Miss(ed) Manners

October 20, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Urban License #2: LHTFWA

Filed under: Column,Funny,Humor,Life,Manners,Miss(ed) Manners,New York,Walking — missedmanners @ 1:48 pm

So here on WordPress there’s this great feature that allows you to see what search strings have drawn people to your site. Last week someone came around looking for, and I quote, “Skills that require licensing.” Good on you, Mr. Like-Minded Individual Sir. Besides jukebox operating there are many such skills that should mandate federal licensing. Which brings me to this week’s offering:

Miss(ed) Manners: Urban License #2: LHTFWA

That’s short for Learned How To Fucking Walk Already.

New York is literally FULL of sidewalks and guess what? People walk on them. For the most part, very poorly. Too slow, too fast, not straight enough, wrong side, stopping when you should be going, etc. These are the tell-tale signs of the retarded streetwalker.

If people were made to apply for streetwalking permits, this city would be a better place. In the license application below I’ll explain in further detail the very simple process (including a six week Walker’s Ed training program) one would have to go through in order to receive their LHTFWA certificate.

At this point you may be wondering aloud, “Dave, how do I know if I’m a problem streetwalker?”

There are a few signs. First, are you drooling? If yes, wipe your mouth and stand away from the glow box, Corky. Second, when you walk do you routinely hear the gruff, forced exhales of angry people as they try to shuffle around you and your club foot? No?

Most problem walkers fall into one of four categories.

1) The Wobble Walker or Shambling Mound
(If you got that joke meet me on top of a high building for a joint suicide on the grounds of hyper-nerdiness)

The Mound usually weighs in at somewhere between 290 and infinity pounds. Their amorphous globular shape seems to ripple in the wind as they take up the entire street ahead of you. The problem with Wobble Walkers isn’t that they’re fat, it’s that they move from side to side more than they progress further. The overweight are A-OK with me so long as they use that girth to get a little forward momentum going. Not Wobblers though, no they plod about shifting their weight from east to west. They move forward only on account of their legs – sensing an impending plummet to the ground – jutting out to stop the catastrophe like re-inflatable cellulite airbags.

2) The Stopper

Picture this: You’re headed home after a long day of work. Mr. Jenkins was all over you today, “Where’s that report, Collins?” “You need to stay on top of stuff, Collins!” You’re fed up and need your feelings of rage and homicide numbed by the soft blue glow of telemorphine ASAP. Your legs are working on their own, pretending the pavement is the doughy remains of Mr. Jenkins’ knee-strike battered face.

Then, the person right in front of you stops. Usually to either: Take out their cell phone, focus on an already in progress call, rummage through their bag looking for a metrocard or just to appreciate the magnificent beauty that is New York (or sneeze, whatever). 8 times out of 10 this will happen right at the top of a set of stairs. Will Mr. Jenkins’ get a murderous reprieve as you throw your rage against the back of this stuttering interloper?

The stopper is a danger not only to New York citizens but also to him/herself.

3) The Wrong Sider or Japanese Tourist

We get it, where you’re from people keep to the left. Not here. Here we keep to the right. Here we like our beer cold and our panties un-sniffed. This is the rule.

There’s a small subdivision of Wrong Siders who are equally as dangerous: the Clueless Scaffolding Spacehog. These are the people that walk down the middle of the narrow pathways created by work areas. These people too must be taught.

4) The Groupies

Not cool groupies like the ones that take off their shirts at the mere mention of Steely Dan. No, walking Groupies are the tourist twats that link arms and prance down crowded streets at 5:30pm laughing and giggling about what they just bought at Scoop. I don’t even recommend licensing these people. These people should be shot, their bodies stuffed with explosives and then lobbed via trebuchet into the plate glass windows of Scoop stores the city over.

The Licensing Process

Before ticketing for non LHTFWA street operation becomes common, you should look into coming down to the bureau and applying. For most people a simple practical exam will clear you for partial access to 90% of the city’s streets (Special tests will be created for Soho, Times Square and Narrow Subway Platforms).

Failing the test will require you to take the Walker’s Ed course which will focus on stride length, gait and steadiness. Other features include:

* Focus on: Walking and talking on a cell phone at the same time.
* Watching where the fuck you’re going, you asshole, you.
* Getting the hell out of the way when you feel like stopping.
* A four day seminar entitled, “Hey! The Streets Don’t Belong to You, Buddy!”
* With price of enrollment comes the free pamphlet: “Walk/Don’t Walk Signs: What They Really Mean”
* Mastery of the side-by-side/front-and-back conversational streetwalking dynamic formation.

If I were you, I’d get down to our offices now and sign up, the lines are sure to be really long, and you can bet getting there is going to be fucking hazardous.

October 6, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Urban License #1: JOC

Filed under: Announcements,Column,Dancing,Drunk,Funny,Humor,Manners,Music,Ramblings — missedmanners @ 2:37 pm

The more you think about it the more you realize people just can’t be trusted to be competent in anything that they do. In many cases when compentency becomes an issue of life or death the government will issue licenses certifying that person in the skill in question. Driving, operating heavy machinery, being a barrista at Starbucks, etc.

Why stop there, I ask. There are thousands of skills that require licensing immediately simply just for living in New York. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this issue and the simple fact of the matter is that you need to know if you’re skilled enough to perform certain tasks without fear of legal reprisal, beatings or cock-smacks (assuming you have one, vag-slaps aren’t nearly as painful).

So today I’m introducing part one in a multi-part series of undetermined length or quality that I call:

Dave’s Urban License Program
License #1: Jukebox Operator Certification

Juke

Picture this: You’re sitting in your average run of the mill New York beer bar, swilling down some God awful pint of Hoegarden or whatever you fairies drink. You’re enjoying the company of your friends, eating, talking, laughing, all is right with the world.

Then, out of nowhere, the jukebox springs to life, its lights pulsating to the beat of some unknown track buried at the end of Guns and Roses’ seminally horrible album, “The Spaghetti Incident.” Your palms start sweating, you don’t know the words, you don’t know when to bounce your head, how to fake the guitar riffs. There will be no chorus of, “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Snap!” from your table. This song is unsnappable.

