Archive for the ‘General’ Category

huh

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.

How Full Of Shit Are You?

Posted: August 24, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Life
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
http://quizdoo.com/

Not without several years of training I’m not!

There are these tests on Facebook and probably throughout the internet. “Are you going to Heaven?” or “Are you more street smart or book smart”…They’re silly things that help pass the time, and that we can post in Facebook to look more interesting….as long as we’re not meeting anyone in person.

I got to thinking about some good ideas for tests. Important info for people to know, and important to know about yourself….Not as important as “What True-Blood Character Are You?”, but pertinent info nonetheless.

How about…

How Full Of Shit Are You?” I asked my best friend how full of shit I was tonight and she told me “Average I guess”. I suppose I was hoping for a “Not very” I told her I’m sorry, and I’ll work on it. I appreciate her honesty. This would make her not so full of shit, which is a good thing, and probably an excellent choice to ask these important questions of.

How Annoying Are You?” I don’t think people think they’re very annoying or annoying at all. I can be annoying, but I also think I’m slightly more self aware than the average bear. I’m also one of those who is entertained by annoying others… subtly of course. Tiny torments can amuse me for hours if not days. There are also different types and levels of annoyance.

I find subway "entertainers" very annoying. Feel free to judge.

I find subway “entertainers” very annoying. Feel free to judge.

How about, “Do You Generally Know What You’re Talking About?“. I suppose that could also possibly be filed under the “How Full Of Shit Are You.

I think there are subtle differences. I think I am more ‘full of shit’ than going through life not knowing what I am talking about. I certainly don’t know everything, and I try to be certain when I speak on various subjects. I think my “full of shit” comes into play in(hopefully) a somewhat harmless manner. I make comments or chime in on discussions where I know a little, but I probably make it seem like I know more than I do. I like to talk, and I have a gift for gab. I hope I’m not “full of shit” in an eye-rolling “Oh God Here we go” kind of way. I have worked in bars for several years, and I see this kind of thing often. I see when certain patrons walk in and others mutter to themselves or whomever is next to them. They groan and the whisper comments. I’d hate to be thought of like that. I know everyone doesn’t like me. I know it’s impossible to be liked by everyone ( Or it’s pretty damned difficult)

I have been thinking recently that one of the biggest problems with assholes, is that they not only have no idea that they’re assholes, but they wouldn’t and wont believe others when they tell them. Sorry for all the potty-mouth in this essay…”Full of Shit” and “Assholes”. I’m trying to reel in my swearing, I just feel for the sake and feel of this piece that these are the best words or expressions.

I think it’s important to try to be aware of how full of shit we are. It’s also important to try to keep that in check or improve upon it…ie trying to be less full of shit. I wonder if I were to be followed around with a camera for a full day or week if I would cringe at some of my more full of shit moments. I probably would, but that’s a good thing. One should cringe at such behavior.

I have been writing a great deal of haiku recently. They’re not great, but my friends and family seem to enjoy reading and commenting on them. A couple weeks ago, the middle line of one of my haiku was ‘Try not to be an asshole”. This is sound advice and a good philosophy.

In closing, I’d like to say to those who know me, that I’m sorry if I’m an average level of “full of shit” and I will try to be more aware and address this. Maybe I can improve my batting average, My best friend is a kind person, and she’d never say that I’m average in the full of shit department out of malice. Hell, she wouldn’t hang out with me if it was a major issue I suppose. Like a true best friend, she wants me to be my best, while still loving me for who I am… However, I do think the average person is quite full of shit, and not terribly bright. I know that doesn’t sound very nice, but it’s honestly how I feel…Therefore, I don’t want to be part of that gang. I want my full of shit tank gauge to be pointing closer to “Empty”

Thanks For Reading By the way…I scored more book smart than street smart ( I disagree) and the chances of my going to Heaven are pretty solid. I never took the True Blood quiz.

Those of you who know me and read my nuggets of wit and wisdom on facebook are all too aware that I have little to no patience for oblivious and self important text messagers plodding along on public sidewalks, paying no attention to anyone or anything else and forcing the rest of us to play an involuntary game of Marco Polo or Blindman’s Bluff.  I am also easily annoyed by people who feel the need to inflict their banal cell phone conversations upon the rest of us at a publicly unacceptable volume in places like bars, busses, subways, coffee shops and doctors offices.  You know, the rest of us don’t need to hear your break up. your anger toward your children or significant other…In fact, there is little to nothing that you’re saying on your Samsung life-support system that the rest if us need or want to hear. 
Thanks to my friend Ralph, I have come up with a positive and hopefully effective counter tactic for this behavior. Ralph just turned 90 years old, and I count my accessibility to his wit and wisdom among my many blessings.
So, from now on I shall open up whatever book I am reading at the moment, start to read and plow into whatever texter is hogging the sidewalk without bothering to look up and share with the rest of us.  Upon impact I will look up at them and apologize. “I’m SO very sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going or what I was doing, and on a busy sidewalk no less.  Will you please forgive me?”
For those inflicting their conversation on the rest of us, I will simply crack open my book and start reading aloud…in an ever so slightly irritating and unacceptable volume.  When they inevitably stop and glare at me, I will again apologize.  “Oh, I’m sorry, you didn’t really want to listen to me rambling on did you?  Sorry, I will bring it down to a volume that doesn’t bother others.”  The only trouble with this is that I have a good voice and great taste in reading material,  so people might actually want me to continue reading them a story.
It’s great to have found a positive and non violent solution to this issue.

