Old World Stout

October 30, 2008 at 9:39 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  Usually on a Monday, we be slow at the Domino ranch.  Mike will drive all day, and we’d have one clown–like Myron–come in for a few hours during dinner.
  And Myron is a clown, too.  I discovered that I don’t like him.  I can tolerate him, barely.  He just has ways about him that piss me off, because I am a logical person and he is dumbass.  I may have gone over some of the reasons before, about how petty he is about the money.   ‘Member?
  But there’s another thing too, and this technical, so stay with me, here:  when a normal person takes a pizza delivery, they hold the pizzas (or the bag) from underneath, supporting it much the way a server would hold a tray.  This is a time-honored, tried and true method, used because it works.  There is a logic to it.  When you hold it like that, you have maneuverability, you can adjust the bag to your line of sight, and easily access the bag with the other hand to pull the pizzas out.  These are the most obvious reasons, and I’m sure if I thought about it I could come up with more.
  But a certain retard named Myron walks out the door every time–every time! with the pizza bag resting on his hip and supporting it on the outside with his limp wrist, like a gay basketball player.
  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  But dammit, there is something wrong with it!  You don’t fucking hold a pizza bag that way.  It’s lazy and at the same time, incredibly inefficient.  Just think about something in your job that you do a certain way–whatever it is.  You’ve been trained to do it that way, everyone does it that way, it’s the right way–and then some assclown comes along and wants to do it the wrong way.
  I’m torn between correcting him because it grates on my nerves and letting it go because I don’t even want to talk to him.  I wonder if show and tell would work…

  [dream sequence]
  Myron picks up the bag containing his run, rests it on his hip, and begins to sashay out the door–because with a pizza on your hip, the only thing you can do is sashay.
  Bryan cringed, then shook it off.  He approaches Myron.  Myron looks at him with a dull questioning look that Bryan realizes is his normal expression.  Bryan applies a quick and dirty bitch slap to Myron.  He drops the pizza bag and holds his tender cheek.  A single tear flows down his cheek.
  Bryan picks up the pizza bag, turns it over the right way, grabs Myron’s hand and pulls it out.  His wrist hangs limply.  Bryan stares daggers at Myron, and he gains a slow understanding, and rediscovers the ligaments in his wrist.  Bryan places the bag on his hand.  Myron starts to lower it to move it to his hip–
  And gets the shit slapped out of him again.
  This sequence is repeated for roughly half an hour until Myron starts to not want to get slapped anymore.  Bryan shows him by example how to hold it, then passes it to Myron and nods to him.  Finally–finally the retard gets it.  He smiles at his accomplishment.  He now has the pizza securely in the bag and balanced on top of his hand after it has been slapped off of his hip approximately 17 times.  He’s going to deliver it now.  He heads towards the exit.
  And smacks his face and the pizza flat against the glass.  Now Bryan has to teach him how to use the door.  Bryan looks around for his flame thrower, because it would solve this problem.
  [dream sequence end]

  But last night, Mike needed off at 5, so Myron and Paro worked.  Now, I like Paro.  Not big on English, but communication is over-rated.  Paro closed for Mike.
  Working with Mike is–draining.  He’s about my age.  And he’s a hyper son-of-a-bitch.  He will not sit still.  We’re outside "relaxing" and having a smoke, and he will not sit still.  And he talks.  And talks.  And talks.  Constantly.  More than a woman.  I want some quiet time to read a book, and he comes in and sits down and just starts talking.  Loudly.
  I’ve learned to read when he is on a delivery.
  I do like him, but I think he is just bizarre.  But it’s good working with Mike, and we have a routine.   And sometimes, after 9pm or so, part of that routine is some beer.  Yeah, I know–Domino’s Pizza, drinking beer on the job, delivering, blah blah blah.
  Well, I don’t care.  First, Mike is having one or two at the most, definitely not enough to make him drunk or even impair him.  Secondly, the company isn’t paying me to work hard–or arguably even work at all; I figure they pay to show up and that’s about it–so they get what they pay for.   Plus, late at night, like between 9pm and midnight, on a Monday if I get 4 calls that’s alot.  I have time to get everything done, read, and drink a beer.
  And last night was slower than usual, although we had some lates early during dinner.  Meaning late deliveries.  Not that we were busy, but because I had Myron and Paro.  They are both decent drivers, I guess.  Paro is decent.  Myron is barely functional.  Mike good, really good.  Good enough that he barely needs help on Monday, and Myron qualifies as "barely help." 
  But Paro and Myron–Paro is okay, but there is a language barrier that slows him down, plus he drives like old people fuck.  Myron couldn’t find his ass with both hands and a GPS.  And yeah, he uses his GPS.  So he hasn’t bothered to learn the area at all.  After almost a year of completely relying on the GPS, he has little to no practical knowledge of the area. 
  If you look at the map, and have to figure out how to get there, YOU WILL REMEMBER IT.  He takes the lazy way out and refuses to learn.  Just like, after almost a year, he still can’t take a phone call without fucking it up somehow.  He’s ready at the drop of a hat to just hand the receiver to someone else and let them straighten out his mess.  He doesn’t want to learn.
  Or he’s incapable.
  Either way, I don’t give a shit except to the extent that I work with him and he annoys me.
  So last night, Paro closes with me.  We were slow, and I went out for a smoke.  Paro goes to his car, comes back with a beer for me.  I figured his Bulgarian background would give him a sophisticated palette as far as beer is concerned.  He gives me…a Milwaukee’s Best.
  In his thick accent he says, "Is stout.  I like."
  I guess I don’t have a sophisticated palette like he does.  It tasted like cold piss that was no longer carbonated.  I guess it’s an acquired taste…

