Friday, March 28, 2008

Quotes of the Day

Middle-aged woman with husband, reading title of book: "Old Money. That's money that's not new. All rich people now are new money. And that's why we had the Titanic, so we could kill off all the old rich people and start over with new rich people."
A few minutes later: "I told you Condoleeza would run. She'd make such a better president than Hillary - I really hope she wins."

I actually heard these things. I don't think her husband did, however, if his blank stare was any indication.

How I envy him.

Rachel, we need to move to Ireland/Scotland/wherever. Like, really, really soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Woman holding copy of Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West: "I had some friends in high school who went camping and decided to do the natural eating thing, and they all ate the wrong mushrooms and they died. I wish they'd had this book when they went on that trip."

What does one say to a thing like that?

At least she bought the book.

Monday, March 24, 2008

So, As It Happens, I'm a Money-Grubbing, Low-Talking Moron

I never claimed to be all that intelligent. But surely I am intelligible?

Well, I used to think so. But I guess not.

Every freaking day I have about five dumbasses who misunderstand our policy for accepting used books, and it's always my fault. Always. I didn't explain it clearly, I didn't speak loudly enough, I didn't illustrate each step with huge fucking signs in primary colors and block letters so their attention couldn't wander. Sometimes the problem is that I didn't explain it at all - I glossed over all the important details in an attempt to Rip Them Off. Or maybe I'm not an evil money-grubbing parasite. Maybe I'm just really, really dumb, and they're really, really smart, and I need to understand that they are superior, and maybe take an ESL class, because I clearly am having trouble communicating.

But that's all bullshit, because my neurons fire quite well, thank you, and I can speak English, despite having been born in southern Ohio, and as far as ripping people off goes, I lack the ambition and/or appetite for self-destruction.

Oh, and one other thing - if you really want to prove how smart you are, you should probably make an effort to pronounce the names of your alleged "favorite authors" correctly. Jodi Pi-COLT-ee? Steffin Ambrose? WHY-la CAY-ther?

Dumb dumb dumb.

P.S. Jodi Picoult sucks.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weird Celebrity Crush My Friends Don't Understand

So, it's true that my job sucks, and for multiple reasons. But I am getting paid a whole, um, $6.75 an hour to watch The Colbert Report, knit, and drink tea, so, you know...

Anyway, I am officially adding Stephen Colbert to my list of reasons why I will never, ever get plastic surgery. It doesn't matter how wrinkly and unattractive I get - yeah, it'll suck, but I can cope. I will gladly allow my face to shrivel like a raisin on the long road to death in the hope that, one day, it will be as expressive as Stephen Colbert's:

Truly, the man has a face made for satire. Not only that, he has a handsome face made for satire. It almost satirizes attractiveness. The jaw, the eyes, the eyebrows - yeah. And of course it helps that he's hysterical.

The second-happiest day of my life was the day I learned that Stephen Colbert was coming out with his own ice cream. And the happiest? The day I bought that ice cream, and ate Stephen Colbert with a spoon.

So thank you, Stephen Colbert, for being who you are. I have nothing but fangirl-style adoration for you and your freakishly dramatic eyebrows.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Voice to Be Reckoned With

To: Sam

Hey, doll. Brain here. Look, sweetie, I know you're a bit stressed, but, I swear, I can help you. All you have to do is listen.

First off, there is a filter between your mouth and me. Just because I say "man, that guy's a real asshole, huh?" doesn't mean those words need to leave your mouth.

And second of all, I was very disappointed in your actions last night. I know you're sick with The Crud, but never again do I want to be dragged along to a night of listening to Jewel and reading The Crucible while you eat cheese and crackers and sip dry red wine. Okay, actually, last night would have been fine were it not for the Jewel. The Crucible is a good play. I like cheese, I dig crackers, and wine is great (in moderation, that is). But Jewel? Well, she has some nice songs, but none of them are on the This Way album.

Seriously, what could have possessed you to listen to songs with lyrics like "we'll be a team/our two will be one/love will be our fortress/when all else comes undone"? Have you no sense of decency? NO. MORE. JEWEL. When you get home tonight I want you to listen to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club while you eat a turkey sandwich, some grapes, and drink a tall glass of orange juice. Then you're going to watch some Seinfeld, and, since you're going through one of those phases where you like to read plays (god knows why, but whatever), you're going to read Death of a Salesman. I promise, it'll be worth it. Remember how Jerry compares George to Biff Loman? You like George, in spite of his personality; I'm sure you'll like Biff.

As for your customers, I know some of them are dumb. Like the lady who was just in:

"Um, I'm looking for a book I had years ago. It was like - it had words in it. It was was called The Word Book. It had, um, lists of words. But it wasn't, you know, like those others."
"Okay, so, it wasn't a dictionary?"
"No, but we used it for um...computers and -and spelling and stuff. It was called The Word Book. It was very helpful. Do you have anything like that?"
"Well, I can't think of anything exactly like that - but anything similar would be over in Reference, which is this section here."
"It wasn't a dictionary. It didn't have, um - what it meant. The words. What the words meant. It just had words."

