A Quick Update! (And Santa’s Li’l Groupie)

Hey friends! Just wanted to let you know I’m taking a break from writing for a while to tend to some personal stuff. Hope you all had a great New Year, and thanks, as always, for being so awesome. 🙂

 

It was Christmas morning. The living room was shimmering with the glow of the Christmas tree as it illuminated the harvest gold medley shag carpeting, the kind you spiffed up for company with the shag rake from Sears. I was 4 years old, just old enough to be trusted to “rake the shag”. God, I wish that were a euphemism for something.

While everyone was busy shredding open their gifts, I stood in front of the plate of half-eaten cookies that had been left out for Santa, wide-eyed in disbelief, gasping, “Him ate his cookies! Him ate his cookies!”

My mother said, “Santa sure did! It looks like he really liked them, too! Why don’t you sit down and open some presents?”

I stood there, frozen, eyes still glued on the plate.

“Him ate his cookies!”

As I continued to process the gravity of the situation that had transpired overnight, tears welled up in my eyes and my chin started to quiver. I was completely overcome with emotion.

Presents wrapped in snowman and jingle bell paper with ribbons and bows, stockings filled with candy, I couldn’t be bothered to notice them. I wasn’t leaving that plate. Santa, an actual celebrity, the rock star of Christmas, had been in my house, and now I had proof via his teeth marks in a chocolate-dipped Rudolph cookie with a cinnamon red-hot nose.

My mother eventually had to take me by the arm and drag me away from the plate and force me to sit and open presents. As I ripped open my gifts from Santa, my gaze never left the plate across the room. He was here while I was sleeping the night before. Santa had been here. In my house.

I hid the plate under my bed for safe-keeping. It was the closest thing I had to an actual piece of Santa, and I hoarded it like a sweat towel from Elvis. I was star-struck. Absolutely star-struck.

They should have known then…

Twelve years later, the first of many, many, many rock stars I had to be physically pried off of was a man named Whitfield Crane.

Whitfield Crane is the singer for the utterly fun and early 90s-tastic band Ugly Kid Joe. You know, the “I Hate Everything About You” song? I loved them when I was 16.

My best friend Amy and I went to see them play in Fort Lauderdale at a venue called The Edge. We were 16 years old and it was the early 90s, which meant that we got dropped off in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and then had full, unsupervised run of a dozen bars until we got picked up well after midnight. Thankfully, we had only gotten into the car of approximately one or two murderers prior to that night, so our judgment could nearly totally be trusted.

After the show, the Ugly Kid Joe tour bus was parked next to The Edge and, like all good groupies-in-training, Amy and I hung around the outside of their bus after the show and waited for the band to come out. From a distance I could see that Whitfield Crane had made his way through the crowd and was sitting on the steps of the bus. A line of girls formed to say hi to him and to get his autograph.

“Get his autograph” is code for “Let him have a look at me and see if he wants to defile me.”

I don’t know if you know that, but that’s what that means. Universally.

Nobody actually gives a shit about having a piece of paper with some guy in a band’s autograph on it. The autograph request is a ruse – a red herring – a mere advertisement for a flashier product called “Do you want to do it in the bathroom of this tour bus?”

It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. SORRY, MOMS.

As we approached the front of the line, I said to Amy, “How are we playing this?”

Amy said, “Cool. Like it’s not even anything.”

I knew Amy would play it cool, because she is the most skilled person I have ever known at playing it cool. Ask someone who has known her for thirty years what she’s thinking or feeling at any moment and they’ll say, “I have no idea. I don’t know if she likes me or hates me or even knows who I am.”

The woman could stare at you with a completely blank face while she gave birth, or won the lottery, or took hostages. She’s unreadable.

As we made it towards the front of the line, the girl in front of me stepped to the side and the full Whitfield Crane-ness of one Whitfield Crane was suddenly right there in front of me, in person, just two feet away from me, being Whitfield Crane, the guy on MTV, Whitfield Crane, and he was looking at me. With his eyes.

Whitfield Crane’s eyeballs were looking at me.

Cool schmool.  I lost it.  I sprung like a fat dog on a loose Snausage and pounced on him.

I can only hope the lizard part of my brain made me mumble, “Him ate his cookies” right before my lips met his face as I threw my arms around him, but you’d have to check with the police video on that to be sure.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, and may the force be with you, folks!  I’m off next week, so see you in two weeks!

(Sorry, I accidentally hit the “Publish” button on another piece I was working on that wasn’t finished yet, so I had to delete it!  It’ll be coming soon!)

