Story Time

We Put the “Dumb” in “Dumbshow”

The reviews have started coming in for Far East, the show I just opened with last weekend. They have been uniformly tepid, which is fine; I long ago stopped being bothered by reviews. The ones that mention me kind of crack me up: one reviewer commented, “Skot Kurruk is fine as Bob.” Fine! Yeah! I’m passable! But even better was another, who wrote the immortal (to me) line, “Skot Kurruk was born to play the traitorous homo–in a good way.” I can’t wait until the fiancee reads this. “What . . . what does he mean?” she’ll stammer. And I’ll reply, “Honey, he read my soul. I am, in fact, a traitorous homo. I’ve already cleaned out the savings account, and have you met Clive?”

In truth, these reviewers did not catch the best show. In fact, the show they saw was a dizzying hellpit filled with enraged alligators, from my perspective. Here’s basically what happened.

We started off Act I pretty swimmingly; things were humming along with only a few hiccups: one guy dropped a couple lines, another fucked her blocking all up and ended up across the stage from a particular hat right in time for her line, “Here’s your hat.” But everyone covered fine, nothing was happening that was perceptible to the audience. At intermission, a few of us smoked confidently and chatted, while I inwardly reflected about how I was truly born to play this particular traitorous homo.

And Act II started fine, pretty much; although an actor mispronounced “Captain Stark” as “Captain Sharks,” but hey, it got a laugh. The usual opening jitters. And then there came my scene.

The scene is between my character Bob and his lawyer Hank. Don’t worry about why this is, but the staging convention had me on a stool, center stage, facing straight out to the audience, and the actor playing Hank was elsewhere on stage also facing full out to the audience (like I said, don’t worry about it, it was just some stylized staging). We started the scene, and “Hank” offered me a seat, and I said, “Thanks,” and sat down, and then “Hank” went up. “Went up” is theater-speak for “blanked the line.” I waited on the stool for “Hank” to say his next line, and all I heard was the actor’s limbic system going into freakout mode and the extraordinary sound of audible sweating. “Hank” remained silent, while I pondered the full ramifications of existential despair as I sat, stage center, in dead silence. Suddenly, “Hank” erupted into a ghastly froglike series of croaks that I eventually recognized as lines from the show, only these lines were half a page later. I mentally pictured the skipped-over lines dying like slugs on a salt lick, and they screamed, “Why didn’t yooou saaaaay uuuuusss? Weee are goooood lines! AAAAAaaaaaahh–!” Oh well, so we skipped ahead, at least the actor hadn’t totally vaporlocked. I said the appropriate line.

And the actor totally vaporlocked. I heard awful things from the other actor. First, furious swallowing and coughing. Then: “Well . . . uh . . . I need to think about this, Bob. Uh . . . I’m thinking, Bob . . . ” Trying desperately to stay in character while us, the audience, and probably passersby for a several block radius realized that the entire scene had fallen out of the actor’s head and was lying in a mess on the ground. It was hopeless. I paraphrased the actor’s line and threw it out there as a life preserver: “I turned myself in. Doesn’t that count for anything?” The actor pounced on it like a cougar on an abandoned baby. “Yes, you did, Bob. That was very brave. I’ll emphasize that.” Hey, we’re back on track! “Okay,” I said, and eagerly waited for the next line, which of course was not forthcoming, because the other actor was still trapped on Neptune, looking around thinking, “Boy, I don’t recognize this place, but it’s cold.” This was death. I fed the actor another line and got total radio silence. The actor kept making ghoulish throat-noises, and the vicious tang of flop-sweat was everywhere.

I really am not sure how we got through the rest of that scene without a big hook coming in from the wings to haul us off, but we did. I kept furiously making up leading questions, and the actor finally glommed on to one that led back to the scene proper and its by-now very clammy end, but it seemed to take eons. I felt like Voyager One, trawling the endless black nothing, occasionally letting out a plangent bleat, and hearing only a vast, cosmic “fuck you” of silence.

We finished the rest of the play without incident. And to be honest, the reviewers were mostly pretty kind about ignoring the obvious disaster; only one mentioned it at all, stating the perfectly obvious in case the rest of us had all gone crazy: “[The actor] does need to learn the lines.” What would we do without these helpful people? Anyway, so that was over. We had survived, if not prettily. Until the next night.

