Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Roll Call 8/30/04

I had to work late Monday night, so I was stuck taking a 10:30pm Pittsburg/BayPoint train and transferring to the Richmond line at 12th St Station. While some--including myself at times--might find this annoying and inconvenient, it was a boon for me this time. More people to baselessly judge and catalogue! With no further ado, here is Roll Call 8/30/04

# of grandparents on vacation visiting their grandkids who are scared shitless by even the slightest movement of a non-white passenger: 2

# of 45 yr old woman trying in vain to look younger by dying their hair blonde and wearing knitted pink ponchos and New Balance running shoes: 1

#of tall, mousy-yet-unusually-pretty girls standing shyly by the exits who I would have sex with: 3

# of those girls who are likely to file a restraining order against me once they get to know me...and I don't stop calling and hanging up: 3

# of short, slovenly Asian computer science students returning from class at either SFState or SF CityCollege: 5

% of those Asian students with at least one piece of sexually explicit anime in their backpacks: 80

likelihood the backpacks they're carrying were freebies from Comdex or MacWorld Expo: 100%

likelihood that at least two of them forgot to turn off the rice-cooker before they left the house this morning: 100%

# of abnormally thin women reading science or fantasy fiction and wearing Russian Cossack hats: 2

# of hot black chicks in short black dresses, dreads, and 13-hole mid-calf combat boots: 1

# of short, drunk, jean-short wearing Mexican day-laborers who decided to sit next to or behind the hot black chick and use the need to look at the System Map (http://www.bart.gov/images/quickplanner_map_lg4.gif) as a reason to peer over and look down her dress: 3

the color my envy of said Mexican day laborers would be were it analogous to the Homeland Security Terror Alert System: ORANGE

# of people seated in my immediate vicinity who should NOT raise their hands when asked if they are, in fact, "sure": 4

# of those closet fecalphiliacs who transferred with me and sat near me for a second time: 3

# of 50+ yr old flush-cheeked white couples riding BART because they came into the City for dinner and got a little shitty: 3

# of those couples who constantly consult the System Map to see where they are going despite having lived in the Bay Area SINCE BART FUCKING OPENED IN 1972!!!: 3

# of 20-something couples that look like they've watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind waaaaaay too many times: 1

likelihood that both members of that couple work in retail or food service to fund their dream of becoming documentary filmmakers: 100%

# of hispanic guys who are chatting boisterously with one another despite never having met prior to this BART ride: 4

# of gay couples sleeping peacefully against each other: 2

# of those gay men who could probably kick the shit out of anyone on the train car: 3

# of aging hippies with long frizzy graying ponytails who are riding BART not because they are environmentally conscious but, rather, because they lost their cars and their cats in a bourbon-soaked 3-team parlay with USA on the moneyline v. Argentina, Thousand Oaks -1.5 v. Curacao in the Little League World Series, and USC -17.5 v. Virginia Tech: 1

# of filthy long-haired white-trash vagrants who nearly broke the train car doors as they tried to jam their mountain bikes into the car as the doors were closing: 2

# of the bicycle-riding C.O.P.S. stars who sat in the handicapped seats, mumbling to themselves, and picked dirt and grime from under their fingernails with a small spackling knife they pulled from their fannypack: 1

# of middle-aged, middle-management white males sporting full facial hair to combat the effects of male pattern baldness: 6

# of those Al Borland impersonators who were sitting quietly in their seats doing nothing because listening to music or reading the paper would obscure the voices in their heads telling them to go home and kill their families: 4

# of cute white girls with panic-stricken looks of abject fear painted on their faces as they realized that all the other white passengers were getting off at the second to last stop on the Richmond line and they still had one more stop to go: 2

# of those cute girls I would have sex with even though they'd probably file a restraining order against me once they got to know me...and I wouldn't stop calling and hanging up: 2

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Airport Run

My friend Jen flew into town today for a nice 4-day weekend visit. She booked the first United flight of the day into San Francisco. When she first told me she was coming, she mentioned that fact and apologized earnestly if it was going to be an inconvenience. I told her it wouldn't be. She asked if I was sure, thinking, I assume, that I was just being polite. I told her it would be my pleasure. I wasn't lying. It would be.

SFO is a locus of crossing paths and chance meetings. It's a way-station for a vast contingent of businesspeople from around the Pacific Rim as well as across the globe. It plays temporary host to a whole assortment of travelers--with plans as varied as their life stories--who, with little make-up, not unconvincingly resemble more than one or two of the alien characters from the cantina scene in the first Star Wars. In fact, that may be the best way to picture San Francisco International Airport without the use of a video camera and 15,000 words: it's a living, breathing, ever-changing version of the Star Wars cantina. You think I'm kidding, but a couple years ago during Thanksgiving weekend I'm almost 100% sure that I saw the blue keyboard-playing aardvark-looking dude eating chowder out of a breadbowl at the CrabPot just inside Terminal 3.

So naturally, who--or rather, what--is the first person I see as I come off the escalator that connects the walkway from the parking garage to the baggage claim area? Well, I don't know exactly. I'm not a biologist. I'm pretty sure it/he is a Man, but there is a good chance that he is representative of a distinct, recently-classified sub-species of the genus Homo named Homo reallyerectus fireislandia.

A gawkish, heroin-thin kid (maybe 20, 21), his beady brown eyes were set a little close together and deep into his head like a cross between Ted Danson and a corpse. His face was covered with freckles--not your normal red-headed Annie freckles though. He looked like he stood behind a screen door during a diarrhea fight. His eyes were partially obscured by foppish, blazing red curls that spilled out from underneath an ill-fitting Zebra-patterned Brett Michaels Every Rose Has Its Thorn cowboy hat (http://www.bretmichaels.com/).

He wore a tight-fitting white Filipino wedding shirt (http://home.sprynet.com/~amolin/scan0002.jpg) unbuttoned 3/4 of the way down. Exposing his diarrhea-freckled chest in a shallow 'V,' the shirt was open to just below the concave area between his solar plexus and the top of his shockingly defined abs that is formed by an eating disorder during 4 torturous, misunderstood years in high school and a subsequent and dedicated cocaine addiction during his abortive stint at art school.

I spotted him from a pretty considerable distance--as he was coming off the escalator that fed arriving passengers from the terminal down to baggage claim and then on to either the taxi stand or the parking garage. I had just hopped off the escalator from the parking garage and was making my way to the United arrivals board. What caught my eye first--besides that ridiculous fucking cowboy hat--was the long, lucid strides he was taking as he made his way toward me. He walked with a loping, almost non-jointed ease that seemed impossible without the assistance of a cocktail of banned narcotics. Moreover, he spilled toward me in a pair of skin-tight, low-rise, bell-bottom jeans that--but for the filthy mustard yellow pumas he had on his feet--made it look like his lower body was being swallowed and digested by a bifurcated denim boa constrictor.

He came off the escalator, I noticed, with no luggage. Nothing. No hand luggage. Not a backpack, not a messenger bag, not any sort of recycled and/or hemp-derived protest literature receptacle. Well, obviously, he didn't look like he was employed by any entity at SFO--unless Ringling Brothers bought the Dirty Hippy Circus between now and the last time I was there and leased performance space in Terminal 3 between the See's Candies stand and that piss-ass bar/cafe with the $14 double bloodies specials--so I was somewhat at a loss to explain his presence in baggage claim.

Then we crossed paths. I came upon him just as I turned the corner from the United arrivals board. As he oozed past me, it came together. I caught the distinct aroma of Bacardi and his cologne: Aux de M4MCraigslistCasualEncounter (http://www.craigslist.org/cgi-bin/search?areaID=1&subAreaID=0&query=m4m+airport&cat=cas&minAsk=min&maxAsk=max). The scent of urinal cakes and glory holes was unmistakable.

I was truly at a loss for words. Seeing one of these specimen immediately post-anonymous-coitus is akin to stumbling upon a family of snow leopards in the wild. I didn't know what to do...until he tripped. Over a baggage claim carousel. That's when I laughed, pointed, and pulled out my notebook.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


I know that to really understand how the world works and to really understand why things happen, one must first be truly honest with one's self and be personally accountable for one's actions and one's role in the events that affect and shape one's life. After all, the reason people flock to organized religion and law and psychology in the numbers that they currently do is because more often than not, they refuse to try and find their own answers to the "why" questions that haunt them. For my part, I realize that my hyper-competitive nature and my affinity for gambling regardless of the stakes are really the two things that facilitated the situation I was in.

When my parents separated--I think I've mentioned that before--we went to family counseling. My little sister and I were told that it was to see if we could work things out as a family. In reality, it was a generally pointless exercise meant only to soften the blow of a separation that was well down its inexorable path to divorce. Well, during these tear-soaked sessions, my dad revealed--to everyone's surprise including my mother's--that he was one of only 4 documented cases in the United States of Paternal Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (or P.M.S.B.P. as it is commonly referred to in medical journals).

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (http://sids-network.org/experts/msp.htm) predominantly affects women--more specifically, mothers. It manifests itself in the unintentional intentional infliction of pain, duress, or trauma on the typically younger children of the women it afflicts.

According to my father, he was the first recorded case on the west coast of the United States, let alone California. Because the syndrome tends to abate as the children get older and more self-aware and, as such, most trauma occurs during the very early years of a child's development, it was no surprise to me or the therapist that neither my sister nor I had any real recollection of incidents with our father that were consistent with P.M.S.B.P. Regardless, the family counselor told my sister and me to go home and think real hard because it would be important to understand what happened, understand that everything's okay now, understand that none of it was our fault, and understand that our father does and has always loved us.

So that's what we did. We went home, sat in the family room with my mom, and racked our brains. The counselor said I was going to be the most important piece in this psychological treasure hunt because my sister may very well have been too young to remember anything on her own and would need my more developed memory to jog hers. At first, nothing came to mind so I started thinking about all the good things about my dad and all the cool stuff we did. That's when things started to click and, consequently, where my hyper-competitiveness and penchant for gambling come in.

