Tuesday, December 28, 2010

idea of what I do at work

Phone call at work:
Me: Good afternoon karr tuttle campbell?
caller: Hello??
Me: ...Hello.
Caller: Hello?? (sounds of snot and gross stuff)
Me: Hello. Karr tuttle Campbell?
Caller: Is this Karr Tuttle Campbell.
Me: Yep.
Caller: Oh do you um know this one attorney I worked with about 20 years ago?
Me: What was the name of the attorney?
Caller: I don't remember his name, but I think I might remember his wife's name. But I don't remember it.
Me: Do you know the name of the case?
Caller: What case? I don't know
Me: Oh but he worked with our firm 20 years ago?
Caller: No well he well um (gruff grumble) he didn't work at what
Me: Maybe I can look it up. What was the name of the firm he worked for?
Caller: I don't remember.
Me: Wait, so... you don't remember his name, where he worked, what the case was, and he worked with you 20 years ago?
Caller: No little girl! You're not listening!
Me: WHAT THE FUCK (inside my head loudly)
Caller: His wife's name started with a "G"

Yelling "you're not listening" is the same as saying "I hope this receptionist never helps me."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Steve the dream painting penguin

There once was a penguin
Who had a nice face
He kept it attached to his head
Because it was cleaner than the vase

He didn’t go out much
So he had no use for mace.

The penguin was named Steve
He lived in a little house inside a tree
In a cozy room with windows made of wishes
It was the happiest place a penguin could be

Except of course the Antarctic
Where penguins were thick
But he didn’t live there because work pulled him away
With such a busy job there’s no time for play.

Steve was a professional dream painter
He worked nights most of the time
He painted the backdrop of children’s dreams
Making things wondrous or covered in slime

Out of his bed every night he would climb
And into the dream world he’d slide
While he wished for a partner in crime
Across the night his paintbrush would glide

He painted robots and hilltops and waterfalls and peas
Teachers and uncles and other nightmarish things
The night was Steve’s sailboat
Disbelief was the wind that kept him afloat
The dreams were his seas

He created worlds of wonder
And places of fantasy
Where thoughts could blunder
And wishes could be

He slid in and out of imaginations
But felt disconnected from his own
Feeling the joy of everyone’s love
But his distance from everything had grown

Steve couldn’t fit in with the other animals he met
Not a kitten or a puppy or another pet
Trying to talk to a seagull put him in a sweat
Even though he listened to “How to make friends and influence people” on cassette.

And the dream creatures made him feel lost
So unreal in their reality
When he tried to interact they needed to defrost
Steve was a creature not of the real nor dream world
So alone in his tree he curled
Not knowing where to belong in actuality.

Then one day as he climbed into dream world
A wizard met him there
With eyes that looked like everything
And nothingness that looked like hair.

He said “Steve I’ve been watching you,
You’re a great artist but you seem so sad
What can I do to help you
To make your workdays less bad?”

Steve said, “Mr. Wizard, I need a friend,
Someone to share my emptiness
And laughter
And help me survive this mess.”

Then the wizard gave him some magic pencils
with which he could draw a brand new friend
A companion for fun times to be had
So that the loneliness could end.

And so the penguin drew a giant bunny
to be his friend and laugh at things that were funny
And wipe his nose when it got runny
From crying with joy because life was too sunny.

With a squirt of a rainbow
And the laugh of an imp
The bunny was alive
More real than Steve could know

The bunny loved scaring kids
Taking over their nightmares and dreams
His terror and anger were off the grids
He scared them so much he could eat their screams.

And Steve realized he had created something evil
And he found the wizard sitting on a hill
He asked “How do I make this go away?
So dream land can be free another day?”

And the wizard told Steve of a cave by the ocean side
Where monsters and creatures of darkness reside
Where dwelled a monster with whom he should be allied
Who owned an eraser
Created anxiously by a pacer
which the fate of the world would decide

So across the dreams Steve sailed
Rain pouring down like the sky had cried
His destination the nighttime had veiled
But he found the cave with imagination as his guide.

He passed by monsters and hideous creatures galore
He shivered and shuddered and trembled some more
Until he found the monster sitting alone
Who had the eraser and sat on a thrown.

“Will you help me?” Asked Steve
“I’ve created a monst- a problem
I need to erase
Or else the terrified children of dream land
I could never face.”

“Yes I’ll help you,” said the monster.
“My name is Ben.
I have a magic eraser for a reason
So let’s get to saving the world then.”

Together they sailed into the night
Steve eyed the eraser with fear and delight
Wondering what would happen if he erased himself
Disappearing into nothingness behind existence’s shelf

Everything that had happened had been his fault
And this chaos he really needed to halt
If he erased himself would the darkness go away?
Would dream land no longer be plagued by the fey?

