Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Look At That Kid Selling Flowers In 1976 In Chester County! Downingtown. Exton.

One of the jobs I had when I was in about 6th grade was selling flowers on the corner. Yup, read it and weep. There was a guy in my neighborhood that ran it as a side business.

He would buy flowers wholesale then have 12 year olds dropped off around busy traffic areas around Chester County to sell them. We’d hold the flowers out for drivers to see. They would sometimes stop and buy them. I think we got 25 cents for each small bunches we sold and 35 cents for the large bunches.

And it sucked. I swear that if it wasn’t a holiday like Easter or Mother’s Day and I was on a crappy corner I’d sometimes make like $12 after six hours. That comes to…well…YOU do the math. What am I? A human abacus or Chisanbop expert?

Here are a few of the things I remember most about the job:

- The first day I show up and we’re all piled in the back of a white serial killer style van. We’d sit on overturned buckets. When we passed under overpasses, all the greasers would throw bottles out of the windows to smash on the walls. (By the way – other than my friend Flare and me – it was all greasers. Oh, and the teenage goofy ass driver Gene. He looked like a shorter version of that tall freak on C.P.O. Sharkey*)

- Once on the corner of Boot Road and Route 100 - with all of my flower buckets lined up – an 18 wheeler accidently turned the corner and came up on the grass and smashed all of my flowers. The A-hole didn’t even stop. The faces on the drivers that witnessed it ranged from “Oh my God! That poor boy’s flowers!” to “HAHAHA!! That kid’s flowers are getting smashed by a fucking 18 wheeler!” (I was so embarrassed I stood there and pretended it wasn’t happening.)

My friend Flare was selling flowers on 113 in Downingtown and the police showed up and were looking for something in the weeds 10 feet behind him. Flare asked what they were looking for and the cop said nonchalantly, “There was a murder in that house last night. We’re looking for the gun.”

Once on Route 100 (near the Exton Drive-in) I opened a soda bottle and the cap flew off and shot into my eye. I was so startled I almost walked into traffic.

Once when we were dropped back at Randy the owner’s house he called me into his office and this happened:

Randy: Jimmy, there seems to be some money missing of yours.

Me: Really?

Randy: Did you steal it?

Me: What?? No.

Randy: I’m going to have to ask you to empty your pockets and take your shoes off.

Me: What???

(Gene walks his goofy ass into the office)

Gene: Hey Randy here’s the money that was missing.

Randy: You asshole Gene!!! Jimmy you can leave now.

Yup. I had all the glamorous jobs.

*See his goofy ass picture above.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Time My Friend Jim Wore A Cowboy Hat To School.

I have to give credit to anyone that goes out on a limb and makes a fashion statement out of their comfort zone.

Naaa. I’m lying. I’ve never put any thought into that really. Who do you think I am? Mr Blackwell?

But I wrote it because I was thinking about what my neighbor Jim did in 10th grade. I knew Jim since 7th grade. We both wore the same type of clothes. Jeans, flannel shirt, occasional concert t-shirt…. (I did start to dress a bit preppy in 11th grade but doesn’t matter for the story).

It was the height of Southern Rock being popular. The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet and 38 Special were in rotation on the radio.

So one day I see Jim walk to the bus stop and I’m thinking, “What the hell??”

He was wearing a big ass cowboy hat!! He walks up and I’m just looking at him. The funny thing is that he’s pretending like nothing is out of the ordinary.

“What the hell? Is this a joke?”

All casual-like he says, “Oh the hat? Naaa. Just got it this weekend. You know it’s pretty cool. It’s all Southern Rock and shit.” (and he wasn’t even convincing HIMSELF. He knew he wasn’t just going to just blend in. There was only one other kid that wore a cowboy hat and he was a friggin’ hick)

“Dude. You can’t wear that to school. You look ridiculous.”

“Hey whatever.”

Of course I was right. He went to school and by the second period so many people made fun of he threw it in his locker. It was never seen again. Come to think of it, I don’t even think he brought it home. I bet he just threw it in the trash.

And oh yeah. It had a feather in it. (See picture above)

The moral? Don't try and be different.