Election Night Coverage III_Shaft In Afrika

October 30, 2008 at 9:32 PM | Posted in Political | Leave a comment
  With Mapquested directions in one hand and my quickie McDonald’s brunch in the other, I drive up to a large commercial office space site in the central county.  I was a man on a mission.
  A man on a mission–a smart man–would have worn his jacket to stand in line outside the building on a cold-but-sunny late morning in October.  It was about 45 or 50 degrees, so I toughed it out.  Luckily the wait was only half an hour.  Instead of the line moving slowly but steadily, it was more truncated.  The man came out and made an announcement:
  "Can I have your attention please!  Turn off your cell phones inside the building.  No phones, no cameras.  There are several lengthy propositions on the ballot, so we will hand out papers that have the text of them.  Please do not write on these.  We reuse them and no one else cares how you voted.
  "Please go all the way in to the marker.  Grab a sheet and a clipboard and fill the sheet out.  There is no early voting in Missouri.  These are absentee ballots only.  Under penalty of law you must state the reason you will not be able to vote on Election Day and sign it.
  "Pull in closer and get friendly so we can get as many people in here as possible."
  I didn’t have my cell on me–I rarely do.  It was in the car.  I had a valid reason, and luckily it was on the form:  "Will be working the poll on Election day."
  Thusly vindicated, I proceed.  A stern and matronly woman at the desk (and honestly, is there any other kind that work in a government office?) calls "Next!"  That…would be me.
  Impatiently, she takes my information and enters it in the computer, the entire time I am smiling and chatty, because I know it irks this type of person, and I try to spread sunshine wherever I go.  Then I stand in one of two lines to vote.  We have two styles of voting, the touch screen and the…uh–shit.
  I should know this.  I’m going to have to read the book again.  Anyway, they have the old way and the new way.  The new way is computerized and touch screen, but it does produce a paper record, on a roll, for auditing purposes.  It is shown on the side, and voters are encouraged to check the paper record that prints as they go.
  So, after a couple of firm beliefs, a few hedges, and several wild guesses and one or two misinformed choices, I was voted.  Next door was the training center, and it was almost 12:30, time for the class.
 
