Highway To Hell: A Golden Boy Road Trip

Yes, the Golden Boys do occasionally leave New York to wreak havoc upon the unsuspecting denizens of other locales. A few brief, but memorable, moments occurred during just such a road trip when we set sail for Golden Boy Tom’s nuptials in the windy city of Chicago. Tom was already in Chicago with his betrothed, while Gooby, Chuck, myself, and auxiliary Golden Boy Ozzy packed ourselves into a Ford Probe for the 12 hour drive.

Yes, four fully grown men packed in to a small sports car for twelve hours. Very cozy.

First off, let me say that there should be a Golden Boys soundtrack because so many songs are associated with specific moments that we all remember. Those of you on the wrong side of 40 would enjoy our music. One such musical moment occurred spontaneously during the trip to Chicago. As we all cruised along, mocking me for not driving fast enough, the 1980’s mega-hit “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats, came on the radio. Without a word, our bodies began to bob back and forth in uncanny unison to the music as we all spontaneously burst into singing the words loudly together.

You can dance if you want to. You can leave your friends behind, ‘cuz your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance then they’re no friends of mine

The passengers in other cars going by us laughed and pointed.

Shortly after that we stopped at a rest stop in Ohio. Two things happened in fairly quick succession shortly after we sat down to eat. Auxiliary Golden Boy Ozzy inadvertently introduced a full-fledged, habit wearing nun to the phrase “knob job” and Chuck was filmed sitting helplessly on the commode. That’s one thing about being a Golden Boy. You’re guard has to be up at all times. Especially if you’re naked. Whether it be showering, sleeping, or using the toilet, there is always an excellent chance another Golden Boy will film or photograph you and then send it by e-mail to everyone he knows.

The Golden Boys Story

First, let me explain who The Golden Boys are. In our minds we are The Golden Boys. At least that’s how we think of ourselves. Not because of any special qualities we have, or because of any of us has led a particularly charmed life. We are four fairly normal, middle-aged men who have been together our entire lives. We can’t remember a time when we didn’t know each other. We want to think we’re special. Like all men our age, we still believe that if we had the time to train we could become professional athletes or crime fighting super-heroes. Despite a sprinkle of gray hair beginning to show or abs that aren’t as defined as we’d like to imagine, we still fantasize that we can turn the ladies heads. We’d dubbed ourselves The Golden Boys when we were just barely past puberty. The name “The Golden Boys” was borrowed from a skit on a show called Fridays back around 1980. In the skit, there were two guys with gaudy blonde wigs and some sort of professional wrestler costumes accented by a gold bikini. The motto of The Golden Boys that was uttered by the pair in unison at the conclusion of each skit was, “We’re young. We’re tough, and we’re good looking!” So needless to say, my friends and I adopted the name Golden Boys for ourselves and we began to shout the motto whenever we were together. We still do when we’re drinking.

My “Golden Boys” include Lotto, Gooby, Tim, and myself, Flip. WE had another Golden Boy, but over the years he stopped showing up to our weekends, so we replaced him with Tim.

We have known each other since we were in diapers and will no doubt know each other when we’re in diapers again. Once a year for the past 25 years or so we all try to make it back to our hometown for a weekend of drunken revelry and pining for the glory days of our youth. The weekend is typically one of the highlights of my year. This year it’s happening this weekend. Over the next couple days I’ll introduce you to The Golden Boys and regale you with tales of our past indiscretions. After reading some of my stories last year a fellow blogger commented that we were “like the kids from Stand By Me, but on crack.” I guess that’s as good a description as any. I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I do. By the way, we have a secret handshake that we still use.

Have a great weekend! ~Phil

The Walk

This weekend I’m getting together with my life-long childhood friends, known as The Golden Boys. I made them into fictional characters for my two novels, in which not all of the stories are fictional. They’re those old friends who always fit like your favorite old pair of jeans. Even though we live in different cities, when we get together, it’s as if a day hasn’t passed. Whenever we’re together it usually results in a good story or two that we will laugh about for the rest of our lives. This picture of us may be a couple years old.

