Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Awww...wook at the puppy!

Normally, I'm greeted by over-caffeinated douchebags and/or lady-douches when I make my sales calls who want everything now now now now now. Rare are the times I am greeted by a spectacle such as this little guy, so I thought I'd share:


Monday, April 14, 2008

Poem of the Month, Part 1

I used to read and write a lot of poetry so I've decided to occasionally, when fancy strikes, post one of my favorites for perusal. Take it or leave it. The first installment here is a prose poem by one James Tate, who won the Pulitzer in the early/mid 90s. This poem always makes me chuckle and reminds me that if something thought of as so gravely austere as poetry can be full of humor, than life can as well. Enjoy.

"Goodtime Jesus"

Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been dreaming so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was it?A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes rolled back, skin falling off. But he wasn't afraid of that. It was a beautiful day. How 'bout some coffee? Don't mind if I do. Take a little ride on my donkey, I love that donkey. Hell, I love everybody.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Are you a Tigger (Carwash) or an Eeyore (Carwash)?, a.k.a. Photo Journal Part 1

I have a really stupid job. Probably half my time is spent out and about: measuring things, taking photos of things, measuring things I already took photos of, photographing things I need to measure, meeting people, going to City Hall and getting permits (which is the biggest crock of shit imaginable and it's own rightful blog post), taking out of my ass, ordering and consuming Dunkin' Donuts coffee, etc. I go all over the place. I see weird things / people. I always have a digital camera with me. Put two and two together.

Why does "Pete's Sidelines" make me feel dirty?

Blog shmlog.

It was such a nice day today and I had to go not downtown but to the Gold Coast-y Viagra Triangle-ly Heart of Evil known as State / Dearborn / Walton / Delaware, a.k.a. Walton on the Park. There's really no good way to get there from the near Northwest side where my office is, so I decided to take the scenic route: Elston Avenue. I think Elston is my favorite street in Chicago. It's like a mini-expressway through the city. There's rarely a lot of traffic (that Fullerton / Damen six-corner ass-fuck notwithstanding) and it cuts right through most of the bullshit. It's also just a WEIRD street. The view driving southeast into the heart of downtown can be pretty cool, too:

Just ignore the Lexus, the electrical wires, the streetlights, the traffic signs and that gigantic pile of bum dung off to the right

Anyway, State/Walton/Delaware/Dearborn pretty much SUCKS and is probably my least favorite place in the entire city. Why, you ask?

Three Corners of Bullshit

Yes, these are the southwest, southeast and northwest views from the corner of Walton & State, in all their glory. Where the fuck are they going to find all these people to buy these places? Oh, and the northeast view? They're just breaking ground now. The noise was defeaning. The pollution, teaming. The douchebaggery, rampant.

I did my thing and got out of there lickety-splitly. Everyone in that neighborhood thinks their better than me, anyway. Maybe they are with their expensive cars and their complicated shoes. Fuck those people.

As do I, Sarah Marshall. Slut.

You know why I hate you and your eponymous movie, Sarah Marshall? Because some guy who lived downstairs from this guy who used to pull bongs and play Doom with a guy who wrote 6 jokes in "Knocked Up" wrote this assuredly-shitty "Sarah Marshall" movie, and now for the next ten years we're all going to be subjected to, "From the team that brought you 'Superbad' and "The 40 Year Old Virgin,' Paramount Pictures proudly presents the biopic everyone's been waiting for, the heart-warming and inspriational story of His Holiness, Karol Józef Wojtyła, John Paul II!"

Possible Titles:
The 80 Year Old Virgin
Pope on a Rope
Rope on a Pope
Pope on a Pope
Hey, Let's Get Drunk and Fuck High School Girls!
Superbad II: The Popening
You Cock-Blocked McLovin

Again, it was such a nice day and I was cruising back north on Elston, listening to Allison Krauss & Robert Plant like the good, college-educated white guy with taste and vitriolic hatred for all things emo I am and I passed a Baskin Robbins.

