Archive | February, 2014

Away

28 Feb

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The sun is shining and it is Friday. 

…I have had enough of the life-junk and am going on strike as soon as it hits 4:00. 

…I will not wash the dishes, or clean the bathroom.

…I will not pay the bills or go food shopping.

…Instead, I will put in my earbuds and go for a walk.

…In the sun.

…With the clean air.

…And the happy runners.

…And let all my thoughts and problems just be ignored.

…And prob’ly get a frappachino.

…The whole-milk kind.

…And point at the boats on the waterfront.

…Then feed illegal bread to the seagulls and squirrels.

…And watch that one dude by the docks, who disco dances in roller skates to silence, cuz his brain is fried and he still thinks it’s 1974.

…Because this is what I need.

…For me.

…And I need it, TODAY.

…Right now.

…Cuz enough is enough.

…And I’m tired of feeling shitty.

The sun is shining.

And it is Friday.

~D

Wordless

26 Feb

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I have to write a letter tonight, to a man I haven’t spoken to in nearly 14 years. 

…It’s about another man, whom I haven’t seen in almost as long. 

I feel side-swiped, and ill prepared, though there were signs that were telling me to get ready.  Signs that this was coming.  But I was so consumed with trying to dig out of the last family loss, that I didn’t give this next one the attention I should have, nor the people on the other side of family tree, sharing limbs with me.

Tonight, they are gathered, there.  I know what they feel. I know the loss of appetite and swell of pain ripping upward from the throat which comes from trying to hold back tears.  I know they are huddled together, speaking comforts to one another. Uncles are picking up Aunts from the airport. Everyone seems to be whispering, with grim-faced stares.  Children are fussing and crying because they don’t understand what it all means, only it is the most terrifying thing in the world to see your father cry.

…I imagine.

They are at a loss, with a loss, which seems somehow removed from me. I don’t like to admit it, but I want to comfort them, without being hypocritical. Having a loss that rips you in two deserves its proper mourning, and sympathy. They knew and grew up with this man their entire lives, and the simple fact is: I did not.

This afternoon, I found out that my Grandfather had passed away.

The man has given me my name, by once marrying my Grandmother, and adopting my Father and his sister, before carrying on to grow the family further. From them grew cousins I adore, and their sweet babies I wish I could snuggle. He may not have been of my blood directly, but it was a proud name, and he was a proud man, and his life, though almost exclusively separate from mine, helped to make me who I am today.

Our ancestors are our roots, seeding us, growing us, anchoring us into our places on this earth in a true marriage of “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.” For this, I am truly thankful to him, but I know it is not the same as the pain the others are feeling tonight.

…And I feel really badly about that.

Frankly, I feel like a total asshole.

For over an hour today, I haunted the sympathy card aisle, trying to choose something to send to my family. Something that recognized the epic loss, without making it sound as if it had nothing to do with me…yet nothing which might hurtfully presume more of a relationship which I hadn’t earned, and would have no right to presume upon them now in their grief.

…Just so you know: They don’t make those kind of cards.

I’m literally faced now with two “blanks.” Something calming on the outside of water and blooming life: on the inside: nothing.

One for my Grandmother and family.

One, for my Father.

I have a pen sitting right there, on the table, but I’ve no idea whatsoever where to begin.

…Even just starting the first one is odd.

“Dad,” it says.

Simple enough I guess, only not so much when you haven’t spoken the word in one and a half decades. Two years before that. Four before that.

I don’t know my Father, any more than I knew his.

So now I must write of one to the other, and have suddenly a minefield stretching out before me of all the things NOT to say, yet no idea how to get to the things I should.

What, for instance, can I write, which won’t dig up past ghosts, and hurl them at him blind-sidedly…triggering whatever regrets and/or guilts he might have held onto all these years, as people from broken relationships do? Now is not the time to appear to be throwing loaded emotional bombs at people in their grief…even less, at your own Father. Because you actually harbor him no ill will, that was all over…long ago.

…You just don’t know him, is the end result.

…So what in the hell do you say in a card on the loss of your “Dad’s” Dad, when you can’t seem to even think of the title yourself without quotations marking it’s specific significance?

I don’t have the proper practice it takes to say it without sounding foreign.

Love of family can be an odd happenstance, a Frankenstein-and-the-Monster kind of thing. Sometimes it is a comfort from stability and encouragement. Sometimes it is a flamethrower away from all-out war. Sometimes it resides in the symbolism. Mostly, I’d say, in the “shared experience”…good, bad, or otherwise. Because of this, you can hold that fierce connection and devotion, no matter how far apart you roam from one another. You belong to the name. You belong to the history. You belong to the gene pool, and its every harbored secret and horror and wonder and joy and regret.

…Because of this, I can say, “I love my family,” and mean it…whether I particularly know them well…whether I’ve met their spouses, or children…whether I attend the potlucks and football games, show up at Easter…or not…because we are linked by these viciously intense, and invisible tethers. They are my people, and I am there’s.

…I want to tell them: “I’m sorry for our loss” without sounding condescending or belittling the depth of their grief in any way. After all: they’ve been there through thick and through thin…and I have not.

