Normal People With Famous Names

This past week I became “internet famous.” My blog was so popular and provocative that I was even threatened with lawsuits and defamation! The reason: people were angry over the apparently misleading post purporting to relay a message from Stephen Hawking on the ice bucket challenge.

The sleuths on the internet concluding that I had not, in fact, had any contact with Mr. Hawking and that I had written the entire post myself.

The truth? Well, here’s half of it: Stephen Hawking did in fact write a guest blog post. The problem and source of confusion seems to be that people failed to realize it wasn’t THE Stephen Hawking, the famous scientist and inspiring survivor of ALS. No, my post just came from another Stephen Hawking, a Mr. Hawking who teaches physics at a local high school in Silver Spring.

Steve has admittedly never had to deal with a condition as traumatic and life changing as ALS, nor has he ever been gifted with fame or brilliant thoughts which change alter humanity’s understanding of our place in the Universe. He has, however, been cursed with bearing the name of someone which constantly reminds him of his inadequacy, which, while not a true tragedy, is still deserving of our sympathy and understanding.

Here are some other normal people with famous names who are just trying to make their way in the world.

 

  1. Harry Potter    Toney_Black_Picture_Gold

Mr. Potter has been serving as principal of Crown Heights high school in the Bronx for nearly twenty years, well before people associated his name with the famous wizard of Hogwarts. Unfortunately, Principal Potter has a terrible British accent and his soothing baritone/bass voice is much better suited to dealing with unruly teenagers than it is to conjuring spells. Mr. Potter considers himself to be a stern but compassionate authority, and has approached his recently ironic namesake with good humor and humility. He’s halfway through “the Prisoner of Azkaban”, and, to be honest, he identifies more with Professor McGonagall.

  1. Selena Gomez  Mexican-cleaning-lady

Selena Gomez may or may not have arrived in Chula Vista with legal documentation, and she’s just trying to pay the bills and get her kids into a good kindergarten. Is she taking jobs away from hard working Americans? That’s something you’ll have to ask her…in Spanish, because she’s not yet bilingual. Her skills are merely adequate, but what do want from her? If you’re wealthy enough to afford someone to clean your toilet and take care of your personal messes so you don’t have to, you shouldn’t complain and instead should probably be much more grateful than you are that you are lucky enough to employ an indentured servant.  Mrs. Gomez, for her part, can’t figure out why a 14-year-old girl is considered a sex icon in an America that also has a paranoid fixation with perverts and predators. It’s something she thinks about on the drive back to Escondido.

  1. Colonel Sanders  sutherland

Colonel Sanders only uses six ‘secret’ spices in his Hamburger Helper easybake, but it’s no secret that he is a competent and valued satellite communications expert in his department at the Pentagon. On certain weeknights Mr. Sanders likes to play free poker in Clarendon and then get down at a nearby bar for trivia and/or karaoke. He doesn’t talk about his work much, mostly because it’s boring and you probably wouldn’t understand anyway. The Colonel has been happily dating for five years now. When he does finally decide to pop the question, it will certainly NOT take place at KFC. Although he does give in to deep-fried, HGH-injected temptation from time to time. And he’s just too modest to ask for a discount.

  1. Richard Nixon   ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Part of the ‘Crooked Liars’ biker gang which bases itself out of Shiprock, New Mexico, Rick Nixon has never been impeached but he has been arrested seven times and is currently on parole for a variety of felonies, including petty theft and battery assault, but never listening secretly on meetings of an opposing political party. At age 43, you might not have Rick to kick around anymore, as he’s finally started to think about settling down with a family, or maybe he’ll become a vegetarian before his diet completely destroys his body. Still, fuck the police. When the biker gang does it, that means its not illegal.

  1. Ice Cube   male_dentist1

Dr. Cube prides himself on being the best dentist in all of Howard County. At first, he was all like, I don’t know if I am gonna make it through med school, what if I want to be a nutrition specialist, and then he was all like, wow I get paid to help people improve their smile. And he gets all the free toothpaste he wants. That’s really all there is to say.

  1. Kim Kardashian  e02ef8c3185db9943d060a5eb39dd864_view

Unlike the anonymous philanthropist and business woman, this Kim Kardashian just appears to be your typical big-bottomed publicity whore. It doesn’t appear as if this Kardashian has any sort of regular employment, although you can buy her calendar (??) on amazon, proof that there is still a deserved stigma around self-publishing. From what I could tell, this woman would look nicer with a little less makeup and a lot less surgical enhancement. I wonder what her personality is like.

