Monthly Archives: June 2010

Today’s MAJOR disaster

A guy comes in panicked. He was here a week or so ago BUT he couldn’t get his key to open the lock. No matter HOW long he stayed and how HARD he tried. I’m telling you the guy was in a full blown tizzy.

He confirms, eight times during this trip that, if he STILL can’t open his lock with the key he KNOWS is the one that I can cut it off. I assure him, eight times, I can and will gladly do so.

If only to make him go the fuck away.

He’s freaking out that someone did something to his lock OR his key OR both! I explain that keys do, indeed, wear out.

Just like patience, I thought. But did not mention.

He goes out to try the lock and is away for much longer than it would take to put a key in a lock, turn, find success or not. I watched him on the monitor and he was really giving it the old college try. Work it for a few seconds, step back, assess the situation and tackle it again. That went on for another ninety seconds or so before he decided, glumly, to give up the ghost and kiss this experiment in terror goodbye.

I take the bolt cutter and follow him. He asks me to look at the lock as if I have x-ray vision capable of seeing through locks to deduce the trouble.

Sadly, I didn’t need x-ray vision to deduce the trouble.

I take his key, put it in the lock, turn, and, the part he didn’t seem to understand, pull it open.

Oh, but if you think that’s all, you are sorely mistaken!

He tells me to stay to see if he, himself, with no outside assistance, can pull off that remarkable feat. One he’s been working on for, combining the two times, near five minutes.

He puts in the key, nerves jangle. He plants his feet into the proper lock opening position. Turns the key and. . .I turned quickly so as not to make eye contact.

I was afraid all the words in my head would spill from my mouth like a cooler full of caustic Dummyaid if I dared eye contact.

It’s Not Satan!

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the cock dangling that goes on in the world of Chatroulette. Well, I’m here to say in a wagon of wankers there can still be an oasis of funny:

“I’m tough.”

The guy said in a convincing manner.

In my continuing saga of ‘People I Really Should Stay Away From But, Sadly, Can’t Because It’s My Job’ I had the pleasure of having a gentleman tell me what a hard ass he is.

I know he’s stupid. I know he’s a big mouth. I know he doesn’t have the sense he had as a zygote. I know he’s such a stupid, senseless, big mouth he once robbed a convenience store with a screwdriver. There is a possibility he could have pulled off this crime if he hadn’t picked a convenience store around the corner from his house. He hadn’t even opened one of the packs of cigarettes from his bounty by the time the cops came a knocking.

But this time, out of the many times we’ve spoken, for whatever reason, he wanted to impress upon me that he was a bad, bad man.

Fine. I believe you. Now go.

But that wasn’t enough. Obviously.

He kept telling me just how bad a dude he is.

“I crack skulls, you know.”

“Yes,” I say agreeing. “You’re such a tough guy your cereal says, snap, crack, and pop a cap in your ass.”

The Obvious

A large gentleman in a bad mood was standing in front of me in red faced bellow. Is there a worse way to begin a paragraph than that? Okay, maybe if he was wielding a machete or raging hard on or both, but you must admit, that’s not a good start.

It doesn’t matter why he was upset. It wasn’t my fault (it was, here’s the shocker, his) but it is up to me to put a calm in the proceedings.

I’m doing it in a very unsuccessful manner if his continued agitation is any indication. He’s gone through his range of emotions (which are: disbelief, anger, anger, anger, threat, threat, threat. He’s quite the evolved humanoid) and now must try to explain that my continued lack of helpfulness will be dealt with severely.

“I’m a bouncer.”

I’m aware of that. I helped you spell your street name on a form.

“You gotta do this.”

How’s it feel to be on the other side of the proverbial velvet ropes, Neckboy?

“I’m much bigger than you.”

Now this is when he became a broken record. I guess that was his tada moment because he kept closing with it.

And, yes, he was totally right about it. The top of his head was 12-14 inches away from mine. He was at least twice my weight (but don’t hold me to that. I was fired from the carny guessing booth when I was younger).

Generally speaking, much bigger.

By now I happen to see that the clock has wound down on my work day. I didn’t say my work day was over. I just said I’ve stopped getting paid.

I wonder if workman’s comp covers what is potentially in my future? Hey! Let’s find out together, why don’t we?

I move toward the door motioning him to join me. In one step he’s there. Boy, you know what? He IS much larger than me.

So there we are, standing toe to toe (because they were our only body part that matched up) and, as he looks down while leaning over me, he repeats,

“I’m much bigger than you.”

“I know!” I say opening the door. “And I’m much smarter than you but you don’t see me pointing out the obvious, do you?”

I put my hand on the small of his back (which wasn’t all that small) and guide him toward the other side of the about to be locked door.

