Tiny Torments

Posted: March 17, 2016 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

I have recently joined a group on Facebook of FOH restaurant employees.  I have been posting short attempts at humor on the group’s page and everyone has been really wonderful and appreciative.  I am so grateful for their appreciation and they have motivated me to write again.  Its a pity that positive feedback seems to be in such short supply in this world.  It is a great way to jump start creativity and work.  Thank You!!

I also wanted  to include a brief preface about my sense of humor.  In an attempt to be kinder these days we often have to “step on eggshells” with what we write and say so we don’t hurt other people’s and groups feelings or offend anyone.  If you’re easily offended, don’t read any further and don’t read any of my writing.  The world is a hard and unfair place. We all have our own things that we are sensitive about. Please know, I would never intentionally hurt anyone with something I write. I am not mean-spirited.  If you don’t think it is funny…fine. But be advised that’s what I am aiming for.


Restaurant work is never easy.  Dealing with the public is also seldom easy. In addition to the general public not always being generally very polite, there are a thousand and one little things that we must do to earn our tips.  We live on our tips.  Most of us earn every cent of them and more. To be able to do this and keep the job we need, we must remain pleasant at all times.  We must bear a customer’s rudeness with a smile. We have to remain steadfast in keeping a good attitude despite often being treated very disrespectfully.  We can’t argue with people who are being unreasonable, petty, cheap or rude.  This adds to the pressure of our jobs. With pressure of any kind one must find a hopefully constructive way of release before we have a meltdown, lose our cool and then our job.

Remember, as long as we are pleasant, then we can’t get in trouble.  The key to tormenting people is to make it look unintentional.  If you keep smiling and being nice, then that nasty, rude, difficult customers can’t get you in trouble.  They can’t run home and bang out a scathing review on Yelp etc. One would also hope for cool co-workers and managers to assist in these suggestions.

1. The Speech Impediment:
When that douche-nugget party comes in, get them a server they haven’t had before and have them pretend to have a severe stutter.  It will take some acting skill, but many servers here in NYC and LA are also struggling actors and actresses…so here is a good chance to work out.  People can get uncomfortable as well as impatient with someone who is having trouble speaking. Yet, they wouldn’t dare be rude to or complain about you. They’d look like even bigger assholes. Just delight in taking 20 minutes to get their order.  Be VERY thorough.
“Hello, My name is Scott and I’ll b-b-b-BE Your server Tuh-Tonight. Our specials are M-m-m-m-mMuh-Muh Mahi-M-m-m-m-mMa-hi with P-p-p-p-PUH-PUH PUH PRO-Sucto ” Menu items starting with Ps, B’s and D’s are especially fun because then you get to spit gently on the shitty customer and make it look like an accident.  Just apologize.  “Oh I’m s-s-sorry, I’ll g-g-get you a napkin for your guh-guh-Glasses.”

2. Hard of Hearing:
I do this one at work all the time, especially with customers who mumble their orders when the joint is jumping.
Annoying Drunk: “Hey  gimme another Budweiser”
Me: (Pointing at my shirt)  “Oh thanks…I bought it on sale at Macy’s”  Then I walk away.

3.  The Name Game:
I started this way back in the 80s with a regular customer who used to show up every Friday 10 minutes before closing and camp out.  He owned a music venue and bar himself, so I never understood why he would breach this basic of restaurant worker etiquette. He would joyfully keep us waiting.  So we started getting his name intentionally wrong.  This is a better gag to do with multiple servers.  The cock-scratcher we did this to was named “Jordy”  This was a fun name to get wrong and there are many varieties.
” Hey Gordy, how ya doing tonight ,we are closing soon you know?”
” Um  It’s Jordy”
“Oh  sorry Jody,  did you want another beer?”
“Uh yes and it’s JOR-DY”
” Sorry,  another beer for Joey”
“You got it Joy”

You get the idea.

4. Vanity:
Human beings are vain creatures.  We’re all insecure about something…our weight, our height, what we’re wearing, wrinkles, glasses, hair loss etc. Now, the trick here is to attack the nasty customer on something they’re sensitive about, but pretend it’s a nice compliment,
Waitress: “I LOVE that blouse you’re wearing”
Cunty Customer: Yes…it IS rather flattering”
Waitress”  I KNOW, my friend Marie bought the exact same one at the “Big-N-Sassy” store a couple weeks ago, but it looks even better on you”

5. Acting Stupid:
Many people have little to no respect for servers and bartenders.  They think it is a simple job where “all you do is bring a plate from point A to point B”.  We are also bombarded daily with stupid or thoughtless people who feel entitled. Why are we supposed to have an i-Phone charger and a place for you to charge?  if you can’t live for 20 seconds without your cellular life support system, maybe you should have brought a charger with you.
Customer: “Hey can you find me a i-phone 5 charger?”
You: “You need to charge your phone?”
Customer: ” Um Yeah…”( being snotty)
You: “But you don’t have a charger?”
Customer: “No”
You (cheerfully) “They sell all kinds of chargers at the Radio Shack”
Customer: “I KNOW that, but I don’t want to buy a charger”
You: “But you just asked me for a charger”
Customer: Um Yeah cause I need to charge my phone”
You” Well, why wouldn’t you need to buy a charger then?”
Customer: I HAVE a charger, I left it at home”
You: “Oh  I see, so you didn’t bring it?”
Customer: “Yeah”
You: “So you need a charger now?”
Customer (getting pissed ) YESSSSSS
You: “Sorry, so you need or want me to find a charger for you?”
Customer:  Yesssss
You:(To yourself)  “I don’t know where we’d keep chargers around here….”

and so on.

Please enjoy these helpful suggestions and let me know how they have worked with your less than pleasant clientele.  Just remember to keep YOUR cool, keep smiling, be pleasant and you can’t get in trouble.

A Freudian Look At Dirty Harry

Posted: January 28, 2016 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

This month on one of the basic cable channels they are featuring an “Action Movie Month”.  Naturally there are plenty of Clint Eastwood films.   I can’t believe I never noticed this before as I have watched all the spaghetti westerns and Dirty Harry movies for years.  Anyone who has watched a Dirty Harry movie knows that Det. “Dirty” Harry Callahan packs a .44 magnum pistol.  This is a HUGE and very powerful handgun.  Frankly it’s kind of overkill and unnecessary for police work.

