Tag Archives: work

London, trains, and boogers

17 Nov

There is a man across from me on this train with his finger so far up his nose I’m worried he might accidentally nip brain matter.

From the looks of him, it wouldn’t be the first time.

He clearly thinks lifting the Tom Clancy novel high enough covers this semi-scandalous activity.

There’s a wedding ring on his finger.

That’s a lucky lady awaiting him at home, that’s all I can say.  I bet she’s prepared some dinner, got a big smile on her face, and probably has no idea her husband digs for nasal gold on public transportation.

Wait, I bet she knows.

Maybe she just doesn’t care.

Maybe that’s what marriage is.  Not caring if your partner pokes around in various orifices in public, provided the holes in question are on their own body and not somebody else’s….

I wonder if he does that in bed.  Laying there next to her, flicking his crusty friends off the side.  Inevitably, they pile up in the carpet, a carnage of days past.  She lies there, next to this, engrossed in episodes of reality tv.

She’s probably not innocent in this either.  Any woman who lets her husband think that Tom Clancy can hide his booger fest 2012 probably has quite a few questionable habits lurking on her end of the dining table.

Maybe they do it together.  Maybe they were having problems, nearing divorce, and they decided to hit up counseling.  Maybe the counselor suggested team-building activities.  Sitting up late one night, they got to talking.  Ideas flowing, their interest in finding an activity they could share sparked something they’d thought lost.

The thought of breaking social convention via nose-picking seemed exciting.  Relatively harmless, yet still frowned upon.

Yea, I bet they discovered picking their noses together.  A secret revolting ritual no one else understands.  Maybe he’s going to go home and announce he managed to pull one over on the blonde girl sitting across from him on the train.

He’ll proudly tell the love of his life that the mystery girl across from him had no idea what he was up to.  Working like a spy, he managed to unhook the little devil from the depths of his nose from behind Clancy.

A regular 007.

She’ll tell him she got a good one in the cereal aisle of the grocery store.  Oh the stories they’ll share, this married couple.

I guess I’ll just let him keep thinking he’s pulling this off.  If it’s for love, after all, why bother interrupting.  Not to mention I can’t identify a bonus to announcing to someone that you’re aware of their activities.  It’s not like I’m the booger police after all.

Now, if he was free-farting, I might have a problem.  God help the couple that does that on public transportation for the sanctity of marriage.

Oh good, I just got to London.

Maybe I’ll let Zilla out of the suitcase to roam a bit.

Hopefully she won’t tell this guy she saw his activities.

I’d hate to break up a happy marriage after all.

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performance art

23 Nov

I’m considering starting a rhythmic performance art show with kid-Ginger.

True, I have limited musical talent (save for interpretive dance and on a good day-finger symbols).  There’s also the minor detail that my brother doesn’t play any instruments.  But what American dream hasn’t started on the bitter cement of nothing?

None dear reader, absolutely none.

I suppose this logic could be applied to potential careers in other industries, but I’m sticking to music.  Besides, if we slap the genre post-modern on our vision, I don’t see how we can go wrong.

Let me set the stage (or street corner-as I’m thinking this is the most likely first venue) for you.

Brother leaning against a building (preferably condemned-capturing the essence of our time), a broken guitar sadly leans against his ripped denim-clad kneecap.   Myself front and center, one hand in pocket, other casually dangling finger symbols, suspenders hug my Mr. T t-shirt.    Kid-Ginger taps his feet to music the audience can only imagine as there is none actually playing.  I stand still, creepily eyeing anyone stopping to watch-holding eye contact like a ninja goldfish, ready to launch.

Brother steadies himself from building, hangs the tattered fret board off one shoulder, saunters down sidewalk, and utters the words:

“Art. Is. Unemployed.”

Enter in the finger symbol.

Tapping the broken guitar against his thigh, he then proceeds to recite select passages from A Christmas Carol, haunting chime of the symbol periodically echoing his phrases.

Finishing with the passages regarding Tiny Tim-(lets say ten minutes later), he again repeats the phrase:

“Art. Is. Unemployed.”

At which point, the symbol releases me from my frozen stance as I start quickly repeating that gem from the 80’s:

“I pity the fool.  I pity the fool.  I pity the fool.  I pity the fool.”

Which of course, is Kid-Ginger’s cue to slam out air guitar, full with leg kicks and the occasional head-bang.  This goes on for about five minutes, with my intonation ranging from childlike to scary-beast voice (have practiced in mirror-fear not readers, fear not).

Final symbol chimes.

We both freeze.

Kid-Ginger looks over at me, sighs and utters:

“Fool.”

I return my hands to my pockets, glare at the audience and state:

“Pity.”

