Dan Harmon: "I believe in magic. I believe in mythology. I believe in shamanism. I believe that spells can be cast and I believe that random things coalesce and reveal themselves to be part of a plan we don’t control, you know."
Nora Ephron: "Never turn down a front-row seat for human folly."
Lord Vetinari, Unseen Academicals: "One day I was a young boy... when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. Even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued... As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and the pink roes spilled out much to the delight of the baby otters. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior."
McAlvie "The ultimate downfall of modern civilization won't be war; it'll be Twitter and Facebook."
Jenny Zhang: "A lot of writers swear by routine, but I swear by chaos. There’s enough fucking routine in my life. Every day I have to brush my teeth. Every day I have to smile at strangers. Every day I have to worry about money. Every day I want something I can’t have. Every day I find some way to go on! I know that writing every day for an hour would help me tremendously with writer’s block, but I also know that I need an element of wildness in my writing. I need to know that writing is something I do because it sets me free. It makes me feel golden with confidence. It gives me the gift of gab. I feel like a god. I feel like an entertainer. So write when you damn well please."
Joe Queenan: "If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it's probably because at some level you find "reality" a bit of a disappointment. People in the 19th century fell in love with "Ivanhoe" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" because they loathed the age they were living through. Women in our own era read "Pride and Prejudice" and "Jane Eyre" and even "The Bridges of Madison County"—a dimwit, hayseed reworking of "Madame Bovary"—because they imagine how much happier they would be if their husbands did not spend quite so much time with their drunken, illiterate golf buddies down at Myrtle Beach. A blind bigamist nobleman with a ruined castle and an insane, incinerated first wife beats those losers any day of the week. Blind, two-timing noblemen never wear belted shorts."
LogicalDash: "Nobody of any age should have to fend off sexual partners. That such defense is assumed as a part of the cost of adult courtship is suggestive of some more fundamental problem than age difference and its effect on consensuality."
Keith Richards: "I had to invent the job, you know," he said, earlier. "There wasn't a sign in the shop window, saying, "Wanted: Keith Richards."
Caitlin Moran: "As I started to reassess my writing style, I thought about what I liked doing--what gave me satisfaction--and realized the primary one was just... pointing at things. Pointing out things I liked, and showing them to other people--like a mum shouting, "Look! Moo-cows!" as a train rushes past a farm. I liked pointing at things, and I liked being reasonable and polite about stuff. Or silly. Silly was very, very good. No one ever got hurt by silly.
Best of all was being pointedly silly about serious things: politics, repression, bigotry. Too many commentators are quick to accuse their enemies of being evil. It's far, far more effective to point out that they're acting like idiots, instead. I was up for idiot-revealing.
"I am just going to be polite and silly, and point at cool things," I decided. "When I started writing, I would have killed to have one thing to write about. Now, I have three. Politeness and silliness, and pointing. That's enough."
Carolyn Hax: "Unless 15 years’ worth of mail has misled me, no one has ever found love through complaining about the lack of it, and no lonely person has ever felt better for hearing, “You just haven’t found the right person yet.”
David Simon: "Change is a motherfucker when you run from it."
Joe Queenan: "People who read an enormous number of books are basically dissatisfied with the way things are going on this planet. And I think, in a way, people read for the same reason that kids play video games ... they like that world better. It works better, it's more exciting, and it usually has a more satisfactory ending."
Dan Savage: "There isn't someone for everyone. Some of us do wind up alone, and that just fucking sucks and sometimes that stings, and you don't know if you're one of those people who's going to wind up alone until you die alone....So you kind of have to live in hope and build a life for yourself that's rewarding and fun, has friends and pleasure in it, whether you're alone or not."
the painkiller: "I will not be tagged, pinned, circled, liked, tweeted, retweeted or numbered."
Steve Jobs: "Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Apple: "Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Miss Manners: "Please do not -- repeat, not -- make a hostile approach to knitters. Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?"
Stephen Tobolowsky: "And of course, nothing is what I figured on in my life. That seems to be a recurring theme."
