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/ 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.
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  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.


Posted: December 19, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

I have been trying to be more patient, more…Zen, more understanding and more enlightened. I have found myself in serious danger of becoming the “Hey you kids, get off my lawn” guy. My mother, when living in a condo complex actually found yelling at small children from her window enjoyable, but I’m trying to put that phase of my life off for a few years yet. Besides, mom needed a new hobby, besides disapproving of her only son. I’ve always kept pretty busy.
> Unfortunately, despite my efforts, there still seems to be some vast and elaborate international conspiracy to keep me medicated and angry. I understand, I’m comedic entertainment personified when I mumble to myself, scowl and look up to the heavens and mouth “Why?”
> In one of my efforts to be more like a cross between Mr. Rogers and the Dalai Lama, I have made a serious effort to refrain from ranting about my profession. I’m a bartender, and a damn mediocre one at that. I’ve stopped with the weekly or bi-weekly laments of the pitfalls and wacky hijinks of my job. This is because, I frankly don’t think people want to hear ( or read ) about it. Plus, it’s my job. It took me decades to reach that elusive conclusion. Ever notice that with the perpetually cranky?. Their very profession and the work in entails seems to infuriate them It’s my job to pour drinks., restock the bar, do some cleaning, and be nice to customers in the hope that they will tip me, and honor me as well as my employers with their repeated custom ( and tip some more ) If I don’t like doing these things, I can go back to being a male escort and CIA mole. So, I am going to take a new approach. I’m not going to rant and rave. I’m not going to kvetch and bitch. I’m going to suggest. I’m going to suggest nicely, humorously, and kindly. There are inevitably going to be clueless and selfish jerks that make my job not so fun, Oh who am I kidding…there are people out there who make me feel like I am being punished for being a particularly sadistic concentration camp guard in a previous life.
> Suggestion Number One : Beer
> Once upon a time in American bars and pubs there weren’t many beers to choose from. You had your Bud, Lite Beer from Miller ( Less Filling-Tastes Great, Awesome commercials with Rodney Dangerfield and John Madden) there was Lowenbrau. Michelob and maybe, MAY-be some import like Heineken. It was easy-peasy-Japanesy to recite a beer list. Oh sure, people probably sang the Lowenbrau jingle to bartenders to their annoyance; “So tonight….TO-N-I-I-GHT…let it be Lowenbrau”, Annoying yes, but at the end of the day, that’s really not so bad, These days we have literally hundreds of imports and craft beers. Bock, Stout, Lager, Ales, Pilsners, IPAs, ICBMs, IUDs, IOUs and so on and so forth. According to statistics that I am pulling out of my ass, most bars these days have an average of 12-16 drafts and another 15-30 various bottles and cans. Every bar has a list of their bill of fare…or they line up all the pretty bottles and cans so you can see what’s available. The only problem with this system is that…people have to actually look, think and read. You see where this is going?
> .
> Instead of looking, thinking and reading, they ask for the information that is easily avoided BY looking, thinking and reading. They ask the bartender, ie ME. I can’t describe the personal difficulty I have in remaining pleasant, patient and helpful when someone stands 5 inches from the taps…the clearly LABELLED taps, and asks “What do you guys have on draft?’. This question is only acceptable if the customer making the inquiry has dark Ray Charles sunglasses on and a German Sheppard on a funny leash…Then I generally become quite helpful.
> Last week my boss Sean and I had a realization that I like to call “Murphy’s Law of Beer # 4A”.
> “Murphy’s Law Of Beer 4A”: If a customer asks what beers do you have, and you recite the entire list, the following conversation will always occur.
> Customer:”Hi, what kind of beer do you guys have on draft?”
> Me ( Being Nice and not pointing to the various labeled taps as I recite the list ) Sam Adams, Sam Adams Seasonal, Stella Artois, Guinness, Founders Porter, Lagunitas IPA. Goose Island IPA, Sweet Action, Radeberger, Wiehenstephan, Shock Top, Bud Light, Smithwicks, Old Speckled Hen and Harp”
> Yes we have this many beers on tap. Maybe I should point at each of the beer taps as I recite. I’ll just have to keep a big, friendly grin on my face so I don’t appear rude or sarcastic, despite being, y’know, rude and sarcastic.
> Customer: “OK I’ll have a Labatts”
> Me: “Uh we don’t carry Labatts”
> Customer: “You don’t?”
> Me: “No”
> Customer: “OK….what do you have again?”
> Me: “Sam Adams, Sam Adams Seasonal, Stella Artois, Guinness, Founders Porter, Lagunitas IPA. Goose Island IPA, Sweet Action, Radeberger, Wiehenstephan, Shock Top, Bud Light, Smithwicks, Old Speckled Hen and Harp”
> Customer: ( Here’s where the fun begins ) “But you don’t have Labatts?”
> Me:” No”.
> Customer: “Really?”
> Me: ” Yes….Really” (Thinking. ‘Yeah, I’m lying…you didn’t use the secret Labatts password and I’m not allowed to pour you one unless you do’. In addition to looking, thinking and reading, I see we’re going to avoid listening too.)
> Customer: “Um I don’t know….what was that third thing you said?”
> Me: (Hopefull) “Stella?”
> Customer: “No-o-o-o”
> A two minute pause while I stand with my eyebrows raised awaiting a decision. Customer stares blankly. They still haven’t read the labels on the taps.
> Customer: ” I don’t know….
> Me:( Smiling ) “Do you need a minute?” This is polite bar and restaurant speak for “I want to go away and come back when you’ve decided, or died while deciding”
