awkward, short stories

Cutting-edge technology, sans manners

I enter Moronfabs on a bitter morning in March. In the refurbished brick and mortar building, on a busy, potholed Somerville street, I find shelter from an air that had scathed my skin like a cold razor. I’m 15 minutes early for my interview.

For some reason, reception is up four floors. I’ve already seen three quarters of the building, before I’m received. Furthermore, there’s no one there to receive me. Just a vacant iPad displaying an NDA stands atop an empty reception desk. A signature on the digital doc will notify my interviewer that I’ve arrived, the soulless iPad assures me. I produce my digitized John Hancock. The pixelated line drawn by my own digit, the most technologically advanced way to scribe one’s endorsement, looks bastardized against that same identifying mark scrawled on paper with ink.

I spend those 15 minutes waiting alone, in a mock lobby where potential co-workers pass by. They don’t offer so much as an acknowledgment of my presence. That’s OK. I’m too busy wondering where they got that R2-D2 end table. Perhaps it serves as some conversation piece to subtly indicate that this office and its occupants are fun, despite any other evidence I can observe from the young professional parade coldly gliding by.

A few more minutes pass; it’s now 10:03 a.m. He’s three minutes late for our scheduled appointment. Finally, the ice breaks, as my would-be hiring manager, all 6’2″ of him, enters my whereabouts. He greets me with a half-assed handshake, whisking me through unexplored bowels of the office building. A kitchen adjacent to the lobby teems with uber-casually clad workers. Through there lies a sales room. Slightly more stylish, cooler cats man terminals and adorn headsets, vocally pushing the company’s product to prospective buyers.

I am introduced to none of them.

The next thing I know, after much more whisking through anonymous conference rooms and workshops, I find myself in a small office with a single table. A laptop sits in front of me. Its screen broadcasts two Germans, teleconferencing from Deutschland, which is six hours ahead of our early A.M. Their lack of response to my presentation and thousand-mile stares–I can almost hear the German beergardens calling them from the other end–urge me to rush through the remaining slides. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere. And that place, right now, is Germany; population: this 2-dimensional duo quite literally phoning it in.

I look over at my hiring manager, whose brow gleams with sweat. Will his colleagues accept me? What will they think of his lackluster recruitment efforts? I’m reminded of my overly self-conscious mother, perpetually concerned with how her child’s behavior will reflect upon her.

Not that there was much oxygen in the small room to begin with. But post presentation, it feels like even that thin air has dissipated. If a whole room could have a lump in its throat, it would be this one. For what seems like an eternity, I’m locked in a little, stale closet, with strangers, whose collective body language clearly conveys that they’ll never be co-workers. I long for that cold, outside air.

My now defunct hiring manager follows my rushed presentation with an abbreviated tour of company departments. At best, as he breezes through half-baked explanations for the various areas of his workplace, it feels like a formality fueling justification for my visit. After all, this failed engagement burned a half day from my current job. If I had been contracting, that would have also equaled one half day’s pay.

At last, my tour guide and I reach the exit. A brisk and long-awaited goodbye, capped with a handshake, ends my brief career at Moronfabs. I brave the gray, unforgiving air outside once again. As I look out the window of my meandering Uber ride, upon little reflection, I know the job’s not mine. What may sound like sour grapes is, in fact, relief. I’m thankful to be heading toward a place where I actually like the people. At no other time does that seem more important to me than in this cab.

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awkward

Don’t make me take off my sunglasses

Had a call in this morning to FedLoan Servicing. They’re the suspect school loan servicer who swindles me out of $710 each year on an errant monthly payment claiming they failed to process my income adjustment plan. I made two attempts in the past two months to avoid this, yet they consistently drop the ball. Third year running.

Don’t make me take off my sunglasses.

I have to remember two dozen passwords for double the online accounts that manage my personal admin. I have a running text file that I update frequently to keep these logins inline. Yet, I continually find myself hitting the ‘Forgot password’ option and resetting.

Don’t make me take off my sunglasses.

I’m in my mid-thirties approaching a doldrum of social activity as past friends get married, have kids and do other things they’re supposed to do to remain relevant in this given American society. I’m finding less and less in common with these folk. It’s not that I don’t want to change; I just want to follow a unique path, not one laid out from likely decades of manifested destiny.

Don’t make me take off my sunglasses.

I did manage to steal away some time to reassess life priorities. Work is certainly not the be-all, end-all; it’s merely a method through which to tread financial waters and pay homage to society’s true god, the Almighty Dollar.

Hey, capitalism, don’t make me take off my sunglasses.

But I did briefly escape the imposed American Dream to ponder, find peace of mind in the stillness of inactivity and complete lack of urgency. Zen.

And I’ve found a purpose, better than anything anyone else can tell me. I’ve located it within.

Alright, lemme take off my sunglasses now.

I got work to do.

#DontMakeMeTakeOffMySunglasses

 

 

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awkward

Dear Bigfoot,

I should have brought this up in person, but I organize my thoughts better in the written form.