James Bulls: "When you find yourself walking a true path, you will know it because you will want to walk it no matter the burning Sun, freezing sleet, torrential rain, and treacherous ground. The risks become no less and the journey as always exhausts you, but your desire to brave the challenges never diminishes."
Amy Argetsinger: "Twitter is a disease, plain and simple. It makes people insane. A decade from now I expect the CDC and FDA will be issuing warnings."
Cary Tennis: "You don't have to "move on" either. Not until you're ready. People say, Oh, you should be grateful. They say, Oh, it's time for you to move on. I'm like, What are you, a cop with a nightstick? I'll move on when I'm done playing the blues on my harmonica, thank you very much."
Mark Morford: "It is 2011 and here is what we know: Reality is fluid, fact is malleable, cause and effect completely uncertain. We know what we don't know, but we also know the opposite."
Charlie Jane Anders: "Just remember, if you flinch from your destiny, you'll never achieve your true greatness — you didn't choose to be chosen, but being chosen means you have to choose."
Roger Ebert: "To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up."
Myca: "Jesus is not the reason for the season, and there's no way I need to act like he is. Christmas is a stolen tradition. There's no reason we can't steal it back."
Lady Gaga: "I hate the holidays! I'm alone and miserable, you fucking dumb bit of toy!"
Dianna Agron: "I am trying to live my life with a sharpie marker approach. You can’t erase the strokes you’ve made, but each step is much bolder and more deliberate."
John Mayer: "It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well. Let me make sure that statement is as absolute and irrevocable as possible by buzzing your tower one more time: no artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable."
Vanessa, Something Positive: "I like 'em crazy. You hear insane rants, I hear a reminder that the sex is interesting. Oooh! Hear that? Tonight's gonna tingle."
Anonymous: “Your problem is that you want to be an artist. What you need to be is an artisan.”
Sugar: "Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it."
Wide Lawns: "Often very odd things happen to me. Usually they are not my fault and mostly beyond my control."
Anonymous reporter: “When weird shit happens around here, weird shit really happens around here.”
Anne Johnson: "Today some stranger sent me an email that said, "You are a nut case." Well, I must admit this never would have occurred to me. Everyone else is a nut case. I'm the sane one. I think."
Carl Mayer: "Whenever I start to feel like my life isn’t where I want it to be, “Cops” is there to put everything into perspective. Yeah, I haven’t made all the right moves over the last 34 years, but I’m not hiding from the police under a kiddie pool, either."
John Scalzi: "In retrospect, it’s a little weird to think that my entire future was falling into place as I obliviously tucked into the El Presidente chimichanga platter, but of course, that’s life for you — the most important days of your existence don’t always announce themselves in obvious ways."
Tart and Soul: "Indeed, love comes whether we have braced ourselves for it or not. But commitment offers a choice, tapping us on the shoulder to say, “sorry to bother you. Is this a good time?”
J.C. Hutchins: "I was Wanky McWankerton, in love with words I’d yet to write. I did this for nearly two years. If every sperm is sacred, God wasn’t irate with me — he was effing thermonuclear."
Beth Sekishiro: "You don't need to be conventional to love people. Maybe you've got to give up your whole life - but that's just when you'll find it."
"When the HR manager tried to call the company insurance company to see how much of a liability it was to have an employee and his wife AND DOGS (I can’t get over that part) literally living in the office, the manager slapped the HR manager hard enough across the face to leave finger-shaped welts and give him whiplash. The manager was not fired or reprimanded in any way." (Why am I not at all surprised to hear that last sentence?)
"He was stalking female employees, but *messing with equipment* is what got him fired."
"I only wish I were more surprised…" (Ditto.)
"Many years ago, one of our senior managers – male – arrived for Halloween dressed as “Little Red Riding Ho” – he proclaimed himself as such. Mini skirt, fake breasts and skimpy top, wig, high heels…. He swished. One of the men in sales came as a nun the same year."
