Thursday, May 22, 2014

Old Archives

I'm working on re-opening my old archives, seeing as the blog looks pretty much like a hacked-up turkey carcass after your still-insisting-that-Atkins-works Uncle Bob just got through with it at Thanksgiving dinner. ("Just a little more white meat and you know what? Some stuffing and mashed potatoes never hurt anyone. Actually, is everyone done with those pies? How about the rolls?")

I removed pretty much everything while working on a book but will be re-posting some pieces soon. Whatever the date of publication appears, the few that are on here are all old pieces and not the greatest. And sadly, while re-posting the ones that are on here, I lost most of the comments. Now, they were great. 

I liked the cool, kind ones but I liked the nasty-ass ones even more: "Hope you dye soon, u HACK WHOAR. When r u goin to write again, biiiitch??? Its bin a WEAK!! Choak on a COCK!!!!!"


Friday, November 15, 2013

Sponge Bob and the Anal Lick Analysis

I had my favorite shitty job the year I graduated from college. I'd had many a shitty job before that, and have had many since. But none did I enjoy as much as my year long stint in the Chemistry department at the university from which I'd just graduated.

I found the job on a flyer in the student union. "Administrative Assistant Needed," it read. "Filing. Microsoft Word. Slow typists okay."

The job description pretty much captured the sum total of my abilities.

Even though I'd been an English major, I'd never learned proper, all-fingers-on-the- keyboard typing technique. While writing long papers had vastly improved my hunt-and-peck style, I was nowhere in the league of career secretaries. A "slow typist," I was, indeed. And what with the "Filing," it seemed the perfect job for me.

What was I going to do with an English degree anyway? Friends who'd majored in communications or film already had cool, interesting jobs lined up, thanks to the cool, interesting internships they'd completed during undergrad. The extent of my extracurricular activities had been seeing how many mixed drinks I could hold down, once combined with a late night bag of Cheetos.

And these activities continued during my employment at the Chemistry department.

One morning, in a stall in the ladies' room, as I loudly and uncontrollably vomited up the result of the seven Amaretto Sours and half a bag of Cheetos from the night before, I heard someone come in.

I peeked through the crack of the stall door. It was Agatha, the pinched, anemic-looking head of the department.

Agatha had a Dorothy Hamill haircut and carried a tote bag that read, "It's All About Chemistry!" Underneath which was a picture of two beakers meeting in a kiss.

I pressed my hands to my mouth and tried to suppress my dry heaving, to no avail. I retched, and a loud torrent of liquid Cheetos projectiled into the toilet. I wiped at my mouth and bent and peeked down under the stall. Agatha's Easy Spirits were directly in front of the door. She was, presumably, peering at my feet.

Which really wouldn't have been that much of a problem had they been simple black or brown shoes. But they were green and blue leather, Bozo the Clown boots. They were unmistakably mine.

I could only hope she'd tell my boss that I'd been puking up my breakfast because of bulimia, which was a Personal Problem, instead of Cheetos and Amaretto Sours because of a Binge Drinking Problem. Which was a Lazy, Useless, Slacker Sack of Shit Problem.

When people had Personal Problems at work, they'd send them to the university clinic for counseling. And that meant at least an hour away from the office once or twice at week.

Plus, having Personal Problems meant you never got fired.

Case in point: Dr. Grokln, who'd been on "sabbatical" for the past two years. The "sabbatical" had, of course, been a forced one, as Dr. Grokln was completely and utterly off his fucking nut. His Personal Problems had become glaringly apparent right around the time he'd submitted a paper entitled, "Sponge Bob Exists: A Gravimetric Analysis."

Like many nervous, paranoid, delusional nutcases, Dr. Grokln chainsmoked. In his office. Even though it was a non-smoking building. During his "sabbatical," I used the master key and chainsmoked to my heart's content in his office, with the door locked.

This would have been a lot more relaxing if his nonsensical scribblings about the electromagnetic radiation of Rice Krispy Treats and Nerf balls hadn't still been tacked up to the wall. Still, as I'd blow out a long plume of smoke, I'd bless him for his cancer stick habit and hope that wherever he was, the electroshock treatment and metal restraints were treating him well. And that the Thorazine drip hadn't altered his belief, based on "empirical evidence" and "extensive testing," that Sponge Bob did, in fact, exist.

One of the other perks of my job, besides a darkened, smoke-choked chamber filled with disturbing chemical diagrams that mostly proved the existence of various cartoon characters, was that I had complete, unlimited access to purchase anything from the Staples catalogue.