With any luck, we’d end up with enough cash for two orders of waffles at IHOP.

If ordering those at that establishment isn’t enough indication of our nonconformist nature, then I’d better start revamping my resume.

After this at least I can add ‘ability to make fool of self for cash’ under skills.

Oliver the orphan turd

20 Nov

Dressing rooms are not a proper venue for defecation.

How I wish I could say I’d never had any kind of experience involving someone else’s abandonded tighty-whities, a large broom handle, and rogue fecal matter.

But then I’d be lying.

I was closing up the skate shop I worked at during college.  It was late, all the customers had left and I had just sent my sales kids home for the night.  I was locking the gate when the phone rang.

My boss Harrison was on the other end attempting to communicate through fits of hysterical laughter.

“Ry, I’m sorry to do this to you but………well………I need you to go into the dressing room.  There’s something under the bench…..and I’m pretty sure…..yea, I’m pretty sure it’s poop.”

Harrison was calling from the pub down the street.  He’d spotted the turd earlier in the evening and decided to leave it there.  What better way to gross out your only female employee than by calling her after four bottles of Bud to request she look under the bench to discover the not-so-buried treasure.

Of course, I didn’t instantly go into the dressing room.  I had some questions first.

“Hey drunky-what makes you think I’m going to go on a crap-hunt as I’m walking out the door?  Did you put something scary under there and you just want to freak me out like that time you put the plastic severed hand in there?  Is that what this is all about?  Do you honestly expect me to believe that some kid shat his underwear and shoved them under our bench?!?!”

Each question brought forth a wheeze of uncontrollable laughter.  At some point he put me on speaker phone and I could hear the rest of the bar and several drunken coworkers cheering.

“Ry, I just need you to go and see it.”

“Harrison, I’m not touching poop.  It’s just not happening.”

At this point I could hear the sixty year old bartender who served us bottles because he’d never cleaned a pint glass in his life holler out:  “Come on sweetheart, you can do it!”

And so, cheered on via speakerphone by a group of men in a dive bar, I knelt down on the dressing room floor.  Looking under the bench I unfortunately spotted the lone ranger of the toilet world.   Sadly sighing there in the worn fabric, ashamed of himself, of his master, and of his current living situation.

Oliver, the orphan turd of the skate-shop dressing room.

I screamed out ‘disgusting’ to the sound of clinking glasses and a far-off call for a round of jager bombs.

Not that I did anything about it.  Despite his greatest efforts, Harrison and his band of brothers could not convince me to retrieve the fruit nor the loom from the cement floor.  Oliver spent the night there that evening.

The next morning I made a saleskid dispose of the situation with a broomhandle.  The underwear, the feces, and the handle all ended up in the dumpster that day.  Harrison stood by, one hand clutching a coffee, the other rubbing his temple as he pieced together his evening of crap-swapping tales amongst the men of the dive bar.  Evidently they’d all bonded over this while shooting darts and placing bets on whether or not I’d take care of the situation.

Overnight, Oliver had become a sensation.

I’ll never know how he got there or if he belonged to Harrison, but I bet there’s never been feces with as great a following as the lone turd and his beer-guzzling companions.

thank you, Spielberg

30 Mar

When I was seventeen I worked in a movie theatre.

It was the summer that Saving Private Ryan was released.

I wore a nametag.

You do the math.

Obese gentlemen of all ages found it hilarious to inform me as I heaped piles of popcorn into massive buckets (with butter smeared in the middle as well as the top), that the feature they truly wished to see was Ryan’s Privates.

Some of them even offered to save said privates, which of course was especially tempting when uttered from the greasy lips of men known to inhale cheese-dogs and nachos faster than oxygen.

It was after one such man was zipping up his fanny-pack and preparing to balance his buckets of popcorn, pretzels, candy and gallon-sized soda that a sixteen-year old boy made me forever wary of certain peanut-butter and chocolate treats.

He had overheard the sweat-pant donning walrus casually request a view of my genitalia, and took it upon himself to redeem all of mankind.  So, cautiously approaching the counter I manned, he smiled, shook his head and said:

‘Betcha get that one a lot huh?  Sorry. That sucks.’

Standing there covered in popcorn grease burns, wearing a man’s button down shirt, and sweating from the heat of various hot-dog, nacho, and pretzel ovens-I instantly deemed him a poet. Compared to the rest of the sludge that rolled up to the counter-here was my adorable, grungy, dimpled, teenage hero.

I blushed, laughed, and smiled at him in gratitude for recognizing the horrors of working a concession stand.  He returned the smile, stared at the ground for a moment, and glanced up at me determined to continue the flirtation.  Which, given my mood-very well could have led to an overly dramatic teenage romance.   Delicious make-out sessions in the backseat of cars, hand-written notes, and romantic proclamations of love were all unfolding in our collective future.

