Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fun with Signs (QuickiePost)

Today was a long day. Stuck in my car for three hours with a whiny spoiled child and supervising the child and the child's parent for another five makes me sad.
However, in a moment as quick as the snap of my fingers, my day suddenly became awesome.

I was driving northbound on Deerfoot Trail and was approaching Glenmore Trail. Currently, the city is paving the northbound lanes, and so a paving crew was preparing to shut down a two lanes for the night to pave it. I was somewhat relieved that I was passing through fifteen minutes before they were set to begin.

Anyhow, I'm sure you are familiar with the fleet trucks that they use to get traffic merging out of the specified lane so that workers can put up pylons. If you aren't familiar, they're like this:

The one to which I'm referring was not a simple arrow sign, but one that could be programmed to say "MERGE LEFT" or "EMERGENCY CREW AHEAD" or pretty much anything.


My day picked up 100% when I noticed that some mischievous rascal reprogrammed the sign and I'm assuming the crew were either too busy or too stupid to notice. Instead of some information relevant to the upcoming paving work to be done, the sign first featured a very well made ASCII profile of a penis (complete with testicle and vein). It would then disappear from the sign and be replaced with, in huge friendly letters, "GOT DICK?"

I laughed. Oh man, did I laugh! I was laughing so hard that my eyes were watering and people in other vehicles were looking in at me. Some genius reprogrammed a road work sign to say something low-brow and absolutely fantastic! Of course I was going to laugh! Thank you to the clever scamp who made my day. I owe you one, sir or madame.

I contemplated driving back down there just to see if they'd fixed the sign, but decided that it wasn't worth sitting through an hour of traffic jam for it. However, if you happen to be flying up Deerfoot northbound tonight, be sure to take a peek for me...and take pictures. If you don't find it funny then at least it asks an important question. Indeed, do YOU got dick? Yeah. You sit down and you think about that. You can thank me later for opening your mind. Goodnight!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Flood

When I was living in the Airdrie neighbourhood of Thorburn, there was a kid who lived down the street a block or so. I'm not sure how it is we met, but at some point early in my residence on Taylor Way, Jeremy and I became good friends...for a while. We yo-yoed from best of friends to worst of enemies it seemed, but for the most part we were good friends until I moved away. Jeremy was a shorter thin kid with a mess of brown curls that looked like the after-shot of a tornado passing through.

It was mainly a friendship of convenience. Jeremy was considered a "loser" by schoolmates (we didn't attend the same school) and kids in the neighbourhood, but he really wasn't that bad. He often would do things to try and prove himself to others, such as joining the football team (a football player build he had not) or joining the army cadets. I didn't share those interests. We were friends for different reasons. We had proximity going for us, and we both loved Ninja Turtles and Nintendo. In fact, I dare say that part of the reason I was friends was him was so that I could play video games at his house.

Oh, the house. Jeremy's house. What a horror story. The home was like a house from Hoarders and a windowless dungeon hooked up and had a lovechild. The house was messy, dirty, and the windows were never uncovered. Gollum (Sméagol) would be right at home there...a preciiiiooouuuussssss messsssssssss. The home also had the pungent aroma of body odour. The exterior of the home was no better. The lawn was never cut, but all the dandelions really cheered the place up! So why was the house in such frightening disarray?

Jeremy's father was a biker dude in the classical sense (leather jacket, arm tattoos, sleeveless shirts, leather chaps, and motorcycle magazines in the basement with nude chicks in them that Jeremy and I would thumb through frequently) although he was this scrawny short dude who tried to be tough and intense but failed miserably. He also wore HUGE framed glasses. That isn't really relevant here, but it was funny. When I first met Jeremy, Leonard (yes that was the father's name) was rarely at home, either working or at one motorcycle convention or another. A few years after, he left his wife and his home, forcing Jeremy's mother to become a single mother.

Jeremy's mother was seemingly quite lazy and also quite obese. She smoked like a chimney to the point that the living room had a permanent haze to it. She drank cup after cup after cup of tea (back before the healthy teas made their appearance). For most of the time that I knew Jeremy, Melanie was unemployed. From sunrise to sunset, there were only two places she would ever be. Either lying on the sofa watching television (while rolling cigarettes and drinking tea), or at the base of the basement stairs reading a book (while rolling cigarettes and drinking tea). She once told me that she always had the living room window covered because the light made it more difficult to watch the television. But I think the yellow residue all over the window would keep the light out just as well.

Jeremy and his sister were both if they were going to do any cleaning. Can't really fault kids for not being responsible when dad is never around and mom couldn't seem to care less.

Anyway, that back story will perhaps be of value when I tell stories that involve Jeremy (such as further on in this post), simply because it helps to have an idea of who he was.

This particular story took place close to when I first met Jeremy. I was ten, I believe. On one hot summer day, Jeremy asked me if I wanted to go to the Stampede with him. Jeremy's dad offered to drive and Jeremy had passes. I didn't have to talk my folks into driving OR pay? I was SO in. Jeremy's dad gave us a lift to the Stampede grounds, told us when he would be back, and let us loose (shhh, don't tell my parents that I attended the Stampede without supervision at ten years old). Jeremy and I had a great time. We both bought those ride passes that were good for unlimited rides all day, and we really took advantage. Because we were cheap, we brought a backpack of treats, such as potato chips, cookies, and two two-litre bottles of 7-Up. While running around the grounds, Jeremy and I tanked back all that unhealthy!

Anyway, 4PM rolled around and we returned to the north gate to meet Jeremy's dad. He was miffed as we were about ten minutes late, but that's not because we weren't paying attention to the's because we got lost. We got into the truck and Jeremy's dad took off. We left the grounds and told Jeremy's dad about all the cool rides and things we did, including the embarrassing moment when I tripped and fell into a small fountain early in our adventure.

At about the Calgary city limits, heading north to Airdrie, I suddenly felt an incredibly strain. I had to piss...and bad. Maybe it was a bad idea to drink two litres of soda and not stop off at a washroom before leaving. As we drove along the highway, the impending bladder release became harder and harder to prevent. Until that day, I had never experienced a stronger need to take a piss. And I've never had the misfortune of experiencing it since then. My legs were crossed and I was "dancing" in my seat, trying desperately to hold it for another ten minutes.

But it was not to be. I couldn't stop the flow. I relaxed and the flood began. Two-litres of carbonated urine vacated my system and all over the back seat of the truck. Cloth interior meant that it seeped into the seat itself...Jeremy's dad would never get it out completely. Once I finished expelling, I began to panic. How the hell was I going to explain this?

In hindsight, saying nothing would have been my best option. The wet spot wasn't really all that noticeable and no one was going to sit in the back seat until at least the next day. But I felt a need to cover myself better than pretending nothing happened.

