Saturday, March 29, 2008

High School Hellcats

Apparently, readers, it seems someone happened across one of my blog postings and was dismayed by its content. I received a phone call yesterday asking if I intended to cause bodily harm at my upcoming high school reunion. My answer, after I finished laughing, was, of course, NO.

I told the interested caller that my posting regarding my impending high school reunion had been a joke (I will admit, after thinking about it, that perhaps portions of Mr. Blog Entry were in bad taste given recent events) and that I had never in a million years expected that anyone other than my friends would read it. After all, my name is not even associated with this blog. Someone had to do some diggin', y'all, to find out who was being a bastard about their high school reunion.

So, to the concerned person(s) who stumbled across what can only have been, if you don't know me, a shockingly aggressive, though I must say charmingly rebarbative, essay, I only want to say that in no way was anything I wrote in there serious, and you have to need to cower in the corner - I am NOT going to the reunion. Even if I were going to the reunion, there would be no need to fear my arrival.

Yes, my high school years were sprinkled with hard times. Everyone's were. As I said in my original post, I was focusing on "bad times" because bad times, for me, as anyone who peruses my blog will surmise, are fodder for my rather caustic, incendiary writing style. Nothing should be taken seriously. I'm a hippie, for goodness' sake: a patchouli-wearing, tofu-gobbling, birkoflor Birkenstock-owning, hemp fabric-wearing, kombucha-fermenting, rain forest-saving, liberal, pacifist, love-everyone-even-if-they-suck, vegan, yoga-nazi, Earth-pampering, compact-fluorescent-bulb-having bitch. I move beetles off the paths in parks so they won't get trampled. I save baby rattlesnakes. I cry when I look at puppies.

My original essay, which has since been deleted at the request of the local authorities (yes, that's right, y'all - someone dropped dime to the cops), was meant as humor for a circle of friends who have come to expect that I am going to be bitchy, hateful and bitter. If one reread it one would have been able to process the portions in which I said "I would have a good time if I went" and "Of course I had friends and good times; the bad times make for better writing."

And of course I care about what the people with whom I was friends are doing these days. Humor, when read on the internet, if one doesn't realize it is, in fact, meant to bring about chuckles, can be horribly misread - especially when the reader doesn't know the author. I am quite sure that any friends of mine from High School - any people who TRULY knew me - would have realized that I was just complaining for complaint's sake because I think it's fun.

The experience has, though, made me realize that going forward I should be more prudent about my final product should I opt to continue writing this blog. At the moment, I am feeling discouraged, icky and unhappy, and I have to say - I don't feel much like doing it anymore. I started doing this to make people laugh. And, much as Lulu never wanted to use macrame to kill, I never wanted this to freak anyone out.

Yesterday, after I received Mr. Phone Call, I went through a wave of emotions from uproariously amused to freaked out to sorry that I had written what must have been misinterpreted as seethingly hateful. Even my acupuncturist noticed my dismay and said that my pulse points were "all over the place." "Were you in a fight?" she asked. "No, but some jacked-up shit did happen today," I told her, not elaborating that someone had dropped dime on me for being a loudmouthed bitch.

So, sorry for stirring up a little mess down yonder in Treasure Island, y'all. I hope you have a fun time at that Luau eating fish and poi and listening to Winger. I'ma be in Los Angeles seeing Mr. George Michael.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Baby Takes the Morning Train

Riding the subway in New York City is no easy task, especially for someone who, for the most part, intentionally eschews human companionship. Aside from my friends, humanity at large is slightly less interesting to me than being forced to watch a women's golf tournament. I just don't care.

But on the subway, you're forced to be next to almost anything you could possibly imagine. Once when I was riding home from work with my coworker Lori, an Asian woman standing next to us very casually took a clear plastic bag out of her pocket and proceeded to vomit into it not once, not twice, but six times in the interminable tunnel that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn.

I myself am impervious to the visual nightmare of vomit, but Lori was not, and had to hold her hands over her mouth to keep her dinner from bubbling up onto unsuspecting passengers. When the train finally pulled into its first Brooklyn stop, did this barfing bitch get off and spare the rest of us the view through that now half-full CLEAR plastic bag? No. She stayed on that train, throwing up all the way home. Treats.

Then, there was the time years ago that I was crammed sardine-style into a D train going from Prospect Heights to my job in midtown Manhattan. There was a large gap in the crowd, which I soon realized was because there were several human turds on the floor, one piled on top of the other much like brownies in a baker's window.

At the next stop, a pushy fat bitch crammed her way into the overstuffed train and made her way to the opening. Elbowing, shoving and squeezing her bilious bulk between passengers, much to the violent anger of everyone on board, she finally arrived at the clearing. We all laughed hysterically when this self-centered asswipe got to her destination only to step in and slip on the offending fecal matter.

Served the bitch right.

