Saturday, October 13, 2007

Some Piece of Shit Stole My Wallet

This afternoon my wallet was stolen from my locker at the YMCA while I was working out. The perpetrator broke the combination lock I had used to secure my belongings, stole my wallet with all my credit cards, receipts and other items (including my painstakingly created "beer list") and -- get this -- my blue jeans. Now why anyone would want to take a pair of 40 waist jeans (I like 'em a little loose, haters) and a wallet with three American dollar bills is beyond me.

Here's how it went down. Or rather The Facts of the Case. [Cue Law & Order chu-chung! music.]

I went to the YMCA downtown at approximately 1:15. I didn't see anyone suspicious, although I did see a guy wearing unbearably gaudy FUBU clothing who just stood and talked to his buddy while another guy was polite enough to hold the door open for him. Very rude, but not a likely thief.

I worked out for about an hour. I sort of have a workout routine down now: 30 minutes on the treadmill, 20 minutes on the elliptical/cross-trainer, 10-15 minutes on the stationary bike. I'll grab water and maybe lift a few weights in between, depending on the day. This has not become a "routine" so to speak, because I really only do it for a couple days in a row and then stop for a while, but I'm working on it. I can at least start to feel my upper body strength start to come back...sort of. Oh, and I hit the sauna for about 15 minutes.

By this time the damage had already been done.

I found out later, while cancelling my credit cards, that the perpetrator -- heretofore known as Shitty-Ass Crapbag -- had already tried to use one of my many highly-used cards.

Where did the perp go? You guess it: Wal-Mart. Or as he probably calls it, Wole-Marts.

At 2:06 PM EST, Shitty-Ass tried to charge $205.17 to my card at Wole-Marts, so my credit card company told me. Luckily, I like to keep my balances nice and high, so the limit on this particular card was not quite enough to accommodate Shitty-Ass's purchase. But this means that Shitty-Ass stole my wallet sometime after 1:20 or so in the afternoon, and then hightailed it outta there, and the first place he took it was Wole-Marts?

Please do keep in mind, I have contacted both the fine people at Wole-Marts on Bridge Street in East Syracuse, as well as the extremely helpful and courteous Syracuse City Police Department about this. Hopefully we will be able to get some security camera footage, and a face that the people at the Y might be able to recognize. The people at the Y were also great and told me it was probably some kid. Actually the credit card people have been great too. As much as this has been a pain in the ass, the people I've turned to for assistance could not have been more helpful.

The good news is that I don't carry much cash, and that which I do carry was spent on a delicious caesar salad yesterday afternoon, so Shitty-Ass only got $3 in cash. The credit cards are all dead, so Shitty can't use any of them. The Y printed me off a new membership card in about four seconds. My library card is missing but I haven't been there in a while and if Shitty wants to pay off my $15 late fee he's more than welcome to do so.

Shitty did take my pants, but he left my cell phone and my car keys; so in some way I have to give him some credit for that. Granted, my cell phone is a piece of crap befitting of someone with the name "Shitty," but it had all my phone numbers in there and a lot of pics I had taken over the last few months. Without my car keys, I would have been totally screwed. And then I would have had to go on some sort of killing rampage. And seriously, who has time for that?

The bad news is that I am now without a debit card, so I can't take out money or essentially buy anything at all, given that all my monies were in that little black leather carrier. I am going on a trip this coming Friday, and I was going to get the inspection done on my car before then, and now I can't. I have to go to the DMV to get a new license, for a fee. [Grumbling] And I'm not sure if I'll have my credit cards back in time to bring them on the trip. I was just starting to get my financial stuff back in order too, after being kind of lazy about it for a month or so. But I suppose 'twas not to be.

So all this has made my weekend already something hellish. I debated on whether to go to the gym and now that decision seems like the wrong one, but I hate to second guess myself. I have already been creating bogus excuses to not go to the gym, and I'm not going to let this be a reason to stop.

Now, if you would indulge me for a few moments, I would like to send an open letter to Shitty-Ass. If he should decide to Google the name on my driver's license and see this. And I hope he does. Ahem.....

Dear Shitty-Ass,

There is no place for you in this world. The dream of most non-piece of shit Americans is to work hard and earn the things they want. The goal of Americans is to make themselves and their neighbors better. America has no room for a wallet-swiping piece of crap. Sorry.

I get up every morning and go to my stressful, pain-in-the-ass job, where I work 45-50 hours a week for very little money, considering. I pay for my own car, my own apartment, my own food, clothes, gas, and luxury items like beer, music, cable and DVDs. The computer I'm typing this on, the DVD player I use, the CD player I am listening to right now (by the way, it's Miles Davis's "On The Corner" and it might be the most fucked-up album I own) were all purchased by me with money that I earned by working for. The things I didn't purchase were given to me by friends or family, and not stolen. The only things I steal are girls' hearts (I mean am I right, ladies?).

