Thursday, January 27, 2011

We're All Fine

In the mind-numbing course of my average day, I am forced to make absurd small talk with my customers. It’s not that I don’t occasionally enjoy these short, mostly forgotten interactions; they just seem fake and unnecessary. We generally chat about the weather or some other completely dull topic which has no bearing on what we are doing there in the first place. I work inside all day; I don’t really care what the weather is like because I’m outside long enough to get to and from my car and back to the safety of my little cave of steel. Other times their speech is such jabberwocky I revert to the simple and effective smile and nod. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy I’ll explain: when approached by the gibbering offender and some common understanding cannot be reached, you smile at them and nod as they speak, feigning comprehension. It’s best not to look completely befuddled as you do this.

Anyways, the rare occasion happened the other day where a customer engaging in small talk actually led me to coherent thought. I was probably picking my nose or some other useless activity to get me through the painful day so I can go home and dread the next painful day when the customer approached. I greeted her and she asked me how I was. I said fine and reflected the question back, to which she answered: “Fine, I have to be.”

Fine, I have to be. That got me thinking. When was the last time you asked someone that and they said, “Well just terrible! I lost my cell phone in the toilet because I caught myself in my nipper this morning after I got done with some of the most painful and profuse diarrhea I’ve ever had and now my car won’t start because a colony of mice has crawled into it and set up a casino and tracks.” Yeah, you’ve never heard that, everyone is always fine, good or okay, even when their not. Are we afraid to tell people how we really feel? Or are we afraid to tell people the truth and fine out they didn’t really care in the first place. I guess we are all just being polite because we don’t think anyone wants to hear about our problems; we are probably right. So I guess we are all fine, because we have to be.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I'm going to make Thursday my normal post day from now forward. So unless I have some sort of time specific post you'll know when to check back.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Hello, my name is Daniel. When you first meet me you'll probably think I'm an asshole, until you get to know me and find out I'm just a little socially backwards; until then, suck it. If you don't like me because you never took the time to get to know me, please do me a favor and keep it to yourself. Please don't call my damned boss and tell her you don't like me, what's that going to prove? I hate idiotic, self centered, turd munching, shrimp boating, fart sniffing, rat fink, low life, gerrymandering, retarded, soulless, dickless, classless, fat, carpet bagging, tit sagging, microphallic, underwear staining, ninnyhammer, pieces of vain filth who get pleasure out of causing trouble for others. Please, get in a car accident. I mean seriously who is so bored they call in to complain because the person who waited on them didn't smile big enough? Call me cold and unfriendly? I'll show you cold and unfuckingfriendly...

First thing tomorrow morning I'm going to call the doctor and make an appointment with a plastic surgeon. I need to put a permanent smile on my face so people don't walk by me and ask if I'm just an unhappy person anymore. Seriously, who stands around when they aren't doing anything and smiles. That's just weird, you NEVER trust a person who always smiles.

Deep breath... I'm sorry about that, but not really.


Saturday, January 15, 2011


Let me start by saying, I have made fun of a lot of people for many different reasons. Gender, race, sex, weight, height, home town, current residence, mental disability, physically disability, religion, sandwich preference, drug addiction, sexual orientation, favorite sports teams, looking at me funny, political persuasion, noobs, intelligence, education; the list could go on but I thought I’d cover the basics. I tell you this because it is important to understand no one is perfect and everyone is capable of hurting someone. I won’t defend myself for any of these things, nor will I promise never to make comments on these groups again. I try to be fair and only make fun of people when they are obviously not speaking for the sum of their constituency. Every group has that one idiot that makes all the stereotypes true.

Is there a point here? I don’t confess to be any kind of activist or political person. I’m not really out there pushing for the rights of any one people. But more than forty years after his death (Martin Luther King), people still walk into my office and start making jokes about him. They take issue with our office being closed on Monday, the official celebration of the holiday. I think as a whole our society has moved closer to ending this kind of rhetoric, yet there are still pockets of the population stuck in time. I can’t say anything, mainly because I’m not paid to interject; I’m paid to smile and nod, but also because I don’t have the nerve to correct these people. I think that’s part of the problem too. If I had the nerves to say something to these people, would it matter? Would my words make a difference?

Sorry to be such a downer, but the purpose of these days: Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day etc. is to remind us of something, to implore us to pause and think about these issues. I really believe that and try to take time on these holidays to contemplate their meaning. I hope I've made a good case for you to do the same.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dirty Job

Anyone ever seen Dirty Jobs? Take away the cameras, witty commentary and money, and I hosted an episode this past weekend. Mom called me mid-week to let me know she had sewage leaking into her basement. I knew where the conversation was going. "Can you help me clear it out." I could have said no, but then the inevitable guilt trip would ensue, ending with "Twenty eight hours I was in labor with you!" How do you argue with that?

I should probably mention that I have used the word basement very liberally. We call it the cellar but torture chamber, dungeon and hole in the ground would probably work. As a child I'd play down there sometimes when I wanted to get information out of one of my toys. Let's just say, it's already an unpleasant place, so filling it with poop only amplifies the sense of terror and desperation that passes over you when you enter.

It was around 19 degrees outside. The cellar door opens into the yard so we had a nice cool breeze to keep us from overheating. We had to use a pump to get the liquid part of the sewage out into the yard. First though, we had to get all the ice out of the hose we were using on the pump. After an unsuccessful battle and the hose wasn't unblocked. I suggested maybe it was blocked by a more solid perpetrator. This was in fact the brown, poopy case. So after running hot water through the hose and finding this assailant, we connected it to the pump and began the smelly endeavor of removing the waste. This pumping without touching didn't last and soon I found myself shoveling and bucketing. Apparently the perfuse brown goo that formed when the water level began to go down clogged the pump.

All this effort, filling a bucket, walking it up the stairs and dumping it down the outside sewer access was very tiring. At one point I faced my own death. A particularly heavy load almost got the better of me as I lost balance and nearly fell on it. As I caught myself, my face came all to close to the surface of the liquid solid mix and saw my life pass quickly by. It was boring. This activity soon became futile. As we shuttled loads to and fro, more poo juice started bubbling out of the drain, so we gave up and began to sanitize. We'll just call the plumber. My wife wouldn't let me go anywhere else in the house when I got home but straight to the shower. It was utterly disgusting. I feel like I should go to the doctor to get shots. I'll just have them give me everything they have. I want all the shots.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I tried for a long time come up with a good reason why I changed the name of this blog. I have nothing. Hopefully the name change comes with a new commitment to the blog. I have some good ideas, so that's a place to start. I'm always taking suggestions on good things to write on, so please contact me in one of the many ways now possible thanks to the wonders of the internetz.

Now for something completely different...

Today a customer came through and asked me where she could find the Little Dipper... So yeah, after a long pause I asked if she meant the constellation. Yes. WTFBBQ? Apparently we've opened up a drive through observatory. And yeah, we are under a winter weather advisory, so I don't think she's going to be seeing to many stars tonight. Before she drove away she stated that she would find it for sure! I'm not sure whether I want to know what's going through their heads or not...