Archive for the ‘first person last straw’ Category

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A Triumphant Return To Acid Logic re: Buffalo Bills Fans, Travesty Keeps Truckin’, Big Words Video 2 Approaches…

September 7, 2014
Acid Logic's accompanying cartoon for 'An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet) re: Buffalo Bills Fans'

Acid Logic’s accompanying cartoon for ‘An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet) re: Buffalo Bills Fans’

This is not to brag, but I’ve got enough publishing credits to last me a lifetime. In the last ten years, I’ve written, worked for, contributed or been published in enough papers, magazines, ezines and quarterlies to last me a lifetime. I’d like to think at this point that I can pick and choose when, where and why I publish with anyone from here on out.

That being said, though, there’s a special place in my heart for Acid Logic, one-man publisher/editor/juggernaut Wil Forbis’ online ezine of pop culture. He was one of the first national web sites to publish my work nearly fifteen years ago, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He was also a guest on the now-defunct Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour, promoting Acid Logic as well as his book (same title, with essays from AL over the year penned by Forbis) and his music CDs. As a longtime Californian, Forbis and I just clicked. Those of you who have been following for awhile may also remember that Forbis wrote the forward to First Person, Last Straw, my third collection of essays in 2005.
It is also with the spirit of blind rage that I have towards Buffalo Bills fans that I decided to publish with Acid Logic again for the first time in many years. Forbis’ timing is impeccable; the new issue of AL rolled out today while (in Buffalo), thousands of mindless drones are rallying together for the Buffalo Bill’s Home Opening Game. “An Open Letter To The Rest Of The Country (and also the planet)” rolled out today with top billing. If you missed it here, you can catch the rant here:

http://www.acidlogic.com/buffalo_bills.htm

In other news, the writing on Travesty (my next book) is really starting to gather momentum. The book is almost halfway done. Like any other collection, it’s sure to find its own central theme by accident. It’s been a lot of fun so far. I’ve decided to drop my name from each essay for the very first time in the book’s layout. It seems redundant, and honestly, I’m too old to keep doing the nickname thing after every rant. It was a gimmick that caught on very early in my career and it’s high time to retire it.
And the next ‘webisode’ of Big Words I Know By Heart is a little more than two weeks away. Comic book impresario Kyle Kaczmarczyk (Igor: Occult Detective, The Red Eye, Pulp and the award winning Fubar) will be joining me in the studio on September 24th along with co-host Jenny O.
I’m trying to find a delicate balance in my life where creativity is concerned, so I will make an effort to update more consistently here in an effort to keep you in the loop and up to speed. There has to be a happy homeostasis between overworking to the point of burnout and dropping off the grid for too long and losing readers (or viewers) in the process. I haven’t had it before, but it seems possible now. A lot of things seem possible now.

Stay tuned,
Tom

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ArtVoice’s 2011 Best Of Buffalo Nominations/Mockery Promotions Thus Far…

May 1, 2011

After a turbulent week of surprises, promotions and nominations, it’ll be nice to relax for a few days.  The first month of promotions for Mockery is over leaving three months and change for the rest of the scheduled readings and signings.

The Lancaster Public Library reading went off without a hitch and even though the Sabres were busy losing the playoffs, we still had a great turnout with plenty of books sold.  Fellow Monsters Of Verse alumni JR Finlayson made a surprise appearance and read a few selections from his upcoming book Multiples Of Eleven (due out soon).  The evening took an unexpected turn when a few members of the crowd requested (and encouraged) a few passages about manic depression, so I read a piece from First Person, Last Straw along with some of the Jekkyl & Hyde poems from both Breathing Rooms.  Thanks to everyone who attended for making it such an intimate and interesting evening.  I’ll definitely keep the Lancaster Library in mind should Mark McElligott and I decide to promote locally in the fall.

On the same day, Minnesota podcasting great Gary Holdsteady and I recorded Episode 60 of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour.

You can listen to the show by clicking here:

http://www.mevio.com/episode/278282/episode-60-i-was-hoping-to-get

-Or (as always) you can subscribe to the show for free in the podcast section of iTunes under the ‘Comedy’ category.

Gary and I have been great friends for years and this was one of the few episodes where I didn’t work off of notes or pre-formulated questions.  Our rapport (and his conversational candor) was strong enough that we ad-libbed the entire show with great results.  To hear Gary’s podcast you can listen on iTunes by searching ‘Independant Stream’ or you can listen online by clicking:

http://independentstream.podomatic.com

Thursday proved shocking when ArtVoice announced their 2011 Best Of Buffalo nominees.  Somehow all of you managed to get me on the ballot for their Best Writer category.  The winner hasn’t been announced yet, but regardless of the outcome, I’m deeply grateful to all of you who voted in addition to every one of you who have supported my work for the last ten years by buying a book, making a reading or spreading the word.  I don’t put a lot of stock in contests, but a lot of people look to them to decide what’s hot and what’s not and with the new book out, it can’t hurt to campaign a little bit more.  Keep your fingers crossed and I guess we’ll see who takes home the gold soon enough.

