Friday, November 18, 2011

Let It All Hang In

There's a poster hanging up in the kitchen at my work that says, "Hang in there and smile!" It has about six different pictures of cats on it, and none of the cats is hanging from a tree limb.

There's absolutely no reason to feature cats on a poster about hanging in there unless the cat is hanging from a tree and it's a pun. The cats are neither hanging in there nor smiling.

But I do smile every time I see it, so I guess the poster's doing its job.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tales of Suspense and Horror

I've got a few quick stories for you today. An anthology post, if you will.

Laughing Update

After getting hired to play games with old people (amazing) back in June, I stopped calling in to my film extras casting agency. It was just too time consuming and I never got any work out of it.

But just last week, they called me to offer me a gig working two days as a laugher for an upcoming Disney show.

I had to turn it down, because I was busy playing games with old people on the days they needed me. But I was happy that they thought of me. I thought my laughing audition was good, so it's nice to have that feeling validated.

I still don't really know what laughers do.

Labs Rat

I had blood drawn today. The phlebotomist had blood spattered all over his white lab coat. It looked roughly like this:

I thought about telling him that it was unsettling and he should change, but I just let it go.

He was actually weirdly skillful with the needle. I didn't feel a thing.

The Shirt Off My Back

Recently I was at Santa Monica Pier with Sister. I was waiting for Sister to come out of the bathroom, when a young man in a bathing suit approached.

"Can I ask you for a really big favor?"

I just stared at him blankly. I was pretty sure he was going to ask me for money.

"I just bought a ticket for the roller coaster, but they won't let me on without a shirt. Can I borrow your shirt? I'll bring it right back. It's a really long walk back to the car."

Are you kidding me? What a ridiculous thing to ask of a complete stranger. Not to mention the confession that he had a shirt in his car. It's not like his roller coaster ticket was going to expire.

I was going to say no, I really was. But I like having unusual stories to tell, and I knew giving him the shirt would make for a better story. Plus, it was an old shirt.

You can imagine Sister's surprise when she came out of the bathroom to find me sans shirt. I pointed to the roller coaster. "That fat Mexican is wearing it," I explained.

He returned it right after his ride, as promised. What a gentleman.

The shirt was a little moist when I got it back.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Post Post: Thank You for Remembering Me

(Post Posts are about things I get in the mail. You can click on any image to enlarge.)

"And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?"

- from Night Mail, W.H. Auden

I have a lot of treats to share with you today, so let's dive right into the mail pile and see what we find.

Rich Friend Cynthia sent me these gently used seasons of True Blood because she decided to upgrade to the Blu-Rays. Thank you, Rich Friend Cynthia.


This next item was sent to someone who used to live at my address:

As you can see, it's from the Fictitious Business Name Renewal Center. Which like, what? What could that possibly be?

And the wording isn't very clear. Is the business fictitious, or the name? Or is the renewal center itself a work of fiction?

So of course Roommate opened it.

Wouldn't you?

So anyway, it appears that it refers to a fake name that you use to conduct real business. And for some reason you have to pay $125 for that. Honestly, opening the envelope just makes it more confusing.

I debated whether to show you the name this person is using, but since it's fictitious I think it's okay. Plus, it's so good: Betty Jewel. Do with that what you will.

And since Betty Jewel's name is about to expire, I guess it's up for grabs now if any of you want it.


I also received this letter:

I know that's a little hard to read, so here is the full text:

Cartwheels for lemons to touch the censor.
What if you sprouted
Alfalfa for dinner?
According to someone
I think that's fine.
Forever the level the liquid
The nozzle
Your toothbrush.
Your heartprint.
Your headache.
Your wine claw glass dish set.
Send it to me from Minsk.
With a receipt
And I'll wash it.
Forget it -
The standard greeting of Kuala Lumpur.
Send me your glasses your eyesight your fish tank your thinking your future your nail clipper beeper bag of chips fuck it
Close the door.
Wash the door
Wash the streetlight it smells like -
Saved and sugar.

I told the sender I was putting it on the blog and asked how he wanted to be credited. I meant, should I use his name or leave it anonymous? He told me to credit it to "The only character in my comic book".

I guess that's true.

The whole letter was written on the back of this:

I can't really make it out, but it mentions crematoria and Germans. So fill in the blanks.


The last item is a care package from my mother and her sisters. Thanks Mom and Aunties!

