Posted in life

Stream of Consciousness Childhood

My mom’s birthday was in May, so she got Mother’s Day presents and birthday presents. My Dad’s birthday was in February, so he got Valentine’s Day junk and birthday presents. My sister’s birthday is in December, so she got Christmas presents and birthday presents. My birthday is in July, so I didn’t get any extra junk. Not even a cake at school, because there is no school in the Summer.

Not that it was a big deal, though. I was that kid that circled everything in the Christmas edition of the Sears and J.C. Penney catalogues. My sister circled about 2 or 3 things. I usually got everything I wanted. Except for one thing. A Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll. I asked for it three years in a row. It was always the first thing I searched for. Nada.

Continue reading “Stream of Consciousness Childhood”

Posted in life, Uncategorized

SMH

So, at work, we’re redesigning the place. Installing various fixtures, building stuff. Normally it’s Rachel in charge, with me second. I’m always doing this kind of stuff at work. So, I kinda know how to do it.

Today, for some reason reason, Mark was in charge. Rachel was not there. He’s never been a part of these transitions before. But, since he’s a MAN (more like clueless Neanderthal), he knows EVERYTHING.

Continue reading “SMH”

Weird

So today has been weird. I had to go into work very early this morning. I got home and wrote a prompt post. As soon as I published it, I got a text from my sister saying she was coming home early. I thought maybe their computers were down again. It happened last week. She works as a civilian accountant on an army base. She was in the Air Force for 20 years.

When she got home, she told me my Uncle Jim died. He was only 3 years older than me. He was my mom’s brother. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer a while back. He went into hospice on Friday and died this morning.

So, about an hour ago, my sister and I were watching tv, waiting for the College Baseball World Series. Arkansas is playing. All of a sudden we heard a noise in the attic and the ceiling fan fell out of the wall. It’s hanging by a wire. I climbed the stairs to the creepy attic, but since I’m not an electrician I just looked around without even knowing what I was looking for. They (hopefully) are supposed to come fix it tomorrow.

I’m not really a believer in ghosts, but it is an odd coincidence.

Posted in life, Uncategorized

Allegiance

Allegiance

So, four people at work have quit. The actual big boss left last week. Three others have a week left. Normally, that would be a big deal, but that is only going to leave 7 of us, and 3 of them have limited work schedules.

With the exception of one, they are all going to the same place. They have been trying to get me, through guilt etc., to follow them. My allegiance is to no one. My former boss was utterly convinced that I would drop everything and follow her. She is what you would call the ultimate micro-manager. It’s so annoying.

In six years (July 10, 2012), I have never been late or called in sick. I have only taken 3 vacations. Yet, she treated me the roughest. The people who got away with murder were pampered.

The ones leaving tried everything they could to brainwash me into leaving. They couldn’t, however, answer my questions. How much money? Hours? It was always, “Well, I’m not sure. Let’s wait and see”.
I’m sorry but I don’t play that game. Besides, I’m fine where I am.

My allegiance is to myself, and not to making your new job life easier.

Things will probably be rough for a while. There is a lot going on right now and my workload will be doubled. It’s nothing I can’t handle. They have no bones about leaving us in a lurch as I have no bones about telling them to fuck themselves and the horse they you rode in on.

Posted in life, prompts

Dazed and Sex-Confused

Candor

I don’t know why I’m telling this story, but the word is candor, so…

When I was 19, even though I was gay, I had sex with a girl named Valerie. I was totally infatuated with a guy named Paul. He was straight, of course. This was always the case whenever I developed a crush.

I found out through my inner circle grapevine that Paul had had sex with Valerie. Valerie was in my group of hang out friends. Paul was not.

I had first met Valerie when she just came up and started talking to me during the intermission of some school play I was attending. We became friends.

Each of our small group of friends merged into one bigger group. The group consisted of:

Valerie
Me
Trudy, whose doctor father bought her a new car every time her current car’s ashtray became full; or so it seemed (we all smoked. Cigarettes and pot).
Vanessa, Valerie’s younger sister by one year.
Walter, who had 7 brothers and sisters and was very flamboyant.
Jack, a fellow percussionist who was really into jazz and had a twin sister.
John, the resident comedian, and clarinet-playing weightlifter.
Sylvia, who had her own house, and hosted our late night weekend parties.

Valerie had developed a crush on me. I finally figured out that’s why she started talking to me in the first place. She was fairly promiscuous.

So, when I found out that she had had sex with Paul, I figured it was a way to indirectly connect with him. It caused all kinds of complications, of course. We began hating each other.

After a while, the group split back into its original 2 clans. So, I went back to hanging out with Jack, John, and Sylvia. My infatuation with Paul lessened. I would see him and think of Valerie. By the same token, I would see Valerie and think of Paul. It was all so confusing.

