Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cookie Cookie Cookie Starts with Me

I am going to miss my metabolism.

Now granted I am 25 years old, in great health, good medical test scores, low cholesterol, healthy waist line, and no reason to worry. But I am well aware that my days of eating anything I want, whenever I want, as often as I want are numbered. And when my day of reckoning comes, my waistline is going to blow up like a peep in a microwave.

I wouldn't be worried if I didn't eat so damn much. I must eat, all the time. It's not that I am a compulsive eater. But I have a problem not putting food in my mouth. If a Mexican fairy came into my home and put down a bowl of infinite tortilla chips and salsa in front of me, I would eat it until my internal organs leaked tomatoes, and flooded my belly with deliciousness.

I don't have a shut off valve. Take bread for example. If a restaurant provides a basket of bread for a pre-meal snack, I do not think of it as a way to stave off hunger. No, my goal is to eat as much of that bread as I can.

Especially if I am working out at the time (I'm really into fitness) I eat like a maniac. My largest expense every month is food. When I go grocery shopping I have so many bags I feel like the person ringing me up will ask, "Excuse me sir but is anyone else from the orphanage coming to help you carry these bags?"

I eat healthy during the week, but sometimes I slip.

One weekend not too long ago, I woke up, had some Bruff Cakes for breakfast (Bruff Cakes, for those of you who do not know, are brownies made in a muffin pan and then finished off with frosting to take on the best characteristics of brownies, muffins, and cupcakes), which I followed up with 2 bagels with cream cheese. Then for dinner I had a small pizza (thin crust) with a Caesar salad on TOP of it, and then I chased that with an ungodly amount of ice cream from Cold Stone.

Had I been running a marathon the next day, this might have been a wise menu choice. But my athletic activity for that Monday was staring at a computer screen for 8 hours.

I visited my parents' in South Carolina for Thanksgiving. I of course got to stuff my face with all the food I'm too incompetent to cook on my own. And I started shoving my hand in the cookie jar every hour. I ate like I was on the Fatkins Diet. Or maybe the South Beached Whale Diet.

This past Christmas weekend involved another trip to the parents', which meant more eating of sweets. I was in the HOV lane on the obesity highway and I didn't even mind. I walked into my parents' home to see not 1, but 6 plates of Christmas cookies sitting on the dining room table. It looked as though we were getting ready to distribute treats to everyone in town. But no, they were just for our family Christmas.

We have four people in our family.

So I did what any normal 25 year old with a healthy metabolism does. I started eating 13 cookies a day. Not just as dessert. I would have a couple after breakfast. Some after lunch, and then a sensible dinner.

That's actually a lie, I ate a cookie every time I walked by them. My logic goes like this, if 1 of something tastes good, then a 100 of something must taste even better.

The piles of cookies were so high, it seemed I had barely made a dent. So I rationalized I hadn't eaten that many cookies. And the cookies were so frigging tasty.

I was like a crack addict. If I had gone too long without a cookie I started twitching and my skin started to itch. Cookies dipped in chocolate, then rolled in sprinkles and crushed up Andes Mints? I mean come on! After a while I didn't even taste them. I just wanted to inject them into my blood stream so I could pass out on the floor in a cookie coma.

I never have to worry about a problem like this at home, because I will never walk into a store and buy 400 cookies. I will never walk past a truckload of cookies sitting on my dining room table. I don't have a dining room table, or a dining room... I don't even have a table. But if YOU have a table full of cookies, yea I'm going to eat them.

My mother bought me some pants for Christmas, that when I tried them on Christmas morning, fit perfectly. When I tried them on again 3 days (and innumerable cookies) later, I fully expected to need one of those button extenders so that my pants would close. Amazingly they fit.

In order to battle the fear of my impending obesity I went for a jog. It was like trying to drive a car with a gas tank full of Pepsi. My system was so full of cookies I was downright lethargic. I felt like I had a wagon full of fat 12 year-olds strapped to my waist.

The holidays are almost over now, and I refused to take any cookies home with me back to New York. I have no need for them. I am not making any New Year's resolutions about cookies or fitness or anything. But I am making a goal to not do so much binging when it comes to cookies.

That is of course until I go and visit my parents in April, because that's when we make Easter cookies, and then I'll really do some damage. It's round 3 in Cookies versus Metabolism. It's going to be epic.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Big Orange Bastard

I am going to rob the Home Depot.

I mean, technically I've already stolen from there once, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it again. And there is nothing you can do to stop me. It's not my fault, it is the fault of the depot. Here is why.

First of all, I hate the size of that place. It's not a store it's a zip code. It's too damn big. I can't walk from one end to the other without having to stop for a Gatorade and a change of socks. I've been to countries with smaller square footage than that. Every Home Depot should come with it's own public transportation system.

Secondly, I do not understand the pricing structure for the Home Depot. My only option is to buy things in massive bulk. They have put all other hardware stores out of business. Stores that sell things in lesser quantity. I went in to buy 2 nails not long ago. Two nails! Granted its probably my own fault for wanting to do such a ridiculous thing. But Home Depot does not sell nails in packages of 2. I suppose its like going to Costco and asking for 5 cheerios.
I tried to find the nail aisle (which, consequently isn't called the nail aisle. Nails are in the aisle called "Hardware." This is the Home frigging Depot. Isn't every piece of shit in this hell hole, hardware?) 

By the time I finally found the hardware aisle I spent another 10 minutes staring at an entire rack, 6 levels high full of 2 pound boxes of nails. I had no idea what to look for. Technically I was looking for nails so that I could hang my harpoon on the wall. But there were no boxes that said "Harpoon Nails" on them. How do you even inquire about that without seeming like a nutbag nautical weapon collector?

In the "hardware aisle" I evaluated a dozen different nails before I noticed there was a kind of overspill area at the edge of the rack where loose nails hung out. To me this was like being in a Dunkin Donuts at 4 in the morning. Those donuts are all just gonna get chucked anyway, might as well give them to me for free. These nails didn't belong in a box, they were obviously homeless. So I adopted 2 of them and gave them a new life in my wall.
Most of all though, my biggest complaint with the Home Depot is the fact that there is nobody there to help you. I could be running through the aisles engulfed in flames while screaming that a dragon emperor had burnt my village and still, the megadouche in light bulbs would keep his back turned to me and tell me that Dragon Emperors weren't his department.

How many people work at the Home Depot? 5? Maybe 6? It must be somewhere around there, because every time I'm in there, I see one guy at the entrance, one guy at the exit, 2 registers out of 19 open, and 1 confused looking associate walking the aisles telling people he doesn't know the answer to their questions.

I'm in Plumbing trying to find a new drain for my sink. I am trying to get an answer and an associate says "I don't know, I work in cabinets" Well get the hell back to cabinets then because some other poor sap is probably walking around trying to get help from some other associate who can't help him because he works in garden tools, or catamarans, or whatever the hell other aisles they have.

Cabinet man then turns and literally yells, "DAMIEN, YO DAMIEN WHERE ARE YOU?"

I can tell already this is going to be an awesome experience.

