Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bookstore. Not porn store.

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but it's also so much funnier!

A couple of stories from friends who work at bookstores that I just had to share:

Story #1

From my friend Mike D, who is studying library science and working in a Barnes & Noble:

So, this guy came into the store today looking for a job. Ugly, skinny dude
with big eyebrows and a Vinnie Barbarino (welcome back kotter) accent. He
said he was looking for a "legitimate job" and that he was mostly "a bartender
and took my clothes off." Try saying it with the accent, it's that much

I shit you not. According to his resume (which has his picture on it,
self-portrait), he is an exotic dancer and bartender. Wow. Highlight of my

Story #2

From my friend Janelle, who is a public health major and working in a Borders - her former supervisor got a call from a guy wanting to know:

Guy: "Do you guys have books on sexuality?"

Supervisor: "Why, yes, we do."

Guy: "How about anal sex specifically?"

Supervisor: "Uh-"

Guy: "Because I am trying to convince my girlfriend to do that with me. Can you give me any advice?"

Supervisor: "Try Barnes & Noble."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rest in Happy

Originally I was going to post today about a certain person's invited resignation from my office, which became official today. That's why I got this cake.

But then I read today's version of my hometown newspaper and saw a high school classmate's memorial service notice.

Is it legitimate to be sad about losing someone you weren't especially close to? Are we still entitled to feel loss?

DH, as I will call him, was actually the adopted brother of a girl in my class who was kind of stuck-up. He had Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition which causes developmental and medical illness. He was 35 when he died last week.

Oddly enough, one of the typical traits of individuals with Williams Syndrome is that they are very, very outgoing - and DH was no exception.

I met him in the Special Friendship Club in high school. It paired students with buddies in special education classes. There were group events sometimes - I ended up dropping out because I thought I was too busy with other stuff - but mainly it was a way to meet people and make friends.

I was shocked when a couple of guys I took for asshole jocks came to the club. It was like they became totally different people when they stepped in that room, or when they greeted one of their buddies in the hallway.

Saying hello, each of their faces lit up with happiness - a special kind of happiness. A complete and total understanding, complete and total being. Everything's OK with you, with me. It's just us, we can just be, for this moment.

DH would always break into a big grin, not self-conscious about his braces, and say, "Heeeeeeeeeeeeey! How's it going?" And he'd give you a big hug. He'd wave to you from across campus, always smiling.

I don't think he ever had a bad day. He came to all of the school dances, and hit the floor with gusto. He always had more dance partners than anyone else. Being around him, it was impossible to feel self-conscious about anything.

DH wasn't a particularly close friend of mine, for the simple reason that everyone was his friend. I didn't keep in touch with him, or anyone else from my high school, when I moved across the country, went to college, and grappled with the next, adult, free (so I thought) phase of my life. But knowing he is gone is literally like a bright spot going out, a stillness created, a silence where there was laughter before.

I thought about him recently, for no reason. I wondered what he was up to. And I would say "rest in peace," but knowing DH, that would be far too boring. I'm sure he's resting in happy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why I can never be a nurse's assistant

A good friend who has a background in marketing has boldly decided to switch careers. She's on the way to nursing school, and just got her CNA training completed.

She has been working, temporarily, at an assisted living facility. I didn't know - should have known, I suppose - what "assisted" entailed.

She is also nice enough to volunteer at my office, and the other day she said, "Remind me to tell you some stories from work sometime."

Me: "What kind of stories?"
She: "Well, let's just say I had an interesting experience with someone's foreskin the other day."


Apparently, Gentleman X needs help with the urinal. (Friend, you are a better person than me. I could never make it as a CNA, let alone a parent.)

She: "So when he peeled back his own foreskin the other day at the urinal, he peed on me."

Me: "Yuck!"

She: "So I learned. And the next time, I peeled it back, like they showed us in training (!!!) but...I think he thought I was playing with him."

Me: Giggles uncontrollably and almost falls over. "No, no, no way! I'm sure he didn't think that!" More giggles.

The next day, I heard part 2. Note to the uninitiated: memory loss does not mix well with help at the urinal.

She: "So did I tell you what happened yesterday? He told me he had to go to the bathroom, so we went to the urinal and I took down his pants. And then he said, 'WHY ARE YOU UNDRESSING ME????!!!!!!!!!'"

Me: Laughing so hard I almost piss my pants.

Fortunately, she has a new job now.

As for me, I think I'll stick with the writing and fundraising.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Mr. Riot Kitty updated his blog!

Click the link above to learn about the relationship between the Sex Pistols and butter! No joke!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sweet spot

Today, I'm taking a break from sarcasm, venting, and abusing Republicans...not ALL DAY! Gasp! Just for this post :)

I am so proud of my sibs this week! My 29-year-old brother just got his writing accepted into two publications (!!!), my 12-year-old brother got a poem published in an anthology of poems by young American students, and my little sister turned 8.

I wrote her this e-mail - warning! You might be nauseated by the sweetness:

Dear Little Riot Kitty,

Good morning and happy birthday! Mr. Riot Kitty and I hope you have a wonderful day. If you were here, the cats would want to sit in your lap and share your cake and ice cream!

When I was 8, my favorite ice cream was cookies and cream - it's still my favorite, actually.

Have a great birthday!

Love, Your big sister

And I received this reply - and she really does call me Kitty:

Thank you, Kitty! I read it myself!!!
I love you, I wish you were here!!
When I was seven my favorite ice cream was Sweet Cream from Cold Stone.
Now that I am eight it is still my favorite ice cream!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So tired of right-wing b.s.!!!

