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Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Monday, February 28, 2005
 
Sometimes, the lack of communication skills that the human beings around me possess are astoundingly primitive. When dealing with this from strangers I pass on the street, it is bearable. However, I just realized I don't usually talk to strangers that I pass on the street. And usually I'm not in a position where I'm passing strangers on the street, as I seldom walk anywhere (this is Southern California, after all).

However, inane chatter becomes truly unbearable when you constantly hear it from those who you see every day. There are various people at the office with whom the mere utterance of their voice sends me into a small rage. Whether it's Guy Who Only Teases Me, Woman Who Gives Me Lame Advice or Clueless Guy, it drives me insane.

Today, all three of them got to converge over one topic: my recent haircut. On Friday night, my hair (which was about shoulder-length) got cropped to a more reasonable and easier-to-shampoo length. Not buzzed, not crew cut, just shorter. And yet this supposedly significant event (which, last I checked, something like 94.3% of the U.S. population does on a regular basis) required a barrage of comments, including the astute "You cut your hair!" and the extremely witty "Hey, Mr. New Hairdo".

Yes, they're just making stupid comments about my hair, but it is simply one of many annoyances that these people have bestowed on me for the past two years. From one person (and the friend that he shares a desk with), I get the endless teasing about my hair (messy), my clothes (unironed), my shoes (holes in them), my workspace (unorganized), my computer (slow), my manner (tired), my eating habits (unhealthy), my weight (thin), my age (young), etc. How do you carry on a conversation with someone whose purpose, as far as you can see, is to endlessly "josh" you about the way you live your life, as if its any business of theirs.

Another person constantly gives me advice on my relationship with my 17 year-old girlfriend, who she has never met. I bring up the age only because she does, as she proceeds to tell me all of the best ways to avoid a situation in which Brey would accuse me of statutory rape. As if the woman that I've been dating for six months is really out to get me, because of the money I don't have or the friend of hers I didn't screw over. Recently, upon learning of a trip I was taking to San Diego with Brey, this woman told me to not let her take her shoes off because "if you get pulled over, she can say you tried to rape her". Okay, three things...

1). Can you show Brey a little bit of fucking respect?
2). Couldn't she accuse me of rape without taking off her shoes? Are the cops really going to say, "I'm sorry, young lady, but we don't believe you. Your shoes are clearly on."
3). What? Did she actually hear what she said?

I believe that's the problem with these people. They aren't listening to what they say. They just let the words flow out, entirely free of conscious thought, like cockroaches with an Associate's Degree. The third person that approached me today asks me several questions about the glamorous and extravagant life that is Orange County theater (warning: Orange County theater is neither glamorous nor extravagant). Despite my confessions about doing theater "for the fun of it" (translation: no pay), my descriptions of the theaters that I work at (usually dirty 50-seat venues that make good use of their shortcomings) and the fact that I'm working a lower-middle class job at a title company, this guy believes that I have a little black book worth millions (when in fact it would probably only get me $37.50 from an rabid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan). He discussed last night's Oscars with me this morning, and then actually asked me if I received an invitation.

This is the best part, though. When I told him that I don't get invited to things like that, he gave a look of mild disappointment and said, "Golden Globes?" So I proceeded to explain to him that, no, any kind of televised awards ceremony is not something I'm allowed into. The closest things I get invited to are L.A.'s Ovation Awards (which I wasn't this year, because "American Way" understandably got nominated for squat) and the O.C. Weekly Theatre Awards, the only show I could get into. There's nothing to put your life in perspective better than a co-worker who's disappointed in your achievements.

Who are these people? I do not make fun of the first guy's lifestyle, nor advise the woman to avoid contact with her daughter for fear of molestation charges, nor ask the second guy - a golf enthusiast - if he's ever played with Tiger Woods. Why do these people insist on inflicting their ways upon me?

Then later today, I received a rare glimpse at the opposite end of stupid communication. I was told by a member of my staff that the way I had been doing a certain type of file wrong for the last two years (I'll avoid going into the details of title analysis, as is it both hard to understand and unbelievably boring). In disbelief, I asked my manager and found out that it was true. Why no one had ever told me this before, I will never know.

