Sunday, October 26, 2008

Public Bathrooms: One Child's Silent Fear

I've always been anxiety-ridden, but especially as a child, I feared so many things. Dogs, for one, since most of them were bigger than me until I was about twelve. E.T., the extraterrestrial, had me crapping my pants until I had sufficiently desensitized myself to the film by age eight. But nothing came close to my all-consuming fear of being trapped alone in a public bathroom. I swore to myself that I would never wind up in a situation rendering me unable to escape the foul smelling, unsanitary dungeon that was the bathroom at my preschool.

I was four years old when it happened. The bathroom was unisex at Temple Beth Emet Preschool (and probably only unsanitary in my neurotic little mind). While I don't remember the exact number of stalls, there were probably around seven or eight. Several times a day we had scheduled bathroom breaks, since some of us (not me, of course) were too lame at the time to notify an adult before the stream of urine began to evacuate from our respective genitalia. My parents told me to use preschool bathroom time to pee even if I didn't think I had to go. I, seeking the eternal admiration of my parents, did as I was told.

But this meant that three times a day I experienced the deep and lingering fear of being accidentally abandoned in the bathroom. So every time (and I do mean every time) I went into a stall and sat down on the toilet, I would listen to my fellow classmates as they peed and washed their hands, and when it began to sound as though I might be running out of time, I would call out from the toilet "Don't forget me! I'm still in here!" The teacher would usually call back, "Don't worry, Samantha. We don't leave without everybody."

Bullshit, Mrs. Rubenstein. Bullshit.

One day I decided that perhaps I was being too paranoid about the preschool bathroom. So on the second bathroom break of the day, I chose not to call out from the stall. It was the most carefree urination of my life. After wiping, flushing, and zipping up, I unlatched the lock and stepped out of the stall just in time to see the massive bathroom door slam shut behind what had been the remainder of my group. Today, I had been forgotten.

I ran to the door, knowing full well it was too late, and began to pry at the tiny space between the door and the wall. It was no use. All thoughts of washing my hands were lost, as I maniacally jumped up and down while sobbing hysterically. I was trying to grab hold of the door handle, which my classmates could reach with little to no difficulty. My parents always told me I could do anything I put my mind to, but that goddamned door handle begged to differ. And now I would never see my parents again. I fell to the floor, too upset to think about all the germs my parents warned me about, and continued to cry. Alone.

I don't know how long I sat crying before the door burst open and the teacher pulled me from the floor, clutching me to her bosom and rocking me in her arms. It was clear to me she was disturbed at her error and she said "I thought I counted twelve heads, but when we got back to the classroom, you weren't there!" I told her (between sobs) that I couldn't reach the door handle, but even if I could I thought it was too heavy to pull. She promised she'd never forget me again, but the damage had been done. I would call out for her not to forget me until my graduation day in 1988.

You'd think it would end here. But kindergarten had something more in store for me.

At the school I went to for kindergarten, when you had to "go" during class, you took a bathroom pass (a block of wood that read "Bathroom Pass") and you went... by yourself. This was a whole new world altogether and I was pretty sure this "unaccompanied" thing wasn't for me. So I made it a point to take care of my business and take care of it fast. And I managed to get through half the school year without finding myself in a bad situation. I'd already been left alone in the bathroom. But I'd never been alone in a bathroom... with a stranger.

Until one day when I downed a little too much water from the fountain after recess. I got permission, grabbed the pass, and hightailed it for the bathroom closest to the classroom. It should be noted, the elementary school bathroom was much worse than anything I had known in preschool. It was dirtier, smellier, and stickier. Washing your hands, typically a cleansing activity, was now something to be avoided entirely, as the liquid soap looked (and smelled) like urine, and the bar soap had a lot of hair on it. Hair that was not mine. And even if it was mine -- ewww.

Once I was in the stall I didn't even bother to apply toilet paper to the seat. More than my butt cheeks were at stake here. As I was peeing I heard the door creak open. Someone else was now in the bathroom. My hands shook as I wiped and flushed. I took a deep breath before opening the door to the stall.

She stood before me, her hands on her hips, an evil glare in her eyes.

"Not going to wash your hands?"

Oh my Christ.