I was ten. I was intelligent but still limited by my cognitive development. So no one can really blame me for the route I took. As we approached my home, and thus my last stop, I revisited the trip-into-the-fountain. I went into the fountain with my upper torso (and only my arms got wet) and Jeremy KNEW this. But still I claimed that I was soaked from head to toe. And even though that happened hours before, I figured it was a good enough reason to explain the wet spot on the back seat. Jeremy's dad laughed and "seemed" to believe my story. Jeremy did not argue it either. I got away with it...

A year later, Jeremy's sister was over at my house, as she was friends with my sister. I was picking on Jeremy's sister because I genuinely did not like her. She became frustrated and blurted out something about how I once peed in the back of her dad's car. I denied it profusely so that my sister wouldn't learn about my misstep, but clearly my clever and bulletproof lie was not as effective as I once thought.

I wonder how Jeremy's dad reacted after I left the car. Did he laugh hysterically with Jeremy at how a ten year old peed in the car? Or did he flip out and become furious? I'll probably never know. But I will promise you this, dear reader. I will NEVER pee in a moving vehicle again...unless I'm old. Or unconscious. Or I just plain don't like you.

Piss off? Nah. Piss on. You get better results!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homeless Jim

Today I had the misfortune of working at "an office." Those of you who know me know the kind of office I was at and what work I was doing...those of you who don't know me need not be worried. It's nothing bad...I just don't want to post sensitive details related to my job.

When I arrived at "an office," I went into the back alley to park in one of the public parking spots. Two women, who looked like the number 10, were standing outside the back door puffing their cigarettes. When I got out of the car, Butch Cassidette and the Sundance Bitch piped up. The fat one said that I could not park in that spot and the thin one said it was for maintenance only. I said fine and I moved my vehicle to the other open spot (there are only five spots in the back and the other three were full). When I parked, the thin bitch said I could not park in that spot either because all spots were reserved for staff. This was not the case the last time I was at this place, so I said I would go and speak with reception about the issue. I wouldn't have made a fuss normally, but most pay parking locations were two hour maximum, and the visit was three hours long. I heaved the "cargo" and my computer upstairs to the part of "an office" in which I was going to work. There, I was accosted by yet another employee. This lady spazzed on me for parking in an employee parking spot and said I had to move. She was very matter-of-fact about it and treated me like I was a retard because all the agencies were supposedly notified that parking in the back was no longer allowed.

So whatever. I told the see-you-next-tuesday to watch the "cargo" while I left the building to move my car. Butch Cassidette, the douchebucket who TOLD on me for parking in the back, had returned to her smoking post outside. She TOLD ON ME! She looked at me with a certain smugness. Yeah, you're're a grown woman who went and tattled on me for using a spot that was empty because the employee was not even working that day! Kudos!

I moved my ride around for several minutes until I found an area that allowed three hours for parking. I parked and walked over to one of those parking meter machines.

While I was typing in my info and paying for the time I would be parked, I heard "excuse me" come from my left. I turned and saw this disgusting creature approaching me at a sloth's pace. It was a homeless man pushing a shopping cart with a large black back within it. Let's call him Homeless Jim. Homeless Jim was a short, filthy, inarticulate, and toothless mess. I'm not sure what ethnicity he was because his face was literally filthy...he had a dark wiry beard deal happening and there was something like dirt all over his cheeks and forehead.
He asked me if I had a dollar or two I could spare. I told him I didn't have any change and he walked past me. He then said "I take bills too, you know." Thanks, take larger denominations of money as well? SHOCK!
I told the guy that I didn't have any bills either. I was being honest. I usually don't carry cash or change around with me. But if I had bills, I sure as shit wouldn't be potentially supporting a drug or alcohol habit that he may have had.

The man continued to walk away and then stopped after several paces. He stumbled over his own words with a retort. I will attempt to write it exactly as he said it for you now:

"I - I don't bla-blame you. You're, you're white. If you were sumpin else, I would but you you're just white. All whites are the same. You cheap piece of shit."

Well, I had the response that any person would have had when insulted like that...I burst out laughing. I mean, come on now! How offended could I possibly be when this drain on society man was seriously pissed off that he couldn't get money for free? What the hell is going on in his mind when he thinks it acceptable to consider people better off than him as cheap because they cannot or will not give him a handout? That sort of undeserved sense of entitlement is shocking...and funny.

I told the chap "All right...have a great day." He mumbled something under his breath and continued driving his cart along the walkway. When he reached the front doors of "an office," he parked his cart next to the doors and hurled his bag of cans up over his shoulder. Homeless Jim then went into the building. A few moments later, I reached the door and went in as well. Homeless Jim was wandering around the lobby. I don't know what the hell he was doing, to be honest. He was so aimless but I don't believe he was lost (as he could easily have asked someone at reception for directions if he was lost). My best guess is that he went into the lobby to try and panhandle. As good a theory as any.

When I walked into the lobby, I looked over at him as he milled around. I walked toward the elevator to return upstairs to watch the "cargo," which happened to be the same direction he was walking. He looked over his shoulder and saw me approaching. When he saw me, he BOOKED it! He ran down a hallway and out the back door of the building. I don't know if he was just sketchy or if he was afraid I followed him into the building to deliver him a beating, but he left faster than a cat out of a toilet bowl. All the while the crinkling and clanking of cans and bottles in his bag echoed from down the hallway.

What the hell? Am I right to think that beggars shouldn't be assholes when they're rejected, or am I actually just a cheap piece of shit? Or perhaps both? You be the judge.

I don't want this entry to suggest that I have contempt or a lack of respect for the less fortunate. I've encountered many people from the streets in my life and almost all were polite and didn't fly off the handle when I turned down their request for spare change. I don't refuse to give money to homeless people because I'm cheap, but because many homeless people use the money they receive to sustain drug and/or alcohol habits. Many ex-homeless people admit this fact. Instead, I offer to buy the person food and/or drink. Most of the time, the person is grateful for my "generosity," though once a homeless person actually turned down my offer to buy him a sandwich or something. He was polite in his decline, but one must as what was he going to use money for if not food. Whatever it was, I'm happy I didn't contribute.

So that's another rant for the books. I'm sure I wasn't politically correct in my entry, but I don't mean any harm. Leave a comment if you'd like to add anything, so long as it's not about how I'm a cheap piece of shit.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Open Sesame Should Be Closed

Tonight I went out with Shannon and Julia (aka JLo). Whenever Shannon and I get together, things tend to become a little interesting (see The Interview Adventure or Dinner with Amy H for examples), and tonight was another dining fail.

