REPORT A PROBLEM
You don’t meet many commies in Tampa. You just don’t. Yet somehow admidst the mullet-haired masses, I came across Hal.
The aging Trotskyite contacted me about starting an underground newspaper years ago, back when we both worked together at the same company. He dreamed of a report on “management incompetence, worker oppression, greed, and rotten wages” to be distributed monthly--on the same day as our corporate newsletter, or “bosses’ mouthpiece” as he called it.
On May 1st, or May Day, of that year he was escorted out of his office by security. The bosses’ mouthpiece didn’t cover his dismissal.
Addressing the current Catholic church sex scandals in what it calls a "realistic and victimless" manner, an inflatable doll manufacturer recently mailed advertisments (in plain brown wrappers) to churches all across the country. The following are excerpts from their brochure.
...Why spend millions on hush money when our exclusive line of inflatable alter boys starts at just $49.99???
...These boys never stop genuflecting and they NEVER TELL!
...Unlike their human counterparts, inflatable alter boys never have to be lured behind closed doors with bribes like comics, video games, or ecstasy pills.
...Dolls withstand up to 275 pounds of pressure.
It was right after my six hundred dollar shopping spree that the boss brought up the dress code. She arrogantly handed me page 23 copied from the employee handbook and demanded I remove the bowler ASAP.
As I perused the hastily copied document, me eyes were immediately fixed upon the obnoxious yellow highlighter across the sentence,
Although trendy, hats during business hours are not allowed.
I responded by humbly removing the hat and by pointing out a non-highlighted passage,
Exceptions will be made with proper medical documentation.
The next morning I returned with a doctor's note and an enormous sombrero.
Q and A with my pal Stan in from Jacksonville for the weekend.
Q: So why couldn’t you pick a winner in the Kentucky Derby today?
A: It was fixed.
Q: By whom?
A: Sure, they didn’t want to cough up the five million for the triple crown.
Q: Yeah? You know you sound like you’ve been reading too much Dick Francis. Have you?
A: Who’s Dick Francis?
Q: Moving on, are you excited about the new Star Wars movie?
A: Lucas should’ve been shot after the Jar Jar Binks thing, you know that. Next question.
Not only does the building I work in abut an old landfill; but it, at one point, served as home to Honeywell’s military division. I guess they made missles just down the hall from where a drinking fountain with funny tasting water now stands. And yet despite the two dozen employees who suddenly lost their hair and groundwater tests that turned up a smorgasbord of contaminants, none of my co-workers seem at all concerned. Instead, they dismiss the baldies as “troublemakers” and limit conversation to shit like The Osbournes, Spider Man, and what they’d do if they won the Lottery.
"Why can't you listen to normal music
in a while?" I asked, pressing the seek button so hard my fingertip turned purple.
Ja Rule suddenly turned into "Baby, Come to Me," by Patti Austin and James Ingram.
"Would you change that?"
"Ah, two things, sugar. First, this isn't that bad of a song, it's really not. Little schmaltzy, but tolerable. And wasn't it on General Hospital or something like that?"
"Second, I think the radio's stuck again."
We listened to the likes of Glen Campbell, Burl Ives, and Perry Como all the way back from San Antonio.
MEMO TO CO-WORKERS:
FOR SAFETY REASONS, WHEN WITHIN A HUNDRED FEET OF YOURS TRULY, PLEASE STOP:
Gals: Inviting each other to Sex And The City parties.
Guys: Talking about Anna whats-her-face, the tennis player.
Simply referring to the World Trade Center attack as "9/11" or "September Eleventh." It's as bothersome as calling Independence Day "ID4" or Terminator 2 "T2."
Debating the merits of the upcoming Scooby Doo feature film. Who gives a fuck who's playing Shaggy? You're an adult for Christ's sake, move on, ace!
Telling Robert Blake jokes. They're not funny.
Phoning in orders to Starbucks.
MORE TO FOLLOW…
As the release date for Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones draws nearer, the dialogue between the two eager patrons in line since February remains typically offbeat...
Fat guy in Grand Moff Tarkin uniform:
Say Kellog's Clone Crunch 10 times in a row really fast?
