Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Wrathful Waitress

     I was 19 years old and out spending time with a male friend, during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thinking back, it appears that young friends share a special bond that erodes with age. For example, nowadays when I see two young men dining out--I assume they're just close friends. But if I see two men in their 40's (or older) dining together...well, I assume they're probably a couple. Right or wrong, that's just how my perception is programmed.

     So, after throwing a frisbee around for an hour or two (back to when I was age 19), my friend and I worked up large appetites. The ubiquitous diner Denny's was of course an option, but we opted instead for the more brightly-lit, now-defunct, blatant rip-off of Chili's "Tex-Mex" cuisine restaurant, Spoons. 

     "Spoons" marketed themselves as being just a little younger, cooler, and more California-esque than the far more popular Chili's. There was a greater emphasis on Mexican fare and California style burgers. Mostly though, we chose to frequently dine at that particular Spoons because the waitresses there were cute.

     After entering the restaurant, and being led by the hostess to our seats, my friend and I took immediate notice of the pretty blonde haired/brightly blue eyed (and adorned with a seemingly perpetual smile) waitress who dashed her way towards us:

     "Hi! Welcome to Spoons! My name is Danielle! Which appetizers can I start you off with today?!"

     Even at that young age, my friend and I knew that appetizers (and desserts, for that matter) were a waste of money. Not only do they greatly increase the cost of your bill; but they also ruin your appetite. So, we just ordered burgers, fries, and soft drinks.

     Being a (some would say) "typical Virgo male," my food always needed (and needs) to be prepared in a certain manner. Nothing fancy, but on the contrary, rather plain. In this case, I requested a well-done beef patty, with only American cheese, lettuce, and bun. "Danielle" paid careful attention to my requests, and diligently wrote them down on a small, faded notebook.

     My order took astonishingly long to arrive: nearly 30 minutes! My friend received/ate/and finished his meal before mine even arrived. Danielle rushed her way to our table on three different occasions (to apologize for the long wait), each time taking the time to explain that there was some "scheduling issues going on" among the cooks.

     I remained calm, though. As a young and inexperienced man, I already knew what this waitress's "punishment" would be for not bringing my order out in a timely manner: NO TIP! A bit cruel, admittedly, but what did I know? I was only 19..

     She never saw it coming. I was all smiles, and behaved as if absolutely nothing was the matter. When the time came to pay the bill (it was "my turn" to buy), my friend and I walked up to the cashier, paid the bill, and I then pocketed my change. There was to be no "pivot and turnaround" back to our table, in order to leave a tip.

     My friend and I then walked out to the restaurant's parking lot, laughing about my "no tip" antics, as we made our way towards my vehicle. I never would have guessed what happened next..

     Danielle stormed out of the restaurant's main entrance, gazed directly into my eyes and yelled, "HEY A**HOLE! WHY THE F*** DID YOU STIFF ME?!" 

     Taken aback, I sarcastically replied, "Ummm...because my food took like a half hour to come out!"

     She sashayed her way towards my vehicle, and continued yelling, "I TOLD YOU THEY WERE HAVING ISSUES IN THE BACK! WHAT'S YOUR DAMN PROBLEM?!"

     At that point, I was concerned that she might continue towards us and decide to "take a swing" at me: 

     "Well, I hope you know that I'll be reporting this incident to your manager and district manager."

     She then backed down, turned around, and made her way back to the restaurant. Upon re-entering, she loudly proclaimed--with her hands on her hips--"You know what your problem is? You're nothing but a big, whiny FAG who likes to chit-chat!"

     I was hurt, to say the least. Did I deserve such treatment? What caused her to blast me with that final, stinging diatribe? 

     Did she overreact? Of course she did. Did I learn an important lesson from all this? YES...I NEVER AGAIN "stiffed" another member of waitstaff. In fact, I've even (in the many years since) cultivated a "generous tipper" reputation. 




Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dreaming Of Summerlin

Stones, hills, lightning, snow. It's one of the few big cities where Joshua trees grow.

Palm trees too, are everywhere to be seen; so much, in fact, that their appearance seems routine.

Red Rock Preserve is not far away, where you may suffer like a wild animal when climbing beautiful, endless hills that betray.

Inhale its beauty, but beware its fate: The desert is not for the weak, and many have perished under its weight.

Torrential winds that slap your face; freezing snow that turns you blue; lightning strikes that instantly transform atheists into believers; and flash floods that might carry you away to heaven (or hell).

You'll wish for all that, in the middle of summer, when the furnace-like heat will break your spirit--and cause you tremendous suffer.