When it happened again.

Visual Club

Shows That I Can Unfortunately Watch At Any Time of Day

7:00 USA Network

JAG Rabb is joined by Mac to help defend their friend Comb against false charges. They are not helped by hostile Judge Berm or their suspicious commanding officer Admiral Yurt. Facing burnished Republicans at every turn, Rabb and Mac enlist the aid of CIA special agent Beet (Dabney Coleman). Also featuring Justin Bateman, Eric Bogosian and Danitra Vance as Gunnery Sgt. Womb.

7:30 FOX

Friends The familiar five friends disinterestedly read an old “Mad About You” script from metal folding chairs in front of one camera, and then rise up and hector the terrorized staff for “paychecks, fucking paychecks!” In this special one-hour episode, they all make foul, unwatchable movies, and weakly rail against their individual fates, which all clearly point to tedious, unnoticed deaths.

8:00 NBC

Law & Order An aging, ferret-gnawing detective and his younger, attractive, possibly ethnic partner discover a dead body of some sort and make trenchant observations about the perils of New York City life. While eating at a hot dog stand, one of the detectives gets an idea, and is seen running off determinedly, the hot dog forgotten yet symbolic of forgotten hot dogs. Various people lie, and then immediately come clean under the laser-like interrogation of either lizardy Michael Moriarty or maybe Sam Waterston, who has small stones in his throat to aid in digestion. Interchangeable female attorneys slink around uselessly, giving nothing away about the deus ex machina twist that will happen in the last five minutes, shocking everyone into a dazed walk to the elevators, where they will trade trenchant observations about the perils of New York City life.

8:30 FX

The X-Files Mulder and Scully investigate an eerie lagoon whose black waters appear to be harboring a mysterious creature that is claiming the lives of young women; Mulder suspects government conspiracy. Scully disagrees, snapping at Mulder, “You’ve got piles, and nobody likes you.” It turns out to be a dog. Whatever. Guest starring Bruce Vilanch.

9:00 CourtTV

NYPD Blue Andy is tossed between extremes of violence and grief as everyone he knows and loves is raped, tortured, killed, and then horribly defiled before his very eyes by a succession of frightening ethnic people. In an edge-of-your-seat confrontation with his boss, he at once seems to be lashing out while lacerating himself in the process, culminating in a savage mooning. A montage at the end showcases many side-boobs; tasteful luxuriating asses; and finally three minutes of Jimmy Smits listlessly masturbating on camera.


Coming Home From Work Is A Non-Heroic Unadventure Not Even Remotely Fraught With Danger

As I made my way home today–as always, on foot, it’s about a 20-minute walk, a distressing bit of exercise that I neatly negate by smoking a couple of cigarettes–I naturally encountered other good citizens of my fair city. They included:

The Couple Making Out

You know, it’s appalling enough to see people you don’t know mashing away just anywhere, but it’s really also very eerie to see them do it in the Starbucks parking lot. Not even leaned up against a car or anything: they were just going at it in an empty space. Did they imagine they would get towed elsewhere? Actually, there’s an idea–it’s a little tamer than my original fantasy, which involved sauntering over to them and hitting them with a pickaxe–Starbucks should tow them. “Kids makin’ out in the lot again.” A simple phone call, and then a beefy guy in a greasy t-shirt would drive up and swiftly attach a massive towing cable to the startled couple. “Hey, let us out of here! We’ll move!” they’d shriek, their passion taking a decidedly sudden downturn. “Take it up with the city,” the guy would grunt, and then he’d take off with a lurch, and you’d see the unfortunate couple dragging behind the truck, bouncing off the asphalt and howling like Pandemonium’s own PA system.

The Unnerving Not-A-Rapper

As I crested the hill and approached Broadway, my cardiovascular system shuddering and lurching like a poorly coordinated rugby scrum, I spotted a horrifying apparition. It was an unkempt figure, nearly six feet tall, with knotted dirty blonde hair flying this way and that, limbs keeping an uncertain, frenetic tempo modeled, seemingly, on the flight patterns of frightened hummingbirds. It held a soft drink cup to its lips, and screamed terrible rat-a-tat-tat near-rhymes and assorted ravings in rough accompaniment to the tempest ravaging its tortured body, using the cup as a megaphone, which was hardly necessary; the noise had several people in a nearby bus kiosk pinioned to the plexiglass wall, and they writhed helplessly. The figure capered a while longer, and somewhere grandmothers cried piteously, without knowing why; it was because of this awful shambling thing near Broadway. I turned away from the spectacle. I cannot discount the possibility that it was Joni Mitchell.

