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Archive for November, 2014

The play’s the thing

A couple of weeks ago, my kids’ classes had a field trip to watch a Berenstain Bears play.  And while I could probably go on for a few thousand words about the play itself, I’m just going to take a deep breath instead and try my best to forget it.  No, fuck that – a couple quick complaints before I get to the point of this post.

First, they didn’t look like fucking bears!  The one thing I prepared my kids for was that the people on stage were going to be dressed as bears.  Nope, just fake bear ears and some fur on their shoes – that’s it.  So when they walked out on stage, the very first emotion that my (and many other) kids experienced was good old disappointment.  Way to go, assholes.  (At least I got to make a joke about them having the right to “bear arms” to my lovely wife, who rightfully shook her head at me.)  The second thing I’ll say about it should tell you all you need to know about the quality of the performance.  At one point of the play during a shoehorned-in storyline about eating healthy food, Mama Bear says to Papa Bear, “You’ve got so much fluff on your tummy that you’re gonna bust your pants!”  There were a couple of low chuckles in the packed theater.  Then she launched into a song that – if memory serves – consisted almost entirely of repeating, “You’ve got so much fluff on your tummy that you’re gonna bust your pants.”  Thankfully it ended at some point.  But wait, there’s more!  For the curtain call, guess what they went back to?  Yep, everyone’s favorite song about barely bear-clad people having fluff on their tummies.  So in their minds, this was their best work and it deserved a reprise.  Whew, I feel a little better now.  Here’s what I planned on writing about:

So there we are, hundreds and hundreds of small children and parents, filing into a theater.  It was so clearly obvious that this was for a children’s play that I went the other way and thought, “What’s the least likely thing that this group would be here for?”  Why would I think about that?  Because I was preparing myself to make a joke to the next usher I saw, and because I’m Peter.  Hi.  My first thought was Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.  Not just because it’s a very bloody and violent play, but because it has this famous stage direction: “Enter…Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out, and ravished.”  I loved the idea of pretending that I thought our group was there to see that play, but it required a certain level of knowledge on the joke recipient side that I wasn’t banking on.  And “Andronicus” isn’t easy to say.

We were almost to the door and I saw one final usher on our path, so I had to make my decision quickly.  Something came to mind and I went with it: “So this is the line for Equus, right?”  I got the worst possible response to an attempt at humor: “Excuse me?” Because nothing is funnier than repeating an obscure joke that already had about about a 30% chance of working!  I repeated myself and got a half-smiling, half-confused look.  My lovely wife chimed in with, “He’s just making a joke.”  She nodded, and we were off to our seats.

I still think that choosing the full-frontal, horse-blinding play by Peter Shaffer was a good call, but I realize my main flaw: I foolishly stuck to plays just because I was at a theater.  I could’ve chosen any number of events, from concerts (i.e. Insane Clown Posse) to movies (i.e. “Caligula”).  Regardless, whatever I chose in jest most likely would’ve still been better than hearing a song (twice!) about the superfluous amount of god damn motherfucking fluff on their non-ursine tummies.  I’m ok.

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So here’s the deal: I still have thoughts – sometimes even multiple ones a day – but I fell out of the habit of turning them into blog posts.  I’d like to correct that, but I make no promises.  At this very moment though, I feel like I should be able to start cranking these out again more frequently than a couple of times a year.  Sound good?

Last week, I was grabbing an iced coffee from the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf across the street from my office.  On my way out, I saw an acquaintance who works in the same area sitting with someone, and we exchanged pleasant smiles and waves.  The next day, she called me on my work phone.  “It was so funny that I saw you there yesterday,” she began.  “I was sitting with (insert name), and he just left his position as (title) at (company) and asked if I knew of anyone who would be a good fit for it.  I looked up, and you were standing right there!”  I thanked her for that and asked to hear more about the company and the position.  She gave me a little info, and it didn’t sound like a good fit based on the location or the actual job duties, but I said, “Ya know, it never hurts to talk to people, so sure, I’d be interested in learning more.”

She said that it would probably be better (or more impactful) if it came from her recommending me instead of me seeking it out myself, so I said I’d email her my resume.  Then she asked, “Ok, so what’s your salary – what’s your best number?”  I immediately had two thoughts: first, that’s kind of forward of her to ask, but I guess she wants to see if it even makes sense to make the introduction.  And second, that was an interesting way to ask that particular question.  But I went for it and said something like, “Well, I’m currently making X but expect to be at around Y in the coming weeks, plus an annual bonus.  I say ‘coming weeks’ but it should certainly be no later than the end of the calendar year.  That said, I view flexibility, location, and benefits packages all as forms of compensation, so that number could fluctuate a little.  That’s why I’m interested to learn more about what they’re offering, what the day-to-day responsibilities are, etc.”  I may have rambled on for longer, but I don’t recall.

What I do recall, however, is her response: “(chuckle) Uh, I, uh, asked for your cell phone number.”  Oh.  I played her original question back in my head and found my mistake.  She had actually asked, “What’s your cell – er, uh – what’s your best number?”  “Cell – er uh” sounds an awful lot like “salary” when talking about job duties and responsibilities, especially if you’re a moron.  So I responded the only way I could: “Well, I guess I’m feeling pretty open with you.  My CELL PHONE NUMBER is…”  She chuckled again, and we said we’d be in touch.

I was telling this story to a friend at work, and she said, “Why didn’t you ask her to repeat it before answering?”  “Because I thought I heard her just fine!  You don’t ask people to repeat things when you already know what they asked!” I replied.  She understood.  “But why didn’t she cut you off and save you from your whole salary speech?”  She had me there.  “I guess,” I said, “she just wanted to sit back and see how far I’d go.”  Well, she certainly learned her lesson: when it comes to erroneously running with misinformation based on hearing something incorrectly, I’m practically Flo Jo.

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