Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meet: Merl

For a while now I have really wanted to start doing segments called "Meet: ______ " to introduce to you some of the craziest, funniest, greatest, most ridiculous characters you'll ever meet and somehow I got lucky enough to have them all in my life.

Meet: Merl.

Alias: Mark
Trademark: Loudest snort/I-dont-know-what-to-call-it you'll ever hear.
Random Fact: Tiff, Merl, and Danny changed my life at probably one of the most critical times for me back in the day. A lot of who I am today has been because of the influence they had on me many, many moons ago. They will always be somewhat of heroes to me. [cue: Full House "inspirational moment" music...]

Tonight my friend Lanie and I had homemade pizza at Merl's house for dinner. Merl and I have been friends for about ten years now, but I haven't seen him in about 5 years with the exception of a wedding reception run-in or two over the past few years. Merl invited Mel and I over to his place for dinner and to finally catch up.

Mel and I swung over to his house and and as we walked in and into their living room Mel started laughing and told me to look over at the wall where all the the family pictures were hung on the wall. Mel pointed and could barely get out between laughing, "Look, you're in their family pictures!" I looked over and sure enough there my picture was in the corner of the family portrait collage and in the opposite corner was Mel. I pointed out laughing, "You are too!"

So there we were... our pictures (swiped from our Facebook profile pictures) immortalized among the pictures of Merl, his wife, and two awesome kids in a giant "Family" picture frame.

Merl turned to us and said, "Well yeah, we wanted you to feel like family here, so..."

[cue: slow power clap] Well done Merl, you may just have set the bar for expectations of all future dinners from this point out.


Tasha's (Merl's wife) homemade pizza's were bomb, and we had such a good time with Merl and his little family. As we chatted afterward they showed us another awesome picture framed on the wall, okay maybe a little more terrifying than 'awesome', which was someone's framed artwork. It was a portrait of either the corpse bride or... a burn victim; wasn't quite sure.  I thought it was the art that one of his daughters had drawn that they had framed and put up on the wall. I was wrong.

"That's a portrait that Mark drew of me." Tasha said as we sat in the living room.

"I'm sorry, say what?" ....

Merl told us that he was taking an art class and one night he went to class and he was super tired and had a hard time staying awake through the lesson. The homework for the class that night: draw a portrait, use only your non-dominant hand, with your eyes closed, and you can only use one continuous line.

When he brought the assignment home and explained it to Tasha (who is an artist), she was confused and asked, "Are you sure that's what the assignment was?" Merl told her that was what the teacher had said to do so he started drawing the portrait of his wife, with his eyes closed, left handed as he struggled to stay awake while Tasha, who on the other hand did not have her eyes closed, laughed as the portrait just got scarier and scarier the more he drew.

Meet: Tasha

I think it looked a wee bit more like a cross between Sporty Spice and Jocelyn Wildenstein, but hey.. that's just me.

When Merl took the assignment back to his class he looked around and saw that other student's portraits were actually really really good - he was amazed how people were able to pull off such good work with the crazy requirements for the assignment. That was until he asked around and found out that the only real requirement for the assignment was that you couldn't lift your pen off of the paper and that the line had to be continuous. I don't know what worried Merl's teacher more when he saw the drawing, the fact that this was actually his finished homework piece or the fact that it was supposedly a portrait of Merl's wife.

Oh my gosh. I was dying.

And then to top the night off, Merl busted out a VHS that he wanted to surprise us with - I leaned over to Mel and guessed exactly what he was going to put in. Nailed it. Even with a 5 year absence we still are kindred spirits. May I introduce you to a little gem, aka VHS gold, that will most likely change your life (while simultaneously erasing years off your face)...

The Body Flex exercises.

This may be the greatest thing to hit VHS and the internet since the sultry Alphabet Song of '77

...and coming from me,  that's saying a lot.