"One year, during a drinking holiday (Cinco de Mayo or St. Patrick’s Day- something like that) everyone went to get drinks. One guy got drunk, came back to work to bug the overnight crew and peed himself. He then slept in his car rather than driving home drunk (points for that, I guess) and came into work the next day with his pee-dried pants and worked a shift."
"My male boss sometimes makes my male coworkers follow him to the bathroom while he pees if they go to him to ask a question. So like:
Coworker: *walks into boss’ office* “hey boss! Can I ask a question?”
Boss: “sure! Follow me!” *gets up, walks down hall to bathroom. Begins to pee* “so what’s up coworker?”
So happy that because I’m a woman, this has not happened to me."
"I used to work with a woman who had gone to law school back in the ’60s when the profession was 99% male. She made a point of having business conversations with other women in the bathroom because men had done that as a way of excluding her for so many years."
"We have a male employee (with all sorts of personal hygiene issues) who has more than once missed the urinal in the men’s room (which is in a stall) and peed on the shoes of the guy standing at the sink."
"Inmates frequently masturbated in front of me, another guy gave himself a tattoo with a regular ink pen and it got infected (the pictures were not pretty), but this one time I was sitting at my desk and at the back of the library saw movement and this…*thing* come heading straight for me in the air. Thank god for wheelie chairs because I never moved so fast in my entire life.
It was a bat that was making beeline for the picture window behind me, thinking it was open (it wasn’t) and knocked itself out. So then it’s on its back on a big pile of books and trying to move but can’t and it’s daytime and I’m all WTF there’s a BAT and one of the inmates came over and wrapped it up in his coat and took it outside. For months afterwards, my workers continued to make fun of me for how fast I moved out of the way in that chair but I swear that thing woulda hit me right in the fact if I hadn’t."
"I briefly worked as a librarian and have a boatload of stories. My two favorites…
- When we would find random empty bottles of wine in the children’s library restroom
- The customer who was an aspiring rapper (who also worked at a fast food restaurant and was living with a lady old enough to be his mother) who brought me a dozen red roses one day at work. I was out for lunch when he came by to deliver them, and my boss flat out told him I couldn’t accept them. He later got banned from the library for using the computer lab “inappropriately.”
"A couple once got amorous in the computer lab and I had to kick them out. About a month later, I saw them in Walmart and the woman said to her man, “Look, there’s the witch that got us kicked out of the library!” She ran over to me and punched me. I literally had to tell myself that I had more class than to get in a fist fight with a library patron in the middle of Walmart."
"I can’t think of any specific stories I could share without breaking confidentiality, but you know any job that involves delusions, six page dress codes, and specific precautions so you don’t end up being the cautionary story they tell at orientation is not going to be boring."
"Summer after graduation, a girl comes into my work wanting cigarettes and I card her. She says she doesn’t have a license but has a school ID and she just graduated. She shows me an ID from my high school. I tell her I know she’s lying, take out *my* school ID, lay it out side by side with hers and point out where on the IDs mine read “12″ (for grade) and her’s read “09″.
"Worked at the college library while in school as well. A woman came in with her baby to complain about the overdue fines levied against her for un-returned books. She was entirely in the wrong and no matter who explained that to her she just got more and more angry. Finally we had to close for the day. So to make a point (the point being that she was an absolute pill of a human being) she sat down in the middle of the library in the prime foot traffic location and proceeded to change her baby’s diaper, and grew quite indignant at our request that she do that somewhere else."
"When I worked fast food, a group of possibly high young guys came through the drive through with a crocodile puppet. The puppet ordered, presented a credit card, and accepted the food. I heard them howling with laughter as soon as they pulled away from the window, and I have to admit that it made my day too."
"I worked as a cashier/ customer service at a local hardware store in high school. I kept a monkey puppet at my register and would make it dance and make faces at kids when their parents weren’t looking. The store owner would use it to talk to employees when he wanted to get us to do something we didn’t want to (like cleaning the bathrooms), he even had his wife make a little store apron for it."
