Friday, April 30, 2010

I Which I Can't Resist

"Hey," I said.

"What?" The Boss replies. She's too engrossed in whatever pithy sitcom is on the TV to really be interested, but I appreciate the effort.

"Feel this."

"What?" she says again. She looks at what I'm holding. "No! I don't want to feel that."

"Come on," I counter, goading her. "Feel it. Just once."

"Nuh-uh," she says, shaking her head. She turns her head back to the TV. 

"You know you want to." I hold it out in front of her face. "Feel it. Feel it. Come on. Feel it."

"Get that thing out of my face!" she yells. "I said I don't want to feel it!"

"Feeeeeeeeeel it!" I'm shaking it now, wiggling it in front of her face still. She can't help it anymore; she starts laughing.

"Stop it, Mike! I'm serious. Get it away from me."

"Just feel it once. Once. I want you to see how hard and heavy it is." 

"I can tell just by looking at it. I don't need to feel it to know that," she says definitively. 

"Just once?" She shakes her head in the negative. "Just once and I'll leave you alone."

"No." She levels her eyes at me, and sets her mouth in a serious expression. "No."

I fall silent for a moment. I don't want to be shut down this easily. "Just once? Please?"

"Mike, I've already felt it before. I don't need to feel it again." 

"Fine. I'll put it away."


I set my hardcover first-edition copy of Stephen King's "Nightmares & Dreamscapes" down on the coffee table, defeated. 

"Some other night, then."

"Yeah, okay, Mike."



Just what exactly were you thinking of? 


Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In Which I Am Shocked

Today's post will be far from the light, comedic fare that I normally offer up. I've got something weighing on my mind that I need to let out and try to make sense of. If you'd rather read something funny or otherwise not depressing, click here to go to the post I wrote about the time I got my butt pinched by a cougar in the checkout line.

I found out a couple of years ago that one of my high school classmates, who was then a music teacher at the local junior high school, had been arrested for allegedly inappropriately touching one of his students. It was a shock to many people, most of all his family I'm sure, but especially for the people who had known him for a long time and never suspected anything like that. That's usually the case, though. You never think that the person you are close to would do such an unspeakable, horrible thing.

He lied to the police when he was questioned originally, but by the time of his trial he recanted and told the specifics about his perversion. During the course of his trial, a few other children, all little girls, came forward and admitted that similar things had happened to them, too. His face, his side of the story, and his accusations were plastered all over the local newspapers and TV news stations. The town was in an uproar over this, as he not only was the music teacher for some area elementary and junior high schools, he also led the children's choir at a large church. People were furious. He was charged and convicted for unlawful sexual touching, and was sentenced to sixty days in jail.

Among my friends and family, we always thought he was a little weird. He had his eccentricities like all of us do, but there was just something about him that itched at you in the back of your mind like a splinter. I guess that while it was still a shock to find out about what had happened, part of me wasn't all that surprised. You can think a guy is weird because of how he looks or the strange things he says, but never in your wildest dreams would you think that he is a child molester, ruining the lives and the psyches of innocent children. 

He has recently come up in the news again. He's being brought up on federal charges now, under allegations that he subscribed to or owned child pornography, and that he took an underage girl out of the state (under the premise of a school field trip) with the intent on having sexual relations with her. In the trials that have happened since then he's admitted to paying for child porn in the past, and that while he did intend to try to have sex with the girl, he did nothing more than touch her. I thank God for the sake of that little girl that he didn't follow through on his intentions. What happened is still a horrible and unforgivable thing, and he deserves to go to jail for what he did. If convicted this time, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. And if you ask me, I'd think that'd be completely fair. 

What I'm trying to make sense of is how I feel about this. When this first happened, I was at a loss as to how to react. Obviously I've got the normal range of emotions from this: shock, disgust, anger, loss of trust. But on top of that, I'm trying to deal with the fact that I knew this guy. I mean I really, honestly knew him. I had classes with him. I played in the marching band in high school with him. I've conversed at length with him. We even were in the church orchestra together. I thought he was a good guy, but all of that went out the window when this came up.