…I want to say things of comfort, give hugs that will help, and be an ear to talk to…should any of them want or need that essential sounding board when lost in the anger, confusion and sadness of what has happened and what is yet to come, from it’s repercussions.

…And if I knew how, I’d want to tell my Dad…

…I guess I’d tell him…

…What?

…In all seriousness? Waiting for Godot would not be as long as waiting with this pen sitting in front of me tonight…

I really just need to not fuck this up.

~D

S’posed To Be…

26 Feb

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Man, we are slow at the office.  Epic slow. Painful slow. 

The storm systems are killing our sales and everyone here is done with their day by like 9:30.  Going on week two.

…This is a good chance to do things like get paid to learn lines.  Which is what I should be taking advantage of right now, and not beating computer keys with my fingers, on a blog that has about as much plot purpose as a Seinfeld episode.

I have a purpose, but am choosing to ignore it.  Some more.  As I’ve already been ignoring it a lot to begin with.  But now I’m putting in writing that as soon as I get done with this SUPER informative episode of literary genius, I will immediately bust out my script and continue on with learning Act Two.

You are my witness.

…Course, I could choose to ignore all that last paragraph and stream more Netflix instead…how the hell would you know…but I won’t.  I will be the responsible actor that I should be.  I will fill up my coffee cup.  I will pull out my cue sheets.  I will open my script to page whatever-I’m-on, and roll it up in my fist, while pacing my office, stabbing the air occasionally with my word-sword as I chant sentences in repeat sessions like a fixated schizophrenic. 

…In this case: an overbearing Canadian Mother schizophrenic.

…I still have NO IDEA what the hell that even means…but I’ll figure that out later.

First come  the words.

…And the words from the page.

…And the page is in that bag over there.

…And if I just suck it up, and get to it…I bet I can be off book by 2pm.

…None of which will happen if I stay here.

…Doing this.

…Which has now just become a sad final attempt at procrastination.

…Involving ellipses as a bastard version of a postscript in which there was nothing to be said even in the main letter.

…The end.

P.S. No, but really.

~D

Tech Murder

24 Feb

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Am eating a blob of potato salad out of a styrofoam coffee cup as a giant “fuck you!” and solace to my Monday morning.

…The damn computer kept glitching, and freezing all through the open order and morning report-running process, so I’ve spent the last three hours cussing at it and overly clicking my mouse.

Me: (click, click, click) WORK YOU GODDAMN PIECE OF TECH-SHIT!

Computer: (thinky wheel)

Me: (clickety click-click) I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS CRAP!

Computer: (thinky wheel, ongoing)

Me: (click, click-click-click) YOU HAD OFF ALL WEEKEND. YOU’VE BEEN DORMANT FOR TWO FUCKING DAYS! I CAN’T EVEN GET FIFTEEN DEDICATED SECONDS OF CONCENTRATION NOW?! WTF!

Computer: “Activation Fail.”

Me: (click, click, click, click) REALLY?!  REALLY?! YOU CAN’T EVEN OPEN A GODDAMN WEBPAGE?!

Computer: “Please contact your webmaster or administrator.”

Me: (click, clickity, click-click) WELL, I’D LOVE TO. BUT THEY NEVER PICK UP THEIR GODDAMN PHONES OVER THERE. SO IT’S YOU AND ME, PAL. YOU. AND ME! THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN EITHER THE HARD WAY OR THE HARDER WAY! YOU PICK!!

Computer: (thinky wheel)

Me: (clickty-clickty-clickity click, click) YEAH! THAT’S RIGHT! YOU REGROUP AND FIGURE OUT THOSE OPTIONS! NOT A LOT OF LEEWAY, IS THERE?! IS THERE?!?!? YOU ANSWER WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU! AND SHUT UP WITH THAT FUCKING THINKY WHEEL!!!

Computer: (beep followed by blue screen of death)

(Beat.)

Me: Oh. Ohhhh…you bitch.

Computer: (black screen)

Me: You think you can just pull that? You think you actually have the leverage to pull that with me? On a Monday? Right now?

Computer: “Restart, safe mode.”

Me: …You picked the wrong person to fuck with today, friend.

Computer: “Rebooting in 5…4…3…2…”

Me: (an inch from the screen) I own you, bastard. Now: it’s on.

…I may or may not have been watching too much “Burn Notice” lately. But either way, this fucker has it coming.

~D

Little B Gets Official

20 Feb

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The Gnome just returned from her first prenatal appointment, getting poked and pried for two hours. Little B (as we will call the baby) is now official.

After eating some chicken I forced upon her to help combat the blood work woozies, she decided it was time to bite the bullet and finally tell her mom she’s pregnant.

…I guess this is a not-great thing to have to do.

…Which she decided to counteract by texting it.

…Just now.

…You know…along the daily line of, “don’t forget the milk, and also: I’m pregnant,” kind of deal.

They have that on auto-text right? (And if they don’t they obviously should. Option #2.)

We don’t know much about the familial life of The Gnome, just pieces she’s shared here and there. Mom isn’t much in the picture, though (until recently) she did live in Grandpa’s attic, who likes to watch old John Ford movies on amp 3,000 at 2 am, cuz he’s mostly deaf and can’t sleep well. We chalk the deafness up to natural causes of aging, but the lack of sleep we assume goes back to his younger days in work habits. He used to be a Pimp, apparently, and was kind of a big deal.

