Friday, December 23, 2005

Grunt Time in the City

I did my Christ shopping today--shopping for Jesus is fun--especially in the big city. What big city you say? Big City Anytown, USA!!! I'm bound to keeping a loose cloak of anonymity due to the theme of some of my posts. I must protect the innocent, and most importantly, myself. There are few who lurk here--those few that check in from time to time, that never leave comments, but wonder if I'm talking about them--they know where I live, so I've got to be careful. I'm Just kidding. They don't even read this thing.

So, I go into the city to buy gifts and I was treated to an entertaining series of vignettes. The first one involved a couple of drunken bums in front of a deli. I first thought that they were fighting each other, but it turned out that one was falling over, and the other one was helping him fall over. After they got done falling over each other a few times, they went over to a shop and started to look through the bushes, for what, I don't know. But, whatever it was they were looking for must've been a hallucination. They then started to bang on the shop's windows. The shop keep got the door locked before they could get in. One of the bums then stood out front looking in, while the other one went around the back to find treasure. He didn't find treasure, but relieved himself on the neighbor's Volvo. These guys then saw my brother and I in his vintage 'burban parked in this deli's lot. They stumbled up to us with devious intentions. I grabbed a breaker bar from the middle section and played with it in open view in the front seat. They backed off from us, only to hassle a guy coming out of the deli. We didn't stick around after that.

Second vignette happened on the way to a record store. There is this small park, about the size of a large house lot, near this intersection that we were stopped at. I noticed a disheveled man who looked like he had no idea who he was, where he was, or what was going on. I could see that he was in trouble, but because of the hedge, I couldn't see the reason why. As we made our left turn, I saw through a clearing that the man had his pants half way down and was covered from his backside down in his own evacutory sludge. I came pretty close to vomiting. I probably should have called the police to help him, but I didn't. Bad me.

Third vignette happened in a supermarket parking lot. An old man, Methuselah I believe was his name, had tried to park his car in the cage that the shopping carts go in. He finally got in the thing, by golly. He dented the hell out of his fender and door doing it too. Oh yeah, he couldn't get out of his car. A bag boy came out and told him that he couldn't park there. The man smiled, then flashed his handicapped parking badge. He finally figured out that he couldn't park there. Have you ever seen a car drag a shopping cart stable around a parking lot before? Well, I have. A pretty nice Lexus was victimized by this man and his mobile shopping cart station, as well.

Do I sound at all callous? I bet I do. While I bought gifts for Jesus, I didn't help any of these people out. I either felt threatened, repulsed, or amused by them, but did nothing to make their situation better. Christ would've helped them all. Would you?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Cheeseball's Revenge

Who here stuffs themselves with work goodies around this time of year? Everybody, I assume. Sometimes, those holiday goodies strike back. They leave us tormented and disabled, or even worse, we end up in the emergency room with an I.V. drip keeping us from excreting ourselves to death. While I have not had that level of sickness inflict me yet, I count my blessings; because, I'm a damn fool when it comes to what food I choose to eat.

A while ago, I was enjoying a rather bounteous year of holiday booty, snack-wise. People at work kept bringing in the goods and sharing with one another. Such a joyous time, only to go horribly wrong. Come on, humans were was bound to happen. Somebody left a cheeseball sitting on a computer all day. It was smoked cheddar with bits of ham. My buddy/co-worker and I were not aware that this cheeseball was out as long as it had been. We spent the remainder of our shift polishing this thing off with some crackers. That was on a Friday. Saturday came and all was well. Sunday came and things became interesting.

My buddy looks forward to Christmas, starting December 26th. He compulsively sings Christmas songs throughout the year. If he were just a little more insane, I'd think that he would probably tie a dog to a Red Flyer and throw himself off an overpass, thinking that he and his "reindeer" were out delivering presents to all the good little girls and boys. And for those who are David Lynch fans, think of the character Jingle Dale, from the movie "Wild at Heart". My buddy is alright, but a little ca-ca for coo-coo puffs, or is that the other way around? Anyways, he was going to sing in his church's choir that Sunday. It was this big Christmas program that he'd been looking forward to for a few months. He wanted me to come to see him sing, and so I did.

I'm sitting near the back of the chapel looking at my friend, eagerly waiting for the choir to start singing. I noticed that he couldn't sit still and was grimacing. He's kind of squirrelly anyway, so I thought that he was only anxious. The conductor of the program introduces the choir and their program. I'm seeing an amazingly intense stare coming from my buddy's eyes. He looked really focused. The choir arose and began to sing "Angels We Have Heard on High". So, this man who has been looking forward to this day for months, begins to have trouble singing, but soldiers on. Throughout this first piece he keeps clutching at his belly and wincing. He probably sang most of that song with his eyes closed. Mercifully, the choir finished their first song, and my buddy was still standing up there waiting for the scripture to be read, leading into their next song.

Right before the conductor got up to lead the choir, I noticed that my buddy's eyes started to bulge out. "Oh, no," he exclaimed. People in the congregation and the choir had no idea what the hell was going on--I had no idea what was going on. My friend raced down from the top of the front pulpit area and continued to run for the back of the chapel while groaning. We were all thoroughly confused at this point. The conductor composed herself and got the choir back to business. I decided to go check out what happened to my friend.

I walked down the hall and looked to see if his car was still there and it was. On my way down another hall, I decided to check out the men's room to see if he was in there. I got about ten feet away and I could tell that something was bad was going on in there. I just hoped that there would be something left of my friend after whatever was happening in there was done. I got brave and cracked the door. The smell curled my nose hairs and the air left a hint of acrid sharpness on my tongue. "You alright in there, man?"

"No...leave me alone...I don't feel guh...." I'll spare you the rest of what he said and did after that. The part that made it worse for him was that a couple of late comers had stopped by the restroom to see what all the violence was about. We all knew each other, and some of the guys went and got other guys, which made the whole ordeal for my friend worse. It was hard not to laugh, so we didn't try to stop laughing. I wasn't a good friend. I should've put a stop to it all, but I didn't. I, however, would not get away with the last laugh. Later that day, I got a visit from the ol' fecal fairy, too. It was, rather, more of a screamin' demon, topsy turvy, "Which way did he go, George?" kind of thing, where you don't know whether to sit on the toilet or aim your face into it. Since, I couldn't do both at the same time, I used the waste basket to make the monster noises in. What horrible days those next few turned out to be.

Every now and then, when we're together, all my buddy and I have got to say to each other to start laughing is "cheeseball". Eat carefully.

Monday, November 28, 2005


I had a moment of complete discomfort today, and no, it had nothing to do with my GI tract. Sometimes, we all find ourselves in situations where we wish we could flee but can't.

I had to discuss some matters of business with a suit today. I first checked in with the guy's secretary to see if/when he'd be in. She was talking on the phone and just said, "Sit down, I'll be right with you." I didn't have to be anywhere in a hurry, so I figured "what the hell" and sat. Just thirty seconds into my lounging, I started to notice that the woman's tone of voice began to warble a little. This shift in tone had a certain seriousness that got my attention. She was talking to someone that I figured was a close friend and the subject was the death of her spouse. Well, from there I thought that she may have just slipped a little emotionally and that she would right herself so she could attend to me--wrong. For the next fifteen minutes, I was treated to a total emotional breakdown that I could not escape.