Yet another time, I was riding on the 6 train from a sushi restaurant in Union Square with several coworkers. We had had a "working lunch," as my then-boss liked to call his extravagent sushi outings, and were all sated and happy. My coworker Ashley and I were standing and Ashley accidentally kicked an old man's cane. "Oh, excuse me!" she said, turning to the man, who, instead of looking up, vomited casually into his lap. He didn't make a move, he didn't say anything. It was as if that cane has been corking up a hole and Ashley had pulled the plug.

So, you can see - subway riding is not for the faint of heart. Screaming Jesus Freaks ("Jews can't go to South Carolina!" one yodelled incoherently on one of my evening commutes), amateur performers (one in particular has played that GOD DAMN Tracy Chapman song "Baby Can I Hold You" every single motherfucking time I've seen him for the past seven years, making me want to start World War III), lazars, freaks, drooling old people, thugs, homosexuals, tramps, people who EAT CHICKEN WINGS right out in front of everyone else and then throw the bones on the floor of the train, and harried yuppies who believe their lives are of the utmost importance and everyone else around them is inconsequential - these people are daily occurrences, and over time, one loses one's sensitivity to them.

There is one particular strain of fool whose presence will NEVER cease to make my hands involuntarily ball into fists, and that is the young, trendy New York transplant. Or, "hipster" as they're known 'round these parts.

You all know the type. Dipshit sunglasses. Smug, intentionally-expressionless face. Dressed as if they slept in clothes they had worn to an audition for Pirates of Penzance two days ago.

They're cool, and they're entitled, damn it. After all, they're NEW YORKERS. Crammed into Williamsburg, Sunset Park and Prospect Heights, these nitwits spend their days chattering inanely at each other about art installations, their latest "projects," and "amazing restaurants" they've discovered, interspersing their sentences with superfluous "likes," "uhs" and "you knows." They all end each of their sentences as if they're asking questions. They all suck.

Stridently "independent," they do their best to look exactly the same in their alternativeness. Whether it's the retro sneakers, the skin-tight jeans, the horridly ugly neckerchiefs, the faux-hawks, the Adidas training jackets, or the "irony t-shirts," you can spot these dildoes a mile away from their facial expressions. They are the only ones here who do it. They should all, each and every one of them, have their teeth smashed in with a hammer before being sent home to their rich god damn parents in Louisiana or wherever the hell their life of entitled boredom originated.

This morning as I was attempting to read the book The Aye-aye and I in peace in a relatively crowd-free B train, a hipster douchebag sulked onto the train at Grand St. in Chinatown.

This was disconcerting to me for two reasons:

A)I have noticed in the recent past a consistently-growing flood of hipsters getting on the train in Chinatown in the morning, which leads me to believe that this neighborhood is being gentrified just like every other once-sacred place in this city.

I myself will never set foot in Chinatown ever again because:

  • I am boycotting anything made in China and refuse to give them my money for a number of reasons (Tibet abuse, refusal to do anything about he environment, animal rights atrocities - the list continues, but I won't bore you) and
  • I DO NOT want to look at buckets of live frogs and turtles waiting to be purchased and consumed by unfeeling twats and
  • Those bins full of unrecognizable dried brown things one can only assume were once sealife STINK and offend me.
  • BUT, the idea that this area will soon be home to American Apparel, Pinkberry (Guess what, y'all. It's fucking frozen yogurt. Fuck off with the tales of how "amazing" it is.), Beard Papa, Urban Outfitters, and any other trendy, overpriced chain store, fills me with an overwhelming sense of nausea.

    B) Her practically photocopied hipster outfit of skintight purple jeans TUCKED INTO tassled, calf-high boots, an "irony" Members Only jacket, striped neckerchief, and repulsively squared and oversized sunglasses (indoors and on a train) made me fear that I might very well lose control and attempt to strangle her with the chord of my headphones.

    She faced me the entire way - my time with the Aye-aye destroyed and my already-crumbling sense of inner peace thoroughly derailed.

    Her face was glued in a perpetual sulk, saying, "God, I'm bored. I'm too cool for this place. I AM BORED." I'm sure she was en route to a Starbucks where she intended to blather about a really scathing installation she had seen last night in Greenpoint.

    "It, like, moved me with its subtle attack on Western values?" she'll lisp to her friend who will probably tell her about a new wine bar she recently discovered. "It was, like, amazing?"

    After their caffeine-laced attempts to one-up each other in their utter and complete hipness, they'll part ways and go to their low-paying jobs as cashiers, probably taking breaks to smoke HAND-ROLLED cigarettes before calling their parents to send them more money so they can get their "sleeves" finished.

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    My Life As a Garbageman Part Two

    "You're not a garbageman til you eat a maggot," one of the supervisors said matter-of-factly, staring me down as I attempted to fill out some paperwork.

