Friday, March 6, 2015

Judy Shittalker

Another workshop and training seminar at work.  The only thing I could think of was that if I feigned an Ebola contamination, there was a chance this ridiculous experience in counterproductive team building would be shut down.  Unfortunately it also meant I would more than likely be held in quarantine with little access to cocktails or digital cable. 
Ironically this particular meeting involved the keys to customer and employee satisfaction.  These meetings have become a regular monthly occurrence at the service headquarters of the once giant retail company that I  am employed,  where most of the focus in sales is now on large appliances to redneck and racist customers that make it a point to insist we are taking the Christ out of Christmas by saying "Happy Holidays" or who share their segregationist like views that an interracial couple has no reason to be standing under mistletoe in our latest Christmas advertisement.  One can only wonder that if you stop and think about it,  Jesus may have been a little more ebony than ivory, having originated in the Middle East after all, and who are we to say he didn't like a little milk in his Cocoa Puffs.  In this scenario I am also assuming that Jesus is straight. 

As our meeting soon begins I am readying myself for two hours of pure Hell, sprinkled with heavy lidded boredom.....and then she spoke.  Her name is Judy Shittalker.  Her name was not really Judy Shittalker but that is what I named her soon after discovering her talent of the boisterous and the inane. 

Our instructor had begun his oral interpretation of the customer service model, only to be immediately interrupted by an overweight, explicative slinging angel that was sent from redneck heaven, otherwise known as Wal-Mart, to break up the interminable monotony that the afternoon had just promised to be filled with. 

"Did you know Golden Chick has a 78 oz sweet iced tea" Judy shouted.  I was not aware myself of this fact and by the looks of the individuals around me,, neither were they.  "Well I'm gonna tell you right now, that shit is delicious!"    
I personally didn't understand what a bathtub sized sweet tea had to do with corporate customer service and quickly figured out, I also didn't care.   I was now awake, I was listening because God knew what this redneck loose cannon was capable of in two hours. 

The instructor was a fairly handsome man.  He did have a slight speech impediment and a leg that was shorter than the other. I probably would have given all my attention to this man as he lisped and limped around the classroom, had it not been for Judy.    Judy was now a vested interest. 

As our instructor began to explain our customer care model, Judy interrupted Limpy McLipser to declare that the information he was providing was nothing more than "mish-mash and gobbledy gook"   Those are not real words, I thought to myself, except for gook as I was informed very recently by a disgruntled customer.   With her declaration Judy then hoisted her giant tea into the air and took a sip while meeting direct eye contact with our instructor. Her eyes seemed to say, "YES IT IS GOING DOWN LIKE THIS". 

Soon after her remark Judy bent down to pick up a stray M&M that had fallen from the table in front of her, revealing a tattoo that was emblazoned amongst her watermelon sized breasts. It was Sylvester from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.  To this day I do not now what the statement inside the speech bubble stated other than the word PUSSY, which was clearly noticeable. 

Our instructor did his best to stay on topic, but Judy would interject with nonsensical statements about the origin of steel cut oats, the history of pioneer territories in the Western United States and the difference between cockroach specimens from North versus South America. 

Her rants were so random and clueless and she didn't care if someone asked her about these topics or not as they were all offered with the same degree of importance and volume from Judy.  It was as if Foghorn Leghorn and Mama June from "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" fame had had a baby, and that baby was severely shaken and grew up to love sweet iced tea.  The bastard result was now sitting in front of me searching for yet another stray M&M that she by no means was leaving on the floor for  Periplaneta Americana (the American Cockroach) to find later. 

Our instructor quickly moved to another service model and gave an example of doing your best to move up within our company.  Judy's thoughts on this was to explain "If I was the boss I would take all the best people and move them to the bottom of the heap"    A collage of perplexed faces stared back at her, but in my mind I could only think SO WOULD I !  I mean I would do it just to be shitty, but for Judy this was some incomprehensible sort of corporate structure that only she had the power to devise and understand. 

Our instructor soon seemed ready to step in.  Not really a step I guess more like a hobble or stagger.  "Judy" he began, "it is our job to influence our co-workers as to do the very best we can as a team".  This remark didn't change Judy's outlook as she shot back, " I actually try not to influence others and if they are influenced then they need to mind their own Goddamed business". 

As the afternoon meandered on,  more and more gems of wisdom came from Judy and the instructor even tried to compliment her by calling her feelings "passionate and fiery" but Judy seemed uncomfortable by the wording and looked like she may have been filing a sexual harassment charge inside her head. 

As the meeting eventually came to a close, with little accomplished other than most of us learning of Judy's favorite do it yourself rash ointment recipe when contracting a skin infection from a pet pig, Judy then seemed quiet as if she wanted to explain something, something that didn't involve rashes or pigs, or even iced tea.  

"I know I can be loud and I get off topic" she started "It's only because I guess I feel that no one has ever really heard me."  Soon everyone seemed to take a sincere interest in what Judy was saying.  " I am loud to be heard, I tell stories and facts to seem interesting" and I guess I am stubborn and bull headed because I just don't trust people.  I never really had a chance to you know?  No one ever wanted to be nice to me or be a friend,  so I just kinda gave up and did my own thing and said whatever the hell I wanted to".  

Right then and there we started seeing her in a whole new light.  This was someone that for all her crass and crazy behavior was just wanting be liked and share one tiny bit of companionship with another human being. 