Most of us have read a book or three and many have taken a psych class or two in college.  We have come to recognize that, like women, many men are vain and insecure creatures who are entirely too worried about body issues, which in men’s cases is the size of our penis’. So, men find ways to compensate for their small penis’ or what they believe is a small penis.  Sometime in the 1980’s a poor fellow with a serious case of micro-penis and a little too much time on his hand went out to his garage, and voila…now we have monster trucks.
Cars, clothing, Mixed Martial Arts and guns are common phallic symbols for insecure men.
I suspect Dirty Harry has a tiny-teeny peeny.
Could you just picture Dirty Harry in one of those shoot-em-up scenes complete with those great one liners; “Go ahead, Make my day”  or “Do you feel lucky…well do ya punk?”  But then the criminal he has cornered gets Freudian on him and totally wrecks his shit?
Dirty Harry: “..being as this is the .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, capable of taking your head clean off…”
Bank Robber:  “Did you say you have a .44 magnum?”
DH:  “That’s what I said, punk”
BR:  Starts to stifle a giggle
DH “What the Hell you laughing at street scum”
BR:  “Well, it seems like someone is over-compensating a little bit”
DH : “What the Hell are you talking about punk?”
BR:  “Your penis,  it must be really small for you to walk around with that huge gun, and whats worse bragging about it”
DH: “Shut your goddamn mouth”
BR: ” Hey listen,  it’s OK,  a lot of women don’t care, or they say they don’t.”
DH:  ” I…uh”
BR: “I mean it’s not like we get to pick how big our dicks are”
DH: You…um….just….uh”
BR:  ” I read in Cosmo once that something like 70% of women don’t care…You ever read Cosmo?”
DH:  “Uh  well, er a couple times, but at the dentist, I don’t subscribe or anything”
BR:  “Listen man,  it’s cool,  you just need to work on that oral sex thing,  or cuddling…women really dig cuddling”
DH ” SHUT UP!!”  “Where was I?,  Oh yeah  I know what you’re thinkin, did I fire 5 or 6…”
BR:  ” I bet you wish you were 5 or 6…inches”
At this point Dirty Harry loses it and just blows the guy away.
Cut to a couple hours later, back at the precinct.  The police captain is yelling at Dirty Harry.  What is the purpose of this cliche in movies.  Why do the captains or chiefs always hate the hero or heroes?  The mayor always seems to call up and yell at them for some carnage or other.
Police Captain:”Dammit Callahan…You know who I just got off the phone with?”
Dirty Harry:  “uh  The Mayor”
PC:  “That’s right smart ass…the Mayor.  He called the chief and I had them both chewing out  my ass because of you”  (That’s another thing.  In addition to the cliche mayor or chief call, they always bring up some violently forced analingus )
DH: “He…he said I had a small dick.”
PC: The goddamn mayor was just about to…huh?  What did you say Callahan?”
DH: (Starts to cry) “He was making fun of my dick”
PC: “What did he say?”
DH: “Oh the usual,  “that’s why you became a cop, because deep down you feel weak and inadequate..”
PC”Jesus Callahan, I’m sorry”
DH: (Crying harder)  Why are they so….mean?”
PC  (Coming from around desk and hugging Dirty Harry) ”  I know….I know…  Did he ask why you drove the big long Lincoln Continental too?
DH: “No, I shot him before he could”
PC: “OK…take the rest of the day off,  don;t worry about anything…If there is one guy from Internal Affairs who’s under 5 inches, you’ll be fine”
DH “Thanks Captain”

The Great Spirit

Posted: January 23, 2016 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized
 There are Millions of people dead because they got the wrong answer to” The God Question”. What’s the “God Question” you ask?
 ‘Do you believe in God?’
Then we have….
 “Do you believe in God?”
My God?”
-George Carlin-
“What if God was one of us?
                                                I’m not entirely or exactly certain regarding what  my position is on God, Jehovah, Yahweh The Great Spirit or whatever you want to call him, her or it . I like the North American Indian term “The Great Spirit”…It shows reverence, without going over the top…there is also an air of mystery in such a moniker.  I pray every night before I go to bed.  I say what I have come to call “My Agnostic’s Prayers”…This is how they go in case you’re wondering.  Sometimes I change it up a little.
“Dear God”
 ( Yep  I really start with ‘Dear God’.  I’m polite and respectful…what can I say?  Plus I’m more than a little afraid of him.  I should also note that I clasp my hands together most nights….not always, but most nights. What can I say, I’m old school)
“Thank you for my job, my friends, my family, my kitty, the roof over my head, the food in the fridge…
 ( I am  grateful for these things.  I’ve been without some of them before, which allows for more appreciation. Sometimes I give thanks for other things…” a warm bed, the nice day, some times I mention Jama; my best friend by name etc.”  )
“Forgive me for my sins”
 (Then I list them as if some almighty, all knowing entity wouldn’t be fully aware of  every last shenanigan, transgression and varying degrees of naughtiness that I’ve been up to…I just want him to know that I know. This is a tactic I have learned from interacting with and living with women)
 “Forgive me for my impatience ( Is this really a sin? It is said that patience is a virtue, but does that mean that lack of patience is a sin? I don’t know…it seems sin-ish  Regardless I ask for forgiveness for it anyway…Interesting as  impatience is a huge part of who I am.)
 “Forgive me for when I am dishonest, unkind, forgive me for my laziness.”
(Then I get to the asking part.  I guess the batting order of my prayer is to get The Great Spirit in a good mood with humility, admissions, and appreciation before I drop the wish list on him.  I don’t ask for money…which is something I really, really want as well as really, really need. I just figure he gets asked for money all the time…coupled with all the prayers he must get for more important stuff like biopsy results… For some reason I also think he might get angry with monetary requests….plus he knows my financial situation, probably better than me.  So, instead I ask for things that I think will impress him, make him think I have substance and depth. Who knows, maybe he’ll take a page from my great-grandmother’s book and slip a fiver in my birthday card.
“Please God, give me wisdom, luck, inspiration, and strength.  Help me to be a good person…and if my mom is with you, tell her I miss her.. I hope she’s in a good place and let her know I’m OK”
So those are my agnostic’s prayers give or take a line, an affirmation or a ‘Thank You’.  Maybe I’m just saying them for me. Maybe I’m trying to cover my ass just in case there is a judgment and an afterlife based upon how much of a douchebag one has been in life.  Maybe this prayer like ritual keeps me grounded. Maybe I just feel guilty and have a fair sense of gratitude.  I don’t know, which is ironic because in regards to God, his existence, his plan, his wishes, I also…don’t…know.  It’s interesting as I think most of the deeply religious people on Earth think they are superior to those who are not religious.  This is handy as I found myself feeling a little superior by admitting that I don’t know.  Isn’t that fascinating?…Regardless of what we know, think we know or admit that we know nothing….we all have varying degrees of feeling theologically superior to all the other idiots out there?  Recently we have seen an increase in Atheists being rather outspoken.  For people who often seem to feel vastly superior to those who practice various faiths; they aren’t always very nice about it.   That’s another sad yet interesting thing about religion and God.  None of us knows, for absolutely certain about the existence of God. Yet our opinions and beliefs can be so strong about the subject.  People die, gladly, secure in this knowledge.  But it’s not knowledge.  It’s faith….strong faith.  That faith is so strong that it gets confused as knowledge.