Damien comes out of the ether and approaches. He is an older, slightly frazzled Jamaican man who, upon further interaction, seems like he might have spent the first half of his life handling... and maybe even eating out of, lead pipes.
When he walked up to me 3 different customers just started talking to him. He was facing me, as though we were going to have a normal human conversation, but then these cannibals started jumping in, yelling questions like he was Peter Pan and we were his lost boys. Tell us Peter Pan, where is your plaster of paris? Tell us peter pan, where are your filangees?

When it was finally my turn with Damien (not really I just started talking hoping he was paying attention) he pointed to a shelf near my Dad (who god bless him had accompanied me on this trip to Gomorrah) and said, "It's over by dat man." When Damien and I got over to dat man he started rifling through boxes that looked like they had been torn open on some sort of Plumber's Christmas .

There was no order. There was ripped packaging, torn bags, and random pipes hither and tither. Nothing made any kind of sense. I told Damien that I knew the part I was looking for was in the store because I had been on the website and it said online that the part was available in store.

Damien responds by asking me for the part number. I don't have the part number because I don't regularly buy plumbing supplies and I am clueless. So Damien says;

"I don't know man, you got to go on de line. You go on the de line and get de part number and then you bring dat in." Silly me, I thought that if I had seen the simple sink drain on de line, I could just walk in and find it. Little did I know I would be in the middle of a massive sink and pipe orgy of stupidity.

When I finally got and paid for my part I had to hand my receipt to the disinterested looking man in the "Loss Prevention Services" jacket at the exit. He looks briefly at my receipt before running his highlighter over it and sending me on my way. He didn't pat me down, or check the items in my bag.

I totally didn't need to pay for my stuff.

But if in the future, I need to buy 3 screws, or 1 washer, I will just shove them in my pockets and walk out. I will certainly not be paying for it. Unless of course I can find it on de line. In that case, I think I will have to pay.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Follicle Chronicles

I have never gotten more than one good haircut in a row. The entire haircutting scenario sets you up to fail. This traces all the way back to when I first starting getting haircuts as a child.

I remember my mom taking me to the barber. He was an older Greek man, maybe Italian, who worked at one of those barbershops with the spinning red and blue pole outside. He would talk in his thick accent saying things I didn't understand. He also helped me lose a tooth.

I showed him one I had hanging by a thread , and he quickly yanked it out of my face. I am pretty sure today this would be an offense punishable by law, or at least a damaging statement from the American Dental Association, but back then it was cute I suppose.

As my barber and I got older I learned that while he was lovable and endearing, his haircuts were less than symmetrical. And symmetricality, at least for me, is an important quality when it comes to the shape of my head. That is was why I stopped going to my beloved Greektalian barber.

When I went out to Arizona for college many a haircut took place at Supercuts when I was feeling cheap... which was pretty much all the time. There I would sit in the waiting area looking through old issues of Cosmo Girl for inspiration, finding none. Really Supercuts? What am I supposed to do, go up to my stylist and say, "Hey, can you make me look like this picture of Mandy Moore?"

The only saving grace was that I kept my hair short enough that if I had a bad haircut I didn't have it for long before I got another.

Sometimes when I was feeling trendy, I would go to one of the more zestily named places like "Grooming Humans" or "Grooming Humans II." More often than not, the only thing that would determine whether or not I went back to a stylist was how attractive she was. I found this great woman who was adorable. I have no idea if she did a good job or not because I was too busy trying to make her like me.
I am not very good at meeting girls.

Another challenge I face is the woman who does the shampooing. (How this became a strictly female profession, I will never know) This woman is always 1 of 2 kinds of people.

She is either some sort of Ex Bavarian Torture Frau who had been laid off and turned to hair washing as a back up. This woman inevitably alternates between scalding and freezing my scalp with extreme water temperatures and then scrubbing my head so hard that I often wonder if there will be any hair left to wash.

The other type of hair washer is the woman whose hands are magical. After a 2 minute shampoo and conditioning I am often rendered speechless and asleep with a parade of drool running down my face.

I always close my eyes during shampooing. I do this because I find it awkward to be staring upside down at a strange woman massaging my head. The massaging is so relaxing that I often open my eyes feeling like i had just finished a Nyquil-tini and all I can say is something like. "ohshlumpsfea" while squinting like I just came out of cataract surgery.

Then I go to to the actual stylists chair where she says, "What are we doing today?"

What are we doing today? We're cutting my hair! What do you mean what are we doing today? I don't know what to tell you, your the one who spent months learning how to use a scissor. If I knew what we were doing today I would have done it myself in the bathroom. Lord knows I tried (more on that later).

Here's what you're gonna do today.

1. Cut my hair.
2. Don't stab me
3. Don't make me look like Friar Tuck.


I mean seriously that's about all I really desire. And then afterward they say, "What do you think?"
I have no idea what I think. I think I have less hair than when you started. I always think it looks good. And then I wake up the next morning and realize my head looks like a toilet brush. I just assume the haircut is good and tell them so. And then, pending they haven't stabbed me, I tip them nicely.

I feel you shouldn't have to tip on a haircut until 3 days later when you have had time to sleep on it (literally) and can see what you truly think. I am so rushed and confused after a haircut. What am I supposed to say to this woman?

You ruined it! You ruined me! The woman has a BOX of sharp scissors and razor blades on her shelf. I'm no fool.
No, for better or worse I just lie and hope for the best. And unless we change the payment scenario for hair stylists, I suggest you do too.
I have been keeping my hair a bit longer these days (women seem to prefer it) and when it grows for a while without being cut it takes on a shape that can only be described as shrubesque. So I try to go to nicer places to ensure a shrub-free-me.
But I got a bad expensive haircut this spring. I tried to rectify this by getting a bad cheap haircut 2 days later. I tried to rectify THIS by cutting off chunks of my own hair in my bathroom with a Leatherman pocket knife. I got this idea because the expensive place cuts my hair with a razor blade. So I figured razor blade, pocket knife, whats the big difference? Turns out the difference is HUGE.

The whole fiasco was exacerbated by the fact that when I finally went for another haircut 2 months later, the stylist was baffled at the condition of my head. She seemed to believe I had let some blind thumbless toddler cut my hair.
I didn't contradict her. It was either that or tell her I was kidnapped by a band of hook-handed beauty school pirates.

I read that Cary Grant and George Clooney cut their own hair. I was hoping this was a hidden talent I possessed. As it turns out the only I can do well with a pocket knife is accidentally stab myself.

Multiple times.

So I just got my haircut this weekend. Does it look good? I have absolutely no idea. I think there's a good chance people at work will stop referring to me as "foofy" but I think its still too early to come to a conclusion.
Otherwise its back to Cosmo girl for inspiration.

