Again with the etiquette concerns

There were three of us waiting on the platform for the train. The short grey-haired man in old clothes asked the woman "Does this train go to Howard Street?" She didn't answer, but picked up her suitcase and came over to stand right next to me. This offended the man; he started pacing back and forth, pointing at the woman and bellowing all kinds of unpleasant concepts and propositions. Then he came over to me and asked if the train went to Howard; I said yes.

This didn't cheer him up; he continued with the vague threats to the woman and me. Standing a foot taller than him, I wasn't that worried, and at one point I paraphrased the Ratzo Rizzo character from Midnight Cowboy, saying something like, "Hey, I'm standin' heah!" while shrugging.

He called us "honkies" more than once, but he looked white to me. One clue is that between threats he revealed that he owns a spacious estate in Puerto Rico with a balcony "where you can look down and see a long ways." I wished I had been there instead.

The train came, we got on, and Mr. Personality asked yet another person if this was the train that went to Howard. Receiving the affirmative answer, he chewed out invisible people until he got off at Howard.

I keep wondering if there was something I should've said to the guy while waiting on the platform:

(1) "B-i-i-i-g hug!" with arms opened wide.

(2) "You know, elevator shoes would do wonders for your self-esteem."

(3) "Do me a favor. Just kick my ass, okay? Kick this ass for a man, that's all. Kick my ass. Enjoy. Come on. I'm not asking, I'm telling with this. Kick my ass." (The Artie Fufkin quote from This is Spinal Tap)

Parental notification

A co-worker says that when she was ten years old (in 1985), she wanted to perform in the school talent show by singing "Like a Virgin" because she really liked that song. When she told her parents what she planned to do, they told her that nice girls her age didn't sing that particular song and she had to choose another one.

Is this level of harassment normal?

Last month a guy from my bank called and talked all about how he wanted to advise me on how to manage my money, and after listening a while, I said, no thanks, but thank you for calling, and I thought that was the end of it. Today he called back to "follow up" and to schedule a meeting in which he could advise me on how to manage my money, and I could tell that he was instructed not to give up until after the third refusal. Jeez, now I know why they call it Chase Bank.

Together again

We could've used name tags at my great-aunt's funeral this weekend, because there are so many relatives we haven't seen in years. Actually, the confusion is not that bad because my family tends to use the same first names across generations, so it was pretty safe to call all the guys Jim.

The service had a lot of hymns to sing, and I started to wonder whether I was anywhere close to being in tune, and I considered closing one ear with my finger so I could hear my own voice, and then thought that was probably a little too We Are the World for a funeral service, which led to a case of suppressed chuckles, which I'm sure are very common at funerals, or at least I hope so.


In his final years, my grandpa lived in a nursing home where he shared a room with a nice guy named Barney. Grandpa admitted that he played little tricks on Barney. Grandpa put his Swedish-language newspaper on Barney's side of the room in place of the local paper Barney usually read. Grandpa would chuckle when his roommate picked up the paper, blinking and squinting, apparently thinking his eyes were getting worse.

Freshman year in college, my roommate Jaco and I never tormented each other, but it was a learning experience. Jaco knew all about jazz, not rock. He heard my Rolling Stones' Some Girls album but assumed it was the Beatles. Still, he could identify a saxophone player just by hearing him play a bit of a solo on another of my albums, while I had to look up the liner notes to check who was playing.

Jaco was black (still is) and used Afro Sheen, unlike me. Once I picked up my comb and it slipped right out of my fingers, because Jaco had borrowed it to get his hair ready. Another afternoon I was studying alone in our dorm room with the door closed, the better to hear my radio and not the REO Speedwagon from the massive stereo down the hall. When it was time to go downstairs for supper, I couldn't get a grip on the doorknob because it was too slippery. That damn Afro Sheen again. I finally used a careful two-handed grip to turn the doorknob and get out.

Stepping stone to stardom

Today was rainy so I thought I'd search for a webcam site showing how the weather compared in my hometown. Unfortunately, most of the links that appeared on my search were personal ads involving webcams. I never would have guessed that there were so many "horny singles" in that city who hoped to be seen pleasuring themselves on internet video. I really don't see the upside to this.

And if you advertise yourself this way, why tag your ad with the town where you live? How does that make the ad any better? "Hey Stud47, my great-aunt lives in yr town! If u c Bertha Crumply, say hi 4 me!"

Even if you think of webcam self-love as show business exposure which could lead to paid acting jobs, I think the range of acting offers would be fairly limited. You might be typecast as the "orgasm guy," and who wants to be pointed out as such in the bank, or in church?

I guess it could lead to a diversification into merchandizing, if that's how your face became famous. Not to be gross, but picture your face, contorted in ecstasy, slapped on the label of products in the condiment aisle of the supermarket. An increase in sales could be taken as a special kind of affirmation, I guess.