I feel like all of the work done at my job is in vain. If I can do a type of file wrong for two years, letting many different issues go right past me, and no one seems to blink an eye, then why am I even here? Why didn't they send my work to India already?

It has been over two years that I have worked at this particular department, and while I have never been told that one vital piece of information concerning my line of work, I have heard extensive histories of my co-worker's families, various bad/inappropriate jokes, and several cracks about my choice of clothes, my choice of hair, my choice of women and my choice of lifestyle.

We all talk too much. If we stuck to subjects we were passionate about, this would not be a problem. The trouble is that most of what we all say doesn't make any fucking difference. There are several people at this office whom I have never heard say, "I really like to do...", "My plan for tonight is...", "The way I feel about it is...". It's all "So, Thursday, huh?" "Mmm, coffee." "How about that rain?" Idle chatter is the death of us. It accomplishes nothing and only confirms that we are spineless, unintelligent creatures. And I am included in this category. My parents came to visit my sister and I this past weekend. During a silence, I asked my dad, "How was your drive?" and I hated myself for it.

I'm going to try to stay away from mindless chatter from now on. If someone asks how I'm doing, I'm going to tell them honestly. I'll bring up issues, ask about hobbies, try to get people to wake up and stop getting the automated robotic responses that we've been taught to give. ("Fine, and you?...Yes, it IS Friday...Ha ha ha, see ya."). From now on, people should talk for a reason, and if there's no reason, then they should just shut up and enjoy the silence.

 
Thank you, Chris Rock. Thank you for taking a lot of the pomp and pretentiousness of an Oscar ceremony plagued with several bad ideas (who was the genius who suggested Beyonce to sing a song from the French film "The Chorus"?) and skewering them.

Rock goes down on my list of one of the all-time great hosts, keeping things snappy and often extremely funny. He started off the ceremony with a hilarious monologue that attacked several celebrities, many of them probably in attendance. The following are paraphrases:

"They say that there are a hundred celebrities here. That's not true. There's only about four stars here. Like Clint Eastwood, he's a star. Tobey Maguire's just a boy in tights...The problem with Hollywood is they make movies too quickly. If you can't get a star, wait. You want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law? Wait....You want Russell Crowe and all you can get is Colin Farrell? Wait. 'Alexander' is not 'Gladiator'.

Russell Crowe is one of the greatest actors we have. If you're making a movie that takes place in the past, you need to have Russell Crowe in it. Even if it's a movie that takes place three weeks ago, you need to get Russell Crowe to do it. Because he'll do his research. He'll dress like three weeks ago, he'll walk like three weeks ago, he'll talk like three weeks ago. You could close your eyes and say, 'Damn, that sounds like three weeks ago'.

You want Denzel and all you can get is me? Wait. Denzel's a fine actor. He would've never made 'Pootie Tang'...

What I want to see at the Oscars is acting. At the Grammy's, they sing. At the Tony's, they sing and dance...But at the Oscars, I want to see some 'To be or not to be'...The only acting you see at the Oscars is the people from the people who act like they're glad they didn't win. When Halle Berry won, I saw Nicole Kidman doing some fine acting. If she'd acted like that in the movie, she would have won the Oscar."

Introducing Tim Robbins: "When he's not amazing us with his acting, he's boring us with his politics."

Introducing Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz: "I'd like to welcome our next four presenters."

Regarding the choice to present certain Oscars from the audience: "Next year, they'll be giving out Oscars in the parking lot. They'll have a drive-thru Oscar lane. Get an Oscar and a McFlurry."

Introducing Sean "P. Diddy" Combs: "He hasn't done a lot of movies, but he's been in every music video since 1983."

It was a real breath of fresh air to see someone treat the overdressed, overpaid Hollywood elite as what they really are: people playing pretend. I would not be saddened if Chris Rock was invited back for many more years to come.