And on a related note these two preppy ass idiots in 11th grade did a similar thing. They both wore clogs on the same day to school. It was the gayest thing you ever saw and they were laughed out of the cafeteria. I don’t know which is gayer – wearing clogs or planning to have your friend wear them on the same day so you can unveil them together.

Gay blades.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Time The Toilet Overflowed At Work. Nooo!!

I remember just starting my first corporate job. I had been there a few weeks and I’m standing there finishing up at the urinal, I flush it and then the unthinkable happens.

It started to overflow.

And I don’t mean a little either. It was like a pipe had burst. Water was just pouring out. At the rate of like a gallon every three seconds.

And it’s loud too! The water hitting the tile floor in this huge corporate bathroom was even making an echo. So I just calmly walked out of the bathroom. Quickly. Trying to look innocent as I walked out. Fleeing the scene of the crime.

I return to my desk and was going to call maintenance but thought that the story would change from “the new guy flushed the urinal and the pipe broke” to “That new guy apparently thinks our bathrooms are some sort of playground or something. He clogged one of the toilets.” Someone else would chime in, “The bastard probably used too much toilet paper! Doesn’t HR do background checks anymore? Jesus Christ!”

So I returned to by cube and sat down knowing that a disaster was happening. Gallons of water flooding the Men’s Room. Then I hear someone at the copier which is right by the Men’s Room. After a few copies are made I hear, “OH MY GOD! Somebody call maintenance. There’s a flood!” Her look was probably one of horror as she dropped her papers.

Next I hear maintenance opening up the door after breaking through the crowd. OK. There were only a few people there but still. I pictured a wave of water piling out like the scene from The Shining where the blood comes rushing down the hall. And I picture the water flooding the area outside of the Men’s Room. Fish flopping all over the floor. Random seaweed and six pack plastic thingies littering the walls.

Then I was on edge all day thinking they were going to catch me:

Marketing Dude: Hey Jim do you have the product info for…

Me: There’s no way you’re going to pin this on me Pal! You can’t PROVE anything. Can you?..Oh….what?


Advertising Dude: Jim are you finished looking at the copy for…

Me: What? Cause I guy pees it means he BROKE a urinal? What is this? The god damn Nuremburg trials? ..wait….what?

Bottom line is that nobody ever found out it was me. So don’t go narcin’ me out. Got it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I Used To Do To Jerks When I Sold Magazines Over The Phone.

Back in college I had a part time job selling magazine subscriptions to people over the phone. I know, I know..”How do YOU get all the glamorous jobs?”

Of course this was before the “do not call” list. So it was a time when random people could call you and try and sell you things you didn’t need ala’ the phone.

It didn’t bother me when people said no or hung up on me but some people were real jerks. Like, “Listen you loser, take my name off your list! Don’t ever call back here again you asshole! Do you hear me??!”

Oh I hear you all right. I hear you enough to make a notation next to your number (usually a drawing of skull and bones) then when my manager leaves the room I will do this:

Jerk: Hello?

Me: Uh yeah…it’s me again. The magazine guy.

Jerk: I thought I told you not to….

Me: (calmly) Hold on now dear sir. Because I’m only going to say this once: You WILL be buying these magazines. Are we clear?

Jerk: I will not be buying your magazines!!!!!

Me: Oh no you will. Everybody’s doing it. Now the next step is you picking which one to buy. Were you aware that Good Housekeeping offers helpful tips for the modern…..


Me: Sir, my manager is a very busy man. You sound like a bowler. Oh….and before I forget, can you have your credit card number ready because I get a break in a few minutes and I want to wrap up this sale quickly…OK, now back to the selling…


Me: Sir, I’m not going to call you cheap but will you – in a calm voice – explain to me why you’re so unwilling to open your wallet. Do you know HOW to read? Because if you don’t magazines would make a great gift for a friend…if they can read of course.

Jerk: WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR COMPANY??!! I’m calling the Better Business Bureau!!

Me: Sir the name of my company is very confidential. I’m really not at liberty to say. But I will say this: Cat Fancy is the top selling cat magazine in…


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Want To Touch What Cookie? Wrangler Ranch.

Was telling someone the other day about when my sister worked at the Wrangler Ranch at the Exton Mall. I was in 9th grade and I had to go in to get a pair of jeans.

