Saturday, July 28, 2007
I am proud to say that I was part of an urban legend.
The rules for an urban legend are 1) the story is passed down by a friend of a friend (sometimes referred to as FOAF) so the person telling the story did not witness it him or herself, 2) the story is more than likely not true, or only barely true even though it may involve real people, and 3) the story is either humorous or creepy.
I was working at a small television station as a night shift on-air switcher. The main part of my job was putting the TV shows and the commercials on the air, but another part of my job was answering the phone. Most of the crazy viewers liked to call at night.
I was having a bull session with some of my fellow workers when the subject of annoying callers came up. The station’s commercial editor was a funny guy named Don who came to Atlanta from Denver. Don told us a story about a switcher he heard about back in Denver named Joe.
“Joe reminded me of you, Mickey,” Don said. “He hated dealing with the crazy callers too. He had this one old lady calling him every night to complain about something or other. Joe finally got so mad, he said to the old lady, ‘If you don’t stop calling, I’m going to turn your TV off.’”
“Did that work?” I asked.
“Not right away,” Don said. “The old lady said, ‘You can’t turn my TV off.’ Joe said, ‘Oh yes, I can.’ Then Joe punched black on the air.’”
A switcher has a button on his control panel that puts black on the TV screen. It’s normally used for emergencies. If a station is only airing black, then it’s not making any money off of programs and commercials. Most switchers do their best to avoid going to black.
“The old lady freaked out,” Don said. “She started crying, ‘Please turn my TV back on.’ Joe said, ‘You promise to stop calling me?’ ‘Yes, I promise,’ said the old lady. So, Joe punched up the program that had been airing and he never heard from the old lady again.”
We all had a good laugh at Don’s story. Fast forward to seven years later. I have moved on from on-air switcher to promo writer/producer.
At the end of an edit session, the editor, his assistant, and I were sharing our best TV horror stories, when the editor told us about an on-air switcher who kept getting late night calls from an old lady. The editor told the exact same story as the one Don told me seven years earlier. I was waiting for the editor to finish so I could ask him I if he knew Joe the switcher from Denver and did Joe ever hear from the old lady again?
However, before I could say anything, the editor finished the story by saying, “Mickey, I can’t believe you did that to the old lady.”
That’s when I realized I had been part of an urban legend. The way the editor heard the story from a FOAF, I was the on-air switcher who punched black on the air. Well, I know I never did that, so I’m pretty sure the story never happened. Not that it matters. I was part of an urban legend. How cool is that?
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Slapping butt logos on women’s shorts has become quite popular. So far, I’ve only seen school and company logos. I haven’t seen anyone take the next logical step, which is to print short pithy sayings. Why shouldn’t a woman’s backside be treated like a car’s rear bumper? I sat down with my wife and came up with the following sayings that would look great on a woman’s ass. If anyone uses these ideas and makes any money, I demand a percentage.
PLACE LIPS HERE
PLACE FACE HERE
DON’T ASS, DON’T TELL
ASS ME NO QUESTIONS
ASS IS THE NEW CLEAVAGE
I’M WITH STUPID
LOOK AT MY ASS
STOP LOOKING AT MY ASS
KISS MY ASS
TAKE A SEAT
YOUR FACE HERE. CALL 555-5555
GO GO GADGET ASS
IF YOU CAN READ THIS, THEN YOU’RE RIDING MY ASS
Monday, July 23, 2007
Place: Atlanta, Georgia
Her name was Nancy. She was Jewish and she lived three blocks from the duplex I shared with my sister. Nancy lived with her mother and her two pure breed Cocker Spaniels. Even though the female dog was getting old, Nancy refused to have her fixed.
“I’m only supposed to breed my dogs a certain number of times,” Nancy said, “but people pay a lot for Cocker Spaniel puppies, and I need the money.”
Nancy and I were about the same age. She was white trash all the way. She dressed cheaply and her makeup was clownish. She was one of the stupidest people I have ever met.
Nancy loved to go disco dancing.
“That’s how I control my weight,” she explained.
She went as often as she could. I was still new to Atlanta and didn’t know many people, so I agreed to be her date. Nancy and I went to the Limelight Disco. She knew one simple dance step that she repeated like a broken robot.
Nancy insisted on driving whenever we went out. She also insisted that I not put on my seatbelt, because she felt I was insulting her driving. I insulted her driving every time because 1) she drove too fast and recklessly, and 2) she had been in a terrible auto accident that left her in a coma for weeks.
When Nancy came out of her coma, she had to relearn how to walk, talk, and feed herself. She claimed her intelligence was stunted as a result of the coma. I believed Nancy until I met her sister.
“Did she tell you how her intelligence was stunted because she was in a coma?” Nancy’s sister asked.
“As a matter of fact,” I said, “she did.”
“She's lying. Nancy has always been reckless and stupid. That’s how she ended up having the car accident. She was drunk on her ass, driving like a maniac, and not wearing her seatbelt. Now she uses the accident as an excuse to be even more stupid and irresponsible.”
One late night, after disco dancing at the Limelight, Nancy and I decided we were hungry. Nancy suggested a restaurant on Peachtree Street that stayed open late for the night owls who were out partying into the wee hours. So we went to the restaurant, and were seated in the dining room, which was very large and had very low light. Other than Nancy and me, there were maybe three other couples in the place. Our waiter was a prissy gay boy who seemed altogether disgusted by our very presence. He gave us our menus and promptly disappeared. I was trying to decide between a western omelet or a bagel with cream cheese when Nancy commented that all the dancing we had done earlier had left her quite sweaty.