Advertisements

Ice Bucket Challenge: Stephen Hawking Responds

Hey kids! It’s me, Stephen the Wonder Brain (but not Stevie Wonder, that is a savant with different skills and a different disability), one of the smartest men on the planet and currently the subject of a feature film starring Eddie Redmayne (“Les Miserables”).

hawking

If you don’t know about the things I’ve accomplished in the name of science and the tremendous contributions I’ve made to coffee tables and bookshelves, you still probably have seen photographs of me wheelchair bound, or perhaps one of your friends has mimicked or mocked me in a mean-spirited but amusing way.

The photo above is me in happier times, with me wife, pre-debilitating disease.

As something who has survived with ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) for almost 50 years, naturally I have some thoughts on the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The challenge purportedly raises awareness and support for the disease which has yet to bear my name, but I have my doubts. (hint hint spoiler alert: I think the ice bucket is actually a pile of shit)

I’m glad you think you’re helping me, but you’re not.

For one, let’s start with the fact that pouring ice over your head is, let’s say, um…tangential to the condition of ALS.

A brief history of the Ice Bucket Challenge: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/08/who_invented_the_ice_bucket_challenge_a_slate_investigation.html

There are various myths embedded within-celebrities who took up the cause, some dude with ALS who may or may not have been drunk and then dove into ice water-but the true mechanics of the original ‘Big Dump’ may remain beyond most understanding. It is something for social scientists to ponder and perhaps pseudo-intellectuals like Malcolm Gladwell will attempt to locate the ‘tipping point’ of the ice bucket.

For now, let’s deal with the present, what IS, where we have come, and how we must continue on into the future.

Raising awareness for an intractable problem like ALS is always a tricky business. Similar to the ‘stand up to cancer’ ad campaigns, there is no enemy, no obvious solution that money will solve, no apparent way to ‘think around’ the issue to find answers. Like any disease which is genetic, the tragedy arises from nowhere and ways to ‘explain’ or reason ‘why’ it happens to people arrive at dead ends.

To ‘raise awareness’ for ALS is to fall down the rabbit hole, because why pick ALS over cancer, Down Syndrome, clinical depression, old age, dwarfism, or any other disease which cripples people’s ability to function normally? Hell, let’s take it even further, what about people who have lost limbs, or organs, or family? Why does ALS deserve all this attention at the expense of anything else?

lou-gehrig

And what if all that money leads to nothing? Pouring money into research is either like investing in a rising stock or throwing cash down a wishing well.

WHICH DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULDN’T DO IT. But I’d call into question whether this is truly the best opportunity to demonstrate self righteousness or to seek approval from the online community that you are objectively a kind and caring person.

Am I allowed to say that your dollars and time are twice as valuable spent trying to fix a more objectively solvable crisis, such as gun violence, homelessness, or even rape culture?

Of course I am! I’m Stephen Hawking. And you’re gonna listen to what I have to say.

So I have a new challenge for you: think of an issue you really care about, be it ALS or military conflicts or  human trafficking or even something less tragic and more intrepid like solar energy investing, and donate money and/or time to help improving your cause celebre.

BUT (and here’s the tricky part)…

don’t tell anyone. Don’t nominate anyone. Just do it. Do it for yourself. Do it because it’s the right thing and the act itself is enough to make you feel good. Let it be your secret pride.

And if you can’t, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Who’s judging? Everybody is too busy dumping ice on their head.

ADDENDUM: This was not intended to belittle the cause of ALS research, but rather to belittle the Ice Bucket Challenge and/or the need for such public self-promotion and social media hoopla.

10 Things to Do AFTER You Die

Boys and girls, you only get one chance to die in this life:

Actor Patrick Swayze dies at 57

Most people are familiar with the “bucket list”, which are all those things that advertisers want you do/spend money on before you expire, but this concept is really unfair. A lot of people who die don’t really plan for it to happen. What if you ran out of time? Bucket lists just make dead people feel guilty for not finishing them.

On the other hand, there is plenty of time to accomplish things AFTER you’re dead. In fact, one might say time ceases to be an issue at all. That also means you have no excuses. So here are some activities I’d recommend once you pass on to a less corporeal realm.