Everyone Who’s Ever Sold You Insurance is a Weirdo

Given my dirtbag upbringing, Lolita years, and eventual downward spiral of becoming a musician, I’ve spent a lot of time around weirdos and scumbags.

I’ve had to say, “Is this the bathroom door?” while pointing at a piece of moldy plywood that’s been propped up against a large hole in a wall.

I’ve had to say, “Cool python, Wack Max, but can you wait until after I leave to feed that rabbit to him?”

I’ve had to say, “Don’t mind me!” to a group of people shooting heroin in a kitchen so that I could reach into the fridge to grab a leftover rack of ribs.  Hey – they were from Bobby Rubino’s and I was really hungry from all that acid I had taken!

That being said…

Nothing could prepare me for the kind of weirdos that I would encounter in the years that I worked in insurance offices.

My truly fabulous mother-in-law just retired from the insurance business this month, so this one goes out to her.  Happy retirement, Patrice!  (She is the lone exception in the case of insurance weirdos.)

So!  Without further adieu, here is a non-exhaustive sampling of insurance coworker weirdos, because if I had to list all of them here, we would be here for five years still listing them off.  And I’m limiting it to coworkers, because if I even started to get into weird customers, this would go on for the rest of our lives.

Richie Sambora Guy:  This guy was not a fan of Bon Jovi – he was a fan of Richie Sambora, the guitar player from Bon Jovi.  His first day of work, he asked me, with his jaw clenched, if I thought Richie Sambora was “the most gifted guitar player of all time” so I, of course, said yes.  Because I could tell this guy was a *psycho*.  All he talked about, all day, every day, was how awesome Richie Sambora was and how unfair it was that Jon Bon Jovi got all the attention in the band.

When customers would come in and sit at his desk, he would casually ask, “So, what do you think about Richie Sambora?” and when they would say, “Who?  Is he an agent here?” or “He’s allright?” he would start flinging papers across his desk and stammering, “Well, I guess people are entitled to their own opinions!”

Old Woman Who 100% Stalked Me:  This woman not only rifled through my desk and my trashcan every night after I left work, listened in on my phone calls, and once asked me if she could go through my purse “out of curiosity”, but she used to peer into my car windows in the parking garage on her lunch break, and then come back into the office and question me about items that I had in my car.  “What’s with the frisbee I saw peeking out from under your jacket on the passenger side floorboard of your backseat?  And that phone bill has been sitting on your front seat for over a week now, I hope you don’t get a late fee.”  Good point, WEIRDO.  Who likes late fees, right?

Santana and Rob Thomas “Smooth” Woman:  Anytime this song would come on the radio, this woman would crank it up to 10 and angrily shush anyone who so much as uttered a sound for the duration of the song – including customers who were sitting at her desk asking questions about their homeowner’s insurance policy.  “Shhhhh!!!!” with a glare.  Every time it came on.  For two years.  When that song first came out, it was on like five times a day.

And speaking of!  Santana “Oye Como Va” Guy:  After a coworker who he didn’t like quit, this guy celebrated by pulling a Casio keyboard out of his desk drawer and playing Santana’s “Oye Como Va” on it, over and over.  A move I would have totally respected…

…except then he just started doing it anytime business was slow.  Every time he finished playing “Oye Como Va” he would say, “Would you rather hear some Billy Preston?”  Then I would say, “Yes!  Please!” then he would play “Oye Como Va” again.  (Please note, this was a completely separate insurance workplace and this guy was in no way affiliated with “Smooth” woman.)

Man Who Couldn’t Stop Talking About His Butthole and How Totally Not Gay He Was:  Within my first fifteen minutes at this job, the boss made sure to tell me, appropos of nothing, that his “butthole had a sign on it that said, “Exit Only!” and then laughed about it like the Joaquin Phoenix Joker for a full ten seconds before deadpanning, “I’m not gay.”

Then he reminded me of this butthole/not gay fact thirty minutes later.  And then another five times over the course of the morning.  I refused to laugh anytime he said it, prompting him to ask me where my “sense of humor was located.”

Had I thought of it at the time, I would have responded, “I would say your butthole, but I’ve heard that it’s “Exit Only.”

I worked at this office for half of one day before picking up my purse, pretending that I was just going to lunch, and then never returning.