> Customer: “No”
> Customer: ” I’m sorry, what do you have on tap again?”
> I don’t need to go on do I? The punch line of this joke is they will eventually order the blandest, commonplace beer ever. All that rigmarole and you ordered a Bud Light?
> Suggestion Number Two: Your Cellphone
> I have lamented over the complete lack of cell phone etiquette far too many times to revisit it again. My conclusion after extensive research:” Cell phones are rude inventions and people simply aren’t going to change the rude behavior associated with them. ” Yes, I have a cell phone. I use it less than 5 or 6 times a month. You’d be amazed how easy it is. No, I am not going to address your precious Apple, Samsung or whatever brand of life support system you’re constantly tapping on and staring at. I am going to address a common inquiry that confuses and frustrates me. If you’re always on your cell phone and simply can’t bear to be without it for 30 seconds, wouldn’t it make sense to carry a charger with you? As I have said I use my cell phone less than 10 times a month, and I keep a charger in my back pack. Want to know why? Because, as seldom as I use my phone, I understand it needs regular charging if I plan to use it.
> So, why…Oh why am I being asked 10 or 20 times daily “Uh do you have an I-phone 5 charger I can use?” Well now, let’s see, we’re a bar…we have stools, liquor, beer, cleaning supplies, the token drunkard muttering angrily to himself in a corner, a baseball bat under the bar for political discussions, first aid kit….but no, lo and behold no i-phone chargers for cell phone junkies. Isn’t it even a little presumptuous that you can use our electrical outlets and our electricity free of charge? I may start asking for a dollar from now on, and revel in the sadistic power the dealer has over a junky.
> Why on Earth would we have chargers for you? What else do you need at the bar? We have napkins and pens to write down the numbers of that guy or gal who’s looking sexy after 16 beers. We like giving those out, because the inevitable fallout makes us laugh to ourselves. We even have band case you’ve cut yourself. Know what we don’t have? Maxi pads, 1040EZ tax forms, insulin and hypodermic syringes, shoe laces….and we don’t have chargers for YOUR phone. That’s one of those things that fall solidly under the column of YOUR responsibility. I know that may seem inconvenient at best, and unbelievable at worst…but that’s how it is. Sorry.
> Sorry for this lengthy preface…the long and short of it…If you love your cell phone more than your mother…bring a charger with you.
> Suggestion Number Three: Water
> Bars sell alcoholic drinks. They are places where people get together to drink, listen to music, watch sports and drink some more. We have drink specials and go to great lengths to obtain the licensing to sell these alcoholic beverages. Yes, we have soft drinks available, but it’s not really the point of a bar. Recently I am noticing that people are drinking more and more (and more) water at the bar. Now there is nothing wrong with having some water. I have even recommended it to people who have had a lot to drink or are drinking especially sugary drinks to avoid a hangover. But, there is a ratio here that needs to be socially considered. If you’re at a friends house, you have one or two of their offered rice krispie treats, and not say, eight or nine. It’s one of those slippery and elusive decorum things. Similarly, you don’t have 5 or 6 glasses of water for one glass of wine or bottle of beer you’re drinking. If you’re really into water, stay home. Invite your friends for a big water party. They can bring big bottles of Evian, Perrier or Pellegrino in those pretty wine gift bags…Everyone can drink all the water they want and you can rent Sahara, Yellow Submarine, Water World or Titanic for entertainment. Have a blast. Go nuts. Just don’t inflict your hydration upon me or my place of employment. We have enough to contend with. Water doesn’t pay the rent for the bar. Water never gets a tip and doesn’t pay MY rent either. Fetching you glass after glass of H2O is keeping me from schmoozing and waiting on people who ARE tipping me, or keeping me from doing whatever side work I have to do before I leave. We still have to wash those glasses. It consumes small amounts of time and resources that build up after awhile. I’m not a jerk. I’ll get you a glass of water. I’ll get you two. I just want to sell a few drinks in the interim.
> I know what some of you are thinking. “What’s the big deal” about getting someone some water? I understand your line of questioning. Maybe it does make me seem petty and cranky… so let me put it into some perspective you might understand or be able to relate to.
> If you work in an office. and the person next to you in the soul sucking cubicle asks you for a paper clip…it’s no biggee. ” Sure Fred, here ya go…one paper clip coming right up”. 5 minutes later they ask you for another paper clip. “Well aren’t you the paper clipping dynamo today…here ya go my friend”… After the third and fourth paper clip, you might do an eyeroll, after five…Getting my point? Keep your water orders to a minimum, especially if the bar’s busy…or maybe toss Mr. Bartender a bean after getting 3 waters. That’s why we’re there. To serve real drinks and make money for ourselves and the establishment
> One last thing about the water. People often order water and tell their bartender “I’m rehydrating” or “Tryin to stay hydrated”.That’s nice. Let me clue you in on a little bartender’s secret. I think and care more about how much lint is currently between my two smallest toes than about your current state of hydration.
> Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions. If you’d please employ them the next time you’re at your favorite watering hole. we’ll all have a better time.