Until I was 10 and my sister was 8, my dad stayed home with us so he could complete his PhD in German linguistics at Berkeley. We would read, go to the park, play catch, watch old John Wayne movies when he felt like procrastinating, and play games. Games. Now things started to fall into place. I had gone to the hospital with my dad when I was little. It was always because of some game or some contest with my sister. I always thought we were at the hospital because we were rambunctious and klutzy. Maybe not.

The first incident I could recall sitting in the family room was the time I was 5 and my dad bet me $2 I couldn't eat Gatorade powder as fast as he could. He went to the pantry where my mother kept the Gatorade in a big mason jar (don't ask me why), poured out the contents equally into two bowls, told my 3 year old sister to say GO!, and stared me down...knowing I would do whatever I could to whoop his butt. My father knew me very well. GO!

We were off! My dad gave up half way through I remember. To show him I was the king, I ate the whole fucking bowl. I would have eaten the bowl itself too if I had strong enough teeth...just to rub it in. My dad graciously admitted defeat, handed over the $2 that he knew I would squirrel away in my piggy bank so I could buy toys from the Service Merchandise catalog that came two or three times a year, and went back down in the basement to conjugate more fucking verbs or whatever it was that he did.

Not 10 minutes later. Houston, we have a problem. I remember sort of sheepishly yelling down for my dad to come upstairs because I needed help. Because I was embarrassed and not yelling loud enough, he couldn't hear me. My sister could, though, and she came waddling in to see what the ruckus was. She saw me, took 10 toddler seconds to let it all sink in, and started crying hysterically. She went running for my dad. He came up about 2 minutes later with my sister half sobbing, half trying to gasp for breath. The sight must have been horrific.

There I was, five years old, perched precariously over the toilet, little blue corduroy pants half way down my legs, trying desperately to fight back the alligator tears welling up in my eyes. Apparently a cereal bowl of Gatorade powder does not sit well with the gastrointestinal system of a 5 year old boy. For, a mere 5-10 minutes after my triumph, I was met with an urgent and vexing set of circumstances that I had heretofore never faced.

The Gatorade had both upset my stomach and shot through my system like a Japanese bullet train. I had to puke and I had to take a crap. AT THE SAME EXACT TIME. And, like the sunrise, taxes, death, and Jews in Hollywood, nothing I could do was going to stop it. The dilemma, I remember, was "which one do I do into the toilet?" I couldn't decide. I didn't know what to do. I guess I let my body decide...because as I danced the dance of 5yr old indecision, my stomach decided it had had enough


right into the toilet

Now here's the problem: once you lose control of one bodily function, the others fall like Eastern block countries. In the middle of puking, my colon decided to do it's Old Faithful impression...ohshitohshitohshitohshitohshit (literally)...so I quickly tried to sit down on the toilet. Unfortunately, I remember, my soft little 5 yr old bottom was slick with diarrhea. This made me slide quite a bit to the left edge of the seat when I first tried to sit down and made it so, as the next Anal Old Faithful eruption came, I was in a position to shoot Gatorade powder-infused diarrhea all over the opposite side of the toilet and the side of the vanity next to the toilet.

If things weren't already bad enough, now the dynamic duo has decided to join forces and attack at the same time. Grainy, burning diarrhea is rocketing out of my little behind which I am desperately trying to keep from slipping off the already poop-covered toilet seat while, at the same moment, my stomach is rejecting the gatorade powder like Emeka Okafor against a high school girls team and sending waves of vomit out of my mouth and into the seat of my half-pulled down blue corduroy pants and my little tighty whities.

All this took place within a 90-150 second timeframe. When the Old Faithful eruptions ceased and the Vomitorium closed for the afternoon, the eerie silence bespoke a defeated 5yr old boy and added a very interesting feel to a scene that looked less like a small apartment bathroom and more like studio space rented by Jackson Pollack.

My dad came in with my sister in his arms. He looked at me. He looked at the floor. He looked at me. He looked at the vanity. He looked at the seat of my pants. He looked at the wall across from the toilet. He looked at me and finally said, "get in the bathtub." That's when the waterworks broke loose. I remember he told me it wasn't my fault and that I should stop crying, but I couldn't. So he put my sister down, peeled my vomit and diarrhea stained clothes off my sweaty, trembling little body, picked me up, put me in the tub, and started the shower.

It took my dad like 40 minutes to get me totally clean. By the time he was done scrubbing me like a rape victim, my skin was pruned to the point where it hurt to walk on anything other than the shag carpet in the living room. "Okay, let's go."

And off we went to the pediatrics wing of Kaiser Hospital in Oakland. He carried both me and my sister into the waiting area. I remember the nurse at the window offering me a lollipop and eagerly accepting it only to yank it out of my mouth in horror when the sweetness of it hit my taste buds and made me realize that the roof of my mouth felt like it had been raked by a backhoe and my tongue was so tingly I could barely feel it.

Next thing I remember is sitting with my sister on the edge of the bed-thingy in the examination room counting the animated baseball players swinging bats on the wallpaper across from us. I was counting outloud--because that's what five year olds do I guess--and my sister would follow along mimicking me, "one, two, free, four, figh, fourty-teeuuuuu" and then giggle to herself.

It wasn't until I was in the family room with my mother and sister recalling this that I realized that, like most of the other times I would go to the hospital with my dad because of some game-playing accident, my sister and I would be alone in the exam room for what seemed like 30, 45, sometimes 60 minutes at a time. I spent the rest of the night in my room with the light off running through my memory until I fell asleep.

At the next family therapy session, the counselor asked me if I could remember anything related to my dad's P.M.S.B.P. I said I could and I related in shorter form what turned out to be a passel of strikingly similar tales of challenges, bets, games, and mishaps. Apparently, my mother had only known about a couple of these incidents because as I went through the list she became visibly more upset until she finally scooted to the edge of the couch and looked out the window toward the vacant lot across the street, weeping quietly to herself.

It wasn't until about 6 or 8 weeks ago that I found out what the real deal was...with the doctor visits, with the protracted periods alone in the exam room, with my mother crying at that, what turned out to be final, therapy session...

There is no such thing as Paternal Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. And, even if there was, my father didn't have it.

Apparently--and my mother knew about it--my father had been cheating on her while she was at work and he was finishing up his PhD. He was cheating with a pediatrics/obstetrics nurse at Kaiser. A nurse, in fact, who was assisting in the delivery room when my mother gave birth to my sister. He wasn't subconsciously getting me sick or inducing gastro-intestinal explosions because he couldn't help himself and just wanted attention from friendly helpful hospital staff. He was doing it so he would have an excuse to go to the hospital and fuck his little nurse. THAT was why we spent so much time alone in the exam room. THAT was why I never remember my dad actually filling out any paper work. And, THAT explains why my mom was unaware of so many of the incidents that came to light in the final therapy session.

What made her cry so...I don't know...so, earnestly and heart-breakingly was that all these incidents spanned a period that was at least twice as long as he had ever admitted to cheating on her for. He had been cheating on her for the better part of their marriage. He had never been faithful. He probably had never really loved her. The combination of these facts, assumptions, and realizations sent my mother into a tailspin of depression.

Since that day, I guess about 8 weeks ago, I have had to get up early so I could get her out of bed. Sometimes I wake up at 3 or 4am in a panic and run upstairs to make sure she hasn't done anything...drastic. She always took a shower without much trouble, but getting her out of bed and getting her to eat breakfast were major major chores that took hours sometimes. I constantly had to remind her that she had kids and friends and co-workers that loved her and supported her and wanted nothing but the best for her. I had to gently but firmly remind her that she had a family that depended on her. Now, I am not a crier, but in these last 8 weeks I have shed more tears with my mother in my arms than any person ever needs to shed.

I know that it has made me perpetually late. I know I've lost focus and stamina. Any time I have a chance to catch up on work I've fallen behind on, all I want to do is catch up on sleep and forget that any of this is happening. I can't say that I'm sorry that I've missed so much work and been perpetually late for everything though, because my mother is the most important person in my life. I have not and will not think twice about hoisting her, literally and figuratively, onto my back and slogging through the muddy, unstable ground of depression and despair until we get to brighter days and firmer ground. She's my mother. I owe her everything. This is the least I can do...

And that is--except for the more...ahem...floral parts of the description of the bathroom scene--exactly what I told my 1st period Spanish 3 teacher (Mr. Mueller) near the end of 3rd quarter sophomore year when he found me after baseball practice one day and told me I was failing because I hadn't shown up for 27 of 39 class days.

I cried. He cried. I apologized. He sympathized. I asked for mercy and help. He told me to take the final and write a three-page paper in Spanish on the status of Puerto Rico as an American protectorate. I thanked him profusely. Two weeks later, he gave me an A-.

Fuck Berkeley. I should have gone to Hollywood.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Roll Call

Americans love numbers and statistics. 755 home runs. Fantasy football leagues. The Olympic Medal Count. 2.4 kids per household. 1600 SATs. 4 out of 5 dentists agree that 8 out of10 dead hookers buried under my house stood a 30% greater chance of survival had they flossed twice a day. Don't ask me why Americans are so enamored with statistics (because you won't like the answer), just understand that, for better or worse, they have been sewn into the fabric of American social and political discourse.

If you've ever read Harper's Magazine or The Atlantic Monthly, you've probably seen their regular 1 or 2 pages spreads somewhere between the Table of Contents and the first lengthy article that function essentially as laundry lists of quirky-yet-insightful statistics gathered from seemingly disparate sources:

From the September 2004 issue of Harpers

Number of words in the first sentence of Bill Clinton's memoir and that of George W. Bush's, respectively: 49, 5
Percentage of pages in Hillary Clinton's memoir that mention her husband, and vice versa, respectively: 45, 20

While any sensible reader can detect in these quanitfiable quick-cuts the considerable left-leaning tendencies of Harper's, it does not change the fact that they are at once both entertaining and informative (regardless of what it is you take from them) in spite of the sometimes politically self-serving undertones of the figures they present.