    I had already managed to pass my first test of inner strength. The scary lesbian had accosted me, and I had prevailed. I walked tentatively toward the lean-to that acted as the main room for the sanitation workers and attempted to breathe normally. I don't think I had ever been so scared in my entire life - God only knew what horrors awaited me in this ramshackle Hell.

    Then came the next test. I entered the break room. All talking ceased; all faces turned toward me. I heard a few whispers like, "what the fuck?" and "that redhead motherfucker," as I shuffled past the staff in an attempt to find what I assumed would look like an authority figure.

    There he was - a short, stocky mustachioed gentleman with a pompadour. He looked like he should be spinning pizza dough high above his head while chattering inane cliches like "whatsamatta you." Cigarette dangling from his mouth, he was assigning people their routes for the day. I knew this was the character I had to talk to.

    He dismissed me, ordering me to wait until he had finished what he was doing. Then he would entertain my problems. Little did I know that this elfen douchebag was to become the only person at the Clearwater Division of Solid Waste who would show little to no faith in me through the four years I worked there.

    I ended up hating him, and relatively quickly, I might add.

    Finished with his first task of the morning, he took me to the back office where the supervisors' desks were. He gave me a stack of papers to fill out. "After you're done with these papers, I'll take you out on your assignment," he said, lighting his fifth Kool cigarette since I had met him seven minutes earlier.

    All of this action eventually led up to the maggot comment from another supervisor, who, having seen me filling out my new employee papers in a nervous stupor, took it upon himself to make sure that I was as petrified as humanly possible. I had been there for approximately 15 minutes.

    Jesus fuck, I thought to myself after being graced with this nugget of wisdom. I hadn't even thought of bugs. Oh, sure - I'd thought of other things I'd have to touch: used condoms, pizza crust, dirty diapers, things containing any of a variety of liquids expelled from the human body. I could handle it; I had been watching John Waters movies for years. But bugs - my relationship with them, for the most part, had been one of intense love and interest, except for when it came to our neighbor, Mr. Cockroach. Being from Florida, I had been plagued with these cunts since birth, and had been okay with it until two things happened.

    There is nothing quite like being awakened in the middle of the night by the sensation of a cockroach creeping up your body. Wait, yes there is - the sensation of putting your shoe on only to find out that a roach had been snuggling tight into the inner folds of the arch support. You can't get that shoe off fast enough, let me tell you.

    Since those two occurrences, I had fostered a mortal fear of our little scavenger friends.

    So there I was, facing the realization that I might very possibly have to see roaches on a daily basis. Probably lots of them. That did it - I was ready to quit. I was about to, when the supervisor said, "Come on, Red. I'm taking you out to your crew."

    Into the truck I piled with a few other new recruits. There was no talk. He let the others out first at their various assignments. "I'm taking you to Countryside," he said to me, breaking the silence. "Do you believe in the Glory of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?"

    Bam! Out of nowhere it came.

    What does one say to something like that? And on the first day of what could possibly be the beginning of the end of his life, even?

    "Yes, I do," I stammered, a lie that would haunt me for years to come.

    "Good, because let me tell you - I don't like people who don't love Jesus Christ," he cautioned.

    Countryside was at one point considered to be the swanky part of Clearwater, Florida. Condominiums surrounded golf courses. Well-manicured lawns and driveways showcasing Mercedes complemented enormous homes. It was a neighborhood to be envied. Surely their garbage would be neat and tidy!

    We pulled up beside a white rear loader garbage truck that had been waiting for us. The midget Jesus Freak introduced me to the driver and to the worker who would be riding on the back of the truck with me and providing my initial on-the-job training, lit a cigarette, and was gone. I climbed up into the garbage truck and was forced to sit in between these two strangers on a piece of metal that accentuated every bump, dip, pothole, nook, speed bump. I would become intimately acquainted with shark liver oil later that week, and throughout the summer.

    "I got my latest fuck book in the mail yesterday," my coworker said to the driver. Fuck book. Fuck book. I very quickly determined that he must have been referring to pornographic materials, a guess that was verified by his following statement. "I looked at that centerfold, and ooh, her pussy were pink!"

    I'm going to let you in on a little secret here - I'm a homosexual. Back then, I was inexperienced and very prissy. News about "pink pussies" was about as welcome to me as waiting for results on a biopsy, and I clenched my teeth, hoping and praying they wouldn't ask me to weigh in on their discussion. Sure, I'd seen one - who hadn't - but aside from the fact that I knew they existed, I didn't really have an opinion on them. My inability to converse freely about vaginas would surely betray my sexual leanings to these people, and that was something that simply couldn't happen if I were to survive.

    These two talked about various ways to enter, lick, cuddle, touch, shave, smooth, photograph, and snack upon the female sexual organ all the way to our destination, and by the time I was able to escape the cab of that truck, I was sucking in buckets of air and fanning myself back to a state of non-nausea.