Morals of the Post:

  • I found out tonight that it turns out Merl is a closeted blog follower (like most of you are) which I am finding to be quite the epidemic, so I will take the time in this moral of the post to schlap on a little guilt trip and tell y'all to follow with PRIDE. Come out of the shadows of Google Reader or worse yet... Anonymous Following (you know who you are) and click the follow button at the top of the blog. See, painless. Go ahead, make my day! I'll even spare you the "harassing you to leave comments" rant for a future post if you do... ya know, something to look forward to.

  • Tonights Body Flex Testimonial: "My sister said she's done it everyday and has gone down from three chins to two. Her words, not mine." - Merl

  • Also wanted to give a shout out to all y'all that have shared this blog with your friends, coworkers, and family. It makes my day when I hear that! Also, to those who have sent over e-mails and/or messages... a big thank you to ALL of you guys! You guys make blogging a good time.

  • I'd be a little more than disappointed if you guys didn't try out "The Lion" exercise at least 3 sets of 10 reps sometime today... trust me, you'll thank me twenty years down the road when you still radiate youth and all that is attractive. You're call.


  1. To be quite frank I don't remember you in high school that much, just that you really liked pony tails and were friends with Eric. Never knew of your goodness til I found this lil guy. Seriously, you should post more because sometimes I read your posts out loud to my co-workers. Now that you're officially creeped. I will go. You're welcome!

  2. I laughed out loud at work when I read about Merl's portrait of Tasha... FUNNY!

  3. Just when I thought you couldn't top the alphabet song video, you pull this little gem out of your back pocket. And forget cutting my hair, I'm going to grow it out and style it just like Greer's. What an inspiration.

  4. i definitely took the initiative and followed openly...haven't regretted it one bit. also, i agree, blog more.

  5. HOW WAS I BORN IN THE EIGHTIES AND NEVER SAW STUFF LIKE THIS?! Oh yes, I grew up without TV. Although Greer looks like the sort of woman on the covers of books my mom owns.

    I can sympathize with Merl and the drawing exercise, having just finished my first drawing class ever, at Northlake Community College. I just do whatever the teacher says and try to open my heart to whatever comes out on the page. I should post a pic of my first self-portraint. It's a gem.

  6. Oh Hawkeye, you are the man! Hi everyone, this is Merl. :) I think you could sell your laugh in a bottle or something to opened when someone is even the least bit sad and I'm pretty sure it would bring a smile to anyone's face.

    We loved having you guys over and are glad you had so much fun. Your kind words above are appreciated my friend. I think there are certain friends in life who you can go years without seeing and upon meeting up again immediately pick up where they left off. I feel we may have such a friendship and I am grateful for it.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I loved the post and loved seeing you guys. As we said at parting, let's not make it another 5 years before we see each other again. Always your brother, tight like unto a dish. -Merl

  7. Wow!! I'm uber jealous that I missed such an occasion! Lol! Spencer and I always get such a kick out of reading the blog Hawk! Brings back way too many memories but I love them all! Thanks for the shout out and I take full credit for you and Merl's friendship! ;) Ha Ha Jk! Glad it was such an eventful night!

  8. I totally remember that clip from Ambassador Tour. lol!

  9. I pretty much just died. Why in this free world did I never know you blogged??!?!? Thank heavens Marky Mark posted your link address on fb. Love you. Loved this.

    P.S. you just gave me laugh lines so I think that the lion exercise is null and void. Thanks alot.

  10. Hawkeye. I am a closet follower of your blog. Like Merl and Tiff, I appreciate the shout out. Tight like unto a dish brother.

  11. Greer...it just makes sense.

    Every time I have shown that video to someone I know/don't know but they are in my field of vision, I then proceed to make an "it just makes sense" joke. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. And your friend Merl sounds like the best person ever. (Hi Mark, above...). I love the pictures in the picture frames. I'm doing that from now on. seriously. and the sketch? I was in shambles. your description of the story was incredible. this post was insanely good.

  12. Those exercise shows always remind me of your mom (which sounds extremely creepy now that I've put that out there for the interwebs). Also, tell your sister that she's a liar -- she has never even had one full chin.


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