A girl that had been so quiet during the entire meeting turned to Judy and said, "Hey, my girlfriend and I are going to grab a drink with some friends after work and we would love it if you join us"?

With the beginning of tears in her eyes Judy looked up and calmly said, "I appreciate the offer but I am not really into your lifestyle"  And with that our meeting was adjourned. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


You know that feeling you get when a mentally challenged person gives you a hug or screams in your face for no reason whatsoever?   That feeling that something is wrong and there's nothing you can do to stop it?   That's the feeling that remains in my workday, from beginning to end, courtesy of a semi-retarded, man-child of a co worker named Monty.

One can spot Monty a mile away due to the headphones strapped to his face that he wears for the larger portion of our workday.  It should be noted that the headphones are not actually attached to an audio device, but rather appear to serve as a fashion forward accessory for the mentally challenged, much like the character of  "Warren" the handi-capable brother of Cameron Diaz in the movie "There Something about Mary"

Monty begins his day by usually having a coughing or sneezing fit to the point of it sounding like a rape is occurring somewhere in the office.  After the phlegm and snot-fest has died down around 10:30 A.M., it time for about an hour of maniacal random laughter.    "Hey Monty, whats so funny?" we ask, and its usually something worth peeing your pants over like someone added an extra vowel to the name of a town in Hawaii  or a cat or dog that is riding a bike or surfboard.  Serious comedy gems that should not be missed.

About two years ago Monty contacted me via Facebook and started constantly texting me. At first the texts were harmless, and then out of nowhere some crazy random thought would pop up on my phone screen.
MONTY: hey wat u doin?  ME: workin  MONTY: duz everyone h8 me?  ME: ummm, well,,,,no, I guess not  MONTY: ok gr8.  Hey tonight I think I am going to go out and fuck.  ME: ???  MONTY:  Yeah, I have sex with older women for money and have even let a few guys blow me.  I just don't know how to tell my dad about some of this stuff.  Sometimes it all get to be a little overwhelming and I think about hurting myself.
ME:  okay,,,gotta go.  P.S. please don't kill yourself.   MONTY: LOL, ,OK.  Hey, I'm thinking about getting a miniature Doberman Pinscher, you know a Min-Pin.

I swear to God, this is the text convo I had that day with Monty.  I started ignoring his texts after having been  granted access to this little slice of craziness.   The next morning I woke up to a text from Monty that read:  R U NAKED?   This is the point at which I quit talking to Monty altogether.

Dealing with Monty in a professional environment is much like watching a wildlife nature special on the Discovery Channel.  At first it's somewhat cute and lighthearted.  The baby gazelle stumbles around trying to find its way and getting into mischief.  Things get more serious as the gazelle ventures out into the real world on its own and real world problems start coming into view.  You start to realize this aint no Disney cartoon.  Then shit gets real and all Hell breaks lose.  Some crazy ass Lion comes out of nowhere, pouncing on the gazelle and ripping into its chest cavity to gorge on it's still beating heart.

All the while you know something sickening and crazy is lurking for the gazelle, you still tell yourself. no, no no, surely the gazelle has learned not to venture alone on to the savanna.  But then it does and it gets it ass murdered, and you say to yourself; well I guess you kinda had it coming.

A prime example of the above behavior pattern is demonstrated regularly for Monty at our team meetings.  You know there is some crazy shit brewing in his head, but you just keep hoping he keeps it there.

Keeping things subtle, appropriate and constructive is not how Monty rolls.   Our meeting began with Monty asking a Hispanic co-worker if the reason she had a tattoo between her thumb and index finger was because she was involved in gang activity related to perhaps the Crips or Bloods.

Halfway though the meeting  Monty begins getting louder and verbally abusive and is asked by a female co-worker if he can please lower his voice.  Monty responded to this request by hopping atop the boardroom conference table and screaming "don't talk to me like that".  The meeting was adjourned early so that each team member could visit our Human Resource Office to fill out an incident report that detailed an hour filled with Monty's song and dance of anger mixed with racist inquiries.

Around 2 pm all the sitting at his desk has become too much for Monty and really gets his dogs to barking.   Monty takes this opportunity to remove his shoes and socks at his desk and begin a half hours worth of scratching and digging at his fugly hobbit-like feet as the co-workers around him are treated to the smell of ham and rotten eggs mixed with the alcohol continuing to seep out his pores.

After all the inappropriate and borderline criminal behavior that goes reported, my employer sees fit to continue to have Monty work among the rest of us as on a daily basis.    "But he threatened to rape my asshole" we plead to our HR rep.  The rep will usually just giggle, roll his eyes and insinuate we were probably asking for it.

So we are forced to endure the craziness.   On a positive note though, Monty finally did get his Min-Pin, several of them actually.  They made a beautiful prairie skirt.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I Pitched a Tent at Rainbow Ranch

I had the opportunity recently to take a weekend campitng trip that I had arranged for some much needed rest and relaxation.
After being under a bit of stress it was either a camping trip or a faked addiction to heroin for admittance to a methadone clinic.

I had made up my mind to visit a gay campground, somewhere that might have activities and social interaction for gay and lesbians that enjoy the outdoors. After a quick Google search I hit paydirt with Rainbow Ranch. I was impressed at what a perfect name it was for a gay campground but nervous that it was not far from Waco, Texas. Waco is the world capitol of crazy cults and compounds that ususally come to fiery ends complete with raids operated by the US government.