I hear Mandy Moore's hair is looking great these days.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dr. Mother Nature

I got sick this summer. This is something I do on a semi-regular basis. I'm kind of a collector of diseases. I won't list them for you here, but it is safe to say I pretty much have had most of the terrible/awful/disgusting/embarrassing diseases. I've warded off the really bad ones as of late, but this year I got this nasty head cold that wouldn't leave.
If your anything like me (and god help you if you are) you probably wait too long to go to the doctor. Nobody wants to go to the doctor on the first day they are feeling sick only to have the doctor make fun of you for being a hypochondriac. But on the same token I tend to wait until the disease has almost completed its course and prescription drugs are pretty much not needed.
This happened with my head cold. It was a head cold, that became a neck cold, and then a chest cold. I finally went to the doctor and he asked a couple of questions. (What color is your phlegm? I don't know doc, Magenta?) Then he prescribed me the beloved Z-Pac. This is the equivalent of the baby Jesus of the antibiotic world. It is the savior of all.
Except for the fact that Z-Pac is kind of like carpet bombing your system. It's like if you are trying to find an escaped felon in Disney World, but instead of just targeting him, you blow up the whole theme park.
In this scenario the felon is the disease, and my body is Disney World. Don't ask me why, it just is damn it.
Anyway, doc gives me Z-Pac, and the cold goes away. Not really totally but most of the way leaving me with a little cough that lingers.
A couple months pass before the same cold comes back. This time the doc doesn't even ask any questions before giving me a Z-Pac prescription again. He literally asked me no questions. It made me kind of nervous. I mean I could have been some kind of antibiotic junkee looking for my fix of germ killing drugs. Maybe that's the kind of sick thing that gave me the thrills. I don't know.
But doc gives it to me again. I blow up Disney again. The disease goes away again. But not totally, it came back last week. By this time I had had it with the "doctor" as his diplomas refer to him. So I said screw it. I'm going native.
I don't really know what that means but I figured it meant natural. I thought I would try out mother natures cures at the Natural Store. I used to think that Natural Cure stores are for stinky hippies and people without health insurance. People who can't afford to pay 185 dollars to have a doctor write them a prescription for a 10 dollar medication that makes zero dollars of difference.
Anyway I go in, and I'm just as baffled as being in the regular pharmacy. So I go up to the "pharmacist" (as his name tag calls him, where did this Natural pharmacist go to school, The Academy of Leaves and Moss?) and I tell him I have magenta phlegm and ask for a recommendation. He hands me a bottle that looks like a speakeasy flask full of something with elderberry (older wiser berries?) and some other crap in it.
I tell him my friend (who is not a "pharmacist") recommended Osha root. I don't know what that is but she said it would clear me out. He thinks this is a good idea. I'm not sure why he didn't recommend it right of the bat but hey, as long as I get healthy.
So I buy the berry juice and the Osha root from some hippy looking woman who walks like she'd been riding a horse for 8 days straight.
I take them home and give them a shot. The berry juice is surprisingly sweet, and I find myself taking more than just a teaspoon. I take a swig from the bottle. Kind of like when I used to eat 3 or 4 Flintstones vitamins at one time. If I was only supposed to eat 1 you shouldn't have made them so damn tasty Flintstones folk!
The berry juice needs to be kept in the fridge after opening. So twice a day I'm sneaking off to the office fridge to take swigs of what looks like moonshine. I even felt like I was doing something wrong.
The Osha root on the other hand... is awful. It smells like bad scotch. I dilute a spoonful in a glass of water and take a sip. It tastes like old dirty socks boiled in ass. It defies foul. But because I want to get better, I take more than the recommended dosage.
Each time I take it I use less and less water until I am just pouring it directly into the back of my throat with an eyedropper. I try to follow it with the elderberry juice but the only appropriate chaser would be a box of jelly donuts. After I swallow it, I cough like a cat trying to cough up... another cat.
It is now a couple of days after I finished consuming my plant and berry medicine. Do I feel better? Yes. Do I still have a cough? Yes. Am I able to see any discernible difference between drinking boiled sock water and antibiotics? No.
So what the hell did I figure out?
Well, I figured that that Osha root is probably an awful drink mixer, while elderberry juice would taste wonderful if mixed with Vodka. And as for what I'll do the next time I get sick? Considering it will probably be in a couple of weeks, I'll have to figure out something soon.
I'm thinking a combination of Oreos, Nutella, and Milk. It may not seem effective to you Medical Pharmacists, or you Natural Pharmacists. But I am a cookie Pharmacist, and if I'm just going to get better anyway, I might as well enjoy the process.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Midnight Madness

Black Friday has always been, in my family, a chance to make fun of people who are so obsessed with finding a deal, that the laws of rational behavior no longer apply to them. After eating enough turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread, apple pie, ice cream, and cookies, to fill up a small barn, I usually like to lie down on the couch and sleep until Christmas when I will wake up and promptly do it again.
But some people in America, lets say a couple million, find it necessary to wake up at the very butt crack of dawn, stand on line in freezing cold weather, so they can get 92% off a cashmere hat and scarf set. I even made fun of my dad when he went to Sports Authority 2 thanksgivings ago to purchase a $99 set of golf clubs of which the 6 iron snapped in half like a pretzel rod the second time I used it.
Sure I love a bargain; I would sleep in the changing room of the Banana Republic outlet if I could. But I have my limits. I won’t battle screaming hordes, I will not rise before the sun, and I will not wait on outrageous lines.

So I was more than a little confused when I found myself standing next to my sister at 11:57 pm Thanksgiving night waiting for the J.Crew outlet to open. How had I gone from distributor of sarcastic remarks and condescension, to active nutcase and midnight shopper? What the hell happened?
I lost my damn mind is what happened.
The clever email advertising got me hook line and sinker. The idea of an extra 50 percent off made me giddy. I literally had to have my sister tell me what I didn’t need from the items I was holding when we got to checkout. I get so greedy at these sales.

J. Crew also had a woman whose sole job was to be the greeter. I can’t think of a single human being (aside from maybe a hooker or a crack dealer) who would be happy to see a line of people trying to get into their store at 1 a.m. It takes a special kind of person to be the greeter. If they had made me the greeter, every person that walked in the door would have received this tasty zinger;
“Go home moron face!”
Perhaps greeting is not for me.
While waiting on the epic line I started doing a little dance to the music to keep myself from falling asleep standing up. My sister looked at me and said, “Don’t dance you look silly.”
Really? I am standing in J.Crew on a 60 person line at one o’clock in the morning holding a hundred dollars of merchandise for myself… what dignity am I clinging to at this point?
The woman behind me started laughing. She too saw the ridiculousness of the situation.
She mentions she is having so much trouble finding something for her husband. I looked down at my arms, loaded up with over 100 dollars of merchandise… for myself, and realized just how selfish I was. Not only was I ridiculous, now I had guilt to deal with as well.
I was bargain hunting for myself, in the middle of nowhere South Carolina, with a bunch of school children from Savannah who had showed up 6 hours early to wait for the Abercrombie Store and Hollister stores to open.
I was standing behind someone who said that it wasn’t that bad that they had to wait 3 hours for stores to open… so they could buy underwear and t-shirts. I know those stores are absurdly overpriced but are their underwear and t-shirts really that worth it?
I felt far superior to this simpleton. But, and this might be revealing a bit too much about myself, I have absolutely no will power and I am easily swayed by clever advertising.
Percentage off signs are really what do it for me.
Anything less than 20 percent doesn’t even warrant an eyebrow raise. If it’s 30 percent off, hey I might swing by at lunch time. If I see 40 percent off, I will definitely make some extra efforts to get there. And what I found out this weekend was, 50 percent off, I will leave the comfort of my couch, to drive 15 minutes, to stand with a bunch of nutcases up from Savannah so that I can buy a striped vest and some argyle socks.
Really Rich Boehmcke? This is the kind of man you’ve become?
I think what I found most interesting were the people waiting on a 40 person line, holding 1 item. And not even a big item like a cashmere coat or a new suit. No, they were holding like… a glove… or a sock. Granted there were some people on line who looked like they were trying to clothe their city, but most people only had several items.
In Banana Republic as soon as we walked in I just got on line. I didn’t have anything in my hands so I picked up a tiny purple woman’s sweater. I didn’t want somebody to ambush me and say something like, “HEY ARE YOU JUST A PLACE HOLDER?” I don’t really know if that is illegal, but when it comes to the type of people that wake up at midnight to buy socks, I really wasn’t willing to take any chances.
By the time we left at 2:30 a.m. the parking lot had emptied slightly… but not much, there was still a line to get into Coach, and now there were flashing lights from police cars outside Nike, as something had apparently gone horribly wrong at their sale.
Was the entire scenario ridiculous? Yes. Do I regret going? Absolutely not. Do I now realize that I have no right to make fun of anybody ever again? Well…
You betcha!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Riding with the Crazies