"I'll tell you this Janice, he begged me to let him go. I didn't want to let him go. He begged me, Janice. I thought it was the right thing to do. He wanted to go. What could I do? I let him go Jan, and I've been paying for it ever since. Bob got what he wanted, and I got nothing. I'm so alone. I don't know what to do now that he's dead..." She managed to get that much out before the dam burst.

So, there I was watching this woman become completely wrecked. She cried so hard that her makeup was running down her face and she was making those hiccup noises and snot bubbles one makes when it crosses that line from water works to full-blown wailing. I felt really bad about what she must be going through. She had already finished her conversation with her friend and it was just me and her in that room. Never in my life have I wanted more to have my spirit leave my body, so as to spare me from that moment. I didn't know this lady. I didn't know what to say to her, so I didn't say anything. I just kept my eyes fixed on a plant. I mean, I wasn't going to just get up and leave. I thought that if I did that it would only be more uncomfortable to have to go back there again later. I then had an idea that I should ask her if she was okay, but figured I had already let too much time pass where I didn't say anything, and that window had closed. I'm so pathetic.

After some time had passed, she had gathered herself together, shuffled some papers, stared at the wall, and flexed her well practiced smile. She then turned to me as if nothing ever happened and cheerily asked, "So what can I do for you today, hon?"

Sunday, November 20, 2005

More adventures in trailer town: Phil the Tranny

Those of you who are new to Grunt Ahoy will have to look in the archives for a story about a time that I worked with a guy I call The Marlboro Man. That one introduces you to a particular trailer park that was on one of our routes for collection (garbage truck). Certainly not one of my more glamorous jobs that I've had, but a hell of a lot of things happened in that short seven months. This is one of them.

Trailer town was right next to a major interstate and just down from an oil refinery and a leather tanning operation. Talk about outcasts, this place had ex-cons, cons in training, a transvestite limo driver, drug dealers, semi-retired hookers. Let's see? I'll talk about Phil, the transvestite limo driver.

Phil drove a white limo for a living. Phil wore a red wig, makeup, women's clothes, and falsies of every kind. Sometimes he wore it with pumps and other times with slippers. Phil also was living with a bunch of Vietnamese children. Phil was not Vietnamese. Phil liked me and the Marlboro Man...a lot! Phil never had his garbage all out when we would arrive at his trailer. His favorite damsel in distress routine with us was that he had one last load (don't laugh) that we had to help him with. Phil would come running out in full makeup in a pink feathered night gown, slippers, and lingerie. Always out of breath, panting and hollerin', "Oh, boys...boys...I...I got something here for you!" Worst of all was that Phil had a terrible voice for the part. The actor Harvey Fierstein comes to mind when thinking of how to describe this guy's voice. Now, this is no knock on Sarah Jessica Parker's looks, but this guy's face looked like if George Hamilton's leathery skin was wrapped over SJP's face and was further massaged with a hockey stick. I might be crossing over into mean territory here, but this guy was freaky.

So, here's this trailer park livin', limo drivin' tranny's stubbly chest heaving up and down, with eyes that had nothing but dirty intentions to display. Yeah, we took his garbage and we also were nice to Phil. He'd always be over the moon about us taking those last few bags for him. Sometimes, he even offered us pop and stuff. Phil would always send us off with a big wave and a "Bye, boys...see you next Friday!" Damn, how we would laugh after we got out of view. But, I'm sure Phil was pretty mixed up and lonely. He wanted some attention, like a lot of us do, but he really took his act to the freak show. However much Phil creeped me out, I was providing him with the highlight of his day. Oh, and I also learned that foundation does not cover up stubble.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Duh...Okay! And the Case of the Fishy French Fries

There's this guy that I worked with a while ago, he could never stop thinking or talking about food. He was about 47 or so, and had a wife and kids. But, there was something seriously screwed-up with this man. Whenever he acknowledged anything anybody said, he'd cut you off before you finished what you were saying to him with, "Duh, okay!" He was not joking around. That's just how he sounds.

He knew where there were candy dishes, free food, and especially if there were any new fast food restaurant openings within a fifty-mile radius of where he lived. He new of ways to get free food that just boggle the mind. He eats McDonald's for almost every meal, sometimes Denny's or Papa Murphy's, but mostly the big "M".

He regularly would tell me about what he ate and how good it was. He thought of me as some kind of demigod of the fast food world since I'd worked at the big one in the past. He liked me to talk to him and explain the process of preparing his favorite foods. His eager eyes would open wide and his mouth would be agape when I'd describe how to make biscuits and such, always finishing my sentences with "Duh, okay!" One day, though, he came to me with a puzzled look on his face.

There was one thing, though, that really troubled him. It was a mystery that he felt only I could solve. This is the best I could remember him telling me about it. I'm not exagerating either:
I went to McDonald's today and I ordered a Supersize Big Mac Meal like I always do. When I got my food, I tasted my french fries--they tasted like fish! I said to myself, "These french fries taste like fish!" I wasn't sure, so I had my son taste my french fries, he said, "Hey dad, your french fries taste like fish, but mine do not." I really felt strange because I did not know why my french fries tasted like fish. So, I went to the front counter and told the girl that my french fries tasted like fish. She did not know why they tasted like fish, but they did--my son even said so. She did not seem to care that my french fries tasted like fish. So, I demanded that she get the manager to tell me why my french fries tasted like fish. The manager came and I told her that my french fries tasted like fish. I asked, "Why do my french fries taste like fish, but my son's do not?" The manager lady was not very nice to me. She said that the french fries were fine, but they were not--they tasted like fish! I told her that I wanted new fries. She gave me new fries and that made me happy, but I still do not know why my french fries tasted like fish?

I offered my best explanation to him (they must've tried to fry them in the fish vat), and he did the "Duh, okay" thing, but still looked troubled and a little traumatized by the whole thing. I found out later, though, that he bothered at least three other people with the same story. People, get down on your knees and thank God that you're not this guy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Weasel Killer

I killed a weasel today. This is not a joke. I was blowing some leaves along a parking strip and this weasel pops out of a hole in the lawn right in front of me. I had the leaf blower right in front of it when it came out and the poor weasel got blown right into the street, where a car ran it over. I can honestly say that I feel bad about it. I guess I didn't kill it, but am responsible for it's death. I can't say much more because there might be some litigation from the weasels' family. R.I.P., Mr. Weasel, ?--November 3rd, 2005.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Thermos Man

A recent event where a fellow blogger related his getting looted by one F'd up Ted, reminded me of a weirdo that hangs out occasionally in front of my place of work: Thermos Man. Thermos Man is schizophrenic. I'm sorry about that, but I have to wonder about his handlers. When I say "handlers" I mean whoever is making sure that he's fed, clothed, cleaned up, and gives him money. He doesn't look like the feral sort that you usually see roaming the local "JESUS SAVES" mission. He looks taken care of and has a bus pass. From what I can tell, he roams a large area--riding the bus all day.

One of his favorite stops is right across the street from a courthouse. He likes to sit, smoking and holding court with his thermos. When I say "holding court" I mean screams at it, makes up with it, accuses it again of something, then screams some more. I usually can't make out anything that makes much sense. It's hard to decipher his unusual blend of English and echolalia. But one time he made perfect sense, and it's chilled me to the bone ever since.

