Archive for August, 2012

Irritant Du Jour

Posted: August 18, 2012 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine
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Today I got up and decided to get a few things done. I dragged two heaping bags of dirty laundry to the laundromat. I ran out of detergent after the first load and had to walk to the 99 cent store to buy a new container of Tide from the Chinese guy who works there and who’s voice sounds like he has been chain-smoking More Menthol 100s since he was 4. I know that tobacco altered tone. My Aunt Miggie had it. The detergent was $5.69 which was a far cry from the 99 cents the store claims to sell their merchandise for.

I was washing one of my body pillows. I like to sleep with body pillows, I can snuggle and cuddle with them and they don’t monopolize the remote control or yell at me to put the toilet seat down. I went home, had a mild temper tantrum cursing the humidity in my bedroom. Then I emptied my backpack and rode my bike to Key Food for some groceries. I gathered up my groceries and went to get in a check out line. There was a man sipping a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee who was kind of-sort of in line in front of me. He didn’t have any groceries. The line moved up and as it did so his girlfriend (I’m guessing) rolled up with a cart load of groceries that would have lasted through a nuclear winter. Without pause she pushed the cart in front of me and into the line. I stood back and thought…”Hmm well, I guess I’m behind you.” Then the girlfriend turned around and went back out into the market to get some more stuff. She returned a couple minutes later with some pita bread, turned around and went back into another aisle for something else. She came back with some canned tuna. Hopefully this was the end of these hi-jinx. Nope. She then produced a shopping list and started looking it over. I stood there with my face locked into a grimace of incredulous annoyance. Before she could go and squeeze the Charmin or be a choosy mother and choose Jiff I asked, “Excuse me, are you in line or are you shopping?” The boyfriend looked embarrassed, as well he should have as I had totally busted them on a supermarket etiquette felony. The woman made a face. “Are-You-Shop-Ping-OR-Are-You-In-Line?” I repeated? exaggerating and enunciating every syllable obnoxiously. The girlfriend looked visibly upset. “Ex-CUSE me?” she said.


They “Key”, I guess is to have more patience than I can muster.

Whenever I have to repeat myself more than twice I lapse into mock sign language and speaking with a deaf person’s “accent” “Are Dew In Dine Or Are Dew Choppingg”? “What’s your problem?” asked the girl. The guy kept sipping on his now empty iced coffee. The wimpy silent type. “Well” I began. “I have two problems where you’re concerned.” “One” I continued “Is that you are shopping while your partner here holds a space in line, and that space happens to be in front of me…and Two: I have to share a neighborhood, a city and a planet with two obviously selfish and oblivious people…what’s worse is that you probably drive and vote, which frankly terrifies me. It is the cumulative effect of micro annoyances from people like you that cause shooting sprees.” She began to reply, but I held my hand up, wished them a good day and moved onto the self check out. There was one woman in front of me in self check out. It wasn’t until she got the total of her purchase that she began riffling through her purse for her wallet and then through her wallet obviously having an inner debate whether to use cash or credit cards. Women do this crap all the time and it drives me bat shit. They do it at the bar where I work too. They are in such a hurry to have their drinks made and then act surprised when you tell them how much they cost and go digging through the bottomless recesses of a leather Gucci or Chanel knock off. Be a man ladies. Have a twenty out in your hand. This is why you aren’t allowed to serve in combat and make less money than men.

I pressed “Spanish” on the self check out because I like to pretend I am bilingual. I scanned my merchandise “El peso no es correcto” I picked up my provolone cheese and re-slammed it back into the bag. “El peso no es correcto” Fucking thing. They need to add a kicking feature to these self check out lines so that we can reset them and alleviate stress at the same time. All machines the public uses regularly should have a kicking or punching feature built in. Computers should restart with a good solid punch, and ATMs should be smacked once for every $20 you’re trying to take out. It would alleviate a great deal of stress.

I headed back home after purchasing an iced coffee for myself and rode carefully on my bike while smoking and sipping coffee.

I got home and had another mild temper tantrum over the heat and humidity.

Yeah . . .read my blog, sheee . . .nyeah

I’m an odd duck. It’s OK. I rather enjoy it. I’m unique and I have reached a point in my life where I am not so concerned with who finds me to be entertaining or just a big old dork with an absurd sense of humor. I refer to my style of humor as “Dadaist” because I’m pretentious too.

The Gow “gets” me. That is one of the many reasons she is my best bud. Today for example the music station at work was tuned to some kind of soft rock crap. I was suddenly seized with an impulse to call the Gow and sing along to a Michael McDonald song in my spot on Edward G. Robinson impression. Maybe “spot on” is an inaccurate description, but I like doing it, and the Gow likes listening to it, so that’s all that matters. Lots of people today don’t know who Edward G. Robinson even is. He was a famous actor in old black and white films, often playing a gangster. He was also a common impression at the time. Every half-assed comedian or MC would do Edward G, Jimmy Durante, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and maybe James Stewart.

Yeah, def-definately good at impressions. Yeah

In the ’70s everyone did Archie Bunker and in the ’80s everyone thought they had Jack Nicholson down pat. The voices I am proficient with are Bill Clinton, Elvis Presley (which is actually similar to Billy Jeff Clinton) movie characters like Tony Montana from Scarface, Ray from Rain Man, and Forrest Gump. I’m sure there are other voices I am adept at, but I can’t think of them at the moment. There are also voices I desperately wish I could do like Christopher Walken, Don Knotts and William Shatner.

