March 20, 2011

Zip It

Most of the time, a weekend is defined within five minutes of when you arrive home on Friday night.  This past Friday afternoon, I came home in a pretty good mood.  However, Jan walked in the door loaded for bear.

In her second to last year of her teaching career, she is trying to educate a bunch of 13 year olds at the local middle school.  I used to be 13, and remember that I spent most of time pissed because I was no longer a cute little boy, and pretty far away from being an adult.  This meant that physically, I resembled Larry Talbot half-way in his transition from mild-mannered human into the wolfman.  Add to this, a case of raging hormones, and I was pretty tough to deal with.

Jan had been on the losing end of a war of wills with these little creatures, and was in a terrible mood.  We managed to get through the evening and were determined to start fresh on Saturday morning with renewed good attitudes.

But then we realized we had to do grocery shopping.

This means going to two stores.  The first is Walmart ... because, we just have to.  The other is another smaller store where we pick up our produce.  Walmart tends to coat all of their produce in a thick coating of wax, which I presume extends the shelf life.  Coating everything in wax also means they don't have to invest in those produce sprayers that you see at all of the other stores.  You know, the shower that comes on just as you're trying to pick something up?  One store we go to warns us of the upcoming drenching by playing a snippet of "Singin' In The Rain" right before the sprayers start.

Anyway, we finished at Walmart and went on to our second store.  Normally, I don't mind the place, but in the last couple of months there has been an annoying development at the checkout line.

The cashier asks you your Zip Code.

The first couple of times, it didn't bother me, because I knew it was probably for some marketing demographics thing they were doing.  But now, three months later,  they do it every ... single ... fucking ... time.  Several weeks ago, I started giving them every Zip Code in the immediate area besides ours.  But yesterday, I had absolutely had it with this stupid question.  So, Jan and I went to the checkout line, and ...

Cashier:  Can I have your Zip Code?

Me:  85374

Cashier:  Huh?  Where's that?  That's not your Zip Code.

Me:  Surprise, Arizona, and yes it is.  My wife and I are reverse Snowbirds.  We spend the winter where it's freezing and then go south for the summer where it's blazing hot.

Cashier:  Sir, just give me your real Zip Code.

Me:  Tell me your Zip Code first.

Cashier:  That's none of your business.

Me:  My point exactly.

At this point, I'm apparently making a scene, so the manager walks up ...

Manager:  Is there a problem?

Cashier:  This man won't give me his Zip Code.

Me:  That's right.  And if you don't stop this stupid crap, I'll leave all my stuff on the belt and never come back here again.

Manager:  Just check him out.

So, we spent an awkward several minutes getting out of the store.  Jan asked me later if it was worth it.  And I told her that no matter how stupid, sometimes you just have to make a stand.

Small victories.

March 14, 2011

Blame It On Late Winter

I've been grumpy lately.  Very, very grumpy.  Winter won't go away, and it's making me crazy.  So, in my spare time, I think about things that I hate.  Hate may be too strong of a word though.  I don't really hate anything, but I do dislike a number of things.

For instance, I dislike tattoosI don't understand the thought process that the people who have them embedded in themselves go through.  Perhaps I need to expand my mind ... but I don't really think that's necessary.

The first time I actually expressed myself about tattoos was about 10 years ago.  I was working as a production manager for a small company and had just hired a young man to help me with the day-to-day operation.  One morning he came in with a tattoo on his inner forearm.  It was a rendering of an eyeball, with all of the nerves and shit trailing from it in colorful goriness.  And a small hand was grinding out a lit cigarette on the eyeball.

He displayed it for me and grinned as he said "Isn't that cool?" 

I slapped him with an open hand on the side of his head ... hard.

He thought I was kidding and laughed at me, but I wasn't ... kidding.  Stupid little asshole.  Now that he's in his early 30's, I hope he looks at that monstrosity on his arm every morning and thinks how fucking dumb he was.

Tonight, I was tooling around the internet and ran across an article on tattoos.  It said about everything I think about them.  This is by Brian Moylan, writing for Gawker.

