Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Don't Get Cute with Me

There are many things I’m uncomfortable with when calling for technical support. I’m uncomfortable with agents trying to fill silences by asking how I’m enjoying the weather. I’m uncomfortable when they mispronounce my surname and/or street name (both of which are quite long, not to mention uncommon). I’m uncomfortable with their absurdly lame attempts at humor. Most of all, I’m uncomfortable when they try to be cute.

Ordinarily, I don’t mind having to call the Geek Squad (even though Best Buy’s higher-ups obviously stole the name from the movie Heathers and it’s bothered me for years). They make it pretty easy on the customer. After they verify some preliminaries, they set up a remote session and essentially handle the reins. In addition to one’s full name, telephone number, and street address, there is one vital piece of information needed to access the account. That is, of course, the registered e-mail.

For several years, I’ve had two e-mail accounts: one for all social networking and literary purposes, and a personal one for banking, online shopping, etc. The latter e-mail contains the word “delicious” (a reference to a song lyric) and almost always garners quips. If I’d known the name were so a provacative when I set up the account upwards of ten years ago, I probably would’ve chosen something else.

Moving rigt along.

I call the Geeks earlier today. I run down my issues and concerns. They ask for verification of the essentials. When it came time for my e-mail address, the agent added an “mmmm,” as if someoneone held a culinary masterpiece beneath his salivating lips, and repeated the word “delicious” in an odd, almost Cookie Monster-esque cadence.

“Mmmmm... Dee-leesh-isss...”

Thankfully, he recovered from whatever strange spell he’d temporarily fallen under and continued with the task at hand, which was probably a good thing, since my face was twisted in painful wince and I needed him to turn the page more than he ever could’ve imagined. He maintained a somewhat professional veneer for the remainder of the call and helped resolve the issue to the best of his abilities. I’m shuddering as I write this, though, because there isn’t a doubt in my mind that his voice and strange little attempt at cuteness will haunt my dreams for many nights to come.

“Mmmmmmm... Deeeeeeee-leeeeeeesh-issssssssssssss...”

Monday, September 19, 2016

When a Stranger Calls

I get annoying phone calls essentially every day. Telemarketers, pre-recorded scams, people who don’t speak English, random idiots... Today was a particularly active day, as I received somewhere around ten calls before 2:00 PM. Must be Mercury Retrograde.

A few minutes ago, I received a call while distracted by something else. It was a number I didn’t recognize, so I just left it. Moments later, I noticed I have a voicemail—a very long voicemail containing nothing but dead air. Annoyed, I decide to call back.

After a few rings, the call connects. There’s a lot of rustling, like the receiver is being dragged across a soft surface, or the other party literally didn’t know how a phone works. When I finally hear a voice, it belongs to a woman who sounds like she knows not who she is, where she is, or what’s happening. The following is our exact conversation:

ME: (annoyed by rustling) DO YOU KNOW HOW TO TALK?
WOMAN: (after brief silence) Y-yeah.
ME: Then why did you just leave me a blank voicemail?
WOMAN: Who...who is this?
ME: You should know, you just called me.
WOMAN: (long pause) Wr...wrong number.

True story.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Nothing Lasts Forever...Evidently

Here’s a quickie:

As some of you may or may not know, I got dumped via text message back in May. Yes, I know. Woe is me; wah, wah, wah. Earlier today, I remembered something this...person (I prefer “lying, selfish, self-centered, hollow-chested fuckwad,” but that’s neither here nor there) said to me during the course of our relationship. This is a direct quote, word for word. Ready?
“If I ever lost you, it would kill me.”
I should probably start perusing the obits.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Things That Annoy Me #5

Thankfully, it’s been a while since I’ve heard it, but someow, it seems to have made a comeback. No, thankfully I’m not referring t the “Macarena,” an evil, inescapable entity all on its own. I’m talking about the phrase “I just threw up in my mouth.” Around fifteen years ago, it was everywhere. Sometimes, there’d be an “a little bit” tacked on to the end, but everyone who said it clearly thought they were the first to put these words together, or that no one had ever heard them before.

The first time I remember hearing it was in an old SNL sketch. Maya Rudolph, genius comedienne, was doing a parody of the infamous “Diana Ross drunk-driving” incident, which made the cover of every tabloid at the time. Stumbling out of her car, Maya slurs the line to the police officer who’d pulled her over. I laughed so hard, I had tears streaming down my face. Not only was the line funny at the time, but it was given by a veteran comedic actress who knew exactly how it should be delivered. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wrote the line herself.

For a while, the line was everywhere. I’d hear on sitcoms, reality shows, talk shows, in movies...  And just as quickly as it arose, it vanished. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief and lived peacefully for several years. But...just like a herpes outbreak...it’s back. Recently, I’ve been hearing it in the usual places: on TV, the radio, social media... I overheard Dr. Phil, everyone’s favorite narcissistic jackhole, use it not 48 hours ago.

What baffles me more than the line’s overuse, even more than its return, occurs when the line in spoken in front of an audience. This can be an audience of two or an audience of a thousand. Not only do people laugh like they’ve never heard anything so funny, they laugh like they’ve never heard it at all. I feel like Elaine Benes in the classic episode of Seinfeld, when it becomes a fad to eat cookies, candy, and general hand foods with a silverware. She stands up in the middle of Monk’s and bellows, “What is wrong with all you people?! Have you all gone mad?!”