Harper's calls their page the "Harper's Index." The Atlantic Monthly's has two pages of this kind quite often called "Primary Sources" and "The List." I've named mine "Roll Call."

"Roll Call" is a statistical snapshot of the passengers in my traincar during my commute home on BART every Monday. Before I begin, though, allow me to set the stage.

A typical BART car seats 68-72 people (depending on how old the car is). During an average rush-hour commute, there are usually 9-10 cars per train and an additional 10-25 people standing in the aisle or around the doors of each car. That translates to--on average--a train carrying 750-950 people. (http://www.geocities.com/transitfan/BART.html)

I travel home on the Richmond Line(http://www.bart.gov/images/quickplanner_map_lg4.gif).
Without delays, my commute lasts 37-40 minutes and takes me from downtown San Francisco, under the bay, through the industrial wasteland of West Oakland, through the commerical wasteland of Downtown Oakland, then kicks almost due north through the hippy haven of downtown Berkeley, the middle-aged ex-hippy haven of North Berkeley, and finally up through El Cerrito and into everyone's favorite pit of despair--Richmond*

The path and time of my commute offers quite a unique cross-section of Bay Area life. At 5:30pm on a Monday, every race, gender, sexual orientation, income tax bracket, and education level is likely to be represented. This hodge-podge of BART commuters is what really makes "Roll Call" possible...well...that AND my baseless, non sequitur, ad hominem attacks on people I've never seen before IN MY LIFE! But that is neither here nor there. With that, the first installment of Roll Call:

--# of people reading a local newspaper: 16
--% of those people actually either asleep or reading the Sports or Entertainment sections: 87.5
--# of women wearing bright orange tops: 3
--# of filthy street people that look like a cross between an unemployed mall Santa and Nick Nolte's mugshot (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/mugshots/nolte1.html): 2
--# of those people with wheeled baskets filled with useless shit and hemp products: 2
--likelihood that the two St. Nick Noltes either know each other or have scuffled over prime spots on Market St. to beg for change: 1000%
--# of people listening to iPods: 7
--# of people using PDAs: 3
--# of PDA users who are actually playing solitaire: 3
--% of solitaire-playing PDA users with male-pattern baldness and social circles consisting primarily of regular FARK-party attendeees and local pub trivia afficionados: 100%
--likelihood solitaire-playing PDA users got laid last night: 15%
--likelihood solitaire-playing PDA users got laid last night without a credit card and two forms of ID: 0%
--# of seemingly normal people: 9
--# of large, stunningly handsome, white males listening to music, staring intently at every person on the traincar, and furiously taking copious amounts of short-hand notes: 1
--# of passengers dressed in black from head to toe: 3
--% of black clad passengers that are female: 66.667
--% of black clad passengers that are female by birth: 33.333
--% of black clad passengers that are staring unblinkingly out the traincar window: 100
--% of black clad passengers that like to be bound, gagged, and spanked during sex: 100
--# of black men: 5
--# of black men dressed like Will: 4
--# of black men dressed like Carleton: 1
--% of white women sitting adjacent to black men dressed like Will who reached for their purses or bags when the black men sat down: 75
--% of white women sitting adjacent to black men dressed like Carleton who reached for their purses or bags when the black men sat down: 25
--# of morbidly obese white men sweating profusely, wearing jeans with a cell phone clipped to their belt loops, and sporting backpacks that are way too small for their immense torsos and are, as such, pinning their arms back like butcher's twine around the wings of a Thanksgiving turkey: 4
--# of people who boarded the traincar, saw an open seat, saw an sweaty obese white man sitting next to it, and decided to stand: 11
--# of middle-aged ex-hippies wearing flannel and long unkempt hair pulled sloppily back in a ponytail: 3
--# of those middle-aged ex-hippies also wearing corduroy pants: 2
--likelihood that they are all sitting together: 100%
--# of women I smiled at as they exited the train: 14
--# of women who smiled back: 8
--# of women who smiled back that were engaged or married: 7
--# of women who didn't smile back that were wearing engagement or wedding rings: 0...bitches.

*in high school we played football in the same league as Kennedy High in Richmond. One year--I think my sophomore year--we played Kennedy at their place and had our bus escorted by a phalanx of Richmond PD squad cars because there had recently been a shooting...AT EVERY SINGLE KENNEDY HOME GAME THAT SEASON!

Things That Should Be Invented For People Who Drink A Lot


Time-Sensitive, Breathalyzer-activated credit cards:

More specifically, a system whereby online credit card purchases made after 2 a.m. local time cannot be processed without the would-be purchaser taking a state-certified breathalyzer test and passing said test with a BAC level lower than the maximum allowed to operate a motor vehicle in the would-be purchaser's home state.

Time-sensitive, breathalyzer-activated credit cards can significantly reduce the occurrence of, what experts in the industry call, "what the" purchases. "What the" purchases are typically items and services that, when seen for the first time upon delivery, make the purchaser audibly exclaim "WHAT THE (insert regret-laced expletive here)!?!"

Examples of "what the" purchases might be:

A. ...oh, I don't know...say...a pair of tickets to a college football game 1600 miles from where I...I mean the purchaser, the purchaser...where the purchaser lives.

B. Or, say, a trio of first-class airline tickets for non-stop international travel purchased prior to confirming availability with all relevant traveling and hosting parties.

C. A no-money down $37,000 car loan through my...I mean the PUR-CHA-SERS...credit card company.

D. Pain medication from Costa Rican pharmaceutical distributors.

E. Porn. LOTS AND LOTS of Porn.

And One!

There are really only three things in this world that make me lose perspective on what is important in life: sports, stupid people, and injustice (if by 'injustice' I mean 'bad calls made by game officials against my team') These three things have been, more often than not, the wellspring from which many of my more questionable actions have originated. This story involves all three.*
Watching Arizona play Cal is like watching a hurricane make landfall. You can see it coming, but there is nothing you can do except hope for the best and brace for the worst. Seeking shelter from the storm that is Arizona basketball, some friends and I went to a sports bar in the Marina district of San Francisco. Bracing for the worst, we ate nearly 100 buffalo wings (10 cent wings specials are a gift from God) and drink A LOT. Hoping for the best, we drank even more. By the time all hope was lost and Cal had been flattened by Hurricane Wildcat, we had put away a twelve pack of pitchers.

For the most part, the evening proved uneventful. At least until the 8 minute mark in the second half. And if you exclude the stream of frustrated invective spewed at the television screen by the people at my table. AND if you don't count the little run-in we had with the boyfriends of some UofA girls seated at a table behind us.

The only thing more frustrating in sport-spectatordom than hearing idiotic cheers from a gaggle of empty-headed sluts is when that gaggle of empty-headed sluts is pulling for the other team. That was the case with a group of UofA girls sitting directly behind us. At one point I actually heard this exchange:

EmptyHeadedSlut #1: so we're in the blue shirts right?
EmptyHeadedSlut #2: yeah, I wish they were in the white ones though because you can see their muscles and their butts better
EmptyHeadedSlut #1: Who's Number 22? He's CUTE!

That was all I could take. I told them they should shut the fuck up or go to another bar. They thought I was being cute apparently because they just giggled and whispered to each other (no doubt confirming with each other that my friends and I were way better looking than the douchebags they were with and undoubtedly had much much larger penises).

To my frustration and dismay, the girls continued to cheer on Arizona. This compelled me to turn around and ask them rather loudly if they did not, in fact, have some Girls Gone Wild video to shoot somewhere. This did not go over well with the boyfriends. They got up quickly and came over to our table. My buddy CV and I stood up. There ended that little stand-off. They warned us to "be nice" and "show some respect." We laughed at them. (author's note: for those of you unfamiliar with the University of Arizona, there is nothing more incongruous than the words 'respect' and 'UA co-ed.')

So, there is just over 8 minutes to go in the second half and Cal has somehow trimmed the lead to 6 points. Luke Walton brings the ball down for Arizona. The clock is running and he dishes to Salim Stoudamire on the left elbow. Richard Midgley for Cal, though, steps in the passing lane and starts down the right side of the court ball in hand. He's got a clear lane to the hoop. The drunken Cal fans are going nuts in the student section. Somehow, that floppy-headed honky Ric "Pea Soup" Andersen gets back on defense. He tries to get in front of Midgley to draw a charge, but he is CLEARLY late. Midgley goes up with the finger roll, crashes into Andersen, and hits the shot. Both men hit the floor and the whistle blows. It's gonna be an "And One!" Cal's gonna have a chance to cut it to 3. The ref blows the whistle again and begins the motion for a blocking foul and the "And One" call when he switches up his motion, points the other way, and calls a charge.

FUCK!!! I nearly broke the table. CV and I are up out of our chairs screaming at the television. People are staring. The UofA bitches are snickering and clapping. My face is red with the fury when they show a slow-motion replay. It is CLEARLY a blocking foul. They then cut to a shot of the ref calling the foul. I was filled with so much white-hot rage I couldn't see straight. I could've melted steel with my rage. So I did what came naturally and hurled my empty pint glass at, and through, the flat screen television in front of us--the one that dared display the despicable events that had just transpired.

The bar fell silent except for the inappropriate laughter of my friends. I freaked. We couldn't see the game anymore. I started yelling for someone to change all the TVs to the Cal game. The manager came storming over in an absolute fury. I couldn't understand him, however, because all I could hear was myself yelling at the waitress or somebody to change all the TVs to the Cal game. I only caught snippets of his rant. Something about 8 thousand dollars and getting fired. Finally he said the magic word. "Police." I sobered up in a hurry. The manager--who incidentally had a body-odor funk trail like the Hale-Bopp comet--was saying that the TV cost $8000 (it was a 36" flat screen) and that his boss was going to fire him and that if I didn’t stop yelling about turning on the Cal game he was going to call the police. Now it was making sense.

