loser

Jury Duty and The Stenographer

A month ago I got a summons in the mail stating that I would have to go to the local courthouse for jury duty. Two days ago, I went.

For that month long wait, I probably thought about the upcomming date at least twice a day. I wasn't pumped about missing a day of work, and I definitely wasn't excited about the possibility of being selected for a case.

The night before I went, I found out that they were actively trying to select the jury for the Tyler Clementi case.

I got more nervous.

I asked my girlfriend, Allie, if she would drop me off at the courthouse, and on the way there, we listened to the radio, when, amazingly enough, an NPR reporter brought up the case! He said that they were having a difficult time assembling a jury for the case, because many of the potential juror's had a viewpoint that got them instantly dismissed.

While Allie and I stared at each other in amazement, the reporter elaborated that many of the jurors believe that the existence of the trial itself suggests that the defendant must be guilty of something. Why would they have a trial unless he did something to warrant it?

There it was. The key to my freedom.

We pulled up to the courthouse where a line of half-awake zombies wrapped around the block, and I could see several Court TV news vans gearing up to report on the big trial.

A little more confident of my dismissal, I hopped on the line.

15 minutes later, I sat in a huge room watching a quick instructional video about how we are serving our country by appearing for jury duty. It looked exactly like every dystopian future I've ever seen in a movie. Just footage of a man's head explaining to us how lucky we are for living where we do, and how we must give back to our country.

Another 15 minutes later, a few of us, split off from the massive pool of jurors, are stuffed into an elevator, on the way to a court room to learn what case we'll be interviewed for. I rehersed my story. I practiced the lines in my head.

"Well why are we here unless some of the charges are true?"

The moment I entered the room, everything changed.

First, we weren't being interviewed for the Tyler Clementi case, which made me breath a sigh of relief, and then realize that I would have to come up with a new excuse.

Second, I almost instantly stopped worrying about that the moment I noticed the court stenographer.

She was fascinating.

Either superhuman or subhuman.

Possibly a ghost.

More likely a zombie.

Sunken eyes, sallow skin, long spindly Nosferatu fingers.

I have no idea why her typewriter thing had such a small keyboard, but her frightening goblin fingers flew over the little keys, while paper the width of a standard receipt spewed out of the back. Why don't they use regular paper? Do they have teeny filing cabinets?

As she typed, her empty eyes fluttered around in her hollow skull. They found me, and stayed. She had chosen me.

To be fair I was staring right at her, likely with a mask of horror on my face, so I can't blame her for staring back.

I still don't know what I was really looking at, though.

Her life is based on converting the sounds she hears into words on a page. Without a break. For hours. There's no way that she has a mind. It would get in the way!

She's just a funnel. Sound goes in her ears and becomes an electrical impulse which flows down her arms and out of her fingertips. She can't possibly process all the legal bullshit that's being hurled at her without end.

Why don't they just use a recorder? She's basically a modern equivalent of the birds in The Flintsones movie that are meant to "record" conversations just by remembering everything everyone said!

She's not real! She's an animal who serves a singular purpose.

Speaking of being an animal, she must be completely wild outside of that courthouse, right?!

From 5:00 in the afternoon until 7:00 the next morning, I bet she's chugging whiskey, joy riding, and hitting mailboxes with a baseball bat.

She must have SO much pent up energy.

It's either that, or she's just as hollow outside of work and she walks around staring at everybody, listening in on conversations and reflexively moving her fingers in the air, phantom-typing.

Maybe they roll her chair into a closet at the end of the work day, and she sleeps in there.

Maybe I'm just wrong and that's not a person. She's a very sophisticated machine used to transcribe conversations, and they wanted it to look human.

They almost got it right.

I kind of hope that she has some sort of effect on what she writes. I hope she's able to add something personal. I hope the transcription of my interview went something like this:

"Judge: Can you think of any reason why you would not be right for this case?"

"Fat Moron: I can't afford to miss work."

"Judge: Fair enough, you're dismissed."

"Fat Moron lumbers out of the room."

"Someday I will absorb his soul."

A Tale of Two Bullies: Me and My Murderer

I'm a bully.

At least, I was
I might still be, but that's not the point.
I'm not going to justify myself, or make it seem like my bullying ways were legitimate or fair, or excusable, but I'll tell you right up front that I didn't intend to be a bully. I meant to be the funny guy.
It's a popular myth that bullies are afraid of the people they attack, but I think that's actually an accidental result of the mocking rather than the immediate cause.
Bullies attack people that are just different, it's that basic.
It's where racism comes from.