  Everything is done in a bi-partisan manner, so there were even two people teaching the class:  a proud Republican patriot and a Liberal whining crybaby communist.  By their previous agreement, the woman taught most of the class, and the man stood by and watched, and occasionally answered questions or went into detail on a couple of topics.  We had a 100-page booklet to get through.
  Here’s the long and short of it, in no particular order except what I remember:
  First of all, you’re going to want to bring your lunch, a cooler, snacks, drinks, et cetera.  It’s going to be a long day, from 5am until you are done.  The polls close at 7pm, but anyone in line at that point still gets to vote, so it could easily be after 8 before the voting is done.  Then all the paperwork and official packing up of the stuff.
  There are an equal number of Patriotic Republicans and sniveling leftists at each polling place.  And at least four:  a supervisor and assistant supervisor from each party.  These are the people who know what is going on.  Basically we (the grunts) are going to man the binders and check people in.  The Ones Who Know will handle the problem table and also help people if needed with the specificity of the ballot procedure.  When anything like that is done, it is a bipartisan Siamese committee.
  There are some technical things that we can and can’t do, and some rules about ID and so forth.  Several forms of ID are acceptable, and in the State of Missouri must be shown.  Take that, fuckin illegals! –Except that pretty much anything, including a current utility bill, can be used as ID.
  There are also people called "challengers" who are actually just observers for the parties.  They have no power, really.  They aren’t allowed to look in our books or binders.  They can only ask that a person’s name be repeated, or something.  I’m not sure what the effect is supposed to be.  Maybe intimidating them into not voting?  What gives?
  There is the setting up of the equipment at the beginning, and the taking down of it at night.  The guy explained in more detail:  "The polls open at 6am.  Make sure you are open.  If you have your equipment all set up, open at 6.  If you don’t have your equipment all set up, open at 6.  You DON’T want to be on the news."
  It’s a rule that in any group of 15-20 people there will be one ass-clown who wants to ask alot of questions.  A dual purpose is served here:  he gets to show everyone how smart he is, and everyone will know he’s a dumbass.  Our class was big enough to have two of these.
  A older woman behind me sighed and said under her breath, "Come on!  It’s not that difficult!"
  I turned around to her and smiled.  I said, "For some people, it is."
  There were people in there of all age groups, surprisingly.  College-aged people doing it for credit as well as the money.  So, if I’m lucky, I’ll be working with some hot young coeds.  The sacrifices I make for my country–
  Another thing that was explained is that this place–St Louis County–is the third most complicated election district.  In the world.  In addition to the federal and then state concerns, the next level is county, then township and municipality.  Additionally there are also school district lines that follow their own borders, many of which look like the path of a three-legged drunken dog.  In any one polling place you may have your choice of one ballot, or you may have your choice of up to five.
  Not your choice, actually.  What your specific address is determines what ballot you get.
  This is going to be fun in the same way that getting your teeth drilled is.
  One more thing the man added, in response to a question, "Your official title is Election Judge.  This is something you can put on your resume:  You were an Election Judge for the 2008 Presidential Election,"
  So I have that going for me.  Which is nice.

I Got Your Back

October 25, 2008 at 3:24 AM | Posted in Journal | 1 Comment
  It’s been awhile, so I figured I was due for another email exchange with my friend Serena.  The one I had with CREEP (the committee to re-elect the President, also known as the Events and Morale committee) was more frustrating.  It finally ended with me shutting up, but holding on to a big "I told you so" when this is over.  I sometimes wonder why I am even on the committee.  It’s run by a bunch of women; in fact, most of the committees are all female.  As long as I slide in my input in a subtle manner (like a reach-around) instead of forcefully (like a gang-bang), I can affect logical change and steer the vision.  So I feel like Hillary…
  But this exchange was different.  It started with me emailing a link about a pizza deliver guy in Texas shooting his robbers.

——————————————————————————–
From: Bryan G. Bushong
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 8:58 AM
To: Serena Lee-Davis
Subject: God Bless Texas

…where you can do this….
 
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,443822,00.html

——————————————————————————–
From: Serena Lee-Davis
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:02 AM
To: Bryan G. Bushong; 
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

Wait wait wait
I’m ok with the part of him having a license to carry the gun given the job and all but HOW was he defending himself if he shot the dude in the back??

——————————————————————————–
From: Bryan G. Bushong
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:09 AM
To: Serena Lee-Davis
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

THEY WENT TO ROB him, he pulled the gun, and they changed their mind.  He shot the pussies anyway.

I’ve been robbed before,so I have NO sympathy whatsoever for the bastards.  Scarred me for life.

——————————————————————————–
From: Serena Lee-Davis
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:13 AM
To: Bryan G. Bushong
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

Yeah, if they changed their mind and ran AWAY from him and he shot them anyways IN THE BACK!! That is NOT self defense. IF they ran away, then His life was not in any danger!
 
——————————————————————————–
From: Bryan G. Bushong
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:17 AM
To: Serena Lee-Davis
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

I still dont give a shit.

His life was in danger UNTIL he pulled the gun to defend himself.  If he didn’t shoot, they would have changed their mind and realized he wouldnt shoot, and come back and get him.

Sympathy for criminals equals high crime rates.
 
——————————————————————————–
From: Serena Lee-Davis
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:21 AM
To: Bryan G. Bushong
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

Yeah if he shot them when they decide to rob him then it’s ok. I hate bitches that shoots people in the back. Only a punk ass would do such a thing!

——————————————————————————–
From: Bryan G. Bushong
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:25 AM
To: Serena Lee-Davis
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

ever had a gun pointed at you?

it’s a different story when it happens to you

——————————————————————————–
From: Serena Lee-Davis
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:40 AM
To: Bryan G. Bushong
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

No, and you know what? Even if I carried gun around, I wouldn’t shoot them in the BACK!!

He couldn’t shot in the air as a warning. He did NOT have to shoot the dude in the BACK!

And I much as I walk around at night in *supposedly* bad area I have never once had someone come up and want to jack me.

Makes me wonder if I just look scary.

——————————————————————————–
From: Bryan G. Bushong
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:52 AM
To: Serena Lee-Davis
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

yeah, you do.

and no, he didn’t HAVE to shoot the guy in the back.  That’s just one of the perks of living in Texas.