Well? Have you??  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Things That Annoy Me #4

Last week, I was on a dating site (because I’m pathetic and desperate like that) and I came across a match I found intriguing. I opened this person’s profile, but before reading their information, I noticed they’d listed themselves not as male or female, but “genderfluid.” I’d never seen this before, so, being the sarcastic bastard that I am, I posted a joke about it via Twitter, which then reposted on my Facebook wall.

The joke was, I thought, innocent enough. I can’t recall the exact wording, as it’s since been deleted (you’ll see why in a minute). But it was something along the lines of: “Why is this an option? I don’t want to have to worry about a potential partner transitioning from one gender to another, then back again, only to repeat the cycle.” It was meant to be silly, stupid, and funny, i.e. a joke. My Twitter followers couldn’t have cared less. Not a single response, or even “like.” Facebook, however, was a different story.

I woke the following morning to find a plethora of responses from “friends” who felt I I’d been insensitive and less-than-PC. I read one comment after another about how wrong I was for posting something so heinous, that people were allowed to be whomever and whatever they chose, and that I should be a little more open-minded. As annoying as all this was (being attacked from every angle is never fun), what annoyed me more than anything, in hindsight, was that I posted three lengthy responses defending and explaining myself, as well as my ridiculous little tweet, when all I should’ve said was, “It was a joke. Get over yourselves.”

I suppose I kept the dialogue going because I didn’t want anyone to think I’m a hateful person who feels “genderfludity” (a term I hadn’t even heard until I stumbled across this person’s profile, truth be told) shouldn’t be allowed in modern culture. That this option should be removed from sites such as these and people should be forced to pick one gender or another. I never said any of these things, nor are they my personal opinions. In other words, I didn’t want anyone not to like me, so I continued to respond, but with each comment, I dug myself into a deeper hole, offending more and more people. I felt like Donald fucking Trump.

I think what did me in was the way the joke was worded. Had it been tweaked before going out into the stratosphere, perhaps the outcome would’ve been slightly different. But at the end of the day, it was just a joke and that’s all I should’ve said. So, I’m not annoyed at the dating site for including this option. I’m not even annoyed with all the self-righteous, holier-than-thou comments which flooded my inbox. I’m annoyed with myself because for feeding on the bait those initial responses became, thereby creating a clusterfuck. On this one, I accept 100% of the blame and accept full responsibility.

But people really should just get over themselves.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Things That Annoy Me #3

Ya know what always bugged me about Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? In the first reel, Cameron is bedridden with a severe flu and within five minutes, he’s up and dressed and even spry. Punching the passenger seat with indecision, jumping up and down by the rear bumper, throwing things... After that, his illness is never mentioned again. It’s like he was never sick to begin with.

I know John Hughes wrote screenplays on the fly, most of them over the course of a weekend. In this case, it seems like while in the process, he thought, “Wait, hang on a second... My protagonist is faking an illness to stay home from school. His best friend is staying home from school on the very same day because he actually is ill. That migt be a little too coincidental. Too much sickness for one movie. Maybe I’ll nix the 'Cameron being sick' subplot.” But then he forgot he’d changed his mind, shot the scenes of Cameron buried under the covers with a pharmacy by his bedside, realized his mistake, and just left it in anyway. I could be mistaken, but there might be a line about Cameron being something of a hypochondriac. Even if that were the case, it’s still a pretty big plothole.

I love the movie, but this has always driven me insane. Anyone else? Anyone?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

There's Blood in My Hair

I’m obviously idea-starved if I’m writing about this nonsense, but sometimes things happen that are so bizarre and such had-scratchers that you have to find some sort of outlet for them.

Yesterday, I received an odd Facebook friend request (odd because it was sent by a guy simply named Laurence, no surname, not even an initial). I assumed it was a bot, so I denied it. A few hours later, I received a second request, same guy. I figured it was probably a real person, so I accepted. I thought I’d send a playful DM just to see what’s what. At 4:45 AM, I sent the following:

“Two friend requests? Might I inquire why such persistence? And why no surname?”

My message was read at around 7:30 AM, but I received no response. Earlier this afternoon, I decided to have a look at the guy’s profile. According to the information listed, he works at VICE, Literary Orphans East, and Wind Nut Butters, and lives in Tecumseh, Missouri. While perusing his wall, I happened to glance up and noticed the “Add Friend” icon.

Wait, what? I thought he’d already...ohh...

For those of you who haven’t pieced it together, this Laurence character removed me from his list shortly after reading my DM. Repeat: the guy who sent me two friend request removed me from his list.

By this point, I’m scratching my scalp so hard, there’s blood beneath my fingernails. At 6:14 PM, I sent another message simply stating:

“Okey dokey.”

I figured that’s that. Just another one of those strange, unexplained episodes life’s full of. So, I went on with my day. Made a coffee. Figured I’d get back to work on my current novel. The Muse seemed to be taking a spa day, as I was feeling less than inspired. Grinding my teeth as I struggled to tweak a paragraph I wasn’t happy with, I happened to glance at my taskbar. Noticed I had a Facebook message. Desperate to free myself from the evil paragraph, I decide to investigate. Lo and behold, I had a response from Laurence. At 6:39 PM, he sent the following:

“Probably an accident, paranoid guy. Ha.”


I wasn’t sure what to say, or if I’d bother responding. It only took a moment to realize, however, that I couldn’t respond even if I wanted to. Laurence—the guy who sent me two friend requests, read my initial DM without responding, then removed me from his list—blocked me. Just in case you didn’t catch that, he blocked me. As though I were some sort of nuisance. Um...

What do I have to say in conclusion? What is the moral of this story? What have I learned from this experience? On that I’ll have to get back to you just as soon as I shampoo the blood out of my hair.