All too often a jukebox acts like a beacon to the musically retarded. This large foreheaded neanderthal strolls into packed bars with a musical agenda. He’s got a list of songs that he’s going to search that jukebox for and make everyone listen to for one of two reasons: Either 1) The song means something only to him and/or his friends and they want to relive some aborted spring break vacation they spent in their parents’ garage smoking reefer and talking about breast size or 2) He thinks this awful song is good and he wants other people to hear it on the off chance that they’ll like it too and then come up to him and offer him oral sex. I read it in a newspaper.

There’s no reason for this to happen. If the city were to introduce my Urban Licensing system then all jukeboxes installed in the city would be outfitted with card scanners and a series of qualifications for operation based on song catalog, venue type and neighborhood.

For the most part bars with a jukebox fall into the “Beer Bar” category. The semi-sports bar, the slightly noisy, may have food, just a place to hang out with little to no pretension in the air sort of place. These are my favorite places. The jukebox is usually stocked with all manners of Classic Rock.

There are more localized and discerning jukeboxes of course. There’s the hipster bar, country bar, punk bar and jazz bar to name a few. Operating a juke box in these locations would require passing the general JOC exam along with a specialized genre specific written exam so you don’t end up putting on the 15 minute interview introduction to a Miles Davis compilation and getting soaked in a hail of fancy brown liquour by an angry mob of funny hat wearing post-depression Americana enthusiasts.

However, like I said, most bars fall under the general JOC’s jurisdiction, which is headbanging, lyrics screeching, guitar wailing, Classic Rock. Rock and Roll is the veritable glue that holds this macaroni picture frame we call a country together. There is no greater thread that runs through our nation’s history than Rock, it is the universal language of keg parties, beer busts and four day binges ending in multiple pregnancies. Shit, when George Carlin came back in time in the movie, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” he wasn’t coming back to help a pair of clarinet players, he was coming back to ensure that Wyld Stallyns brought the future together under the banner of Rock music. So suck on that DJ’s, you are basically a shit stain on the underwear of musical relevance.

Anyway, I’m currently in the process of producing the written exam portion of the licensing procedure. Eventually there will be a real world practical exam wherein the applicant will have to program a ten song set into a randomly chosen bar jukebox. The finale song choice (always important) is basically the paralell parking equivalent.

Some sample questions:

1) You’re in a bar on a Saturday night and the mood is low. To begin your musical selection you can choose from the four following songs:

a) Madonna – Like a Virgin
b) Ricky Martin – Livin’ La Vida Loca
c) Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
d) Anything by AC/DC

Answer: D, you idiot. Madonna is generally reserved for the subset Gay jukebox or in the subarticle 9 clause, entitled, “Playing a Female Request in Hopes of Getting Laid.” Ricky Martin songs are obviously punishable by death and/or theft of beer, the same usually goes for Phil Collins, however in this case we see the case of the classic, “playing a song just for the instrumental solo” situation. Not acceptable. “In the Air Tonight” is only allowed for sitting quietly alone on a waterfront, staring off into the distance, contemplating murder/suicide and then walking off, right as the drum solo happens, to an uncertain future.

2) You’ve arrived at a bar only to find that it houses a new, electronic jukebox, what do you do?

a) Instantly search the web for that new Fergie song.
b) Play your song and pay the extra $2.00 to have it bumped in front of whatever song is playing next.
c) Use their comprehensive catalog to find the song you lost your virginity to and cry at the bar.
d) Throw your fist into its cold, mechanical heart and tear out what you can, then, if possible, defecate inside of the gaping hole.

This is a tough question to answer. If you answered A, you should probably sterilize yourself by whatever means possible. If you chose B then you’re one of the reasons that these machines are a greater threat to national security than Diebold voting machines. A competent Jukebox operator knows how to put a set of music together, if you go and start either shuffling or changing the order, not only do you risk bodily harm to yourself, but also you risk harming the masterfully crafted ambience that only a 40 minute block of soul-pelting Rock can do.

Answering C is really its own punishment. Good luck with that.

Again the only suitable answer here is D for one simple reason: Led Zeppelin. Currently, the Led Zeppelin catalog is not permitted to be used in Internet jukeboxes. I’ve heard rumors that the Boss also does not allow for his music to touch these little abominations. It is theoretically impossible to drink beer for an entire night and not hear Led Zeppelin and call it a good night. Therefore you must destroy all touch screen/web enabled jukeboxes on sight.

So that about does it for the JOC licensing preview, I’m currently in talks with the Mayor’s office regarding its immediate implementation. In the mean time however, may I suggest that you all supress your wanton urges to recklessly play at Maestro when you see a jukebox from across a crowded bar? You’re gambling with the ears of dozens and scores of dollars in incredibly sub-par beer.

September 22, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Chit for Chat

Filed under: Column,Funny,Humor,Loud Talkers,Manners,Personal,Ramblings,Subway,Why? — missedmanners @ 12:25 pm

Say you’re a regular guy with a lot on your mind. You’ve got all these great ideas bouncing around inside that skull of yours and you just want to get them out. Your friends don’t really have the time to listen, everyone you know is just too busy… so where do you go to just get it all off your chest?

A rush hour subway car filled with people, right?

Makes sense I guess, train passengers are kind of a captive audience. They can’t really leave, not until their stop, and getting up and moving just because you’re talking, well, I mean, that’s kind of rude.

This basically outlines the situation I witnessed this morning on my way into the office. I’d gotten on the J, as usual and was leaning against the door as we rumbled towards the Williamsburg Bridge. Everything seemed really normal. People were their usual groggy, morning selves. Those sitting seemed to be meditating and reciting the popular mantra, “Friiiiiiiiiidaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, niiiiiiinnne houuuuurrrrs to goooooooooooo.”

But something was different. Right in front of me I noticed some excited movement, hands flashing, head shaking, lips wagging, that sort of thing. This guy was talking very loudly at some poor little girl who seemed to be holding a newspaper.

I had my headphones on so I was missing the gist of the conversation. It was obviously one sided, so at first I assumed this guy was throwing some game, as the girl was definitely attractive by any means of the word. Reluctantly, I turned off my Goo Goo Dolls Greatest Hits Megamix and focused in on the exchange.

