Friday, August 29, 2014

So Thirsty. So Very Thirsty.

(It has been three straight weeks that the cafeteria at the office building where I work in mid-town Manhattan has been out of Diet Pepsi. As someone who consumes a great deal of this beverage, this condition has rapidly become untenable for me.)


DAY 1: After a thorough accounting of the provisions in our stores, it has come to my attention that the last resupply mission from Base did not seem to include Diet Pepsi. This is extremely vexing.

DAY 2: It has been just 48 hours, but the lack of Diet Pepsi is already having an effect on the crew. The general lack of vim is clear. Even to the untrained eye.

DAY 3: Instructed First Officer Billings to send message to Base via the Marconi. I eagerly await their reply.

DAY 4: Still no reply from Base. The crew's pep has visibly begun to flag.

DAY 5: Instructed Billings to send numerous urgent messages to Base. We receive no answer but static.

DAY 6: Have begun hearing strange sounds in the night. Inhuman sounds. I shall double the watch.

DAY 7: Desperation can do things to a man. Terrible things.

DAY 8: In the quiet moments I find that I cannot quite recall the taste of Diet Pepsi. I must keep this to myself. Mustn't panic the men. Must keep up a brave face.

DAY 9: Morale among the crew is low. Billings tried to fabricate some Diet Pepsi from some carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, caffeine, citric acid and some natural flavorings that he managed to find. It ended in tears, of course. Bitter bitter tears.

DAY 10: Deprivation. Such wanton deprivation.

DAY 11: We are so alone on this remote, deserted island. Cut off from everything and everyone. The rest of the world is but a half remembered dream. So alone. So utterly, utterly alone. The silence, it is deafening.

DAY 12: Someday I can envision a Manhattan where goods can be easily transported over roads and bridges. Where commerce can thrive. This place could be overflowing with invigorating and delicious diet beverages. Someday. Someday.

DAY 13: There is no logic in this place.

DAY 14: Billings has suggested maybe bringing Diet Pepsi from home. "Home." I don't even know what the word means anymore.

DAY 15: All is madness.

We live. Yet surely, without our beverage of choice, this cannot be called "living."

DAY 16: Some of the more desperate men have taken to drinking diet Dr Pepper for succor. I will not bend. I cannot bend. I am not an animal.

DAY 17: The diet Dr Pepper tastes just like regular Dr Pepper, which tastes just like shame. Desperation makes monsters of men.

DAY 18: I don't know how much longer we can endure. I can feel my soul breaking, about to shatter. If this is to be my last entry, please tell my family that my last thoughts were of them. Except that Diet-Coke-swilling reprobate cousin of mine. (He knows who he is.) He is already dead to me.

DAY 19: This must be exactly how Shackelton felt.

DAY 20: Billings suggested we drink the plentiful, plentiful Diet Coke. I will miss him. He was delicious.

DAY 21: The horror. The horror.

Till next we meet ...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Flush Life


I can't believe this post has become necessary.

But sadly ... it has.

We need to brush up a little on a few matters of men's room etiquette because ... well, you know how things can get in there.

As you know, or as you should have been taught as a youngster ... there is a time and a place for everything.

One of the items on that "everything" list?

The making of sounds.

The place?

The Men's Room.

The time?

Well, that's what I'd like to talk to you about ...

Now I don't mean the disgusting sounds our bodies naturally make in that room. These sounds, while often regrettable and always revolting, are largely unavoidable. And as such, the Men's Room is really the only socially acceptable place for you to make those sounds in the presence of others.

For instance, it's generally permissible to pass gas at the urinal.

But DON'T stare fixedly into the eyes of the guy next to you and moan with pleasure while you do it.
Trust me on this. Adult teeth do not grow back.


Okay, here are a couple basic rules of thumb ...

Here's the situation: You're in a stall and you hear someone come into the restroom.

Even if this scenario fills you with blind, white-knuckle panic that said person might be your boss, a serial killer, a fire-pissing Hell-Spawn from the Demon Pit or a co-worker who might accidentally open your stall door ... it is your responsibility to make some goddamn noise.

I don't mean you need to make with the plop-plop-wiz-wiz on command. Or that you need to announce yourself like a town crier, hollering the old classic: "Somebody's in here!"

But you really do need to let that person know, in some subtle way, that they should maybe not try to fling open the door to that stall.

Just clear your throat, shuffle your feet, fumble with the toilet paper roll, jingle your belt buckle, or my personal go-to ... give a nice, innocuous courtesy flush.

You can keep it subtle and still get the point across.

But do not ... and I can't stress this enough ... do NOT cower silently, unmoving, unblinking and unbreathing, like you're hiding Anne Frank from the Nazis.

This helps exactly no one.

Seriously. Who do you think is out there?


Because falling utterly silent is pretty much the creepiest thing you can do.

This tells me you want that person to think there's nobody in that stall.

Which tells me you want them to yank that door open.

Which then tells me you want them to see you sitting there with your tender nethers all splayed akimbo.

Which ultimately tells me you're totally hoping they're into that.

But come on. Even if that's actually is your deal ... your creepy, creepy, probably diagnosable deal ... the odds of it being former Senator Larry Craig or 80s pop icon George Michael on the other side of the door are fairly slim.

"Wake me up before you ... you know ... "go-go" ..."

And don't overdo it. Just be subtle. Don't make it weird. Don't whistle a tune, do a little tap dance number, or -- (and this is a 100% real example that I have personally encountered) -- sing opera.

(Seriously, man. If you find yourself itching to perform an aria while a rope of effluent snakes its way out of your underself ... I'm not even sure Science has a word for what's wrong with you. Just knock it off.)


Don't talk to me.

It's not that I'm surly and unfriendly. (I mean, I often am, but that's not the point.) If I'm at a urinal, I'm not there to chat. About work, about the game, about the family ... about anything.

I have filthy business to conduct and I don't care to be distracted.

This is the chief reason that talk shows have couches instead of a bank of urinals. True story.

Rule of thumb: If my genitals are in my hands, it's not appropriate to speak to me.

If your genitals are in your hands, it's not appropriate to speak to me.

Basically, if anybody's genitals are in anybody's hands, it's not appropriate to speak to me.

Even if you desperately want to compliment me on my genitals or my hands.
Don't. Just don't.

And if I'm in a stall, it's super not appropriate to speak to me. Once that door closes, it is a sacred space. Inviolable. Where solemn, private business is conducted between a man and his shameful voidings.

Respect that.

Now, if we're at the sink ... that's a different story. It is perfectly permissible to hold a short conversation whilst washing up.

But keep it brief. This isn't the proper venue for a staff meeting.

I mean, Jesus ... people shit in this room.

Till next we meet ...

(Note: The preceding applies only to Men's Rooms. I cannot speak to the vagaries of decorum as they pertain to Ladies' Rooms. These are mystical and unknowable places.)

(Once you add couches and conversation areas to the pooping room, well, all rules of human interaction go right out the window.)