First off, let me say that I wanted to go to The Olive Garden. I love The Olive Garden. I'm a big fan of pasta and their breadsticks are the bee's knees. However, Shannon and Julia wanted to go to Open Sesame. Trumped by chicks again! I'd never been to Open Sesame before (in fact I'd never heard of it) so I figured it's always good to check out a new place. Because I had never heard of the place, I had no idea where it was. A quick check with Google and I found the address. While getting the address, I noticed there were several reviews about the restaurant, and the average rating of the restaurant was a solid three out of five stars. I didn't like that rating too much, so I figured I would read some reviews and find out what was good and bad about Open Sesame.

The reviews almost unanimously panned the service at the restaurant, with most people claiming the staff were rude and not attentive to the tables. There were a few quibbles about the food but the common denominator given by the reviews was shitty service. I wanted to text Shannon and let her know that reviews weren't favourable for the restaurant, but the HSPA network seemed to go down and I couldn't call or text anyone. Open Sesame it would have to be.

I met Shannon and Julia at Open Sesame and we went in. Being a Sunday evening, it was not too busy. A hostess seated us at a half-booth. In other words, the girls took the comfortable padded seats and I got this crappy wooden chair that looked like it was out of a 1915 schoolhouse. My ass was sore just looking at the thing. But it was either that or squat on the table like a masturbating chimpanzee.

I expressed my concerns about the restaurant but JLo emphatically stated that the food was delish and there would be no regrets. I trusted her because her name is Julia, and neither Julia Stiles nor Julia Roberts would ever lie to me, so why would JLo? A short time later, a brillo-headed woman came to the table and told us that our server Matt would be with us shortly. The firecrotch SOS pad took our drink order and then fetched them for us lickity-split. She was actually really nice and was prompt with our drinks, so I'm not sure why I'm being mean. I guess because it's funnier that way. She also took an appetizer order from us (we wanted samosas). They samosas came rather quickly. Things were looking okay as far as service was concerned.

Anyway, Matt never bothered to come to our table and so Curly Sue decided to take our order. All three of us decided to partake in the stir fry buffet. If you're unfamiliar, basically you go around a small buffet and pick out sauces and vegetables. You take your bowl of ingredients to the cooks and they stir fry it and mix it with your choice of noodles or rice. It's a neat idea. Shannon, Julia, and I all filled our bowls with so much stuff that they all were heaping with ingredients. My bowl was so full that I had to perform a delicate balancing act to ensure that everything remained in the pile instead of falling to the floor. We dropped our bowls off at the cooking station and returned to our seats.

Well it was a good forty minutes before anything happened. We all just talked and were having a good time, so it wasn't a big deal. However, that's no excuse. Forty minutes to fry up some noonoos and water chestnuts is ludicrous in a restaurant that was hardly busy. Before our food came to us, "Matt" made his appearance. He had a bowl hair cut...that skater/boarder kind of cut that all the kids are wearing. He also seemed to be either stoned or just really stupid. Perhaps both. I don't recall why he came to our table at first...maybe it was to bring us silverware (which by the way I did not receive). He then went to retrieve our food, which had been sitting ready at the counter for god knows how long. Despite two visits to our table, the dumbass didn't seem to notice that I was lacking eating utensils. We asked for some, and Matt just took a set from the nearest (empty) table. Thanks, man...I could have done that myself.

Shannon, Julia, and I ate our stir fry. It was okay. That's the shining review I can give about the food. It was okay. Is it something I could have made in my own apartment using whatever the hell I have in my fridge at any time? Sure, though I could probably make it taste better because I would add an extra ingredient: LOVE.

Matt swung by once to perform the obligatory "how is everything" check. The girls said it was fine. I said it was okay. He did not bother to inquire as to why I felt it was only "okay," nor did he even seem to be listening to our answers. He then moved on to the next table and then fucked off into the back again. We sat with empty plates for about a half an hour before Curly Sue showed up and bussed the empties off the table. At that time, Julia requested the bill, and Curly Sue obliged rather quickly. We all looked at the bill and then deliberated on an appropriate tip. Yes, Curly Sue did a reasonably good job, but she wasn't responsible at all for our table (she wasn't a hostess, cook, or our server). Matt was more useless than tits on a board, and how much to do tip a cook who throws a bunch of ingredients that were already picked out onto a hot surface and flip them for a few seconds before dumping them all in a bowl? Shannon wanted to leave a goose egg for a tip but Julia and I were a bit more considerate. We eventually agreed on 10%, the bare minimum accepted by society.

We went up to the front to pay our bill and Matt came running out from the back. Seriously...WTF? The guy had such poor presence during our dining experience that he could hardly be considered our server...he was a busboy at best, and a shit-poor one at that! Curly Sue should have taken our payment.

Matt was smiling now and didn't seem to be so emo. It would seem that the prospect of money gets his boat floating, but the prospect of earning that money isn't worth any effort whatsoever. Since we were splitting the bill three ways, Julia first paid for herself and Shannon (Shannon paid Julia her third in cash). I knew when Julia paid first that I was going to be the one that Matt hated, because once he knew what portion I was paying, he would know how much of a tip he would receive. Therefore, I watched Matt carefully. Matt used his index finger to punch in the numbers on the debit machine before passing it to Julia. Then came my turn. He asked how much I was paying and I told him. The smile faded from his lips and he now used his middle finger to punch in the numbers for me. Ooooh, how creative...AND clever! In the history of mankind, no one has ever subtly used their middle finger as an obscene gesture toward a customer. When Matt decided to play the "fuck you" card, I no longer felt guilty about leaving a low tip. I was actually tempted to change how much I wanted to pay, but he would simply deny the offensive gesture and a pointless argument would ensue.

We all left the restaurant and had a good chuckle about Matt Douche's pathetic attempt to express his frustrations. It was briefly discussed and agreed that our visit tonight to Open Sesame would be our last.

Now you know. Open Sesame should be called Open Suckame. As in Open Suckame sideways, you terrible excuse for a restaurant! The only good thing I can really say about that place was that they had some jalapeno peppers at the buffet and now I have a craving for more. Where the hell do I buy jalapeno peppers at 11:45PM on a Sunday evening? Anyone? ANYONE?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Rush (Pt. 3)

When Curt's mum called the second time, I really had no idea what the hell was going on. After all, Curt and I stole and we were busted on it. We hid the other stuff but as it ended up we were busted on that as well. But there was nothing else I was hiding from that day, and so why the second call? Furthermore, why was the issue so important that it warranted his family coming to my home to speak with my parents?

Curt lived a few blocks south of me, but the wait for him, his mother, and his mother's boyfriend to arrive felt like forever. I remember thinking "what else did I do?" and while the term "FML" had not yet been invented, I was certainly feeling it that evening. When Curt and company arrived at my home, his parents sat at the table with my parents while Curt and I sat at the kitchen bar. And then the reason for their appearance was made clear.

