Thursday, May 28, 2009

Can’t take me nowhere

I’m quick to get annoyed in public.

When I’m out, around people, I get frustrated faster than a redneck looking at interracial porn.

I don’t know what it is, but when you get me outside I suddenly lose all pretenses of patience when dealing with The Great Unwashed. All of the small things that people let roll of their backs, or just don’t pay attention to, become great big glaring affronts to my delicate sensibilities.

I grew up as a loner. My father is a loner, as is his father before him, his father before him and his father’s barber’s roommate before him. I come from a long line of autonomous, indivisible, solitary, strapping and handsome men from down the ages.

We prefer sitting alone, reading a book and contemplating the very nature of the universe, over going out to a loud sporting event with a bunch of drunken slobs.
We’d rather recline peacefully, enjoying our favorite recording of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Scherzo in D Minor, over going to a noisy, sweaty concert with thousands of other poorly-gyrating, screaming fans.

We’d rather chill in the crib, watching “Meerkat Manor” on Animal Planet, over spending time in a zoo, packed in with hundreds of snot-nosed, screaming little punks with no sense of how to behave in public and who are just begging for the back of my hand to shut them the HELL UP FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST!#@$%!

Get my point?

Sure part of it is me. I have very little tolerance for stupidity and oafishness. But also I feel that it’s simply people in general and Americans in particular, (unless I’m at the airport, then I see just how pervasive an attitude of douchbaggery is around the world).

People are so damn inconsiderate! These days it’s very rare for people to think about others around them when going about their daily lives. Everybody is so focused on themselves that they just take it for granted that the rest of the world revolves around them too. How else do you explain cell phone drivers who go 15 miles under the speed limit, straddling two lanes without ever using a turn signal, then give you an evil look when you get around them, as if it’s your fault they’re inconsiderate bastards? Or those people who, in the middle of a crowded corridor, walk slower than a mummy on muscle relaxers, then decide to just stop, causing a ten-person pile up behind them?

At first I would see something annoying, like a person standing in a doorway, blocking foot traffic in two directions, and I’d sigh in my head or smile vacantly as I wait patiently for the chance to walk by. Now I’m just as likely to walk up to that person and punch them in the throat until they crumple on the floor in a heap of quivering pain.

Now I’m probably an embarrassment to the people who go out in public with me. I make a nuisance of myself and draw attention to the folks I’m with even when I’m sober!

Bob: “Hey Josh, I know she took ten minutes trying to pay for her Big Mac with a check, thereby slowing down the rest of the line and causing us to be late for that thing we’re going to, but could you please let go of the submission hold you have her in? She’s turning blue.”

Joshua: “Aaaararrrrahhhh!!”

Bob: “And maybe return her Endocrine System to her?”

Joshua: “JOSH SMASH!!”

Bob: “Also, we might want to get out of here before the cops come to check out the wheelchair you lit on fire and threw out the window.”

I can’t help myself. When I see somebody doing something wrong or stupid or just plain asinine I have to say something. I have to draw attention to this person and their inconsiderate ways.

Just yesterday, I was at Safeway, (stocking up on tampons, hemorrhoid ointment and Sudafed*) when I walked out into the parking lot and saw a shocking sight.

Some old person car, (and I knew it belonged to an old person because it was the same size and as well armored as a WWII sub) had taken over a parking space in a half. It made my blood boil. So I sat there and waited until the offending driver (a little old man, stooped and wizened) came out of the store. At which point I addressed him:

“You’re obviously old, and no doubt feeble and with diminished mental capacity, but are you an idiot too?”

The man looked at me incredulously, as if he hadn’t heard what I said. “Excuse me?” he asked.

“I asked if you were an idiot. I mean, who taught you to drive, Ray Charles? That’s the shittiest parking job I’ve seen all day! What’s wrong with you?”

Of course, nobody (especially not ye olde geriatrics) ever believes that somebody would talk to them like that without provocation, so instead of responding he just gave me a look and shuffled off to his Oldsmobile Tank. I shook my head ruefully and went about my day.

I don’t mean to be like this, it’s just my nature. But I know I’m not alone. There are others like me out there. People who still think that we should be considerate for each other in public; holding open doors, saying please and thank you, being courteous, being respectful** and just plain looking out for each other. And I’d like to think that I speak for those who can’t or don’t. I am fighting to make the world a better place!

Or maybe I’ll just stay at home from now on.

*For the Meth Lab, of course!