"At an in-office Halloween party, our CEO did karaoke to “Sexual Healing” while wearing lederhosen."
"Ten minutes later, she walks back by and says, “SHE LEFT HER PANTS IN THE BATHROOM! Can you believe THAT?” I still can’t believe it took ten minutes to notice, but what do I know?"
"On opening day I got a bizarre phone call from an older woman. She asked a few questions about her accounts and then launched into a story about how her boyfriend worked on Mars and she only got to see him on weekends. I played along, figuring it was someone from another branch messing me with (turned out it wasn’t). I asked what he did for a living (investment banker), did he enjoy his work (loved it), and “Wow! that must be such a long commute. Do you do something fun on the weekends when you see him?” She then said she had several accounts at our bank. One was her Meow account that she used for vacation. Another was her Fluffy account for the bills, etc. This went on for about 10 minutes. Finally, she thanked me, wished me a good day, and she hung up. That was it. Never heard from her again. It was so bizarre and people didn’t believe me when I told them about it."
"We came in one Monday morning to find, floating on the big oxidation pond, an inflatable boat with two mannequin torsos dressed in fishing gear, each with a fishing pole."
"And of course there was the guy that was caught masturbating in the middle of the sales floor."
"There was also someone who was always pooping on the floor in the men’s room but that apparently is so common in retail that I hesitate to say it’s even weird."
"Anyway, we once found an employee who successfully hid in the cornflakes at the end of his shift. He was there overnight, eating the dry cornflakes and everything else in the warehouse. I don’t know why. Maybe he was hungry himself. But he was legitimately IN THE CORNFLAKE DRUM with only his head exposed when he was caught the next morning."
"Then the next week he comes in with terrible scratches all over his face and announced that he had been attacked by his housemate’s cat, but that his housemate had told him that the cat was a higher priority in the house so K should just deal with it. We asked why he didn’t put a lock on the door and…it turned out his whole bedroom was infested with black mold, and he was afraid that closing the door at night would make it worse. But like, all of his clothes and all of his stuff and probably his body had black mold living on it. Which is so dangerous and bad for you! We sent him to the doctor and he never came back. Turns out he had gone off his meds after graduation. Later that year, one of the other coworkers had a costume party where the theme was “the future.” He came wearing a dress because in the future “none of us will be male or female.” I actually loved this guy and follow his life on Facebook with a mix of horror and jealousy."
“If a hyena and a Rottweiler were to get into a fight, which one would win?” He apparently was calling because a Rottie-owning friend of his had bet him that his dog could best a hyena. I told him I had very little data on this, but that I’d have to go with the hyena. He was overjoyed."
"We were sitting on the patio outside the cafeteria right beside one such space when Lebron James walked up and started shooting hoops. My boss, who is from another country and has never followed basketball, said, “Whoa! That guy looks like he could be a real basketball player!” Everyone cracked up."
"She stopped abruptly and handed me the kid and ASKED ME TO FINISH BREASTFEEDING HER CHILD. She felt I needed to force lactation in order for our bodies to “become one.”
"Our current office rented a kangaroo. Not for any particular reason. They just wanted to see if they could get it approved as a business expense. It was. We had a kangaroo for a day. They are remarkably cuddly." I WANT ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "I have no idea how you rent a kangaroo, the PR department is made of magic and pixies. They also rented us an ice cream truck recently. My life is so much better knowing these things are possible."
"A place I worked about 10 years ago was on the 8th and top floor and the only restrooms were on the 1st floor. People would go up to the roof and pee off it rather than walk down the stairs. Like, in groups." I feel sorry for anyone walking by.
"I worked at a bar in undergrad and I had to kick a guy out because he was very drunk and urinating in the corner. The weirdest part was he came back two hours later and appeared stone cold sober and I had to explain to a completely coherent person that a couple hours ago he peed on the wall and floor."
"My boss would write novels with erotic sex scenes in them and then make me proof read them. At work. While he sat in my office staring at me."