Another great statement came with Jorge Drexler, the singer/writer of the Oscar-winning Best Song, gave his speech. Having previously stated in public that he was disappointed at not being asked to perform his song at the Oscars (Antonio Banderas and Santana were asked to slaughter it instead), he went up and sang part of his song. So he really did get to sing at the Oscars. It was short, succinct and made a statement. Just like every good speech should do.

Oh, and some movies won some awards. You know, boxers and aviators and superheroes. Things like that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
 
Sometimes I wonder if I don't show as much emotion as I am supposed to. This weekend was the final weekend of "Joseph...", and one of the performances will forever go down in history for me out of the many shows I've done over fifteen years of performing in front of people.

During intermission, I was getting ready to assume the esteemed rollercoaster of a role that is "The Pharaoh". Equipped with costume, makeup, microphone and Elvis sunglasses (if you don't know the show, don't ask), I quickly stepped into the men's room for a brief tinkle before Act Two started (like you do).

Now this is an example of how my life works. I have been in several bathrooms, and most of them have a lock on the door. The door will bolt when I move the lock in one direction and unbolt when I move the lock in the opposite direction. This has been a constant standard in my life. I also used the bathroom in the La Habra Depot Theatre dressing room (which is an old converted Amtrak car) on several occasions, and have never had a problem with the door. Can someone tell me then why the one time that the lock decides to stop working properly is when I am in it and it is five minutes until places for the second act?

Needless to say, the rest of the proceeding twenty minutes or so played like something out of a Christopher Guest movie. There were the questions that I could not believe were being asked ("No, seriously, did you try the lock?" "Why was he in the bathroom?" "Why did he lock the door?"), the constant and deafening pounding of various objects against the door, and from what I could only hear, the general bustle of what sounded like fifty-seven minds all trying to find a solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, what am I doing all this time? Oh, you know, whatever. Checking for possible openings, washing my hands, checking my makeup, thinking of jokes to use on stage regarding the incident, reminding myself to tell Brey all about it when I get out, etc. Looking back over what happened, the most emotion I believe I showed was the initial worry at the start of the problem, which was still moderate at best. The most dominant emotion I had throughout the ordeal was a mixture of boredom and slight annoyance, equivalent to being stuck in a long line at a grocery store.

Now, any logical person would probably have gone into a panic at some point. However, I was confident that I would eventually be released before any loss of oxygen, sanity or body fat would occur. After the door was busted open (which required three strong men and one crowbar) people were commenting on how calm I was during the ordeal, and I realized that even being in an small, enclosed space with no guarantee of immediate or controlled release did not bother me.

The next day was the final performance of a show which broke box-office records for the theatre, got extended and contained a cast that was fun to work with. And at the final cast party, several people were crying and others were saying things of emotional significance, the most popular being "It's been a real pleasure. We have to work together again soon" (why doesn't anyone say at a cast party, "Chickens have feathers, feathers get plucked, the show is now over, looks like we're fucked"?). But then again, there was me, with nary a tear and a few well-wishes to a group of people whose company I genuinely enjoyed.

In the past week, I've been offered a role in a show and had to turn it down. I had a surprising development in the show I'm assistant directing ("Land Southward" at Hunger Artists, throughout the month of April...Shameless Plug), I received a heap of praise on a play of mine from one of the nation's top developers of new plays, I watched Goofy cartoons while sitting between two hot teenage girls and had a serious discussion of another play I'm rewriting ("Marat/Sade" at Hunger Artists throughout the month of May...less shame, more plugging). And yet, it seems as if I've reacted to these situations with a stoicism that would make Ben Stein hang his head in shame.

Is there something wrong with me? Do I need a good shaking and a slap across the noggin? Or maybe just a nice, long uninterrupted sleep?

Friday, February 18, 2005
 
72 Hours in Limerick Form:

What a past few days this has been
Filled with movies, food, music and sin
I got lots of sleep
Emotions ran deep
Now all stored in my memory bin

On Tuesday I went off to work
And while channeling my inner perk
I heard lots of crying
My e-mail was trying
To not be an emotionless jerk

Other countries I was asked to go
Disappointment when I replied "No"
They tell me how to escape
Accusations of rape
Their lack of trust fills me with woe.