"Hmm...youu's 70 degrees out. I'm going to get some ice cream. I realize it's 11:15 in the morning and I haven't eaten lunch or anything. Am I still getting ice cream? Fuck to the yes."

You seriously have no idea how covetously my wife is staring at this photo, cursing my name for the ability to get ice cream at 11:15 in the morning

Considering that 10 years ago I would have done whatever drug you'd set in front of me (as long as I didn't have to shoot it), getting ice cream in the morning is now me being "naughty." I'll meet you at the bridge and we can jump off it together. Maybe we can watch some "America's Funniest Home Videos" first.

How many places like this are there in Chicago, you think? Is 3,000,000 too high? I say no.

Has anyone ever figured out what a "super taco" is? I've always secretly kind of wanted to order one, but I'm a little afraid. A little afraid of it being embarrasingly immense and a little afraid of it sucking beyond reproach.

And finally, my paean to the cruelest, most foul and yet most delicious Chicago-style fast-food snack guilt known to Chicagokind: the pizza puff. What's the opposite of sublime? Blunt? Direct? I think it's "pizza puff." In what context does one order a pizza puff? You can't order just the puff and a drink, right? I mean, that's not enough for lunch. Is it? Similarly, can one really order the puff and a drink WITH FRIES and not just immediately change into a 10 year old college sweatshirt, flannel pants and fuzzy slippers? Can you order the puff and a drink with a salad? What if the place doesn't carry salads, or what if their idea of "salad" is 1/4 head of iceberg lettuce adorned only with an immense slab of both carrot and cucumber? Fuck that. That's not a salad. That's what you feed your pet rabbit.

My wife has insisted that there is only one proper context for the consumption of the pizza puff: extreme inebriation. And while I don't refute her claim that the puff is quite beguiling to the drunk, I--as a sober person at least, ehhh, 20% of the time--would appreciate more puff-munching (ahem) opportunties.

Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More fucking hilarity with T, a.k.a. “It’s Only a Green Pen”

Part of T’s job is to order office supplies. And trust me, it’s not like we order a ton of stuff or a wide variety of stuff or anything that would exceed the problem solving capabilities and memory of a baby camel. It’s always the same shit, month after month, in relatively small quantities as our office only has 7 people in it.

So yesterday when I happened to notice that we were out of these green pens we generally keep in stock in the supply closet, I notified T.

It’s not easy being green

Me: “Hey, can you order us another box of these?”

T: “You need those?”

Me: “No, I have one, but we’re just out of them and I figured you could order another box to keep in stock since they're aren't any in the closet.”

T: “I prefer the black ones.”

Me: “Yes, well, uh…I use different pens for different things. Again, we just don’t have any more back there in the closet.”

T: “Is that black ink in there?” (I SWEAR to God she asked me this. –Ed.)

Me: “Huh?”

T: “Is that black ink?”

Me: “Uh…NO, it’s green ink.”

T: “J [another woman in the office] likes those.”

Me: “OK.”

T: “So you need these?”

Me: “NO, again, I HAVE one. [I held up the fucking green fucking pen in my fucking hand and showed her.] I just thought it’d be good to order another box for stock.”

T: “Ok, no problem.”

Me: “We’re also out of binder clips, too.” (I don’t know what you call them, but I call them binder clips. You know, those black paperclip thingies?) “The mini and the small ones. So can you order some of those, too?”

T: “The…mini…and…the…small?” (I should have known this was going to be too difficult for her to understand. –Ed.)

Me: “Yes. There’s the MINI which is really tiny and then the small, which is slightly LESS tiny.”

T: “The…mini…and…the…small?”

Me: “Yes.”

She reached into the box on her desk in which she keeps these things and took out a couple, spreading them out on her desk.

Me: “THAT is a mini. And THAT is a small. So…one box of each would be great.”