“I really enjoy your art,” said Ben to Steve,
“It’s unique and it keeps the world of unreality aglow,
I think you have a rare talent if you can believe
I used to be a dream painter myself, you know.”

Steve’s heart beat quickly as they got to the land
Where the bunny raged against children’s minds
And Steve erased him with one single flipper hand
Releasing the dreamers from these terror binds.

Back to the way things were they started to go
Lack of reality was reestablished high and low
Steve had saved the day so that dreamers could play
Everything went back to normal and everyone went on their way.

Almost everything went back to normal.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas wish list

Conversation with my mother.
Mom: "What do you want for Christmas? Your grandma, aunt, and uncle have all been nagging me."
Me: "I don't really need anything."
Mom: "Don't be a martyr"
Me: "What? I'm not I just don't need anything right now."
Mom: "But it's CHRISTMAS. Pick something you want."
Me: "For Christmas what I want is, it would be nice if for once we could be in the same room for a few hours without screaming at each other and crying. Wait, no, I mean money."
Mom: "Don't be ridiculous you need to get something. Otherwise it's not christmas. You'll break your grandma's heart if you don't let her get you anything."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

long story joke with no real ending

I went home to see my family because if you don’t experience pain, I think you can’t appreciate what love feels like. My mom asked if I was dating anyone and I was like “well if by dating you mean trying to guess their ages, then no. Age doesn’t matter; it’s size that counts.” I haven’t had a boyfriend in two years because I like being happy. My brother David said “She doesn’t date men, she just has f-u-c-k buddies.” And that’s when we found out that my eighty year old grandma can spell. She started crying and wailing, “I’ll never have grandchildren.” And I was like “technically, it’s me that will never have your grandchildren if you were having your own grandchildren that means you were impregnated by your son.” And my mom was like, “what about david?” and she was like “I don’t want my grandchildren to be redheads!” because my brother has read hair. I’m like “what’s the likelihood of that happening when his girlfriend is asian?” and she said, “Barbara that’s offensive, I’m colorblind,” Then why do you care about redheads?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This drama is still going on....

"To put it another way, if I am on stage and I make a joke about suicide, and someone in the audience just lost a family member to suicide, I'd certainly feel awful for causing someone a moment of pain. But that person came to a comedy club, where any topic is fair game. And if they really don't like what happened, they can leave. They can ask for their money back. They can even wait in the parking lot to yell at me, if they wish. But however angry they might be with me, the fact remains that they willingly entered that club with the understanding that they might not like what they hear. " -Paul F Tompkins (http://paulftompkins.com/blog_detail.php?id=46)

"Tycho: Hello, this is Tycho Brahe, of Penny Arcade. We recently made a comic strip where an imaginary person was raped imaginarily by a mythological creature whose every limb was an erect phallus. Some found that idea disturbing.
Gabe: We want to state in clear language, without ambiguity or room for interpretation: We hate rapers, and all the rapes they do. Seriously, though. Rapists are really the worst.
Tycho: It's possible you read our cartoon, and became a rapist as a direct result. If you're raping someone right now, stop. Apologize. And leave. Go, and rape no more."
-Penny Arcade

This thing with rape jokes is confusing. Can we not say the word rape without offending someone? Or is it more like we can't describe rape (because that might give someone a flashback) or make light of it? I used to feel this way about suicide/ eating disorder jokes. If a comic just said the word "eating disorder" it didn't really offend me, but if a comic described in detail how it feels (full of self loathing, wanting to disappear etc) that would make me uncomfortable. But I got over it and now I make those jokes more than anyone. Also even when I was more sensitive to that shit it wasn't like I couldn't laugh at it if it was funny. Only nonfunny things could ever offend me.

"Substitute the word "tape"" - The amazing Tim Hammer.
Me: "Isn't she tapeable? Not with that voice."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

why I didn't make it to work today

Why I didn't make it to work today... a poem

Jumping on my bed
Bouncing on the dead
Dancing to the beats
There’ s a ghost in my sheets
He’ s haunting my pillow heap
So I can’ t go to sleep
The ghost is a scary poltergeist
Even scarier than Jesus Christ
The guy crucified on the cross
Returning as a zombie to show who’ s boss
But this ghost wasn’ t Jesus
Stop making a fuss
He’ s not magic so calm the heck down
He’ s just the ghost of an old clown
Who murdered his family
And chopped them to bits tidily
And was given the electric chair
Which fried off all his hair
And killed him so hard to death
Zapping out all his breath
He’ s in bed trying to haunt me
As plain as you can see
He’ s certainly not fake
And he’ s keeping me awake
So If I don’ t make it in to work tomorrow
Even though I’ d regrettably be filled with sorrow
It’ s because I had a terrible fright
I was haunted all fricking night
It’ s not because of all the beers you see
That may or may not have been drank by me
I’ m not hung over I can safely boast
I’ m skipping work because of the ghost.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Empty Drawer