    It had rained the day before and, although the sun was out now, the air was thick with a humidity saved only for the tropics that makes breathing difficult, let alone actually moving. It was probably 8:15 in the morning, and already it felt as if we'd been placed in a microwave on high.

    My coworker handed me a pitchfork and bade me approach an enormous pile of cut palm fronds that were saturated with the past evening's rainfall. He jammed his pitchfork into the pile and lifted about a quarter of it over his head and into the back of the truck in one professional swoop, making it look simple.

    I can do that, I mused, jamming my pitchfork into the pile. I attempted to lift it, but slid backward after getting two or three palm fronds about an inch off the pile. I continued sliding until I was prone. "I'm just going to stay down here," I wanted to say, but I kicked myself back up, flailing my arms and legs like an overturned turtle. I managed to get a few of those palm fronds into the back of the garbage truck while my trainer belittled me in public.

    The rest of my first route remains a blur. Somehow I managed to get through it, hefting enormous cans filled with what felt like solid cement, one after the other, all the way through this swanky neighborhood. I fended off ants, rats, and yes, maggots - but I never saw a cockroach.

    When we finally threw our last sack of garbage into that truck and it was announced that we were going back to the sanitation yard, relief washed over me.

    "Ooh, you sorry," my coworker repeated as if it were the mantra that had been assigned to him for Trandsendental Meditation purposes.

    He was right. I was sorry. Sorry I had taken the job, AND sorry in the way he meant it. I was a bad garbageman.

    A route that normally took four hours ended up taking seven, and by the end, his attitude had gone from disgust to pure anger.

    "Motherfucker," he shouted when we finally trickled into the sanitation yard. "I should have been home two hours ago. Sorry ass motherfucker."

    I hadn't known it, but apparently when a garbageman finishes his route for the day, he is free to go home, getting paid for a full day's work.

    The supervisor was waiting for us. "You gotta go back out," he said, ashing his cigarette. "You forgot to pick up a washing machine." Handing us a paper with an address on it, he went back in to the air-cooled glory of the break room.

    "Sorry. God damn. You one sorry-ass motherfucker," was all I heard, all the way to get that washing machine. When I finally left for the day, I was caked in grime, so sore that I could barely move, and feeling a sense of persecution and hatred I had never before encountered.

    Jesus, roaches and pussy. It was going to be a long summer.

    More to come

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    My Life As a Garbageman Part One

    I was 19 years old, fresh from my first year in college, and I needed a job.

    Since I was too lazy to actually go out and look for something, I was very lucky that my father worked in the Human Resources department for a city that has a summer intern program. As loath as I was to do anything, let alone work, I took the application from him and gave it the once over.

    There were internships available in all sorts of departments - the city library, the parks and recreation department, the police department, city government, and, finally, the sanitation division.

    I had worked in the library the previous summer. The staff, best described by the word "pinched," made the eight hours a day I had to spend with the books almost intolerable. Shelving books for a living can lead to murder - there was no way in Hell I would subject myself to those people again.

    Sitting there, cross-legged with a Diet Coke at my side, I blithely checked off all that applied as far as I was concerned. My father took one look at my application and was mortified that I had checked off the box next to the sanitation division.

    "Why the hell not?" I said, hands on my hips in a defiant pose.

    "Well, for one thing, you don't exactly have the personality for it," my father said cautiously, "and you're not in the best of shape."

    He had me there... I was a lardass, and unrepentant about it. But my relationship with my parents, for most of my adolescence, had been adversarial, so I rose to his challenge and told him that the check mark would remain.

    "I'll show him," I said to myself as I stormed off to watch the Golden Girls. "I'll be the best garbageman in the history of garbage."

    The romantic vision of being a garbage man entertained me for quite a few days - I pictured myself riding gleefully on the back of a shiny garbage truck, wind blowing through my hair, orange jumpsuit held in place by an olive drab belt. I would be greeted by perky homeowners holding plates of cookies out to me as a sign of their gratitude for the service I was rendering. After all, if not for your friendly garbage man, life would not be so pleasant, now, would it.

    Then they actually called me in for an interview. Shocked that I had been selected for such a task ("Do they actually expect me to touch other people's trash?" I asked my father as he drove me to the solid waste plant), I figured they'd take one look at me and realize that I would not fit in with their staff.

    "Benjamin showed poise," the superintendant of solid waste said as they were hiring me. I hadn't realized that poise was a trait one looked for when hiring solid waste workers - I figured it would be more along the lines of all limbs in place, no outstanding warrants for arrest, ability to see.

    I immediately panicked. I had never exercised in my life; walking from the couch to the refrigerator was my idea of a cardio workout. Trying to do a push-up was as impossible as solving a Rubik's Cube while blindfolded.