I wanted to revisit the money thing for a moment.  I need money.  I don’t have enough money.  I want more money. I could use more money.  Many people are in this boat.  However, instead of The Great Spirit tossing down a winning lottery ticket to me, he has given me things with which to make, produce and earn the coveted shekels. A winning lottery ticket does kind of seem like divine intervention.  It’s also not always or even often a blessing.  As I said I have been given the means to care for myself.  I have been given 2 arms and legs that work, a mind that is reasonably sharp…sometimes, depending on who you ask.  I have a work ethic.  I have created references and experience for myself.  I also have a little gumption.
While it might be nice to win the lottery and quit my job via sky-writing and/or a marching band, and to buy a big house with a middle-finger shaped pool…I wonder how happy I would be.  To being with, I like my employers and my job.  So, as fun as it sounds I wouldn’t quit in an entertaining manner.  While it would be nice to not have to worry about money, to live in a nice house and buy nice things…it wouldn’t fulfill me completely.  I also think that earning something is conducive to its appreciation.
I was born a Catholic.  I was Christened and or baptized.  We celebrated Christmas and Easter, but the celebrations were much more about presents, choco-bunnies and jellybeans as opposed to Midnight masses and such.  For a brief period I was a Born Again Christian…and from what I understand of their faith, I still am a Born Again Christian.  I once asked a bible school teacher…
“So if you accept Jesus Christ into your heart, you’re going to Heaven, no matter what?”
“Yes Scott” she replied
“So,” I continued ” If someone really, really bad like Hitler accepted Jesus into his heart, he’d still go to Heaven…even after all the bad things he did”
“Yes Scott” she answered without pausing to think. “If they truly believed that Jesus Christ is our savior and died for our sins, and they truly accepted him in their hearts…then they would go to Heaven”
Hmmmm.  This sounded suspicious, even to my 9 year old sensibilities.  Almost too good to be true. Can’t hurt to ask JC into my heart. He seemed like an exceptionally nice guy. It would be nice to have my afterlife squared away at such an early age.  One less thing to worry about.  Check that box.  I’m covered.
As a punk rocker and goth teen my mother hated the cross earrings and rosary beads I wore.
“It’s sacrilegious” she’d say.   She was funny my mom.  She too was raised a Catholic, an even more strict Catholic than me…she actually went to church as a child, was confirmed.(Correction, she was made to go to church, get confirmed and take communion) . She read extensively on different religions, faith and spirituality.  I think she was an agnostic of sorts, though a much more well informed and less sinful agnostic than her wayward son. Later in life she used to speak kindly of the rituals of the Catholic Church…mass said in Latin and things like that.  I think this was more of an aesthetic appreciation though.
I wasn’t being sacrilegious.  I was being trendy.  Surely God understands adolescents much better than parents, guidance counselors and MTV hosts.  I wish I had thought to say this 30 years ago, but we always think of the right thing to say after the right time to say them has passed.  Instead I probably just rolled my eyes at my poor mother and inwardly delighted that I was pissing her off.
My mother also had more than a passing interest in Zen/Buddhism. She experimented with things in life…like vegetarian cooking, feminist philosophy and Zen.    I think my mom can be summarized in that she believed in the golden rule.  Being kind made her feel good about herself, and she was, on the whole a good person with a sense of decency and duty.
God?  Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It’s the goof of all time. Look but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, don’t swallow. Ahaha. And while you’re jumpin’ from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He’s laughin’ His sick, fuckin’ ass off! He’s a tight-ass! He’s a SADIST! He’s an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER
 -John Milton-Lucifer- Devils Advocate
Yes, I’m a little afraid of God.  Long ago, that was a compliment for people of substance and an indication of decency.  “He’s a good God-Fearin’ man”.  They said that a lot on one of my favorite TV shows of all time; Little House On The Prairie.  Given the years of horrifying luck and circumstances that befell the Ingall’s clan on the prairie, I’d be afraid of God too.  He really heaped the tests of faith on them….crops ruined, daughter struck blind, fires, crib death, blind school burned down….And these were people who read the Bible and went to church every Sunday.  They were ” good God-Fearin folks”.
Why am I afraid of God?  Well, I suppose it’s because after spending a few years on this planet and I’ve seen what he can do.  But I also think God’s kind of cool.  He has a strange sense of humor, but so do I.
While being a little afraid of God, and being uncertain of his existence, I am fascinated by the idea of God.  Anyone who stops to review the hand(s) of fate, luck as well as cause and effect and their roles in our lives should have some belief in some kind of universal intelligence with a warped sense of humor pulling some strings.
I think it was Nietzsche who theorized that if God is a supreme being, then surely he is well above such human pettiness as jealousy (that does away with Commandment Number 1 by the way) anger and a need for praise all the time. I think Nietzsche also wrote that “God was dead”.   Then again, Nietzsche died of syphilis.  Guess who got the last laugh there?
I have mixed feelings on the very religious.  On one hand I despise their judgmental stances on issues that are none of their business whatsoever.  I loath their trying to convert others; although  I think, according to the Bible; Jesus said something along the lines of “Spread the word”
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  Mark 16:15
Now, does this mean spread the word…  Build churches, hold meetings and such?  OR to ring my doorbell at 7am and shove pamphlets in my face, or to burst into whatever subway car I’m riding in and begin yelling at me about Jesus?  I was once on the subway when a young, muscular and heavily tattooed young man who looked like he’d spent some time in prison recently got into my subway car and started a Hip Hop rap/chant….angrily,..very angrily about Jesus.  He literally looked like he’d whip out a box cutter and carve any and every other passenger who wasn’t interested in his views on Jesus.  I don’t argue with or mock such people .  I just smile and give them a quarter.  Well, I suppose I do mock them, but from the safety of behind my computer screen.
From the little that I have read, JC seemed like an incredibly well adjusted, enlightened, kind and cool person, but not a pest.  He also didn’t strike me as a snob or someone who was judgmental and rejected others because of who they were, who they loved or things like that.
The flip side of that coin are people who are happy and convinced that they live a righteous existence and are going to Heaven when they die.  I once saw a fellow on TV. a farmer from the Midwest who while standing in front of his tractor was saying how much he loved being a farmer, and how fulfilled he was to have the time to “Ride my tractor and think about the Lord”.
Now, city slickers like myself might scoff at this rube and his beliefs…But in reality, this guy was happy.  He was fulfilled. No prozac or therapy for this guy.   He enjoyed his life. He didn’t ponder or sweat the eternal questions like many of us.  Often I find myself wishing I had that level of serenity coupled with having all the answers.  I’m a questioner…and the worst kind of skeptic regarding the answers that I am given.
In closing these are just my layman’s observations on The Great Spirit.   I don’t have all the answers,  In fact, I don’t have any of the answers.  I don’t even have all the questions.
I suppose I hope there is a God.  I hope he is all loving, knowing and forgiving.   I hope he keeps an eye on me from time to time, and that something happens after we die.  I often think of seeing my mom again after I die.  This is a common and very human belief. It can help us to cope with loss.
Thanks for reading.