Armed with this new-found knowledge, I accompany the manager back to the bar. As we walk and I try to breathe through my mouth to avoid his overpowering man-stench, half the TVs click over to the Cal game. I feel like I have asserted my Alpha-male dominance once again. It turns out, however, that half the sober people in the bar were there for the Cal game too. I wasn't the only one. They asked that the TVs be turned. I'm convinced, though, that my berating was the catalyst. Anyhow, I delay answering most of his questions directly in order to concentrate on the action in the game. I am assisted in my endeavors by my relative incoherence and a steady stream of customers at the bar. I catch all the action until all hope is lost and I can't watch anymore--about the 2:15 mark.

At this point, the manager asks for my ID and my credit card. I steadfastly refuse to hand over my credit card and instead pull out one my business cards. I inform the manager that the person on this card is, in fact, my legal attache and can be contacted regarding these issues during regular business hours. I then pull out a fake ID my roommate made for me back in college. He looks at it for a loooooooong time before he starts taking down the information. I watch with increasing paranoia as his pen moves across the cocktail napkin in front of him. He gets everything down:

Name: Ellison, Lawrence
DOB: 2/23/64 (authors note: I am 24. This DOB puts me at 39. He didn't bat an eyelash at this)
Address: 2 Maverick Ct., Woodside, CA 94062
Phone: 415-466-7225 (authors note: 466-7225 spells GO ORACL)
Re: $8000 plasma flat screen tv. broken. pint glass. Cal game

(my roommate had a hard-on for Larry Ellison and Oracle database software in college. I don't know what else to tell you. We worry about him sometimes)

Anyhow, the manager hands me back my ID and assures me that my attorney will be hearing from him in the next couple of days. I nod solemnly, trying to hold back laughter. I try to order another beer and he tell me to go fuck myself. My friends shuttle me out of the bar and take me home. The worst part about the whole thing was that the pint glass was MINE. One came free with every purchase of a pitcher.

*I posted this once before on the Tucker Max Messageboard. I cleaned it up a little and added some stuff for clarity.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Kill 'Em All--Reposted

My buddy Graham is leaving town for a month or so to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Last night we met up at a bar in Berkeley so he could give me some shit he was storing for a mutual friend and so we could assail our bodies with unwise amounts of alcohol. We met around 7:30, sat outside on the big patio, had some beers, and got to talking.

The conversation went from his great-aunt choking on a chicken bone and then dying because the surgeon sliced her jugular when he tried to excise the bone, to malpractice suits and nationalized health care, to the litigious nature of American society, to the history of Venice as a city-state, to the optimal size of republics, to killing everyone except small enclaves of 1000 people spread significantly apart over the globe. This is where the conversation got interesting:

G: 1000 people is just about right. Small enough where you sort of know everyone but big enough to get a cross-section of skills and abilities.
N: And enough genetic variation to avoid becoming another England.
G: Hey dude, I'm English.
N: Yeah, what's your point?
G: Seriously though, over the past few months I have become more and more enamored with the idea of just killing everyone except for like a 1000 people.
N: I see at least 50 on this patio who could go.
G: Oh no dude, they ALL go. How many of these graduate student dickheads do you think could grow enough food to feed themselves let alone 1000 people?
N: Probably none.
G: PROBABLY!?! Dude, they study post-modernism. All of them. I don't care if they're in med school or the School of Architecture. Somewhere they've used the term "post-modern" incorrectly or they own some bullshit book about it. Dead. All of them.
G: I know dude, things would be so much simpler.

At this point I noticed that we were getting some looks. Nothing too bad, just some shithead European exchange students who probably heard us say "post-modern" and got erections. Graham, fortunately for us all, continued...

G: You know where we'd have to start don't you?
N: Stanford?
G: No. Well yes, but no. The retards.
G: No seriously. Think about how much time and energy and resources are wasted on members of society who don't give anything back. Retards are parasites. Plain and simple. I don't know why human life has so much value to people. THEY'RE RETARDED! THEY DROOL!

This last part was met with a couple "ughs!" from the peanut gallery. I snuck a peek and saw that a few people were listening intently with their mouths agape. Graham had an audience but I don't think he noticed. I, however, did.

N: Would you stop at retards? I don't think I would.
G: Of course not. Man, if my wife gave birth to a retard I would smash the baby against the sidewalk and then off my wife.
N: What? Why?
G: It's not gonna be MY genetics that turn my offspring into a mongoloid. She pops out a tardpup and she's history
N: Oh man, that is awesome. You should start a movement.
G: Nah, people are so touchy when it comes to killing retards. Even parents whose lives have been ruined by some drooling, uncommunicative blob resist the idea. I just don't get it
N: So who's next? I'd say ugly people. I'm convinced that eugenics wasn't born out of racial hatred or resistance to miscegenation. It probably started because someone was tired of seeing so many goddamn ugly people.
G: I think you go for the parents of the retards next. When a rabid dog bites someone you destroy the dog don't you?
N: Then you sell it to a Laotian vegetarian restaurant.
G: Dude, that's fucked up.
G: Yeah, but I have a legitimate reason--the survival of the Republic and the human race as we know it.
N: If that's the reason, then I would kill 12-18 year olds that have no potential. Kids who have detracted from society to the point where they will most likely never give enough back to balance the scales or who would run the risk of perpetuating their wasteful existence by having kids of their own. Those kids? DIRTNAP!

I noticed that people were leaving or moving far away from us. It's not like we had AIDS or something, we were just speaking the truth.

N: Next on my list would be the blind.
G: Really? I think the blind could serve some purpose that would put them lower on the Kill List.
N: Dude, what purpose do they serve other than to slow down fucking traffic when they cross the street or be great piano playing R&B/Soul musicians. Songs in the Key of Life? Nope. Songs in the Key of DIRTNAP!

This got Graham laughing hysterically. It was almost disruptive. God bless alcohol and a broken moral compass.

N: I'd probably do the deaf next but they're tricky. Since they can see you'd have to sneak up behind them. That's too much work. So I guess I'd go with the Stanford basketball team next and then France.
G: See Nils, now your just trying to be funny. I'm serious about this. We have driven this crazy train so far off the evolutionary track that the only way to get going in the right direction is a quick and decisive corrective movement. You know how raising interest rates by multiple percentage points or the bottom falling out of an industry can create a market correction that changes the way people invest and manage their money?
N: Ummm, sure
G: That's what this would be. A mass extinction but without the meteor or the nuclear winter. I think it would work.
N: You're really drunk aren't you?
G: Yep.

It was at this point that we decided to make our exit and go to a bar that served cocktails and shots and various other concoctions of high-octane forget-juice. Graham and I had several. Of everything. That's all I remember.

My roommate woke me up this morning as she left for work around 6:30. I was on the living room couch. Fallen over. Fully clothed. From the waist up. With a half-eaten Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger in my hand. There were fries and at least a dozen monster taco wrappers scattered all over the coffee table. I had ketchup all over my face and a huge brown stain down the front of my Mexican-waiter shirt from when I spilled most of my last Irish Carbomb.

R: Nils, get up and get in your bed.
N: What time is it?
R: Early
N: What stinks in here?
N: Oh.
R: Jesus Christ Nils, put some pants on. You look like a retard.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Sidelines Vol. 1

When you spend your twenties saying stupid shit with a bunch of friends who say similar stupid shit (our term for it is "talking sausage"), you end up with a wealth of dialogue snippets and diatribes that bear repeating. Some of them are "guess you had to be there" moments, others are "what the fuck is the matter with you" moments.

My buddy Dave came back into town the other day from a six-week geological fieldcamp in Montana that kicked the shit out of him. 15 hours a day, 6 days a week for 6 weeks all for 6 units. Six! You want me to work that fucking hard...IN SCHOOL...you better add a fucking '-teen' to that six. But I digress...

His plane landed at SFO around 2pm and he took an airport shuttle into the City where my car was so he could drop all his luggage off. While he waited for me to get off work, Dave went down to a pub across the street from my office, had a few beers, and grabbed a bite to eat. We drove back to Berkeley around 5:30 and headed straight for a bar called Jupiter where our good friend is the manager/bartender. On the way there, Dave mentioned--both verbally and anally--that he needed to find a bathroom.

We pulled up behind the bar about 20 minutes later and Dave bid a hasty retreat into the welcoming embrace of the Jupiter staff bathroom and its endless supply of two-ply toilet paper. While he dropped the Cosby kids off at the pool, I sat down at a table across from the bar and ordered a couple of beers. The girl who brought the drinks over had just been hired that week and happened to be a friend of a friend who I'd hung out with a few times socially. We started chit-chatting about the job and other stupid bullshit that I don't remember because this girl is Argentinian, 5'1", 95lbs, ridiculously pretty and speaking to me with a sweet accented voice that made me want to buy her a corndog.

Dave finally strolls up with a huge grin on his face, basking in the afterglow of his anal exorcism, completely unconcerned about my conversation with the Argentian waitress, and announces "I think I have post-partum depression." That's the last time I have beer in my mouth when Dave comes back from taking a crap.

The final round of the Masters this spring was a magical moment for many sports fans. Some will never forget where they were when they watched Phil sink that putt on 18 to win his first major championship. I know I'll never forget where I was. At home. On my couch. With Dave. After getting kicked out of a bar. For being, and this is a quote, "classless, tasteless, and rude."

The course at Augusta National is replete with historical golfing landmarks. You probably recognize many of them by name and sight thanks to all those softly-spoken, weepy soundbites from that eunuch Jim Nantz on CBS during the buildup to the tournament.