This is not “code” for another actual profession.

…We have our reservations on this in believability, only cuz we’ve seen his “Pimp mobile” which is what The Gnome currently drives to work in each day: a blue Astro van with tinted windows, only one working door, and no hubcaps.

…Not that “hubcaps” make the car…but I think you might be sorely lacking in trades dealing if you can’t even hold onto a couple sets of shitty fake-chrome discs on your tires.

…Or your tires, for that matter.

One day last month she was late, cuz someone in the neighborhood he used to work and still lives in, had put the whole thing on blocks and stripped even those off.

…Now, I don’t know much about Pimping, but I would assume the street cred must run similar to the Entertainment route in the, “I don’t give a shit how big a deal you USED to be, what have you done LATELY,” kind of deal. So, obviously, he’s been outta the game for a while now. But I still think that’s pretty ballsy to just go stripping another Pimps shit on his own turf…even if he IS 103 years old and packs only a Winchester rifle by the Lazy Boy. That shit will still fuck you up. Even with iffy marksmanship.

…I assume there are bodies hidden somewhere which attest to this. Naturally, I want to know more, but I’m going for the slow and subtle pump for info on this one. This is not a work history that just comes blurting out…like a pregnancy announcement, for God’s sake. This takes care and finess.

In Other News:

Thanks to the “Burn Notice” work-out, I’ve already dropped five pounds this week and gained excruciating stomach muscle spasms in my abs. I blame the Yoga Ball sit ups.

…You know that hard contraction of your guts when you’re throwing up…how it just clenches and holds like its the only thing gripping you to the side of a mountain for which if it relaxes even a little bit, you will slip and plummet to your death at the bottom of a giant ravine?

…My tummy feels like that right now.

Pretty much all the time.

It’s making even eating, uncomfortable. I’m full in five bites and feel like I have to swallow twice as hard to clear it down to my actual guts before the abs trampoline it back up again.

Fitness is stupid.

~D

Yoga, With A Burn

19 Feb

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I’m on the fourth season of “Burn Notice,” and feel like it’s some kind of alien sucking all my brains.

…Finally got around to it on my Netflix cue, and now I can’t stop watching.

The leads are “okay,” (albeit stick people with chicklet teeth, and too-orange tans), but I keep watching on account of my great devotion to and love for Sam and Maddie. Sassy broads are my stock in-trade for lovin,’ as well as corny smart-ass side-kick dudes. Put them together as drinkin’ buddies and I am SOLD!

…I feel like I haven’t slept in four days.

(Mostly, I haven’t.)

I also feel like a beached whale.

…This is due to the fact I’ve gained a slight ton since my last show. And also on account of staring at all the chicks in bikinis they keep drowning you in, with every establishing shot, for this show. Apparently Florida hides the retirees and ugly, fat, pasty tourists indoors playing Bingo or something. Also, the half naked men.

…Where’s the beach-love-fantasies for the girls who watched this show?!?!??!!

Even though, (in my head) I know this isn’t the real world (or real Miami), it still makes reaching for the bag of Cheetos less fun, while festing. I feel too physically guilty…at least, after the first season. Honestly, it started fucking with my whole finger-lickin’ Nirvana, about half way through. Now, every time I get panged with a sloth-grossness vibe, I jump up and do fifteen to twenty minutes of Yoga through the rest of the episode. I’ve been known to do this four times per night. Mat, ball, weights: permanently where my coffee table should be. I think I’ve accidentally invented a new fitness regime they’ve missed out on, in the marketing.

…Although, on the flop side, thanks to team SamMad, it also makes me want to swill Mojitos and beer like a fish. If I were a smoker, I’d be totally fucked. Thankfully, where Mojitos are awesome in theory, I hate drinks with chunks of weeds floating in them, and I don’t stock beer. So: saving grace.

…Meanwhile…

OH MY GOD, DID BURT REYNOLDS JUST COLD-COCK THAT GUY?!? I FUCKING LOVE THIS SHOW!!!

…Off to let the aliens devour me some more. Maddie is burning a Congressman with sex-threats, and Smokey’s Bandit is shootin’ shit UP. Obviously, that takes precedence.

~D

Bad Ads & Baby Growing

17 Feb

Today is unbearably slow at the office. Rain all weekend left us with shit sales, and all reports done by 9:30.

…I’ve let the Gnome go home even.  No calls for about an hour at least…plus she’s moving today, and quesy.

…The last part is on account of the fact that she is in the first month of currently growing a mini-Gnome in her belly. 

We have much concern for the child, due to practicle purposes of common sense adaptations of it’s mother.  She’s a sweet girl, so affection won’t be an issue, but we do ponder its mental and physical future. The first weeks of pregnancy have been a big enough heads-up to show us that this is sure to be a wild ride of “how comes,” “what if’s” and “why nots” from the Gnome.