T: “What about thes—“

Me: “NO…NO…that’s a medium. We’re fine on those. Just mini and small.”

T: “Mini…and…small. Plus the pens you need.”

Me: “NO. I DO NOT NEED THOSE PENS. I just thought it would be…**sigh**…yes, T. Plus the pens I need.”

T: “No problem.”

Fast forward to 8:41 this morning. T walks into my office carrying an opening box of green pens.

T: “I found these under other pens. You need one?”

I then killed her. Don’t tell the cops. I’m on my way to South America right now.

We swear in no way was this story embellished, falsified or otherwise subjected to hyperbole (except for the end…or was it?!?) In fact, the dialogue itself is, in most instances, taken verbatim from conversations with T on 04.09.08 and 04.10.08.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Baby’s ‘R’ Us and We’re Insane So That Must Mean That Babies ‘R’ Insane

I am not a shopper. I don’t shop. I instead purchase goods I require as quickly as possible so I can then get the FUCK out of the temple of consumerism that is the average American retail store. If you gave me a choice as to whether or not I had to spend a random day shopping or working, I in all honesty would choose the latter. In fact, there’s a lot of not-really-all-that-much-fun stuff I’d rather do than shop, just as:

Coal mining

Ditch digging

Paint scraping

“According to Jim” watching

Frankincense myrrhing

Turpentine drinking

Ostrich fellating I also have a tendency to freak out at how expensive everything is. In fact, it’s kind of a problem. I’m TRYING to be better about it; I really am. I’m only 33 years old and I’m already bitching about how expensive socks and andirons and smoked turkey sausage is. In another 20 years, I’ll never leave the house again lest I swallow my own head at the price of paper clips.

So when I was asked by my wife if I wanted to go to Babies ‘R’ Us with her to finish off our registry, my initial internal reaction was something like this:

“BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha--ha--ha--ha--ha--ha---ha---ha--- ha---ha . . . ha . . . ha . . . hoo . . . hoo . . . *ahem* . . . whew . . . hoo . . . just gimme a sec here . . . hee-hee . . . hoo . . .”

**5 seconds of silence**

“BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA . . .”

But in the interest of, you know, wanting to be a decent husband and father, I actually said this:

“Do you WANT me to go to Babies ‘R’ Us with you . . . ?” the unspoken and understood end of that sentence being “…because if you do, it might be your funeral.” Meaning that after roughly 12 minutes of Babies ‘R’ Us-ing I might in fact become Baby Is Me and pitch my own very temper tantrum right in the middle of the breast pump aisle, which is wildly inappropriate for a man my age.

“If you want to come with me, sure.”

To the untrained ear, it might sound like some of that there reverse psychology but my wife and I don’t play that. You want me there, ask me. You don’t, don’t. Leave it up to me, then leave it up to me. She left it up to me.

So I accepted. Why? I’ll never truly know. Probably because she’s done like 98% of everything involved with “stuff for The Kid,” so I felt I should throw in my two (per)cent(s).

We’re pulling into the parking lot and the first thing out of my mouth once the store comes into view is, “Oh my God. It’s HUGE.” And it was. I felt like one of those people in “Independence Day,” mouth agape, staring up at this huge looming spaceship, like, “Oh, well. I’ve had a nice run.”

So my wife says, “What? You’ve never been to a Babies ‘R’ Us before?”

“Uh, no. Why on earth would I have been to a Babies ‘R’ Us before? What POSSIBLE reason would I have to come here?”

If I wasn’t married and had to give a baby shower present, I’d probably give cash. Or a coupon for one free rubella inoculation at Immunizations ‘R’ Us. Or, shit, I don’t know… a piece of fucking candy or something. (Do babies like candy? Guess I should read that parenting book…) But I certainly wouldn’t subject myself to Babies ‘R’ Us.

Though here I was. Poised for entry.