1. Rigor Mortis

image022

Do you guys remember the song “Baby Get Shaky” by the Ian Carey Project? I do because it was no. 2 on the charts in Australia the year I was there. Anyway, the song encourages you to get shaky “after school”, which is probably just an extended metaphor on the afterlife. Rigor mortis is best done in the company of unsuspecting family members who do not know what rigor mortis is. It’s really your last chance to get some exercise out of your cold, decaying, now-lifeless  body before you transcend this plane of existence and become a blob of ectoplasm.

2. Read Dante’s “The Inferno”

9781411432406_p0_v1_s260x420

One of the classic works on the geography of the afterlife, it was questionable at the time whether or not Dante had firsthand travelling experience at the sites he claimed to visit. Still, it’s a good primer for what you MAY expect once you arrive at your post-retirement retirement home. And even if it turns out to be a load of bullshit, it’s still cleverly written and an important addition to the western literary canon, and even among the dead, I imagine it pays to be knowledgeable.

3. Ghost Group Sex

halloween-ghosts1

I would like to introduce a new word into the vocabulary:

ECTOGASM: the act of supernatural arousal within ghostly bodies, and the resulting ejaculate matter, which still maintains a surprisingly sweet, nutty, taste

4. Visit the Eiffel Tower

320px-Tour_Eiffel_Wikimedia_Commons

y5. Photo-bomb Pictures of the LivingSo what if you’re dead? The Eiffel Tower is one of the greatest landmarks of the 19th century, still the tallest structure in France and an impressive example of good crowd management (much more so than the Empire State Building). As a ghost, you should be able to avoid the cramped elevator by simple floating up the stairs to the observation levels. The restaurant is expensive, but tickets for visiting dead tourists are probably discounted from the original price. It really is a must see experience, one that promises to stay with you for the rest of your afterlife existence.

5. Photo-bomb Pictures of the Living

ghost-photobomb

As far as haunting goes, nothing beats see the look on living faces when they realize their visit to the cemetery, or the grocery store, was joined by spirits previously unseen. Be careful, however, to make sure that your pose and presentation appear plausibly ghost-like, or else you’ll be mistaken for a photoshopped hoax. Don’t try to mimic any magazine pictures or old photographs of yourself from when you were still alive. Don’t play around with false perspective and don’t joke around and appear as an abstract shiny blob of light, because the idiots will just mistake it for a camera malfunction.

6. Party It Up in Purgatory

purgatory_2

Reaching hell is a pretty tough accomplishment for the goodies, and even then, it’s just too hot to have a really good time. But purgatory is a great place where you can “bend the rules”, be discreet, maybe do a little gambling or sexy time with a dead Marilyn Monroe look-a-like (there are literally about 100 million fake celebrity ghosts). If the whole thing seems a little tacky to you, well, yeah, that’s the idea. It’s purgatory. If you wanted paradise, you should have tried harder.

7. Haunt Your Living Relatives…On Twitter

twitter-ghost-bird

Thus far, ghosts and other supernatural beings have seemingly avoided social media. Sure, there are plenty of dead people on twitter-Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, etc-but unfortunately the authentic accounts of dead people are crowded out by fake ones. In fact, it’s possible that dead people have fake twitter accounts of living people, which just makes it even more confusing!

For a truly ghostly experience, try starting up an account on myspace.

8. Float Out of An Airplane

download

No parachute necessary! Just bring the camera, shout something hilarious, and exit out of the emergency windows (without opening them, of course).

9. Call Someone Up Just to Say You Love Them (and listen to them freak out because you’re dead)

college_freak_out-480x280

10. Look in the Mirror…And See Nothing

ghost-mirror

Dakota Undercover: Two Weeks as a Barista (Part Two)

Capital Coffee’s kitchen is very small, and Sal Mustachio likes working as quickly as possible. That means a menu with lots of quick sandwiches and lots and lots of eggs. Bagel egg and cheese. “Breakfast wrap” (an omelette in a tortilla). Ham and egg croissant. And so on.

michdish-2741

Sal is a pretty decent cook. Twenty years on the job has made him very good at multitasking. There are constantly two pans on the burner at all times, and Sal is liberal with the Pam spray (“it’s cheaper than butter,” he tells me. “they want butter, we charge them extra.”). On the other side he’ll be dicing carrots for the chicken/tuna salad. It is ironic that the cafe’s signature item, the “chicken salad sandwich”, is the only food prep where Sal pays no attention to hygiene. He wipes his hands on a bleached towel and then, sans gloves, starts folding massive amounts of mayo, pepper and carrots in with the chicken (or tuna) to make a week’s batch at a time.

