Bang The Drum Slowly
Bang The Drum Slowly
Di·chot·o·my: division into two mutually exclusive, opposed, or contradictory groups.
There was a moment of that during our Thanksgiving Day when my girlfriends daughter got up from the table, possibly still chewing on a piece of turkey, because she saw something out the window. She opens the window and begins to toss food out. Don’t worry, it’s not some weird family holiday ritual. We have many backyard critters.
During one of her tosses she turned and said,
“Something is totally wrong with this.”
I had to agree. It’s not every day you get to eat and feed a turkey at the same time.
As an update, the eating turkey survived the horror. I know that because when I went to leave this morning, he was sitting on the front stairs staring at the door. I tried to soothe this somewhat awkward moment but not for a minute did he buy my,
“Wasn’t me, man. I’m a vegetarian.” line of bullshit.
I have no other explanation for the story I’m about to convey other than it is the one I am offering. The lead character in this story has to have a perfect life for this episode to exist. But don’t let me judge for you, check it out for yourself and let me know.
As you may have noticed, I often have trouble in grocery stores. It could be my dyslexia kicking in and mistaking tapioca for tacos; it could be someone crashing their cart into me – twice; it could be a mouth-breathing cashier who can’t find the UPC to scan. Whatever it is, I’m not a big fan of grocery stores.
That being a universal truth, I work very hard to get my ass out of them as soon as possible. But sometimes something forces me to linger. Loiter around the lettuce, dally near the donuts, malinger with milk, whatever it is, sometimes I find myself stock-still.
This time it was a woman berating the clerk at the seafood counter. I could tell by his blinking and wavering he was unprepared for whatever onslaught was being foisted upon him. I wandered closer because if it was something to put a seasoned counterman on the ropes I had to hear what it was.
“I cannot believe how far the quality of this store has fallen.”
I watch her shake her bony fingers at the guy. I figure an outburst of this level must be due to some fish she purchased that poisoned her family and, before the mass funeral, wanted to vent.
“Why can’t a customer get satisfaction?”
Yeah! You big, impersonal corporation with your tainted fish!
“I want, as I’ve said before, a four pound bag of shrimp!”
You tell ‘em. lady! Don’t let this big, impers. . .huh?
“Four. Pounds. Of. Shrimp! Do I make myself clear?”
I listen to the guy explain that she is indeed making herself clear, many times over now, but, the facts are, they don’t carry four pound bags of shrimp. But they do, he points out, have many two pound bags of shrimp. As a matter of fact, the case she’s leaning on and palm pounding is brimming with bags filled to two pounds each with shrimp.
Now I ain’t no math genius type-a guy, but even I can do some simple ciphering.
The guy looks past her and catches my eye. I shake my head and raise my eyes in a look only customer services representatives fully understand. While exchanging this look the lady continues sniping and slapping her palms on the aforementioned bucket o’ shrimp bags, at two pound increments.
As I wander away I can only think that this woman’s life must be perfect. How can it not be? If the failure of the manufacturing and/or shrimp industries to package their product in increments she desires can make her lose her nut then the rest of her life much exist on candy flavored clouds with milk shake lakes.
It then dawned on me that, with as much complaining about mundane events I witness in a day, I must be the only person in the world whose life is not perfect. What other reason could there be? I mean, sure, if I wanted four pounds of shrimp I might be pissed while I pulled out my calculator to see how many two pound bags I’d need but I sure wouldn’t go bat-shit crazy over it. And I sure as hell wouldn’t drag someone who’s life may not be as perfect (if the blood on his smock and faint scent of scrod is any indication) as mine into my displeasure.
As I’m leaving the store I looked back and the woman is still at the counter, still in front of the basket of shrimp, still berating the still shell-shocked counterguy. I finally understand why customers are universally agitated at the slipshod service they receive. We are the only imperfections in their otherwise glorious lives.
We’re out and, as happens, someone is engaging my girlfriend in conversation. While that’s happening I get to sit there, maybe chat with the rather pleasant people around me. I know! How odd!
It’s a restaurant in a pretty small community and it seemed as if everyone knew everyone else but, unlike most small communities, these people really seemed to get along. They were talking about choking (I didn’t say they weren’t a tad weird) and how, if the bartender started choking at home, he’d be screwed because the only other living thing there was a cat.
“The cat would help.” I interject. ”But only to get the food for himself.”
People laugh and various ramifications of the kitty Heimlich are bantered about. One guy, a dog guy, starts making fun of cats. People are laughing and he turns to me to make sure I’m not disturbed by the jokes.
“You don’t have cats, do you?”
I hold up two fingers and now the guy sees he’s outnumbered by cat people. When my girlfriend hears the mention of cats she spins from her conversation, tells a quick story about the greatness of our cats and turns back.
All in all, it was painless. It was short, no one tried to dominate, people finished their dinner and excused themselves.
During a lull when I’m alone with my TV and beer (there should be a bar called TV & Beer that follows that rule. ’Whoa! That’s gonna hurt in the morning!’ would be the longest allowable conversation) and the guy who’s been talking to my girlfriend leans past her to ask if I mind him talking to her so much.