I told her I had to get back to class. I tried to move past her for the door, but her third grader frame blocked my puny ass with little effort. I thought to myself, maybe she'll let you go if you just wash your hands. I walked to the sink and applied the urine-soap to my metacarpals, scrubbing thoroughly, and rinsing vigorously. She eyed the paper towel machine and I pulled a few down (thank god I could reach!) and dried off my hands. I walked back toward her, finding the balls to ask her to move so that I could go back to class.

"You're not going anywhere," the sick and twisted bitch said to me.

"Please, school is almost over. My mommy is going to be waiting for me."

She smiled. "You're never going to see your mommy ever again."

I started to cry. I begged her to let me go. I told her there were other people to think about, like my baby sister who loved me and needed me to play with her. Like my other sister, who I was teaching how to read. My family will miss me, I pled. She laughed. Told me they had probably already forgotten about me. I might've expected this kind of shit from a fifth grader, but this "thirdy" was really whack. After spending what she probably considered a sufficient amount of time watching me beg at her feet, she told me she was going to let me go, but that if I told anyone -- she'd kill my family. Then she walked out. Simple as that.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and caught my breath before making my way back to class, where -- for the sake of my family -- I kept quiet about the incident. I was grateful to be alive, to have my family, to no longer be stuck in the bathroom with that batshit insane third grader.

And I swear, a few days later she found me on the playground. I said nothing from my spot in the sandbox. She was interrupting my archeological dig for dinosaur bones. Plus, I didn't want to piss her off since there was major homicidal potential and she had brought my family into the equation. Today, however, this seemingly harmless third grader apologized for "that time in the bathroom" -- as if it had happened thirty years ago. She requested my friendship and promised she would never again scare me or threaten my family. And since I was such a fucking pussy, I played with the bitch at recess for the rest of the school year. And I held my pee at school until the second grade.

Among my few regrets in life, a major one is not having remembered the full name of the nutjob who screwed with my head in the A.C. Perry Elementary School crapper that fateful day. I would have loved to conduct a Google search to see if she ever ended up killing someone's family.

I still don't like public bathrooms, but because I can reach most door handles now, I certainly fear them less.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gay Porn Review - A Writing Sample for the Masses

So, I was going through some files on my computer and I came across a writing sample from back in March when I was still looking to Craigslist for employment opportunities. Initially I had posted this somewhat raunchy piece for my friends on Facebook, but refrained from putting it here because I wasn't sure I wanted the rest of the world to know of the gift I have for reviewing fake gay porn.

I'll throw in the whole Facebook post, because it explains where exactly I was in life at that time. In addition to having found a place to live (yes, I'm still cooped up with Jack the Slob), I've been working a kickass internship since early August. I'm still very much in need of a paid full time position. Or a winning lottery ticket.

Anyway, here it is. (Needless to say, I wasn't offered the gig.)

March 2008

As many of you know, I have recently moved to Los Angeles -- where I intend to become a successful and/or famous comedy writer/performer. This will be a long and tired process. Years of my life will fly before my eyes and one day I will wake up an old barren woman, my ovaries having shriveled away into marbles of broken dreams.

But before all of that can happen, I have to start somewhere. And in addition to not having a place to live here in LA LA Land, I also don't have a job. So I've been doing the job-search thing. Pumping through Craigslist ads and sending my resume out to people I've never broken bread or held hands with.

And today I stumbled across an ad for something unconventional, to say the very least. It was a writing gig -- a film reviewer of sorts. For gay porn.

"Must be comfortable watching videos of things that might not be of your particular interest, such as: fetish, fisting, etc."


"Must be able to write about raunchy dvd/internet content with HUMOR in between and throughout."

Well, then! I considered myself challenged.

They asked for a writing sample reviewing gay sexually explicit material. So, instead of checking out the latest gay porn on the internet, I decided to make up a fake movie, use some character names from the film Boogie Nights, and incorporate Matt Damon into something... different.

WRITING SAMPLE: Review of "Sleigh Balls."

Sleigh Balls is the big winner this XXX-Mas, kids. Gay porn hasn't seen a holiday feature like this since 2003's Deck The Holes. Sleigh Balls – starring Dirk Diggler (as Santa) and Buck Swope (as Elfie the Elf) – is a story about fucking, getting fucked, and the human condition.

Santa, a strapping young toymaker with an affinity for red velvet clothing, must deliver Christmas presents to the entire world – in a single night. With the help of his good friend (and sometimes Butt Buddy) Elfie, Santa will try to get the job done in time for the Christmas Day fuck of a lifetime.