…I’ve already lectured on the importance of “going to the doctor,” “eating,” and “getting prenatal vitamins,” because apparently, those things never occured to her. Nor the fact she can’t just pound IB Profin for a headache and twelve kinds of tummy antacids, in lieu of breakfast. After an Urgent Care visit, she’s been forbidden to lift anything, and when I asked her if she was put on “bed rest,” she didn’t know what I meant.  To which I told her, it was exactly like it sounds, and she’d know if she was on it, cuz the Doctor would have told her so, to which she replied, “Well…I guess not, then.”

…I advised her to get an actual note with all her restrictions written on it. “So I can add it to your file.”  And, therefor, actually know them, and inform her of them, as needed.

I also advised her, before letting her go today, NOT to lift anything in the move. 

…This was followed with a pang of realization, directly after she left, that I prob’ly should NOT have let her go early, in order to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself today by doing things she isn’t aware she isn’t supposed to be doing, because she doesn’t “think” before undergoing most of her day-to-day routine and I dunno why that would suddenly change now.  Only I also realize that I can’t babysit her every move for the next nine months, and at some point she is gonna have to either wise up…or not.  On her own.  But then there’s this whole person dependent now on HER “good choices” and outside of about three, I’ve yet to see her really make any, in the six months or whatever, that she has been here.

…For a person with like zero maternal instinct, she is totally stressing me out with worry.  And it’s only week four.

Meanwhile…

…As the office is silent today, I’ve filled the time walking back and forth to the coffee pot for refreshers, and pulling 60’s ads for the the new show trailer I’m working on.  I’m looking for ridiculous faces and clothes, so went straight to the print-ads…where I know the worst offenders reside, and I have been gafawing, (actually out loud), at some of the particularly most horrible, for the past hour.  Since it’s Monday, I’m sure you could use a grin yourself…so am sharing the wealth of a few favorites.

Like:

* The Gran Prix of Circulation…
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* Fashion for the Literary…
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* The Doctor’s most recommended…
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* Plastic: Not JUST for furniture and food anymore…
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* Fuck breath mints!
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* What wives are for…
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* Really…?
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* Um. Wow.
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* For your convenience…
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* Just…what does the photographer even SAY to get this pose?
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And…the winner:

* Thank you, Canada

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Happy Monday, friends 🙂

~D

“So, What Are You In For…?”

10 Feb

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First of all: we sell stuff as a vendor. 

…We have GIANT contracts, with HUGE retail and wholesalers, which are the bread and butter of our monetary intake, here at the brothel.  And our biggest one…the Grand Puba of the lot…is based here, in the Pac NW, therefore, our branch is the go-toest of the go-to guys when it comes to making them happy.

…They want “this” thing to swap out for “that?”  Make ’em happy!

…They want show dates “here” and “there,” for “this” one and “that” one? Make ’em happy!

…It’s 5am and they need lit sent over before 10, but at the location across the mountain? Make ’em happy!

Compared to THIS company, everyone else becomes the redheaded step child, and we are told to drop, replace, yank product, and sell our first born offspring, in order to: Make. Them. Happy.

MAKE THEM HAPPY!

MAKE them happy!

Make ’em…happy!

(And don’t fuck up.)

…The last part is the most difficult, of course. Cuz it’s our company. Based on the other coast. And even though we are here in the lumber capital of the US, everything sources from there, and needs to GET to here, in order to, “make ’em happy.”

…You may see where this might not work out very well.

…So when a text comes through at 8am on a Saturday from the Sales Rep at the roadshow location, saying, “Due to personal circumstances, I will no longer be working with the staffing agency and will not be on site today…”

…WHS PIMP will immediately bolt upright in bed, and rush toward the bathroom with button-up and Dockers in-hand, while speed dialing the agency responsible for the staffing.

Because, DEAR GOD, we have less than two hours to “MAKE THEM HAPPY.”

WHS Pimp: (after spitting out toothpaste.) Hi, yeah…I just got a message from our Sales Rep, that he won’t be in today. I’ll be on my way there to cover, in five minutes, but I’m an hour away…I need to make sure you have a replacement enroute as well.

Agency: Sorry, he messaged you?

WHS Pimp: (after splashing water all over his face.) Yes.

Agency: Oh.

WHS Pimp: (Pulling shirt over head.) Why? What?

Agency: Well, he never told US.

WHS Pimp: (momentary pause.) Well, that’s unfortunate.

Agency: He works for us, so his first point of contact should be us.

WHS Pimp: (Jumping into pants, fighting the belt buckle, one-handed.) Yes. Well, yes. I agree. But so, anyway…you do have a backup for these kind of things, right?

Agency: He just shouldn’t be contacting you at all.

WHS Pimp: (pulling on socks.) Yes. Alright. But he did, see. And now I need to know…

Agency: –It’s “point of procedure.” It’s the first thing we tell them…

WHS Pimp: (slipping on shoes.) Sure. But, about that replacement…

Agency: We’re going to have to contact him and find out more information.

WHS Pimp: (swiffing papers and bills aside to find the truck keys.) I understand. But meanwhile…I have a building sitting empty, in the middle of a roadshow. Do you have a body I can put in it?

Agency: Only a first tier. Non-product-trained.

WHS Pimp: (stopping a second.) You have only ONE trained Sales Rep for our product?!