Calling it an exchange would really be incorrect. From what I gathered the guy, or Chat Stu as I began to refer to him in my head, had seen a headline regarding Iran’s nuclear program in the lady’s, or Extremely Uncomfortable Girl’s (EUGene), Daily News. This prompted him to launch into a seamless logorrheic tirade, extolling his opinions on a number of subjects.

It wasn’t even like Chat Stu was talking just to EUGene. Granted, he was sitting right next to her and his mouth was just two or three inches from her eye, no, he was shouting loud enough for the entire car to hear. Poor EUGene just sat there, smiling politely, trying her best to make every possible non-verbal attempt to let him know that she just wanted to get back to reading her paper.

Now, when I said seamless and logorrheic, I meant it. You know how there are people out there who will just talk and talk and talk about nothing at all until you literally look them in the face and say, “if you do not stop talking right now I will take the laces out of my shoes, ram them down your throat and then fashion a crude noose out the laces and hang you from a telephone wire by your toes and tell the local kids there’s a pinata outside full of useless thoughts.”

The only way to deal with people like this is you have to wait for a break in their mindless jibber jabber. Most often, this is when they pause for breath. That split second when their mind says, “oh yeah, I need to stop spewing completely inane information so that I can replenish my oxygen supply, then I can get right back to boring the fuck out this person in front of me.”

Well, Chat Stu didn’t breathe. I watched him for somewhere around twenty minutes and over six stops and not one pause. It reminded me of that guy in the movie, The Sting, who was reading the results off the high speed telegram machine, no pauses, no fear, no mercy.

All in all the behavior seemed so crazy, but Stu didn’t look or sound nuts at all. He was dressed fairly well, not fancy, but definitely not in hobo-gear. He was clean and articulate, just looked like a regular guy on his way to work. The whole thing was mesmerizing, especially his points of view.

There was so much filler in between his salient points that it was hard to pick out exactly what Stu was trying to say. He had started off with the nuclear situation in Iran but within a few minutes had strayed all over the political, social and sexual world.

Some memorable Chat Stu quotes:

“I’m not a black man, white man, rich man, poor man, right man, left man, up man, down man… I’m an Original Man, see.”

“Being gay is a choice, a lifestyle choice you make, like being a crack head, you can choose to be a crack head, you choose to be gay, you ain’t born a crack head.”

“The World Trade Center was bombed! Did you know they took out all the bomb sniffing dogs six days before 9/11? At the beginning of September there were no dogs allowed in the World Trade Center.” (This was the longest portion of his lecture, involving technical details of “bombs ‘n shit,” “melted steel ‘n shit” and “physics stuff.”)

“A man has got to be able to protect his family. If you don’t protect your family, you’re not a man, I don’t have a family, because I’m an Original Man, see.”

As we neared his stop at Chambers Street he began wrapping things up. He was talking to everyone now, not just EUGene, but anyone who would listen. I had taken a seat right across from him. As he got up to exit the car he began politely urging us to think about everything he said.

I had been thinking about what he was saying and all in all, none of it was real crazy-person talk. It was all a little misguided, sure, but they were just his opinions, a fact he kept mentioning, almost as much as his “Original Man” Theory.

When the doors shut there were about six of us who’d been in direct ear shot of Chat Stu and we all started to giggle. A girl next to me said, “I’m all for conversations, but someone needs to tell him, not on the train and NOT this early!”

“He certainly had a lot on his mind!” Said the woman to EUGene’s left.

EUGene was blushing furiously, “I just wanted to read my paper, I haven’t even made it to the local section yet.”

Two seats down an older man said, “Have you ever thought of reading People Magazine?” Meaning celebrity gossip is not nearly as inflammatory.

We all laughed.

There were only two stops left and we spent them trading light jokes and wondering what was the most polite way to deal with someone who forces you into a one sided conversation like that. How do tell someone you’d rather just sit in quiet contemplating the day ahead?

We all broke off to head to our jobs and the girl sitting next to me said, “Have a nice day.” With a smile I replied, “You too.” The warmth and genuineness of the exchange made me all smiles, but it was also confusing. Here we’d had a conversation, not the usual awkward, “Hey whatcha been up to?” random subway encounter mushmouth conversation, but a real friendly talk… about how you just don’t feel like talking in the morning.

If it hadn’t been for Stu getting all loud and opinionated we’d never have had that shared moment, however brief. The confusion didn’t stop me from smiling all the way to work, or even now.

I guess the moral of the story is that no matter how rude, inconsiderate, loud, bigoted or annoying someone can be, you can still bond with strangers and have a good time making fun of that person once with they and their whacko-loco speak are a safe distance away.

September 15, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Spaced Out

Filed under: Column,Funny,Humor,Personal,Ramblings,Subway — missedmanners @ 11:45 am

Personal space, the final frontier.

This is the journey of Dave, whose mission is to boldly sit equidistant from all those around him. To seek out a comfortable and respectable personal space without having to glare at the guy who smells like stale milk just to his right who refuses to move even though there’s no one else on the train and all it would take is just a shift of his fat little legs to move six inches away so that we’re not dry humping thighs every time the train goes over a new section of track, I’m stuck against the arm guard with no where to go but into your lap with my elbow, MOVE IT, JEEEZ.

That was last night, on the subway. I was sitting amongst many tired peons, all wanting to get home. It was just an hour or two past peak time and I was lucky enough to get a seat. Over the bridge we went and at the first stop almost everyone got off the train.

Right, so we’ve gone from train full of seated passengers to train with five or six passengers. What do you do? What DO you do?

The answer my friends is not blowing in the wind, but found in the basic principles of excited particles, which I guess technically could be blowing in the wind. The details are pretty technical and really don’t understand them, but basically when particles are in an excited state they bounce around to make full use of their particular enviroment.

So when you have about forty say, human-sized particles in a say, train-sized enviroment, they’re going be distributed evenly. But when you remove thirty of these human-sized particles a lot of space opens up and then remaining human-sized particles ought to bounce around (or slide their fat asses on the seats) to evenly distribute themselves in the now free space.

