Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Cheesy Beggar


One thing I must say is the common beggar has improved in terms of storytelling, wit, and well…lying. There is undoubtedly one goal – to receive as much change as possible. But, how much can they ask for? If they shoot too high, they’ll come off greedy and unappreciative. If they ask for something too little, like a nickel, they’ll wonder whether or not they could’ve gotten more out of their sucker. It’s homeless economics 101. In fact, they should probably teach this at universities. Did you know the average homeless person makes over $30K a year? That’s more than the average non-homeless person. Something to think about.

There are many tales, schemes, and clich├ęs that they’ll try. True story – This smelly homeless guy came up to me last night. I preemptively told him I don’t have any change. He was rather insulted by the insinuation and quickly let me know that he was not looking for money. Naturally, I felt kind of bad for the bum and allowed him to speak once more. He only wanted a cigarette. My mistake. I don’t have a cigarette either. Sorry buddy. I suppose I’m completely useless to the homeless society. I sent him on his way, wishing him the best of luck.

As I walked on, thinking about my own poverty, the man reappeared. We made eye contact, and I was certain that he remembered me from five minutes ago. He’s not going to ask me for another cig’ is he? No, he was on to another topic in his Rolodex.

“You know fish, right?”

“I don’t have any cigarettes man.”

“I don’t want a cigarette,” the man said, insulted once more.

Now I’m really confused. I don’t have any change for him. I don’t have a cigarette for him. Does he think I have a spare fish in my back pocket or something? Occasionally I’ll carry a salmon, but you happened to catch me on an off day. Better luck next time.

But, this relentless man was not talking about fish at all. He was talking about Phish – the band. This makes sense. He looks like a Phish fan and he smells like a dead fish. Now I know about Phish, but I’m not that guy who goes to their concert, trips on acid, and calls himself a hippy. To tell you the truth, I probably couldn’t name one Phish song. I’m more of a Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones guy. Nevertheless, I am not like the new generation where I’ve never even heard of Phish and am more interested in Flo-Rida’s newest ring tone. What kind of name is that? Flo-Rida. Not Florida, the state. Flow Rider…the rapper who flows and rides? In his defense, I bet he’s from Florida. I guess that’s creative in his mind.

Back to Johnny Bum. That’s what I’ll call him for now. He did want money after all. I knew it! He actually had a decent stack of cash in his hand to show me. He had more than I. If anything I should’ve been asking him for money. I was really in the mood for a falafel. I was right on McDougal, and I didn’t even have a dollar on me.

This guy wanted people to fund his trip to upstate New York, and his ticket to Phish’s upcoming concert. That’s pretty ballsy if you ask me. I didn’t believe him though. He was tripping on acid as we spoke. I knew this because he happened to mention, “I’m tripping on acid as we speak.” Gee, do you think he could’ve been lying about the all important Phish concert? There is no way he wanted money to pay for his next fix. This guy? On drugs? No way. Sorry buddy, maybe you’ll convince me the third time I run into you. By the way, can I borrow a few dollars for a falafel?

I’ll never forget this lady who approached me in a deli. She was about to purchase some alcoholic energy drink. You know, something that she desperately would need. Something very vital to her well-being. She wanted to “borrow” fifty cents from me. I love how they want to borrow money. As if I’ll see her in a few days and she’ll cough up the fifty cents I lent her. At least be honest with me, and yourself. You want to take my money from me, with no intention of paying me back.

I told her I did not have any change on me. Notice how generous I am at this point. So she told me that it wasn’t a problem. Her next move was to have me pay the difference.

“No problem sweetie. Here, take my fifty cents, and you can just pay the rest,” the genius said.

Is she serious? I just told her I don’t have change for her. So, she thinks I’m still interested in “lending” her money. The audacity of this woman. She handed me her change and drink and actually coerced me to the counter to pay the difference. Here I go. This makes sense, right? Wait a second! No way! I’m not paying for your drink. She looked at me as if I had just turned down the body of Christ.
What don’t you understand? You’re just going to pay for the rest of my drink. Understand? I may be naive at times, but come on. This trick isn’t going to work. I guess you’ll have to go a Tuesday without your energy beer.

