Thursday, February 25, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Dreams Die Hard

It was earlier today when I realized all my dreams would not come true.  Up until the moment when I almost had a stroke while pushing a weight sled, it had not really hit me that I would not become a black college athlete.  I had a vague idea that I would finish out this rock band thing and maybe return punts for Florida State, join a fraternity, and enter into a brotherhood united by blood sport.  What a disappointment.  I had sort of held into my back pocket the idea that I had preserved my college eligibility to make a late run at the Heisman Trophy when I had more time to train.  It had never really dawned on me that I couldn’t become a black college athlete.  Dreams die hard.  Life goes on.  It’s not easy but what can you do?

It is all about creating smaller and achievable goals.  For example, one of my neighbors created something called “The Little Lending Library”.  I assume this was something she (it had to be the female head of household and don’t argue with me on this point) saw in one of those Swedish lifestyle magazines.  The concept is that a small mailbox type contraption is placed at the end of the driveway with a little glass door.  Inside is a small collection of books with the idea being that the immediate community will trade reading material.  Making it more charming is the fact it is at the end of their “water feature” (man made waterfall that must have come at a shocking install price and is doomed to flood the immediate area when it malfunctions in the near future).

I was walking The Hounds yesterday and peered inside The Little Lending Library.  Many titles of self-help books and light fiction dominated the choices.  An idea popped into my head immediately.  I read in Time Magazine that “Mein Kampf” is #1 on the German non-fiction charts after becoming available for the first time since those “troubles” in the mid 1940s.  While this is somewhat disconcerting in that the book is bound to give some Good Boys ideas about those Syrian refugees camped out in their parks, Krusty pointed out to me that the sales figures are probably mostly driven by the fact it was outlawed previously.  For example, Krusty believes that a bunch of hipster assholes will open Cuban cigar shops and mojito stands that will become very popular in the short term here in the US.  If you can’t have it, you really want it.  There is something to that for sure.  The key is that I will bet there are a lot of used copies of “Mein Kampf” about to hit German EBay.

Now that brings us back to The Little Lending Library.  I wondered as I stood there in the cold wind with The Hounds “Now that my dream of becoming a black college athlete appears to be over, should I crush the dreams of others to make myself feel better?”  It’s quite a situation.  Is it really fair for me to insert a well-worn copy of “Mein Kampf” in original German into the mix of cheerful self-help and escapist fiction titles?  What would the fallout be for this poor woman that wanted nothing more than to create something positive by the water feature?  I can’t imagine that the neighbors would be pleased to notice “Mein Kampf” nestled in comfortably next to “Eat Pray Love”.  But why should her dreams come true when I don’t get to ride to Seminole football practice on a mini-bike with the entire community calling me by an absurd nickname like “G-Dog”?  

I don’t know how this whole thing will play out.  I guess I will just go to Detroit this weekend, play a rock show, record some tracks for our new record, and wonder where it all went wrong.  Keep chasing your dreams, whatever they are…  Unless of course they are to create a Little Lending Library.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Winds

I don’t know what it was about her.  She had that smug satisfaction that can only come from an upper class extremely liberal background.  She saw the world as the place she wanted it to be as opposed to how it was, as if she could will away unpleasant experiences.  She had walked through favelas in Rio without a scratch wearing Nike workout gear that cost more than most of these people had earned in the last two years.  Petite and naive is a combination that is almost like having a karmic protective shield.  It’s a childlike Zen.  

If it was 1922, she would have been a “socialite”.  That word now tends to mean “performs oral sex in dance clubs and limos” but it once meant an active patron of the arts and proper educated woman.  It was that Zelda Fitzgerald quality that probably made me start speaking to her like she was at the Café de Flore slowly stirring a small spoon in an espresso.

“The winds…  The winds…. They drove him quite mad.”


“Gerald.  He went mad.  He admitted himself to Gallmore for The Treatment.  He’s quite mad.”

Who’s Gerald?

“The author my dear…  He wrote those wonderful poems about death.  Surely you went to his reading?  No matter…  They say he slipped away at daybreak.  In tears.  He was quite shattered.  The howling of The Winds were too much for his fragile constitution.”

