Monday, November 30, 2009

It was my birthday last night

I am in need of hydration.  Gatorade, water, whatever.  Something that will quench my thirst and provide the missing potassium.

Here is the part of the blog where I write long boring stories about how no one loves me.

Only, I am still drunk and not hung over.

I drank with a few friends.

And I don't feel "up" to being depressed.

But when did all the free birthday stuff you get from companies disappear?

That's baloney. 

I want my free movie, and my free dinner.

I had to settle for buying a whataburger and watching an episode of Family Guy on my Env3.*

This post is not sponsored by Verizon's V-cast, or LG's Env3.

Because if they were I'd be making money.

On the brighter side of things, the sound quality of my Env3 has greatly improved since I purchased a 16 gb micro sd card for my tunage.*

* I just want you to know that I am not the kind of person who writes or says things like "tunage."  My use of the word was totally ironic or something.

If I was a good blogger I would have linked to back posts where I wined about my birthday, or to the epic Thanksgiving post I wrote last year.

But I am not that kind of blogger.  Am I?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On the Industrial Uses of Kittens: Part 1 of Me and My Attorney, Doctor Kittenstein, and the Creepy Faggot That Stares Too Long at Mannequins

After I get the call I stumble out of bed without my glasses.  I open the door to my room and walk down a small hallway.  In the hallway I walk past the "stacked" mini washing machine and dryer.   The bathroom door is open and I walk in.

My scalp itches so I turn on the faucet to the bathroom sink and run my hands under the cold water.  I splash the water in my hands on my face and scrape the top of my head with my finger nails.  I rub the sleep out of eyes and peer into the mirror.

I rub at my bloodshot eyes.  I try and smooth down the swollen bags of tissue under my eyes.  The skin under my eyes has turned black.

"I need to get more sleep."  I tell myself.

I grab a towel that is draped over the shower curtain to dry my face off.  I open the curtain and turn the hot water on.  After a gurgling noise from inside the pipes, water spurts out of the shower head like the semen from a 40 year old man. It sputters, randomly spraying water limply over my hand and forearm.  I withdraw my head and arm just in time to miss the full pressure of the water.

I peel off my t-shirt and dark blue pajama bottoms.  I toss them casually at the closed door.  Next my underwear and socks.  My right sock is sticky from dried blood and I have to yank it a bit to take it off.  I lose my balance, but quickly reach my hand out against the wall to steady myself.

With my clothes off I open the shower curtain again.  I am greeted by a rising wall of steam.  The shower water is hot and it burns my chest and thighs as I enter the bathtub.  I point the shower faucet down and locate the the faucet gauge.  I lower the heat setting so that the temperature of the water is bearable.

The water temperature is still hot and it is making my flesh red.  The water from the shower is coming out hard and fast.  I have to make certain that the aim from the shower faucet misses my penis.  I buckle my knees and bend a bit at the waist whenever a splash of water reminds me by hitting me in the shaft with a forceful blow.

Once I am happy with the water temperature I turn my back to the water.  For a second, I stand still, letting the warm water snuggle with me.  It moves around my body like an old lover.   I enjoy the tingling sensation I get from the splashes of water against my back and the warm air that is rising around me shielding me from the cooler bathroom air.

I open the bottle of shampoo and carefully begin to massage my hair.  The suds from the shampoo are thick and luxurious just like the commercials say on TV.  The suds smell like vanilla and I spread the shampoo onto my goatee and public hair.  I let the shampoo sit for a few seconds and then rinse it off.

Next, I condition my hair with conditioner made for my bottle of shampoo.  The conditioner is supposed to replace all the minerals my hair has lost from shampooing.  I follow the bottles instructions and leave the conditioner on my hair for 3 minutes.  I then rinse the conditioner out of my hair.

After shampoo and conditioner I wash.   I pour a large amount of body soap onto a wash sponge.  I guide the sponge around the length of my body taking care to scrub extra hard on the bottoms of my feet.  I leave my ass for last and wash the sponge under the shower faucet with my eyes closed- to avoid any possible e coli.

I step out of the shower and dry off with the a fresh white towel I get from the linen closet.

I dress in my room.  I put on my best pair of jeans.  A brown belt with a large buckle I bought from Target.  A gray long sleeved shirt and black Chuck Taylor Converse shoes.  From my mirrored closet I take out a navy blue jacket that is styled in the faux manner of an army jacket. The sleeves are too long on me.  Otherwise it is fine jacket.  It is the easily the most stylish thing I own.

I check myself in the full length mirror. I smooth down any wild hairs I find.  I straighten the wrinkles out in my jeans.  After what feels like the best I can do I grab my wallet, keys, bus card, and cell phone and walk out the door to my bedroom.

I stop by the dining room table and pick up my headphones with the adapter needed to fit the 2.5mm  plug that my Env3 uses.

At the bus stop there is a homeless girl.  Her face brightens when our eyes make contact.  She is wearing black platform flip flops and a blue jean jacket.  Her long hair is curly and dirty blond.  Like most homeless people she is jittery.

She scratches at her elbow randomly.  This is followed by a wild scramble through her purse.  She pulls out a package of Camel lights and a purple lighter.

The wind is blowing, so she has trouble lighting her cigarette.  She turns her back away from the wind and cups her hands around her cigarette protectively.

After the cigarette is lit she turns around to me.  She asks me, "If I waiting for the bus."

I tell her I am and I tell her I am about to meet my attorney for drinks at a yuppie bar.

"I don't like meeting my attorney in yuppie bars."  I tell her.  "But sometimes that's what you have to do."

"You have an attorney?"  The homeless girl asks.

She pauses for a moment thinking this admission over.  She nods her head a few times.  Thinking this is a set of circumstances that would come in handy for her.