I see this guy around town from time to time. He lives in the same town I do, the same town I grew up in. I see him at the grocery store or at other places around town, and I have to wonder what the reaction is from the people he interacts with. With pictures and videos of him on the news, it's almost impossible not to recognize him. 

The verdict for his bench trial should be coming up soon. 

I hope he gets what he deserves. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

In Which I Clean Up

If a revolutionary drug known as Penicillin can be discovered by leaving out a few petri dishes of bread mold, then I may have just thrown away the cure for cancer.

Mid-week last week, The Boss put together a meal in our Crock Pot. Since we both work long hours and don't feel like cooking a full meal upon getting home at eight o'clock in the evening, Crock Pot meals are a staple of our weekly meal planning. Tired of the same old things, The Boss thought that she'd try making something that she used to have quite often while growing up: ham and bean soup. 

She industriously tipped a pound of fresh green beans and yellow wax beans, chopped up some choice cuts of ham, and tossed it all into the Crock. Not having made it before herself, she naturally thought that since it was a soup that it would call for chicken broth. She added an ample amount, tossed in a few spices and some water to thin it out a bit, and set the Crock to low to let it work it's magic. 

That evening, upon arriving home and ravenously hungry, we eagerly took off the lid to the Crock and breathed deeply the aroma. It smelled heavenly, and my stomach grumbled agreeably. The Boss got a spoon from the drawer and tested the broth for flavor. 

Her eyes widened. Her mouth puckered. Her hand flew to her mouth. 

She spun around and spit out the broth into the sink. 

"What?" I asked. "Is it hot?"

"No," she gasped. "Salty. Wicked fucking salty."

I took her spoon and tried it myself. Sure enough, it tasted like warm salt water. Far, far too salty to eat. 

"I wonder what I did wrong," The Boss mused quietly. I rubbed her back and tried to console her. 

She ended up calling her mother and found out that since ham is naturally salty, for ham and bean soup you're supposed to use water for the broth. The chicken broth she added was the culprit, but watering it down more didn't help. An honest mistake, but the meal was inedible. 

We fixed something else for dinner instead, and left the Crock Pot on the counter to be dealt with later. Later turned into the next morning, the next morning turned into that evening, that evening turned into the next day, and before we knew it the Crock had been sitting out on the counter for two days. We hadn't meant to leave it there for that long, but we had a busy week and it dropped down a bit on our priority list.

We came home from work Friday night to a science experiment. 

A thin, scaly white substance had formed a layer on the surface. Bubbles from the fermenting beans and chunks of ham underneath it worked their way up through, forming little air pockets that would occasionally burst. If you stood there long enough and watched it, it almost looked like it was breathing. Air would rise up inside of one of the salt bubbles and inflate it, resembling a grotesque balloon. The air would find or force a crack in the bubble, and the air would leak out. The bubble would then deflate slowly, and the process would start all over again. On top of that, it smelled like rancid cheese, stale farts, and swamp. 

"I am NOT touching that," The Boss said after one look at it.

"Me, either," I refused. "You couldn't pay me enough."

And so it sat there (I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but if you had seen it you'd understand why) until Sunday afternoon. 

The Boss wouldn't go near it, so I pulled my shirt up over my nose and went to war. I had to stop a few times to regain control over my gag reflex, but I did it. I emptied the Crock into a colander to remove the liquid, and emptied the colander into a triple-lined trash bag to ensure it wouldn't leak. The smell from it was absolutely wretched, but by then the worst part was over. I rinsed the Crock and the colander with hot water and threw them both into the dishwasher. 

I would have taken a picture of it before I threw it out, but it was seriously, seriously nasty. I didn't want to lose readers by putting up such carnage early on a Monday morning. We aren't usually so bad with things like this, with this experience being the exception to the rule.

