Monday, January 04, 2010

The Internal Monologue of an Attendeee of True Love's Secret Santa Exchange

Partridge in a Pear Tree
Kind of underwhelming to kick this off with a run-of-the-mill pheasant. Man, am I glad this isn't a Yankee swap. Though, hey, pears for life.

Two Turtledoves
Assuming a law of non-diminishing returns, this present is actually worth four turtledoves in the bush. If you play the futures market right, you could really turn a tidy profit on your initial investment at

Three French Hens
Is France known for its high quality hens? Say what you will about the frogs, but between horns, hens, and bread, they've really got us by the balls come December.

Four Calling Birds
Grand Avian Count is now up to 10. Better hope they all like pear stew, or there's going to be an awfully merry burlap sack floating down the river.

Five Golden Rings
Quick thinking with the jewelry, guy. My set of caramel popcorn tins was starting to look pretty good.

Six Geese a-Laying
Well, that was short-lived. But hey, omelettes.

Seven Swans a-Swimming
What the hell? Was there some sort of fire sale at Birds 'R Us? Give it a rest. She's still got calling bird leftovers in the fridge.

Eight Maids a-Milking
It'd be nice if someone could bring eight icebox cakes a-cooking or something, as this week's been pretty protein-heavy. Hmm, I can't picture what my kid's face looks like.

Nine Ladies Dancing
Not even gonna ask about the Ninth Afternoon of Christmas. I assume this one's payback for the ballroom dancing classes she got you for your birthday.

Ten Lords a-Leaping
You know, just ten Lords a-standing would suffice. Don't blow your wad before the home stretch.

Eleven Pipers Piping
Hey, you want an entire reed section's sloppy seconds, that's your call. God, I hope I DVRed Modern Family.

Twelve Drummers Drumming
Knock it off with the slow reveal. You've smuggled in 50 people and 24 birds in the past two weeks. The jig is up.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Slightly More Realistic Interpretation of my Company's Required Sexual Harassment Training Video and Dialogue Part II

Start here.

Oh! Hey Bobby.

Yeah, that's it, Carrie. Act normal. Maybe he'll think someone else ratted him out for attempted rape at the office yesterday.

Don't talk to me!

The silent treatment? Really, Bobby? That's your follow-up to rape threats? Perhaps "copycat" would have been too harsh.


Did we really need a whole slide for "What?" You forced poor bit player Jack to fit his entire soliliquy on the noblesse oblige of the Human Resources department into one closeup and this is what gets documented for posterity's sake?

Jack just told me about your bogus complaint! I even got written up! Heh, I've got my options too. It may not be today, or tomorrow, but I'm gonna get even! I'm gonna get you!

Option#1: Get Carrie today. Option #2: Get Carrie tomorrow. Option #3: This week's a little busy, but eventually get Carrie. Option #4: Eh, maybe just grab a bite to eat, take a snarling break. I'm exhausted.

What's the matter with you? You look terrible.

Wait, who's this? Where'd Bobby and Carrie go? Chekhov's gun, man. You can't get me all vested in Carrie's maidenhood and then slip in Mac from Night Court and expect me to just not notice. Though I have been wondering what Jack's been up to.

I was at our client's office, Spice Boy Magazine. And the Technology Manager over there, Conrad, has been hitting on me.

I take that back. This is far, far more interesting. Also, how much of a letdown is it to get hired as the Technology Manager at Spice Boy Magazine? Does anyone even bother to clear their browsing history?

Come on. You're just paranoid because Spice Boy is a gay magazine. What, did he say you were cute? Did he say you had a nice...

For a corporate instructional video, I have to say, this thing is doing just a terrific fucking job of building suspense. If it turns out Conrad is Keyser Soze, then this is gonna tie up a lot of loose ends for me.

Now wait a minute Jack. That's not funny! I thought the guy was joking until today when he invited me over to his house for dinner. For the past month, he's been making suggestive comments. And now he invites me to dinner?

I don't even want to know how "suggestive" those comments could have been if they all culminated in a casserole. I can't think of the last time one of my gay friends propositioned someone without some conjugation of the word "gargle".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Slightly More Realistic Interpretation of my Company's Required Sexual Harassment Training Video and Dialogue

So Carrie, I got two tickets to tonight's concert. You wanna go?

OK, this seems fair enough to me. If one is openminded enough not to judge a book by its cover--or if one's shelves are filled with books that are wearing my dad's sportcoat--then this is a pretty sweet offer, if one is undiscerning enough that "some band playing music" is enough to qualify as a night on the town.