Regardless of my fear of being abducted and forced to live as a sister-wife, I booked my trip. My friends asked what campground I was going to be staying at and I replied "Rainbow Ranch". Smirks and snickers soon became common place as I announced the name of the campground. I was quick to lurch into a well deserved hissy fit and insist Rainbow Ranch was in fact a real place and that "NO, they did NOT have rivers of glitter and pink unicorns that trotted to the beat of Cher songs!"

It didn't help when I would show my friends pictures of the campground, most of which were of the parties and social events that included either princess themed dinners or overtly masculine military style dance parties. "It's just a thing they do once in a while" I told them. "There is plenty of nature and fresh air and swimming and just laying around doing nothing. It's just what I need."

The day before I left for the campground I called the grounds office to make sure my spot was still reserved. I was given information for my space by a very nice older lady, at least I think it was a lady and informed that a campground potluck was set for the evening I was arriving and that I was invited. I thought that a potluck sounded really nice and would be a nice way to meet other people. I picked up some cookies from the grocery store bakery for the potluck and headed out.

The first indication that things were not going to go so well on this trip was the fact that the campground itself was an hour past Waco. Waco is not really the cultural capitol of Texas so I did not intend to make any stops. I drove past pastures and abandoned pickup trucks until I came to a desolate little haven of burnt woodland with a sign hanging next to the road announcing the entrance to Rainbow Ranch.

The campground itself was next to a lake that I soon found out had not been "zoned for swimming". There was an above ground swimming pool but I sadly learned it as well was not at the moment "zoned for swimming."

I quickly set up my tent and began to read when I noticed a middle-aged, somewhat stocky but attractive gentleman fishing near the pier. My first reaction was shock that the lake had actually been "zoned for fishing" and then of curiosity about this handsome stranger in his cute fishing attire.

I decided to casually walk over to the dock, where I would sit and read next to where the man was fishing. That was my plan to entice this man, sit and read. This plan was genious.

I soon noticed that the fisherman had a dog who would splash around giddily in the shore of the lake as the fisherman went about his tasks. It was a serene sight with the handsome man and his dog fishing in the sunset on the shore of the lake. As I am not a dog person I knew this would not be a problem as after we had fallen in love I could just ask that the dog be put down. If he loved me he'd do it.

As I sat against the pier with the sunlight painting the side of my face, I seductively would make eye contact when the man would look my way. It sounds romantic but as I had forgot my glasses in the tent, it was more like I was awkwardly staring in a way that said I might be crazy, or that I was in severe need of cataract surgery. It was during this creepster version of peekaboo that he finally yelled out in a masculine and powerful voice, "How's it going?" I replied with I'm good thanks for asking, how bout you? As he turned to walk towards me that's when I saw them. Both of them. Breasts. Yes, they were covered under a Khaki Bass Pro button down and looked as though they were being held down like they were middle-eastern housewives with a penchant for sassy backtalk. Yet, there they were. "Sure is a nice day we're having" the fisherperson bellowed. "yes it is" was my reply. And just like that, my fantasy of a hot fisherman was doused with a splash of reality. That reality was in the form of a 60 year old post menopausal lesbian. A lesbian with a very sexy haircut, had that haircut been on the head of George Clooney. This is the official moment I became invested in the upkeep of my vision.

I walked back to my tent and remembered the potluck. I thought it best to take a shower as all that sitting and reading had really made we work up a sweat.

As seven o'clock I made my way over to the campground community center, which in gay campground fashion had been outfitted with a mirrored disco ball, giant speakers hoisted on top of Roman Columns and enough glitter to make even Lady Gaga ponder the thought that it may be a just a tad over the top. Of course the phrase "over the top" means something totally different at a gay campground.

As I entered the doorway, I was met by a stick-thin circuit party looking boy with the word bottom written appropriately enough across his backside. I immediately assumed he had bought these shorts online because there was no way in hell a store within a 100 mile radius of Waco, TX was selling this item.

I introduced myself and told the man-boy that I was given instructions to bring a food item for the potluck. I held out two huge cartons of the bakery cookies. The response I received was: Ahhhh, wellllll, hmmmmm. The pondering and confusion on his part explained the errant fashion choice he had made in dressing for this occasion.

Well sweetie, see,,this is a private party. He whispered the words "private party" as to not embarass me in front of anyone, even though we were the only two people in the vicinity.

"Well I just assumed after the park ranger told me to bring a food item and invited me to the event and that I was welcome." I tried to explain the situation as best I could. "YEAH, uh huh, I see....NO it's a private event" he whispered private event again as though a line of people were behind us and I was so embarassed to have made such a mistake. I was now seriously beginning to worry that the half dressed man before me had mistaken the event for a Presidential fund raiser or the Annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala as to assume there was a level of importance to a potluck guest list at a run-down gay campground sitting adjacent to a toxic lake in the Texas backwoods.

I decided to say thank you and leave it at that. Even at the shittiest campground in the world, I cannot be a part of the "in" crowd. As luck would have it I was assigned by the park ranger, otherwise known as the head lesbian dressed in camouflage, to pitch my tent in space number 32. Space number 32 was exactly 75 feet from the community center, where right at this moment the worlds most exclusive social event was now starting.