The next year, my sister, who was a freshman, joined our group. It stayed intact until we all left school.

Jack became the band director at a Catholic High School. He’s still there. He sometimes performs in a group at the VFW.

Sylvia became the band director at a high school of a small Arkansas town. She’s still there.

John became the music instructor at a school for the blind and deaf. He’s still there. He plays in a Dixieland jazz band on the weekends.

My sister joined the military and retired a Master Sergeant.

I don’t know what happened to the others.

Posted in life

The Supportive Parents

“So”, asked his father, “What is your favorite color”?

“Pink”.

“Oh no, that’s an ugly color. Only girls like pink. Pick something else”.

“I don’t want to pick something else”, he said, “I like pink”.

“Why don’t you go think about it for a while, and come back later with a better answer”.

A while later, his mother say him crying in his room.

“What’s wrong honey”?

“Daddy said I can’t like pink. He said it’s ugly and only girls like it.”

“Sweetie, don’t ever let anyone tell you what to like. You are a unique individual. You can like and do and be whatever you want. Now dry your eyes and tell me what you want to be when you grow up”.

“A policeman”!

“Oh no honey, that’s too dangerous. Pick something else”.

Posted in life

Learning to fit in

When I was 12, we got a new camera. We went into the backyard and my mom started taking pictures. It was one of those Polaroid Instamatics, so, unlike in the past we didn’t have to wait a week for the pictures to be developed.

My mom pointed the camera at my sister and she (my sister) just stood there. She clicked the button and 60 seconds later there was a picture of my sister – standing there stiff as a board.

While my mom was taking the pictures of my sister, I was practicing various poses in my head. When it was my turn I did a Betty Grable akimbo pose. Mom was not happy. She dropped the camera and let it dangle from the cord around her neck.

“Bob, please don’t do that”.

“Why not”, I asked.

“People will think you’re weird, or that there is something wrong with you.”

I want to cry, but didn’t. I felt bad. Like she was ashamed of me.

I had just started going through puberty, so there were all kinds of changes going on. The voice change and all that other mess. I also realized that my parents were becoming more concerned with my behavior. Maybe they always had been, but it was just now that I was noticing it.

My dad didn’t really hang out or do stuff with me. If he had any concerns he always voiced them to my mother, and everything was relayed to me through her. He was more in tune with my sister, so he did stuff and used endearments with her. I was just always getting in the way somehow.

After a while, I began to modify my behavior. I would go against what was natural for me. I would always think about what my parents would say or think about my behavior. Anytime we went clothes shopping everything I wanted was a NO. It had too many stripes, or plaids, or was too colorful. I wanted clothes that would make me stand out. They wanted me to have clothes that would make me fit in.

For a while, it was just my parents who were voicing concerns. It soon started happening with friends and relatives. I stopped talking about things that interested me.

“That’s stuff that girls do”.
“Only sissies like that.”

I wanted to play the clarinet, but picked the drums instead. I wanted to learn to twirl the baton, but joined Little League instead; even though I was awful at baseball. Everything I did was to fit in. I did however, practice with my sister’s baton – in the basement – when no one was at home.

About the time I turned 15 I decided, “This is fucking ridiculous”! I started doing things that I wanted to do. But, I still had that feeling of being wrong and different.

I began to realize why people were so concerned. Oh my gosh, they think I’m a faggot…and they’re right. Of course, we don’t really use that terminology nowadays, but back then it was everywhere.

So, again, I altered my behavior. I had pretend girlfriends. I started doing other stuff with kids and pretending I liked it. I did everything I could to fit in. But, I still felt like I was on the outside.

High School was a complete disaster. I hated it. Every day I would go and try to act like I thought I was supposed to. It was confusing and enervating. The only thing that really saved me was music. I was in the band, so I concentrated on that.

When I got to college, it was completely different. Somehow, I was popular. People liked me and wanted to hang around me. I was Vice President of my fraternity pledge class, and I was always doing something social. The whole time I was just being myself. Nobody seemed to care. Sure, there were a few times when people would say something, but I would just shrug it off.

When you get to be a certain age, and you’re away on your own, you start to become your true self and not care what people think. Or at least not as much as you did when you were younger. But, it has always stayed with me. There are still times that I alter my behavior to fit in. I still wonder, in certain situations, if I’m acting the right way. I guess everybody feels that way.

Posted in life

That time I wanted to be Ralph Fiennes

So, how come on Wheel of Fortune, when the contestants are introducing themselves, they always say, “I’m married to my wonderful husband Mark”, or ” I’m married to my beautiful wife Wanda”? Well, duh, of course you’re married to your wife or husband. Who else are you going to be married to? Frankenstein? I think that whole redundancy is covered in some kind of ipso facto.