The girl lets out a loud cough.  From the sound of the cough she must be blowing out chunks of the rat that died in her lungs last week.

"It could be very useful to have an attorney."  She says just a little out of  breath.

"It could be."  I tell the homeless girl.  "If my attorney ever did anything for ...practice law."  I fumble at the volume control setting for my phone.  I mute the audio book I am listening to.  I know the homeless appreciate it when you take the time to listen to them.  I don't take my headphones out of my ear, because I don't want to give the girl the impression that I all I want to do is listen to her.

My attorney is already seated at the third floor balcony of the yuppie bar.  My attorney never sits inside a restaurant. He  sits outside on the patio or balcony.  He never suggests meeting anywhere this is not an option.  My attorney chain smokes Marlboro Light cigarettes, "because cowboys smoke them."

The problem with my attorney is that you cannot tell when he is being sardonic, or when he is making an ass of himself.  I tell him that, "I find this quality of yours to be quite useful in your chosen profession."

My attorney agrees with my assessment, but I am not sure if he is being sarcastic again.

My attorney is waiting for me with two of his friends.  He has invited them to stay for a long weekend of drinking in cabin a few miles north of Flagstaff.  We go to the cabin every year to celebrate the fact that none of them have been convicted for vehicular manslaughter.

That kind of celebration may not make much sense to you.  Since most people have not been convicted of vehicular manslaughter.  But it's the kind of thing we do.

We tell my attorney's wife that we got to the cabin every year to celebrate the anniversary of my attorney's bachelor party, because telling my attorney's wife things like, "We had to dismember part of the homeless girl's body in the back your pickup truck" is not the kind of polite language that the wife of an attorney wants to hear.

Even though we got a way with it.

I can tell the homeless girl wants to have a conversation with me.  I give in to her silent wish.   But the only thing I want to talk about is the dream I keep having.

"I keep having this dream," I tell her.  "About a guy who gets paid 3 dollars for every live kitten he finds."

"I am sure the man is homeless in the dream."  I glance over at the girl and give her a slight nod to show her I am down with her.  "And he's got to do whatever it takes to get by."

"You gotta do what you gotta do."  The homeless girl interrupts.

"Yes."  I wait a second and take a second look at the girl.  Satisfied she is done interrupting I continue, "He collects the cats however he can.  He goes to garage sales.   He looks in day old newspapers for ads giving away free kittens."

"You'd be surprised by what people will do to get rid of cats."  I tell the girl. "Doesn't matter what the advertisement reads either.  Even those that say CATS TO GOOD HOMES."

"It's not true at all.  People get desperate.  Cats have huge litters.  There can be so many left.  Even after the first 6 or 7 kittens get given to smartly dressed men in khakis, or a few to kindly grandmothers..."

"The lonely kind..."

I pause and spread out my hands emphatically,
"or the kind with tag-a-long children in sun dresses...doesn't matter."

"It's not easy.  You can't get rid of them all."  I say.

The girl takes a drag from her cigarette every time I pause to take a breath.  Puffs of smoke shoot out from her lips and nostrils making her look like a 19th century locomotive.

The girl nods her head at me.   Her eyes are wide and her loose curly hair is blowing wildly in the wind.

"People just give up.  They want out of the kitten giving away business."  I say and take the headphones out of my ears.

"People just want something to believe in.  Even if that something is a disheveled looking man in a plaid overcoat carrying a huge card board box offering to take all the kitties they have."

"Yes!  I will take all the kitties.  All the kitties."

"I promise to make them a good home.  All the kitties."

"A good home!"

"It doesn't matter how many times the guy bows like some kind of Japanese envoy from the United Nations.  Sooner or later the parents just hand over the kittens, one-by-one, and place them in that card board box.  They watch as the lumbering old man walks away sweating through his plaid colored overcoat in the mid July heat."

I shake my head at her.  "I have no idea what kind of story the parents tell the kids in these houses."

"No sweat pea, that man is a good man.  Yes it IS unusual to wear an overcoat in July.  But remember how your little friend Timmy wore the same shirt every day for the whole summer last year.  I am sure it is a lot like that."

"What's the man do with all the cats once he gets them in the box?" The homeless girl asks.

I look down the street and see the bright lights of oncoming cars.  They twinkle like stars.  I squint my eyes a bit more and take a look past the twinkling headlights.   As far as I can see every few hundred feet or so the darkness is punctured by a string of street lights.  At first all the cars and trucks coming towards me  look like they are the bus I am waiting for.  But as they approach the lights grow dimmer and the shapes that emerge from the gray background grow smaller.

The bus is not here yet and this is not the kind of neighborhood for a homeless girl to be waiting for the bus.

"Sometimes the homeless man takes the box of kittens to a doctor or scientist."  I tell the girl.

"You mean to do experiments on them?"  The girl gasps.

"ELECKTRO-Shock convulsive experiments?"  I mock the girl.  "No.  No.  Those kind of things are illegal."  I add that last thought hoping that would comfort the poor girl.

"The box of kittens is mostly used for industrial experiments.  So I am sure that it is okay."  I hope the homeless girl is reassured by this.  But somewhere I know a dead Ayn Rand is.

"They test cattle prods."  I say.

The homeless girl looks shocked.

"They test the cattle prods on kittens."

The homeless girl looks even more shocked.

"It's all perfectly legal."  I reassure her.  "If the cattle prods work."

"Basically all they have to do is lightly touch the rear end of one of these little kittens and the whole thing explodes.  The head of the cat pops up and drops in a large bin or container.  The rest of the body just"  I make a magic act symbol with my hands, "poofs and disappears."

"Of course that's if they cattle prod works."  I tell the girl.  "Then they take that prod and sell it to McDonald's or Burger King or whatever."

"The rest of the prods end up down another conveyor belt." I say.