——————————————————————————–
From: Serena Lee-Davis
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:58 AM
To: Bryan G. Bushong
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

Hhmm

I got friends in Texas.

——————————————————————————–
From: Bryan G. Bushong
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:52 AM
To: Serena Lee-Davis
Subject: RE: God Bless Texas

ask em if they’re packin.  chances are…

——————————————————————————–

  And yesterday there was a meeting for all of the girls in shipping, but not us two guys, me and Joe.  We were left out.  I said, "Fine, I don’t want to go to your dumb ol girl meeting.  Then I find out why they had the meeting:
  One of the chickas here, Melissa, just found out she was pregnant.  Melissa is one of the recently married–about a month ago.  She had always struck me as a bit of a bitch.  And now she’s pregnant.  I said, "Congratulations!  Do you know who the father is?"

Speaking of kids…

  I have to work at Domino’s for Halloween.  Bummer, I know.  Detroit is bummed about it, I’m sure, because she loves me and wants me around to share with this special holiday which is her favorite.  Que sera sera.  Feeling bitter, I decided what I want to give out on Halloween.  Not candy.  Gift cards.  Gift cards from Target in the denomination of 25 cents each.  Happy Halloween, bitches. 

Election Night Coverage II

October 21, 2008 at 4:16 PM | Posted in Political | Leave a comment
  I haven’t taken the class yet to work in the poll–that’s Saturday.  But I downloaded a sample ballot for my area, because I have to submit an absentee ballot and I wanted to know what I’m in for.  Ironically, although I will be working in the poll all day, I will have no time to vote.
  So I’m reading the ballot, and a few things strike me.  For instance, what is with the judges?  Here in Missourah, it goes like this:
  "Shall Judge John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt, Circuit Judge of Judicial Circuit NO 21, be retained in office?"
  So we don’t vote on judges to get their job, just whether they will keep them.  It doesn’t mention party affiliation, either.  Missouri supposedly has a pretty fair way of selecting judges, as well.  But the only way I would ever hear of one of these guys is if they were in the news for bodies buried under their house.  I figure, if I don’t recognize their name, they can stay.
  Otherwise we replace them, and still have to pay their pension.  I say screw that; they work until they die.
  The other thing I noticed is that in my district, no Republican candidate filed for state senate or state representative.  Very conceivably, I could run for one of those spots.  I could take one of those spots.  I could win!  I would be well on my way to world domination, or at least a career in politics.
  Seriously.
  If so, I am going to have to amend this entire blog, plus have everyone who has ever read it shot.
 
  But I wonder how someone goes about doing that?  I’m sure it costs money, but it shouldn’t have to be *my* money; that’s what campaign contributions are for.  Plus, would the Republican party even want me to run in their name?  I could start as an independent, but that’s like running as an anarchist:  who contributes to the party?
  First things first, I suppose–I work the election, maybe get to know some people.  Then find out how to run, whom to talk to, and so forth.  I do know that the state legislature is a part-time job, but the pay is decent enough.  I could deliver pizza for the rest of the year.
  I also read that there are term limits, which is good.  You may not have noticed, but I have a short attention span and tend to jump from topic to–
  Ooooo…..shiny!