Cain and Abel

Posted: November 12, 2015 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

Cain and Abel  ( I wrote this blog entry in April, which would explain the Easter reference and shows how on top of my writing and editing.)

 Last Sunday was Easter and I decided to throw some Biblical and religion questions into my weekly trivia montage. I do a weekly trivia thing at the bar where I work every Sunday.  It allows for me to act like a more smug yet less paid Alex Trebek.  Hell, I can’t even get my wardrobe furnished by Botany 500.  Anyhoo… a couple of the questions were about Adam and Eve’s sons Cain and Abel.  After thinking about this story, I saw a lot of holes and some inconsistencies.
Here’s the run down the C&A story for those of you who don’t know.
Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve’s two sons. A & E had lots of kids according to the Bible, but Cain and Abel were their first.  Both Cain and Abel made a sacrifice to God.  Cain;a farmer, gave some wheat or some kind of grain, and Abel gave, well killed really, some sheep or lambs.  God didn’t “accept” or “have regard” for Cain’s sacrifice, but he accepted Abel’s.  Cain was pissed off.  He kills Abel.  Later God asked Cain where Abel was, and Cain got mouthy about it and responds  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Naturally, God finds out about the murder and banishes Cain to “The Land of Nod”
So let’s go through this and onto my problems with the story.  First of all.  A sacrifice?  Really God?  Really?  I don’t know that just sounds so…cliche.  Like tossing a virgin into a volcano.  Then God doesn’t accept or “have regard”(< That’s what The Bible said) for one of the sacrifices?  Well, that’s just rude.  Really rude.  Imagine if a parent did that to a pair of siblings.   “Well Jimmy, I liked the finger painting you made in class, but your brother’s drawing just sucked…I mean he made the sun as big as the tree and the house  DUH  Spacial relations there Picasso…Oh quit yer crying”
So naturally Cain is hurt, or “downcast” as it says in the Bible.   There’s a word that needs to make a comeback.  “How are you today Scott?”  ” Me?  Oh I’m Downcast.”
Here’s another thing I don’t get.  Cain is mad at God, but he kills his brother?  Huh? Later God asks Cain where Abel is, and Cain answers “I know not, Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Hold the phone.   First of all; doesn’t God see everything?  Isn’t that why us Catholic boys feel so guilty in regards to masturbation? Because God can see us and our frequent one-man-band concerts.  Doesn’t God also know everything?  So why is he asking where Abel is?  The only thing I can guess is that God is playing games like a cop or psycho girlfriend…He knows the answer, but wants to see if you’re going to lie.
I’m not terribly impressed with God in this story.  He strikes me as petty, rude, maybe a little mean spirited, and passive-aggressive.  I’m not impressed.
The other thing that puzzles me, is why is Cain getting mouthy with such a cranky deity?  That doesn’t strike me as all that clever?  God is capable of some seriously bad shit…like cancer, 3rd degree burns…I think he even made it rain frogs once.  Where’s the common sense.  When I’m annoyed with the scary looking dude with his gang tattooed on his neck and face standing obliviously in the subway door when I am trying to enter the train…I keep my Negative Nancy thoughts to myself.
I want some explanations.  Anyone know a patient priest or rabbi I can talk to about these questions?  I’ll even buy them coffee or a drink.  Maybe they will “Have Regard” for a double cappuccino.
And people wonder why there are so many atheists and agnostics out there.

