Friday, September 28, 2007

Butcher, Baker, Freshmaker...

I got that mug there near the end of my first year of teaching. It belonged to the Assistant Director of the private Special Ed school in which I'd managed to get my foot in the door as an English teacher. First job - Yay, right? All the kids there were certifiable crazies. In fact, the day I was interviewed, a 12 year old boy burst into my interview room screaming that he was Satan and that "all would perish". The social worker who was interviewing with me took off her watch and handed it to me. Then she followed the four other staff who were tailing the kid to try and get him into a restraint. I think the fact that I knew why she was handing the watch to me helped land me the job. Who, after all, wants to get a client hung up on jewelery when you're trying to make them eat carpet? She never came back to the interview, but the kid was still there when I started working there. So, it was kind of a successful restraint. No one got sued, which is always a bonus in the private Sped sector.

The Assistant Director bequeathed the mug unto me shortly before he ascended into the greener pastures of Public School. He thought he should "give it to someone deserving". I suspect I was deserving because I didn't flinch after he assigned me to the kid with Pervasive Developmental Delay, who liked to fling boogers at staff, and managed to break the kid. He stopped flinging boogers and generally started doing what he was told. They thought I'd gotten into the kid's head. I didn't. I'd just figured out that the kid kept a well cared for stash of Power Ranger action figures on campus. The kid learned that a Pink Power Ranger will stop being pink will the application of a Bic lighter. And then he'll focus on his math problems.

No boogers on me...mostly heat on his plastic girlfriend. Which lead me to inherit a mug. Apparently.

I hadn't really thought about the message on the mug for a while. I'm in my 30s. I've stopped trying to affect an "image". The next director of that particular Sped program called me "James Dean with a clit". He got fired later over "sexual harassment issues". None of which were from me, actually. I'd moved on to Public Schools. And they pretty much all made me question why I'd ever left that school in the first place.

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Once upon a time I had a butcher who was cool.

He could shave a piece of Deli Meat so thin I could solve a crossword through it. If I was that kind of person.

He was Tommy with the Meat Slicer. A veritable pinball wizard.

Then he went away. I'm not sure why. I blame the Acid Queen.

Seriously. She owes me, like, five bucks.

It took me a very long time to find a guy behind the meat counter that I could trust as well as Tommy. But the new guy, Dave, wants to have my trust.

He wants me to understand that, even though he's engaged, he can be my best gay guy friend. Did I mention he's engaged to a woman (allegedly)? That's ok. He'll attend to my meat needs. Large slabs of meat, slapped into butcher paper. All for the low, low price of trying to entertain me with foibles of his private life:

Him: How's it going tonight?

Me: I'd like a half pound of 90% lean...

Him: So, it's all about you now?

Me: Yes.

Him: Ok (starts slapping ground beef into butcher paper).

Him: Hey, so, I recently ran into a girl knew about five years ago.

Me: Mmmmmm? (I'm sleepy and want to go the fuck home....)

Him: And we ended it poorly when we left each other, but we did ok when we saw each other this time and I told her to call me and then, after I told her to call me, I realized that I was going to be working on all the days I told her to call me and -then -I was going to be on vacation.

Me: Wow. That sucks.

Me: No, really. Just a half pound.

Him: I was thinking about going to her place of work and telling her that I was going on vacation and that, if she called, I wasn't blowing her off.

Me: Showing up at a place of work = stalking, dude.

Him: Yeah. If you're a tool of the man.

Me: Naw, it's just creepy. Can I have my hamburger now please?

Him: Oh...yeah...

Me: Thanks. Look. If you're paranoid, then leave an outbound message on your answering machine that explains why you don't suck. That should cover it.

Him: Really? I was thinking about going to where she works and telling her.

Me: No. No, no. Stalking, dude. Send flowers if you really need to get a hold of her at work.

Him: Nah, can't. Fiancée. She'll get pissed.

Me: And you're concerned that if this girl, who you haven't seen in five years, doesn't hear from you in the next four days, assuming she calls you - she'll be irredeemably pissed at you and never speak to you again?

Him: Yes.

Me: You need to take the high ground. You blow her off completely. After all, you didn't hear from her in five years. Right, Dave?

Him: Um...

Me: Ok, so, when she eventually finds you and gets in your face about not being there when she calls you your response is this...You wave a roll of Mentos at her and shrug your shoulders with a big shit eating grin. It should win her right over. I've seen it happen on tv.

Him: And what if it doesn't?

Me: Then you have the open bottle of Diet Coke waiting on standby. You drop the roll of Mentos right into the Diet Coke and point it at her face, all the while screaming "Yeah, bitch, see you in five more years!" Then you run away.

Him: Yeah?

Me: Yeah.

Because I always know what to do in a crisis...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weak In The Knees

We came upstairs and smelled burning plastic...coming from my computer. Mr. Scoop had the foresight to not pour beer on the tower, but turn it off instead. No need to commit alcohol abuse and electrocute himself at the same time. That's not the kind of multitasking we like to engage in around here. No, rather, that requires a beer hat, Depends and a working remote control.

While I await the delivery of a new power supply, the source of the burning smell, I am writing this on Mr. Scoop's computer. He is using Linux. It behaves like Windows except for the sticking it to Bill Gates and the overlords at Microsoft because I'm not using the products they've monopolized part. However, none of this is why I haven't updated this blog in several weeks. That has mostly to do with being too lazy to walk up a flight of stairs between commercial breaks on the tv - which is generally when I would write back when I had the tiny one bedroom apartment and the computer was just in the other room.

Plus, I seem to have, at the tender age of 30 something, destroyed my knees by the very act of trying to actually get in shape. Most evenings now I hobble around the downstairs with knee braces made out of cold packs. They are quite handy - I can squeeze a can of beer between my knees to keep it cold as I do the wall sits my physical therapist has recommended to strengthen my inner leg muscles. This is eventually supposed to make my patella stop grinding against the rest of the knee joint. At this rate, I will have thighs of steel to go with my impending cirrhosis. Multitasking, people.

I used to walk as my primary means of physical activity. That changed when I moved to this new neighborhood. Walking down the street is often an invitation to a nice gentleman, who may or may not have a green card, to pull over in his car and make requests I suspect may not be legal. At least not this far north of Tijuana. Instead, I've been using a program called YourselfFitness which is a virtual physical trainer that runs on my X-box. For the bargain price of $30 (I bought it new about 2 years ago and never opened the box until this past July) she will string hundreds of exercises together that incorporate fitness equipment that I already own and not care that I'll string hundred of expletives together to hurl at her in a constant, unceasing stream as I perform the routine that she has digitally cobbled together.

In ten weeks of working out I've improved my flexibility, started to carve muscles out of my arms, legs and abs, and dropped five pounds...all at the relatively low price of $30 and my knees.

I'm not sure it's been worth it.