I got a C in physics.

Needless to say that when Mr. Milk Dud didn’t slide away from me I was in an excited state. I made all the huffing, loud exhales and grumpy shifting that’s necessary for just such a situation. Maybe he was confused and thought we were sharing a covalent bond or something. Three stops later I was off the train and he was in the same spot.

Behavior like this is unacceptable and highly un-American and let me tell you why. People from Europe like to tout one of the big differences between them and us as being the personal space issue. They just don’t seem to care if someone sits down next to them on an empty train and throws an unshaved leg in their lap. They’re just that much more evolved than we are, in their eyes I guess they think they’re being cosmopolitan.

In my eyes it’s total fucking bullshit. Europe is overcrowded. The same people have been living in postage stamp sized countries for a thousand years. Sure you don’t mind sharing a table with a stranger, we’re all human right? Garbage, you don’t mind sharing a table because there are three of them in the sub-basement cafe and they’re the size of candlesticks.

Here in America we’ve got space. We’ve made a national history out of forcing indingenous people off of their space just so we could NOT use it. When the pioneers saw smoke from neighbor’s chimney four miles away it was time to move. We love cars where EVERYone has a captain’s seat. We don’t have stores, we have SUPER centers. We’re a nation built on spreading our legs like the mayonnaise we so love.

Most practioners of American Etiquette will tell you that the optimal personal comfort zone is three feet. Why three feet? Because that’s the average length of a human arm or leg. A good test to see if you’re comfortable? Randomly throw out a limb violently in any direction, if you hit someone in the teeth, then you’re not really at ease, and that person shouldn’t have been there.

To me the whole personal space thing is very much an issue of respect. As in, “I respect you enough that I want you to be able to spread out and display your groin region for all to see.” That’s comfort and respect.

If someone doesn’t do the butt slide away from me when a space opens up, that doesn’t say to me, “well Dave, you finally showered, you must be smelling good today and this person obviously wants to bask in your radiant cleanliness.”

Nope, instead I’m thinking this person doesn’t respect American values of expansion, gratuitous waste of personal resources and comfort at the cost of conservation. So take a hike, Commie, these legs were made for spreading and that’s just what they’re going to do.

September 8, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Step Up, Fall Down Drunk

Filed under: Column,Dancing,Drunk,Humor,Life,Personal,Ramblings,Step Up,Tatum Channing — missedmanners @ 1:21 pm

Once in a great while a movie comes along that will make you rethink your views on class, culture and art. A stirring narrative that will have you talking about it for weeks or maybe months.

Step Up is NOT that movie.

Last night I embarked upon my second (but third attempt at) drunk movie review. This tradition is quickly becoming both my favorite and most hated past time. For those of you who are in the dark, the first movie review can be found
here

The premise is simple, imbibe dangerous amount of vodka then travel to a movie theater and see the worst movie showing there. Last night, however, I decided to throw in a twist, I brought a friend.

No, the friend’s name wasn’t cocaine, you people make me ill.

His name was Dale! Dale is one of my favorite people in the world because he loves to drink almost as much as I do. We’ve both been known to tote bottles of liquour around parties and then be found face down in a bathroom some time later. Who better to bring along on a DMR?

We got things started early, around 8 in Washington Square Park where we threw our bottle of Tito’s Handmade Vodka into a brown paper bag and chatted about everything from tits to asses.

What? We’re guys, that’s what guys talk about.

About half way through the bottle we decided to pregame a little more at a bar with some beer and pool. At this point I felt like we were overcompensating a little with the manliness considering we were about to go see a movie about dancing, together, after 10pm. I stole a pen from a bar tender, blatantly, and then we headed out.

Eventually we made it to the theater and bought two tickets to the 10:30 show. Then I started to take stock of how drunk I was getting. The teller mentioned that the movie was on the fifth floor and I mused aloud that those were a lot of steps to walk. They have escalators you dumb ass.

Things really start to get hazy here. We’d consumed nearly the entire bottle of vodka and with two pints of beer a piece in us we were staggering by the time we got in the actual theater.

Lo and behold there were actually people ready and waiting to watch this drivel. In the back corner there was a homeless guy who figured this would be the best place to catch a nap, considering the movie has the entertainment factor of chewed celery. There was the requisite child molester-looking guy two rows behind us. And then there were two girls, probably NYU freshmen, who were about to get their first dose of New York, Miss(ed) Manners style.

After getting settled, taking a few more pulls on the bottle and deciding we’d write our notes on our brown paper bag (which I subsequently lost), the theater went dark and the movie started. It should be noted however, that by this point I had lost complete control over my motor functions and I wasn’t even writing, it was like controlled fits of Parkinson’s with a stolen pen.

Step Up takes place in Maryland, a fact explained to me by Dale after I shouted at the screen, “this looks NOTHING like New York!” Street wise Tyler (Tatum Channing) loves to dance, a fact we’re reminded of during the opening scene. Potatum and his boys are at a club, he’s out on the floor getting all krump on some girl and then he almost gets shot. This obviously frightens the boys as they then run out of there and immediately break into a dance academy to steal some shit to buy some guns to go get the guy that almost shot Tater. They get caught and convicted and Totem Pole has to do 200 hours of community service by being a janitor at the school.

Toast’em then spends a little time complaining about how this world is so different from the world he grew up in. He is after all, very authentic and hasn’t coopted any culture at all. The Ballet school is not Krump enough for him.

And then we meet our female protagonist, Nora (Jenna Dewan).

She’s sad in this picture because she’s just realized that she looks like Vincent from TV’s Beauty and the Beast. Well, that and her partner (who is apparently the only one in the school strong enough to lift her beastly, mannish figure) got hurt and he needs to take some time to ice and practice his tights stuffing skills.

What follows next is a whirlwind romance and clashing of high society dancing and street moves. Break dancing and ballet! Holy shit, what a great idea for a movie! Do you think… maybe… they might learn from each other and perhaps make a stupendous dance routine that blends their specific styles of dance into one, but without losing the traits that make them unique?!