I know I'm not alone with leaving leftovers around for too long, so in the comments, share your horror stories. Do your worst, if you dare.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

In Which I Take Advantage

As I've mentioned a few times throughout the archives here, growing up was challenging at times. My parents had a pretty tight reign over my sisters and I, and didn't let us get away with much of anything. Until I reached my teen years I didn't dare oppose my parents for fear of their punishments. Thinking back on it now their punishments weren't that severe (no TV for a week was the standard threat), but things often seem more dramatic when you're a kid. 

It occurred to me recently, much as it has many other times over the past few years, that there is a lot more than I can do now as an adult living on my own than what I had access to do growing up. That's a fairly obvious observation, I know, but had you spent as many years under the Christian Iron Fist as I did, you'd probably understand what I mean. As a kid, everything was controlled. What I could watch on TV, what I could listen to on the radio, what I could eat, what activities I could participate in at school. Don't get me wrong; I'm fine with that. Structure is essential during formative years, and my parents were only doing what they felt was right. When I started to get older and thus more interested in the things my parents didn't want me watching/listening/eating/doing, naturally the more I wanted to watch/listen/eat... well, you get the idea.

That's the natural progression of life, but what strikes me whenever I realize how different things are now from back then is how easily these things are attainable now. If I want to have ice cream for breakfast, so be it. If I want to watch a movie with gore and violence and nudity, so be it. My younger self would be envious of all the freedom I have now, especially for one thing.


When I was a pubescent kid, there was nothing I wanted more than to see an actual naked female boob. My parents had empowered their Christian Lock-Down on any risqué television channels and had any questionable sites through our dial-up Internet service blocked more than someone who overdosed on Immodium. With no friends who had any easier of a situation than I had, I resigned myself to Victoria's Secret and JC Penney catalogs and toughed it out. 

I was 17 before I saw an actual naked female boob on television, and it's damn good it happened when it did. I had worn out the pages of all the lingerie catalogs I had hidden away. I was 18 when I saw naked female boobs in person. I'll never forget either moment. It was pure magic, like seeing the Sistine Chapel or the Mona Lisa for the first time. 

I can see boobs whenever I want now. Boobs in movies, boobs on TV, boobs on the Internet, and best of all, The Boss' boobs. It's the stuff I dreamed about when I was still growing hair in special places, and it's a magical, wonderful, boob-filled life. 

What sort of things did you aspire to do when you were growing up?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In Which It's Really About The Same

The Boss and I went to the movies the other day, and while waiting for her to come out of the bathroom I scanned the theatrical posters for upcoming movies. Nothing looked too exciting (other than the Iron Man sequel), and just as she was exiting the bathroom my eyes happened upon this one poster.

"Huh," I said, taking my eyes from the poster and walking to the auditorium for our movie.

"What?" The Boss wanted to know.

"Oh, I was just looking at the movie posters. Looks like they're making a sequel to 'Carrie' that's coming out this summer."

"Really? That's cool," she said. "When does it come out?"

"This summer, I think. I didn't catch the release date."

We made our way to the auditorium for our movie ("Hot Tub Time Machine", if you must know), and the movie poster had all but slipped from my mind, despite the fact that I'm a big Stephen King fan and a remake of one of his movies is a pretty exciting thought. After the movie I found myself waiting in the lobby again, waiting for The Boss to come out of the bathroom. I took a second look at the poster... A more interested, examining look. My eyes widened in horror.

This is what I was looking at:

I shit you not, people. 

I saw a movie poster with Ms Looks-Like-A-Foot herself on it and and honestly mistook it for the sequel to one of my favorite movies. I couldn't believe myself. I told The Boss about my mistake and we both had a good laugh about it. When we got home, though, I Googled a picture of Sissy Spacek in her role as Carrie in the film. Turns out I shouldn't have thought I was so far off with my mistake. Can you see the resemblance?

I know I can.