The concept of public transportation is pretty good in theory. Like the carpool, it operates on the premise that if everyone is going in the same direction it is more convenient if we go there together. What it doesn’t take into account is every single person’s bizarre quirks and weirdnesses that combine to make traveling by public transportation a symphony of strange.

With cuts in the transportation budget of New York City on the horizon the frequency of service is sure to decrease, making every train even more jam packed with maniacs. This will only serve to drastically increase the volume of this symphony, and create new instruments to drive everyone out of their mind.

Millions of people ride the trains, commuting from one corner of the city and back again. Sometimes they spend 10 minutes, sometimes over an hour. And it is those people with the longest commute times who feel the need to do what I call “private time activities” while on the subway. They are also the ones most likely to completely lose their shit for no reason. These are the people who sit next to me.

Case and point, not too long ago I was riding the subway into the city on a weekend, so the train was relatively empty.


I found a seat and opened my magazine for a pretty relaxing ride. That was until I heard the unmistakable “click….click…” of a nail clipper.

I turned to my left to see a gentleman, no that’s not right, ogre-man clipping his nails. The sound alone sends such a violent chill down my spine that I can feel my insides twitch. There are few things that skeeve me more than watching someone remove parts of their body they deem to be no longer necessary, and then spread them amongst the ground like a flower girl at the wedding of gross and disgusting.

Would you ever just take out a scissor and starting cutting your own hair on the train? No of course not.

And nails being clipped don’t just fall to the ground, they fly off the clipper like rocketships leaving planet yuck. The man clipping his nails was considerably larger than me so I didn’t say anything, and I probably wouldn’t say anything if the person was smaller than me either. If you’re crazy enough to think that clipping your nails on a subway car is ok, god knows what else you’re capable of.

Some people discreetly bring their crazy onto the train. They are just feeling it that day. Maybe they found a cucaracha in their cheerios or something but they just decided before they left the house, “I’m going to grab a little extra insanity from my stash and throw it around like it’s a ticker tape parade.” Once again, these are the people who sit next to me.

They are just waiting to be tapped or bumped into. They have their nonsense at the ready, hidden deep within their pockets. Kind of like a jack-in-the-box. They wait with coiled spring for somebody to turn their handle just far enough so they can explode.

Case and point, recently on the subway a tiny Hispanic woman was almost bumped by a larger Greek man, so she opened her bag of crazy.

“Excuse me. Excuse me!”


“You almost hit me. You almost bumped into me.”

“You bumped into me!”

This went back and forth escalating more and more and culminating with the Hispanic woman saying;

“Just remember, joo have a mother and joo have a sister. God bless joo.”

I’m not really sure what having a mother and a sister has to do with anything. But ya know what crazy lady? If there are 200 people in 9 square feet of space, somebody might hit your bag. I constantly have to stand with my pelvis inches from people’s faces, they don’t enjoy it, and frankly neither do I. But I don’t go bananas.

And I’m working on a theory here, but the amount of bags you carry with you is directly proportional to how completely out of your mind you are.

1 Bag = Normal

2 Bags = Slightly off

3 Bags = Audibly and visibly crazy

People with one bag tend to blend in pretty well. People with multiple bags most likely speak in tongues and have suitcases full of dead squirrels.

There are three times as many people on the train as there are seats. Odds are you will usually be standing because 4 million people ride the subway every day and they are ALL on every train. Nobody knows who is getting off at what stop so everyone has a moment of anxiety when the train pulls up to a station and a sitting person stands up.

Then the subway becomes kind of like musical chairs. Except there are no kids, there’s no reward, and everyone hates each other.

In fact it’s more like musical chairs meets thunderdome. And I tell you, it is funny when 7 year olds lunge for a chair and miss, it is down right hilarious when a grown up does the same thing. And if you do manage to get a seat you are probably sitting between a woman who looks like she could use a shave and another who is putting on blush like she’s dusting her face for finger prints.

Now that winter is upon us, people are getting on the train fully clad in every wool item they own. So they will get hot, which will lead to cranky, which will be immediately followed by crazy.

It’s really only a matter of time. Something will happen soon, I can feel it. Until then, God Bless Joo.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shopping Does This to Me

The Holidays are fast upon us which means soon, we will all be spending way more time in malls and major department stores than we prefer. There will be consumers everywhere. Oversized bags, strollers, and bell ringers will impede our movement throughout the malls of America. But it isn’t the other shoppers in the store that will cause the most stress.

There is a disease that affects millions of shoppers every year, and there is no cure. It is both annoying and frustrating. Have I mentioned there is no cure?

I’m talking about Commercial Retail Anxious Paranoia. People across the country and the world suffer from Commercial Retail Anxious Paranoia, or CRAP. Symptoms of CRAP include

-Frequently purchasing items you don’t need
-Yelling at store clerks
-Wandering aimlessly through the women’s intimates department looking for power tools

I really enjoy shopping. I don’t always have the money for it but I like looking at stuff I might one day own. A nice suit, a sweet laptop, or even a fancy watch are some things that might catch my eye. But when I walk into a store I am so fearful of being accosted by a sales rep or other employee that I go into CRAP Red Alert.