The Declan Chronicles

Posted: October 23, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

Among my favorite customers at the bar where I work are Scotty and his little boy; Declan. Scotty and I usually shoot the bull about sports, cooking, movies and music. We don’t discuss women, because being married his life is essentially over in that sense, and I don’t want to make him feel bad. He’s easy to talk to and I enjoy his company. He usually stops by for a beer or three with Declan after getting the little boy a slice of pepperoni pizza from the pizzeria next door. “Fold it in half and then eat it…You’re a New Yorker boy, and you’re going to eat you pizza like on”. Declan promptly ignores this and picks off the southern most slice of pepperoni and eats that before going into his own unique slice consumption technique.
While Papa Scotty drinks beer, Declan has a ginger ale which he asks for with a “Please” followed by a “Thank You”. I’m thrilled in this day of so many entitled little brats and their enabling clueless parents walking around that someone is teaching their child good manners, how to share and respect for elders. ( Although I hate being thought of as an “elder”, even to a three year old ) I once made him a Shirley Temple, but the sugary grenadine made him act like a Tasmanian devil under the influence of 3 double espressos.

I also thought I should address a little boy being in a bar. I can certainly understand the concern or disapproval of such a thing. Our owner is from rural Ireland where people bring their kids, dogs etc. to the local pub. It’s a warm and” neighborhoody” place and these are Declan’s neighbors who he has grown up around his whole life. We also take pains to ensure that no one swears or discusses anything “adult” near him.

Declan is a cute little boy with angel-blond hair. He’s quick to smile and laugh, plus he’s reasonably well behaved for a 3 year old. Frankly if he was anymore well behaved, I probably wouldn’t be so fond of him. I like kids with a touch of mischief to them. I have a low brat threshold and an appreciation for childlike devilry…Probably because I can relate to it. He reminds me a little of Calvin from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes I am also fond of the name “Declan” which is the name of an Irish saint. My employers also have a son named Declan. He’s never bratty near me, and on the rare occasion that he starts to cry or whine all I need to say is “Declan stop whining” or “Declan, be a big boy” and he’ll stop immediately. My best friend has expressed a great deal of frustration that this technique doesn’t seem to work with me. She has tried “Putting me in time out” but has found that I am generally more responsive to corporal punishment and yelling.

Recently Declan has been asking his father to drop by the bar to visit me more frequently. ” I want to go visit Uncle Scott”. Now I know I’m lovable and marinated in particularly potent awesome-sauce, but my little 3 year old friend has an ulterior motive in coming to see me. I have been bringing my computer to work and I take care of the bar’s ( and my) social media updates. A few weeks ago I went on youtube and found some clips of “The Swedish Chef” from The Muppets that I thought Declan might like to watch while his dad and I discussed the shortcomings of each other’s football teams. As I said, we don’t swear in front of the boy…so we spell out all the no-no words. “The Pittsburgh Steelers eat dead wino C-O-C-K” Declan was promptly hooked on The Swedish Chef. Scotty and my theory is that because Scotty likes to cook at home and Declan “helps” him in the kitchen that he relates to the chef. Plus, of course, the Muppets are wonderful for people of any age.