The Dead-Eyed Bank Shufflers

I had to use an ATM, and of course as I approached the bank, there were lines of people waiting to use them all. I took my place at the end, and patiently began becoming enraged with all of the other people failing to use the ATMs quickly and efficiently. I pride myself on this skill; being able to execute a rapid succession of neatly timed keypad punches at an ATM is, to my mind, one of society’s most underappreciated abilities. But apparently it’s only me, because, yes, this person was staring at the screen, definitely not punching any buttons, apparently befuddled by the dozens and dozens–no, strike that, six options available to him. You want a withdrawal, you wretched troublefuck! That’s all anybody ever wants! Press “withdrawal!” More monklike studiousness. Then the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw that the ATM inside the bank had nobody in line for it. What cruel trick was this? Nobody else seemed to notice or care; they were all boring holes into each other’s backs. So I skipped inside, got my money, and He Who Notices Things was on his way. Nobody else had moved.

The Cold Girl

I don’t want to dwell on this, because I don’t want to sound creepy or sexist or anything, but. As I left the bank, I approached a girl in a tiny little tank top, and it was cold out, so of course her nipples were plainly visible through the microgram of fabric she was wearing. And I saw them, and because I’m me, I was instantly consumed with a burning shame, and I flushed violently, and cursed myself for being a man who noticed a woman’s nipples, and snapped my head downward to stare at my shoes, and almost certainly became the perfect representation of the creepy guy who wanders around the streets in the daytime with nothing better to do than leer at womens’ tits all the time, and who should be killed. I kind of wanted her to punch me as she passed by, but she didn’t. So to the cold girl: I’m sorry I noticed your nipples. If it makes any difference, it made me feel just awful.

Nice Girl

There’s not much to say here except to note its bewildering improbability: a pretty girl smiled at me. Fresh from the psychosexual horsewhipping I had just experienced, I was reeling uncertainly down the street, and paused at a stoplight, which is always a good idea when you don’t feel like getting hit by many fast cars. So I was standing there spacing off, and I noticed a pretty girl looking at me from across the street, smiling. I performed my usual maneuver and immediately looked away, because, you know, girls are scary. I sneaked a look back. She was still smiling at me! Some poorly-trained lonely genetic algorithm clumsily managed to execute itself and cough out some Pig Latin instructions to my brainstem, and I feebly grinned back, a sad rictus. Her smile broadened. Then the light changed, and we passed each other, and the crazed ordeal was over.

I have, of course, a beautiful, wonderful fiancee, so I don’t want to make too much of this, because it’s really silly, but there you have it: it’s nice to be smiled at by a pretty girl. I dashed home to see if someone had tattooed a humorous joke on my forehead, or perhaps I’d grown a tiny, adorable new head that I couldn’t see, but it was just me.


That felt good. And with that, I’d like to publicly just remind my fiancee that I love her. If she wants, I’ll go make out with her in public.

Audio Club

Obscure Musical Milestones, In No Order

First album ever purchased: Abba’s Greatest Hits

First album ever quiescently listened to purely because a girl I liked enjoyed it, which was torture, because I found the music so terrible, and the artist’s name so mockable, but you undergo these things when you like a girl and hope that maybe something will happen, but needless to say nothing ever did: Peabo Bryson (title forgotten)

First album bought with at least dim understanding that though I enjoyed it, I knew somehow that it was really total garbage: Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Flaunt It!