Do you want to know what she did next? She approached my friend who had not overheard our conversation. She told him that I was a little slow, and didn’t understand her request. My friend said to himself, “I’m not slow. I understand what you want.” Sure enough, my friend went ahead and paid the difference for her drink. He came to me, confused. What didn’t you get? All I could do was shake my head in dismay. What are people thinking?

Something that I can understand, sort of, is if someone needs change for a
dollar. Watch out for the tricky bum in Penn Station. He wanted change for a dollar. Alright, that’s not too bad I thought. Let me see if I have four quarters in my pocket. You’re in luck buddy. Dollar please. I held out my change. So did he. What’s wrong with this picture? Who is giving who change here? I thought he needed change for a pay phone? Where’s your dollar bill?

Wait a second. You want to give me your change for a crisp dollar bill? What good is that for me? I have four quarters already. Do you think I’m eager to carry around eight quarters? I hadn’t planned on hitting up a Laundromat or arcade anytime in the near future. Wait another second; you only have about fifty cents in your hand. I can’t take this anymore. Just take my change. Here is a dollar. Go get a beer or crack, or whatever it is you waste your money on. Do I need a class to be homeless, or can I jump right into it? Do you mind if I shadow you for the rest of the day? I’ll be your apprentice or whatever. You’ve got to be making more money than I am. Wait, where are you going?!

Shit, I have no money for the subway. Anybody have change for the subway?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Movie Over-Rater


“Dude, did you see The Hangover? You would love it! It’s so your sense of humor too. The guys get drunk and wake up and forget everything. Then there’s like a tiger and a chicken, and some Asian gangster dudes. One guy looses a tooth. A tooth! Could you imagine?! So funny! Oh my God, then one of the guys marries a stripper! I mean how do they come up with this stuff? It’s fuckin’ hilarious. This Summer is going to be awesome. So many movies I need to see! Can you say G. I. Joe?”

Meet the movie over-rater. He’s never seen the Godfather. He likes both of the Matrix sequels, and he likes Scarface because it’s cool to like Scarface. He is the reason you come out of a movie and ask yourself, “Why would they even make this movie?” He is not alone. In fact, there are more of them than there are you and I. If we’re not careful, he will breed with some of us and further the garbage that litters the theaters.

Movie director Michael Bay is all too familiar with this crowd. His movies are deliberately designed to allow for no human brain activity whatsoever. The purpose of his films are to completely shut down all internal motor functions, thoughts, and intellectual opinions, so that the viewer can just enjoy two CGI robots smash each other over and over.

Wow, that explosion was badass! I’ve never seen an action film with a giant explosion. Especially one that immense. Here is my $12.50. I’m going to need a refill on this tub of popcorn too. I’ll just get up in the middle of this intense drama with its intricate plot and refill my tub. Of course I want extra butter. It’s free. Why wouldn’t I want it?

Please have a seat and hear this particular true story. Oh right, you are sitting. I was at Kips Bay (over near Murray Hill), where I joined an old college buddy for a late evening showing of the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong. I sat down, neglecting to buy my own popcorn or soda. Instead, I would “borrow” from my friend’s share. He didn’t mind. At least that’s what I told myself. After previewing more of what’s to come (and disappoint) for the summer, we sat down for what was bound to be a mediocre remake at best. How good could this thing possibly be? It was either this or sitting by my air conditioning unit all day, while my contacts dry out, watching Match Game on the Game Show Network. Love that Charles Nelson Reilly. Is Betty White still alive?

The gentleman to the left of me was on a very romantic date. I could tell by his XXL t-shirt and crooked hat, with the stickers and tags still attached. Nothing says romance like a red Yankees hat, with an official MLB sticker on the rim. Now I shit you not, as soon as King Kong came on to the screen this man awoke from his slumber and turned into a five-year-old child – sans parental control.

“Look at the monkey! Yea Kong!” the twenty something year old child exclaimed.