On a side note, it's alarming to discover that a hairstyle that you still occasionally sport on moist days is out of date via a corporate sexual harassment video, like catching a glimpse of the dress you're wearing in a Cuban Missile Crisis bomb drill video. Quarter banana clip, I hardly knew ye.

Thanks, Bobby. But I probably shouldn't. I don't think my boyfriend would like that very much.

Well, Carrie, your boyfriend kind of sounds like an overbearing cock, if passively listening to sound near another dude is enough to set him off. You don't even know who the concert is for yet. It could be the Stones, you know? Surely Stones tickets are worth a little tiff followed by a passenger seat hammy.

Come on, you know I can take much better care of you than he can.

This isn't the "No prob, maybe some other time" I would have expected from a nice, arts-loving guy like Bobby, but for all I know, he speaks the truth, so he can't be faulted.Carrie's boyfriend hasn't really bowled me over thusfar in the conversation, so I wouldn't be surprised.

Hey, he takes care of me. He does lots of nice things for me. He just bought me this dress.

Wait, that thing's a dress? There's even more of the same below the screen's edge? I thought this was taking place in a hospital examination room.

I also think a dress is an odd gift for a man to give a woman of this age. A "new dress" is sort of a Depression-era luxury, like saving all your butter rations to make a cake.

The "taking care of" I'm talking about, you wouldn't be wearing that dress.

Ah, gotcha. Bobby's a date rapist. My bad there, Carrie.

Though, to be honest, you were sort of asking for this line to be used. You could have just mentioned that your boyfriend fixes shit around the house, and Bobby would have been stumped at least long enough for you to yell "Fire!" or "Free samples!" or whatever it is we're supposed to call out nowadays so's you don't get Genovese'd in a back alley.

(Linda, a co-worker nearby, is disturbed by what she is hearing.)

Here's a thought, Linda--mind your own fucking business. And stop shopping at Carrie's House of Hausfrauity.

You know Bobby, I don't think you should be talking to me like this.

Way to leave yourself open to subjective interpretation there, Car. Let's say Bobby says "Well, that's a matter of opinion, and I think I should." Then where are you at? Not like you can call Linda in to mediate, she'd probably wet herself on the spot.

Come on, loosen up!

Yeah, I didn't think Bobby was much of a logician. But still, a simple "Fuck off, Bobby" probably would have sufficed.

Thanks for taking time to see me today, Jack. Actually, I'm really nervous talking to you about this. I don't want anyone to think I'm a trouble-maker or a whiner, but there's some stuff that's going on that really bothers me.

"Oh, hey, ummm, not to burden you or anything..I know you're busy, Jack, I can come back. When is good for you? I'm free through next week. You just let me know. It's super not a problem, I'm sorry to take any of your time at all. Actually, never mind, I'm sure it's fine. What? Oh, it's nothing...I'm just afraid that if I'm left alone with Bobby he's going to pin me down and threaten me with physical harm and then force himself into my body. But I'm probably just wrong, it's cool, I'll just deal. Forget I said anything."

Well, Carrie, what's the matter.

That's it, Jack. Play it cool. Don't play into her hysterics by using inflection.

Well, its Bobby. He's been hitting on me. Actually, I was very flattered at first. He's nice, good looking and all that, but I did tell him I have a boyfriend. Actually, we did go out one time, but it didn't work out. Anyway, I've asked him to leave me alone.

So NOW this comes out. Christ, Carrie, you're practically leaving a wet spot on the chair as you say this. You are the walking definition of "Actuallywedidgooutonetimebutitdidn'tworkoutAnywayI'veaskedhimtleave mealone" sometimes meaning "yes".

On yet another side note, did she change outfits in between being "harassed" and reporting it to Jack? I'm not sure what's more astounding here, that ruining a man's life required a costume change, or that you somehow thought it was a good idea to purchase two versions of that dress.

Well, that should be it.

Quite the optimist there, aren't you, Jack? How'd you get out of the Tet Offensive? Just tie a note to a rock that said "Knock it off, Charlie", and then hopped on a plane home?

I wish. Trouble is, he keeps hitting on me. And he sends me email with these jokes from the internet, a lot of 'em are really kinda gross. And the other day, he told me what he wanted to do to me, out of my dress. Now, I don't want Bobby to get in trouble, but I want this to stop.

Taking a bit of a poetic license with Bobby's dress comment, aren't you, Carrie? And I'm actually surprised that you even got that the guy didn't actually didn't want a 12-inch piano player so as to be offended.