**And yes, I see the hypocrisy of me advocating respect after relating a story where I tell some old person off. But what can I say? I had to fight fire with fire.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DC Ink

“This is your first one, right?”
“And you’re sure you want it on your hand?”
“And you want it to be this word?”
“This…misspelled word?”
“Sigh, yes.”
“And you know it’s permanent, right?”
“Are you sure you…”
AAAAARRRGGGGGHHHH!” I said as I jumped across the counter and ripped the guy’s head from his colorfully tattooed neck, throwing it out into the busy street below.
And so went my experience getting my first tattoo. Sure I didn’t actually rip dude’s head off, but it was pretty tempting. Either that or ripping out those big ass earrings in his ears like all those Indians were wearing in Apocalypto.

I’ve tried getting a tattoo before, but obviously, could never commit to it. It’s always the same reasons: it’s permanent; it could affect my career choices when I’m older, it might look stupid, not exactly sure where to get it, too much money and I’m not sure that professing my membership in NAMBLA will help me out in the lady department.

The closest I came was going to a tattoo parlor in Clarksville, Tennessee, (town motto: Only 68 percent of our strippers have C-Section scars!) with my sister. The place was complete chaos and was organized about as well as Ellis Island. Disheartened by the whole process we instead opted to wait until we could find a better place.

Fast forward three years or so and we find ourselves outside of a place called “Curious Tattoo” in College Park, Maryland, (town motto: We don’t know the meaning of “underage drinking”!) ten minutes after 1 p.m. The reason we were outside was because, though the sign on the door said the place opened at 1, the door was still locked, because nobody had shown up yet.

Really though, how difficult must it be to be somewhere at 1 p.m. on a Saturday? I mean, the place already opens at a random, stupid ass time, how can you be late for that?

Tattoo Jerk: Yawnnn! (checks bedside clock) Oh wow, it’s already one! Oh well, I’m already late, I might as well get another four hours of sleep.

My sister tried to warn me when we arrived. Appointments were a hit or miss thing at these places. The key was so show up before a line forms. We thought that we had managed to do just that. But nothing is so cut and dry in a tattoo parlor!

You know what would simplify things? 1) a numbered-ticket system, like they have at the DMV, and 2) somebody who runs the counter who isn’t a tattoo artist or piercing artist. Because when they’re busy in the back drawing random things on people, the front area keeps getting more and more full of people wandering around. And who is to say who came first? Who’s to say who has an appointment?

I get that the whole concept of tattoos is about being a rebel, a non-conformist and all, but it doesn’t have to be such mayhem! One can be a rebel without being an anarchist. Don’t tattoo parlors have business models? Do they get together for annual conferences where they attend such lectures as “How to make people wait in your office for three hours for no good reason,” “Making up random, expensive prices on the spot while keeping a straight face,” and “Tips to undermine your potential clients’ desires.”

It’s that last one that really pisses me off. I dig that they want to make sure people coming in actually want what they want, where they say they want it, but there are better ways of doing it. The guys at the place I went to acted like they were lawyers, cross-examining everybody who came in. They were practically telling people not to get what they wanted. I couldn’t tell if it was because they all studied how to be tactless jerks in some sort of class*, or if they were just lazy and didn’t want to do a lot of work. I bet it was a little from column A, and a lot from Column B.

Truly, it’s frustrating. You finally decide what you want and where you want it, (after days, weeks, months or years of deliberation) you psych yourself up enough to do this thing, (because when you think about it, in this day and age, a tattoo is more of a commitment than marriage. Isn’t that wacky?) and when you show up with a hesitant, yet optimistic smile on your face, some Mohawk wearing freak with barely an inch of uninked skin left on his face asks you if you’re sure you want a tiny ass heart with “MOM” on your left bicep (or something similar)!

Do you think Mike Tyson had to go through that bullshit when he got his face tatted? I bet he didn’t. He probably ripped the guy’s tongue out so he couldn’t say anything or offer any advice. I think I’ll do that next time. It’s much easier than trying to pull heads off.

*Tactless Jerkishness 101, offered at the University of Maryland up the street.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wanna go see a movie?

Then you should read the latest installment of: Reviews of Movies I haven’t seen yet. It’s been awhile since my last review entry and I felt like I should share my expert advice with the two and a half people who still read this damn thing. These are all movies that are being released today. Ready? Groovy.

Angels & Demons
, (P.G.-13): Starring Forrest Gump and Obi Wan Kenobi, Angels & Demons is the prequel (at least the book it was based on was a prequel. I’m not too sure what they’ll do with the movie) to Dan Brown’s controversial (and trite) novel The DaVinci Code. This time around, Tom Hanks and his goofy hair are wandering around Vatican City trying to fight the Illuminati, (the secret cabal, not one of the 8 thousand albums that Tupac released after his death) for purposes that escape me for the moment, but I believe have something to do with the Pope and anti-matter.