Last night we had a four hour marathon at Don’s Atomic Comics in Depew for ‘Tom’s Atomic Comic Giveaway’ with special guests Mark McElligott (Random Thoughts From A Broken Mind) and Michael Hoffert Jr. (host of ‘It Came From The Longbox’ on http://www.thinktwiceradio.com).  Don and I have done a promotion for every book since Soup To Nuts and his shop is always a favorite destination during the tour.  The sale went great, I recorded a lot of great audio and a few other surprise guests turned up including Monsters Of Verse alumn Carrie Gardner, Monster Matt, John Kindelan and Brian Platter from Six Shot Studios.

The events for this book have been wildly unpredictable compared to previous years.  Te ones I’ve expected to do well haven’t and the ones that I thought would be a waste of time turned out to be anything but.  It’s hard to predict an outcome for anything in Buffalo with so many conflicting events (sporting and otherwise) and such a melting pot of cultural tastes.  Mark McElligott and I are going to keep plugging away until the end of July at a steady pace with our heads up.  Next Saturday (May 7th) I’ll be reading and signing copies of Mockery at the Caz Coffee Café on Abbott Rd. in South Buffalo at 7 p.m.  If you’re free that night I’d love to see you there.

Resting up for the rest of the week,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update!: Obstruction

August 10, 2009

Yeah…

The Pheonix Resistance show went less than satisfactory for me on the recording end or the band while they were performing last Friday. Blame it on the Big Words poltergeist or band-related drama, but I’ll be reviewing the audio this week to find out if portions of the show are worth salvaging or if we’ll have to scrap the whole evening and start over from scratch.

And I’m officially blocked, so, much like previous blocks, I won’t be updating on the site too often aside from Mondays until further notice. I’ll be spending a lot of my down time in the coming months promoting Slapstick & Superego along with working on the remaining submissions that Alycia Ripley and I have left for the Buffalo Anthology Project, so stay tuned here for S & S updates and feel free to visit the anthology site over at http://www.buffaloanthology.blogspot.com for any relevant information regarding that. Aside from that, I’m sure I’ve got twelve to fourteen months of a creative blackout to look forward to, so I’ll spare both of us the anguish/aggravation of giving you a play-by-play on it.

Night Life magazine hits the stands this week with the conclusion to ‘A Preacher, A Rabbi and a Minister Go Into A Bank At The Same Time’, my essay from First Person, Last Straw about the perils of organized religion. That’s all I’ve got for this week. If something else pops up, I’ll be sure to drop you all a line.

Take care,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 50 on stands/’The Docker Bums’ right here!

November 6, 2007

With just two weeks away from the year anniversary of the column, this week’s issue of Night Life is running with ‘Food Stamp Feuds’ (from Zany Hijinx), a very old favorite from almost ten years ago about the categorical ridiculousness of talk shows.  With the lengthy nature of my blocks, I’m working on keeping the column stocked with fresh material for as long as I can until the muse strikes again.  And in case you missed it, here’s ‘Docker Bums’ (from First Person, Last Straw), a sound-off on the laziness of pre-sliced cheese cubes and other nonsensicals.  Have a great week and I’ll give you all a shout out next Monday,

Tom Waters

The Docker Bums

Now I’m not an American-basher by any means. Unlike Johnny Depp or any other notable celebrity who’s moved out of the country and passed judgment on the bulk of us, I don’t pick Western culture to shreds, but we’re starting to get really, really lazy. I realized this last week while I was in the frozen food section of a super store doing my grocery shopping and pondering the existence of precut cheese cubes. The fact that they were there bothered me greatly. There must be a market for precut cheese cubes. Is it really difficult to slice cheese into geometrically pleasing chunks? Is it time consuming? I don’t think so. And yet there must be a big market out there if the average consumer is willing to pay an extra buck fifty to get their cheese sliced in advance. It was a bit maddening, really. We’re getting lackadaisical here when we can’t cube our own cheese at home. We’re slacking. If this continues, the opposable digits we use to slice our own cheese will be replaced with a machine six or seven hundred years from now and our genetic process will weed said digits out of our DNA chain. I love cheese, I really do. That’s why it troubled me to see it prepackaged in the laziest fashion possible. I’ve even eaten pre-cubed cheese at other people’s houses. You may think that I’m running out of interesting things to write about, but bear with me. Microwave ovens have replaced regular ovens in a day to day cooking regimen. I’m almost completely and symbiotically dependent on my microwave. It was a sign of progress. Recently, I’ve gotten accustomed to my George Forman grill. Why heat up a hamburger on a pan when you’d just have to wash the pan and put it in the dishwasher? Now you can flash fry the thing, dump the grease bin, and move on with your life!