God’s Questionable Sense of Humor

Posted: May 24, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Life, Me & Mine
God has a funny sense of humor.  Ever had a friend who laughs when you’re getting pissed off about something, or at some small yet entertaining misfortune?  That’s my relationship with Heavy G…The Almighty. 
I left home for the second day in a row, slightly late for work…Only 5-10 minutes, but late nonetheless. Now I am generally a prompt person and prompt people take being on time rather seriously.  I have internal nightmares of my employers discussing my termination for being late 2 days in a row.  For those of you who are kind enough to read my blog regularly a lot of this will seem familiar to you, so please bear with me.
I arrived at Dunkin Donuts as I was running too late for my ever important second cough of cuppy.  Inevitably I got the DD’s staff member with the lazy eye and the severe case of coffee order dyslexia.  The name on her tag is “Minuti”  which in her native India means “Vengeful Goddess of Incompetence”
Me: “Hi.. Small…coffee,  a little milk  and two Splenda” I said clearly, and enunciated the important bits.  I don’t know why I bother.
She looked up at me…or perhaps to the woman to my left given her lazy eye’s direction and got every…single…part…of my coffee order wrong.
“Large coffee, cream and 3 sugars” she told the staff member serving the hot joe.
“N-o-o-o-o” I said emphatically. I repeated my order and afterwards muttered “You know…the same thing I have been ordering from you for over 7 years”
I’ll spare you the 5 minutes of getting my difficult coffee order to resemble what I wanted.  My friend Ruprecht has a theory that they see me approaching daily and perform the Marx Brothers routine on purpose.  At this point I wouldn’t be surprised.
I boarded my train and according to the clock in the car I was 6 minutes late….OK…this is acceptable.
Sure enough Heavy G was conspiring with Mr Murphy, that fun fellow with that funny law.  The station I get off at to work to work is 49th St.  There was an announcement at the station before this that my train would be “Going Express” and “Skipping 49th St station”   OK.  I exited at 57th and waited.  5 minutes later another train pulled into the station and I boarded it.  “This train will be making express stops…the next stop will be Times Sq-42nd St”.  I exited again.   Four more trains…the same thing.  I started to become dubious.
Finally I boarded a train which announced “Next Stop….49th St”   Now we’re cooking with gas.   The doors closed and an announcement came over the intercom…you guessed it….”We will be bypassing 49th street due to signal problems”  Well, now I was committed to a trip to the ninth ring of Hell…42nd St.
I saw as we passed by 49th street station that HUNDREDS of people were awaiting a train to come their way.  It made me wish that there was some kind of …oh I don’t know..some kind of futuristic “tele-phonic” device to “call” the station at 49th street and make an announcement to the commuters waiting there that they might want to make other arrangements.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we had that kind of technology at our disposal?  If only…
I got to Times Sq Station and luckily the MTA ( Metropolitan Transit Authority) was all over this situation with over 50 employees standing around in hard hats and orange vests looking annoyed and doing…bupkis .
Oh God…you silly motherfucker.

Day Off

Posted: May 24, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Home, Life, Me & Mine

 

