Friday, July 31, 2009

My Only Real Motivation to Succeed Is My Aversion to the Following Phrases

"Well, at least you can always say you did your best."

How in the hell is that supposed to make me feel better? "You did everything you could and still failed. Ergo, you just plain lack the ability to succeed." That is what this says to me. I would much rather have someone tell me to "just try harder" or "not be such a damn slacker, you lazy bum" - at least then I could delude myself into thinking that I only failed because of my attitude (or other circumstances unrelated to my abilities).

"Just remember, things could always be worse."

Now there's a comforting statement. "Yeah, your life sucks right now, and guess what? Eventually, it might suck more!" I guess this is supposed to remind me of how green my grass is compared to, you know, someone else's significantly less green grass, but all it really does is remind me that my grass could be subjected to a drought, possessed lawn mower, or plague of locusts. None of which is terribly cheering.

And finally:

"Welcome to the real world."

Which, come on. That's just obnoxious.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What I'd Like to Say

Q: Can you recommend me a book? I like everything.

A: No - no you don't. Nobody likes everything. And if you were truly the exception, you wouldn't need my advice; since, as someone who literally cannot be disappointed, you would just close your eyes and pull a random book off the shelf. And you would like that book. You would like everything about that book. You would even like the cover, and the blurbs on the front, and the ragged faux-antique page edges.

Whereas all I like is the world "blurb." It makes me giggle.

Q: Omigod I love the Twilight books!!! Have you read them?

A: Just the first one. I vomited glitter and Mormonism into a bowl formed out of dead feminism immediately after. Coincidence?

Q: What's the cheapest thing you have in here?

A: You.

Q: I'm from out of town. Can I get a deal on this bookmark?

A: 1. Being from out of town is not going to help your case, and I have no idea why you people insist on bringing it up. Surely there are better weapons in your cheapskate arsenal. 2. If you can't afford to spend $1.25 on a bookmark, maybe you should have forgone the vacation? Just a thought.

Q: Do you have a boyfriend/phone number/drastically low standards?

A: For you, yes/sorry, I'm a technophobe/not nearly low enough.

Q: Ya got any books in here?

A: Yeah, 'cause I totally haven't heard that one before.

Q: Where do you have [such-and-such author]? Oh, you don't have to get up! - just point me to the right shelf.

A: Look, I get that you are trying to help me out, and I appreciate your lack of demanding assclown-like behavior. Really I do. But this is a small store - it is cluttered, with the spaces between the shelves forming a winding maze of windingness - and I simply cannot point you to the right shelf, at least not from my desk. I honestly have no problem standing up and walking to the other side of the store, so please don't fret, okay?

Q: What's your favorite book?

A: Yeah, so, I don't do favorites. I don't have a favorite food, color, animal, movie, musician, or song, and I definitely don't have a favorite book. I have books I love, but I do not have one that I prize above all others, and I fail to see anything wrong with that. Oh, don't give me that pitying look - maybe I'm just less reductionist than you. Maybe you fail at life.

Q: Hey, you need to look up a book on that little computer thing there. You know how to do that, right?

A: Yeah, only I can't now - I'm too busy blogging about how much I hate you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hollywood > Real Life

He was tall. He was burly. He had a blond buzz cut, so he really wasn't my type.

He followed his mother and sister into the store, and then stopped and looked at me curiously. I thought he looked familiar, and as it happened...he was.

"Hey," he said after a moment, "were you...on a plane at all? Like yesterday?"
"From Denver to Rapid?"
"I think I sat next to you."
"I think you did too. How weird."

His mother was delighted. "Really! What a coincidence! Did you two talk the whole way?"

"No," he answered. "We were reading."
"You were reading Twilight..."
"You were reading a very interesting-looking book. It was...Brief Interviews With Men - despicable men? I remember they weren't good men."
"Hideous men. Brief Interviews With Hideous Men."
"Right. What was wrong with the men?"
"Mostly they were misogynists."

The rest of the conversation wasn't particularly notable. We reminisced about the toddlers who squealed with delight during the plane's turbulent descent and then we marveled at the smallness of the world, and as he left he made a point of saying that he was glad to have seen me again and hoped to see me soon.