Stones, trees, hills, flowers, sun, snow, wind, lightning, thunder, air, life, sickness, death.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Menace Known As "Catcalling!"

     You'd think we'd have evolved by now, yet "catcalling" appears to be as popular as ever. Just ask any reasonably young and attractive person who's ever spent a fair amount of time walking alone on public streets: Most all have a story to tell in regards to how catcalling caused them to feel objectified, harassed, embarrassed, even futile. One thing's for sure: I've never heard anyone describe having been catcalled as being in any way welcome and/or "cute." 

     However, as a somewhat less than "reasonably attractive" man, I'm unable to speak from personal experience about the hurt that typically results from this primitive phenomenon. The closest I've ever come to feeling these types of emotions was during the times I was the lone male student in classes filled with women: I've participated in dozens of English, Social Science, and Human Resources classes where that was exactly the case. During those times, I recall having occasionally felt embarrassed, objectified, and way outnumbered.

     In case you're wondering what exactly IS "catcalling," here is's current definition:

catcall: a loud, sexually suggestive call or comment directed at someone publicly (as on the street).

     Still unsure as to what a catcall sounds like? Listen to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel." He cuts loose on a high-pitched and loud "OWWWWWWOOOOHHHHHWWWWWW!" catcall about halfway through the song.  

     So, why do people (mostly young males, that is) catcall? For a number of reasons:

We really do mature at a much slower rate than females. 
     We've heard about this concept our entire lives. It's not necessarily provable, but it's true. I honestly was incapable of carrying on an intelligible conversation with a woman until I was about 35. Young guys who choose to catcall wish they were capable of calmly approaching the object of their affections, and then coolly saying something like, 

     "Hi, my name is _______. I don't want to appear too forward, but I find you to be truly stunning and absolutely beautiful. You seem like someone with a kind soul as well--and I'd just like to take this opportunity and introduce myself."

     However, because they (the catcalling "young guys") haven't yet fully matured, instead you get the..."OWWWWWWOOOOHHHHHWWWWWW!"

     Don't be too hard on young males, though: While most little boys are out there playing sports, climbing trees, pretending to be at "war (either for 'real' or virtually)," many little girls are already bonding among themselves, while simultaneously honing their communication skills and assessing their respective places on the social stratum. By the time straight boys and girls become mutually attracted to one another, the girls are already about eight years ahead of the boys in the communication skills department!

We haven't evolved much.       
     Yes, we males are behaving better than ever. But not due to any type of anthropological evolution: It's because we're scared. Scared of getting expelled, scared of getting fired, scared of getting sued, scared of going to jail, scared of an unexpected paternity test. You name it, we're scared of it.

     Minus all that fear though, and we're still left with a bunch of "men behaving badly." For example, if you could covertly record a private conversation between two adult, single (let's say straight) men, I believe a lot of woman would be shocked to hear the amount of objectifying, potty-mouth blunt talking, and pornographic language being so casually thrown about.

     And that's why catcalling almost always occurs in public places--rarely in school, practically never in the workplace: Because that fear (of getting fired, expelled, etc.) has been all but completely taken away. 

They (people who catcall) are actually paying you the ultimate compliment.
     A beautiful woman who is the victim of a random catcall is actually being paid the highest compliment that an uneducated/under-educated fool is capable of uttering. 

     Just think of the animal kingdom, and all those raw, unrefined mating rituals that have existed since the dawn of zoological life. In other words, a catcalling victim's raw beauty and sex appeal have effectively reduced the catcaller to his lowest animalistic instincts. Keep on walking, though--don't you dare acknowledge that loud-mouthed meathead..

     Occasionally, however, a catcalling victim might find the offending person to be "kind of cute," and could be inclined to favorably respond, in the long shot hope of eventually helping this injured soul--by the sole virtue of her feminine charms--maneuver his way to a state of normality. Just like in a Disney movie! 

     Has such a scenario ever been successfully played out in real life? No, it never has.

     As far as grown men (let's say, over age 30) are concerned: DO NOT EVER catcall! If you are over this age and still prone to vocally producing these inane, childish, shrilling, ridiculous sounds--then you ought to have your head examined.  




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Lessons From Luke

     As a tween, a teen, and a young adult, Luke was my best friend. Certainly, he was blessed with a powerful intellect; but what stood out most about his character was his uncanny ability to learn from his mistakes, and to then communicate this "knowledge learned the hard way" in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
     Although the five "lessons" shared here may seem like trivial, obvious observations to many (if not most) adults, it's important to note that Luke first uttered them during our high school years. In other words, he was still a
child when he taught me to..