YELP Reviews Translated

Posted: November 2, 2015 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

My new hobby is reading negative reviews on YELP and imagining the bitter a$$hoes who write them. I like to translate what they write VS what probably really happened.  I posted a few of these on Facebook yesterday and was thrilled when two friends chimed in and suggested I put this on my blog.  Hope everyone enjoys it.  Please note that all of my YELP reviews are fair, thoughtful, and subtlety genius.   I also promise, from this day forward to write all forthcoming YELP reviews in haiku format.

Heavenly Burger

Waitress didn’t flirt with me

One star for you ,bitch

“I wish they’d let me give zero stars”
Yeah, Yeah,. well Yelp doesn’t. Don’t worry, you have enough bitterness in your review to get the point across”

“I waited 35 minutes for a waitress”
Translation: You waited 6-8 minutes.

“I politely asked….”
Translation: You demanded something in the most entitled and snotty manner possible

“The server was really rude”
Translation: The server put up with your rude, trifling, and ridiculous behavior for over an hour…then you caught them rolling their eyes at you.

“I’ll never come here again”
Translation: “I hope the manager or owner reads my litany of BS and invites me back for a free drink, drinks or a meal and begs for forgiveness. I also hope I get a waiter or waitress fired”

“I had a Group-On/Restaurant.com coupon and they wouldn’t honor it”
Translation: “I am unbelievably cheap and petty. I only go to places where I can get discounts via my scouring the internet for coupons…In addition to the free stuff I got with the coupon, I wanted more…MUCH more. I ordered $50 worth of food and drinks, but I only tipped for the $25 on the check…and I still found plenty to complain about. I was annoyed by the conditions of the coupon and bitched about it til a manager gave me what I wanted in an attempt to just get me to leave”

“They didn’t have a children’s menu”
Translation: “My child screamed and ruined the other patrons meals…then the waiter had to pick up all the drooled upon cheerios I bring everywhere for my precious larva”

“They RUINED my birthday”:

 Translation:  ” I was given a free drink and or a piece of cake, but I’m certainly entitled to much more.  I wanted the kitchen staff to emerge and sing “Happy Birthday” to me in a flawless Acapella format, I also wanted my meal comped, followed by a score of tormentors from my childhood to be paraded in front of my table begging forgiveness…” They could have at least rented a pony for pony rides, or would a clown and some balloon animals be too much to ask”

“They totally screwed up our reservation”

Translation: “Our party showed up late and one at a time over the course of an hour and a half during the busiest time for the restaurant, and we had to wait for 5 minutes for the table that had been reserved for an hour before we were able to be seated”

“The waitress ignored me”

Translation: “I was on my cell phone and sending banal text messages every time our server came by to check on our table, except for one instance where I made a face at the server and waved them to be gone with a rude and dismissive wave of my hand. I had to,  she was interrupting my “N.M.  U?” text ”

“The waitress was really rude.”

Translation:  Female: “I suspect my boyfriend was attracted to the waitress and now I want her fired for being marginally attractive”

                     Male: ” I tried to flirt with the waitress, but she wasn’t interested, and now I’m butt-hurt”

” I wrote a 2 page review accompanied with one star”
Translation: ” I have aspirations of being a writer, yet I lack the talent and tenacity to be successful, so I post bitterness on YELP containing as many $20 words as possible.  I made a bad choice by majoring in English Lit in college and now all the waiters, waitresses and bartenders are going to pay.  Oh, and my French fries were cold”
Forward: An Apology.
                                    I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for the coarse language and terminology that follows in addition to it’s title and content.   The inspiration for this work, as you will see, is a direct quote from someone.   It’s simply safe to say that the expression “Giving a fuck”; and all it’s varietals (Giving a fuck, I-don’t-give a fuck, He/She/It doesn’t give a fuck and so on) is a big part of the modern vernacular.   It trumps “I don’t care”.  It’s more aggressive.  It goes beyond not caring.  That is not to say that fucking always trumps caring. I’m quite fond of caring, being cared care givers, care packages. Come to think of it though, I’m also quite fond of fucking…but I digress.
I wanted to write what was hopefully a humorous piece about the importance and the varying levels of giving a fuck.  The pitfalls of giving too much of a fuck, and an analysis of…well…”Fuck…Giving?”
My primary intentions are to make others think as well as smile at the many absurdities that are contemporary living.  I’m not trying to be crude, crass or sound tough. I’m also not trying to offend anyone.  If this kind of language either written or spoken offends you, then it might be best if you stopped reading here.  if you decide to read beyond this carefully constructed warning and pre-apology, AND you get offended, well, then I’m afraid I just don’t give a fuck.
I understand all too well that there are times and places for no-no words, and especially the Godfather of Swears: “Fuck”.  I don’t use them around people I don’t know, around children, and very seldom at job interviews.   My late-mother; an English lit major as well as having a law degree carefully drilled into me that swearing is often the refuge of the unoriginal and uneducated.  She was right.  I’d also like to think that she’d understand ( and approve ) of the spirit of this particular pile-o-words.
Four Words: An Apology:    “I’m really quite sorry.”
Giving A Fuck:
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.  Rhett Butler- Gone With The Wind
“I HATE You”
“Yeah?, Well you’re not my favorite person right now either”
Me. Age 8 ( In the midst of a donnybrook tantrum over something or other)
Mom. Age 25
What can I say? We were both kids.
                                                        Yesterday at work a customer whom I am quite fond of began to tell me and his co-worker/drinking buddy about being “spoken to” at work.   Most of us can relate to that.   I’ve been “spoken to” at various jobs too, and it sucks rather mightily. It’s never fun.  Generally speaking, when the bossy boots requests a sit-down… You’re guilty and as Isaac Hayes once said in his “Shaft’s Theme” you best “Shut yo mouth”.  The boss doesn’t want to hear it.  Generally they want you to nod, agree and say “I’m sorry and it will never happen again.”  As he told us of his particular “talking to” he shrugged his shoulders and said, matter-of-factly “You know, I just don’t have a very high ‘give-a-fuck’ meter.”  We burst out laughing at this simple and frankly beautiful statement.    I must pause here and thank my friend and bar customer Eddy for this brilliant phrase.   Eddy is married to a lovely woman who is a psychiatrist.  I wonder if she came up with the theory of the “Give-A-Fuck Meter”?  Maybe it was her doctoral thesis?  If so, I’d love to borrow it.  Strictly for research and footnotes mind you.
I guess everyone has their own personal ‘Give-A-Fuck Meter’ or perhaps” threshold” is a more appropriate expression.   Some of us give too much of a fuck. Day in, day out they are just giving those fucks front, right and center with an intensity and purpose  like they’re going to be made illegal tomorrow.  We’ve all met these people…the “fuck givers” and they’re frankly exhausting.  After being in their presence for a second time or for more than say… 15 minutes, you want to grab them by the collar, shake them and scream  “Why do you give a fuck?”  or ” You know…Nobody gives a fuck…except YOU”
Fuck-Giving which for the sake of brevity I shall refer to as “FG” from this point is a very personal thing.  Everyone gives fucks about different things, at different times, because of different circumstances.
I suppose I should begin with a definition of “giving a fuck” and take it from there.  Where does one begin researching these days? The internet. I’d try the library, but the Dewey Decimal System intimidates me and I simply feel up to asking the sweet little old lady who is the librarian at my local branch to help me look this particular subject up.   In the card catalogue would it be “Fuck..A Giving”?   or Fuck; Giving A”
So I type hop on handy dandy google and see what comes up.
Well there are 437,000 results.  Not a small number, but significantly smaller than I would have expected.  The first 10 “hits” are articles, blog entries and one meditation technique that I will certainly be taking another look at.   I was sure that my old standby “Urban Dictionary” would be up there in the top 10.  Before hopping over to U.D. I peruse a few of the top hits on google.   It seems that many people are in search of a way to either not give a fuck, or to give less of a fuck. Some of these are “How To” pieces, as in “How to not give a fuck what other people think”.  This is interesting.  People are looking for and giving advice about fuck giving.  People are giving too much of a fuck about others giving a fuck about them…
As I said, let’s see what Urban Dictionary has to say on the subject.  I simply don’t have the time self important losers and what they imagine to be their oh-so-hilarious observations and blog entries.
Ah…our entry for the day on Urban Dictionary Feb 15, 2015 is “Butt Buddies”.  Charming.
After typing in “Giving a Fuck” the number one definition is this written by an obvious English major:
When you asks you Facebook friends if it accptible that you have a “don’t give a fuck” attatude.
Facebook status: Friends please tell me that it is all right that I have a don’t give a fuck attatude? beacause under my try hard James Dean bravado I really am giving a fuck.
Looks like somebody doesn’t give a fuck about grammar or spelling.  There are also 20 words and expressions in UD related to “Giving a Fuck”
2. Fuck
4.Not Giving A Fuck
5. Stress
7. Detachment
9. Don’t Give A Fuck-ism
10. Giving a Fuck
11. GAF
12. Worry
13. Boring
14. Don’t Give A Shit
15. “Not Givin’ A Fuck” ( is there much of a difference between this and number 4?)
16. Life Is Too Short
17. QOL
18. Pissed Off
19. Giving
20. Give A Fuck
Guess the good people at UD don’t give much of a fuck about repetition and redundancies. That’s OK.  It’s a fun site from time to time.
I wonder if there is someway to ask someone to return the fuck they were given?  There is a potentially interesting conversation.
“Hey I think I want my fuck back”
” Huh?”
” I said…’I’d like my fuck back”
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, I used to give a fuck about what you thought, or said.  However after getting to know you a little better, I realize I don’t really give a fuck…so I’d like my fuck back”
“You’re an idiot.”
“See?  This is exactly what I am talking about… This is why I want my fuck back”
More to come on this topic…