In the immortal words of Roger Murtaugh,

“I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.”

Actual Conversation

“What are your hours? When I got my package I didn’t get anything with the hours on it.”

“The hours are printed on the front of the envelope. Nonetheless, the hours are. . .”

“. . .oh, I have the envelope right here. Let me look. I didn’t see that before. Was it always there?”

“No! It takes a call to the office to activate it!”

Realization

A guy was regaling me with his tale of woe. He’d come to a painful realization and was struggling to come to terms with it.

He’s been with this woman for close to eighteen months (I will pause here for a moment so those of us who’ve been in relationships for much longer periods of time to chuckle) and he’s experiencing extreme angst because of the realization that his girlfriends shit does, indeed, stink.

As much as I wanted to laugh in his face I’m told that, in polite society, that is considered rude. So, chuckling wildly internally, I commiserated to the best of my abilities with,

“I understand. I used to think my girlfriends shit didn’t stink until I found out she was using a citrus spray as a cover-up.”

How come I get the feeling that, as hard as I try, people don’t actually find me all that helpful?

Funny Father’s Day

Looking for the best way to celebrate dad’s day? I’d suggest you get on over to the Spiegel Auditorium in Harvard Square to check out the one man show, “A Parenting Story”, by Boston comedy legend, Bill Campbell.

I could say many great things about Bill and his show but I’m sure you’d like to hear from those with a tad more credibility.

“Unique brand of storyteller”
– Boston Globe
“Delightful view of parenthood”
– Dallas Morning News
“Funny & Touching”
– Minneapolis Fringe Festival

I can say “A Parenting Story” is a ninety minute parenting roller coaster ride that takes you from babies to grandparenting. You’ll find yourself laughing one minute and wiping a tear the next as this Ding Ho veteran comic shares his experiences raising three children while pursuing a comedy career.

So mark your calendar to enjoy a special evening made even more special with Bill’s special guest, Bob Gautreau.

Saturday June19th 8:00 pm
Spiegel Auditorium – Harvard Square
56 Brattle Street, Cambridge
Tix: $15.00
Reservations / Info: 978.884.8182

http://www.billcampbellcomedy.com

“What are you working on?”

I get that question a lot. I don’t think they’re truly interested I think they’re shocked there’s someone out there who actually writes greeting cards and humorous obituaries (I will admit work on the latter has dried up some. People just don’t like to put the fun in funeral much anymore).

It’s actually not as easy a question to answer as it seems. If I’ve been working on something short like jokes or a brochure I don’t really have much to say.

“A brochure for an insect taxidermist.”

“Jokes for a bitter comedian whose wife just left him for a kilt cult.”

If it’s something like a script it’s difficult to go into because, although I may have it distilled to it’s twenty-five word tag (“A taut psychological thriller about an insect taxidermist who moves to Scotland to fulfill his diabolical and uncontrollable need to kill anyone in a kilt.”), they always seem to want me to go further. And, truly, if it’s not done I don’t like talking about it. Not because I’m afraid someone will steal it. I think I sound stupid talking about it.

And if it’s complete, I am well done and bored with it. Once I finish a script I’m sick of and even hate many of the characters who’ve been inhabiting my head for however long (it’s usually not too long, ten days is my average, but they feel like house guests who’ve over stayed their welcome).

So what I end up doing is lying. Or, as I prefer to call it because it sounds so much nicer, doing a bit.

“What are you working on?”

“A treatment for a reality show.”

“Really? What’s it called?”

“The Lazy Procrastinator.”

“Really?” They say having no friggin’ idea what I’m talking about. The thing is, neither do I.

“Yeah, I think it would be easy to produce. All we’d need is an announcer to say,

‘The program scheduled for this time, The Lazy Procrastinator, will not be seen because no episode was ready by air time.'”

The only thing accomplished is my certainty that there is one less person who’ll ask me what I’m working on.

Opportunity

That’s all it is. It’s being in a place at a time. Notice how I didn’t say right place at the right time? Because, as we’ve come to experience, what’s right for one can be very wrong for another.

It’s all about seeing an opportunity, big or little, and grabbing it. The fact is, there are more little opportunities to grasp. The sad fact is those are the ones most people let pass. I’m talking about things like seeing a very large guy you know in a line talking, probably being very polite because all he wants is his blessed coffee, and sneaking up behind him and loudly asking,

“Would you just finish your damn order and get out of line?”

Now that’s quite unexpected, if the instantaneous stillness is any indication. There is fear and expectation and shock throughout the assembled faces. In what must seem like an eternity to many the large, trust me when I say, menacing gentleman turns around looking for the rude bastard who’d say such a thing.