Agency: Available at the moment.

WHS Pimp: Aren’t we like one of your top clients? Our contract comes from the east coast.

Agency: Yes.

(Long silence.)

WHS Pimp: Hello?

Agency: Yes?

WHS Pimp: …I said, “Aren’t we one of your top–”

Agency: –Yes. I answered. But that is all we have to give you.

WHS Pimp: (finding keys, rushing out the door.) Fine. Okay. Just send them…anyone. Sales Lit is at the location. Tell them to inform customers that an actual Sales Rep will be arriving within the hour.

Agency: And who would that be, sir?

WHS Pimp: (trying not to yell.) Me. Me. I will be there.

Agency: I’m sorry, but since you are not with our Agency, we cannot sign off on your presence on the Sales Floor. All of our Employees have been background checked and passed, as per the contract agreement with your Sales Vendor.

WHS Pimp: (revving up truck, more than necessary.) Well I am the current Manager of the Pacific Northwest location for our contract with you, so I will be on that Sales Floor, within the hour, to sell our own product. Because someone needs to. Thank you.

(He hangs up, and begins the commute.)

…Meanwhile, in internet land, messages are flinging back and forth like mad, sending WHS Pimp’s phone to go off like a code-red. When stopped at a stoplight, he scans the stream to catch up, then stops. He pulls over, because he’s just read this:

Home Office Email: “…Yeah, the Agency says they’ve been trying to contact you for hours, but you haven’t responded. The Rep is not only no longer on location, apparently he’s been arrested.”

WHS Pimp: (yelled at phone screen.) WHAT?!??!?!?

Home Office Email: “…We are waiting for a reply from the WHS Pimp.”

(WHS Pimp immediately speed dials.)

Home Office Lead Of Contract: Hello?

WHS Pimp: Yeah, it’s me. WHAT THE HELL?! I mean, I don’t mean to go off on you like that, right off the bat, but…WHAT THE HELL?!?!

HOLOC: Yes, we’ve been contacted by the Agency–

WHS Pimp: –LIARS! I JUST got off the phone, telling THEM this guy was a no-show, based off a text he sent me. They had no idea anything had even happened!!

HOLOC: Well, it had.

WHS Pimp: And now he’s been ARRESTED?!

HOLOC: Apparently. Yes. Last night. Just before closing. They want to know what we are going to do about it.

WHS Pimp: Why?! What?! “Do” what about what?! He’s not our employee.

HOLOC: But he was on our “time.”

WHS Pimp: (beat.) WHAT?!??! NO!!! He belongs to them! It’s not our problem. OUR problem is getting a Sales person there–

HOLOC: Oh, they’re pulling the show.

WHS Pimp: WHAT??!?!

HOLOC: Yes. They’re already in the middle of removing our product off the floor.

WHS Pimp: Wait! What?! This has nothing to do with us. It’s their own staffing Agency…it’s THEIR employee! We’re being penalized and shut down for another guy’s guy getting arrested?!

HOLOC: On the Sales Floor. Yes.

WHS Pimp: Oh holy fuck…that’s like 50 g’s in sales projections for this week.

HOLOC: Yep.

WHS Pimp: Are you serious right now??!?!

…He was totally serious.

…Which even got better. As our deadline to get our 4 tons of product out of their yard, a full nine days before it was slotted to be removed, was to require about nine acts of god to achieve…

…Which would pay a Contractor to relocate…

…Coming out of our bottom line, without any sales to help cover the charges, time loss, or other job loss to the rest of our contractors slotted to build on the following week’s sales contracts.

…Which brings us to this morning.

…And the “call.”

Word of mouth had already spread. Contractors and Office Staff knew, by now, what had gone down. But what we didn’t know was, “why?”

WHAT in the living hell, possessed a Sales Rep our Agency has used for multiple years, to get arrested off the Sales Floor in the middle of a business day? And what in the hell did he take?

WHAT could be worth it?

…We began to place bets.

“Alcohol. It’s a misdemeanor, automatically in this state…”

…”Drugs from the pharmacy somehow??”

…”Everything they sell there is the size of a fucking crate…where could he even PUT anything like that and think he’d just walk out the door?”

…”I’m telling you: One of those gallon jugs of alcohol. Maybe lifted it off the floor…caught drinking it in the john at break…”

…”Or camera. Or some kind of electrical equipment?”

…”Don’t they sell Rolexes there? How ’bout a Rolex?”

…After about an hour of placing bets, the call finally came in.

…We knew it was good, cuz even as pissed at sales loss as he was, the WHS Pimp started to chuckle.

…Then just full-out laugh.

“It was liquor. Right? Am I right…?”

“…Pills. Some kind of pills…”

“You guys, no. It was a video camera or something like that.”

“So, what was it?”

WHS Pimp: Well, apparently, they have one of those “silent shopper” people in their locations, just wandering around the store all day? And their actual job is to “watch people.”

Me: There’s secret watcher-people in those places? That’s what they actually “do?” That’s creepy.

WHS Pimp: Yeah, and so this “secret shopper” was getting all suspicious on the guy, and so kept circling the area…you know, covertly and things…?