Unfortunately we didn’t get to know. At 11:00 I received a call from my mother. What was I to do? I was plastered drunk by this point, unable to talk effectively and in a movie theater, what’s the correct thing to do?

Well I answered the phone of course! It was my mom!

I started the conversation off with the ever popular (and very loud), “Hi Mom! I’m really drunk and in a movie theater with Dale!”

“That’s nice honey, tell Dale I said Hello, do you want to buy a piece of land?”

I covered the receiver and whisper-shouted to Dale, “My mom says Hello! She wants me to buy some land!”

My mom is a real estate agent and she’s constantly trying to get me to buy land with money I don’t have. I make about enough to eat and drink (as can be seen) and I’m happy. But apparently my mom thinks I would be happier owning a few acres of undeveloped land upstate. I usually counter this argument with something about the noose of land ownership and my being a free spirit that needs to pay overpriced rent to feel validated.

That’s the gist of the five minute conversation I stammered and slurred at full volume in the theater. It got pretty heated and she ended the phone call angrily with, “Call me when you’re sober, David!” It was so Jerry Springer I almost cried.

It should also be noted that never at any time did anyone tell me to shush. I must seem like a violent drunk.

By the end of the phone call the vodka was bearing full force on me. I could feel the walls of drunkness closing in on me and I was swaying visibly. We tried to write notes and follow the movie, but it was becoming increasingly difficult.

Add to that that this movie is more formulaic and trite than an episode of Real World and we felt like there was nothing left to watch. I made the following predictions in my head for the movie before we left:

The original dance partner guy would come back and Beastlady would choose FacTatum over him.

One of Tatumstatumtum’s friends would get shot.

She-ra the Animal Queen would make a killer dance routine and do ballet to hip hop music.

All three of these things happen of course. Basically, you could go to this movie with an Urban Fish Out of Water Movie Plot Bingo Card and win in the first twenty mintues. When we realized we’d seen the movie already in our heads (a much better version of course) Dale and I decided to hit the bricks. I was losing consciousness slowly but surely and needed to sleep it off.

I woke up, as usual, still slightly drunk.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Drunk Rambling Phone Conversations with Your Mom
(Not reccomended, drunk or otherwise)

August 25, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Brrr

Filed under: Column,Humor,Life,Personal,Ramblings — missedmanners @ 3:07 pm

Dave here, writing to you from the polar north pole, also known as my office. Current temperature outside? 74 degrees farenheit. Current temperature inside? 55 degrees. Above me, a vent pumps nearly 400,000 BTU’s of frigid air per second right at my uncovered dome.

The best thing about working where I work has always been the T-shirt and jeans factor, or as I call it, TJ Time, ’cause I loved the Will Shatner vehicle of similar name. Modern man has reached the pinnacle of comfort with this most common of apparel. You can do anything when you’re on TJ Time: You can work construction, close a million dollar deal, write a movie, song, haiku, suicide note, whatever. Not here, not in this office anyways.

My TJ Time is enshrouded in a long sleeve shirt, polar fleece and scarf, not the greatest summertime look in any part of the world. I’m not comfortable, I’m not cheerful, I’m cold and I’m making typing erorrs.

Study Finds Colder Offices Less Productive

As I mentioned some weeks ago, I’ve always been fortunate enough to work in small offices. Along with unfettered access to a private bathroom we also had control over our personal temperature settings. Not now though. As we’ve moved into the belly of the financial beast we’re now at the whims of the dreaded building management. Not only do we have to share crap-space with strangers, but also climate control.

The more you think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes, for a few reasons:

1) We’re in the financial district, everyone wears suits. Including the women, only they wear those silly looking skirt suit things. Why would you want to do business with someone who looks like a federal agent? Now, say someone came up to you selling insurance and he was all pimped out, living large in TJ Time? Wouldn’t you be more willing to talk to him? Or play a game of pickup basketball or something?

2) We’re all on different sides of the building. My windows face east. I get a little sun in the morning, but the people facing south get it all day long, bright beautiful sunshine. Obviously they might need a little more AC. So while they’re baking in the afternoon sunlight, I’m getting the ass-end of their pumped up air flow being eventually directed right at my balls, and as we all know, cold helps keep your testes producing healthy, fertile sperm, and I’m not ready for kids yet, MOM! I swear, if I find out you’re behind this…

3) It’s a conspiracy. The religio-fascist-energy complex is behind it. Think about it? Who wins out when the AC is blasting? The power company, of course. But who else? LL Bean. They know you’re not wearing turtlenecks in the summer, but if you’re freezing like I am, you’re getting the catalog, ordering up some T-necks and bundling up. It’s also a little known fact that they’re a super-strict Mormon sect that has every interest in seeing every part of your body covered by cloth. “Mormons in Maine?” you may ask increduously, yes, Mormons in Maine are behind all of this.

When I figured this all out I was pretty depressed. Gone were the days of half naked, heightened jungle-style productivity during my summer months. Now I come in, put on my winter parka and ear muffs and just sit, slowly clicking through pictures of the outside, realizing I’m becoming as gray-faced and depressed as all the other robots in this area.

Then I realized there are some advantages to this frigid enviroment, slight though they may be.

Small Talk: I love meaningless small talk. You know, the kind of shit you just spew out of your mouth because you’re bored to tears with your life and you can’t bring yourself to lay out, “Oh God oh GOD I’m a failure and I’m going to be alone forever!” on some complete stranger, so instead you just talk about the weather? Right? right?

Well what better to fill that gaping empty void in a conversation after you’ve both painstakingly affirmed that it’s hot outside than a twenty minute shout fest about how frigid you are at your desk? It’s INDOORS weather! Brilliant! As you can imagine just from reading this far I could go on for hours.

Your Inner MacGuyver Awaits: Eventually, I got tired of slowly freezing to death, watching my loins surge with fertility and staring out the window at the tropical urban paridise denied me. So I got up and tore off the vent cover above my desk and tried to cover it up.

Well, as it turns out, my vent is the last vent in the air conditioning’s floor wide circuit. That means that the air NEEDS to come out, like swallowed chewing tobacco. I was more motivated trying to fix this problem than anything in recent memory. I first taped a piece of carboard over the now gaping hole in my ceiling. That worked for about ten minutes until the slowly loosening tape emitted a thunderous buzzing sound and the entire (now ice cold) home-made plug came crashing down on my head.