“Oh my god, there’s a fish in the toilet . . . I just peed on a fish.”
"One day, all the labs received an email from the office informing us that maintenance had found a bucket of brains in one of the lecture halls and could whoever it belonged to please retrieve."
"I’m a nudist, can I come to your museum?”
I said, “Pardon me?”
He says, “I’m a nudist, I want to visit your museum, can I?”
My first impulse was to laugh and think it was a prank call but since I had to treat every person as if they’re serious I told him he was welcome to visit the museum but I’d need to check our policy since I’d never had that question. (I was thinking no way would they allow someone in the museum naked, but I didn’t want to discriminate so I decided to double check.)
I added that I didn’t think it would be allowed because we had to abide by City ordinances and I doubted nudity was allowed in public–I asked if he was from the city where the museum was located and if he was able to walk to the store without clothes. He said, “Sometimes. I try to if I can.” We decide that he will call me back in about an hour to see what our policy is, because he’d really prefer to visit “bare-a**” if he can. (I wonder if there are varying levels of nudity and maybe “bare-a**” is a technical term, like a g-string instead of full frontal.)
I checked with the operations and security departments, as well as the local police precinct. As I suspected, nudity in a public building was against the law and those breaking the law could be fined.
So he actually called back and I told him that he was welcome to visit the museum, but that I had checked with our security department and the police department and that he would need to wear clothes–a shirt, pants or shorts, and shoes. He said, “Really, because I’ve been to other galleries and they didn’t mind.” I said that since we were a public institution and we had to adhere to city, state, and federal laws. Desperate, he asked, “What about body paint?” I said, “No I’m sorry, you’d need to wear clothes.” As far as I know, he never visited."
"My favorite calls were the ones from elderly people who had no intention of using the service, but just wanted to chat (we weren’t supposed to hang up on anyone, so I would stay on a call no matter how weird it got). I once spent two hours on the phone with a woman who told me all about how the FBI killed her pet parakeet. All I had to to was say, “Oh no, that sounds terrible” every once in a while–it was the most relaxing call I ever took."
"he finally got fired after he pushed our 70 year old swim instructor into the deep end when they were arguing and he got mad at her."
“Oh hi Steve! I was just getting Brian to autograph my ass.” That's not what was happening to her ass.
"One day during work hours, a maintenance man opened the wiring closet door to get something and found Ken in there masturbating to an adult video. He was not fired for this; he was finally fired several months later for cheating on his timecard."
"She turns to me very seriously and says “Oh I don’t do direct deposit. Do you want to know why?”. Of course I couldn’t say no. She precedes to tell me that the president is currently building a wall around America and as soon as he is finished he is going to institute Marshall law and seize control of the banks, thus rendering us poor direct depositors penniless and at his mercy."
"When I was alone and inexperienced, I recieved the following calls:
1. Hello. I am a mentally ill woman and I would like to donate my brain to science.
2. How dare your University send me any marketing material. In 1972 my wife was committed to the mental hospital there and lost our child! (This went on for about 10 minutes and I hung up on him)
3. My dog is dying and I cannot afford vet care for her. (we do not have a vet school).
4. A different person so mad at getting marketing materials that he said “You don’t want to make me come down there with my gun”. Seriously- just throw them away."
"He had dark hair, a tiny little moustache and was wearing a black and white striped shirt with a jaunty little red scarf around his neck and a beret. Behind him lurked a thin pretty sulking woman with dark hair and pouty dark red lips and a black turtleneck. He handed me is student ID card for check out and it read “Ooh-La-La, Mister” with a photo of him in exactly the same outfit."
"I notice that the Jack Sparrow guy is standing in the doorway with an iphone and he’s giving her directions. “Make it slutty…use your finger…show daddy” and on and on. OMG. I moved to shield the woman and child who were right behind me and got an eyeful of a woman in a Snow White gown doing some not-so-Disney deeds with a toy scepter and shiny, beaded apple purse. If you ever wondered what will get you kicked out of the Magic Kingdom I can assure you, that will!"