Monday, April 19, 2010

In Which I Should Be Rewarded

"Thank you for calling The Bank, my name is Mike. How can I help you?" It's the middle of my work week and a half hour until my lunch break. My stomach is grumbling and I'm feeling a bit restless. Nevertheless, I keep my voice professional because I never know who may be listening in and auditing my calls.

"Uh... hullo?" the caller responds, his voice slurring and slightly raspy. "Is this the bank?"

"Yes, Sir, this is The Bank," I said patiently. "How can I help you?"

"I... uh... need to... um... check... uh... my balance," he mumbled. He sounded like he was trying to talk around a tube sock in his mouth. He also sounded drunk. 

"Alright, I'd be glad to give you your balance information this afternoon. Can I have your account number, please?"

A long pause. No response.

"Hello, Sir?" I asked, thinking maybe he had hung up or maybe succumbed to the alcohol that was likely coursing through his system.

"What?" he replied angrily. 

"Can I have your account number?"

Another pause, but shorter this time. "Why?"

Now is was my turn to hesitate. "So I can check your balance for you," I said.

"My balance? Huh?... Oh, yuh. My balance." I could hear the rustle of paper near the phone. "Nine seven... seventy-four three... three-nine-oh-fourteen-six." 

(As an aside, this isn't the oddest way I've heard someone read back their account number. I've had people sing their account number, or spit it out like a rap song, and mumble it around an exhausting-sounding yawn.)

I enter in the number and hit Enter, but nothing comes up. 

"I'm sorry, Sir, but that number isn't bringing any valid account up. Let me make sure I've got the right number: Nine seven seven four three three nine zero one four six?" I clearly and slowly pronounce each digit, somehow managing to keep my tone even and polite despite my rapidly depleting supply of patience

"No, that's not what I said," he slurred. "I said nine ninety-seven four oh three six nine."

Great. Not only is this an entirely different number, but it's three digits too short, I thought to myself. "Okay, that number didn't work either. We can look up your account by your social security number, if you'd like."

"No!" he refused loudly. "I don't know who the fuck you are. You called me, how do I know you are who you say you are?" 

Drunk and paranoid. Awesome.

"I'm sorry, Sir, but you called me. I promise you that I do work for The Bank. Sharing your social security number with me is completely safe and secure."

"No, no, no, no. Nuh-uh," he repeated. "I'll give you my account number again. Ya'ready?"

If by "ready" you mean am I ready for this call to be over, then absolutely yes. 

"Go for it."

"Nine seven seven... seven... seven. Eight forty-six oh two."

No dice. "I'm sorry, Sir, but that number still isn't working. You've given me three different numbers so far, and all of them haven't brought up any valid account. Maybe we can look up your account by your debit card number?"

"My what?"

"Your debit card number."

"Why would I give that to you?"

"So I can check your balance for you," I said. Annoyance was seeping into my voice now, and my vision was turning red. I made strangling gestures at my computer monitor. 

A pause again.

"Do you know how to do your job?" he sneered.

I sat back in my chair as if slapped. "Yes, Sir, I know how to do my job."

"Then why don't you just fuckin' do it, then? I'm giving you my account number, why aren't you giving me my balance?" he wanted to know, and loudly. I scrambled for the volume control and turned it down a few notches.

"I'm trying to, but you're not giving me any valid account number. Like I've suggested, let's try pulling up your account through your social-"

"No!" he roared. 

"- Or your debit card-"

"NO! I'm not giving you my fucking social. I'm not giving you my fucking debit card. My account number is Nine. One. Seven. Seven. Four. Seven. Three. Nine." Another trademark pause. "Did you get it that time?" 

"I heard what you said, yes, but that number is again different from any other number you've given me, and it's still not working."

"Get me your supervisor," he said with calm rage.


"Don't 'Sir' me! Just get your fucking supervisor on the line!"

"Okay, Sir. One moment." I gladly put him on hold and dialed the number for the Supervisor Queue. Thirty seconds into the hold I saw him disconnect the line. Good riddance. I pulled off my headset and massaged the back of my neck, and breathed deeply. 