Then I shoved some paper plates in the hole. This only served to anger the beast as the winter blast contorted the waxed paper and found a wrinkle, slightly tore through TWO plates and is now jettisoning a Level 5 Cone of Cold right into my left ear.

Permanently Erect Nipples: This may be a little too much information, but as I write this, my man-teats are hard enough to cut diamonds. A feat which I’ve proven several times as I’ve taken out some side-work for a diamond merchant friend of mine.

These little headlights are good for all kinds of things. When it gets to around 55 like today, I can store a good six CD’s on them, that’s more than the collected works of Silverchair. I’ve got a personally located, portable one-hole punch, with just three swift ab crunches any report is good to go. Also, with a thin rubber coating, they do make for great erasers.

I could go on and on, but I think my mulled cider just got finished heating up over the bonfire in the server room. We’re setting up a skate rink in the supply closet, so if anyone wants to come over and sing some carols, I’ll be here till winter, when it will be, inevitably, sweltering.

August 18, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Blackjack

Filed under: Column,Humor,Life,Personal,Ramblings — missedmanners @ 4:17 pm

Miss(ed) Manners: Blackjack

So, today is my little brother’s 21st birthday. He’s passing under the final bridge to adulthood, and that bridge my friends, is made of booze.

He’s already got the right to vote, a responsibility and priviledge that I’m fairly certain he’s completely unaware of. I’m assuming he’s gone through puberty, though he won’t let me check. He can drive, he can work, he can stay out all night. But truly, how important are these things? What more measure of a man can there be than to behold his grown visage face down in a puddle of his own vomit, a testament to the horrors visited on him by his so called, “friends?” How much more adult can you get?

I’m taking him out tonight, our plan of attack is one that I started scheduling nearly six months ago. Every detail meticulously thought out; though, for the most part every detail seems to involve, “drink this” or “expose that.”

The hallowed tradition of an American 21st birthday is one that goes back nearly forty thousand years to the later neanderthal tribes of Northern New Jersey. Tying down their now adult pack-member, the large foreheaded beasts would force one animal skull-full of fermented berries after another down his open gullet.

Little has changed over the eons, we all know this. Standard fare today is the classic “21 shots” rite. Some may institute a time limit, though this is usually overlooked as the sight of seeing your dear friend semi-puke a few times will generate some clemency in your heart.

For those that don’t know, the semi-puke usually happens right after a shot, the taker having tried to swallow the drink full, but his stomache, being so filled with liquor, bile and sadness, tries to force it all out. The semi-puker looks like he’s just been punched in the stomache by a midget. Not fun.

Everyone has their own 21st birthday story. They usually end with you clinging the base of a soiled toilet, crying out for the pain to stop and wondering when you’d eaten a salad. You also find out really quick who your real friends are at the end of the night. Here’s a hint, if they’re laughing at you while you hurl gallons of stomache acid at a light post, look into changing scenes.

My own 21st birthday story is no different. Sparing you the details I’ll just say that I tossed out some stomache nuggets on the floor, got carried home by my girlfriend at the time, who as it turns out was exceedingly strong and traversed the eight blocks in a near sprint with me in a Fireman’s carry. We must have looked like the drunkest wrestling match ever as I clamored to make it to my useless feet amidst my protests of wanting to go drink more.

To be honest, I wasn’t amazingly pleased with the results. When I woke up I was still drunk and about four hours late to a new job I’d recently started. I stumbled around Union Square smelling like paint thinner and throw up, it wasn’t very chic and I certainly didn’t feel like a man.

Is there a better way to enjoy the mandatory excess? Is moderation even allowed? Will I send my little brother back to summer job with a massive head wound? Only time will tell.

A while ago, I mentioned to a friend that instead of starting out tonight with the intention of ruining his gastro intestinal system via enough alcohol to kill an elephant I would try and aim to have him remember some of the night. He actually got angry at me for even suggesting it.

“Everyone’s gotta puke on their 21st birthday, it’s the law.” Which it is, in some counties in upstate New York.

To me, the whole, “must puke” idea has smatterings of a frat house hazing. You had to go through it, everyone else does too. Everyone talks about their 21st birthday and throwing up all over the place with some sort of deluded pride. But when you get down to it, no one’s excited about that, there’s just a little bit of shame. Like when your parents walked in on you beating it to a picture of Barbara Bush, the kind of shame that no amount of schnapps can kill.

I’m the second of four children. My older brother used to beat the snot out of me, literally. I was snotless for a good five years, it wasn’t all that bad. When Danny, my little bro, came along I beat the snot out of him too, because I’d gone through it, so should he, right?

Not really. Where does it end? Who says, enough is enough, I want my little brother to enjoy himself tonight, I want him to possibly meet a nice, older woman with a penchant for barely legal skinny white boy ass, I want him to party, not puke.

Who says that? I do. Because I really don’t like dealing with pukers, it grosses me out, man.

August 11, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: There’s the Rub

Filed under: Column,Humor,Life,Manners — missedmanners @ 1:42 pm

I’ve got a problem.

A serious addiction.

My name is Dave and I’m a massage junkie.

massage.jpg
Once or twice a month I absolutely have to slink into a sub-basement level Tui-Na Acupressure massage joint in Soho to get my kinks worked out.

Wait. I’m going to pause for about five minutes to let everyone make the requisite “Happy Ending” jokes. OMG THAT’S HELARYOUS! hahahahah

The fact of the matter is that there is a serious negative stigma surrounding the practice of massage, especially Asian massage. You’re all racist for propagating it, yeah I said it. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and the only real reason I can come up with for people assuming a massage has to be something sexual stems from the following:

1) Good old American Puritan Repression.
What, me? Get touched by someone who’s not me? What? I won’t have any of it. Now would you pass me my one holed sex sheet?

2) Law and Order
Well, all of TV, really. Any time you see a massage “parlor” on the tube there are hand jobs going on. In fact it’s like a dick knuckling bonanza on Prime time. I said Law and Order because of my deep hatred for Benjamin Bratt, he knows what he did and why myself and the municipality of Aspen will never forgive him.