"The curator sticks in his hand in, fishes around, and pulls out. . . a dripping wet, hairy monkey. Then more, and more, and more monkeys."
"One morning I got a call from someone who claimed his wife worked there, and she had told him that we ran the AC all night. I let him bitch about government waste for about 10 minutes because, frankly, I was bored. Then I told him the agency controlled their own thermostat and hung up. He sounded drunk, which is extra fun as it was about 8:15 am. He’d hate to know what they spent on rent every month."
"It was a person who had visited Disneyworld and stayed at a nearby, off-property hotel a few months prior. They were visiting for a couple weeks so, naturally, they brought their pet wallaby. (?!?!) Well unfortunately the wallaby ran away while in Florida and they had to return back home without the pet. So they flew back to Orlando a few months later to look for it. Then, and this is the best part — they asked me if we could provide them with some hay that was drenched in wallaby urine so they could help lure their pet back.
WHAT?!?! You brought your pet wallaby on vacation with you. Then you lost it and left without it! THEN, you thought you’d come back a few months later to lure it back. You called the education department of an AFRICAN-themed hotel asking for wallaby urine-soaked hay? How did you even get our number?!?! Of course I gave a very cheerful response and wished them a magical day. But just, what?"
"one of the guys in our office had brought a chicken to work!"
"Later on, saw a guy with his pet squirrel…on a leash. Squirrels are not pets. It rode around on his shoulder while he shopped.
And because we were close to the local correctional facility, my Friday evenings were filled with newly released men, drunk, riding in shopping carts and hitting on me."
"I’d entirely forgotten about the intern I worked with ages ago who brought in a box of baby bunnies until reading this. He said he couldn’t leave them alone because they were newborns. I think it took nearly a week before anyone said anything. They couldn’t figure out why they actually had to tell him it was inappropriate to bring your pets to work. Another newbie in First Real Job used to keep her pet sugar glider – you know, those tiny flying possum things – in her bra. Someone finally noticed it moving one day. And I heard about another woman who brought in her “familiar” – a frog that peed all over the keyboard"
"Then the lizard turned and looked at me.
After I got down from the ceiling, I called security."
"my former boss used to cycle to work some days and would wander around the office in his skin-tight lycra shorts and sweaty t-shirt for a few hours before changing. So, so uncomfortable, especially when he’d come and talk to me while standing beside my desk – he was a tall guy, which made the relative positioning worse. He was very senior so we didn’t feel like we could say anything, but eventually his admin told him he had to stop."
"A few minutes later, the firemen allow us to return to our desks. The white powder turned out to be little crumbs of paper created when HSMC would run the envelopes through the automatic letter opener."
"At one company I worked at, someone hired a Miss Piggy to come and sing a birthday song for a different co-worker. Except the Miss Piggy also did a strip-tease, revealing a bit at a time, and her costume was anatomically correct…for a pig."
"I ended the story with “And mom may or may not disrobe while you talk to her.” They didn’t believe me, since it was April 1."
"When I worked in a fast-food restaurant, the manager got three of the employees pregnant in the four months I worked there. He was also dating the ex of the other manager, by whom the ex had a child. The daily soap opera was highly entertaining."
"There is an attractive and very busty woman standing at the register with a guy we recognized as a lineman on the football team. She is leaning on the register, and both of her breasts have fallen out of her top onto the register CRT. “She’s so drunk, she has no idea they have fallen out. I don’t know if I should point them out to her, tell her boyfriend, or just try to casually nudge them back in. I don’t think she would notice if I did.” He decided to go back up and finish the order while keeping his eyes pointed at the ceiling. She stood up and still did not realize she had completely fallen out of her top. We kept our eyes on our work until her boyfriend finally noticed and tucked her breasts back in for her."
"He’d been reading an article and didn’t understand some of the colloquial phrases and asked me to explain. The article was an entertainment interview with a rapper. All of the phrases were euphemisms for sex, violence or drugs. I had to sit there and slowly elaborate on each one while he took notes. It was like reading Urban Dictionary.