The movie over-rater had turned my attention away from the screen, and onto his fascinating antics. Is he being serious? Is he looking for laughs? I wasn’t sure. But, he was in awe of this giant ape. His excitement reached a peak, and alas he had to tell a friend about this unbelievable ape that had taken him out of his seat. Yes, he was standing.

With the quick dial of his phone, the over-rater was able to reach his friend. Yes, we’re still in the middle of a theater trying to watch a movie. The connection was a success. Not only that, the recipient of the call was in the very same theater. As I looked across the theater in pure amazement, I found another over-rater – hootin’ and hollerin’ about the very same ape. The two were able to have a conversation via cell phone. One man seated directly to my left, while the other was up in the front. They openly discussed how the ape was a “pimp,” given his ability to pick up the lovely blonde, Ann. They rooted for Kong as he defeated a Tyrannosaurus Rex in an animal-like feud. They even had sympathy for Kong when he was captured and exploited. “Poor monkey,” they cried. With that went my theory that they were heartless robots. No, “God” made these creatures. I’m still talking about the movie over-raters.

What was going on in the actual film made no difference to me. I had seen the original King Kong and I had pretty much put my brain on autopilot from the opening credits. But, two grown men were actually enjoying this movie so much, that they had to talk about it via phone from one end of the theater to the other. Mind-boggling. Shut the fuck up! No wait, I’ll say that out loud.

“Shut the fuck up!”

“What you say family?”

“I’m trying to watch the movie...what family? They’re in New Jersey.”

“Man, leave me alone. I’m on the phone!”

He had a point. I hate it when people interrupt my phone conversation. Plus, he was trying to watch a movie. I wasn’t even paying attention. You know what? I’m enjoying this. It’s like the de-evolution of human intelligence taking place right before my very eyes. Alright buddy. Talk away… From now on I may shell out the extra dough for the movie experience, not for the movie, but for the ignorant entertainment provided by dozens of movie over-raters.

Before I sign off on this topic, I thought it’d be a good idea to poll hundreds of movie over-raters to see what are the top ten movies of all time. Here are the results. Drum roll please….


Top Ten Movies: Voted by Movie Over-raters

1. 300
2. Saw
3. The Hangover
4. Final Destination
5. Transformers
6. The Italian Job
7. Sin City
8. American Gangster
9. Clerks
10. Do The Right Thing


I would like to thank everyone who helped with this poll. You will make people think extra hard about the movies you have selected. As they are undoubtedly, awful. Don’t feel too down, though. You are an important part of society, as you continue to line the pockets of millionaire Hollywood producers, whose main ambitions are to line their pockets with millions of dollars.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Really Really Foreign Dude

His country of origin is just as indistinguishable as the brand of his cologne. If that is considered cologne. The gaudiness is overwhelming and I’m positive that’s only one eyebrow. Is that a mole on his face or some kind of…eh, it’s a mole. Let’s not get carried away. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say at least five of the ten pieces of jewelry that garnish his body are real. That third necklace is totally fake though. On second thought, from the chest hair being shown by the neglect of fastening the fourth button, I’m going to say he’s quarter Grizzly Bear.

It’s so humid out and this block is jammed with shoppers. Judging by the perspiration under Gaudi’s armpits, he’s going to duck into that Armani Exchange nearby. What the hell, I’ll follow.

Hello, guy who stands by the door and gets paid to greet people. Say, how can I go about acquiring this position? I need to what? Never mind, I’ll stick to following around foreigners and writing their daily habits in great detail. Oh of course, I’ll give you a shout if I need any help. Although, correct me if I’m wrong, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just walk over and speak in a normal tone? I have a feeling if I shouted at you, people may think I’m crazy. Then again, I am crazy for walking into this store in the first place. So, perhaps I’ll fit right in.

