‘Merican Idoltry

February 26, 2006 at 10:14 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
My wife is a big fan of American Idol. I guess a lot of people are. Personally, I might like it, but I don’t want to get sucked in. Plus, when someone is bad, it’s embarrassing and hard to watch. But it is a pretty successful franchise, notwithstanding.
My wife is also a singer, or was, so she has an appreciation of it. She generally agrees with Simon. Simon is rude as hell, but he also knows his shit, and he is brutally honest, and has little or no patience for bullshit.
A lot like my wife, in fact.
Randy—I’m not sure what to make of Randy, Dog. Man, dude, man, Dog. I think someone staged an intervention, because he is throwing around the D-word a lot less. He is pretty enthusiastic, and a musician/producer, so he can recognize (in theory, at least) what is good and what is bad. Dog.
But Paula. Wow.
Originally I was embarrassed for her, because it’s obvious she’s little more than a cheerleader. A talented, beautiful, seductive. .. .cheerleader.. . . hmm .hmmmmm….
Oh, shit. Where was I?
Oh, Paula, yeah. But I got to thinking, she would probably be the best woman to be in bed with, ever. She is just so positive and supportive, she tries so hard to find the good in everything, she would just make you feel like a champ if you were having sex with her.
“Wow, that was really fast. You must have been excited, I can tell. I think it’s great that I turn you on that much. You might have set a record.”
“It sure does feel big.”
“You really made a lot of noise just then. The enthusiasm was incredible. It really made me feel like I should enjoy it too.”
“You’ve really come a long way. I like how you are using your unique look to your advantage. I really appreciate how when you do me from behind I don’t have to look at your face.”
“I think it’s great that you try so hard. I know you’ll get it eventually.”
I mean, aside from the fact that she is still hot after all these years, and a little more mature
(and a dancer, so flexible—am I drooling again?), she still retains some innocence, or goody-two-shoe-edness. She just makes you want to do nasty things to her.
Or is just me?
I would love to record some of what she says during American Idol and just put it on a cd, to play when you’re down, you know? Just to have a constant positive, nurturing voice…saying reassuring things…in a way…that…can be taken sexually…Hmmm
oh.. .hmmm.

Oh shit, where was I?

Maggie Mae

February 24, 2006 at 10:28 AM | Posted in Journal | 2 Comments


“The morning sun when it’s in your face really shows your age”

I am willing to admit that I am a sexual addict, or at least obsessive.  Very obsessive.  All I know is, I’m not getting enough.  How much is enough?  Well, enough to make me not bitch, I guess.  I do have a robust libido.  I could live with every other day, I think.  But I am over 40 now.  I would still prefer once a day, even now.  But I remember a time. . .

Lord, do I remember a time.


  I was living with Joy.  The person, not the emotion.  The emotion was more a collection, from pleasure to confusion to despair, desperation, fear, anxiety, briefly back to pleasure, then back to despair again.  I had just broken up with my previous girlfriend.  Out of the fire- –
I was 20.  Joy was 39.  Recently divorced.  Psychotic alcoholic.  But attracted to me, and willing, which is all it takes.  I am a complete raging hard on now, but at 20, you risked penetration if you stood to close to me.  I could do pushups with no hands, if you know what I mean.  My dick, he is the commander.   And he steered us right into that disaster.
  I knew she drank, I just didn’t know how much.  I got high.  A lot.  So I was in a difficult position to be judgmental.  But for the most part, I had a pretty sweet setup.  I would get off of work at Dominos late at night, and go over to her house, fuck her.  Sleep over.  Get up when she got up for work in the morning, and leave when she left.  When she had car trouble, I was taking her to and from work.  She worked for a doctor who had two offices.  So she spent half her time in the office alone, just doing paperwork and whatnot while he was at the other office.
My dick saw opportunity.  After I went home where my parents were gone to work, I showered and changed, and went to school (although I was soon to quit school about this time) then I would stop by her office and—well, I just wish I had this kind of magical power now—convince her to give me a blow job.
  And then I would go to work, and repeat.  I was getting it at least once, usually twice, and on occasion three times a day.  Good times. . . good, good times.
  But yeah, there is balance to everything.
  She was crazier than a shithouse rat.  I mean, even nuttier than a woman usually is.  Mostly when a woman is nutty, it is just because men and women, they think differently.  But she was nuts.  On any given night, when I would leave work and drive to her house, that’s when the dread would start.  What would I find when I got there?  What would the conditions be?  What would her condition be?
  Because I never knew what to expect when I got there.  It could be one of several different scenarios.
  Would she just be sitting, watching TV or maybe ironing, and drinking a beer, as in one?
  Would she be almost done with her first 12-pack, and heading out the door with her keys and checkbook, hellbent on destruction and the desire for more beer?
  Would there be a small party of 6 to 12 people there, ranging from underage to mid-fifties, none of whom I would know?  Drinking her beer and smoking my pot?
  Would her ex-husband be there, picking up or dropping off the teenage daughter, checking up on her, and arguing or fighting about some ridiculous thing?
  Would there be a large party, over 100 people, all from the girl’s high school, spilling into the streets, and cops everywhere?  Cause that has happened a few times as well.
  When she got drunk, she would reach a point, a certain instant, like a switch would flip, and so would she.  In a moment, her personality would change, and she would become a different person.  She even looked slightly different.  Angry, angry drunk.  Pissed and paranoid.  She had always accused her ex-husband of cheating on her, but after a while I began to wonder.  She started to accuse me after a fashion as well.  And she had what became a self-fulfilling prophesy:  “You’re going to leave me.  I know you will.”  At first, I swore that I wouldn’t.  But after a while, I just didn’t answer anymore.
  Because I knew, or I felt I knew, that eventually, this would end.  I didn’t want to think about it, because for the most part, I was enjoying myself.  I was young and I had no immediate plans.  I was on this ride till I ran out of quarters.
  As I write this, and as I think about it, I have a better perspective.  I was stupid, selfish, and ignorant.  But mostly I was young.
  I was stupid for not seeing that I was using her.
  I was selfish for using her.
  I was ignorant for not thinking of the consequences of my actions.
  And mostly I was young, and inexperienced with relationships and with people, and that’s why I was all of those other things.
  We had some great times.  And not just the sex.  We went out and did things.  Fun things, silly things. We just enjoyed ourselves.  To me, it was never-ending, and timeless.  To her, older, and able to see beyond the next five minutes, it was foreboding.  The clouds were always gathered on the horizon, and all I could see was the pretty sunset.  She could see the storm.  She made the storm.  In the end, when it was over, I felt that she drove me away.  I think she subconsciously did it for my own good—or am I just giving her the benefit of the doubt?  We would never get married, we would never have children together (and I mean never—her tubes were tied, and physically she couldn’t do it).  We would never grow old together—we were on different calendars.  If time were currency, hers was mostly spent, and my bills were crisp and clean.  We would never. . .