Like the previous movie, Angels & Demons is full of secrets, pseudo-religious mumbo jumbo and questionable historical accuracy. You can be sure for an M. Night Shaymalan-style twist at the end where you find out that somebody you thought was the good guy is actually just an imaginary haunted soda can or something like that. If you enjoy being one of those people who gets their information solely from what they see on tv or in movies, and completely believes what they’re told without doing any research on their own, then this could be the movie for you!

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Not Rated): Anvil! (By the way, never trust a movie with an exclamation point in the title) is the documentary of some rock band from the 70s or 80s or whatever, who are trying to regain the fame they used to have (or think they used to have) back in the day, while battling the fact that they’re a bunch of old, depressing farts who should have just gone out and bought fast cars for their midlife crises, instead of fooling themselves into thinking anybody missed their music.

If you like documentaries about people you’ve never heard of, but that the director is desperate for you to know about, then this is right up your alley. But if you’re a fan of music then you might want to skip this movie, because it might kill any chance rock had of making a mainstream comeback. Of course if Jack Black were in the flick, that’d be a different story. But he’s not, so don’t waste your money.

Management (R): This is a romantic comedy with Steve Zahn and Jennifer Aniston. Firstly, since I have a penis I can already tell you that I’m personally not going to waste my time going to a romantic comedy. Secondly, since it has a pairing that makes no sense (Steve Zahn and Jennifer Aniston? I haven’t seen such a mismatch since Clerks II, where Brian O’Halloran ended up with Rosario Dawson. Blasphemy!) I will have to pass on this movie. Thirdly, Jennifer Aniston is overrated and not funny, which is also why I won’t go see this movie.

Since this is a romantic comedy, it doesn’t require a plot. All you need to know is that the protagonists meet in some kind of oddball way in the beginning and it probably ends with somebody running through an airport looking like a total doofus. Don’t go!

There aren’t that many movies coming out this week, so I’ll finish with a flick that’s already out but I haven’t seen, because it looks lame,

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (P.G.-13): I will admit right off the bat, I’m not an X-Men fan. I find them all to be a big bunch of whiners and it’s really nothing more than a soap opera with super powers.

That said, X-Men Origins: Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman as an Australian/Canadian mutant with facial hair problems and pointy knuckle bones. He lives for a long time and enjoys fighting. He fights mutants, he fights regular people, he fights the power, he fights his brother and he fights for his right to party. Along the way he hangs out with from the Black Eyed Peas, and manages to not punch him in the face for all the crap music he’s released this decade. There’s probably a plot in there somewhere, but since the fanboys are going to the theater to either love or loath the big screen version of their favorite “hero”, the plot doesn’t really matter. Hell, the whole movie doesn’t matter. Save your money and go to a nearby field to watch grass grow. It’s cheaper and probably more interesting.

That’s it from the balcony this week, (can I be sued for using that line? I’d hate to fight Ebert in court. Unless he’s dead, in which case, bring it on!). Join me next time when I do a review of operas I haven’t seen, (here’s a hint: it’s all of them!)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


By the time the sun managed to bully its way through my dust-covered blinds and rouse me from my passed out stupor, it was about mid afternoon. I knew this because I was able to move my head the three inches required to see the clock from my position on the floor.

Christ my head felt like shit! It was probably a consequence of finally being sober for the first time in 10 days. My mouth tasted of cigarettes, vomit, Taco Bell and ass. Not quite sure why on the last one. My clothes carried the stains of an almost two-week narcotic and alcohol binge. Yellowed sweat stains, dried beer, stale urine and who knows what else, created a disgusting map all over my body. I hadn’t changed in days.

I couldn’t stand to feel the way I did. Sobriety is bullshit!

I managed to pull myself up on my elbows and knees and dragged my mangy body to the kitchen table.

All out of coke.

All out of weed.

All out of hash.

All out of ‘shrooms.

All out of opium.

Christ, all out of booze!

This wouldn’t do at all. Hell, even the tube of airplane glue was empty, having been huffed to death days earlier. The bottle of Adderall was empty, its contents swallowed in an orgy of booze and pills. I had nothing left. Nothing! I licked the dirty table top, trying to glean every last particle of cocaine from the surface. All I got were old crumbs, lint and a couple of pubic hairs.