On Wednesday I got up at four
In twenty minutes out of the door
I was surprisingly rested
And singlehandedly bested
The rest of the colleagues on my floor

To San Diego I went later that night
And saw a truly unbearable sight
With much pretend sobbing
And her blonde hair bobbing
Overacting with all of her might

Then at Carlsbad, I got to see more
of the past of the girl I adore
The school was quite dark
The beach was a lark
And I still love the top that she wore

Now on Thursday, asleep until one
Where can we go to have fun?
Red Robin for lunch
On burgers we munch
Guacamole and bacon on a bun.

Then it's Memory Lane that we pass
Both of us filled with beefy gas
Up to level three,
We sit down and see
Topher Grace act like an ass.

The rest of it becomes a slight blur
I just remember there being me and her
All the while Bright Eyes sings
Fullerton and two rings
And some raised voices did occur

At the end of the night, going back home
Me with sore neck, her in mute tone
My arm round her back
Our feelings intact.
I'm so glad that I'm not alone.

Back at work, my computer is slow
I wish it were two days ago
It had good and bad
It wasn't all glad
But I'd not trade it for anything I know

Monday, February 14, 2005
 
I'm really tired (literally) of people thinking that, because I'm a man, I am stronger than women. A few minutes ago, my manager asked all of the guys in the department to help him carry a pile of computers and monitors from the far end of the parking lot, up a flight of stairs and to the other side of the office. I was given two computers, stacked on top of each other, and was teased all the way.

Now, I have this to say about the jests that were made (the two most popular being "too much for you?" and handing me very small objects): Fucking duh! I've been scrawny most of my life, and judging by my family history, I'll be scrawny for the rest of it. Yes, it is hard for me to lift heavy objects, including dance partners. Yes, I can bench about 65 pounds on a good day. Yes, I took a weights class in high school with several women and found out that most of them were stronger than me. Yes, my girlfriend could beat me up if she had the inclination. You know this, and yet you still ask me to carry heavy objects.

It's as obvious as sunlight that there are women in my department that could do a much better job of lifting and carrying objects than I could. And yet, I was asked. Why is that? Two words: Pe nis. There's this unusual belief that testosterone gives you extra strength, when it really just gives you extra appreciation for sexual innuendo, extra attraction to lesbians and extra inclination to go "WOOO!" while pumping your fist in the air.

Now my arms are sore (to add to my already sore neck and back from a "Rocky Horror Show" audition this past weekend that kicked my butt), I want to vomit and my shakiness is making typing, eating and drinking difficult. I know that this is basically a scrawny kid crying, but I just feel that in the 21st century, we should know better than to ask guys to do all the heavy work simply because they're guys. We should ask the strongest people, regardless of gender, to do the hard labor, and leave the wimpy people to do what we do best: simper and whine like the sissies that we are.

On a random topic jump, I cannot wait to get back to working at Hunger Artists Theatre again. Not that I don't like the theatre where I'm at right now, I just want to get back to my family. I saw their amazing production of "Othello" again last night and helped take down their set. The smell of the bathrooms took me back to some wonderful memories of last summer and fall (the five most glorious months I've spent doing theatre), and I was reminded of what great theatre is. I entered the dirty theatre, with ladders propped up against one wall. And for two and a half hours, I was suddenly not in a Fullerton business park with meth labs and loud motorcyclists. I was on the isle of Cyprus, watching the moor of Venice being deceived into killing his wife by his best friend.

It was an exceedingly well-acted, well-lit, well-directed production that completely captivated me and demanded my attention (which is hard to do with me when it comes to Shakespeare). After seeing "The Clean House" at South Coast Rep and doing "Joseph...", I was surrounded by theatre that was awash with decent budgets, great sets and hundred-seat-plus houses. Returning to Hunger reminded me that you can have fifty seats, three flats, two platforms and costumes straight from the actors' wardrobes, and still have phenomenal theatre.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
 
Why is it that most of the new movies and plays nowadays are so freaking obvious? Whatever happened to ambiguity, one of my favorite of all English words? How come we live in an age where we're just given answers, instead of being asked questions? Why am I asking so many questions?