3) Friendly’s Restaurants
Their happy endings sundaes, while delicious and fun, are racist. Do not attempt to romance the hot fudge covered sugar cone, it’s hot fudge you idiot.

If anyone’s actually ever BEEN into one of these places you’d find that the idea of it being a home for assisted meat pounding is patently ridiculous. The massage tables are generally lined up next to each other with a few feet in between. It would be pretty hard to have someone play the skin flute royale on your peesch without making a ruckus.

I know some of you will say, “well when I went to camp I used to masturbate ten or twelve times a night and no one ever knew about it or heard me, until the last week of camp of course when the incident happened” Well to you I say, “You need to find Jesus, STAT.”

With this unfair and incorrect assumption being the norm, it’s hard to admit to being a massage junkie without people painting you as a guy who likes to get his nob wrangled by some stranger. The worst is coming out afterwards. Since I’m an avid, enthusiastic smoker I instantly light up and I am positive I’ve seen some people shake their heads at me. It’s silly.

In my opinion everyone should be a massage addict. There are almost as many Tui-Na places in New York as there are Starbucks, so it’s not difficult. They’re cheap, usually around 40 bucks for an hour, not including tip. Most of all you will feel refreshed, relaxed and energized.

Proper behavior is very important when finding a regular massage parlor. Below is a list of a few do’s and don’ts.

Do: Feel free to choose your level clothing during the massage, it’s a comfort level thing. In your case I would suggest putting more clothes on… you’ve been hitting the Haagen-Dazs a little hard this month, Sally Struthers.

Don’t: Ask if they do internal massage. You’re in the wrong place, you were looking for the Public Bathrooms at Washington Square.

Do: Tip well. This is very important. My grasp of Chinese is incredibly limited, but I’m usually a big tipper. From the chatter I’ve overheard all the masseurs are big fans of mine… or I’m a chicken with red ice claws who is a “shrrrr” something.

Don’t: Fart.

Don’t: Shout “Immigration!” really loudly and then try to explain that you were just kidding. Not cool man. Unless you actually are from Immigration in which case thanks for protecting us from incredibly loose lower backs and adjusted spines.

Do: Try out the guy masseuse. Almost always at a Tui-Na place there’ll be this one guy who just sits around. Sometimes he’s an acupuncturist, but usually he just hangs out and doesn’t get many appointments because, well… he’s a dude. Most girls don’t want to get a rub down from a guy because, well… he’s a dude. Most guys don’t want to risk an erection and the ensuing collapse of their sexual identity like a brittle house of cards.

Don’t be such a pussy, usually, these guys are the best. Not to discount any of the female masseurs, but most of their allure is that their hands are soft. Guys usually apply more pressure and are more therapeutic.

They also give the best happy endings.

August 4, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Stomache Gramps

Filed under: Column,Humor,Life,Manners,Personal — missedmanners @ 5:07 pm

In a couple of hours I’m heading north to my family’s home to begin a weekend-long celebration of my Grandfather David’s 80th birthday. Some of the people who read this column/blog/weekly catharsis have met him and will understand why this is such a big deal for me. It’s going to be one of those picnic type affairs, under the sun, soaked in drinks and drowned in laughter.

The invite came to my house a few weeks ago; “No Presents!” it said in the perfect, school teacher handwriting of his second wife and my third grandmother, Peggy. What a relief, I thought, what in the hell do you get a guy who gave you his name? Somehow a tie or the latest book you’ve read hardly seem measure up. I’ve got this kidney I don’t really need, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want it.

Eighty years is a big milestone by any standard the world has to offer. Regimes have risen and faded in far less, sports dynasties have come and gone; disco was born, died, ressurected and then killed again in a tragic platform shoe accident.

We’ve got the same name, which has had its ups and downs. When we’re together I’m Davey, which honestly, makes me sound like I’m a children’s TV show host with a substance abuse habit and a secret life as a Furry.

Living in the shadow of that name has been a little disheartening. Having done the math, I’ve realized that the statistical probability of me leading half the life he’s already led is on par with winning a US Open, any of them. But it’s worth a try, right?

To some extent we’ve all got the crippling handicap of seeing the world through our eyes only. For me, David’s life is limited to my 26 years on the planet. For all I know he didn’t exist before I was around, that goes for all of you, too. In truth, I’ve only been around for a third of his life, the sunset years as they’re so incorrectly called in his case.

His latest third has been more active than my first by many orders of magnitude. While most grandparents move to Florida and take up doctor prescribed shuffleboard, he jetted off to Taiwan to teach English as a Second Language. I don’t think they even know what shuffleboard is over there.

He’s set up and help run a massive food pantry in Northern New Jersey. Feeding the less fortunate, making a difference, being the man that Bono wants to be. All of this, well after 60. You know what I’ve done? I gave a guy some change the other day because he was blocking the path out of the Popeye’s and I was scared of his facial hair.

The other day my mother mentioned to me that David had mellowed out in his most recent years, slowed down a little.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. This guy’s got more energy than if Lance Armstrong had both of his balls. If what he’s like now is mellowed, then I really wonder how he made it through the first sixty-odd years of his life without constantly being in traction.

What I DO know about David’s earlier years is built from a series of tellings and retellings spaced out over two decades. Exaggerations and reductionist games of Telephone in my own mind have him sometimes wearing the plaid shirt of Paul Bunyan when he topples the Nazi regime, or knocking out Pecos Bill’s teeth with a can of Campbell’s tomato soup.

Whether I like to admit it or not I’ve tried to do as many of the things he did: we attended the same college, lived in the same city, gone to the same bars. If plagiarism is the highest form of flattery, call me Jayson Blair.

We’re storytellers, me and him. I can’t count the hours we’ve sat around sweating booze and swapping tales. Whether it’s him claiming to have spent three days pretending to be a deaf mute just to avoid having to chit-chat with strangers on a train, or it’s me ratchetting up the bust size of a… “law infraction” just to hear that trademark grenade blast of a laugh, we’re here for two things: The moment, and then the retelling of that moment to who ever will listen.

