The Funny Thing About Death Is…

by Joe Buonfiglio

Death. The Big D. The last stop on the line. The final breath. The last car ride to the grave. The Grim Reaper’s Funhouse.

DEATH.

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. When you reach that point where there are more days behind you than in front of you, you start to imagine that long, black hearse making its way to—

Wait a minute. The Grim Reaper’s Funhouse?

Yeah. See, the funny thing about death is … well … death is a funny thing. I’m quite sure that as the Titanic was gurgling under the icy waters for the last time, at least one passenger was laughing his or her ass off thinking, “I saved up for this highfalutin trip for years. Saving my money and opting for yet another vacation featuring warm beer and greasy sausage sandwiches on Coney Island with my mother-in-law is looking pretty damn good right about now.”

As Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is oft quoted, “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

The Grim Reaper knows that death is funny. Why do you think he enjoys his work so much, the uniform?

I’ve always been that guy at the back of a funeral “viewing” laughing so loudly as to drown out the widows’ cries of lament.

How can I laugh like that at such a somber moment?

How can you not?!

Here is this poor fat bastard who waddled around his whole life shoving doughnuts and cheeseburgers down his throat — cheeseburgers with a doughnut-bun when he’d go to the state fair — he has a heart attack, is rushed to the emergency room where he’s saved in the proverbial nick of time, swears to himself, his family and anyone who cares or will even listen that he has learned his lesson and is turning a new leaf, and then chokes to death on what passes for roughage at the local salad bar on the very day he’s released from the hospital. I’m supposed to hear that story and NOT laugh as his doughy body oozes into every crevice of his casket at the wake just because some people don’t get the divine comedy aspect of The Divine Comedy?

Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso? That’s NOT a joke? Are you kidding me? Give me the Seven Deadly Sins any day.

You’re probably one of those “art is profoundly serious” types who didn’t find Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman hilarious either. Come on, will ya’? Who amongst us wouldn’t enjoy seeing a self-deluded salesman kill himself? If Miller could just have made Death of the Annoying Jehovah’s Witness Who Won’t Stop Ringing My Doorbell Every Wednesday Right When I Put My First Bite of Dinner in My Mouth instead, THAT would be comedy gold.

Too soon?

You know Death of a Salesman came out in 1949, right? And that the Titanic sank in 1912?

I’m not sure when the Krispy Kreme “doughnut burger” was first introduced to state fairs.

Look, humans are the only species FULLY aware that their death is inevitable LOOOOOOONG before the actual event. All-you-can-eat Chinese buffets and religion and laws and television and YouTube and pornography and French fries and college roommates with a seemingly limitless supply of kine bud and the NFL and Las Vegas and your Uncle Fred’s “pull my finger” joke and most of the rest of the both mindful and mindless shit we encounter as we slide down the mortal coil is all — ALL — designed to distract us from the fact that at any minute it could our metaphoric door that scythe-carrying son of a bitch could be knocking on. And if you don’t see the humor in the realization that it’s all a big nothing wrapped in the randomness of the cosmic soiled underwear of the universe, I feel sorry for you.

I, for one, intend to step into this chaotic clown car we affectionately call life and gun it toward the cliff like Thelma & Louise saying, “Fuck it. I’m having a bad hair day anyway.”

While quoting Woody Allen these days might be “Me Too!” suicide, you gotta admit he was spot-on when he said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

 

© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All photos are © 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

FLU-KU

A HAIKU DEDICATED TO THE COLD AND FLU SEASON

by Joe Buonfiglio

I wanted this week’s blog post to be wonderful; simply wonderful. It should be absurd, yet humorous. It should achieve relevancy without becoming overwhelmingly preachy. Throw in a few epigrams worthy of both Will Rogers and Mark Twain, and then I’d be able to claim attainment of artistic nirvana; literary bliss. These thoughts took up residence in my cerebrum as I went to bed last night.

The morning, however, dawned with a plan of its own: THE FLU!