Last night I went to see Sarah Ruhl's "The Clean House" at South Coast Repertory, the leading developer of new theatrical voices in Orange County. It was a funny play with great characters and a lot of interesting ideas in it. However, the message at the core of the piece (we try to make our lives clean and tidy, but life itself is very messy, so we should just embrace the messiness and die laughing) was revealed in rather obvious ways (a notoriously clean woman going crazy and dirtying up a house; being stricken with cancer; a love triangle; a woman literally dying of laughter).

In the end there is a "happy tragic" death (in which it is sad that the character is dying, but okay because they are cheerful and accepting about it. Very few characters in plays nowadays leave this world screaming and crying), a reconciliation, and a closing line about heaven being "a sea of untranslatable jokes, but everyone is laughing."

The last show that I saw at South Coast Rep was Donald Marguiles' "Brooklyn Boy", which is currently playing on Broadway. It had a somewhat predictable plot, but the characters and dialogue were extremely engaging, and I was hooked wholeheartedly into the story throughout most of the play. At the end of the second act, Adam Arkin sat on an armchair in his recently deceased father's Brooklyn apartment. He is bitter, stressed and, bathed in the glow of the television screen, seems to exude a faint glow of anger, and we realize that he has become the last thing he wants to be: his father's son. I got ready to spring to my feet and give raucous applause to all involved with the show. It was a glorious final image...or so I thought.

All of a sudden, an elderly man strolls into his room. It doesn't take much for the audience to realize that this is the ghost of his father. They proceed to have a conversation in which all loose ends get addressed in orderly fashion. Suddenly, I was disappointed. My applause was not raucous, nor was my standing in a springing manner. After having given me an excusable amount of predictability and a surprising lack of urgency, I'm rewarded for sticking around with a plot device that's been in so many stories from "Hamlet" to, I don't know, "Ghost Dad"?

I compare, perhaps unfairly, all plays I see with the following scripts, which I think, in some way or another, are among the most perfect scripts that I have come across:

- "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "The Zoo Story", both by Edward Albee
- "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "Oleanna", both by David Mamet
- "Topdog/Underdog" by Suzan Lori-Parks
- "The Gog/Magog Project" by Jason Lindner
- "Angels in America" by Tony Kushner

These plays have urgency, they have humor, they have sadness and most importantly, they don't have a simple moral. You can't say at the end of these plays, "So this was about...". They explore a variety of themes and ask the audience to pick what they want from the pack. It was as if the author had several personalities that were all fighting to get this story made, and each one is represented in a part of the text.

This is also why I like movies like "Magnolia", "Taxi Driver" and "Pleasantville". These are not movies that can be wrapped up easily in one singular message. They, along with the aforementioned plays, are...let's say it everyone....ambiguous! We need to see more of that. Don't play down to the audience. Don't pound issues into the ground (I can't wait to see the political play that actually serves more as a debate than a lecture).

So where do I go to find ambiguity? You'll never guess.

Today at work, they had a training on sexual harassment. What constitutes as harassment, how to spot it, what to do when it happens, etc. And surprisingly, it wasn't composed entirely of extreme scenarios ("A boss grabs his employee's boobs and says that she got the job because of her 'boner-inducing knockers'. Does this constitute as sexual harassment?"). This training actually covered the ambiguities found in sexual harassment suits, and what can constitute harassment. Good work, Evelyn Eads.

Perhaps part of the reason why I like ambiguity is that I am not very good at discussing a play right after I finished watching it. Last night, several people were discussing whether or not they were liking it at intermission. Not exploring any of the themes presented (since themes were few here), but just whether or not it was amusing him.

I honestly did not know at that point where I stood on the play, as with most plays that I see. It took me a night of thinking for me to come to a conclusion. Maybe it's just me, but I like a play that leaves itself so open that the meaning that I'm able to pull from there would be just as right as a different meaning someone else would pull. Something that promotes discussion, not simply relaying a message.

What do YOU think?