Wait… Your friend is sick?  Because it was windy this weekend?

“Oh, he goes mad quite often.  He will take The Waters and I suspect will be in Marseilles by Summer.  He always summers there with the Widow Schmidt.  He believes her to be his muse.  It’s nonsense of course.  They just drink pastis and argue about those vulgar sculptures left by Catalano.  It’s unfortunate.”

What are you talking about?

“It’s nothing to concern yourself with dear.  A woman of your stature must not concern herself with such creatures as Gerald.  Now, tell me of your plans…  Will you be attending the gala at the Flynn?”

I don’t know what you are talking about.  I am getting my tea and getting out of here.

“Of course my child!  Of course!  Do not let my rambling on about Gerald weigh you down!”

She walked away with a look of pure confusion. 
This is the situation I find myself in, trapped inside my runaway imagination and near constant boredom.  I walked out to my car.  The salt from the roads covered it almost completely in a gray film.  A small patch rubbed off on my black coat.  I thought to myself “What an awful business.  To have this coat soiled is almost too much to bear.  And the winds… the winds….”.  I started the car and drove past a string of chain restaurants and box stores. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate The Papers

When I am home on the weekend I spend the morning with The Papers.  I like saying "The Papers" like I am Hemingway or Fitzgerald sitting in a boutique hotel getting caught up in far flung events that happened weeks ago as I work through a pot of coffee and dictate letters.  However, the reality is that I sit at the kitchen table with the Plain Dealer and New York Times with a sad little bowl of cereal.  Still, I work my way through the massive Sunday Times like a goddamn trooper, diligently reading reviews of art openings I will never attend.  I also really like the global coverage in the Times as I can have a bare bones idea of what is going on in countries I visit.  Like the next time I go to Mexico, I want to know which cartel is cutting my head off, not just "a cartel".  The devil is in the details.

Most of the news is the same every day with small details changing.  For the next few months I will be like you and forced to slog through endless political coverage.  To save you some time, I will distill it all down into the facts you need to know.  Donald Trump is a dangerous egomaniac that will put his name on every government building prior to getting us into World War 3.  Ted Cruz is a smarmy little turd no one likes that will get us involved in World War 3 but not until he has taken all civil liberties away.  Marco Rubio might be an automaton.  He is the definition of "empty suit".  Hillary Clinton can't tell the truth about anything because at this point she has no idea what the real truth is and can't figure out why no one likes her.  Bernie Sanders has some great sounding ideas that will never work in the real world and has no chance of being elected.  No matter who wins this thing, we will all be sick of them at the end of the process and they will fail to live up to a single campaign promise.

The real news is a little further inside the paper.  In my opinion, the biggest news story of 2016 was deep on page six in today's morning edition.  

PATOS, Brazil, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Firefighters were called to a bar in Brazil to remove a drunk and belligerent monkey that downed a glass of rum and armed itself with a kitchen knife.  The local fire department in Patos, Paraiba, said they were called to a bar Feb. 5 on a report of an aggressive monkey with a kitchen knife chasing men.  Fire department Lt. Col. Saul Laurentino said the monkey drank a glass of rum at the bar before picking up the knife and chasing after men, leaving the women alone.  "It was a bar staff oversight that ended with the monkey drinking some rum and taking the knife," Laurentino told the aRede website.

Locals captured video of the monkey using the kitchen knife to scratch at the bar's roof.  The monkey was captured by firefighters and released back into the wild, but the mischievous primate was later captured a second time for acting aggressively toward residents of homes near the woods.

First of all, I love that a monkey got drunk and chased men around with a butcher knife.  However, the best part was that the reason a monkey got drunk on rum was "a staff oversight".  For example, a monkey sitting at the bar isn't odd.  The fact he was over served rum AND given access to a butcher's knife was the issue.  What a magical wonderful world we live in.  Don't get bogged down in politics and pointless noise.  The real news is out there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The Klapprad Motherfuckers Fiasco

I receive all kinds of crap in email and social media.  Each day I am told Trump, Cruz, Sanders, and Clinton are buffoons.  Each day I am told that Trump, Cruz, Sanders, and Clinton are The Answer.  There are products to buy.  Special events to attend.  Videos of cute dogs and cats.  Conspiracy theories.  Clever people.  Boring people.  Special causes I don’t care about.  It’s a distraction.  I’m working my way through six volumes of Proust for God’s sake.  I don't have time for this.  It takes quite a bit to catch my eye.  Yet, today I saw something of interest.

