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wild hare, wild hair

wild hare, wild hair

rabbit photo: súgán

anyone have the time?

By Charley Daniels

Time is such an honest, honest bastard

Being the best

By Charley Daniels

The best at effing it all upI want to be the best at something, and I don’t care what it is. I’ve struggled all my life, huffing and puffing and fighting for success. Trying. Have I achieved success? Yes, I have achieved success. But anyone can do that, because it’s totally subjective. The real question is, am I the best? No, I guess I’m not the best.

So I need to figure out something I can be the best at. Shouldn’t be hard, because the possibilities are infinite. Maybe I could be the best at recognizing what a person does for a living? I’m already great at that. I can tell that a dude with a tool belt probably is some sort of tool-maker, or that guy in the hard hat riding in the lift of one of those utility trucks and working on the power lines is most likely a thief or a website hackster. Woman delivering water? I can tell she’s a water rationer of some sort. Guy on the corner asking me for money? He’s obviously a banker or an IRS agent.

Or maybe I could be the best at counting things, or juggling, or computer science, or something else that requires basically no practice. It really doesn’t matter; I’ll take whatever. Name something, anything. Example: Avoiding cracks in the sidewalk. That’s something we’ve all probably done at one time or another, but somewhere out there is a person who’s the best at it. This is what I mean. It doesn’t have to be curing cancer or playing sports — there are an unlimited number of things to be the best at. Tying shoes. Eating an apple. Anticipating which way an ant will run. For every activity, there’s someone out there who is the best. Why can’t it be me? Cussing is a good one.

I know what you’re thinking: “This post better get good.” Also, you might be wondering how, for example, I might determine where I rank among everyone in the world in a discipline like shoe-tying. Interesting question. Hey, maybe you’re the best at making me feel bad about myself. Ever thought of that?

But you do have a point. For most things it would be impossible to determine who is the best. It’s a large world, and it’s full of people doing all sorts of random shit really well. Making tacos, closing the door quietly so as not to wake someone up, shouting “bingo” with the perfect level of excitement but without rubbing it in. The possibilities truly are limitless.

You can even be the best at negative things, like annoying people or messing everything up. Obviously that’s not ideal, but hey, at least you’re the best at something.

So now that I think about it, it’s probably hard not to be the best at one thing or another, and that’s all I wanted when I started this post. Problem solved.

That journey was not completely selfish, I hope you realize. Based on all this I’ve come up with Charley’s Law of Invisible Greatness, which proclaims that because there are an infinite number of things you can be the best at, you’re almost certainly the best at something, even if you never figure out what it is. Do yourself a favor and use it as an excuse to give up today.

photo: Kyla Dawson-Harding

the accidental criminal: is he really a criminal?

By Charley Daniels

But a yellow sign is just a suggestion, right?Most of you probably think it’s real easy to stay on the good side of the law, but what does that really mean? I do more legal things than illegal things, because let’s face it, most things aren’t illegal. That said, is there anyone who does only legal things? I don’t know how you could. Everyone breaks the law at some point, and maybe without even knowing it! That’s because the line between lawful and criminal often hangs on a nuance or detail. Like, it’s not illegal to sleep in, unless you’re in a bed that’s in a house that you’re not technically supposed to be in. A small detail.

It’s totally legal to steal away into the night, but most other kinds of stealing are not allowed. That seems picky.

It’s not illegal to kill someone with kindness, because that’s just a cliche. Unless the person actually dies, then it’s probably illegal unless you can prove you didn’t mean to actually kill him. Also illegal: if Kindness is the name of your pet crocodile.

Drinking and singing is fine. Drinking and dancing is encouraged (with some exceptions). Drinking and painting, drinking and video games, drinking and passing out in the living room — all fine. But the moment you drink and kidnap a politician’s kid for ransom, the law comes down on you big time. Who can keep all this straight?

Can you be an arsonist without committing arson? Probably technically, but then what kind of pathetic arsonist are you really?

It’s perfectly legal to look out your neighbors’ windows, if they’ve invited you over to hang out. But — even later that same night — if you decide to look into the same exact windows at 3 a.m., it’s suddenly against the law.

I hope I’m not confusing anyone by pointing out how often the difference between legal things and illegal things is too close to call. Here’s a tip: If you’re unsure whether what you’re doing is ok, just stand still a minute, take a deep breath, and listen for sirens. If you hear them, well, that could be your answer (also, run!). If you don’t, it isn’t really a definitive answer, but at least you know that what you’re doing isn’t illegal yet. Perception is reality, and if no one is around to perceive your activities and call the police, the reality is you should keep doing whatever you want.

Sometimes it seems like it just comes down to verbs. Verbs are a part of speech that police officers and district attorneys accuse you of doing “blatantly” and “without regard to other people’s well-being.” You know, verbs. It’s very polite to say hi to someone, but if you try to get high with someone, prepare to face the consequences, especially if that someone is an undercover officer. Identify a safety hazard, you’re a hero; create a safety hazard, you’re in trouble. Who can keep track of what’s right or wrong when such subtlety is at play?

In the end, it all comes down to math. Or luck. Or some combination of the two that no one has invented a word for yet. Luckmatics. And even though determining the difference between legal and illegal is difficult in theory, in practice it’s actually pretty simple: When in doubt, odds are it’s legal. And even if it’s not, there’s a luckmatical chance you won’t get caught anyway, so go for it.

photo: Scott Kroeker

cooking with charley

By Charley Daniels

1. Find a piece of bread

2. Spread some olive oil on it with a brush or your finger or something.

3. Set it aside, but make sure you remember where you put it.

4. Find a pan or a pot or something metal that can hold liquid and be cooked on a stove.

5. Turn on your stove and oven simultaneously, twisting the knobs at the exact same time. Make sure people are watching, because this really makes it look like you know what you’re doing.

6. Put the water-filled pot or pan or whatever on the stove and bring it to a boil.

7. You can maybe watch TV for a few minutes while you wait for it to boil. But don’t keep checking it! You know the old saying: “What a loser.”

8. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, turn the burner down to low and open your oven.

9. Remember where you put the olive-oiled bread. Keep trying until you actually remember.

10. Put the bread in the oven and close the door.

11. Wait, you don’t have an egg ready? Jesus, that’s the whole point.

12. Crack the egg into the rolling-boil, water-filled pot or pan or whatever.

13. But first, start a whirlpool in the pot or pan or whatever by swirling the water in a clockwise direction. Use something other than your finger.

14. Note the time.

15. After about one or two commercial breaks, depending on how you like your egg, remove the bread from the oven.

16. Remove the egg from the pot or pan or whatever, but try not to inhale as you do so.

17. Precariously suspend the egg on a slotted spoon above the pot or pan or whatever, so it can drip dry.

18. Remember that you should have cut up the avocado sometime during the cooking process and cuss about your forgetfulness.

19. Realize that you don’t even like avocado, or egg for that matter, that you never had any bread in the house and no oven or stove either, so you’re not even sure what you’ve been doing.

20. Pour yourself another cocktail.

21. Blame your third grade teacher for where you are in life.

22. Now you’re cooking with Charley.