In one of the most gripping scenes of the film, Elfie sucks Santa's throbbing cock on top of the Sylvester family roof while Dasher, Dancer, and the gang watch their master groan in pleasure just before he cums down the chimney. (Note: Check out Donner – he's hung like a horse!)

The fuckfest begins when Santa takes out his naughty list and visits the home of Cletus Mack (played by Matt Damon) – who is holding an all-naked, all-male Christmas Eve party at his Malibu beach home. Santa brings his bag full of sex toys and pumps those nasty studs full of his warm man-nog.

After a three-minute battle with testicular cancer, Elfie succumbs to his illness and dies in Santa's arms, but not before one last blowjob underneath the mistletoe.

This Christmas, grab the lube, whip it out and choose the Santa with the bowl full of KY Jelly. Sleigh Balls – cumming soon to DVD.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Things To Do In Your Car While Stuck In LA Traffic

1) Kill yourself:
Yes, it was a mistake to drive to Manhattan Beach at 2 in the afternoon on a weekday. Think the drive TO the beach was bad? Think again. That sand in the ass of your bathing suit is going to make the five hour drive home (approximately 20 miles) more unpleasant than you ever could have imagined. Does it feel like your life is over? That's the sand talking (and chafing).

2) Read Graffiti:
Gang members and disenfranchised youths are constantly providing Los Angeles drivers with a broad selection of spray painted words and images for your viewing pleasure. Not sure what "SKRIMP PIE" means? Jot down some of the words and phrases you can't interpret yourself and Google them (or go to when you get home. Enjoy the work of your local juvenile delinquents while familiarizing yourself with gang culture.

3) Find the Amber Alert vehicle:
Bored in your car? Scan the area around you and see if you can find today's Amber Alert vehicle! Not inspired by the idea of helping to save an innocent child? If the crime is crazy enough - a true hero could end up immortalized as a character in an episode of Law & Order: SVU. Detectives Benson and Stabler would want you to find that purple and gold RV.

4) Freeway Celebrity Search:
Who's rocking out in that white Mercedes three lanes over? It could be Britney! That's right! Even celebrities get stuck in traffic and one of them could be in your general vicinity. Scan the most expensive automobiles for familiar faces. Back in May I spotted "Crossing Jordan's" Miguel Ferrer driving his very sexy black Porsche on the 101. Get creative and turn this into a game. Develop your own point system and compete with your friends!

5) Kill Yourself:
Probably still your best option considering you're stuck in LA traffic.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jack (The Roommate - Not Bauer) Strikes Again!

Woke up today, went into the kitchen and saw this:

I guess his Lean Pocket packaging didn't quite make it into the garbage can and good ole Jack either didn't notice or didn't want to bend down to pick it up. I'm thinking he didn't want to bend down.

Then I saw the counter:

Everything is empty, of course.

Then I thought I'd take a little trip into the living room to see if anything had changed...

Extra points if you can spot ALL of the Butterfinger wrappers in the living room photo!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Jack Bauer Guide To Emotional Compartmentalization

The Jack Bauer Guide To Emotional Compartmentalization.

No, it isn't a book. YET.

But after watching the entire sixth season of "24" last week, I've decided that somebody needs to get on this idea - and fast.

Jack Bauer has had at least six seriously intense days - that we know of - and somehow he still manages to put his socks on in the morning. I have only viewed seasons 1, 2, and 6 - but that's all I need to know that compared to Jack Bauer (fictional character, yes) the rest of us are pussies.

Admit it. The United States is depressed. We're in a recession (yeah, I said it!), there's a war going on, and that guy who talks like he's having word seizures is still in the White House. Drug companies are taking advantage of this country plagued with depression by trying to sell us happy pills to alleviate the pain. What we need is a self-help book in the vein of one very special "Special Agent."

How does Jack Bauer keep going each season (assuming there's no writers strike) when the worst crap happens to him? At the beginning of season six, the US government pulls Bauer out of a Chinese prison so that he can be murdered by the crazy terrorist Fayed (a terrorist named Fayed - how creative!) so that the American people will be safe from nuclear terrorism. And you know what? When Jack escapes that situation - instead of crying because the country he served for so many years tried to have him killed - he jumped on board to help. Sure he has a daughter out there and a girlfriend somewhere. Sure he's been through traumatizing amounts of physical abuse, torture, and emotional distress. But Bauer wouldn't be caught dead bitching and moaning about it.