Me: Okay.

WHS Pimp: …And they noticed he kept going to this one section with his tote bag between Customers, and then coming back again…

Me: Uh huh…

WHS Pimp: But the “secret shopper” couldn’t figure out why…?

Me: DRUG DEALER!

WHS Pimp: …So they circled closer…

Me: Yeah…?

WHS Pimp: …And saw him take a thing, stuff it in his bag, and go back. Then take a thing, stuff it in his bag, and go back. Across several hours.

Me: Okay. Yeah. So what was it?!

WHS Pimp: By the time they finally called a bust on him, he had 40…

Me: (Getting excited.) –Yeah?!

WHS Pimp: In his bag.

Me: What?! Of WHAT?!?

(A moment to grin.)

WHS Pimp: Hawaiian shirts.

..The whole office just stands/sits there. We blink. It’s quiet.

Me: Are you fucking kidding me.

WHS Pimp: I am not.

Me: Hawaiian shirts.

WHS Pimp: 40.

Me: Oh. That dude is so gonna be reamed in jail.

(Everyone nods in agreement, and we all bust out laughing…until we almost pee.)

The end.

~D

The Part No One Talks About

8 Feb

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*Unvarnished grief, real-talk, inappropriate and uncomfortable subject matter. But I need to let it out, and somewhere, someone might just need to read it. To know: you’re not alone.
~
I needa shower.

Feel gross.

…Eleven hour car rides (one way) through snow and ice storms to get to Oregon, turn around the next day, and do it all over again, in the single most depressing field trip of all time.

Because death isn’t funny.

…Except when it is ironic, or unreal.

…Which it nearly always is…

…Once upon a time, my shrink said, “the second you can laugh at or make fun of a thing, is the second you win control of it.”

…But really, I’ve been far too pissed off to make fun of death lately.  With or without irony.  I know it isn’t supposed to be the “funny, ha, ha” kind of laugh…it’s the dark and twisted side. Obviously. Like where Tim Burton lives. Like if Tim Burton were a Funeral Director, instead of just a movie one.

…It sort of makes sense, because death is something we all deal with and will all have to face, and fearing and raging and crying about it doesn’t lessen any of those facts.

For me, it’s the awesome moments of “slap-stings” occurring…as if from no where, instant microseconds of time which wallop you so fucking hard and fast that you have forgotten how to breathe and when you come-to again, can’t understand how you are even still standing up and not in a clump on the floor.

…Cuz you FEEL like you’re a clump on the floor.

…In fact, a clump on the floor, sounds like a soothing place to be.

…But you’re not.

…Instead, you’re in another city. In another state. In a funeral home. Waiting for the Director (a youngish, clean-cut guy in a suit, not at all resembling Tim Burton) to get the paperwork to sign.

…And the sheer weight of morbidity for you to be standing here in this place, just about manages to send you into an anxiety attack.

…But you don’t let it.

…You push back.

…From the middle of the room…by the chairs you’ve just been asked to sit in.

Giant, overstuffed leather.

In front: a giant round table, with a giant box of kleenex, masked in a faux giant stack of books. You don’t sit (of course), because that would require motor skills and the confidence in your ability to stand back up again. Instead, you just stand there…trying not to become enclosed in the shrines of death all around…the walls of boxes and urns, the pillowed caskets, plaques and stone mock ups, and to the left, apparently: “pet haven”…where you can have all of the same in miniature version, or have Sparky turned into a pendant made of his own pressed ash.

…And that is when this shit just gets totally unreal. Like beyond ridiculous.

…And somewhere you must realize it’s prob’ly not reasonable to be so pissed off at the fact that there is a “pet” section at the funeral home you are here to claim a family member from. “Pets” are people too (or so they say.) But at that second, it becomes sorta the turning point of, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?! THEY HAVE A PET DEATH SECTION, LIKE JUST OUT HERE, RIGHT IN YOUR FACE?! AS IF LOSING A GODDAMN DOG BELONGS IN EVEN REMOTELY THE SAME REAL ESTATE OF FLOOR SPACE, AS LOSING AN ACTUAL HUMAN BEING?! I HATE ALL YOUR FUCKING DOGS! AND CATS! FUCK YOUR FUCKING BIRDS AND GERBILS TOO!! FUCK ‘EM ALL!!!”

…Is what you are thinking.

Really, really loudly.

To yourself.

…But you must confess, it does help a little. Having something tangible to become angry at. Because up till then it was all about trying not to look at and note the weirdness of various makes and models of open caskets with pillows, resting on the floor…like they were inviting you to take them for a test drive or something…and the wall of urns and boxes and cylinders and mini “keepsake” vials…that hold the remains of what “remains” when we are, you know…not alive anymore…but for some reason, people want to keep you around anyway.

…Creeped out, more by the second…thrown back instantly to every Holocaust film and research flashback…and bad horror film you’ve ever heard with your eyes shut… you were, in the end, semi-saved by a rage-fest at the “pet haven” section.

Which lasted exactly as long as it takes for a guy to walk from his office, back again, with a manila full of documents to sign.