Thermos Man sat on the steps of an office complex. I was watching him from an open window. He flips open the lid to a packet of cigarettes and starts to talk to the ones that remain, "I killed your wife and kids the other day, and now I'm gonna kill you!" He took out the cigarette and lit it up, took a puff, blew out, then let out a stifled laugh of satisfaction. "I smoked you dead, sir. Now, I'm gonna get your brother!"

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Ghost of Abraham Lincoln

Spending time getting intimate with a little porcelain and disinfectant is something that I figure that most of us normal people have to do on a regular basis. Our homes, our toilets: we clean them/we know them. What goes in as well as when, and to forget it when it goes/comes out. Cleaning other people's business has given me some rather interesting topics for a possible coffee table book, fingers crossed. I could expound on fecal matters, but that's too crass, base, even for a seasoned mop jockey like me. Oh, what the hey!

I promised you a ghost story and now I'm talking about poo? Bear with me, you'll get to have your cake and eat it...probably not a good analogy here. First, we will talk of matter, then of spirit!

I can sling a johnny mop like it's nobody's business. Snaking is not breaking me either. A plunger thrown asunder by no one other than my brother...hell I'm just riffing now! The point is, I'm the shit when it comes to it. I've seen much, if not all, that can go wrong in a stall. But, there is one thing that has vexed me so...a mysterious phantom lurks within the thunderbox! He is the ghost of Abraham Lincoln!

My first encounter occurred while working as a school administration custodian. While cleaning the offices and toilets for the stuffed shirts, I witnessed many things that one would expect from school children and not principals, planners, and superintendents. So, I have concluded that such unexpected things are not actually the product of these most respected individuals, but that of mischievous spirits, sort of like Family Circus tyke, little Billy's "Not Me".

"Wowee, wow, wow!" The sight that I beheld when I swung the stall door open revealed a python coiled, ready to attack. No toilet paper in the bowl to obscure this trophy. A work of art. My eyes watered in appreciation of what it must of took to give life to such a mighty creation. They mostly watered, though, because I must've just missed the artist himself. Art stinks, by the way, especially when preceded by an "F". What excellence, I thought. Here is someone who thinks so highly of what they have done, that they have skipped formal hygienic procedures to leave in full view a man-size stink slinky.

I thought that I was only treated to a one-time performance piece, but others followed. They were the same size and consistency of the first one . Lab tests confirmed that it was not of human origin. Okay, I lied there, but you should've seen these things! I even went in a bathroom, cleaned it, came out of the bathroom, returned to the bathroom within minutes, knowing of no other people to be present, and then finding the phenomenon had occurred again. I was past suspicion now; I knew that I was dealing with a pooltergeist.

I used my powers of deduction, and what cunning God gave me, to figure out who was behind these "gifts". Poo>logs>>log cabin>Lincoln Logs>Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin>Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth while enjoying some theater, Lincoln was holding it in until the play was over, yet never had the satisfaction of relieving himself properly. Conclusion: the Ghost of Abraham Lincoln has constant need to rid its bowels of the most compacted, unbroken chain of a dump that it was deprived of having on that fateful night.

As soon as I uncovered the mystery, I found that I was being followed by this ghost. Once, the ghost followed me into a Barnes and Noble. I went to use the toilet, and there I beheld his masterwork: a brick the size of a hero roll (not a lie). I tried to flush it with all my might, but the mighty beast would not be taken down. It would just sway as if being rocked to sleep. This particular artifact was witness by three other persons: two Barnes and Noble patrons, and my older brother. All were in awe. One of the men turned to the rest of us and asked, "Have you guys ever crapped a foot before? Well, I'm guessing that's gotta be about a size fourteen!"

I feel somewhat gyped, though. I never had a "Sixth Sense" moment, where I got to resolve the ghost's problem and then saw them off into the light. If I had anything to say to Abraham Lincoln, I'd say thanks for putting an end to slavery and all comes out in the end.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


During my fast food days, I worked with several burn outs. One guy in particular stood out. He was good in debate, got good grades in school, but it seemed that his copious use of acid and pot were starting to take its toll on him about his junior year in high school. I, of course, won't use his real name, so let's call him "Bernie".

Bernie's favorite place to get high was down at the rail road tracks and under an overpass. He liked to lay down between the two rail lines and smoke a joint. He said it was pretty scary, but it really tripped him out when trains would come flying through. I don't think that this is a good idea, even if you're sober. Anyway, the thing that made this guy funny was his fixation on words that he thought sounded funny--while he was still buzzed.

Bernie had to do weekend breakfast dishes once in a while. I'd go back there to chew the fat with him and see what he was thinking that day. On one particular day, I went back there to drop off a few things and Bernie was back there folded over into the sink. I asked, "what's up, man?" He had his eyes closed, but I couldn't hardly see them because his thick prescription glasses had fogged up. Bernie didn't reply, so I got a little concerned and asked him if he was okay. He rose up out of the sink and had dipped his face into the soap suds just enough to have a little foam covering his face. The only thing that Bernie said to me, rather shouted, was "CORN!!!" I was totally mystified by that. Bernie just laughed maniacally. I just backed away. It was funny though. Later that day I approached Bernie and asked him why he shouted corn at me. He just repeated "CORN...AHH, HA, HA, HA!!!" I knew he had reached that point then, where there's no real point of return, but at least someone else's downward spiral can offer the rest of us a little comic relief.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Opening shift at a fast food joint: one employee says to the shift manager, "Hey, (*****), your hair covers up your lobotomy scars really well!" The manager gets a concerned and confused look on her face then turns to the rest of us and asks, whining, "What's wrong with my hair?"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Trip in the Way-Back Machine: Paying a Visit to "Drunk D"

Today I saw a maroon '68 Ford F-250 Custom Cab. That alone gets me excited. I don't know if it had a 390 Effie in it, but I could imagine it in my head: dual side exhausts blowing through a set of Cherry Bombs, popping out an extinct fuel of high octane and lead. The suck of the Holley can be heard when mashing the throttle. Fuel tank sloshing right behind the seat; no concern for safety at all. Those Fords had the horizontal gauges and thin dashboard that just make every thing feel so big. Tractor feel shifting, with what seems like eye-level throws, and a suicide knob to make up for the lack of power steering. To top it all off, you have an old AM transistor radio blowing that wiry buzz of news and old tunes into your ears.

I shared a paper route when I was twelve with my best friend at the time. It was a big weekly route, so we usually had his dad drive us around while we threw papers. I didn't like the days that his dad drove their Datsun station wagon. It was too cramped and the top hatch would sometimes swing down and smack you on the head. The best was when we used their old 1970 F-250 Ford truck. It was similar to the one that I described above: it was maroon as well, but given the year it probably had a 351 Cleveland, and it was a juice tranny. Juicers are easier to drive, but where's the fun in easy?

I got one side of the truck bed, sitting on the wheel arch, hucking either side-arm, over-hand, or over the back when I felt like showing off. Having virtually no obstructions, we could stop in the middle of a cul-de-sac and throw a star pattern, covering bases in an instant. The best and worst was when my friend's big brother "Big D" drove us. This depended if he was drunk or not. His drink of choice was a malt liquor with a wide mouth bottle called a Mickey. While that might of been his drink of choice, it usually was whatever wouldn't make him blind or sterile and that was readily available.