About a year ago I received an email from a guy from an organization in Germany called “The Klapprad Motherfuckers”.  They wanted to buy a Daredevils red vinyl LP.  Like me, you are probably asking what exactly is a “klapprad motherfucker”?  It turns out some guys bought those dorky fold out bikes that apparently are called “klapprads” in Germany.  These are the types of bikes that are primarily ridden by Euro engineers that go to a workplace where I assume they are bullied and ridiculed.  However, these guys decided that they would juxtapose the idea of a motorcycle gang with klapprads and form “The Klapprad Motherfuckers”.  Imagine a bunch of dudes in motorcycle gang colors walking around with klapprad logos, a helmet clad skull with two pedals as crossbones.  I don’t completely understand it but I enthusiastically support it.  This is in the same vein as my “Lucha Libre Wine Appreciation Society”, a perfect combination of two disparate ideas into something that becomes larger than the sum of its parts.

So the Klapprad Motherfuckers printed up merchandise, because if you are in a fold out bike gang, what else would you do?  The merch notice appeared in my social media feed directly after a post from a friend of mine that just had her first baby.  In the post, she and her husband are very excited to pose with the tiny infant, the joy and surprise at discovering that they actually are playing house apparent in their faces.  When I noticed that the Klapprad Motherfuckers had printed up baby bibs with their logo on it, I thought it would be funny to point out to my friend the young mother.  I clipped the Klapprad Motherfuckers post and “shared it” to her as a message.

I should point out that my friendship with this woman is work based.  We worked together for about a year until she had the child and decided to stay home with the baby and not return to work.  We know each other, but as “work friends”.  That’s why it must have come to quite a surprise to her when my email that said “Hey, I thought you might like this item these guys printed up” arrived in her email box and displayed a pair of tight athletic women’s panties with “Klapprad Motherfuckers” across the crotch.  Of course I had no idea that when I shared this post it would default to the first item on the Klapprad Motherfuckers page, the women’s panties, and not the baby’s bib.  So now she is sitting home, a new mom, and an older dude she worked with shoots an email to her saying “Hey I thought you might like these panties!”.

I would have had no idea this had happened unless she had replied with “What???”.  I think it was the three question marks that first alerted me to the idea that something was amiss.  I don’t get embarrassed easily, but I was certainly full-on embarrassed with the idea that she thought I was hanging out, saw a pair of panties and then said “Hey girl, I know you just popped a kid out but I saw these and said mmmm-mmm-mmm, that’s got you all over it!  Kiss the baby and say “hey” to your husband for me, ok?  Thinking about you nursing the baby while wearing those panties.  Mmmm-mmm-mmmm....”

Good God.  I frantically typed an explanation for what appeared to be very questionable behavior.  I’m not sure if she bought that I thought a “Klapprad Motherfuckers” bib was a good idea for her newborn.  It seems pretty flimsy even now and it was my idea.  I would suspect I have been quietly “unfriended” and will be discussed with outrage at an upcoming family event.  Damn this social media.  It’s a real tiger trap.

Still, that bib is pretty good.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Nurse the Hate: The New Men's Room Situation

A guy I work with was closing out his work day yesterday.  Let’s call him Jerry.  His supervisor nervously called him into the office.  The conversation was awkward.  “Um, Jerry, uh…  I have to talk to you about something…  Ahhh…  This isn’t about your performance but ahhh….”  At this point Jerry starts to freak out.  What is going on?  Why is the supervisor so nervous?  Is he about to get fired?  What could he have done?  His mind raced through possibilities.