I know most sales people work on commission and they are hungry for that percentage. So when I walk in it is quite an uncomfortable scenario.
Employee: Hi welcome to…
And I run to the back of the store and hide in a sale rack.
Somewhere along the line I got it in my head that every salesperson in every store is a used car sleeze trying to sell me a 1976 Jalopy. It’s not like I have to leave there with a car, or they are going to try and rip me off on price. But I get so stressed about it that I freak the hell out.
I don’t want to hear what they have to say. I don’t want to know about the sales or special items. And I certainly don’t want to know their name. I am terrified that I am going to be duped, or confused. I struggle to balance my desire to be nice to the clerk, with my desire to get something I actually want. And the internal battle ends up making me look like a raving lunatic. CRAP does that to you.
On the off chance that there is something in the store I am going to purchase, when I get to the register and they ask me if anybody helped me I usually point to the person who tried to say hello to me because I feel so bad.
I think I feel pressured by the pushy sales people. I remember trying on these jeans once at some mall store. I told the woman my size and she brought me some different kinds. “This pair is slim fitting but their great.” Ok jean lady. Do you normally wear boys’ pants? We’ll see if their great.
So cut to the dressing room and she knocks on the door while I’m shoving my legs into these pant legs like a fat kid trying to get into a snowsuit. “How are you doing in there?” I look at the pair of pants that have become immobilized halfway up my thighs, “I can’t get my legs into them.”
“Well that’s normal their supposed fit tight.”
If I had been able to move my legs I would have run out of the dressing room and drop kicked her in the face.
I don’t even like going shopping with my friends. I like to go shopping by myself. I can’t be talked into anything that way. This is what is known as Amicable CRAP. Even though your friends mean well, they can cause CRAP to come out quite quickly. Shopping alone is easier. If I don’t love something, I put it back; if I can’t put it down I buy it. And I don’t have to worry about somebody else hating the thing I love, because I’m the only one there. I always agree with myself.
Even when I ask for feedback I don’t trust it.
There is one store that I go into, staffed by a lot of women in black clothes, where everything I try on looks good to them. I can’t not look good in something.
One woman even said to me, “Oh you’re the perfect size, you could be a model… ya know, for fit.”
Thank you for pointing out that I could not be a model on looks alone, because I HADN’T realized that already.
But everything I try on looks great. I could be wearing a sundress made of pink marshmallow peeps and they would say, “Oh yea absolutely, its so you.”
Shut up lady, you’re giving me CRAP.
CRAP does not only apply to the retail industry. Service industry folk are responsible. Like my nice Asian cleaners for example.
I recently brought 4 pairs of pants to my dry cleaner to have them hemmed. They were about 2 inches too long. A week, and 36 dollars later, they are all an inch too short. How did this happen?
Well to be perfectly honest my dry cleaner doesn’t speak the best English. And I was duped into thinking he was a skilled tailor by the sign in the window that said “Tailor.” Any other sign I would have doubted. If the sign had said “Plumber” or “Accountant” I might have been skeptical. But somehow in my head, since this man washed pants, he must also be able to sew them.
When was the last time you asked the guy at the car wash who wipes off your vehicle to take a look under the hood?
Everything looked normal when my “tailor” pinned the pants for the fitting, and then when I came back to try them on, he kept saying “It’s good, it’s good.” I didn’t really think so because it felt a little short, plus I’m standing in front of a shit mirror in a dry cleaner and I know he’s kind of rushed because there are other customers. So I say yes, pay and leave.
I didn’t realize it at the time but I was having a CRAP attack.
It’s not until I start wearing these pants to work that I notice I can feel the refreshing breeze on my ankles. A wonderful feeling if you are at a beach, or in a meadow, not when you are wearing a suit in an office.
My point is, as you rush out in droves to the retailers that haven’t yet gone out of business, and you realize the salespeople on the floor are even hungrier to make a sale; you are likely to have CRAP attack. But don’t worry. CRAP can be avoided. Just stay home and do all your shopping in your pajamas while surfing the internet. You don’t even need to shower to do this, and most importantly, you will never have CRAP again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What the Hell Are You Saying?

No matter how much older I get, there are certain scenarios that instantly transport me back to being in school. Something about a circumstance or situation brings me back to feeling baffled in class. Even though I am not that far removed from those days, the feeling of being unprepared, of having not done my homework is something that seemed like a distant memory. At least, until that feeling popped up again unexpected.
I don’t anticipate getting much smarter in the next 60 years, I have to admit to myself that not only will I not increase my mental capabilities, but most likely, I will at best remain stagnant. And I will be reminded of those times in school when I had no idea what was going on.
I was a good citizen this week and voted. I did a little research to see what amendments or proposals I would be voting on before I got to the booth. I did this so I would not accidentally pass a law legalizing the use of arsenic in creamed corn or ban the use of fluoride in water.
I was enlightened to see that there were only 2, one of which was pretty straight forward. The other one read as follows:
The proposed amendment would eliminate the requirement that veterans who were disabled in the actual performance of duty in any war be receiving disability payments from the United State Veterans Administration in order to qualify for additional points on a civil service examination for appointment or promotion. Under the proposed amendment, the disability must only be certified to exist by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The proposed amendment would also update the reference to the "United States Veterans Administration" to instead refer to the "United States Department of Veterans Affairs" to reflect current federal government structure. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
My first instinct was to turn to the person in the desk next to me and see what they were writing on their essay.
Then I realized this wasn’t a social studies test, I’m not in high school, and I’m not 16. I’m 20freaking5. I was just sitting at my computer at work trying to figure out what the hell that amendment said. I had to read it twice before I realized I was never going to figure out what it meant on my own.
I had to go to some other website to translate what this amendment said because apparently I only speak English, I don’t comprehend it.
And what the amendment basically said was, “If you got a bullet hole in you, you don’t need to be getting money from the government in order to get a better chance at a government job.”
Way easier that way isn’t it?
No wonder ridiculous laws get passed. People are tricked into thinking that something is a good idea, or a bad idea for that manner. And just think, we vote to elect people into office, to draft these amendments that we then have to vote on but can’t comprehend because the people we elected weren’t bright enough to understand how simple we are.
Easy right?
I once had a teacher in high school who would get frustrated when the classroom got noisy and he would shout “WHY AM I NOT THE ONLY ONE TALKING?”
I had to sit there and repeat the sentence over in over in my head while drawing a tree diagram on my notebook to try and understand it.
Why am I the only one talking? Why am I not the only one talking? How about, why are you talking? Or even better, Shut up! Sentences should not be that confusing. No wonder the class kept talking; we had no idea what the hell teacher was saying.
At the risk of embarrassing myself (which I risk doing every time I leave my apartment) I would like to relate another story.
I recently took a class over 2 weekends that prepares you to sit on the board of non-profits. It was a fascinating class and I learned a lot, but unfortunately we had homework.
One of the items for homework was to evaluate the budget of a fictional non-profit. The sample budgets were shown over the course of 6 different pages. It was confusing at best. There were numbers everywhere that I couldn’t process. I started to get a headache. I started feeling insecure and inadequate. In fact it made me realize I wanted to change my major from Business to something else.
And then I realized I wasn’t in college, I had changed my major, and I already got a C in accounting.
I can so vividly remember freshman year accounting when I was the dumbest kid in my group (possibly the class) and I volunteered to type up our paper so I could at least say I contributed something.
“Shouldn’t we capitalize the R in the word Revenue? That’s what I thought too.”
In fact when I got to my nonprofit class, I was having heart palpitations thinking the teacher might call on me to explain the budgets. At which point I probably would have had to pretend I had a really important phone call or just fake a heart attack.
I don’t think that I will ever understand everything, I am not sure that I will ever stop having those moments of feeling like a confused kid in school again. I’m still trying to adjust to being a confused adult. Perhaps it was the feelings of inadequacy, the constant inability to reach my potential, or always sounding like an idiot when I talk to girls. And that was just last week.
Maybe those feelings never go away.
Either way, I thank you for being one of the people who didn’t forget to choose to not forego reading my blog.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Was a Teenage Halloweeny