Election Night Coverage Part I

October 21, 2008 at 4:15 PM | Posted in Political | Leave a comment
  Back when I lived in Troy about four years ago, it was election time there.  I realized in this quasi-rural area that I was the smartest person in a 20-mile radius.  I should run for office.  In fact, the residents should declare me king.
  Like sand through the hourglass, my political aspirations were blowin in the wind. 
  Fast forward to today.
  After moving several times, we were more or less permanently established here, Detroit and I went to the license office to change our license, and as an incidental, we registered to vote.
  Or so I thought.  Detroit received acknowledgment of her registration, but I got nada surf.  The primary came along, and instead of a polling lever, I stood there with my dick in my hand.
  I checked with them, and sure enough, I wasn’t registered.  No, they couldn’t do it, they only do it when someone changes their license.  No, it didn’t matter that they didn’t do it the first time.  Get out of my line.  Have a nice day.
  I downloaded the form, finally, and filled in several weeks later.  A month or so later I finally had the mail guy at the bank mail it.  I hoped he could be trusted–there was about three weeks till the deadline.
  A week before the deadline, and I still had not heard from the board of elections.  I called, and they said they had 20,000 registrations yet to be processed–obviously those damn people from ACORN.  She said to call back Tuesday, and if we don’t have it in the system yet, come down in person.
  But I never did.  I was just hoping that it was in–there was no reason for it not to be.  However, I did one other thing, also.  I clicked around some links on the website and found that they need help working at the polling places.  I figured I needed to get involved, get active somehow.  I can’t start at the top as king.  I’ll work my way up from election worker, to city council, to mafia hitman, to mayor, to draft dodger, to community organizer, to state rep, or maybe Treasurer, to Governor, to ambassador, and finally, King.  It’s my five-year plan.
  So I signed up to work the elections.  After some terse phone tag, I finally talked to someone in person.  I am signed up for the class this Saturday.  Since I don’t see alot of information about this on the internet–a google search led me to porn…but don’t all google searches?–I will blog the adventure that is working the poll.
  So first, the woman on phone asks me again if I am interested.  She gives me some information about it:
  We go to a training class for about 2 1/2 hours, and get paid 30 bucks for that.  Election Day we have to be there from 5am to about 8 or 9pm, which sounds fucking insane.  It’s best to pack a lunch, she said.  Really, Captain Obvious?  We get paid 100 dollars for the day.
  Then she says, okay, I have to ask you some questions:
Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the communist party?
No, that wasn’t it.  But what was my party affiliation? 
Do I hold public office?  Apparently elected officials aren’t trustworthy enough to work the polls.
And finally, did I have a vehicle to get me to the polls on election day?  Hey, I already told you I’m a Republican.  I have a job and a car.
  I’m going to take a day off, PTO from my day job, to do this.  I think I need off from Domino’s both Monday and Tuesday–I do not want to close at midnight and then have to work all day starting at 5am.
  She said they were going to place me at Walker Elementary, which is the place I would actually vote at–however, she said I should show up at the class a half hour early so I can place an absentee ballot.  They are expecting an 80% turnout and I won’t have time to duck in and vote.
  They expect that when the polls open at 6am there will be a line, and when they close at 7pm there will be a line, and all those in line get to vote.
  I’m going to bring a cooler, drinks, lunch, snacks, and a bottle of pain pills for this 14 to 16 hour adventure.  I feel patriotic.

KodaChrome

October 21, 2008 at 4:13 PM | Posted in Notes on Society | Leave a comment
Cell phone penetration in the US is 85%.  That means that for every 100 people, 85 have a cell phone.  300 million people in the US, 255 million have cell phones.  Amazing, huh?  Yeah.
We are in one of the lowest percentages of industrialized nations.  Hong Kong has 130%.  Luxomberg has 140%.  That means that for every 100 people, there are 140 cell phones.  Everyone has a cell phone, and 40% have two.  Honestly, what for?
In 1987 there were about1.2 million mobile phones in the US.  In 1997, about 55 million.  Remember that?  That was when people were just starting to really get them, about 10 years ago.

My 12-year old daughter has grown up in a world where there has always been cell phones, always been computers.  Where the TV has always had several hundred channels, and the internet has always been there.  There have always been debit cards.
She’s also grown up in a world that has always had terrorism.  Always had the danger of pedophiles and abductions.  Always had school shootings and children with guns.

I feel lucky that I grew up in the 70s in rural America.  The last golden age for childhood.  We didn’t know anything about the outside world.  We didn’t need to.  In the summer, we played outside all day, and our parents never knew where we were.  "Be home when the street lights come on!" was the call heard ’round the neighborhood.  We rode bikes without helmets, and had no fear.  An adult–any adult–was a source of comfort, information, and help.  A watchful eye and possibly a treat.  It was a great time to be a kid.
I know that it was in color, but why do I always remember the past in black and white? 

The Butterfly Effect

October 21, 2008 at 4:11 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Not in the sense that I don’t have any arms, or I wish I hadn’t been born, or anything like that.  But more in the sense that I go through life not knowing, not remembering, and not being connected to everything else…