Since I was so broke, this meant that most of the foodstuffs in the cupboard of my apartment were ordered from the Staples Office Kitchen section: Ramen noodle cups, cocoa, gummi bears, pretzels, gum, vanilla wafers, and mustard packets. To this day, the smell and texture of gummi bears reminds me of the days when most of my sustenance was procured through a catalogue other people use to obtain White Out and Post It notes.

Besides ordering office supplies, one of my other responsibilities was to approve the time sheets of several work study students under my supervision. Three of them were a year younger than me; the other two were grad students several years older.

All of them came in at least an hour late every day. And none of them did any work.

One of them, Zoe, I hardly ever saw. Although she'd fill out a time sheet each week that claimed she'd worked every day. I heard from one of the other work study students that Zoe had blown her boyfriend in the department's third floor conference room one night after their roommates had locked them out of the house.

It didn't matter. Without exception, I'd hit "MAXIMUM HOURS WORKED" on their online time sheets and go back to fashioning my ever-expanding paper clip sculpture.

If they were work study students, I reasoned, they needed the cash more than the university, with its coffers swollen with dough from prep school rejects and hard partying Euro Trash.

And who was I to judge, anyway? When I wasn't chainsmoking in Dr. Grokln's office and staring at chemical diagrams of the Smurfs' extended family tree on his wall, I sat slack jawed at my desk, watching videos of animals doing people things and making long distance phone calls.

So I didn't give a shit that Hamlin, who washed down his morning Ritalin with a giant cup of black coffee, spent almost every day on the label maker, typing up stickers like "PHONE" and "STAPLER" and "FOLDER" and then pasting them to their appropriate objects. By the time he graduated, there wasn't one surface in the entire front office that wasn't covered.

And I didn't give a shit that Mina, who was supposed to type up fliers for upcoming Chemistry department seminars, couldn't spell or proofread worth a turd and once posted a sign that read, "Know for Sure: Treatment of Anal Lical Data."

And I didn't give a shit that Andy, a mild-mannered senior, would come in for his shift, check his email and then announce that he was going on a mail run.

"Okay," I'd grunt noncommittally, knowing that he wouldn't re-appear until fifteen minutes remained of his shift. And that when he did, his eyes would be glazed and vacant from the pot he'd smoked on his three hour long "mail run."

Once I realized this I'd have Andy go to Chinatown for me, to pick up my pot from George, my dealer.

I suspect that Andy pinched from my bag but it was worth it not to have to interact with George who'd once confessed to me that if his pot trade didn't work out, he had an escort service lined up and ready to go and did I have any friends who'd be interested in making a quick buck or maybe I'd be interested, seeing as it would be a strictly classy venture, no weird stuff, just blowjobs and fucking. Maybe some anal, sometimes. But only if the guy looked clean.


Beverly the Man-Hating Facialist

Another post from years ago...

When you're a straight chick and a relationship ends badly, it's always tempting to become a man-hater for a while or at least to indulge in man-hating bullshit sessions with your female friends for a period of a few weeks.

Luckily, I'm an equal opportunity hater. My rage and contempt towards and of the world and its populace are not gender-specific.

Being a "pussy" isn't gender specific although you'd think it would be. Being a "dick" isn't either.

I've met plenty of chicks who were complete and utter dicks. Most of my chick friends are dicks, in fact. On too many occasions to count, I myself have been guilty of being a complete and utter dick.

And I've met more than my fair share of men who were weepy, flaccid pussies.

In the case of my most recent romantic turdfest it turned out the guy was, indeed, a pussy.

Somehow, this makes it difficult to hate him. For several days, I felt anger.

Now, I feel an odd mixture of disgust and pity for him. When I started feeling the pity, I knew I was growing as a person.

I also knew I wouldn't have to watch a Lifetime movie for pointers on how to surveil his apartment through night vision goggles so I could slice his nuts off in the most efficacious, least criminally culpable manner.

He's even more fucked up and self-absorbed than I am, if possible. And that's punishment enough.

For me, when a guy does something really, truly shitty the thread that holds in all the "love" or whatever you convinced yourself it was, it just snaps.

And the way I see it, there's really no reason to become a man-hater. It takes way too much effort. And I'm just too lazy for that.

Besides, hate means you love someone. You care enough to hate them. And I don't think I ever really loved him, anyway. Not really. Not truly, madly, deeply. Not enough to hate.

Because when the "man" in question is actually a "pussy," it's counter-intuitive. Because that would make me a pussy-hater and I happen to like my pussy. It's one of the few things about myself that I like, besides my ability to successfully screech out the rapid-fire lyrics to "Pay to Cum" when drunk and to tan instead of burn in summer.