Here's what it contained:

1. Cape Fear rum cake
2. Gold Mine bubble gum
3. a wax mustache
4. napkins with the image of a shrugging woman and the words "If you met my family you'd understand"
5. candle with votive candle holder
6. tissues that look like hundred dollar bills
7. a piece of wood with the message "flying monkeys - I have 'em and ain't afraid to use 'em."

This package was assembled a few months back, so it contains all the basic necessities they thought I would need while unemployed and living at the YMCA.

Roommate and I weren't sure where to hang the flying monkeys plaque. So we listed it for free on craigslist.

We got a lot of responses.

I replied to all of them:

No one was willing or able to pick it up that night, and then we got bored of the craigslist game. So none of them got the flying monkeys plaque of their dreams.

It's displayed prominently in our living room now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Freeze and the World Laughs with You

Last week I attended my first staff meeting at the new assisted living job. It was actually fun. Everyone was joking, having a good time, and the Big Boss was trying to rein us in and keep the meeting on track.

Part of the meeting was one of the nurses was giving us a first aid refresher. She was talking about what to do if someone is bleeding (protip: help them). At this point, the maintenance guy piped in, "Don't get any blood on the carpets!"

In the same dry tone as her first aid lecture, the nurse deadpans to us, "Yes, the carpets are the most important thing."

So we all chuckled at that, except for the Big Boss who held out her hands and announced over the laughter: "No, no it's not. That's not true."

But I don't want you to think Big Boss is a wet blanket. In fact, She cracked her own little joke later in the meeting. The topic at hand was preventing "elopement", which just means residents wandering away from the building. It doesn't mean residents running off to get married, but usually when we talk about it I pretend that it does in my mind. It's funnier that way.

To drive the point home, Big Boss told us about an incident at another facility where a man wandered away from their Alzheimer's unit. He was found hours later in the freezer. She started to move on, but of course we were all on the edges of our seats. "Well what happened?" my coworkers demanded. "Was he dead?"

A mischievous smile spread across Big Boss's face. "I believe he had -- frostbite!"

I don't really understand how that's a joke, but she delivered it like "frostbite" was the punchline. Like she was waiting for a drummer to give her a rimshot.

But the weirdest part is it brought the house down. She got the biggest laugh of the afternoon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And I Don't Have to Take It

You haven't heard from me in a while because I started my shiny new job a couple weeks ago and I've been adjusting to the change in my schedule. For example, I just realized that when I have a day off I still need to do things. It's not a good idea to sit on the couch all day watching Cheers.

Let me be perfectly clear. Of course watching Cheers is an important part of everyone's day. But you'll find you have a lot more time if you limit yourself to under 6 episodes a day. These are the tips you come here for.

So I started my new job as an Activities Assistant at an Assisted Living facility. I play games with old people. All day. And then I get money. It's seriously the best job. You need to get this job.

I work with a group of residents with minor cognitive impairments, seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer's and dementia. And they're the best. They're pretty much the best friends I've made since moving to L.A.

But one of them is sexually harassing me. Let's call her "Marie".

It started off innocently enough. Marie would tell me I'm handsome or ask if I have a girlfriend. (She doesn't remember asking, so she asks me over and over up to 20 times a day.)

Then she started telling me, "If I were younger, I'd marry you." Which is adorable, of course.

"Marie, you have a husband," I say.

"Oh, that doesn't matter!" She tells me.

But the day she grabbed my ass I knew we were in trouble. And let me be clear - this was no accidental brush or affectionate pat. We're talking a full-handed squeeze. In the crowded dining room.

"Whoa! Let's keep our hands to ourselves," I said, kidding-but-not-kidding.

Just about every interaction I have with her is colored by this unwanted flirtation. And some of the other residents are even more annoyed by it than I am.

The other day, one of the residents was coloring a picture. She noticed me watching her.

"Do you want to color one of these with us?" she asked me.

"No thanks. I don't feel like coloring."

"Well I don't know what to offer you then."

From the other end of the table, Marie chimes in, "You could offer him love."

A third woman who had had enough wheeled around on Marie -- "Will. You. Shut. UP?!"

This was probably the worst though. One day I had to take Marie out of her exercise class for a minute. On our way out the door, Marie turns and proudly announces to the class, "He's taking me to have sex with him." She says this in front of other residents, the class instructor, my coworkers...

So yeah, I'm probably going to have a sexual abuse investigation brought against me. In my third week at the job.

When we got out of the classroom I asked her, "Is that all you ever think about, Marie?"