  I sit here typing this while I run a scanner.  I hope I can apologize my way out of this one.
  On my way to work this morning, I get a phone call from Serena. 
  Abby had pretty good humor about it, or at least seemed to.  We’ll see.
  Serena is unrelenting as usual.
  Where is the–?
  I had a dream last night with my friend Bunny in it.  First time I remember having a dream with her in it.  It was about the office, in an Escher/Dali kind of way.  That makes perfect sense from the inside looking out.
  I woke up and my foot didn’t hurt as much as it did.
  I made my favorite dinner–I guess it’s my signature dish.  Had I known, I would have thought more carefully about what I would like to have known as my "signature dish."
  I brought my daughter home this afternoon.
  I drank a beer, took a shot, and took some ibuprofin.  My foot hurts from my knee all the way down.  I slept well.
  Free pizza!  Yay!  At least something went right.
  I get up and get a cup of coffee, and make some toast.  I head back to my desk and spill some coffee.
  Some of the rides were closed.  We did 1, 2, 3–how many roller coasters?  Four of the six.  The Boss just hurts–it shakes me like an infant.  And I can’t fit on The Batman.
  I went to Auto Zone to get stuff to change the oil in my car.  Fourteen dollars for an oil Filter!  I sometimes regret the purchase of Der Kaiser.  They didn’t have the right oil, so I put it off for another day.
  I sent out an email explaining to a few of the girls why I did what I did.  It didn’t go over well.
  It was a beautiful sky today.
  Tired, beat, crabby, and sore, we trudge to the parking lot as we share a funnel cake.
  This morning I got donuts.
  I sent Erica an email apologizing. 
  I called Detroit and she bitched at me for the mess in the house.  I should have faked losing the signal.  Hindsight–
  I bought a hoodie this morning.  We dropped Alex off at a different store, and I made a quick run to Walmart before we hit the road on the way to Six Flags.
  The Storm is in her chair, dozing.  She says to Miranda "I shouldn’t let you go because you didn’t–" do some chore or other that she was supposed to do.  I agreed to bring her back early Sunday to do it.  But it was some kind of control ploy she was trying to use.  Some things never change.
  Erica emailed me back, letting me off the hook.
  My foot hurts.  I think I need new shoes.
  "Shit!  Shit, shit!  I forgot.  Fuck, I forgot!  Shit!"

Big Sky Country

October 7, 2008 at 1:14 AM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  We went down to the country Saturday for my brother’s annual big roast/family reunion.  He calls it his pig roast, which it is.  Members of the family that are invited try to turn it into a family reunion.  Hell, if enough of them meet up at the Eagle’s lodge for beer they call it a family reunion.
  We planned to bring some dishes.  Detroit made her tuna casserole–God only knows why–and I made my famous deviled eggs.  I was also going to bring my special hot wings, but I didn’t, and here’s the story:

  I arranged with Dina, the manager of Domino’s, to buy a bag of wings from the store at cost.  Cheaper that way, and these wings are large, and pre-cooked.  We were getting our stuff together Saturday morning and starting to run late as usual, so the plan was to go by Domino’s, cook the wings, and then take them with.
  I already had my special wing sauce, and we stopped by the dollar store for some disposable aluminum pans, and then drove to Domino’s.  It’s about 1130, which is early for Domino’s since they open at 1100.  I need to get in here, get my thing done in about 20 minutes and hit the road so we aren’t too late.
  When I get there, however, Stan seems to be busy.  He asks me to wait a few minutes so he can take care of this order.  Actually it’s a couple of orders, and he got there late and that’s why he’s behind, I find out from John, the driver.
  I say fine, and then start to get my stuff ready out of his way, so when it’s time, I can do it.  He has about a dozen pies to make and he’s working on them slowly, methodically.  I offer to help, several times.  He declines, then asks me to just not "do that" right here, with the stuff I was preparing.  I was at a table, not in his way, but it disrupted his concentration and his ability to do only one thing at a time.
  So I moved it to the back, then came back up front.  He is still slowly working on these pizzas.  I have places to be.  "Seriously, Stan–let me help.  We can knock these out in no time."  He is polite but firm.  He doesn’t want any help.  He doesn’t want any distractions.  He doesn’t want to change his behavior in any way, shape, or form.
  I walk into the back and make a decision.  I gather my shit up, and walk out.  But as I go, I yelled at Stan.  I yelled at him.  "This is bullshit, Stan!  I to be somewhere!  I don’t have all day, and you don’t want any help!  You want to do it all by yourself!  Slowly!  Fine!"  Or some such bullshit, but that was the gist of it.  Then I walked out.  Detroit and my daughter were outside under the pavilion, having a grand old time.  I said, "Let’s go!"  We got in the car, and I didn’t say anything for a while. 
  Eventually I loosened up, and we had a good time at the pig roast.  My daughter got around and talked to alot of people, and met some relatives, and that was good.  I got to see a few I hadn’t seen in a while. 