Service With A Smile!

February 23, 2006 at 1:05 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 5 Comments

  I worked for Domino’s Pizza for a long time.  Does anyone remember the 30 minute guarantee?  I do. I remember when it ended, too.  I was working that day.  It was a Wednesday, about 11:20 AM.  We had been open for 20 minutes.  Dec 21, 1993.  I got the call. 

   So for all the time since then, people have been stupid. 

  Maybe that’s not fair.  People were probably stupid before that.  But when people call to order a pizza for delivery, something happens to their brain.  Maybe pizza clouds their judgment, as well as their sense of time, and their ability to read a clock.  Pizza is a lot like heroin that way.  So some typical customer, let’s call them “Ass Clown,” orders a pizza at 9:07 PM.  We tell them, about 45 minutes.  (We’re busy.)  So then, at 9:28, Ass Clown calls back.

Ass Clown:  Yeah, I ordered a pizza about an hour ago, and it’s not here yet.

Me:  Oh, I’m sorry.  Let me check on that for you.  What’s the last name?

Ass Clown:  Ass Clown.

Me:  Okay, let me look. . . . Okay, sir, it looks like you ordered about 20 minutes ago—

Ass Clown:  Tomato, tomahto.

Me:  And it is on it’s way.

Ass Clown:  What do mean, “On it’s way.”

ME:  It’s on it’s way.

Ass Clown:  Where is it?

Me:  On it’s way.

Ass Clown:  Where at, “on it’s way.”

Me:  It’s en route.

Ass Clown:  Where at, en route?

Me:  Somewhere between you and me.

Ass Clown:  Why won’t you answer my questions?

Me:  I believe you’re not asking the right ones.

Ass Clown:  I want to speak to a manager!

Me:  Speaking

Ass Clown:  Listen, the guy I was just talking to was very rude.

Me:  Oh, I am very sorry about that sir.  What was his name?

Ass Clown:  Uh, . .  I didn’t catch it.

Me:  Well, I will investigate sir, and have him reprimanded.  Is there any thing else I can do for you?

Ass Clown:  Yeah, I ordered my pizza about 2 hours ago, and it’s not here yet.

Me:  Oh, I am very sorry, sir.  What is your last name?

Ass Clown:  (Groans)  I gave this information already.  Ass Clown.  A-S-S-

Me:  Ah, I see.  Yes sir, that pizza is on it’s way.

Ass Clown:  What are you going to do for me?  It’s been an hour and a half.

Me:  What do you mean, “Do for you”?

Ass Clown:  Don’t I get it free, because it’s been so long?

Me:  It’s been 25 minutes.  You were quoted 45 minutes.

Ass Clown:  Are you calling me a liar?

Me:  I’m calling you confused.  And possibly unable to tell time.  Do you have a digital or analog clock?

Ass Clown:  This is bullshit!  I have never been insulted like this!

Me:  I find that hard to believe.  Perhaps you just didn’t understand the previous insults.  I can explain them to you.

Ass Clown:  That’s it!  Cancel my order!  Call your driver and tell him to not come here.  I’ll call someone else.  Then I’ll call the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General’s office, your National headquarters, and Channel 2 news!  I’ll have your job, Buddy!

Me:  Really?  You can arrange that?  That would be great if you could get me out of here.  I’ve been trying to leave for years.  Thanks.

Ass Clown:  You smart ass, sarcastic, son of a–   hold on, there’s someone at the door.