I lay in my tent devouring cookies and washing them down with lukewarm beer,this being my dinner as I had expected to be partaking of gay potluck delicacies.

The party was really starting to ramp up now and the giant speakers had been moved outside and were pumping out jet engine level dance tunes. I decided to try to sleep and put in my earplugs. The earplugs didn't seem to help and the music was only getting louder. As mad as I was because of the noise, it was kinda hard to be upset while listenting to Abba, Dolly, Cher and Madonna who were being remixed into a collage of excitable dance songs being blasted into my face.

I was about ready to get up to complain when a techno version of "Dancing Queen" began to play. "OH I LOVE THIS SONG" I thought. Fifteen minutes later, enough was enough. I crawled out of my tent and stomped the 40 paces over to the community building. When I entered I was astonished at what I found. There was no crowd of fun loving gays, only the circuit boy dancing by himself and holding glowsticks under a mirrored disco ball. Apparently the party had been over for about an hour but he had continued to entertain himeself with sassy gay dance anthems.

I apologize for entering the restricted, guests only area and kindly asked if he could turn the decibel level down to say the equivalent of maybe a series of screeching jets breaking the sound barrier into supersonic booms. "OK, sweetie, I'll be sure to do that" he said,,"You'd better go cause this is kinda a private.....well you know." Was he serious? Was I being punked? Was Ashton Kutcher going to jump from behind the penis ice sculpture and scream "WE GOT YOU, WE GOT YOU GOOD, YOU JUST GOT PUNKED BITCH!" Alas this did not happen. I left the circuit boy dancing under the disco ball, apparently turning down the music was not the first priortiy in this matter. I crawled back into my tent and entually found my slumber as a reggae version of "I Will Survive" gently lulled me to sleep.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Peace, Love and Misunderstanding

In third grade I asked my friend  how babies were born.  I honestly don't know why I asked, it wasn't like I would ever want any or be in a position to possibly create one, regardless I was curious.   He told me that a woman and a man go in the bedroom and put their metals together.  I didn't ask any further questions and for the next two years I just assumed my parents were created much like the action hero Iron Man.  Later, I would have an AHA moment in realizing he was saying "middles"  and not "metals".  Thus began my life as witness to the misconceived.

A few months ago my friends Nicole, Pam and I were taking a day trip to San Antonio to a restaurant that is a favorite of mine.   I like them so much that I "liked" them on my Facebook account and they sent me a text for a free appetizer. Got that?  If you liked them on Facebook,you got a free appetizer.  Easy enough to understand for your run of the mill ten year old, complicated quantum physics like science for Nicole. 

Pam and I explained to Nicole that if she "liked" this restaurant on Facebook, she would get a free appetizer and then we would all get to share it.  When we explained this, Nicole's response was "why would we get it for free?"  "Because you liked it on Facebook" I replied.  Nicole cocked her head to the side like a bewildered Labrador retriever and we followed up on the explanation.   "They give you a free appetizer when you like them on facebook, we would all share the appetizer, after you have done this."   Still confused Nicole continued with her inquiry into this mystery "why would we all get it?" she asked.   We wouldn't all get it I explained,  I was now somewhat perplexed and losing my patience with having to say the say thing over and over.  "we would all just share the appetizer after you have liked them on Facebook.  We don't want to order three appetizers, so we will just share yours."   "It's free for me,,why?" she asked.  "GODAMMIT Nicole"  I was officially raising my voice.  "Fucking because you liked it on Facebook that is why."  She looked down for a bit, which was probably not the best thing to do, as she was the one driving us to San Antonio.  A few seconds passed and in my mind I was saying 'don't you dare ask again, Nicole, don't you do it.   To her credit she did wait a few moments and timidly responded with "I just don't see why we all are going to get the appetizer."    Pam and I looked at each other.  I began a tirade of rants and spewed threats for about 4- 5 minutes, until I just tired myself out.  Pam being the level headed and calm one in this group took over.  "Look honey,  don't be embarrassed by what I am about to do.   I am going to explain this to you like I would a second grader.  If you go onto the restaurant's Facebook page and click like, they will give you a free appetizer.  Maybe a chips and queso,  maybe sliders,,,you get the idea.   You would get that appetizer for free at the restaurant.  We would all take a bite of it, otherwise known as sharing.  sound good honey?"  Nicole nodded her head, but as I sat there steaming, I knew that crazy hippy still didn't know what the hell we were talking about.

Confusion and Misunderstanding seem to now be a normal part of my day.  I have a friend who I now know very well and we get along great, but when I first met him I was enamored.  Daniel is absolutely gorgeous and I was in awe of his physical beauty. Seriously I found myself at a loss for words.  I would stammer and trip over sentences as if I were  playing Jodi Foster's role of Nell, from the movie "Nell".

I should have said things like "It's very nice to meet you."  Instead I puked out something that sounded like "me like you face, I choke you and is good?"   I didn't really want to choke him,what was I talking about.  stupid idiot, get it together.   He's just a man.......a drop dead gorgeous God-like man,whose  eyes I could swim in for days.  I would continue this awkward fascination upon several meetings to follow.   Each time I opened my mouth to speak or stared at him like a crazed stalker it came off as if I wanted him to be a personal sex slave and live in my basement.  For the record that was not the intention, no harm ever came to Daniel and to this day he is free to come and go as he pleases without the fear of physical restraint.  Does that mean I can't have a life size doll of him , complete with hair samples and fingernail clippings?   No it does not.