“Not at all. I figure if someone’s talking to her I don’t have to.”
Everyone sitting around, including my girlfriend, laughed as the men nodded their heads in that ‘truer words are rarely spoken, stranger’ manner.
I know you’ll find this hard to believe but that’s never stopped me before. But, there are actual members of Bound & Gags and it’s religious offshoot, CCI, and we do get together to discuss the pressing comedy issues of the day (yesterday it was, which word is funnier, stevedore or unnun? Yeah, we go deep).
Then, as often happens, it got heated. Luke warm comedy just ain’t our style.
We disagreed on which concept was the worst. I’m not going to tell you who came up with which (I’m sure you’ll be able to pick out the best worst one – i.e. mine) so it’s up to you to pick the B&G Worst Concept Ever! We’ll limit it to three because, honestly, some were too horrid for even this den of indecency.
Do you think you can come up with something worse? I’m sure you’ll give it the old college try!
I am officially announcing the creation of the Contemporary Comedy Institute. Thank you.
What? You want more information? Damn, you people are nosey. I mean, do you go poking your nose in other religions business? Yes, religion. No, we won’t be one of them kid fucking, jihad having (okay, this one is actually more of a probably not), Sunday go to meeting kind of religions.
That’s because the CCI is EVERYWHERE! The CCI is in YOU! Shit! The CCI is YOU!
Trust me, the CCI is a religion for you. Do you know how I know that? Because I just said it. And if you can’t take my word for it, well, okay, that shows some good sense. But if you’re going to believe in some invisible guy in the sky why not believe in a guy you could actually buy a beer for?
Like all religions there was an origin and it began with me (so that makes me pretty damn important, bitches, so listen up!). But it’s not one of those mystical stories like finding stone tablets, or gold etched rules while looking in a hat, hell, I didn’t even make shit up like some ‘prophets’ we’ve heard of.
Because I know you’ve been burned by other religions and you weren’t with me, you’ll have to have faith the story I am about to reveal happened on the morning of November 9, 2008! What other religion can pinpoint an exact starting date? That makes us special. And you special with your participation (yeah, okay, we will be using some subtle messaging to get our tentacles on you but they’re nice, soft, smooth tentacles. Not icky, sucker encrusted tentacles. That’d be gross).
And heretoforthwith is the story of the creation of the consecrated bonds of the Contemporary Comedy Institute.
It started like so many days in this cold, cruel world. The sacred angel of punctuality, Brutus, stoodith uponeth my blanketed face to announce it was time to unleash a bounty of sustenance upon he and the benevolent angel of fuzz, Bundeschwager. NOW!
Having divine knowledge there was no other option, I arose from slumber and bequeathed nourishment into the holy bowls of foodstuffs! A loud hosanna was heard through the land. My work done (in six minutes), I began another rest (on the seventh minute). I may be a godhead but I’m not fanatical about checking up on things.
After enjoying their repast, my two angels joined me in my respite until it was time to rise again to begin my day fully. I will not give out the exact details of my morning constitutional not due to some nefarious plot to keep deep, dark secrets from the flock. I just have to give future scholars something to speculate. Gotta fuck with ‘em, ya know?
Avast me hearties (yeah, sometimes we go pirate) my day began when my chariot whisked me to my place of employment (hey, gotta have a day job until this deity thing kicks in). The day began as many others. Checking of the hallowed email, listening to the sanctioned hymns, searching the sanctified pockets to make sure I had enough for the reverent coffee.
As of this moment in our day I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Whaddya say, gate? Are you in the know, or are you a solid bringer-downer?” (yes, we go jive also). But, remember, patience is a virgin, you little flockers.
It is when I am walking back to the office, coffee clutched in my fist, thoughts of no higher power in my head, the light was thrust upon me.
“Hi.” Greeted a specter holding aloft a treatise of some sort. It only took me a moment to see this was not a pamphlet that would interest me so I kindly (for it was still to early and caffeine free in the day to engage in badinage) turned down his offer.
“You’re going to hell it seems.”
I stop for a moment for you must give all the courtesy of your time (no matter how fleeting). I look at this person fluttering his tract in my face allowing his message of ‘Repent Sinners!’ to burn brightly in my face.
It was at that moment, when the cool fanning solidified my mind and life’s work. I took a step back because it was cold enough without some lunatic flapping shit in my face (Hey! I said courtesy of time was fleeting, didn’t I?).
“Actually, I’m going to work.” I sayeth my zinger.
It is at this moment, with the man in front of me, carriage full of nourishment for his clan, I come up with the raison d’être (yeah, we do French) for the CCI. As the idea percolates within my soul I notice a bumper sticker on this mans vehicle.
“Hey,” I say pointing to the message all in traffic behind him beholds while he slowly drives on. “Your bumper sticker says, Jesus shall supply all your needs.”
“Yes.” The man confidently states.