I know it's all part of the job and I've had some calls that have been much, much worse, but for dealing with people like that and not going insane with annoyance? I should get a reward or something. 

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

In Which I Remember

Have you ever ran into someone from your past after not seeing them for a while and had that awkward "Hey, I haven't seen you in a while, and I'm only saying we should get together because I don't know what else to say" conversation? Sure you have. Everyone has. 

This happened to me the other day, and shortly after parting ways from my long lost non-friend, a memory surfaced. This one particular memory is one that always comes to mind whenever I think about or am reminded about this particular person. We were in Boy Scouts together and he started crying because someone took the seat he was sitting in during a troop meeting. He and I went to the same school for many years and I have many other memories with him in it, but whenever he comes to mind, the image of him crying over the fact that someone took his seat is the first thing I think of. A foolish thing to cry about, yes, but that memory and this guy always go hand in hand.

When I was telling The Boss about the memory I have of this guy, I got to thinking. What if other people have certain memories about me that surface when they see me after a long period of time, or are reminded of me in some other way? And what, exactly, is that memory of to have earned such a spot in their memory banks? 

When I see my mother's friend Jo-Ann, does she think of the time we were over at her house visiting and I showed her that cool dance her dog could do with my foot? Does the girl I had a crush for a majority of my elementary education remember that I once kicked in all the stall doors in the bathroom when we were in preschool, including the one that she occupied? Do the members of my fourth grade class remember that I laughed after I expelled the contents of my stomach on the floor during Social Studies that one time?

I'd like to think that the memories that people have of me are all good ones, but I know that that won't always be the case. Being who I am and all pretty much guarantees that. There's probably a bunch of people from my life growing up that will remember the time I decided that it'd be a good idea to try to turn around backwards while currently in the process of running forward (it didn't work out so well). There's probably still more people who will remember the time I got heat stroke on the band field trip and spent a 14-hour bus ride completely soaked (including my white t-shirt) and looking like a reject from a wet t-shirt contest.

Good times.

What odd memories do you have of people from your past?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In Which I Say Too Much

Last week's post about oversharing reminded me of another moment in Badass Geek history where I let my mouth get a little too far ahead of my brain. It actually triggered quite a few memories of similar moments, but I think I'll save most of them for a rainy day... or when I've got a bad case of brain constipation.

It was the middle of summer, and The Boss and I were visiting her parents. They thought we had dropped in for a surprise visit, but really we went over there to visit because our air conditioner wasn't working, and her parents had just purchased a new one. Plus we knew that if we stayed long enough we'd probably get an offer to stay for dinner. Air conditioning and a free meal... a perfect combination. In our early twenties, we weren't bashful about mooching off of our parents.

The Boss' father was hiding out in his office doing some paperwork for his business, so it was just my mother-in-law, The Boss, and myself sitting out in the darkened living room, enjoying the A/C. It was mid-afternoon which meant it was Soap Opera time, but I didn't protest. Sitting in a cool living room watching Soaps was a far cry better than sitting in a stifling hot living room sweating my balls off. 

Not much caring for Soaps, I wasn't paying attention to the show. I didn't know who the people were or what the story was, but I figured it was one of the usual conflicts: Someone had gone crazy and killed somebody, someone has a drinking problem, someone else was cheating with his secretary, someone else's baby was missing, etc. I was playing Tetris on my phone when my mother-in-law spoke.

"Hot damn, just look at those abs," she said. 

I looked up at the TV and there was one of the actors, shirtless, looking like one of those guys you'd see on a late night infomercial for Bowflex. Probably a juicer, too, I thought to myself.

"Yeah, he's pretty hot," The Boss chimed in. 

"If I were only ten years younger, I'd show him a thing or two."

"Oh, come on," I said. Muscles or no muscles, this guy looked like a tool. "He's clearly overcompensating. He's probably packing nothing bigger than a golf pencil in his shorts."