Now a solid impression is one thing, but to really get a good reaction (i.e. laugh) is to have the character say something funny, clever or decidedly “out of character.” One example is my Mr. Magoo impression. Mr. Magoo was an extremely near sighted cartoon gentleman whose voice was provided by Jim Baccus who also played Mr. Howell on Gilligan’s Island and stars in Rebel Without a Cause. With the exception of Youtube it is very difficult to find Mr. Magoo cartoons as they were yanked for making light of blind people. I’ve often wondered who the asshat was who told the blind people and had to go and ruin a wonderful cartoon for everyone. To be fair, it might not have just been the blind who were offended. Mr. Magoo had an Asian man servant named “Charlie” who was the most racist Asian stereotype ever. Charlie wore an Asian “coolie” hat, had squinty eyes, HUGE buck teeth and called his master “Mistah Mah-gloo”.

The only picture of Charlie I could find. Gee, I wonder why.

My favorite out of character moments to lapse into these voices are lovemaking, ordering food at a restaurant and the jury selection process.(Haven’t been chosen yet!!)

So today while listening to soft rock, something in my funny little brain clicked and I decided to call The Gow and sing along to the Michael McDonald song in Edward G. Robinson’s voice.

And she giggled with glee as I went through much of Mr. McDonald’s catalog ending each lyric with Edward G’s patented “Yeah…sheee?”

She gets me.

Doctors Visit

Posted: August 6, 2012 by S. Trevor Swenson in Life, Me & Mine
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I just threw up in my mouth a little

I suffer from anxiety or “panic” attacks. I have for several years. They can be pretty awful. What might be the worst thing about them is the reactions I sometimes receive from other people, which is essentially a “get over it” type of response. This is the same sort of reaction many people who suffer from things like depression often get. My mother used to tell me that people have difficulties in understanding or having any compassion in regards to ailments they themselves haven’t suffered from. I suppose this is true. I’m not looking for sympathy here anyway. There are many lifestyle changes I can (and have) made, and in terms of physical or emotional ailments; my panic attacks are a relatively minor cross to bear. One of my favorite expressions is “If I want to see real misery I’ll visit a burn or cancer ward” Perspective in my not-so-humble opinion is a very important sense to have in life.

When I had medical insurance I saw a wonderful psychiatrist named Dr Termine. He was a disarming, younger fellow. Very kind and compassionate, but not a pushover. He didn’t allow me to BS him. Sadly I was no longer able to see him when I left my former job and lost my insurance. Dr Termine had given me SSRIs (Selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors) These are medications like Prozac, Wellbutrin and the newer anti depressants which can also be used to combat anxiety attacks, social anxiety, PTSD…Coupled with lifestyle changes like cutting down on caffeine, alcohol and exercising more they really helped.

I started seeing a Filipino doctor in my neighborhood for the prescriptions that Dr Termine had given me. She was nice enough, but I didn’t care for her office. The staff in the medical clinic were either rude, hadn’t mastered the English language or both. My appointments were always at least an hour to an hour and a half late. I’ve noticed doctors never apologize for excessive lateness. There is a definite arrogance that abounds with many doctors and others in the medical field that I don’t care for. This is one of the reasons why I steal as much as possible when left alone for 45 minutes in some doctor’s inner office. I may have to pay $125 for a 15 minute appointment, but damn it, I’m walking with my pockets full of tongue depressors and alcohol swabs. That’ll show ’em!


Don’t you feel better looking at this? Come on, you know you do.

A person is not supposed to stop taking these medications abruptly, I had to do something. I decided to go with another doctor for the prescription. Last December I had gone to an urgent care clinic in Manhattan when my
wisdom teeth were having a temper tantrum and I needed anti-biotics and possibly pain killers. The clinic was fast, clean, efficient, good magazines in the waiting room and a mural of Cookie Monster in the children’s waiting area that cheered me up to look at. I was in and out in literally 25 minutes. I saw a nice, friendly younger doctor who took a looksee in my mouth and deemed my condition worthy of anti-biotics and pain killers. I decided to give the friendly clinic another go.


In the examination room a young Indian doctor joined me and the medical assistant in no time at all. I explained that I needed a refill for a standing prescription that I was not supposed to stop taking. I showed him the empty bottle. He

Why are the streets never this empty when I’m trying to get around Geriatric Rihanna?

asked which doctor I had been seeing and informed me that he knew her when I replied. He then began to lecture me that I should be following up with a psychiatrist for this sort of medication. I agreed with him and explained that I was an uninsured, poor working class stiff with little money and that I was also a student. He was not dissuaded and continued to lecture me. Then I got angry and began to argue with him in regards to what sort of psychiatric resources were available for the uninsured in the city (ie next to none..I know…I’ve looked) He kept saying how he worked in city hospitals and he just knew … I countered by asking him if he had ever asked anyone on the waiting rooms of these places how long they traveled to get there and how many hours they had been waiting? Was he aware of the rampant bureaucracy involved? He was young. I have reached yet another bittersweet milestone in life where I am now older than doctors and policemen, and in true grumpy old man fashion I now think they’re all idiots.

As we traded quips back and forth I felt a little bad for the medical assistant in the room. Looking back, maybe he is an arrogant little prick to work with and for too, so for all I know she may have appreciated the sweaty middle aged man seeking psychiatric medications giving Doogie Howser the what for. I was very tempted to give him a backhanded slap and watch his glasses fly across the room I later told Gow of my intense urge to slap him and she giggled and stated that she wished I had. I explained that slapping doctors is generally not very conducive to obtaining the prescription one came for in the first place. If it was, drug seeking addicts would have heavily calloused backs of hands and have little to no trouble in getting the meds they were seeking. I just shut my mouth and let Dr Smug get on with it. Later I thought that I should have asked him to take a look at the moderate case of excema that has been thriving on the back of my legs (and more appropriately on my tushy) for months. It would have been the perfect, yet subtle jab to make him reconsider the whole medical school decision.

I left with my prescription in hand and a muttering on my tongue for the long sweaty journey home.