Archive for May, 2011

Losing My Cool, Losing My Edge

Posted: May 22, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Me & Mine
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I can remember, and it wasn’t that long ago that I used to be cool.  I swear I was.  I was edgy and interesting and cool.  Today there were several telltale signs that I have indeed lost any edginess that I may have had.  I have descended into lame, and I fear it’s just going to get worse with time until someday when I end up in a home screaming  “CHANGE ME!!!” after an accident.  Then telling the poor nursing home orderly with the dubious honor of changing my adult diapers, whilst reminding him not to skimp on the baby powder, that I used to be cool.

Here are just a few of the signs that I am well past my prime.

(1.) Today I woke up and reminded myself that I had errands to do. (Cool people don’t DO errands.  I got up and got dressed.
(2.) I injured myself by putting my pants on too quickly.  One of my toenails was a bit too long despite my bodily landscaping efforts and it got caught on my pants legs and tore my toenail (and some toe also) off.  Who injures themselves putting on their pants?  Lame.
(3) Then I had to look for the coupons I was going to use at the supermarket.  It’s funny I don’t recall any cool cultural icon ever using coupons.  Not Elvis, not James Dean, not Madonna and certainly not Prince.  Prince wouldn’t be caught dead with a coupon for .75 cents of any two cans of Progresso soup.  Know why??  Because Prince hasn’t lost his edge.  He is still cool.
(4.) At the supermarket I was reading the labels for fiber and cholesterol amounts.  I don’t think any of the Stones or Sex Pistols ever gave a damn about fiber.  I just can’t picture Keith Richards backstage saying “Oi Mick, where’s my bran muffin?”
(5.) Then to my horror I found myself rockin’ out to the music being played at the supermarket.
There was once a time when I made fun of the music played in these stores.  It used to be bad cheese instrumentals from Simon & Garfunkel, The Carpenters and Air Supply.  Now it’s music on CD’s I actually own and felt good about buying.
(6.) The final step to my seriously un-cool afternoon was waiting for the school crossing guard to give me the nod before crossing the street.
What happened to me?

The $6 Bathroom

Posted: May 9, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life
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I have always maintained that the Great Spirit has a great, all be it strange sense of humor. Last Saturday I had proof of this. I happen to love potty humor, and as it turns out, so does “The Almighty”.

I had a freelance catering job in Midtown Manhattan on Saturday from 1:15 until 7 PM. I arrived early and was having a cigarette outside where the catering gig was. I was seized with some intestinal grumbling which meant that a dookie was in the mail, and I needed to act. I have learned not to ignore these warning signs and I started walking and looking for a bathroom. Of course I could just go upstairs to where the party was being held, introduce myself, and ask to use their bathroom to wash up prior to working. At that precise moment I wasn’t thinking clearly, and it just seemed a bad way to start off the freelance gig with “Hi I’m Scott, we spoke on the phone, I’m here to help with your party, but first I need to lay some cable.”

First I went by my former therapist’s office which was nearby. I would just tell the door person I was sliding an envelope under my therapist’s office door. He would be none the wiser. Unfortunately the outer door was locked. So I set off in search of another ‘outlet’.

A few words about my sensitive gastro-intestinal system. It has the temperament of a teenage girl who has just broken up with her first boyfriend. After trying the outer door to the therapist’s office, my bowels started doing “The Twist”. I was now at Def Con 3. My mind was racing with thoughts of “FIND A BATHROOM . . . NOW!!!” I was also reminded of all of those old Star Trek episodes when the imminent destruction of The Enterprise was on a timeline and either Spock or the ships computer was counting off the seconds until James T. Kirk would save the day with seconds to go. “What would Captain Kirk do?” I asked myself. Then it came to me . . . Starbucks.

I often write about how I hate Starbucks and how there are entirely too many of them around. Perhaps ‘hate’ is a strong word. I think Starbucks is too expensive, too many yuppies and I am a Dunkin Donuts man myself. There is one advantage to having Starbucks across the street from other Starbucks in NYC and that is they have bathrooms.

I set out to find a Starbucks feeling urgent and uncomfortable pressure under my 501’s. I was now at the point where my face was a pained grimace and I was walking like I had something up my ass, which I sort of did. It was now that I felt quite certain that God was watching me and pointing me out to angels and cherubs who also enjoyed potty humor. I could almost hear them laughing and nudging one another saying.” Look how he’s walking” and “Check out his face” and the inevitable betting as to if I was going to have an accident.

Now, If I didn’t need to find one there would have been a Starbucks every six feet or so in Midtown Manhattan. But in this particular emergency the only establishments around were exclusive hotels with doormen and security trained to keep cretins like myself from wandering in and using their bathrooms.

Finally off in the distance I saw it . . . the Starbucks green and white emblem . . . deliverance!! “Thank God” I muttered looking up into the clouds. Little did I know that The Great Spirit wanted to up the comedic stakes. I entered the Starbucks and grabbed a $3 spring water and got in line behind a man who wanted to know the price and ingredients of every item available. I tried pacing back and forth behind him and maybe he’d notice, apologize and say “Why don’t you take care of this young man, he obviously needs to drop a deuce.” This, of course didn’t happen and by the time I paid for the $3 water and asked the girl behind the counter if they had a restroom I was now at Def Con 4. She replied that there was a bathroom in the hotel next door. I went in the hotel and found a cleaning guy and asked if they had a restroom. He was a snooty little Hispanic cleaning person. “Jes but jew need a room key to jooze de baffroom” Fuck!!! Fuck and Fuckity Fuck. I left. This was bad. Really Bad!!! The Enterprise was almost surely going to be destroyed by the Klingons.

Next to the Starbucks was a little cafe restaurant. I went in and ordered a cup of tea ($2) and asked the man behind the counter if they had a bathroom. It must have been my pleading and pained expression that made him take mercy upon me. In hindsight it also may have been that he wasn’t too keen on my exploding inside his cafe. He handed me a key card and directed me upstairs to the hotels bathroom. I was off like a shot. On my way to my salvation, I passed the snooty little cleaning man who shot me a look of disapproval and followed me into the bathroom. That fucker . . . fine, he wants to get up close and personal for this exodus, be my guest. I burst into the stall, locked the door, dropped my pants and released the hounds. I crapped loudly and abundantly and the little cleaning bastard ran for the hills once he heard my thunder from down under. I was in the midst of my shit-gasm when I looked up and thanked the spirit in the sky for hotel bathrooms and merciful cafe managers. I was tempted to leave the aftermath unflushed for the asshole cleaning person. It would be sweet justice if the Michelin Guide Rating people came in for a cleanliness review and saw my fudge dragon there sticking out of the bowl. I decided against it. It was exactly that sort of behavior that made finding a bathroom in NYC such a quest in the first place.

I went back downstairs with a spring in my step and paid the good Samaritan for the tea and tipped him a dollar. So I can honestly say now that it costs $6 to take a crap in Midtown Manhattan. I made it to my catering/freelance gig on time and with a look of delicious relief on my face.