Where did he go? He blends right in. It’s like finding the one Korean person in Chinatown. I wonder how Eugene is doing by the way. I’ll have to give him a call later. Anyway, I may have lost Johhny Gaudi. That’s the nickname I just came up with. What would Gaudi be looking for in a place like this? First of all, what the hell do they sell here? Is there any article of clothing that doesn’t have the Armani logo slapped on it? Does everyone in here have eighth grade syndrome? Hey, look at my shirt. I bought it at Armani, and hence I am cool and fit in with everyone else. Please don’t make fun of my acne, braces, and/or glasses.

I bet he’s looking for one of those skin tight T-shirts. The kind that might as well be painted on. I’ll have to give the doorman a shout.

“Excuse me doorman dude! Where are your really tight T-shirts!!?? No, not those. The really really really tight ones! Oh, I thought you literally wanted me to shout at you. No, I’m not crazy. I’m sorry. Next time I will lower my voice. Sorry everyone.”

There he is! Woops, now I’m shouting in my head. Damn you doorman and your words with double meanings. Tight jeans section. I was close. Let me play it cool so I don’t look like I’m following him. Why would anybody want to wear these jeans? I suppose if they’re deliberately trying not to impregnate someone, for eternity. I’m all about waiting to have children, but I’m pretty sure there are easier ways to go about that. Then again the mentality here is eighth grade. I think that’s been firmly established. They’ll find out about the birds and the bees soon enough. What an awful video they’re in for.

How can Gaudi afford all of this? I wonder if he owns this place. At least that would justify the ten articles of clothes he’s carrying with him. No, he can’t own this place. Oil money? Bailout money? Wait a second. Is this the guy who invented Velcro? I always wanted to meet him. Velcro – what a cool name. Oh shit, here he comes.

Who is this Corey Hart? You do realize you’re indoors now. You can take your sunglasses off. I’m sorry, what did you say? Do I know where what is? I can’t understand this guy. I don’t even know what accent this is. I pride myself on picking up accents. This is like a combination of French, Israeli, and…Long Island? Fuck! I can’t even narrow down the continent! Here I go with the shouting again. OK, let’s just calm down here. I know I can crack this.

Oh! You want to know where the Meatpacking district is? I wouldn’t go there. You’ll have to wait in line forever. Plus, you’re going to need at least three girls per guy to get in. You have your own table you say? How many girls?! No, I wasn’t shouting. I’d love to help you find the place. Was I outside following you earlier? No, wasn’t me. We all look the same. We? You know, we as in…New Yorkers? You’re going right from here. Yes, I’d love to join you – sounds like a good time. You don’t think I should wear this outfit? Well, I wouldn’t exactly call this an outfit. It’s just something I threw together…No, you don’t have to buy me anything. Well, that tight blue t-shirt with all the shiny logos on it does look pretty cool. You like it too? These jeans would fit really snug on me too. Why don’t you throw these in as well. Do you own this place or something? You didn’t invent Velcro did you? It’s the stuff that sticks together….ah never mind. Let me find a belt with the Armani logo as a buckle. That’ll look real hot for tonight.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Friendly Drunk Guy

It’s midnight, give or take an hour. He’s on his tenth drink, give or take five. He is the life of the party, and yet he is barely coherent. His face is painted red from his own internal boiling blood. His eyes are blood shot, but the grin tells me he can care less. The reason he is the life of the party? He is buying everybody shots. Not to mention he is so damn friendly. It’s as if he’s known me for twenty years and while I’ve only know him for ten minutes, it feels more like five hours. “Another shot of Jack Daniels you say? Well, I don’t know. I do have to be up by noon tomorrow. Oh what the hell, make it a double.”

He’s either from England or Australia, but I can’t remember which. From the stench of his shirt I would say…well I still couldn’t say which. Nevertheless, he’s here on business and his business is supposedly something in finance, but it seems more like drinking to me. I sure hope his place of work is paying for this excessive tab. Come to think of it, I’m actually getting a little hungry looking at those sliders.

“Hey, Ted (that’s his name) what’s your last name again?

“McGinley”

Get out of here. Here I thought all McGinleys were Type A personalities. Well, pardon me once more. This is no type A. Maybe AA. Or maybe he needs to visit AA, but that’s another story.