Ass Clown:  Never mind.  The pizza’s here. 


Me:  (to the dead air) And you have a good evening as well, sir.



The names have been changed to protect the Ass Clowns.  No Ass Clowns were harmed in the production of this piece, but if I could have reached through the phone, I would have.  This was a dramatization.  The Ass Clown dialogue was real, but an amalgam of thousands of calls I received.  My dialogue was mostly wishful thinking.

Although I did tell a customer to fuck off once.


Smells Like Teen Spirit

February 21, 2006 at 1:15 PM | Posted in Personal | 5 Comments
f-f-f-f-u uu  ck.
Okay, I swear I am not whining.  And I honestly don’t know what my problem is.
You know, last year I turned 40, and that was. . . .interesting.  I’m sure I wrote a lament about that as well.  But this is more vague.  I–fffft. I got nothin here.  And that’s what it is, I guess.  I feel like I got nothing for my birthday.  Does it matter?  How old am I?  Do I need a present?  Well, no.  Actually, I got something.  My son got me a present.  He used one of his Christmas gift certificates to buy it.
Did the wife get me anything?  Did the wife GIVE me anything?  Not so much as a "happy birthday" or a "fuck off."  Asked me if I had a good birthday last night.  I told the truth.  "I don’t know."
  Said she’d make it up to me.  Make "what" up to me, exactly?
  I guess I know what she means.  But I also know that I don’t believe it, I don’t buy it, at this point I just don’t care.  I don’t think I have the right attitude.
  I had wanted to go to a comedy show this weekend.  Couldn’t get an answer out of her soon enough, and now they are sold out.  I didnt want to force it on her, because when I think about the Christmas show that I really, really looked forward to, that she ruined for me (see my November Archives, "Beaten Like a Dog"–in fact, I feel like that now) I just get pissed, and I don’t want to make her go to any goddamn thing ever again.  I have really lowered my standards, or my expectations.  I would rather be a martyr.  At least it’s fulfilling.  I don’t want a fucking thing.  Grrr!  I hate the fact that I feel this way, and I don’t think it’s justified.  I am just not happy.  Is that okay?
  My Dad didn’t call me on my birthday.  I think my sister tried to.  My older kids didn’t call me.  I know they’ve been through a lot lately.  (See Requiem.)
  So I’m sitting here at work, where the people I work with actually came through.  Whenever someone has a birthday, their cube gets decorated, and someone brings in cake.  These are mostly superficial friends, but it is nice, and they like me, and I like them.  It’s almost like it’s easier.
  On the bright side, I guess, I feel young.  I mean, I feel the full weight of teenage angst, and my face has broken out a bit.
                                       I feel. . . .alone.
. . .
. . . . .
Ya know, I went back and read that, and it reads disturbingly like the blog of a 14 year old girl.  the only thing missing is this:
  I love him.  He just doesnt know how much I love him, and I would do anything 4 him.  I rote hima peom.  I have to go, I have to right a paper for English.  Mr Thomas is so  hot.  Text me at lunch,k?

Tag, You’re It–Part Deux

February 20, 2006 at 12:31 AM | Posted in Personal | 3 Comments
Go check out my archives for the story of the first time; this is a continuation of that story.  But that one is from about 1989, and this from the mid-nineties and the present.

So, another time, a few years later—

And look, I don’t remember exactly when. I could strain my brain really hard and estimate it, and be within three years. Or I could just tell you I did that when actually I’m just guessing, and say it
was…twelve years ago. Yeah, I looked it up. I went to a dermatologist because I had a lot (I thought) of skin tags on my neck, and maybe some on my inner thigh, I don’t remember. He froze
them off and billed me. I may not have ever paid that bill. I remember him being impatient when I was hesitant about showing the ones between my legs, and thinking, you know, I took a shower and put on clean underwear for you. I just as easily could have done the opposite.
But I guess it’s enough that I didn’t pay the bill. I showed him.

And here we are today. This was actually in August and September of ’05.
I had lots and lots and lots of these things, these tiny little mutant attachments to my skin. I didn’t feel quite like the elephant man, but I was very self-conscious about it. I always wore a shirt, did not want to go to the beach or the pool, and didn’t really even want to wear a shirt
without a collar, because that helped to cover them up. Here now, with a new job, ans new insurance, I figured I would see what is covered.
Not much, it turns out.
This is all considered cosmetic.  But I figured I would go, get an estimate, come up with some money and get it done. Well, getting a hold of the doctor’s office to begin with turned out to be a game of cat-and-mouse. He had office hours Tuesday afternoon most days, never on Wednesday, first of the month somewhere else, and lunch from 11am to 1pm the next day. Closed Monday. Leave a message, but don’t count on a return call. Jam yesterday, and jam tomorrow, but NEVER jam today.
I finally got in to see him, in a satellite office, and realized that he travels around a lot from office to office. Is he the only friggin dermatologists in the metro area? Could be. I go in, sit on the table, and wait.  When he comes in, and as he is asking me questions, he grabs something off the wall connected to a cable, then begins to go after me.
It’s a soldering iron! A freakin soildering iron!
That is the essence of it, anyway. He said the way they used to do, freeze them off, didn’t work as well, and left marks.
The burning, that works. I had over a hundred tags on my neck. Imagine, just imagine, someone coming at you with a soldering iron, and touching you with it over 100 times. The prisoners in Abu Grebe experienced less pain.
I should explain, the tags themselves have no nerve endings, thank God, but are connected directly to the skin, and the best place to burn them is at the root, near the skin. So he is hitting that every time. I started to see stars. I thought I was going to pass out. I needed something to bite. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. Ever.
He apologized several times, explained that most doctors would want to do it a different way, and charge about 1500 dollars for it, and the insurance won’t cover it because it’s cosmetic. This was the only way. His words were lost in a swirl of pain. It hurt so much I started to laugh in disbelief at how much it hurt. And probably for about fifteen minutes this went on. He continued to apologize, and I understood, although I still wanted to punch him and stab him with the soldering iron. In the face.
When we were done, I showed him the ones under my arms, and he said, let’s do that next time, you’ve had enough pain already.
…So I didn’t have to kill him.
For now.