"And what about the heads?"  The homeless girl asks, "What about them?"

"Oh." I am not sure.

"I think they get driven off in huge dumpster trucks."  I tell her.

"Can you imagine such a thing?"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lucid Dreaming and Cell phones.

It all started when my roommate decided he did not need to wake up in time to answer the door bell.

Waiting outside in the blustery, wet cold of the morning was a newly trained FEDEX delivery person.  She was ignoring the posted warning sign that read DAY TIME SLEEPER.

She rang the bell.  She then waited for a few seconds and knocked with a firm wrist on the door.  She stood with the impatient attitude of a women pressed for time.  The package in her arm felt light.  She thought about setting the package on the ground so she could get a better knock on the door.

"Use two hands."  She thought.

But then she thought better of it.  She remembered the video she was forced to watch in training class.  The video instructed her to never place her package on the ground if the package was smaller than a shoe box.

"It was unseemly."  Said the instructor.  "You are ENTRUSTED with the care of this package."  The instructor reminded her.

So the driver shoved the package near her armpit.  Her left bicep and rib cage met the box and held it firmly in place.

I was in bed asleep when I heard the rapping on the door.  I was caught in the treacherous borderline between wakefulness and the dreamworld.

I had no idea if the distant sound of tapping I heard was just a dream, or if someone was ACTUALLY knocking on the door.

"I might be Lucid Dreaming."  I thought.

I warned my roommate the fist time we moved in with each other that I was placing him in charge of answering the door in the early part of the morning.

"I suffer from Lucid Dreaming."  I told him.

"Like the Queensryche song?"  He asked trying to impress me with his knowledge of progressive metal bands.

"Exactly!"  I exclaimed.

"Only I was years ahead of those Tate and DeGarmo."   I told my roommate.

I have had an interest in the field of human psychology for as long as I can remember.  In the 8th grade I read B.F. Skinner in the original.  How many 8th graders read B.F. Skinner?  Not many.

But my interest in psychology was not the reason I was drawn to the psyche 101 class.  At the time I was dating a married woman  that I had met at work.  She wanted me to do something with my life and encouraged me to take classes at the local community college.

She always told me how "auditing co-op advertising had no future."

She was going through a divorce at the time, though her husband had convinced her to see a therapist.  The therapist told her to ask me "future" questions.

Where did I see myself in 10 years?  What were my goals in life?

At the time it seemed easy to answer her.

"I am going to be a neuro-psychologist."  I told her.

The day after she asked me her future question I enrolled in the psychology class.  I brought the enrollment papers to work with me the next day to prove to my girlfriend what a suitable boyfriend I was.

It wasn't enough for my girlfriend.  She broke up with me a few days later after I got fired for excessive tardiness.

I told my roommate about my  lucid dreaming as a child.

"I had no idea the concept was scientific or real until I saw a documentary on Public Broadcasting.  The show's content was confirmed by a lecture I attended at Mesa Community College."

"I had no idea that you were a lucid dreamer."  My roommate replied.  "I have the perfect gift for you for Christmas.  A pair of those ridiculous red goggles they make lucid dreamers wear at sleep labs."

He laughed at his own joke and the the mental image he had of me wearing L.E.D. goggles that blinked every time I experienced REM sleep.

"Fantastic."  I said pretending that I thought his joke was as funny as he thought it was.

"I am just telling you this because you need to know that when I am experiencing LUCID DREAMING  I am unable to distinguish whether I am awake or not.  I cannot control my lucid dreaming, so I won't budge if I hear the telephone ring, or a fire alarm going off."

"You'll need to keep an eye out for me."  I told my roommate.  "Watch out for smoke on the stove, or blinking answering machines."

At no time during our negotiations did my roommate suggest that he would not watch out for FEDEX deliveries.

I should have covered that with him.  I guess you could say that was my mistake.  Though personally I feel "answering doorbells"  pretty much covers looking out for package deliveries.

My roommate begged to differ.

"There is no way I am going to be listening for anymore door bells for you."  He told me one day.

"Why the hell not?"  I asked him angrily.  "Did you forget about my lucid dreaming?"

"I did not."

"But I am still not going to answer the door."  He said emphatically.

It seemed that my roommate had gotten himself into a little trouble with the police.  And they were sending over probation officers and bail-bondsmen to harass him.

"If I answer the door."  He told me  "I will have to explain all the beer cans that pile up in my room."  He said.

"You aren't allowed beer?"  I asked.

"Hell, no."  He said.  "If they catch me with beer I will go up the river.  They will lock the doors and throw away the key."

"Don't you know what they do to black men in the system in Arizona?"  He asked.

"Serve them green bologna," was the only reply I could come up with.

It was because of my concern over my roommate's situation with the court system that I let myself believe I was just lucid dreaming when I heard the knocking on the door.

After several sustained minutes of knocking I decided to wake up and get out of bed.  I looked over at the time clock.  It read 11:15 am.

I sauntered over to the peep hole without my glasses.  I peered out into the doorway entrance, squinting so I could see.

"Nothing there."  I muttered.  "I better check the sliding glass door though."   I said to myself.  "Just in case."

I had the vaguest recollection that I had ordered a replacement cell phone online last night.

"There is no way the phone could be here that quickly."

But a sudden rise in panic shook me.  I waved my hands blindly through the veneer blinds.  The slats jumbled together making a loud rattling sound that only added to my sense of panic.

"I don't see a van or anything."  I thought to myself.  But then again I could not really see anything.  I forgot my glasses.  I squinted again through the sliding glass patio door.  I thought about opening the door for a better look, but I was not wearing a t-shirt.  My hairy belly was jiggling in the cool morning sun.  I thought better of exposing my deeply entrenched belly button to the possible ridicule of FEDEX's driver.