Monday, February 07, 2005
 
These are the things that I learned over the past weekend:

* Ninja rolls are funny.

* When auditioning for a theater, it probably isn't best for you to insult those you are auditioning for by saying you hate something they are passionate about (that one's for you, Brandon).

* "Time Crisis III" is a really fun game.

* The only thing I miss about not going to college is hanging out in cramped quarters with several people around my age who share my beliefs. I was in a one-bedroom apartment with several attractive late teen/early twentysomethings, making fun of "Steel Magnolias" and listening to one of them pla Damien Rice on the guitar. It felt wonderful.

* I'm obsessed with the Bobby Darin song "Beyond the Sea". I don't know why. I love that song now.

* "Before Sunrise" is a film that really stays with you long after you've seen it. I can only imagine what "Before Sunset" will be like (that is until I actually see it).

* We could be spies.

* It's becoming a tradition for me to steal a menu from Claim Jumper every time I go now. My count currently stands at two dinner menus and one saloon guide. Someone laid down a challenge for me to walk away with a salad bowl from their buffet. I could very well do it, too.

* "Kafkaesque" is my new favorite adjective.

* Right now, I'm very tired and it feels like my arms are typing these words independent of thought. They feel like they are separate life forms.

And finally...

* I did not watch the Super Bowl. Sorry. I've grown tired of commercials, even good ones, and I've never found a football team to cheer for. I do like that everyone today is talking about how Paul McCartney gave a "safe" halftime show, as if they really expected him to pull a flapper in the middle of his set. There was much made this year about commercials that "pushed the limits of decency". I have not seen any of them, but I can say this: No, they didn't. They really didn't. Unless the commercial featured two people fucking, followed by one of them killing the other and then saying, "THAT'S why you should drink Budweiser", then they didn't push any sort of limit. So chill out.

Friday, February 04, 2005
 
- I am addicted to car naps. When I get a break at work, it is usually spent sleeping in my car. I have always disliked naps because time always speeds by when I'm sleeping, and before I know it, I have to leave my subconscious and enter my real life (on weekday mornings, this is particularly disappointing). However, in my car, the time becomes drawn out, so that a fifteen-minute rest feels like an hour. It's glorious and leaves me feeling quite refreshed.

- I get insanely jealous every time someone tells me about the time they spent two months backpacking through Europe. I know that it's cliched, but all of those magical phrases - "hostel", "no money", "didn't speak the language", "spent all night walking around", "an amazing city", "never saw her again" - make me want to indulge in what would probably be my ultimate fantasy.

- Speaking of fantasies, at the moment, I really want to have a "Blue Lagoon"-type scenario right now where I'm marooned on this beautiful island with a beautiful young woman (preferably Brey). I don't know why, but right now, that's where I want to be.

- It annoys me when I really want to listen to an album, but I don't have said album with me at work. I'm hankering big time for a listen to The Clash's "Sandanista!", and yet all with me is "London Calling" (a better album, in my opinion, but not what I want right now). LIFE SUCKS!!! Not really.

- Theater tickets are expensive. I love theater with an unparalleled passion, but if I want to see, let's say, "Golda's Balcony" at the Geffen Playhouse, and I have to pay, let's say, fifty-nine dollars (for a one-woman show, no less), that's just crazy.

- I found out yesterday that on "The O.C." - a show that I've previously avoided watching due to my resistance to shows about rich white people's problems - the rather hot Mischa Barton is starting up a relationship with a new girl played by the slightly-less-hot Olivia Wilde (I don't know if there's any relation to Oscar, but wouldn't that be an interesting homosexual entertainer connection?). As sad as it sounds, this is something that would get me watching the show. Right now, according to my sister, they are only in the furtive-glances-and-sexual-tension stage (a stage I'm quite familiar with), but already much is being made of the coming relationship between these two (and when I found out about the relationship, I was coming, too). Oh, and I apologize for my sudden frat boy-like behavior. I wish I could say that am above the stereotypical male fascination with lesbians, but I am a due-paying member of that juvenile organization.