What Your Tattoo Placement Says About You

Neck: You have some sort of personality disorder. If you get a tattoo on your upper body outside the area covered by a long-sleeve shirt, then you are just a little bit crazy. You don't care what people think but not in a way that is healthy. More in the kind of way that Travis Bickle doesn't care what people think.

Inner Bicep: You have something that you really want to share with the world but you just can't bring yourself to talk about. You hope that by putting it on your arm people will ask you about it and your secret will slowly come out.

Face: You have spent time in either: A) Prison, B) A mental institution, C) Both. Also, you smoke cigarettes you bought on the internet.

Bicep: This is a very manly place for a tat. It means you are insecure, lack originality, and will cheat on your wife. If this isn't the result of a mid-life crisis, you will inevitably have one in the most secretary-fucking, sports-car-driving cliched way possible.

Shoulder: You aren't afraid of making mistakes, but as soon as they happen, you pretend like you can't see them. You got a C in Algebra at community college.

Pubic Area: If you are a dude, it means you're unattractive but you have a huge dick. If you're a lady you probably know your way around a pole and a pair of platforms.

Around the Bellybutton: If you're a lady with this tattoo, it means you once wanted to be a marine biologist but then you had little Madison and had to drop out of college. But you still love Lisa Frank. If you're a gentleman, then you are undoubtedly a homosexual. And a bottom. No matter your gender, you have about a 50-50 shot of making a pornographic movie some day.

Finger: You will eventually get divorced. Trust.

Butt: You are the kind of girl who tells people she has a tattoo and when they ask if they can see, you say, "Hehehe. No!" but then after another margarita, you show them anyway. Yes, you're a tease. You also disparage women who appear in Girls Gone Wild videos.

Ankle: No matter what you say or do, no one thinks you're a badass because you got drunk on vacation and decided it was time to decorate your flesh. Please cover it with a pair of pants or a sock. Thanks.

Lower Back: Really, ladies, don't make me say it.

Did I mention I was really crabby tonight?

March 06, 2011

You Really Don't Have To Read This

Author's Note:  From time to time, I have a few posts that never see the light of day.  The reasons vary ... maybe in re-reading them, they don't sound like me, or they make me look like some kind of monster, or they are just plain whiny.

But, something makes me keep them in edit.  Today, I was going to write something called "This Week In Pissed", but it concerned my Mom, my sister and friends.  None of it was flattering.  No need to vent it out into the intertubes, since I'll forget about it by the end of the day anyway.

So, I'm going to air this post that has sat around for 6 months or so.  We've all had horrifying washroom experiences, both private and public.  What I'm going to describe isn't the worst one.  That one occurred when I was 15 years old.  It was in a gas station washroom in Soledad, California.  And no, sexual molestation was not involved.  But that story is for another time.  I embellish things on my blog from time to time, but I'm not exaggerating any of the following.  It actually happened.

So, here ... we ... go ...

Today started out innocently enough.  A female acquaintance and I were chatting about this and that, when the conversation veered into the subject of who is more disgusting in the restroom ... men or women.  With neither of us having a lot of experience visiting the others restroom, we agreed that it depended on the individual, and that no matter whether they be male or female, some people were capable of some appalling acts.

As I've mentioned here before, I work at a large pharmaceutical house and am surrounded by, what I consider to be, some very intelligent and fairly sophisticated people.  Intelligence and sophistication are admirable qualities, but they don't always translate into what I would consider acceptable restroom behavior.

Although my trips to the men's room during the day are usually non-eventful, today turned out to be the Perfect Storm of urinal, toilet and wash sink grossness.

Normally, I'll drink  two or three cups of coffee before I go to work, so by the time I get there, I'm ready to relieve myself of some of it.  On my first trip this morning, I walked into the mens room and was greeted by the sight of a man using the middle urinal. Absolutely normal, except for the fact that he had his slacks down around his ankles and his underwear briefs pulled down to his knees, exposing his ass.  He looked like a three year old boy using the potty for the first time.  It took me approximately one and a half seconds to take this all in, at which time I turned quickly on my heels and walked out of the room.  The mind can be a terrible thing.  It will burn images into your brain, and unfortunately, this is one that will stay with me for a while.