Well Carrie, I appreciate you coming to see me. It's important this kind of behavior doesn't occur in the workplace. We can't tolerate it. As a matter of fact, its our duty to try and prevent it. I want to thank you for helping us do our job. Now, let me tell you what we're gonna do. First, I'm going to get all of the details from you. Next, I'll want to talk to all witnesses who might have seen this happen.

Suddenly, Jack has an awful lot to say. The email forwarding thing really struck a soft spot. Obviously, he's been burned by before.

Linda was in the breakroom the other day.

Linda can't even handle direct eye contact or dressing herself properly. You think she's gonna come to your rescue? The woman probably feels guilty when she accidentally wastes a post-it, you think she's gonna go state's witness?

Okay. Okay, I'll talk to her. Now we'll do this as discreetly and as confidentially as we possibly can. Also, if Bobby continues to do this, let me know. Finally, Carrie, its important you realize no one can retaliate against you for raising a complaint. If anyone says anything to you about this complaint, particularly Bobby, you let me know.

"And as a postscript, I should also qualify that I meant no one can legally retaliate against you within the confines of this office or within a courtroom. If you plan on leaving it ever, I'd consider purchasing some sort of firearm. But, again, in the breakroom, we've got your back."

Thank, Jack.

Look at those moony eyes, you little puppy dog. Jack would respond with "You're welcome", but he's a bit worried that you'd end his career, too.

More to come

Monday, July 20, 2009

Aperture for Destruction Part II

Another trip to the grandmother's, another few minutes spent rooting through giant tupperware boxes filled with my awkward youth. Again, a shout-out to the man who did it first, and did it best.

After three months of missed periods and six months of hurried nursery painting and shotgun wedding planning, my parents finally got their wish--to have a miniature old lady of their very own.

Already tired of this world and this life at the tender age of 3, I wanted nothing more to do with society's insistence on an annual celebration of birth. Just leave me alone with my dogeared copy of Walden, and find another reason to give into the capitalist's ridiculous penchant for buying cake.

The photographer of this picture was a charismatic man, a little prone to grandeur, but magnetic nonetheless. I can only hope this explains why these stills, which he promised would be "tasteful" and "artistic" and would do wonders for my career, are instead--and I'm finally ready to admit this--a little bit trashy.

This picture makes me want to go back to school, study special relativistic physics, invent a time machine, get inside of it, go back to this very moment on this very shag rug, and ask this young version of myself how the hell she bends that way.

Here's a representation of my middle years, the last one being taken next to the ubiquitous fridge in order to include the cat, who spent a solid 17 years not giving a shit about who the rest of us were or how food and water magically appeared every day. I remember one day when I was 13 the cat acknowledged my existence by making eye contact for a second or two, and the self-worth I gained from that carried me through my teenage years.

Rocketing back to the real theme here: My mother loved the dog more than me.

It's not a secret, she's really quite open about it, and I only thank God that the dog and I didn't share a common enough genetic ancestry that the possibility of asking me to donate organs to the ailing pup was on the table. Still, it meant that the dog had to be included in every single picture, no matter how out-of-context it might seem, and no matter how little upper body strength I had. I suppose it was a blessing in disguise, as at least it covered up some of the outfits that led to my continued virginity.

Lest that last outfit not go uncalled out, it was for a dance recital, which I only performed in after no part of the house's architecture or contents proved high enough to hang myself from.

For such a small, unintelligent animal, Tiger possessed an uncanny sense of how to invade my personal space without letting others know how creepily obsessed she was. Not wanting to see her go off the hinges if I confronted her about her SWF tendencies, I could put on a smile for others, but when caught in a moment unawares, you can see how much it bothered me.

Here we have the dog, stealing my 12th birthday from me. Ho hum.

Here we have 1) the only known photograph of my father ever to exist, since I'm pretty sure he's the Jackal and 2) physical evidence of the complete and utter befuddlement my father felt every time I asked him to play something girlishly imaginary with me. A man of science, and a man of a family composed entirely of manly men of science (see below) , I can now identify the word that always rested on the tip of his tongue every time I told him to drink his tea or purchase groceries from my "store"-- "Why?"

This was the closest the Buns and Liquor family got to expressing joy or amusement. Needless to say, my Garfield drawing career was short-lived.

While others cite graduation or marriage or childbirth as the seminal moments in their lives, this is mine, right here. This is just before the exact minute in which I made the decision as to whether I would be the kind of person that enjoys a pogo ball, or the kind of person that does not. I think I chose wisely.