First impressions: it’s fucking HUGE. Oh, I said that already? Well, fuck you. You think it’s big from the outside? Well, just go inside. It’s even BIGGER with all the shit everywhere. I don’t how that’s possible but they manage it somehow. They also feel compelled to pipe in the worst music ever recorded. I actually heard Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day.” No shit. I’d rather have been ear fucked two ways by Raffi and the Wiggles than the crap they had on in there. (Although in 6 months time I’ll probably offer to suck Richie Sambora’s dick rather than listen to the Wiggles one. More. Fucking. Time.)

Second impressions: did I mention how big it was? Okay, okay. Sorry. (it’s really big tho)

Thirdpressions: first thing was pacifiers. Pretty simple, right?
**said in best Samuel L. Jackson voice, like Jules in “Pulp Fiction”**
“Wrong, motherfuckah! DEAD wrong.”

There was a wall of pacifiers. A wall. Not a small wall. A big wall. A huge wall. A motherfucking immense wall, like what I imagine a tsunami looks like to a poor, unsuspecting Indonesian villager. (Is it fair and proper to compare what is tantamount to a very unfortunate and sad watery death sentence to my experience with the Wall of Pacifiers? I say yes.) The wall MUST have been at least 5 feet high by a good 40 feet wide (!) lined, top to bottom, with pacifiers. All different kinds. All different colors and shapes. Maggie Simpson would have pissed herself with glee. 200 square feet of the finest pacification technology (aside from opium) known to humankind. God bless America.

They really only carry two BRANDS of pacifiers though. One which looks really fancy and nice, you know…the kind you’d buy if you really loved your kid and wanted them to be successful and not grow up to be a porn star getting fucked on film by two guys wearing executioner’s masks. The other was less nice. We got the latter brand. Why? Because we already hate our kid. Well, that AND because the former brand uses more plastic packaging than was required for all the parts for the fucking Death Star. Not only were the little nipple portions of the pacifiers themselves covered in this non-recyclable plastic but the whole fucking 2-pack was also encased in this non-recyclable plastic shell.

Why is this necessary?

“No. I’m drawing a line.”

**I literally mimicked drawing a line in the “sand.”**

“We’re getting the other ones.”

My wife agreed with me. Doing this whole magilla as Green as possible is pretty important to us so we’re going to have to continue to make choices like this one.

Next were the newborn toys some of which, I have to admit, were pretty awesome. I played with them myself and registered for a couple. So if you’re my friend of your reading this and you have elected to purchase our kid one of these toys, you can sleep at night because it’s gotten my Seal of Approval®. Most of the toys, however, were just annoying. Does EVERYTHING have to make cutesy sounds? Guh. How about just dumb a ball of clay or something.

Onto the diaper bags!

Yet another wall. Of bags you carry diapers in. Shitty diapers, I imagine, sometimes. It’s very important to make a statement: what kind of person shall I represent to the world as I transfer crap from one place to the other? Now, look…I’m not completely cynical. I understand that there are important considerations with respect to purchasing a feces transport system: comfort, price, accessibility, durability, size, shape and—yes—color and style. But there must have been 60 different bags for sale. And that’s nothing. Why not set yourself up with something like THIS? You’ll be the fiercest mommy on the block! Work it, girl! What's that smell? It’s the smell of FABULOUS!

After the diaper bags, it was onto the stroller / carrier / car seat / base do-si-do. I swear, I think the people who work at Babies ‘R’ Us should run the fucking country. Do you have ANY concept how complicated this shit is? Really. The carrier fits into the stroller (sometimes) and locks into the base that you keep buckled in your car (again, sometimes.) That way, you don’t need a separate car seat (sometimes.) Unless, you know, you WANT a separate car seat or you want a stroller than doesn’t come with a carrier. In that case, you don’t need a base (I think.) But you’ll also have to get a separate carrier unless you want to use the car seat as the carrier (which I imagine would be silly). The fact that we had generously been given a carrier/car seat by a co-worker of my wife’s caused us (meaning “her”) to attempt to figure out whether or not “X” carrier/car seat fit into “Y” base and “Z” stroller. Plus, my wife’s SISTER has a kid (and another one on the way) and as a result has a base already in her mother’s car, so the idea was to have everything the same so that my mother-in-law was only required to drive around with one base in her backseat, to fit all the various accoutrements. Well, the guy we asked knew the answers to all these questions, right off the top of his head! I was completely impressed. (As it turns out, my mother-in-law will have to ride around with 2 bases in the back of her car. As I said at the time, “Well, it’s not her friends are piling in the back to go hang out at the beach or anything, so it’s probably not a big deal.”)