A recent attempt to communicate and to understand came straight from the heart.   This attempt was filled with good intentions but fell like a stone.  A stone in a lake of awkward creepiness.

I tend to be a very emotional person.  I even watch those YouTube videos that show military reunions or unlikely animal friends that have recovered from serious injury, just for the sheer pleasure of getting a good cry on.   Feel free to try this yourself by adding in a pint of Ben and Jerry's and you will know what my Friday nights consist of.  

At work , I had recently found out that Dixie, our Administrative Assistance had lost her father.  We had all signed a card for her and I don't come into contact with Dixie on a regular basis so I assumed providing grief counseling by myself would not be needed.

We were having a potluck a week after her father died and I was looking for the meeting room in which we were to dine.  I spotted Dixie in one of the kitchens in a separate wing of our building and asked her where the room was located.  She gave quick and concise directions to our room.  I should have said thank you and continued on my way, but something inside me, definitely not common sense, said "Kyle, stay,  stay and ask about your coworkers dead daddy".   So I did.  I offered a quick condolence and explained that I was sorry for her loss. "Thank you very much." she said.  This is the part of the story, where I should now be walking away.  "NOT SO FAST" the voice in my head said.  "Really dive into this persons loss and continue with an uncomfortable situation for her.   "I just know it must have been a huge loss and wanted to say again we were sorry to hear of it."  "Yes,,,well,,thank you for that and I appreciate it." and she then intentionally broke eye contact with me.  The rational side of me said, "this is where you turn and make footsteps in the reverse direction.  Just leave while your have a tiny shred of respectability left."  The  sassy black lady inside of me said, "Back that thang up.  Get on up outta there before you make a fool outta yourself."  The menacing voice inside my head said, "Press on Kyle!  Really make sure she knows you are concerned and sorry for her loss.   Don't leave until you know she is ready to go on with her life!"   In the next five minutes I am pretty sure I attempted to bear hug Dixie while singing the gospel song "Amazing Grace."   I am now not allowed within 200 yards of Dixie, which make work tough sometimes.

I truly believe that for most people, this sea of life that we are in tends to be smooth sailing, for me it is that awkward moment when it is really quiet and your stomach sounds like a dying whale.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

BJ and the Bear is not a gay porn title !

I have a friend named Kirstin, who I work with and she was born the year I graduated high school. 
While we do actually have a lot in common, memories of what we grew up watching on television are not one of them. 
I find myself often reminiscing of the TV shows I grew up with only to find a bewildered, unfamiliar and often disgusted look on her face.  I recently spent a good 15 minutes trying to convince her that BJ and the Bear was not a gay porn title but an actual TV show in which a trucker traveled the country's highways in a red and white Kenworth K-100 cab over semi truck with his pet chimpanzee named Bear. BJ and Bear would get into a wide variety of shenanigans that often included getting mixed up in local crime and coming to the aid of a beautiful woman.
Kirstin was not convinced a network would actually air such a show and I ended up having to send her a YouTube clip as proof this show existed. 

The more I got to thinking of the premise of this show I often wondered how BJ kept from keeping the monkey from going on wild poo flinging binges, learning sign language that would result in Bear starting his own trucking company or simply taking that chance that Bear may one day go "ape-shit", attack BJ and tear off his face.  In my opinion any one of these scenarios would have made a fine season cliffhanger.

In the early Eighties I would spend Saturday nights with my mom curled up on the couch watching The Love Boat ( I did not have a lot of fiends as a child), and even if I did I am sure I would have preferred watching The Love Boat with my mom. 

The series was basically a string of B-list elderly actors who would stumble aboard a Princess Cruise bound for exotic locations while trying to rekindle their dying romance, or there was a string of B-list young actors who played the horny singles on the prowl for a one night stand that would turn into a meaningful long term relationship.

The Pacific Princess was a world away from the bass boat we kept in our driveway in rural Oklahoma and I could not get enough of that show. I later found out that that the actress who played the beloved Cruise Director Julie McCoy had a serious cocaine habit during the time the show was on, this would explain how she stayed so positive and perky around all those pathetic silver-haired seniors who had given up on their lives.

Following The Love Boat was a series called Fantasy Island.  Fantasy Island  was about a mysterious island where people could go to live out their fantasies.   The show featured Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke and his pet chimpanzee Tattoo.  Okay,,,Tattoo was not actually a monkey, he was a little person with a thick accent that was also always getting into shenanigans and I had become so used to seeing this played out on BJ and the Bear that that is what he became in my mind. Tattoo's main job seemed to be to spot the plane that would bring the passengers to the island. After spotting the plane Tattoo would become overly excited and start screaming "dee plane, dee plane!"  I am still not sure why air traffic control was a part of Tattoo's job description but he seemed to enjoy it,,,a little too much.

Ricardo Montalban was always a little too uppity for my taste and seemed to be a bit pervy and controlling when it came to the fantasies of other people.  Montalban had also starred in a Chrysler Cordoba commercial in which he had described the interior of the car as having "rich Corinthinan leather"  I think the car commercial is what really made me despise the actor the most. The distinguished thespian said these words in a way that, for me sounded like he was saying "bitch please!, your broke ass will never be able to afford this rich corinthian leather so just stick to that shitty Ford Pinto and we won't have any problems, you heard?"  I hate to admit it but if he was thinking that he was right.  The only time the words rich, Corinthian or leather came up in a conversation in our household we were most likely talking about Hershey's dark chocolate, the Bible or the freshly skinned buck my dad had just killed that was hanging off of my swing set in the backyard.