…Then it all comes crashing back to real-times again. And that hurting-to-breathe thing. And stinging eyeballs. And you try to hold your shit together, just a little while longer, so as to NOT lose it in front of this stranger (who I’m sure is totally used to it by now)…”just three minutes more,” you think, “And it’ll all be over.”

But then it all comes to this silent, silent moment where time and space and life completely freezes. It’s like being out in the country after a new snow. The silence is SO silent, and pure, that all you can hear is your own breath…and your own heartbeat. You can actually feel it’s thump so hard that you can hear it. Pure, pure, silence of: STOP.

You’ve been handed a box.

It is heavy. Heavier than you would suppose, had you ever thought of the weight, which you never have, until now. In your hands. Maybe a million what-others-might-consider-morbid-thoughts, cram your head full, but you don’t think of them as morbid. They are wonders. They are private. I don’t even know if they are articulate enough to convey. But the single biggest two, you know:

“It’s wrong that I can pick him up, now.”

And…

“I need to get the hell out of here, before I blow.”

…So, you do.

…Get the hell out of there.

…And because you don’t know what else to do…because you don’t know the “protocol” for transporting your uncle’s remains in a car ride, a full state away…you do the only thing that comes to mind.

You put him, very carefully, on the back seat, with a seat belt securing him in.

…And you get into the car…

…And you ball your fucking eyeballs out.

…Until you really can’t see or breathe anymore.

…And you squeeze your Mom’s hand.

…And then…because life has to go on…you turn out on the road. And drive home.

There are all kinds of grieving, and ways that people come to terms and deal with the things they must. For me, it’s been a lot of anger, this time ’round. Anger of “too soon,” and “simple causes that can’t be reasoned with” and “what about his son?” and much, much more. Too pissed off to cry as much as I probably should. But there are no rules, no “how-tos,” no right and wrong ways when it comes to grief…I don’t give a shit how many books you read or shrinks you go to. Everyone sees and feels and deals with the after-effects differently. Everyone needs their space to do so. Everyone needs to come, in their own time, in their own way, to that silent-snowfall moment…where it finally sinks in, and the enormity of the loss is so loud, it renders the entire world deaf with it.

I am thankful for a belief that all he is doesn’t rest in a box that I can hold in my hands.

I am thankful for a belief that he has moved on to a place where he can watch us and his son, and laugh and make merry, and be the “he” that he always was here, only care-free.

I am thankful that I have such a hilarious, cheerleading, go-to-guy up there…so close to the ear of the dude that makes “the calls.”

…But none of that replaces or excuses the fact of what we had to do that day, or what he had to live through for fourteen before all this, or what his son will have lost, for the rest of his life.

I have a bone to pick with God on that one, and I think I always will.

I’ve added it to the list.

So noted.

…Now, to that other one:

“Take a shower. Get human again.”

~D

How The “Actress” Ages

5 Feb

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Listen up, it’d be easy to call it a “formula”…like there is science and reason behind it, but the truth is: a female actor ages roughly three times the speed of a male one, and that is the truth.

…This is not in “actual” body, this is measured in a thing called, “playable age,” which means the gap you can fill, based on what you look like and your “type.”

The older you get, the wider the gap ‘tween the sexes age in comparison, gets. This is how Sally Field played Tom Hanks’ love interest in 1988, and his mother by 1994, only six years later.

…That’s a sizable swing, people.

The fellas get to age as it comes to them, regardless of number, primarily filling three titles across a career: Child, Love Interest, Old Man. Women get four: Child, Love Interest, Mother, Crone. Yes, women get an extra label in there, but the major difference shows when you plug in the actual playable ages of what these times of life are considered by Casting Directors.

Women
Child – Infant to preteen
Love Interest – Preteen to 25
Mother – 25 -35
Crone- 35 1/2 – onward

Men
Child – Infant to preteen
Love Interest – Preteen to 170
Old Man – 171 onward.

…This is the actual truth. (Sort of.)

…The only break we really get, (as women performers), is if we happen to be Character Actors. In which case, even BEFORE 35, we have already (at some point) played one or two Crones, and our fair share of “Mothers” anyway…so the smack in the face for “playable age” isn’t such a big deal.

…In my case, looking at the cast list yesterday…I just thought it was funny.

…Sort of a little bit depressing…but I can still smirk about it.

…About what, you ask? Oh yeah…I forgot to mention:

One of the next two roles, in this show I’m working on, has me playing opposite an adorable, hilarious fella, I last worked with in “Anne Frank.”

…At the time, he was playing Otto, Anne’s father.

…And now: he’s my son.

With this kinda “comedy,” who needs drama?

😉

~D

Death Of Blob

4 Feb

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I’m one of those humans who needs to have a purpose…an end point, a goal…because if not, I turn into a lard-person-jelly-lump.  Both physically and mentally.

…I don’t do well just free-floating whichever way the breeze (if any) happens to be blowing this day/week/month/year.

So, I go for goals.

…I like  to plan and prep the next three things I wanna audition for…which informs what color and length of hair I’ll be sporting for the next six to nine months…how fat I’m allowed to let myself get, or how much I need to lose…what kind of movies and books I’ll be watching and reading for study aids…which actors will be my obsession teachers this go-round…and (eventually, based on casting)…what I will be doing with my night’s and weekends, and “where.”