Fat guy in Tusken Raider outfit:
Fat guy in Grand Moff Tarkin uniform:
I knew you wouldn't be able to.
Fat guy in Tusken Raider outfit:
Laugh it up, fuzzball. And try and act normal when the Access Hollywood guys get here too, I want Pat O'Brien to think we're cool.
"How 'bout you, Ace? The bartender asked with that ready-for-anything look on his face.
PLEASE don't order a grasshopper.
"Who me? Ummmmm..." He was disregarding my instructions on how not to get hurt.
When you work until 1 a.m. in our neck of St. Petersburg, going out for a drink at the end of the day means Fred's--a Bukowski-esque dive filled with PBR drinkers from the trailer park it was built next door to.
"What can I order that either comes with maraschino cherries or tastes the least like alcohol?"
we're going to be hate-crimed.
My Two Cents...
Anybody but me miss Bob Larsen's radio show A LOT?...Now that you mention it, no, I've never seen a White Hen Pantry outside Illinois either...Memo to ABC:PLEASE BRING BACK COLUMBO!..."Meter Reader" recently ranked 236 on one of those "Best Jobs" lists--doesn't that seem a little high, gang?...It's been awhile since I've heard Dr. Laura, are liberals still pushing
Heather Has Two Mommies
on our kids?...Finally, I owe you a quarter if, when looking up "unfunny" in the dictionary, you do not see a photograph of Bruce Vilanch...
On the Saturday preceding Mother’s Day, the demonstrators came out in record numbers.
It was a crazy day, and if you ask me, Doctor Hamilton didn't really mean it when he stepped outside and screamed manically, "CHRISTIAN FETUSES ARE MY FAVORITES TO ABORT!!!”I’m betting he just let his temper get the best of him and that, if given a chance, would’ve cooled down and taken it back.
Problem for the doctor was that the mob stormed the place. They called him a heretic and held him down while the guy in the grim reaper mask pulled out his tongue.
I wondered how I got on their mailing list as I looked over Saint Matthew's Prayer By Letters solicitation. The form letter was mysteriously dated "Wednesday, 2002" and, with it's hokey "lucky number 7" pitch, read like a cheap sweepstakes come on. They told me to mail in my 7 most urgent "needs" or, judging from other entrants' testimonials, whatever random shit I happen to be coveting at the time I enter. It can all be mine, they promised, as long as I first hook them up with a few bucks to cover the "sowing" of my "biblical luck seeds."
Little Charlie, a third grader in Wisconsin had them worried. It seems the whippersnapper never said anything but "down with regular, up with make believe." Rather than exchanging one-liners from movies, comic books, and George Bush speeches like "normal" kids his age; Little Charlie offered nothing more than "down with regular, up with make believe."
"You look nice today, Little Charlie."
"Down with regular, up with make believe."
"Did you get your homework done, sport?"
"Down with regular, up with make believe."
"Is the school nurse making sure you take your pills, hon?"
"Down with regular, up with make believe."
The Miami Sun
"Hell, it all depends on what you're looking for, George. Affordability? Comfort? Speed? We've got whatever you're in the market for, sport."
George didn't care for Dennis, the Mike's Adult Trikes salesman and, as a result, made a decision to get it over with quickly.
"Let's go, buddy, give me that green one there, the Miami Sun."
Soon George was proudly peddling his adult tricycle home, feeling an independence that elated him. In fact, at one point, as he thought about triking over to the Pussycat Parlor to see Lola, he smiled so big his dentures loosened.
Sometimes the Gas Gets So Bad...
In order to treat me most effectively, Doctor Aurora asked me to both keep a journal documenting when the stomach pains occur and to number the pains on a scale from 1 to 5 (with 5 indicating the most pain).
4:17 pm, watching television. Ani DiFranco is on C-SPAN singing at a San Francisco peace rally. (2)
4:19 pm, watching television. While channel-surfing, I pass a clip of Lisa Beamer speaking at a prayer meeting in Tampa.(4)
5:03 pm, watching television. Access Hollywood is previewing the new Jimmy Kimmel talk show. (3)
Sometimes the Gas Gets So Bad Part 2...