Sarazen Bridge... Eisenhower Cabin...Amen Corner. Beauty, history, and grace. Join us, won't you? A tradition unlike any other. The Masters. On CBS.
I can just see that fucking pansy Nantz rubbing his nipples while he does those voiceover promos. Fucking twit. Anyway...
One of the landmarks of which I speak is Ray's Creek. Ray's Creek is a small brook that functions as a hazard on the right side of the 12th hole at Augusta. Over the course of Masters weekend, at least one of those overstuffed idiots from CBS' on-course coverage team gives a quick report from right in front of it. Usually something about club selection being critical on that hole or something about what Tiger Woods ate for breakfast. Something stupid, that's all you really need to know.
For some reason, this year Ray's Creek was really dirty. I don't recall if it's always been like that, but this year it was remarkably dirty. It looked like the chocolate river in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or as Dave loudly put it while we were seated at the bar:
N: Oh shit, it totally does. All that's missing are Indian children splashing around while their mothers wash the laundry
D: Do you think Vijay Singh bathes in Ray's Creek every morning?
Dave and I start cracking up at the bar. We can barely breathe we're laughing so hard--completely oblivious to the annoyed patrons around us and the Indian bartender who was serving our drinks.
N: Dude, Vijay Singh isn't even Indian. He's from Fiji! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
D: I know. I still bet he bathes in Ray's Creek. HAHAHAHA With his visor on HAHAHAHA but no shirt HHAHHAHAAAHA so he can clean under his man-titties! HAHAHAHAHAA
N: he uses his putter to reach the hard to reach places. Scrubs up nice and good like an Irish Spring commercial.
I think it might have been the putter comment that pushed the bartender over the edge, but there's no way to be sure
B: Please leave you two.
D: Wha?! Why?!
N: Dude, Dave are you serious?
D: Yeah dude, I don't want to leave. What did we do?
N: Dude, Da--
B: I am a Sikh. I am also Indian and I do not like what you gentlemen are saying. I find it offensive and shocking coming from people in Berkeley. No one else has ever treated me like this in my years in Berkeley. Vijay Singh is a Sikh like me but he is NOT Indian. We are not all the same you know. You both are classless, tasteless and rude and I want you to leave my bar right now. Just pay for your drinks I don't want your money for tip. It is dirty. Please go.
Dave and I just sort of looked at each other, quietly slid off our bar stools, and made our way toward the door like an ashamed version of Michael Corleone in Godfather I when he kills the police captain and Salazzo--eyes straight ahead, looking at no one, feeling the glances of the other patrons, feeling like it's taking forever to get to the exit. We reached the open front door--FINALLY-- and as I started making my way down the stairwell Dave stopped inside the doorway at the top step, turned around, put one arm straight up in the air, scrubbed under his armit with the other and started singing:
I don't think we'll be welcome back in that bar anytime soon...unless my anonymous call to the Homeland Security Department bears any fruit.

Shoe Shine King

People who commute on BART usually carry something with them to occupy their time. Some people read. Some listen to music. Some sleep. And some play on their laptops or engage in some other sort of pretentious behavior...like knitting. I'm sorry my little patouli-soaked dirt surfer, but knitting scarves and hats for the homeless with your recycled bamboo needles and your organic, pesticide-free vegan wool isn't going to change the fact that you feel guilty about your privileged upper middle-class childhood or that you are bitter at your parents for still being happily married and sending you to private schools. GET OVER IT! We all know you're headed home for a Will and Grace marathon with the rest of your granola-eating, bi-curious, cutter friends. Anyway, I listen to music and read the paper on the train.

Being a writer and a BART-observing enthusiast, I am somewhat conflicted by this. I'm virtually certain I have foresaken hilarious conversations just behind me for AC/DC's Stiff Upper Lip and the cryptoquip in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle. Luckily, sometimes the funny just comes to you. Like Friday morning. When a youngish family of three boarded my car huddled together and cowering in fear; followed closely by a drunk, yammering black man in an olive-green pin-striped suit with a pea-green collarless dress shirt, green and gray gator boots, a gray fedora, and a briefcase. This is one of those brilliant moments on BART when you fold your newspaper, slide off your headphones, sit back and let the magic happen.

The family of three--a young boy, his good-looking, olive-complected father, and his short frumpy unremarkable mother--slid quickly into the seats closest to the door (the ones for the blind and disabled) with a visible sense of relief. One got the sense from looking at them that they felt like the seats offered some sort of security and respite from the drunk guy in the olive suit. Boy were they wrong. The family sat in the one place that had the most open standing room of any place on the traincar. It was a Friday morning, so the train was at its typical less-than-full Friday capacity. This meant the drunk black man in the olive suit had a whooooole bunch of open area to work with. He was going to play the jester, and this was going to be his stage. I was giddy with excitement.

I can't really say that Olive Suit ever started talking in the context of this story because I could tell that he probably had never stopped. What I can do, is start with the first full thing I heard him say as he boarded the train on the coattails of the family:

Olive Suit: Yous all married? I used to be married 10, 20, 30 years ago HAHAHAHAHAHA but I gave that shit up! I's a playuh! Straight up man, I ain't gonna lies to yuh. I's a playuh! Sheeeeeeiiiiit, I's with two a my hoes last night. Yeah I'm still drunk so what HAHAHAHAHA cuz I's a playuh cuuuuuzzzzz
Wife: Yep, we're married. And this is our son. How long were you married sir?
Son: I'm five and a half!
W: Do you miss her at--
S: I'm five and a half!
OS: Daaaammmmnnn, you's a big kid. You keep eatin the way you do and you be like big man over here (gesturing toward me). Inn't that right, big man?!
N: Yep, 20 more years like you're going and you can be big, unshaven and hungover too.
OS: HAHAHAHA you funny big man you funny.

The wife confused me at first. You would think as a mother of a young child you would try to shield him from someone like Olive Suit. You would cover his ears, ask Olive Suit to watch his language, move seats, something! Instead, the wife was actually sitting on the edge of her seat leaning forward and listening intently to what Olive Suit was saying. Her husband was slumped down in his seat the whole time either avoiding eye contact with Olive Suit or looking desperately to the other passengers trying to figure out what was going on. Her son was just bobbing up and down having fun with a big smile plastered on his face. I was waiting for him to tug on his mom's shirt and say something like "wow Mommy, this clown is funny. Do they have clowns on all the BART trains?"

OS: So this yo husband?
W: Yep, and this is our son.
S: I'm five and a half!
OS: Where you from brutha?
W: He's from Turkey.

The husband nodded in assent and gave Olive Suit a forced, awkward smile that belied the facts that a: he probably didn't understand half of what Olive Suit was saying and b: he just wanted him to go away.

OS: From Turkey!? Naaahh, yous a turkey girl? Why you give up on 'merican men? Whas wrong wit 'merican men? You don't like em no more? C'mon sweetheart, I'm all man and I am definitely allllll-'merican!
N: Ohhhh shit. That's awesome!
OS: You know it big man. You know it big man.

Olive Suit stumbles over to me and runs me through his intricate Olive-Suit-Is-The-Man-And-Just-Banged-Two-Women-And-Is-Still-Drunk handshake.

W: American men are fine. We met when I was in Turkey when I was 21 and we fell in love. Then he came back to America with me and we had a little boy.
S: I'm five and a half!

That's when it hit me. SHE'S A MORMON! It all fit. Upon a second glance, she looked like Lazy-Eyed Mormon's younger sister. Bad, pasty white skin. Ratty hair. Squat, lumpy body. All she was missing was the lazy eye and the graying snaggletooth! I figured it all out in a span of like 30 seconds.

She went to Turkey for her mission. She met a guy. He was receptive to her mission and to her advances. She saw in him God's plan for her. He saw in her GREEEEEEEN CAAAAAAAARRRRRD! It made perfect sense. He probably did understand everything Olive Suit was saying, he just didn't care. I mean look at her...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA.

There was a bit of a lull at this point in Act 1 of Theater on the BART Tracks. Olive Suit was swaying gently and drunkenly with undulation of the moving train. Suddenly, he drops to his knees, flattens his briefcase, flips the locks--I see this and I'm getting ready to jump behind my seat Boyz n' the Hood style--and he pulls out a fabric swatch (his briefcase had 3 Sports Illustrateds and the fabric swatch. That's it).

OS: This is gonna be my next suit. You like it? I think it's HOT! I gotta question fah ya though. What color fedora you think I should get? (the swatch was royal blue with thin silver and purple stripes running vertically and horizontally, respectively)

This is one of those instances where, if you are uncomfortable in a situation with a stranger, you beg off by showing no interest and saying something like " I don't know, whatever. I'm no good with that kind of thing." Instead, Mormon Wife TAKES THE SWATCH AND STARTS EXAMINING IT! When she showed it to GreenCard Husband my eyes lit up with glee like a 6yr old on Christmas morning. THIS IS GREAT! YOU COULDN'T MAKE THIS UP IF YOU TRIED!

W: Well why don't you get a blue one like the color of the suit
OS: HAHAHAHAAHA. No bayyyy-beeee, you can't get blue wit dis! You gotta get a purple one, like the stripe in there. I was testin' you, girl! Yo man can dress, he look good. Ask him to teach you what's up.

Olive Suit had been standing a good 15-20 minutes at this point and I think he was getting a little tired of bobbing and swaying everytime the train took a turn or slowed to enter a station stop. He picked up his briefcase, sat it down on it's bottom edge, and took a seat on it. Unfortunately, his weight wasn't centered and the briefcase fell to one side. He went the other. Hard. Everyone in that part of the train stopped. Everyone but Olive Suit

OS: Come ooonnnn big man, help a brutha up! I know you been drunker'n me befo' big ass white motherfucker. Shit.

I helped him up in spite of his disgustingly sweaty hands and the forcefield of Eau-de-Degenerate-BudLight-Swiller perfume he was shrouded in.

OS: I used to be a boxuh! Over in Oakland, 'n Hunters Point 'n shit. You could be a boxer one day too little man. Show me you jab!

Olive Suit leans forward toward the family with his hands extended. The little boy's eyes light up. His parents--both of them this time--recoil in horror hoping he either doesn't fall on them or puke on them or both. Well Olive Suit is having a hard time keeping his balance at this point. He's leaning forward in an awkward position, the train had just entered the underwater tunnel connecting Oakland to San Francisco, and the conductor had just accelerated the train to it's 71 mph cruising speed.