More James Bond Cliches.

Posted: August 21, 2015 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized
A couple years ago I wrote a piece about the many clichés that abound in all the James Bond films. It was titled…wait for it…”James Bond Clichés”   I was thrilled to find that it became a fairly popular piece.  What I mean by this is that it got a lot of “hits” on my blog.   To date I have never been published.   I am not that upset by this, as I haven’t submitted very much for publication, and thus there weren’t stacks of rejection letters to brighten my days. Nothing Ventured; Nothing Rejected. Coincidentally  I utilize this philosophy in my romantic pursuits as well.
  I  did  discover, to my delight, that if I enter “James Bond Clichés” into a google or other search engines that my piece always comes up high on the list.
Here is a link to the original piece.  https://thewhinelistdotcom.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/movie-cliches-bond-edition/
I became inspired to write the first piece after catching a James Bond marathon on TV.  There is another marathon going on this month and I realized that there are a few more clichés that I missed the first time around.  So, I thought I’d revisit the concept.
I’ll start with a breakdown of literally every Bond film:
Our story begins ( after the shot of whatever actor is JB these days walking and turning quickly and firing his pistol at the audience) with some international criminal mastermind getting all his ducks in a row for some elaborate world domination or extortion plan on some massive scale.  Some one gets killed, some nuclear weapon is stolen or something blows up, and then we cut to one of my favorite things about the Bond franchise…the theme song.    I love Bond theme songs.  I post a daily oldie/song on my facebook page, and recently I had a vote on best Bond theme song.  “For Your Eyes Only” won, which surprised me.  “Live and Let Die”  came in second.
After the theme song, JB is summoned to MI-6 or 5 or whatever branch of “Majesty’s Intelligence” he works for.  Whenever this is mentioned I wonder about the other MI’s.  If Bond is in MI5 or 6…then what is MI one or two like.  Are they the accountants?  The IT department?  The janitorial staff?  Does one start at the lower MIs and work their way up?  Was there a time when James Bond used to fetch coffee for other agents or work in the mail room?
Bond gets the skinny of the situation from his boss; “M”.   Several actors have played M over the years from David Niven to John Huston to Judi Dench.  They all have one thing in common.  Bond kinda gets on their nerves.  It has been my experience that, generally speaking, if I am getting on my boss’ nerves, then I’m not usually long for that position…even if I am good at the job.  I guess being a Double 0 agent is like any government job such as the post office or sanitation workers,  in that it’s tough to get fired.
After Bond annoys his boss , gets briefed on his mission and flirts with the secretary Miss Moneypenny, then he’s off to see “Q”.  Q is a stuffy little, extremely British inventor who gives Bond all his cool little gadgets.  Q doesn’t like Bond much either and is always saying “Oh DO grow up 007″ as he explains how all the cool little toys he’s laying on him work.  JB behaves a lot like an 8 year old boy just dying to get at his Christmas presents while mom or dad are giving a lecture on how expensive or delicate the gift is….”Just gimme and let me break the bastard Ma ” I’d say.  It’s odd that Bond can’t seem to get along with any of his co-workers and yet he is incredibly successful with women.   He also gets the new Bond car.   I think it would be highly entertaining to give Bond a used, two tone 85 Yugo with dumb bumper stickers like “Who Farted”.   For even more fun park it next to the late model BMW or Mercedes sports car and when he goes to the flashy car, delight in informing him  “Oh no….that’s 003’s car.  You get the Yugo 007”.
This brings me to my first cliché. Money:   Doesn’t Bond have expense reports?  Never see that in a Bond film. I suppose it wouldn’t make for entertaining cinema to watch  James Bond going over his expenses with some fussy CPA from Inland revenue and Majesty’s Accounting…, piles of receipts…many on cocktail napkins…  typing numbers into a little adding machine. ” Martini….Armani Tux,  another martini ,martini, martini another martini….Rolex watch….martini, champagne,  massage.”
Furthermore,  who pays for all the trashed hotel suites?  James Bond  is more destructive that any rock n roll band. Maybe he gets the inevitable assassin waiting under the bed or in his closet to pay the damages?  That would actually be pretty slick.  An assassin jumps out of the closet, JB kicks the ever-loving crap out of him, and afterwards pulls him down to the lobby by his ear and makes him pay for the damages from the brawl.  It would certainly save the British taxpayer a few bob.
 James Bond is in the espionage business, but really his methods are about as subtle as a cockroach on a wedding cake. He leaves a trail of destruction all over Europe, the Caribbean, or wherever he’s currently saving the world and borking the Bond-girl d’jour  .  I’m no insurance adjuster, but I’d guess that a Maserati driving through the window and across the buffet at some 4 star Swiss Chalet while being chased by motorcycles with mounted machine guns might run you a few Euros, and might make a few headlines.   Do grow up 007.
This Organization Does Not Tolerate Failure:
The criminal masterminds and their organizations that JB is tasked with stopping have no shortage of clichés and inconsistencies.    First of all, since childhood I have always envied  their hideouts/headquarters.  I want a place like that…Shark tank,  Mega Screen TV with satellite, cable,  HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and the U.N. on speed dial?   I have to say though,  the dormant or faux volcano lair…it’s played guys…totally and completely played. You’re not fooling anyone, much less an intelligence agency and highly trained agent.  I feel it is safe to say that if Bond arrives on some tropical island, all he has to do is ask the locals if there is a volcano nearby, and there’s your criminal mastermind his cronies and the stolen nuclear weapon or kidnapped scientist.  If they really want JB to earn his martini money….set up your base of operations in an ice cream shop, or invest in a McDonalds franchise. Hiding the nuclear warhead you recently stole in Ronald’s Playroom?  Subtle genius.  Put it inside a hollowed out Grimace statue.  OR…  Set up a lair in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Put it in the back some snooty coffee shop staffed with apathetic hipsters.
Some of the Bond films such as “You Only Live Twice” feature enormous hideouts with scores of henchmen in uniforms.  Some of these organizations have emblems.  If you’ve ever had any experience in business, you realize how long it takes to design these things.  Some swishy gay design major needs to be consulted,  he will need to hire a team,  concepts need to be designed, rejected, tweaked, and then you have to go to Kinkos or some print shop for all SPECTRE letter head. Craftsmen must be hired to build that long mahogany table with your emblem in it…Contractors have to bid on these projects.  Does Bloefeld check Angie’s List?  If Goldfinger or Scaramanga is unhappy with the work, do they write a scathing review on YELP before dropping the hapless plumber, electrician or carpenter through a trap door and into the piranha or shark tank…after saying, of course, “This organization does not tolerate failure”    Yeah…um, cept you guys fail…all the time….without uh…fail.  Imagine some dyslexic contractor spelling “SPECTRE” wrong or with a backwards “S”?
Growing up I watched a lot of TV and I was always fascinated by henchmen.   I really want some henchmen of my own, but I don’t know how to go about getting any.  I suppose the financials are a big part of this, but there are certainly other factors.   Bond Villain henchmen are an odd breed if you’re really paying attention.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  First, lets take a look at the” henching” or the “hencherry”
1. Getting the job:  I’m not talking about the specialist right hand men or women…Your Jaws, Your Pussy Galore or Your Odd Job.  I’m talking about the scores of rank and file guys who polish the laser cannon, water the plants, shoot at Bond ( and always, always missing) falling from high places when shot BY Bond with a loud and long “AHHHHHhhhhhhhhh”.   These are the non descript henchmen. How does one get the job.  Do they show up to open calls?  Put their resume on Monster.com?  Craigslist?   Do they dress up for the interview? Do they nervously sit in a room with other applicants wondering if they should have worn a tie or gotten a haircut?  Is there an interview process?  I don’t expect the Joe-Blow applicants to see Dr. No or Zorin immediately.   They probably meet with an assistant manager first.  Is there an employee handbook?  A company mission statement?  Are there annual reviews, and most important…how is the pay and are there benefits?   Frankly I think working on some island in a dormant volcano would be ideal for saving money.
2.  Company Policy: I used to work at Taco Bell a long time ago.  Anyone who has worked in fast food knows that the corporate Hell spawn LOVES to come up with soul sucking little slogans.  “If there’s time for leanin, there’s time for cleanin” is one they say at Burger King.   Everyone who has a job knows there are inevitably going to be some slackers.  I’m amazed that when Bond is sneaking around in some evil genius’ lair, that he hasn’t happened across a couple of the less than diligent employees hiding away in some quiet spot and sharing a joint or sneaking a cigarette.  What could the obnoxious and soul sucking slogans and motto’s be for these organizations.  “You need to put in some overtime to take over the world”.   “Assassins don’t take coffee breaks”?
I’m an informal sort of fellow.  I don’t have a fastidious bone in my body.  Although I have had jobs where management was often on me about my appearance…”Scott your shirt is wrinkled”  “Yeah, yeah so is my scrotum” I’d think to myself….Stuff like that.  All the Bond Villain Henchmen are never slovenly.   Maybe they don’t tolerate failure OR sloppiness.  There is always a scene in every Bond film where the bad guy kills off some minion and always in front of other employees.  I understand wanting to make an example, or tightening the reigns…I haven’t ever seen a hench or right-hand man killed for having scuffed shoes.
There are so many factors involved in looking for, getting a job, keeping a job, promotions and things of this sort. I thought I’d try to simply list them for the sake of brevity.
References and Resume: What are criminal masterminds looking for in henchmen?
Compensation:  Because I am essentially an unskilled worker, all of the jobs I apply for have “Competitive” listed under the salary.  This is nicey-nicey business-speak for “As little as we’re able to get away with”  What does a henchman make?  They always seem to be busy.  You don’t see them standing around, catcalling at women like union construction workers.   The secret lairs are always spotless…the floors are waxed and polished…and yet there are many things that are missing from your average work place.  Where’s the coffee maker?  You never see any henchmen in cubicles typing away or making copies. Imagine if while the criminal mastermind is laying down his plan to JB smugly and there comes a hesitant tap on the door.
Tap Tap Tap…
Henchmen,( looking sheepish) “Hi, uh sorry Mr Bloefeld…I don’t mean to interrupt but we’re need a few things from STAPLES. and a bunch of people called in sick today”
Bloefeld: “I’m kind of in the middle of something here…”
Henchman: “I know and I’m sorry, but Jenkins in accounting said we’re spending too much on office supplies, and we need to run any and all purchases by you personally”
Bloefeld (Rolling his eyes, and raising a finger to Bond…) “Excuse me for a second”  He presses an intercom button
Jenkins voice over intercom: “Accounting this is Jenkins.”
Bloefeld:  “Hi it’s me”
Jenkins: ” Hi Boss, what’s up?”
Bloefeld:  “Well I’m in the middle of a meeting now and I’m dealing with toner cartridges and paper clips…what’s going on here?”
Jenkins: “Yeah, sorry…it;s just we don’t have a lot coming in at the moment until the U.N. comes through with that ransom in gold bullion…I sent you an email about us switching over to Office Depot…”
Bloefeld (Getting annoyed)  Yes…I have Bond here from MI6, I’m going over the extortion, nuclear holocaust thing, and I don’t really have time for this”
Henchman (To Bond) “Crazy around here today”
Bond (Cocking an eyebrow) “You should swing by MI6 sometimes”
Henchman: “Well, it’s the end of the month…you know how it gets…Hey is Moneypenny still with you guys?”
Bond: “Yes, you know she got married?”
Henchman: “No kidding?  Oh that’s so nice…will you tell her I said ‘hi’?
Bloefeld (looking up, pointing at the intercom) “Um guys…kinda in a conference here”
Bond and Henchmen (putting a finger to their lips and mumbling “oh shh…sorry”
Bloefeld (Shaking his head and sighing)  “Um  OK Jenkins,  Just…um, oh shit…just go with whomever is cheapest”
Jenkins: “So cancel the Staples account?”
Bloefeld: “What did I just say? What-Ever-Is-Cheap-est”
Jenkins “OK  geez  sorry…I’ll deal with this right after lunch”
Bloefeld:  “No deal with it now
Jenkins “Um OK,  but that means payroll is going to have to wait…”
Bloefeld: This organization does not tolerate failure”
Jenkins(leaving)  “Yeah whatevs”
Bloefeld looking up at the henchman…”Can you get me some coffee and advil,  Mr Bond another Martini, and I don’t want to be disturbed”
Henchman:  “OK  sorry…” He turns to leave “Oh it was nice meeting you Mr…?”
Bond: “Bond, James Bond”
Bloefeld: “Sorry about that, where were we?”
Bond: ” Um   oh  the stolen nuclear warhead…”
Bloefeld  “Oh right…”

The Facial Epiphany

Posted: August 14, 2015 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

Last weekend while having a lovely Thai dinner with my dear friends; Gow and Poopie Pants, I had an epiphany.  It wasn’t a particularly pleasant one, but I suppose the point of having epiphanies is to become enlightened or inspired, and not necessarily to feel warm and fuzzy.  This one had the opposite effect on me.  It made me feel gross and sweaty.  Hopefully I can move forward after this moment of inspired realization and be happier and wiser.