After the strollers, we checked out the burp cloths (some of which were unbelievably adorable) and some other shit I don’t remember because I’d swallowed my own head. There was one in particular that had me ooohing and aaahing it was so damned cute. I spent WAY too much time online hunting for a picture of it. Alas, I couldn’t find one. The below will have to do for display purposes:

Bear on Bear Action

I assure you, the actual one I saw at the store was roughly 10,000 times cuter and 10,000 times less lame/gay.

But two bears as friends? Of COURSE they’re friends! They’re of the same species! You really wanna teach a kid about friendship? I suggested my own burp cloth alternatives:

Hell, a bear and a SALMON? Now THAT’S friendship.

“I love you, man. Bear. What? Well, then FUCK YOU, TOO!!!”

**they maul each other**

“You’re so fierce.”

“No, YOU’RE so fierce.”

**inhuman and terrifying growling sounds**

Bottom line: there’s a LOT of shit you can buy for your kid exacerbated by the fact that women, in general—you know—like to shop. Plus we live in a country where if you aren’t offered roughly 83,407 options for something to pick up shit with the terrorists have apparently won.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Brief fun with T

"Bruce Frisbee."

I'm walking around her desk and this is what she says to me as she's typing up invoices (with one finger, I believe).


Again. "Bruce Frisbee."

Still not making any more sense. So I just stare at her.

"You know...FRISBEE?" She mimics the act of throwing the eponymous disc across the reception area.


"That's his name. I just like it."

"Ah. Ha. I see."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Becoming reacquainted with hatred, part 2

Since my last post relative to this topic was so immensely popular with you, America (3 whole comments, 2 of which were about Gwen Stefani’s baby!), I have elected to give you what you want: my droll poo-pooing of God-awful lite rock songs. Here we go. Again.

“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”: C + C Music Factory

First of all, I can’t believe this is now considered a “lite” rock song. Wow. What’s next, “War Pigs?” “G-Spot Tornado?” Back in the day if some 50ish woman using this so-called “facsimile” machine and considering getting a “something-or-other-ccino” at that new “Starblocks” place all the way across town heard anything remotely sounding like rap music wafting by her desk, she probably would have shit her pants. Even if it was rap like this:

Here is the dome, back with the bass
The jam is live in effect and I don't waste time
On the mike with a dope rhyme
Jump to the rhythm jump jump to the rhythm jump
And I'm here to combine
Beats and lyrics to make your shake your pants
Take a chance, come on and dance
Guys grab a girl, don't wait, make her twirl
It's your world and I'm just a squirrel
Trying to get a nut to move your butt
To the dance floor, so yo…what's up
Hands in the air, come on say yeah,
Everybody over here everybody over there
The crowd is live and I pursue this groove
Party people in the house
Move ... (Let your mind)
Move ... (Put me online)

Man, rap has come a long way, hasn’t it? I mean, I like a good pants-shaking as much as the next party person, but this doesn’t exactly make the hard-scrabble streets of Compton or Watts or Harlem come alive for me. (Similarly, could someone also make the contention that lite rock has come a long way?)