At a younger age I can remember watching Sesame Street.  This is a show that is still running to this day and you may very well know the characters Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Bert and Ernie. Sesame Street of course centers on the goings on of furry puppets and at this same time my aunt and uncle were using these puppets as part of their youth ministry.  My aunt and uncle would re-enact Bible stories with these characters and I can just remember being scared to death of what they were saying and what was happening.
I have blocked a lot of this time out of my memory but I am pretty sure I can recall the Cookie Monster hanging off of a cross.  While we are on this subject I don't think it was fair to use these characters as Jesus is probably not very cool with the relationship going on between Bert and Ernie.

There was also The Electric Company on at this time during the day, but we were not really urged to indulge in this show as there was a very wide range of ethnicity in the cast.
I was also very unfamiliar with the urban settings in this program and occasionally you would see an actual mugging going on in the background.

Also for my viewing pleasure there was Mr. Rogers NeighborhoodMr. Rogers Neighborhood was a show my mother hated.  I think she hated it in a way that many adults now want to pull a knife on the children's show character Barney the Dinosaur.  Instead of being overly zealous and and zany like Barney, Mr. Rogers appeared as if he had been given a very high dose of anti-anxiety medication. 

The show was very slow moving and Fred Rogers although I am sure well meaning seemed to talk to his viewers as if they were mentally challenged or perhaps standing on the ledge of a 50 story building. After the seven minutes it took Rogers to say hello and welcome you to the show there was another fifteen minutes of just him  taking off his shoes and putting on another pair.  Whereas this was a prerequisite for me to even start kindergarten, Rogers went at this every day at a snails pace and you would often wonder if he had perhaps slipped into a mild coma during this part of the show.

This children's show also contained two things I hate; puppets and snobbishness.  The puppets reigned over an imaginary kingdom called the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and had such names as King Friday XIII, Lady Elaine Fairchilde and Henrietta Pussycat. 
I got absolutely nothing out of this show unless you include nightmares as a childhood bonus.
This show also featured a trolley that would travel around the Kingdom and toot it's arrival.   I often imagined it was a locomotive that was carrying a mix of deadly weapons of mass destruction that would derail and destroy the Kingdom in a horrible chemical fire, but all it ever did was toot it's annoying arrival and assume made many a drug run to keep Rogers in stock of Lithium and Xanax.

These are just a few of the reasons I am who I am today. I hot mess of a man who can trace his disaster of a life to childhood TV shows and thinks that puppets are the source of all evil in the world today.  I'm talking to you ELMO !

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Drugs,Drinks and Drama: My Mexico Vacation

We chose a cruise to Mexico as our summer vacation, my friend Peg and I.  It was cheap,offered innumerable activities and was something neither of us had done before.

We researched our travel material and cruise instructions to be prepared and ready for a full week of fun.
As I was reading the guide for embarking on the ship something caught my eye in the "NOT ALLOWED' category.  Alcohol is not to be brought on board the ship.  "WHAT?"  This won't do I thought.  How are people on vacation supposed to be relaxed and happy if it is not chemically induced?  My heart began to beat a little faster and sweat formed on my brow.  Is this what a panic attack feels like I wondered? 

It sometimes takes days filled with confusion and procrastination for me to do something as simple as put a stamp on a letter and put it in the mailbox.  When it came to devising a plan to sneak contraband onto a major cruise ship it took me 37 seconds.  I emptied two water bottles of their contents, refilled them with rum, resealed the rim and stuck them in the covered portion of a pack of a dozen water bottles.

On the day of our embarkment Peg and I stopped for some rum to pour into our slushies from Sonic to enjoy while waiting in line for security. We were going to simply throw them away, but others had drinks in hand also so we continued to drink them. We arrived at the Xray Scanner and our luggage went through with no problem.  They didn't even look inside Pegs' handbag.  They didn't scan my pack of water.  At the end of the scanner we were however instructed to take this water pack to a desk that had many people in line in front of it.  Then it hit me,,,this was no ordinary desk, they were ripping open peoples beverage packs and shaking the bottles to check for bubbles.   You were allowed to bring on water, but alcohol will produce a greater amount of bubbles.   Those tricky bitches I thought.  
So I stood in line as Peg patiently waited for me on the sidelines.  My pack was immediately ripped open and before you could say Jose Cuervo, the bloodhound senses of the security agent identified the two rum bottles in my water and threw them away.   Peg was afraid to make eye contact with me while this was going on because she knew exactly what this meant for me.  TOTAL DEVASTATION!   I might as well have had my very own child ripped from my arms and given to a stranger never to be seen again.  All the while my face had to emote a look that said "Why on earth are you discarding those bottles, it's just water,not alcohol, just water." 

Peg could have had a human arm and a brick of cocaine in that handbag I thought, why didn't we just put them in there.   It took a good 45 minutes to talk me down from the virtual ledge I had climbed and threatened to jump off of.  In all reality this just meant I would be paying for alcohol on the ship but I would be paying  $10 per drink.   Sons of bitches.