And thus, as I continuously exude a cascading stream of snot, endure an ever-pooling collection of phlegm, as well as suffer the gathering storm of other ungodly fluids from bodily orifices that went delightfully disregarded until this viral incursion; posting online with literary excellence is not exactly on my mind today. This is why I—

Sorry. Had to ride the porcelain pony for a minute there.

Where was I?

Oh. Right. So as to not leave you all completely unrequited in the love of Literary Absurdism department this week, here is a little haiku dedicated to my bout of influenza that I — in all honesty and with deference to full disclosure — threw together while engaging in a command performance on the commode; my “Flu-ku,” if you will.

Joe Buonfiglio’s
FLU-KU

Joe wanted to blog.
But the flu was too cruel.
Much diarrhea.

See you next week.  Until then, stay hydrated.

 

© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

GET THE FUCK INSIDE! IT’S FREEZING OUT HERE!

LIFE LESSONS FROM A METAL BUNNY

by Joe Buonfiglio

Today I got up off the toilet, pulled up my pants, and only then realized that I had not yet wiped my ass. While that is unquestionably gross to the point that I would not blame you if you immediately stopped reading this absurd little e-commentary, I use it to drive home a critically salient point of this story:

Either I am displaying the symptomatic signs of early-onset dementia, OR I still view a “snow day” with the wide-eyed wonder of a child; a youthful excitement that distracts me from all manner of grown-up responsibility to the point of acting as if a kitten with a shiny object dangled in front of it. And that brings me to this….

This is a picture of what my family affectionately refers to as “Mister Bunny.” Mister Bunny is a metal rabbit procured for some reason that escapes me to this day. It represents a tapestry of emotional joy and budgetary irresponsibility that embroiled my wife and I within a rapturous moment of atypical domesticity as we got caught up in the excitement of purchasing our current home many years ago. Over time, Mister Bunny has become my internal voice of rationality, a mechanism for a sort of grounding in a brain wired not just for notions of fantasy within a writer’s imagination, but for surrealistic viewpoints of chaotic extremes. I am someone who makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the “real world,” but feels as if God within the absurd landscape of make-believe. And when I disappear into Joeland, it is often the voice in my head of a steel cottontail that brings me back to a place of societal normality; thus, I can again realize that I have to deal with the fact that there is no food in the house (so it’s probably a good idea to go to the grocery store), that I need to get off my backside and pay the electric bill (or they’ll probably be shutting off the power soon), and that I should not endeavor to dine on fast food for my twenty-seventh lunch break in a row (lest I invite Type II Diabetes to become my life partner).

Mister Bunny speaks truth to psychosis.

So as I go out this day into the snow to play as if a schoolboy who has just been told the bus will not be able to make it to his stop today, as I dress inappropriately for the weather somehow believing that the ghost of my mother will be waiting for me inside with a cup of hot cocoa and mini-marshmallows just when I need it, it is the voice of Mister Bunny that screams out in my mind to reintroduce the concept of “adulthood” into my childishly self-indulgent pretend realm.

“Get the fuck inside!” he yells into my mind’s ear. “It’s freezing out here!”

I dutifully obey and drag myself through the wintery obstacles back to reality, for it is Mister Bunny who has commanded it be so. With sincere apologies to Tchaikovsky, any notion of Sugar Plum Fairies will have to wait.

So yes, today I shall write my blog. Later, I shall work on my book. Tomorrow, I will shovel my driveway.

My long, steep, oppressive driveway.

Thank you for being the voice of reason in my head, Mister Bunny. Thank you … … … and fuck you.

 

© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All photos are © 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

JANUARY WARNING: You Were Deceived by the CHRISTMAS TREE OF THE DAMNED!

by Joe Buonfiglio

It’s now well into January at the time I’m pounding out this little tale of woe on my worn keyboard. I’m not overeating Christmas cookies or German Stöllen or leftover stuffing. I’m not guzzling spiked eggnog or other holiday-inspired spirits. I’m not spending money waaaaaaaaaay beyond my means on the evil plastic tucked into my wallet as if a silent-night serial killer waiting to pounce on his unsuspecting victim. As with the proverbial old soldier, all the uncontrolled overindulgences of December seem to have merely faded away here in January.