Stay tuned for Part 2.  "I get stalked by the amazing hot blond girl who rides the bus with me."

Monday, November 16, 2009

No Strike. A new cell phone. Dizzy. Shades of yellow and purple.

No strike.

All the dirty tricks have been left behind us.  The company hired fake employees to sit around and picket the union.  The media only interviewed the doppelgangers, never any real employees.

It's bad enough we live in a right-to-work state."  I can hear Hunter S. Thompson talking to me from my Env3.

"The man coming down on me.  Squeezing me.  Throttling me like I was 2 year old with shaken baby syndrome."

I want to shake all the Trolls on the internet who  strip away my attachment to humanity.

"I want to find that person."  I say to myself.  "Pummel them in the face. "

"But they are stupid."  A voice in my head calls out for reason.  "And that kind of stupidity often comes as the result of parental behavior." 

"Probably."  Interrupts Oliver Wendell Holmes.  "But three generations of imbeciles are enough."  

"We should have never allowed those parents to inseminate one another.  We should find their kids and bash them against the rocks." 

"We should rip the babies out of their mother's wombs."  He reminds me.  "The bible says we can't keep letting these things breed together."

"FUCK YA!" I shout back at him.

The shouting made me lose balance momentarily.

"I feel dizzy." I said.   "It must be my low blood pressure."

"Maybe you are not getting enough sleep?" Asks the courtesy clerk with the stained arm pits.

"Maybe." I tell her.

But the mirror I face in the morning tells a different story. My face is yellow.   My body is overtaxed.  AID'S, Cancer, MERSA, the toe infection.  The slow leak of toxic poisons has made me jaundiced.

"And now you say I can't sleep."

The area beneath my eyes is puffy and dark purple.   My hair is falling out faster than usual.  It sticks up in funny directions whenever I get out of bed in the morning.  I look the most bald in the morning.

"I think stress is killing me."  I tell the girl bagging my groceries.

"Stress is killing us all."  My customer answers back for her.

I am not interested in what my customer says.

"She should shut her god-damned mouth." Hunter says.  "No one was talking to her."

I may have glanced over at her to include her in the conversation.

"I have to include her." I tell Hunter, "but that's just because my employer hates in when I have conversations outside of the customer/employee mode of interaction."

"We're fucking slaves!"  The voices of Hunter S. Thompson and Oliver Wendell Holmes rise up behind me like a black gospel choir. Complete with swelling organ music.

"I'm just scanning groceries, man."  I tell them.  "I don't want to put up with all this shit!"

"Why the fuck does every one always feel the need to diminish whatever statement another person says?" I think.

"They can't give you your FUCKING PAIN, man!" Thompson cries.
"Otherwise they have to give you the MEDS you need to feel better."

"I don't want to feel better."  I tell Hunter.

"Feeling better is easy, man."  I tell him "Why the fuck do you think they invented astrology?"  I ask him.

Before he can talk I interrupt him.  "And don't give me any shit about how Astrology on acid is real, okay?"

"All right man."

His voice sounds weak.  I can barely hear Hunter and Oliver on the Env3. I watch the old woman watch the girl place her bags in her grocery cart.

I wipe my eyes on the corner of my sleeve.  A batch of yellow sleep rubs off on to my black shirt.

I leave it there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I am gonna strike on you, baby, gonna strike on you

The following conversation is not verbatim:

I was standing in the entrance to the break room talking to Harold and making mushy faces to hide the fact that I had to take a shit.

Harold and I were old friends from high school.

I say we are old friends, but it's a little more complicated than that.  We didn't really hang out much in high school.  We attended a few party's together where he watched me get drunk and embarrass myself.

Sometimes I think Harold does not like me very much.  He has never said the words, "I don't like you" to my face, or to anyone else we know for that matter.  But I get that feeling anyway- every time I talk to him.

It's like I am auditioning to be this guy's friend or something.  Sounds bad, but talking to a guy you've know for 20 years shouldn't have to be as uncomfortable as talking to a girl you just met on a blind date.

"So what do you do for a living?"  Blind date girl asks.

"I don't do shit you think is important.  I scan groceries.  I ride the bus to work.  On the bus  I stick my earphones into a dying MP3 player that no longer plays the vocals to any of the music it plays.  So I have to hum the words to myself like some kind of retarded monkey." I tell her.

"I bet you're satisfied to know all that?"  I demand to know.

Sweat is collecting in my fat rolls.  It drains down my armpits and collects around my rib cage.  I can only look at the dinner plate wishing I had bought something less expensive.

Broccoli spears are staring back at me, mocking my pathetic outburst.

In my head I know she is judging me for my choice of dating attire.  I am wearing jeans torn at the cuff, and an outdated short- sleeve button-up collared plaid shirt.

"Fuck! If I knew I things were gonna go this bad, I would have taken you to Wendy's instead of the Pita Jungle."  I tell her.

I feel a clay colored bowel movement coming on.

"We are going on strike next week."  I tell Harold.

Harold response sounds excited.  "Yeah.  I had heard something about that on the news."  He tells me.

I take a sip out of my Super Sized Thirst Quencher of ice tea from Jack in the Box.

"Are you a co-worker?"  The voice is that of my manager.  She sticks her head between Harold and the Snicker's Bar I am holding in my right hand.

Harold looks over at her.  He seems a bit stunned by the question, but he gathers himself enough to say, "No.  We used to be co-workers.  I was just talking to him."

"Oh."  My manager says.  Then she walks off my assistant manager.

"She must have thought I was a Union Representative."  Harold infers.

"I guess."  I say.  "That was a bit weird."  Then I say, "I can't wait to go on strike, baby!"

"Aren't you nervous about going on strike?"  Harold asks.

"I am."  I tell him.

