mr. congeniality

  • Posted on
  • by

I made a Greenpeace volunteer cry today. Well, she teared up, anyway.

She was standing on my front porch, her voice nervously cracking as she went through her speech. She eventually, inevitably asked for a donation.

"How do I know you're really from Greenpeace?" I asked. She stopped petting Fredo for a second and pointed to her Greenpeace hat and shirt.

"But I guess anyone could buy these..." she trailed off, dejected.

"I'll tell ya what. I'll try to stab Fredo, and you throw your body in front of him."

Cue the waterworks.

conflicting datum

  • Posted on
  • by

I've written before about the stupidity of my dog, Fredo. Now nearing eight, he's recently shown signs of thought. When he rolls in his feces, for example, he knows that a bath is nigh, and he hides. We then engage in passive resistance. It's a scientific fact that when a dog goes limp, he increases his weight ten-fold. Throw in the skrieking in pain from having my hand touch his belly and you have one cunning strategy. It's inefftctive, but it's cunning. He similarly has figured out fake throws, which pretty much sucks all pleasure I can derive from playing with him. The list goes on.

"I'm afraid Fredo is getting smarter," I told a friend. 

"Well. He sure wasn't going to get any dumber." 

That's fair.

This morning I watched as his pee ran down my teak furniture to my concrete slab, where it pooled around his paws. 

oh, that's where they've been

  • Posted on
  • by

I recently hired an eighteen-year-old. I've known her most of her life, and I've always enjoyed talking with her, even during the usually-god-awful tween years. She is brilliant but economically disadvantaged, so I'm doing my best to ensure that college happens. Let's call her "Poindexter."

We were meeting online the other day when she told me she was looking at my wall. My webcam had fallen behind my monitor, so I grabbed and reaffixed it, the top of my head momentarily pointing at the camera. Poindexter burst into giggles.

"Are you laughing at my bald head, kid?"

"No," she chortled. "I'm laughing at you wearing two pairs of glasses, grandpa."

the old man shuffle

  • Posted on
  • by

There's nothing like spending 2018 rehabbing a fully torn rotator cuff to make 2019 the Year of Unabashed Pussyfooting. If I see a six-inch patch of ice on my deck, it's DEFCON 1. Should I go back inside and put on my yak trax? Should I summon Allie to come and stack couch cushions all around the ice patch? No, that'd be ridiculous. I'll just make sure that I have my phone with me. And, just in case, I'll predial 9-1.


  • Posted on
  • by

February is my busiest month at work, and though the 2019 crush is mercifully over, I'm still feeling its effects. I stare into space a lot. I've worked 288 hours this month, and the month ain't over yet.

You can imagine my pleasure in hearing from my two former leads—one skiing in Italy, the other snorkeling in Hawaii. The latter's kid caught an ear infection that prohibits flying, so now she's "stuck" in Hawaii. She went to change her flight, and lo and behold, her new flight is cheaper and saved her $350. She checked in at work and found she'd gotten a raise and bonus in absentia.

I'm doing this work thing wrong.


  • Posted on
  • by

There is a faint sound in the background of Katy Perry's song Last Friday Night. It sounds uncannily like a dog barfing. I have thoughts:

  1. "Sound of dog barfing while you're working" is even more unnerving than "sound of ambulance siren over your car stereo."
  2. It is a totally plausible reaction to that song.

oy yoy yoy

Over the course of my interminable career, I've worked with a lot of useless asshats, none more often than myself. But excluding me, a pattern emerged. I detest working with Israelis and Indians. Today I address the former.

"Is it anti-semetic if everyone I hate working with is Jewish?" I once asked my Jewish boss, Flo.

"Nah, I hate them t—HEY!"

The cultural chasm was deep. I was not accustomed to having the veracity of every single thing I said questioned. I was not accustomed to pushback on every little thing or to bizarre charges of "blatently" doing my job. The Israeli default setting was hostility. We all had problems with them. Soon, we found ourselves in a class about working with Israelis.

"Can I assume that the Israelis are in a class about working with Americans?" I asked, to silence.

A co-worker, a duel passport American/Israeli citizen, later offered better advice than two hours of classtime produced. "The Israeli national motto," she said, "Is Don't be a sucker." Click. That made sense instantly.

•   •   •

Another thing I hate about working with Israelis is that 361 days per year are a religious or civic holiday.

"I'll ask Pesach," I'll say.  

"Okay, but don't expect a response," Flo responds. "This week is Yur Fiddisch."

I groan. "Another bloody holiday already?"

"It's more of a week of grieving, self-loathing, and light depravation."

"Jesus Christ."

"Not really."