The lack of contraband rum certainly didn't stop us from drinking,,,,a lot.  On the second day Peg swore off drinking for the entire day to devote to relaxation and health.  We agreed on this plan and I went off for a workout in the ship's gym only to arrive an hour and a half later to find Peg drunkenly passed out on the Promenade deck with a drink the size of a bowling ball in her hand.  "Look my drink looks like the ship", she slurred as she showed me the container in the form of the very ship we were now on..  "Well it certainly is the size of one" I replied and immediately ordered a pina colada.

Our first port of call was an all inclusive resort on the Yucatan Peninsula that included sports, food, but most importantly alcohol.  We hit the bar first and then began snorkeling.   By lunch we were both pretty drunk, but for Peg it really doesn't take that much.  I on the other hand can down a pony keg and still have room for shots.  As we sat eating, Pegs side of the table was filled with pina coloda glasses and she knocked over her guacamole dish onto the cement below us.   Our waiters were very efficient and immediately began to clean the mess.  "gracias" I said.  Peg also said gracias and followed it up with "Una mas margarita por favor".

We ended our day with swimming and dip in the resort hot tub where we struck up a conversation with a nice couple from Connecticut. We each continued to have drinks from the hot tub swim up bar.  The only reason Peg had not fallen over is because she was floating.   As I asked our friends about their home in the Northeast I noticed Peg swimming towards the bar and pulling herself up to ask for a shot of tequila.  "NO Peg' I screamed,,interrupting our new friends from our conversation.  Peg turned and looked at me and said "Shut up Kyle"  She never told me to shut up so I thought it best to let the situation work out on it's own.
I found Peg ten minutes later passed out in a lounge chair with a full shot of tequila in her hand.   I quickly drank the tequila and roused Peg out of her coma like sleep.

As I brought her into the men's room we bonded over my supplying Peg with techniques on vomiting, I in one stall Peg in the other.   Although I had no real reason to thrown up and couldn't if I wanted to for lack of a gag reflex, Peg made guttural moans and spastic panting noises from the other side of my stall.  She exited the stall looking like Linda Blair during the pea soup scene from the exorcist, but claims to have not thrown up at all.  Although you would think throwing up with my friend in a men's room would have been the most embarrassing part of our day, it was not.  When we exited the stall we noticed a line of men waiting to use the stalls.  God only knew what they thought when they heard me yelling "Try sticking three fingers in as far as you can, it might hurt but just try it, you will feel better when you're done".

The number one duty on our port of call the next day was at the local Pharmacy. I swear you can get anything in Mexico: drugs, guns, syphilis, it's all at your beck and call and for the most part all legal.  Peg has a pain issue that can be debilitating and I have anxiety issues, plus I just really like Valium.
First we asked for Vicodin or something like it.  Our pharmacist who was about sixteen and knew very little English returned with a white box and said "this make the horseys no have pain and be very sleepy"  Peg agreed this would be fine, I on the other hand am not sure if we had just bought horse tranquilizers.  Our next request was for me and I asked for Valium, which they did have but was instructed you had to have a prescription.  This did not seem to be a problem as the owner of the pharmacy was also a doctor who provided free of charge medical prescriptions next door.

We waited in what looked like what I imagine a cold war Soviet bomb shelter looks like until the doctor waived me into his office.  There was a diploma or license of some sort on the doctor's wall.  I am still not sure of its authenticity as the four year old that made it seemed to have colored outside the lines. 

The conversation with my doctor went like this:  Doctor: What you want?,  Me: Valium, Doctor: you want 20 or 90?, Me: 90, and then I went next door and got Valium.

Why can't things work work like this in the U.S?  No, in Mexico there is no HIPPA or FDA regulations or regard  for your own safety in general, but it took 15 minutes and did not require an act of legislation and personal note from the Surgeon General as it would have back in the U.S.

Our horse tranquilizers and lifetime supply of Valium made it back on the ship with no problem, but I am pretty sure I saw a woman being arrested for bringing a trial size bottle of tequila on board.

As we finished our trip our entrance back into the U.S. was through customs and since I had bought the pain pills and anti-anxiety medicine either over the counter or with a prescription (Mexican) but still legal, I wrote down on my customs slip that I had these items with me.  My thought was that it was better to be upfront and honest about what I was bringing back than risk being sent to prison.  As I was carrying the drugs Peg made it though just fine, I on the other hand was escorted to a holding room in the U.S. Customs office.  

Well your going to jail Kyle, this is it.   This is how it ends.  The holding room was full of families that had committed the crimes of bringing back unauthorized liquor,guns, Cuban cigars and the like.  One by one each person left and I was alone in that room.   I mentally prepared myself for nightly ass rapings and thought it best to quickly become someones' bitch, for I would stand a better chance of surviving in prison.   Maybe it wouldn't be that bad, maybe a huge lesson for all would be learned as in "The Shawshank Redemption",,,oh wait I think there was an ass raping in that movie.   I was on the verge of tears and if I ever needed a Valium it was now.  I had now been in the room for over an hour, were they prepping my uniform and cell?,,,,,what was going on? 
My name was then called and I was handed my drugs and was told by the Customs agent "well you are free to go, it looks like you did everything correctly".   Wait, no arrest? no prison? no ass rapings?  I was free to go and go I did, but in the back of my mind I thought to myself couldn't they have just Googled that?  I mean wasn't it their job to know these things?