This post isn't expressly about me, but I'll tell you a quick story about myself:

When I was 17, I was sitting in stand-still traffic, in the right most lane. I was listening to music and hanging out, when I saw a big muscular black guy walking up the side of the road. Before I knew what happened, I instinctively locked the doors of the car.

My heart sank...

What did I just do!? Did I assume this guy was going to try to steal my car and sit in the traffic?? Was I a racist? What the fuck??

I was seriously worried that I had just revealed myself to be a bigot. I thought about it a lot.

A few months later, I found myself sitting in more traffic. In the right most lane again. Listening to music. This time I looked up and saw a little old white lady walking up the side of the road. Before I knew what happened, my hand reached out and locked the doors again.

HOORAY!

I'M NOT RACIST, I'M JUST AFRAID OF EVERYTHING!


Especially little quiet people who wear bow-ties. Which brings me to my story:

There's a guy that I used to be "friends" with on Facebook, who, for the sake of this story, I'll refer to as "Elmer."
Elmer is a fucking asshole.
On Facebook, Elmer is constantly posting statuses, usually around three times a day, which are typically centered around how abortion should be made illegal (this is technically up for debate, but it's not the point of this post. If you have a problem with giving people a choice as to how they should conduct themselves and decide their future, go ahead an give me a reasoned argument for removing someone's options), and how any non-Christian is a fool. He posts about how "boughetto" (a crude word which is a combination of "bourgeoisie" and "ghetto") people are loud and stupid and annoying. He frequently deals in stereotypes about black people. On Martin Luther King day, he posted something fucking crazy about having the day off and whether or not it's deserved, and how MLK Jr. himself would say "Ni**er please" in regards to...something...
Elmer has blocked me on facebook, so I can't easily quote the post, but if I can find a way to quote the "Ni**er please" post in the future, I'll add it in. If you're friends with this prick and you can find it, send me a screen cap at WillAndBobby@gmail.com!
Anyway, I find him infuriating. He's a bully. And so I fucking bully him.
Most of the time I just post asinine shit.
For example:
Last week he posted something about how he couldn't wait to go home and have his "supper."
I thought it was absurd that he called "dinner" "supper," so at first I was going to post, "haha, what the fuck? You call it 'supper'?"
But it didn't seem funny enough.
So then I was about to write, "Oh boy, I love 'supper.'"
But then it wasn't weird enough (that's important to me), so I finally posted, "Oh no, my supper is cold :("
Perfect!
It's fucking stupid and irrelevant and not worth getting angry at, while still being weird and funny. And he mostly used to let me get away with just posting weird shit on his page, which was part of the fun.
Not all my posts have been benign though. I've called him out about threatening people.
A year ago, he wrote about how he never forgets the people who wronged him, and how one day they'll pay for it.
It set me off. And I wrote something along the lines of, "So you're threatening people now? I guess someday we'll see your face in the papers."

He went OFF! He freaked out and wrote a long post about how I had compared him to Jared Lee Loughner (a comparison which I didn't intend, but nonetheless find accurate).
I was mostly worried that I might lose the place where I posted absurd bullshit. And this guy is an accidental comedic genius.
That seems like a good enough background to explain what happened a couple of days ago.
Elmer posted this:
How's that for some racist bullshit?!

