Wednesday, January 30, 2008
It pushes through, the sweet end to about 30 seconds of work when you feel that last sliver give way and the drill lurches through. I let it go back up and turn the metal pipe over, aiming the drill at the other black marked pilot hole... and begin all over again.
After seven hours of this, you begin going a bit nuts. My only reprieve is that there is some great rap out at the moment, and Hot 97 has been saving me from the monotony that has become the classic rock station. The radio becomes your only salvation, your only contact with the world. Sure, the guys at the shop are cool as fuck... but you talk to them maybe once every couple hours. The other hours are filled with watching little wires of metal dance up the drill bit, and eventually whip off and try to lash you, flailing like a drunken boxer in their vain attempt to break your skin.
It is one thing when a job is kind of dangerous. It's another when it's boring and your whole family thinks you have ADD because you can't sit in one spot and do anything for shit. What that means is that by hole #422, I'm thinking about weightlifting or fucking or movies or anything to keep my mind off the task at hand. Which, I believe, is when you lose a hand.
What a conundrum. The sooner this job is over, the happier I'll be...although is does seem like it will likely be back out to one stone yard or another for me. I guess I was right about when I used to say about what happens when you bring us outside dogs in... we piss all over the carpet and you throw us back out.
And we bitch and moan a lot. Or at least I do. But if I didn't do that, you motherfuckers wouldn't have anything to read, so fuck yourselves if you're shaking your heads in agreement.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
The other day I was sitting there on my shot out swivel chair for my ten o'clock break, smoking a cigarette with blackened hands, calling some dickhead editor for a job.
"You have any experience with Dreamweaver?"
The only thing I can think of is Opie and Anthony at this point. If you listen to them, you know what I'm talking about.
"Well you need that. It's all layout stuff... you need experience. It's a very technical position."
"Oh. OK. Well, thanks for your time."
"Yup. Best of luck."
I put my phone down, pick up the grinder, and go back to annihilating diaomaceous earth off of the filter pads.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Everyone is talking recession now. The stock market fell four thousand points when the word was first mentioned, and it didn't matter whether they were talking about receding economies or receding flood waters- you mention the word "Recede" and immediately the world's economy falls to pieces.
We hear about 2001, how it was a CEO's recovery after that short recession. Well let me ask you, my friends, how much did the CEO's lose? How could they recover what never left them? Strange, but the villainous swine who so often carry those three stained letters in their job titles normally make about 50 something times what a worker at their company makes. Good thing they recovered, eh? God knows what we would have done had they not come back from their tough losses; they might not have gotten a million dollar bonus that year! The horror!
So when we have a CEO's recovery this year, you can bet that we will be assured that the American market is strong and stable, and that we, the lowly workers, will eventually benefit because things trickle down. If by "trickle down" they mean, "the rich are pissing on you", then I think they're dead right.
Meanwhile, of course, I'm on the floor of a machine shop sweating my ass off hoping that I make it out of the day with all ten fingers and no stitches. There is no recession on this floor; we are so busy that for nearly 11 hours a day, someone is on this floor somewhere grinding, hammering, welding, cutting, or tacking something together.
"Roc boys in the buildin' tonight! Oh what a feelin I'm feelin life! "
Jay Z lays it down smooth out of the battered black radio adorned with Jets stickers, and my supervisor, a tall, cigar smoking version of Dave Chappelle, is breaking it down at his swivel chair where he's spot welding massive filter leafs together, head bopping to the beat.
We talk later on, ten minutes before he's supposed to punch out. "These mothafuckas talk about profit sharing- how come they gettin' more of a share than I get?"
He's asking the wrong guy. I could tell him that they really don't care all that much, as long as they make a profit, but he's been around the block; he's from the Bronx, born and raised. He knows. The question is, by far, rhetorical.
"That's how it goes man."
"Yea, well it shouldn't be that way. I'm the one out here getting burned and sliced and all, and they sit in the office all day and play solitaire and take home the most. I got seventeen stitches from slicing my leg on a piece of that sheet metal- almost made a Vietnam Vet puke. See that guy over there? His glove got caught in the band saw and dragged his finger in, cut it right up the middle."
My stomach is getting queasy. "Listen brother, I'm telling you right now, if I get sliced, I'm going to pass out. I can take beatings. I been beat with fists and bottles and knees and anything else... but I get cut and I'm out."
He's laughing and shaking his head.
It occurs to me that Marx is right- if you ever want the beginnings of a socialist revolution, go to wear men are making things and not getting their fair share. Hell, for all I know this guy might be getting a plenty fair share, but all he knows is that there's other people who get more. Me? I take my 10 bucks an hour and go home, and when I blow my nose it's actually shiny from the metal I inhale. My forearms are wobbly from running the hand grinder all day, but I'm getting used to it.