His secret? Somebody knows how to emotionally compartmentalize. I think we'd all be able to accomplish a lot more if we had Bauer's ability to just TURN IT OFF whenever we want.

Here is a list of a few situations where emotional compartmentalization could potentially help you:

-When you find out that your father and brother armed terrorists with the nuke that just murdered 12,000 of your fellow citizens.

-When you have to physically/pharmaceutically torture a sibling to get information out of them (happens more often than you'd think!).

-When you find out your dad killed your brother and is trying to kidnap your nephew (who looks a LOT like your daughter Kim).

-When you have to stop your nephew from shooting your dad before leaving your dad to die on the platform of an oil refinery about to be blown to pieces.

-When you have to steal a helicopter. (Hey, it happens.)

-When you're the only person in the world who knows the truth and nobody will listen even though this has happened on five previous occasions!

Trash Receptacles: Helpful Repository or Useless Commodity?

The Garbage Can. Useful for things like trash and... trash. But my roommate Jack would have you believe otherwise. You see, Jack prefers not to bother his garbage can when it's nice and empty. In fact, Jack likes to display his garbage around the house for others to admire.

Oh look, Jack finished that bag of miniature Butterfingers! How do I know? Because the wrappers were decorating the living room floor. Hey, there's an empty Pop Tart box and a wrapper lying next to it on the kitchen counter. Jack must have had a late night snack and left it for me as a surprise!

Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher? Ha! Who needs a dishwasher when there's a coffee table on which you can leave everything? Check out the pictures below. I call it "Jack Shui." Like Feng Shui, but with less Feng and more Jack.

If you look closely, you can almost make out Jack's dirty sock collection underneath the coffee table here.

Cherry Pop Tart anyone? Oh, I'm sorry - these are EMPTY.

The only thing this Dr. Pepper box contains is air. Help yourself!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Roommate Jack

After almost three months of searching for proper housing in Los Angeles, I finally settled in Sherman Oaks. The apartment comes equipped with central heating and air, a washer/dryer in the unit (VERY important), and a 28 year old slob we're going to call "Jack" (short for "Jackass").

Jack is an actor/waiter. Translation: Jack is a waiter. I have never seen him participate in anything creative, rehearse for a role, or get off his ass to attend an audition. When he's not working at Chili's, he's on the couch watching television and playing video games. The other day he asked me why I never come out of my room. I told him I'm constantly writing. The truth? I'm not constantly writing. I'm constantly looking for jobs on Craigslist and watching Law & Order reruns (Original, SVU, and Criminal Intent. I'm hardcore.). And yes, I could do all of this outside of my bedroom. Except I never come out of said room because JACK is always on the fucking couch sitting in a pile of trash with all of his dirty dishes and food containers from the last three weeks collecting mold on the coffee table before him (while looking for "auditions" on Craigslist, of course). And I'd rather be in my room.

I found Jack on Craigslist (Do they have an "AA" type organization for Craigslisters? Because I think I have a legitimate problem.). Jack was seeking a roommate to fill the second bedroom in his apartment. He seemed normal enough when I met him the first time. His movie collection was vast but unimpressive. When I asked what the deal was with his bad romantic dramedy section - specifically the Mandy Moore and Shane West shitflick "A Walk To Remember" - Jack admitted to having a strong emotional reaction to the teen drama. I swallowed the vomit that had just collected in my mouth and continued to search the wall of DVDs.

Then I saw that he also owned the entire series of The West Wing, which I told him was one of my favorite shows of all time. We discussed the show for a little while and I decided that I could most certainly live with a dude who shares my appreciation for Aaron Sorkin programming. My reasoning? I figured that Jack and I probably share similar socio-political values, which makes for a more comfortable living environment.

Then I moved in and found out that Jack is actually a Southern Baptist Republican who voted for Bush twice and doesn't have any regrets. In fact, my West Wing loving roommate actually feels sorry for Bush and all the "hardships" that he has endured over the course of his presidency.

So, yeah. As someone who grew up in Tallahassee, Florida surrounded by evangelical conservatives for twelve years - to find out that I now get to share a living space with someone who rejects the Theory of Evolution... I'm less than thrilled. Check back for more Jack... That rhymed a little more than I intended.