“Jerry, we received a complaint that you went to the bathroom earlier this week and didn’t flush.  Apparently a co-worker reported that you urinated in the stall, washed your hands, and then ran out of there without flushing.”  At this point Jerry is stumbling all over himself trying to remember the incident in question while apologizing profusely with some sort of explanation combination of toilet sensor failure, absentmindedness, and/or being in a hurry.  It couldn’t have been easy to think up on the fly.  He had no idea this had happened.  This resulted in the supervisor attempting to make Jerry feel better by passing along embarrassing work incidents in his own past.  “Jerry… I too have had embarrassing things happen at work.  One time my boss sent me home to change shoes because he said I looked like I worked at Foot Locker.  And then another time I got this stain…”  The whole thing was very tense.  Jerry wondered if the incident would end up in his employment record.  Who the hell had done this to him?

I like to think about how the incident got to that point.  The original “non-flush” incident happened and the unknown co-worker became upset.  Undoubtedly that guy went back to his department in the company and discussed it with his co-workers.  Jerry was outed as some sort of serial toilet non-flusher, as if he was unaware of how the device worked or was no better than a household pet and just let it rip wherever he was at the time of need.  Then someone must have spoken up.  “You need to tell the boss!”  He would have then been urged by the others to do so.  "Yeah, you should say something..."  Later that day a knock would have been made at the department head’s office.  “Hey Chuck?  Got a minute?”  Sure Bill.  Come on in.  Close the door.  So what’s on your mind?  You don’t say…  You don’t say...  Jesus.  And he just ran out of there?  We better get Sam in the loop on this.

The supervisor then would have gone upstairs to the General Manager.  “Sam?  Got a minute?  We’ve got a real issue going on downstairs on the second floor.  It appears that one of those sales guys won’t flush the toilet.  No… No… It was piss, but God knows if he flushes his shits down.  What kind of person does this?  Look…  Mike is really upset about this.  He’s talking about filing some sort of grievance.”  Alright.  We need to nip this thing in the bud.  Let’s go talk to HR.  We need to see what our options are on this thing.  We don’t need this blowing up on us down the line.

At this point the GM, department head, and the "injured party" would have met with the company HR person.  Forms would have been filled out, as all meetings need to be documented as per protocol.  These would then have been filed electronically with complete incident detail.  “…at this point employee Jerry Smith ran out of the area, not flushing the stall toilet and leaving the area as if he were fleeing a bank robbery.  This is the first known documented incident though a pattern is believed to be emerging from this employee.”.  At this point is when the sales department head would have been called in to the growing concern.  

“Look, you’re going to need to get your people in line down there.  You just can’t have your sales guys pissing all over the place and not respecting the other employees.  Other departments are talking.  They seem to think that this is indicative of another larger issue, and frankly I’m inclined to agree.  This Jerry Smith character needs to be cut down to size.  Next thing you know he will take a fucking shit in the lobby.  I don’t want to hear another word about this filthy animal.  Get him in line or I will get someone in here who will!  Capisce?”.  The nervous sales manager would have briskly walked in a panic back downstairs looking for Jerry.

By this point most people within the building know of Jerry as “that guy that doesn’t flush the toilet”.  This will have spread like wild fire.  Jerry will hear whispers as he walks through halls and snickers from groups.  Everyone will give him the eye when he walks out of the men’s room.  By next week an email will be sitting in my inbox.  “It has recently come to our attention here at corporate that not all employees are aware of how to best use the restroom facilities at our locations.  With this in mind we will require all employees to view a “Toilet Re-Training Module” which you will find on the company website.  This will be required to be viewed and signed off on by the end of the month or harsh disciplinary action will follow.  It is a 90 minute video with multiple choice questions.  Plan for two hours to complete the module.

So here I am at the end of the day.  I went to the men’s room for the all-important “pre-drive home piss stop”.  There at the one urinal was Jerry doing his business.  That led me into the stall where I robustly did my duty.  Jerry was washing his hands as I finished and left.  I paused and did not flush the toilet.  Jerry left the men's room.  I quickly washed up and walked down the hall.  I peeked my head in the supervisor’s office.  “Hey… This is sort of weird to bring up, but I was just in the men’s room and Jerry took a leak in the toilet and didn’t flush.  What’s the deal man?  Can you mention to him that civilized people flush the fucking toilet?  Thanks.”.

I can’t wait to see what happens.