    Now I would be forced to be on my feet from 7 am to 3:30 pm, doing God only knows what. I heard stories about people having to lift dishwashers, couches, mobile homes, dead kittens, and a rainbow of feminine hygiene products by themselves and put them in the back of those garbage trucks.

    I realized that I would be in for one of the worst possible experiences of my entire life. So much for pride - from now on, when my parents told me not to do something, I would listen, but good.

    My first day loomed. I got no sleep - not a fantastic plan when facing a rigorous workout with strangers who are going to judge you harshly. Since my father worked very near the solid waste yard, and since I didn't have a car, we drove in together. He dropped me off and wished me good luck, reminding me that there was no shame in quitting, should I feel I wasn't up to it. "Forget you," I said as I got out of the car, internalizing all of the fear that had been consuming me for days.

    I approached a man, t-shirt rolled up, giant comb in his left back pants pocket, hand scratching the opposing ass cheek with ferocity. The grubbiest, ugliest mullet I had ever seen struggled atop sun-beaten, leathered skin that sagged around sunken, black eyes. A half-smoked cigarette dangled professionally from cracked, dry lips.

    "Excuse me, could you tell me who the boss is?" I muttered, as timid as a bunny in the forest. "It's my first day."

    "Well that depends on who the fuck you're working for," the man, whose name turned out to be Linda, said to me. What I had assumed was a belly were actually her bosoms, hanging like limp water balloons after years of bra-free existence. "Get your god damn red-headed fucking ass inside and ask one of those black motherfuckers in there. I ain't the god damn information center, shit head. Jesus, they must be desperate to hire a wimpy cocksucking son-of-a-bitch like you. Christ."

    I thanked the kind lady and backed away, petrified. Now, I have been privy to the innermost workings of Lesbian society since I was a wee imp. I have been to volleyball tournaments, watched Miller Lite be consumed like water, frequented "womyn's" bookstores, eaten tofu, touched dogs. But nothing I ever witnessed had prepared me for this sight. She spat a wad of yellow, stringy goo at her feet and started up a blow torch.

    To be continued.

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    And WHERE did you learn those vulgar jazz words!

    This past Saturday night was meant to be a life-changing evening for me.

    Norn and I were attending the opening evening of previews for the new Broadway musical, Cry-baby - a play based on the film by my personal savior and hero, Mr. John Waters.

    Now, I have a troubled history with Cry-baby. I went to see it with my friends Paul and Jennifer back when it came out, and I suffered miserably. I mean, I felt as if I had been betrayed by my best friend. I left the theater sobbing despondently, much to the chagrin of my associates, who thought I was having some sort of breakdown. The film was silly (NOT in the usual John Waters sense of the word), rated PG-13, and marginally funny.

    Yes, I know. Hairspray, his prior film, was rated PG.

    But that film had puke in it. All this film had was Hatchet-face. And I felt bad for her - it seemed as it this were a type of exploitation that really shouldn't be happening - exploiting someone on film just because they were born with a hatchet-face. It just didn't seem right.

    And then there was the original music. The musical numbers ( some of them) were about as pleasing as having your ass wiped with fire ants... let's just say that I didn't like it.

    Years passed. I watched it again, and what do you know - the shit was fucking funny. Lines like "Sometimes shook up old ladies get cut" made their way into my daily routine. Start to finish (with the exception of those wretched songs "Please, Mr. Jailer" and "Doin' Time For Being Young"), I loved it. Joe Dallessandro, David Nelson, Patricia Hearst, Traci Lords, the entire cast - they were brilliant. It had transformed for me and John Waters was redeemed.

    As everyone knows, this show is the second of Mr. Waters' films to be reworked into a musical extravaganza for the theater. The first, Hairspray, was a runaway success that was recently released as a wonderful film to vast critical acclaim, maintaining and in some cases improving upon the fabulousness of the original.

    So I had high - and I mean astronomical - hopes for this new endeavor. I brushed off its detractors with a big, fat "P.U." Nothing that John Waters is even slightly involved with could be horrible, could it? Surely not.

    Reviews from its run in La Jolla were very positive. Of course they were.

    "I KNEW IT!" I cackled, raising my hands skyward as if I were a mad scientist who had unlocked the deep, dark secret to reanimating dead tissue.

    When tickets went on sale at the bargain price of $54 (FIFTY-FOUR DOLLARS!) for the previews in New York, I snapped them up as if they were heroin and I was a strung-out junky on his last legs.

    "Let me at those tickets!" I hollered, trembling with glee as I hit the "confirm purchase" button on Ticketmaster.com. So overjoyed was I that I didn't even grimace in the slightest that I was paying a $12 "convenience fee" PER TICKET (a charge created by the fuckstains at Ticketmaster just because they know they can get away with it. Assholes. Rapists).

    So strident was my belief that this show was a sure-fire hit that I bought tickets to not one, but TWO - yes, I said TWO - evenings' worth of Watersesque stage entertainment.