And then, it took about a week for them to fall off, like rotting fruit. Kind of disgusting. Luckily, I wear shirts with collars, so most of it went unnoticed. But finally they were gone. A few very small ones remained, that he missed, but honestly—he got over a hundred of them. That’s a lot.
I made another appointment for the ones under my arms. The doctor explained briefly that I should
get this certain medicine from the pharmacy, a cream to cover the area, like a topical analgesic to make it less painful.
But it was still scary, and without much provocation, I missed the next appointment, I was running late, and didn’t really try to hard to make it. But I called and made a new appointment several months after the first session. I had the cream, so I went to the bathroom to apply it to my underarms, and then put my shirt back on. Of course I didn’t realize this was defeating the purpose, and I had missed some important steps. He had actually told me to apply it and cover the area with plastic wrap so that it would stay on the skin, not soak in, and not be absorbed by my shirt.
He examined them and said these are too big to burn, I’m going to have to cut them off. No sweat.  Except I didn’t realize I could feel EVERYTHING. So the first time with the soldering iron was the most pain I had ever experienced in my life.
Until this day. Basically, he had a pair clippers that looked a little like wire cutters. I have no doubt that they were sharp. This technique for removal:  a) apply the clippers, b) squeeze to cut, and c) with a flick of the wrist, pull or jerk the cutters quickly.
I’m holding my arms up over my head for this, and biting a rolled up piece of paper towel. I am
making noise through it, too. It goes on and on and on. And on. Next arm. When he was done, I was I in shock. I had no idea what was going on–and no idea that I was bleeding profusely from dozens of places.
He applied gauze and bandages and pressure, and made me stay for about hour, until the bleeding stopped. That night, my wounds needing tending–wrappings changed and what-not.
My wife couldn’t do it. It was too gross for her. Luckily my son was there, a budding teenage psychopath, so he took care of it. Some of my open cuts were as big as quarters.
I look at it now and see very little scarring left, but it is very hard to convince myself to go back so he can do the same thing to the ones on my inner thigh. It’s the thing that keeps me from having an extramarital affair. Cause, you know, whoever I’m with–if I can convince them to venture down that way–may see these things, and…you know. This is not the most enticing site. So there is that, and yeah, my undying love for my wife and desire to be faithful, and our wedding vows, blah-blah-blah.
Men are pigs. Glad to be one.

Panic On the Streets of London

February 17, 2006 at 4:44 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
What is with the vice-President?  Why doesn’t he get it?  Obviously, in light of this tragedy, an accidental shooting that resulted in no serious injury, Everyone involved should be subpoenaed, a special prosecutor brought in, Cheney should resign in shame, and everyone from the President to the President’s chef should be convicted in this careless, hapless, occurrence which is just a metaphor, just another example of the arrogance and ineptitude of this administration.  Then the rightful heir to the throne– I mean the Presidency, Ted Kennedy should be installed as a lifetime president, because we should all do things his way, and emulate his life, and learn to handle personal crises the way he does. . . . .

  Think about that for a second.  If this had been Ted Kennedy who had accidently shot a friend, Ted would have reloaded, killed all the witnesses, wiped the fingerprints off the weapon, drove home, drank until he passed out, and issued a denial the next day.  The press would have defended his actions as "temporary insanity under duress," and he would have awarded himself the congressional medal of honor for not killing everone in a 30 mile radius.  "At least that’s something,"  the New York Times would say, comparing him to any George W Bush, "George Bush would have gunned down everyone in the county, and then dropped napalm from an airplane to cover his tracks."
  The Washington Post would have picked this story up, and editorials would question why George Bush had napalm, and who (meaning which Republican cohort) supplied it to him.  The LA Times would question loudly and often if this "Napalm Policy" was a legal aspect of the War on Terror.
The New York Times decried this as a reason the Patriot Act should be suspended.  Democrats in the House called for the impeachment of George W Bush, citing the Napalm Policy.
Conspiracy web sites print a story that George bush is impervious to napalm because of his alien dna. 
  Drudge puts up a story citing sources that say Cheney takes napalm intrevenously to keep him alive, because he is actually 720 years old and one of the founders of the Illuminati.  Drudge takes the story down after 23 minutes, long enough to fuel the conspiracy sites.  Photoshopped images of Cheney sucking the blood of children while receiving an IV appear on the Seattle Times Website as Real, Al Jazeera picks them up and they are spread all over the arab world. Rioting occurs in Muslim countries.  Not due to this, just because that is standard operating procedure for them.  China invites Dick Cheney to visit and show them his bloodsucking techniques.  France surrenders to the Germany, but Germany doesn’t want them, so we take
them.  France becomes East Virginia.