Today was my day off…and it was a good one. One important factor involved in this was that my best friend  ( The World Famous Gow) was in town visitinv  I slept late with my BFF; The Gow and my cat Bella and leisurely drank two cups of coffee while thinking about how to squander the day.  Staring me in the face in my chamber of filth was a pile of laundry that the EPA was stating to take an interest in.  “I need to do fluffy-foldy today,” I told The Gow, and she was game to help me, which is one of the reasons I adore her so much.  The Gow wanted Indian food.  During her visits to NYC I have turned her on to both Thai and Indian cuisine.  For a person who has a low spice tolerance, she is quite the trooper about trying new things. We had a quick huddle and decided to have Indian food ( “and get your own Nan bread…” the Gow informed me prior to ordering) delivered.
I called our local Curry Castle and managed to refrain from doing my Ghandi impression while ordering lunch… Having an unamused restaurant host or waiter blow his nose in my chicken vindaloo isn’t worth the poor-impulse-control-and-slightly-racist chuckle.   I shoved my laundry into two machines.  For once I didn’t overstuff the washers.  Sometimes I jam so many clothes into a washing machine that they came out dry after the wash cycle.  I even separated my whites and colors as Bella decided last week that an expensive white bed-spread was a great place to ralph up a hairball.  Thanks Kitty.
My roommate came home with a Toys R Us bag in tow as I was heading out to throw my wash into the dryer. My eyes lit up immediately and I asked hopefully, ” Didja get me a toy?  Huh?  Huh?  didja?”  She smiled and answered in the negative.  She had bought a toy for her nephew in Brazil when she visits next month. I smiled back muttering “Fuck your nephew you selfish cunt” and stomped off to the laundramat. I wanted a toy goddamnit. Luckily the Indian food arrived after I got home and we had an amazing meal. We’d ordered lamb, lamb, chicken and two nan breads.  One for each of us.  Gow picked up one of the nans and smelled it exclaiming “Whew!!”  “Is that the garlic nan I ordered”  She said “yes” and sure enough it smelled so strong of garlic that I had no doubt there were Counts in Transylvania who were reaching for the air freshener.  The meal was delicious.
After lunch we ran back to the Laundromat and folded everything up neat as a pin.  The Gow was of the opinion that my standard procedure of washing my laundry and dumping it on my bed afterwards is not particularly conducive to a tidy bedroom.  “But, it’s clean” I explained. “Honey, you exhaust me” she replied with a patient sigh for the first of what would surely be hundreds of times during her visit.  I smiled and said “I know”
We fluffed and folded everything while I pointed out various articles from the Scotty Collection and made commentary about which were my favorites. “Like these undies”….”I don’t like these…can’t wait til they wear out”.   Gow smiled and nodded much in the fashion of a parent or guardian indulging the non-stop ramblings of a small child.
After laundry and lunchie came the day off tradition of the afternoon nap….and it was good.

No One Cares

Posted: January 26, 2014 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Life, Me & Mine, You & Yours
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Really, no one is listening to The Conversation you're having.

Really, no one is listening to The Conversation you’re having.

We probably wouldn’t worry about what other people think of us if we could know how seldom they do- Olin Miller

A few years ago while I was being tested in college for Attention Deficit Disorder and other learning disabilities, my mother sent me a book with the above quote in it. The book was called The Most Brilliant Thoughts Of All Time ( In two lines or less ) The reason she sent the book was because I think she started to recall my attention level as a child and teen, and the many difficulties it caused she and I. Being a romantic I like to think that she felt a little bad about the years of fights and dramedy that were a result of my inability to focus, pay attention or…Oh there’s my remote control…. Oooooo… a Happy Days marathon…that sounds promising…. That Fonzie is such a card…Now ,where were we?

This quote stuck out as I had been pondering a piece titled “No One Cares”, which coincidentally is remarkably similar to the essay I’m typing up at this very moment. I became inspired to write this as a result of my anger and frustration toward a couple of regulars who drink in the bar where I am employed. When people frustrate us, yet we are unable to confront them for various reasons; (we work with them, we work for them, they are bigger than we are,they’re attractive and might sleep with us, they have a badge and gun, they are elderly, they are small children…the list goes on and on) we often spend a great deal of time thinking about what we’d like to say to them if the dynamic of the situation were somehow different. As a bartender,like anyone who’s job it is to deal with a rude and disrespectful general public, I have to contend with a fair number of assholes regularly. In the interest of building and maintaining customers and keeping my job, I have to find ways to hold my tongue, paste a smile on my face and interact with these people. I must find a way to do so in a reasonably pleasant and professional manner. So, I find myself rehearsing in my mind various cutting remarks that would make them flee from the watering hole in shame, or apologize to me and hand me hundreds or thousands of dollars in retroactive tips, or commit suicide. Keep in mind, I can’t really utter these well rehearsed and justly deserved dressing downs. Chances are it wouldn’t do any good. People don’t change after a stern talking to like in TV shows and movies…regardless of how clever, true and deserving the dressing down might be. Plus, I’d probably get in trouble and possibly lose my job. To put it bluntly and succinctly, we all have to take bites of the shit sandwich that is life.

One of the aforementioned customers is a rather dour man who never tips. Tips are my livelihood, and are therefore extremely important to me. They are yet another reason why I try to refrain from having verbal meltdowns with customers. Adding to the frustration of this customer’s stiffing me daily is his personal and socio-political philosophy, He is a self described Marxist. This is a man who goes on and on ( and on) about the plight of the working man. He obviously fancies himself some kind of working class hero. Now it has been a while since I have read Marx and Engels The Communist Manifesto, but I don’t recall the chapter on gratuities and the running dog capitalist waiters and bartenders who suppress the proletariat and keep them down. Like most tipped workers, I am also taxed on my gratuities…This means if and when I am not tipped, I am essentially paying to serve people drinks.