Really, the fact that black people were once discriminated against and hated means that black people should have learned not to be rude to anybody?
If you're going to use the argument that racism should have an effect on how black people "should" act, it would be that THEY ARE FREE TO DO WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY LIKE after white people did whatever the fuck they liked!
You stupid asshole!
You racist piece of shit!
You bow-tie-wearing human trash!
Now I'm not trying to big myself up or make my role in this world more significant than it is...And YES, I am (or WAS) willingly "friends" with Elmer, who I would usually just mock with goofy bullshit, but man this set me off.
He was seeming to revel in his own bullshit and awfulness. His anger is well documented. And more than that, he has people who read his bullshit and agree with him. I don't presume I'm going to change the world, but I also can't very well look at small-minded shit like this and move on. I wanted to call him out on his fucking prejudice.
At first I wrote, "Hey [Elmer], which do you hate more: racism or black people?" But I ended up deleting that and coming up with "It's a good thing white people and Asian people aren't rude at all." 
Compared to what I was originally going to write, that's nothing. Even still, I received a fucking frantic, lunatic, rapid fire, SUPER angry response back about how I had twisted his words and how I was spouting "fallacies," which is a bullshit old-world, biblical term meaning "falsehoods." 
...Which is also old and biblical. 
Fuck...
Anyway, he went on to attack me by saying something along the lines of (I'll add actual quotes if possible) "how do you know I won't post something negative about white people or Asians in the future."
To put it bluntly, he's a defensive nut.
I wrote back "Feel free to surprise me but..." and I went on to point out that even if he eventually posts about how white people can be rude in the modern world, he's currently talking about specifically black people...who he has written about before...in the same shitty negative tone.
I'll say it now: Go fuck yourself  "Elmer."
After this most recent outburst, where I blatantly point out his racism, he finally decided to block me. 
He should have done it years ago.
Unfortunately for me, this son of a bitch gets the best of me here:
He says that I have been antagonizing him for years (again, I'll post the actual quotes in the future if possible). And he's right. I have been. But I'll say again that it's because of his misogyny and racism that I lash out.
He also makes a point of saying that he remembers how I treated him in middle school and high school.
Now we're back to that Jared Lee Loughner bullshit.
What, may I ask, is the point of saying to somebody that you'll remember them for the way they mistreated you, unless you have some plan for how to get back at them?
I'll suggest here and now that "Elmer" has, at least in the back of his mind, some idea of lashing out against the people who has wronged him.
Which means that now I have to explain myself:
I bullied Elmer in middle school, and I have to own up to that.
In 8th or 9th grade (I honestly don't remember), I took a wood-working class which I shared with Elmer.
He was quiet, and I had no reason not to like him, but he shared a work station with me and a girl, whose name I don't remember.
I flirted with the girl, and we joked around, and we were goofy, and we made fun of anything and everything, including Elmer.
I'll remind you again that "Elmer" is a nickname for the actual guy. It's a similar name to the real thing, though, so when I tell you that me and that girl called him "Smellmer," you may well work out what his actual name is.
"Smell" was definitely a part of the name, is what I'm saying.
But it had no true basis.
He wasn't smelly, he wasn't weird, he was just quiet and fine.
I'll tell you right now, that by calling him "Smellmer", I thought the natural perception was not I was calling Elmer a loser, but that by calling him "Smellmer," I was calling myself a loser!
It was a joke on a joke.

I thought I was making fun of people who make fun of people.

"Smellmer" is the dumbest, most illogical name in the world, so by using it, I was making fun of people who might actually use it.
But no matter what, whether I intended that fucking stupid name to be hurtful or not, I have to own up to the result, which was evidently that I hurt Elmer's feelings.
I feel bad about that as a 9th grader. If at all possible, I would definitely send a message to my 15/16 year-old-self saying "leave Elmer alone," but as a 25 year-old man, I think "fuck you Elmer, you racist fuck."
So that was middle school. He has every right to say that he remembers how I treated him then, and he has  every right to hate me for it.

But high school? I don't remember shit about him then! I don't think I spoke to him at all!

So once again: fuck you Smellmer! You're talking out of your smelly, racist, ass!
No matter what, he posted that thing about how he remembers me for how I "treated" him in middle school and high school, which I interpret to mean he'll one day show up on my front step with a gun.
I'll be waiting...To die I guess...Because I don't think I'll dodge those bullets like Batman.
Yes.
I was a bully.
10 years ago.
But Elmer is a bully now.
He blocked me, and he's way smarter than man, and he works for the fucking government, but still I say, "fuck you, you racist piece of shit."
Honestly though, how awesome will it be if he tries to murder me? 
If I'm found dead, seek Smellmer. 
Actually, first check if it was a heart attack, I'm pretty overweight. If there are bullet holes, though, drive straight to Smellmer.
If you're reading this, and you know who "Elmer" REALLY is, then I suggest you go nuts on his wall, denouncing his crazy views. Fuck that asshole and his asshole friends.
Facebook is a public forum. You're free to think whatever crazy bullshit you want, but when you put it on a public site like that, don't expect it to be the same as putting it in a journal you keep under your bed. People can see it and respond. Facebook is a place for conversation and debate.
It's like being at a party, and everyone you know is there, and a few hundred people you've never met, and you see someone you used to know and you happen to notice they're saying something horrible about somebody else. Do you walk up to them and say, "hey man, that's not cool," or do you just pretend it didn't happen?
What I'm saying is that in a moment like that, you feel compelled to do one of those two things: step up or move along.
I couldn't help myself, so I stepped up. Frankly I wish I had been more brazen and given him more shit.
Life's too short to let people get away with hurting each other.
The last thing I got to say to Smellmer before the block was that I do regret being a shit head in middle school, but I'm going to call out bullshit when I see it.
He followed up with a fucking knockout punch. He really got me good. He wrote:
"Enjoy spending the rest of your life pretending to be humble while mistreating people."
Fuck. He was right: I was pretending to be humble and I was accidentally writing like some small town super-hero.
He'll never fucking see the last thing I wanted to say to him though, because I was blocked JUST before I could send it... 
My last message to Elmer is:
"Thanks!"
Bully the bullies!
Concerns, thoughts, questions, stories? Comment here or email me at WillAndBobby@gmail.com!