Woman Who Looked Exactly Like Matilda The Hun from the Original G.L.O.W. Who Would Pick Up The Picture on My Desk of Me and My Sisters and Say The Filthiest Things Because She Didn’t Know That I Knew Enough Spanish to Know What She Was Saying:  I won’t even repeat the things she said.  They were straight-up, Larry Flynt would blush, absolute filth about what she wanted to do to me and my sisters.  She’d say this stuff and then lick her perpetually chapped, mustachioed lips and mouth-breathe at me, right at my desk, in my face. I never let on that I understood almost every word she said, because I did not want her to confuse this with “interest” on my part and then try to make me be her prison bitch. 

When she wasn’t standing at my desk, she used to stare at me from across the office while she squeezed Walgreens-brand petroleum jelly onto her finger out of a cap-less tube that she kept in a Ziploc bag, and then smear it on her mouth and go, “Mmmmm.”

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Come to think of it, I’d never seen her and Matilda the Hun in the same room at the same time…

Also, she had her car repossessed from our parking lot on her first day of work, but that’s really neither here nor there.  Just an item of interest, it being her first day and all, as she was yelling, “You’re lucky my gun is still in New York, pendejo!” to the finance guy on the phone.

Please feel free to share your workplace weirdos in the comments, and then we will all laugh at their expense because we’re petty and mean-spirited.  Or is that just me?

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Do you enjoy this crapola?  Click the Follow button if you do, and you’ll get a nifty email anytime I post this crapola.  If you don’t enjoy this crapola, might I recommend that you go into the insurance business?  You will meet some quality, non-weird people there.

“I’ve never bagged a babe.  I’m not a stud.” – Farmer Ted, Sixteen Candles

Nobody Wants to Watch That 5-Minute Long Video on Your Phone

I say this with absolute confidence.

If you’re thinking, “But!  But!” then you’re one of the offenders and nobody has had the heart to tell you.

So here it is:  Put the phone down and back away slowly.

I was recently minding my own business (for a change), walking down the hall while mentally humming “Staying Alive” (because that’s the only way to strut and make it look natural), when I was accosted by someone who said those words everybody dreads:

“Oh my god, you have to see this video.  It’s so crazy!”

Then they made me watch a five minute long video of their cousin’s wedding reception where nothing – and I mean absolutely nothing – of interest happened.  I could feel my ankles swelling, that’s how long I was standing there.

Let’s be 100% crystal clear here.  I can only fake my way through so many utterances of, “Oh, wow!  That’s crazy!” before I start to feel cheap and and ashamed and lose respect for myself.

I say this as a person who didn’t even start to lose respect for herself all those years in the 90s when I would get free CDs from bands by sticking their CD to my bare midriff and then undulating like a belly dancer without the CD falling off, so the bar is already pretty low.

I say this as a person who didn’t feel cheap when she used to wear a thrift store polyester orange hot pants romper to festival concerts and tell young men to refer to me as “Tangerine Dreamy”.

I say this as someone whose best friend kicked someone out of the way so that I could grab Kip Winger’s bass pick off the floor at a Winger concert and then I waved it around like it was Simba in the Lion King.  No shame felt.  Not an ounce.

I somehow – somehow – made it to the end of the wedding reception video while, sadly, unsuccessfully trying to dive into a nearby potted plant.

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Almost fit.

Not wanting to tempt fate, the moment it was over I started to lightly jog away from this person.  I figured it would be worth the asthma attack if I could actually get away from them. If they couldn’t tell how desperate I was to get away during the first video, who knew what else they had in store for me?

Which is why this person then said:

“Hang on, before you go, let me see if I can pull the video up from the bachelorette party!”

Oh god, no.  NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  If I wanted to watch a video of a bunch of skanks I’ve never met, and will never meet, standing on top of a banquette at some nightclub that can best be described as “Axe Body Spray in The Form of a Building” wearing iridescent fake wieners as unicorn horns, satin sashes that says “Slut Number One” and “Slut Number Two” and badly twerking to “Blurred Lines”, I would go to the nearest swingers club next to a Trump rally that just let out.

Now, if you happen to have that YouTube video on your phone of that super fat cat who busts out the side of that shoe box with his big body, I’m game for that.  Anytime.  That video is literally two seconds long AND it also features a cat with a fat body, which will never, ever get old for me.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, their health, blah blah, pets shouldn’t be overweight LEMME SQUOZE THAT FAT CAT BODY.

Sometimes I stare off into space, thinking about all the fat cat bodies out there, and trying to figure out how I can arrange my life in such a way that I can make a living out of squozing them.  This is America, in the year of 2019.  Anything is supposed to be possible.

If I were a millennial, I would ask you to donate money to me for to reach this goal, but I’m a Gen-Xer, so I prefer to just complain about it and take little to no action.