Or the lady who just argued with you over something she was wrong about, and accused you of being "not very nice," when you were actually quite nice. I understand you don't want to admit to doing something you didn't (or not doing something you did), and I sympathize. But hey, it's part of your job.

And speaking of your job...

Get a new one. Your bosses have had financial problems for awhile now - you know this, because you've been getting the collection calls. And now that one of your uninsured bosses in laid up in a hospital in North Dakota with a broken leg, elbow, several broken ribs, and a minor spine fracture, those problems are only going to escalate. If you don't take care of this soon, you won't have a job to leave.

Lastly, but by no means leastly (yes, I know leastly isn't a word - I'm your damn brain, after all), your bathroom ceiling is revolting, and your landlord's promise to fix it "once the girl upstairs moves out" is unacceptable. Your whole apartment smells like mildew, and aren't you sick of staring up that creeping blue mold every time you take a shower? Face it, sweetie, your ceiling looks like moldy cottage cheese, and that's gross.

What you should do is convince the IRS that you don't owe them $15,000, and then get into low-income housing. The apartments are cheaper, bigger, and significantly nicer. Also, you should get a damn car.

Remember, Sam - you're nothing without me. Listen. Listen and learn.

Your Neglected Brain

Friday, March 7, 2008

Um, Yes, the World DOES Revolve Around Me

I wish I was better at hiding my contempt. Actually, I wish I was just less contemptuous, but I don't think that's going to happen any time soon, so for now I'll direct my efforts toward being less obvious about it.

Botox might help. Then I wouldn't be able to move my face. My brow would never furrow; the corners of my mouth would never turn. Or I could come to work drunk. Yes, that would be messed up, but I think it might actually improve my customer service skills.

Or maybe - just maybe - people could stop being worthy of my contempt. Please?

When I worked at Quiznos, well, I was completely goddamned miserable. Who wouldn't be? I came home every night smelling like mayonnaise and sub-par swiss cheese. I worked with a bunch of meth addicts and one sober douche bag who had lost his color vision three years before when he opened an oven full of nitrogen and who was therefore convinced I was a blond. A hot blond, as he informed me on numerous occasions, definitely a hot blond. When I pointed out that I was, in fact, a redhead, he compared me to a stripper he knew in Vegas, which is stupid, because last I checked, strippers are supposed to be well-endowed. But anyway -

I blame my contempt for my Quiznos customers partially on the fact that I loathed my job with the core of my being - enough to make myself nametags with fake names, like Scarlett and Scheherezade, in a desperate attempt to conceal my true identity. (No, I wasn't surprised when it didn't work.) I hated the black visor, the matching apron, and my possibly drug-addicted boss, who bounced around like a fat, balding Tigger, clapping his hands maniacally and encouraging us to "move quick, move quick, gotta get this done." Having people order a sandwich and get all upset when it came with onions, as stated on the fucking menu, was really more than I could cheerfully deal with. The only good thing to come out of that job was that I perfected the Withering Stare From Beneath the Brim of My Visor, quickly followed by the Wide Eyes and Innocent Surprise when faced with a Completely Unwarranted Look of Annoyance From Dumbass Customer.

The thing was, when I quit/got fired, I thought I would never have to use the Withering Stare or Wide Eyes again. I thought, yay! A bookstore! My ultimate dream job! No longer will I feel contempt. I will be content. Which is good, because I find content slightly easier to pronounce.

Until I realized: I am not cut out for customer service.

There are certain customers that I really, really like. And contrary to what the contents of this blog might suggest, my first instinct is to be pleasant. But when someone is rude, dumb, a lousy parent, or speaks in a baby voice despite not being, you know, a baby, I have trouble coping. I don't know if that's because I'm hypersensitive, prematurely curmudgeonly, or just a mean, mean person, but whatever it is, I'm not sure it can be changed.

When I was a kid I wanted to be a writer. I didn't know what I wanted to write; I just had this dream of sitting at home with a bottomless mug of coffee (well, not coffee - maybe kool-aid), surrounded by loose sheets of paper with words scribbled in every margin. I pictured myself writing with pencils whittled down to within an inch of the eraser, wearing a top hat like Winona Ryder in Little Women. (I can't remember if Jo wore a top hat in the book or not. Mental note: check.) But I could never finish anything, and all that I scribbled in the margins were loose phrases that would pop into my head randomly, but which I could never attach to anything.

I know I need to go back to school. People have been telling me that for the last two and a half years, and I've never disagreed. But I feel like I've been coasting on potential my whole life, and I don't know how to change that. To put the potential into action. To write on command. To get a car, move into an apartment where the ceiling isn't being eaten away by mold (god, it's gross), to cook myself an actual meal. Hell, just dating someone who isn't an asshole would be a start.

And I guess the reason I'm so sensitive about how contemptuous I am is that I know I have no reason to be. I haven't really accomplished anything. My supposed superiority stems from all the potential I allegedly possess. "Well, you may have a degree, but I'm naturally smarter." Which may be true, or may not, but as long as I'm making $6.75 an hour whilst attempting to explain to my customers what "signed by the author" means, it really doesn't matter.

And even though this is definitely more appropriate for my personal journal, I'm going to post it anyway, because, well, it's all typed and everything, so why not?