NoTip

In addition to being stiffed daily by this man as I pour pint after pint of Guinness for him, I resent his slight air of smugness about his never tipping me. It’s almost as if he believes that he is doing something noble and virtuous by screwing me. Furthermore, he probably feels superior to me and more enlightened that I simply can’t grasp his strict policy of not tipping for services rendered. Of course, this is the general attitude of tipped workers whenever they encounter cheap, petty and trifling customers. We have a long memory of who doesn’t tip us.

The particular telling off of this man that I go over and over again in my mind would be to point out that no one, repeat, No one gives a shit about his political theories. No one, repeat No one discusses at great length, or any length for that matter what a working class hero he is. Despite what he may think, No One Cares.

Now these sorts of statements could potentially cut a person to the bone. It also made me realize something . 99% of us have strong perceptions and beliefs that are immensely important..but only to us. Again, No One Cares.

Just like Trotsky-Tipless, I have strong perceptions of myself that are varying degrees of truth, fiction and everything in-between. However, with very few exceptions, No one really gives a damn. Now this is not a pity trip. It’s simple reality. I’m just as guilty of this apathy. Hell, as a former punk rocker, a current New Yorker and lifelong cynic…I’m probably more apathetic than the average bear. If ‘No One Cares” can be said about most people, then I would somehow manage to care less. It’s a warped point of pride with me. Probably similar to the point of pride I imagine Mr Persona- Non- Gratuity has about being a cheap bastard.

Perhaps this inane little observation goes much further than I ever could have imagined. Maybe, just maybe it’s a huge part in the very meaning of life. Is it possible that getting others to care about us or issues is the key to happiness, health, wealth and self actualization? It is also interesting to note that even people who are deemed interesting or important to care about by the media often fall victim to the curse of “No One Cares”. Isn’t it safe to say that many of us roll our eyes at the daily and hourly reportings on Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Professional Athletes, The Kardasians and their ilk? And what is our first and most primal reaction to them? That’s right. “Who Cares?”

Just eat your food. There is no need to Instagram it first.

Just eat your food. There is no need to Instagram it first.

Other people’s favorite hobby seems to involve a shift in focus from “No One Cares” to a “You shouldn’t care about that, but rather focus on this”. Often these people are well meaning and trying to garner interest and awareness in worthy causes…. or perhaps more accurately, causes they feel strongly about. We’ve all met these people. You’ll be cheerfully discussing something or someone, and they will tut tut and inform you of something infinitely more important.

In my refraining from going off on the working class zero who never tips me, I have started to focus on things that are important to or about me that fall securely into the “No One Cares” file. I’m a writer, or at least that’s what I tell women I’m trying to impress. The fact of the matter is that. A: I have never been published. B: I have a blog that approximately 4 people read with any regularity and C: Being a writer isn’t all that impressive, unique or interesting. You can’t swing a dead wino in NYC and not hit someone who thinks they’re a writer. So, just as my never-tipping regular feels that he is somehow a noble and fascinating warrior of the proletariat…nobody gives a shit about my literary observations of cell phone etiquette or how people who try to get 12 items through a 10 items or less line at the supermarket should be tried and executed for crimes against humanity.

“No One Cares” for all it’s apathy can be a very powerful thing. People take medications and go to therapy because of “No One Cares”. People go on shooting rampages, and even commit or attempt suicide because of those three, single syllable words. What is a major cause of suicide? The very perception that no one cares. There are even “Cry for help” suicides which is the tragic, yet desperate attempt to get others to give a flying fuck, if only for a little while.

Technology has been driven by “No One Cares” predating recorded history. I’d be willing to bet that it took all of 30 seconds for some Neanderthal hipster to roll their eyes and say “Whatev’s” after a fellow caveman drew some stick men and stick animals in the Lascaux caves in France. Haters gonna hate.

Twitter. The ultimate (currently) in “Pay Attention To Me” narcissism. But can’t we safely say that 99.7% of tweets fall under that “Who cares” category. I know on a very personal level that I only pay attention to ” I plan to have sex with Scott Swenson” tweets from Dolly Parton. Interestingly, while researching Ms Dolly’s twitter account for this piece I found out thatshe had a fender bender on Oct 21st of last year, she was fine and was resting comfortably at home when she tweeted this. I’m guessing she was spared serious injury by “airbags” Nyuk Nyuk.