After Curt's temper tantrum at his home (which, if my reader recalls, caused his jacket to smash against the wall and thus reveal that he had stolen goods in all the pockets), something happened in Curt's mind. To this day I do not know why he chose this path, but it's neither here nor there for the sake of the story.

Curt called his father and explained what he did. Curt then proceeded to go downstairs with a garbage bag and filled it with all the crap that he ever stole. He took the bag upstairs to his mother and her boyfriend and confessed to stealing all the junk in the huge black garbage bag. WTF?

Even worse, the dude then told his mother that I had also been a part of the crime sprees and I had loads of stolen merchandise in my home as well! WHAT THE FUCK?

Basically Curt felt it was both his right and his duty to drag me under the surface with him. I won't lie...I wasn't going to steal again. The game was over. I played well but ended up losing. And the consequences weren't worth the rush. I'm sure Curt felt the same way. So WHY did he confess to stealing anything else? We could have easily unloaded it at the Salvation Army so that it would all go to the less fortunate (after all, we didn't care about any of it). All this "cleansing" did was as follows:

All the parents were quickly in agreement. Curt and I would have to return every stolen item that we had taken and pay for them as well. THEN the items would be donated. I was livid. I know, I was the right thing to do to make us own up to our mistakes and the businesses deserved to be compensated for their losses. But we learned our lesson before Curt turned to the light side of the Force. So from the point of view of a kid, Curt succeeded only in costing him a fortune!

Once the parents finished their lecture, I was ordered to go downstairs and get everything packed up so that my parents could take me to all the stores to return everything the following evening. While I was in the crawlspace in the basement, I picked out several items that were really expensive and stashed them elsewhere. I was going to save as much money as I could! Curt came downstairs while I was getting everything out. I figured he came down to apologize for being such a twat, but I assumed wrong. The first thing he said to me was "what about the controller?" To elaborate, he saw the pile of stuff that I had taken out from the crawlspace and realized that a Sega Genesis controller that I stole from Game Dudes was not in the pile. The controller was used. For those of you unfamiliar with Game Dudes, it was a video game rental store. There was also a back room filled with televisions and video game systems. You would pay a small fee and get to play a video game of your choice in the game room for a half hour (or more, depending on how much you paid). I took the controller from the game room as there was a spare one at the time...impulse and opportunity were a bad mix. I was a big customer at Game Dudes at the time and had a strong rapport with the owner. The last thing I wanted was to have to face her and tell her that I stole from her...while every other store was faceless, I knew her quite well. It was an awful prospect. I asked him to forget about the controller...just the controller, but he outright refused. He was punishing me unnecessarily. I could have easily smuggled the controller back into Game Dudes and no one would have been any the wiser. But Curt wouldn't allow it and he had me by the balls. I either handed it in or he would tell on me and I'd have to hand it in anyway. I added the controller to the loot and turned it into my parents. A short while later, Curt and co. left my home. It was late, so I went to bed.

In the morning, I was feeling embarrassed and pissed off. But I had to get to school, so I went through the morning routine. About ten minutes before I had to leave to walk to school, the phone rang. Oh no no no...not something ELSE from Curt's mother. But it was actually Curt himself. Usually Curt came by on the way to school and we would walk the rest of the way, so I thought he was calling to say he wasn't going to stop by (good idea since I would tear his nuts off and feed them to the ugly smelly girl down the street). Sadly, I assumed wrong again. "What about the Halloween mask, Dave? What about the Star Wars miniatures too?" Thinking someone else may have been listening on the phone, I said I never stole anything like what he was asking. Those items (as with all the other expensive items I hid the evening before were now stashed above the hanging ceiling in my bedroom, so no one would find them should they have searched. Curt didn't argue. He just said okay and that he'd see me at school.

It was a long day at school...mainly because I was dreading the embarrassment of walking up to managers and other employees at a variety of stores and confessing that I shoplifted. I was also not looking forward to seeing the bill at the end. As I figured, it was very hard for me to return the controller to Game Dudes. I nearly cried because I felt so shitty about it. I never stole from anyone else I knew during my klepto-blitz.

In the end, the bill was quite large. Over $500 if I recall correctly...and that was in 1992 or 93. And that didn't include all the pricey stuff I omitted from the goodies I handed over. So in the end, my impulse control disorder ended up giving me a criminal record as well as costing me over $500. It also cost me a friend. Curt and I still hung out from time to time, but it was never the same. We were no longer the friends we were. Betrayal does that to a friendship.

I do recall one morning a few weeks after the bust. Curt had started to stop by in the mornings to walk with me to school again. On the morning in question, when Curt arrived he looked me right in the eyes and said "Can I get my Playboy calendar?" Yes, as I stated in the first part of this trilogy, I once stole Playboy calendars from a gas station from right under the nose of the cashier. One for me and one for Curt. But a lot happened since then. I still had the calendars safely hidden. I first flipped out and told him that I wouldn't give him a fucking calendar after he dimed me out the way he did. He dismissed his actions with a "whatever, what's done is done." I wanted to bite him in the spine I was so angry. But I also learned a lot about Curt and how he couldn't be trusted because of his betrayal. Therefore, I then told him the calendars were destroyed and thrown in the garbage the day after we were busted. With Curt thinking the evidence was destroyed, he wouldn't try and blackmail me into giving him one under threat of him reporting the theft to his parents. We left for school, all the while I struggled to restrain myself from punching him in the eye.

There you have it. A tale of adventure, a tale of suspense, a tale of betrayal, and a tale of mental disorder. Oh, and a tale of becoming bitch-ass poor. Curt and I drifted apart and barely even talked after a few months had passed since being caught. But I don't hold a grudge against him now. That was a long time ago and while I still don't understand his actions, hating him for them now seems silly and meaningless. However, while I forgive, I will never forget.

At the end of this story, some of you are probably wondering.

"Did he ever steal again?"

The answer is yes. But that's a story for another day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Rush (Pt. 2)

Being in the back of a police car wasn't nearly as frightening or intense as I would have thought. While I was a little scared of what was to come (as I had never been arrested), I certainly wasn't letting it show. I was joking with Curt while we were driven to the cop-shop.

Constable Green was the chap who picked us up from Pharmasave and gave us the ride to the station. He was actually quite a nice gentleman. He was in his early 40s I would have guessed. He had short brown hair and a moustache. He was also a bit overweight. Imagine Chief Wiggum with his Be Sharps moustache and you've got Constable Green.