In short, I’m sick of your attitude. Every conversation I have with you ends in a negative tone. And, frankly, it’s draining. I’m sure you’d say the same of me, but the difference is I didn’t choose to live with you. If you recall, you interviewed for the apartment once, and you didn’t get it. Then you came in several months later, after Reba the police sketch artist had to leave short of the lease term.

Not sure what sort of picture she drew up for you, but the truth is you didn’t get the apartment the first time because I sensed back then that you weren’t the type of person we’d want to live with. Even then I knew you were used to getting your own way and would not be able to adapt to other people’s living styles. Nevertheless, you weaseled your way in. For the last year or so now, Kelly, Dangerous Dave and I have had to deal with you. You’ve put your Big Ass Foot in your mouth on more than one occasion.

We had all been living in this apartment for more than a year before you arrived. We had certain protocol in place that we were comfortable with. Then you came in, barking orders, under an assumed entitlement that magically granted carte blanche to our apartment without respect to those who had seniority over you. You leave your personal and general clutter all over the apartment. There’s hair EVERYWHERE! And you barely help out around said apartment to clean up after yourself.

As far as our shared bathroom, that’s an entirely different issue. I know how you like to bring that up anytime I try to address your shortcomings. If you must know, you are a slob. That’s why I don’t clean up after you in the bathroom. When I had my own bathroom, it wouldn’t get dirty nearly as quickly. You can’t command me to clean the bathroom like I’m one of your pet mountain lions. You may be four feet taller than me, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t hesitate to treat the Bigfoot Crown Jewels like a speed bag, if you ever try to manipulate me again.

In the coming months, you may want to start looking for a new place. You could talk to your friends, Yeti and the Abominable Snowman. Who knows? Maybe one of them has a spare room. Where else would they keep their collection of coolers filled to the brims with cold-filtered Bud Ices? Obviously, we can’t oust you from the apartment, but do you really want to live with three of these people who are not like the other?

(That’s you… Bigfoot.)

Sincerely,
LoMein Mike

Dear Big Foot

Aside
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The Prank Chat

Amazon Instant Video wasn’t working. It was late. I had nothing better to do. And based on what Atir had said, neither of us could do anything about it. At that point, there was really only one option: keep Atir on the “line” as long as humanly possible…

Read the entire chat at mikedelrosso.com

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I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle… I’m a big f%ckin’ prick

Almost ran this bicycler off of the road the other day. He was taking up the entire right side of the street, nowhere near the bike lane. I came right up on his back wheel and slammed the brakes, after trying to pass someone in the left lane. I didn’t see him around the other car. Luckily, for him, the anti-lock mechanisms kicked in like clockwork.

At my first opportunity, I slid into the left passing lane and laid on my horn. I use my horn to express a message I can’t otherwise verbally deliver to the motorist, or CYCLIST, at fault. That message, in this particular case, was this: “If you’re riding a bicycle, don’t take up an entire lane that requires a rate of speed your bird legs aren’t capable of pedaling.”

He exclaimed some profanities into my open right window, as I passed. It was an unseasonably warm March day and I decided to drive with the windows wide open. I remember screaming FahkYouu! but I don’t think I gave him the finger—that borders on the line of wreckless driving when you’re operating a stick shift.

At the inevitable next traffic light, I saw him first in my rightside mirror, pedaling up. Warning: Douche bags are closer than they appear. He then circled round the hood of my car and squared up at the driver’s side window. He angled his horn-shaped handle bars, as if he was setting to charge. His 1984 Schwarzenegger sunglasses from Terminator glistened in the sunlight.

“That’s not a fuckin’ sports car! It’s a fuckin’ Golf! … Don’t ever do that to me again!”

“Do what?” I said.

“Fuckin’ jam me up, you fuckin’ prick!”

To all motorists on the mean Boston streets: this is a forewarning. When you see cyclists pedaling along the road, at a piddly pace, please don’t “jam up” these lower body athletes! Even though they are completely interrupting the flow of otherwise fluid traffic, please, don’t get in THEIR way. The fact that they tread lighter on their carbon footprints than any vehicle guzzling fossil fuel, grant them the higher road always.

THEY are God’s gift to the highways and byways of this hallowed Commonwealth.

Then he pedaled away. To demonstrate an act of no hard feelings, I complimented his wardrobe.

“Nice bright-yellow, Spandex leotard, dude.”

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mike egan's christmas card

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Merry Christmas from The Egans

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Pedro will make your wildest dreams come true.
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Why won’t Tina eat her food, Napoleon Dynamite?

@mmcfly8 Tina, eat your food! youtu.be/-etc9fC0oE8

Napoleon Dynamite attempts to feed Tina the llama in vane.

“Your name is Napoleon?” one of Pedro’s cousins asked the eponymous lead role over the phone, in 2004’s instant cinematic classic “Napoleon Dynamite.”

 

As a liger—part lion, part tiger, all magic—advocate with superior bow-staff skills, but no luck with the nunchakus, Napoleon Dynamite marched to the beat of his own drummer in rural Preston, Idaho.

