Grass Roots

[Although he didn’t win the nomination, I still wear my Jeffrey Payne campaign T-shirt with pride, and I happened to be wearing it this afternoon when I ran into a convenience store to pick up random sundries. The cashier noticed immediately.]

Cashier: “Is that who you’re voting for?”

Me: “I did vote for him, yes.”

Cashier: “Who’s governor now?”

Me: “Greg Abbott.”

Cashier: “Is he not doing a good job?”

Me: “He’s… not a very nice person.”

Cashier: “Huh. Well, let me ask you this — is Jeffrey Payne for the legalization of weed?”

Me: “Uh… you know, I’m not sure…”

Cashier: “Well, you tell him that if he is, I’ll vote for him.”

Me: “I will definitely pass that along.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the gubernatorial primaries were in early March, but the important thing here is that she’s a lot more politically aware than she was. And also that one less Texan is going to vote for Abbothulhu.


I had the weirdest dream the other night. I can’t quite piece it back together, but it had something to do with shopping for Misfits memorabilia, and Barry Manilow was somehow involved — like, maybe he was singing about being a misfit himself? That feels accurate, even if all the other details are fuzzy.

I woke up baffled but amused at the outrageous shit my subconscious comes up with, then went about my normal morning routine of chugging coffee, catching up on my favorite online comics, and eventually checking my email. And that’s where I discovered the following:


I don’t really know what else to say about this situation, other than thank the Gods Pre-Sobriety Me wasn’t a blackout drinker and never had disposable income.

PS: The Manilow quote in question is, “Misfits aren’t misfits among other misfits.” I’m going to go ahead and snag that as my new philosophy.

The Restructuring Day Job Comedy of Errors, Part the Second

[Ed. Note: Here’s Part 1.]

Co-worker: [poking her head into my office] “Hi! How’re you doing?”

Me: “Doing well.”

Co-worker: “Great! So… I’m moving into this office when you move to the front desk…”

Me: “Cool.”

Co-worker: “… and I just wanted to make sure… I mean, that you… I mean, we… [She gestures helplessly, and I understand that she wants to know if I’m angry that she’s commandeering my workspace.]

Me: “Everything’s fine. I promise.”

Co-worker: [sighing with relief] “Oh, good. I’m happy to hear that! So…”

Me: “Yes?”

Co-worker: “Is any of this wall art moving with you?”

Me: “No. It was all here when I started, so none of it’s actually mine. Plus, I’ll be at the reception desk, and there aren’t any, y’know, walls up there.”

Co-worker: “Oh. Right. Well, I’ve always liked these David Cowles caricatures. Is it okay with you if I keep them?”

Me: “That’s not a problem.”

Co-worker: “Yay! Thanks!”

As we were talking, another co-worker pranced in to lay some claims, which led to a company-wide debate over who got what out of my office — including the chairs and the bookcase — while I was still sitting at my desk and trying to do my damn job. If I’m ever lost in the wilderness and glance up to find vultures circling overhead, I’ll be like, “Oh, hey! I remember this feeling.”

On the upside, the prints they were all fighting over turned out to be pretty much welded to the wall, with every attempt to pry them loose proving futile, so that was a pleasant little snack-pack of passive-aggressive vengeance. I was also able to register for that signing agent course and get all of my professional association memberships renewed, so with a little luck, my evolution from disgruntled clock-watcher to NOTARY OF THE GODS will be going down a whole lot sooner than later.

And when it does, and I’m settling into the corner suite of the Dominion Topography corporate offices, I am going to absolutely decoupage the place with David Cowles caricatures.

I’m also going to have the Working Girl soundtrack playing on permanent repeat. Hopefully, most of my clients won’t feel the need to stab themselves in the ears after suffering through “Let the River Run” for the upteen-millionth time.

Sing Out, John C. Reilly

Customer: [inspecting a bicast leather paddle] “Is this an effective toy?”

Me: “Yes. Even though it’s small, it has a good sting to it.”

Customer: “But not if you were using it on somebody wrapped in cellophane.”

Me: “…”

Customer: [clearly waiting for an answer]

Me: “Okay… yeah, that would probably cushion the blows…”

Customer: [smirking victoriously] “Yeah. I thought so.”

I’m pretty sure he meant to say clingwrap, which in turn would mean he was talking about mummification. However, if I’m wrong, and he really is into covering people with cellophane, then we’ve got an as-yet unidentified fetish to name. I vote we call it “gift-basketing.”

Fatal Emoticon

Last night’s episode of Facets of Leather was a lot like the Ben & Jerry’s flavor “Everything But The…” in that we literally talked about everything but the leather. We had an ungodly amount of fun, though, which included an editorial review of everyone’s favorite pulp romance The Notary, along with a dramatic retelling of the time I texted Robert the sordid details of a murderous crime of passion:


I usually post the video of a song we didn’t get to play on the air, but this time I’m going with one we did — mainly because of its archetypical thematic elements, reminiscent of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, but also because it’s gayer than Christmas.