Some inventions are time savers and others just go to far, like peanut butter and jelly in one jar. That’s disgusting. Is it overly tedious to grab two jars out of a cupboard and mix it’s contents? Are people the world over collectively groaning because they can’t bear to grab a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly during one meal preparation? What’s become of us?

Maybe I never noticed it until I made steps to become self-reliant. Following this wheel of logic, we arrive at dishwasher cubes. I have little pumice sized stones that I drop into the reservoir for my washer. I used to use the powder stuff, but why bother now? It makes me weep to think about how much time it took to open the box, tilt the box of detergent towards the washer, and have to decide how much powder to put in. Now for a couple dollars more, I have a cube that I open up and drop in the washer. This is patently ridiculous.

Margarita mixes, bagged salads, and three step boxed casseroles. Making a drink is so time consuming, so why not just spend the extra five dollars and pour the whole thing out of one bottle? Who wants to go through the trouble of buying lettuce, carrots, and radishes when you can get it all in one bag with five hundred percent of your daily preservatives thrown in at no extra cost? Tired of going through the motions with your sheperd’s pie? We’ll do it for you! Dump the mix into a pan, add water and pre-cubed beef and you’ve got your very own beef stew! And it’s microwave friendly! I think we’re all sick of taking a can of soup out of the pantry, having to walk over to the can opener, open the damned thing, pour it into a bowl, and heat it. Now you just put a soup pod into the microwave, heat, eat, and throw it out! In another year, we’ll have soup pods that self destruct after they’re empty! It’ll save you the long trip to the garbage can.

I don’t think it’s all food either. Clip-on ties. Stain-guarded pants. The fashion disaster of skorts. If you don’t know how to tie a tie, ask someone to stick your head in a dishwasher and have them set it on “imbecile” for you. Tying a tie is not rocket science. Washing stains out of your khakis might be difficult, but is it that difficult? And skorts. At the risk of sounding like Jerry Seinfeild, it’s not a skirt, it’s not shorts! Don’t wear them, ever. I’m glad that fanny packs aren’t enjoying a heyday anywhere other than in Canada, so I’m hoping that skorts are over with as well.

It’s bad enough that people are too lazy to read book-sized books on a regular basis. We’d rather power-scan fifteen different running banners on a cable channel with a cute anchor woman feeding us factoids in a happy, non-threatening manner. We’d rather hop onto http://www.info.com and catch up on world events in 2.5 minutes and sign off. Or read a blurb-filled magazine with happy looking pull quotes and pretty pictures. Enough is enough! How much lazier can we get?! This is out of control!

Western culture is turning into a Kubrick science fiction film. Maybe I like going through the routines and less time-saving motions of doing things for myself, but it’s good exercise. If we keep this shit up, people will be going terminally senile in their mid-30s because their minds are too goddamned idle. My grandfather used to wash his dishes by hand, if you can imagine such a thing. It was the one time out of the day that he had to think and turn the day’s events over in his head. There’s a Buddhist term for finding spiritual harmony in everyday functions and activities. I’m no Buddhist, but I like the concept. There are a million useless chores and tasks we go through everyday, but by injecting a little bit of joy into them, we elevate them to something more than mechanical boredom. Siddhana. That’s it. You’re not going to get that from Auto-opening your Pre-Sliced Monterey Jack Cubes and Insta-Melting them into your Turbo Soup and spilling them onto your stain guarded pants. For chrissakes.

this sign off powered by EssayWorks 7.1,

Tom “Generic Nickname” Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 47 on stands, War & Pizza right here!

October 15, 2007

With just five weeks left on the year long run for the ‘Big Words I Know By Heart’ column in Night Life magazine, I’m shocked and suprised that a)its stayed in print this long without Night Life or myself getting sued and b)that its developing a following.  It’s hard to believe that its already been almost a year since Big Words launched in print.  Today also happens to be my three year anniversary with Lindsay, and that’s even more shocking.  Happy anniversary, honey!  Time flies…

At any rate, this week’s issue of Night Life holds ‘Why It’s A Good Idea Not To Taunt Your Cuisinart’ (from Crass Menagerie), a sequel of sorts to ‘Why It’s A Good Idea Not To Taunt The Amish’ regarding how technology has gotten far smarter than I will ever be.  Scoop it up on stands this week!  And in case you missed it, here’s ‘War & Pizza’ in its entirety (from First Person, Last Straw).  That’s all I’ve got for you this week.  We’re five weeks away from my goal.  I’ll talk to you all next Monday,

Tom Waters 

War & Pizza

I move at the speed of light. I have the ability to infiltrate the most heavily guarded compounds in Buffalo and I leave without a trace. And I see everyday citizens when their guard is down the most. That’s right, I’m a pizza delivery guy. Two months ago I was going out of my mind with free time from my day job. Two days off in a row was too much unscheduled time in one block. And then I thought about how both of my brothers (at one time in their lives) worked at Mazia’s Pizza in the hollow. So I went to Mazia’s and asked Rob (one of the owners) if they were looking for any help. While filling out the application, I thought about how unqualified I was for the driver position. I’ve got a D.U.I., I’ve never had a job as a driver, I’ve got a terrible sense of direction, I didn’t know their delivery area that well and I haven’t worked in a restaurant since the age of fourteen. After nagging him for a week, he told me he might have something. I started the following day.