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. I frigging hate Halloween. I didn’t always hate Halloween. During my formative years as a pumpkin, bunch of grapes, hunch back of Notre Dame, and mummy, I truly enjoyed the day. The getting ready, the traipsing through the leaves in search of treats. And of course getting home to find the elusive Vanilla tootsie roll in the bottom of my candy bag.
But somewhere around high school I started to hate Halloween. It was a gradual process but the culmination might have something to do with the fact that I was egged walking home from school in 8th grade.
I remember the day vividly. I had already hit puberty (hooray) and was starting to feel older. Enjoying school and the teenager I was becoming, I was finally in control of my future. I was walking home wearing my Vancouver Grizzlies jacket and carrying my trumpet… ya know, the apex of cool.
So there I am, jauntily swinging my trumpet with a song in my head when several dooshy kids younger than me run up and throw eggs at me. One, two, three? Who knows how many chicken babies were wasted in such senseless violence?
They didn’t punch me, or steal my trumpet, or do anything else. They just stood there laughing at me. And I wasn’t really a tough kid…I’m still not. To this day the only man I’ve ever punched was a snowman. So when these kids threw eggs at me, I didn’t really have much retaliation. Seeing as I don’t regularly carry grocery items of my own with me, I couldn’t really do much at all.
However I was not alone. No sir. Thank god that old woman was walking behind me. The egging happened and I stood there in disbelief like I had just been slimed on Double Dare… even though I had NOT agreed to take the physical challenge. And the old lady behind me says something to the effect of, “Hey, that wasn’t nice, apologize!” Which I’m sure they probably did. Thank you old lady, we sure showed them.
If my memory serves me correctly, for the next 4 years I came right home from school and went immediately to bed. I didn’t want to have anything to do with Halloween. Just give me some candy corn and get out of my face.
My point is there was a distinct moment in my life when Halloween went from being cute fun to absolute nonsense and insanity. By time I got to college, with my Halloween chip firmly implanted on my shoulder the day had become mostly about getting drunk at a place where you could see girls dressed in slutty costumes. Naughty Cop? Excellent. Naughty Nurse? A classic. Naughty Nun? Quite the juxtaposition!
Other spectators who criticized were mostly women who exclaimed, “It’s just an excuse for girls to be slutty!” Good observation, I am glad we are both fans.
Granted at this point I had become predisposed to hate Halloween but even my attempts to love it had been met with defeat. Around senior year when I was coerced into putting together a last minute costume for a party, it was a let down. My friend and I spent a considerable amount of time setting my clothes on fire in the driveway so that I could be “Struck by Lightening.” And after some clever hairstyling and makeup I was ready to embrace the night again.
But struck by lightening is no bunch of grapes, and nobody understood my costume. They just kept asking why I had soot on my face and smelled like smoke. I would tell them. They would grimace and just walk away.

I should have been Naughty Struck by Lightening.
I am older now. And the pressure to do something on Halloween is not necessarily as great. Sure there are parties and functions of a classier variety. But a large part of the population still spends the night dressing slutty and getting drunk. And my fear of being egged remains.
So I was excited to be part of a group costume. My sister had slotted me for a role in her group of “Three’s Company,” the hit television show that mixed 1 part mischief with 1 part social norms for a result that always equaled hilarity.
I dressed up as the Landlord, or Mr. Furley. A character portrayed to perfection by the comedic genius Mr. Don Knotts.
And on this most ridiculous night it felt kind of normal to walk around Manhattan with white hair, a neckerchief, the ugliest shirt on the planet and pants in colors that can only be described as Enchantment Under the Sea Dance blues and greens.
It really was just an excuse for me to act like an idiot and say inappropriate things.
I mean, that is what I do normally…except on Halloween I got to do it in a neckerchief.
And you know what? If you are with good people, and you all look like idiots, it can be fun. Having drinks with a shorty-shortted John Ritter and a side-pony tailed Susanne Summers is a damn good time. And mugging for the camera in your famous television advertisement group pose is always a hoot.
Plus it was fun to see people out and about making huge fools out of themselves. Like the trio of gentlemen who I first thought were dressed as “morons.” As it turns out, they were just from Staten Island.
But it was entertaining to see a Yankee Baseball Player, a gentleman who was (and I’m not joking here) “Hung Like a Horse” and some other tool in a tank top hit on women.
Maybe there is some fun left in this day after all. Perhaps I will try to enjoy Halloween again next year. Honestly the most fun part of the holiday is the innovation and social commentary in some costumes, and the complete lack of creativity and healthy dose of embarrassment in others.
And as for those who insist on a costume such as our friend of the equine variety, well… maybe some people do deserve to be egged.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Please Don't/Do Look at Me

In college I majored in Human Communication. When I tell people this they usually respond by saying something outrageously hilarious like “Oh, as opposed to animal communication?” No you moron, as opposed to just studying language and words I learned how human beings throughout the course of history have interacted with each other across cultures and different mediums.

Woah, sometimes I lose my cool.

As a Human Communication graduate, I try my best to make my interactions with all people pleasant and enjoyable. However, the amount of people in the retail/food service world that refuse to make eye contact while talking to me is driving me a little bit crazy.

I was at a Subway Restaurant a couple of weeks ago and when I got up to the register man behind the counter took my sandwich to bag it and ring me up. He was about to tell me the price when his cell phone rang, so he ANSWERED it before telling me the price and completing the transaction all without looking at me. I was so confused I put the change in his tip jar.

Yea, I don’t know why I did that.

I actually can understand incompetent store help avoiding eye contact, but the detached robot-like answers I have started receiving are just weird.

New York City has a drug store called Duane Reade. There is one a block away from my job in Manhattan, and one a block away from my apartment in Queens. It was here that I was the recipient of bizarre communication.

I was at the Duane Reade near my apartment because I was out of hand soap and was having people over. Nothing says “I’m a gross human” like not having hand soap at your sink. You might as well put a sign on your door that says “I don’t believe in bathing and I eat trash.”

So I’m standing in the soap aisle contemplating the many varieties of soap. I am reading labels, opening bottles and examining the contents. I am quite aware at this point that I am rapidly losing masculinity points. I go to start sniffing the products to see which I like best when I notice a man next to me checking out the Axe Body Sprays. I know something is wrong with this man because… well… because he is checking out the Axe Body Sprays.

But he is not just reading the labels, he is spraying them… on himself.

I am so fascinated by this man that I have become completely oblivious to my sniffing and submerge my nose into a bottle of green tea and aloe scented hand soap. In my haste to classify Mr. Axe as the moron, I have quickly pulled ahead in the standings.

Standing there with soap all over my nose I quickly realize the 2 of us look like the guests of honor at the Drug Store Idiot Convention.

Eager to get out of this hell hole I wiped the soap off my nose, grabbed a bottle of foaming hand wash (masculinity falling faster now) and headed to the counter. As it was 7 pm on a Saturday night, it was pretty much just me and Lord of the Body Sprays in the store so I waltzed right up through those black poles that show you where you stand before you pay.

It was at this point that the woman behind the counter looked me straight in the eye and said, “May I help the next customer in line.”

I kind of squinted for a second before brushing off her strange way of addressing me and walked up to pay. Perhaps she liked formalities. As she handed me my change I almost said “The customer thanks you” but I thought the better of it.

I paid no mind my counter exchange until the following week.

I was at the Duane Reade in Manhattan buying candy. I work in an office and if you don’t have a regular supply of candy, people go completely bat shit crazy.

