I used to look forward to going to the grocery store. I'd wait in line, pick up a copy and start a conversation with a total stranger about whatever was on the cover. Of course, none of us are strangers when faced with the news that the Gates of Hell are open and history's worst villains are coming to kill us all. Or the news that an artichoke heart transplant can actually save your life. I remember being in line one time reading a story about a preacher who spontaneously exploded during a sermon. I turned to an old lady next to me and said "Why? Why do things like this have to happen?"
She just shook her head and muttered "It's a damn shame."
It's moments like these that made the publication so special. It touched our lives.
I remember the shock and feeling of hopelessness and loss the first time I noticed it missing from the checkout lines at the Pathmark in 2007. I think America died a little that day. The Weekly World News gave us all something to fear. Together, as a country.
In the checkout line at Super Fresh the other day, an elderly Asian guy in front of me was buying a big box of chicken. As he approached the cashier, he turned to me with a menacing grin and said in a loud voice "IT'S A HOLIDAAAAAAAY!" and then began laughing maniacally, like a cartoon villain.
This is my new greeting for any and all holidays. So when you see it, don't run away. You will want to, but don't. Just don't.
I can't even begin to describe the massive heart attack I would have.
What possible motivation could they have for making these ads? They're not even trying to sell burgers anymore. They just want to scare the living hell out of people. I'm afraid to close my eyes at all anymore. Do you think if I asked nicely the burger king guy would stop terrorizing people so I can sleep again?
Okay, here's something I see quite often, and it's unfortunate because it makes me literally convulse with nausea every time.
A human being walks out their front door, and begins blowing their nose onto the sidewalk. Without a tissue. Just blowing the contents of their nostrils onto the sidewalk.
There is no way I can think of to sufficiently describe how horrifying this is to me. I'd rather rabid elephants with tentacles and antennae take over the world, enslave humanity, and force us all to watch Dr. Phil for hours a day than see people blow streams of snot all over the sidewalks of the city.
What is going on inside your house that makes you have to come outside and do this in front of me? Is it a dust bowl in there?
After 8 hours a day working in an environment where people try not to spread infectuous diseases, I walk outside to see people painting the sidewalks with their mucous.
When did this become something people do? Ever since I was a kid I've taken tissues with me when I left the house. I think most people did. I don't ever remember waiting for the school bus, and seeing another kid emptying his nose all over the street. When did it become acceptable, even common to do such a thing? Did some popular artist write a song about it? Is it an environmental thing? Because if it is, hankies work too. They're washable, dryable and re-usable.
There are literally hundreds of other options out there besides just spraying it all over the ground. Think about it. You manage to hold in your poop! You don't just squat on the sidewalk and crap all over it whenever the urge arises, do you? If you can manage that, there's no reason you can't wait until you find a tissue or a handkerchief.
By far the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me on a subway happened yesterday. I got on at City Hall and took a seat. As I sat down, I felt something squish under me. I immediately stood up and looked down.
To my utter horror, it was a banana.
In part, I blame SEPTA. Why are we paying fares to ride trains on which bananas are kept on the seats? Can’t they have people check the seats for passengers before they sit down? I also blame Mayor Michael Nutter. Honestly, I thought he was going to clean up the corruption in this city. How can he do that when he cannot even clean up a banana under City Hall?
When I got done screaming, I stood with my back to the doors so no one would see the seat of my pants, which looked like I had…. soiled myself. When I got off the subway, I transferred to a bus that was fairly empty and calmed myself down a little. No one will see. No one is looking at my 42 year-old ass anyway.
Naturally, I was wrong about this. The guy who owns the Mexican grocery store around the corner from my house asked “What’s all over your ass?”
Upon reflection, it may not have been the best idea, listening to those voices. But I did, and that is how I found myself at Penn's Landing last night screaming obscenities into the cold, black waters of the Delaware River. The small choppy waves were being blasted by needles of rain. The river was coursing quickly and angrily.
I began my tirade and quickly lost myself. I could have been there for minutes or hours. I could not tell, and the river did not care. After a long time, I was beginning to imagine that I was finally getting through to it, that my voice was being heard in Nature's tumultuous chaos, that what I was doing actually mattered, when a hand touched my shoulder. It was a policeman. He was speaking English without curse words, which sounded alien to me, but he wanted to know if everything was okay.
Confused, I looked at the water and started laughing. I came to my senses a bit, and explained to the cop that this was therapeutic, and cheaper than yoga. I asked him if he wanted to join me. He paused, rubbed his chin, and said "Yeah, what the hell."
Together, we blazed a trail through every horrfiying profanity we had ever heard, and many that we made up special for the occasion. We screamed and flailed our arms in the teeming rain. When we finally stopped, we looked around. There were hundreds of people standing there watching us. Men in suits, ladies with their dogs, bums, joggers, drivers who had stopped their cars, it seemed like everyone.
"Shit!" yelled the cop.
"Shit!" yelled the crowd.
"Goddamn Shitsucking Bastard!" we all yelled in unison.