Capital Coffee is “famous” for its chicken salad. Why does every restaurant have to pretend they serve a famous food item? Famous because that’s the only thing you make with pride? Are food places worried that if they don’t have a ‘famous’ item, people won’t eat there? Why is our culture so obsessed with fame? And is it a coincidence that a cafe desperate for money is also desperate for superficial recognition?

So many questions.

(also fyi a google search of best coffee shops in DC will not yield the actual name of this restaurant. so maybe not so famous after all)

espresso-machine

If Capital Coffee were to be famous for anything, it would be their signature coffee beverages and fancy espresso machine. One of the owners, a throaty Philadelphia native named Agnes, taught me how to pull shots and steam milk. I learned from Agnes the difference between coffee and Americano, which I’d not known before. I still probably couldn’t tell you the difference between coffee and espresso beans–they taste better???–but I now though that a cafe Americano is an espresso shot with hot water, while regular coffee is just whatever slop is brewed in the pot that morning (I’m being mean our coffee was fine).

The hardest part of the job was learning how to foam milk. I was very frustrated; how could this stupid task be so difficult? Thousands of people in every city in the world can do this, so why was I having trouble? One problem was that even when I was foaming the milk correctly, Sal was telling me I was doing it wrong, because he thought that would be a good motivator. Or he just assumed I was doing it wrong. Because we couldn’t waste milk, Sal would have me practice only when we had actual drink orders and then the first week would just grab the milk tin from my hand and finish it himself.

What Sal should have told me, and didn’t, is that the trick to foaming milk (if there even is a trick) is simply to listen for the right sound and make sure a whirlpool effect is going on at the surface of the milk. And it’s kind of fun. I probably enjoyed foaming milk more than anything else in the cafe.

Milk foam, by the way, is, according to Sal and the owners, used exclusively for cappuccinos. Which makes me feel like there isn’t much point in ordering a cappuccino instead of a latte, which is espresso served with ACTUAL milk, unless you just want to be a fancy asshole. Which is a fine thing to aspire to be, since cappuccinos look nice good baristas can make “latte art” on top of the foam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now let’s get to the fun part, because there isn’t much more to say. Here is what I think was going on:

The cafe has been unusually empty this summer. The bosses are stressed out about business. For one reason or another, Sal Mustachio hates one of the two lady owners, and they have different ideas about everything; how to make drinks, how to put lettuce on the sandwiches, how to crack an egg. So unbeknownst to me, I was being judged under competing sets of criteria. More on that in a moment.

Something about the bosses’ car was an issue. There was a lot of staff turnover going on at the time I arrived. Construction going on above the meant occasionally plaster would fall from the ceiling onto an unsuspecting customer. There were a lot of signs of strain. The bosses were made at the staff, more generally, for a few reasons including the fact that one of the cafe phones had disappeared the week I arrived (they didn’t blame this on me).

Two weeks in, I had been trained on all the machines, used the cash register, managed inventory, dealt with bank money, etc etc, and wanted to know where I stood with the cafe. When was I no longer a trainee?

“When you stop breaking things!” said Sal angrily, which was strange, because I hadn’t broken anything. (To be fair, I had almost broken several things, but that is not quite the same).

The next day was my first day shift without Sal looking over my shoulder. The atmosphere was noticeable more relaxed and pleasant. We handled a busy lunch rush, satisfied the customers and held down the fort. I managed to carry out six orders at one time without making an error, working nonstop in the kitchen and I was excited for the opportunity to relay this story to one of my superiors. That is, until Bad Cop Boss came in to shout at us that the tables outside the cafe were dirty and we were doing a horrible job.

And things went downhill in a hurry.

Actually, at first, nothing went downhill. I pressed the button several times and still, nothing in the coffee grinder came out. I did what I’d been told, shuffling the plate back and forth, but then I asked the boss for some assistance, and that was a big mistake.

bad-boss-4001

“Why are you trying to grind coffee beans when the machine is only half full?” she asked me.

“So we can have more coffee?” I asked, unsure if that was the right answer. (it wasn’t)

“Why are you trying to grind coffee beans when the machine is only half full?” she repeated. And then she opened the top to show me. “You always fill the grinder all the way before you grind the beans. Also, never touch any other part of the grinder. All of this should have been obvious to you by now. You’ve been here, what, two weeks? Three weeks? Are you actually this stupid?”