When is the last time you actually worked? When is the last time you got off your lazy, thieving bitch-ass and actually tried to earn a red fucking cent on your own? Have you ever had a job for more than 10 days? Have you ever even attempted to do anything besides sit on your useless ass and take things that others have worked for?

Here's what you need to understand, Shitty-Ass: I am not a rich man. You didn't swipe $10 from a millionaire that he'll never miss. Every bit of disposable cash I have helps. I am in debt up to my eyeballs, and while I make a decent salary, almost all of it is gone by the day after payday because of bills. I can't afford to not have money on hand, you prick. I used to be in some pretty dire financial situations, as you probably are too, you felonious zero. The difference is, I worked my way out of it, and faced up to hard choices. If I saw $5 sitting on a table and no one was looking, I wouldn't touch it. What would you do?

But that's the difference between me and you, Shitty-Ass. I would much rather be proud and say that what I have, meager as it may be, is my own. No one else is poorer for that fact that I have whatever I have. I didn't have to steal from someone else to get what I want. If I can't afford something, I save up, and wait until I can afford it. You should try it, it's what people who are worth a flying-fuck do.

What were you purchasing at Wole-Marts? You weren't there for very long, definitely less than 40 minutes or so. So why do I have doubts that you did your grocery shopping there so you could feed your kids or get some medicine for your disabled grandmother? Did you go straight for electronics? Maybe a DVD player, or a handful of the newest XBox games? What did you try to take home on my dime, you pantsload of human excrement?

Honestly, other than still having a phone and a ride home, the only satisfaction I get out of this is that moment when you put the credit card through and it declined. Lord Jesus, how I wish I could have been there. I have experienced that moment a few times myself, and I know how awkward and embarassing it can be. I'm glad you had to feel it. I hope that the blood rushed up into your face when it happened, not only out of humiliation, but out of the panic of knowing you just stole a credit card for nothing. And that it's probably not over.

They are going to find you. And when they do, I'm gonna press charges. Flat out. I'm not letting you get away if I find out who you are. How stupid do you have to be to steal from the YMCA -- which you need a membership to get into -- and then go to a store with cameras all over the place? You violated my space. I looked at my open locker and saw my belongings all off of their hooks, all the things I keep in my pockets on the ground, not in the top cubby where I had put them. Maybe part of me not pressing charges will be that I can root through some of your shit for a little while, and keep a few things for myself. Or maybe I can just get your picture and post it up here so at the very least, the few people who do read this will know what a useless waste of valuable blood platelets you really are.

I hope you do realize that even if they don't find you, I know what a nothing you are. Pathetic. Anyone who would steal from a pauper like me is nothing but sad. I'm not violent, but I honestly don't know what I would have done if I caught you going through my shit. Right now I am having visions of slamming your empty head into the metal lockers again and again and again until blood starts pouring out. But that's really just a fantasy, I'd rather let people I care about know that you are a lazy nothing, and you probably will be for the rest of your life. You can see a piece of shit lying on the ground and try to make it into a sculpture; but face it, it's still just a piece of shit. Like you. ;)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Empty Inside

You don't choose who you fall in love with.

Sometimes you see someone, and you know that they are bad news. You can't help but look at them and want them. You know that they will cause you nothing but heartache, and yet you latch onto them with your entire being.

Twenty years ago the Buffalo Bills made me love them, and like the song says, I didn't want to do it. The 1988 Bills are the defining moment of my passage from childhood to adolescence. The 1990 Bills were the Greatest Football Team I've Ever Seen. The 1992 Super Bowl Team defined gallantry in the face of defeat. The 1998 team personafied never giving up. And every team since then has given me nothing but an empty gut.

They did it to me again this evening. The Bills were up on the vaunted Dallas Cowboys, and had the game practically won. And they blew it. I wasn't surprised, I half expected it. Yet the fact that they played so well for 59 minutes and 58 seconds, only to come up short to an undeserving team ... well it's the microcosm of all Buffalo fans really.

They pull us in, so close to something beautiful, then rip our hearts out of our chest with no mercy. They don't mean to do it. They love us back, they really do. But they can't help but to make our lives miserable.

I could tempt hyperbole and say that tonight's loss was one of the 10 most painful losses in Bills history, but it seems that they have at least 2-3 of those losses every year. Two to three of those losses times 20 years equals a lot of heartache.

There was so much to be proud of tonight: the swelling, raucous crowd that never sat down. The George Wilson INT for a touchdown. Chris Kelsay's TD for a touchdown. Forcing 6 turnovers on Golden Boy Tony Romo. Holding Terrell Owens to 2 catches for a pittance. Terrance McGee's 103-yard kick return for a TD. This had all the makings of an inspired night. But deep down, we all knew better.