When Big D was sober, he was cool and friendly. When he was drunk, he was funny, but insane. Big D would let us listen to "evil" music which would've been Judas Priest--before he went all mid-80's waver dude on us. Big D would also let us stand upright behind the cab. We would line up a bunch of papers on top of the cab and launch them hard into the oncoming driveways. The only thing that kept us from falling off the side was holding to the side of the open slider window. Drunk D tried to kill us.

I knew that there was trouble when they came to pick me up. I could smell that sick, sweet smell of alcohol blasting me in the face when he said, "Get back there short f--k!" He could say shit like that as if he was the friendliest guy in the world. It was hurtful, but at the same time you felt like he was allowing you to at least hang out with him, so that made it cool. However, this time he seemed past lightly buzzed and his profane remark was more belligerent than usual.

Getting to the route was making me sick. Drunk D kept swerving and stopping real hard. When we started our route, we had a hard time hitting our marks because of the speeds Drunk D was hitting. Every now and again, Drunk D would deliberately slam the brakes so that we would fly into the front of the bed. We could tell that he thought the whole thing was so damn funny. He was cursing and laughing at us practically the whole time. The real "moment" of this day occurred when we hit a steep decline that was cross-cut by a couple of roads.

Drunk D wasn't slowing down at all. As we picked up speed, I could feel my testes rising up into my diaphram. I was pretty sure that he was going to blow the first stop sign, so I dove into the pile of papers. My friend was kneeling, holding onto the front of the bed trying to shout "STOP" into the cab. When we hit the first cross-cut, the truck's suspension bottomed out, then it recoiled and launched upward. This double action catapulted both of us in the bed up into the air. There was a moment where I viewed my friend hovering in mid-air with folded up papers surrounding him like weightless drops of water in a space capsule. I felt a strange mixed-up feeling of euphoric doom.

I landed hard on my tailbone; my friend hit the passenger-side wheel arch with a meaty thud. Both of us started shouting and crying, trying to get Drunk D to stop. He wouldn't respond. I could see in the rear view mirror a reflection of a hollow-green smirk, his eyes glassed over. He kept accelerating, heading for the next cross-cut. My friend and I hunkered down flat to a pile of papers, hoping to make with a better re-entry this time around. Fully expecting to have another trip skywards, we weren't prepared for his next trick.

Drunk D threw a curve ball at us, instead of going straight, he made a fast left, though this was through a yield sign this time. The truck bed slid, but not smoothly. It skipped and bounced violently sideways. The papers and the two paperboys collected in a dense pile to the right side of the bed. After, this fun-go-round, we had enough, and jumped out of the bed when Drunk D finally stopped down the road. The rest of the day was us trying to run away from Drunk D. Drunk D finally caught us, and promised to buy us a pizza and drive nice, if we got back in the truck. We agreed and finished our route. When a sobering-up D dropped me off, he opened the cab door and spewed out watery sick right on my curb. I quit that paper route that day, leaving it all to my friend. I had enough of that.

Big D later would struggle with substance abuse and die a gruesome death from his friend's Nova. His funeral was an open casket. It shouldn't have been, though. His last gasp occurred while being thrown from a car doing 90 MPH off of an embankment. Apparently being too high to make sense of oncoming car lights, the driver swerved right across the opposing lane and through the guardrail, jumping off a steep bank. Big D ended up head first into a tree, splitting him from the crown to his spine. So, given this, it's easy to see that he weren't very pretty: and all the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. They tried to, at least.

When I came to his casket, there were polaroids of his wife and his baby boy stuffed into his folded in catapillar-like fingers. I looked at his face and noticed something wrong; it was a twisted smirk almost like the one he had on his face while going down that hill. I even expected to hear his laugh and a few profanities fly out of his stitched-shut gob. But, he was just deader than hell. It sucked everything out of my friend. We stopped hanging out after that. It might seem corny to you, but it's strange to me how seeing an old Ford pickup can bring back all of that time and those memories to mind again.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Another episode of Harold and Maude:

I was painting a large school building with a few guys. One of the guys was slopping paint all over the place, including himself. He wouldn't wear coveralls, gloves, or anything. His shirt started getting pretty messed up. He started to pull off his shirt, but we protested. We didn't want to see his sweaty 40-year-old man boobs; plus he's covered in back hair--more like fur. I asked him why he had to take his shirt off . He replied with a dead serious stare, "Because, I'm hardcore!" I countered with a simple "Oh, yeah?" He gave me a sickening grin, shaking his head, then responded, "I like to get down and dirty!"

Later that day, his mom dropped by to deliver his lunch. It gets worse, his mom chews him out for ruining his clothes, then proceeds to pull up his sagging pants. Folks, this is hardcore!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Garbage Truck Wheelies

Yeah, I admit it, my choice of work throughout my life has been pretty lousy. I even went to college and that didn't fix me. I guess my ninth grade English teacher was right, I am a screw up. But, I've tried to make the best of a pretty crummy string of jobs by finding myself getting into far out situations and experiences during work. These happened during my garbage collector days.

Me and the Marlboro Man drove a '68 International COE named "Charley 4". It wasn't very safe. We always leaked hydraulic fluid out of our rams that worked the hopper blade. The brakes weren't up to par. It was an inside joke between me and "M&M" that we drove a wookie in heat, due to the strange noise that came from the thing when we slowed to a stop. Couldn't do 50 mph, much less stay in the lanes with old Charley. Despite its limitations, we managed to pull some far out stunts in that truck

The first time I found out the immense torque of a diesel and low gears was on a Saturday morning. We were double bagging it--trying to fit part of Friday's load into Saturday's load, trying to save the old guy we worked for some money. It was a small outfit with three guys, besides ma and pa, running the thing. This explains how everything was so shoddy.

Getting back to the story, we were near the end of our route and overloaded. I drove on Saturdays and M&M threw (rode on back). We were on a steep incline, so I thought that I'd throw it into it's lowest gear. We really never had to use that gear much. I really underestimated the torque that it would put down. M&M got all his cans in and this lady pulls up close behind us. I didn't want to roll back much, so I held the air brake and revved the rattley oil can up to about 2500 RPM's. It was a juice tranny, so no clutch to pop. But, you get your foot on the brake and rev it up, those torque converters multiply your torque considerably.

I let go of the airbrake and up I went. I could see the sky above me, it was beautiful, but frightening. The trip down was a spine crusher, though. After touchdown, I saw through my side view mirror M&M rolling down the street. The lady who was right behind me was backing away with a fixed look of horror in her eyes. I thought that something like this was impossible with a tandem axle rear, but I guess they share a central pivot point. M&M was furious and decked me on the arm when I came out to help him up. I scared the hell out of him and jacked up the platform on the back of the truck. It was something, though. I'll never forget how it felt. I figure that all the weight in the back, plus the torque of a diesel running high revs through low gear, was the right combintation of things to get Charley's fronts off of the ground. It was freakin' amazing. Worth the bruised arm that I got from M&M.