"I doubt that," my mother-in-law said dreamily. "Besides, look at the size of his nose."

"What does his nose have to do with it?" I asked. 

"You've never heard that phrase before?" The Boss wondered. "The bigger the nose, the bigger the hose?"

I snorted. "Ha! Nice. I don't think that's the case here."

"What about the size of his feet, then?" she countered. 

"Yeah!" my mother-in-law added. "The bigger the feet, the bigger the meat!" She peered at the TV screen, trying to get a better look. "He's probably wearing a size twelve or thirteen, I think."

"You two are incredible," I said. 

And then I thought about it for a minute. 

"Well, I guess you're right about the shoe size thing," I admitted. "I wear size ten and a half shoes, which is a pretty average size..."

The Boss whipped her head around, her eyes wide. I stopped speaking mid-sentence, my mouth still open. The realization of what I had just admitted to slowly seeped in. I felt my face flush with embarrassment. I tried to sink through the couch cushions and disappear, but there was no hiding the fact that I had just told my mother-in-law that my Royal Sceptre, my Disco Stick, my Love Muscle, if you will, was of average stature. 

I snapped my mouth closed and looked intently down at the floor. My mother-in-law cackled. 

"That's a bit too much information than I'd care to know, Mike," she said. 

Too much information, indeed.

Note To Self: Make sure brain is engaged before putting mouth into gear.

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Which I Go For A Drive

The Boss and I went for a drive yesterday. We started out not really knowing where we felt like going, but the weather was warm and the sun was shining and the road was calling. We grabbed some drinks and some snacks and we were on our way.

We ended up at the Portland Headlight. If you are not from New England, the Portland Headlight is a lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It is one of the most photographed and most recognized lighthouses in the state, if not in the country. It had been a number of years since I'd last visited, and The Boss and I had never been there together in all the years we've been together.

Fortunately I had the foresight to bring my camera with me, so instead of my normal posting fare I'll be sharing with you all a few of the pictures I took. Enjoy!

We spent a few hours walking around, with me taking pictures and The Boss combing the rocky beach for sea glass. It was a perfect day for visiting the ocean, with the sun warm at our backs and a nice breeze coming in from the ocean. We finished off the day by grilling up some burgers and going out for ice cream. 

It was quite possibly one of the best days I have had in a while. 

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

In Which I Am Observant, Part Nine

Have you ever noticed that the cartoon characters depicted on store brand or generic cereal boxes always look like crack fiends?  Thanks to their drug habits, they all obviously have a raging case of the munchies because they look fucking ravenous and slightly scary. 

Have you ever noticed that the one time you fart in the break room at work instead of holding it until you go to the bathroom next is the one time when the hot chick in the office decides to walk in? 

Have you ever noticed that the most effective way to get someone to not want to talk to you ever again is to burp-cough while in close proximity to that person while currently having a bad case of Pepsi breath?

Have you ever noticed that when you finally get up early enough to make yourself a cup of coffee to take with you to work instead of buying one or choking down the motor-oil-coffee at the office, you hit the mother of all potholes and your coffee spills on the floor of your car?

Have you ever noticed that one of the best things in life is the feeling you get when you wake up a few hours before your alarm goes off in the morning, and finding out that you get to sleep some more? 


Well, I have. What have you noticed this week?

Have a good weekend, everyone.

(Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In Which I Overshare

Monday's post about becoming a bumbling idiot when in the presence of the Cool Guy at work triggered a memory. Isn't it funny how that happens? That one casual thought is like a needle for the discarded memory bubble in our minds. All it takes is one jab of a thought and pow! All these uncomfortable and awkward memories that you had tucked carefully away come tumbling out.  