Secondly and further tangentially, when I was in high school I ran around with a very small group of friends. We were nerds. Sort of. We were all in “advanced” classes, but we were a little misanthropic about it all. We listened to Depeche Mode and thought we were disturbed. We went “dancing” at this all-ages club in Chicago, Medusa’s, and wore black jeans. We were bored a lot of the time. Think of Claire from “Six Feet Under” but roughly 85% less cool and 95% less attractive.

One of the guys who hung around with us sometimes, now that I am an adult and can reflect back on this all with a greater degree of perspective, was as gay as Charles Nelson Reilly. He made Jack from “Will & Grace” look like John Fucking Wayne. I’m talking, like, REALLY gay. GAY gay. But, of course, at the time, I had no clue. I just thought he was a little…odd.

If you had asked 17-year-old me what made a gay man a gay man, I would have responded, “A gay man likes men,” or something direct and—frankly—correct like that. However, my problem with respect to REALLY grasping what that statement meant, or more specifically in order for me to truly have presented it as a correct statement, lied within my misunderstanding of the verb “likes.” A gay man likes men, sure. I myself am not gay, and I also like men. Well, some men. However, now I know that a gay man, while liking men, also LIKES men. As in, likes to FUCK men, which for some reason really never occurred to me. The fucking, I mean. I mean, sure. I guess I knew that gay men have sex with other men, but I just never really thought that meant—well—actual sex. I don’t know. I sound retarded, which I pretty much was when I was 17.

Gay Guy in High School was a really good guy, though, albeit a little spoiled. I just hope he’s gay and happy somewhere. (Gay and gay somewhere?) Anyway, uh…he really liked this song.

Come on let's sweat, baby
Let the music take control
Let the rhythm move you



Oh. OK!

“Drops of Jupiter”: Train

My wife and I saw these guys in concert accidentally when they were opening for Ben Folds in support of that “Meet Virginia” song. Now, I didn’t necessarily think that “Meet Virginia” was a terrible song or anything (still don’t, really), so when I discovered that they were the opening band, my interest was piqued.

They all walked out on stage and the lead singer sparked up some incense, as if they were about to lead us all on some spiritual journey. Oooooo…ok, Carlos Castenada. Whatever. Just tell me that Virginia wears high heels while she exercises and let Ben Folds get on up there. (That Virginia…she’s so sassy!)

I also noticed that the singer brought out a trumpet with a fancy stand and set it right next to him. I therefore assumed that Train’s tunes were liberally dosed with trumpet accompaniment: hence the trumpet, the stand, and their relative proximity to the singer. Hmm.

Well, the music pretty much sucked. They played that “Virginia” song, all right. Did you know that she wears high heels while she exercises? Well, she does. I think I was turned off by the incense-lighting at the beginning of the show. Their music could have been the perfect marriage of The Beatles and James Brown (which is pretty much—well—Prince, anyway) and I would have been like, “Meh. Pretentious fucks…”

And the trumpet? He played like 5 notes. On one song. So basically he played trumpet in the high school marching band and wanted to put his rudimentary knowledge of embouchure to use.

Then “Jupiter” came out and the band kind of blew up. And by blew up I mean “really, really sucked camel dong and not due this time to any ego-waving delusional meditation-trainer syndrome by the lead singer”:

Tell me, did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated


Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there


Now that she's back from that soul vacation
Tracing her way through the constellation, hey, hey
She checks out Mozart while she does tae-bo
Reminds me that there's room to grow, hey, hey

Now that she's back in the atmosphere
I'm afraid that she might think of me as plain ol' Jane
Told a story about a man who is too afraid to fly so he never did land

Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken
Your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you're wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance five-hour phone conversation
The best soy latte that you ever had . . . and me

Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of da
And head back toward the Milky Way

Does anyone have any clue what the FUCK is going on here? Maybe if I ate a fistful of diazepam and chased ‘em down with a gallon of Murphy’s Oil Soap this would make some sense. Mozart? Tae-bo? Fried chicken? Soy latte?!? Oh, Jesus.