Like a super hero, every Friday I change discreetly at my office job and bolt out at five o’clock with my alternate identity. I have to wear this really embarrassing white t-shirt that says ‘got pizza?’ on the front that makes my gut look even bigger than it is. I would feel about the same wearing a shirt that says ‘got dignity?’ on it with a huge uncircumcised penis on the back, but rules are rules. When I get to the place I have to slap a mobile sign on my car and spit on the suction cups to keep the sign from detaching and flapping back and forth for the duration of my shift (which it does anyway). Rob told me about some seven dollar cigarette adaptor (that we rent at the beginning of the shift) that the driver’s use to light the sign at night but, since I’m cheap, I’ve never brought it up and haven’t used it yet. And then it’s go speed racer, go.

My job there reminds me of a game, Crazy Taxi. You tear ass over to one section of town to drop someone off breaking any traffic laws that get in the way, pick someone else up and tear ass to the other section of town. That’s what we do for six straight hours. Run and gun. My first day I went bounding out of the car with each order, sprinting up the steps to make sure that the person I was delivering to got their food as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now I could care less, because you never know how well or how poorly someone is going to tip. There are a few indicators, but you can never be too sure. Plus I’m not wet behind the ears anymore, and it no longer takes me forty five minutes to find the tough locales. Like any job you get better with practice, and it’s a tough old learning curve.

Nobody tells you that the Town Of Clarence (as well as the surrounding delivery area of Newstead, Akron, and Lancaster) has duplicate streets. And through trial and error you get to know your area. Roads that change names halfway through. Roads that seem to run from one end of New York State to the other. And neighborhoods that are so new that they aren’t on any existing map. I’ve been to places in my town that I never knew existed and I’ve lived here all my life. Akron’s fun too. No, actually, it’s a goddamned nightmare. It’s the local Indian reservation, and a lot of their streets have no signs, the houses have no numbers, and the majority of the roads are the width of a construction plank and haven’t been repaired since Custer’s Last Stand. Try maneuvering that catastrophe.

The deck is stacked against us to begin with, as a lot of orders aren’t ready on the busy days until twenty minutes to the hour mark. Some days I try to crank and make some money, which means you have to stomp on the gas and cut through the streets like butter, navigating the back roads and knowing where the traffic is going to be at one time of the day and most of all, not forgetting anything. There’s nothing worse than having to take a bottle of pop back to some bearded sasquatch who lives on the edge of civilization. And other days I tool along at my own pace, enjoy the view, and end up making some pretty good money anyway.

The view is gorgeous some times. I’ve seen women in bikinis soaping up their monster trucks on hot Saturday afternoons. I’ve seen car wrecks so preposterous that they look like a Dali painting. Once I saw a truck/horse trailer combo that ran straight into the side of a church. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful sunsets, sprawling countryside, and the vital signs of my community. Soccer games. Couples going for walks. Friends out on their porches sharing a cocktail. And the cursed, buggering bicyclists. Just once I’d like to watch one of those spandex shorted, penis helmet wearing fruits do a somersault off the grill of my Buick. The cyclists are a real nuisance on the back roads. They ride around on streets where they really shouldn’t be on their seven hundred dollar Italian twenty speeds and take up the entire street. That’s always something to look for ward to when I’m taking some bumpkin corner out in the middle of Timbuktu at seventy five miles an hour on two wheels.

In addition to this, the delivery driver has to deal with other people’s abhorrent driving habits. Either I smoke too many cigarettes and it’s affected my night vision so much that it appears as if everyone has their high beams on after dark, or the whole world has their high beams on after dark. About a year ago, car manufacturers changed the headlight glare to a blistering white arc. Add to this the fact that a third of the people on the roads drive sports utility vehicles and you get an oncoming rush of light that would shame the heads up display on the craft from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. After nine o’clock, I put the high beams on and keep them on. At least they slow down and curse at me while I’m driving by, too.