“I’ll do what I want,” Dynamite said, while stringing a He-Man action figure out the back of the bus en route to school.

His 32-year-old brother Kip was training to be a cage fighter, while awaiting his love LaFawnduh. The unlikely couple had grown quite fond of each other over a series of two-hour, chat-room sessions. I’m not sure how long Kip and LaFawnduh maintained a virtual relationship until she finally took a Greyhound to Idaho, but the dial-up Internet connection damn near drove Grandma Dynamite’s phone bill through the brick ranch’s roof. Kip’s lucky Uncle Rico didn’t throw him out the window.

When he wasn’t hunting wolverines in Alaska with a 12-gauge, Dynamite listened to his heart, which told him to perform D-Qwon’s Dance Grooves to the tune of “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai, after Pedro’s campaign speech for class president landed flat on the auditorium’s teen audience.

May Ser Court Godfrey of the Nessie Alliance himself! summon the help of Scotland’s local wizards to cast a protective spell over Napoleon Dynamite, Glamour Shots by Deb, Tina the Llama, the Rex Quon Do dojo, and all those who seek for the peaceful existence of our underwater ally, the Loch Ness Monster.

Actually wrote a screenplay myself. You can read it here.

< Back to “get weird.

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Surfing the Twittersphere

I once heard of this guy who’d wait till like 1 a.m. on a weekend and then run searches for #TacoBell. He’d retweet everyone that had just ordered the fastfood Tex-Mex and were now proliferating the Twitter-sphere with their 140-character puke stories.

What a nose for news, I thought… and spews.

This social media guru had dropped into the zeitgeist wave of those who chose to dine poorly. And I wondered: what other swells of the collective unconscious were cresting out there, just waiting for the listening surfer to ride?

Ninety-nine percent of twitter consists of soliloquy, substance, and nonsense.”

Like any good businessman, I had already developed a “bulletproof” marketing scheme for my Twitter handle, @DelODell. The idea came from watching an episode of MTV’s Rob & Big, starring skateboard legend and “relentless” entrepreneur @robdyrdek and Christopher @BigBlack Boykin. Ever the opportunist, Dyrdek was tagging prominently public landmarks and road signs up and down the LA streets, with customized bumper stickers that brandished his logo. He called the grassroots promotional tactic guerrilla marketing.

It would cost about $3 a pop to print my Twitter handle on each bumper sticker. So I settled for a screenprinted hooded sweatshirt that ran side-to-side in the front and up-and-down on the back: @DELODELL. If politicians on the campaign trail could kiss babies, I could get out to the public in person and rally some followers.

Next I would need to establish a unique identity. That meant not tweeting the normal bullshit. Now I’m no mathematician, but it seemed that 99 percent of Twitter consisted of soliloquy, substance, and nonsense. I would need to identify these unspoken rules of the popular social medium in order to eventually break them.

Soliloquy

Soliloquy are those self-realizing statements people publish to sound profound or, at the very least, observant.
“What’s the deal with… ”

“I hate when… ” or
“[This just happened.]”

Comic @robdelaney has mastered the shocking side of soliloquy:

Substance

You’ll see substantitive tweets on any website that outputs high volumes of content. News sites are good examples: @nytimes; @NESN; or for fake news, @TheOnion. All good. Their tweets are designed to route followers back to the website, where readers can digest content the news site is broadcasting over channel Twitter. I say substance because the tweet merely acts as a beacon harking back to a more substantial media: a video, a news story, some byte-sized bit of information that’s useful. The text of a tweet itself can be substantial, if it’s something like advice from a reliable source or it just plain makes sense and you benefit from it.

I say you benefit from it because everything’s relative. And that’s why I think many tweets to many people are substantial, making Twitter the half-billion strong powerhouse that it is today.

Nonsense

The rest of Twitter is primarily just nonsense. People who haven’t quite figured out the #hashtag. Angry, biggotted or trolling rants by people letting their emotions do the typing, rather than common sense and decency. Generally, just noise. If Twitter was a radio, nonsensical tweets would be the static in between stations.

I had tweeted my fair share of the 99 percent.

The soliloquy…

The substance…

And the nonsense…

These tweets were the 99 percent and I strove for the one. In fact, these tweets were the wave that I wished to ride. To surf the Twittersphere, I’d need to separate myself from this vast ocean of social information and stand upright, distinctly, carving a new path in my Twitter handle’s wake.

Next time I see a wave, I’ll drop in.

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Thanks for listing my phone number to 421 “Friends,” Facebook

movierain
Don’t ask what possessed me to start scrolling through the ‘Profile’ section on my Facebook mobile app. Lo and behold I see my phone number listed right under the multiple choice combo box specifying whether I prefer Women, Men, Both or Neither. Anyway, I deleted it. I swear to God. So many married women are changing their names after marriage. Honestly, I have no idea who’s posting every third or fourth update down the News Feed…

read at mikedelrosso.com…

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