What is even worse than never having candy to begin with i if you have candy… and then you run out. People who normally take the candy will walk up, throw their meaty paw into your giant sparkly hat, or wherever you keep your candy and say something like, “Oh man, what happened to all the candy?”

To which I usually respond, “Have you checked your ass you Butterfinger-for-breakfast creep?”

No I don’t say that… but I want to.

I’m not sure if it bothers me more that people take candy and don’t replace it, or that people purposefully walk by known candy suppliers just to see if the stash is full. I want to put a live rat in that deep dark candy hat one day so I can see someone walk by, shove their hand in there and scream “EWW A RAT!”

“Oh I’m sorry I forgot to tell you, we switched from Hershey kisses to giant live rats. I hope you don’t mind. You do eat giant live rats right?”

ANYWAY I was in Duane Reade buying some candy (because they don’t sell rats). I grabbed a bag of York Peppermint Patty minis (half the size, just as good) and went to go pay for them. I walked into that little roped off area and prepared to approach the counter. I was the only one waiting, there was nobody behind me, and there were 3 Duane Reade associates behind the counter.

One of them, once again, looks directly at me and says in a voice that makes her sound like she’s working the checkout counter at Guantanamo Bay’s torture store, “May I help the next customer in line please.”

I stopped and had a momentary panic attack. Was I not really there? Had I ceased to exist? Had I turned invisible? Why wouldn’t she just say to me “Can I help you sir?"

Was she a robot? Animatronic? Blind? I didn’t know. I seriously had to make sure I was

A. Not a ghost

B. In fact, clearly visible

C. In the line for the counter

What happened? Is Duane Reade brainwashing its employees Clockwork Orange style? Its bad enough they ask me every single time if I have a club card. Don’t you think I would show it to you if I had one? Damn it I don’t want one. I just want you to treat me like a normal human being and look me in the eye like I actually exist.

Maybe I should have just majored in retail communication. Maybe I just take things to literally. Ah hell, I’m just cranky because our sparkly hat has no good candy in it right now.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rest-room for Improvement

There are few things on this planet that cause me as much stress as using a public restroom. They seem like simple enough establishments to operate. Use, flush, wash hands, throw out towel, exit. But this is not what happens. It appears (from my personal experience) that it goes something like this;

Use while dancing around

Don’t flush

Dump entire contents of soap dispenser on counter

Wash hands with no soap and splash water around sink area

Scatter crumpled paper towels on the floor around trash can

For some reason or another, public restrooms turn people into wild savages completely incompetent of behaving in a sanitary manner.

Our seemingly civilized country has restrooms that constantly leave me on the edge of a nervous breakdown. And while some restrooms have made tremendous advancements that really put them on the forefront of potty wizardry, I find myself struggling with the same issues no matter where I go.

Every restroom I have ever used has always had a very distinct smell. They either smell like they were just hosed down with bleach, or they smell like an elephant farm. There is no in between.

My first problem has to do with the toilet itself. They are often in poor condition, or have a wobbly seat, or are not clean. Sometimes they are all three. And those little slices of tissue paper that even MacGyver couldn’t figure out how to use do NOTHING to improve the situation. I usually go through about 5 before I get one to work that isn’t ripped or hasn’t sunk to the bottom of the toilet by the time I sit down.

But even if I can bring myself to sit on the porcelain throne, I am very insecure. Nobody looks cool sitting on a toilet. Nobody sits on the toilet with perfect posture and their legs crossed. Nobody leans back like their sitting on a Lay-Z-Bowl. No, everyone sits on the toilet the same way; hunched over, forearms on knees, in the ready position, with their face about 18 inches from the door.

My greatest fear, as I imagine most people’s is, is of somebody bursting into the stall. For whatever reason, people don’t precariously open stall doors, they swing them open as though they are going to yell “Surprise!”

Whenever people knock on a restroom door while I’m in there I get a shot of adrenaline and for some reason I resort to the third person, and in a panicked quasi-pubescent voice shout “SOMEONE’S IN HERE.”

Someone’s in here? What the hell is wrong with me? I guess I get paranoid that if I say “I’m in here” they may not know who I am. And the last thing I want to do is encourage more conversation at that point.

“You're in there in there? Well who are you?”

Yea, no thank you. I think from now on I will resort to Spanish and just scream “OCCUPADO!

In general I really prefer the handicapped stalls. I know its probably not the most ethically responsible thing to do but to be honest I just feel more comfortable. There is space, I can stretch my legs if I want to. Comparatively the other stalls seem just a little claustrophobic. Regular stalls are so tiny I feel like I’m crouched in a cannon waiting to be shot into space… with no pants. And that’s a bad feeling.

So if I can find a toilet that doesn’t look like its falling apart, bring myself to sit down on it, AND lock the door, I am about ready to relax. But some people insist on talking. Talking while standing next to somebody at a urinal is bad enough. I can barely concentrate on one task at a time. But once I am in the stall that is the fortress of solitude. That is quiet time, concentration time. Ladies, from what I understand talking to each other while in the stall is commonplace and accepted. That is fine, you may continue to do so as I will not (to the best of my knowledge) be using your restroom in the near future.

Most of the time while I am in the restroom all I am thinking about is how long it will be until I can get the hell out of there.

I’m not opposed to noise in the restroom. Actually I prefer it. The restroom is a place of noise, of bodily functions. We should feel free to be ourselves there. But perhaps that might be easier if we had some medium volume bossa nova music playing. Something that could act as kind of a distraction sound if you will.

I don’t like to touch anything in the restroom either. I push the door open with my shoulder and flush the toilet with my foot. If it were up to me the whole restroom experience would be very similar to a surgical operating room. I would back into the room where someone would put latex gloves on my hands and scrubs over me. I would do my business and then I would throw everything in the trash on my way out.

But until I can set that up I will be forced to do what I always do; Hold my breath, not touch anything, and be ready at a moment’s notice to scream OCCUPADO!!!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

And the Pretty Shall Inherity the Earth

The apocalypse is coming. The talking heads are discussing the failing/failed economy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The planet needs a bailout. Companies, states, and even entire governments (Iceland…who knew?) are failing. It’s affecting the middle class, the working class, and everybody in between. But I have news for you America. It isn’t who you are or what you do that will determine how you survive this recession. No, the only thing that matters is what you look like. The people who are in most danger are the unattractive. Ugly people, you are on notice. This crisis will affect you worst of all.

Consumers are cutting back spending and employees are being laid off. There is a bit of palpable hysteria in the air. It’s kind of like the worst thing ever. People are worrying about what would happen to them if they lost their jobs, myself included.

So I thought about what I would do if I got laid off. I can’t imagine the frustration of looking for a job while the unemployment rate is rising. I considered all the jobs I’d had in the past. And while it is quite an impressive portfolio of random jobs, most of them are pretty impractical or just not possible. (Being a summer camp bus driver doesn’t really translate into a full time job)

I honestly believe if I got laid off tomorrow I would just look for a full time bartending job until the insanity died down. I remember when I first started bartending all of the jobs required that applicants have at least 3 years experience. It was kind of frustrating at the time. But that was almost 4 years ago, and I am now properly experienced to get a prime bartending job.

