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Archives: Nov 2009

Regrowing my Walmart hymen

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

I haven’t set foot inside a Walmart in a decade. I refuse to. I don’t care about low wages, the destruction of small businesses, or the weight and girth of their other customers. I hate the company because I used to work for one of their stores. The last time I saw the inside of one was in 1999, when I ditched out halfway through one of my shifts, never to return again.

I was a college student working a summer job at Sam’s Club, a Walmart-owned warehouse club. It was the worst gig I’ve ever held in my history of employment, and that includes the three months I spent as a telemarketer and the six months I spent as a construction laborer cutting open pipes full of live cockroaches.

The problems started about a month after being hired. I entered the employee break room at lunch to find dozens of tiny comic books covering the tables. They were created by a local church to inspire kids to stay off drugs. Equally bored and intrigued, I read one.

The comic told a heartwarming tale of a teenage boy who, when coerced by friends, tried smoking marijuana. He very quickly became addicted to marijuana, as people are apt to do, and robbed a neighbor’s house at gunpoint to get money for more marijuana, as people are also apt to do. His violent, uncontrollable rage – a common side effect of pot smoking – caused him to murder the homeowner in the process.

A list of things I find disappointing

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

Today is Thanksgiving, or possibly later than Thanksgiving. I can’t be positive of the date, because our publisher’s drinking problem has been ramping up again, and until we find out which ceiling vent he has made his temporary home, the printing will have to wait.

His antics certainly keep things interesting. Last week, after downing one-third of a bottle of Apple Pucker, he refused to approve the college credit forms for our interns, and instead paid them in kisses. They accepted, but only because the flavored liquor made his kisses delicious. I guess what I’m really trying to say is everyone who works here has serious problems.

Regardless, Thanksgiving is upon us, and while I greatly enjoy the turkey and fixings, I’m still annoyed that this great feast comes at the cost of having to listen to people blather on about things for which they’re thankful. I despise this tradition, and find it to be a health hazard to sarcastic pessimists like myself. Last year, the person sitting next to me at Thanksgiving dinner had so much good cheer that I developed a nosebleed. I bled through three full napkins, and the gushing didn’t stop until his statement about how much he loved all of us was over. I nearly bled to death.

Modern Warfare indeed

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

These streets have a hollow echo. The slightest sound – a rustle of leaves, the call of a distant finch – bounces from wall to wall, leaving behind a trace of vibration and electricity. The city yearns to be alive, to be filled with noise and chaos, but there are no people here.

A light wind, almost soft to the touch, glides through the tunnels and alleyways of the city’s empty corridors. Once through downtown, it picks up speed in the manicured grass and uniformed houses of the suburbs, finally gusting out to the deep forests and thick brush of the true outdoors. There is no one to disrupt it or slow its course.

There is no one to buy coffee or newspapers. No one to smoke cigarettes or do crossword puzzles on the train. No one to ride the buses or drive the cars. No one to trigger the crosswalks or ride the elevators. No good mornings, no hellos, no how are yous. No fuck yous, no kiss my asses, no suck my dicks. Not even a cough, a sneeze, or a deep breath to break the complete, utter silence.

Yet if one listens closely enough, stands still for just one moment, a sign of human life can be heard. It doesn’t matter if one is in the dense city streets or the open rural areas. The sign is the same everywhere. It’s the faintest sound of gunfire, heard through a closed window, coming from a television set. For today is November 10, and everyone in the world is at home playing Modern Warfare 2.

You can’t stop me from drawing your cat

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

I’m going to draw a picture of your cat humping Michelle Obama, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Don’t try to stop me. It’s impossible. You see, our first amendment allows me to draw an unlimited number of pornographic pictures of your cat humping things. Granted, that’s probably not the use our forefathers intended, but it’s still legal, so suck it.

Yes, you heard me. I told you to “suck it.” Our first amendment also allows me to tell you to suck things, blow things, shove things up your bottom, and sit on your thumb and spin. But I’m not interested in that at the moment. I’m much too busy drawing this very inviting picture of your beloved cat rubbing its tiny cat penis against Michelle Obama’s leg for sexual purposes.

Does that anger you? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to anger you. Drawing pictures of your cat having consensual intercourse with Michelle Obama is just a hobby of mine. There are a lot of things a man can do with his time: Watch a football game, change the oil in his car, build wooden ships, fly a kite, trim branches that are nearing the roof of his home. But I’ve chosen to draw this picture of your cat humping the First Lady, because I hate you, and to some extent, your stupid freaking cat.

Hangover cures, and other things to teach your grandchildren

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

Everyone has their own hangover cure. Go to any restaurant or local dive around noon on a Saturday and find someone who looks like death, and they’ll likely be consuming their own magical concoction. Some go for Bloody Marys, others for greasy or sugary food, and those of faith often ask Jesus for help while promising hilariously outrageous lifestyle changes in return.

I once dated a girl who had her master’s degree in biology, and her hangover cure was to take two aspirin and two ibuprofen, checking carefully first to make sure neither of the products shared an active ingredient. I refuse to use this method because she’s now my ex-girlfriend, and in the two months we dated, I fear she may have been trying to kill me all along.

My personal hangover cure is a cheddar cheese omelet, a glass of water, a cup of coffee and a screwdriver. Eggs are light on the stomach but great at soaking up toxins, cheddar cheese doesn’t feel as harsh to my gut as American or pepper jack, water and coffee help hydrate and get rid of the fatigue, and the screwdriver removes the body’s alcohol withdrawal symptoms while using the orange juice to mask the taste of the offending spirits.

And if Denny’s won’t serve me a screwdriver, then I’ll make everyone who works there wish they had never been born. Even the janitor.