    The big moment was drawing near, and my impatience was growing. I paced, I gnawed my fingernails, I baked cookies, all to pass the time until I could finally get to that fucking theater and see this show. And then the big night came.

    Norn and I settled into our seats in the orchestra section of the theater. They were close to the stage, but all the way to the right, and I was fearful that our view would be obscured. It is a sad fact that this was to be the least of my concerns during this trek into damnation.

    "I'm gonna get him to sign it," I heard the teenaged cooze behind me say with authority. "I'm gonna say, 'Today's my friend's birthday and you're signing this,'" and with that she stormed off after an unsuspecting celebrity somewhere in the audience, despite her friend's protests.

    This did not bode well. Audiences' understanding of the word propriety has gone through a transformation since the advent of cable, the internet and cellular telephones and the destruction of the attention span.

    Worried that they're going to miss an important text message, assholes tend to check their cellular telephone devices every six seconds, illuminating theaters and distracting other audience members from the show. I knew these teenaged dingbats were going to be doing that - thank GOD they were behind me.

    The show started. The opening number was hilarious - a take on the opening of the film, in which teens are receiving their polio vaccines. Oh, what a rapturous moment this was!

    "Yes, I love you, yes," I heard someone saying behind me. I turned around to give this asshole one of my patented, proven-to-cause-death glares - but she was talking on her cellular telephone. You read that correctly - this cunt was actually holding a conversation on her phone during a play.

    And this was not one of the teenagers. This woman was at least in her late forties. Her head was turned so I couldn't lock eyes with her, but I gave her companion the look - she had a responsibility to keep her associates from acting like assholes, didn't she?

    Confident that I had gotten the message across, I turned around to enjoy the show. But enjoying this show turned out to be an impossibility for many, many reasons.

    I will decline to review the show in its entirety at this point because it is, after all, in previews - the point of previews is to work through a show's downfalls and get it right. I am hoping they can do this. What it will mean is a complete re-write and a recasting of several characters, but let's hope they're up to it.

    Here, however, are some bulleted concerns I had with the first act:

  • After the first number, it all sucked.

  • Why is Pepper Walker Cry-Baby's cousin? In the film, she's his sister. It just doesn't make sense. It just doesn't add up.

  • In the 1950s, when this was supposed to take place, there would not have been any black people mixing with the 'Squares.' There just wouldn't have been.

  • Pepper and Hatchet-face looked like the same person.

  • The music all sounded exactly the same and the lyrics were drab and pointless. "Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby" are the lyrics to one song, for example. Lame.

  • I don't know what Elizabeth Stanley is trying to prove through her interpretation of Allison Vernon-Williams' character, but I can tell you this much - Cry-Baby Walker wouldn't come near this trembling, self-conscious, stuttering douchebag as she is in the show right now unless he was going to make fun of her. Cry-baby likes Allison because she is a simmering pot of lust underneath her square exterior. She oozes sexuality in the film. This twit oozes something else, and it ain't pretty.

  • Cry-baby is bland. He looks doughy, he sings plainly, and his costume accentuates these traits. His backup dancers, however, are all semi-clad, intensely muscular, and HIGHLY erotic in their appearances and actions. What gives? Why are they trying to make the lead in the show as boring as humanly possible? He was crap.


  • All of this insipidity was exacerbated by two cackling hyenas a few rows behind us who guffawed uproariously at every single joke, no matter how tepid, lame or ill-advised. Their laughter echoed through the entire theater as welcomely as a fart in a yoga class.

    Mercifully, the act ended. As the curtain fell, I felt as if I were finally receiving oxygen after being held underwater for several minutes. I didn't want to betray my disdain, so I sat there, expressionless.

    Norn and I stared at each other. I asked him what he thought, and he said, "I don't want to say anything negative until it's over" (or something along those lines, basically telling me that he hated its guts but didn't really WANT to, a feeling I was sharing).

    We sat there and exchanged anecdotes about its blandness. I am blocking parts of it out, it was so horrifyingly boring. "Well, maybe Act Two will redeem it," I said to myself.

    Act two started all too soon, and it was an act that could have been played out in Hell. My cellular-telephone-using neighbor was at it again, but this time she and her friend were talking. About what, I don't know, but I turned around and glared again, making eye contact with both of them. Satisfied that I had put these chattering cunts in their place, I turned back around.

    Then the cellophane wrapper started crinkling. What was she doing, unwrapping a candy bar the size of Godzilla? She crinkled that fucking plastic wrap for at least seven minutes before starting another discussion with her friend, answering another cell phone call, and then unwrapping another candy bar. This went on through the entire second act.

    My repeated glares went ignored. There was no stopping these two assholes. They were bent on destroying whatever I could have made of this evening, and they succeeded.