As Peg and I reunited in the customs visiting area we exited the port having learned three very important lessons. 

1. Peg can't handle her alcohol.

2. Horse tranquilizers are not as powerful as you might think, but they will make your mane very silky.

3. The best vacations are the ones you have to take medication to forget.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I remember once at a party we were playing the game "Have you ever?", when someone asked me, Have you ever become a member of the mile high club.  My response was "does it have to have been with another person?"   The looks of confusion and disgust that followed can pretty much sum up my experiences with travel. They have been a source of confusion, disgust as well as a myriad of other emotions that would have made the Titanic Voyage seem like an uneventful pleasure cruise.

Most of my earlier travel was with my friend David.  Travelling with David was what I am assuming travelling with Osama Bin Laden would have been like.  You never knew what catastrophes were around the next corner and you never knew if you would make it home alive.

On a flight to Hawaii, David believed the passengers directly in the seats in front of us were only there to talk about him in secret, take up precious leg room and tilt back their seats as far back as they could possibly go.  As an outlet for his rage  David insisted on grinding his knees into the back of their chairs to make their flight as uncomfortable as possible.   "David, I don't think they are talking about you" I offered.  "I don't think they can even speak English"  "Oh they are talking about me, I can tell" he responded"   "And I don't like it one bit" his answer was obviously meant for our fellow passengers to hear as he raised his voice. 

Safely on the ground, having avoided any nasty Air Marshall incidents, we arranged for a taxi to take us to our hotel.  As luck would have it, our taxi driver was not able to speak English either and seemed a bit angry from the moment we got into the cab.  At one point our driver made a stop for gasoline at a convenience store, yet never pumped any gas, he did however return to the car with a tall canned beverage wrapped in a brown paper bag.  Best not to ask questions I thought and ignored the whole Mothers Against Drunk Driving public service announcement going on before my eyes.

When we arrived at our hotel, David exited the car and went to our drivers window to pay the fare. As I watched from a bench it appeared the driver was arguing with David about something and David seemed very confused as to what the problem was. "I'm sorry I don't know what you want:"  David repeated as the driver made a series of pointing motions and shook his head.  

The verbal abuse from our driver continued until David was on the verge of tears and just handed over his entire wallet for the man to fish out as much money as he deemed acceptable for the fare.  Enough was enough at this point and I walked over to the situation at hand, took the wallet from our driver, handed it back to David and screamed RUN!.
I urge anyone who may be reading this to take this advise and apply it to your own lives. When life hands you a situation that is uncomfortable, just run away from it and everything will work out for the better. I repeat, running away from your problems is ALWAYS the best option.

While in Hawaii, I thought it best to discontinue the use of taxis and bought both of us a day pass on the local city trolley system.
Now, Hawaii attracts a lot of Asian tourist and this was the case as we boarded our first trolley.
We were in the middle of a very long line and as we boarded it was becoming apparent that there was no room for many more people.
I quickly found my seat at the back of the bus as David stayed at the front, thinking it best to attempt to strike up a friendship with our driver this time around. to ward off any negativity remaining from his first go round with are taxi driver.  "Sure is crowded" said David to our Trolley Captain.   "You are Goddamned right it is crowded !  It's all these little Japanese fuckers coming over here and crowding us out is what it is!"  responded our Trolley Captain.
I heard this from the back of the bus because it was coming in loud and clear over the intercom speakers.
David continued this conversation by saying "It has been my experience that they are all rude and pushy and I will have you know that they were saying horrible things about me on the plane ride over here."
"Well they sure as hell don't respect authority" our driver stated  "Those little fuckers can just go back to where they came from if I had any say about it" he continued.  
Not only did he have any say in it, I thought, but he was saying it in stereo for the entire bus to hear.

I wanted to warn David that his remarks were being picked up by the Trolley Captains microphone but decided it was out of my hands at this point. 
I shared my bench seat with an older tourist and reached over to whisper  "I don't think you are rude or pushy and I regularly enjoy a hearty meal at my local Panda Express" I whispered in her ear, trying to ease the racial tensions that had evolved in the last five minutes.

People were still crowding into the Trolley, and there was just no more room for more passengers.
As if he was the newly appointed President of the Honolulu Transportation Commission, David took matters into his own hands. Throwing his hands in the air and with a horrible cartoonish Asian accent he began yelling out "THERE NO MORE ROOM", "WE NOT WANT ANY MORE OF YOU", " YOU LEAVE NOW."

Just so you can get an idea of how uncomfortable all this was to me, let me just say I was one of three white people on this trolley and the other two were doing a racist comedy skit directly from the 1940's for the entire crowd of Asian tourists to enjoy.

To reinforce his displeasure David then began moving his hands in a back and forth pushing motion and screaming "SHOO!"   "SHOO, YOU NOT GET ON BUS"

Oh my God, their grandfathers invaded this island and he was singlehandedly setting back race relations 75 Years I thought to myself.  The looks that I was getting said to me that the crew of the ENOLA GAY themselves would have been more welcome than we were right now. David, unaware that he had been heard by the remaining 100 bitter and angry passengers made his way to the back of the bus to take his seat by me. 

As he sat down a huge grin formed and he reached over to me to say "this is so exciting, I can't wait to get to Pearl Harbor."