Sunrise, sunset

February 14, 2006 at 10:47 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
I. . …couldn’t let the eulogy rest.  I have been posting melancholy lately, and that is really not my intent.  This is supposed to be funny, dammit.  But life happens, and sometimes, despite my every effort to put a humorous spin on it, serious things happen.

At my brother-in-law’s funeral–my wife’s brother–not a lot of humor there.  He was the good guy.  The one everyone liked.  The family probably liked him better than me. . .
Oh well.
What I did want to take note of was the curious customs–and you know, someone should right a book (maybe I will) of death in our culture.  People puttin stuff in the coffin with him.  Stuff that means something.  To him?  To them?  Funerals are for the living.  My wife, not without a sense of irony, took a cigarette from her purse and put it in his suit pocket, and whispered something to him, something to the effect, "You might need this–"

I just said, "See you later, John."

But my actual point was, I have often read or heard of people remarking about spending time to watch the sunrise, missed opportunities, blah, blah, blah.
If you get a job where you have to get up in the fucking morning, you’re not going to miss a sunrise.  The shit is going to be RIGHT THERE in your eyes, and you’ll be nostalgic for a cloudy fucking day.  Assholes.  Get a life.  I guess that is the point of their little soliloquy.  They are weepy over their lack of direction and desire to pay their bills.  A job does these things for a lot of people.  Hippy retard fucknuts.

Yeah, I think I’m back


February 14, 2006 at 10:31 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
My brother-in-law just passed away.  We were expecting it, just not this soon.  Can you ever really "expect" it?  I was asked to say a few words.  I have never given a eulogy before.  Never even seen one, except on TV.  But here is what I prepared:

Hi, everybody.  I was asked to speak a few words.  John didn’t want a fancy service.  But he wanted a little something.  And WE, we need something.

Everyone who knew John knew that he was a good guy.  But not everyone knew all the things he did, to earn that reputation as a good guy.  Because he was also modest about it. 

When I first met John, he was living with his mother.   Because she really, really needed someone to take care of her.  Linda had been living with her, and taking care of her, and when it just got to be to much for her—and anyone who knew their mother understands how that might be—John stepped up to the plate.

Soon after, when Linda and I needed a place to live, dirt poor and with a baby on the way, John had a house for us to live in, so cheap it may as well have been free.  And there I heard more, as I learned about the family, what John had done.

Mike and Melissa, Linda’s oldest kids, I thought were like my own, but they were really John’s.  When John’s sister had two kids very young and needed help, he was there.  It’s hard, real hard, to raise kids as a single parent.  These two turned out alright.  She had John to help.  Uncle Johnny.

That was his name.  Even adults call him that.  He was a big brother to everyone.  I got to see the home movies of this family.  To tell you the truth, a lot of it I don’t remember, because I didn’t know everyone when I saw them, so I didn’t have a frame of reference for them.  But I got a good view of the family growing up.

John was big, he was strong, and he loved the kids.  He was always playing with them, wrestling them, having some kind of interaction with them, all the time.  Playing with them.  That’s what kids remember, when big people pay attention to them.

As Linda’s kids got older, John was there to help them out.  By the time I came onto the scene, Mike was close to driving age.  I sure didn’t get him his first car, I could barely afford the one I had.  Uncle Johnny.  In fact, Johnny was there to give Linda away at our wedding.  I had to throw that in just because she thinks I don’t remember anything. 

Just lots of things like that.  When Mike needed a place to stay for a while, with four kids. John was there.  He took in a homeless teen in the neighborhood, too, because he needed a place to stay.  He took care of the kids, and the kids’ kids.  And he was always there, for every special event, every family function, birthday, what-have-you.

He took the whole family to Disney.  He loved the kids, all of them.  And they loved him.  Kind of odd, don’t you think, that he never had any himself?  Well, his feeling was, he thought he might be crazy, and didn’t want to pass that on to his kids.  He loved kids too much to have his own.  Is that a sacrifice?  I think so.

So when he got sick, he didn’t want to be any trouble.  But Mike and Melissa weren’t going to let that sit, with this man that had taken care of them.  They decided Melissa would took him in.  

And even then Johnny took care of her.  You should see her yard, all the flowers and plants and trees he planted.  These things he really enjoyed.

They guided him through the processes, handled all the paperwork, and Melissa got him to the doctor.  All the things kids do to take care of a parent.  And I know Mike took care of him too.  Who do you think cut his grass, worked on his house, worked on his cars, and other things like that? 

And we all knew, and he knew, that this last year and half, these were his last days.  I think he enjoyed them, mostly.  He wasn’t working anymore, finally.  He got to spend a lot of time with the kids, and he got to plant a garden, and flowers, and trees.  All of the things he really enjoyed.  He got to go fishing a few times, I know.   In the spring, when flowers are in bloom, we’ll be thinking of him.

