Puff, Puff, Pass

So, after I quit my job at Casey’s I went to work for the local newspaper. The sole reason for the newspaper to exist, as far as I could tell, was so that little old ladies could read columns devoted to little old ladies in the next town over having lunch with each other.

That, and to provide some sandwiching material for the car ads.

I was hired because I could work a computer. My job? Designing said car ads.

America, I am no artist. I have no eye for composition or fonts or placement.

This made me perfect for the job, because a real graphic designer would have given a hearty “fuck you” to the place long before I did, because the car dealer in town had an even worse sense of graphic design than I did.

Still, I learned a lot about cars, or at least their various profiles, and a lot about the strange ways of bosses.

My boss was a lovely stoner named Ray. Ray didn’t think we knew he was a stoner because, well, duh, Ray was a stoner.

The newspaper offices were set up like this: There was a front area that lined the street. It was regular size. Above it was the apartment where the man who ran the printing presses lived, got drunk, and beat his girlfriend. She would say she fell in the bathtub, but we all knew better, those of us–woman–who worked until late at night, because we could hear it.

He was weird, the Pressman. I guess you’d say he was gross. He had a long mullet and disgusting teeth, and he was always wearing his coveralls with nothing under them, and they were so tight you wondered if his barrel chest wasn’t going to bust the zipper.

He had died once, a heart attack, and they cut him open and brought him back. I asked him what it was like being dead. He said, “Nothing.” I asked if he saw a light and a tunnel or anything and he said, “No, there was nothing.” That scares the shit out of me.

Here’s the worst part, America. He was sexy. Fuck if I know why. He was as dangerous as a grizzly bear, maybe that was part of it. But holy shit, does it still scare me about myself that I sometimes prayed to be left alone with him in the back room.

The back room was enormous, open three stories to the ceiling and lined with letters from the old press. It contained the light tables and the dark room and the bathrooms, and a walled off area with no ceiling that was Ray’s office.

Ray, the “clever” stoner, would come in at about one every afternoon and sit in the office for about a half an hour. Then he’d come out, go over to the drug store, buy up two or three bags of Cheetos, and come back.

That was the first clue, for the astute.

The second clue, for the stupid, was that he’d then go into his office and shut the door, and a few minutes later, large billowing plumes of smoke would come rising out from where he had no ceiling.

I am Old–The Concert Edition

As you know, I rarely leave my house, except to go to work and walk the dog. I can be enticed out with the promise of alcohol and food, but I’m headed right back home as soon as possible.

So, it’s with some surprise that I report that I was at an actual music concert last night, with actual live musicians, and a crowd. The Butcher had been tipped two tickets to Ben Folds and Weezer by someone who needed a tenderloin cut. (I’m hoping that’s not a euphemism for anything.)

My first thought, once the show started, was, “My god, it’s only Ben Folds. Why is it so loud?” Of course, it wasn’t Ben Folds; it was the opening act, who sounds remarkably like what someone who doesn’t know a lot of Ben Folds might think most of his songs might sound like, if that makes sense.

So, you know, I might not have enjoyed the opening act so much, except that I was playing “If the people around you were Nashville Bloggers, which ones would they be?” The balding man in front of me, who looked a lot like Stabler from Law & Order SVU, I almost convinced myself was Rex L. Camino. I leaned forward a couple of times and whispered “Tiny Cat Pants.” He looked at me weird and his wife glared, but, if it was old Rex, he did not let on for a second that he knew what I was talking about.

If that was you, Rex, were all those kids yours or just the curly haired one? And, either way, were you mortified when Ben Folds broke into Dr. Dre? (There’s a post here, America, about this weird new trend of bland pop acts recasting gangster rap songs as bland pop songs, but I’m too tired this morning to try to understand it.) I must say that it tickles me to think of a bunch of nine year olds running around yelling “motherfucker,” though I am less pleased by the thought of them singing “Bitches ain’t shit.”

Weezer had an awesome set–this cool dragon that wound around the drummer and up the back wall–and they sang some songs. I think they were great, but I was really, really tired by that point and the flashing lights from the stage were slowly hypnotizing me. So, if any of y’all were there, I was the one in the seats acting like a chicken.