I don't want to get used to it. I applied to three other positions at various newspapers, and I'm going to call them on my lunch break tomorrow and harass the shit out of them for an interview. This place, it's not bad money for now, but what I truly want is a job that I can't lose a hand at. Recession or not, I've still got to make my own breaks. But I would be lying through my teeth if I said that I wasn't discouraged as hell.
After I leave, I go straight to the Dunkin Donuts on the highway. I catch my reflection in the mirror before I open the door: a backwards Red Sox hat, about five days' growth beard on my face, my red flannel jacket zipped all the way up, beat up jeans and work boots.
The welders were right. When I went in for the interview for that job, they said I looked scruffy, like one of them. That day, I went home, and immediately grabbed my mother and went straight to Kohls and bought all new clothes (she was there to make sure I wasn't picking out shit that would make me look worse). No more Wranglers for this scruffy guy; I got fancy jeans that have that pre-faded thing going on, and I bought a belt that screamed "Kid Rock" as soon as I saw it. Needless to say, when I go out on the weekends now, I look like a rock star.
If a welder calls you scruffy, can you imagine what women were saying about me? My mother said to find out what welder said that so she can send him a case of beer; all of the women in my life have tried to upgrade me, but what it really took was one off color comment from one guy in a welding booth to get me to look classier.
I think about this and smile while I'm on line for coffee. A fat blond woman stands in front of me clad in a massive fur coat that nearly reaches the floor. She has gold rings on her fat little fingers, and sunglasses on. I hate fur coats with a passion. It has nothing to do with animal rights, but more of a class thing; if you wear a fur coat, you're really showing that you think who the hell you are.
What a great country that America is, however, because she has to wait in line, huffing and puffing and impatient, behind a guy in a torn gray sweatshirt, paint stained jeans, and work boots that only cover half his feet. She gets her ice coffee, all the while yapping on a cell phone, then walks absentmindedly out to her Beamer, and I can't help but laugh.
I bet her husband is a CEO.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The chant goes up over the din in a crowded bar with dark wooden walls in New Jersey- Let's go Giants, boom, boom, boomboomboom, Let's go Giants boom boom boomboomboom.
People are arm in arm, holding each other up, some have their hands folded in silent prayers.
When the kick is in the air, we hold our collective breath, hoping against hope that our underdogs, the Pride of Bergen County, can pull off the impossible.
She sails through the uprights, true blue, and the place explodes in a roar, people are dancing and stomping and everyone is jumping up and down and the bartenders are wailing and Bon Jovi comes on the jukebox, singing, "RAISE YOUR HANDS!" and we are utterly stunned that our boys have pulled it off.
I said it before the game, that win, lose or draw boyos, we were fucking proud of you. But now we got one more game to go.
Jersey loves you, you amazing motherfuckers. Holy hannah montana, we are going to the Super Bowl.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Well, I ain't naming any names (Dexter's), but it's my God given right as an American to have freedom of speech, and those bars can go fuck themselves, because they're fucking Communists, and if there's one thing in this world I hate more than Communists, it's the Jews.
A couple other things also.
1. You know why I like P. Diddy? Cause he dances like a white guy trying to dance like a black guy. On top of that, there's a striking similarity between his dancing and that of the legendary Blues Brothers. If you don't believe, watch the video. So fucking awesome.
2. I have to stop meeting my one buddy's ex-girlfriends. When you bullshit about everything with a guy, including sex, it's hard to meet his ex-girlfriend and keep a straight face knowing that she squirts during sex and she gives you the ass on your birthday.
3. I finally found out why my nose hurts. I fell out of a car drunk and somehow landed only on my nose. I must have landed hard, cause it hurts a week later, but not hard enough that any other part of me touched the ground. I really need a video camera team to follow me around. I'd make an awesome reality show, although the liability insurance would likely be tremendous.
Monday, January 14, 2008
When Romo drops back, the place holds it's breath. He slings a perfect spiral into the end zone, and our season hangs by a string. It's hard to see what exactly happens, but all I know is that when the ball lands, it is clutched by one man in Giants blue.
The roar shatters the silence in this dark Irish bar until it shakes the walls, and people are pounding on tables and dancing and we are on each other's shoulders and New Jersey explodes in a chorus that hasn't been heard in years. Sometimes, a team puts together something so beautiful, so fucking ballsy, that you can't help but be amazed.
We are stunned. All of of us. You are a team of nobodies, a team of rookies and journeymen. The jerkoff with the biggest mouth is hurt, and our "star" running back is retired. We were not supposed to do this. We were supposed to go quietly into the Texas night, like we always have.