And I knew, but didn’t say anything, that when Melissa took him in, that this day would come.  After they had him with them, a part of their family, and then he would be gone.  And I knew how hard that would be.  On her, on the kids, on everyone.  I know she wasn’t really looking ahead to this day- -that’s too hard to think about. But for her, it wasn’t even a question.  This is what you do for your parent.

I wanted to say I am very glad, very happy, that he got to do some of the things he wanted to do. And I’m glad that we were able to have a big birthday party for him, just last year, to let him know how much we all love him, and how many of us.

So Mike and Melissa, they are just like Johnny’s kids.  But it reaches farther than that. All of them—all the little ones—are Johnny’s kids.

And now he is up there watching us, taking care of all of us.

News, Views, and What-Have-You

February 9, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Posted in Personal | 5 Comments
So, I had the ol’ epiphany the other week, and I have so far stuck to my guns about it. The whole "near  death but not really near death but it felt like it but I’m actually okay but I’m going to wake up and do something with my life starting with making really long  hyphenated sentences to get my point across" thing.
I have been wanting to actually be a writer, so that’s what I am concentrating on. My original purpose for the blog was to use as a journal, some stories of now and catching up on the past. So that is what I am going to try to limit the blog to.
I found a notebook that I had made a few years ago, and it turned up, miraculously, when I looked for it. Generally when I look for something, I find something else. I thought I might have to look for a remote to a vcr that I don’t have any more in order to find it, but I got lucky.
But this was a five-subject notebook that I decided to use to document all the ideas I had, creative ideas, so I could organize them, plan, them, keep track of progress, and so forth. It seemed like a good idea. I divided it up thusly:
1. non-fiction. . . .some political things I wanted to write, as well as a book on restaraunt management (not a how-to)
2. journal. . ..what this blog is. I used the notebook as a reminder of various stories I want to get to. I realized for me, anyway, the best way to write a journal is in essay form, like, "the time I did this–" or "that one time when that one thing happened–" that way I can hopefully leave out the boring parts.
3. fiction. . .what I wanted to write in the first place. I have about 30 or so ideas in my head, novels, short stories, novellas, screenplays. no body is going to write this shit for me. I can keep track of progress, keep characters straight, and work out details in the notebook
4. graphic works. . . I started drawing a cartoon strip, I have an idea for a comic, or graphic novel, as well as some animation I want to do. I have no idea how to accomplish these. but here is where I work them out. Maybe something will come to me
5. miskellaneous. . . I have ideas for some inventions, a board game, a video game, things like that. I have ideas constantly. which goes a long way to explaining why I post (what I consider) some pretty good original material here on the web. In terms of commodities, I don’t fear running out of ideas. I fear forgetting them before I write them down.
So what I did was,I went back through all my articles, and put up a list of people who read me and left messages, so I can go back to them, and visit them, read their stuff, and get more reciprocity–get more people to read my stuff. I’m not charging anything, but hearing from people who read my blog and like it pays my ego, and keeps me going.
I have a friend’s website that is going to publish one of my screenplays as I write it, but most of my fiction, I think for now at least, I wont put up here, except maybe small excerpts, because that is stuff I’d like to be able to sell. I may still post some of my cartoon strip, if I can ever work out the technical aspect of scanning a good image.
So if you see me post a comment on your blog, it was just to lure you in here. And you can leave a note anywhere, even in the archives, if you read an article there and want to comment. I’ll find it. If you read my September archives, that is when I started this blog, so most of that stuff was written in the prior two years.
I really hope you
come back
tell a friend
PS, I also worked on a little side project recently, and made a separate little blog to show what was up.
It’s pretty short, check it out.

Letter of Resignation

February 5, 2006 at 11:20 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

This is a letter I wrote to the vice president of the Domino’s Pizza Franchise I worked for, when I finally quit in 1998.  I am completely over it now, and in fact stopped by one where I know a lot of people, and they let me make some pizzas (for free).  But the theme of the blog being what it is, I have to include this.  Dominos had a rule that if you leave and go to Papa John’s, you couldnt come back to Dominos (because they were losing alot of people to Papa’s)–so I made a bee-line for Papa John’s.



   As you should
already know, I have quit Domino’s Pizza. 
But there may be aspects about this that you don’t know, so I wanted to
write to you.
  First, I want you
to understand my own personal position on this matter.  I have to look out for me above all
else.  I know that you have a policy of
removing people quickly once they decide to leave, so why should I put in two
weeks notice?  I cannot afford to be out
of work.  I’m sure you have heard from
Kevin and Gary, and have seen the numbers. 
I can mostly agree with the demotion.
  Except for
this:  How many managers have you had in
that store and various others that "didn’t work out" but would have
done an excellent job in any place other than North County?  You have to realize that it is different
  Let’s go back
further.  I have heard it said that this
was my "third chance" and that I would not be given another.  I want to clarify the record, and change your
mindset.  I am not the bumbling fool you
think I am.  Let’s go store by store.