Keep tuned for more of my Garbage Truck follies.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hmmmmn? Ahhhhh!!!

Did you ever hear about the cannibal that passed his brother in the woods?

Think about this one and see if it leads to enlightenment: Why did the cow ricochet?

I once played Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" LP on 78 speed; George Burns then appeared before me in my room.

Kayexeck, I really want to know why I didn't die on June the 2nd, 1995? You miserable demon! Ha, I'm just kidding, you're not even real. My friend was pushing it the whole time!

How does one go about telling their spouse that they still believe in Santa?

A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?---
Don Van Vliet.

Rocket Morton rides off again into the wind....What do you run on, Rocket Morton? Beans...Laser Beans! --
Don Van Vliet.

Apes Ma, you're getting too big for your cage and your feathers are too long, Apes Ma. --
Don Van Vliet.

I got nuttin!

I once disrupted a Christmas dinner with extreme fits of laughter remembering the homonid/ape scene from the film 2001. The strange thing was that a guy from Texas did the exact same thing at the same time at the same dinner that took place in a northern english town.

Brick houses are mighty heavy!

If you see someone who looks exactly like you, how do you know if you're not a doppleganger?

I once got a D in Spanish and a D in English in 8th grade. I don't know what this means.

A public school secret: When I was in summer school in 9th grade our class was subjected to our algebra teacher changing from his bike clothes to his work clothes. He wore purple speedo underwear. I know that I was a bad kid, but I didn't deserve that.

Friends purposely move away without telling me, then call me a year later to tell me that they moved.

I once had a 19 day running streak of finding dimes on the floor in public places.

I have a friend that gives me his credit cards when he goes gambling, but always hides one in his shoe. He still thinks that I don't notice.

Lemmy's warts are host to tiny populations of malevolent gnomes, who smoke corn cob pipes and dance a jig whenever he performs "Killed by Death".


Friday, September 16, 2005

The Work Perv Who Got Served

It doesn't seem to matter where I work, I always get hounded by the resident pervert. They all feel like sharing the grossest details of what's growing in their crotch, what goes in or comes out of a person's ass, the type of sounds that certain body parts make while engaged in various pervert activities, and informing me of assorted vile acts, giving me every sordid detail. Now, it's not that I don't enjoy a little blue humor now and again, it just baffles me that certain types of people make it their calling in life to inform me of the nastiness that seems to pervade in contaminating their lives. I have that kind of face that people would see as innocent and trusting, which means I get a lot of weird personal information divulged to me. Maybe, in a way, these perv's are confessing their sickness to me, thinking that if someone "good" knows about their problems, then somehow they're forgiven.

There's one guy in particular that always tracks me down and has to say something misogynistic or creepy. He enjoys patting/rubbing people on the back when conversing with them. I personally think that he doth protest too much and is really sweet on the guys. His latest thing was an impersonation of a "screamer" which sounded like a strangled elk call. He bragged that he made every girl a screamer, because he's so good at givin' it to them. He further explained that the reason that the impersonation sounded the way it did was that the ladies screamed so much that they lost their voice. If you think what I just wrote sounded silly, just think how labored and pathetic it must've sounded coming from this guy. The only thing that I can assume is that he forms a delusion that we are learning the ways of studhood from him. Instead, he's become our resident perv that we make fun of. Of course this isn't the only pervert that I've had to endure.

Far back in time, working in the fast food industry, I was introduced to a real gem of a wanker. This guy would elaborate on the smell of his wife's nether regions, how he liked to orifice-fish for life savers (think of the worst place, bingo), and what he likes to do with a stick of butter. First off, "Parkay" met his wife while she was working the streets of L.A.--his first date with her was a trick. Parkay was another "massager/masher" when he was around you, always touching. He seemed to enjoy grossing people out. Parkay had this bastardized Eddie Murphy laugh that he'd go into after making us barf. After he'd do something that he thought was cool or amazing he'd exclaim in an airy, feminine tone, "It's magic!" One day, we decided to turn the tables on this guy.

The store manager came up with a great birthday present for Parkay. She was good at baking cakes. Not just any old cakes, though. She could make all sorts of different shaped cakes with elaborate decorations and the whole nine yards. She told us that the cake would be right up Parkay's alley. She wouldn't fully disclose what it was exactly other than it would be super nasty.

Birthday time roles around. We're all waiting with great anticipation to see the unveiling of this notty cake. I imagined that it would be a simple one-layer cake with some nasty design in frosting. I was sort of right, but mostly wrong. Parkay comes in to start his shift; we surround him at the time clock and escort him down to the break room for his surprise. Parks was taken aback by all of the attention he got, even though he already assumed that we'd do something for his birthday. When we got to the break room, we were greeted by the manager, who stood smiling, holding a big pan over the surprise. Parkay started into his Eddie Murphy laugh then said that we shouldn't have gone through all the trouble. Our manager gave a generic birthday speech then lifted the pan off of the cake. Holy moley, that's all I could say!

A collective gasp from the crew sucked all the air out of the room. Old Parks turned thirty shades of red. There on the table laid an anatomically correct female, represented in cake form. From breasts, belly, to below, it was a stark, detailed vision of x-rated confection. I swear I saw a genital wart amongst the jelly-strewn folds 'n' crevices. Parkay was absolutely gob-smacked. The manager, not quite sensing that she'd gone too far, said, "I made sure that I only used real butter for the frosting, especially for you!" At that moment everything came to a head for Parks. He finally got it. This is what we all thought of him. He felt as ugly as the gaping cake hole oozing with cream and jelly. Parkay teared up and ran out of the room telling us that we were the sick ones and that we should all be ashamed of ourselves. He threatened our manager with a sexual harassment lawsuit; it got out of hand. He got a dose of his own medicine and gagged on it. Served him right.

Was what we did inappropriate, disgusting, and wrong? Yes, absolutely! I imagine that most places of employment wouldn't tolerate such a thing. But, we decided to go crazy, and it was hilarious. I gotta figure out something to do for this current pervert that I work with. I know that we're all just a bunch of guys there it seems, and this sort of thing kind of gets a blind eye turned to it. But, I figure that we can get payback without getting legal on his ass. I'm open for suggestions.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Harold & Maude

There is a mother and son that work in the same place that I do. She is sixty and her son is forty. Before finding out the truth, many people have thought that they were married because she looks young for her age and he's gray and balding. They are often seen doting on one another and are rather affectionate toward each other at work. I've had several people tell me that they've seen them holding hands walking together, sitting down, and it's real creepy. I've seen her feed her boy during their lunch break, for crying out loud! I got wondering what other crap goes on between these two. I know that if anyone is remotely critical of her boy she pounces on them like a blood thirsty lioness. I don't intend to be mean by this post, but I think that most people would not find this behavior normal. This guy is not retarded--he graduated from high school. While he does seem to have a few learning disabilities, I feel that the nature of their relationship is not nurturing, rather, subconsciously sexual. Even if I'm way off base with my assumptions, I think that you could agree that their behavior would make people curious. Maybe I'm just too jaded to see the beauty of a close mother/son relationship like this one. However, save that stuff for home.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

MDA Milkshakes

First off, this is not about Methylenedioxyamphetamene (MDA), or it's other form MDMA (ecstasy), neither is this about the Muscular Dystrophy Association. No, were talking about the toxic chemical: Methylenedianiline (MDA). It's what you get when you condense aniline and formaldehyde together to make really awful shit.

