Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tis The Season For Some Bullshit

I was at Kroger last night. A gruff older man was standing in the check out lane. One of the workers was trying to get past him to get to another register. She was using all kinds of unorthodox methods (like asking him 'Excuse me' and 'I just need to get through') to no avail. I assumed he couldn't or didn’t hear her, so I told the girl to tap him on the shoulder. It was at that point he turned around and scowled at me. Apparently this guy had heard her, he just had no interest in moving. He had a date with destiny apparently, and it involved a bushel of bananas, pork & beans, and a case of Miller High Life, and there simply was no room for distraction.
    It reminded in this great season of giving just how many jerks out there are not willing to lift a finger for their fellow man, including myself….and you. How many times have you put our hands in your coat, looked at the ground and shuffled past the bell ringers at the grocery store (I do it all time). In fact, I’m kind of afraid of the bell ringers to be honest, with good reason. Back in my hardware days, we had a bell ringer one winter who was, shall we say, a  bit unbalanced. We never knew her name, but simply called her Fish Sandwich Lady. The aptly named Fish Sandwich Lady would take breaks in our tiny break room, using our microwave to heat up these stinky fish sandwiches. Dante Garland accidentally got up from his lunch and shut the lights off, forgetting she was sitting in the corner with her fish sandwich one day and she starting screaming. “Why you cut the lights off on me!!??” But that was only the beginning.
    I usually wore headphones on my lunch, but I never listened to my music terribly loud. I was having lunch with the Fish Sandwich Lady, who was on her cell phone talking about how much she hated the white people in my store, including me, thinking I couldn’t hear her. “They’re all pieces of shit, they won’t let me ring my bell inside the store”. I wanted to rip my headphones off, snatch that disgusting Fish Sandwich out of her hands and tell her to go ring her bell somewhere else.
    The big moment when we had to call the Salvation Army and have her removed was when she got into an altercation with another customer in the vestibule. I’m not sure the context, but here’s some of the dialogue I’m recalling from memory
    “You don’t know what the fuck I’ve been through! You mother fucker, he said he was gonna shoot me in the back of the head! Motherfucker!” It was time for the bell ringer to hang up her red kettle and call it a season. I’ll never be sure if a customer actually said he was going to shoot her in the back of the head, and in her defense, knowing the clientele of that store, I’d say there’s a 70-30 chance it happened.
    The most disgusting people around the Holidays are ‘The Hoarde’. The Hoarde is something that not even George A Romero could’ve invented. Simple, aggressive, rabid mass mobs of shoppers with an extended credit line. Decide you don’t want an item? Just toss it on the ground! Don’t watch for cars in the parking lot, it’s only snowy and slippery, but hey, it’s my right to walk out in front of them! They will tear through merchandise displays like fancy feast for an alley cat. Hey, I know I have 50 items in my cart, but the express line is the shortest, do I have to speak to a manager?
    I have never really enjoyed Christmas shopping. I enjoy buying presents and thinking of things that people will like, but the physical act of shopping is something to make me feel ashamed to be a human being. I never go out on black Friday, I do not condone a day where I might get 15% off a TV if I allow someone to put their boot print in my face at my local Wal-Mart. I also cannot condone sleeping on the cold concrete, to which some homeless Americans are pondering “…And I’m too crazy to own a home!?….Gwar, gwaphanflail, the government!” People are knocking each other out while shopping! I’m sorry, but I’m not a fighter, and if I do engage in fisticuffs, I want it to be epic. I don’t want to tell the police “He took the last digital camera, so I started strangling him.” No, that sounds awful and petty. I was raised that fights are epic, revolving around themes of justice and revenge. “This man, detective, is a Soviet Spy who killed my dog! I had no choice but to slam his head into a toilet” See, that sounds like a fight to me! Forget clothes lining Grandma because she got the air mattress you wanted, go find a Nazi to punch.
    So this Christmas, let’s keep our hands to ourselves, and the fish sandwiches to a minimum, and we may just make it another year. Happy Shopping!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Letter To My Doctor