“Then why are you picking up shit at a grocery store? I mean, shouldn’t He be here for you? Or at least had whipped you up a little omelet?” As this man, redder faced than the flames of hell on his announcement, pushes his cart to separate us I knew what I had to do.
And the CCI is the what I had to do.
So I set forth to give us a countermeasure for when we are approached by those who will try to sully our way of life. Those who have never said, “Yeah, I’ll have one more. What’ll it hurt?” moments before being handcuffed and forcibly tossed into a law enforcement vehicle.
And that countermeasure is a pamphlet of our own. Just a little something to carry and pass out whenever approached by a leaflet fluttering non-believer. So I give forth to the world, the words which you will carry to those who approach with annoying intent. The guiding life-force which (along with any tithes you’d be willing to send) the CCI rests upon.
Laugh or die, bitches!
Print out the revered .jpg below and carry it with you to offer to all who refuse to see the way. The CCI way!
As the hours passed I was beginning to feel the weight of my work weigh heavily upon my tummy (yes, go to kidspeak but only when we’re light-headed). Then, as hunger enveloped my being and the assets in my sanctified pockets low, it was bestowed upon my life, just as I had earlier to my feline angels, victuals from an unlikely and unintelligible source (he spaketh in not a language comprehended by me) in the form of one hardboiled egg and two bananas. Which, from this day forward will be known by all believers as ‘The Two Dicks, One Testicle Breakfast’ (click here - http://tinyurl.com/55kpxu - to see that I’m not shitting you. Which will further seal my fate as the one true guy really weird shit happens to).
I hath spokpenith!
At least that’s what everyone I tell this to says.
But what do they know?
A friend of mine has been in a wheelchair forever. A few weeks ago he got hit by a car. He tells me it was low impact. Knowing it was expected, I asked if he got hurt (see? Even I can have a healthy sense of. . .embarrassment? No. Emasculate? No, that’s not right. Embellishment. No, this is what happened. Ah, got it! Empathy! Yeah, I got some E game) and he said,
“I went to the hospital and got three staples in my head.”
“I hope they checked your vagina while you were there, you pussy!”
I’m always surprised when someone who actually knows me, like this guy, is shocked at whatever comes out of my mouth. Have they not been paying attention? Do they think they’re special? Whatever it is, they are wrong.
“You can’t even bleed out of a cut that big!”
I’m ready to continue my explanation as to why I came to my assessment but I don’t think he heard me over the revving of his quick exiting wheelchair.
I don’t want to but I find it my civic duty to grab the gauntlet and smack a few people in the head to get them on the straight and narrow. It’s a short list because there’s only so much smacking a lazy bastard like me can do. But, please, feel free to yank the gauntlet from my hand and swing away.
1. Any male of any age and anyone over the age of 18 using BFF (except for food servers writing down an order for Bacon French Fries). Even you hipster, “I’m being ironic, dude!” dudes. Yes, you’re being an I word but it’s idiotic.
2. It’s an oldie but annoying. Anyone not wearing their baseball hat in a manner authorized by major league baseball.
3. Reality show spins offs. You weren’t interesting in an ensemble so with the focus entirely on you it’s more noticeable that you couldn’t be more vacant if your were an empty lot.
4. Whining at non-whineable offenses. Sure, take a few seconds if your arm gets ripped off in the mill, just keep the hand gestures to a minimum. But things like (and I witnessed this two days ago) getting full blue faced and a snapping foot stomp going because the ‘escalator is broken’ will not be tolerated. Excuse me, miss, the escalator is not broken. They are stairs. (a nod to Mitch Hedberg)
5. Anyone who said, “If Obama wins I’m leaving the country.” who has not called My Guy Lost Travel to book their one way flight to the country of their choice. We must round them up, get them to the office with cash in their hands and make them live up to their words. No passport? No problem! We’ll expedite!
If there is anyone who wants to bitch about the wording of that last bit, fuck you. The joke would go in either occurrence. As a matter of fact, on election day I had the misfortune of being a few seats down from a guy who was losing his nut. During his nut loss he said if McCain won he’d leave the country. He turned to me and asked if I’d voted. I said not yet but,
“I’m thinking of voting for McCain just to get you out of the fucking country.”
Annoying is annoying so I’ll smack across any lines.
I’m sure we all know that but, if there was any doubt, it’ll be gone after you read this (and, trust me, this is not the most horrid thing I’ve said recently).
A guy comes in whining. Bitching about everything up to and including the invisibility of air. He wants everything done for him. Nothing is good enough for him. He pre-bitches things. It’s very unbecoming for anyone let alone a man who can stain his socks with sperm.
“I really would like it if you’d defer payment to my next pay period because. . .”
You know, that’s a true line but doesn’t convey the whine in his voice. Have you ever been in a public train station? Has a train ever made that squeal that often forces people to flee? Put words to that and you’d begin to understand what this guy sounds like.
As you can probably tell by now, I was at the end of my rope signified by the very classy noose I’d fashioned.
“Listen,” I order. “If I wanted someone to baby I wouldn’t have left my son on that park bench.”