So I went on Craigslist to see if there were any jobs available. There were tons! I came across this posting. This is real.

-3+ Years NYC Experience
-Smart and Intelligent
-Fairly attractive
-Witty and Charming (for the customers)

The hilarity of the posting speaks for itself.
Fairly attractive? How does one go about figuring that aspect out? It’s kind of like how I refer to myself as “relatively good looking.” To me, “Fairly Attractive” is what you say about somebody who is NOT attractive. Imagine a conversation where that description would be used.

Mike: Hey Rich I know this girl you’d like.
Rich: Oh really? Is she cute?
Mike: Well… she’s fairly attractive.
Rich: Does she also have a GREAT personality?

Fairly attractive is what you say about someone who cannot get away with just being called “attractive.” On a scale of 1 to 10 I have to imagine fairly attractive is like a 6 at best.

I suppose its better than unfairly attractive. People like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are unfairly attractive. They are the kind of good looking that pisses people off. Unfairly attractive doesn’t pay for drinks, gets out of speeding tickets, and gets gift baskets for just showing up at places. I would love to be unfairly attractive. Unfortunately I am just Theoretically Handsome.

I am very happy that this bar is an equal opportunity employer that doesn’t very much care what its employees look like as long as they are friendly, but that is cancelled out by this establishment’s next requirement.

Witty and Charming (for the customers). Only for the customers? Yea good point, forget everybody you work with. Be a complete and total a-hole to your boss and coworkers. Curse, swears, and be inappropriate as much as you like. As long as you’re Witty and Charming for the customers, all is well.

That posting was a little silly, but the more posts I looked at the more I realized a trend. Looks are extremely important for bartenders. All the posts wanted people to send a picture or apply in person; if you didn’t do either or both they were very clear you were not welcome to apply. It makes sense that good looking employees would probably sell more drinks, but these bars weren’t even being subtle about it.

“Resume sent via email must have picture.”
“Resumes with PHOTO will be answered first.”
“Italian restaurant looking for a good-looking waiter.”

But what if you are not good looking? What are my people supposed to do if we can’t pass the test of non-ugliness? Will I not be able to bartend to support my livelihood?

Not necessarily. There are still some options for bartenders; however they do require some other more… obscure skills.


I became a bartender to make money and meet people, not so I could get stinky and meet shellfish. I imagine the amount of Oyster Shucker/Bartenders in the city are quite limited. Its kind of a niche market.
And as for a being a no experience bikini bartender, well, I’m kind of confused this post did not require a photo. But then again, I suppose if you look good in a bikini, it doesn’t really matter what your face looks like. Lucky for me I look great in a bikini

So I will continue to do my best at my current job while still keeping an eye on the craigslist postings for “Goofy looking individuals with extreme ADHD who bear a striking resemblance to Guy Smiley.” That job I know I could get.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Dating Manifesto - Part 2

So I started thinking about what my friends do to meet people. What were their tactics? What techniques did they use? How could I meet the pretty pretty ladies?

My generation, Generation Y, or the Google Generation, or whatever the heck we are, is not a generation that dates. We cut our teeth on Instant Messenger, and by the time we were old enough to start having actual relationships, we could do the whole thing via email. We are a generation more comfortable with sending text messages than sending flowers.

So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that I have a couple of friends who went on I’m not generally a fan of any kind of online space, book, or internet social networking in general. But I had one friend in particular who was encouraging me to give it a shot. She was really curious and wanted to have a buddy to try it with. So I did what any good friend would do.

I let her try it by herself.

And she was very disappointed with the results. I was sad for her. So for research purposes only, and to see what all the fuss was about, I did a little tooling around on
Seriously, for research purposes only.

In order to create a profile, asks you some very specific questions about who you are, what you want, and the person you want to meet.

For instance, it asks you to check off your best physical feature. It has many options including, but not limited to, hands, eyes, feet, and belly button. Now while it may be humorous and cute to tell people your belly button is your best feature, can you imagine if your best physical feature used to be attached to an umbilical cord?

Picture introducing your future bride to your friends. She probably looks like the wrong end of a pork roast and the first time your friends see her they cringe.

“But oh no” you say, “Don’t judge her yet. Sweetie, show them your naval!”

It also asks you what your turn-ons are. It gives you a list of options and asks you to check off whether or not you think certain things are turn-ons. This includes 2 that I have issues with.
Skinny Dipping and Thunderstorms.

Skinny Dipping? Well let’s just think about this. The fundamental goal of any male since puberty has been to see women naked. So if someone you’re attracted to you says, “Hey honey, I was thinking about going swimming, should we wear clothes or no clothes?” Are you really going to respond with, “Oh sweetie, please please, clothes ON, we get too much naked time together.”

And thunderstorms? Oh for chrissakes if you put that in your profile you deserve to have every idiot in the city show up at your door in mid-august with his “sounds of the monsoon” CD and a copy of The Perfect Storm on DVD.

Does anyone else find it abnormal that we are advertising our turn-ons on the internet? What’s next? Scenarios that make you feel insecure? Foods that give you diarrhea? also gives you the option to “wink” at somebody. Of course this isn’t a real wink, but a virtual wink. And someone can virtually “wink” back at you. Just in case emailing someone whom you already know everything about from the safety and comfort of your couch is too scary … you can just virtually greet them… like an 8th grader.

Which probably means you have virtually no ability to talk to the opposite sex, which is why your dating on the internet.


It also asks you to check off whether or not you want kids. That makes sense to me. Why waste your time dating somebody who ultimately is looking for something completely different? But people specify how many kids they want. That intimidates me. What if I can’t provide you with 3 children? What if it turns out my boys can’t swim? Are you going to divorce me? God this is stressful.

And I think that’s my problem with A lot of people find themselves on the website because they can’t meet a decent individual to begin with or they are just frustrated with the dating scene. And then once you get on the site, it enables you to be so incredibly specific on what you’re looking for and how you see yourself, that it almost makes it more difficult because you can be even more discerning.

It becomes too targeted. It’s like hunting. You’re hunting for a partner. Awww how cute.

When people put that much of themselves out there for others to see. It becomes too easy to judge. I know it’s something I’m guilty of. It almost takes all the fun out of getting to know somebody. I’d rather just repress all of the horrible weird things about myself and let somebody get to know me for 2 or 3 years before I become comfortable enough to reveal them.

But what I call fun, maybe others call stress. Perhaps when you know all the basics about somebody, you’re free to dig deeper and get to know them on a more intimate level beyond just turn on’s and favorite movies.
But for as flawed as may seem, can any of us really fault anybody for using it?

It didn’t come about for no reason. It can be so difficult to meet quality humans in this city, nay, any city. And as all of our socializing is marching towards an almost exclusively electronic medium, we are left with fewer real life options. We are posting, poking, and texting, to a complete and total social incompetence. It’s no wonder so many young attractive singles are left feeling jaded and lonely.

So I don’t fault, and I don’t fault the people who use it. In fact, I applaud them for the bravery and courage they show by putting themselves out there in front of millions and millions of weirdos, kooks, and other alumni of To Catch a Predator.

All I know is is not for me. And until they add eyelashes as a feature, or I get a better looking belly button, I will probably avoid it at all costs.