…Which is why booking a show for me, is not just a big deal as “an actor,” but even just “as a person.” 

Twenty years doing a thing, builds some serious habits.

It reflects the kind of year I’ll have emotionally, physically, psychologically. It reflects the people I will be socializing with…which friends I’ll be seeing more regularly, and the kinds of places I go on the down-times…based on which city and county those “down-times” occur in.

…So, when I DON’T have anything to plan, at all…not even on the what-to-audition-for-next pipeline…I literally don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not a person who can just “be” to “be.” I can’t not think and study and plan. It’s against the religion of me. Even my Psych Doc couldn’t break me of it.

…Hence, for the last month, post-last-show, I have turned into a blob with total lack of enthusiasm.

Family tragedies certainly don’t help that.

…All you can do is just sit there, being “the blob,” turning into MORE of a blob, and thinking you are prob’ly doomed to get even blobbier before anything changes for the better. If ever again, at all.

So you do.

…Till an actual goal pops up.

…And you see it float there above your head, juuuuust outta reach, so you have to actually shift your weight, and stand up in order to touch it.

…And you do.

…And the fucker wiggles free n’ flies away, right in front of you…

…And you think, “Goddamn it, if I were FIT I’d have just jumped higher, and gotten a better hold of the thing to begin with!”

…Only sometimes, I guess the goal doesn’t totally float away for good.

…Sometimes, for reasons even YOU don’t understand, it gets caught up in the corner over there. But since you told yourself to forget about it, you don’t even know it’s there. How could it be? You totally lost it. You were there!

…Only looks like, maybe you didn’t.

…And two days later, you get a call on the phone. And it goes a little something like this:

AD: Hi. This is (Artistic Director you know.) I’m calling about the show.

Me: Oh. Yeah. That. Listen, I’m really sorry about lousing up that callback…

AD: I’m calling…

Me: –The “thanks, but no thanks call,” no, yeah. I get it.

AD: Not really. What? No. He wants to offer you a role.

Me: (Beat.) What?

AD: In the show.

Me: Who?

AD: The Director.

Me: Oh.

AD: Yeah.

Me: Why?

AD: Why??

Me: Yeah.

AD: Um. Because he liked you?

Me: (Beat.) No. But really. Why?

AD: That’s really why.

Me: But, I sucked.

AD:…Or: not.

Me: Really.

AD: Yep.

Me: Huh.

AD: So…

Me: Yeah?

AD: You like…wanna do the show?

Me: Oh! Sorry. YES.

AD: Okay then.

Me: Yeah.

AD: Good.

Me: I really needed this. I mean: comedy and purpose and stuff.

AD: Well, good.

(Long silence.)

Me:…But, seriously?

AD: Seriously.

…And so now, all of a sudden…the blob regains purpose.

…Which is a very good thing.

Very good.

I feel like I can breathe again.

Eventually, it’ll even sink in.

Huzzah and stuff — !

~D

The One Where Seattle Is Just Awesome…

3 Feb

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So, I dunno much about football, but I do know theatre.  Yesterday’s Superbowl was like the equivalent of opening “Spiderman: The Musical,” for the Broncos.

…You could almost feel sorry for them.

…Almost.

Since I am a CA transplant, I would have once upon a time been auto-assigned as a Broncos fan, had I not been living here already for 14 years come March.  Going by the, “if you’ve lived here ten years or longer, this is now your hometown” rule, I am officially a Seattle fan. 

…Even if I don’t understand most of the rules of the game.

…Or why they chose to do this play here.  Or how “this” way wins you two points, “this” way wins you seven, and “this” way wins you a bonus one…or why.

Frankly, I still think they make half the shit up as they go along, however…I do have basic instinct, and the ability to yell at people.  So knowing, “we wanna run that way,” and “not let them go here” is all you really need, in the end, to get into a sport whose plays last less than 2 seconds on average, and end up on slow motion repeat five times or more afterward, before the next one takes place. 

…Something like 60 minutes of actual play time across four hours of “game.”

That’s like stretching a TV episode to the length of “Hamlet”…

…But, you know…if that’s your thing, have at it!

Yesterday was YOUR Opening Night, football fans!

Your teams trained for months, through soft openings on the road, polishing your production values to a fine point, so that by last night’s Gala: There you stood, with what felt like the whole world watching, ready to puke with nerves and hoping to God that you would remember your lines.

…Which only makes it worse when 12 seconds into the performance, one of you trips and falls off the stage.

…And sorta just stays down there…

…In the pit…

…For FOUR HOURS…

…Cuz you can’t find the stairs.

…Meanwhile, leaving your costar to go on and win the Tony.

(And prob’ly Oscar too, when they make it into a movie.)

In short: Everyone has had a “bad Opening”…but yesterday’s Bronco Superbowl game, was roughly about as ridiculously bad as this, were it done in total earnest, costing around $470 million to produce, seen by 108.4 million people, with the cast making $49,000 per person, for a one-time performance…just for getting there.

…And THAT is from the perspective of a person who had (until yesterday) never even seen more than fifteen minutes of a football game, in their entire life.

The end.

~D

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