Stephanie sauntered blithely through the cemetery, wrapped in a robe of sunshine. The grass radiated almost too green, possibly dyed brightly by the decaying dead bodies it blanketed. Chewing on a strand of blonde hair, she hesitated in front of the funeral home. shifting her weight from foot to foot. She skipped around the building to enter the mortuary from the back door. She quietly let herself in and tip toed into the morgue where her friend Evan was leaning over a corpse and he and the old gentleman's remains were both being very still.

Stephanie hopped up and sat on a counter watching Evan dress the old man in a black suit for burial with a piano necktie.

Stephanie had visited Evan every day at work for the last six months. At first he had thought that she like-liked him but with every increasingly cheery surprise visit, he realized that she only liked dead people, just platonicaly. Evan finished up his work, put the dead old man in the morgue drawer, and the two of them went out for lunch. Evan watched her hands dance with vivacity, fingers curling like ten worms levitating and fornicating in the air. As she verbally breath-stroked from topic to topic, her hair swirled across her face like a curtain of yellow healthy urine. He looked down into his nothing-colored pasta, willing time to speed up.

The next day Stephanie came to visit again, sitting backwards on a chair and propping her elbows on the plastic back and resting her chin in her hands. Evan was hunched in front of the morgue drawer.
“He’s gone,” Evan said.
“Piano Necktie man. I put him in the drawer and now he’s gone.”
“Was he not dead yet? Almost dead? No pulse and not breathing yet still able to crawl?”
“Watch this,” Evan said. He rolled a marble into the morgue drawer and shut it. Then he opened it again.
“It’s gone?” Stephanie stood up and walked over. She squinted into the long thin drawer and felt around the cool metal.
“That’s the twentieth marble I’ve tossed down there,” Evan said. He grabbed a half drank can of coke and set it inside the drawer. When he opened it; it was gone.
“That’s amazing!” Stephanie yelped.

She danced around the morgue grabbing random things and tossing them in. She sent a piece of old pizza and a few books and even a camera out into nothingness. She cart-wheeled around the morgue and kissed Evan on the cheek. Evan blushed hotly and ushered Stephanie out so he could finish his work. He ignored the morgue drawer of disappearances and hurriedly struggled his way through his boring-as-death tasks with his mind locked in a jar elsewhere. On the way home from work Evan bought a bouquet of lilies. She’d like that because they were a funeral flower. He went to sleep with a smile on his face knowing that the next day he would go to work reeking of tenacity.

That night Stephanie put on a little black dress and bright pink high heels. She brushed her hair for the first time in several months and even clipped her fingernails. She rode her bicycle to the morgue, singing happily to herself as she did so. When she got there she parked her bike at the cemetery gate without bothering to lock it up. She let herself into the funeral home using the key she had stolen from Evan’s pocket when she had kissed him. Since no one would be there after midnight she walked straight in through the front door and confidently into the mortuary. She tied a string to the long table with wheels on the legs. She slipped off her high heels, leaving them purposefully against the wall.

Looking over her shoulder, Stephanie climbed into the morgue drawer. The cool metal exhilaratingly embraced her arms and legs. She lay there, surprised at the tightness of the space, staring into a ceiling a few inches from her head. She saw her reflection peering down at her and she smiled for a moment and closed her eyes. She yanked the string in her hand with all of her strength and the work table rolled plummeting through the empty room and slammed the morgue drawer shut with a snap.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Death of a Duet by Barbara Holm

The sound of fleshy human fingers dropping on ivory keys echoed through my apartment. I put my book down and half sat up on my couch, glancing down at my watch. The piano player was early today. I hoisted myself out of my nest of slothfulness and into my wheelchair, rolled over to my guitar and set it in my lap. I listened through the walls to the sounds of heartbreak echoing from my neighbor’s apartment. With closed eyes, I let the song wash over me, my fingers sensuously stroking my guitar. It was the same song as the piano player had played last week. I picked out what key it was in my head, nodding my head to the rhythm, and began to play along. The piano player next door didn’t falter, continuing even stronger with the song, leading me through the melody like we were dancing, doing the robot with our souls, if our souls were programmed for ineptitude.