There’s a rainbow of road kill that you could never imagine unless you drive for a living. I feel bad for truck drivers because they must see a veritable abbattoir during their travels. Squished possum, ground up squirrel, pureed woodchuck, abstract cat, and half a deer. There’s too many deer in this town, and they keep trying to do something about it, but they won’t go away. Fortunately, I have a semi automatic rifle to rectify the problem. Any creature that stands or stumbles into the middle of the road and stares at an object ten times heavier than them traveling at an alarming rate of speed directly at them is too stupid to live anyway. Problem is, I’m like my mom. I’ll instinctually stomp on the breaks or swerve if I see some innocent woodland creature because I can’t have it on my conscious. It’s not something that can be deprogrammed because it’s intuitive. Which is fantastic because after dark in some areas of Clarence the roads turn into a dress rehearsal for Dr. frigging Doolittle. Getting to know the roads takes perseverance and finesse. It’s very frustrating to jump through all these hoops to get a rotten tip.

The people in Akron are cheaper than my big brother. Actually, my big brother lives in Akron. I used to tip poorly when the pizza guy came to my door. I would round up and tip a buck. If I had to deliver to myself on a Friday, I’d kick my ass now. Like my co-worker Matt (Mazia’s resident veteran employee) says, “We don’t get anything near fifteen percent.” Some of the guys I’ve known employ some passive aggressive tactics, backing out in people’s lawns, running over water sprinklers that are built into the ground, and flat out telling people to their face what cheap pricks they are.

Thankfully, Mazias builds a trip charge into every order, so at the very least, you make half of that. I don’t really take it out on the customer, but I remember the names and I don’t go out of my way to get their order to them first thing either. One fellow told me that, upon receiving a gratuity of about eighty cents, he counted out the change from his pocket, gave it back, and said, “You need it more than I do, buddy.” That’s gotta hurt. Stingy McScrooge knows when he’s screwing you out of a tip, too. These people send their eight year old kids to the door. Then you know you’re getting nothing. The next time someone sends their child to meet me on the steps, I’m taking the kid with me and we’ll negotiate an appropriate tip later. When people pay by check, I know I’m shit out of luck. And when you walk up the steps of some dilapidated shack that looks like Navin Johnson’s homestead, don’t expect much.

It all evens out, though. Some people take care of you, and those are the people we’ll blow through traffic signs for and mow down a school of ducks crossing the street to get to. Plus the hot chicks. There are a few places in Spaulding Lake (one of the well to do sections of town) that the guys jump on to take. And generally, the more drunk or stoned the customer is, the better the tip.

Ninety five percent of the people I work with smoke pot daily. It’s the nature of the business, I guess. I smoked my own weight worth in my teens, so I’ve had my fill and a few beers do the job these days. One of the managers (I won’t say which), who looks like the straightest of the bunch told me that he won’t get out of bed in the morning unless he’s firing up a fat bowl. I figured going into the position that a few coworkers might partake of some cannabis from time to time (for medicinal reasons, of course), but almost everyone there smokes their gills out. Two of the drivers I work with do it on the job, too, which I think is funny. Back when I was a hippie, some ten years ago, all I wanted to do after a joint was listen to a John Lennon album and take a nap. To this day, whenever I listen to Plastic Ono Band I get sleepy. But I can’t imagine these kids toking out and then kicking in the afterburners getting an order out. Each to their own.

The individuals that make up the staff are varied but strange in a way I haven’t seen grouped so heavily before in a job setting. I’m used to being the token weird guy at any company I work for, and at Mazias, everybody’s weird. Rob (one of the owners) is the level headed marketing genius. He’s the p.r. man who puts signed celebrity photos up on the walls, goes to the charity functions and the town circle jerks, and he started the company web site. Tony, the other owner, is the work mule who started the business. He’s constantly making the pies, scrubbing the dishes, and doing whatever it takes to expedite orders and keep the place running like a well oiled machine.

Jason (one of the managers) is the psychotic figurehead who goes off on the gold brickers. Every job needs a ball busting tyrant to keep things in line, so I don’t dislike him for filling a needed archetype. Plus I stay out of his way and do my job. My little brother (who coincidentally got fired by Jason) is disgusted with my corporate mentality. I empathize for the bad guy whenever we watch movies and my reasoning always falls under “he’s just doing his job.” Darth Vader built a space station to blow up planets? He was just doing his job. Bugsy Siegel beats a man to death in order to reduce loss prevention? He was just doing his job. Jason is very good at what he does, and, well, he’s just doing his job.

Bryan is the wild card of the managing clique. You can tell the managers at Mazias from their blue t shirts. The grunts wear white shirts. Bryan makes unsettlingly astute homosexual jokes about him and myself while I’m there. He pinches my nipples with tongs and slaps my ass on occasion. It’s a bit scary at times, but I make my share of lewd, off color remarks, too. Big surprise, right?

Aaron (one of the cooks) is a gambling maniac. Aside from betting the ponies, he manages to place bets on games taking place on the television out in the dining room, bets on every sporting event (legal and illegal) from here to Zimbabwe, and takes a turn at many a game of chance.