All of which would have been kind of awesome and mid-90s-romantic-comedy-esque were he remotely my type.

(And of course his airplane reading choice didn't help matters.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yeah, the New Harry Potter Movie Was Good. However:

There are things I want to know. Things like: Who the hell takes a full bag of popcorn into a bathroom stall? Well actually, I know who - giggly preteens. But what is the thought process there? And why did they have a full bag of popcorn post-movie?

More importantly, what makes said giggly preteens think it's okay to leave the spilled popcorn on the floor, along with their spilled water? Because there's no way in hell I'm going to wade through an ocean of wet popcorn kernels. That's disgusting. Therefore, Dumbshit Youths, I'm not going to let you leave the restroom giggling about your mess - I am going to block the doorway with my imposing frame and watch as you pick up each individual kernel. You will crawl on your hands and knees as you rid the world of your ridiculous mess, because this entitled bratty rich kid shit? Does not fly.

Thank you girls. You have a terrific, sunshiney day now.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Proof That I Need My Upcoming Vacation

Um, tourists? You can't hide. I saw the brim of your pastel visor from a mile away. I also saw the bag in your hand advertising "Authentic" Western Wear, with your flamingo pink cowboy hat inside.

Seriously, where do you even get a pink cowboy hat? I don't know any place in town that would sell them, but I'm guessing it must be somewhere nearby or you would have stashed the bag in your car, am I right? Or maybe not; you don't seem too bright.

I can't decide if the majority of tourists are tacky by nature, or if the act of touring brings out the tack they never knew they had. All I know is that middle-aged men should never wear polo shirts in colors with names like "mango dream" or "fresh mint swirl" - and under no circumstance should their wives coordinate their eye makeup to said shirts. (Okay, fine, the shirt colors probably have much more masculine names - "citrus rage," perhaps, or "herbal death freeze" - but you can bet I was right on with the eyeshadow names.)

And no, we don't sell newspapers. And while I am perfectly happy to direct you to the nearest newspaper stand, I will not apologize for the inconvenience of you having to walk an entire extra block.

Anyhow, Herbal Death Freeze does you no favors. Your body's need for exercise is clear.

I really don't understand why you're harping on about this, Good Sir Death Freeze. "You should really have newspapers. It'd be a good business venture." Yeah, and you know this how? There are three coffee shops within three blocks of our store, and all of them have newspaper stands. There's also a newspaper stand down by the barber shop. There is no need for us to sell newspapers. In other words, there is not enough demand to necessitate supply.

You're looking for the Wall Street Journal, yet you can't grasp that concept?

Of course, there was also the guy who asked me to explain our credit policy, and then stopped me midway through my spiel, saying, "well, I have a better idea."

Oh do you now?

"I have a bookstore in Nebraska" (uh-huh) "and I think you should do a straight trade. We can give you our books and then you can give us some of your classics, since they don't sell."
"Actually, our classics do sell. That's why we have so few of them."
"We don't sell many classics at our store."
"That's unfortunate. But I can't change the policy for one person."
"You mean you don't have the authority."
"No, I mean I'm not going to change the policy just for you."

I know I'm pushing my luck when I say things like that, but come on. Just shut up.

And look: I understand that you want someone who will discuss the merits of Jodi Picoult with you. But that someone? Is not me. Because I. Hate. Jodi. Picoult. I hate her clunky phrasing. I hate her Lifetime movie dialogue. And I freaking. LOATHE. her cop-out endings.

I think the merits of Jodi Picoult can be best summed up by observing that none of her fans know how to pronounce her name.

So yeah. My vacation starts this Sunday, ends next Sunday, and necessitates the use of planes, which had better not screw me over. Because if I get stalked by a crazy drunk woman at the Radisson and have to eat at their restaurant (called - I shit you not - "Enigma") again, I will cry. And if that crazy drunk woman stands outside the door to my room and tells me to "make sure I lock the door tight," well...that would be messed up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Only Date Guys Who Wear Ascots

Smartly-dressed Jovial Man: Where's the men's clothing store in town?
Me: Actually, I don't believe there is one.
Jovial Man: What? How can that be?
Me: Erm...
Jovial Man: What has happened to Spearfish?!
Me: I don't recall there ever being -
Jovial Man: There was when I lived here! But that was before you were born.
Me: Ah. I see.
Jovial Man: Maybe there's one a way's up? Up on the hill?
Me: I don't think so...
Jovial Man: Huh. I would have thought, what with all the college students and all...

