my co-workers

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I can work from anywhere, so as often as not, I'm in restaurants hunting for electrical outlets. I've taken a shine to a place with good food, a decent bar, and a happy staff. If I'm absent for two days in a row, they text me to see if I'm okay.

Yesterday I was on my barstool working while they were training a new waitress behind the bar. The trainer had to attend to customers, so she told the trainee what to do while she was gone.

"If you have any questions, just ask John," she concluded.

i, meanwhile, need to be carbon dated

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The girl I figured was someone's teenage daughter was, in fact, my dental hygienist. 4'11" and with an artificially red pixie cut, she concerned me. I finally asked what year she graduated from high school.

"2014. Why?"

Assisted living, here I come.

money laundering

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My longtime boss, Sal, wanted to go out. So at the company's expense, he flew me in and put me in a hotel. I took him to a favorite restaurant near the airport, and we toasted and ate through the night. 

Two days later, he said, "If anyone asks, Mark and Amy and Jason and CJ were there, too. That's on the expense report."

"Sure thing. Why?"

"Otherwise we look like total alcoholics. We had 24 drinks."


"I'd dispute that, Sal, but I can't remember."

reboot this

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One of the unique pains of being technically savvy is that occasion when I do, in fact, need technical help.

 "IT Helpdesk. How may I help you?"

 "Do you guys push down a policy that disables Word macros?"

 "Did you try rebooting?"

 "Why would I do that?"

 "You should always do that. Can you reboot for me?"

 I sigh heavily and reboot. Five minutes later...

 "Word macros are still disabled."

 "Did you try reinstalling Word?"

 And so it goes, until half a day later.

 "I've got good news. We push down a policy that disables Word macros."

I have long thought that to save on money, time, and murder, people all need Technical Aptitude Ratings.

 "Do you guys push down a policy that disables Word macros?"

 "Did you try rebooting?"

 "I'm a Level 7."

 "Here's the registry setting."


Don't put original lampshades in the dishwasher. That there is paint, not tinted glass. It's probably lead paint, too. Mmmmm, lead on my dishes.

That original ceiling light that does nothing for me and would only take 15 minutes to swap out? I will learn to love it. When jostled, century-old electrical wire looks very much like Bucky at the end of Infinity War. (In addition to the normal tools, this six-hour debacle involved superglue, velcro, spackle, a staple gun, a shop vac, and industrial strength duct tape.)

The answer to the question "Christ! What is this wall made of?" is four inches of plaster. As difficult to drill into as it is easy to drill hideous chunks out of.

Do not make eye contact with neighbors. They will want to discuss neighborhood history back to the Roosevelt administration. Teddy Roosevelt.

missed opportunity

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Yesterday as I was driving, I spotted my former physical therapist walking next to a tantalizingly deep, wide puddle. He was pushing a baby stroller.

These are truly the moments that test one's character.

I didn't do it, and I've been crippled with regret and self-loathing ever since. What grade does my character get?

here ya go

In a mail that until now scrolled into oblivion, longtime Stank troll John requested that I take more pictures.

In the spirit of giving the masses what they want, here's a picture of Fredo after I, annoyed by his constant requests to play, threw his toy shark into the house.


hard pass

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Today, Inger picked up her new pet pig. Her dogs chased it into the horses' pen, where one of the horses kicked the baby pig. And this is how I came to recieve a picture of a pig's anus.

"Zoom in. You can see his intestine poking out," Inger texted.

I'm lucky. Most people don't realize the exact moment their life bottoms out.

was i ever this innocent?

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Last night, I was showing new protege Poindexter  her next task. As I "rebrand" existing documents, she's going behind me and making sure I caught everything. I explained that Marketing came up with a new design, and that's what we're rolling out. As I walked her through her task, she interrupted. "Wait. Which one is the new design?" I pointed at the one that looks like a glaucomic secretary banged it out in five minutes on her iMac in 1999, then printed it on a dot matrix printer from 1983.

"But it's worse," she said, genuinely confused. "A lot worse." She's still in high school and of course has no real world experience, let alone corporate experience. 

I explained that Marketing is bush-pissing. She didn't understand. I explained the politics of how we were wildly successful without them, and that this embarrassed them, and now they're finding fault with our work and "saving" us, and how we're letting the babies have their bottle because this is not a hill worth dying on. Yeah, I used pretty much every metaphor in my arsenal.

Now she's upset. "'re being paid to ruin your own work?"

"Now you get it."

no further words were needed

To love pizza and live in the Northwest is to know true despair. It's god-awful here. And it's $25—the bitter chaser to the styrofoam taste.

Today, as I have so many times for over two decades, I dejectedly opened the door to a restaurant serving what I was promised is "genuine New York pizza." Whatever. Let's rule it out and move on to the next dump.

But wait. Pizza by the slice? No pineapple or arugula options? No silverware? Charred, foldable crust? Pools of orange grease atop the cheese? Canollis on the menu? I allowed myself a half-gram of hope. And it wasn't bad. Not bad at all.

I praised the NYC-native owner for the lack of pineapple. He and I chatted a bit about pizza and the Northwest, and then he asked me what part of New York I was from.

"I'm not," I replied.

"Oh. Sorry. And here I am talkin' like I know you."

"It's all right. I'm from Ohio. We talk to strangers, too."

When I left, he was outside, smoking next to the dumpster. I said goodbye and thanked him for dinner. "You know," he said softly, "I do have pineapple in the kitchen. You'd go out of business in the Northwest without it. I just don't put it on the menu because I'm ashamed."