A True Blog Post. I'm Not Sorry.

Sleeping is total and absolute bullshit.

Last week I had a minor cold, and because of that, I was sleeping A LOT.
More than I'd care to.
If there was some way I could work this out, I would never sleep. Honestly, if I didn't get so goddamn groggy and messed up due to a lack of rest, I'd stay up 24 hours a day, doing nothing but going to real work, doing my own goofy work (Will and Bobby Know Everything, boom), hanging out, and doing whatever I want.
Sleep is 6-8 hours of completely wasted time.
I don't accomplish a single thing during those hours. 
Worse than that, they're WAY too mandatory:
If I'm sick, like I was, and I sleep for 18 hours of a day, doped up on Nyquil, despite getting more than twice (maybe triple) the amount of sleep that the typical person needs in one night, I'll still wake up with enough energy for about 13 hours of the waking life before I have to fucking sleep again.
It's a weakness. If I sleep for 18 hours, I should be able to stay awake for 3 days.
You can't bank those hours.
However, if I stay up for 48 hours, a typical 8-hour rest won't be enough. I'll need to sleep longer.
What a joke.
Moving on.
I haven't got anything fun to examine, really, but I do want to quickly discuss this:
More than likely, you've heard about how Norway recently has had a shortage of butter.
It sounds weird, just on the surface, but the actual reason why is almost more unreal. There was a diet craze, not unlike the Atkins diet, which says that if you eat a diet with high butter-content, you'll lose weight.
That's all it takes.
In American, whenever the fucking McRib goes on sale, we line up around the block to fucking kill ourselves, but whatever, Norway freaked out over a diet fad.
(Also, in America, we don't need a goddamn excuse to eat butter).
Anyway, in response to all the stupid jokes about the situation, some dude in Norway posted the following video to us, in an effort to shut us up. 
He took a stand and said "NO MORE!"
And trust me, it's WAY fucking worth watching. It's unreal. At first you might feel bad for him, but power through it and keep watching, it's the best. Keep reading when the video ends:
See, I was right.
This is the worst fucking decision this guy could have made. In an effort to make America stop mocking his country's situation, he released a video of his shiny face where he accidentally says the cake they make is called "Pussy Cats," and he generally stumbles and fucks up through the whole video. I have to give him credit for trying, I guess.

Actually, I don't. If we ran out of butter, and fucking Norway started making fun of us, I wouldn't post a video to them. I wouldn't speak broken Norwegian while trying to mock them in accidentally hilarious ways.

Maybe I would, actually, that sounds kind of fun. Especially the threat of eating butter in front of a bunch of  people.

As angry as he is, which makes me want to take him seriously so that this video doesn't COMPLETELY paint him as a fool, I have to point out a few things...
There are edits in this video! I haven't done my research, but I think this is exactly what the guy posted online, himself. Occasionally you'll see the video "jump" as he finishes a point and moves on to another. There was stuff he decided to edit out! Sure, he leaves in all the bumbling missteps, and embarrassing sequences, like when he fakes you out into thinking maybe there's butter in the container he holds up. Speaking of which, I was fooled... But --
I lost my train of thought...
Christ, that pussy cats thing is unreal.
What the hell would you do if this guy actually DID come to your house and went into your refrigerator and ate a bunch of butter right in front of "your family's eyes"?
[Door gets kicked open]
"Whoa, who the fuck are you?"
Tommy storms up the hall, and turns into the kitchen, as your family, sitting on the couch, turns and watches, horrified and confused.
"Honey, do you know this guy?"
Tommy rips open the refrigerator and furiously grabs a stick of butter from the little butter cabinet thing.
Your family's mouths hang open, agape.
Tommy walks into the living room, stands in front of you, and, with great pride, defiantly takes a fucking huge bite out of the butter.
"Kids, cover your eyes!"
Tommy eats the whole thing, while you're mostly just confused. He goes back to the fridge and eats another, and then that little tub of whipped butter. You all just sit in stunned silence.
Then he has to go because he has to catch a plane back to Norway.
I really want that to happen.

I'll pay for the flight.

You have to hand it to him, really. No one actually gave a fuck about this Norway/Butter situation, but he had the guts to release this dramatic/ridiculous/unnecessary video, which got some views.
It takes a real man to draw more attention to a completely absurd situation, while also throwing himself on the fire.
I'm going to try and sleep now.

This is a very important story. It's also an experiment.