Yeah. Because when I think dress shirts and tasseled leather shoes, I think the men of Black Hills State. Seriously guys, stand up and fight.

Fight for your right to look like pretentious asshats.

Friday, July 3, 2009

So, This Unbelievably Stupid Woman Came In Today.

She held up a book on hand reflexology and asked, "do you have any books on foot reflexology?"

"Um, I'm not sure. I'll take a look." I walked out from around the desk and started toward the health section; she blocked my path, saying:

"And I'm also looking for a book called Heal Yourself From Within. And one called...I think it's Move Your Stuff. And I think it's by someone called Carter - like, Karen Carter. I think."

"Okay." I walked back to the computer and ran a search for the titles. "Hm, I don't see either one."

"I'm not sure of the title for the second one. Something like Move Your Stuff, Move Your Life...I don't know."

Well maybe you should have figured that out before asking me.

"Well, I don't see anything with a title like that, and I checked for books by people named Carter as well. What kind of book is it?"
"Feng shui."
"Okay, well, I can show you the section where -"
"What about Healing Yourself From Within?"

Yeah, it's not like I just told you we didn't have it or anything.

"We didn't have that one, no."
"And books on foot reflexology?"

Are you freaking serious?

"Well, I'll have to take a look - over in health -"
"Where is health?"
"Right this way."

I walked her over to the health section and started scanning for reflexology books.

"Where would stuff on feng shui be?"
"Probably in self -"
"Self help? Really?"

Yes, really, although I don't know how you could be so sure about what I was telling you since you didn't let me finish.

"Yeah. I'll check in -"
"Why wouldn't it be in decorating?"
"Well, it could be - I'm going to che -"
"And foot reflexology?"

Forget checking. Maybe I'll just shoot you.

"...Would be here, in health."
"And where is self-help?"
"Right there, where you're standing."

I continued looking for foot books; then she turned to me...

"Where is self-help again?"


"That shelf in front of you. And it doesn't look like we have any books on foot reflexology, sorry."
"I don't see any feng shui. Why isn't it in decorating?"
"I'm looking there now."
"Do you know what it is?"
"Do I know what what is? Feng shui?"
"Yes, I'm familiar with it. But we don't get very many books on it in, so..."
"Well that's surprising."
"I guess."
"I don't see any books on feng shui."

I am going to cry.

"Well, I'm looking over here, too - but again, it's not something that we tend to have a lot of."
"Ooh! Dr. Phil!"

She held up a copy of Love Matters. "I like him."

Yes, I'm sure you do.

"Ooh, you have a whole Dr. Phil section!" She pointed to a label on the shelf reading Dr. Phil.
"Are the books here in order?"
"Yes, somewhat - the labels tell you the sub-categories..."
"Like what?"
"Like...Dr. Phil. Or relationship issues, here. Or parenting - it's all categorized."
"I can't remember the name of the feng shui book. Do you have internet access? You can find it on this website, called Amazon."

Oh my God. No way. There's a website called AMAZON? And I can look shit up on it? My whole. World. Has opened up.

"Yes, I've used Amazon. I'll check for you."

I abandoned my perusal of the decorating section, did a search for the book, found the correct title, and checked our database again. We didn't have it, which I told her, and then I enjoyed a few moments peace while she browsed.

Eventually, though, she walked up to the counter with a stack of books. And amazingly, she had a question.

"So, like, how does it work?"
"Um, how does what work?"
"Bringing books in."

Oh, Christ. Now I have to explain the credit policy to this woman?

I explained the policy in painstaking detail, and she listened with her head cocked so far to the side it was almost lying on her shoulder. When I finished she stared at me for a moment; then:

"Well, can you give me an example?"

So I did. I gave multiple examples, and after about five minutes or so she seemed to digest it. She asked me to set some books back for her so she could buy them later, which I did, and then she asked:

"So did you find any books on foot reflexology?"

And I killed her.