On Monday nights a group of us set up a black jack table after work. A lot of the guys are real high stakes rollers. Hell, on Mondays, there’s constant gambling. Monday is Gamblers Anonymous night. Craps, black jack, twosies, roulette, cockfighting; it all takes place in the back. We keep the roosters in the freezer on the other nights of the week. These guys are maniacs, betting entire paychecks, their girlfriends, and staking human organs in order to stay in the game. I get ribbed on because I only play two dollars and walk away after that’s gone. When Aaron plays he gets a wet sheen of excited sweat on his forehead and displays symptoms that would make one think he was hopped up on a pound of cocaine. It’s a pure gambling rush. He rocks to and fro, darts his eyes wildly from person to person, and rubs his nose waiting for the next hit on the rotation. They’re very good, and that’s why I never play for more than two bucks.

The other Erin is the resident belladonna, and she knows it. She’s a striking blonde with deep blue eyes and a body that could stop the planetary alignment if she wished it. Obviously she was one of the first girls I offended there when I began my employment. After two shifts, she told me that she hoped “I got some incurable disease and died”. It took a week or two to get over that. But now we’re pals. I continue to make lewd and inappropriate remarks and she volleys them back without missing a beat. Working with a platoon of young men has made her very sharp insult and catcall-wise. It’s made all the girls sharp, for that matter. Stacy (one of the sub makers) goes on ass slapping sprees. Ass slapping seems to be a recurring theme in this piece, doesn’t it? The sexual harassment board would call in a SWAT team if they ever spent a day back in the kitchen. If they spent an hour in the back, they’d deploy tear gas.

Matt, one of the other drivers, is my pal. He’s been working at Mazias for so long that he could be their company mascot. He’s tall, a bit full figured, and he always has a beatific, yet dopey grin on his face. We work together on Mondays, and I really look forward to them. He’s a bright guy who goes to school and hasn’t really wished for much more out of a job (until he graduates) than the flexibility, the easy money, and the complacency that the job offers.

A lot of the employees are in content little ruts. I don’t plan on staying there for too long, but it’s a fun ride while it lasts. The money practically falls into your lap, you drive most of the time, and everyone gets along with everyone else. One person is in a psychotically bad mood for each shift, but that’s life. Plus the food is fantastic. After a hard day at my other job, I can come over to Mazias and within one or two hours, I’m in a great mood again. I love the job, and it’s been so long since I’ve worked somewhere where I was actually proactively nostalgic about leaving. There will always be a cubby hole in my heart (as well as the rest of the Waters’ boys) reserved for Mazias Pizzeria. Along with a ten speed bicycle bell somewhere under my wheel well.

Got game?

Tom ‘calzone for brains’ Waters

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 46 on stands, ‘Best Laid Nervous Breakdowns’ Up on Acid Logic!

October 9, 2007

This Monday brings the conclusion to the two part epic ‘War & Pizza’ (from First Person, Last Straw) in this week’s issue of Night Life.  Scoop it up on stands while it’s out.  And since we’re in the beginning stretch of a new month, there’s a new edition of Acid Logic up online with ‘Best Laid Nervous Breakdowns’ (from Crass Menagerie), my ode to the insanity (for men) of wedding planning.  You can check that out by clicking over to:

http://www.acidlogic.com/wedding_preparation.htm

 That’s all I’ve got for you this week, folks.  Enjoy and I’ll talk to you all next Monday!

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Monday Big Words Update: Week 41 on stands, Perpetual Money 2 right here!

September 4, 2007

With Labor Day today, I’m not sure if Night Life hits stands today or tomorrow, but September marks the final installment of ‘Perpetual Money’, ‘Perpetual Money 3: Wingman Of The Year’ (from the upcoming collection, Crass Menagerie.  I won’t be able to update next week (or the week after) as I’ll be out of town, but I’ll drop a line on the last Monday of this month.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the full version of ‘Perpetual Money 2: The Accidental Gigolo’.  Enjoy!

Tom Waters

 

 

Perpetual Money II: The Accidental Gigolo

gigolo / jig-e-lo/ n, pl -los 1. : a man living on the earnings of a woman.

2. a professional dancing partner or male escort.

I’ve been clubbing for two and a half years now and I just can’t bring myself to stop. It’s flaky. I’m above it all. Why in the hell would I want to consort with the scum of the earth and the most vacuous of the airheads? Because a bar is one of the few places where, better or worse, you can walk in and leave the world behind you. You can be as sociable or as reclusive as you wish. There’s no other public environment like it (save the hand puppet brothel I went to in Ottawa five months ago). I broke my teeth in the lounge latitude and learned a few rules of dating. And now I’ve achieved tenure. I’m a fogey by techno standards. But old dogs learn new tricks and sometimes they keep their wits about them.