“Wanna see the Weedish Chef” Declan will exclaim when I plop my laptop in front of him. “OK…OK…hold your horses” I say (God, I loathe being a grownup and saying crap like that. Next thing you know I’ll be belching out parental clichés like “It’s good for you” and “Because I said so”) So I cue up “Weedish Chef” clips for him and seeing the rapturous delight on his face makes my life a little more worth living. We’ve watched every Swedish Chef clip at least 5 times, but he hasn’t tired of them yet…He even has some favorite clips which he has titled based on whatever the hapless chef was attempting to cook. “Popcorn” or “Pum-kin Carving” or as the Chef says “Kar-vin dee Pooompkin” he’ll request. as those are a couple of his favorites.

Scotty and I have attempted to introduce Declan to some of the other Muppets like Kermit, Statler and Waldorf, Pepe the King Prawn, Gonzo…No dice. He wants the chef and pretty much only the chef.

I am a huge fan of Beeker the masochistic and anxious lab assistant Muppet. I collect Beeker toys and I find him hilarious and cute. Today, I tried once again to introduce my young friend to one of my favorite Muppet characters and I cued up a clip of Beeker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew for Declan. Declan patiently indulged me and watched for a few seconds, and then his face changed to one of sad concern. I hadn’t thought about it until I saw the little boys face, but Beeker’s lot in life is pretty horrifying. He works for an incompetent scientist-inventor who uses him willy-nilly as a crash test dummy or ( dangerous ) product tester. I felt bad as Declan pointed at the screen and said to me and his father “He needs help” Yes, I suppose Beeker could use some help. I also felt hopeful in that this little boy of 3 is already learning empathy, pity , kindness and a desire to help others who might be having a hard time. Don’t ever lose that Declan…it can be in short supply in this world.

“Be a good boy, or there wont be any beatings for you”

In addition to the Muppets, I like to put Declan on my shoulders, toss him around and roughhouse with him. In the back of the bar where I work are some lounge areas with couches and small tables. I love to grab my little buddy, sling him over my shoulder and carry him to the couches while I announce in a loud voice ” OK boy…that’s it, you’re getting a beating” When we get to the couches I drop him on top of the cushions in a slamming motion and I punch the cushions next to him pro-wrestler style. “Arrrrgh” I exclaim, picking him up and pretending to slam him again. ” Oh, Ladies and Gentlemen…This once great fighter “Declan Dynamite” is in big trouble here at Madison Square Garden…” I say as I pretend to punch him and then tickle him mercilessly. Declan giggles and shouts. “Again!!!” I pick him up and “slam” him down a few more times, tickle him and make wrestling commentary until I get tired. He is the only human being I have ever met who asks to be tickled more, instead of begging the tickler to stop. I used to hate when bigger or older friends and relatives held me down and tickled me, and my ex girlfriends would start to look for heavy objects to brain me with whenever I tickled them.

After his beating, I usually announce “That’s it boy…get outta here now, yer buggin me” and will run gleefully back to his fathers side. Scotty will ask “Did you get a beating?” to which Declan will squeal blissfully “Yeah!!” Sometimes I carry him back to where his dad is and ask. “You want this back?” Scotty will answer nonchalantly ” I dunno, let me think about it”

Sometimes Declan wants to “Play in his cave”. What he means by this, is for me to put a couple of the small tables together for him to crawl under and in to…like a cave. I don’t want to deny him any fun, but I get a little worried he’s going to bang his head a good one on the low ceiling of his “cave”. I sound like an old lady telling him “Watch your head…don’t hit your head”. When did I become such an old lady?

These shenanigans have become quite routine. I started asking nonchalantly “You wanna beating Declan?” He immediately brightens up and squeals out a delighted “YEAH”. I make an exaggerated mean face and grab him, tossing him over my shoulder, then we make our way over to the couches. Scotty and the other regulars think this is hilarious. I suppose it is.

This routine has lead to some problems. Perhaps unaware of the literal meaning, Declan with his young child’s gift for horrible timing and brutal honesty will exclaim in public to his dad…”I need a beating” or ” I didn’t get my beating today and I’ve been good”, and all adults within earshot give Scotty a look of utter disgust prior to hopping on their phones to child protective services.