On another occasion, one of the diplomats wanted to complain to their neighborhood association that the neighbor kept letting their dog poop in his yard, but he couldn’t think of an English word for poop other than sh*t. He knew that word was offensive so he came and asked me for a less offensive word. I offered poop and excrement. He then walked out of my office repeating, “excrement, excrement, excrement” over and over so he would remember it."
"I uncovered a livejournal account with a LONG post of erotic fiction set in my workplace."
"I was chatting pleasantly with him about his experience when he casually told me that he’d been implanted with a chip that allowed the military to keep tabs on him and also to hear his thoughts. I thought he was joking. He was not. He told me he’d worked in Washington D.C. in some top-secret positions and he had knowledge that could get him killed, then said that I could call a high-ranking person at the Pentagon to verify his credentials. Well, of course, I couldn’t resist that so I called – the number was definitely to the Pentagon and the person I spoke with informed me that this guy never worked for the government, but they knew him by name because he was constantly calling them and leaving extremely paranoid rants and mailing them paranoid religious propaganda and claiming he’d had knowledge of the 9/11 attacks beforehand but no one had listened to him. Fortunately, that situation worked itself out. A couple of weeks after applying he called to inform me that he had to leave the area immediately because the witch who’d been chasing him and his wife had found them again, so they had to pack up and go right then. He also warned me to be very careful because the cell phone towers weren’t actually cell towers at all, but mind control devices placed strategically around the country by Jehovah’s Witnesses who were ordered to do so by Satan, whom they served."
"Well…of course the novel was erotic historical fiction. Erotic historical fiction about his great grandfather. It was just so…weird. I put the binder on his desk and never spoke to him about it again."
"One day I looked out the window and they were doing PONY RIDES. The employees were taking turns riding some poor pony around the parking lot. I’m sure the pony was used to carrying around 5 year olds at birthday parties, not adults."
"It read “Join me at ____ for some pussy popping to 80s music.”
"My boss at the time was one of those people who has a chaos aura swirling around her. If a thing could break, explode, leak, or otherwise malfunction, it would do so in her presence (and probably on her person). She once let fly with a tirade of expletives when the head of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was just on the other side of a stack of library shelves. She was inexplicably cursed with mishaps which used to occur all round her. There were many tales. I didn’t witness all of them by any means – I did not see the dead duck fall on her head, for example, nor was I present for the Great Bike Shop Disaster, nor for the time when she tripped over whilst crossing Savile Row and threw a cup of scalding hot coffee through the open window of a taxi onto the lap of a besuited businessman.
But the best one I was present for happened one morning when she arrived at work. She used to get the train to work, and many mishaps occurred during her journey. I used to arrive before her, and sit in the office calmly, trying to get myself ready for whatever chaos she would bring in with her. This winter day, all seemed well until she took off her coat in our office, and a shower of little packets of condoms fell out of her coat hood. I asked her what she had been doing that morning, and she told me that she’d been in the ladies toilet of Swindon station, and had accidentally whacked the condom vending machine with her rucksack whilst washing her hands. It had started to spit out packet after packet of condoms, and she, rather desperately, had crouched down to try and gather them all up, thus allowing them to fall into her coat hood. I just said, ‘oh’, and asked her if she’d like a cup of tea."
"Apparently (according the police who answered the 911 call) sometimes homeless people light their poo on fire."
"A job candidate listed someone that he knew was dead on his list of references. Like this: John Doe (deceased). The deceased was a big name in the field, but I have no idea how the candidate thought we were going to contact him for a reference check!"
"One night I got a call from a guy who’d lost his dog. He was very distraught, or so I thought. The conversation devolved to him telling me that he missed his dog as it used to lick his balls. I hung up. My colleague was laughing hysterically. Apparently this guy rang in all the time. I still shudder if someone tells me they’ve lost their dog."