The latter quality is due to the fact that I'm half Middle Eastern. But my quick-to-bronze-instead-of-burn skin also comes with a price: an oily sheen that requires careful tending with monthly search-and-destroy facials.

These are performed by Beverly, the facialist in my dermatologist's office.

Beverly, the man-hating facialist.

When I go to have my skin's oil glands annihilated by Beverly's excruciatingly painful ministrations, it's a trenchant monthly reminder why it's so much, much better not to become a man-hater.

Beverly is very, very straight. She dates a lot of really, really bad guys.

Subsequently, she really, really hates men. Mostly because she's been fucked over by so very, very many.

I know this because each month when I go to have my skin scraped and prodded and plied with stinging fruit acids, she regales me with details of her latest romantic travesty.

"So we're sitting in the Olive Garden," she'll begin, scrubbing at my face with a steaming exfoliating scrub. "And we're waiting for our stuffed mushrooms; I really like those; and out of the blue, he says, 'Ever thought of getting bigger boobs?'"

She'll lean in and peer at the pores on my nose and sigh.

"I told you last time not to squeeze blackheads. You'll only enlarge the pores. You have to wait and let me do them."

I grunt.

"I know. Sorry."

She continues her exfoliation.

"So anyway. I was like, 'What's wrong with my boobs?' And he was like, 'They're itty bitty mosquito bites, is all.' And then he laughed."

It's unfortunate for me that Beverly's anger intensifies as she recounts stories of Bobby's yen for bigger boobage, Johnny's infidelity with the waitress from Long John Silver's and Kenny's unrelenting demands for anal sex ("And in the parking lot of Home Depot, can you believe that? Anal sex is his thing and in public places, too!").

It's unfortunate for me because it means she wields her scary instruments with extra rigor.

"Hold on to the side of the chair if you have to," she'll admonish, hovering over my face with a shiny, scalpel-like instrument. "It's gonna feel like your face is coming off. Don't worry though. That's normal."

As she digs out impacted sebum from deep within my pores, I concentrate on not screaming. I’m never sure what's more painful: the scalpel-like instrument she's scraping over my skin or her blow-by-blow account of what happened that time Paul decided they should give rim-jobs a try.

It's entirely unclear to me why she tells me such incredibly personal things.

"Paul and I had a fight the other night over some girl on the cover of his Maxim. I was like, 'But she's all fake.' And he was like, 'Yeah, but she's hot.' Don't move, I'm gonna zap an oil gland."

I stare at the ceiling and grit my teeth and try to ignore the hissing sound my skin's making.

"God," she continues. "I mean, if he wants fake and plastic, you know, screw him."

She pauses.

"I wish I could afford to get liposuction, though. I mean, that's all I'd do though. I'd still look natural."

She holds the oil zapper gun aloft, absentmindedly, and continues musing.

"Maybe just a nose job, too."

Normally, Beverly's incessant man-bashing is almost unbearable to listen to, particularly when a light layer of fruit acid is slowly eroding the outermost epidermis of my face.

Three weeks ago, right after my quasi-relationship limped its way to oblivion, it turned out to be not so unbearable. You know, because I was bitter.

"So what's been going on?" Beverly said, draping a paper bib around my neck. "Seeing anyone?"

Without fail, she asks this question before any others. My left arm could be nothing but a shredded, bleeding stump from a recent car accident and still, the first thing she'd ask would be if I was seeing anyone.

Her world revolves around seeing someone, anyone. As long as they have a dick and deep-rooted women issues.

Sometimes, I wonder if she enjoys being fucked over, just so she'll have something to discuss with her patients, in addition to her other topics of choice: when The Biggest Loser will be back on the air ("I'm thinking of applying, but I don't know if I'm fat enough."), Atkins versus South Beach ("I tried Atkins for a week and I was constipated the whole time!"), and her perennial favorite, Brangelina ("I hope Angelina burns in hell for what she did to Jen! She is crazy; you can just tell from her eyes! And she's a drug addict, for sure! Just look at those veiny arms of hers.").

She really likes Jennifer Aniston. Or "Jen," as she calls her. Sometimes, "Jenny." Because, as she told me, "I read in In Style that that's what Courtney Cox-Arquette calls her. They're best friends, you know. Courtney's been there for her, through all of this."

Beverly's Us-Against-Them take on the male-female dynamic is both heartbreakingly misguided and infuriatingly clich├ęd, the product of one too many Oprah Relationship Specials watched while curled up in a comforter on her couch, sucking down tear-soaked Ben and Jerry's.

