Thursday, April 24, 2008


I am the Michael Jordan of low-level employment. I have been since I was sixteen. And I'm okay with that. A little compensation would be nice, though. Something other than verbal praise.

A dialogue with the new guy:

"I've been with the company about three months. Transferred from Chicago."
"How much were they paying you there?"
"Eight, but now I'm getting eight-fifty."
"You get eight-fifty?"
"Yeah, that's what [manager's name] said. Why, what do you get, nine?"
"No. Eight."
"You get eight? How long have you been here?"
"Since last July."
"Oh... Well maybe I'm wrong..."

An extra fifty cents per hour would net me $60 more a month. That's a bill. Or a trip to the grocery store. It's not about that though. It's not about those extra quarters. It's about what those extra quarters represent.

A kick in the fucking teeth.

I used to think athletes were greedy. Not the case. All these big signing bonuses and record-breaking contracts have nothing to do with money and everything to do with worth. They'll never spend all that money. And it doesn't matter. They want what they think they deserve, a sum that's representative of their talents. Plus, you know, when you're super-rich, money and assets become a game. Points. It's about having more than the next guy. Sending him back to the change machine to get more tokens. Those are the guys lined up around the new, expensive arcade games.

I'm the guy playing Tekken 3 in the corner, trying to see how far I can get on one coin.

I'm not going to pretend my job is important. I work desk. Management can spout all the team-building, corporate bullshit rhetoric they want about how the member experience starts with me. At the end of the day, I'm a pair of hands and a voice. I scan barcodes and validate parking and answer phones. I know my fucking role.

But goddamn if I'm not good at what I do.

You should see how I reach over my coworkers, how I update billing, how I flick my fingers across the keyboard. The clicks, the clacks -- tiny orgasms of efficiency. Multi-tasking has never been so sexy. Or so beautiful. My technique, my hustle, my enthusiasm. Hell, I even remember names. Members stare in awe like it's the 1800s and I'm a negro who can read.

"Wow. Very good."
"Thankyamuch, suh. Been practicin', I have."
"Here's my parking."
"Swing low, sweet char-iot..."

Yes, I have a functioning brain. Yes, It interferes with my ability to wear a smile at ALL times, even though the employee handbook requires me to do so. As much as I want to like my simple, shitty job, I'm mentally incapable of doing so. Especially when the 17-year-old brat in the Kids Club is making more than I am.

"I can't wait to go tanning!"

I asked for a raise a couple months ago and, with a straight face, I was told that because I'm such a stellar employee I could possibly qualify for a fifty-cent boost. I laughed and apologized for doing so.

But I'm not in a bad position. It sure as hell beats working at the Coffee Bean with all the other asshole writers (I think). I feel like I have a better chance of being "discovered". After all, I'm exposed to a lot more industry players on a consistent basis. I can forge relationships and build rapport. I'm living on hope. Trying to, at least.

Most days schadenfreude keeps me going. Besides unprotected sex, there's nothing more pleasurable than telling some South Beach d-bag in an Ed Hardy cap and a pair of Tom Fords he has to pay the guest fee. You can practically hear the rusty train wheels screak to a stop in the stubbled desert that is his head.


Sometimes these dickheads are members and have guests of their own:

"Excuse me, do you have your card?"
"He's my guest."
"It's a twenty-five dollar guest fee."
"Who can I talk to about that? I pay a hundred-fifty dollars a month and I'm never here. I should be able to get guests in for free."

Right, because the exorbitant membership fee coupled with your own stupidity gives you free rein to do whatever the fuck you want. These guys don't do shit anyway. They just text message between light sets and look around to see if anybody's checking them out. It's all about making an appearance -- the ever-popular coke-and-situps workout.

But as much as I like to crack on them for being dumb and empty, they are infinitely richer than me, so they must be doing something right, right? When I get in these moods, these funks, I often picture myself a pipe-smoking academic judging the world from the comfort and solace of his dimly-lit study. Am I truly any better than them? Or is that just an illusion?

Being poor and intelligent is romantic. Being rich and stupid is fun.

Management recently changed the computer screensavers to display pages from the front desk manual, which is insulting to just about anybody who knows how to breathe through their nose. That's not enough, though. No.

The screensavers trigger every fucking minute. And we can't change that.

Escalation flowcharts and employee do's-and-dont's are slowly being burned into my brain. Did you know gum is evil? Another month and I'll be the rehabilitated version of Alex from A Clockwork Orange.

Then I won't want a raise.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Lack of updates

My apologies. I'm seeing someone right now, so debauchery is down to zero and I want to respect her by not writing about her (plus she knows the URL). So yeah. That's where I am.

Also, if you get a chance, check out this week's South Park. Relevant and hilarious, as they usually are.

'Once you've jacked off to Japanese girls puking in each other's mouths you can't exactly go back to Playboy.'

Monday, April 7, 2008

NCAA Champs

Congrats to Kansas for winning the NCAA Tournament and netting me $100+ in the office pool (and validating my brother's 5+ years of undergrad in Lawrence).

Rock chalk, motherfuckers.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I am at the whim of a six-foot Polish bitch. The cunt next door. I am Anne Frank and she is Nazi Germany.

I have to sneeze...

About two-and-a-half months ago, C tipped me off to the Bose Companion 2's. She'd have DJ Quik or Tupac pumping from the small silver speakers and I was always impressed with how they filled her condo with a bass-enhanced, grown-up sound. No need for a subwoofer or satellites. Just plug the motherfuckers in and eargasms abound.

"How much?"
"I don't know. About a hundred."
"I sweeeeeeeeeeear! Go on Amazon."