"Anyway, per Worst. Night. Ever! instructions, I came to FaerieWorlds dressed as a "faerie" (i.e. wearing powder-blue faerie wings). And yet? I have never before in my life blended into a crowd with so much ease. Most of the attendants were dressed in very creative, wild costumes (half-nude faeries, genies, steampunk dandies, banshees, mermaids, witches, tree-people, etc.) that made my paltry faerie wings seem downright blasé. In this world, the social oddball was not only accepted, but celebrated, and it seemed impossible to shock or be judged harshly by anyone.
I stayed for six hours (tripling the time I was required to be there, FYI), but here's what struck me as unusual. After that long, you become immune to the yak horns, the painted naked boobs, the leather elf ears... and it all just starts seeming weirdly... normal. Despite the laughably terrible music, FaerieWorlds really is a place to stop hiding your weirdness (if that's a thing you feel forced to do), and it made me think about how much I worry about the wrinkles in my Penguin Munsingwear shirt. And it made me think that sometimes I'm maybe—MAYBE—a bit too judgmental of other people (except for stinkfoot hippie dudes, about whom I am 100 percent accurate)."
Then there's the chick doing stand-up comedy, which I was really relating to:
"I was terrified. I had no idea I'd be as nervous as I was. I've done storytelling shows before, and those are a bit nerve-racking, but this was something else entirely. Storytelling shows have a sort of implicit sanction: If it happened to you, it's interesting. Here, I wasn't just relating a personal experience—I was sharing sentences I constructed in the hopes of eliciting a specific physical reaction from the crowd. If that reaction didn't happen—if no one laughed—it would be because I was doing a bad job. Period."
And then there's the hot dog contest:
"The idea of sending me to a hot dog contest came up in our weekly editorial meeting, and I'm always very, very hungry at the weekly editorial meeting. So I was glad to get the hot dog contest.
Do you know who wasn't glad? Every friend and acquaintance I have. Any time I mentioned competing, my girlfriend would just shudder and change the subject (after making absolutely clear I understood she would not—could not—be there to support me). People winced, mostly. One friend I speak to maybe three times a year texted all the way from Michigan just to be sure I knew how disgusting this impending act would be.
"I really hope you don't have to do the wiener contest," he wrote. "You will hurl."
I shook all of it off for a couple days, until I finally got around to researching competitive hot dog eating. Then I suddenly understood where each and every one of them was coming from."
"She held out for seven years while Henry tried to get her into his bed. SEVEN YEARS. That is so fucking ballsy. Like, it’s both ballsy not to give the King of England what he wants and also ballsy to assume that you can keep him and his roving boner interested in you for seven years.
Like, she would lean over Henry’s desk with an anti-Catholic pamphlet in her cleavage and be like, “HEY, CHECK OUT THIS HERETICAL WRITING THAT JUST FELL INTO MY MELON BASKET.” And then Henry would be like, “HMMM YOU SAUCY LITTLE MINX, SOUNDS LIKE SOME GOOD READING MATERIAL FOR WHEN I VISIT THE ROYAL SHIT HOUSE*.” Then he would go to stick his hand down her dress and she’d be all, “NO BUT I AM A VIRTUOUS MAIDEN AND ONLY MY HUSBAND SHALL TOUCH ME THERE. I WISH THOU WERT MY HUSBAND BUT SADLY, THOU ART ALREADY WEDDED” and he’d be like, “WHOA LIGHTBULB MOMENT WHAT IF I MADE A NEW CHURCH THAT LET ME DIVORCE CATHERINE???”
Please note that Henry VIII actually had one of his dude friends employed as his “Groom of the Stool,” which meant that they had to wipe his ass whenever he took a shit. Just throwing that out there."
I did once read someone described as having skin like good cocaine.
They forgot the semolina pudding six pack.
What, no white bread?
Whenever I have to tick a box for skin colour, I bemoan the lack of "soiled prosthetic appliance". If it's been an especially active summer, I can sometimes make it to "elderly banana". Winter doesn't quite get me to my countryfolks' "six days undead" look, though.