For this reason, I never tell Beverly when I am actually seeing someone. Because I’m not sure I want someone who buys Dr. Phil's books and actually completes the worksheet exercises to weigh in on my romantic state of affairs.

And because if I am seeing someone and things are going well, I know what her reaction will be: "You think he's the One? You think you're going to get married?"

It is this blind, puzzling, doggedly hopeful romanticism that leads her to such crazed disappointment when guys fuck her over, as they invariably do. And I'm not about to get tips from a woman who gets through breakups by reading books like I Am Vagina; Hear Me Roar.

It took me several months to figure out who it was that Beverly reminded me of. When I did, I couldn't believe that it had taken me so long.

The deeply embittered judgment of loose women. The enraged disappointment in men, all of whom were Cheaters and Bastards until proven otherwise.

Beverly reminded me of my mother.

Of course, my mother's interests run more along the lines of Merchant Ivory and Royal Dalton china, but still. The similarities were remarkable.

Take, for example, the oddly puritanical refusal to use profanity of any kind except when pushed to the limit, usually by the dastardly deeds perpetrated by men.

Beverly, believe it or not, refuses to swear, except when she's recounting some grisly fucking over or breakup conducted in a Johnny Rockets parking lot. This makes the inevitable gutter mouth all the more disconcerting.

Beverly, when she reaches a particularly gruesome detail of being fucked over, resorts to profanity.

Lots and lots of profanity.

Then the moment vanishes and she's back to being Good Girl Beverly, chattering away about the high thread count sheets she just got on sale at T.J. Maxx. I've long suspected that her selective profanity may, in fact, be Tourette's of sorts. One that's activated by recounting tales of being fucked over and why it was that she told Bobby, "I hope you learn to suck your own cock in Cabo San Lucas, 'cause I sure as hell ain't doing it anymore."

I HAVE to give her my mother's number.

I think this every time Beverly's bent over my face, scraping away and yammering on about the time she caught Bobby with lipstick on his shorts and he said the shorts were supposed to look like that; they were designer.

This was what she was obsessing about three weeks ago, when I went in right after my quasi-relationship came to an end.

"This is gonna sting like crazy," she muttered, dabbing a film of acid along the planes of my face. She paused. "So come on. You seeing anyone?"

"No," I replied. "I was. Sort of. But we broke up."

"Oh," she breathed. "I'm sorry."

And she really was, I could tell.

She frequently she says she's sorry when she pours too high a concentration of fruit acid on my face and tears of pain stream down my cheeks but from her noncommittal apology, it's clear that she doesn't really mean it.

This time, her soft tone told me that she was, indeed, sorry. After all, breakups were a way of life for Beverly. How could she not empathize? She had at least one or two every few months. And with each one, it seemed, she learned less and less.

"Nah," I replied. "It's okay. I'm fine. The only thing is, now I have to find someone else to fix my computer. I think I have a virus. It's a Mac but I keep getting all these pop-up ads. And it's really slow."

Beverly stared down at me.

"It sounds like you're more upset that he's not gonna be around to fix your computer anymore."

"I am," I sighed. "I do a lot of work on my computer. Now who's gonna fix it? I'm really bad with computers."

She cackled. "That's awesome! You were fucking him for tech support!"

I started.

Either Beverly's selective puritanism was rubbing off on me or I was rubbing off on her. She never swore out of the blue.

Unless, of course, she was recounting what had happened that time she caught Dwight getting a blowjob from the Piggly Wiggly cashier, back when she lived in Atlanta.

"Huh," she remarked, studying me. "Your face is gonna be really red after this."

I shrugged. 

"It's okay. Just keep going."

Beverly picked up an evil looking lancer and giggled.

"I think it's so awesome that you were fucking him for tech support."

 She prodded at my forehead.

"That's so great. I can't wait to tell my friend Angela that."

When I got up from the chair, she patted me on the shoulder. It was clear that my breakup had earned me a warm place in her heart. This week, at least.

"Here," she whispered furtively. "Take these samples. This stuff's really expensive. Dr. Stevenson sells this up front for God-knows-how-much an ounce. It's vitamin C brightening serum. It makes your skin glow, you'll see."

She stewed for a minute.

"I used this a while back and my skin looked amazing. Not that it stopped Kenny from going out and fucking the hostess at Pizzeria Uno."

"They never buy the cow when they get the milk for free," I muttered.

She stared at me. 

"What?" she asked.

"They never buy the cow when they get the milk for free," I repeated. "My mother always says that."

Beverly squealed with glee.

"So does mine!" she exclaimed.