Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Did I Get Anywhere?

I was talking to someone about work, the economy and other happy subjects when the subject of getting laid off came up. I thought a minute about it and I realized that since 1991 I have been laid off 4 times (FOUR! Twice from the same company!) and fired twice from various positions. I really have a stellar record there don't I? Sheesh. But what I thought I'd discuss here is the first of the 2 firings (since the second one is pretty run-of-the-mill stuff).

In 1991 (on my birthday actually! Happy birthday to me!) I started a job at Copy Cop (oh, by the way, Copy Cop doesn't make copies anymore! Weird right? At least I don't think they do. Their website seems to be more geared towards digital print and computer stuff). I knew some people who worked there already and it seemed like an ok place to work for a guy with no marketable skills.

I worked at the store on Milk St. (corner of Broad St.) which I don't think is there anymore. The manager guy was a bit of a schmuck (ok, he was a complete schmuck) and we had our differences. By 1993 I ended up getting transferred to a different store (oy, I just remembered that they called them "precincts". God, that's so asinine) where although I was no longer working with a dummy, I still wasn't thrilled about my position. I somehow got it in my head that I should be a supervisor and/or manager-in-training or some shit. I really thought that Copy Cop was missing the boat on the Mark O'Malley braintrust working for them in Precinct 2! They disagreed.

The manager of the Milk St. store as
envisioned by Dave Blanchette

So because of this I decided that it was time to look elsewhere in the reprographic industry. I saw an ad for a manger position in Harvard Sq. working for the arch enemy of Copy Cop: Kinko's. The job interview was set up and all I had to do was get the day off, charm the pants off of those folks at Kinko's and then I'd be running my own store! Please keep in mind at all times that I had ABSOLUTELY no management skills/training/instinct what-so-ever. But the job I had being a shitty job had very little in the way of benefits (bennies don't come at $7.50/hr) so I had to either call in sick on the interview day (which was a Monday and therefore would call into question the validity of a 23-year-old calling in sick) or come up with a masterful excuse as to why I needed Monday off.

I decided to fake a funeral. Yep. I'm a class act all the way.

On the Wednesday before the interview I went to the manager of the store and told him that my uncle had died and I think the funeral would be on Monday. I told him that I'd have to confirm it with my mom and I'd let him know the next day if I did in fact need the Monday off. I thought that that would somehow make it seem more authentic. I don't know why I thought that anyone would even question the date of a funeral but once again I call your attention to my tiny brain. The next day I told him that yes I would in fact need to take Monday off but I'd be back on Tuesday.

Cut to the weekend. That weekend the "Storm of the Century" was barreling up the coast towards us and when it got here it dumped a stupid amount of snow and generally made life annoying (especially since it came in March when I'm just starting to allow myself to think that maybe winter will please fuck off for a while. But of course it doesn't. March is cruel like that). So, blah, blah, blah it snowed and was windy and crap like that. Monday comes and I go to the interview and completely blow it. Nice one O'Malley.

The next day I drag my sorry ass into work and when I get there, the manger dude (who's name I can't remember...) calls me into his office. That's weird I thought but whatever, I'll go see what's up. He starts off with "How was the funeral?" That's an odd question but I answer, "Y'know, ok I guess." (I have an amazing grasp of the English language) He then says "Oh, ok. Um, your mom called..." and he just let it hang there. It was like the words "your mom called" were still echoing off the walls of the office. Like they were physical entities running around the room crashing into furniture and knocking over things. So I replied, "Oh, really?" Brilliant comeback I'm sure you'll agree. He said "Yeah, she wanted to know how you faired this weekend with the big snow storm and all. I told her that you were at a funeral. With her." Oh lordy. Yep. My MOM called my JOB to see how I was. She NEVER did that before. EVER. Soooo busted.

And then he fired me. Meh, fair enough.

As I was stamping my time card for the last time I thought to myself that 1) god, I'm a dumb-ass 2) lesson learned: if you're going to use someone as your alibi, let them know. 3) don't tempt fate by pretending to go to a funeral when you're not. Oh, and call your mom when it snows a lot.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Gurgle? ...uh oh...

Went to the AltCom Festival on Saturday (it was a 2-day festival but we only went to the 2nd show) at the Somerville Theater. It was a really good show but more on that later. Got to Davis Sq. and found a spot immediately (hooray Day St!) and since it was after 6pm, it was free. Then it was time to figure out where to go for dinner. For all of Davis Square's faults (and there are quite a more used music store, no bookstore, no more little antique shop across from the theater, Tufts students) it does not want for good restaurants. As luck would have it, I actually remembered that I really don't like The Burren so I didn't offer that as an option. The Wiff would have had to calmly explain to my tiny brain that it's loud in there and it makes me cranky. But the options are pretty impressive.

We ended up going to Diva and that was a good choice. The food is really good and you can actually have a conversation. I got the tandoori chicken and I picked the "hot" version. Apparently there are 4 versions: mild, medium, hot and pretty hot. That's a quote from the waiter. I was going to go with the "pretty hot" but something in his face told me that my wimpy white boy digestive tract couldn't handle it. Tell you what, I was almost unable to process the hot version.

So after din-din we made our way over to the theater. We still had plenty of time so we hung outside on a bench across the street (the Wiff got an ice-cream from the JP Licks that took over the little antique shop's space. $3 for a tiny cup. Holy poop). While sitting there I was able to scope out what the crowd was going to be like (ever since The Pogues show I've been worried that every show I want to go to will have a bunch of jackasses polluting the crowd). But luckily the crowd looked sufficiently nerdy and safe. Then the gurgles started. The Indian food was rebelling. Uh oh.