First album listened to obsessively that has no rational explanation in the context of my personal tastes: Soundtrack, Jesus Christ Superstar

Second album listened to obsessively that has no rational explanation in the context of my personal tastes: Switched On Bach

First song ever sobbingly and drunkenly requested of a radio DJ to be played at 2:30 am in the wake of a horrible breakup, and which was indeed played, after which I called the DJ back to even more sobbingly and drunkenly thank him for playing, a memory which causes me searing psychological agony: Phish, “Fast Enough For You”

First album ever bought by an unknown band, a decision which was viciously mocked by my friend Nick because he thought the band members had idiotic names, which they did, but I turned out to be prescient, because they went on to be horrifically popular, and hey, it’s a pretty good album, so I got to eventually viciously mock Nick right back for years, and pretty much just lorded it over him for being so short-sighted: Guns ‘N Roses, Appetite for Destruction

First album listened to which actually, literally, made me feel like at that moment my life was changing in some undefinable way: Who’s Next

First album purchased in a frenzy of sudden need because of one single song playing over the store’s stereo even though I had never heard of the band because I grew up in fucking Idaho where popular culture is anything but: New Order, Substance (For the record, the song was “Ceremony,” which interestingly, many years later, in another record store, was again playing over the stereo, only this time it was a cover version by Galaxie 500, and I was again consumed with need, and immediately bought their 4-CD box set on the spot, basically because I am hopeless.)

First album bought for only one song on the baseless assumption that the rest of the album would be as great as the hit single, but of course was terrible and now this band is a punchline: T’pau

First album to ever provoke a friendship-threatening argument spanning many weeks, ultimately culminating in an uneasy truce where I realized, simply and sadly, that I now felt that the friend in question was somehow diminished by failing to appreciate it: XTC, Skylarking

First album ever purchased, and subsequently enjoyed until one day, out of the blue, I was struck with the sudden surety of the notion that it actally fucking sucked, bad, and was in fact, unhealthy to listen to, and was summarily violently destroyed: Billy Squier, Emotions in Motion

First song to start playing in the unstoppable jukebox in my mind after writing that: “Everybody Wants You.”

Bald-Faced Lies

A Casual Overview of Some Online Friends, Except That I’m Barking Mad


This guy is crazy smart and more than a little crazy himself. I liked his Feb. 2 post on hot chicks in planes. I can only imagine having sex with Loise Thaden, but Snark helps me imagine. He can kind of get out of control though, like when he calls John Gruden a “butt pirate.” That’s just not cool, Snark, but shine on you crazy diamond! Overall his site is, as Beerbohm Tree remarked, “Funny without being vulgar.”

Calamondin [site gone – ed.]

Before you ask, “calamondin” is Nepalese for “eat shit.” This wacky gal is quite the misanthrope, and sometimes it’s hard to read her crazed paranoid ramblings, but I love this woman, so I just usually get really drunk before surfing there. She runs some nutty-ass project called “20 Inch Thingies” and the less said about that, the better. You dirty girl!

Brad [ed. note: Brad’s site is gone, but this is a nice tribute]

For a manic-depressive, agoraphobic Christian hog butcher, Brad is pretty funny. He can kind of get a little one-note with the whole abstinence thing, but he tries to stay happy-go-lucky between court appearances. Once a year, Brad goes off his meds and runs around in a killing frenzy; his pet name for it is “Breaking Heads with Brad.” But you’re the best, Brad! I’m pulling for you on the extradition thing!

John 13

What can you say about John 13? He’s a story. It couldn’t have been easy being Manitoba’s first test-tube baby (the other 12 were tragically lost thanks to an errant hungry dog), but John persevered and now of course is Professor of Transgender Issues at Brown college. His weblog is kind of a sprawl, but the whimsical animated flower .gifs and hippie art can be childishly endearing. A movie was made about Johnny once called “The Boy in the Hilarious Canadian Bubble,” but he doesn’t like to talk about it, I think because the kid who played him was Ben Affleck, and how gay is that? (Whoops! Sorry Perfesser! You know I loves ya!)