And then there’s the part where there are 3 letters left and they have $15,000 dollars and they still don’t know it and then spin a bankrupt. That’s when I scream, “YOU IDIOT” and throw popcorn, or skittles at the tv.

Or they guess tame duck instead of lame duck.

And then there’s Jeopardy, where they have to stand there and make those dumb faces when they have their close ups during the show’s intro. And I’m sorry, but Alex Trebek has kind of turned into a snotty prick over the last few years.

It’s not contestant envy that I rag on these people. I was on a game show once. I was a 3 time champion and won a crapload of money. It was great. Paying the taxes wasn’t fun, but I still had oodles left over.

Back in the 90s I saw this movie called Quiz Show. I was like, “Cool, I want to do that”! So, I added it to my bucket list. This was before internet, so I went to Book Star and bought all kinds of trivia and knowledge books. I didn’t know what I was studying FOR, but I figured that to get on any game show you had to know junk. So, I made flash cards and studied them all the time. My friends thought I was crazy. I said, “Look bitches, I’m going to get on tv and win money just like Ralph Fiennes”. They just rolled their eyes. Sure, Bob.

My first tryout was for Jeopardy. I figured why not start at the top. The Jeopardy Brain Bus was coming to town, and I planned on it leaving with me on it. Figuratively, that is. I went to the used car lot where it was parked and stood in line…for hours. The lady in front of me brought out her Trivial Pursuit Genus Edition cards and started quizzing everyone. Only she pronounced it genius edition. I thought, “Okay, there’s one less competitor”.

I finally got to the area where you take the prelim test. 10 questions, fill in the blank. I knew them all but one. I passed. I got a card that got me into the 50 question test scheduled for the next day. I knew the first 7 answers. Then ummm, hmmmm, let’s see, blank blank blank…
So yeah, I bombed out.

I continued to study. And tryout. Any time tryouts came to town, I was there. Wheel of Fortune, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal…everything. I passed the Millionaire test 3 times and got interviewed, but not selected. Then I figured I’d better start working on my interview skills. After a while you learn the dos and dont’s of what they’re looking for.

Ten years after I saw quiz Show and decided that I wanted to be Ralph Fiennes, I auditioned for some new show called The Rich List and got selected. I flew to L.A. and got sequestered in a hotel room. The network had ordered a certain number of episodes, so not all of us would get to be on. I got lucky. If you’ve ever seen the show (in other countries, because it sure didn’t last long here), then you know the premise. Needless to say, I got my glass booth (just like Ralph), only I had a partner. You work as a team with a stranger. That sucks because I’m not a team player. We ended up beating the champions and went on to win 2 more times. We ended up losing on a Peanuts question (my fault). I had done most of the work to get the other wins. I knew 11 countries that started with the letter C and 15 no. 1 Beatles songs, so the Peanuts thing wasn’t that big of a deal. We had spent 12 + hours filming 3 episodes the day before, and I was just exhausted. So, we lost. I must admit, the Peanuts thing still kind of haunts me.

After the loss, I was immediately put back on a plane to Vegas. Two months later the show premiered. My appearance would begin on the 2nd half of the next episode. Only that didn’t happen. Because they cancelled the show. After one stinkin’ episode. I threw all of my trivia books and flash cards into the trash. Ten years of study for what?
I got depressed and blamed myself. Some bigwig network guy probably saw my episodes and decided I was too hideous to be shown to the public. That was my thinking, anyway. The contract had stated that if our episodes didn’t air we wouldn’t get the money. So, I felt like the most screwed person ever.

When I had first gotten selected it would be 3 weeks before I started filming. I didn’t want to be a fat ass on tv, so I had stopped eating. To the point of passing out at times. When the show got cancelled I started eating everything in site. “Fuck those people and fuck game shows”, I thought. Oh yeah, and to add insult to injury, I got a call from Who Want’s to be a Millionaire. I had auditioned a 4th time, and now they wanted me. I got the call on the day after they cancelled The Rich List. My contract had stated that I couldn’t be on another game show for a year. I explained the situation to the lady who called. I told her (because she asked) that I had filmed another game show, but that it got cancelled without my episodes airing. She said she’d call me back. She did. I’m sorry, but blah blah blah…Basically, it was, “I’m sorry Lucy, but you can’t be in the show”!

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

But, there is a silver lining. Four months later I got a check for my winnings. I guess they decided to pay the winners after all. I got the money and remained anonymous.

So yeah, when I rag on those clowns about being married to their wonderful husbands, it’s because I’ve been there. Like being able to complain about a crappy president because you voted (not for them, but just voted).

…and because I’m a jerk.