G.A.F (Warning: This blog post contains coarse language and profanity….Don’t come crying to me if you’re offended. You’ve been warned)Posted: August 31, 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.
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.
Tags: Annoyances, Guys, Humor, Life
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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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 aids.in 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.
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”
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.
I have said it a million times( OK…OK…I’ve said it 5 or 6 times give or take); I LOVE Words. I think more than using new and cool words, I really love to discover them. When I say “discover” what I really mean is that I figuratively get off my literary fat ass and look up a word I have heard several times before, and yet I’m not entirely certain of it’s definition. I do like to misuse words, but I like to know that I’m misusing them, purposefully and for my own entertainment. My favorite example of cool word discovery is when I looked up the word “pedantic” after being told I couldn’t go to the bathroom by a teacher…IN FUCKING COLLEGE. In hindsight, maybe if I had held my groin, crossed my legs and squirmed around, maybe he’d have taken me more seriously. After hearing about this another teacher mentioned with a chuckle that “certain teachers at our college could be a little pedantic. I agreed and then I looked up the word, because looking smart and educated always takes precedence over being smart and educated.
For weeks afterward I used “pedantic” whenever possible. I slipped it in during lovemaking “Oh take that you pedantic slut…you know you want it” I took an extra special delight when I used it and others got a look on their face that they didn’t know exactly what it meant…Morons. I started using it incorrectly to see if I could get away with it, which is another one of my favorite word games.
“Hey Scott, you tried that new Mexican place “Loco Louies” on Astoria Blvd…how was it?”
“You know, I have eaten there twice, and I found their tacos and rice to be…pedantic, very pedantic Mexican food.”
“So, you liked it?”
Then in my most wonderful Coach Bill Belichick moment, I narrowed my eyes and mumbled ” I think I was pretty clear about how I feel about their food”
Once during a Pity Party and Reassurance Reception with my best friend, she once told me “Well honey you’re not the most prolific writer.” I became very quiet, told her I was tired and was going to bed, and then, after hanging up I wept. The next morning I woke up, still very depressed and finally decided to look up “Prolific”. It turns out, she was right…but I’ll never tell her that.
My latest word is “Misanthrope”. Now I knew contextually that it had to do something with hate or disliking, which sounded right up my alley. So last night I broke down and looked it up.
Misanthrope or misanthropist.
A person who has a general dislike or distrust for the human race. Although they dislike the majority of the human race they can function considerably well in sexual and friendly relationships. They are often humored and disgusted by the human species. They are not often harsh or bitter people.
Oh Great Spirit…It’s ME!! There is a dictionary definition of ME. Oh Happy Days. I’m going to send Miriam-Webster some photos of me to put next to the definition. I’m thoughtful that way. I am a misanthrope…not a selfish douchebag.
I find it fascinating that a person who dislikes humanity so much has chosen to spend the past 20 plus years in a city of eight to ten million other humans. I’d be so much better suited to working solo at a research facility in Greenland, playing Scrabble online and yelling out my window at penguins “Hey you kids, get off my goddamn lawn, I’m not telling you again”
Maybe the reason I’m in NYC is that it is such a paradise for misanthropes. The city that never sleeps is chock full of people just begging to have others shake their head in disbelief and disgust at them. Some of my favorite conversations with my NYC friends ( Yes I have friends, Misanthropes can have friends…it’s in the rule book) have to do with our shared annoyance and hatred of others.
“I wish they’d build a bridge over Times Square for RESIDENTS only, then not only will I be able to get around without crawling behind stupid tourists, but I’d still be able to spit on them”
“Oh I know. I was trying to cross Broadway the other day and was stuck behind two dumb assed hicks taking pictures of Bubba Gumps”
(In an exaggerated Southern drawl) ” Looka thar Jethro, that buildings got more’n FIVE floors high”
“Ah knows Bubba, Dat thar guide book said that Applebees is right ’round “chere”
I’m an agnostic ( Yeah, I had to look that one up too), and I still pray…sometimes several times a day. I was thrilled to discover that I could do both. I’m equally thrilled to discover that I can hate humanity, and still love individuals as well as have friends.
With the exception of humanity…the world’s an alright place.