It happened when I was in college. I was working part-time at Best Buy which, for a geek like me, was the perfect job. I got work around electronics and gadgets all day plus I got a sweet discount. I worked on the Security team, you know, the guys in the yellow shirts who stand at the entrances with walkie talkies and don't do much of anything at all. I had been there for a month and was still trying to fit in with the other guys who worked on my team. They had all been there for a while and were comfortable in their roles, and I wanted nothing more than to not feel like an outsider. 

All the guys I worked with were just as geeky as I was (or still am, rather), except for my supervisor. I'm pretty sure I'd have a different opinion of him now, but back then, I thought he was pretty damn cool. He shaved his head, wore mirrored sunglasses, and drove a bitchin' motorcycle. He was intimidating and almost unapproachable, which is why I guess he worked in the Security department. He was always talking (or bragging, as it were) about how fast he drove on the turnpike, or how he escaped the cops, or something else to that effect. There was a large part of me that knew he was full of shit, but still I listened with rapt attention whenever he'd talk about his latest escapade. 

In addition to bragging about his bike or all the hot girls he'd slept with, he also liked to talk about gross things. Lighting his own farts, vomiting on people when he was drunk, stuff like that. Every day I came into work it seemed like he'd have some new gross story to share. The day in question was nothing different.

I was coming to work a few minutes late that day. I had eaten some bad cafeteria food (that's kind of redundant, isn't it? Isn't all college cafeteria food bad?) and had spent a fair amount of time that morning on the toilet. As I walked in the front entrance, I saw my supervisor. He was digging through the box they had in the vestibule where people could donate old cell phones. He did this about once a week to pilfer discarded-but-still-decent phones to sell on eBay. 

He looked at me, cast a glance at his watch, and then back at me. "You're late."

"I know, I'm sorry," I apologized. "I called and spoke to Maureen at the Service Desk. She was supposed to tell you I'd be a few minutes behind today."

"Maureen? Really? You trusted her to relay a message?" He looked at me incredulously. Maureen was the type of woman who'd forget to breathe if her body didn't do it for her.

"Good point. Sorry," I said again. "I'll be sure to talk to you directly next time."

"You do that." He looked around the front part of the store for any upper management before shoving a few cell phones into his pockets. "So what made you late today? Traffic hasn't been that bad."

"No, it wasn't traffic. I wasn't feeling that well this morning."

"I hear ya," he said, walking back to the Security terminal. I followed him and punched in at the computer. "Stay up late partying last night?" 

"I wish."

"What was it, then? I need to mark something specific down as to why you were late."

I groaned inwardly. "If you must know, I think I ate some bad cafeteria food. Made my stomach upset."

"Ah, been there," he said. "I ate at the cafeteria at your school once. Couldn't stop shitting afterwards."

I could sympathize. "Yeah, I know what you mean."

Now, here is where I should have stopped. I should have listened to that little voice in my mind telling me to pump the brakes, to pull back on the reins. But no. I saw this as a chance to finally have part in a conversation with my supervisor about a gross topic. This might just be the way in that I've been looking for, I thought.

I continued: "I was in the bathroom just about all morning, pissing out of my ass."

My supervisor's face went blank. For some reason, I took that as a cue to say more.

"Yeah," I said, and laughed nervously. "It made me nervous to wear khakis today."

More silence. My supervisor swallowed hard, his adam's apple bobbing up and down. He wiped his face with his hand, and leaned against the Security desk. 

"Mike, that is absolutely disgusting."

I couldn't believe it. This, coming from a guy who bragged about taking dumps the size of table legs. This, coming from the guy who once said that he only remembers what he ate the night before from what he could recognize in his vomit. He thought my story was disgusting?

"You'll be up front today," he said. "I'm going down back. I'll have my walkie if you need me." 

He walked hurriedly away. I stood alone at the Security desk, wondering where I went wrong. 

That story sort of isolated me among my co-workers. They all thought I was disgusting (and probably smelly) and although I tried to prove to them otherwise, it was a lost cause. It was just as well. School ended shortly after and I moved back home. The commute for $8.00 an hour wasn't worth it, so I quit.