*Due in no small part to the fact that it appears my legs, which appear to be non-load bearing, would have snapped off after just one bad fall. I can only assume I was propped up against the counter in order for this picture to be taken.

One of the problems of growing up in the 80s was the preponderance of girls that shared my name, the most popular of the decade. In my kindergarten class alone, 30% of the children were named Rubber, the girl next to me being the most attention-getting and jealousy-inducing. Here I am, plotting to kill her at the altar of our First Communion, where the Canadian Tuxedo lived and breathed. Later, I'd learn to be more subtle in my plotting.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

In Which I Absolutely Refuse to Give Into Many, Many Homonym Jokes

So in my daily wanderings about the internet, scavenging for absolute metaphors that I can drop into conversation in order to give off the appearance of knowing "things", I came across what passes as an interesting nugget these days: the CEO of the Build-a-Bear Workshop is called the Chief Executive Bear. Her blog of "musings" is pretty much in line with the type of person who describes her week as "PAWSOME" (needless to say, emphasis hers); we're hardly talking some Seinfeldian universal-relating here, but if you're in the business of constructing anthropomorphic animals, it's a decent toilet read.

"I'm at risk for heart disease! Yay!"

Groan if you will, but you too would have to develop a pretty sophisticated emotional defense mechanism if your daily grind involved hundreds of gutted creatures parading past your eyes, so I think that inventing a word like "PAWSOME" shows some pretty impressive portmanteau-ing in the face of morbidity: it's now neck-and-neck with "chortle" in my rankings, just above Tribeca, and leagues above that piece of shit "vlog", which is still out there, saving dozens of internerds the milliseconds they'll need to tend to their sex life.

Now, this woman is not only the CEB--one of my other organs just punched my womb in the face as I abbreviated that--of the company, but she's also the founder, which is pretty unsurprising; I imagine the title throws a lot jobseekers off from the position. If some Harvard MBA does ascend to a position of power in the Build-a-Bear Corporation, they'd likely have to print their business cards on straight twenty dollar bills just to get a little respect at the alumni mixers. When the time does come for Ms. Clark to move on to that great beehive in the sky--I only hope the mortician appreciates the irony at the time of the embalming--I can't imagine anyone would begrudge her a little nepotism in passing the title on down the family line.

Our definition of "cuddly" is different than Eleanor's.

I actually think Ms. Clark might be a lot more cunning then people give her credit for. Imagine if you built a multimillion-dollar company based entirely on the sale of the unfinished products of another multimillion-dollar industry? Like, Ivory spends more than a century perfecting their 99.44 in order to keep that soft little naked baby fed, and then I just swoop in and start selling people sacks of lard and lye and make a mint. Or, if someone parked a wheelbarrow of sleeves outside of Gap and people came running. There's got to be some hard feelings there, right? Surely at some point, Ms. Clark thought of the consequences her business venture would have on Big Teddy Bear and feared for her safety?

For years, decades, Christ, centuries, kids have just fucking loved them some stuffed bears, and companies went crazy trying to make a dime off of them. They stole honey, we found it endearing. They stared, we bit. You'd think that the second people found themselves shelling out to watch bears simply mind their manners, the jig would be up, but we kept coming back for more, and the industry kept throwing shit against the wall. Then this broad comes along and sells us incomplete bears, and we throw money at her. I walk past the Build-a-Bear Workshop in New York City several times a week, and there's so many children holding hollow bear carcasses that I expect to see Sacajawea passing out juice boxes.

Bedtime Bear: the catchall bear for children that were neither cheery, lucky, nor capable of loving-a-lot.

On a note that is either completely related or one of the scariest non sequiturs ever, I would definitely go to a Build-a-Human Workshop.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Receive

Amongst the bounty reaped from the holiday season this year--the mother's Big Catalog of Needlessly Complicated Gadgets and Oddities yielded all sorts of treasures designed to turn simple acts such as opening an umbrella or wearing gloves into an entirely unwanted conversation with curious nearby strangers-- I received a set of nice hand lotions from my somewhat terrifying boss, a gift that ranks between Five Dollar Bill and Christmas Tree Ornament in the Chronological Scale of Half-Assed Gift Giving. It's not like I'm trying to turn a profit from Christmas or anything (though if the economy were to take a Serlingesque turn and I were to wake up tomorrow in a world where scarves were the most precious element in the periodic table, I could definitely afford to start serving a better cut of man), but I get a fair number of these token gifts, and if it's all the same to the people I casually interact with/begrudge in person every so often, I'd rather just ignore the whole season of giving conceit and merrily chap along.

The gift that takes a break from giving year-round.

