Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Dispatch from Escalatorville: Shaman, Showman, or Sham,man?

I really need to mow the lawn. Honestly, I do. Alas, it is that time of the year when the heat outside makes one want to stay in the kitchen, or bedroom - or wherever there's a couple of fans and an A/C unit. The grass, though, will be mowed - if I don't do it, then we will be overtaken by nature, and human beings just don't allow that to happen.

I fantasize that somehow, these blades of grass will bloom into marvelously whimsical flowers - emerging as if in an old cartoon; beautiful frolicking blooms, splayed with wonderful colors, singing show tunes from the 1920's - only to collectively commit suicide in about three weeks - never to be seen again. Unfortunately, my reality doesn't have a special effects department.

Writing is a beast of a slightly different nature. Occasionally, there are blades of wit that need time to grow roots, expand, and blossom. There are others that need to be put down before they fester and become ugly, unrecognizable, and eventually ossify into banality (because let's face it, Z.F., no one will ever look forward to a screenplay based on the lyrics of "A Tisket A Tasket").

So, here are a few small, furiously cut weeds of ideas, put out to pasture while we allow the more ornate and lavish ones to germinate for a bit longer.

Zip it.
Even with the surge in electronic communication the past few years, we still get junk mail through the door slot every week. Of course, all of it is advertising of some sort, no matter how official it look (thanks for the confusion, Bank Of YouKnowWho). Stuff addressed directly to us is usually read and recycled, however we also get a lot of mail addressed simply to "occupant." I deal with this detritus simply by writing "not at this address" or "deceased" on the mail itself and then dropping it right back into the postal system. I think I may switch to "return to sender," however, if only to put more of a burden on the jerks that sent it in the first place.

Recently, we've gotten some junk mail for a former resident - promoting rebates for pre-paid cremation services. Now, I know it's been at least 10 and probably 20 years since this particular person lived in our house. I'm sure they don't want to hear about that service now - hell, they may have already used it.

On Luck: Tails
Side note to the scratch off lottery players in line at the corner convenience station - one win after 10 tickets does not, in fact, mean that you are now "on a roll..."

On Luck: Heads
I walked by a man the other day as he was taking out his garbage. When he opened the curb can, he looked down in amazement, reached in, and - having retrieved his treasure - exuberantly turned to me stating: "Dude, I just found a dollar in the trash!"

My immediate response was that we should start checking every receptacle in town.

In retrospect, I wish I had told him to spend the dollar on something recyclable.

Cute met Creepy, and they created this...
New Candidate for the Oddest Conversation Starter Ever: walking past an octogenarian just before a slight smattering of rain, the old man looked me in the eye and asked-
"Are you in the mood for a little sprinkle?"

Since local government is usually a freak show anyway...
I'm a firm believer that theme park technology should be employed throughout our cities as a means to not only increase tourism, but also to add more excitement in our everyday lives. Consider the Roller Coaster as an efficient, fun, and speedy form of mass transportation. Or, how about animatronic "jumpers" placed on drawbridge railings to give the tourists schooning below a bit of a thrill?

I'm just spitballin' here, but I think if it's dollars and civic enjoyment that your town is after, this is the way to go.

Here we are, now entertain us.
I wonder if all the folks upset about privacy issues on social network sites would be as aflutter if you could convince them that they're info was actually being sent to various talent and modeling agencies instead.
Are you paying attention, Friendster? This could be your 'comeback" plan.

I feel stupid AND contagious.
We must be headed to the end times. I keep finding proof. Such as Paul Anka's interpretation of Nirvana.

It's really a shame that Sinatra didn't live long enough to cover Lady Ga Ga, isn't it?

There's a reason Garrison doesn't return my calls...
No matter where you are, within a few months it will be pledge time for your local public radio station. Herewith, I propose slight modifications to current programs that will all but guarantee new donations:

"This American Afterlife"
"All Thongs Considered"
"The World Of Oprah"
"Diane Rehm's 'Glee'"
"Fresh Air and Cheeseburgers"
"Las Vegas Home Companion"
"Fart of The Nation" (to be broadcast directly before "Wait Wait, Don't Smell Me!")

No Life Guard on Duty.
In the middle of my overnight shift, I usually patrol the hotel grounds, just to make sure all is safe and well in the world of overpriced comfort. One night recently, as I walked past the pool area; I noticed a man sleeping, possibly just passed out, with his feet in the jacuzzi - a beer can and small plastic container at his side. Now, we've had guests pass out in that section before, St. Augustine's boats wouldn't float if not for streams of alcohol. However, this man was NOT a guest - and he was completely unclothed. So, how does one approach a naked trespasser?

The obvious answer is - cautiously. Having encountered various characters in my hotel tenure, I was uncertain if the man might be concealing any type of weaponry or agenda. It seemed that all his cards were on the table, so to speak, but I didn't want to risk it.

I raised my voice slightly, as it was 4:30 AM, and I didn't want to wake any of our actual guests, nor alert them to the presence of our drunken nudist.

"Excuse me, sir.." I began from across the pool grounds. Apparently that was all it took to rouse the fellow back to consciousness. He awoke, apparently still inebriated, yet also unashamed. I told him that as he was not a guest that he'd have to leave the property immediately.

He seemed startled, but began to gather his accouterments. Holding up the plastic container, he told me "I have my toothbrush" - twice - then he grabbed the beer can, along with the pants and shirt he had left crumpled in a corner. After asking him to put on his clothing, I repeated that he would have to leave the property, and to please take his belongings with him. He started to put his shirt back on, and walk toward the exit. I let him know that it would be advisable for him to also put on his pants, and he did so. Still, he was ridiculously slow about vacating the property. As quietly threatening as I can muster at that time of morning; I gave him 30 seconds to get off the property and started a vocal countdown, "Thirty...Twenty-Nine..." thinking that might expedite his egress.

The pool area is literally 20 paces from the street - a ten second jaunt at most. Our obstinate exhibitionist wanted to head out the long way, through the parking lot and out the back exit of the hotel property. As such, my countdown got down to "...Three..." before he was gone. As he left however, he wanted me to remember one thing - holding up his toothbrush and beer can he continued to remind me that, no matter what transgressions he may have committed (public intoxication, public nudity, trespassing), "I am not a litterbug."

And this...
I'm sure someone other than me has said it, but I think it always seems darkest while you're looking for the light switch. It's also good to remember that in life, we do need some time of quiet, so that we might further appreciate the noise.

Now, off to make the lawn a little shorter...

Z.F. Lively, Grass Monkey
Contact us:, It gives a keyboard something to hope for.