And I've been careful not to overshare since. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

In Which I Admire

If I were to ask, just about everyone here could probably think of at least one person that they know through their everyday lives that, for any number of reasons that they'd probably be slightly ashamed or embarrassed to admit, they admire. That one guy or girl who always seems to have their shit together, who walks around the office with confidence, who dresses with style, who always says the funniest things in the breakroom that you silently wish you had thought of. There's this one guy I know at work that fits that bill pretty much to the tee, and I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't a part of me that admires him. Not in any sexual way, of course, but rather the way that he seems so effortlessly cool in everything he does. 

I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite.

I trip on the floor when I walk. I'm socially awkward and crack jokes that are really quite funny, once I take the time to fully explain it to those who stare blankly at me once I deliver the punchline (Example: A neutron walks into a bar, and asks the bartender how much a beer costs. "For you," he says, "no charge!"). I wear the same black shoes with the same rotating crop of Walmart button-downs, and confidence is something I'll always aspire to. 

We're from two different sides of the track. I blame homeschooling. 

More often than not, I become a bumbling idiot when I'm around this guy. I'm so preoccupied to seem smooth and cool and relaxed that my mind gets too far ahead of my mouth and I'll spout off and say the strangest things. For example, I passed him one day while on the way out of the bathroom when he was walking in. The following conversation ensued:

"Hey, man!" he said in a friendly tone.

"Hey hey hey," I replied a la Fat Albert, startled and caught off guard. "How's it going?"

"Not too bad, and you?"

"Busy, busy!" I said loudly. I sounded like a matronly old woman standing in her kitchen, remarking at all the baking she had to do. "Busy, busy, busy, busy!

It was the first word that came to mind, and I was so unprepared that my mouth got a death grip on that one word and ran with it like the fucking wind. Luckily my little outburst happened as we passed each other by the doorway and I didn't have to face him or continue the conversation. I don't think I could have recovered from that.

I don't know why I'm like this. I honestly don't take much interest in what people think of me. So long as they don't think I'm an idiot or unapproachable, I'm good. Around this guy, though, all that goes out the window. And that frustrates me.

Please tell me that I'm not the only one who is like this. Humor me with your stories.

Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, April 2, 2010

In Which I'm Not Stupid

There's this lady at work who has been really nice to me ever since I started working there. Being the new guy in the office is always difficult, so it was nice to have someone make me feel as welcome as she did. Every time I'd see her around the office she'd ask me how my day was going and how I was liking everything so far. I appreciated her taking the time to talk with me and make sure I was doing alright. Not everyone in the office was as welcoming as she was, so I just assumed that she was one of those people who is genuinely pleasant and nice to everyone she works with.

Now that I've been there a few months and seen how she is around other people, I've come to the realization that while she generally is a nice person, she always seems overly nice with me. I still appreciate her efforts to make me feel comfortable at work, but recently it's felt a little awkward. 

In fact, I've gotten the feeling recently that she talks to me the way she does not because she's genuinely interested in how my day is going, but rather that she thinks that I'm... well... gifted. Mentally challenged. Mommy-says-I'm-Special. Sort of like how Holly talked to Kevin in a few episodes of The Office before she found out that he wasn't retarded.

I'm all for keeping the expectations low so no one winds up disappointed, but I didn't think I came across as that much of a dull pencil. 

Since I've gotten this impression from her, I've been a little on the fence as to how I should proceed. Should I let her continue to think that I'm a few peas short of a casserole, or should I try to work something into our next conversation that makes me appear smart, or at least of standard intelligence? If I try to prove my intellectual capacity, though, I'd be worried about it backfiring. After all, I only want to give the impression that I'm smart, not to actually be called out on it. 

I think I'll play it safe and let her continue thinking that my IQ is sub-par. It is nice to have a cheerful face around the office, even if the mind behind that cheerful face probably thinks that I need diagrams to tie my shoes every morning. 

Have a good weekend, everyone.