    Between these shitheads' episodes, we had to deal with the hysterical bursts of enthusiasm from those loudmouths a few rows back. These were not normal laughs - the woman's nasal, piercing screech could potentially break glass, and the man's sounded as if he were trying really hard to play Santa, but had had too much to drink. "Ho, ho, ho!" and "AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!" as if on cue, at every single joke. They may very well have been using bullhorns.

    By the time it was over, I was literally trembling with rage.

    As the curtain fell, my fists were clenched. I was waiting for the lights to come up so I could demand that these two cunts behind me fork over the cost of my ticket for ruining my evening, but - surprise - they were the type who gets up to leave as soon as the lights go down on the last number so they don't have to shuffle through the lines. Not even taking the time to applaud the actors' efforts, these two hit the pavement and were GONE.

    So not only had they destroyed my evening, but they also had denied me the chance to tell them that they were both blistered, lacerated assholes and I hoped they died.

    Between the belly laughs and the inappropriate conversations, I did manage to remember a few things about the second act.
  • Mrs. Vernon-Williams turned out to be the key to solving Cry-baby's legal woes, and we had to hear about her place in things in a boring, fifteen-minute monologue that would put a speed freak fresh from snorting a bump right to sleep. On and on and on and on and ON it droned, even though she had just sung a fucking song about it moments earlier.

    "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" I wanted to scream at her. I am not an impatient person, and my attention span, for the most part, has not been tainted, but there is a limit to what I can stand and it ended here.

  • The final number - what can I say about the final number. It was a fine, typical Broadway musical finale - big dance number, all the main characters get their final say - uplifting, fun.

    And then it happened. Mrs. Vernon-Williams - who, for the most part had been one of the show's only saving graces, squeaked the line, "Don't be mean and don't be snobby - buy a sweatshirt in the lobby!" totally breaking out of the story and pushing fucking MERCHANDISE on the audience.

    Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than when an actor breaks character and speaks directly to the audience, for whatever reason. I hated it when Bruce Vilanch and Jackie Hoffman did it in Hairspray, and they were just making political jokes that fit into current events. It's just plain dreadful. But to sell sweatshirts - fuck off.

    My only hope is that the actress, Harriet Harris, complained vociferously about having to say something so utterly humiliating. It's the type of thing I would quit a job over.


  • Were there positive aspects of the show, aside from the fact that it eventually ended?

    Yes, there were a few. As I said, the opening number, "The Anti-Polio Picnic," was hilarious. Some jokes, especially regarding Pepper's pregnancy, made me laugh.

    What really stole the show, though, was Alli Mauzey's portrayal of Lenora as a psycho obsessed with Cry-baby. She was consistently funny - even her songs were good.

    Norn and I left the theater, our (well, I can't speak for him - but at least MY) faith in humanity smashed yet again - the experience proved to me once more that placing high hopes on things, perhaps unattainable hopes - leads to nothing but pain, heartbreak and misery.

    Because yes, my heart was broken by this show.

    Head hung low, hands twitching with rage, I slumped toward the subway.

    I wished I could find and kill those two bitches who had been seated behind me before they jet back to Kansas or wherever the fuck they came from.

    More strongly, I wished that I didn't have tickets to sit through this agonizing shit again in four weeks. That'll teach me.

    Thursday, March 6, 2008

    It was gore! Hanging there like a runny nose!

    How do you feel about sputum?

    Don't know what it is? Well, here's a definition to enlighten you:

    Sputum is matter that is expectorated from the respiratory tract, such as mucus or phlegm, mixed with saliva, which can then be spat from the mouth. It is usually associated with air passages in diseased lungs, bronchi, or upper respiratory tract.
    Pretty revolting, isn't it. Clearly, it's something to be disposed of in a sanitary fashion. Most people, those of us who weren't raised by yetis, know that spitting is a foul habit best left to rubes, hillbillies, idiots, vagabonds, drunks, and baseball players.

    However, the totally useless practice of spitting while walking around the streets of New York City is en vogue with thugs and snooty Manhattanites alike, and every other class of people in between. Bozos happily spritz the streets with their oral offerings, caring not that they are creating for themselves an image of utter and complete ignominy that is most likely punishable by death through public stoning.

    I've noticed over the past several weeks people hacking up goo in the subways, on the sidewalk, on stairwells, in the street. Anywhere you can spray inappropriate oral fluids is fair game according to these dildoes, and they'll stop at nothing to make sure their practice is carried out with deadly aim.

    Just today I was perambulating the already treacherous sidewalks of SoHo, weaving through clits in leg warmers and flip flops, hipsters dressed as if they were on their way to "sleep it off" at the Bowery Mission, and entitled rich assholes who don't understand why most people hate the condos that are springing up everywhere, making it impossible to live here. Aside from these daily assaults, to which I have almost become immune, I barely escaped what can only be called a tragedy of epic proportions.