“An order of sliders please! Put it on the McGinley tab. Thanks Ted.”

“You got it. For what, though?”

“Oh, nothing. How about another beer?”

“I love this guy!”

The night would continue in this manner and the moochers were lining up outside the door to meet Ted. Somebody must have been texting their friends about the free food and drinks, compliments of Mr. McGinley.

Ted wants to know if I’m interested in soccer. I’m going to need some help on the subject, asap! Well, I followed Team Italia during their World Cup run. Actually that’s another story. SOHO was off the hook that day. I suppose I could discuss their win over France, and how Zidane was a big d-bag who cost the French the Cup. Plus, with this accent, Ted probably doesn’t care for the French.

Indeed I was right. But, Ted has already moved onto the next topic. I don’t know why I bothered to come up with a soccer anecdote in the first place. I should have known he wasn’t going to pay actual attention for more than ten seconds. He’s starting to slur a lot now and he’s spraying onto my face. Are those sliders almost done? By the way, how old is this guy?

For starters he’s definitely not married. Sure I could simply look at the ring finger and see nothing but knuckle hair and a scab. Maybe he’s divorced. I would say he fits the profile. He hasn’t really hit on any girls yet. He’s not gay is he? No way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Maybe I should hook him up with one of the ladies around here. They’re not exactly the cream of the crop. I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult. Ugh, I just got spit in my eye again. On second thought, it may be difficult. Are those my sliders? You’re the man, Ted.

Nothing like three miniature burgers after a few beers and a double shot of Jack Daniels. If I didn’t fill my stomach soon, I may have turned into Ted. Nobody wants that. Although he is so damn friendly. No matter how annoying he is about to become, I can’t imagine anyone wanting him to leave. Ouch! Ted, watch it. You just stepped on my foot and spilled half a beer on my jeans. No worries. Just be careful next time.

“What was I drinking? Oh, just a Peroni. No, you don’t have to buy me a drink over this.”

Thank you. I’m convinced my wallet will not see the light of day for the rest of the night. These are the best nights, financially at least. Where are my other friends that I came with? How are they not taking full advantage of this? I should text them, but I don’t want to take full advantage of Ted. Those chicken fingers look good. I could dip a few of those in Ranch dressing.

“McGinley. Yes, with Ranch dressing.”

I was still hungry – alcohol will do that to you. What’s one more order of appetizers? Ted would have wanted it. Is he talking about religion? Oh no, he’s entered the downfall of the drunkenness. Drunkenness is like the stock market, it reaches its peak and takes a turn for the worst. This could turn ugly real quick. I’m assuming he’s Catholic. The gold cross dangling from his neck gave me a slight inkling. Let me try and lighten the mood with a quick joke.

OK, that didn’t work. Ted, I didn’t mean to insult you. I’m actually Catholic myself, not by choice but by birth. Church? I love going to mass. Sarcasm? Since when did you think I was being sarcastic with you? Ted your face is getting really close to mine. You have officially crossed the boundary of my comfort zone. How about a piece of gum? You were supposed to chew that not throw it behind the bar. No, those aren’t my chicken fingers. McGinley? Oh, Ted did you order those?
Do you honestly want to fight me over a religious wise crack? I love Jesus! I’m not being sarcastic, that’s just my normal tone. Actually, I think I should check up on my buddies. They should be around here somewhere. Well, it was great meeting you Ted. I’m not a big hugger. Again, I’m not going to fight you over this either. I know, I know, you’ve had a few drinks. It’s OK you don’t need to apologize. We’ve all been there. What these chicken fingers? You want me to have these chicken fingers? I can’t take these. I don’t even know whose they are. They do look really good though. No, I shouldn’t.

These chicken fingers are really good. Where were you guys? I was by the bar the whole time talking to that drunk dude. That guy over there. Is he being carried out? Yea, well you should’ve seen him five shots ago. What a really friendly guy. Oh, he was from New Zealand. That’s right. I knew it was one of those countries. It’s a shame he had to go out that way – usually they toss them feet first. Get your own chicken fingers. I paid for these.