Dear Doc,

You have been a supreme disappointment from the few handful of times I have had the displeasure of stepping foot in the ramshackle hut you call an office. I want to thank you though, because when I was in excruciating stomach pain (which to date still exists) you were Johnny On The Spot with your high brow textbook medical expertise when you said “You probably need to poop”. Anytime I was sitting in the exam room for an excess of twenty minutes, listening to you berate an old woman, I knew that my patience would be rewarded with the most tender, thorough, top notch healthcare that I’ve come to expect from America. Thank you for then spending just over five minutes with me after all that waiting, it’s such a breath of relief nowadays to know that there are still doctor’s out there who don’t care about you.
My last visit, when I mentioned how tired I had been lately (something you told me before would be happening) you said ‘you might have mono’, which you had already diagnosed me with not a year prior and I can only assume was written in my chart somewhere (maybe it was misplaced under hobbies instead of infectious diseases, mistakes do happen), which you failed to read obviously. After all the bungling your office has done with me, and to date having not cured one ailment I have visited you for, I was delighted to receive your letter regarding my outstanding balance of $34.83 and stating “We recommend that you find another physician for yourself and your families’ medical care”. I always love receiving personal (and cordial) correspondence.
Enclosed with this letter is a check for 34.83. Please note that it is not being sent out of a desperate attempt to retain you as my doctor. Just as you urged me to find a new physician, I am urging you to find a new patient, for you have become an annoying gnat on my backside, and this check is simply my attempt to swat you off. Might I make a few suggestion as what to do with this staggering jackpot you have just received from me? Perhaps dinner for one at Applebee’s? A newly released DVD? Or gas for you vehicle for three days. The sky’s the limit with my thirty dollar check!!! All I ask in return for this payment is that you never contact me again.


Jake Allport

Monday, July 8, 2013

Crusty Men's Suits

I've only recently deduced what "Old Man" smell truly is. After much consideration and analysis, I can only conclude that the aroma we have come to refer to as "Old Man" is a result of men who clean their bodies yet wear dirty clothes and then add talcum powder. I think that is as close of a definition as we can get to this. Why am I sharing this with you? I'm not sure, but I made the discovery on one of my many trips to the the local Macomb-Oakland County thrift stores looking for cheap suit coats. I've bought plenty of clothes at the thrift store, in fact, some really nice clothes (in which you've given me compliments about, yes, you certainly did!) but I've never found a suit hanging on the rack at Value World or the Salvation Army that wasn't....well...crusty. I guess that is the best adjective to use here, but it seems rather vulgar. There really is no getting around it though, thrift store suits are crusty. I have never held myself to be a fancy person but I draw the line at crusty apparel. Say the word over and over, crusty, crusty, crusty, crusty. I really want you to get the picture of how awful these suits are, in their circa 1970s colors of key party burgundy, alcoholic parents olive, & hippie public television royal blue. They seem like you could crack them in half on a rather cold day. I always remark at how filthy dirty these suits are, and that someone wore them at some point. One time, I tried one on, which fit pretty good (because I am the height of the 97 year completely shrunken man), and stuck my hand in my pocket only to find a wadded up disgusting crusty Kleenex. If I bestow any advice on you that you retain throughout reading this entire blog, don't stick your hands in the pockets of second hand clothes, you may end up with a wad of crusty Kleenex.

At some point men just stop caring. Some would say they never cared at all, but I feel there's at least some period in each man's life where he actually...I don't know...maybe gives a fuck about himself...and while it may be brief for some, I think all of us get at least a flash of least a flash. But I don't doubt there's an age that comes where stuff stops mattering, and things get dirty, and smelly, and crusty, and musty, and dusty. Growing up, I was told the benefits of old age were wisdom, experience, respect, dignity, honor, and so forth. Never was I told that the joy of old age was the apathy of hygiene, but I guess they just wanna keep it a secret for themselves. Many of you already know I look forward to being an old man (especially those of you who have been reading these for some time) and the crusty men's suits reaffirm my belief that "Old people don't have to take shit off anyone and can pretty much do whatever they please as long as it doesn't endanger them to breaking a bone" and I can't wait for that. Regardless of your perks and privileges as an elderly member of society, you should not be allowed to donate your dirty clothes. That's just kinda gross.

But I shouldn't be picking on the old people exclusively. Because I know a lot of unhygienic, stinky, dirty, people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, & 60s (remember, I worked at ACO for two years). Dirty people walk the Earth and they are everywhere. Waiting around corners to talk close to your face with hot garlic talk (you know what I'm talking about), put an arm around your shoulder to reveal they don't believe in anti-antiperspirant, fart in a crowded line at the grocery store, wear that damn grime soaked white T-shirt yet again (and all you can think about is why don't they buy black shirts if they're not going to wash them?). I don't wanna be writing this from a soapbox though (no pun intended) as I am plenty dirty myself. I've gone ahead and worn socks three days in a row, done the smell test on a shirt, ran to the post office with greasy hair and even mustered a weekend sans toothbrush, but I could never fathom the logic that goes through some people's heads when they leave the house with a rank ripeness that tinges the senses, bordering on deep fried skunk.I am very self-aware of my scent and when I smell bad, I can smell it.