I did the only thing that was available to me. I stared at the sidewalk and willed my body to digest. Do it you wussy belly you! I don't care that the food was brightly colored (orange!) and flavorful. You will ignore the generations of bland brown-gray food that you have been bred to consume. You WILL let the turmeric and cayenne pepper through! I must have looked like I was having a hard time because even The Wiff left me alone. She did however continue to eat her ice cream and I just couldn't even look in her direction for fear of ... well, y'know. Luckily everything stayed where it was supposed to be and we made our way into the theater.

I really like the main theater there especially since they re-did it. It's nice and clean and the people working the show were very nice. Once again I had a great seat. I was on the end of the row with The Wiff to my right. Perfecto. She really is a great people-buffer since she actually likes people. But that night was extra special because the guy who sat next to her was a large dude with the LOUDEST LAUGH EVER. For realsies. He was also a really easy audience too cuz EVERYTHING was funny to this guy. His laugh was like BWAH HA-HA-HA HA!! and then he'd sometimes repeat the last line he thought was funny or go "HOLY SHIT!!". He also clapped weirdly waaaay too fast. Hee. Poor Wiff. Oh, and she said that he was stinky too.

But dude, how come you didn't switch places with her? That's totally not cool of you. Yeah, I know. Well I'll tell you. I didn't for 2 reasons: 1. I'm a jerk. 2. I don't think I could have handled it. Please understand this: although this guy was a) large b) stinky c) crazy loud, The Wiff STILL had a great time at the show. She has the ability to say to herself "Ok, this guy is fat, stinky and loud but at least he's having fun." and she can move on and enjoy the show herself. I, on the other hand, would have been thrown out of the theater. Maybe even arrested. So there.

The show itself was great. The line up was The Walsh Brothers (who while funny, were really very one note. They did this bit on the Fung-Wah bus that was their entire set. Funny at first but it wore thin quickly), Morgan Murphy, Jim Jeffries (who I had never seen before but I would definitely see him perform again) and then Patton Oswalt. Patton did about 45 minutes or so of mostly new stuff and the show itself was a little over 2 hours. I really had a good time and if they do this again next year (which I assume they would), I'll check it out again. Now that we're old farts I think it's funny that right after we see a show there's no talk of "Hey, what should we do now? You wanna go grab drink or see a band?" No. There'll be none of that. Let's immediately pile into the Volvo and drive our old asses home and go to bed. Awesome.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fun on a Tuesday Night

For the second Tuesday night in a row, The Wiff and I went out and about. This past Tuesday it was dinner and then the Eddie Izzard show at The Orpheum. She has the week off so she met me here at work and we went over to The Burren in Davis Sq. for dinner. We sat at the bar because it's easier and usually you get better service I find. Well, not so much this night. For whatever reason the bartender wasn't very friendly. I don't mean to slag him off or anything, he was efficient and stuff like that but he just didn't seem to give a shit one way or the other. Maybe I'm expecting too much? I need to examine this I think. Here I claim to hate people and not want to interact with them (both true) but yet when they do leave me alone I get all whiny. Hmph. I'm so complicated aren't I?

So we ate our food and drank our Smithwicks and that took all of 45 minutes maybe? Maybe less? Now it's 6:45 and the show doesn't start until 8pm. Ok, let's just hang out here right? Nah. The problem with The Burren is it is REALLY loud in there. I think this is because every surface is a hard material so drunk obnoxious Tufts student's voices bounce happily off of the walls and enter my brain and crush my will. I voted that we leave and maybe fart around Davis Sq. or something for a bit. Unfortunately it was chilly and drizzly and unless you want to drink booze or coffee, there's no where to just hang out since sitting on a wet bench outside wasn't an option. We ended up standing outside the Somerville Theater for a bit to make fun of the people walking around but that gets old fast when it's raining. So we went into the T station and sat on a bench. You so want to hang with us don't you? Imagine how exciting that is! We sat there for a while too. Life in the fast lane indeed. Eventually we realized that we probably looked kinda creepy just sitting on the bench not talking to each other and watching trains come in and out of the station, so we got on one and went into Boston.

But the show! Holy crap the show! Wow. First of all, I had (for me anyway) a fantastic seat. My seat was abutting (hee...abutting) one of the entrances to the theater on my left so there was this big open space next to me (read: no people) with a place to rest my arm. The Wiff was seated on my right (read: people buffer). I had a direct line of sight to the stage. Perfect. The show was a little over 2 hours but it really flew by. If you get a chance to see him perform I highly recommend you do. I learned my lesson from last week when we went out on a school night too, I stayed home yesterday and slept in. Then at around 11am we went out for breakfast and it ruled. God, I love coffee and corn beef hash. Thank you baby jeebus for making animals so delicious.

And to top off my day, Grand Theft Auto 4 arrived via UPS at the house yesterday at around 3pm. Good christ almighty was I a happy boy. I put in a good 3 hours last night and I plan to spend more, sooooooo much more in the upcoming months. Unfortunately I have a family thing on Saturday so that cuts into my quality me time. Luckily I'm really evolved and mature so I'm able to forgive my nephew for having his 1st communion fall on the weekend after my game came out. Aw crap, I just realized I'm going to have to sit in a church on Saturday...I hope I don't burst into flames or anything like that.