Even though I know this team isn't really going anywhere this year, it would have been a defining win for this shaky franchise. Instead, we walk away disappointed and saddened, yet again.

I am a patient boy. I have spent the last two decades living and dying with this rotating group of gentlemen, who have little in common other than the color of the laundry on their backs and the charging, streaking bison on their helmets. But this loss was especially hard to stomach.

Driving home from my friends' house where I watched the game, I felt a sense of despair. I actually felt a very real, deep sadness. Is that good or bad? Does it mean that I have lost perspective? Or does it mean that the team to which I've grown to become numb, has grabbed me again and made me actually risk caring about them again? I don't know the answer because I don't know the future.

I have put in my time. These boys know what has to be done. Whether they can get it done anytime within my fourth decade on earth remains to be seen. I don't give up on them easily, but God do they make it hard sometimes.

For a brief moment, it felt like things would start to feel good again, even if for a short period of time. But reality came crashing down. My only hope is that some day I will know the feeling of satisfaction again. Of happiness. Of hope. To rely on 53 millionaire athletes who've never met me to supply this feeling is probably too much to ask. But Goddammit, it's a start.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I think I am a relatively friendly guy. I'm awful shy, sure, and don't do well in crowds of people I don't know. In fact, those kinds of situations give me panic attacks. But one-on-one or in small crowds, I do pretty well. I have always prided myself on being able to carry on a conversation with almost anyone at any time.

But as the sands of time slip through the hourglass, so goes my tolerance for small talk. My old man is the king of small talk; he will start a conversation with anyone he encounters. I couldn't begin to count the number of times I had to wait for my dad in Wegman's or at the mechanic's or at the doctor's office because Chatterin' Bob would strike up a conversation with some random person. It usually only lasts 3-4 minutes, but it always left me uncomfortable, standing to the side while my dad would follow a conversation to its natural conclusion. He treats a conversation with a complete stranger the way most of us treat running into someone we know at the store. But my dad is a master of conversation: he is engaging, funny, and he treats anyone he talks to like they are the only person in the room. He has a gift I could only hope to attain. And female medical professionals love him, for some unusual reason. He has a cult following in that vocation.

I, on the other hand -- and I know this is going to sound awful arrogant -- do not suffer fools gladly. I have a very low threshold for someone who doesn't interest me. It's not that I'm the arbiter of what is interesting, or that somehow I'm some highbrow elitist who needs to be entertained on a constant basis. Far from it. I enjoy foolhardiness and trivial matters as much as anyone. (I once got into a half-hour argument with a coworker of which one was a "slash" and which one was a "backslash.") But I also can't stomach people who go on and on without any semblance of self-awareness, or that for some reason feel that I asked them to prattle on and on. I know that I likely fall into this trap too sometimes, but I think maybe I have a good idea of when I'm overstaying my welcome. Some of you, I'm sure, may disagree.

So today I look in the mirror and realize that my hair looks like Wolverine, and not in a hot way. I am in the enviable position of being seriously balding on top, and yet having an amazingly lush head of hair in the back and on the sides. I look like Paul Giamatti but without the bugged out eyes or acting chops. I know, I won the genetic lottery, thanks for your congratulations. Anyway, I decided to go get my monthly-or-so haircut.

I went to a salon that shall remain nameless, because I still need three more punches in my card before I get a free one and if they find out I'm dogging them here, they might tear my card up. I can't risk that. I decided to forego the "barber shop" with all its machismo and testosterone about a year ago, in favor of the more convenient and customer-friendly atmosphere of a larger haircutting chain. I do not regret this move, because now I can actually go get a haircut at 8pm instead of having to wake up at 9:30 on a Saturday morning to try to beat the rush to the mall and end up waiting 45 minutes for some bald dude with a Yankees tattoo to buzz my head for 5 minutes. Although they did give the best straight-razor neck shaves ever. I do miss that.

I walk into the salon, no waiting. Perfect. Ready to sit down and become gorgeous again.

The stylist (I call her this only because I don't know of a better name, but I don't like having a "stylist" cut my hair because it makes me sound dumb -- because there is nothing there to style -- and super gay) asks how I want my haircut. It's a common question, but I have a stock answer: "Short." It's not sarcastic. Some people like a little clip job, some like a buzz. Some like it parted or styled in some way. I like it short. Short on top, shorter on the sides. Make it happen, toots, let's go! But the stylist -- let's call her Lorraine because I'm feeling more gay than ever -- says "Well Duh!"

She didn't say it in a mean way, but it was kind of a douchey response to a valid answer. She then proceeded to giggle and say things like, "Well we can't make it longer!" and "Obviously you wanted it shorter! Can you be more specific?!" I just sort of laughed it off and said, "Yeah, ha ha, well I guess short on top, really short on the sides." And then it began.

