Monthly Archives: February 2006

It’s Snowing!

It’s 1:00, I’ve been at work shoveling since 9:30 and I’m just about done clearing two loading doors to the ground. Or as much of the ground as you can get with an inch+ an hour still falling. The other three are blocked by bunker like barricades due to the fact that the snow plow didn’t arrive.

There’s really nothing I can do about it until he does arrive so, considering the weather and the fact I doubt more than two people will arrive at any one time today, I’m satisfied.
As I’m pounding down the last six-foot snow drift all I can think of is, ‘Boy, Dunkin’s better be open.’ I’m cold and just looking for anything hot right about now. This car pulls up and beeps. I squint toward it and can’t make out who’s inside.

I trudge over and the person in the car (who has done a piss poor job clearing their car, I might add. That’s just a safety peeve of mine) rolls down their window enough to slip a dollar bill through it. Trust me, a dime wouldn’t have gone through.

“When are you going to clear the other doors? They’re closer to my unit.”

I look at her and the mounds of snow that need a plow to get through and many things go through my head. I’m sure you can assume some of them but, let me tell you, some were even colorful for me. But I let them all pass because I don’t want to talk. I actually may not be able to. I haven’t uttered a sound since 8 when I said bye to Terry.

I figure just explaining the situation (“HELLO!?!?!! Blizzard?!?!?!”) will be quicker.

“You’ll have to use these doors until the plow gets here.”

Seems like that’ll work. Honest, to the point, answers the question quickly and fully. How unlike me!

“But these doors are further from my unit.” By less than the distance of the Dunkin’, I think. But I’m also thinking why I don’t often answer questions honestly, to the point, quickly and fully. They don’t work any better.

I look at this woman, warm, bundled, not dripping from many body areas, not stiff legged because her pants aren’t frozen, and say,

“Oh, those doors? The ones closer to your unit? You want to know when they’ll be cleared?” She nods her head at me as if I’ve finally understood how to add two numbers after hours of trying. I bang the shovel on the ground to break some ice off it and say,

“Spring.”

I turn and push snow out of my way all the way to Dunkin’ Donuts. I figure by the time I get back she’d have made her decision.

I’m walking back with my coffee and muffin (something I never get but I’m hungry and too tired to look for anything else to eat) and, hot damn! It looks like she made her decision.

It looks like I’ll see her in spring.

And They’re Off!

It was a spectacular day at the mouth-breathing moron speedway. The numbskulls piled up before the green flag waved and they kept skidding in like crap on the seams of underwear.

The traffic hit a critical mass as two people, of equal girth, decided it would be a good idea to try to race each other to the front door. If you’ve never seen six feet of width trying to slip through a three foot door, well, let me just tell you, the shudder the door frame goes through equals NFL impact.

After I jaws of lifed them from the doorway, I didn’t think the track would continue to bank into ruptcy. But I, as we’ve come to find out, was not only wrong, but spectacularly so.

It all started so simply, or so it seemed. In a race for the limited IQ lead, two of my less stable mates hoofed their way in. The problem with one of them is they never stop talking. At what has never been discovered. But it’s ceaseless.

In a perfect storm event, another witless entry entered. This one is also of the school of verbal acuity gone awry with the only difference being this one actually needs me to pay attention. Not that she’s ever imparts anything. But she’s a paying customer so feels the right to bark at me for six to eighteen minutes (depending on when the bus comes) a month.

I quickly did what needed to be done for these two and then sat back to see what happened. It could have been a moment of schadenfreude. But, as we know, I’m never that lucky.

Instead of leeching themselves to each other in a battle of crazies, they decided to both pay attention to only me. Without taking turns. Revving their maniacal motors to a fever pitch. This was the pit stop in hell.

One wanted me to see her checkbook. The other wanted a receipt. Next up? A soliloquy on traffic in the 21st century in respect to the effect it has on the economy of shoes (I’m not kidding. She said she hits the break so much in traffic she wears out a pair of shoes a month). Just when I think it can’t get any more disturbing the other ball of goof decided she wanted her check back. I asked her what the problem was and she said,

“I think she was trying to steal my address so I wanted to cross it out.”

The funny part was crazy one was so busy mumbling into her checkbook (which resembled the scrawling in the notebooks of John Doe from the movie ‘Seven’) she didn’t even notice loony one surreptitiously palm her check from the counter and go outside with it. What she was going to do outside with it I had no idea but, whatever it was, I could still hear her talking about it.

Loony one throws open the door and screams, “My bus is here.” And throws her check into the building. Crazy one startles at the swinging door and cringes at the floating check. She breaks her mumbling for a moment to give me her opinion about people like that (‘They’re crazy.’) and how often they arrive on the scene (‘They’re everywhere.’). She leans over and picks up Loony ones check. While picking it up she says,

“Oh my god, she lives across the street from me.”

I guess that’s karma for ya.

Just when I think my day may end up not being all that bad, another unhinged gearbox races in. He doesn’t know what his unit number is, how to pull up to the loading door, what he’s supposed to do, how he’s supposed to do it, and he’s not too sure of the name the units is leased under.

And that was the easy part.

I guide him on his way and, at the end, it turns out I have to issue him credit card a refund. Not a problem. Oops, spoke too soon. He doesn’t have his credit card. Not a problem, I have it on file. I put it through while he talks.

I’m sorry, I can’t report on what he was saying because I was distracted. Not from my job (please!) but because every time he’d complete a sentence he’d suck in breath and spit like a sump pump stressing to pull out that last ounce of water.

Ignoring the noise while remaining a safe distance back, I slide his credit card return receipt to him. While he’s asking questions about it,

“Is this my money? Ssssuuuucccckkkk. Did you use my credit card? Ssssuuuucccckkkk. Am I going to get this money back? Ssssuuuucccckkkk.”

