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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Maybe I Should Reevaluate

I am standing on Hennepin Avenue, waiting for a bus.

Hennepin, as you may recall, is the only street in the world where I have been mistaken for a prostitute.


Today, however, I am not mistaken for a prostitute but an ATM.

“Do you have any change?”

I look at her.  “Yes,” I deadpan.

"Can I have some?"


She moves on to the next person.

By the time the bus arrives, I have been standing in the sun for a full 40 minutes -- which, by the way, is enough time to freckle yet retain office pallor.  

It is a good ten minutes into the ride that I realize that this is not my beautiful bus (with apologies to The Talking Heads).  The funny thing is that, once you’ve boarded a bus, there’s no real way of knowing what bus you’re on.  I mean, sure, you could ask someone, but where’s the sport?

Behind the bus driver is a wall of bus schedules.  I’m on either the 18 or the 11.  The 18 would’ve dropped me off a few blocks ago.  The 11 takes me roughly 12 blocks from home.

Eventually I de-bus and point my feet in the correct direction.  Less than a block in front of me is a weathered man dressed for urban camping.  He appears to be speaking into what may or may not be a walkie-talkie.  

When I reach him, I stop, look at what he's looking at. On the ground, lying in the grass and reaching for the hedge there is a white squirrel.  He is perfect, no trauma, and yet he is dead.  

“He is never going to reach that hedge,” I say.

The man with the walkie talkie gives me a stern look.  “But ya just gotta keep reaching, right?”

And I walk home thinking about that.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Oh, Just Shut Up and Lie Down Somewhere

I’ve been sitting here for, oh, three days or so, breathing through my mouth and contemplating a future in voice-over.

Surely everyone would be as amused as I with my voice?  Somewhere between the croak of a hungover amphibian and the creak of a rusty hinge, I amuse myself intermittently with “Ave Maria” and my impersonation of me, with a cold.

“What’s that, Pearl?  You’d like some cough syrup?  Ha ha ha!  You don’t have any!”

Apparently Prior Pearl has failed Present Pearl in this.

She will be spoken to. 

Through the advances of technology, of course, I am no longer just sick, but I am now Sick and Working From Home, or as we in the business like to say, “Swiffing”.  Working in this state leads directly to emails that begin “Come in, Tokyo!” and end “Hugs and Kisses, Pearl”.

I may be exaggerating.  Or maybe not.  I worked until 10:00 last night, and who knows what those last few emails said?  Sure, I could check; but what’s the fun in that?  Better I wait for a response – or some sort of communique from Human Resources.

In the meantime, Dolly Gee Squeakers (formerly of the Humane Society Squeakers) is confused.  She crawls in and out of the backpack in which I brought the laptop home, mews piteously at her food bowl (which is only three quarters of the way full), walks from the couch to the dining room table back to the couch in hopes that I will join her.

Cats.  What do they know, huh?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Nature’s Bounty; or What’s with the Discarded Hair Ties Everywhere?!

The streets are full of promise for those clever enough to watch for it.

Take, for example, hair ties.  Why, if a gal plays her cards right, she may never buy an elastic hair tie again.  And as someone who regularly pulls her hair into a my-hair-turns-to-baling-twine-in-this-humidity yoga braid – much like your common, everyday braid but with more sweat – I gotta say, let the savings begin!

I mean, look around.  Bus stops, intersections, sidewalks.

Who are these people?  Clearly they’re on their way somewhere.  Is that them, over there, the ones with the flowing locks?  Is it those folks over there, the ones with their hair in their faces?

Why do these people hate hair ties?

Or perhaps, the hair ties are migrating.  

Maybe they’re tired of that mop you call a head of hair and have just quit, maybe thinking of going into a bit of light cinching. 

Perhaps, after a life of living in the cough-drop, Kleenex, hand sanitizer confines of a purse they’ve finally absconded of their own accord.

Most of the time, I am alone when the ground ties make themselves known to me.  And I always feel that the experience would be so much more enhanced – if you can believe that! – if there were someone with me.

