Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's the Fascination, Kenneth?

So I went to get shaving cream at Macy's and was greeted by a wall of people behind those metal jail bars for midgets that the cops use to cordon off protesters. As I walk by I notice the throngs of people are carrying signs or posters and cameras. I take a closer look and see that they're all carrying Mariah Carrey crap.

So I ask one of the cops what's up and he tells me Mariah Carrey is making an appearance in a few minutes. I shrug my shoulders, move in to Macy's, get my shaving cream and exit as far away from these losers as possible.

I say losers because, to be honest, anyone that is over the age of 12, who stands around in a crowd of people waiting to see a celebrity is a loser. That's right. It's not like the celebrity is going to change their lives. Mariah Carrey will get out of the limo, flash those fat thighs, maybe provide the porn sites with a nipple slip, certainly give the tabs more fuel for the "she's fat or pregnant" pages and then she'll do her thing, posing for press photos, maybe sign an autograph or two and move on.

And the 29 year old fat chicks and greasy dudes will live far more enjoyable lives I guess. Why not? They can now say they stood outside, rubbed asses with other dudes, whilst Mariah Carrey walked by and, guess what man, she looked at me. Seriously. She saw me and we made eye contact and if there weren't 500 other losers around, she weren't married, I wasn't a fat, unemployed stain on society, she wasn't Mariah Carrey, wasn't married, wasn't wealthy, talented and, some might say good looking (not me), she'd have asked me out man. Seriously. we had a moment there and I could see, in her eyes man, the way she looked at me, she wanted me. Bad.

What the fuck is the point? Why do people sit around so they can see, that's right see, a celebrity? I don't get it.

I waited over night, in the rain, for stones tickets when I was in college. It was one of those things, decided at 2 in the morning, when we were hammered and, probably, high on some for of narcotic, so we went, figuring, the stones are old, they might not tour again. Waited all night, made friends with the girls in front of us, thankfully, because they sold out when it was my turn to buy tickets and the girls asked us to go with them.

The last fucking row in the superdome. That's like sitting on the 75th floor of a building, staring down on the street. But they had speakers so we heard the music and I could care less about seeing those corpses prancing around on the stage.

I'd never stand around to get a glimpse of a celeb. Perhaps, because I live in a city filled with celebrities, and I see them wandering around from time to time, I'm no longer as impressed. There are those moments when I spot a celeb and I dial the wife or email a friend but only when it's a cool sighting like seeing the donger on the street or sitting in front of Abe Vigoda at a show, doing a double take upon seeing him and having him lean over and confirm that yes, indeed, he is still not dead.

Sure, I've seen them and, at times, spoken to them but only because the situation called for it. Richard Gere once approached me in a store because we were both killing time checking out stereo equipment and Alec Baldwin did exchange shoe advice at the Cole Haan store in East Hampton (he talks to everyone) and he did play with my daughter when she was hysterical one night in a restaurant but I'd never, ever stand around waiting to see him.

I tend to do the opposite when it comes to celebrities. I have no desire to bother them and, as such, I tend to move away faster than normal. What the fuck are Drew Barrymore and I going to talk about? Would she feel more comfortable if I stared at her?

No, she wouldn't.

So why the fuck are those folks still down there, an hour and a half later, waiting on Mariah Carrey?

To misquote the crazy fuck who assaulted Dan Rather, What's the Fascination, Kenneth?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm Off The Wagon and Paying For It

So, I decided to eat some carbs. Surrounded by bagels all weekend will do that to a guy. Plus, I've been carrying around a roll of sprees and a roll of bottle caps for about a month now, in anticipation of my ditching the diet for a few days.

I've been thoroughly enjoying myself. Bagels, rice, pop corn, the aforementioned candy etc.

After picking up a salad for lunch, adding all the things I never, ever eat, I decided to walk ten blocks to the only candy store in the vicinity that might actually sell bottle caps (I know this because I scoured the area yesterday when I ran out). Like a junkie seeking a fix, I marched uptown to the candy store and there, in the window, was the most glorious site. Row after row of Wonka candies. Wonka Bars, Pixy Stix, Runts, Spree!!!! Bottle Caps!!!!! and tons more.

I tried to contain my glee but I think I might have wet the shorts a bit and let out a small moan.