Anyhoo, as I said we were having Thai food at a recently discovered little gem of a Thai joint in my neighborhood.  I had dined there twice before.  Once with the Gow, who was just as thrilled as I was to discover a new and solid Thai restaurant close to my home, after our former go-to Thai place closed after being priced out of the neighborhood.  I had also gone there with my friends Armando, Adam and his wife Mara.  We’d just come from a housewarming party down the street and decided to get a bite together,  We had also asked some other friends at the housewarming to join us, but a couple of them had passed out at the party, which incidentally is an integral part of many of my friends housewarming parties…that and a token vomiting on the rug or sofa.  Armando and I know Adam and Mara from the bar where I work where they are regulars at my weekly “Verbal Abuse Trivia” event.  Adam and Mara are a vegetarian and a vegan and bless them, they aren’t the least bit annoying about it.  Thai has nice options for these dietary preferences too.  Our meal was great, but our waitress wasn’t so hot.  She tried, was demure and polite, but she was quite disorganized.  Still the meal was good and the service wasn’t bad enough to tip poorly for or comment to management about.
Gow, Poopie Pant’s and I had the same waitress.  We were also seated next to two women and a baby who was sleeping in it’s stroller.  Sadly it is not socially acceptable to request a different table “because I hate children and babies”.  The baby also stayed asleep and thankfully silent throughout the meal, so the only person who wasn’t behaving was me and my ever accompanying crappy attitude.
I mentioned to the girls that I’d had this waitress last week and she wasn’t great,  As if on cue she then brought over a dish that we didn’t order for confirmation.  The girls giggled about this.  Later the waitress took our order and began to walk away before we were finished ordering.  I called her back.  “Miss?….MISS?”.  She turned around and looked at me and then walked away again.  Being the tremendously impatient fellow I am I made a face.  That was when I had my epiphany.  I make faces of exaggerated annoyance and impatience very easily as well as unconsciously. Naturally I can’t see myself doing it, but I have a strong suspicion that they are expressions of serious anger and utter disgust.
Now that isn’t nice and it isn’t how I want to be perceived by others.  Who wants to be looked at with contempt and disgust at the drop of a ha?.  My only saving grace in regards to this, and it’s a very small saving grace is that it is totally unintentionally done. No, I am not a patient man,  Yes, I am easily annoyed and probably disgusted too easily as well.  However the minor incident of a waitress making a small mistake certainly doesn’t warrant the look I shot her, and a look that I shoot far too often and at far too many people.
That was my epiphany.
I don’t want to be that guy.  Self and impulse control are not my strong suits. In fact, I’m pretty awful at them.
I was reminded of a couple occasions in my past where my sour facial sneer has been remarked upon.  One was from my ex-girlfriend Michelle in Boston.  She actually encouraged this expression.  ” I love that face you make” she’d say as we walked down the street.  “What face?” I’d ask.  “That ‘I’ll-fucking-kill-you-face”.  I told her I wasn’t aware of this face.  I was 19 or 20 at the time and a punk rocker.  I suppose that expression is de rigueur for young punks in their tweens.  So it wasn’t such a problem back then.  It went well with the Sid Vicious hair, leather jacket and the boots…plus the girl I was borking at that time was into it.
The second time my expression was mentioned to me was by my former employer; Wayne.  I was being “spoken to” about my attitude and impatience at work, which has been a reoccurring bone of contention between myself, customers, coworkers and employers.  One seldom likes being spoken to at work, and no one likes to hear that they have lousy attitude either.  It took me a very long time to comprehend that customers, many of whom may be acting like idiots or animals, don’t care for being sneered or barked at.  Employers aren’t generally thrilled with this either. 
I had discussed the attitudinal reprimands with my mother on a few occasions.  She laid down some great mommy wisdom on me.  First she explained that we can’t, and often don’t or wont see what we look or sound like to other people.  I could understand that.  I didn’t like it, and I probably cried when my mother told me this,  but I got  it.  She also explained that I wasn’t particularly patient and that I should work on this shortcoming if it was getting me in trouble at work or in life.
The problem here was that my mother could tell me these things and eventually get me to stop crying by telling me I was a “nice boy”. My boss Wayne was quite possibly the worst person in this hemisphere to be critical of my or anyone’s facial expressions.  Wayne was born without a sense of humor, and went through life with a perfect upside down letter “U” lemon sucking puss on his mug.   Furthermore, Wayne wasn’t ever doing anything work-wise to warrant such an expression.  He was generally standing around, arms folded and looking angry at his employees who were busting their humps and making him rich.  My favorite anecdote regarding Wayne’s management style was that he once spend 20 minutes looking for me to inform me that there was an empty bottle in the bathroom.  Now he could have taken 5 seconds to pick the bottle up and place it on the bar for disposal.
Maybe this is how epiphanies work.  People need to discover universal truths on their own.  Realizing that I make disgusted and annoyed faces as an all too frequent knee-jerk reaction is quite possibly a big step. How I stop doing it with such frequency is another matter. 
In closing I want to apologize to those who have had the dubious honor of my patented look of disgust and annoyance. I hope it is no small consolation for me to tell you, that it’s me, not you.  Perhaps you did something slightly annoying or rude, but based on what I know about Scott Trevor Swenson, the chances are, I over-reacted or reacted badly out of a very bad habit that I am trying to break.

Supermarket Justice

Posted: August 13, 2015 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

I have always excelled at obnoxiousness.  I’m really good at it.  I mean really good.  Ask anyone I went to school, worked or shared an apartment with…they’ll confirm this with accompanying stories of my obnoxious prowess.   Now being obnoxious is not an endearing quality, but it can, under precise and specific circumstances be funny or even useful.

Tonight I found a wonderful use for my God given talent.
I had a mighty hankering for a big pasta dinner.  So, I grabbed my backpack and hiked on over to “Key Food” my local supermarket for the necessary ingredients.  While going up and down the aisles I witnessed something ugly.  I saw a young woman knock into a very elderly man while blabbing away on her cell phone, and she just kept walking after doing so. No “excuse me”…nothing  I went up to the little old man and asked if he was OK.  He answered in the affirmative with a stoic ” What can you do?” shrug.  I smiled at him and patted him on the shoulder.  “Have a nice 4th of July” I told him.  “You too” he answered.  It was important to me to let this old fellow know that not everyone younger than 60 is a total cretin, just most of us.
The stupid bitch in question walked away as I said and I caught a bit of her cell phone conversation that was too important to interrupt.  She was talking about a manicure she’d had that day which she was displeased with. It was go time.
I was pretty much finished with my shopping, so I lurked over by the self checkout area and waited.  Eventually she meandered over ( still on her cell phone of course ) and I wormed my way in front of her.  Luckily for the sake of my idea 1 of the self checkouts was out of order and the other two were occupied by families with copious amounts of groceries. So this horrible woman was expecting to get the checkout station I was at as I only had a small basket of groceries.  Out of the corner of my eye I made sure she was watching and waiting for me and I began.  After scanning each item, I’d repeat the price “Two Ninety Nine” I’d say loud and gleefully.  Then I’d wait for the self checkout voice to say “Please move your  “Linguine” to the bag”.  Then I’d cheerfully answer “Okee Doke” pick the box of linguine up over my head and slowly lower it into the bag with a high pitched “WHEEEEEEEEEEEE” like a special needs child discovering a playground slide for the first time….OR, if you prefer, like Ned Beatty in “Deliverance”.  I did this obnoxiously slow procedure with all my groceries until I heard Ms Verizon Von Sprint heave an angry sigh in my direction.   I looked over at her and she did an exaggerated neck and eye roll out of annoyance and exacerbation.  I stared at her for 5 seconds and she returned the stare seething with anger and impatience.   I waved at her and began again “Please move your….Parmesan Cheese…into the bag  “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”.
After this I went home,  made my trough of pasta and basked in the glow of being a crusader for the elderly.