I’m writing up the receipt that will close his account. Once completed, I slide it towards him.

“What’s this? Ssssuuuucccckkkk.”

“A receipt to show that your money has been returned to your credit card and that you have vacated the premises.”

Let me ask you, did that explain everything in a full and satisfactory manner? Yeah, I thought so too.

“What do I do with this? Ssssuuuucccckkkk.”

“Keep it. Throw it away. Just take it out of the building when you leave.”

He’s looking at the receipt. Confused.

“Is this a check? Ssssuuuucccckkkk.”

“No. It’s a receipt to show that your money has been returned to your credit card and that you have vacated the premises.”

“It’s a check, right? Ssssuuuucccckkkk. You gave me a check, right? Ssssuuuucccckkkk.”

“No.” I could have explained further but, as you can see, it wouldn’t make a lick of difference.

“I can take this to the bank, right? Ssssuuuucccckkkk.”

“You can take it to Disney. But if you try to pass it off as anything other than a receipt you’ll have nice people angry at you.”

He looks at me for a moment. He looks at the check. He’s thinking so his lips are moving. Ssssuuuucccckkkk. He looks back at me.

“I’m going to go to the bank now. Ssssuuuucccckkkk.” I nod and let him go. I figure I should allow tellers, bank managers and security to have as much fun as I. I’m good like that.

When he leaves I watch him race over to his father. Together they look at the receipt. They look at me. They turn their back to shield their master plan from my prying eyes. They look at the credit card receipt. Surreptitiously over their backs to me. Then, their plan fully hatched, rush into their truck and drive away.

That’s all I really wanted.

To prove, once again, how stupid I am, while they were pulling away, I looked at the clock and said, “What else can happen? There’s only thirty minutes left.”

I’m pretty stupid, huh?

At 5:58PM I begin to feel cocky. Two minutes and I can go home! It’s the first of the month so I know the new issue of Kitty Porn will be waiting for me. I’m just hoping I get to it before the cats. They always make such a mess of it.

I rise from my desk, begin to wave the checkered flag (okay, my cash out book) to signify the closing of this derisory day.

And the door opens.

The jolt I felt was exacerbated by the fact that it’s a fan of my work. But not your normal, read my stuff and keep a safe distance fan. This is a guy who needs to compete with me. He makes a pilgrimage to get his monthly badinage. I discourage him at every opportunity but, being locked in a cell with the public, any raving lunatic can just open that door and have unfettered contact with me.

You think that after a meeting or two people would come to the conclusion that any type of contact, fettered or un, isn’t truly a good thing. Add into that concoction the fact that there’s a competition, well, I stop being the nice guy who shares his humorous life with the bankers and law enforcement agents of the world. I become this other guy. A guy who makes it his mission to smash you into a pile of bile.

Steve Martin said, ‘comedy is not pretty.’ I find it my job to prove it to people like this. It’s not that he’s unlikable, he’s likeable enough. If he’s far enough away. But, up close, it can get a little testy.

I don’t want you to think I’m ungrateful to the people who buy my crap. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think anyone who buys a shirt or book or even reads the shit I send out is not only more brilliant but far better looking than most.

I don’t even mind being funny for people. But, honestly, I’m much funnier when I’m getting paid. So, having said that, buy my crap and you’ll have a laugh. Rev your little engines around me when I’m not getting paid and I’m a little less likely to have loaded up the comedy cannon. It’s not that I don’t want to entertain, it’s just that I’m not on the clock all the time. You leave your job so it’s only fair that I’m allowed to leave mine.

And this guy made the huge mistake of showing up two minutes before I stopped getting paid for the day. And then, while I’m doing my other work of taking care of his storage needs, he said to me,

“What’s wrong? You don’t seem funny today.”

I complete our business, close my book and walk over to put up the closed sign. “I just don’t feel funny.” I lock the door to stop any other interruptions. “I guess I forgot to put bologna in my shoes this morning.”

He laughs although I’m truly trying not to encourage him. He begins to tell me a hilarious comedy story which I stomp out by hitting him with the punchline three sentences in. Yeah, I’ve heard that joke before.

He starts another one which I interrupt by telling him I’m on a timeline. I have to go to the store and get home. He asks what I have to get at the store. I’m thinking, why? Are you going to pay for it? If that’s the case I’m thinking I should say a Bobcat excavator. Terry really wants one and Valentine’s Day’s coming up.

“Yogurt.”

The guy makes all these convoluted convulsions and begins squealing the word yogurt.

“Yogurt! Ewwwwww. I can’t eat yogurt! I don’t even like the way it sounds.”

While listening to him I can’t help but feel I’ve heard this before.

“I’d never eat yogurt.” He continues. “I’d never eat anything that has a Y and a G in it.”

Who the hell did that bit? I know that one. While I’m thinking of that and being distracted by this guy waving his arms and shivering something crosses my mind.

“You won’t eat anything with a Y and a G?”

He nods his head excitedly. We’re now going to get into some big time comedy riffing, he’s thinking. I’m staring while I continue.

“What about gravy? Do you eat gravy?”

He stops squiggling. Thank gawd. That was almost as annoying as him speaking.

“Ah, yeah, I eat gravy.”

“Then your entire comedy premise falls apart, doesn’t it?” He falls into a chasm of chagrin which I yank him out of with, “Doesn’t it!?!?!” This is comedy boot camp, mister. Drop and give me twenty one liners!

“Ah, yeah.” I push his receipt closer to him while nodding solemnly.

“I expect so much more from you.”

Over the years I’ve learned the best way to tell someone they suck is to set a bar of expectation. They’ll become defensive and try to prove you wrong if you tell them they suck. But if you place a burden of expectation they’re forced to wallow in their own extreme suckiness.

But I’d have expected you to know that.