There’s a little Kira in all of us, you know? (Unless you share a checkered past with Robert, in which case you’ll want to switch out “Kira” for “Quaalude.”)

In which I comprehend why Seymour fed the plant. I would totally feed the plant right now.

The company where I work during the day is in the process of “restructuring,” which for me means getting bumped into an admin/support role and taking a massive hit to my salary. “The position is yours if you want it,” my boss told me with a warm, encouraging smile, and the message between the lines was written in red ink: If I didn’t want it, I would no longer have a job, period.

All this a mere six weeks before I get to bankrupt myself on a not-thrifty trip to Chicago.

To quote Rosemary Edghill, if it was fair, you wouldn’t know it was life.

I went into survival mode as soon as I received the glorious news: cancelling my streaming and Evil Supply Co. subscriptions, applying for an emergency loan, using a portion of it to clear the balances on my credit cards, transferring the rest into an interest-bearing savings account, and redirecting my Forge paychecks to supplement my bi-weekly pittance. The silver lining here is that the new position will be a lot less stressful than what I’ve been doing, so I’ll finally have some extra energy to reflect on my career trajectory. And hey, who knows? I might even decide what I want to be when I grow up.

In the past I’ve dabbled in online signing agent courses, which, if completed, would basically make me a high-priced notary with superpowers. Dream job. Thing is, buckling down and getting everything in place for certification requires money, which I’m deathly afraid to spend on anything not related to basic nutrition or rent. But, at the same time, the faster I snag my certification, the faster I can start taking assignments and get my income back above the poverty line.

I did a quick geomantic reading on the quandary and got “calm the fuck down” as an answer. Awesome. So… I guess the goals of the moment are to a) stay off of Etsy, and b) set the panicky future-casting aside and deal with whatever’s right in front of me at any given time, until circumstances or unexpected windfalls eventually dictate otherwise.

Y’know, I feel like this whole situation could’ve been easily avoided if I’d just gone to law school like my mom wanted me to. I really hate it when she’s right.

But Serving All That Jazz, Helen

[A conversation between myself and my friend Mat about my upcoming IML adventure.]

Mat: “A week in Chicago! Lucky you! It’s one of my favorite places to visit. What all will you be doing there besides competing?”

Me: “Well, Thursday through Sunday will be nothing but the contest, but the following Monday and Tuesday are open for suggestions.”

Mat: “The Museum of Surgical Science has some stuff you can’t unsee…”

Me: “SOLD.”

To be honest, all I really know about Chicago comes from the iconic musical and the movie Candyman, so other than IML and a pilgrimage to the Leather Archives & Museum, my only agenda item is saying “Velma Kelly” five times into my hotel room’s mirror to summon Catherine Zeta-Jones and see if she’ll let me touch her Oscar. But I’ve spent the morning looking up other weird shit to do around town, and I’m very happy to report that “weird shit” is to be taken literally.

Marjorettes, I give you the Shit Fountain.

My favorite thing about the sculpture is that “Shit Fountain” is carved into the side of the basin, as if a giant mound of bronze defecation isn’t identifiable on its own. (I’m imagining a bunch of stymied tourists going, “It reminds me of something, but I just can’t put my finger on it… it’s right on the tip of my tongue…”) Hopefully, a passing dog-walker will let me borrow a Chihuahua to pose on top of it, so I that I can snap some amusing pictures and be all, “My God, what did you let him eat?!

Surgical oddities and metal poop aside, what are some other can’t-miss attractions? We’ve already got an Anish Kapoor Bean in Houston, and I’d rather stay well the fuck away from that particular feud, but I’m willing to hit any other curiosity Chicago has to offer. Just tell me where to go, and I’ll totally send selfies to prove I was there.

A Man Called Horseradish

Dean: [pointing out the window as we drive past a parking lot] “Hey, isn’t that your ex’s car?”

Me: “Yep.”

[We drive on in amicable silence. A few minutes pass.]

Me: “Let’s go back and pee on it.”

Dean: “Jeez, dude. Are we feeling a little bitter?”


Although truth be told, I wasn’t feeling bitter at all.

I was feeling petty.

Dean has a lot to learn about the subtle complexities of my self-destructive emotional states.

Go directly to Hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Customer: “Let’s see what junk you have today.”

Me: “What… kind of junk are you looking for?”

Customer: “I’ll take a bottle of English Gold Label.”

Me: “Coming right up!”

Customer: “Not that it matters. They’re all the same junk.”

[Ed. Note: This impertinent blend of heirloom corrosives offers sparkling citrus top notes with hints of oak and black currant, rounded out by a chocolatey, turpentine finish…]

Me: “That’ll be $28.13. Would you like a receipt?”

Customer: “Nah. My credit card will send an alert to my phone.”

Me: “Okay, cool.”

Customer: “I have all my cards set up that way. I work in a prison, and trust me, the inmates will steal anything.”

And this is where I had to surrender and accept what a horrible person I am, because he only had one leg, and as he trekked away on his crutches, all I could think was, “Wow, he’s right. Those inmates don’t fuck around.”