“Look at that,” I’d say.  “Another free hair tie!”

And then that person would shake their head sadly.  “Oh, Pearl,” they’d say.

And then I’d just tap the side of my nose and wink.  Because I’m the one with the free hair ties.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Morning on the Bus with My Peeps

The woman on the bus is taking up some space. 

She sits across the seats as if stretched out in the back of my old Ford LTD.   Her feet extend into the aisle, and those of us boarding – a term also used in the air transportation business, I believe – clear her boots gingerly.

She is rough looking, perhaps she has slept outside.  Her age is difficult to guess, her skin sun damaged, her eyes hard. 

I grumble internally, briefly, as I ponder the hubris.  The bus is full, as I have taken the second to the last seat.  If anyone wants to sit, they will have to ask her to move; and this being Minnesota, I’m guessing only one out of 20 would.

We don’t like confrontation.

But we will grumble to ourselves.

I judge her for a minute or two.  In the end I decide that perhaps this is all she has, the imperious demand for not one but two seats.  She’s only going to pay for one, dagnabbit, but she’s taking two.

I shrug, internally.  So have two.

There is a clatter at the front of the bus, and I watch a smiling, dimpled man in a suit, a recent immigrant from India, chase a water bottle.  For the next 30 seconds I watch as the thermos rolls, just ahead of his outstretched hands.  Out of his bag, it rolls under his seat, across the aisle, under two more seats to where it finally rests next to the duffel bag that Two Seats has on the floor.

He straightens up.  He smiles, says something I cannot hear and leans in to pick up the bottle, whereupon he returns to his seat.

And she smiles, slowly, pulls a phone out of her pocket and begins texting.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Have You Seen the New TV Shows? Me, Neither.

I’ve been without cable for almost two years now.  

I have access to about 14 channels, depending, I swear, on the season.  Whole channels disappear for months at a time.  I will miss Mystery Science Theatre when the axis tilts, but if I have to flip by Hunter again — a renegade cop who breaks all the rules! — I may be forced to do something radical, like starting another afghan or replacing the quarter-round in the living room.

At my place, Laugh-In is still playing (and John Wayne is dressed as a large blue bunny), the What’s My Line's panel is dressed in evening wear, there are three different weather channels, and I have the choice of four PBS channels (two if you expect them to have both audio and visual for the full show). 

Then again that’s just the winter line-up.  In the summer there is Celebrity Bowling, where you can watch Roy Rogers and Bob Newhart play against Richard Dawson and Charles Dierkop.

Roy Rogers is a helluva bowler.

It’s the 40s in my house.  And the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.  

It’s so many decades but the current one.

I sometimes watch Let’s Make a Deal.  Monty Hall gives out $10 apiece for bobby pins, and I clap when women pull them out of their purses. Women wave manicured hands along the lengths of Cadillacs, wearing pantyhose under their stylish 1970s swimsuits. Adorably self-conscious men and women blush when he asks their names, look to each other while deciding if they will go with what's behind Door A and Door B with a lack of guile now found only within dog parks.  

On my TV, there is no plastic surgery.  I watched Dick Cavett interview Shelley Winters the other day.  She was plump and wrinkled, and apparently she had done her own hair.  I almost wept with relief.

Frankly, it’s starting to affect my life.   I've taken up mending and sipping hot drinks from large cups.  I'm thinking of smoking just so that I can do it from a cigarette holder.  I'm wondering if a cocktail party would be out of order and if I could get a go-go dancer for it.

I recently watched a game show where a contestant answered a question with “Carole Lombard!” and I, from my couch, Dolly Gee Squeakers (of the Humane Society Squeakers) at my elbow, shouted,”Good effort!” because, it was.  It was a really good effort, but the answer, ladies and gentlemen, was, of course, Eva Gabor.

Eva Gabor.

That cocktail party is looking better and better.

Friday, March 10, 2017

It Was Either That or A Tote Bag

Every now and then, we here at Acme Gravel and Sprockets take a quiet moment to reflect that, hey, there are worse jobs.