Upon arrival at the police station, Curt and I were carted into an interrogation cell. It was charming in its cliché appearance. Bars on the window, a table in the middle of the room, and the walls dingy with pieces of drywall missing here and there due to an irate prisoner. Even had the two-way mirror (though it should be called a one-way mirror since you can only see through it one way). Curt and I sat there for what must have been a half hour while Green was out prancing around or having a J/O in the parking lot...well, most likely he was spying on us to see what we'd say. But Curt and I had nothing to hide. We really, really, really had to piss though. At one point Curt told me that he had to go so badly that his teeth were floating. I felt his pain.

After a half hour or so, Green came into the room, sat down in silence, folded his hands on the desk, and stared at at a time. Long uncomfortable leers. When he finished undressing us with his eyes, he piped up and gave us the "stealing is bad, mkay" speech.

Thanks, tips. I know stealing is bad. But it's damn fun!

Once he finished his speech, he asked us how long we'd be up to our no good thieving. Of course, Curt and I lied through our floating teeth and said it was our first time. Then Green continued his spiel. More spiel. More spiel. More spiel. When Green finished his torturous and incessant blabbing, he told us that he hoped we learned our lesson. Curt and I said emphatically that we did...mainly because we just wanted to get the hell out of there. But it was not meant to be. Green informed us that we had to get our photos taken and our fingerprints recorded. Green got up and walked to the door. Green then told us to take off our jackets for the photos.


If you recall in part 1 of this entry, I mentioned that Curt and I "hit the mall" before we went to Pharmasave, and it was a real big hit. Every single pocket was filled in both my jackets, and I had tonnes of crap stashed in my denim overshirt (all around my torso). Terrified of being busted, I don't think anyone in the entire history of humankind took off jackets more slowly or carefully than Curt and I did that evening. It was a work of grace, like trying to weave one's body through a maze of laser trip wires. Once we got our jackets off, we ever-so-gently rested them over our metal chairs, desperate not to clank our stolen goods against the metal piping. Strangely enough, Green didn't inquire as to why we were removing our jackets as though we were practicing Tai Chi Chuan.

My denim shirt was not an article that I could remove, but fortunately it was baggy enough that the stolen objects lacing my body were not obvious. Curt and I walked in to the criminal processing area of the police station and had our portraits and prints recorded. Once we had finished, we returned to the interrogation room where we waited another fifteen minutes or so. We threw our jackets back on and then waited patiently in our seats. Green returned and told us that we were free to leave and that our parents were waiting in the lobby.

My dad handled the situation quite well considering his track record. He was usually a positive punishment sort of fellow (spanking weren't common but they did happen when I was younger). I was too old to be taken over his knee but maybe he would punch me in the head or something. I didn't know. But he was pretty cool about it. Clearly disappointed but wasn't freaking out. When we returned home, my mum and dad sat to the table with me and lectured me about what I did. I had already suffered through a lecture at the cop many lectures did I have to endure?

However, while I was receiving lecture #2, the phone rang. It was Curt's mother. As the story went, when Curt got home with his mother and her boyfriend, Curt's mother told Curt to call his father in Saskatchewan to tell his father what happened. Curt became angered, as Curt had a very short temper, and violently took off his jacket (which was also filled with stolen shit). Curt threw the jacket up on a hook and the items in the jacket smacked the wall, thus alerting his mother that there was something in the jacket. Busted. So his mother called my home to ask if I had stolen any other things earlier in the day too. I took a gamble and said no, but it was a bluff easily called by my father. "So if I go down there and check your jacket, I won't find anything?" I had no choice but to cave. After the phone call, my mum expressed her disappointment in my behaviour and the lecture continued.

About twenty minutes later, the phone rang...again. It was Curt's mother. There was even more to the situation now, and Curt, his mother, and his mother's boyfriend were all coming to my house to discuss it. What it was I had no idea. At least not until they arrived...

Stay tuned for the third and final chapter!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Rush

Being a teenager growing up in Airdrie Alberta in the 1990s was pretty brutal. Sure, the super-cool teens were busy on the football team or having unprotected sex with cheerleaders, but I was not a part of that crowd. And for the rest of the kids in their teen years, Airdrie was a barren wasteland.

My parents didn't understand how I could be bored with so much to offer...we had a comic book store, a movie theatre (2 screen microplex), and the iconic Towerlane Mall. But there's only so much time even a geek such as myself could spend in a comic book store. There were only ever two movies playing in any given week, and almost always they were lame family films. And Towerlane Mall was a graveyard. Half the stores were closed and the others were either of no interest to me or too expensive. Speaking of expense, I was living off of allowance and $10 a week didn't go very far. So I was left to my own devices.

Being ADD, I needed a great deal of stimulation to avoid being bored. If anything, it's even worse today! While so many people can sit down and read a book as a source of pleasure, I wouldn't be able to maintain focus on the book, instead reading a page only to find out I didn't really know what I read. Others might take joy from art, and while I was a decent artist (of comic book heroes mostly), I was never satisfied with my work and so I was left frustrated instead of satisfied (that's what she said). Television was a nice way to pass time, but at the time of this story I didn't have my own television and so I was at the mercy of my dad who always chose what channel the television would be on.

Now that I've set the stage, you can understand just how boring a small city was for anyone in their teens, especially anyone like me. And now you can better understand why I did what I shall tell you about now.

In junior high and high school, I had a friend named Curtis. He was a good guy and we hung out a lot. But he was just as bored with Airdrie as I was. One day while we were at a mall (incidentally this was in Calgary), we were in San Francisco (the store). I found a cool pen with a lady on it. When the pen was tipped, her clothes would come off and leave a hot naked lady. I was 15, so even something so mundane made my pants tight. However, I didn't have the money to purchase the pen. I put the pen back and shuffled around the store angrily because I couldn't have my way. Until I realised that I COULD have my way. I returned to the pen and I took it. Walking through the store, I hid it in my pocket and then Curt and I left the store.

The rush is what I liked. I felt something so intense from shoplifting. It was just a $3 pen, but the thrill was worth $1000. Unfortunately, one taste was not enough. I began walking down a dark road.

Curt was something of a partner in crime. I rarely stole anything unless he was around. We always were pretty equal when it came to volume of things stolen as well. On boring days (such as weekends), Curt and I would literally go out to the retail center of Airdrie on a thieving binge. And we were good. I remember stealing playboy calendars from a gas station while the cash attendant was talking and looking at us (I hid them in the back of my shirt). I remember stealing a can of Pringles by sliding it up my sleeve. I remember having Curt distract the employee at a music store while I took a cassette tape (this was when CDs were still in their youth and cassettes were very popular)...sure, a cassette tape is small, but the anti-theft containment device was about three cassette tapes long.

Curt and I would steal anything and everything if opportunity knocked...and the more daring the theft, the bigger and better the rush. I cannot speak for Curtis, but for me it was a definite case of kleptomania. I never really cared about anything I stole. Usually we stole toys and things like that because they were smaller and we could take more, but I would just throw everything into a box in the basement and forget about it. I just liked to steal for the sake of stealing. And it was awesome.

