Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Episode 105: How to Deal with Black Friday

How you deal with Black Friday has a lot to do with which end of it you are on. Retail workers deal with it completely differently than the shoppers do. Like for example: when I worked in a bookstore on Black Friday, I took two Xanax. It sure made the day go by and at one point I was so relaxed I peed in my pants. But anyway! That's a stroll down memory lane I don't feel like taking right now.

My sister works retail. She has for a long time. Once she managed a doodad store that got particularly busy the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe this was because they sold Christmas cards and Christmas ornaments and Christmas aprons and Christmas menorahs and whathaveyou. Or maybe it was a coincidence. But anyway. She tricked a friend and me into helping her that day, telling me I would have such fun wrapping gifts and festooning gift boxes with ribbons and geegaws. But that is not how the day unfolded. It was more like the Bataan Death March, only there were a lot of lavender M&Ms and a whole bunch of orange ribbon.

My sister was very good at her job. She could do that fake smile thing and that "ohmigod, HI! Isn't that fifty-dollar marabou napkin ring just a HOOT! I just think it's DARLING!" and you had no idea that she was secretly thinking "I hope you die soon, shitface." But she was. That's what she was thinking. And that's what every single retail worker thinks on Black Friday. So be nice, shitface.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Episode 104: How to Have an Awkward Thanksgiving

Yeah, I don't really have a Thanksgiving story. My family hasn't been a Thanksgiving-type of family in over twenty years, so I don't have any charming stories about MeeMaw chopping the head off a turkey (though I do have a distant relative named Georgia Lou who once chopped the head off of a snapping turtle) or PeePaw trudging through the snow dragging a sled full of oranges into the yard or whatever those olden-tyme pilgrimmy tradtions call for.

So then I was thinking that I would instead tell you the story of when a whole bunch of white friends almost burned down a black church on the 4th of July. There were fireworks involved - wayward fireworks - that whizzed around and smashed through the window of the church on the corner and when the fire truck got there, the inside curtains were on fire. There was whiskey and beer and a whole bunch of lesbians involved. Can you imagine the news coverage that could have been? My head is in a fevered state just thinking about it.

But since I wasn't there for that, I don't think I can tell that story either. So you will have to insert your own holiday-themed story into this episode of the Psychopedia. I can't do all the work, you know.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Episode 103: How to Read "Lolita"

Okay, so art school. It's a lot of fun and very very hard and challenging but it is not exactly rigorous when it comes to the non-art-related fields. There was some silly one-semester-minute requirement for other liberal arts and they mainly consisted of classes called things like "Turning the Page: How to Turn the Page of a Book" or "Why Books are Rectangular." But there were a couple of really interesting classes taught by professors from the nearby fancypants university who would cross North Parkway and slum a little. One of the classes was called "The Search for the Great America Novel." We read six books - "Absalom, Absalom!," "Pictures of Fidelman," something else, something else and a Nabokov double feature, "Pale Fire" and "Lolita," which I had read before.

Now these English classes at art school were made up of a motley crew of people -- mainly people willing to be there at 8 in the morning for the easy "pass." This particular class had examples of the opposite poles of art school students in it. One was named Anne and I loved her. She wore pajamas to class and was always making nutty provocative art, like a self-portrait bust of herself made from Underwood potted meat. The other was Judy, who was an older lady who did large ultra-realistic pastel drawings of, oh, parakeets sitting on perches and she was always the one screeching out "I don't get why this is art" if someone brought in a drawing of a vulva to drawing class, which, coincidentally, Anne would do with almost mind-numbing regularity.

So! We get to "Lolita." Judy comes in in an absolute fury, demanding to know why we have been assigned this book when we shouldn't even be reading fiction! We should be reading true stories, like the BIBLE! Not this filth about a young girl and a father figure having sex in every little seedy motel in America. And there sat Anne in her patchouli-scented pajamas, grinning from ear to ear as she puffed a cigarette (ok, maybe not but in my memory she did) - who then leveled the room more effectively than Fat Man and Little Boy took care of Hiroshima - with one simple little question: "oh Judy, for god's sake. Haven't you ever imagined screwing your daddy?"

Now. Have you ever watched a watermelon be thrown from the top of a building onto the pavement below? That's pretty much what Judy's head looked like right before the screaming match began. And it was a screaming match as yet unrivaled, and that includes all of reality TV since then. I just sat there laughing - along with the professor - and doodling my new tattoo idea, which included the phrase "I Heart Anne 4-Ever."

I haven't kept up with either of them; I'm sure Judy's off in some windowless church putting a snake back in a box. Anne? Who knows. She's either in jail or a professor somewhere; I certainly hope it's the latter and she's spending her days opening the eyes of horrible, stupid Judys everywhere.