talk about in your excruciating new vows…

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Too Much Paperwork

The beach house we stayed in last week had this great booth-style table with a window that looked out over a couple of neighboring gardens towards the sea and it was a good place to sit. You could watch surfers arriving in their Subaru/VW minivan (delete as appropriate). You could watch little clouds moving lazily across a deep blue sky. You could watch hummingbirds circling some apparently irresistible plant outside. And you could watch the labrador next door wander out onto the grass and evacuate its bowels…

Continued in the most amazing toilet book ever written Mr Bison’s Journal