Visual Club

How To Get Through Your Daytime Preview Theatrical Performance

  1. Get up at last possible minute. Practice morning ablution rituals with machinelike precision. Execute efficient coffee transaction. Discard cigarette 1 second before entering office doors, no strides broken. Arrive ten minutes late anyway. Feel stupid.
  2. Take note of tech people hurling themselves around the office, weeping brokenly and babbling in their creepy alien tongue, and occasionally bursting into flames. “Oracle! SQL! Down! Hardware! Two network drives! Fucked! Firewalls! Remote servers! Choking on vomit! Noam Chomsky!” Eventually tire of this puzzling scene, go to office.
  3. Read sweaty, dense emails from aforementioned incontinent tech staff. Finally decipher that all databases are somehow royally fucked all to hell, and might be for some time. Note with rising pleasure that this means it is basically totally impossible for any work to be done.
  4. Get bored, torture office mates. Hang sign on Tiny Administrative Girl’s office that reads “ACTUAL SIZE SHOWN.” Maliciously inform Caftan Guy in dark tones that the database was no doubt “a problem way, way down on the hardware end. I’m pretty sure a backbone got hit with a DDOS, because the staff is saying that the DNS issues here are propogating across multiple networks.” He nods sagely.
  5. Leave work early to walk to theater to get ready for inexplicable Wednesday afternoon preview performance. Greet other actors and note that they–a notably nocturnal species–look kind of grey and wilted in the bright sunlight, like old mushrooms left forgotten on a countertop. The sun beats down with oppressive, cheery wrath; enter the vaguely sinister dank theater for refuge from the awful sleet of photons.
  6. Greet tech staff, who are performing their mysterious preshow functions while gabbling amongst themselves. Like the tech staff at work, these are freakish, incomprehensible beings with a chittering, insectoid language. “Leko fresnel!” Or something. Then, incredibly, someone on a ladder says something murky about Phoebe Cates, and everyone laughs. What? Run downstairs.
  7. Walk into dressing room, immediately deal with the psychic strain of inadvertantly being presented with fellow actor’s bare ass, pointed directly at you as he bends to change pants, as if it were some sort of siege weapon from a William Burroughs novel. Note also that actress in next room (actually just a curtained-off area) is singing along to Sting’s “We’ll Be Together.” Hazily think that God really did exist, He would probably be a lot like Adam Sandler.
  8. Shave angry, overshaved neck, while fellow actors struggle with their ties. They look like clumsy fishermen wrestling with handfuls of madly thrashing eels. Stare at own tie, which you realize appears to be a sophisticated homage to quantum string theory. Actors, for no explainable reason, cannot dress themselves.
  9. Perform! Huzzah! It’s showtime! Aaarooogah! It’s two o’clock on a Wednesday! There’s twelve people in the audience, including the director, who is furiously writing a note chastising you for some awful, bumbling thing you just did! Also, there’s the twisted local amateur drama critic, who is writing down a cutting remark about your belt, for some reason! Listessly wander through rest of show. The acting all around is half-speed and blunted. Receive perfunctory applause at curtain call.
  10. Immediately feel nine times better upon removal of costume. Note sudden re-animation of rest of cast, exactly two minutes after leaving the stage, where it was so desperately needed. Reflect: this is why you never, ever go to the preview performance of a show.
Job, My Stupid

Trying Not to Feel Awful About Trying to Feel Better

An ergonomist is coming to our office today. I can’t tell you how non-excited I am about this. Well, I guess I can try. So: I am fully unstoked and highly nonmotivated to have this yutz jabber about “micro-exercising” and “living our breaks.”

This bologna-head has visited us before. In fact, I was the poor bastard who got to be the object of his demo; I sat at a workstation and typed while he grinned through an unfortunate moustache and made pithy comments re: my life-draining work habits. “Watch your wrists! You’re causing micro-pressure on your capillaries!” Jesus, so fucking what? I drink and smoke. Oh heavens, my capillaries! “See his posture? Let’s adjust your lumbar bulge.” I panicked for a moment, thinking I was living some hallucinatory pornographic film script, but then he pulled a lever on my chair and wedged something terrible into my lower back. Maybe I was in a porn film. “HANH!” I yelled. “Isn’t that better? Now you’re sitting up.” Of course I’m sitting up, you dick; it feels like there’s a medicine ball pressing on my ass. You’d sit up too.

The thing is, there is no such thing as an ergonomist. It’s just a bullshit term for people who are manically and unnaturally interested in things like chairs. Basically, they are people who just want to tell you what to do, even if they (and we) know that once they leave, we will immediately forget everything they just told us. Because people like this never tell us anything that makes a fucking lick of sense. “You have to remember to take breaks from your workstation to avoid strain.” Let me get this straight: you get paid to instruct office workers to take breaks? I want a job like this. Maybe in the porn industry. I’ll wander around to film sets. “You have to remember to perform fellatio on me.” Or they ask inane questions: “Do you use a wrist pad with your keyboard?” “Yes.” “What’s it made of?” Oh, the usual: badgers. Yes, live badgers. Connie over there prefers a bar of white-hot metal, herself, but I favor the gentle touch that you can only get from live badgers.