I worked for a millwright that did contract work for Hercules. Hercules used to be the big explosives manufacturer then eventually went into the aerospace industry. I think they're run under a different name now. I worked (surprise) as a laborer for this contractor doing mostly demolition. I never got to build stuff. Mainly, we "reconfigured" stuff like blast retention walls at rocket testing/manufacturing sites, and in this particular case, we were gutting out a building that was in one of their massive factories where the rocket engine cylinders were manufactured. The job was seriously dirty.

This room housed the part of the manufacturing process that mixed the MDA, that was then impregnated into the graphite fibers that were woven onto the mandrel--MDA is used in wire coatings, potting/encapsulating of electronics, and in this case, advanced composite materials production. Basically, it binds the graphite together. MDA is a human carcinogen and a heptatoxic agent. In other words, it can give you cancer and cause hepatoxicity, basically a chemical version of hepatitis. Liver damage, anyone? Whether it be by inhalation, ingestion, or dermal absorption, prolonged exposure to this agent will cause mucho problemos. Our job, again, was to tear all that crap out that mixed and impregnated this stuff into the graphite fiber.

On our first day of the contract, we went through our usual OSHA orientation of "things that would kill or seriously damage you"-- if it wasn't your day. There we got our introduction to MDA. We were told that we would be wearing HAZMAT suits, would have to bag and tag every scrap that came out of the structure, and that if our suits tore and MDA got on our clothing, that it was to be bagged and tagged as well. If we got it on our skin, it was "free naked shower time" in the old emergency decontamination area--which didn't have much privacy I might add. I was later told by my boss that if you got a little on you it wasn't too bad--it just stained your skin tobacco-brown for a few months. However, these OSHA guys had me freaked out.

We were led through the main humongoid building towards the building within it that had to be gutted. The environment necessary for this part of the manufacturing process has to be HOT! There was a foot of special insulation on the inside (Fiberglas tile) as well as conventional Fiberglas insulation laid out on the top of the building. It was hotter than a bitch kitty in there. We estimated that it was between 115 to 130 degrees fahrenheit and we had to wear friggin' HAZMAT gear, too. This place housed a machine called a "flying wedge" which did the job of impregnation (always the best job, I say). It had lines and pipes going every which way; damn, it was a hard, dirty job. The thing that got me wondering was, why they were having us tear all this out for? After clearing out the flying wedge room, I found out why. On to the mixing room.

These motherfugwankers had their employees mix the components for the MDA in big paper cups using a damn shake mixer--you know, the type at your local choke and puke drive in. Think of how much ice cream gets thrown around on these "Dairy Queer" workers, then, think about think about what these workers who mixed the MDA would have had on them. They used to only wear a dust mask, gloves, and an apron. It turns out that there were several cases of cancer and liver damage cropping up with workers and they had to figure out a safer mixing process. No shit...shake fereakin' mixers--now there's a good idea!

When I started tearing the insulation off of the roof, I noticed a lot of pigeon shit on the side butting the bigger building. The main building had those checkered widows and a few of them were broken. This is where the pigeons got in. When I finally got over to that side, I found about six freshly dead pigeons with MDA stained beaks and many more in various states of decay. I bagged and tagged those unlucky bastards, very gross.

I started to notice that my boss was not bagging and tagging the plywood and started to secretly load it on a flatbed trailer. Later, we missed a few items, and he wanted to come out under bid (finish quicker-->get richer). Well, he threw those on the flatbed too. On our way home that day my boss sold the plywood to a guy for a decent return. The guy wanted to build a shed and thought that the brown "stain" on the plywood was nice. Our next stop was at the dump, we had extra material from another job that had to be thrown away. We started to throw all the refuse off the trailer and I found the chewy center that my boss had hidden from the OSHA guys: two five-gallon drums of MDA. I protested that I wouldn't throw it out. He basically shoved me aside and kicked the barrels over, spilling their contents onto the ground.

I was really young at the time and chickened out. I should have reported him, but I didn't. I still feel responsible for not doing anything about it. I hope to God that it didn't harm anybody. I rationalized that since it was in a landfill, it was already in a messed up place. I imagine that crap like this happens all the time and we all end up getting some kind of toxic milkshake sooner or later.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


How can anyone justify owning a big-assed truck? I like them, but I feel bad about it. I have a big-assed truck. A 1978 Chevy K20. It has been modestly fixed up: forest green, black spoked rims w/33's, with a charcoal and titanium gray interior. I had a Jacobs' Pro Street ignition a while back until it gave out it's last digital command to fire 80,000 volts right out in the middle of nowhere. It was fun while it lasted. I've done my share of testing the limits of my truck--seeing just how high I can climb up S.O.B., a famed climb that has claimed more than a few lives, as well as taking it other places it didn't fit or shouldn't go. Mainly, I built it up the way I use it: for utility and for rugged adventure and it's been paid off for eons. Most SUV's & trucks now are merely shiney, overpriced phallic symbols.

Why say "merely" when modern trucks are in every way superior to an old beater? First of all, it's not the truck, but what the owner's use their trucks for. Trucks and SUV's have become status symbols--enough said. The people who could use such fine machines are priced out (kind of like Mc Mansions on wheels). What on earth do you need a truck or SUV for if all you do is cruise to the Maverick for Dews or whatever, groceries, and general transport? Unless you regularly tow a big trailer, you don't need a Duramax, Powerstroke, or Cummings with a Banks' Six-Pack and propane injection to get laid, go to Albertson's, or play (sub)urban hillbilly. Try an older truck, or a smaller truck out if you need something for the occasional move or trip to the dump. If you also go up into the hills and beat up on it you aren't destroying a $30,000-$75,000 investment. Think of how bad you'd feel if you really messed up a brand new truck after making a commitment to pay off that huge auto loan, high insurance, taxes, and most of all, gas costs.

Aesthetics are key: Don't trailer queen (pimp) your truck for crying out loud; this only ruins it. Would you cut the balls off of a prized rodeo bull, cut off it's legs, or put it on stilts? Then why put monster wheels and meats (tires) on your rig? I'm not even going into the whole lowrider issue.

Unless you really go deep mudding (the chance of never seeing your truck again)don't put 38's or 44's on. You are only making your rig perform horribly on the street that way. If that's the only place that you use it, don't jack it up so the only friends that can help you load stuff into it are sherpas. Raising the level of your bed only makes your truck worse for doing real world labor.
Bigger tires=more rotating mass and decreased (taller/higher gear) final drive ratio. What this means is you get less torque and horsepower to the ground. Big rims and tires are super heavy static, but once you get them rolling, they become heavier and don't want to stop (don't make me bust out a physics lesson on yo ass). Your stock brakes can't do the job of stopping in time. Big tires will decrease your gas mileage as well as give you less traction for street conditions. Mud tires lack siping--those little grooves and cuts in tires that grip wet/icy asphalt.