After about two months, our game was really being stepped up. One day after school, my mum drove Curt and me over to Towerlane Mall. She quickly did the shopping she had and then said she was leaving. I told my mum that Curt and I would stay for a while because we were going to "hit the mall." Truer words never spoken. My mum left and Curt and I went batshit with thieving. I was wearing a t-shirt, a denim shirt over it with the denim shirt's buttons mostly undone. The denim shirt was tucked in, and so I was able to put stolen goods into the shirt all the way around my body and it would all stay there until I got home. I then wore a light leather jacket and a heavier Chicago Bulls leather jacket over it. It was November so the layers were not out of place. However, my purpose was not warmth but hiding places. So many pockets were available for me to hide things. On the day in question, I took advantage of EVERY space I had available to me (not THOSE spaces though, you perverts).

After we "hit" the mall, Curt and I began walking back home. On the way, we stopped by Pharmasave, which was obviously a drug store but also something of a small department store. Curt and I walked around the store, checking for cameras (our code when we saw a camera was to say "Have you seen Cam?") and mirrors (our code when we saw mirrors was to say "Have you seen Vladmir?"). We also were checking for floor-walkers. If you are unsure what a floor-walker is, it is a person hired by the store to pretend to be a customer, but actually to watch for thieves. There was a floor-walker present in the store. He was easy to spot for a floor-walker, which isn't saying much as they are usually pretty obvious. He was a younger man alone. He wore expensive brand-name clothes. He was stylish. He didn't belong in that store and even if someone like him was shopping there, he was shopping in the baby supplies aisle and then the candy aisle (both aisles next to the ones Curt and I were in to test him). Those aisles are very different and so why would he be looking in both? If it was a Wal-Mart, it would make more sense, but no one would shop at Pharmasave for such different things. There was a chance that he could have been legitimate, but Curt and I were confident he was a floor-walker.

Knowing our enemy was watching us made the thrill all the greater. Curt and I went to the toy department and split up. We both stole one item quickly and then rejoined before leaving the store. It was just another day, another hit. We walked out together, laughing all the way. However, things weren't meant to be as smooth as we thought. We walked about twenty paces from the door when we suddenly heard a voice behind us. "Excuse me gentlemen...I believe you have something that doesn't belong to you." My heart sank. Busted. We turned around and it was the floor-walker. Curt and I had so much opportunity to run. He couldn't get us both, and I doubt he would even get one of us if we were clever. But we caved. I guess the thrill of running from the law didn't appeal to us.

The floor-walker asshole took us back into the store into the employee area. He requested the items we stole and Curt and I both gave him the items. They were just stupid toys, which made us feel somewhat embarrassed...if I was busted for shoplifting, it should have been something fucking awesome! But stupid toys it was. We sat there for what felt like forever. He made us call our parents and so Curt's mum and her boyfriend came and my dad came. I remember sitting in a chair and leaning over the desk (I was pretending to cry for pity when I was actually just pissed off). My dad said to me "I bet you feel pretty stupid now."

Eventually, a cop came in and arrested us. No cuffs or anything, but we did get a ride in the back of his squad car. All the way to the police station. And that's when the real fun began...

Stay tuned for part two!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Janitors Have It Rough

I've mentioned in a previous blog (The Bartender) about my short-lived job at Shamrock Lanes bowling alley in Airdrie back in the day. I won't use this entry to retread my discontent with that job. I will, however, use this entry to accent that discontent.

Near the end of my tenure as Pin jockey Dave, I was asked to cover more shifts than the usual league nights. I was often asked to cover Saturdays (9-5) and the rare Friday evening. Saturday mornings were the younger group of YBC (Youth Bowling Council) bowlers so it was a deluge of little brats and their cheap idiot parents. But after about 12:00PM, the YBCers screwed off and the lanes were open for public bowling. Public bowling was easily my favourite shift to cover. Joe Everyday never threw the ball hard enough to tangle pins and for the most part public bowlers left their area clean. Furthermore, it was always new people so I never had the opportunity to get to know them and eventually despise them for being bowlers. It was usually good times. Usually.

One Saturday afternoon, I had just finished cleaning the washrooms (Dane Cook has good reason to ask in his act "WHY IS EVERYTHING ALWAYS WET?"). The washrooms were always pretty gross. Especially on league nights when some drunk dickhead would stumble into the washroom and use the ashtray as a urinal. Anyway, as I'm sure you can imagine, it was always a relief when I was finished such an awful task. I returned to the counter and enjoyed the silence of an empty bowling alley. I flipped on the big screen television in the lounge and watched Sliders on satellite (I had an enormous crush on Sabrina Lloyd back then...still kind of do actually). About twenty minutes later, a group of people paraded into the bowling alley. Whenever I saw a parade of people I figured it was going to be bad news, but this time I wasn't so harsh. Most of the people were mentally and/or physically handicapped (or is it handi-able?) and the remaining people were helpers. The mentally and physically challenged (yes, that sounds suitably PC for this post) all seemed to be happy and excited, so I thought it was cool that someone set up an outing for them.

I set up the computers for all the players and bumpers for all the lanes and then sat back to watch the ensuing hilarity. Despite there being four or five lanes active, only one person bowled at any given time while the rest of the group watched (and later applauded the bowl).

You think me cruel to laugh, but these people were the funniest bowlers I've ever seen. I remember one person with Down's Syndrome who was just pacing around while holding a bowling ball - He was slapping the ball with his hand while sticking his tongue out and making deflating-balloon noises. Another person repeatedly tried running down the lane in a fit of anger when he didn't knock down the pins but EVERY TIME would biff out because the lanes were slippery.

At any rate, karma is a bitch and my internal laughter was Type Bad Karma. And payback was swift. About half way through their games, there was one lady whose turn it was to bowl. I remember her well because she ruined my life. She was wearing brown cords and a white-yellow sweater. She had brown hair that was as much a rat's nest as it was human hair. She had Down's Syndrome, but no mental or physical disability was going to spare her my hatred. She walked up to the mark with a ball in her hands. She stood, aimed her ball, and was about ready to bowl.

Out of nowhere, she turned to her handler helper and said "Uh oh." She then dropped the ball on the spot and darted toward the washrooms. At first I thought little of it until some of the other people began to mill around where the girl was standing while making "ewww" noises. One of the helpers came to the counter and said "there's been an accident."



I walked over to the spot and noticed a puddle of diarrhea where she had been standing. There were then little drops that made a trail from that spot to the washroom where the girl ran. Myself and one of the helpers walked to the washroom. A journey I should have never taken, what I saw still haunts me to this day.