Once I was a fool, I was petrified…okay, I’m not going to start that old tune. But once I was a young protege, learning by riding the coat-tails of others. In the span of two years, I’ve gained my p.h.d in booty calls, last calls, and beer balls. After you’ve mastered the first ten rules, you’ll still need guidance in the ways of club dating. And if that’s what the good lord put me here for, then damnit, I’ll help you progress further. Here’s the next ten commandments for chasing shots and chasing women. Learn them, live by them, and follow them to the letter! And don’t say I never gave you anything, you ingrates!Rule #11: Adhere To The Rule of Three Bars, Plus One or Thirty
It’s all well and fine and grand and good to have your one favorite bar. Just don’t staple your ass to the stool and petrify yourself there, is all. The discerning club person should go to at least three businesses a night, starting at around nine o’clock. You can mix and match the order in which you attend, but this is the order that works for me:

1. The old stand-by-A place you’ve been to millions of times where you’re juiced in with the bartender and you can get cheap pitchers and reasonable shots. The night will last a lot longer if you don’t piss away a twenty spot on your first two bottles of ale. Trust me.

2. The new place that everybody’s talking about-Clubs are very fickle. Sometimes the place that has go go cages, laser light shows and the heppest dj in town on Friday has tumbleweeds on Saturday. So check the place out for the first time after you’ve got your gameface on, and if it’s cool, you can convert it to bar one. If there’s some balding hairy man polishing the glasses and talking to himself behind the bar when you come in, at least you can say you went to your stand-by and the night wasn’t a total waste.

3. The come-down-This is generally some armpit of a dive of a gin mill. Either that or a strip club. The place to hit at the end of the night when you’re fighting back dealing with the fact that you have to go to work in the morning and you want to hang onto the night for just a little bit longer. Where you can dump a handful of quarters onto the bar and pay for your last drink of the night. Or, in the case of the strip club, where you can max the last ten dollars of your credit card on an ice water plus tip and sort of come to your senses. In either case, a good way to reflect on the events of the evening and put them into some sort of cohesive order.

Rule #12: Never, I Repeat NEVER Buy A Drink For A Girl You’re Not With
If you don’t know her, don’t bother. Talk to her by all means and make sure she doesn’t have an adam’s apple the size of a baseball. Make up a great opening statement. But don’t waste your time and money on some stranger. Some women go throughout their lives without buying a drink. This is wrong. They go out and grift every hard-working, well-intentioned, over-sexed schmuck at every bar in town into bankrolling their propensity for fruity, mouth-wash flavored concoctions. Best case scenario? You get lucky, but if the girl likes you it would’ve happened anyway. Worst case scenario? It accelerates the entire dating process and if you haven’t had a chance to properly represent yourself, they’re gone like a cool breeze. Once I bought a vodka and cranberry for a beautiful Russian college student, took it as a green light, and sat down with her and the rest of the firing squad. After three minutes, she coquettishly whispered “we’ll be right back.” The ten girls proceeded to the polar opposite of the dance floor and never returned. Harsh. Don’t let it happen.

Rule #14: Look Bored No Matter Where You Are
It makes you look experienced and it gives the impression that you lead an adventurous lifestyle. If Roman candles are shooting out of a nineteen year old’s ass in the seat next to you, look the other way and yawn. When Marti-Gras breaks out at the neighborhood watering hole and there are twenty five foot people on stilts wearing masks along with midgets and college chicks dropping trou’ left and right, slowly leaf through your fashion magazine. If Elvis appears and gives a spot-on performance with a talking dog and he proceeds to buy drinks for the whole bar, get up and wander to the bathroom looking slightly pissed and grouchy. And so forth. Perfect a lackluster, world-weary, jesus-there’s- got-to-be-some-place-better-than-this-one look. It’s just plain cool. Let nothing take you by surprise.

Rule #15: Wallpaper Your Heart With Rejections
Much like the publishing adage, it helps to get set up and shot down. You need to develop a reptile-like thick skin. Fly solo; make a kamikaze run into a fleet of beach blonde heartbreakers knowing that there’s an 80% chance that you’ll get your ass handed to you. You have to be scaly in a cosmos of lounge lizards. The more women who laugh in your face, stomp you in the grapes, and toss shots of 151 into your retinas, the better. Practice makes perfect, and with each prospect you can refine your mojo.

Rule #16: Find A Hot Spot For Every Day Of The Week
The place that’s a virtual Valhalla on Friday could be drowning in sad sacks and maniacs. Stake a few places out every night of the week (and for those with no dedication to the power of perseverance, it doesn’t have to be all in the same week) , and find the secret bungalows of boogie down. Ferret out the speakeasys, the hidden gold mines, and homes away from home. Then, after you’ve found their magic night, go back on that night, frequently. Get to be friends with the staff. Tip very well. The industry standard is two dollars on the first drink and one dollar each additional order. If you do that, the bartenders will treat you like somebody important and you’ll get free shit down the road. And we all like free shit. Anybody can find a cool place to go to on a saturday but only the singles maestro can offer up the knack for divining a great place on a wednsday at four p.m. (or four a.m., for that matter).