I thought this was a rhetorical question so I shrugged. Apparently it wasn’t a rhetorical question.

“I asked you a question!” she yelled at me. “How could anyone be so stupid?”

Stay calm stay calm stay calm stay calm stay calm.

“I don’t know.”

“Think!” she said. “Use this!” and she pointed to her head. “I worry about you.”

I was worried about me too.

Worried because while I was being lectured on the coffee machine I was also supposed to help a customer with an ice tea.

“Why are you grabbing a mug instead of a jelly jar?” she asked me. Another non-rhetorical rhetorical question.

The answer was I was flustered. Which is sort of what I told her. She didn’t like that answer. So I kept my mouth shut. She didn’t like that I kept my mouth shut. So I ran to the kitchen. She decided to watch me in the kitchen.

The boss found a lot that was to her disliking. I was cooking the eggs wrong. I put the lettuce on the wrong piece of bread. I had the toast on the wrong setting. I was stacking the turkey the wrong way. Then cutting the sandwich at too sharp an angle.

“Who told you to do this this way?” she demanded. I tried Sal. She didn’t like that answer. So I said one of the other co-workers. She liked this answer a little too much. She brought in the other guy and tried to get me to name names. I played dumb.

“Think!” she said. “Use this! Fucking hell!” and she pointed to the door. I was to speak with her in the dining room.

While she was chewing me out, a woman came in with her son and left.

“You just lost us a sale,” the boss told me. “Did you see that? You just lost us a sale.”

I saw it. And I saw myself out the door later that day, hoping I’d made it through a rough day at work. Alas.

Bad-bosses-can-be-bad-for-your-health-Q120DT3H-x-large

My only regret is that if I had known I was going to be fired, I would have requested to smash a plate or steal some money from the register. Something that would have earned the temper tantrum. Instead, I learned that when the boss starts a tempest in a teapot, the boss never loses. Never.

Is there a lesson to any of this?

How about, in the battle between the big corporations and the little man, it is not always a fight between David and Goliath. Instead, the little man is mad solely because he is not the big corporation. David wants to be Goliath. And if David is just a pint-sized Goliath, simply too puny to be much of a bruiser, then why should we care if in this version of the story, David is trampled underfoot?

Sometimes the illusion of Cowboys vs Indians is really just a fight between outlaws of different degrees.

Degrees of a boiling, burning morning Joe.

Dakota Undercover; Two Weeks as a Barista (Part One)

coffee-shop-1

Let’s call it “Capital Coffee and Tea”: a medium-sized independently owned restaurant possibly on the verge of closing to the fact that a district my boss once described as “the gay capital of the capital” is now in limbo between Georgetown and the Golden Triangle, an area which now contains two used bookstores, a few decent bars and a mediocre comedy spot called the Bier Baron (but more on that in another post).

I’d last worked in a similar place eight years ago, during my first summer off of college. Back then, I was so interested in my work that I’d steal away to take naps in the bathroom, or one time on the front couches during a particularly empty weekday afternoon. Otherwise I was clock-watching. I routinely fucked up the cash register and fought with co-workers on the sandwich/salad line. And yet there I proved invincible, unfireable, able to last through the whole summer with a little spending money in my pocket.

Fast forward to now, when I have learned to take pride in my work and be more goal-oriented, more willing to take care of the silly little details, make an effort to stay busy, and yet every day is precarious, each order or task a potential landmine with which to send me out the door.

Welcome to the 2014 economy? Or more likely just a random sample size within the service industry, always a place with more demand than opportunity despite the fact that few seem to relish the chance. Some hate the customers, some hate their bosses, and the unlucky ones experience the brunt of both.

Tosolinis-Barista-6683-600px-332x500

Somehow then, what’s been adjusted accordingly, is both my desire for “self-activation” and a decrease in confidence over job security and feeling of stability.

This job wasn’t intended to yield much blog material, but what else can I squeeze out of it other than the now esoteric knowledge of how to make a cappuccino or mocha smoothie; does anyone have a semi-automatic espresso machine for the home they’d like some instruction on? I may be able to help.