After writing a thank you email to my boss--a true tour de force of deception involving some sort of farcical situation in which I left a non-existent thank you card/outpouring of gratitude at home, written upon handmade, artisanal stationery described at length, which I then offered to bring in for posterity's sake (sometimes it's nice to lie for the majesty of it, to remind oneself that it's an art not relegated to just times of covering one's own ass)--she responded with "Thanks, and thanks for the earmuffs", which is such an odd reply that I actually considered the possibility that it was a code telling me I need to get the fuck out of here and take my files with me, before realizing it was probably just a reference to a present I most certainly did not purchase for her.

And this was just the card's envelope.

Psyched for the opportunity to see two moles of wrong actually equaling a right, I asked a couple of friends for advice before realizing that they actually considered correcting her to be an option that was on the table. On one hand, this does involve willfully taking on the persona of someone who thinks that earmuffs*--seriously, these are individual hats for your ears--make a good present, but these could be the fancy Faberge sort of earmuffs worn by society matrons, and I wouldn't want to miss out on the goodwill opportunity. What I'm really looking for is more of a backup dialogue to put into play if she does discover that someone else gave her earmuffs, and I never corrected her. It's hard to play off an out-of-context mention of earmuffs without turning it into a euphemism for an eight ball or a sex act, so I'm coming up a little dry, but Shirley Temple curls really lend a lot of cred to feigned cluelessness, so I'm gonna risk it.

*As for the stigma attached to being the kind of person imaginarily gives earmuffs as presents, it's untrodden ground.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Murder, She Wrote

The end of the year always brings some certainties with it:

a) The annual visit to the parents to renew the old goodwill meter, as I find it's good to do with all individuals who have any spare genetically-matched body parts in their possession.
b) Year-end best-of lists of media that I use as checklists by which I can measure my self-worth for the year.
c) Reception of fancy hand lotions sharply spikes, despite careful avoidance of any sort of reference to fancy hand lotions over the previous year.
e) The renewal of my Celebrity Death Pool list.

I've always had a morbid fascination with death--not sure there's any other kind, come to think of it--but the celebrity death pool is the single greatest thing to distract me from my responsibilities that does not include cheese. There's a few of them kicking around out there; I use this one, but am considering switching to this one--but the whole concept is the same: you write down famous people you think are going to die, and are summarily rewarded when they do.

A great deal of people find my joyful exuberance in a celebrity death pool to be unsettling, as if my desires played any sort of active role in the demise of marginally famous people; I take this as a complicit admission of my being some sort of deity, or at the very least, godlike, and am quite flattered. Aside from the fact that the rules very clearly stipulate that you're not allowed to actually cause the death of any of your team's registrants, or "even try to scare them or make them sick or anything", it's still gratifying to know that people think you're at least capable of it.

Learned a few lessons this year.

A year's roster is typically submitted in December, and no additions are allowed during the year. I used to start thinking about my team much earlier, but after getting bit in the ass by Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein in the same sad, mortal last week of December, I now try to put off my selection process for as long as possible. If there's one thing a celebrity death pool teaches you, it's that the human spirit is either resilient or stubborn or both; I half expected Estelle Getty to croak before I finished typing her name, but she did some serious keep away with the Grim Reaper and kicked my ass three years in a row until shuffling off her mortal coil this past fall. Similarly, Castro's added "Continuing to Exist" to his list of atrocities in my book (just below "Hogging the Good Cigars" and just above "Bay of Pigs").

Actually, we can call it even.

Although I see myself as more of an oracle of mortality than any sort of harbringer--and no one questions you when you claim to have a hand in anything relating to their extinction--it doesn't change the fact that I'm still actively rooting for certain people to die, and for that reason I can never add anyone whose existence makes me happy, decrepit as they may be. While I don't mind wishing death upon Eunice Kennedy Shriver and would even lend a hand to any prospective Andy Rooney assassination plots out there, no part of me could ever take pleasure in Julie Andrews' or Bea Arthur's demise.

When I start soliciting suggestions for my upcoming year's roster, I always get a slew of people who think they've got the dark horse picked out and try let me in on their little secret--right on with your Britney conspiracy, champ, but I'm still gonna stick with the good ole "passage of time" as my main determining factor--and then a lot of people who truly don't grasp the concept of old. A lot of folks seem to think that career longevity is enough to get on the list, but merely spanning the decades isn't enough- I need the people who cause you to register surprise when you find out they're still alive, or even better, who you're shocked to discover still alive even when you're looking at a picture of them taken that week.

Not hard to guess what her birthday wish is.