Where was I going with this? I can't remember. Take a bath, people.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On The Road

I recently got a new job, which requires me to drive a lot further than I was before. I make a daily trek to the luxurious oasis of Pontiac (more about that in second), and in the process have learned an additional thing or two about driving that does not fall under any of the subheadings of your driver's ed textbook. First and foremost, extended periods of driving have only helped validate what I have always suspected...people are ridiculously ignorant. To watch a Honda Civic cross five lanes (of which only three are actually clear) and then veer back over two lanes realizing they "over-merged" never seems to be a shocking sight when I'm traveling through Royal Oak. I've developed a tick that anytime I must drive through downtown Royal Oak, I start shouting "This is stupid! This is gonna be so stupid!" I almost feel like people see a few bright lights, become overstimulated, and their brain collapses, causing them to drive like, in my mother's words, a "stupid bitch"

What I really want to complain about though is lane closures, or rather how people treat them. For instance, there was a lane closed on Woodward, and at least 1/2 a mile up the road in downtown Birmingham was a sign, in bright Take Forever To Get Shit Done Construction Orange, that read Merge Right, Lane Closed Ahead. Maybe if it said "Get over your dumb asshole" it would be more effective, but nonetheless, we are forced to deal with those drivers who go all the way down that soon-to-close lane, all the way to the cone and expect you to let them in. I never let them in. My philosophy when they try to wedge in is "You may get in behind me, but you sure as hell aren't getting in front of me". I try to get as close to the rear bumper of the car in front of me. Circling the wagons, I like to call it, and there's almost a sense of solidarity among all of us drivers who got into our proper lane at a proper time. It's that sense of solidarity that tells the other drivers "Fuck you...I'm mad at you, and I want you to suffer". It's a wonderful feeling.

I wouldn't let an elderly couple in the other day. They both flipped me off. It was rather off putting seeing those tiny little wrinkled, pale hands, with their small knuckles protruding from the windows of their powder blue Grand Marquis. I was so shocked, I just had to stick my head out the window and cuss them out and return the middle finger to them, all during a green light, effectively stopping traffic for upwards of 4 seconds. I do apologize to those other drivers for those 4 seconds they were detained in my rage. I hope they can forgive me, especially as it was a matter of principle.

I think this is a good point to make a Public Service Announcement (one I've made many times before): Yield signs are not optional.

I work in Downtown Pontiac, which if you ever have the choice to...don't. We are warned not to leave the premises on our lunch, that walking around the city is akin to rubbing yourself in pork chops and laying in a wolves den. I called their bluff and went walking one day, and was accosted and almost mugged by a disgruntled gentleman outside a deli (which I had to briskly jog to my car and reverse out into the middle of an intersection as he steadily kept coming at me). I have yet to venture outside the walls of Fortress Pontiac since (as I call my office). Though there really isn't much in Pontiac. There's a hospital, The Oakland Press (where I work), and a nightclub in an abandoned church....that's about it. It's funny though, I have to drive through Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham to get to work, and nothing is more depressing or apt at putting my place in the world in perspective than driving from my poor neighborhood through a cluster of insane mansions, to get to work in another poor neighborhood. It's always nice to be reminded that you're not that special.

I run red lights often. I don't count it as red unless the cars in the perpendicular road have begun moving. It already takes an hour to get home doing it that way.

A quick open letter to the train at 9 mile & Hilton: FUCK YOU!

I catch the train at 9 mile & Hilton at least once a week, if not more. I once caught it 6 times in 2 weeks, to which I literally almost did a U turn to go find the nearest asylum to check myself in and call it a day. What kind of moron runs a train through a congested road at 5 pm on weekday? What kind of materials are so critical that they must be moved at once during rush house at a glacial speed? I feel like I could move stuff faster than that train with a Radio Flyer Wagon and a pair of roller blades.

These are just glimpses of the fiery embers of my stomach, the result of driving. I won't agitate with you with the whole scope of it though, mostly because you already know everything I'm mentioning. I mean, you're out on the same roads as me, playing Twisted Metal with these mental midgets, so I don't need to tell you how frustrating and stupid it is, do I?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vulgarities At The Moment

Disclaimer: Most of this will be addressing topics and concerns of a rather disgusting nature.