If I didn’t score something soon I was going to start going through withdrawal. Not a pretty sight. There was only one option: I was going to have to leave my shitty apartment and go to Raul’s for the hook up.

I managed to change my shirt, but didn’t worry about the pants. I figured Raul’s place would be too dark for the stains to show.

Then I went to the medicine cabinet and grabbed the rubbing alcohol. I hated having to do this, but it was all I had and I needed to get messed up. I took the bottle into the kitchen and hunted around in the garbage until I found the least moldy piece of bread I had, which wasn’t saying much because it was still moldy as shit. Then I filtered the rubbing alcohol through the bread into a glass. I didn’t get much, just a little over a shot’s worth, but it was alcohol, so I pinched my nose and gulped it down. It burned and tasted like shit going down my throat, but it warmed me and returned some life to my wasted body.

I threw on a coat and left the apartment, lighting a cigarette as I hopped down the steps, two at a time, avoiding the trash. It was only two blocks to Raul’s squalid apartment and the weather wasn’t too bad, (though I had been tweaked in my apartment for so long that I had almost forgotten what season it was) so I made it there in ten minutes without any problem.

Though I say “apartment” in actuality, Raul was squatting in an abandoned textile factory. The building was really old and super worn down. I hated going there and dealing with all the crap, but it was worth it, because everybody new that Raul always had the best shit!

I walked around the building to a door on the side that I knew to be broken. I kicked it open and stepped into the feted darkness. Old malt liquor bottles broke under my feet and senses were assaulted by the stench of the place. The smell was so cloying and thick that it felt like was alive and trying to force its way into my body to rot me from within. I gagged momentarily, but was quickly able to recover and moved deeper into the building. Christ it stank!

I knew that Raul had taken a room in the far part of the building for his apartment. I think it used to be the foreman’s office on the second floor where he could overlook his workers. So I trundled through the dark maze to get to Raul.
I had to step over the other people who made this decrepit building their home. Some were awake but too high to move. Their eyes darted to and fro, as if watching an invisible tennis game. Some were passed out, bottles of booze in their hands, or with rubber bands still tied around their arms, lying in puddles of their own waste. Some may have been dead, but I couldn’t tell because everybody smelled of death there and I didn’t slow down to find out.

Everywhere I looked I saw people trapped in their own private, narcotic-induced worlds. Some of those worlds looked to be paradise, some looked to be hell. While walking past a bathroom I saw a man attempting to shave his head with a broken bottle. Blood dripped down his face, into his ears and eyes, but it didn’t stop him from cutting and it didn’t stop him from laughing with glee as he did it.
Raggedy dogs littered the halls, their ribs showing through their malnourished bodies. There were some cats as well. I even think I saw a dog decomposing in a corner. I knew that some of these animals were strays and that some were pets. I also knew that some were food. From some far off room wafted the smell of cooking meat.

I walked through this wretched community with a goal in mind. I didn’t stop to contemplate the pathetic display of inhumanity that surrounded me, because I really didn’t care. In fact, if my plan succeeded, I might soon be joining them. A thought that filled me with equal amounts of dread and elation.

I finally reached the stairs and climbed them to Raul’s apartment/office. Inside I found him and three other people sitting around a table, playing poker. He saw me and smiled, I was in luck! I bought two grams of coke, an eighth of weed and even a few pills of undetermined origin or use. The real treat was the PCP, I hadn’t had any of that in months!

As I turned to leave the room and get the hell out of the building as fast as possible, I noticed a guy lying in the corner. He looked familiar, so I walked up to him for a closer look. It wasn’t as dark in that room as the rest of the building, but he was lying in the darkest corner. On closer inspection I could see that he was a swarthy man, maybe of Middle Eastern or Ethiopian descent. His hair was long, but matted and knotted. He obviously hadn’t washed it or taken care of it in a long time. His beard was in the same ratty condition, with chunks of vomit clinging to the hairs. He was wearing a white robe, which seemed an odd choice to me, with sandals. There were track marks up and down his arms and a needle was still sticking in his left arm. His eyes were glazed and unfocused. He was in heroin heaven.

I couldn’t place where I knew him from. Christ his face was familiar! Wait…Christ? Jesus Christ? Could it be? There’s no way!

I kicked him into coherency. His eyes focused on me and he ran his tongue across his dry, crusty lips, getting ready to speak.

“Quit saying my name in vain jack ass!” he managed to croak before passing out again.

“Jesus,” I said, shaking him awake again. “Jesus! What the hell are you doing here?!”

“Everybody knows Raul has the best shit!”

Damn, I guess I just found religion in this shithole.