“I wish I could take off my shirt,” she said, “then I could cool off better.”
“Yeah, go ahead,” I said. “Take off your shirt.”
I didn’t say this because I wanted to see Nancy with her shirt off. Her body was too compact and she had almost no curves. I only said it to make conversation.
“You’re not daring me to take off my shirt, are you?” Nancy said, looking around the room to see if anybody was watching us.
“You bet I am,” I said, “I dare you to take off your shirt.”
Now I was just egging Nancy on to see what she would do. Nancy became very serious.
“Whatever you do,” she said,” don’t triple dog dare me.”
“And why not?” I asked.
“Because, “ she explained, “if somebody triple dog dares you, you have to do it.”
I had never heard this before. Somehow, I had made it this far in life without ever being triple dog dared or witnessing someone else being triple dog dared. I figured now was as good a time as any to see if it worked.
“Okay,” I said. “I triple dog dare you to take off your shirt.”
And off came the shirt. It was a tight, cotton short sleeve top with stripes with visible sweat stains on the armpits. She grabbed the bottom of the shirt and slipped it off over her head. She wore a pink bra over her small compact tits. At that same moment, the waiter returned to take our order. He gasped. She gasped and struggled to put the shirt back on.
“I’ll give you a few more minutes to decide,” the waiter said and then he ran out of the room.
Nancy managed to get her shirt back on, inside out.
I was pissed. Our waiter was already slower than molasses, and now he would never come back. Nancy’s face was bright red. She went to the ladies’ room to fix her shirt. When she came back, she swallowed some water and said, “I told you not to triple dog dare me.”
I just kept thinking, why I didn’t I triple dog dare her to give me a blowjob?
Place: Atlanta. Georgia
I lived a few blocks from a strip club. I was watching this stripper with amazingly large natural breasts dance for these two guys. She looked over at me, shook her finger, and said, “You shouldn’t be watching.” What the hell, I thought, I paid the cover charge.
My apartment was on the second floor of a two-story building. I hardly noticed the couple who lived downstairs from me until the woman stopped me in the hallway.
“Do you go to that club very often?” she asked.
I was confused at first, then I realized she was the stripper with the big natural breasts who shook her finger at me. Her name was Karen and her boyfriend was Perry. He was a cab driver. They had that living on the edge vibe that warned me that if I wasn’t careful, they would burn me. I decided to keep a safe, but polite distance. When Perry offered to sell me weed or cocaine, I politely refused.
Karen and Perry worked at night. Their shifts ended around three a.m. and when they got home, they would crank their stereo up all the way. They listened to hard head-banging heavy metal. Just the sort of music I wanted to hear when I had to get up at seven a.m. for my nine to five job. The other neighbors and I complained constantly. Karen and Perry always acted surprised that they had disturbed anyone and would immediately turn the music down.
Another thing Karen and Perry did late at night was get into big drunken arguments in the courtyard of the apartment complex. The courtyard was a small grassy area that was right below my window. Because it was so close, Karen and Perry sounded like they were arguing in my bedroom.
Sometimes I would yell down at them to take it inside, but only if their argument lasted more than a few minutes. During these arguments, Perry yelled and Karen whimpered. It sounded like RAH, RAH, RAH, followed by mew, mew, mew. My favorite moment was the night, Perry shouted at her, “Nobody will ever love you like I do, so you’re DOOMED!”
“Are we all?” I said to myself. “Aren’t we all?”
One day, Karen showed up at my door with her telephone in her hand. She had a push button phone while I still had a rotary dial. It was that long ago. She looked at my phone and asked if she could borrow it. I said, sure come on in, but she meant she wanted to physically borrow the phone itself to plug into her line and in exchange she would leave hers. My girlfriend was over that day and watched the whole thing. I told Karen that I would give her my phone on the condition that she tell me why.
“They’re trying to kill us,” Karen said.
Karen explained that drug dealers were angry at her and Perry and the drug dealers were now trying to kill them. Karen and Perry were working with the police to snare the drug dealers, but that the police couldn’t get a decent trace with the push button phone. Apparently, you needed a good old rotary dial to get to trace a phone call. I gave Karen my phone and she left hers with me. A short time later, Karen returned and we traded back to our original phones. For weeks, my girlfriend kept saying, “They’re trying to kill us,” and then bust out laughing.
I grew very fond of Karen and Perry. They might have lived on the edge, but they were warm and friendly.
One day, I came home from work just as Karen and Perry were leaving their apartment. Perry had a cast on his arm and the top of his head was bandaged. His face was covered with bruises and he had two black eyes. He looked awful.
“What the hell happened to you?” I asked.
“The owners of the club where Karen works, that is where she used to work,” Perry said, “they did this to me.”
“Why?” I asked.
“They wanted her to sell drugs for them, and you know, maybe do a little prostituting on the side too,” Perry said.
“I told them no fucking way,” Karen said. “I couldn’t believe they would ask me to deal drugs. Can you believe that shit?”
“I went to the club and told the owners to leave Karen along,” Perry said. “Four guys grabbed me and beat the fuck out of me.”
“They beat him with a LEAD pipe,” Karen said.
Shortly after Perry’s terrible beating, Karen and Perry moved out of their apartment. I was really sorry to see them go. I had gotten used to their wild lifestyle and liked that they considered me their friend.
“Where will you go from here?” I asked.
“We’re going back home,” Perry said. “Back where it’s safer, where life is not so fast and rough and people are kinder and more small town good.”
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“New Jersey,” Perry answered.