The Walk

Our most sacred and enduring ritual is The Walk. We grew up in suburbia. Everytown, USA. Identical houses and identical yards as far as the eye could see. A corner store we could walk to. Four guys in four consecutive houses. All about the same age from average, middle-class families. Our ritual, when the weather was willing, and sometimes when it wasn’t, was The Walk. The “walk around the block.” In the beginning it was rarely spoken or suggested, it just sort of happened. Any time of day or night it could happen. After we finished swimming or building a fort, or when we got older, after a night out on the town. We would just walk and talk. Some days we would try to fathom the mysteries of our world and some days we just laughed at each other for reasons we wouldn’t remember the next day. We knew every foot of that walk like the back of our hands. We knew who lived in every house, all 56 of them. 58 after they added the two down at the end. It was the best neighborhood in the world as far as we knew, and we felt like we were the kings of it.

The Walk is still our ritual, but it’s changed. None of us lives in the old neighborhood anymore and our reasons for visiting it are almost gone. In our eyes though, the old neighborhood is unchanged. A time capsule of our childhood. As adult men now, we still go back to the neighborhood and take The Walk. We walk down the middle of the street at night and we point to every house and talk about the memory of a childhood friend, or the time it caught fire, or what tragedy befell the old folks, who weren’t so old when we rang their doorbell and ran. For three of the four of us, the neighborhood doesn’t belong to us anymore. Our parents have passed away or divorced and sold our childhood homes. But still we walk. This year when one of our parents passed away, three of us returned to the neighborhood after calling hours and took The Walk. We still try to get together once a year. Again this year, we still drove to the old neighborhood, parked the car at the corner store and walked by our childhood, wondering where it went. Someday when the first of us passes away, I imagine the others will take The Walk, carrying our friend’s casket around the block, for one last walk.

Throwback Thursday! The President Might Kill Me

(Feb. 9, 2013) He’s probably not trying to kill me right now, but he might. And he could, and it would be legal. I’m sure President Obama wouldn’t be the first to think about killing me, but he’s probably the first that could do it legally by remote control plane. Earlier this week the Obama administration re-affirmed a Bush era policy that gives the President the right to unilaterally decide to kill someone that might be a threat to the country in the future.  If you need more factual information than I’ll ever provide you can read about it here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/07/us/drones-classified-document/index.html

Sure my little Barack Obama jokes on my blog may seem cute, but what if Barry gets his panties in a bunch and decides that I’m trying to lead an uprising? I won’t debate the pros or cons of the policy, but I will say as a “guy” that it is a seriously awesome policy. We get to sit home playing Call of Duty while Barack by virtue of his job gets to play it for real. Part of the policy leaked to the public this week indicated that Barack Obama could use drone planes to assassinate anyone he thought might be a threat to U.S. security. Drone planes! Seriously, how cool is that? I wonder if he has a Playstation controller in his desk drawer that he takes out.

Now if he’s picking off al-Queda operatives I’m cool with that. But what if he gets some bad info? Or worse yet, what if somewhere out there some terrorist has the same name as me? Sure, the chances of that are fairly small, but it could happen. How can I rest easy knowing that Barack could be scrolling through the online White Pages and click on the wrong Phil Taylor when he’s targeting the drone? Or what if Barack decides to take a night off, gets all liquored up, checks Michelle’s browser history and finds that she’s been visiting my blog just a little too often? That is exactly when we need a little bit of the old checks and balances system.

I’m pretty sure that my ADT security system won’t be much help if a drone flies in my front door and tries to drop a smart bomb in my pants. It won’t matter where I am if Barry decides that me or my blog are a threat to the country. I’m pretty sure that if Dominos can find me in 30 minutes or less the Air Force can GPS the hell out of my cell phone and find me no matter where I am.

I’d just like to say a big hello to all the wonderful CIA and FBI operatives reading this today. Welcome to The Phil Factor! Think about this: the CIA and FBI monitor “internet chatter” to find threats to U.S. security. I assume that they probably have some internet filter that grabs onto anything with certain keywords they’ve programmed it to look for. In the course of this blog I’ve used the words President Obama, kill, smart bomb, al-Queda, threat and Michelle.

In the event that I’m killed by a drone plane or I mysteriously “disappear” please keep #ThePhilFactor spirit alive by hitting the Facebook Like or Share buttons. Also, I’m still on my quest to have my novel White Picket Prisons gross more than the $264 that Christian Slater’s movie Playback did, so if you haven’t, please buy my book for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad for only $2.99. You can also keep up with all my writing hijinks including contests by following my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Phil-Taylor/331876066920144

Btw, this is me talking in present time. Not part of the Throwback post anymore. I don’t care who any of you voted for. Just please don’t make President Trump aware of this policy. If he knew that he could use drones to kill anyone at any time…

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Wordless Wednesday! Starry Squirrel

 

The top of this thing’s tail is about 5 feet tall. (that’s 1.8 metres for the rest of the world)

Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

She’s Sick and So Are You!