I don't tell him how I have 11 dollars in my bank account.  That my phone just got shut off, and I am avoiding going to the dentist or doctor because of all the co-pays I can't afford.

"At some point." I tell him.  "You just have to take a stand."

Harold nods his head at me.

I unwrap the Snicker's Bar from its wrapper.  "You don't mind if I eat while we talk do you?  I only get 10 minutes for a break."

"I get here late in the afternoon."  I tell him.  "I work through normal eating hours, so I just try and grab something to keep me going."

"It's dinner time."  He replies.

"Packed with peanuts."  I pause and rub my belly.  "Snicker's really satisfies."

I have no idea why I say stupid stuff like that.

"So what are the issues your company is fighting over?"  Harold asks.

"Same old shit.  Companies want to ring out every dollar of value they can from the working man.  They want to get rid of our health care.  They want to start a third tier of wages for new employees.  They want to start the new guys off at minimum wage."

"Jesus."  Harold sneers.

"This job used to be a blue collar job that provided a middle class lifestyle."  I tell Harold.

"I just thought the strike was over the company forcing you guys to pay a 5 dollar co-pay for your health benefits."  Harold parrots the reports he hears from local newscasters.

"That's all you hear on the news."  I tell Harold.  "But as usual the Main Stream Media leaves out the context of the argument."

"28 years ago the meat cutters got hired at a higher pay than the meat guys do... TODAY."

"It's really fucking crazy."  I tell him.

Talking to Harold has revved me up.  I always get emotional when I start talking about the way the working class gets screwed in the country.

"I was at the union meeting this Monday."

I want to tell him how a few times I could not control my outbursts.  How I used the term "ruling class" in one of them.

I was never the kind of Marxist who felt comfortable using Orthodox Terminology.  It always sounded conspiratorial to me.  Also, I thought the working people I shared my breaks with would never accept that kind of ideological thinking.

It was fine to discuss Hegelian Dialectics with my communist friends at the CPUSA meetings, but you had to reach the working class with different strategies than the kind you learned in work shops with 60 year old hippies who think The Battle in Seattle really changed anything. 

"At the union meeting hall it really all came in focus for me."  I tell Harold.

"The workers in grocery stores have seen their wages disappear."  I tell him.  "They made a bargain you may not have made, but one they feel comfortable with.   The bargain they made was to allow their wages to drop, so they could keep their health care.   The health care they so desperately need."

"You see."  I explain.  "Health care gives people  the security of middle class attainment."

"Just a year or so before I got hired the starting wage at the store I work at was $4 more than I got hired at." 

"So you see, it's not that the 5 dollars a week co-payment for individuals, or 15 dollar a week for families is so bad.  It's that workers have accepted DRACONIAN cuts in pay to keep their health care free."

"I see."  Harold nods his head and looks at his watch.

I ignore his hint.

"But that's just the start of it."  My voice raises a bit.

The customers in the magazine aisle are looking over at us.  I think my assistant manager has run over to the DVR control room to record my behavior.

I will get a citation for this I am sure.  But I have to keep going.  I have to explain why it is important that he is on our side.  That he understands the stakes.  That he understand what is going on.

"The company is running commercials telling people that the union is trying to ruin the company.  That we want to strike over 5 dollar co-pays."

"NOTHING could be further from the TRUTH!"  I shout.

"What the company does not tell you is that they are done funding the health care program.  They plan on dropping their support for the fund by 50% in the second year of the agreement."

I grab at the white sheet of paper clipped documents that my employer has given each of its employees.  I shake the paper in Harold's face.

"It's right here in BLACK & WHITE!"

My voice has not reached a crescendo, but it is attracting attention.  A crowd has gathered.  And some of the people are saying, "Yeah!" And "That's right man."

But some of the people are confused still.

"But doesn't the offer we are getting from the company say that current employees don't have to pay extra for health care?"  A voice in the back asks.

"It does."  I yell towards the voice.  I search out the faces for the person who offered up the question.  The faces that look back at me are scared and angry.  Their faces match my blustery, red cheeks.

I wonder after all the corporate shenanigans of the last few years.  The savings and loan bailout, ENRON, oil price fixing, the current Bank bailouts.  How can anyone trust corporate executives to care about anyone but themselves?

Harold has no idea what he is still doing here.

"What the company fails to mention is that the agreement has a clause.   The clause states current employees won't pay co-pays as long as the fund has enough money." 

"But."  I remind the growing audience, "The company has already declared its intention of decreasing their funding by 50% in the next two years."

"Do the math people."  I tell them.  "You will seem premiums go up.  They did in California.  Premiums have doubled so that they families are spending 120 dollars a month to get the same coverage."

I have to get on a roll here.  I want a few of the wanna be scabbers to rethink their position.

"Premiums go up, coverage will go down.  And we get lower wages."

I am shaking my fists now.

"They will take away your health care by making it so unfordable.  We all might as well work at WalMart."

I point up at the sky.

"Billions for wealthy in bailouts!  Millions in compensation for the executives!"  "But what about us?"  "Why must we be made to feel like we are greedy for asking for some basic protection in the world?"

I don't want to say what I am going to say next.  But it is the truth.

"This is WARFARE."  Plain and simple.  "Class Warfare!"

"Why is it when cuts need to be made, the executives always come hunting for your HEALTH CARE?"

"Why do the Vampires feast on our wages?"

"Greedy Boss-Man is dead labor," The ghost haunting capitalism  whispers in my ear, "He is vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks!"

"He will."  Answers the crowd. "Until we say NO MORE!"