I experienced a similar reaction when Declan’s mother; Denise came in one day, and Declan piped up “Uncle Scott gave me a beating today”. Denise flashed me a less than pleased look at this and I shrugged sheepishly trying to explain.

Luckily now Denise is with the program, and even uses our game as incentive. “Declan, if you can’t act like a big boy, them I’m taking you home and No Beatings”

Top 20 Lists

Posted: October 17, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in Uncategorized

My cousin just sent me a “20 Things That Annoy Your Bartender” list/article online which I read both eagerly and dutifully. If someone was kind enough to think of me and send something that they felt I would be interested in or entertained by, it’s the least I can do to read it and thank them.

Thank you cousin Sharon.

There are lots of these types of articles bouncing around in internet-land. I have come across several and from many different professions. Strangely I haven’t read any listing the common laments of billionaires…well, just National Review and Fox News. I suppose it is safe to say that nearly everyone who has a job has something or some-things they can gripe about. The world’s a tough place, and as I am fond of saying “The general public isn’t generally very pleasant” People are entertained by lists of grievances and gripes that cover the pitfalls of their occupation. Everyone’s got them; from the triangle player of the philharmonic to the Walmart greeter, to the cops, ambulance drivers to soldiers( Getting shot at probably trumps my annoyance at the drunks who tear up coasters and leave messes for me)…Teachers and nurses always seem to have lots to be angry or frustrated about, but I’ll bet prison guards and meter maids, on the whole, have worse jobs. Prison guards routinely have feces thrown in their faces by inmates. How does that hold up to the jerk in your office who keeps taking your yogurt from the office fridge? Yeah? I thought so. Perspective is important.

I have even written my fair share of these types of essays. I’m not so much of a list maker, which seems to be the contemporary substitute for biting satire. I guess things move too fast these days to read and analyze something. It’s much easier to burn through a list. I’d like to earn a living writing or performing comedy, or just writing. However, I am well adjusted and possess enough self honesty to realize that there is a whole new top 20 list out there for successful ( a very relative term) or at least an employed writer or comedian with the things that make it an effort to get out of bed some days and sit in front of an audience, computer screen, or if you’re particularly good and in demand; both.

Stephen King, Matt Taibi, Danielle Steele, Bill Maher, or whoever, they all have very real gripes with their jobs that some of us can only imagine, and many that we probably cant. The latter is where your average Joe say’s “Aw Poor Widdle Baby….Is ooo having twouble wif aww doze millions of dowwars for tewwing jokes?” I do it too. Nothing makes me roll my eyes so fast I am in danger of ocular injury than seeing someone like Kanye West angry with his lot in life. Kanye seems very pissed off. Somebody give him a hug, huh?

I sometimes wonder how I’d handle literary fame. How many people have pestered Stephen King to read something they wrote? “Oh your roommate liked it, well that goes to the top of Mr. King’s Must- Read List.” Stevie seems like a nice fellow, so I’m sure he takes the essays, smiles and thanks them kindly.

As interesting and apt as some of these lists about my profession are, I am always equally fascinated with the commentary that follows. Lots of people like to kvetch…significantly less like to listen to or read kvetching. It has, what I like to call a “socially short shelf life”. It’s a precarious balance. We need to purge ourselves of the frustrations of our occupation, and the ever accompanying “How clueless so many people are, and how much they suck”. Similarly we need people to listen and to commiserate or agree with us. What people really like, and probably hope for, is to actually educate others on how to behave toward their waiter/waitress, police officer, dentist, doctor, or drug dealer. This all too often becomes a “Fools Errand”. Not surprising, but that’s a favorite expression of this particular curmudgeonly author.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when reading and especially writing these essays and lists, is that those annoying behaviors that make you fantasize of shooting sprees…Well, the culprits see things very differently, and for better or worse, very, very few of them are going to change.

My best friend who also often acts as my editor, literary agent and a plethora of other thankless ( and sans pay) jobs used to be a waitress and a bartender. When I lament to her, or write a piece about the nightmare shift I had consisting of trifling old ladies or mean drunks; she gets it. I was a salesman briefly, and I’d like to think that I get it in regards to the garden variety nonsense that salespeople must contend with.

So keep pumping out those lists. I enjoy “The Bitchy Waiter” blog. He’s funny, entertaining and I can relate. And I encourage my friends and family members to keep sending them to me. At the very least it shows that you’re thinking of me, and that I’m not alone.

However, I think it would be a wonderfully emphatic exercise for us to make a list of the 20 things that drive some other occupation crazy. Yet someone you feel complains too much or has it easy at their job.

Give it a shot…and send me the list.