Thursday, May 26, 2011

Clip a loaf

A bird shat on me today. Are you one of those people who think that's good luck? I'm not.

I can remember with great clarity the occasions in my life where I bird has hit me with an ass apple. The first time, I was working as a temporary Census worker. God, it must have been 1990. I was crestfallen when it happened; I thought life was a bit of a charnal pit already - I was a fat kid with a part-time job, living at home again with my sadistic parents, on summer break from college. And then to top it all off, I had to make my rounds to the homes of strangers in Queens, covered in excreta.

The second time it happened, I was wandering in Midtown during a patch of, ahem, under-employment. I think I had just seen David Dinkins walking in the street, and, while that did thrill me, it probably offered me no succor, as he was unemployed himself at the time. What could a sighting of David Dinkins do for me?! I remember feeling overwhelmed and forming this thought: What has God wrought? Literally. I was thinking in complete sentences back then, as if I was writing my thoughts down in a little book. And then a bird hit me with its sphincter spear.

Today, I was walking from CVS with a bag full of pills when I felt what I at first thought was a blast from a bb gun. I put my hand to my head and drew it back filled with stool. But what did it mean? I know that birds are God's emissaries on Earth, so what was God trying to tell me? I'm actually in a good place in my life right now. My meds are working. I get a great deal of personal satisfaction from my job. I just purchased a li'l Netbook, and now will be tap-tap-tapping away at my unpublishable novel. I'm not seeing anyone, and so have a little extra money in my pocket.

This is a picture of me in the bathroom at work after I had washed my head off. I'm wearing some Barney's shirt, which I recently shortened the sleeves of. A little speck of the bird's toilet orphan is on my shoulder, but you'd never see it unless you looked for it.

I remember a scene from Orwell's Animal Farm in which a flock of birds "mutes" on some farmers. My English teacher at the time told us that "mute" in this context meant to "clip a loaf," as it were. I can say in all sincerity that I have had a very Orwellian day today.

Pizza party!

It was Annie's bday, so I took her to that Max Brenner restaurant in Union Square, where we had a delicious supper. Annie never warns people when her birthday is approaching ... she only tells you months later, so you can feel terrible about forgetting it, and she can be a martyr of a sort. But now I will have the last laugh! I've saved Annie's bday in an internet program, so I get a reminder about it every year. Now, every year I tell her she's an old hag like me, and then I take her out to dinner so we can have some food for our Boniva to dissolve in.

I laughed out loud when I saw the t-shirt she was wearing! It's an inside joke that not too many people know - Annie and our friend Kristin have a fake band named Pizza Party, that exists only for them to take funny "album cover" photos and post them on their Facebook pages. I remember looking at these posts once and feeling both impressed by their wit and a little jealous that I wasn't in the band. I wish I had the link. I just googled "kristin anne pizza party" to try to find the link again, and instead I found a link to a segment on New Jersey's News 13 where Kristin embarks on a unicycle ride across the state, in the hope of inspiring "locals to live their dreams." I quickly closed my browser window ... sometimes we find that we don't know our friends as well as we thought. And perhaps that's for the best.

Here's the unicycle segment link:


White people

I hesitate to post about this, because it might offend some people, but for all my life, I have tried to avoid buying articles of clothing with pictures of white people on them. I have nothing against you, white people! But there are so many of you - in my neighborhood, my career, my social life - I don't need to see you depicted on my clothing. Plus, as a minority, I feel that I should be going above and beyond to find positive portrayals of black people to wear. Trust me when I tell you, it's hard to find positive portrayals of black people on clothing. Sigh.

As I've mentioned on my blog before, an old boss once tried to give me a pair of cufflinks with white babies depicted on them! "Oh, no!" I practically screamed at him. "I'm not going to walk around this place with a pair of white babies on my wrist!" It helps the story if you imagine that the place of work was Sotheby's, where I was the only black man employed, aside from the art handlers.

Imagine this, then ... after a weeks-long search for the perfect pair of khaki pants, after I had ventured bravely into what is consistently my fashion Waterloo, Urban Outfitters, found a pair of khakis that I loved (slim fit, a slightly olive tint), laundered this pair of pants (thus rendering them unreturnable), and then hung them up ... Imagine my shock at looking closer at the pocket after something had caught my eye ... closer, still closer ... and then realizing, with a sinking feeling, that a bunch of white children - practically microscopic but still there! - were cavorting around inside the button.

I have many racial hangups, it's true. This story illustrates just one of them.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kiss & Fly

Susan somehow convinced me to drag my ass out to Kiss & Fly to see a bizarre live taping of the "Judith Regan Show." I went not only to prove that I can still lurk around at hip clubs at my age, but also because I wanted to meet the legendary Judith Regan, who used to work for the publishing company I work for. One of my colleagues has saved a voicemail from Judith in which she starts off all nicey-nice, but then begins screaming at him so loudly that, years later, the sheer terror she must have inspired is still palpable. Because I had a crazy mother, I find crazy ladies really fascinating, and I go out of my way to befriend and mollify them. But I was unable to get close to Judith at Kiss & Fly, however - that dirty old Dennis Hof from HBO's "Cathouse" was in my way. :(

Susan and I were watching Vicki when Susan muttered to me, "Look at Vicki. What is she going for here - winter, spring, summer, or fall?" I cracked up, because I love catty fashion commentary! Then Susan told me that my evil college journalism nemesis Tom McGinty is up for two Pulitzers this year! I swear, if Tom McGinty wins a Pulitzer, I will plotz. Back at Utica College, he won every single award ever created, and tried to discredit me as a less-than-serious journalist! I will never forgive him for referring to me as the "part-time Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Tangerine." As my life has taught me, people hate the arts ...

Right after this picture was taken, some creeping fellow asked if I would come say hello to his friend, who was giving me the eye, and who apparently owns some gas stations. Even though I was not attracted to his friend, a gas station owner is a step up from my usual love interests, who are generally unemployed and sort of psychotic and detached. I went and said hello, but I guess I didn't make the cut, because I was dismissed after that. "We like to meet a lot of people," the creeper said. Apparently, the creeping friend and the gas station owner flew home that night in the gas station owner's personal helicopter. Ah, well. I guess I should count myself lucky. With my luck, I probably would have been thrown from the helicopter mid-flight.

Susan became drunkenly obsessed with getting a picture taken with Dennis Hof, and I took the opportunity to slip out and head home to bed with the Colonel. A typical night for the Gregster. No Pulitzer in hand, no digits from the gas station millionaire - but all the overweight cat I can snuggle.