7:09am, in car. Drive by Starbuck's, get quick look at jerks on laptops in front of store. (4)
7:20am, in car. Behind a KIA Sportage displaying both a "Choose Life" license plate and one of those fish decals (5)
11:21am, at movies. Natalie Portman moans to Hayden Christensen, "I've died a little bit every day since you come back into my life, Annie." (3)
5:36pm, watching television. Briefly stop on Wolf Blitzer's "Terror and Triumph" report while channel-surfing (4)
6:08pm, watching television. Saw Brit Hume for split-second while channel-surfing (4)
Sometimes the Gas Gets So Bad Part 3
I signed for the certified letter and tore open the envelope. What did they find? I wondered,
Cancer? Sour Stomach? Anthrax?
"This letter is to inform you that due to a reduction in my practice, I will no longer be available to provide medical care to you." Dr. Aurora went on, "If you so desire, I will be able to attend you for up to, but in no event more than thirty days from the date of this letter. I suggest you place yourself under the care of another physician without delay."
The boss warned me about logging onto Monster.com and looking for a new job on company time. I was told that my emails have been and will continue to be monitered for compliance with company policies.
Soon after this happened, a co-worker advised me to steer clear of certain "hot-button" words whenever emailing at work. Among the hundreds of words and phrases on the nine page hand-written list he recently slipped me:
I did it
Jews for justice
"Now, I've seen on tv where they heat it up and then put it on something and then suck out the smoke. What's that?" He asked.
"Freebasing? Yeah, you just keep reheating it until there's no more smoke," she informed him.
"Does a dime bag give you much fun? You know, smokewise?"
"One joint's worth is all."
"Who uses needles, that's for other stuff, right?"
"You know, I read in the paper that back in the seventies
experimented with heroin,
EVEN SOCCER MOMS
"How about mainlining hot dog relish? I used to know a guy who did that once."
In the Event of an Actual Emergency...
We pulled the 32 pound box containing last year's unused hurricane supplies from the hall closet, sliced it open and spent our Saturday afternoon carefully refreshing and restocking it.
What we like to do to get rid of the previous year's supplies is have friends over for a dinner party consisting of Beef-a-Roni, granola bars, canned fruit cocktail, Spam, and 20 ounce bottles of store-brand spring water. Just for laughs, we usually turn out the lights and eat the slop by candlelight as the crank radio plays the AM band in the background.
The Lord Calvert Connection
Night after night he'd make my poor mother
go into Armanetti's liquor store
while he waited outside in the car.
Boy, she sure puts it away
the clerk would think to himself
as he loaded up yet another
long brown paper bag with
the eight dollar bottle
of Lord Calvert Canadian Whiskey.
"Come on, Ruth!" my father would yell impatiently out the car window
as my mom walked the twenty or so feet
from the store to his idling Camaro Z-28.
"I'm coming, Chuck." She'd say with a smile.
"So's Christmas!" He would snap.
I couldn't believe it when I saw the young Asian girl walking through Home Depot yesterday. Flaunting a brand loyalty popular among high-schoolers, she wore a plain white t-shirt with the Abercrombie & Fitch logo across the chest.
Seeing her made me wonder if she was unaware or unconcerned with A & F's recent headline-grabbing product recall. It seems that in an effort to add "humor and levity" to their fashions, they were peddling t-shirts of bucktoothed, slant-eyed coolies, rickshaw drivers, and laundrymen until protesters pressured them to stop.
Maybe submission to brand-names means not having to read the paper.
"I think Tweety," he said with that faraway look in his eyes, "is mad at me. He don't get in the car and take rides to Wal Mart with me anymore."
I'd say that Morrie Crabb, the graveyard shift security guard, is more of a teller of fancifal tales than either a bald face liar or demented old rummy. And Tweety? Tweety's a wild blue jay that flew "out of the blue" and into Morrie's lonely old arms sometime late last fall. Tweety this, Tweety that. At least he's not talking about the apocalypse all night like he used to.
Mensch With a Bandaged Head
He was a giant of a fellow--easily six-and-a-half feet tall--who was fond of wearing three-pieced suits minus the jackets. Just slacks and vests, two-pieced suits I guess. And judging from the way his head was bandaged, he must've had some type of cranial surgery just before he began appearing at the end of my driveway. Each morning for a week, he'd be standing out there at 6:30 in the morning to greet me as I went for the paper.