  I was made manager
of 1588.  That was in 1992.  We still had the 30 minute  guarantee, and when I was manager there,
Blackjack got the area expansion into Spanish Lake.  We already had one of the largest areas in
terms of square miles covered.  The same
week I became manager, we introduced breadsticks and salads.  During that time we also started subs.
  How did I do
there?  Sales increases, for one.  I also had a record week.  Did I profit?
  Only once.  But more
than most did.  The previous managers had
a ahbit of leaving p&L’s in the file drawer, so I saw them.  I saw how often Jeannie profited.  Never, that is. I consistently broke even, or
lost very little.  I also have the record
for being there the longest–one year. 
But it wasn’t good enough, and you felt you could do better, so you
traded me to Keith Linkemann for Todd Hopkins, of all people.

  He put me in as
manager of O’Fallon, IL. Which I’ll get to in a minute, but what happened to
Blackjack after I left?  I remember the
stories.  Sales dropped off, managers in
and out like it had a revolving door, managers stealing left and right.  It was immediately after I left that
Blackjack was the first store to lose the school lunch program.  Only two managers of worth did well there,
and that was Romona and Doug Pierce.  But
since Doug is no longer with the company, he doesn’t exist.  I guess I don’t either, anymore.
  But I went to
O’Fallon Illinois, delivering to Shiloh with
the thirty minute guarantee.  I fired
several people for stealing, including my MIT. 
Did Keith provide me with a replacement? 
No, I was on my own for that.  Not
so much as a thanks or good job for stopping the theft.  So I worked six or seven days a week for six
weeks, during which I had my Back to School, and got failing grade on it.  Did I get help from Keith?  No, I was pretty much on my own.  When he got rid of me he said it was “nothing
personal.”  I agree.  He’s kind of a heartless son of a bitch, so
nothing is personal.  By mutual agreement
I went back to Hazelwood as an MIT.

  During that time,
we computerized most stores and dropped the guarantee.  Then Cross Keys opened up (for a manager).  You personally interviewed me for that, and I
remember that you said, and I quote, "Bubba, I think I may have been wrong
about you."  Probably the closest
thing I would ever get to an apology for being pulled through the wringer and
  So I took
1576.  Year to date, in September, it had
lost money.  Then I took over.  Right away we started to profit, and right
away sales went up.  From September
through December we did well enough that the store actually profited for the year.  I know now that individual stores can receive
recognition for being 10/10.  When I was
manager of Cross Keys, for the entire year, it was 10/10.  Average sales were 10024, and my sales
increase for the whole year was somewhere between 17 and 22 percent.  I was Gary’s
golden boy, profits were up, and he loved me. 
The next year sales were flat.  I
guess he expect us to surpass 1575, the highest grossing store in the entire
  Whatever, he got
it in his head that he was going to replace me. 
This I will never forget:  I was
having a Mega-week, a big promotion, and it was going to be a record week.  Things were going well, we were giving good
service and running reasonable costs.  Gary comes in Friday
before my dinner rush and brings me into the office to talk.  Not a pep talk.  He actually chose that time to chastise me
for not deck-scrubbing the baseboards like he had asked, and said that if
things didn’t improve, "changes will be made."  It’s customary for the operations director to
come in and help during the big week.
  Well, I went ahead
and had a record week without his help. 
And he went ahead and replaced me a few months later with Kim, who was
given all the credit for my sales increase. 
But that’s okay, because all the progress she made at Bridgeton was hailed on
Gail as her work.
  Juliana told me
that I was getting moved to Blackjack. 
She basically told me two conflicting things, which lets me know it was
actually Gary
pulling the strings.  The gist of it was
this:  I’m not doing very well at Cross
Keys (translation: not performing miracles), and they need someone strong in
there who will.  At the same time, they
need someone strong in Blackjack–someone with a proven track record
there.  So, basically, I’m good enough
for a store that is, by all accounts, one of the most difficult to run, but I’m
not good enough for a store that is incredibly easy to run.
So I put in my
hard time at Blackjack, waiting that infernal three months for all my good
bonus checks.  By the way, you know there
has never been a reasonable explanation for the three-month waiting
period–these aren’t handguns.
  So I left and went
to Steak n Shake.  It was a demotion going
to Blackjack.  I lost over six thousand a
year in terms of bonuses based on a whim by Gary. 
And I know the stock answers to all this, how I have the potential to
profit there and make that money.  But by
now even you realize what is possible and what isn’t–just keep the loss to a
  When I came back,
like a sucker, I was MIT for Kim, then for Romona.  And
I didn’t really want a store.  Romona did
not beg me, but when she became supervisor, I felt for her, and she did tell me
there was no one else.  So I took Berkeley.  You know, it wasn’t so bad.  I know you think I’m soft with people, but
every where I go I fire several people. 
Is that not good enough?  Do I
have to fire everyone?  Then I have to
leave the store to take deliveries.  Is
that what I’m supposed to do?
I think you need
to drive around in Berkeley
during the day sometime.  Don’t do it at
night; you’ll get killed.  Notice the
McDonald’s that is closed.  Notice all
the other businesses boarded up.  See the
drugs and crime in the streets.  These
are the customers.  They are also the
stock from which prospective employees come. 
Try to hire someone who will:

  A. show up for the
  B. show up after
you hire them
  C. come reasonably
close to being in uniform
  D. have their own
  E. be able to
prove they have insurance

  and finally, I had
to lower my standards on this

  F. not steal from
you. . . much

  So I wasn’t
performing miracles there, either?  I
kept that fucking store open; I call that a miracle. (Note:  I managed Berkeley in 1998.  Two years later it is closed, opened up as a
liquor store or something.)  I never
really wanted to manage, especially there, and I guess it showed.
  So Gary and Kevin,
my new supervisor, demote me.  Again.   It was somewhat of a relieve, especially in
terms of dealing with Kevin.
  A word about
Kevin.  One night I call him and ask how
to do this in the computer.  The computer
in Berkeley was
a mess when I was there, and probably still is. 
Normally, when taking an order, if you know what buttons you need to
press, you can do it quickly and wait for the system to catch up.  But since it is messed up, you can’t.  If you try, it will throw all sorts of
bizarre letters and numbers up on the screen. 
Rachel took a carry-out order for a soda (lots of carry outs
there).  As she rung it up, without her
knowledge, the computer also added 29 diet sodas.  I happened to catch it before close, other
wise I would have been $35 short.  Kevin
told me to coupon it, then he says, "If we’re going to have problems like
that, maybe we should just get rid of her."
   I couldn’t
believe my ears.  It was the computer,
not her!
  It was at that point also,
that I had a premonition, or maybe just a fear, of losing my own job.  The moral of that little story, Donnie, is
that you need to watch Kevin, and he needs to work on his people skills.
 We are not disposable, like tampons.  I hold no illusion as to my own ability, but
he will rub too many people the wrong way and you may lose some good people
too.  Or maybe it’s already too
late.   I didn’t even want to talk to him about it,
because he has an imperial attitude, and since I quit he would just write it
off to bitterness on my part.  But North County
is different.  Ask Juliana, who
successfully supervised it.  Ask the
supervisor before her, who didn’t.  Ask a
manager in St. Charles if they want a North County
store.  What everyone feels intuitively
is the basic truth.  I am not making
excuses.  The area is just hard.   Do you
remember when you supervised Blackjack?
Try to take care
of your people.  I mean really take care
of them, not just say it.  What is this
Golden Rule that you want us all to practice? 
The reality is you and the rest of the upper management are not walking
the talk.  What Kevin did to me was not
the Golden Rule.
  I was demoted for
not being able to perform miracles in a difficult store.  Then I received further humiliation by being
offered less money than when I was an assistant before, when Gary told
me (but of course, not promised me, and I should have nailed him down to an
exact figure right then and there) that working 50 hours, with ten hours
overtime, I should make the same money I was making as a manager.  When Kevin told me 7.25 per hour, then he
told me "take it or leave it," it truly hard to believe that he never
intended for me to leave.
  When I see the
shape some of the other stores are in, I knew that the company could use a
solid strong, assistant.  What I felt I
deserved was 8.00 an hour.  What I would
have taken is 7.50 or 7.75.  Do the math:
7.25 x 40=290.  7.25×1.5=10.88x 10
hours=108.80.  Add it up and it’s less
than 400 per week.  Add that mythical MIT
bonus in, the one that is structured so no one ever gets it, and three months
later it is 425/week.  Not even close to
what I was making before.  So I was lied
to.  It was a lie.  Whether on Gary or Kevin’s part, I don’t
know, but I feel certain that they will back each other up and say that what I
was told never happened.
  In summary, this
is what I want you to remember:

    I am a much better
manager than you think,  you just have a
short memory.
    Kevin needs to
work on his people skills.
    I was lied to,
and therefore I was given no choice but to quit.

  In fairness to
Kevin, he did call me on Friday when he heard rumors that I was leaving, and he
did offer me more money.  7.50 per
hour.  On Tuesday, I would have taken it,
be- grudgingly, then asked for a transfer out of his area.  But by Friday, the damage was done.
  It was too little,
too late.  Other managers were shocked
that he was going to try to pay me that little. 
Me, sucker that I am, almost accepted it.  I have the eternal positive attitude, happy,
trusting, believing that people will do right by me.  I never complain, never pass blame, never
fail to be optimistic.  It has taken nine
years, but you have done it.  Not you
personally, but as a company, you beat down. 
You took my –my– I don’t even know the word for it.  Innocence, I guess.  I will never be the same.
  You have no idea
how hard this is for me.  I’ve been beaten,
kicked, lied to, humiliated, and yet I still have loyalty.  I would have stayed as an assistant manager forever,
and I mean forever, and the manager I worked for would have loved
me, paid my price, and counted themselves lucky to have me.  I didn’t burn this bridge.  I most decidedly did not.

It was forced on me.

  What have you
lost?  As I said, I hold no illusion as
to my own ability.  But someone who is
rock-solid dependable, can fill in for a manager without question, can handle
any situation, no matter what, with the many years experience I have–and still
doesn’t have a bad attitude
–may not be priceless, but is definitely worth
something.  I believe that my own
personal product is the best that Domino’s can produce.  I have trained the best in the company.  I PUT MY HEART AND SOUL INTO EVERY PIZZA I

  Now I will do it
for someone else.

  What have you

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