My first guest blogger ever in over 12 years of The Phil Factor is….Christine of I’m Sick and So Are You!  Trust me, if you didn’t know her before, you’ll enjoy her writing. She’s tremendously funny.

Phil’s a little busy writing a book, so he gave me the keys to his blog, asked me to water the plants, pick up his mail, and write a new blog post for him. Unfortunately I’ve already killed the plants and accidentally dropped all his mail in a mud puddle. Sorry, Phil. 

I did manage to write a blog post, though.

It’s about that one time I puked.

On a bible.

In front of ten or so impressionable children.

At Sunday school.

My father used to boast that he had an iron stomach, could eat anything and never suffer gastrointestinal consequences. Given that he would routinely cut around mold on bread and eat the rest of the piece with a smile on his face, I’d say he was right. I, on the other hand, have a stomach made of down feathers and those tiny white squishy pellets you find inside a bean bag chair. I get queasy just saying the word queasy.

My lightweight stomach was put to the test by some lukewarm orange juice, one Sunday morning, when I was just a little kid. I had spent the prior night at my close childhood friend’s house, which was a fairly regular occurrence. Any Saturday night spent at their home meant I had to join the family at church the following morning. It also meant that I accompanied my friend to Sunday school before church. Sunday school kicked ass.

See, I was raised in a strict Catholic household. I didn’t go to Sunday school because Catholics don’t do Sunday school. They do catechism classes. On Saturday. Saturday school did not kick ass like Sunday school. Sunday school was all about singing and crafts. Saturday school was all about taking quizzes in notebooks and being told you were going to hell because you didn’t know what the holy trinity was.

So, as you can imagine, I looked forward to Sunday school. While my friend and her sister wore looks on their faces like we were being shipped off to war, my grin was ear to ear. Hell yeah, Sunday school! 

I also looked forward to the name brand yogurt we ate for breakfast before we went to Sunday school. I’m the youngest of six children, so money was a little tight in our house. There was never name brand anything in our fridge or pantry or on the back pockets of our jeans. Name brand yogurt was something to look forward to and I ate it with the kind of fervor you’d expect of a poor girl that was eating well and knew she was not going to hell today. Then, I quickly washed it all down with a big glass of orange juice.

Tepid orange juice that was just a teeny tiny bit chunky. 

Now, maybe it was my excitement surrounding Sunday school or the giddy feeling I had eating fancy yogurt, but I didn’t panic about my questionable beverage right away. So, we all hopped in the car and headed for the Lord’s house. My stomach wasn’t feeling so great along the way, but I figured it was just a touch of car sickness. Once we parked and went inside to kick ass Sunday school, everything was going to be okay. That’s what my head told me, but my stomach was like, girl you need to get real! Something serious is about to go down.

My friend and I skip off to Sunday school and, at first, things were great. We’re coloring and gluing and singing songs. All was right in my world. Every once in a while my guts would churn a bit in an unfamiliar and slightly distressing way, but I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of me coloring my picture of Jesus while not being told I was going to hell.

After arts and crafts and singing it was bible time. We all took our seats at tables arranged into a big rectangle, so we were in perfect view of each other as we took turns reading passages from the bibles opened before each of our cherubic faces. One child after another read aloud and there I sat, silent, stomach rolling like a ship lost at sea. Tiny beads of sweat, almost imperceptible to the naked eye, began to form on my brow. I could feel the color draining from my face.

With a force that could only be described as menacing, the entire contents of my stomach burst from my face as if they had been shot from a cannon. Chunky orange juice, name brand yogurt, and possibly the prior evening’s tuna casserole. Everywhere. The volume of vomit so great, one could barely make out one clean corner of the bible that lay before me.

All I remember beyond that moment, other than the choruses of “ew” and “gross” and the occasional dry heave, was being maneuvered outta there and chauffeured home. My shame and embarrassment ensured that I would never return to Sunday school again. I only ate name brand yogurt on Saturday mornings from then on and never, ever, ever, ever drank lukewarm orange juice ever, ever again.

If you enjoyed this post I can well imagine you’d enjoy all my other posts at my blog, I’m Sick And So Are You. I bet you probably want to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, too. 

Music Monday! Just Breathe By Liam Taylor

Have a great Monday! ~Phil