My doctor recently revealed to me what the rest of the world was already certain of, that I am full of shit. It was hands down one of the most awkward moments of my life, having a doctor stare me down and condemn me for having poor digestion. You may be wondering why I'm sharing this with you, and to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. My doctor makes me feel uncomfortable. Well, I don't want to single him out specifically, all doctor's make me feel uncomfortable. They always have this angry parent attitude that just inflames as you slowly reveal every way in which you are a complete failure at taking care of yourself. I went to see my doctor because I was having bad stomach pains and acid reflux. Everyone without a medical degree (including myself) diagnosed it as an ulcer, because let's face it, an ulcer fits me. An ulcer just sounds like something I would have. It's perception conforms to my spastic neuroticism , anxious fiddling & twiddling, and fearful skittish eccentricities. It would almost accentuate my personality, allowing me to hold my stomach in pain, giving the occasional Woody Allen "Oh geez". As of today, I have not gotten the greenlight on the ulcer though, but rather bad reflux and the horrifying revelation that I'm not pooping enough. That raised an interesting questions though, how did we come about to establish acceptable BM guidelines? And if we have this information, why has it not been furnished to every American, especially at the critical developmental phases of our youth? I mean, I always had a ballpark guess as what a healthy BM schedule looked like, but that's in the same way I feel I could utilize the city bus system without actually reading a bus schedule. I remember 'Everybody Poops' but I guess they never got around to publishing the sequel 'Everybody Should Poop Once A Day'. My doc did find a hernia while he was at it, and since learning of that, every time I sneeze I'm convinced I'm going to compromise my manhood. Scary.

What's even more scary was the gigantic rat that terrorized my house for the last week & an a half. I first saw this beast in my driveway in my trashcan. It was rocking back and forth with the lid on, to which I could only assume it was a large cat or an unruly child. When a rat actually popped the lid off and hopped out, I stepped back and almost fall onto the hood of my car. As it rushed down the driveway, the same thought kept repeating itself in my head 'That was the biggest fucking rat I've ever seen!' And somehow, magically, like a faerie tale, it just so happened to find an access point into my crawlspace, and then work it's way actually in my house. I would awake in the morning to find picture frames knocked over, shoes rearranged, and it was only then that I made the disgusting realization that this giant rat had made it's way into my house and was messing all my shit up, maybe in an effort to psych me out, play some mind games. So, not only did I have the largest rat I've ever seen in my house, but it was a sociopath to boot.

My many years at ACO have equipped me with skills and knowledge on how to catch vermin. Also, being a life long South Warren resident, it's just something that comes natural to us in this critter infested community (much like dental aversion comes natural to the citizens of Taylor). Nothing seemed to work, it wouldn't touch the poison, avoided traps, and let's not even get into the disaster of glue traps. It certainly went into the glue trap, but it didn't stay in it, rather is dragged it halfway across my kitchen before shaking it off and leaving it sitting there in the middle of the floor covered in rat hair. It chewed tiny holes through a whole roll of paper towel. I put a saucer of bleach out and dipped some peanut butter bread in it. Wouldn't touch it. I eventaully went and bought a live catch cage (it wasn't cheap) and set it out in the kitchen with a PB & J sandwich inside of it. I thought for sure that would work. It was then that I realized there was only one thing bigger than that rat, it's sense of irony. That night I first put the cage out, it suddenly ate all the bleach bread, climbed under the house and died. The stench is revolting. Almost like it saw what I was trying to do with the cage and thumbed his nose at me "Oh, you wanna catch me alive? I see what your trying to do. No, fuck you, I'm gonna drink bleach and die under your house now. Have fun."

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jane Allport

        Many of you may be wondering who Jane Allport is. Is it the sister I have never told you about because she became an eco-terrorist and we disowned her? A crazy distant relative who lives in Salt Lake City but occasionally rides into town when she’s on a cocaine high looking for a couch to sleep on? Maybe it’s the poor wife who is married to me for tax purposes, who spends most of her day at home watching The View and vacuuming while she fantasizes about a life not married to a gay man? If you guessed any of these, you are wrong. In fact, if you guessed a woman, you are wrong as well.
Jane Allport is me….when I am talking on the phone. It all began when I was a young boy, and I would answer the phone and people would call me Linda, believing me to be my mom. My voice is not terribly effeminate, and for the most part sounds like a regular guy’s voice (give or take a few quirks), yet on the phone I am mistaken for a woman 7 times out of 10. It has become a running gag at work, as numerous clients have mistakenly called the office asking for ‘Jane Allport’.
Every time somebody calls me ma’am on the phone, I suddenly try to lower my voice and pray to Barry White that I can discreetly show them their error without actually having to say “I’m not a woman, you ass!” And my voice goes so deep, you almost expect me to say “Turn down the lights, put some light music on, and feel the love of a summer evening”, just sultry, sensual baritone.
Back when I was telemarketing, people would call saying Jane had called them. I would say my name is Jake and that Jane was my sales partner. Let me tell you something, Fictious Jane is one hell of a saleswoman. Somewhere out there somebody believes that I am married to a pretend woman (who in all actuality is just me), and that we are telemarketing partners together. Jake and Jane Allport: Power Couple.
If need be, should I ever be in a tight spot (for instance, should I be framed for armed robbery or anger a powerful mob boss by making fun of his overweight wife), I should like to keep Jane Allport in my back pocket. I’m not saying I would enjoy dressing in drag, but Jane could really bail my ass out in a jiffy if I needed her to.