Later on in the morning, I realized that I had to do a Numero Dos.  To me, this is bad. There is a laundry list of things in life that I hate to do, and taking a shit in a public restroom rates right up there at the top.  So, I have to be pretty desperate before I'll do it ... and I was ... desperate.

In my building, there are three mens rooms.  My first choice was the one staller, because it afforded the most privacy, good ventilation and a fair amount of white noise. But it was occupied.  My bowels were starting to talk to me, so I rushed off to my second choice, a two stall model with poor ventilation, but good noise.

As I walked in, I noted that one stall was occupied.  Almost immediately, the smell hit me, followed close behind by the noise of repeated gaseous mini-explosions and the sound of grunting.

No good.  I had to make a break for restroom number three, on the far side of the building.  As I hip-hopped down the hallway, my sphincter was going to code red, warning me that it was about to give birth to last night's dinner.

I crashed into the doorway of number three, a five stall beauty.  A little cold and too quiet, but this was no time for niceties.  Stall One ... occupied.  I opened the door to Stall Two and was greeted by a bowl full of unflushed shit, a feces smeared seat and smeared feces and toilet paper on the floor with a shoe print in it.

Gagging, I opened the door to Stall Three ... the bowl clogged with used toilet paper. Stall Four, occupied.

There was no time left.  It was Stall Five or shit my pants.

Mercifully, it was clear.

Yes, I made a lot of noise.  It was unavoidable.  So, I sat ... mortified and red-faced until I heard the occupants of the other stalls finish and leave.  I quickly finished my business and moved out to the wash basins, where I found that the former occupant of stall two had not left his atrocity confined to that spot. Apparently, he had shit on his hands and had slopped it all over and around the basin in a half-hearted attempt to clean himself up.

It was at this point that the cold hand of terror reached for me.  What if someone walked in and thought that I was responsible for all of this sickening havoc?

So I ran for the door ... and made a clean escape.

I didn't use the mens rooms for the rest of the day.  I tried to tell myself that I would never use them again, but of course, that would be impractical.  So I reset myself, and tried to forget that the 15 minutes of horror had never happened.

Later in the day, I passed by the young lady who pushed the bathroom cleaning cart around.  From appearances, she cleans out the restrooms every day right after lunch. And as I passed her, she was heading to mens room number three.

And the thought flashed through my head ... "May God have mercy on your soul".

March 01, 2011


I see-sawed over what to title this post.  "Quandary" came to mind first, but I sort of forgot how to spell it, so I had to go to the dictionary, where I saw the word "Quandong", which looked like a neat title for a post.  However, "quandary" is an uncertainty over what to do in in difficult situation and "quandong", is an Australian tree, so I went with the first because "Australian Tree" would probably confuse my post even more than it already is now.

Anyway, did you ever notice how having a job really pisses with your leisure time activities?

After only seven weeks off, I was suddenly called back to Giant Pharmaceutical House to work in the job I left.  Guess they missed my sparkling personality.  Going back to work really puts a crimp in doing the things you really like to do.  I guess they call these "things" hobbies.

I've only had a few hobbies in my life.  I used to like to build model airplanes.  Then, I was a box wine connoisseur.  In the past several years, I've taken up blogging, and find that the absence of model glue fumes and alcohol, or the combination of both, is much better for my health.

But, for the past several weeks, I've found that getting up at 5 a.m., working until 4 p.m., driving home, making dinner, cleaning up dinner, laying on the floor digesting dinner while watching HGTV, The Science Channel and The Discovery Channel; then going to bed at 9 p.m. really, really puts a crimp in the old posting, even if I think I have something interesting to say.

Speaking of The Discovery Channel, has anyone watched that "Gold Rush" thingy? What a bunch of retards!  And I can't get enough of them!  I'm sure it's just a crush though.

For the first time since I've started this blog, I've felt something that's rather odd.  I feel "guilty" when I haven't posted anything in a long while.  And what's even more odd, is I'll bet I'm not the only one that feels this way.

A strange hobby indeed.

I figure that in a week or two, I'll be adjusted to the routine and can incorporate a little of my hobby back into the daily action.

But, if not ... there's always airplane glue and cheap wine saturated in migraine inducing nitrites.

Life is good.