There was this grown women (albeit mentally challenged), crying in the corner of the women's washroom. She had taken off her socks and pants, which were now sitting in the middle of the floor. One sock was clean but the other was completely stained with diarrhea and her pants were wet in appearance along the visible leg...that's right...shit wet.

Worst of all, there was liquid crap EVERYWHERE! I'm not sure what the hell she did, but she seemed to have tried the GAP challenge in the washroom I just cleaned! There were smears and hand prints on all the damn walls and smears all over the friggin' floor (probably from when she took off her clothes and crawled to the corner). Smearing over the stall door in the corner revealed that was the stall she chose to enter to "evacuate" herself. The stall itself was even worse. So bad that I got that dry-heaving, I'm-going-to-throw-up sensation. There was diarrhea all over the floor. A whole bunch of it. Yes, what you're thinking is correct...she ALMOST made it to the toilet, but not quite. That last foot and a half was too much to ask and so she dumped her bowels all over the floor. Ironically, the toilet was still sparking clean aside from some minor splatter at the base.

I kept my cool because the woman was clearly distraught. I left the washroom while the helper dealt with the situation. There were spare clothes in one of the vehicles upstairs (I'm guessing this kind of thing is a regular occurrence?) and so the helper was able to get the woman cleaned up and dressed. The group never finished their games as a result, and they all left right after the woman was dressed.

Yup. The helper person didn't lift a damn finger to clean up the mess. Furthermore, I didn't even get an apology for the nightmare I was going to go through to get that washroom clean again. They just fucked off and left me to clean up the poo. My boss was the only other employee there and he was lazy and a twat. He wasn't going to touch it. If I wanted to keep my job, it was time to get knee-high in crap.

I wrapped a sweater around my head to cover my nose and mouth and I entered the washroom, armed with cleaning supplies. I didn't give a flying fudge about proper cleaning protocol in this instance. I used the mop to wash the floors and walls alike. I assure you, dear reader, that I was not getting any closer to the mess than the length of the mop handle. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and after about an hour I had cleaned it all up. I joked earlier about how Dane Cook asked in his act as to why public washrooms are always wet. Now you know. Because some poor bastard had to clean viscous poopies off the walls and floor with a mop. The walls were dripping wet and the floor was slippery as well. I didn't care. I was in there for an HOUR! I put up a wet floor sign outside the washroom door and left it.

As a bit of a "fuck you" to my boss for not helping, I stashed the mop and bucket back in the store room without emptying the filthy poo-water. Take that, Marshall. You pretentious prick! I quit the bowling alley very soon after that day (about a week or so). Not just because I was tired of being an unappreciated shitter-picker-upper but because league bowling season came to a close and there wasn't enough hours of work available to warrant staying.

If ever you have a severely upset stomach and know you'll be having a date with the toilet bowl for a while, please please PLEASE do me a favour and take a trip to Shamrock Lanes. If you pick a day when Marshall is working solo, this would be the greatest revenge a lowly bowling alley employee could ever ask for! And afterward, the Pepto Bismol is on me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Great Poopie Caper

Today I was walking in the hall of my apartment building. I was walking to the lobby to get my mail. On the short walk to the lobby, I passed my neighbour's apartment. For some reason, her door was open. On occasion, she has her children or grandchilden over for a visit and today was one of the days when she had the rugrats over.

Anyway, as I walked by her open door, I heard one of the kids. Judging both from the echo, the noise, and what the kid said, the kid was in the bathroom and the bathroom door was open. The toilet flushes as I'm walking and then I hear the kid say "Bye poop. Good bye poop!"

Being a mature 31 year old man, I of course broke out in a bout of hysterical laughter. Shut up. There's something funny about the word "poop," and if you just read what happened, how can you not laugh?

In the lobby, another tenant entered the building while I'm trying to work my mail key into the slot while suffering a case of the giggles. He probably thought I am a nutter, but then again, everyone usually does.

Once the laughter subsided and I had returned to my apartment, I suddenly remembered an event from waaaaaaaay back in my childhood. And now you're gonna hear about it!

When I was about five or six years old, I was a really active kid. I was always outside in the backyard, usually playing with one of my awesome He-Man figures or my hand-me-down Millennium Falcon toy that my cousin reluctantly gave me (actually, my aunt forced the poor guy to hand over all his Star Wars toys to me since he was 12 or so years old). Usually I had a friend over to play, but on the day in question I couldn't find anyone to play, so I just played by myself (giggidy).

My neighbours immediately to the west were a snooty bunch. They were the kind of people who walked with an air of upper crust sophistication, yet they lived in a middle class neighbourhood and thus were not fooling anyone. They were the kind of people who drove a decent car (better than many in the neighbourhood), but nothing very expensive or luxury. They were phonies and poseurs and even at five years old I was on to them.

At any rate, they had an annoying little twat waffle of a daughter. Her name was Marianne. She a year or two older than me. She had black hair, squinty eyes, and a mole on her upper lip that I always thought was a booger. Like her parents, she thought she was god's gift to the world and was a snarky bitch to the other kids in the neighbourhood. We all hated her.

On the day in question, I was, as I said, playing in the backyard alone. While playing, I suddenly had a certain...intestinal requirement. We're just talking a standard everyday requirement. I wasn't ill or with an upset stomach, so it was nothing splish-splash or projectile in nature. I just had to go number two. But I was having fun outside. Why would I want to go inside? I'd have to take off my coat and my shoes, go to the bathroom, do my duty (lawl), and then have to put my coat and shoes BACK ON? No thank you.

I continued to play until the dreaded turtle head began to peek out from below, so I knew it was time. I HAD to go inside...or did I? There was a narrow walkway between our garage and Marianne's family's garage. It was a thin, reasonably enclosed space, and I broke line of sight except for one home across the street. But that was okay because they were old and they were in the backyard of their home. I was good to go...pardon the pun.

I yanked down my drawers and my Superman undies and I squatted down. A kid-sized coil later, I whipped back up my pants and carefully exited the area. I returned to the backyard and continued to play with my toys until dinner.

After dinner, while I was watching television, my dad came into the living room all pissed off. He began yelling at me about some poop that he found behind the garage. I was only five or six, which means my sister was far too young (barely born to a year old) so I couldn't blame her. My dad interrogated me to see if I knew where the poopie came from. Sure, he KNEW it was me. But he wanted me to say so. I, of course, denied it profusely. I first blamed the dog...any dog. But dad wouldn't have that. Dad knew it was a human poo.