Do you think it's cool to slide off the road or slam into the vehicle in front of you because you wanted to appear rugged? Mud tires are excellent in deep snow and off road, but that's only what they're good for dammit! How often do you drive in those conditions? No one will think that you have a diminished capacity in the sack, or otherwise, because your truck isn't eight feet off the ground for no good reason. You only look like a fool who doesn't consider their own safety, as well as other's, by driving a steroid-pumped, circus wagon around town. Do yourself a solid; give that jalopy to someone who wants to go wheelin' for real, and not just pose or feign badassness.

If I had a chance, I'd buy the world a Coke. But, I can't afford to do that right yet. So, for now, I can lay this out for you: If you want to be tough, look better than others, or in general get from point A to point B, buy a normal vehicle that doesn't strain your pocket book, the planet, and decapitate people in accidents. Use steroids if you just gotsta be an enormous prick that people won't be able to take their eyes off of. If you want to assert your status in life, buy a Mercedes or a BMW like the yuppies of old. People think that a fully customized SUV or truck will save them from appearing pretentious, while still waving their cash wad in front of the neighbors. Hey, a truck does not trick people into thinking you are all "down homey" and common. A snob in a pickup is still a snob.. If that's who you are, then be that asshole that everyone hates, because we already hate you anyway. So, why deprive yourself of having a real status symbol and not a "Red Herring Mobile".The Snob with the blinged-out rig: "Honestly, I use it to pull my boat, 'The Shaft of Atlas' and stuff, not to trample lowly serfs under foot." If you need to pull a boat with a truck, then do it without all the parade float crap, capice?

What makes a truck truly beautiful is understatement. K.I.S.S., if you know what I mean. Wear your dents, scratches, and rust with pride: It means you've used your truck. That's what they're for. Wouldn't you think that putting sparkles, or other flare (Badboy and Calvin pissing stickers), on some 501's to be gay? Think about that next time some dude pulls up in a jacked-up, gawdy, Christmas tree ornament--"Where ya going, Liberace?" Enough said!

Monday, August 29, 2005


I had a job at a popular fast food joint where several mentally handicapped people worked as lobby persons, dishwashers, and salad makers. I'd always seem to connect with them. This story revolves around a girl who worked as the breakfast dishwasher and salad maker. I'll refer to her as "Judy".

Judy usually went on her break after making salads, before doing breakfast dishes. On one particular day, I was rushing the breakfast dishes back to the dish-room. I didn't see her back there at first. The last thing that I had left to send back there was a prep pan. I didn't think anybody was back there. So, being in a hurry, I threw the pan around the corner into the big stainless steel sink. The crash was really loud. Like I said, I was in a hurry, and I wasn't paying attention. After the big noise I heard "Whooop, Whoooop, Whoooooop!" I didn't know that Judy was back there. I totally scared the snot out of her. I felt bad, but then what she said next cracked me up, "That's funny!" I never really heard her say much before then and neither did anyone else, but after that we couldn't shut her up. Judy had several catch phrases that she used: "yeah right", "yeah, yeah, yeah", "that's funny", and the famous "Whoooop!" She even employed a sarcastic tone to them once in a while.

We all got a kick out of Judy and her quips, gags, and insights, however simple they were. But, the whoop thing was starting to become a problem because it penetrated through the whole restaurant. Customers would wonder what the hell all the noise was about. It became distracting. We had to tell Judy to stop yelling "Whooop" all the time. I mean, she did it when she was genuinely shocked/scared but she also did it because she knew that people thought that it was funny. She eventually cut it out, only reserving it for times when she could get away with it. It got to a point where just passing behind her "scared" her and she'd let out a whooop. She really wanted to get laughs and was quite the comedian. Then, Judy came up with a gag that went too far.

One day while going back to the walk-in freezer for something, I found Judy in the back-room holding a bun tray over her head. I asked her what she was doing, and then without warning she chucked the tray down on the floor then screamed "Whooooop!" It first frightened me, but then I got the joke and thought that it was pretty genius--she created a situation in her mind that justified screaming. I had to show my partner who I worked the grill with. This guy was in his 50's, but was really a young guy at heart and I knew that he'd see the humor in this. So, I told Judy to do her joke for this guy, and she obliged. The guy started laughing even before she did her gag because he couldn't figure out why the hell she was holding this bun tray way over her head for. He was standing right in front of her. What happened next was unexpected. She dropped the bun tray like before, it hit the ground, she whoooped, but then she added a twist: Judy kicked the bun tray square into the old guy's nuts. The poor guy buckled over then fell down to the floor, curling into a ball screaming in agony. Judy countered with a series of loud whoooops. I about burst my spleen laughing.

We never knew if what she did was planned out that way. The guy eventually got up and laughed pretty hard about the whole thing. He was a pretty good sport seeing as how she probably 'sploded his sack. We could tell that Judy got a bang out of the whole incident. Everyone who was there couldn't stop laughing and talking about it. That gag gave me the best belly laugh ever in my entire life.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Grunt's tip of the day.

When you have to endure any job, especially the grunt type, there's these little events that break up the monotony and keep you sane. On the other hand, there's also this soul-sucking element to work. In order to overcome the effects of the workplace succubi, you need little moments/acts of anarchy in order to save your soul from complete assimilation into the body corporate. If you are not sure what I mean by "little acts of anarchy" never fear, I'll explain.
  1. When someone breaks wind or hurts themselves, give in and laugh.
  2. Hide your bosses' stapler, chair, or two-way radio.
  3. Write nonsensical messages on post-it notes and put them under random desks or in bathroom stalls (do this in a different handwriting than usual).
  4. Make a cubicle fort.
  5. See just how fast you can spin around on a floor buffer.
  6. Put awful seafood recipes in the office suggestion box.
  7. Carve self help messages in frozen hamburger patties for waiting customers.
  8. Have a pallet jack race.
  9. Let lizards loose in the building.
  10. After someone else says something that they feel is important add, "That's a fact!"
  11. Hang out with the janitor. If you are the janitor, loiter outside an important board meeting holding something that looks like it could make a lot of noise, but don't plug it in, just look menacing.
  12. And, if none of the above or anything else works, hurt yourself or break wind. Someone will laugh.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Marlboro Man

I worked as a garbage truck driver/collector with one of my best buddies. He lived and died by the nickname. He had several that people had given him, some nice, some not so nice. He was also quite apt at assigning nicknames too. We've lost touch over the years and that's a shame; though, I still have fond memories of our grunt work we did together. Like I said, lots of people gave him some bad nicknames, but for me, at least, I'll remember him as the Marlboro Man.

Why Marlboro Man? Well, it wasn't because he smoked, and it certainly wasn't because he looked like the guy in the ads. To be honest, he looks like a pint-sized version of one of the "other" Baldwin Brothers--you know, one of the not-so-attractive ones. No, the reason why he received this nickname from me was that he was a walking billboard for Marlboro.

How did he get this way? Well, when picking up garbage all over apartments, condos, and trailer parks you tend to have a lot of smoker's trash. Back in the day Marlboro ran a promotion called "Marlboro Miles" and my friend was obsessed with getting free stuff. His scam was to collect all the Marlboro cigarette packets he could from the garbage cans on our route or anywhere really. But, he figured that as much of this crap that passes through the garbage in a day, he would have enough "miles" to get all the free tents, sleeping bags, parkas, and whatever other adventure seeking chain smoker apparel that he needed. The problem was, if you are against big tobacco, that the Marlboro logo was plastered all over the stuff .