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Tempe Part 2

“Are you waiting for your free personality test too?”  The girl seated next to me asked.
“You bet I am!” I chirped.
I began to pay more attention to her after she acknowledged my existence in such a vocal manner.  She was good looking with thin wrists and tiny ankles.  She also looked at least 5 months pregnant.
Her unborn baby was tightly cocooned within her belly.  Her pregnancy gave her the appearance of a boa constrictor after an unwise dinner of a large beaver or a small porpoise. 
She sat in the chair beside me with the most perfect posture I had ever seen from a pregnant woman.  Her long brown hair was parted down the middle.  It shined with the glow of hormones and pregnancy vitamins.
Her crisp blue eyes met mine for a few seconds.
“I can’t wait for my test.”  She blabbered.
“I’ve been waiting for more than month.” I told the girl. I waved my hand in the general direction of my roommate.
“I see.” She replied.
“I don’t know if you do.”  I told her.  “Something is the matter with my roommate.  I think he is the reason I am not getting my personality test.” 
“Though the more I think about it.”  I told her.  “The more I think that my roommate is the one who needs the test.  Not me.”

I imagined my roommate in the room behind the locked door where the Scientologists kept all the electrical equipment they needed to perform auditing tests.   I saw his head hooked up to wires.  I could imagine the men in plain white, short sleeve, dress shirts nodding together as they examining the readouts they got from their blood pressure machines.

As if to confirm what I told the girl, my roommate’s pacing on the library carpet grew fearsome. He was punching himself in the face, and head, and arguing with himself.  Exclaiming, “I can’t believe that!”
The pregnant girl looked over at me apprehensively and began fanning herself with a magazine.  I could see beads of sweat developing around the top of mouth.  She licked her lips to wipe the sweat away.
‘I don’t know about him.”  She said.  “I think he might be an emergency.”
I figured this was my chance to move past her on the waiting list.
“I think you're right.”  I told her.  “Could you see yourself letting my friend go first?”  I asked casually.  I tried not to let my emerging panic show.  But my heart was racing.  I was thinking that I might finally get in and get my personality test.
While I talked to the girl my roommate was tugging at the back of his gym shorts.  The tag in his shorts itched him, and my roommate struggled to scratch the itch on his buttocks without exposing anymore of himself to us.
The girl looked back and forth at me and my roommate.  She appeared confused.  Her eyes lost focus, and for a second, I thought she was going to pass out.
She let out a long sigh and said, “I don’t see a way around it.”
“Good!”  I jumped off the seat next to her and ran over to the librarian.
“The girl over there said I could move ahead in line.”
The librarian regarded my statement coldly. 
“That’s not what she said.”  The librarian was shuffling papers and looking down at a brown clip board with a pen attached to it.  The clip board had 6 or 7 names that had been scratched out and written over with white-out several times.
The librarian was tapping the pen in her mouth with her fingers.  Her nails were painted with a dull, plum colored nail polish.   
The librarian took the pen out of her mouth and said, “Let’s see.”
I stared straight down at her, tapping my foot like a crack head. “C’mon, C’mon.”  I said to myself.
“I just don’t see it.”  The librarian looked back up at me.  Then she shuffled the papers in her hand underneath the clip board, as if what she did was some kind of official review, and now there was no possible objection to be made.
I snorted a bit. 
“You’ve got to be kidding.  Right?”
“I am afraid not.” The librarian sneered back at me.  I found her response completely unreasonable.  But I refrained from telling her so.
“I guess I should just go back and wait with my friend.”  I told her trying my best to appease her without looking too much like a sap.
“That might be a good idea.”  The librarian’s co-worker added.
The co-worker seemed much nicer than the head librarian.  She beamed a smile towards me.  She wore a polo styled white t-shirt with khaki pants that were rolled up at the cuffs.  I knew from all the documentaries that I had watched on TV about Scientology that new volunteers always wore polo styled t-shirts and khaki pants.
“If I volunteered at the Reading Room I would not need to buy any new clothes.  I have several pairs of khaki pants and at least one white polo shirt. Sure,  I might have to wash the shirt every day, unless the Reading Room provided me with a free shirt, but that was okay. I thought on my walk back to waiting area.
“It’s hopeless.”  I told my roommate.
He looked up at me like I had loaded up his kitten into plastic bag and hauled the thing off to the experimentor’s lab where they paid 3 dollars a head “for live kittens.”
It wasn’t my idea to collect kittens from want ads to sell for cash.  It was my roommate’s idea.  He saw the "kitten wanted" sign posted on the wall of the laboratory that was located next to the blood bank where he donated plasma.  He made about 75 dollars a week donating plasma there.
He needed all the money he could get since he didn’t have a job, and since he spent several hundred dollars a week drinking in bars with me.  He never talked about where he got his cash out side of donating plasma.  Just like I never asked him for rent money after I read the flyer he accidentally left on the kitchen counter.
My roommate could be an intimidating fellow.  He was a dark skinned black man.  5 feet 9 inches tall, but with his afro fully picked out it looked like he stood at least 6 feet.  He weighs over 240 pounds.  His eyes were swollen shut from either high blood pressure, or gout.
My roommate's swollen eyes were scary.  But when my roommate got excited or surprised his eyes popped open, revealing large white irises free from bloodshot.  His eyes were huge.  Cartoon like.  And they made passers-by flinch whenever they caught a glimpse of them.
My roommates eyes where in just such a state when I told him that the librarian (and I pointed in her direction) was not going to allow him to move ahead of the pregnant girl.
I made sure to mention to my roommate that the girl in going ahead of him was "pregnant," because I hoped that my comment would diffuse a combustible situation.
The pregnant girl smiled meekly at my roommate and raised a tiny hand to waive at him.
“Whatever.”  My roommate responded.
The girl put her hands down and rested them on her belly like a protective device. She sat on the edge of her chair like she was ready to bolt at the sign of any trouble that me or my roommate might provide.
I tried making her at ease by sitting next to her and asking her how far along she was.
“Oh.”  She stammered.  “6 and a half months.” She finally said.
“Wow.”  I told her.  “You look really fit for six months.” I complimented her.
She looked at me sideways.  