1.) "Be nice to average (and below average) looking girls, because they probably have really cute friends." 

     Who would have thought? As fifteen year old boys, we were more or less programmed to focus most intently on those females who piqued our interest on the most cellular level. Regarding this "obsession with appearances," I can't imagine that adolescent boys have evolved much since our hunter-gatherer days.. 
     For Luke to have thought "way outside the box" on such a primitive instinct as courtship/mate selection stands as a testament to his remarkably high level of cognition. Either that, or his dad (or perhaps some older kid) taught him this priceless Law of Attraction hack. 

     Nevertheless, Luke was dead-on with this observation--and by living its credo, he earned the reputation for being "one of the friendliest guys" at school. A trait that predictably endeared him to many of our cute (and not-so-cute) classmates. 

     In comparison, I, due to my then astonishingly weak social skills (and my inability to be nice to everybody) was admired by barely a few (if any). 

2.) "Only pursue those girls who you're certain 'like you back' least somewhat so!"

     Luke thought it was asinine to "dream of a crush" who never made eye contact, said "hello," nor even bothered to acknowledge one's existence. But which adolescent boy has ever had the self-discipline needed to pull that off? I didn't, Luke did. 

     The heart desires what the heart desires, and we typically don't "move on"--particularly at high school age--until we've had our feelings crushed and have been sufficiently rejected by the would-be object of our affections. Luke's suggestion here though assumed a lot from me: As if I could discern whether or not a girl "liked me," based only on her subtle hints. I couldn't, Luke could. 

3.) "Don't speed. It doesn't pay, and it's illogical."

     I didn't start driving until after high school; Luke started driving at age 15. At the tender ages of 16--before I had ever sat behind a driver's seat--he taught me that "no matter how fast you're going, you won't arrive at a destination much quicker than a minute or two compared to another motorist who's driving at the speed limit." 

     All these years have past, and I've found Luke's "don't speed" observation to be true. The countless zooming drivers I've "caught" kilometers down the road amuses me every time I think of them. Of course, this lesson doesn't apply to the open freeway (where there are no stoplights). 

  Also, the dollars I've saved in fuel and would-be speeding tickets (simply by heeding this advice) has made "driving like a 75-year old" less potentially embarrassing--and much more profitable--than driving like an average teenager.   

4.) "Always pour your drink in a cup, because 'backwash' is disgusting."

     Unless constantly hounded by well-meaning, sometimes overly-protective parents, teen boys just don't think much about germs and hygiene: We're essentially cute little animals who happen to be capable of written and spoken communication.

     But Luke was right again: drinking fluids from a cup is clearly more hygienic than drinking out of the same can (or bottle) opening--especially when simultaneously eating a meal. He went on to say that "straws are disgusting too," and to this day I drink just about all my fluids out of a cup. Damn you, Luke!   

5.) "Never get your hopes up. That way you'll never be disappointed." 

     Most boys are naturally excitable and optimistic: For example, our parents will take us to purchase a new toy, new clothes--anything, really--and we just assume the merchant will have the item(s) in-stock and ready for us to purchase. Our hearts predictably sink when such is not the case. In fact, we may become mildly depressed, distressed, and prone to tantrum-throwing when things don't quite go our way!  

     We're indoctrinated, actually socialized from a very young age to "think positive;" not only from parents, teachers--and most all grown-ups--but from virtually everybody. As it turns out, Luke was right again: Life is of course just as much about our failures as it is about our successes. I first applied this concept during my college days: I'd "shoot for all 'A's,'" but would "settle" for an occasional 'B' or 'C.'

     After high school, as young adults, I eventually caught--and then arguably surpassed--Luke in the implementation of all the lessons listed here. As young men, he took a turn towards modesty and indecisiveness, while I--slowly but surely--began cultivating the outgoing (some would say annoying) big personality that would later become something of a trademark. 

     Luke and I never discussed his "teachings" at any time following their inception. While schooling me, I'm sure he'd be surprised to learn that I was even paying attention--and would undoubtedly be shocked that I'd somehow remembered it all, after so many years.
     I've always found it interesting that Luke left during our 27th year: the year I became "born again," and the year he moved out-of-state and got married. As we said our goodbyes--after 15 years of close, brotherly friendship--I jokingly told him that "your work with me here is done. Thank you, Luke." to which he silently grinned and half-nodded his head. 

     I never saw him again.



Saturday, September 30, 2017

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words sprinkled on a page
seemingly meaningless
solace for the soul

a marriage made in heaven

snow everywhere frozen hell
numb limbs, hands, face, feet

crayons melting on the street
oppressive heat
goodbye die.

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