Olive Suit is a problem solver. He grabs the kid under the armpits, lifts him up from between his now petrified parents, and plants him in the middle of the open floor space. The kid is loving it. Olive Suit puts his hands out:

OS: Okay little man, show me yo' jab. Gimme a combination. Hit me wich yo lef' now da right now the right again now da lef'

Little Man is doing everything he said and swimming in the attention. I've seen Special Olympics medalists look less happy. Olive Suit wasn't pleased with how Little Man was punching though

OS: Naw, naw, naw you got no balance. You gotta setcho' feet. Drive witcho' hips and bring yo hands through.

Little man didn't get it. He's five and a half, what the hell does he know. Like I said though, Olive Suit is a problemsolver. He picks up Little Man again, spins him around, plants him in the floor, bends over, moves his legs how he wants them, grabs Little Man's balled up fists, tells GreenCardHusband to put his hands out, and starts guiding Little Man's punches firmly into the outstretched palms of his father.

IT WAS AWESOME! Combine the visual with the now overpowering stench of sweat and Bud Light oozing from his suit-sheathed pores and you have quite possibly the most tragically funny commutes in the history of BART.

The train started to slow as we approached Embarcadero Station--the first San Francisco stop. It's where I get off everyday and, apparently, where Olive Suit gets off everyday

OS: Well, dis me. Yeah I got my own business. 17 years. I'M DA SHOE SHINE KING! I got me a little stand right at the top of Embarcadero by the Hyatt wit the turnin' restaurant on top. Dat's MY business. I own that shit. Remember that...you too big man. Dat's MY business. I'M DA SHOE SHINE KING!

One of these things does not look like the others!

Someone's frightened of large black men with mohawks...

(Christen, Lauren, Ellen, Aunt Sharon, Uncle Bob...oh and Mr. T)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


There are five common male names in English nomenclature that produce more nicknames than any other: Robert, Richard, William, Johnathan, and James. These five names and their attendant derivations are responisble for probably 25% of the male section of my high school yearbook. While each of these names is normal and passes through our lips on a daily basis with little, if any, notice, I will forever look askance at any Robert, Richard, William, Johnathan, or James who refuses to take or use a nickname. It is unacceptable. It is unco-operative. It is un-American. The one I am most suspicious of is James.

James is a haughty little bitch. His angst and hostility toward the world and toward adopting a nickname undoubtedly have roots in his childhood. At some point, probably 5th or 6th grade, James had two other James' in his class. To differentiate between them, his teacher called one Jimmy, one Jim, and one James.

Jimmy became the class-clown, doing just enough to get by and stay out of serious trouble until he turned 18, went off to a state school for college, and became a career undergrad thanks to hydroponic weed and Saved by the Bell re-runs on the Superstation.

Jim played all the sports and idolized his loser father. He was the first to successfully lie about sleeping with a hot girl from another high school. Jim drank a lot, did stupid shit, got by because his parents were loaded, and ended up doing nothing with his life

James had nowhere to turn for a distinctive male identity. So he fled into the warm embrace of his home economics teacher and her amazing apple strudel recipe. James made a lot of female friends all the way through high school and into his years as an undergrad at Vassar. His female friends bonded with him like he was one of the girls and constantly wondered aloud when some lucky girl was going to snatch him up--all the while secretly speculating as to when he would come out of the closet.

Like any American male trying to feign heterosexuality, James was at once saddened and concerned by his lack of male friends. Luckily, in the middle of his sophomore year at Vassar, James found companionship and solace in the form of Shakespeare in the Park...with other "men" who also refused to take nicknames--Phillip, Ronald, Andrew, Edward...you get the picture.

Oh you don't? Well let me give you one so you know what I mean (you need to be on Friendster to check this one out): http://www.friendster.com/user.php?uid=56555

Yeah, exactly. Shit, the man wrote a friend of mine a note that said, and I quote:

"bright cacaphony
burning into my synapse
perchance we will meet"

Are you fucking kidding me?! Combine that little gem with the progression of the very desperate, very maudlin of circumstances that ARE his life, and it's no fucking wonder James owns a cape. More often than not, he has multiple capes--one of which must be black or dark red crushed velvet.

James was the first person in his school to move from Dungeons & Dragons to playing Magic: The Gathering and owning a full deck. He was (and continues to be) a regular at every Rennaisance Fair he could get his mother to drive him to and he uses words like "damsel" and "indeed" far more often than is either acceptable or comfortable in contemporary American speech.

It's no suprise that James' speech is affected, though. He refuses to use slang or contractions. If you could see the dialogue bubbles over his head when he speaks--like in comic strips--I guaranfuckingtee you 'theater' and 'center' would be spelled with an "-re." It's like he grew up in the English countryside or the sitting room of William F. Buckley's house.

If Madonna were a man, she'd be named 'James.' And, just like someone needs to tell that pretentious, gap-toothed twat that she's FROM FUCKING DETROIT!!!, someone needs to tell James that he grew up in Orange County next door to a kid who is now the #2 Skimboarder in the world. His name is Josh...NOT FUCKING JOSHUA EITHER YOU POMPOUS FUCKING DOUCHEBAG!

My favorite part about James is the part he tries to hide. The deviant part. The dark, self-loathing part. Just because his entire wardrobe can be described as "long" and "flowing" and just because he owns a hardbound copy of Canteburry Tales IN THE ORIGINAL MIDDLE ENGLISH does not mean that the man doesn't listen exclusively to opera and industrial metal or jab safety pins through his erect penis while staring entranced at his full-sized Michael Hutchence poster and sitting on hold with Ticketmaster trying to get 4 together for the Nine Inch Nails/Marilyn Manson/Slipknot concert coming to the Staples Center this fall.

James projects this faux intellectual intensity that he desperately hopes will at once intimidate and intrigue people. The reality is it just makes him look like an idiot. Dude, it's NOT INTIMIDATING! I wouldn't approach anyone who was sitting alone in the back corner of a cafe who looked like he was trying to push out a turd! So take your Chai Latte and your Foucault reader, and take a big stinking intellectual dump on your own time. You're starting to scare the waitresses.

Monday, August 16, 2004

What is Art?

A couple months ago my friend Will was in town for the weekend and staying at my place. That Saturday morning, after a pretty rigorous night of partying, I came out into the living room to find Will on the couch watching porn on the XBox. The only thing that could have been more disturbing was if he was jerking off when I walked in...and I'm sure that was only a matter of time. I registered my disgust audibly and it was met with laughter and a shit-eating grin. Will knows I don't like porn (the .avi files he was watching belonged to my roommate who, along with his girlfriend, are...how shall I say...connoisseurs), so being the antagonistic prick he is, he likes to put it on whenever he has the opportunity. I contend that porn is boring and superficial. Will argues that it is art. Wait, what? Yep, art. This conversation was going to be fun.

Over the next hour or so, Will tried to convince me that anything that is not a naturally occurring phenomenon should be considered art or, at the very least, an art form. Bridges, macaroni and cheese, highway overpasses, motor home bathrooms, corn dogs at the Texas State Fair (that one was mine). We went through a litany of thing many of which I granted him either on the merits or for the sake of comedy. I had to draw the line, however, at pornography.

N: Porn is NOT a legitimate art form, Will! It's the holding pen for the cocaine-addicted incest survivors of this country. I'm convinced porn is a secret government program meant to keep all these miscreants in one place.
W: One place? You do realize that not all porn stars know each other or live together?
N: Sure they do. It's called Van Nuys. These people fuck first and foremost for money dude, and that makes porn ineligible for the classification of art or art form.
W: Nils, for a smart kid you sure can be close-minded. Art is about personal individual expression. It's not about convention or standards of normalcy or the perceptions of the audience. Just because they fuck for money does not mean what they create is not beautiful or meaningful.
N: Thank you, Eve Ensler. Are you done with your little vagina monologue? Can we go get some fucking breakfast please? I'm fucking starving.
W: Dude, you know what I mean. Porn at its very basic level is the artistic expression of personal sexuality.
W: Okay, maybe that part isn't art. But the dialogue in this picture is top-shelf. I know that's what drew me to the Anal Spelunkers series.
N: No, what drew you to it was the fact that you're a sexual fucking deviant.
W: Now that was just mean. It's not my problem that my artistic sensibilities are more cultivated than your own. And honestly, I'm not going to take criticism about art from someone who still covers his bedroom walls with signs he's stolen from campus construction sites.
N: Shut the fuck up dude. Just finish your movie so we can go. Woud you like some privacy Larry Flint? The Jergens lotion and toilet paper are where they usually are…under your fucking pillow.
W: Nah, I'm fine. I'll just use your couch cushions.
N: You're such a dick.
W: Don't worry dude. I'll flip 'em over when I'm done.

Friday, August 13, 2004

The Greatest Halftime Show On Earth

I wrote this about a year and a half ago after going to a basketball game with a friend of mine. I posted it on the Tucker Max Messageboard and have brought it back here by request and so it gets another moment in the sun.

Last night I went to the Warriors-Celtics game in Oakland with a buddy from work. The Warriors were getting demolished in the first half so all I had to look forward to was my next drink. We were sitting courtside 7 rows back and, as such, had access to the Club Bar. The Club Bar is never crowded like the concession stands and doesn't have that ridiculous "2 drink maximum, last beer served at end of 3rd Quarter" rule that has so often killed my buzz. My buddy and I took turns getting four drinks at a time (2 Belvedere and Tonics and 2 Crown and Cokes) throughout the first half. By halftime we were shit-housed.

The buzzer sounds at the end of the second quarter and out runs this gaggle of little people in green and white jerseys. I thought I was seeing things. Half the kids bolted to the sideline and a 5 on 5, full court game broke out. Apparently, when I was paying too close attention to one of my crown and cokes, the hoops had been lowered to seven feet and somebody had tossed the ball up for tip-off to a 10 minute scrimmage. Three minutes in and the game had gone nowhere. No one had made a basket. It wasn't until the 5-minute mark that anyone hit the damn rim when, finally, the biggest kid on the floor purposefully grabbed a rebound, started looking around and freaked. He launched the ball toward center court into the hands of the opposing team.