In one, I was removing needles from myself. I don't know how they got there, but it hurt like hell. Very vivid. I can remember the pinch of pain as I yanked these things out of my muscles and skin. There must have been hundreds of them. It went on forever. It still hurt hours after I woke up.
In another, I was sitting on a street corner somewhere starving. I was afraid to get up and find food. I'm not sure what I was afraid of, but the terror was more real than I care to think about now. I was wasting away, and too frightened to do anything about it. Jack Rabbit kept yelling at me, but I just laid there and shook like a fever victim.
The last one was the worst, and I can't really tell if it was a dream or not. I forgot how to disable Twitter and my phone kept chirping every ten minutes all night long. I kept smashing my phone against the wall, throwing it outside, flushing it down the toilet and a few minutes later, it would return, good as new. I shoved forks in my ears and beat my head against the brick in the basement, screaming until my throat bled. Nothing would make the chirping stop. Nothing.
I haven't slept for two nights. Something has got to give.
I have to say, I was pretty upset when I read the recent news that Sesame Street was cutting their staff by 20%. I couldn't help but wonder who will be going and who will be staying.
First thing's first- Get rid of Big Bird. They could save insane amounts of money just on birdseed. He's been on the show for over forty years and he still barely knows the alphabet.
Keep Oscar. They can't be paying him much anyway. He lives in a trash can that apparently extends down into the sewer system where he forages for food. It's not like he's buying soap.
Goodbye Elmo. I heard he was moving into directing and producing now anyway. He was afraid of being typecast as a three-and-a-half year old muppet for the rest of his life. He's like the Gary Coleman of muppets. I also heard he beats his wife. There was a VH1 special, I think. He's a PR liability now.
The Amazing Mumford. He has never once gotten a magic trick to go right. Why are we still paying this jackass?
Prairie Dawn stays. She lives the Principle.
Telly has been snorting his entire paychecks since day one. Get him to rehab, for gods sake.
I'm just trying to save the show. I'm open to suggestions.
This morning, on the trolley coming to work, something horrible happened. I sneezed, and as my head lurched forward, I smashed it hard against the pole on the seat in front of me. I was momentarily blinded. I couldn't hear anything but the sound of the schoolchildren behind me howling with laughter. Now I have a giant black and blue lump where my forehead used to be.
No one believes me. Everyone thinks I did something stupid over the weekend. I did many stupid things this weekend but none of them resulted in the egg-shaped lump on my forehead.
I am going to whine about this for a very long time.
I cut my finger chopping an onion for stew last night. As I lay on the floor screaming in agony, helpless with rage at a world in which such atrocities happen, I received a distress call on my cellular phone. Bravely, I staggered over to the coffee table where my phone lie. I checked the screen.
"How U doin?" from a friend of mine.
I began to weep. Here I am struggling for my life with a horrible finger wound, barely alive from starvation, and at my wits end with the state of the world, and this person wants to have a friendly little chat via text message?
I have three options:
1. Lie. Answer back "I'm fine, and yourself?" This would be ridiculous, because it would open the flood gates to an endless stream of pointless text messages for the entire rest of the night, ending with me wanting to fling myself in front of the 79 bus right there on Snyder Ave.
2. Tell the truth. Explain every banal, humdrum activity that I do for the entire rest of the night via text message. This scenario ends with my head in the oven around 9:00, furiously punching "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP" on the numeric keypad of my phone while trying desperately to die.
3. Don't answer. This one would seem like the obvious choice if it were not for the fact that many people believe that if you don't answer a text message, you are harboring some feelings of hatred or malice towards them.
Let me try to say this without hurting any feelings (and just to clarify, I'm not talking about the three people who actually read this thing, because you guys rule)....
Text messaging is a horrible means of communication. It is okay to call a person even if you have nothing substantial to say. Doing that with a text message is evil, wrong and must be stopped at all costs.
So I get one of those automated messages at 5:30 this morning on my cell phone that the Philadelphia School District is closed today. I assume there must be quite a bit of snow on the ground.
I look out the window - less than an inch.
Hmmm. Maybe it's supposed to get much worse later on. According to all the newspapers lately, the city has no money to plow streets anymore and we're all on our own in the event of a terrible blizzard.
I turn on the TV for the forecast - rain, and a high of 42.
Hmmmm. Some administrator somewhere must be pretty desperate for a day off if they are canceling school for RAIN now.
This comes the year MY school decides to make me "essential staff", which means I have to show up on snow days, even if the god damned world is coming to an end. NOW they start canceling school on account of rain. In previous years, when I WOULD have been allowed to stay in bed when school is canceled, this would never have happened.
So, anyone who does have off today, I will be practicing my hate thoughts on you all day long.
Did you ever have a dream about someone that you haven't seen in twenty years? A freaky sex dream that was cool and amazing, but then you got obsessed with it? You thought about the person and the dream all the time? You imagined talking to the person, negotiating weird positions and role play? And everyone else you talked to was NOT THAT PERSON and it drove you crazy to have to put up with their boring blather, and NOT THAT PERSON just wouldn't shut up? And you just knew that if that person was around everything would be completely cool as if no time had passed at all? Did you ever have that happen?