  Cousin Jamie is either married again or living with someone.  I guess married; her father in law has brain damage and is a danger to himself, and her, and others, and a menace to society in general.  Other than the fact that he’s 82, she would fear being sexually assaulted by him, but luckily for her–in her words–"His wiener doesn’t work any more."
  I talked with cousin David probably more and longer than I have ever talked to him before.  He is the oldest of our generation, I believe.  He knows alot of trivia and bullshit, and remembers alot of dates.  He remembers all of us being born.
  Talked to my nephew Scott, also.  They made the trip from the Quad Cities, and his wife Kim is pregnant.  Scott’s sister Shelly had her boyfriend there, so we got to meet him.  Not what I expected, although they never are.
  A few absent faces, like Gina and Bob, and Gloria and her husband, Greg and Stacy, and Li’l Greg.  Others, too, but those are the ones I remember.
  It wasn’t precisely a family reunion, it was also a little more.  There was the group of tables with our family, another group of tables with my brother’s friends, another group of his people from church that seemed bewildered and skittish of everyone else.  And there was also a large group that was Carl’s wife’s family.  The Smith’s.
  Maybe the Smith’s hadn’t had a reunion for a while, so when they gathered, they wanted to have some pictures of the group of them.  This is always a good idea.  The people began to gather by the pond, perhaps twenty or more.  It seemed like a good idea, so I joined them.  I stood in the back because I’m tall, just smiling and nodding and being generally inconspicuous, which I owe all to my training as a spy.
  I had my cover story all ready.  I was "Bob Smith, of the Kansas City Smiths."  It took quite a while to gather everyone, and there were perhaps four or five people taking pictures.  We got organized, posed and smiled, said "cheese," and waited while the photos were taken.  Lots of laughing and bonding, it was a good time.  Afterwards, a lady standing next to me and put her hand out and said, "Hi.  You know, I don’t know if I know you–?"
  I shook her hand and answered, "Oh, I’m just a joiner."
  My hope is that, if I don’t get photo-shopped out of the photos, then 20 years from now people with gather and look at the photos and wonder.  "That’s Uncle Ted.  Aunt Betty.  Cousin Lou?  He’s dead.  That’s–wait.  Who the hell is that?"
  I like a joke that has a long set up.

Topic Of Conversation

October 3, 2008 at 4:09 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  This was actually supposed to be posted yesterday, but I was tired…
  In the past 3 days–72 hours–I worked 51 of those hours.  Divide those other 21 hours up between drive time and sleep time, and you’ll see that I haven’t gotten much sleep.

  The supervisor at Domino’s does a report every couple of days and leaves it hanging ominously on a clipboard.  One of the last ones he did had a hand-written note at bottom:  "Food must be counted every night.  If I find you not counting food you will get a pay-cut."
  Although it didn’t specifically address me, it was hard not to take it personally.  I mean, I’m the newest of the managers.  I haven’t quite got the food count thing down yet, and I still have some questions about a few details regarding it.  And also…I kind of don’t care. 
  I mean, as far as I’m concerned, I already received a pay cut, so that, in my mind, pretty much justifies my not counting the food.  Cut my pay again, and I will walk right out of here.  Honestly.  Give me an excuse.  Of course, I will also call the Department of Labor.  Maybe I don’t have a case, but I will give them a sackful of grief on the way out.
  Last thing I’m going to say about the food count:  Before when I worked at Domino’s, of course I counted it every night.  I had a routine and could do it in about 12 minutes.  For 10 years at Scooters, we never counted food, therefore I’m out of practice.  Plus, as I may have mentioned, my level of caring is significantly lower.  I do count some things, and fake the rest because the computer gives you a generated figure, the "ideal."  I fudge that a bit, count a few important things, and get the hell out of there.  I have a day job, ya know.

  We get alot carryout customers at this store, as opposed to deliveries.  Most places are 90-10 in favor of delivery.  This place is about 60-40.  It’s just bullshit.  I don’t need this level of customer interaction; it’s bound to breed (more) bitterness and contempt.  It’s a rich area, and all of these very rich, very cheap, and mostly Jewish people will come in to pick up the pizza instead of getting it delivered and paying the delivery charge and tip.
  Plus, they want the "carry out special."
  It was 6.99 for a large one-topping for years and years.  This year it became 7.99.  Now it’s gone completely except for the contradictory coupons we still put out.  Customers are frantic for a deal.  This woman calls up.
  "Do you still have that 6.99 carryout special?"
  "No, we sure don’t."
  "So you don’t have any specials?"  What the hell kind of dysfunctional leap of logic is that?
  "No."  I spoke slowly.  "We have specials.  We have other specials; we just don’t have THAT special."
  She didn’t ask about them, and I wasn’t going to offer to elaborate unless she did.  Passive-aggressive is just a hobby of mine.  She said, "I’ll call back."  But she didn’t, and wishing wouldn’t make it so.