It's at this point that I got suspicious. I got out of my seat, drink(s) in hand and walked OVER the 6 rows of seats in front of me to get a good look at the kids. I almost fell over. It turns out that we were witnessing a scrimmage of the under-13 Bay Area Special Olympics Basketball Team. Tards! Real tards! And there were 16 of them …though I can't be sure because I was counting running and fidgeting little people in a drunken fog. Most of the tards were just standing around waiting to get the ball, but a couple of the kids--conveniently split between sides--had real skills. One kid had a real nice jumper. Another--I'm not sure if he was Lebanese, Iranian, Mexican (how can you really tell when it’s a tard with a unibrow)--has the Tim Hardaway Killer Crossover down to perfection. His only problem was, once he finished with his dribbling exhibition, he had no idea what to do with the ball. Someone would eventually have to come over, grab the ball, and make yet another in a series of ill-advised tard shots.

Time is winding down now and the score is 10-4. I'm screaming at the team in white to get it together and take some good shots but they won't listen to me (it might be worth noting here that upon discovering we were watching tard basketball, my buddy and I each picked a side and bet the next round of drinks on the outcome…I picked the white team). As I am yelling at the top of my lungs for the big tard to "Box out! Box out, goddamnsonuvabitch, Box out!" the PA announcer comes on and says, "OK people, we're coming down to the wire in FIVE, FOUR, THREE…" It's 10-4 and this really skinny tard on my team has the ball and is driving down court. I start yelling "PULL UP, PULL UP," and he pulls up just inside the NBA 3point line at the top of the key and BURIES a jumper at the buzzer. The best part of my skinny tard's shot was that as he shot it he made that little bounce and wrist cock that pro and college players make when they know their shot is going in. As it goes in, his whole team--both sides of the tard scrimmage--mob him in a big, sloppy tard-pile. The crowd is cheering. I'm going fuckin' crazy even though my team just lost and I have to go to the bar and drop 30 plus tip on 4 under-sized cocktails. I'm shouting, "MONEY, THAT WAS MONEY, MY BOY IS MONEY!"
People are staring. My buddy is seated crippled with laughter. I start cracking up with him sloshing my drink on the seats in front of me. Then, out of nowhere, almost on cue, the tardpile scatters and all the kids race to center court for a team photo. You couldn't have beaten the smiles off their faces. The photographer snaps a couple of great shots, tells them he's done and, I swear to god, the whole team takes a victory lap around the court! They're getting high fives from the media guys on the other side of the court and fans sitting behind the players benches. Not willing to miss a single MOMENT of this, I leap over the 6 rows in front of me again (spilling my vodka tonic down my leg) and give each one of them a high five. It was awesome! They made a full circuit, stopped, waved to everyone with that limber, non-jointed tard wave that has become the trademark of tard greetings, and bolted off the floor. I challenge ANYONE to come up with better halftime show entertainment than pre-teen tard basketball.

I'm Not Laughing with You, I'm Laughing AT You

One of my roommates and one of my best friends work as lab techs at a large biotech firm in the Bay Area. As the nature of lab work requires a lot of sitting around and waiting for shit to incubate, they--along with the rest of the people they work with--have a lot of time to kill. Because everyone works pretty closely and because they are all a bunch of nosy bitches, the lab as a whole gravitates toward shit that one or two people have found to occupy their time.

Last year it was browsing the "Missed Connections" and "Casual Encounters" sections of Craigslist. This year it's setting up profiles on Friendster and Match.com, trolling for suitable mates, and sending them through the vetting process that is the ruthless public scrutiny of everyone in the lab.

The other night, I was chatting with my roommate and she started showing me some of her co-workers' profiles as well as those of the people some of her co-workers have either "winked" at or gone out with. Like anything else on the internet, the cross-section she showed me ran the gamut. My favorite? A 28-year old guy whose unsername is "Puppysmile."

Anyway, she told me I should put one up because it's funny to see who "winks" at you and partly, I'm sure, because she wants me to get a girlfriend. So I did.


my username is naparker

have fun

Cinco de Drinko

I love Cinco de Mayo. I love going out in the city. I love free booze. I wrote a little song about. Like to hear it? Here it goes...

On a day celebrated by Mexican-Americans in commemoration of the Mexican Army's single victorious battle over the French (pause here, pick your jaw up off the floor, catch your breath, and read on) at Puebla in 1862, I went out drinking Monday night with an Irishman (Jack), a Pakistani (Samir), and a Puerto Rican (Cesar). How the fuck does that work? It was their treat, though. So I didn't give a SHIT how it worked as long as it involved alcohol. Lots of alcohol.

We start the night around 8 at a new English pub around the corner from my office. It generally sucks, thus requiring me to find/create/instigate my own fun. As we make our way to the back of the pub we pass a table full of white guys in sombreros and ponchos drinking pitchers of wine margaritas. As I am more interested in getting my drink on at this point, I merely make a mental note of the ridiculousness inherent in their situation and head to a back table. They'll get theirs.

Jack broke up with his live-in girlfriend of 2 years that weekend and he was ready to get fucked-in-half drunk. He's been my copy-vendor for the last year or so and not once had I seen in him the determination he exhibited when attacking his beers and his shots. I drink quick. He drinks quicker. We spend the next couple of hours getting trashed and bullshitting when it comes out that Jack was an Army Ranger in the first Gulf War. I am floored by this revelation and proceed to pump information out of him while, at the same time, pumping alcohol into him. He told us some stories that could make your testicles bid a hasty retreat into your abdominal cavity. The most interesting tidbit that came out, however, was how to kill a man with a knife:

Step 1: from behind, slit his throat
Step 2: two quick slashes across his chest like an "X"
Step 3: stab him in the nuts (pause for collective male wince)
Step 4: plunge knife into the inner thigh, severing the femoral artery

Steps 2 and 3 might seem superfluous to those of us who lack the penchant for bloodlust, but they have a purpose. They are intentionally non-fatal to trigger the victim's instinct for escape. This gets the adrenaline pumping instantaneously. Multiple wounds + adrenaline + severed femoral artery = 30 second bleed out and flatline. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!

Jack immediately became the coolest person in San Francisco. Samir and Cesar have heard these stories before since they work with him. They weren't as impressed. Their lack of awe bothered me. So I told them they'd be well-served to display a sufficient degree of amazement or I would gut them like Luau pigs with my new-found knowledge and mash their intestines into poi. Everyone got a big kick out of that one. But I was serious. I was also pretty drunk. So it's really anyone's guess.

The rest of the time at the pub was pretty uneventful except for a couple moments:

---our waitress was this mulatto princess named Jennifer. She had ass, attitude, tight clothes, and she was serving us lots of alcohol. I was enamored with her and told her so every time she came over. Once, as she went to the bar to get us what turned out to be the last round in a long line of rounds, I got up and yelled to her. "HEY, JENNIFER! DO YOU KNOW HOW GODDAMN HOT YOU ARE!? YOU SHOULD BE THE POSTER CHILD FOR MISCEGENATION!!" I thought this was the funniest thing in the world. So did most of the white people in the pub. No one else got it.

---this prompted the 22 year-old pip-squeak floor manager to come over and warn us to pipe down or get out. I inform him that we are not going to listen to a word he says until he stops shopping at ROSS, goes through puberty, and can kill my buddy Jack here with his bare hands. He thinks I am joking. I am not joking. He somehow musters the courage to tell us to get the fuck out or face, and I quote, "the beating of your lives." At this point Jack stands up and I am praying to all that is holy and true that he will put into practice the knife lesson he taught me at the table earlier in the night.

Unfortunately, he tries to be "diplomatic." He's not getting anywhere with the low-rent Doogie Howser though, so he turns to veiled threats. Jack leans forward and whispers to him (he relates this to me later), "we are just having some fun. Why don't you do the smart thing and back off. I have at least a $400 tab going back there and if you try and kick us out I won't pay it. I will get my credit card before you have a chance to swipe it. Believe me…I will." Apparently this is enough to convince Neil Patrick Harris to go back to rolling silverware or straightening coasters or doing whatever the fuck he does as floor manager.

---Funnily enough, we decide to leave 20 minutes later. Fortunately for me, the gaggle of honkies in Tijuana Gear hasn't left. I ask the guy at the head of the table if he owns a mirror. He tells me to shut up. I tell him that he and his entire crew look like a living, breathing promotional video for the benefits of eugenics and partial-birth abortion. This doesn't amuse them. Another guy starts mouthing off and asks the foolishly rhetorical question, "What are you trying to say?"

I inform him that what I am trying to say is that each one of their fathers should have pulled out when they had the chance. That San Francisco would have been entirely better off had each one of them just been a blowjob. That their parents should have been sterilized 30 years prior and short of that each one of them should have had their skulls crushed and brains sucked out during birth.

The dork at the end of the table snaps back at me. "Man you're such an idiot. I'm not even from Frisco." I was absolutely dumb-founded. How do you respond to that? I mean, honestly! So, I do what comes naturally and snatch one of the pitchers of frozen margarita off the table and start chugging it. I get about two gulps down and realize that these are wine margaritas. I register my disgust with the drink and the party full of idiots by spraying the contents of my mouth across the table. At this point my buddies are laughing hysterically and someone at their table has gotten up to get Doogie. Needless to say, we leave.

Outside the pub waiting for a cab, Samir (the only married guy in the group) gets the brilliant idea of going to a strip club. I hate strip clubs. HATE. THEM. I am, however, outnumbered. So I relent with the single stipulation that the place has to serve liquor. In San Francisco, this means we can only go to topless clubs. They agree. We get in a cab and tell the driver to take us to the Hustler Club.