He really needed my help to get the maximum miles. Because we took turns "throwing", which means you're the guy hanging on the back getting the cans and putting the trash in the hopper, you might miss out on some miles. So, he enlisted me in this scam and I went along with it cheerfully. At first, the idea of getting all this free stuff was really cool. I mean, we were going to split our miles 50/50. Yeah, I admit, I got a kick out of scoring empty packets of Marlboro's, but then the fun started to slowly die out for me.

We had to collect trash from a real rough trailer park. However, we always looked forward to going there. It was a friggin' miles gold mine! The problem came when the trailer folk got smart to our scam. There's no way that one person could smoke enough cigarettes to get the good prizes. But, to these people, their small time miles suddenly became quite valuable the moment they caught on to what we were doing. This was on a day that we had a big haul of cigarette packets. We were throwing them down on the street counting how many miles we had. A gang of yokels came up to us and asked, "What you want wit our cigarettes, huh?" We just ignored them, collected up the packets and hopped into the truck. As we were leaving, one of the guys in the gang ran behind the truck yelling, "You fu@&s stole our miles!" My friend stopped the truck and yelled back to him, "Well, you dumb shits threw them out so now they're ours" and then we drove away, laughing our asses off. After that little incident, the trailer park cut us off from their miles. However, we still had quite a racket going.

When it came time to cash in we were pretty excited. I thought of what I could get with my cut, I was going for a canoe and a parka. We had to cut out all the miles from the cigarette packets in order to send them in. As I did this, I started to have a moral crisis--would I be supporting big tobacco by accepting these gifts? I decided that taking these gifts wasn't what I wanted to do, so I gave my share of the miles to my friend. He was elated. He got so much stuff from them. I think that if we had started a year sooner he could have had a chance at the king prize, a Jeep.

After he got all of his stuff he needed to show it off. He wore his Marlboro gear anywhere he could. If we went camping, it was in a Marlboro sleeping bag, with a Marlboro backpack in a Marlboro tent. You could spot this guy out of a crowd so easily, just look for the dude dressed in blue denim with red, white, and black logos plastered all over him.

After we quit that job, I grew farther away from him. I no longer know what he's up to at all. I haven't seen him in years. I miss that guy a lot. It's a damn shame that things like this happen to friends. So, if you happen upon a tough looking, non-smoking short guy, decked out in Marlboro gear, let me know. It could be the Marlboro Man.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

New Swear Word

This new swear word was made up by me accidentally. I had worked as a custodian for a school and did a lot of general building maintenance. One day I had to go up on the roof to check out some AC units. There were several ways to get up to the roof via iron ladders bolted into the walls. The access point where I went up was in a poorly lit storage area. I had my underling (even grunts have grunts) hold some tools while I climbed up the access portal. Once you get to the top of these things you have to get out a key and take the padlock off, pull the release lever, and then the hatch springs open. First of all, if you've ever climbed up one of these fixed ladders (I'm sure there's a better word for what these are) you'll know how much harder it is to hang on to than a conventional ladder when you're trying to work with the other hand, due to the vertical nature of the thing. So, onward and upward I went.

When I neared the top of the portal I really couldn't see the steel support beam at the top. My underling called down to me as I was climbing up, "...uh, when do you want these tools?" It was just then that I reached the top, but being distracted, I took one step too high and slammed the crown of my head into the edge of this beam. Now, one thing you need to know about me before we continue with this story is that I'm a reformed gutter mouth. I usually catch myself in a swear before it reaches my lips. I didn't do so well this time.

Upon hitting my head, the first words that formed in my head were "Oh, fu@& that hurt!" As the verbal centers of my brain tried to send that message to my lips, the higher part of my brain sent out a cease and desist letter. What came out was quite funny: "Ahhhfak!" Imagine this said with a high-pitched stereotypical "Asian" accent (I'm not Asian BTW), that's how it sounded. My underling immediately started to go into hysterics, repeating over and over again what came out of my mouth, adding more of that Asian accent, "Ahhfak, AAhfak, AAAhfak!" I tried not to laugh as blood trickled down my head but I couldn't help it any longer. The harder I laughed, the harder it became to hold on to the rungs of the ladder and my hands began to slip. I caught myself before I fell, rose up, then hit myself in the same damn place on my head. I let out another "Ahhhfak!" Then my underling countered with "Ahhhsoysauce!!!"

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Early Years: Payback.

I got talked into picking cherries for some old fart with a fruit stand. The guy came and picked me up along with two of my friends in his Chevy pickup. The guy bragged about his paint job that he'd done all by himself using house paint and a big brush. Honestly, it was the roughest looking thing I'd ever seen, wavy and ridged like a potato chip. My friends and I hopped in the bed, sitting on empty fruit baskets. As we bounced down the old road to the orchards, one of my friends started laughing at this fat lady wearing this big sun hat. We thought that we'd be working with the old man, but it turns out that the funny fat lady would be our real boss.

This fat lady sat under a canopy in front of a big fold out table with a lock box of money and a cooler full of Tab. After the old fart handed us to her, she went on a big rant about if she catches us touching any of her stuff we won't get paid, if we screw around we won't get paid, and then drifted off about where to start picking. We got paid by the pound, so we needed to pick a lot. We got up on these loosey-goosey wood ladders and started picking, then about 20 minutes into it, picking and eating, and then finally an all out cherry fight. The Fat lady heard what was going on but was too lazy to get out of her chair, so she just let out a bovine like groan followed by, "Quit screwing around!"

It was really hot and about three hours in we were past hungry and dying of thirst. We thought that the next guy to take a basket up to the stand should beg her for one of the Tabs and whatever else she had in the cooler. One of my buddies ended up going there first and was turned down. She actually yelled at him for asking then directed him over to a bucket full of the nastiest water imaginable. We were too thirsty to protest, so we drank what we could keep down.

After the fourth hour of picking we noticed that the lady had left her stand. The lock box was gone, but the cooler was still there. We were a little unsure if we could get away with taking anything out of there without being caught. We went over anyway and looked inside the cooler. There was only one Tab left and it was open. This was back in the day of the tall glass bottle. My friend held up the bottle; the dripping ice water ran down the sides of the bottle and caught the Summer sun just like the damn commercials. We were in desperation waiting for our turn; then to our horror, our friend hawked up a huge loogey and spat in her drink. After the rest of us got over our initial disappointment and outrage, we realized the genius of what this kid did. So, we both took our turns spitting into this ladies' drink. Yes, she drank it, and yes, we got paid too. That was one of my first lessons in workplace anarchy and I'll treasure it forever.

Are you a Grunt?

Where do you sit on the Totem pole of life? Do you work your ass off for mere pennies? Do you feel that you've been put on this earth only to make others' lives easier? Are you a Private in Iraq? Do you have to clean the scum off of someone else's shoes? Do you feel like a stepping stone, doormat, currency or any other useful device for exploitation? Do you fit in the trenches better than the country club?
If any of these apply, then welcome. This blog will include some stories of mine and whomever that reflect on living La Vida Broka, life in the fastfood lane, and other humorous or soul crushing life experiences in the workplace. Any names placed in these chronicles will be changed to protect the innocent...blah, blah, blah!