Her manager was a woman of about 50 named Cookie. She was one of these loud talking, super confident, drill seargent type women. But she was nice. She was just Cookie.

So I go in the store, she's standing there wearing all demin - Wrangler brand of course - and looking like she was ready to go to The Brickette. The Brickette is a local country music bar. And oh yeah. She had that really high hair. It always looked like she just came from the beauty parlour. That's what they used to call it back in those days.

I'm looking at jeans and:

Cookie: Looks like you need to be measured first Mister. Do you mind?

Me: Oh OK.

(She takes the tape measure and wraps it around my waist and measures. Then she gets on her knees so she can do the length)

Cookie: Are you OK with me touching your inseam to get a proper measurement?

(I had no idea what an inseam was)

Me: My what?

Cookie: Your inseam. You know..your crotch region.

Me: Uh....I guess.

Cookie: OK. And the reason I ask Jimmy is because you're a young man. And young men are very excitable? Do you know what I mean here? And even the slightest brush from a woman's hand - or even a tape measure can cause a raging boner. Do you know what a boner is Jimmy? Was that covered in your health class yet?

Me: Uh. Yeah.

Cookie: OK good. Because first thing it's a boner and the next thing you're spewing jizz all over my store. Not on my watch Jimmy. Not on my watch!

OK the last part I made up but she did ask me if she could touch my inseam. So there's that.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Great Part Time Job I Had. Corvettes to Cowtown NJ

I had tons of part time jobs when I was younger. One of the coolest was a job I had driving cars to an auction.

There was a place in West Chester that would buy sports cars and high end cars, then fix them up and sell them at auction.

Pretty smart guy huh? Well he wasn't THAT smart because he hired 18 and 19 year old kids to drive them to the auction in Cowtown New Jersey. He would always give the same speech before four or five of us left in separate cars, "This is important..Obey all traffic laws and DO NOT SPEED!"

Yeah OK buddy. That's like throwing an antelope into a lion pit and saying, "Im not kidding guys, Everyone gets a limb. After you're done that I'm going to come in and divide the body and the head into equal parts. Are we clear?

We'd drive really slow up the street in our Corvettes, Camaros or Mercedes then as soon as we were out of sight it was PEDAL TO THE METAL BIATCH!! I remember driving an orange Corvette 120 MPH. Safely mind ya'.

Yeah right.

Well nobody got killed thank God so I guess no harm no foul. Is that the expression? Once we got to Cowtown we'd drop the cars off and all pile into one of those white windowless, serial killer vans for the ride back. Crouched in the back and being driven a ridiculous 55 MPH.

It was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Twinkie Tour In Dream.

Between Blog people and Twitterers probably 40 – 50 of you have made appearances in my dreams. Here’s one from the other night that featured Trina from the blog Trina Likes Wine (Twitter name: @TrinaLikesWine ):

We decided to do a humor/food podcast so we were at the Twinkie factory to get a tour of the plant. We were going record it for the podcast. We went in for the tour and were acting really sarcastic - like we were thrilled to be there and it was the most amazing place on earth.

The tour guide was this really boring, nerdy man with big ass glasses and had no idea we were goofing on the whole thing. So we’re walking down the hall with him…

Trina: Can we see the state of the art employee break room? Can we? Can we?

Tour Guide: Well Ma’am it’s not on the official tour but…

Trina: So we CAN see it?

We walk into the employee break room and it’s a typical factory break room with circa 1970s tables and chairs and a few vending machines. We both pretend like it’s the most fascinating place we’ve even seen

Trina: Oh my God! It’s like walking into the future!

Me: Whoa! Look at the art. Are these originals?

We look at the safety posters that hang on the walls. One shows the proper way to lift things.

Me: Wow! Do they show films about how to lift things properly? And in the film one guy doesn’t lift the Twinkie the proper way and his back breaks? So he’s crippled? And now he sits in his wheelchair outside peering in a tiny window at the Twinkie assembly line regretting that he didn’t lift the right way? And a single tear drips down his cheek?

Tour Guide: Well. I don’t think so. Are you ready to begin the official tour?

Trina rubs the back of the metal chair in faked amazement.

Trina: Do we get to wear hair nets? Do we? Do we?