To me, it sounds like this guy just got done listening to “You Can Call Me Al,” thought, “Hey, this would sound even cooler…in SPACE!” and then wrote this piece of shit.

“I Hope You Dance”: Lee Ann Womack
“Because You Loved Me”: Celine Dion
“Hold On”: Wilson Phillips
“I Need You”: Lee Ann Rimes
“That’s The Way It Is”: Celine Dion

I really don’t have anything intelligent, insightful, or even remotely humorous concerning the reasons for the glorious suckitudinousness of these songs. They just SUCK.

I guess my major problem is that they are simply BORING. Dull. Lame. Comprised of cheap, unimaginative sentiment that been rehashed time and time again. People love this shit, though. Whatever. I guess I don’t know what I’m missing.

“Breathless”: Kenny G

Funny story…

The best job I ever had in my life was when I was 19, after I had dropped out of college (the first try didn’t take). I worked at a Border’s Books & Music. It was awesome. I was surrounded by cool, older people who liked me and for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like a nerd or a loser or, more dramatically, human social cancer, which is pretty much what I felt like when I was at school. Women paid attention to me, even liked me. People thought I had interesting and insightful things to say about music and other stuff. They laughed at my jokes. I had fun.

One thing about the job sucked, though. You guessed it: the fucking customers.

Annoying fucking customer: “I’m looking for a song. I don’t know what it’s called. ‘Breezes’ or something? You know it. Do you have it?”

Me at 19: “Uh, I really don’t know. ‘Breezes’ you say?”

AFC: “Yeah, ‘Breezes.’ Something like that…”

**annoyed typing sounds** Me: “Uh, nothing coming up. I don’t think we have that.”

AFC: “Oh, sure you do. You know…’BREEZES!’ Guy plays a golden flute!”

**Me, thinking** Golden flute? What the fuck?!? “A golden flute? James Galway? Uh…hmm…”

**Me, continuing to think** What terrible shit music would this woman want that sounds like ‘Breezes’ and is played by some jackass with a golden fucking fl—

Me: “Oh! Do you mean ‘Breathless?’”

AFC: “Yeah, it could be…”

Me: “Kenny G. ‘Breathless.’ It’s in [**GULP**] JAZZ. I’ll show you. (as snarkily as my 19 year old self could muster) And it’s not a golden flute. It’s a soprano saxophone.”

What still impresses me almost 15 years later is that I figured it out. Kenny G. “Breathless.” I love how she kept insisting, “Oh…you know it.” Yeah, lady. A 19 year old kid with long Tom Petty-like hair who smells like a fucking ashtray is a huge Kenny G fan. I’m sure he celebrates the man’s entire catalog.

We found ways to amuse ourselves at the store. After all, spending 40 hours a week surrounded by people with no taste at all is enough to make a person want to pound Wild Turkey and beat up children at the end of the day. My favorite way to kill time was what we called “The Yanni Experiment.” Lemme ‘splain:

The employees were allowed to select the music for in-store playing. We received a lot of free promotional CDs, which we certainly played, but sometimes we just cracked open a particular disc from stock in order to break up the monotony, to check something out to sate our personal curiosity, to advertise something that people would probably dig and then buy, etc. The best was when we decided to put Yanni on the in-house stereo.

Within 30 seconds of hearing the music of that former Greek national swimming champion (seriously), people became zombies, wandering up to the cash register as if looking for brains to consume.

“What…is…this…beautiful…music?” they would intone.

“Yanni!” we always too-emphatically replied, relishing in the fact that they had no idea we were mirthfully mocking them.

“This…is…beautiful…music. May…I…possibly…purchase…this?”

“Sure!” And we’d walk Zombie Yanni Enthusiast over to the New Age section and show them the wide variety of Yanni CDs for sale, from which they would almost always select at least 2, perhaps 3, sometimes (I shit you not) one of every single available title. It never failed. Incredible. What’s in that guy’s music that made white people from the (then) ages of 36 – 54 go cuckoo?