What happened?

I mean, it’s still the same me, right? I’m still the same man with the horrible sweet tooth, an irrepressible lust for Yuletide libations and an inability to stick to any sort of budget whatsoever the moment the Christmas anthems flood the music systems of the malls and department stores alike.

So, what has changed?

Did the flip of the calendar suddenly make me a more responsible human being?

Not likely.

Could this be the moment along my personal timeline that I will actually stick to all those New Year’s resolutions for more than a couple weeks?

I doubt it.

Have I finally grown a conscience?

Puuuuuuuh-leeeeeeaze! Remember whom we’re talking about here.

But if none of those motivators are acting as a governor on my more out-of-control impulses, what is? What has changed to manifest my virtually overnight transformation?

THE TREE!

The goddamn Christmas tree! It’s gone! By January, the tree engages in its annual disappearing act. If it’s fresh, it has been recycled. If it is artificial, as mine tends to be in no small part due to my myriad allergies, the thing has been bagged, tagged and lowered into the dark recesses of the basement for another year.

It is gone, GONE, GONE! And, unnaturally enough, this begs the question, “Was the tree psychically willing me to be … … … bad?

My God, has the truth been staring me in the face for years — for decades — and I chose to be willfully blind to it? Are Christmas trees demon seeds, government-industrial complex metaphoric Hellspawns sinisterly woven into our religious tapestry and planted into our homes to boost the economy via various forms of gluttonies? Did my true love give to me a supernatural evergreen with powers harnessed and weaponized by Hallmark and other members of the Elf Illuminati?

Sweet Lord, what have they done? What have I done?! My life? My family? Are we all just pawns in some insidious Game of Tannenbaum?

No.

NO, I SAY!

Tonight, after all have gently nestled beneath comfy covers to dream little dreams of warmer days, I shall sneak down into the basement and put an end to this madness. I shall grab the can of gas meant for the lawnmower in the garage and the long-stemmed matches that accompany the cigars I was gifted for Christmas, and I shall end it. For once and for all, I will put a stop to it.

While I will have a moment of fond memory for the joy this tree that not so long ago was adorned with a sea of colored lights and now boxed-up ornaments, I will nonetheless set it ablaze to save us all.

Onward, resolute and intrepid elf.

There. The terrible deed is done. No more shall this malicious holiday tree impose its supernatural influence over me, my family, the entirety of Humanity in its quest to— HOLY SHIT! HO-LY SHIT! WHY DIDN’T I TAKE IT OUTSIDE?! THE DAMN THING IS STILL IN MY BASEMENT!

CALL 9-1-1! CALL 9-1-1!

 

 

Damn it. Just

 

 

Damn it.

 

© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All photos are © 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

BRAND NEW YEAR!

SAME OLD SHIT

by Joe Buonfiglio

Well, it was just a few scant nights ago that we all yelled “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” across booze-stained lips to foster the cliché that somehow the flipping of the calendar miraculously affords us some sort of sin-cleansing miracle whereby we start everything anew. Cloaked in a sanctimonious delusion of our own twisted self-help desires, we resolve to be better people, smarter people, thinner people simply because we watched some unseen entity lower a glowing orb down toward drunken revelers who start becoming obsessed with chronology about ten seconds before midnight. New year, new you blah-blah-blah ad nauseam.

The reality is that somewhere between a few hours to a few days to a few weeks into the inaugural launch of the new calendar, most of us feel the anchor of the old year being dragged right behind the new and everything in our newly minted little world goes to … well … shit.

We start downing the bagels and packing the weight back on again.

We start racing into work ten minutes late and sneaking out ten minutes early again.

We start smoking, drinking and getting stoned again.

We start self-loathing again.