The genius or geniuses who created Twitter were very aware of human nature and how so many of us are under the misconception that we have something of note to say that the rest of the world gives a damn about.

nobody-cares

Twitter was invented because so many are think others care about what we’re thinking or doing… unaware of how few really give a damn. I don’t tweet. I’m not part of the Twitterverse ( even that term makes me want to vomit), but I can safely say that if I was, there are very few bits of info from others that I’d stop and pay attention to….alien abduction, Armageddon and the aforementioned Ms Parton wanting a booty call from yours truly.

So, although I am fairly certain that very few people care about what I say, even fewer care about what I write, and no one cares about what I think…I just want to say, that the world would be a much better place if we’d put a little more effort into caring…and we can start by caring more about MY writing, getting my contact info to Dolly Parton and leaving me better tips.

Circa 1984

I watch an inordinate amount of television. As I am currently on injured reserve, I am watching even more than ever. Recently as sort of a television solitaire game, I have tried to pay closer attention to commercials as I find them to be fascinating in a psychological and sociological sense. For example, today I noticed that Walmart is using AC/DC’s hit “Back in Black” for their new layaway program. I felt violated. I don’t blame AC/DC as they may not even own the rights to the song anymore. I blame Walmart. They have no business using cool classic rock in their commercials. Lame companies must stick to lame music, otherwise it’s false advertising. Walmart shall be limited to using music by Celine Dion, Paul McCartney’s solo work, Phil Collins and any other artist that universally sucks.

Later, I saw a commercial for a credit card featuring a man on a date. His date looks at him (I’m guessing after he paid for dinner) and says bluntly. “Jim, you’re boring.” She then continues to say “Boring” over and over. Now, I have been on some nightmare dates before. I once had a date with a woman I met online who neglected to tell me she had a metal hook type thing in lieu of a left hand. In fairness I suppose that’s a tough factoid to bring to the surface during initial small talk. “I’m a Libra, I like cooking, walks on the beach, travel, missing a hand, love the band KISS…”

I also once had a date where I decided to cook. I spent the day straightening up my apartment, shopping, cooking and picking out just the right wine to accompany the meal. I’m a pretty fair cook and a gracious and kind host. We had a lovely dinner. When she was done eating, she praised my cooking skills, thanked me for a pleasant evening, put on her coat and informed me she was late for another date…with a woman. I tried to think if I should ask her out again as I washed the dishes.

So, I’ve had some horrifying dates. However, I have never had a woman look at me during or after dinner and say “Scott, you’re boring.” I’m not boring. I’m an ass sometimes, silly, irritating, but decidedly not boring. I think if I were Jim from the commercial. I’d have calmly refilled my glass of Cabernet and thrown it at her. Then I’d stand up and say “That exciting enough for ya, toots?” And if the meal wasn’t paid for yet, I’d instruct the waiter to bring her the check after wrapping up some Crème Brule for me to go.

The premise of the commercial is that “Jim” reinvents himself as infinitely less boring because of his Chase Visa card. I suppose to some people a high credit limit does make a person more interesting.

I’m not a fan of the status quo. I hate insurance, banks and credit card companies. It’s all I can do to keep from puking when I see insurance companies advertising how helpful they are and how much they care. It is depressing to think what insurance companies pay investigators, politicians and lawyers in order to avoid paying their customers what they are generally entitled to. I am a fan of honest advertising, which may be the biggest oxymoron since “compassionate conservatism”.

At a young age, I began my road to constant cynicism when I looked up at the photographic displays of McDonald’s food and then at what I had been served. Only the fries had the slightest glint of honesty. And while we are at it, where were the dancing, singing cheerful teenagers doing cartwheels to fetch my Apple (caution filling is hot) pie? I was disappointed to say the least.

The coup de grace of recent commercial bovine scatology comes from my cable and phone company; RCN which I usually follow with something clever like “Really Crappy Network” but for today’s piece I have re dubbed them” Ridiculous Commercial Nonsense”. The commercial features a nice young woman who was waiting for a service tech to come out and jump start her cable. I’m guessing that her appointment time was “between noon and whenever the fuck we decide to show up”. As it turns out, the problem was not with the woman’s cable, but with her TV…and wouldn’t you know, Mr. Helpful RCN Tech stayed at the nice lady’s house while she went out and bought a new television set and then hooked it up for her…Um Yeah.

I have since been tempted to call RCN and ask if they can send the nice smiling technician with the spotless, pressed uniform and white capped teeth (That must be some dental plan RCN.. No wonder he’s so cheerful and helpful) from the commercial to adjust my cable. After viewing their commercial, I projectile vomited on my cable box and as a result I have experienced difficulty getting the Home Shopping Network. Then, for a goof, when the tech they do send shows up, the one with the beard, missing teeth and FTW knuckle tattoo, I’ll just ask him if he minds sticking around while I go to the electronics store to see what’s on sale.

I know that commercials are generally 30 seconds, so I am guessing that’s why RCN didn’t include footage of Mr. Technician looking through the nice lady’s underwear drawer while she was TV shopping.