She was right. At the time, I had been struggling with a first draft that I couldn't figure out how to finish. Eventually I did and I felt like a G. An unexpected Christmas check from my Aunt Colette had yielded a minor windfall and I decided that, because I hoard my money, I would do the opposite this time and reward myself.

Within an hour I had my first noise complaint.

Nine o'clock on a Saturday night. What I want to know is who can hate on the Ignition Remix on a Saturday night? Monday evening, okay. But not on a motherfucking Saturday. It's the freakin' weekend, baby. We're about to have us some fun.

What's frustrating is that I'm NOT one of those assholes who blasts his music. I can't stand that shit. So I go out of my way to make sure I'm at a reasonable volume, never turning my speakers up past a quarter of the way and rarely going past a fifth. They need to be loud enough for me; not the whole neighborhood.

It's a different story in my car. Yes, I'm one of THOSE assholes.

Over the next couple weeks, the complaints add up. There are no warnings: no courtesy pounds or knocks on the door. I never find out I'm being "loud" until it's too late. What's really fucked is the complaints are received at normal times. Noon on a Sunday, nine on a Saturday, three on a Wednesday. No 2AM, I'm-trying-to-fucking-sleep complaints. No. Just the I-hear-a-noise-and-choose-to-be-a-cunt complaints. Because the building is run by fucking foreigners -- racially indefinable, airport employee-looking IndoAfroWhatevers from some faraway land like Bangladesh -- every complaint is indulged. Every. Fucking. One. They don't stop to consider that maybe the complainer is being nitpicky and unreasonable:

"You hear faint noise at 1:00 pm on Tuesday? Okay, I write down and punish."

To make matters worse, things are run on the honor system, which is funny because there's no honor in tattling. Theoretically, I could target an apartment and call in a whole shitload of noise complaints. Get the tenants kicked out. Do it all over again. Turn it into a sick game, you know? There's nothing in place to stop me. No crybaby dickhead or whiny bitch clause. But why should there be? I mean we're all just goddamn fonts of fucking sensibility, aren't we?

The system is flawed. Fucked. Like a four-year-old girl visiting a long-haired uncle.

I start to get shit from my roommate, a quiet, judging, passive-aggressive type who prefers not to communicate through words, but through notes and annoying little gestures like neatly placing the cable bill on your pillow instead of telling you to pay up. Just the other day I was lying on the futon with one of his blankets. When I got home from work the blanket was gone.

Patrick and I call him Dad.

"You can't keep doing this."
"I'm not doing shit! You hear my music. It's not loud at all."
"You're getting complaints. I never got complaints."
"You listen to acoustic rock."

I unplug my speakers.

But goddamn if they don't sit there and taunt me like jailbait. Eventually, I plug them back in. I keep the volume low. Low low low. I even turn off the bass.

More complaints. More shit from Dad. He tells me I'm being inconsiderate. I tell him that I live here too, that I (over)pay rent too, that I should be able to listen to my shit at a reasonable volume in the middle of the fucking day. I yell at him for siding with the neighbor, with building management. Then I run into my room and slam my curtain.

"Sue is a nice lady!"

No, she's fucking not. Sue (short for Sujsomething) is the building manager, a craven weasel of a woman not unlike my poetry professor from college. All smiles until you turn your back. She has gone out of her way to speak to my roommate regarding our situation, having him relay messages to me, even telling him "I know it's not you". Not once have I been contacted. Like Dad, it's always through notes or third-parties. What bothers, frustrates, angers me is I'm one noise complaint away from eviction and nobody has said shit to me.

All smiles.

And I know this is how the world operates, through falsehoods and bullshit and cowardice and avoiding confrontation, yet it's still so hard for me to accept and swallow. Why the fuck can we not communicate with one another? Why must we perpetuate the cycle of bullshit?

Let's talk, goddammit.

And yes, I know I can always initiate communication, but I've done that before and it's been twisted around to hurt me, blown up in my face. Because no matter how nice and friendly you are, nobody wants to have a serious talk with a big guy. People take it the wrong way. They get intimidated. You're seen as the aggressor -- some scary vigilante trying to sidestep the cold unflinchingness of policy to eke out a special deal for himself. And if somebody's devoted to policy, like most assholes with a shred of power are, they're just going to take offense. And sink you. And fuck you. I'd go to the Polish bitch next door and bite my tongue and suck her dick, but I'm pretty sure she'd say something to management. Or phone in another noise complaint to put the kibosh on me for good.

So that's where I stand.

Dad's fucking me and moving out May 1st. I had an opportunity to get an apartment with Patrick last month, but I didn't because I didn't want to leave Dad in a bind. And now I'm in that bind. I won't miss him. For the first time in a long time, I have a choice: I can either move out or find another roommate. This is where I need your help. These are my options:


I have one strike left. Staying here is a big risk, but then again so is picking up and moving to LA. If I get another roommate I get to interview a whole bunch of motherfuckers and decide who's going to live with me, which will be fun. Since I live in the back half of the living room, I can drop my rent to $600 (from $666) and charge $800 for the room. I can cancel cable and save another $50 a month. Basically, I'll inherit the apartment. What I don't want to do is move somebody in, get a noise complaint, and then move that motherfucker out -- both of our permanent records branded with a big red E. That's not fair and it's not right.


To be honest, the only thing I really like about this building is the fucking location. I don't use the pool, I don't use the hot tub, and laundry is way too expensive. I don't have a lot of shit so moving isn't a problem. I also have a car now, so I can live in a lot more places. But I don't want to move to the Valley. I like being minutes from work. I like being in Hollywood, in the mix with all the other strugglers like me. It keeps me going, I think. If I move, I feel like the stars have to align -- location, price, quality, a sane roommate who isn't too creepy or partyboy-ish. Almost too much to ask, huh?

What do you guys think?