“Thanks.”  She said hesitantly. “I guess.”

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Tempe

The TV news was playing on  a flat screen television that had been mounted on the wall.  It was telling me about a military guy who went ape shit.  The news described how the man killed a dozen or two of his fellow soldiers in great detail.

The television  confirmed a lot of things my roommate was reading over at the Scientology Reading Room.  I had been going to the Reading Room with my roommate every few days for over a month.

The news program was on a loop or something, because I had seen the report play before.  I think the thing that the Scientologists liked best about the report was that the killer was a military psychiatrist. Whenever the newsman said "psychiatrist" in the report the volume of the television skyrocketed.

We were hanging out in the reading room because we were supposed to get a free personality test, but the fuckers adjusting the volume on the TV had been putting us off for more than a month. 

I think it might have been my roommate's appearance that was scaring the behavioral professionals at Scientology Reading Room.  After my roommate took off his hat and exposed his huge afro they said something like, "Personality wasn't our problem."

I asked my roommate, "When are you going to get a hair cut?"

My roommate had tried cutting it himself a week ago.   His hair was sheared off in lumps.  He had borrowed my beard trimmer and had done a lousy job of it.  His afro looked like a Halloween pumpkin carving that had been done by a mongrel child.  And I told him so.

"Why do you think I am wearing the hat?"  He asked.

"I don't think you are fooling anyone."  I told him.  My roommate was dressed in gym shorts that were too tight fitting.  Whenever he walked his balls were exposed a bit.  You could make out the nappy patch of black fuzz that protected his genitalia if you squinted long enough.

My roommate hated wearing shirts.  Whenever we were in public I demanded that he put one one on.  He only relented when I told him we were going out later to someplace "to get drunk."

"I don't think a fedora goes with gym shorts."  I told him.

"It's the only clean thing I own."  He replied back.

"Great."  I feigned enthusiasm for him.

My roommate wanted to know when I would be done downloading the latest Woody Allen movie.

"I have no idea."  I told him.  "I do not control the internets."

Earlier that day I had been  listening to a Hunter S. Thompson audio book on my Phillips mp3 player.  Hunter S. Thompson had gotten in my head, and I decided I needed a night out.

A night out that involved something other than one of the ordinary things I did like downloading Woody Allen movies.  A night that promised drinking and sex, or at least drinking and rubbing up against strange woman when they tried to walk past you to get to the restroom.

"Thank god women have small bladders."  I said aloud.

The woman next to me was reading a copy of Dianetics.  She looked up from the book and gave a me a quizzical expression.

"I don't think she really wants me to answer that."  I thought to myself.

"What are you talking about?" My roommate asked me.

"Nothing important."  I told him.  "I was just thinking about later tonight is all."

"Oh."  My roommate said.  He was nodding his head in agreement with me like he knew what I was talking about.  He was reading a magazine about Army medical doctors and how they are training young people to kill.

"This shit is impressive."  He said.  More to himself than to me or the woman seated next to me.  The woman kept looking up at him every time he nodded and said "impressive."

My roommate would not sit down for very long.  He liked to pace around the room while holding the newspaper, or magazine he was reading.  He had a certain gait to him.  He walked with a languid sumptuousness that on occasion was interrupted by what looked liked skipping.   When he tilted his head to read his feather tipped fedora hat would slip down to the side of his head exposing his badly cut afro again.

The woman who sat next to me asked me questions with her eyes.  I was glad she included me in the "what the fucks up with that guy?" that was obviously running through her head.

I was also glad she sat on my left hand side.  That way she could not see the sebaceous cyst that was growing back on the right side of my skull.  Soon I would need a feather tipped fedora too.

I just gave the lady a shrug.  "What can you do?"  Is what the shrug implied.  I leaned back into the padded chair and let my back straighten out.

I smiled and thought to myself. "She can't see the gangrene with my shoes on." 

This is the first excerpt from Fear and Loathing in Tempe.  My forthcoming novel.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I hate to disappoint the pedophiles

 Dear New Reader,

 I like you.

I like how you are constantly re-evaluating your life.  You are not the kind of person who is satisfied simply living the dream of mom jeans and honey buns for breakfast.  Otherwise you would not visit this website.

And visiting this website is exactly why I love you.  You may just be an anonymous, faceless statistic to my stats counter.  But I know your true identity.

You aren't just a stay-at-home Mom.  You are the kind of person who challenges the norm.  And I don't just mean the tramp stamp you show off proudly to your 6 year old.  I'm talking about how you let your kid dress all in black and watch HBO.

Strategies your average Mommy Blogger would not understand.

You may have known all of that.  But did you also know you are a strident fighter against pedophilia?

I say that because I have always tailored this website to fit whatever the preconceived notions I think my audience has.  And I always assumed my audience to be the mass of men in their mid-thirties who have never married, because Georgia outlawed marriages to 12 year old's without parental consent.

But I was wrong.  Pedophiles want coverage of their favorite superstars.  So pedophiles have stopped visiting my website.

That's probably why my last post got a lot of hate e-mail from my pedophiles asking why I did not talk at all about how Abigail Breslin was in the movie Zombie Land USA.

I hate to disappoint all the pedophiles who still read this site, but I did not talk about the 12 year old girlfriend they want because 72% of the people who now read this site have kids. (The chomo's think  this means that this website is the kind of place that should start a dating service.)

Dreamy.  Isn't she?
But those jokes are about as far as I can go with honey bun eating, mom jeans wearing, mid thirties, former career gals, who plop out a few babies in the vain hope that some one will love them in 30 years.

I may not be able to talk about hebophillia, but one thing both my audiences loves to hear about is how terrible I am with the ladies.