Saw

Posted: October 24, 2012 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Life, Me & Mine
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The cast of “Saw”

Today while browsing through YouTube I decided to look up “Cast Removal”. Years ago, when I was a young tot of 5 or 6, I had a couple of surgeries on my feet. (I was born with my footsies turning in.) Believe it or not, back then I was not the athletic juggernaut that many of you have come to know and love. I started to grow out of my casts and they were becoming more uncomfortable. So, the good doctor said “No problem, we’ll just give this big boy a new set of casts.” I was thrilled with this news until he came back with, pardon the F-bomb, a fucking SAW! I was a dumb kid, but I did remember my grandfather’s stern warning about not messing about with saws. My grandfather was one of those old timers with a gruesome story for every occasion…fishing lures that caught the unaware by the ear lobe when flung by overzealous casters, which would result in being hauled into the Cape Cod Canal…and of course, little boys who didn’t listen to their grandpa’s and lost fingers while playing with the saw he had been told to stay away from.

Anyhoo, I was terrified and immediately starting pleading with the doctor that my feet didn’t hurt, that my feet were just fine and dandy and why didn’t we just leave the casts on until they fell off…I didn’t want to trouble the man with having to break out power tools, and by the way, wasn’t there an energy crisis? I begged and begged and started to cry. I cried through the entire cast removal, even though it tickled and didn’t hurt at all. Looking back on it I’m a little upset that the doctor didn’t do anything to alleviate my fears. Doctors are kind of assholes to small children when you think about it. They say ‘This wont hurt a bit.” prior to a shot, when we all know very well that shots not only hurt, but they also feel icky. One of my grandmother’s favorite tales of my youth is me asking to keep my casts after they were taken off so that I could “belt the doctor across the head with them.” Kids say the darndest things…

I am looking forward to having my current cast removed. I’m not quite the scaredy cat that I was at age 5…close, but not quite. I am still going to insist upon a pre-cast-removal pep talk, reassurances and a lollipop for being a big brave boy. I didn’t get one 37 years ago, and I feel I am owed one.

I watched the first YouTube clip which featured a young boy with a cast on his arm. The doctor in the clip was a big black man who was leaps and bounds cooler than Dr. De Sade and his magic saw. The doctor in the clip was nice and funny, and the little boy was leaps and bounds braver than I had been. I bet he got a pre-saw pep talk. To cement Dr. Cool’s awesome approach to medicine. . .”Smell it” he said to the boy, “It’s not that bad”. Interestingly this is what I say to The Gow after we’ve had a big Mexican meal. She’s a good sport about it.

After the cast removal clip I clicked on another home movie featuring a little boy who had just broken his arm. He was crying and freaking out as people have been known to do after breaking a limb. What blew my mind was that his parents saw this as an opportunity for a little internet fame. They went and got a mini cam, and prior to taking the tyke to the ER, they began interviewing him . “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I thought watching the parents of the year. “Does it hurt?” they asked. The boy answered tearfully in the affirmative. He was much more calm than I would have been given the circumstances. If my dad had been filming me after suffering a bad break and my mother asked such an unbelievably stupid question. I hope I would have answered, “What the Hell do you think, Barbara Walters?”

I couldn’t watch the rest of the clip. It made me want to hunt down Mike and Carol, break their arms, and hand their son a mini cam and a microphone to interview them.

“So, mom and dad, before we go to the hospital, could you describe what it feels like to break a bone?” “Could you please look at the camera?” “Let’s take it from the top.”

Schadenfreude

Posted: October 20, 2012 by S. Trevor Swenson in General, Life, Me & Mine, Observations
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Click for a musical explanation.

scha·den·freu·de (shäd n-froi d)
n.
Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

What a great word! I love pretentious words and anything that requires hitting my italicize feature thrills me to no end. It took me about 5 years to figure out how to “cut and paste”, and even longer to figure out how to italicize. Prior to figuring out the italicize feature on word and in emails I used to just TYPE IN CAPITALS for emphasis, which can inadvertently be off putting to people. It’s “cyber shouting” if you will.

Schadenfreud is also German. Leave it to those wacky Teutonic folks to come up with this one.

Once, while visiting Berlin I asked my German friend Silvia why the Germans have no sense of humor.

“Norma?”, (her nick name or spitzname was explained in a previous post), “Why don’t the German’s have a sense of humor?”

“Ve do.” she deadpanned.

“Are you sure?” I asked. I wasn’t so certain, but I was a guest in her home and country and didn’t want to appear rude.

“Yes, now be qviet, I am vatching dis moofee!” she said, and hit me.

I dropped the subject.

In addition to the word schadenfreude, I like the definition, the theory and the practice.