OK - I am a progressive person, not a partisan one, but I am DISGUSTED at the distortion, hypocrisy and other b.s. coming from the GOP these past few years. It's like Rove & Co. took over in the truth-telling department.

So I loved this...Green Tea beat me to posting it, but it's worth sharing again. (Check out her blog!)

"This took some figuring out...

If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."

But if you grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, it's a quintessential American story.

If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

But name your kids Willow, Trig, and Track, and you're a maverick.

Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

But attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, and you're well grounded.

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with more tnan 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

But if your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with fewer than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

But if you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, left your disfigured wife and kids and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

If you advocate teaching responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

But if, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.

But if your husband is nicknamed "First Dude," with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"If I give you a quarter...

will you call someone who gives a shit?"

OK, I've had a cell phone forever and I admit to not knowing how much a pay phone call costs these days...but still.

I work in a very small office that does a lot of different stuff. Somehow, it was timed that EVERYONE except me was on vacation for a couple of days. And we don't have a receptionist, so guess who had to answer the phones?

We have a helpline (I work at a nonprofit health organization) and those calls are usually OK, in terms of people being polite.

It's the people who WERE NOT having problems that were pushy, demanding, assholic (is that a new word?)

So here's a list of answers for the next time this happens - and these really do apply to calls I got:

"No, I DO NOT know how much it costs to copy your class training manual at Office Depot."

"Yes, she really IS on vacation! Just because she is answering work e-mails does NOT mean she is secretly hiding here in the office, avoiding your call. Although I wouldn't blame her if she did."

"Yes, her last name does start with G." (I am not making this up.)

"No, we will NOT give you $200 to come to the meeting on Monday. Ha. Ha. Ha."

"Person A is on vacation. Person B is also on vacation. Person C is also on vacation. Yes, really."

"No, I will not call Person A at home because you have a question about your Office Depot order. Are you the jerkoff who called before?"

Needless to say I would never last as a receptionist. I have a whole new respect for what they do!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Feminism 101

I'm reading a book called Getting in Touch With Your Inner Bitch - yes, I know some of you think I could have written it. But seriously - it has frequent references to "Toxic Niceness," which, believe it or not, was my mantra for a little while.

My adoring dad has always said that if I had been born in another century, I would have been Joan of Arc. Maybe not - but I was born with a personality that probably would have gotten me burned as a witch. I came out of the womb opinionated, I think, and my parents tell me that I talked and talked and made my opinions quite clear even before I learned words. And I talked in complete sentences before age 2.

That said, there was a short period of time when I was a bit of a mouse, a bit of a doormat - and it got me in trouble. This lasted from about age 6, when my parents got divorced, to around my sophomore year in high school, when I learned to say, "Fuck you!" and mean it. This was in 1991. I read Susan Faludi. I got excited about Hillary Clinton. I got my personality back. I have been a full-fledged fighter of sexism ever since.

To come back to the point, I was fortunate to be raised in a household with a feminist father and parents (divorced) who both told me that I could do anything I wanted to do. I never heard about gender limitations because my parents didn't believe in them.

Before the Bitch book (which I highly recommend, by the way), I read another book about bitching, The Bitch in the House, which was a collection of women sharing thoughts (and, yes, sometimes, bitching) about home, self, work, romantic partnerships, kids, etc. I had these two books on the brain when my grandmother e-mailed me a couple of nights ago.

My grandmother is still figuring out e-mail and the internet, and it's a help to her, as it is to me, when she gets bouts of insomnia. Her last e-mail was raving about my aunt's last visit to their cabin in Minnesota, while they were out, because my aunt "left it spotless and in good order, besides beautifully arranged what was left out. I can take lessons--K- would enjoy greatly the order."

"If K- enjoys order," I wrote back, "he should do some of the cleaning!"

She chided me in a reply that he does do some of the cleaning, which I think means he may have once killed a mosquito up there and wiped up the messy spot afterwards.

Seriously, both of my grandfathers - and most American men of that generation, I think - have been slaved over their entire lives: first by their mothers, and then by their wives.

My grandfather on my dad's side remarked a few months back that he'd like to move into an assisted living facility at some point. My grandmother snapped, "You dolt! You already have assisted living!"

It's true. Both of my grandmothers do all of the cooking, all of the cleaning (even the yardwork, in my paternal grandmother's case - I think the other side, which has more money and a firmer belief in the caste system, probably hires someone to do it)and they were both responsible for all of the child-rearing.

And they each had five!

I think about this and three things come to mind:

1. I'm absolutely baffled. How did they manage to do all of this and have enough time in the day to sleep? (Maybe they didn't all that much.)

2. I'm absolutely pissed. Why was this the norm? Why is it still the norm in their homes, and most of that generation?

3. How the hell did my parents, and my friends' parents, break out of those gender stereotypes and encourage us?

It's food for thought, anyway.

I have never even considered the possibility of not ending up with someone who would expect me to be a Stepford Wife, or even a Stepford Girlfriend. (Mr. Riot Kitty, by the way, just came in to tell me that he finished doing the dishes.)

Granted, I've experienced my share of sexism - at work (remember, I worked in newsrooms for several years) and out of work. But I am thankful to come home to a partner who is willing to share the suds, as well as the cuddles.

And I am thankful to have been raised by parents who taught me to expect nothing less than that.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Speaking of - or from - experience?

From a good (and liberal) friend:

I just read this about the importance of Sarah Palin's experience and I snorted coffee through my nose:

"Because having experience is like having an unusually large penis. I mean, it's a neat thing to have, and in some situations it might come in handy -- but it doesn't really matter all that much and if you keep waving it in people's faces, they will generally run away."