We start cheating on our spouses again, racking up the credit-card debit again, being mean to our pets and even meaner to our kids again, and returning to a state of sitting on our asses mindlessly watching some inane crap on TV whilst launching potato-chip farts into the sofa as a temporary distraction from the mind-numbing tedium of existence.

Won’t at least a few of us finally jump out of an airplane or run with the bulls?

Of course. However, in an entire world awash with the sea of morbidity that comprises most of Humanity, you can probably fit ALL of those more intrepid souls onto the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, at the height of tourist season.

How can you tell them apart from the rest of we underachieving dysfunctional personalities?

They’ll be the ones NOT swilling beer and eating copious amounts of funnel cakes.

As for the rest of us, there’s always next year. Until then, pass that bucket of fried chicken and tell the boss I have the flu, because unadulterated binge-watching is my only reason to get out of bed this year.

 

© 2018 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

Seeking Absolution or Absurd Solutions?

MY LATEST ATTEMPT AT NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

by Joe Buonfiglio

Well, my friends, it appears that another year is about to tank and sink into the historical abyss. Another year gone. Another last-minute attempt to muster up some resolve to change my life as we usher Father Time out the back door and we all find ourselves simultaneously awestruck and dumbstruck by the prodigious amount of shit to hit the New Year’s Baby’s diaper right out of the gate. And even though I know damn well I shall never honor the aforementioned resolutions beyond the first week or two of January, I somehow still feel obligated to not abandon the only New Year’s tradition that doesn’t involve getting blotto on its eve and projectile-vomiting upon the stone-lion statue guarding the entrance of my fellow Italian neighbor’s driveway. So yes, I shall probably again promise myself to lose weight, be kinder to the other travelers of planet Earth trudging along the mortal coil and, of course, be a better man in light of the fact that my natural instinct perpetuated over the years leans more into the prick-curmudgeon camp; you know, that sort of thing.

Or will I?

Perhaps not.

Being the Absurdist and general lover of chaos that I am, here are my actual true-to-my-nature New Year’s resolutions for the coming flip of the calendar month….

#1) I RESOLVE TO smear my naked body with pumpkin filling and walk through the old shopping mall inviting people to sniff me at least once a week.

#2) I RESOLVE TO assassinate as many tires of BMW drivers who purposely take up two parking spaces to avoid scratches to their paint jobs as my personal time allows.

#3) I RESOLVE TO erupt in a massive outburst of uncontrollable flatulence whenever circumstance finds me in a crowded public elevator or patron-packed fast-food restaurant.

#4) I RESOLVE TO drive juuuuuuuuuuuuust slow enough in the fast lane to piss people off, but not so slow that they can lay into their horn and cuss me out without looking like a jerk to the passengers in their car.

#5) I RESOLVE TO repeatedly call the electric company with a power outage report when no such outage is occurring, and then blaming it on a super-intelligent housecat that has learned to operate my smartphone to perfection.

#6) I RESOLVE TO invite all my sports-nut friends over to watch the Super Bowl on my big screen, and then instead show them a rerun of the Doctor Who Christmas Special on an old analog TV I ripped off from a beachside motel just before its demolition.

#7) I RESOLVE TO invite all my enemies over to my place for a “kiss and make up” dinner, remove the toilet paper from every bathroom in my house, and then secretly serve them sushi that I purchased from the deli case in the gas station down the road.

#8) I RESOLVE TO use the word “testicular” at least three times at every public-hearing meeting held by the local town council.

#9) I RESOLVE TO go into a high-end car dealership at least one weekend a month, negotiate for an expensive, fully loaded vehicle, have the pen in hand to sign the deal … and then, without a word, simply get up and walk out.

#10) I RESOLVE TO walk into as many crowded college lecture halls during finals week across the country as I can, drop trou and enthusiastically yell, “My kingdom for some jalapeno pickle-relish and an overly seasoned Brätwurst!”