Why is the misfortune of others often so damned entertaining? Well, for one thing it’s not happening to us at the moment. Life sucks and sucks with sickening regularity, so perhaps it is a small comfort to observe that we aren’t the only one the cosmic pigeons have selected as their dropping target, Secondly, because angry, put upon and frustrated people are frankly hilarious. I’m uncertain of the existence of God, although this doesn’t stop me from e-mailing him on a regular basis. (God1@God.com in case you were wondering) On one hand I have difficulty believing in a higher power who could allow such things as famine, natural disasters and the Kardasians. On the other hand, it is hard to doubt the existence of God with the series of mishaps, whoopsies or physical and emotional ailments that occur hourly in the Blake Edward’s film that is my life.

Running late and subway doors slamming in my face, a four hour charm offensive at work that results in a 2% tip from a party of 6, and the elderly sucking my life force at Laundromats, grocery stores and medical offices. I remain totally convinced that after a hard day at the office, God cracks open a cold one, tells the angels to keep it down and tunes into his favorite program “The Scotty Chronicles”. Apparently I’m just hilarious plodding along in life, muttering to myself, explaining to double digit IQs the mathematical intricacies of the 12 items or less express line, or speeding four blocks out of my way on my bicycle to explain to recent driving school graduates that the first 10 seconds of a red traffic light are not optional. I stomp through life with a facial expression that is the unhappy marriage of Rodney Dangerfield and Donald Trump telling someone “Yuh Fie-yid”. I mutter to myself regularly, and a couple years ago I actually shook my fist at some children. I have no doubt that if I had a front yard I’d be yelling at neighborhood children about keeping off of it and confiscating any baseballs, tennis balls or hackey sacks that landed in my vicinity.

Maybe I should pick up a copy.
Nahhh. Where’s the fun in that?

Why then, shouldn’t I delight in the misery of others that I happen to observe? It’s a little gift from God Almighty/ Heavy G to my way of thinking. Schadenfreude is similar to laughing in class or in church. We shouldn’t giggle, be we can’t help it, and the repression of giggles just makes us want to break up more. As a student my friends knew they could get me to laugh with a certain look or drawings of various students or teachers. Then they would delight in my getting busted by the more comedicly challenged teachers. “Is there something funny Mr. Swen-son? Care to share your joke with the rest of the class?” No, I didn’t want to share the hilarity of the drawing that Jeff Marney had just passed me depicting Mr. Whitman tied to a tree and being set on fire by the chess club, or being sat on by the pear shaped 300 pound history teacher Mr. Spencer. I’d plead the fifth, take the detention and kick Jeff’s ass later at my leisure.

Lately I have been fascinated with the bend-but-don’t-break comedy theory. Things we aren’t supposed to be laughing at, but can’t help it…boundary pushing. I have often maintained that comedy and humor comes from the uglier and darker areas in life, but it is one of the best things in this cold, hard world. It makes life worth living…comedy, love and…oh I don’t know… cookies? So schadenfruede becomes a slippery slope. Too far in one direction and you are a humorless drone. Too far in the other direction and you’re a cruel bastard. The happy medium is to strive to be a cruel drone or humorless bastard…OK terrible analogy.

So what misery and misfortune at the expense of others is acceptable? A bird dropping a deuce on someone else’s head? Yeah, that’s a classic. 100 points of funny. Fat people falling down or splitting their pants? Maybe… Cars splashing puddles on pedestrians? Hmmm depends on the driver and the victim. As a teen, my friend Tiny used to delight in holding Quarter Pounder’s with cheese out his car window and slowing down when he saw over weight joggers waddling along in sweat soaked athletic gear to see if he could get them to run faster. Sometimes he would shout something to the effect that the jogging was not offsetting the jelly doughnut inhalation…or that “KFC is only 6 blocks away…you’ll make, it Richard Simmons”. They usually did run faster, which was funny, but it wasn’t to get hold of the burger…it was to get hold of Tiny and wring his neck for being a wiseassed punk. That would have made me laugh too. It is safe to say that the things I would giggle uncontrollably at in observing are the same things that would infuriate me when I am the victim. I am not a thick skinned man. I’m more than a little ashamed to admit that I can generally dish it out, but can’t take it. I like teasing. I hate being teased. Perhaps my one saving grace is that I am self-deprecating.