Rule 17: Be At Home Wherever You Are
Looking great, feeling great, and projecting an air of charm and self-comfort are all great means for snaring the heart of some blonde bombshell. If you’re at home where you are, then you won’t be as anxious or fretful and blow the fantastic vibe that you’re putting out. What the hell! Lay down and take a nap in one of the booths at a club. I’ve done it before with my shirt untucked and my gut hanging out (unfortunately, pictures were taken and distributed throughout Western New York). Take your socks off where you’re sitting and inspect your feet for corns! Walk into the back kitchen and pull a pickle out of the jar and eat it with the refrigerator door open. Take a newspaper into the bathroom. If you’re relaxed, that’s half the battle. Pop a Xanax if you feel the need. Breathing exercises help, or the company of friends. And wearing the pair of jeans that frame your ass perfectly while retaining their comfort and fashion level don’t hurt either.

Rule 18: Talk To A Girl As If It’s A Given That You Want To Go Spelunking In Her Pants
Be honest. You’re not there for manicure advice. You don’t want to discuss the latest relationship feature in the current issue of “Cosmo” and you’re not comparing baking recipes. You’re out at the bar, you’ve approached the girl in question, and you’re sole intention is: getting some. So don’t even discuss it. She knows it, you know it, the whole damn bar knows it. That’s why everybody else is there, too (except for the degenerate in the corner drooling over his QuickDraw ticket and muttering obscenities to himself). Go beyond it. And go straight for the kill. The phone number, the prolonged groping next to the car at the end of the night, or, if you’re lucky, the hot tub at home with the room mate who just happens to be a repressed sexual therapist. Hell, I can dream.

Rule 19: It Never Hurts To Have A Prop
They make great ice-breakers and they arouse curiosity, suspicion, and interest in outside parties. It doesn’t have to be over the top, either. A copy of Esquire, perhaps. If they see something in there that they like they’ll peer over and start talking. If you’re in a pub, take a little chess set. Geeky, but what the hell, maybe you think Daria is hot (if you could splice Daria’s, Janene Garafolo’s, and Bjork’s genes, you’d have the perfect woman as far as I see it). A Gameboy. A pool cue. Old prosthetic limbs. Improvise. Nobody likes to be alone at a bar so we’re all dying for human contact, just to talk to somebody else, ANYBODY else, so we look for a reason to approach a total stranger. Meet them halfway and set your pet porpoise on the stool next to you and make him perform parlor tricks.

Rule 20: Embrace Chaos; You’ve Got Better Odds
I know this armpit of a shit-hole of a bowery bar in Buffalo that all the guys go to. It’s always packed….with a plethora of testicles. Why bother? They’ve got two girls in the whole joint and one of them is there with her obnoxious salesman boyfriend who is going bald at the speed of sound and is obviously ten years older than her. And the other one you wouldn’t want to touch without a protective bubble because she’s had every guy in the bar other than you and looks it. They say you can tell how many guys a girl has been with from the rings around her neck. But I digress. Go to the zoos, the raves, and the techno blowouts hosted by Dj PopinFresh 2000. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, put up with it for a night and see how much better you do as far as picking somebody up. Who would you rather go to work on, the one girl at the pathetic bowery bar or try a few pickup lines on any one of the three hundred girls in chaps and jeans that would require a spot welder to remove line dancing at the honky tonk palladium? Play the percentages, boyo!

I’ll give you one more to grow on because I know you’re trying your best out there and war is hell, so use it wisely!

Rule 21: Eavesdrop, Then Butt In
This doesn’t work in big clubs but if a place is relatively quiet, listen in to your neighbors on the rail. They’re talking in public, it’s no crime if your ear happens to pick up the conversation about how the co-worker broke up with her boyfriend of five years because he cheated on her with the fry girl from Wendy’s and she’s out pounding the pavement for intimate revenge! Listen in, horn in. Interject. Throw in your two cents and see how quickly they open up for a second or third opinion. And then you’re on the ground running. Plus it’s a good way to deduce what their status is. Single, married, divorced, or part of a small Middle Eastern harem.

Well, that’s about it. It took me twenty four solid months of harrowing and selfless research to offer up this cavalcade of advice for you, so use it! Just don’t mack on somebody I’m working over if you see me out, buddy, or I may have to break a tablet or two over your peroxide frosted, over-moussed fat head! Feed a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man how to purchase prophylactics and he’ll fish forevermore. It’s tough out there, but you can be the ringmaster of your own destiny if you play your cards right. Have fun and don’t forget your jimmy cap. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that after you work up the nerve to approach someone, it’s all down hill. And if you can pull it off once, you can do it a million times. Some of us don’t find our mates in college, or at work, or in massage parlors. And we have a lot more fun doing it. And if you crash in burn? At least you copped a buzz, saw your favorite bartender, and you were and the company of friends.

By Tom “the warts have gone away, can I buy you a drink?” Waters

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