I bent down, scooped up fistfulls of the spree bottle cap rolls from their respective boxes and headed to the counter.

"should I pop one of these bad boys open now or wait till I get to the office?" I thought to myself.

"No, wait. You don't want to run into someone looking for a root beer flavored bottle cap."

So I showed some constraint. I waited. I ate my salad, I did some more work, I reached into the bag and pulled out a roll. I snapped the roll in half as I scoured the internet for ways to ingest bottle caps in a manner that will make them last longer, producing a stronger, longer lasting flavor. I fingered the round little morsel as I read about main lining sprees. I popped the little sugary happiness into my mouth, closed my eyes and bit down.

What the fuck?

Drool flooded my mouth.

My eyes watered.

My lips turned inward, into a most horrific scowl.

Did I just eat a rotten bottle cap? Is that even possible? Did Wonka add a new flavor - sour ass?

I look down at the roll next to my quivering hand.

Shockers? I bought shockers? Who the fuck stocked shockers in the spree and bottle cap boxes.

I emptied my bag o' tricks onto the desk.

3 rolls of sweet tarts, 1 roll of shockers, 1 roll of sprees and three rolls of bottle caps.

Now, do I walk back and swap out all the wrong stuff? No. Of course not. I love sweet tarts and the shockers, once you get over the initial, um, shock, are actually kinda good.

I'm still going back, just not returning anything.

After all, no junkie turns down drugs, he takes em and gets more.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Sad Price of Fame

So, my son starts his last year of pre-K today and, last week, the school inundated us with emails, meetings and so on. As a result of all this communication, mothers started talking, old friendships renewed, new friendships begun. In the course of all this activity, my wife found out that we have a celebrity in our midst. The temple itself has quite the roster of members, from Ron Perlman to Jerry Seinfeld but the school, well, that's not something we're used to so, when we learned that this rather well known actor's kids would be attending this fall, we got a mild thrill. His kids are both younger than my son so we'll have no real chance to bump into each other although I know a half dozen parents with kids in the older child's class so, perhaps, birthday parties might result in some chance meetings.

Then my wife ran into a friend she hadn't seen in a while and this woman tells her she has a kid in the celebrity kid class and the actor's wife approached her after their orientation meeting and asked if she'd be interested in getting a cup of coffee. Turns out the actor will probably never be seen at the school. He will not walk on the street with his children and he won't go out in public with them because he wants to keep them sheltered from the cameras and the paparazzi and all that crap.

My first reaction was "how sad it that?" Think about it. You have kids and you cannot experience walking down the street, holding their hand? You can't swing them with each third step? You can't take them to the zoo in Central Park or push them on swings in any of the parks scattered throughout the city? That's a shitty deal. That's not parenting.

Don't get me wrong, the woman wasn't complaining about his parenting or any such thing. She was merely pointing out that he won't be around as he doesn't want his kids to be hounded and he wants to keep the school free of that bullshit as well.

Then I started thinking about the many celebrities I've seen and met around the city. I've stood side by side with James Gandolfini as we both pushed our kids on swings. Spoke to him a bit as our kids ran around the jungle jim. Nobody was taking his picture. I met Sarah Jessica Parker at the ob-gyn's office (same doc as my wife). No photogs hanging around out front and she was with her son, who was about a month old. Kelly Ripa takes her kids to birthday parties, she doesn't seem to be surrounded by photographers. Granted, none of these celebs are anywhere near the star wattage that the guy I'm talking about is but, still, they're targets of the cameras and I've never seen them being bothered by the cameras.

Here's what I think. I think that Angelina Jolie enjoys the cameras. I think Lindsey Lohan calls the photographers to tell them where she'll be flashing her beaver that night and I think that, perhaps, in LA, things are different than they are here. In NYC there are a lot of famous people and most New Yorkers could give a shit. Thus, you can walk into the gross deli on 35th and 7th and see Nicole Kidman and her redneck husband buying meals for their crew or some other large group of hungry, not too picky, people. No shit, she was loading up food from the salad bar and nobody even noticed.

Now I want to befriend this guy so I can show him that it is possible to lead a normal life here in the big apple. All he needs to do is call Jerry Seinfeld and ask him how he manages to lead a normal life here without constantly being the target of all those cameras.