I am terrible with the ladies.

I am terrible with the ladies all because whenever I am around them I get the same feeling I get after taking my morning dump.  The blood all rushes to my anus, and after squirting  out what little fiber and potassium I have consumed that day my blood pressure drops and I get all queasy and light headed.

I thought I was over getting that feeling whenever a girl talked to me.  But I was wrong.

I got a phone number from a girl for the first time in 4 years last night.  I brag about it to you because the girl is very attractive.  And I am into looks/not brains.

The fact that I am into "looks" reduces the possibility of "us" hooking up one day to small (or get me really drunk), but I know how you are okay with that.

I got a phone number.

But things did not go right after that.

I broke out into hives after the girl gave me her phone number and invited me to hang out with her and her sister and get drunk at her house playing beer pong.

I am 38, and I have no idea how to play beer pong.

And for all the pedophiles who read this blog, let me disappoint you again.  She was at least 21 because she bought beer.

 She wrote down her contact info on a piece of paper and stuffed it into my apron (after first getting turned down by Emma the 65 year old greeter.) 

I don't think the fact that she invited Emma to drink with her should distract you from the fact that she still gave me her number.

I assumed she was just giving me her address.  I assumed this because when she asked for my phone so she could put her number in it I told her I had lost mine.

But I was wrong.  All I got on the scrap of register paper was a phone number and a name.  Penny.  But since I lost my phone a while back I could not call her.

I thought about walking over to the nearby apartment complex she said she lived in.  I thought I might be able to find her that way.  But I decided that would not be worth the effort.  I would just get a ride home from Emma instead.

Emma tells me the funniest shit. (You should read about Emma!)

Emma also likes to think she can motivate me.  She tells me that I would make a great Pharmacy tech.  "It starts at 2 dollars more an hour than you make now."

She calls me on my bullshit too.

She told me the only reason I did not hang out with the girl after work was that I was "scared."

I tried telling her I lost my phone. But she countered my objection easily.   She told me I could have used her phone.  Or I could have called the girl at work.  She even offered me a ride over there.

I shot back, "I had no idea how I would get home." and "I was in my work clothes."

She reminded me that the, "The girls were not dressed for a party either."  Which is true in one sense.  But white trash think cut off jean shorts are appropriate for anything.

The ride home with Emma had her talking about how she wished she had someone to go to the Opera with.  "I've always wanted to go to the opera."

"But all the men your age are dead."  I reminded her.

"I now."  She laughed.  Whenever Emma laughs at one of my jokes she swerves a bit into the other lane.  It's a good thing I only drive with her after midnight.

After over-correcting back into her lane Emma tells me that she's never been to the opera before.  "The only thing I have ever been taken to is a porn movie."  She says.

The pathetic nature of the  idea makes me bust out laughing. 

Emily notices my laugh, but continues, "In a T H E A T E R." Emma draws out the word theater like that makes it better.

"Well that makes it better." I say trying to comfort her.  I think about adding my experience in jack off booths to our little discussion.

But I hold back, thinking it might makes things weird between us.

Monday, November 02, 2009

This is not a review of Zombie Land USA

I had an ex wife.

And I have no idea if we were ever in love.

Here is the part where I dazzle you with some pop culture reference that appears to sum up my marriage in a pithy epigram.  Let's say that I compared our love to that of Penny & Leonard from that sometimes funny TV show "The Big Bang."

I don't know why I referenced Big Bang.  Other than the fact that I have spent my entire day off watching 22 episodes of the show in a row.  Which has turned my brain into soft pudgy mess.   Something resembling the consistency of a Milky Way Bar.

The milky way bar leaves something to be desired, like taste.

I don't like Milky Way Bars.  I think it has to do with all the nugget.  Nugget is okay.  I like nugget just fine in a Snickers bar.  But nugget should never be left alone.  Nugget should not be the "star" of a candy bar.  It has to be paired with something, otherwise the shit is too gummy.

Speaking of gummy, my legs feel weak.  I think I have restless leg syndrome brought on by watching too much tv and too much computer time.  I have not gotten out of bed all day other than to pee.  I just sit, staring at the screen, until the images have been burned into my brain.

That and the theme song song to Big Bang.


When you watch a TV show for 11 hours you begin to notice things like how one of the characters always knocks 3 times on his neighbor's door whenever he needs to talk to her.

I know none of this has anything to do with my marriage, or my ex wife.  But in reality talking about my ex wife with any degree of honesty would be a little to much info for most of you, and I don't like the idea of sharing things with you, other than under certain lighting conditions my foot appears to have early onset gangrene problems, and I know that kind of thing entertains you, because you seem like the type of people who watched ZombieLand USA on the first day that it came out.

Not me.  I did not stand in line for that movie.  But I did watch it.  And I noticed how movies don't try to be funny anymore (just like TV shows where the male character has a hard time understanding that the woman does not get to make all the decisions in a relationship- like if you should get married.) 

They just entertain you by letting you join the cool clique of kids who get all their pop references.

I'd be just like that only I tend to use the set up for things more like meta reflections, and in reality that is just about the same thing, which is the end of funny, and the apotheosis of the familiar.

Most of you who enjoy that kind of material are not old enough to to engage in nostalgia. I think it was Douglas Coupland who who first analyzed the phenomenon of Hyper Nostalgia.

If anything the hyperization of nostalgia has only increased since Coupland fist discovered it.  I know my only attachment to the present is by reference to an overly glorified reflection of the past.

I guess what I mean by that is that I already miss watching the Big Bang, and I wish I did not have to go to work today, even though staring at a computer screen all day made me antsy, and disturbed my REM sleep last night by giving me restless leg syndrome.

But I'm sure that sure beats whatever life has in store for me today.