Without missing a beat, she raised one eyebrow at me and said, "Don't you think about it?"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Post Post: What Is This Junk?

I'm trying out a new feature for the blog. Post Posts are blog posts about things I get in the mail.

I get lots of mail now that I'm a popular blogger with 11 followers (oh yes). Let's look at some of the fan mail I've received this week.

Roommate and I have been talking about ways to make friends in our new neighborhood. One idea we had was that someone in our building should throw raucous parties and invite us as a courtesy and so that we don't get mad and call the cops. And then when we go to the party, we'll charm everyone with our winning personalities.

Unfortunately, we have no control over this scheme, and nobody in the building is stepping up.

We had just about given up on this plan, when we received this exclusive invite in the mail:

That's right. Our whole city is having a raucous party. Presumably we were only invited so that we wouldn't get mad when they close all our streets and public properties.

I also recently received this packet of coupons:

As we all know, getting coupons is exactly the same as getting a wad of cash in your mailbox. So I'm a billionaire.

As an added bonus, Money Mailer included some money-saving tips:

Suze Orman better watch her back.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Scream, You Scream

This is a long story, but not nearly as long as if you had to live it.

I saw an ad on craigslist that an ice cream shop in my neighborhood was hiring, and that they're looking for people who live nearby because there's no good places to park around their shop.

Come by between 6pm and 9pm, the ad said, and ask to talk to Jody.

So I went by between 6 and 9. The shop is really just a counter in sort of an outdoor food court. There was one woman working there, probably in her 50s with long white hair pulled back in a ponytail. Must be Jody, I thought.

Hi, I'm looking for Jody?

That's me.

She stares at me like she has no idea what I might be there for, like people come and ask for her by name for all sorts of things every day.

I wanted to apply for a job.

Oh, great!

She stares at me again. Her eyes seem to say, So apply already!

Do you have like an application to fill out...?

Well, who are you? Tell me about yourself.

Oh, great. She wanted me to just verbally pitch myself. I told her my name and where I live and talked about my work experience. I should have told her I worked at Baskin Robbins for eight years because she was obviously not checking any references.

Jody handed me a tiny scrap of paper to write my name and phone number on.

Okay great, great. Well... let me see... what else should I ask you? Do you smoke?

Nope. I don't smoke.

You can work weekends?

I can.

So you can walk to work... Do you own rain gear in case it's raining?

I do.

Okay, well, you'll need to meet my father. He's eighty-eight. His name is Bob. He'll be here tomorrow from 8 to 4. Can you come back then?

Fast forward to the next day. I returned to meet Bob.

Hi, I'm looking for Bob?

Oh, yes. Jody said you'd be coming in. So tell me about yourself.

I repeated my spiel for him.

All right. Well, you'll need to meet with Jody again, but she won't be here for another half an hour. Can you come back in 30 minutes?

30 minutes later...

Hey. So did you meet my father?

I did.

How was that? Did he seem encouraging?

Uh... yeah it went well. He said I should meet with you again?

Oh, well, I have to work right now. I'm covering for my father while he has his lunch break.

There was literally not a customer to be seen. It was a cold, gray day. I guarantee no one wanted any ice cream.

Can you come back in 30 minutes?

I actually have to run. (I had another interview to get to.) I could come back later tonight? Or tomorrow?

I'll be here tonight from 4 to 9.

Ok, so I should come back after 4?

You could do that...

I know I could do that, I wanted to say. Should I? Will there be any point to me coming back?!

Okay, I'll be back in a few hours.

I was being forced to show WAY more interest in this job than I actually had. After 4...

Oh, hey, great! You're back. Um... yeah, so, me and my father actually need to meet with you together, but he's not here right now. I'll tell you what, I'll give you a call and we can figure out a time for the three of us to meet.

I did not expect to ever hear from her. I was pretty sure she no longer had the receipt with my phone number written on it. But the next day I was surprised by a call from Jody herself.

Hey, sorry about yesterday. Things were kind of crazy.

At least she acknowledged that the situation was not normal.

Would you be available to meet with me and my father tomorrow morning?

Yes, my schedule is wide open tomorrow morning.

Okay, well, I don't know if I'm available. How about I call you tomorrow morning and we can figure out a time to meet?

That was four days ago. I haven't heard from her since.

But I don't mind because today I received an awesome job offer -- more on that later. So Jody and Bob can take their ice cream stand and shove it.