And for the record, no, I won't say who he is as his privacy deserves to be respected.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Viva Las Floogin..

The hangover is finally fading, the body slowly recovering from the lack of sleep and I'm now back at work and ready to talk about Vegas.

I know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Know why?

Me Neither.

It's a strange place. All neon lights and pretend tourist destinations. Who, in their right mind, picks a Vegas hotel over going to Paris, NYC, Egypt, Rome, Venice, etc is beyond me but, apparently, they do. This is why you drive thru the city and, as you gaze out the window of your car, it looks like you are scanning the pages of a travel brochure. It is truly strange.

And somewhat sad.

Driving thru the area felt like I was on a back lot at some Hollywood studio. It was like making a wrong turn in Disney's Hollywood Studios, and finding yourself in some after hours version of the park. Adults only.

Don't get me wrong, I had a blast. I saw college friends that I haven't seen in close to twenty years. I spent time with my college roommates and all my old partners in crime. I stayed out until after 6 am, we laughed our asses off. Some funny stories will never be told but they happened.

Of course, the group I was with would have had the same good time if we were in New Orleans, Houston, Anchorage, Des Moines. We didn't need the blinking lights and the bells and whistles of Vegas to have a good time.

Sure, being surrounded by hookers who want to grind and gyrate with you until you realize you might as well take her upstairs for the $500 because there are no freebies in the joint tonight.

I'm under the impression that every woman out at night is a prostitute. I'm not calling all women hookers. Not at all. I just think that every woman we saw during the time out there was willing to fuck for $500. That's right. I personally turned down more solicitations to bump and grind in one night than I've turned down in my entire life. Women hit on me but not with the frequency or the aggressiveness that every woman in Vegas hit on me and every other guy there.

They all want to party. They want to dance in your little VIP section, drink you always flowing booze, snort some of your drugs (if you got em), and they'll do this all night long, always reminding you that, at the end of the night, the entry fee to her club is $500.

OK, maybe they aren't all hookers. They might all figure, hell, I'm going to get fucked up with the guy, drink his booze, dance with him and snort his drugs. I'll probably end up fucking him anyway, maybe I can clip him for some coin too.

One of the guys in our group took home two girls that had been partying all night with some of the gang. When the fucking had ended, they asked for their money and he said he thought they wanted to fuck, not fuck him. He claimed to have had no clue they were hookers, told them he was tapped out, broke and he's sorry.

So they pissed on his leg (no shit) on left. No pimp showed up to break his legs or steal his luggage or hang him from the balcony until a friend came and grabbed some cash for him. This leads me to believe most girls in Vegas are amateurs. They charge for it but they often get screwed and fucked. A pro would have taken the money first. A pro would have had a better contingency plan than pissing on the guy's leg.

These women help make Vegas what it is. A flashy, soulless town.

Vegas is depressing. It has no history, no soul. Every city was built on something. Not Vegas. Built in the oppressive heat of the desert, built for the sole purpose of drawing people in and taking their money.

New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Paris, London, Rome, Venice, Munich, Tokyo, Moscow....Vegas.

Vegas is new, it's flashy, it's loud, sleazy, it's fuck, it's like being in a quiet restaurant on St. Barth's and being embarrassed by the loud group of drunk Americans at the next table. Vegas is that loud, embarrassing group. Vegas is to cities, what Texas is to states and what Americans is to people. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be an American but I know that, globally, when people think American, they think Texan. Loud, obnoxious, bit low on class, bit flashy, perhaps a bit sleazy.

I'm sure there are normal parts of Vegas and I know there are normal people there because I know a couple of them but, still, overall, it's a pretty fucked up joint and by living there, you are, to some degree, becoming part of that fucked up joint.

By the way, I've already booked my room for the next bachelor party in Vegas.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Proof That There Is No God, part 2.

Shortly after my daughter was born, my coworker, went into the hospital to have her baby. The day after the delivery she collapsed and died on the operating table. Aneurysm.
She was my age (34 at the time). She was overweight and borderline diabetic, before the pregnancy, administering insulin shots during the pregnancy. She was a high risk candidate for an aneurysm and the hospital totally fucked things up. This was the first time I had proof that there was no god. All this woman wanted was a baby. She tried for years with her husband before going the in vitro route. The first two times, it didn't work. Three times' the charm, they say and on the third try, she wound up pregnant. She enjoyed barely a moment with her son before being taken and, to this day, I can't understand how something like this can happen to someone so good, so nice and so fucking undeserving.