The next day I was watching tv when out of the corner of my eye I saw the piano player man outside the apartment building. His eyes were down on the ground and his steps were measured. I wondered if he knew he was being watched as I shied away from the window. I was surprised as a poop to see him since he usually came once a week. He entered the apartment and I listened as he climbed the stairs to my neighbor’s apartment. I looked at my guitar thoughtfully. The music started again and I rolled to the wall, pressing my palm against the peeling painted wall that felt like decaying, bumpy, dead, chewed up half digested and spit out skin for a house. Something inside me radiated through my hand and through the wall. The piano music seemed tentative and questioning to start out.

“He’s waiting for me to join in,” I whispered to my guitar. “That’s why he came back so quickly… the duet.” You know you’re a lonely cripple physically and emotionally when you can have deep, epiphany-driven conversations with inanimate objects. I began to play along, closing my eyes again and I could feel myself floating out of my chair and him holding me as we swayed along to the music floating in the stars at night.

Every day that week the piano player arrived increasingly earlier. I knew that he was there to serenade my sick old neighbor, but it felt like his notes were addressed directly to me. We continued our duets and I felt like every day his music seemed a little bit louder and closer to me. We had a constricted courtship, as though our interpersonal interactions were masked with a heavy straightjacket of a condom. After five days of vigorously strumming my guitar (that’s not a euphemism) I decided I was going to be brave enough to talk to the man. I put on one of my nicest dresses that I felt highlighted my bosoms and drew attention away from the fact that I’m in a wheelchair. I figured he would notice eventually though, either that or assume that I was less than four feet tall and had a very awkward lower body. I curled my hair, labored over my makeup and then I waited on the landing outside my apartment in my wheelchair for him to come.

Mr. Stephenson from apartment 42B saw me sitting there and came up to me with his annoying little dog. “Hello there little Jessie,” he said.
“Jenny,” I corrected listlessly.
“I see you still got yourself in that wheelchair, eh?” He leaned down on his cane to get closer to my face. He smelled of a rat completely saturated in cologne and bathroom oils and then left to dry out.
“Yes.” I saw the piano man enter the building and my heart jumped. I balanced on my wheels and tried to peer over Mr. Stephenson’s hunching shoulders to talk to the piano man.
“Seems like it’s been, what, a few weeks?”
“As long as I’ve lived here, sir.” He was creeping up the steps, a gloomy look on his face as he stared dejectedly at the ground. He walked up to the steps til he was at my landing. With all the burning force in my body I willed Mr. Stephenson to go away.
“When you gonna get them stems healed? Gotta get yerself to the doctor, that’s what I say.”
“Hi,” I whispered almost inaudibly to the piano man as he hit my landing and then walked over to my neighbor’s front door. He looked at me, not sure if he’d heard me or imagined it. He smiled with a cottony sadness and I knew he was wondering if I was his mystery guitarist. He shook his head to himself and knocked on the door. I didn’t see my neighbor come to the door, but it swung open silently and the piano man entered in. I sighed, my shoulders heavily falling forward down into my chest and I looked back at Mr. Stephenson who was still rattling about.
“You know if you’re still in that chair in a few days, I say just take some good old chicken soup with a little pepper in it and I’ll give you my recipe, all you need is Campbells chicken noodle soup and water and pepper. You got water?”
“Soup isn’t going to fix paralysis, Mr. Stephenson.” I sadly slid back inside my apartment, angry at myself for missing my chance. No music played that evening.

The next day the only music that played was that of the ambulance coming to the apartment complex. The only drum beats were the clambering of the paramedics’ footsteps rushing up the stairs to my neighbor’s door. The only song was the muttering as they carried my neighbor’s lifeless corpse down the stairs in a stretcher. The only thing close to a standing ovation was me sitting in my wheelchair silently wiping a tear away from my jaw as I realized no one would come to play piano for him anymore.

I didn’t know when the funeral was; I didn’t know any of his family or even his name. I watched from my window the parade of dark clothed family members stream through the apartment complex taking boxes and furniture from his apartment like an army of goth movers. I never saw anyone carry a piano out. I wondered if the piano man would come for it. I stayed near the window most afternoons hoping to see him, always in one of my dresses, always ready to tell him how I felt. I imagined him being touched by my guitar music (figuratively) and carrying me away to play music with him in his home. I was dosing off near the window when I finally saw him. My heart leapt into my mouth and sweat began to pour out of my armpits seeping onto my bra like someone had dumped two coffee-pots of perspiration out of my skin. I fanned my face as I made my way to the door.

I looked at my reflection in the mirror, whispering to myself, “I enjoyed our duets. You play beautifully…” practicing my opening lines. I opened the front door to my apartment and wheeled myself out to the landing. I waited patiently for a few minutes and then gasped as he opened the door. My jaw dropped and tears began to percolate in my eyes. I covered my mouth with trembling hands and watched him walk down the stairs quietly holding a small boom box in one hand and a piano music cassette tape in the other.