  Speaking of the beloved carryout customer, the fucking guy that I hate–whatever the hell his name is–didn’t come in last night.  Normally he comes in every Wednesday, because that’s "Wild Wednesday" and that’s how he rolls.  Like a dozen or so other of these old fucks, he doesn’t call ahead.  He comes in and orders, then sits.  And waits.  And watches.  And you KNOW how I hate that.
  But this is the real asshole who was a condescending prick to me.  Stan said he’s been a dick to everyone…and then eventually he warms up to you, and you bond.  Like your very own May-December buddy movie, I imagine.  Well, fuck him.  I’m not going to play Second Hand Lions and I’m not going to end up liking him. 
  He orders a complicated bullshit pizza, and he orders it in the wrong way to increase the chances that we’ll fuck it up.  He always comes in on Wednesday because that’s when he can get a deal on this nightmare he orders.  The last few weeks I’ve worked with Stan, and Stan has made his pizza while I reflected back to him his stony silence and petulant glare.  Stan is nice to him, and after the door closes behind him I say, "Fuck off and die, old man!" 
  Last night, it’s starting to get late, Stan needs to leave, and the Old Fuck hasn’t shown yet.  Stan looks up his previous orders and makes the pizza, and sets it aside.  This way, it’s made and I don’t have to deal with it.  We wait. 
  Stan starts to get worried.  He’s concerned that the old man may have died.  I’m more concerned that he hasn’t, and will still show up on my watch.  In the end, he never showed, and it was a good night.

  Late last night, Mike was in back doing dishes.  He comes up to me and says, "Hey, some old man just walked in the back door and asked to use the bathroom.  I let him."  Crap–and I was about to go.  Dammit.
  Mike then had to leave on a run, and I stayed up front cleaning.  I went in the back, and the bathroom door was still closed–but it has a spring in it, so it’s always closed.  So how do I know if the old guy left, or if he’s still in there?  The scene from the end of "Clerks" ran through my head, and I didn’t open the door, and I never went to check.
  When we closed, I just left.  For all I know, he could still be in there, laying on the floor, naked and dead.  With a hard on.

Today…
  I just got a call on my cell, and I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t answer it.  But they had called earlier as well.  This time they left a message, so I listened.  It was someone looking for "Rich."  In case you haven’t been paying attention, I’m not Rich.  But she sounded nice, so I figured I would call her back and hit on her.
  "Hello?"
  "Hi. You just called my phone and left a message for Rich.  That’s not me."
  "Oh."
  "Yeah, so he probably won’t call you back."
  "Oh, I’m sorry."  Pause.  "This isn’t a roofing company?"
  "Do I sound Mexican?"
  I just don’t understand why people aren’t warming up to me.

And Back to Last Night Again
  Last night as I arrived, there was a cute little chick walking in the back door, and she went straight to the office to the phone.  She said, "Hi.  I work in Eureka."  Immediately I thought, *the TV show?*  But there is a Eureka, Missouri.  Her name is Heather. 
  Before she left, Heather talked to Stan and chatted me up as well.  She’s one of those people–you know the type.  She’s one of those people that just opens up to you and tells you about their life and their pain.  Get a blog, for God’s sake.  Without giving details, she would make leading comments.  "What I’ve been through–"  "The things I’ve seen–"  "If this goes on–"
  Heather was also one of those that wants to cling–or maybe in her words, "bond"–to people.  She stood just inside my personal space, which would have been annoying if she hadn’t been younger and cute and nice-smelling–and she looked right at me when I talked.  Unnerving.  Or maybe she wasn’t looking at me, maybe she was looking at my teeth.  At least I didn’t catch her staring at my crotch.  She was also very touchy-feely.  She wanted to slap my hand in the "give me five" way during our conversation, because they things we said were so life-affirming.
  I learned that she is 28, drives for Domino’s, and has been sexually abused as a teen and in an abusive relationship with men as an adult, and recently got over a drug addiction.  No, she didn’t say these things–except her age and her job.  The rest I picked up.  As I said, I can read people.  I guess–
  I guess I shouldn’t be so flippant about her demeanor.  I mean, I understand that she’s been through alot, and she reacted like someone who’s been through alot and is now in recovery.  I’m trying to deflect, because she was cute and she was nice to me and there I go thinking dirty thoughts.  Yes, "again."
  Besides, she said something that irked me.  We talked about Domino’s.  She said, "I’ve been doing this for five years.  Now I’m just driving, while I get my shit together so I can get on with my life."
  I nodded.  "I’ve worked at various Domino’s since 1986."
  A simple, honest, question:  "Why are you still here?"
  I stammered for a few moments, then gave her a simple, honest answer:  "Because I’m retarded."
  I can still get the laughs.  But I did tell her–and this was one of the high-five moments–that this time, at least, it is on my own terms.  I can walk out that door at any time.  If they piss me off, I am outta here.  She nodded enthusiastically, like she was at a "GO ME!" rally.  "On your own terms!  Hell yeah!"
  Before she left, she hugged Stan, mentioned in passing that he was damaged as well, and looked at me before heading for the door.  I felt like she wanted to hug me also, but didn’t because we just met.  And not because she liked me–she did, a little–but just because in her condition, she needs human contact.  She needs to cling to someone.
  Something.

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