Feh. The ergonomist will be here soon, and I’ll probably be the show ape for the damn circus again. “You’re striking the keys way too hard, pal!” he’ll croon, and I’ll be forced to breezily reply, “Oh, I’m just sublimating my desire to fuck my mother and kill my father!” And then I’ll tear my eyes out. “Eyestrain is a very common problem in the workplace,” he’ll observe. And the rest of the office staff will numbly nod their heads in agreement, not listening, just waiting for their next break.


Coprophagia Can Enhance Your Travel Experience

Because we are incredibly unique people with rarefied tastes, my fiancee and I are making the shocking decision to honeymoon in Europe. I know, I just freaked everyone out, but we are. Go ahead, Mr. and Mrs. Joe American, have your tired old Qatar, your played-out Liberia, your faux-frisky Laos! Fuck that, we’re funky! It’s crazy Europe for us!

Specifically, we’re planning on going to Belgium, but I haven’t yet secured the tickets, but only because the airline industry is a rat-chewed bunch of malevolent crotch-kickers whose sole aim in life is to make planning air travel an incomprehensible, tedious, life-destroying debacle that makes Prometheus look like a contemptible loafer sunning himself on a fucking rock all day with his adorable pet cockatoos and his nonstop triple martinis, because fuck you, regenerating liver! At least he was heroic; he gave us fire. What does Expedia give me? Nine hundred dollar fare quotes and a deep, abiding despair, that’s what. Any of the services–they’re all identical–are basically like experiencing Kafka as interpreted by Disney. Baffling, vicious bureaucracy methodically meting out cruel punishments served up with straight-faced outrageous gall in a world where nothing makes sense and the only real assurance one can count on is the simple feeling of pain, but in a cute way. Sound familiar? Yes, exactly, standing in line for the “It’s A Small World” ride, and buying plane tickets off the net.

Because of course travel agents don’t exist any more, and you can’t even get into the airport any more without tickets, ID, and a wholly subdued sense of moral outrage. “Can I see your ID?” “Sure.” “All right. We’ll need to scan your luggage.” “Okay.” “Now eat this dog turd.” “WHAT?” “I want you to eat this dog turd before I let you go sit desolately to wait for your late, crowded plane.” “Why? Why are you doing this to me?” “New rules.”

You examine the little horror. It’s wrapped in foil, which you notice is embossed. It says “EXPEDIA!” Down the hatch.

Freude, Schaden

Worker Productivity Takes A Palpable Hit Courtesy of Us

Ah, Friday. Here at work, the office is abuzz with anything other than work. I just took a leisurely stroll around to casually violate people’s privacy. This is a report on my suck-ass goldbricking coworkers who make me feel better about my own flagrant nonwork. Names have been changed to mean-spirited denigrations to protect their privacy and to amuse me.

Bosslady: Eating candy, staring at pictures of cute dogs on the net. Okay.

Nearly Life-Sized Administrative Girl and Flailing New Guy: Improbably, they are having a lively discussion about square roots. I’m not kidding. This creeps me the fuck out, so I hurry along before I can hear more.

She Who Is Why We Cannot Cure Cancer: The less said here the better. She and Caftan Guy (see earlier entry) fight a pitched battle on some nameless astral plane for possession of the One True Tarnished Tin Crown of Celestial Idiocy. Anyway, she’s doing a crossword puzzle on the web. Well, sort of. She has two entries completed, and looks haggard from the effort.

Former Bosslady: Actually working. This is intolerable. So I perform one of my favorite office stunts and pretend to pass out in her office. I simply walk in and then roll my eyes up in my head and collapse bonelessly on the floor. She giggles, but ignores me, as she’s seen this trick before. I lie there for two whole fucking minutes waiting for a better reaction, which I finally get from Hippie Throwback Gal, who is passing by. “Is Skot okay?” she asks Former Bosslady. “He’s an asshole,” replies FB.