- It's more difficult than you would think to come up with three jokes that deal with Egypt, corn and/or dreams every weekend.

- It's pretty annoying to listen to people beg for money. NPR is having their pledge drive that they have twice a year, in which they basically ask for a buttload* of money. I gave to them on one of the first days of the drive, and now when I listen to them (which is often), I keep hearing them ask me for money. Although I understand it's not personal, it makes me feel like my donation was in vain. But that doesn't matter, because I have an Eclectic 5-CD pack coming my way, and I get to go to the Matt's Movies preview program. Hell of a lot better than a tote bag!

- Two days ago, "Good Vibrations", a musical based around the songs of the Beach Boys, opened on Broadway. Ben Brantley of the New York Times reviewed it, and it is one of the most scathing pieces written about a musical that I have ever read. Here are the first three paragraphs:

"Even those who believe everything on the planet is here for a purpose may at first have trouble justifying the existence of 'Good Vibrations', the singing headache that opened last night at the Eugene O'Neill Theater.

But audience members strong enough to sit through this rickety jukebox of a show, which manages to purge all catchiness from the surpassingly catchy hits of the Beach Boys, will discover that the production does have a reason to be, and a noble one: 'Good Vibrations' sacrifices itself, night after night and with considerable anguish, to make all other musicals on Broadway look good.

Such virtuous behavior could not come at a more propitious moment. Just think of the roster of dim, dispiriting shows that have opened this season: 'Brooklyn', 'Little Women', the deceased 'Dracula'. Each of these clunkers now feels like a high point of professionalism thanks to 'Good Vibrations', which features a lot of washboard-stomached performers who give the impression of having spent far more time in the gym than in the rehearsal studio. As they smile, wriggle and squeak with the desperation of wet young things hung out to dry, you feel their pain. It is unlikely, however, to be more acute than yours."

- The quote of the week came at a Borders, when an irate customer, threatening legal action and using Law School 101 terms in a bragging manner, said to the abnormally no-nonsense manager as a closing argument, "In the interim...kiss my ass!"

* buttload: equal to four bunches

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
 
Dress us up any way you like, men are still slovenly creatures that are only a few steps away from apes.

I am reminded of this fact every so often. Most often it is when bearing witness to drunken fights or public displays of affection (if there are two animal instincts that have successfully made the transition into civilization, they are anger and lust). But today I was reminded of our connection to less civilized species when I was in the men's room at my work this morning.

I entered one of the stalls to find that there was fecal matter not only in the bowl (something I've talked about in a previous post), but also on the seat, and scattered throughout the floor amidst toilet water. Doubtless the bowl overflowed, most likely due to an overabundance of toilet paper used. Needless to say, the look and the smell hit me like a multi-sensory wall of gross.

Throughout my work place, the men have styled hair, college level vocabularies, silk ties, suit jackets and flossed teeth. And yet in the restroom - a place where the practice of cleanliness should be at its most concentrated - I see paper towels strewn about the floor, soap spilled next to the sink, urine on the toilet seats and floors, unflushed bowls and unwashed hands.

So my question is this: Is it that hard to not be a neanderthal when you go to the bathroom? Having a weak bladder, I use the bathroom rather frequently. It's really not that difficult to stay clean. Wipe up any residue you may get on the toilet seat. Use only enough toilet paper to get the job done, and if you notice that you have to use a lot, flush twice. Wash your hands, cupping your hand under the soap dispenser so that you don't spill any of it. Dispose of paper towels into the proper trash cans.

These rules need to be shown to the seemingly cleancut men in this building. I've always been aware of the difference in how people look and how they act, but rarely has it disgusted me on such a literal level. The professionalism with which they conduct themselves in the workplace, and the primitive way they behave in the bathroom, is as startling of a juxtaposition as I've seen in a while.

This makes me wonder about the women's restroom. Granted, I have no way of knowing short of sneaking in a manner reminiscent of a junior high pervert, but since I have been told that women do not even fart in the bathroom (which I find rather sad. If they can't fart there, then where can they fart?), I doubt that it can possibly be as disgusting of a display as the men's room. Am I right?


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