Monday, October 1, 2012

John Lennon Is Big In Cuba

All The Names Have Been Changed In This Post

The end of the day is usually pretty mundane for me. I make a few last minutes phone calls, fax some papers, staple things, and walk around talking to people in the office while I run out the final 4 minutes before I can go home. Today was different, because a very unique disheveled gentleman decided to pay our office a visit. Four minutes before I was heading out the door, two men walked into the lobby, one a regular person who had some questions about a position we were hiring for (let‘s call him Bobby St. Green). The other man was wearing a dirty Tasmanian Devil T shirt, was holding a grocery bag full of garbage and a house phone (let’s call him Crazy Mike).
It all started when I had “Joan The Accountant” write a note out for Bobby St. Green, and I said “She has to write my notes because my handwriting is really really bad” Bobby laughed, and that should have been the end of the humorous interaction. Crazy Mike began to speak though.
“Try writing in Chinese. I write in Chinese, and it’s hard.” I nod my head and say I bet it is hard to write in Chinese. After many years at ACO, I know a crazy person when I see one. I also know exactly how to handle such situations like this. Most people don’t, and they end up being sucked into an uncomfortable vortex of bizarre mundane family stories and conspiracy theories that they try to escape from with about as much luck as a paraplegic in quick sand.
The biggest thing to do is to stick on topic. Ask them “Can I help you with something?” “Anything else today?” “What can I do for you?” keep the conversation very direct. That was my intention, because I could tell this man was gearing up to bend our ears a tad. Bobby St. Green though was too nice of a guy, and began to engage him.
“Really? You write Chinese?” He asked. Crazy Mike had the opening he needed, and boy he didn’t disappoint, He didn’t even build up to the craziness, he just jumped right into the left field category.
“You know China has it’s own space program?  They’ll be to the moon by 2020.  There’s a statue of John Lennon in Cuba. That’s true, a statue of John Lennon, think about that. And get this, Louis Farakhan? You know him, right? His best friend is Raul Castro. You know him? That’s Castro’s brother. Speaking of friends, did you know Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx were friends? I know all of this, because I deliver Chinese food.” He held up his bag of garbage. I had never seen such a rapid fire of craziness. He then asked Bobby St. Green to make a phone call for him. Remember, Crazy Mike and Bobby St. Green have never met.
“Could you dial a number for me? My phone isn’t working.” He held up the cordless house phone in his hand. Bobby, being the nice guy that he is, dialed a number for the guy, who took the phone and said “I got the food” and hung up.  At that point, “Joan The Accountant” asked them to leave.
Crazy Mike then went out to the side of the road and began waving at cars.

Crazy Mike reminded me of the old days at ACO, when eccentric people would come in and terrify everyone, man, woman, child alike. Like the crazy Nazi lady. Crazy Nazi Lady is a really tall woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, and really bad skin. Did I mention she walks with one crutch? Also, did I mention that she is covered from head to toe in Swastikas? That part is kind of important. Nowadays, it is really easy to label someone a Nazi, just for being controlling or fascist, but this woman really was a Nazi who used to bang her fist on the shelves and shout for help across the store. She once asked me for the best way to kill squirrels.
Another guy always wanted to talk about my name being in the bible and the different portion sizes that Halloween candy came in. When he asked if I knew my name was in the bible, I foolishly replied “If I remember correctly, Jacob wasn’t a very good guy.” Something that he found very funny, and kept repeating over and over. If there is anything I don’t want a mentally ill person to have stuck in their head, it’s the phrase “Jacob isn’t a very good guy”, for obvious reasons of course.
My favorite though was the man who told me that his son was the head chef at a restaurant by the time he was 12, and that I should invest my money in “silver dimes and bullets”. Why would he recommend that you say? “Because that’s what’ll you need when the world ends.” There are some interesting people out there.