I'm going to go ahead and write out a story of something that really bugged me. When you're finished reading it, I want you to think about what you would have done, and how you would have felt if it had happened to you. Or maybe just how you would respond to me telling you this. Then I'll tell you the correct response.

It all started last November when I got a job temping at Johnson & Johnson. I was the hot new kid on the campus, and obviously people took notice of me. And the people I'm talking about...is actually just one lady who makes sandwiches in the cafeteria.

I mostly kept my head down and worked, but it seems that she just took a shine to me.

It started out small, like asking how my day was. That was already pushing the threshold of my friendliness, but I'd tell her, "fine."

Now, I'm a vegetarian and a creature of habit, by the way, so I was pretty much getting the same damn cheese sandwich whenever I went to her station. Sometimes I might get a veggie burger from the guy across the room, though.

Obviously, I wasn't even safe from her then. She'd shout, "What, are you cheating on me?"

I'd look back and smile/grimace.

Then she started trying to memorize what sandwich I usually got. I'd walk up to her and start ordering, but she'd cut me off, look like she was thinking hard, and just sort of randomly blurt, "provolone...tomato...uhh...and [I'd try to jump in] Wait! Pickle? Then I'd say, "lettuce," and she'd start apologizing to me for not memorizing what I like. Loudly. While other people wait on line. I felt as though it looked like I expected her to know what I get. To other people, I just looked like a prick.

So whatever, that temp job ended, and I went on to better things (such as having Quick Chek sandwiches made by a woman I call Eyebrows Lady). About a month later, I got hired for a different job at the same J&J site.

On my first day back, the damn sandwich lady, who I had mostly forgotten about, asked me where I'd been. I told her that my last job had ended a month earlier. She looked offended and said, "and you didn't say goodbye to me?"

Christ. WE AREN'T FRIENDS!

Okay, so all that to explain this:

The other day I was on the line for a sandwich, because I don't learn. With about 5 people ahead of me, the sandwich woman notices me waiting on line. AS A BUSINESS WOMAN IS ACTIVELY ORDERING FOOD, the sandwich lady holds her finger out to silence the her, turns to me, and holds up one of the rolls I usually get my sandwich on,

"Hey! Here, take this, just in case I run out of it by the time you get up to me."

She said it with urgency that suggested there'd be hell to pay if I didn't get my fucking olive bread, with a twist of doing me a huge favor. So I had to walk through the 5 people ahead of me to take the roll. It was just strange enough to attract the attention of all the bored/boring office people.

A sweaty guy joked, "Hey, no cuts! Heh...heh..."

Some giant went, "Well! I guess we know what YOU'RE ordering!"

A lady, speaking WAY too loud says, "Hey, always good to have someone in the cafeteria looking out for you!" Her voice actually echoed.

And the last guy gives me a fucking pat on the back as I walk back to my place in line.

The worst part is that I could easily see a whole stack of that type of roll.

Office jokes are so stupid and irritating. They're not even jokes, they're mostly just basic observations, spoken through a smirk.

So that's it. I know it's not a big deal or anything, but it is annoying. It's as annoying as any brief interaction can be. Wouldn't you hate that?

And now here's the correct response to me telling you this story:

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

That's what my girlfriend said. And unfortunately, she's right.

"So that woman just tries to talk to you and asks you how you are, and you hate her? She tried to do you a favor and make sure you got the bread you like, and that pisses you off? I don't know why you tell me these things."

"..."

"And then those people tried to be friendly and joke around with you, but you just frown like a weirdo?"

I think I stammered here. Or grunted like a caveman.

"Honestly I think you're a little agoraphobic."

"What, no, you're crazy."

"No, Will, you always tell me these stupid stories about something that freaked you out and it's always like 'someone smiled at me,' and they always end with you talking about how horrible that was. Seriously, I don't know how I'm supposed to respond to this."

"Well, I thought it was funny."

"What are you going to do when we have kids? What are you going to do if you have to go to a parent-teacher meeting, and I can't go? Are you just going to sit next to the other parents and frown?"

I was about to answer, but -

"And then you're going to come home and I'll have to hear all about it?"

Jesus.

To be fair, I'm completely aware of the fact that it's irrational for me to freak out in situations like this, and I usually neglect to mention the part where I contributed to the stupid office humor and got along with everyone. But I can't divorce myself from finding these little teeny interactions worthless and annoying. I feel like it should really be acceptable to say to people,

"I don't mean to be rude, but, oh god...you're really weird. You're being weird toward me. Stop it."

So that's how you should have responded, but I really hope you relate to me about all of this.

I've got some work to do. For starters, no more sandwiches.