We pile out directly in front of the club and MOB down the stairs past the doorman collecting the cover. We get to the bottom of the stairwell and Jack starts waving his credit card in the air and yelling. "I'M A VIP GODDAMNIT. A V.I.FUCKING.P. I WANT CHAMPAGNE. I WANT BITCHES. AND I WANT THEM YESTERDAY GODDAMNIT!!" The manager meets us just inside the club and tells Jack that he needs to calm down. That the Hustler Club is a classy establishment. That his customers expect a certain degree of decorum. This sends me into a fit of laughter. The manager, who has introduced himself as Larry, asks me what I think is so funny. So I tell him. In a very loud voice. "THIS IS A GODDAMN TITTY BAR. YOUR SUIT IS OFF THE RACK FROM MERVYN'S AND YOU HAVE GLOW-IN-THE-DARK PLASTIC SHOTGLASSES. WHO ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING!!" Larry is not pleased with me but, I don't know why, seats us in the VIP section. Not more than 2 minutes later 4 girls with 4 bottles of champagne come over.

Apparently, Jack has given Larry his company AMEX to cover the bill. Normally this would provoke a cautionary note from the cardholder to his fellow spenders. In this instance, however, the handing over of the credit card was accompanied with the equivalent of a Papal Bull. We had carte blanche. In Jack's words, "Go to town fellas. Go to town." I don't think he was aware of how much things cost in a topless club. Samir had 3 dances. From the same girl. Jack and Eric both had 2 from different girls.

I sat there and drank champagne and vodka tonics with a little topless strumpet in my lap. She was hotter than shit. She was also dumber than shit. SURPRISE! Her stage name was Meghan but her real name was Amanda. Creativity was not her strong suit. She spent 2 hours trying to give me a dance and telling me that I was the cutest guy she'd seen in the club in a long time and that there are certain things "not on the menu" that she would "give me." At this point I decided that if she wasn't going to leave me alone I was going to fuck with her. I alternated between arrogant prick and sweet romantic pushover nearly every two minutes. Nothing worth noting happened over the next hour or so, but some of my lines were priceless. These are in chronological order:

--baby, you're dealing with a future lawyer. In 3 years you'll be paying ME to fuck YOU.
--Amanda, you have got to be the most beautiful woman in here hands down. How do you not have a boyfriend? I would pay to be your boyfriend. I bet you get that a lot.
--girl, I don't pay for SHIT. Do I LOOK like a black man?!
--how about this. We will rock-paper-scissors for a dance. Best out of three. You win I pay you the cost of a dance. I win, you give my buddy Samir here a free dance. You aren't going to win though because I am WAAAAAY smarter than you.
--Amanda, I would love to take you out for a nice lunch tomorrow afternoon. Maybe take a walk in Union Square. Feed the pigeons. Talk.
--the only way I am going into the champagne room is if you BEG me and let my Labrador retriever eat peanut butter off your body.

I don't know how, but this girl ATE MY BULLSHIT UP. She couldn't stop laughing and smiling. I felt like a king. A king with a very full bladder. I got up, took a leak, bullshitted with the bathroom attendant, got some air. I came back in the club and saw from across the room that she was trying to surreptitiously look through the gym bag I was carrying. So much for feeling like a king.

I go back to the table and I tell her I saw her looking through my bag. I'm fucking fuming at this point and I'm about to go tell Larry what happened when she starts bawling in the chair. Big, 5-year-old, you ran over my puppy, tears. I ask her why she's crying, if it's because she's afraid she's gonna lose her job? She blubbers to me that that isn't it at all. She just really liked me and was trying to find some I.D. because she couldn't remember my name and didn't want to seem insensitive….

RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGHHHT! I wasn't buying it for a second. It was, however, a perfect opportunity to try and fuck a stripper. I immediately put on the sensitive, charming, romantic hat and started spewing hallmark cards. My performance was positively brilliant.

2am rolls around and it's time to leave. The lights start to come up and Jack and Samir are over at the bar settling the tab (Cesar had gone home an hour earlier). I start to walk over there and a stripper catfight erupts over by the restrooms. These two flesh-peddlers are beating the shit out of each other. One girl (a black-haired white girl) is grabbing the other (a big-breasted Latina) by the hair and smashing her head into the carpet. The Latina is gouging the white-girls legs with her nails in retaliation and drawing blood. Finally, Larry comes over to break it up and try to shoo me out. I tell him I'm with the guys at the bar.

I walk over there and ask them what is taking so long. Jack's card is being declined. The tab is $4100. I am speechless. So I go over to where Amanda is sitting and tell her I want to take her home. She says she will pick me up outside the little pizza place up the street at 3 and goes back into the dressing room to shower and change. I head back to the bar and Samir has finally convinced the bartender to just run the card on the manual slide, take the slip to the bank the next night, and Jack will rectify the situation with AmEx the next morning. Little did Samir or I know that while Jack was outside earlier in the night going to the ATM he also called AmEx and had them put a hold on the card. Genius. Pure fucking genius.

Samir, still unaware of Jack's antics, is fuming mad. He wants to go into the dressing room and see the girl who gave him 3 dances. Larry just laughs at him and starts pushing us physically up the stairs. This infuriates Jack who starts yelling and threatening. I am laughing uncontrollably. This is a bad thing because it makes my stomach hurt. I throw-up all over the stairs. Now Larry is pissed and calls all of his security staff up to the front. At this point we figure it's probably a good idea to leave and we start jogging up the stairs. We are met at the top of the stairs by a guy who looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin. He pushes us into the street and tells us never to come back. He turns to head down the stairs pulling the door closed behind him when Jack snaps, runs at the door and kicks the hell out of it. It slams. Against Stone Cold's hand. He kicked it so fucking hard it crunched the bouncer's fingers, rebounded all the way open, and closed again. We could hear him screaming as we bolted around the corner for the pizza place.

At this point Samir decides it would probably be wise if he cabbed it home--being married and all. Jack and I walk into the pizza place and bust out laughing at the absurdity of the last 3 hours. This of course hurts my stomach some more and I run outside to throw-up in the street. Again. I go back inside, order two slices, and come back to Jack still laughing. Out of nowhere we here a voice tell us to shut the fuck up. We look over and it's two San Francisco County Sheriff's deputies scarfing down pepperoni pizza. Being quiet, finishing my pizza, and going home was the wise move. Do you think I made that move? I didn't think so.

I look over at them and I ask them which part of the regular police exam they failed; because the sheriff's office is where failures and fatasses go if they want a job that lets them carry a gun. I ask them which ones they were. The Failures? Or the Fatasses? They immediately get up and tell me to get to my feet. I tell them to go fuck themselves. I am waiting for a stripper to pick me up so I can fuck her brains out. The shorter of the two deputies tries to pick me up by my shirt collar when Jack bolts up.

I tell the deputies that Jack was an Army Ranger and can kill each of them with his bare hands before either of them would even have a chance to draw their guns. This elicits a smile from one of the deputies. He tells Jack that he was in the Army. 12 years. I laugh and ask if it was in the Motor Pool or the MPs. This doesn't amuse the other deputy and he threatens to arrest me. I inform him that not only does he not have jurisdiction, but that he probably can't spell it either. The Army deputy tells us to leave and, for once, we do what we're told. Sort of.

I still have a slice left. As we walk out I hurl it against the side of the Sheriff's van in full view of the deputies. Jack and I sprint down the street and down the alley to the back door of the Hustler Club. I start banging on the metal door until somebody answers. It's Samir's girl. I ask her if Amanda left and she says no. I tell Samir's girl to tell Amanda to hurry up and meet me out back. She finally comes out. Jack is long gone and I am hiding behind a dumpster in case the deputies roll down the alley. I pop out, trying to act nonchalant after hiding behind a fucking trashbin like a bitch, and tell her to take me home. Absolute shot in the dark, but she says okay. This girl is a fucking whore. A lying, stealing fucking whore. I hate lying, stealing fucking whores. So I decided I would hate-fuck this lying, stealing fucking whore.

We get back to her place--a two-bedroom she shares with two other strippers. We go in her room and start going at it. I last like 5 minutes because I am shit-housed drunk and exhausted. She gets up to shower the stink off her. As she closes the door I see her little metal box on the bureau across the room. It was the one she was carrying in the club that she put all her money in. I remember that she was going through my bag earlier. I get a brilliant idea. I throw on my clothes as quick as I can, grab the box and run out of the apartment.

I have no idea where I am. Somewhere in The Avenues but where exactly I don't know. I start running toward downtown until I see a cab. It felt like I ran 2 miles. It was probably only 3 blocks. I get in the cab and tell the driver Berkeley. I catch my breath and starting cracking up. This hurts my stomach. Again. And, again, I puke. This time out the window. The cabbie asks if I'm okay and I shrug him off. Then I get the great idea to call my friend Stydie and tell him what I did. He didn't answer so I left a message.

Amanda's little metal box had just over $700. I am giddy. Fifteen minutes later we are driving over the Bay Bridge listening to Tumbling Dice by the Stones when I get another brilliant idea. I roll down the window and CHUCK THE LITTLE METAL BOX OFF THE BRIDGE AND INTO THE BAY. I giggle all the way to Berkeley. Until it's time to pay the driver. $47.60. I look in my billfold and there is no money. I am officially stupid. Now I have to go to an ATM, so I have the driver take me to the nearest Wells Fargo. Unfortunately, I forgot to activate my new ATM card. I am officially stupid and officially fucked. I have him drive me back to the BART station where my car is parked with assurances that my checkbook is in the glovebox. Cabfare + tip? $58.80. FUCK. And, no little metal box.

I get in my car, gun the engine and take off. I go screeching around the corner, Hollywood-Stop a major intersection and go shooting up the hill. Just as I made the dog-leg right up the hill I saw a police car flip a bitch and come back in my direction. His sirens weren't on and I didn’t see any flashing lights, but I was CONVINCED that the pig was coming after me. I floor it. I'm doing 65 up tight, twisting, hilly roads at 4A.M., drunk and exhausted. Wise it was not. I get to the top of the hill, make the right, and red-line it for the last 1/2 mile stretch to my house. I don't know if the cop is behind me, but I am SURE he is tracking me. I bring the car to a screeching halt, grab my bag, and run inside. I sprint down the stairs, into the back yard, up into the sideyard between the houses and lay down flat in the bushes waiting to see if the cop would roll by and stop.

That's where I woke up at 9AM. 5 hours later.