And finallyI RESOLVE TO spend every Sunday night of wintertime singing musical numbers from Rankin-Bass holiday specials while handing piping-hot mugs of Jameson-spiked hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows underneath each stall door to everyone “taking care of business” in the Port Authority bus terminal restroom.

Happy New Year from everyone at Potpourri of the Damned….

… which, of course, is just me.

 

© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

A Sip of Christmas Cheer?

HAVE YOURSELF AND ABSURD LITTLE CHRISTMAS
EPISODE 5

by Joe Buonfiglio

So, this week’s holiday fare a la Potpourri of the Damned is another blog-vlog hybrid of the highest order.  And as always, no chestnuts were harmed in the making of this video.

Okay, that’s a lie.  It was a chestnut massacre around here.

Anyway, here in episode five of  my YouTube playlist series Have Yourself an Absurd Little Christmas, we get in a little LA Christmas celebration with a south of the border groove when this– Okay, it’s a cheesy novelty toy with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  Now that confession time is over, shoved deep into a stocking and flung into the crackling fire, have you ever wondered WHY a person would … as the Eagles put it … “do the crazy things that you do”?

My wife does not get why I do this.

My friends do not get why I do this.

My literary peers do not get why I do this.

Social media does not get why I do this.

Virtually NO ONE gets why I do this!

“That’s weird,” they say.  “It’s a waste of time,” they say.  “That’s absurd,” they say.

… and THAT is why I do this.

ENJOY….

 

© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All videos/photos are © 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

 

Bad, Bad, BAD SANTA!

by Joe Buonfiglio

Just in time for the holidays, my blog is more of a vlog this week in that it features an absurd holiday selection from my YouTube channel: “Bad, Bad, BAD SANTA!”

In episode four, celebrating Christmas in America has a WTF? moment; it’s a new side of Saint Nick that’ll make you want to set the old fat bastard on fire if you watch long enough.

Enjoy!

 

© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.
All videos/photos are © 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

The War on Christmas

CASUALTIES LIST

by Joe Buonfiglio

At the time this little holiday e-missive is being crafted, the President of the United States, as well as myriad Conservative-news talking heads and other “culture wars” conspiracy theorists, have kicked their annual “War on Christmas” demagoguery into high gear.

Admittedly, I always thought this crock of snowman shit was designed to stir up the ire of a base of uneducated backwoods evangelicals in a cheap attempt to boost ratings; both Nielsen and approval. The so-called “War on Christmas” was and is obviously absolute manipulate-the-rubes bullshit!

And then I saw the casualties list. When one sees firsthand the list of the dead and wounded, there can be no question as to the truth: The War on Christmas is all-too real.

W.O.C. VICTIMS LIST

FROSTY: One of his two eyes made out of coal gouged out; his corncob pipe driven into the melting socket.

RUDOLPH: Santa’s unnatural craving for venison was apparently more than the fat man could control, turning this beloved saint into Claus the Killer. Now unattached and gruesomely making its way through North Pole Nick’s digestive system, that glowing red nose won’t be guiding any sleighs tonight … or any other night.

JESUS: Even the “reason for the season” was not spared in the War on Christmas mêlée, as he was brutally murdered when a—

No.

Wait.

He’s resurrected! Jesus is resurrect—

No, He was killed again.

Wait. Resurrected yet again.

Nope. Dead.

Back.

Gone.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, He’s back.

Okay, let’s move on, shall we?

SCROOGE: All his money couldn’t save the classic curmudgeon this time, as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come throws old Ebenezer a curveball; hacks off his testicles and boots him into the grave. This time, the Grim Reapin’ specter came to chew candy canes and swing scythes through old dudes … and he’s fresh out of candy. So, you know what that means: bye-bye, TINY TIM.

THE GRINCH: Tired of being bullied, Max bites the rude green one in the ass and shoves him and that ridiculous sleigh over the edge to crash upon the head of CINDY LOU WHO; a twofer as far as the killer canine is concerned.

