Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Dispatch From Escalatorville: Frustration, Damnation, Observation

Without getting too political about it, or opening up a discourse on recent horrific events impelled by gun violence, I just want to state the following:
The 1st Amendment is my weapon of choice.

A bit of the ole Vroom N' Sputter technique
A motorcycle rider waited at the stoplight, trying to look tough. Eagerly waiting at the red, he revved his engine to every car that crossed his future path, inching further into the intersection with each minor "Whirrh."

The light turned green. Mister Macho stalled out.

The sound of my laughter was muffled by the horn of the vehicle behind his. It's driver not impatient, just in on the joke.
Oh, The Humanity! (or: Clowns Of The Retail Rodeo)
I've been employed in some variation of the "Customer Service" industry for most of my working life - over a quarter century now, beginning as a Bagger for the extraordinarily 1980's named 'SuperFresh' supermarket.

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. I suppose when contempt becomes your familiar, then it's time to consider jumping ship. Or, one could write about those particularly contemptible folks in a "witty" on-line diatribe. Hmm...

A woman walked into the shop where I am currently employed and I nearly complimented her on the hilarious nature of her novelty wig. We see customers come in costumed or made up all the time, occasionally adorned with a spiky or funny colored faux hair piece. Her wig was particularly humorous, but I caught myself before I spoke - she wasn't wearing a wig at all.  Then again, as a scruffy faced gent with an obviously balding pate - I reckon she'd not take seriously any advice I may have on her tonsorial technique.

In a world where people put leashes on their kids and carry their pets around in strollers, it's hard to be surprised by anything the general public can think of as acceptable. One aspect  that does bewilder me is the impossible separation of fact from fiction in what customers think actually exists as a product. Just because it was invented by a prop department for a movie or television show doesn't always mean that the product is readily available. Much less that it would be purchased in a store that mainly sells novelty tchotchkes and keepsakes from a sojourn  to a wayward beach town (Editors Note, Please see"Stabbin' Cabin" reference, two Dispatches back).

It's these same customers that get ticked off when we don't, in fact, have the imaginary product in question.

Well, guess what, tourist? We actually do have them - but they're hidden in a cave under our back room in 'The Secret Stash Of Stock That NO ONE'S ALLOWED TO SELL.'  Y'see - the wizards who made them for us have strictly forbidden us from letting them fall into the hands of Folks. Like. Y-O-U.

Not all of our "guests" are like this, of course. Most, in fact, are fairly easy to deal with. There is, however, a growing percentage of visitors to our fair city (our City Fair?) that forget to pack their brains, manners, and dignity when headed for vacation.

Vacation often brings anonymity. Anonymity, coupled with a few pre-lunch margaritas, often brings selfishness and vindictive insouciance. When everyone else is a temporary stranger  - who gives a care how one behaves?

Vacation often brings the gall to say such things as:

"Well, you know Linda is verrry overweight - but somehow she married well." (Actual Quote, folks,- June 2012)

Vacation brings the parents whom yell at their kids for consistent running, fighting, grabbing, hiding, and shouting. Mom and/or Dad work up a sweat to corral them all, then drag them off for even more ice cream and soda.

Of course, the kids'll return to the store later, finger-funky, sticky-handed, and slobber-mouthed. Gleefully addressed by their parents with the most unheeded warning in all of Retaildom:

"Children, don't touch anything."

Signs I Am Getting Older
In the same week in which I saw a pre-pubescent child wearing a 'Hooters' T-Shirt, I also had to explain to a younger acquaintance that 'Winnie The Pooh' was NOT a scatological reference.

An Amazing One Time Offer
Free Band Name Of This Issue: Robotic Sinatra
(think of all the "hey, didn't this used to be a punk club?" type bars you'll play!)

That Rings A Bell...
So, have you ever been walking or driving along, listening to Bobbie Gentry's 'Ode To Billie Joe', and all of the sudden - you're singing the words to "Harper Valley PTA?" (At least two of you out there just thought "Holy Cow, he's right!")

Turns out, there's a reason for that.

A singer named Margie Singleton commissioned the soon-to-be-famous Tom T. Hall to write a song similar to the smash 'Billie Joe' - which she'd recently covered and had a minor hit with herself.

Driving out through Bellevue Tennesee, he passed by a Harpeth Valley Elementary School - and penned the song. A Nashville secretary named Jeannie C. Riley heard a demo of it, and recorded her own version. Voila!

I just wanted to tell that story because I think it's neat. Even neater is that Gentry's 'Ode To Billie Joe' was initially a B-Side.

On a similar note,  there's this:


The Dispatch From Escalatorville
Z.F. Lively, Proprietor/Semi-Pro Pie Eater for stuff, things, and things about stuff.