The anticipation is electric as he looks down, way down into my face and laughs his ass off grabbing me.

“Ya stupid bastard!”

Time begins to move. People breath. The person at the counter is relieved because she knows they’re approaching their limit for assaults in the premises for the month.

Lines are a great place to screw with people. Any place where there’s a something to distract them will work. Doing something unexpected for the situation is also fun. I was in a greeting line to see someone I’ve known for years. People are being very respectful, as you’d expect when greeting someone of her stature, but I could tell she’s really not connected to the moment. Maybe she’s tired, maybe she’s bored, maybe she’s drunk, I do not know.

When it’s my turn to shake her hand I do but she doesn’t look at me. Someone else has got her attention and will not let it go. So I speak loud enough to be heard by the people closest,

“Man, you’ve come a long way since your days as a Vegas hooker.”

I’ve put items in shopping baskets. Let’s see how the husband explains the condoms to his wife for thirty years. But he doesn’t have to because, just before it breaks into a big fight, I make sure he sees me waving and laughing. The wife, still pissed thinking he’s only distracting her, turns and, okay, sometimes that one doesn’t go perfectly, but, most times we all end up laughing.

It’s not about embarrassing anyone or getting anything over on them. It’s just throwing a little shock to their system. Not like a taser, more like a hand buzzer.

I was in a store with a guy in a wheelchair who asked me to get something. In a crowded aisle I said,

“Get it yourself you lazy prick.”

He’s spitting up lung matter and people are furious. It may have been helpful to me that he was there to protect me.

I’ve taken things they’ve paid for off counters; told cashiers the person behind me was paying; stood way too close to a person in line; got into their car when they’re putting things in their trunks; just stupid things, really. It’s all about seeing that tiny opportunity and doing or saying something people would like to do or say but, the forces of society or good taste prevents them.

It’s about nothing more than having fun. Sometimes I’m the only one having fun but that’s way above a sitcom average.

I’m in a bar when a friend walks in with someone. We exchange friendly greeting when he turns to introduce me to his friend. I stick out my hand saying hello but he doesn’t offer up his hand. Reason? Doesn’t have one. So, thinking quickly in a situation that must happen to him ten times a day, I say,

“Wow! Are you in a Def Leppard tribute band?”

Crunchy, recycling granola head.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

My girlfriend’s a very conscientious recycler. We actually have more recyclables than trash every week. And if we didn’t have cat shit, well, we could almost live off the garbage grid.

So, recycle!

That said, don’t be a fucking lunatic about it!

You know the type I’m talking about, they make it a lifestyle. They brag about their carbon footprint; the fact that they only buy from locally grown organic farms; they’ve never met a tofu they didn’t love; the only pets they’ve ever owned were moments from being put down. None of that I mind, it doesn’t effect me, but it’s the tone of superiority that grates on my last surviving nerve.

I know it’s a quirk (most would and do say flaw) within me but whenever I run into one of these people I desperately fight the urge to get in a Bobcat and go on a bobcat killing spree. But, instead, I just mock them.

It keeps my mug shot off The Smoking Gun.

I hadn’t seen this person for years. Pretty much with good reason. I mocked her viciously (even I thought so. Didn’t stop me though) after she told a story about her ruining her families Thanksgiving because there may have possibly been a spatula used to move some meaty goodness then a slab of specially made vegan lasagna.

Okay, people have their rights, but, before my attack I asked if they in fact knew that unholy meat transference took place. They could not be 100% certain. That’s justifiable beat down in my book. The fact that my attack took place just after we’d eaten together and we were walking down the street with a bagful of garbage from the restaurant.

No, not leftovers. Trash. As in the stuff you leave behind to have someone else clean up. During the meal she asked if the restaurant recycled. When told, after a discussion with management, they didn’t she told them to leave everything because we would clear it and take it all with us.

So we hadn’t spoken in years. No great loss for me. I have plenty of material. But, for whatever reason, she got in touch. She was in town to do the 25th anniversary AIDS walk. So, yes, nothing had changed. She came in to gloat that she hadn’t missed one of these walks in the 25 years. How she was a champions champion of goodness.

The problem is I’m still me.

It didn’t take me long to tire of her gasping at my households ONLY recycling for me to, for lack of a better term, want her to run away for another decade.

“Oh please! You’re not doing shit to help! All you’re doing is walking while patting yourself on the back! I’m out there in the trenches!”

“YOU?!?!?” She gasps. “What are you doing?”

“I’m stopping the spread of all STD’s among my friends. Just ask them. Ask them if, in their life, they’ve ever met a better cock blocker than me! No ones getting the drip on my watch!”

I watch as she remembers all the reasons she avoids me.

Mission accomplished!