    On my way to the Whole Foods grocer's on Houston and Bowery, I was assaulted by a construction worker who poked his head out of a doorway just long enough to hack up goo, hurling it to the sidewalk just seconds before my foot landed in the exact spot his ejected slimeball had made impact.

    Horrified enough that this subhuman drone's internal drippings were now on the bottom of my shoe, I turned to him and did what any normal person would do - I told him to go fuck himself. Unfortunately, his head had already retreated like a diseased turtle's back into the building he was no doubt converting into an espresso bar or organic baby boutique or some other unnecessary kiosk meant to peddle to the boring and overpaid.

    What I would have done if his timing had been two seconds slower and his projection had actually made contact with my person is anyone's guess. As most of you know, I've just been itchin' for some action lately, so I might have punched him in his left TMJ, as that can cause lots of chronic damage.

    I don't get it. These people can't ALL be trying to clear foreign objects from their dampened maws. They can't ALL be choking on something, nor can they all be sick and unable to hold anything down.

    So why is this acceptable? We're not "down home," y'all. We have things called manners. Spitting is revolting, tacky, gauche, jejune, obnoxious, and unattractive. Add to that the potential for spreading whatever viruses we've collected in this cesspit of a cauldron of human misery, and that just makes this vulgar act that much more uncalled for.

    Stop spitting in public or I will kill you.

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    This is America and we're Christians here.

    Why is it that those who are most excited about spreading the "word of God" are always the ugliest, dumbest motherfuckers around? What is UP with that?

    It's not like I don't have enough to contend with. Leaving my apartment every morning is like stepping into a fresh, personalized hell. Human beings' proclivities for being stupid, poorly dressed and just downright revolting do not go unnoticed by me; in fact, I take people's foibles very personally and will most likely die prematurely from the strain humanity's continued assault on good taste has put on my heart.

    Whether it's a slacker douchebag wearing Uggs and sweatpants or a yuppie cooze pushing her baby in a $800 stroller, I feel a rage boiling from deep within that says one word over and over in my mind - "Kill."

    It is bad enough that my subway stop is right next to a T.G.I. Friday's - walking past that restaurant's windows after work is like glimpsing into a fishbowl of idiocy. Parents sit there, both talking on separate cellular devices, disregarding their spouse's and children's existences. The unsupervised beasts gnaw fattening, revolting animal products, some playing their portable gaming contraptions with one hand while cramming their mouths full of tendons, lipids and gore. Shoppers who have made the trek to the Target up the street sit in there with their purchases, most likely made in China, and imbibe sugar and fat with abandon. A true example of all that is wrong with the world.

    But this new horror puts the T.G.I. Friday's nightmare to shame.

    Five. Yes, five people near the turnstiles in my subway station were wearing red aprons that said in giant letters, "PRAYER TEAM." They were screeching their Biblical vagueries and nonsense at passersby and attempting to hand out leaflets.

    (If they're peddling their stupidity tomorrow, I'm going to take one of those leaflets, correct its grammatical mistakes - which I'm sure are copious - and return it to them, demanding that they make corrections before passing out any more fliers.)

    "God comin - He comin!" the toothless cretin, the most vociferous of the gaggle, spattered over and over again, waving his xeroxed shame at commuters.

    Unlike most people who just ignored them, I glared at them as if I were warming up to leap on top of them and tear their hearts through their ribcages. I do not suffer pushy Christians very well; they are to me a malignancy that, like cancer, needs to be neutralized and ultimately destroyed. It is largely thanks to their collective stupidity that we are in the sorry state we're in now, and I for one will stop at nothing until each and every one of them is falling repentant at my feet and pleading for mercy.

    This is not the first time I've been harassed by this so-called "prayer team," a group who look as if their collective IQ may almost add up to that of a banana slug's. Oh, no. I saw them twice in my subway stop last week. I was hoping it would be a passing thing, but apparently these buttfucks have anchored themselves there like barnacles to a ship.

    Well, I for one have HAD IT. If these slots continue their assault on intelligence by thrusting their brainwashed, simpleton views on me, I'm going to give them something to pray about. I've got experience freaking out braindead Christians - I've done it recreationally since I was about eight years old, starting out with my unoriginal yet effective, "Jesus sucks" line (which always elicits a reaction).

    "Why bother?" you may ask. Well, because a) it's fun and b) I don't like having these schmegeggies thinking they can get away with this shit. I don't know why the MTA is allowing them to force their views on other people. Surely it's a violation of some law or another - and if it isn't, it should be. I mean, fuck.

    Religion is personal and I, for oh so many reasons, do NOT want Christianity - especially in the way it has been perverted by drooling American jackasses - pushed on me. I'd rather sit through a Scientology auditing session than listen to this crap - at least the Scientologists are too retarded to take seriously. These Christians are dangerous and need to be taken to task.

    If they're there again tomorrow, if I see those red aprons draped over those morons' shoulders - it is ON.