THE ELF ON THE SHELF: Fuck him! I killed that annoying little prick myself. Slammed him in the head with the L.L.Bean catalog, and then tossed him in the fire alive. As the flames snuffed out the very fibers of his being, his horrible screams became as Christmas carols to my ears.

It had to be done.

It had to be.

Don’t judge.

GEORGE BAILEY: This time, Clarence earns his wings right after granting George’s “never been born” wish, so it’s WELCOME TO POTTERSVILLE time, baby!

RALPHIE: I’ll be damned; he really did shoot his eye out.

CHARLIE BROWN: Turns out that sad little tree was nothing but lame, so Snoopy beat his owner to a pulp with it and then ate him while Woodstock took pictures to post on Snapchat.

HEAT MISER: The Rankin-Bass boys drank WAY too much spiked eggnog at the corporate Christmas party and just erased the poor bastard.

CLARK GRISWOLD: In a modern-day script rewrite, he now gets T-boned by a Home Depot truck while, ironically, on his way to said store for ooooooooooone more strand of Christmas lights. He should have stayed on vacation.

SANTA: So Christmas Eve, I get a craving for holiday cookies and come down the stairs in the wee hours of the morning looking for a snack. While his mode of transportation freezes their asses off as they shit all over my roof, I encounter the walking advertisement for Type 2 Diabetes snagging the last sugary baked good in the house from the plate my kid foolishly left out for him. As we both stare with crazed hunger in our eyes, Father Christmas made the critical error of saying to me, “Ho-ho-ho! How about we play Rock-Paper-Scissors for the last cookie? You know, I’ll shoot you for it.”

“No,” I said reaching for the sawed-off hidden in the pantry,” I’ll shoot YOU for it.”

So long, Kringle.

Donning my jingle-bell adorned flak jacket as I climb into my Jeep with the wreath obnoxiously attached to the grille; I roll out onto the holiday hellscape that is the Yuletide battlefield. And as the greeter guarding the gate of the 24-hour Walmart welcomes us to the Midnight Madness Sale, we hold our breath and enter the gift-shopping fray knowing God will smite us if we don’t celebrate the birth of His Son with meat-n-cheese spread gift packs and battery-operated plastic puppets of joy.

A War on Christmas?

Yes. The honored dead and injured are tearful reminders that the conflict is ceaseless, the combat cruel.

But God, I love the smell of crashing credit limits in the morning.

 

 

© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

Happy Thank—GOD I GOT A PRESIDENTIAL PARDON!

Gobble Gobble Gobble My Ass!

by Joe Buonfiglio

Well, Thanksgiving week is in high gear around here; family has crashed in every corner of the old homestead while the wine and whiskey flows without end. Needless to say, I’m outta here when it comes to my office and all the literary Absurdism that dwells within. So let me simply wish a Happy Turkey Day to you and yours, and leave you with this one thought….

Sure, the president “pardoned” a turkey or two on the White House grounds as is tradition. However, what if string theory imploded and we were somehow absorbed into a Bizarro opposite-world where the TURKEY was president and it did the pardoning? What would that look like?

Would it pardon a human while the rest of its fowl brethren devoured free-range humankind with holiday carnivore carnage?

Would it cut the head off a wild human and, after cooking it and gobble-gobble-gobbling it down, make a wish by pulling apart the flightless ape’s pelvis?

What the hell would it put in a gravy boat? If it ate cranberry sauce, would it prefer freshly homemade or the jellied kind that still have the ridges on them when slid out of a can?

Would President Turkey know what a can opener was?

Would it know what a can was?

And speaking of cans, would it use a toilet the morning after its family feast or just shit out in the White House Rose Garden?

I shudder to think about it. Thank God for the tryptophan or the nightmares from this alternate reality would never let me sleep.

So enjoy your tryptophan-induced slumber, my friends. I’ll be back a little closer to the time when the fat guy in the red coat steals all the cookies off any unattended plate in the house.

“No, not you, Uncle Tony! Grab another boilermaker and go back to watching the game. I’ll be right there.”

 

© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.