But not this night. Our cinderella season continues, running on pure balls and the will to win.
They say that as they were walking in to halftime, Toomer looked at Strahan and said, "This isn't the last time we'll be on the field together."
And how about that shit, Plax? You motherfuckers actually brought this thang home on Sunday night. It is rare that I say this because of our ugly history... but Goddamnit we love you New York. Thank you.
Hey Texas, this is for you, with love.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I sat at a bar on the highway last night, taking back shots of Jameson and bottles of Coors Light with my old friend who was in the Army. He's on crutches now, because he's as dumb a drunk as me, and somehow broke his leg wrestling.
I don't remember a lot about the end of the night. My nose hurts like hell, so I believe I got clocked, but my right hand is fine, which means I didn't get into a fight (as soon as I hit the air too hard, it swells up because of all the busted bones, so it's a good indicator). I am chalking it up to being drunk and fucking around.
"You remind me of Leonardo Di Caprio, you know, in the Departed? You've got that brooding thing..."
"Nah... I'm not as violent.."
The ugly truth is, don't expect anything worthwhile from me this week. This Saturday is the three year anniversary of my best friend dying. Although I am over it on the day to day basis, I am not over it in the greater sense. I get depressed in the winter consistently, and this only adds to it. I am tired of it. I am tired of doing all the shots for him, all of the stupid toasts with shots of Jagermeister. I am tired of seeing that blackened metal plaque in my head, the one that says his name, the reminder that he is dead.
I sat at the bar last night, a place that was crowded with people after a pretty decent show. I sat at the end of the bar for at least a half hour, alone, stewing over my whiskey and beer. There was an overwhelming sense of sadness that pervades me, where I don't wish to talk to anyone, and more or less want to be left alone. It's very unlike me, the social creature that I am. These days when I go out, all I want to do is fucking hit someone. I want to beat someone to the point where they lay bloody on the sidewalk, dripping a red puddle from their face. I want people to look at me and cringe, to wish that they didn't fucking know me.
"You fit the model of drug seeking behavior"
"Why don't you just give me a bottle of scotch and a handgun to blow my fucking head off ..."
She saw that movie with her boyfriend, and thought of me...
I don't know what to do anymore. People are angry when I come home furiously drunk. It's not a good thing when I'm just happy I didn't wake up in a jail cell.
Friday, January 11, 2008
But now... finally, I'm starting to get that itch.
Stephen A. Smith: "So Plax, can I get a prediction from you?"
Plaxico Burress: "Well Stephen, we gon' bring that thang home to New York City on Sunday night, don't you worry..."
Don't fuck with me, Plax. I'm ready for a letdown. I'm ready for a three- interception, 38-point-blowout horrific loss where the Giants fold up like they always do when shit comes down to it. Don't be leadin' me on brother, I can't take any more heartbreak from you motherfuckers.... no more last minute field goals that beat us, no more failed onside kicks, no more season-opening 75 yard runs by Emmit Smith that sink our year, no more Dave Browns, no more Ray Handleys, no more 18 years without the playoffs, NO FUCKIN' MORE. Don't patronize us Plaxico. We know how you guys are.
But alas.... I will be there cheering. I will be hoping and praying, and I will barely be able to watch the fourth quarter, no matter what the score. And there will always be a part of me that hopes that you fuckers can pull through, and deliver the impossible. I saw my Red Sox do it against the greatest odds any team has ever faced; they make the Giants' path seem like a cakewalk.
Help me remember Plax, that nothing's impossible, and that there is always hope. And I bet if you win, Plax, Jessica Simpson will suddenly be all about the Lousiana blacksnake, if you know what I mean... and that alone would make it worth it.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
One was the book by Rob the Bouncer. Is it written like a blog? Yea. Repetitive once in a while, especially when he's explaining a few basic points about his job. However, there are some great stories in there, and he does have quite a bit of talent, as well as that kind of miserable analytical-ness of mind required to be a great fucking writer. Plus, as a blue collar type Jersey guy, I appreciate the hatred of guidos... apparently the rest of the country doesn't have these scourges of humanity, and there's few that could explain the mind boggling idiocy of them without just breaking out into a stream of expletives. God I fucking hate them, and I hope Belmar burns this summer...
Someone on Amazon said the book doesn't have a good ending, just kind of leaves you hanging... that's when I swore I would never read another rating from those dolts again. It's a memoir that the guy is still living... what the fuck do you want? Explosions and strippers? People amaze me.
Either way, he's a genuine cat who has had a tough time. Read his book. It's well worth it.