My full time best friend and part-time editor/muse ( Musitor? Edimuse?) made a writing suggestion to me today. It’s interesting having a woman as your best friend, because women remember select things we menfolk said that we weren’t necessarily paying attention to when we were saying them. “Yeah honey, Neo- Feminist Broadway musical “The Mighty Va-Jay” with an all deaf mute gay male cast…got a big write up in the Times? Well now, we’ll just have to get tickets for that.”

Fast forward to the AFC Playoff weekend…

“When did I say I wanted to see this? WHEN? I don’t care, the guys are coming over, I have spent 2 weeks pay on chips and beer, Armando is going to fire up his new grill right here in the living room…OK honey, stop crying, we’ll go….we’ll go…we’ll go, Oh I can wear my lucky Patriots hoody to the musical and were going out for Ethiopian buffet after with the ever-clucking hens from your office? That’s your compromise?. Well just kill me now God. I can die happy”

Women store up this information. Then they bring these things to our attention. They usually do this when they begin to lose an argument and need to switch to a higher caliber ammunition to get the job done. Let this stand as a warning for all men to ignore. They are always listening when we are running our yaps. They are storing up all that nonsense you’re happily spewing forth, and they WILL bring it up again, to be used against you at a most inconvenient time. You heard it here first boys.

“Know what I think you should write about?” The Gow asked me semi-rhetorically. I answered in the negative. “You should write about that time when you were making yourself upset about asking your dad to pick you up from the train station”. I vaguely remember this. Scratch that. I don’t remember it at all. However, the part of the sentence “making yourself upset” I can easily relate to, so maybe that’s why it seemed familiar. Sounds just like me.

I spend a lot of time making myself angry, anxious and upset. This is not so strange or uncommon I suppose. What is a little whackadoo where I am concerned is that I make myself angry, anxious or upset by imagining possibilities of things that have not happened. This is fascinating as I am quite easily one of the most anxious and angry people I know…and I know lots of angry and/or anxious people. Frankly, it is my opinion, that if you’re paying any attention whatsoever, you should be anxious and angry. Yet, despite being A&A, my silly little brain has to cultivate new and even fictitious things to keep me feeling “normal”. This is one of the curses of creative people. Our funny little brains are always on the go, knocking on doors, creating scenarios.

Now as I said, I don’t recall the exact reference that my musitor ;The Gow was speaking of. Apparently one time when I was going to visit the Pater, and I was making myself angry because I had to ask him to pick me up at a train or bus station, and I had expected my father to hem and haw over this, in turn I’d get angry and revisit every childhood trauma in the ensuing argument. I rehearsed in my head what I’d say, and every possible response. I got angrier and angrier at my goddamn selfish asshole of a father, who couldn’t be bothered to pry his ass from the couch and pick up his son who was coming to visit him. God forbid the bastard ever comes to see me. Oh NOOOOOO that would be too difficult. Visiting your son? How absurd, and another thing dad…let me just say for the record, I remember, oh I remember all too well that you were busy watching the Immaculate Reception documentary with your buddies, when I begged you to help me with my spelling homework. You blame ME for quitting school? Yeah, uh maybe think that one over Ward Cleaver…and another thing..

Get the idea?

By the way, according to my archivist, The Gow said my father told me he’d be happy to pick me up from the train station. Not a millisecond’s hesitation.

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

I think most people imagine and rehearse possible conversations, encounters and confrontations. Doesn’t everyone dream of telling their boss off and making them cry and beg you to stay with a huge raise and an apology?

What is scarier, where I am concerned regarding these inner dialogues that I rehearse all the live long day, is that they don’t always stay up in my head. Often they actually make it south down to my almighty cake hole and I start arguing with myself when I’m alone. Well, “muttering” is perhaps a more accurate description. I’m a big mutterer.. I finally figured out something about myself. I often tell people how important and valuable “my alone time” is to me. Now I know why. I have too many internal arguments that need my immediate attention. It’s important to keep on top of these things or I’ll run the risk of hurting the feelings of one of the little voices in my head. Can’t have that. I wrote about this once before…Well, sort of.

I like to think of myself as entertainingly and creatively insane, but not quite ready to be “taken away”. Although the psychiatric community may disagree with my vast and extensive community college expertise, but I think the difference between entertainingly crazy and need-to-be-taken away crazy, is that I don’t make up different little voices for my many and extensive inner disagreements. Know how I came to this theory? First of all I made it up, and second because Norman Bates did it in Psycho. I have also had the chance to observe that kind of behavior first hand, and it’s both scary and funny.

Years ago many of my friends and I moved out of the parental nests and jam packed ourselves into questionable roommate situations. One such situation involved my friend Colin, this girl I barely knew named Francine, a few dozen couch surfers and McKinley Moore. Professor Moore, as many people called him was more or less a street person and acid casualty from the 1960s. There were quite of few of these creatures bopping around my college town home. McKinley subsidized his income by buying liquor for high school and college kids who weren’t quite 21 years old yet. It may sound odd, but I assure you, there was money to be made doing this in a Massachusetts college town with strict liquor laws.

Regardless, McKinley was an odd duck. Like many street people, he had developed an aversion to bathing, which in turn caused an aversion to our getting within 10 feet of him in the hot, humid Summers. “Yeah McKinley, can you get me a six pack of Heineken and a pint of Jack Daniels. No the money’s over there waiting for you under that brick next to the VW Beetle…No no, don’t come any closer, I have uh poison ivy…Just get the liquor and slide it over to me with a broom stick.”

Bathing is a lonely business

Bathing is a lonely business

So, the eccentric and smelly McKinley lived with Colin, Francine and several others crowded into a two bedroom apartment. Francince’s room was actually a large walk in closet with a tapestry for a door and for privacy. McKinley’s room was next to hers. One evening, Francine tapped on Colin’s door when we were drinking beer and playing cards. She entered looking a little frightened. “McKinley is talking to himself” she said when we asked what was wrong. “Yeah? So?” we answered. This really wasn’t such an odd occurrence given McKinley’s overall behavior and his mannerisms. Francine got impatient and said “He’s having a conversation with himself and people who aren’t there…and he’s doing all these… different little voices for all of them.”

We exploded with laughter.

“It’s not funny you guys.” Francine whined. “I don’t have a door and I don’t want one of his imaginary friends coming in and killing or raping me in my sleep.”
“You’d rather be awake for the sex?” I offered. (An asshole and smart-ass even back then.)
Francine kicked me.
“When did he do this?” asked Colin laughing.
“Right NOW!”
“I gotta hear this.” said Adam who was there that night.

We all crept out of Colin’s room and toward the stairs quietly, or as quietly as tipsy men tend to think they are being and listened to McKinley’s convo. Sure enough, Francine had been telling the truth. McKinley had a funny and distinct voice. It reminded me slightly of the Cheech and Chong black blues-man character “Blind Melon Chitlin”

McKinley’s voice: ” I wonder if I should pop in and ask Francine if she has any….uh…grass.”
McKinley doing a weird high-pitched woman’s voice ” I don’t think she’s in her room.”
McKinley” Uhh are you quite certain?”

We listened to this bizarre conversation for a few more minutes, trying not to crack up. Francine changed rooms the next time someone moved out. Although I have always felt that McKinley was more or less harmless, I think I’d be a little disturbed hearing such conversations also.

So, luckily I am not making up other little voices for my inner dialogues. Not yet anyway.