Delivering food on roller skates, for example.  Or crime-scene sanitation. 

Or working where Margaret does.

“Don’t,” she says, “Tell anyone where this came from, but this is a gen-u-wine email from our VP.  Oh, and don’t tell them I work at Global Stickers.”

Sure, I say.  That’s safe with me, Miss Margaret Olson, 5248 Lefse Boulevard.

Random Capitalization and Punctuation included for your Pleasure.


Recently I noted on the company bulletin board that the TPS reduction goal for 2016 was met!  This was a great accomplishment.  We here at Global Stickers had committed to providing a Pizza Party to the Company in the event we reached our Goal, and since we did, Global Stickers is excited to be providing that Pizza Party. 

Organizing the Pizza's for your team will be the responsibility of the Manager and supervisor. You will have this party on April 1.  Two pieces of pizza per person will be purchased.  Drinks will not be provided.  Multiply the number of people by 2 and divide by 8 to get the number of large Pizza's to order.   Pizza’s must be cheese, pepperoni, or sausage. 

You may order from anywhere in town as long as it is Domino’s, Costco, or Pizza Hut.  No other’s allowed! I would order them in the morning or even the day before to give them time to fill the order.  I have a script if anyone need’s it.

The supervisor or manager should pay for the Pizza's and expect to be reimbursed.   Write clearly, using black or blue ink.  Be sure to include the name of your department, if anyone took more than two pieces, and the exact start and end time of your celebration.  I will review. 

Thanks for the determination you’ve shown this last year, and I look forward to posting this coming year’s next initiative.  Fingers crossed for next year’s reward:  tee-shirt’s from last year’s Inventory Lock-In!

Best regards,

Snidely W. Lash, PhD, OCD, SOB

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Look at That!; or Would You Believe Me if I Said I Had Some Infrared Footage of a Mermaid? How About a Coupla Big Foots?

There are shows on cable, shows poorly shot, shows with dramatic pauses and whispered hisses of “Did you see that?!” and “Shhhh!  I think I just heard something!”, shows where one “goes green” for night vision and androgynously unwrinkled people just this side of fetus-dom  -- and all, mysteriously, named “Devon” -- stare wide-eyed into the camera while whispering “Oh Em Gee, you guys, this is amazing!”

These shows are about “phenomenon”.

The first thing to know is that nothing that they “discover” rightfully evokes wide-eyed gazes.

None of it is amazing.

“No!  No no no no.  It’ll be fun.”  Kurt grabs a legal pad from the Administrative Alcove.  He is a planner by profession, and there, in reaching distance – near the Spice Alcove but not as far as the Emergency Candle Alcove – are the legal pads, pens, scissors, and binder clips necessary for everyday administration.

He writes furiously, slides the pad to me. “Every time someone says these things, you drink.”

Go Green/Went Green
Side by Side Comparison
Look at that!
Nighttime Investigation

I narrow my eyes. “Whattaya, trying to kill me?”

This is a half-hour show with two “investigations”.  In the first one – a 15-minute segment dedicated to footage of a mist rising out of a swamp – there are six repetitions of “Look at that!” and four of “nighttime investigation”.

I was sipping water after the first four.  “Seriously, Kurt, let’s just walk out of the kitchen and into the night.  First one to lose a finger to frostbite wins.”

Kurt chooses to misunderstand.  “That’s my girl!”

The TV glows, and one of the Devons is almost dangerously excited.  “OMG!  OMG!  You guys ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!  You gotta see this!  It’s just a common trick of the light!  See?  OMG you guys, it all lines up: the tree, the phone line, the weight of an unladen swallow – see? In a side by side comparison – after we went green? During the nighttime investigation? – it’s identical to the original footage!  You guys!  This is fantastic!”

The other three hosts bounce up and down in excitement, high-five each other in delight.

Kurt shakes his head, bemusedly.  “Right, Pearl?”  He grins at me.  “Look at that.”