I retell his moments all the time as well. Many of my friends have heard about his drink cards, which were a gift from Peggy. Five hundred business cards with the correct instructions on how to make his favorite drink, a Canadian Club on the rocks, in a rocks glass, with a twist. I think I’d pass on teaching the Parables to my kids in favor of this one in a heartbeat. The moral? Waiters are practically retarded and DID need the card.

I like to think of Grandparents as the closest real life approximation to the fourth dimension (puts on nerd glasses) we’ve got. They’re your past, where you came from, and your future, what you’ve got to look forward to, and they’re right in front of you rolled up into one person.

If that’s true and I’ve got a future like his to look forward to, I’m thinking I should head back to the gym.

July 7, 2006

Miss(ed) Manners: Toilet Humor

Filed under: Column,Humor,Life,Manners,Personal — missedmanners @ 5:05 pm

A couple years ago there was a little show called, “Married With Children.” Its infamous lead character, Al Bundy, would spend most of the show deriding his wife, children and the world around him. However, Al Bundy will stay with me forever for his popularization of the classic archetype, the Contemplating, Defecating Man.

After a while, it became cool to think of your bathroom as your castle, your toilet a throne over the shitty remnants of your life. Only in there, in the silence afforded you by your own waste’s horrid stench, could you be alone. Man is his own master on the can, no one can tell you to what to do, or even to hurry. Sure they may say, “Hurry up in there,” but really, no one wants you to hurry through a shit, everyone wants you to take your time. Don’t rush, make sure you’re finished, you’re liable to get a hernia.

For Men, going to the bathroom is all about comfort, you want a cigarette, a book and maybe some light music, something in a John Tesh or Kenny G. Toilet time is an escape, time to think about stuff, everything from why on earth you’d warm up week old Thai food to who would win in a fight, Godzilla or a pre-staple Star Jones. You know that statue of that guy thinking? He’s not sitting on a stone. Think about it.

For some people the issue of Bathroom comfort is such an integral part of regularity that they won’t go unless they’re at home. I call these people: “my favorite type of house guests.”

But what about work where you spend your entire day?

Well, for the longest time I’ve been blessed with business residences equipped with private bathrooms, placed strategically and privately to facilitate the natural workings of butt music.

Imagine my dismay as upon our arrival in our latest relocation I noticed we were now an unwilling participant in the fascist mass-bathroom socialist industreogram. Sure, the idea of one giant bathroom for a floor of an office building with five different companys and several dozen people makes sense on paper, but what about the indignity?

I hate this fucking mass bathroom with a serious vengeance, enough vengeance for a Jean Claude Van Damme movie. First off, the thing has a code pad.

A CODE PAD.

Because we keep all the shit in there, wouldn’t want anyone to come take it. Or God forbid someone not from our floor would be so audacious enough to try and use the bathroom.

“Hey! This is the Fifteenth floor’s bathroom! Get off of our turf Thirteener!”

If you’re like me, and you’ve been sentenced to this life of communal evacuation, the following rules will help you get through the experience relatively un-molested, unless you’re the offering handies under the stall door type, then you can just skip ahead to the end.

Know Your Urinal Etiquette
This is important. We’re going to go over some very basic set ups for urinal attendance. First thing you should remember, never, under any circumstances, make eye contact in a bathroom. If you need to acknowledge someone look at their chest. If you’re a clubber type, just keep your eye on the bag, you’re not in there to piss and we’d all appreciate you speeding it up a bit for Christ’s sake.

Say you come to the urinals and no one is peeing, which one do you go to?

Answer: The furthest one from the door. There’s no questioning this, it’s just the right answer, I read it in a book.

What if someone’s at that urinal already?

We’re going to assume that you’ve got the standard three urinal set up. Never, ever, ever go with the one right next to the guy. Always keep at least one urinal distance away. I don’t care if you know him and no you can’t talk to him, I don’t care if you’ve got something really interesting to say. He doesn’t give a shit that the weather has been unbearably hot or cold, he’s focused, don’t mess up his concentration. He could be trying to pass a stone, do you want to be the guy that messed up his one chance to pass a stone? Of course not.

What if there isn’t a free urinal with the requisite one urinal buffer zone on either side?

This is a slippery slope. You could hold it in, pretend to wash your hands or something, check to make sure there are paper towels, or even head to a free stall. If there is absolutely no choice and you must go right away, always pick a urinal next to someone shorter than you.

Know Your Stall Etiquette
Say you’re sitting down, going about your business and someone comes in and sits down next to you, what do you do?

Well this is also a tricky situation. First off, your dreams of having a moment of solitudinal crap time are over. You’ve got to decide quick who needs to go the most and get it over with fast or else you could get sucked into a horrible game of dueling assholes and that’s not fun for anyone.

Say you notice his gait is hurried and he practically ran in. Hold it in, he’ll be out of there in a second. If you feel like you’ve got another fifteen minutes left, patience is a virtue, play with your phone. If he walked in calmly, you should finish up quickly and get out of there, he’s got stamina.

Most importantly, never finish at the same time. No one likes to walk out of a stall next to someone and get up close and personal with the face behind the ass you just got to know through morse code. Take one for the team and wait it out.

Wash Your Hands
Especially if you work in the food court, no one likes a law suit.

Keep it Down
This applies to every aspect of mass bathroom etiquette, and it’s the most important. Audible grunts, groans and expletives are NOT ALLOWED. I don’t want to hear you squeeze one out and then start screaming when you see a little blood after being up for six days strung out on coke and hookers. That’s a lifestyle choice you made, don’t drag us down with you.

Honestly, bathroom etiquette shouldn’t be something we have to remind each other of. But in a place where the collective morale of my soon to be pensioner floor mates is equatable to Eyeore the Donkey on a Fuzzy Tuesday, people are just giving up left and right.

I don’t care if you prescribe to the, “I don’t care what you think, I’m married” school of thought. I care that you don’t care and everyone cares that you’re hooting and hollering out your butthole like the Dukes of Hazzard hopped up on Moonshine and incest. Pinch it off, fuckwad.

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