Well, today, I got another dose of proof.

My bookkeeper, who has been with me for a few years now, who buried her mother less than 6 months ago, thanks to cancer ravaging her body, found out that she, too, has cancer. She's had all kinds of ailments of late, heart issues, etc and each time she's gone to the doctor, she's come away fine. Not today. She had tests done a week ago and the doctor called yesterday, asking that she come in today. Never a good thing when they won't give you the news over the phone. I told her the doctor was probably looking to tag the insurance company for a complete visit, thus he wanted her in his office.

Sadly, this was not the case. She now faces the prospect of surgery to remove the disease and, if that doesn't work, well, she knows, all too well, what lies ahead.

This is a single mother, who has struggled to provide her daughter with a good home and a proper upbringing and, in August, she had the pleasure of driving her daughter to college for her freshman year.

She's now tasked with coping with the realities of this disease alone. I know her, she'll tell her daughter when she's ready, not wanting to worry her and not wanting her daughter to even consider leaving school to be with her.

She came to the office today, after the doctor's appointment because this is her second home. A place where she knows we'll do what we can to comfort her and she knows that we will do whatever it takes to make her smile, to forget, if only for a moment, that the same shitty disease that took her mother from her, is now in her, looking to do what it does best.

If there was some being out there, some forgiving deity who absolves you of your sins, he'd never, ever let someone like this get the fucking sniffles, let alone cancer.

Again, I'm left thinking that it doesn't add up. To put it in the most simple of terms, it isn't fair.

I've never been a big believer in god but I do hope there is one because nothing would give me more pleasure than, upon my death, being greeted by this guy, and then being evicted for punching him in the face.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The World's A Crazy Place Man, Right? It Is, Right Man?

I'm standing in front of my building, enjoying the sunshine, taking a break from my work (been here for a couple of hours). I'm standing there, watching the throngs of people heading towards their offices and I see this very tall, black guy walking against the flow of traffic. He's got his arms up and out and he seems to be motioning to, well, nobody in general but he's moving those arms like he's talking to someone, pointing out some important shit.

I look away and start my internal prayer "please walk past me...please walk past me...please walk past me..."

"He comes up with his hand out, looking for a shake. Sidles right up next to me and says "the world's a crazy place man. It's crazy, right? It is, right man?"

I give him a quick glance and agree that yes, indeed, it is crazy.

He asks if he should do it and I tell him I don't think so. I'm not sure what the fuck he's talking about but, to be honest, this dude was homeless and off his meds so whatever it is that he's thinking of doing, can't be good.

He's got his hand out, still waiting for that shake and now his shoulder is up against mine, he's bumping shoulders, talking about how crazy it is and how he thinks he should do it and I realize, I am going to have to shake this guy's hand or run like a mother fucker for my building. I grimace and take his hand, he gives it a quick shake and squeeze and says "you're right, I'm doing it"

Then he turns to face the flow of pedestrian traffic and I'm looking at him and he gives me a look that says "be discrete, don't look at me" and his eyes move to the crowd and then down to the ground. Back to the crowd, to me, to the ground. He wants me to follow his eyes so I do.

And I look to the crowd, then I look down at the ground where his eyes are and as my eyes pan down I see what he's going on about.

He's holding his fully erect cock, wrapped in his shirt, in his hand. His free hand is motioning around like he's pointing out something and he's gripping his cock, pointing it at the people walking past him.

I move to my left, he stands next to me, saying "I'm doing it, I'm gonna do it man, it's a crazy world and I'm doing it, man."

Now, I'm not sure what else he's doing but I have an idea and I don't want to be covered in it.

I start to walk towards my office, wishing him good luck and he's saying "c'mon man, come back, I'm doing it. I promise."

I left him standing there, holding his cock.

The world is, most definitely, a crazy place. More so now that I have met the man with the elephant cock who likes to stroke it for the crowded morning commute.

My day is complete.