Saturday, September 6, 2008


Time: 2008
Place: Atlanta, GA

I was in a bookstore when the janitor came up to me with a big smile on his face and asked, “Do you like Science Fiction?”

“Not so much,” I said.

“Well, let me ask you this,” he said. “What would you do if you could be invisible for two hours.”

I was immediately impressed. The janitor had just asked me what must be one of the best conversation starter questions of all time. The way he approached me, smiling, easy going, eager to talk, indicated that he must ask this question all the time.

“I would visit every women’s locker room and changing room I could find,” I said.

“Not me,” he said. “I would go out on a football field in the middle of a NFL game.”

“But wouldn’t be in danger of getting clocked?” I said. “Especially since none of the players would see you. They’d run right into you without knowing you were there.”

“Wouldn’t matter,” the janitor said. “I’d be in the middle of all that excitement. It would be worth taking the hit. Besides, I’d tackle one of them first. They’d never know what hit them.”

I wondered if maybe he came up with the question because so often the janitor is invisible to the people who pass by him.

“You know what most people say?” he said, which proved to me that he had asked many others the invisible question. “They say they’d go to the bank.”

At first, I thought that was a stupid answer because the bank tellers would see the money floating away. However, the janitor never explained the ground rules. Let’s assume your clothes are also invisible and maybe you get to carry a large invisible canvas bag. In that case, stealing money or anything else is a good answer.

“Forget the money,” I said. “I want to see naked women.”

The janitor laughed and he went back to work, no doubt keeping one eye open for the next visible customer to whom he could ask his question.


jessica said...

Oh, man, what a fabulous picture.

And you and I already had a discussion face-to-face about what I'd do if invisible. I'd steal shit. The problem is that the shit I'd steal wouldn't BE invisible, so money, or expensive clothing, or jewelry, would appear to float across the room, thereby rendering it stoppable by security people.

"Okay," you say. "You've got a bag that makes stuff in it invisible, and the bag's invisible."

"How big is the bag?" I ask.

"It's a big bag."

Right ON. Invisible, I steal shit.

Sparkle Plenty said...

If I were invisible, I would single-handedly achieve world peace.

What's that? This ain't the Miss America contest? And, it ain't even POSSIBLE to achieve world peace if you're invisible? Okay. Maybe it might be fun to just mess with people then. Like, run by them holding coffee cups and stuff.

I respect the locker room idea, but I don't really want to see a bunch of naked men or women (too much work now that there's an internet and all, too lazy). I dig Jessica's idea, but I have the terrible feeling I'd go all blank if I were able to go on an invisible five-fingered discount spree. Or, I'd waste the whole day looking at stuff and thinking, "I don't have anything that goes with that," "That would make me look fat." Then I'd steal some socks and hate myself. Probably throw them away 'cause they were lame "guilt socks."

So fergit it. I don't even wanna be invisible. I just want some flubber so I can slam-dunk once in my life.

(Love this story, love that janitor, and that is a good question.)

Mickey Dubrow said...

Actually, you bring up another conversation starter question.

What would you do if you had flubber for an hour?

I would jump up and down next to an office building that has high level window washers and try to talk to them. "Hey..." BOING "How's it going?" BOING "Nice weather we're having." BOING "Is that a new squeegee you're using?" BOING

No Name Me said...

Reminds me of the story of the Ring of Gyges (sp?). Why wouldn't a person steal, or covet, or run around a football field naked if there were no consequences? So asked the Greeks.

Man, those Greeks, always thinking. And those comic book guys. They had something in common.

Hope you are well! We are heading out to DC then are back a week before NY and then back a week before Chicago. I'm going to need stock up on pills.

Bee said...

I'd stalk old boyfriends

Bee said...

I'd get on planes and ride for free

Mickey Dubrow said...

I agree about stalking old flames. I'd follow old girlfriends around and when an old girlfriend was with her new boyfriend, I'd whisper in her ear, "He's okay, but Mickey was so much better. I should have been nicer to him."

jessica said...

OMG, Bee, I want the "plane rides for free" one, too! I just priced two trips for January and February, and being invisible would be so great! (Where would we sit, though? If we sat on the jump seats, would the flight attendants have to sit on us, and would they know?)