So I did what any kid would do in that situation. I blamed Marianne. I said I saw her walk back there earlier while I was playing (Marianne was out in her yard playing with some dolls, so it wasn't too much of a stretch) and I said that she may have done it. My dad asked over and over if it was me and I kept saying no. Eventually he said "Fine, well let's go over to Marianne's house and tell her parents what happened." It was a bluff, right? It had to be! But if he was trying to get me to back down, it wasn't going to happen. As a kid, I was a filthy liar and I wasn't going down without a fight! I agreed and we immediately went outside.

Marianne's dad was in his garage at the time, and my dad told him that one of the kids went to the bathroom between the garages. My dad then told me to tell Marianne's dad what I saw (the lie about seeing her go between the garages). I remember what happened so distinctly because it was the most amazing thing to happen EVER! Her father's reaction to my dad's brief explanation:

"What? AGAIN?"

As it turned out, Marianne had done the same thing before! He told is that it was probably her again and not to worry about it. My dad and I returned home. I'm not sure what happened with Marianne since our families weren't friends or anything, but I do know that Marianne's dad did hand out spankings when she was bad (that's what she once told me anyway). Did she get an ass-whooping for my poopie? All I know is that I was five and I hadn't yet developed a sense of morality. If she had to get a tanned hide to spare me receiving a similar punishment, then so be it. Better her than me. Come on! She was awful!

So that's another stupid story from my past. If you take nothing else from this story, make sure you always remember that evil can and does indeed win. That makes me a winner!

And you know what? My dad never apologized for accusing me of pooing behind the garage. How rude is THAT?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Dave Leno Show

I can't stand doing presentations. Being the center of attention when I have to be normal and be myself is a prospect that terrifies me. I'm being literal here. In college, when I knew I had to do a presentation, I would suffer severe anxiety for about a week leading up to the actual presentation itself. When I start new classes and the instructor decides to play "the name game" so everyone can become familiar with everyone else, my heart goes into overdrive and I can't focus (by the way, the name game doesn't work...everyone is far too busy worrying about what they are going to say to pay attention to others). I'm quite phobic and yes I have tried many things to overcome it but nothing seems to work. For example, I took theatre classes for the express purpose of trying to overcome this phobia. But the problem was that in theatre you play parts. It's still quite nerve wracking but not as intense when I don't have to be myself.

So before I discovered that I could simply weasel out of presentations through use of a disability form (yes, it was that bad), I went to great pains to turn presentations into something much more fun and into something in which I could play a part. Perhaps the best example of this was in my Psychology of Gender course. We were all given different topics related to the psychology of gender that we had to research and present on in groups. My particular group was given sexual harassment, and you can't deny that it was ripe with fun possibilities.

My group consisted of my friend Brad and two people who I had not met before (Lisa and some dude whose name I cannot remember so let's call him Burt). The four of us sat together and brainstormed on how to present the information that we had yet to research (kind of backwards, I know). The group seemed content to simply stand up in front of the class and awkwardly regurgitate the information from our papers. However, that idea was horrifying to me...not to mention how utterly dull it was. So I decided I was going to turn the mundane into something amazing.

Enter The Dave Leno Show. The idea was simple. I was a late night talk show host who was busted via hidden camera hitting on one of my employees. I walked up Lisa, who was playing the employee, and I said to her "My face is leaving in five on it." She then theatrically slapped me and stomped off while I did a comedic spin. Anyway, that fictitious sexual harassment led to Dave Leno having to air a show that tackled the issue of sexual harassment.

This expose episode of The Dave Leno Show would provide the class with all the information that we had to convey, but in a fun (and damn funny way).

The first scene, a monologue, involved a great number of stupid jokes interlaced between facts about sexual harassment. I remember it took an exorbitant number of takes because I kept screwing up. Why? Because I was being watched by a half dozen people and that pressure was enough for me to lose my focus. It's terrible, I know.

While we were recording the monologue, Brad, playing a Paul Shaffer sidekick character, sat at the piano in a theatre room in the college. Every once in a while, once I finished a joke, he would slam his hands on the piano keys randomly and pretended it was music. It was obnoxious noise and it was awesome. Sadly, a janitor bursted into the room and freaked out, demanding that we all leave the room because we were a disruption. The monologue was pretty much finished (leaving early meant Brad had to edit pieces together from different takes instead of one whole take) so it wasn't too awful we were kicked out.

The next scene was my first guess, Burt. Burt played an expert in sexual harassment and he came on the show to provide the details in a very mundane way. While Burt spewed forth facts, I was doing silly and improvisational things to try and make him laugh. When I asked a question, I would move in very close to him and stare at him while he tried to answer. While he was talking to the camera, I was flinging pens at it. I would slouch or sit backwards or get up and wander off while he was talking. And I give Burt a lot of credit. While it took a few takes (we had to restart if he broke his deadpan act), he did manage to eventually get through the scene without laughing. That was no easy feat.

There was one scene that I was dying to make, but was vetoed due to time constraints and due to the fact that my group members felt it deviated too far from the point of the presentation (to provide facts). They had a point, but it would have been so fun. Just picture it: A clip in which we were crew members aboard a Star Trek kind of ship. I would play the captain, of course. Captain Leno. One group member, probably Lisa, would have played an Amazon woman who sought to destroy me. The skit would involve a lot of rude jokes and pick up lines. I remember I had written a whole bit on how torpedoes were shaped like penises because they are aerodynamic and that's why men are superior to women (there was a part in the bit in which I talked about how if torpedoes were shaped like vaginas, they would just fill up with space dust and satellites and just sink to the planet below). It was offensive and it was hilarious. But true, there wasn't any fact being told, so it was best it was left out.

The aforementioned pick up lines were peppered throughout the presentation, which gave it a really fun and ironic feel. The components that we did use were effective and entertaining. Overall, The Dave Leno Show was a success. AND because it was filmed, we didn't have to stand up in front of the class and tell the information. However, I later learned that we had to remain standing after the presentation to answer questions. I knew the information but didn't want to be embarrassed, so I ended up scheduling a doctor's appointment during the presentation. Because my contribution to the group was obvious in the video and my group would be sure to tell the instructor that I put forth a lot of effort, I wasn't really needed there.

After the presentation, Brad got a hold of me and told me that the presentation was a huge success. I received some feedback slips (each student wrote constructive feedback on a piece of paper and submitted it to the instructor, who in turn gave them to us) and almost every slip mentioned how funny and informative the video was. There was a great deal of praise for Burt's stoic portrayal during my crazy antics and I was adored for my opening monologue. The few who had problems felt that the jokes were too crude. Who the fuck cares? They were funny!

We got 97% on the presentation, which was the highest mark in the class. I'm not sure where the other 3% went (probably some technical thing with the information) but I was satisfied with 97%.

There you have it folks. Be creative, even if it is because you're scared. Creative makes things fun to do and fun for others to experience. Just don't steal my vagina-torpedo joke...that's all mine!