Besides that, I've finished the book Brutal by Kevin Weeks, the strongarm #2 man of Whitey Bulger's South Boston mob. If you want to see why if someone really wants you dead, you will be fucking dead... pick up this book. Not a guy I'd ever want to cross. Besides that, you get a hint of what it was truly like to live in that underworld, as well as a portrait of the mythical Whitey from a different point of view. Especially intresting considering John Matarano was just on 60 Minutes this Sunday; apparently him and Kevin don't see eye to eye on exactly how Bulger should be treated. I would like to see how this all plays out, being as he's still on the run.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Then, you graduate college. WOOO HOOO! Though you despise the old job with every ounce of your being, you stick with it, simply because you're comfortable, and you like the guys you work with. You're looking for a real job, the writing job that's going to come and save your ass and make you famous, the journalist job that's going to start you out. You'll have your own beat, your own portfolio, and hell, maybe even TIME will pick you up someday. You never know, right? The future is butterflies and fucking rainbows.
Well, you get shot down by every place you apply to. Hell, they don't even grant you an interview. Every paper, every publishing house, every magazine. Four years of college, and you can't buy a fuckin' seat on a park bench. Sure, I should have done an internship when I was there, maybe I could have some contacts, some experience... but you know what? I was too fucking busy. Busy with what? Working. Driving a forklift all hours of the day so I could pay my bills, my ridiculous car insurance ($7 G's a year, fellas, for three years), pay for my gas, and anything else that can be tacked on there. That was my fucking internship. It was an internship on the hard knock life, working with Puerta Ricans and blacks and white trash, learning all the bad shit and how to get away with it. But alas, there's no "contacts" that come out of that, no "references" to list on your application.
All that working 35 hours a week while going to school full time, all the literature and classes and professors and BULLSHIT, and this is what I'm fucking left with. Working 28.75 hours a week, getting paid absolutely nothing for it (cause it's been four years since I got a fucking raise), and praying that when I go into a metal shop in Ramsey on Monday, black Notre Dame hat-in-hand, that my buddy's boss (who may as well be a stevedore during the fucking Depression as far as I'm concerned) will grant me $12 an hour to pour metal and drive a forklift.
It'll be a new job, sure. And they'll pay me better. But the fact is, I am as jaded as one motherfucker can get. I am pissed. I am pissed at all those fucking high and mighty professors who made it sound so simple, who made it sound like you get out of college and people just fall at your doorstep to hire you, like so many dominoes. Well I guess that's what happens when you have fat motherfuckers who never have worked an honest, backbreaking day in their lives, teaching what they call, "Higher education".
The sad fact is, if I had joined the Navy right out of high school like my buddy, I'd be hired at $15 an hour and be moved up quick. Instead, back to the basement I go, with heavy gloves and a tired heart.
Writer's Guidelines: "It's not easy to break into Men's Health. Don't even try if you haven't been published in a major magazine. Still with us?"
NO I'M NOT YOU MOTHERWHORING JERKOFFS. I'M POURING FUCKING METAL BECAUSE YOU WON'T GIVE ME THE TIME OF DAY CAUSE I'M NOT RICH AND FAMOUS. FUCK YOU MEN'S HEALTH.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
"We both agreed that the most stress in a man's life came from women, who create more stress than complicated and danger filled business deals. "
Know who said this? Kevin Weeks said this about him and Whitey Bulger. If you don't know who they are, go look it up, and you'll see the massive irony in this statement. All the shit these guys had to deal with, and they all agreed that women were by far the biggest problem in a man's life.
No shit, Kev.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Leaning against my refrigerator with a Miller in hand, he talks to my father about all kinds of things while his fiance, who is sincerely one of the nicest girls I've ever met, bullshits with my mother about... well, whatever women talk about. Probably candles or cooking or something.
"I'm out in February. I go to Fort (whatever) on January 2, and then they deploy me."
They are sending him to Afghanistan, for our other bullshit war with another third world country that will never amount to anything except death. People talk about putting a human face on the war... but it is all too close for me.
I understand why he's in the Army. His father was in the 82nd Airborne, his grandfather was one of the Rangers who climbed the cliffs in the Normandy Invasion. It's in his blood. He votes Republican, goes to the Army-Navy game every year, and thoroughly enjoys America. He tells his girlfriend that he wants enough kids to start a baseball team (including a bullpen).
"Wow Court, looks like you're going to be pregnant for about... three decades. Enjoy your time now," I tell her.
Now every time I see it in the papers, "Soldier from New Jersey killed", my heart will race again and I will hope that it ain't him. His girl is too good, his father too cool, for anything bad to happen to him.
Pray for him. When I pray, God turns a deaf ear.... but maybe if some of you do, he'll be out of Afghanistan in twelve months, and he'll have kids and do all the normal things that every man should get a chance to do.