Hippie Throwback Gal: When not busy inquiring about my medical condition with what I must say was a rather mild unconcern, HTG was visiting Former Bosslady to ask if she had seen some “adorable” dog pictures on the net. Yes, the same site that Bosslady was looking at. I feel like there is invisible machinery all around.

Sleepy Gay Fellow: I admire people who don’t even pretend to work. His monitor is off and his feet are on his desk; this is the defining Jesus Christ Pose of the modern office worker. He’s on the phone with a friend; this is the only snippet of conversation I heard: ” . . . just get plowed tonight . . . “

Caftan Guy: Depressingly, but totally unsurprisingly, not at his desk. So, of course, not working, for which cancer patients everywhere should breathe a prayer of thanks. He is almost certainly in the bathroom loudly delivering a fresh payload of gut-bombs. I shudder, and hurry past his cubicle, feeling like a kid walking past Crazy Mrs. MacNutter’s haunted mansion.

Tall Girl Who Likes Horses, And That Is My Sum Total Knowledge of Her: Leaving. Me: “Have a good weekend, Jenny!” Her: “Jeannie.” Well done, Skot.

Nice Girl Whose Last Name Has An Onomatopoeic Ring Not Unlike A Rubber Boot Sinking Into A Mudbank: She’s instant messengering mash notes to someone (I see the phrases “thats so hot” and “mmm”), hopefully her husband of one month. If so, Awwwwwww! If not, Ewwwwwww.

Bosslady of Other People: Staring at an email and idly fingering a brightly-colored frog toy. I briefly think, “I work with a bunch of goddamn nutfucks!” but then recall that I enjoy pretending to faint in other peoples’ offices. Move on.

Woman Reminiscent of Elsa Lanchester: Internet dogs. What the fuck? Flee.

Caftan Guy update! He’s back at his desk. Whoop, to get his coat. No, he’s leaving. I guess the bathroom has been sufficiently napalmed. He flashes me a peace sign and I bare my canines.

Girl Who Is Constructed of Only Elbows: Just returning from getting coffee, and I almost run into her. She backs up, waving her elbows and apologizing. I pass by, and she returns to her cubicle and sits down on her elbows, vibrating in some vague way. She kills me.

Newish Woman: Actually working. She’s new, and wants to make a good impression. She’ll learn the ropes.

Me: Typing up this crap. Learned the ropes long ago. Clearly: not working. Happy Friday.

Freude, Schaden

Self-Mutilation As Scotch-Delivery Strategy

When cooking chicken, as with anything, presentation is important. When removing the skillet from the oven, place it carefully on the stove top.

Then remove the chicken breasts to a platter to rest while you prepare the pan sauce. Tent the chicken lightly with some foil, and then turn around to the skillet on the stove. Grip its 450-degree handle with your bare hand. This is important, and it’s a step sadly neglected by many chefs.

With the skillet now firmly in hand, take a millisecond to realize what a goddam moron you are. You can do it! Then simply drop the radioactive goddam fucking skillet onto the kitchen floor; when done properly, white-hot beads of chicken fat should fly onto the floor, the cupboards, your pants, and maybe your small child. Scream.

I want to emphasize this. Your scream is very important; it should reflect your basic personality. What are you going to scream? Is it “FUCK!”? Is it “FUCKING FUCK!”? Own your scream. Personally, mine is the very evocative syllable “GAAAAAA!”

The scream serves many functions. One is to alert the neighborhood that you are a moron who grabs incredibly hot objects. Now they know. Another function is to scare your significant other witless and then cause her to run about distractedly bringing you wet towels, Advil, scotch, ice, Neosporin, scotch, more ice, and panicky medical advice. Take a moment to appreciate your significant other and her concern for you, and remember for the future that if you’re ever feeling too lazy to go pour yourself a scotch, you could always just burn yourself severely, and she will come running. Good to know.

Later, after dinner (during which your tireless significant other was pressed into service to cut up your chicken, which made you feel five years old), mewl softly into successive scotches and melt thirty-six bags of ice in your hand. It’s all part of the process.

Tomorrow, the real fun begins. In the shower. After you’ve kind of forgotten that you’d burned your hand. Make sure the water is extra-hot. And oh, you’re going to need that scream again.