Sunday, July 27, 2014

One Weird Guy

     One weird guy.  One weird guy.  There is always one weird guy every night when I work at the bar.  You see, Company, like any good media mogul, I work regular, everyday Joe jobs in order to keep in touch with the people who consume the many, many products my empire creates.  Smart, I know.  So anyway, I have been bartending recently and I have noticed that there is always that one weird guy hanging out at the bar.  And for some reason, he always seems to stiff me on the tip.  But that is neither here nor there, I think that what we need to address is the weirdness.
This is a ghost ninja.  Or the one weird guy.
     Why, weird guy?  Are you not familiar with the fact that you are weird?  Lately, there have been a lot of twenty-somethings out having fun at my bar.  And that is fine.  Celebrating a birthday.  Girls night out, etc.  No big deal.  And in a tourist town there are always some folks on vacation who wander in from the boat or a pack of middle aged men who just can't stand to be drug through ONE MORE STORE by their families, and those folks are no problem, because they tend to travel in packs and usually only have a drink or two.  So they filter through while the younger set camps out with their phones and plugs the jukebox.  But then, somewhere along the way, that one weird guy filters in. 
     He never sneaks in the back door, which is strange.  He always comes in the front so I can see him coming from a mile away.  But nobody else sees him coming because they are having fun, I see everything, and he operates somewhere on the spectrum between ghost and ninja, at least when he is entering a bar.  Once in the bar, though, the one weird guy sticks out like a sore freaking thumb.  And once he sits down and orders a beer - the one weird guy always drinks beer - the whole tone of the place
See if you can find the one weird guy in this photo.  He is in there somewhere.  It's like "Where's Waldo?"
changes.  Sure, the jukebox is still pumping.  And sure, the phones are still out (because your are at the bar with your friends but either not ALL of the friends or not the RIGHT friends and there might be something better out there).  And sure, the drinks are still flowing.  And sure, the jokes are still being made.  But it gets different.  The tone drops a notch because you don't want the one weird guy to hear.  The groups turn inward towards one another and stop interacting with one another because the one weird guy is usually sitting in between.  And any dancing that might be taking place stops too because the one weird guy is watching.
      He is always watching, because he wants to be part of the action.  But he can't be.  There is always something keeping him from being part.  He is either too shy or too old or something.  Or maybe he just likes watching.  But that is what he does.  He watches.  Even when he wants you to think he is watching SportsCenter on the big TV he is really watching all the twenty-somethings.  And it is painfully obvious.  To everyone.
     Just about the time that the mood has settled significantly, the one weird guy disappears.  He slinks out just like he came in - silently.  Or, he stays long, long after all the other folks have left.  But that is okay, because in a weird and strange way there is value to the service that this ghost of the party provides to any bar scene.  He comes in at the height of the party precisely because he sees the party going on full tilt.  And simply through his presence he starts the process of winding down the party.  It causes the groups to filter out to their ultimate destinations.  He starts the end of the night.  He serves a purpose.  And of course, he always gives a shitty tip, despite the eight beers he has drunk.  And for that I will always dislike you, one weird guy.  Just like all of the twenty-somethings in the bar. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Random Thoughts

    Do you remember Doogie Howser, M.D.?  Both the show and the kid?  At the end of every episode, which was the end of every day in the life of that kid, he sat down at what back then was a pretty state of the art desktop with sweet but unrealistic white on blue graphics and typed out his diary, describing what he learned, growing up little by little with each word that followed that white cursor.  And that was crazy for back then, because back in the late 80s and early 90s you just didn't do shit like that.  You still had the old notebook and if you were a girl there was a lock on the front so your parents and little and big brother didn't find out.  Because that was in the days of discretion, back before Big Brother meant a show on which you did all of those old diary things on camera because it made for good ratings and everyone would talk about you at the water cooler the next morning.  And that in itself is strange because there was a time not too long ago where one didn't want people talking about them at the water cooler.  God, do I sound old.
     But I digress.  Although I definitely feel that there is a certain romance to the written word - the physical, actual written word - in which one drags an inkpen or even pencil across a piece of paper, actually writing stuff down takes a long, long time.  And there isn't even any spell check at all.  So when I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe taking a few minutes to spill out some of the things that are collecting in my head each day would be a good idea, I quickly came to the realization that if I wrote in in, oh say a Black and Red book for example, I wouldn't actually get much accomplished because I would only get in a paragraph or two, and it would all be in undeciperable chicken scratch that even I can't read sometimes.  Plus, no matter how many times I write a word and underline it with blue pen on a piece of paper it doesn't magically become a link so some other relevent content that explains the shit out of things so I don't have to.
     So the now much improved over Doogie Howser times computer seemed to be the answer for me, and I immediately began to think about how it was that I would format a word document so that I could write what would essentially be a journal entry every single day.  But Word, for as functional as it is, and for a revolutionary as it has been for the modern American office, sort of sucks butt.  It is soulless, at least until one pumps some soul into it.  So why not pump some soul into the Internet, right Company?  I mean, there is nothing interesting or even remotely creative on that thing.  99.87% of it is porn and I am pretty sure that the rest of it is just Facebook and YouTube and whatever else Google permits to be on the Internet these days.  But I am here, and I always have been.  Sometimes I might go away, and you might think that you are safe from me but you are not.  I am like the West Nile virus, except that there are easier ways to tell if I am around than cutting open every dead crow that one finds on the roadside.
     Which by the way, how messed up is that?  The only way that the health officials in this country can tell if the West Nile virus is beginning to run rampant in your community is to test dead crows.  First of all, how do they know which crows to test?  There are approximately eleventy billion dead crows out there, and I just have this vision of public health workers screeching to a halt on the side of an Iowa highway and scooping up dead crows into their cars.  And in my vision there is a really intense thunderstorm threatening and they are almost more like storm chasers who are screeching to a halt to pick up dead crows.  But things always tend to get sort of skewed in our heads, not don't they, Company?
     Anyway, the second thought I have when we are out searching for West Nile on the highways and byways and in the backyards of this great land is this: Who the hell came up with that test?  Like, what individual was sitting around a conference room at the CDC or Johns Hopkins and was like "Let's test some crow's blood?"  That's messed up.  I assure you that wasn't developed in Salem, MA because only a witch would think of that shit.  But then again, how does anything get developed?  You know chocolate?  Yeah, that chocolate.  It comes from roasting the bean of a pod that only grows on one type of plant in a place far, far away.  On Good Eats they told me that animals and early man came for the fruit of the pod.  But somewhere along the way someone had to look at that bean and be like "Let's heat it up!" or they had to pick a bean out of a fire and eat it.
     Who does that?  Back in the day we used to make fun of the kid who sat on the playground and ate asphalt, but maybe it is time to rethink that strategy, because that is the guy who is going to discover the next chocolate, and he is going to be rich as hell.  And he is not going to invite any of us to his sexy parties.  And yes, I say "he" and not "she" or whatever, because I just don't care.  Okay?  Dear females: it doesn't matter if I write "he" or "she" because when I write in the masculine it is just because I am lazy and it saves me a letter.  A woman could do any of those things.  A woman could absolutely discover the next chocolate and get super rich and famous.  And more power to her.  I wish her well.  Except that now the men are mad because the don't get to invent chocolate and now everyone is pissed and we are stuck with current chocolate forever.  And that is okay.  Because chocolate is delicious.