"Well I always like to start with a joke cuz I'm all about customer service and I like to get my customers on my good side early on but when you're a hairdresser you don't really always have to be nice to everyone because it's like I'm cutting your hair and I'm the one holding the clippers so I have a lot of power ha ha but seriously I would never do that cuz I've had a lot of jobs like I was a cocktail waitress for a while and I used to make the jerks wait at the bar on one end or just avoid that part of the bar and I worked a bank once but I never did anything with people's money and when I was a waitress I saw all sorts of people do lots of mean things to other people but I would totally never do that so don't worry but people don't really think about that when they go into like a store or somewhere and they don't realize that these people who work at these places could like really screw you over cuz like one time I had this mechanic that I really liked and he used to give me the best deals but then I made the mistake of dating him ha ha but so then ....."
And I could feel that feeling of awkwardness that you feel when you are in a room alone with someone you don't know or don't like and don't know how to start a conversation or don't even want to. It's like blood boiling and crawling up my neck.

" I couldn't believe it that my ex-boyfriend's new wife asked me to do her hair for her wedding and I was like um hello do you know what our relationship used to be because were together for like 6 years and I'm like there might be something he's not telling you honey and then of all things I'm at the beach one time and I'm sitting at a picnic table and what do you know there they are and my son's like Mom do you see who that is? and I'm like oh my God you can stay but I'm gonna leave ha ha..."
At this point the small talk itself isn't what was getting to me. It was the fact that she would take three snips of hair, then stop, make eye contact with me in the mirror, and continue the story while waving her hands around. She actually turned off the clippers a couple times so she could continue her scintillating tale.

"...and it's not like I have a lot of money cuz I cut hair and it's not like we make a lot ha ha but it's okay because it's customer service and it's what I do and it's what I love and people always come up to me and say wow you gave me the best haircut a few years ago can you give me one again and I was like sorry I moved to Florida ha ha...."
It's all I can do to not say something like, "Hey, could you hurry this up? I have a movie to catch?" or fake that my cell phone was ringing. Or just leave the goddamn place with my hair half-cut.

But finally a break. She goes back to the cutting and takes a breath. Ahh, shorn locks here I come!

"So what do you do?"
Oh no. I have to actually interact. I could have -- and probably should have -- made up some kind of bullshit answer to at least entertain myself. I could have said something like taxidermist or assassin. I briefly considered stealing a page from my old buddy Slim Colt's playbook and tell her that I was "Johnny Unitas: Gay Journalist." I doubt she would have recognized the name. That would have been fun, telling her I was writing about my super-gay adventures. Or whatever, I would have thought of something. I would have enjoyed it at the very least.

But instead I chickened out and gave her the honest, though misleading answer. "Insurance."

"Oh my God see I don't even have insurance cuz I'm a hairdresser and it's like the worst health insurance in the world cuz I could like pay $70 a month and still have to end up paying at the doctor's office or I could just save up that money and put it in the bank and let it collect interest and then if I ever need it I could just take it out of the bank because I have a fund like that in my savings account but I only use it for like TRUE emergencies like if the roof collapses or going to the hospital or if my car breaks down or whatever and one time I got really really sick and I mean like I'm-gonna-die-sick and I had to go to the hospital and I couldn't pay and they sued me and that's fine cuz I'm alive right? ha ha so finally they asked me for $50 a month and I said fine and then the x-ray people asked for $50 a month and then the nurses and then the suppliers and everyone and eventually they had to go into my state taxes and take it out of that and that's fine because it's all paid off now and they never touched the federal taxes thank God but I was like..."
Fascinating. Would you please CUT MY FUCKING HAIR WHILE I STILL HAVE IT!

Finally, after this the most awkward haircut of my entire life -- and I've had some doozies, trust me -- she tells me I'm all set and asks if I want any "product." I normally jump at the chance for free product done by a professional who knows what they're doing. But you would have thought I had a spring attached to my ass trying to hustle out of that chair. I grabbed my glasses and stopped short her attempt to brush the excess hair off me.

And as I walked briskly to the register to settle up and get the hell outta Dodge, Lorraine said, "Well, at least I'm entertaining!" which is of course the first thing that non-entertaining people would say about themselves. I paid up and signed the credit card receipt. Lorraine said, "Just hold on a sec hon it takes a few minutes for the receipt to print out." I waited for an awkward second before saying, "Ah know what? I don't need it. Thanks!" before running out the door. I think she could see that I wanted out and I think it hurt her feelings, but at that point I didn't care. The presumptuousness that I could take another minute of her howitzer-like banter was too much to bear.

All I know is that this goddamn haircut better get me laid.

[Update: No such luck...]