I think given God’s obviously sick sense of humor, that schadenfreude in appropriate doses is a healthy thing. Nietzsche said God was dead, I’m not so sure how he knew (maybe he was there?) Nietzsche was German too wasn’t he? Maybe God is German…it would certainly explain his sense of humor. Who are we to second guess Heavy G when it comes to humor? He gave us incontinence, Indian accents, irritable bowel syndrome, midgets, trailer parks, George W Bush and Walmart customers. So bust a gut… just not within eye or ear shot of the victim(s)

People of Walmart

“Of course, my good man, everyone knows that Facebook IS the new standard for “Published Author”

I have started a regular “column” on Facebook. I call it a “column” because I am prone to many delusional moments. I want a regular column, so if that is how I label it… to my way of thinking, voila, instant column. My “column” in reality it is a status update that I have decided to call “Fun at Other People’s Expense” followed by a number. I started the numbers in the four hundred’s to create the illusion that I have written hundreds of these gems of witty yet hateful wisdom. It is also a bait and switch literary marketing tool. Maybe if I write something clever and funny, it will nudge a reader to dig deeper into my many ramblings. It’s an important phase in my plan to write and have published the Great American Bathroom Read.

One of the cool things about “Fun At Other People’s Expense” or FAOPE (Fay-Ope or Fay-Oh-Pee) is that I find I’m pretty good at it. Whenever I am at a loss with what to inflict upon my Facebook friends, because God forbid people aren’t paying attention to what I am saying or writing for more than 30 minutes, I’ll bang out a quick FAOPE. I suppose it’s not one of the world’s greatest talents. It ranks up there somewhere around “really exceptional toenail care”.

Yesterday, my best friend; The Gow came to visit me in my nicotine stained chamber of self pity. She came up for the weekend to visit and to help out with the domestic aspects of daily life that I am having temporary difficulties with after injuring myself. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was on TV, and for a goof I decided to explain the plot of the cinematic classic to The Gow.

Looks interesting. What’s it about?

“Oh, hey Gow, you’ll like this. It’s a film is called “Psycho”, it was made by this English director named Alfred Hitch-cock…it’s about a woman who steals some money from her boss and skips town to be with her boyfriend in another city. On the way she stops at an off-the-beaten-track motel and is murdered by the young man who owns the place. His name is Norman Bates and he is insane. That’s why it’s called “Psycho” He lives with his mother’s corpse, and…”

The Gow, who is accustomed to my shenanigans, stopped me short and deadpanned ” Shhh honey, you’ll ruin the ending for me.” She is well versed in my M.O. She knows that if she ignores me, I will redouble my efforts. She also knows that if she gets angry or annoyed, then I have accomplished my mission. The response was incredibly well played by The Gow as it silenced me…for about 30 seconds, which is the best anyone can hope for where I’m concerned.

It dawns on me that this tactic can go well beyond my silly “column”.  (No, I’m not going to stop calling it that) Getting rid of people with tact and grace is a useful skill. It is one many of us have yet to master. It seems to me that we often find ourselves wanting to be rid of people, but without hurting their feelings, being mean spirited or anything that may result in them hating (or hitting) us. We all can relate to the romantic interest that we are no longer romantically interested in. “I think we should just be friends” might be true, often it is, but anyone it has been directed towards leaves unsatisfied and frequently with little to no interest in actually remaining friends.

Have you ever stopped and thought about the many instances in life where you wish you could get someone to go away without bruising their pride or being rude?

Relatives, people we are dating but the spark is just missing, especially tenacious pick up artists. Jehovah’s Witnesses, sales people.

There are also people in life who simply…will…not…go…away. There is a regular at the pub where I work named Liam. Liam was born missing the subsection of the mind responsible for determining personal space or if anyone would like him to stop talking now. He’s not a mean person, or a bad guy, he’s just irritating…unbelievably so. He will ramble on and on (and on) 5 inches from your face, and he can not or will not be dissuaded by anything short of screaming “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME LIAM!” followed by a 30 second, direct blast of chemical mace. His breath has a “just ate a dog shit burrito” quality to it, and he’s a close talker, which doesn’t help either.

Please. Stop. Talking. Now.

I think I may have inadvertently discovered a tactful way to get rid of people via my little tee-hee with The Gow. Just engage the mark in very direct conversation and keep pointing out the painfully obvious to them in the most pedantic manner possible. Continue to do so until you have turned the tables and that they will be trying to get you to go away.

Just imagine how long you could stay and listen to such gems as:

“You know they call baseball the National Pastime. That’s because it’s a popular game here in America. You know the term ‘pastime’ comes from the words “pass” and “time”, because it’s an activity that passes the time. Pass-Time get it? Paaassss Tiimmee”. Politically speaking I have to say that, Mitt Romney is a Republican, where as President Obama is a Democrat…there are two major political parties in the United States…The Dem-o-crats and the Re-pub-li-cans…”

Continue this simplistic monologue with an occasional “Oh, you already knew that?” thrown in. For this to work properly, it is very important to keep the tone innocent and magnanimous.

If any of my readers try this technique, I’d love feedback on how it worked (or didn’t work) for you. Just leave a comment at the end of my “column”.

I’d like to apologize in advance if someone decides to hit you.