DuPont Circle is not a bad place to sit and get work done, especially in contrast to an overhyped hipster hell-hole like “Baked and Wired”, which somehow found its way onto all the lists of “best coffee houses in DC” despite ironically having no internet connection, the better to get you out of the sitting room and back out into Georgetown. Capital Coffee itself has a pay-to-play policy, which isn’t usually enforced, and anyway, everyone who sat there doing work for the day at least bought something to eat or drink while they were there. The boss said to kick anyone out who hadn’t paid for food every three hours, but I never saw this happen either, and if asked I probably would have refused.

A petty practice like is the kind of thing which would have sent Dakota the customer to Starbucks faster than you could say “Tall Caramel Macchiato.”

20090604-barista1

Capital Coffee is bloated with characters on either side of the register. The customers include pretty girls and their dogs, and one old man and his dog named “Mr. Billy” who comes in every day. A balding man named “Bradley” comes in at around four with four different newspapers and is the only person in the cafe who ever orders fried eggs, or anything with eggs other than an omelette.

My favorite customer, whose name I will omit, is a a best-selling author who does all his writing neatly by hand in the coffee shop. He will chat with the staff on their break about current events and writing. I found out from him that published authors have their own secret workshop groups, where they go over each other’s drafts. This author thinks it takes six or seven drafts before your work is publishable. I hope he is incorrect. But then, he strikes me as a particularly dedicated, methodical writer, more of the kind who can plug away for hours rather than compose in short bursts of creativity. I could not imagine writing out a book by hand, so I am extremely impressed. I find it easier to type stream-of-conscious style, and if I tried to hand write a story, too many thoughts would speed on by, never to return.

writing-by-hand

On the other side are a  lot of college and grad students, or people in between. I believe during my time there I was the oldest staff member in the coffee shop, which made me feel both distinguished and a little out of place, as if I was about four or five years too late for this work, which may be true. During the empty night shift, staffers shoot the breeze, text on their phones, make themselves food in the back. The Artist Formerly Known as Jacob tells me that he is a transgender Marxist who believes that the bosses (two Jewish lesbians from Philadelphia) are exploiting we the workers and to always be on guard and remember the implied chain of command. Ergo: you are replaceable and also by the way the capitalist system must be destroyed. He/she dyes their hair green, has tattoos, rings on all the body parts and looks slightly emaciated.

I imagine that in ten years they will be a corporate lawyer.

Bridging the gap is two-faced Sal Mustaschio, a squat man of ambiguous Mediterranean descent who reminds me of a character in the book I’m reading, “The Winter of Our Discontent” by John Steinbeck. Sal trains all the new staff, but usually prefers to work the morning/afternoon shifts all by himself. At first I thought that this was due to stubbornness, and that is partly the case; Sal has his way of doing things, and takes pride in his ability to manage busy lunch rushes, running in and out of the dining room with sandwiches and drinks. But it also means that Sal is equally protective of the tiny kitchen as he of the tip jar.

Money is very important to Sal. He explains to me that every mistake you make costs money; every time you spill coffee grinds, every time you run the water to wash the dishes, and most especially, every extra napkin that you hand out to customers (herein lies a paradox, for I am also supposed to make sure everything is well stocked at all times. But not TOO well stocked). Sal hisses in the kitchen with me about customers he considers to be cheap. He hates when customers ask about prices. He says if you’re weighing the prices you have no business being in Capital Coffee. Sal also can’t understand why the woman who makes a seven figure salary always comes in with less than five dollars in change. He tries so hard to schmooze with her and the tip jar remains empty.

tip-jar-half

Sal Mustaschio is not a bad person by any means. He’s just a very bitter man. I think it eats him that despite working at the shop for twenty years he will never be on the level with the owners of the store, and for reasons I was never privy to Sal is on the outs with one of the two lesbians who run the joint. I believe it was partly because Sal believes himself to be the only money-maker for the company and he didn’t see any reward or recognition for his service, nor any way to save enough money to finally quit (which is what he really wants to do) and go on a permanent vacation with his boyfriend, who recently suffered from a heart attack.

Sal made all the staff try out a for-home-use blood pressure monitor, which hadn’t been working and I was hesitant to use since Sal is not a doctor. He also muttered derogatory comments under his breath at all the gay clients in the store, and one of the workers. I have no idea what this is all about. Perhaps it was all a little sarcastic and I just never picked that up. Is he a self-hating gay? He’s of that generation. Maybe he doesn’t like flamboyance? He wasn’t effete, but for his constant whining and fussiness. Then again, that’s me in a nutshell.

TO BE CONTINUED