"Thanks," I'd say, as he put the morning's St. Petersburg Times in my hand.
Alex is what they call a life-coach and he's offered to help me stop waiting on a better life and bring me the one I've always dreamed about. For nine hundred dollars. He said that with a little work on my goal-setting, he didn't see any reason why I couldn't be earning a six-figure income in a world where people make fortunes selling things like penis-shaped pinatas, street-fighting bum videos, and Adolf Hitler action figures.
I asked him if he thought life-coaching seminars should be on the list along with penis-shaped pinatas, street-fighting bum videos, and Adolf Hitler action figures.
She pulled the car over to the side of the road and roared, "WALK HOME, MOTHERFUCKER!" As her ugly little Tercel sped away, I viewed the long walk home as a good opportunity to collect my thoughts. Soon, a passer-by who witnessed the altercation came up to me, shaking his head and confiding, "some juices ain't worth the squeeze." I guess it was jazz-reefer-bebop talk for someone being more trouble than they're worth. I told him he was probably right and thanked him for his wisdom. We met again up the road a bit and shared a pitcher at Hooters.
It's Memorial Day, for Christ's sake, yet the calls keep coming. They're not at the beach or a cook-out or somewhere putting flowers on a decades-old tombstone. Not these lost souls. These vermin are at Ross or Sears or Circuit City. Or at the goddamned Bon Marche. Writing checks. And it's when that one out of every hundred or so gets a surprise known as a "code two" decline that they pick up the phone and call. "I need my check approved now." "Do you know how embarrassed I was?" "You've ruined my holiday!" "Let me talk to your supervisor."
The C-Word? Her?
I stopped the clicker on the Sally Jesse Raphael show. She had an emotial-looking audience member being counseled by her guest, an amiable psychologist of some sort--a poor-man's Dr. Phil if you will. And just as he was pleading with the tear-filled audience member to stop swallowing her pain and let it all out for once and for all, and as Sally looked on through those famous red glasses of hers, my girlfriend walked into the room and asked, "is that cunt's show still on the air?--I thought they cancelled her a long time ago."
AREA "HILLBILLIES" TO RECEIVE 1 MILLION FROM STATE, COULD YOU BE NEXT? TONGUE PIERCING DEFLECTS BULLET, SALES TO SKYROCKET! LOCAL POLICE CHIEF NOT A RACIST, EXPERTS SAY! U.S. PRIESTS DYING OF AIDS--STORY INSIDE! BUSH TO COUNTRY: "LET'S ROLL!" NEO-CONFEDERATE MOVEMENT PROLIFERATING RAPIDLY, WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! ADULT BOOKSTORE OWNER: ROBBER THREATENED ME WITH SEX TOY! NOOSE HARASSEMENT, A GROWING TREND? EXCLUSIVE: CONDIT SPEAKS! CIPRO BACK IN STOCK, SHIPMENT DUE TUESDAY! NAPKINS TO GET SMALLER AT NEIGHBORHOOD FAST-FOOD OUTLET, CUSTOMERS OUTRAGED! MINIVANS VS. SUVs, THE BATTLE RAGES ON! PET-SKINNING BAN FINALLY PASSES SENATE 39 - 0!
The nurse practioner handed me my shirt and told me to step down from the examination table. "I'm so embarrassed... so ashamed," I confided.
"I understand, but please don't worry because breast cancer
occur in normal, healthy, virile males just like yourself," she said as she wrote me a mammogram prescription.
"Absolutely. Now you're a bit younger than the average man reporting a breast abnormality--traditionally he's about sixty years old."
"My aunt had it. Say, could I have one of those pink awareness ribbons over there?"
"Of course you can, sir. Take one for your aunt."
All I know is Tommy was arguing with Nicole about July 4th. I guess he wanted the day off and she told him to get lost. Soon he was crying and raising his voice and saying he didn't care who heard. The more she tried to calm him the more hysterical he got, blubbering like a schoolgirl. And at a point in the argument when Nikki said "forget it, Tommy," he was sure what she really said was "faggot Tommy." He then grabbed the pepper spray he kept in his purse and let her have it. She went down hard.
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