But sadly, love is fleeting.

The next words out of Romeo’s mouth were:

“I’ll take a coke and a pack of Reeses Penis please”

Needless to say, he didn’t make it to the select screening of Saving Ryan’s Privates.

Zilla’s life-plan

13 Mar

Garlic bread crumbs cover my shirt, my dog is asleep on my legs, and there’s a near-empty box of ibuprofen on the coffee table.  I’ve been contemplating making popcorn for the past hour, and so far today I’ve gone through two buckets of green tea and a considerable amount of chocolate chip cookies.  If procrastination of life-planning was an art, I’d have lost an ear by now.

So must get started.  Must tie on cape, inflate muscles, slap this curvy figure into a spandex super-hero costume, and figure out what to do with my life.  Here I go…

(insert blank stare, sigh, nose crinkle, sip of coffee, spill coffee on the part of cape hanging over shoulders, yawn, another sigh-and now we’ve returned to the blank stare)

Did I mention that my super-hero costume has spikes down the back?

Cause it does.

Maybe I should wear it to job interviews.  Talk about making a first impression, those folks won’t know what hit em.  It kind of reminds me of the inflatable dinosaur I used to keep in my car in high-school.  Except that was Spike, and he was red.  The costume is slightly different, because of course-it is Ryzilla.  Not a dino, but a distant cousin.  Who doesn’t want to hire the distant cousin of a dinosaur?

Course first I gotta figure out what jobs to apply for…..

Focus Zilla, focus.

(stifle yawn, tiny growl, shift dog off legs onto couch, sit up straight, one firm nod of the head-and presto-focused face on)

Well I have a double Bachelors degree and two Masters degrees so that should help-not as much as the costume, but good as a foundation of my qualifications.  A foundation of awesomeness, if you will.

Plus I like to write, take pictures AND make movies.  Insert the basement of my split-level home of qualifications.

Now how to get up the stairs….

(popcorn urge taking over, requiring giant glass of water, butter stains appearing on costume, eating faster as contemplation increases, brow-furrowed, feeling bloated, can’t stop-too tasty,  share some kernels with dog, get up to wash hands, return to computer, ready for it to reveal answers)

Computer screen still as blank as before….

Well, at least I’ve got the costume.

Any employment ideas for the well-educated, artistic, mildly-delusional distant-cousin of a dinosaur?

All suggestions to be taken into account.

One for the bartenders

21 Feb

At one point in my not so long ago past I was a regular in the Parisian Latin Quarter bar scene.  Wandering throughout the cobblestone streets after one too many cocktails, getting in ultimately deep late night discussions, and laughing until the sun came up was all part of a normal weekend.  I’ve worked in bars, been engaged to a bar owner, and picked up many a partner in crime along the way.  In honor of all those friends who spend their time serving the public, I hereby state the five greatest ways to keep your bartender happy.

1.  I realize this sounds obvious-but say please and thank you.  You’d be shocked at the amount of people who throw simple manners out the window when talking to someone serving them.

2.  Read the menu beforehand and know what you want to order.  It’s beyond irritating to be incredibly busy at work and have a client impatiently wave their hand over and over to get your attention-only to discover that the idiot doesn’t know exactly what he/she is ordering yet.

3.  Don’t accuse your bartender of being stingy on the alcohol.  I realize that for some reason people think that bartenders are out to be stingy with booze out of spite or to save money-but let me assure you, this is not the case.  A bartender has no incentive to give you less alcohol than what you have ordered.  Accusing them of such behavior only results in making yourself look like some kind of macho ass out to impress people with your so-called massive tolerance.  It’s pathetic.  Your bartender will remember that you did this the next time you order, and are unlikely to be concerned about whether or not you have been served quickly.

4.  Take a minute to ask how their night is going.  Especially if you see someone else being incredibly rude to them (pay attention-its happening all over the place).  Make them smile a bit, roll your eyes at whoever has irritated them-you’ll be instantly liked in comparison.  I had many clients offer to buy me drinks when they would see someone being rude to me-and I always appreciated it.  It usually resulted in them getting free shots from me later.

5.  Tip.  Dear God, tip.  Even in Paris.  Even if you think its not part of the local custom.  If you want better treatment with a bartender, tip them.  You’d be amazed at the difference it can make.

Remember-If you keep them happy, they’ll keep you happy.  The occasional free beverage, discounts, special treatment-all of these are at your disposal if you use a little common sense when talking to the people standing between you and the drinks at a bar.