3 Encounters with Creepy Guys

Men. Am I right, ladies? (I, the author, am a male. So don’t start dong bashing or pig calling just yet.) Today I stumbled across a little gem that was scotch taped to the side of a locker in a man’s working area.

The locker, tucked away in a corner, had one side that would rarely be visible to anyone who wasn’t inching towards the back of the room, and on this side featured a little escape from the work day. Let me explain, this locker is located in the boiler room of a middle school. The only person who would regularly frequent Ashley and Shana, the two Trentonians as the newspaper clipping proclaims, would be the maintenance man that keeps a desk down there. He, who is shut away in a dingy boiler room reminiscent of that in Nightmare on Elm Street, who is possibly ridiculed daily by punk kids with pimple faces; may just need a little distraction from all the hustle and bustle of his busy day.

Even Snake needs a distraction when hiding in lockers from Russian terrorists

The myth is that men think about sex every seven seconds. But any man might tell you titties that this is highly inaccurate Scarlett Johansson and that us fellows have much more important things Edith Bunker lying under blankets with Archie on our minds than pointless fantasies every few moments Saved By The Bell (when they’re older, not the Indiana years, weirdo.)

However, this did get me thinking. It’s definitely no secret that there are guys out there making these images of the “Sex Starved Male Psychopath” very real for those around them. Some of these guys are obnoxious tools with probably little more on their mind then how quickly they can get voted “Most Likely to Die from STD’s” or “Father of Most Bastard Children.”

If you've ever have used the acronym ‘DTF’ when speaking to a woman then you probably classify.

But others are a little more subtle in their need to spew hetero banter like it’s a virus needing to be detoxed from the body. And sometimes these guys wait for another guy they presume is likeminded enough to banter back obnoxiously in an open environment.

These are their stories…

Just kidding.

The Regular

I accepted a promotion at a movie theatre in New Jersey when I came across this guy. He was a regular at the low-volume theatre. The first time I met him and took his order he used a fake accent. I was a bit put off by the interaction, you know, the way anyone would be when someone is talking to them in an obviously fake accent.

I feel weird.

To make matters worse, he spoke at a barely audible tone except every now and then I’d be able to pick up a curse word. Not directed towards me but more like, “I’m just kidding I don’t have a fucking accent.”

Otherwise the transaction was relatively painless. After he left, seasoned employees told me the guy came around often and would talk to associates for hours, often mentioning how he used to work at the theatre. When talking to female employees he was known to get wildly inappropriate.

One day he returned, saw a movie, and when he was leaving, stopped and talked to the associates. When I returned about an hour later he was still around. I joined the conversation looking to see if he needed to be removed. One of our female employees walked past, his eyes followed and his sentence trailed off. The second she was gone he leaned in to me whispering, “man, she looks just like Lexi Belle.”

I had to ask who Lexi Belle was. Not to say I’m some higher-than-thou dude. I mean, I can name my fair share of adult film actresses. But this particular video darling was not somebody I was familiar with.

The Regular responded first with a smirk, then with a gyrating thrust from his hips. I nodded and looked around my building uncomfortably hoping there weren’t any guests shielding their children’s eyes from this middle aged man’s air humping.

When I noted that the coast was clear I informed him that the girl of the discussion was only 16 years old. This did little to faze him as he exclaimed false surprise, seemingly more to quell my disdainful tone then to cover up his pedophilic folly.

The Male Cheerleader

Living my life in an apartment has always brought one particularly rotten activity: doing laundry at a Laundromat. Laundry itself is just boring as fuck. I’d rather go grocery shopping with Casey Anthony than spend two hours at a Laundromat.

HER: "We could kill EVERYBODY!" ME: "Calm down, Casey."

I’ve also spent much of my life scrambling to do my errands midnight or later due to an inherently poor sleeping pattern modeled after that of a baker’s or graveyard ghost watcher’s schedule. So I’d say most of my clothes have been washed in the middle of the night.

One night I was loading up the washer and dumping precious quarters into the machine when a guy in his mid-twenties rolled in to do the same. I nodded and he took the simple gesture as an invite to begin…

...being creepy!

He claimed he was new to the building and from out of town so he asked about some area bars and such. I’ve noted this is often used as a lead into hormone-fueled sex talk. First, he noted my high school wrestling t-shirts being laundered. Asking if I played any other sports, he eventually told me he was on the cheerleading team back in high school.

I smirked and gave a trademark, “oh yeah?” Always sounding pretty intrigued but usually barely following along with the conversation.

He said in addition to male cheerleading being a great source for college scholarships, it was also a great way to get a free ride…in vagina.

"Tryna smush?"

Having been from out of town, I imagine this guy didn’t have any buddies to talk to yet because he was spilling his guts to me like a bad actor in an Eli Roth film.

"Hey!"

The Ex-Male Cheerleader even told me about his neighborly quarrels with the people downstairs. They protested to him making noise all the time. So in an attempt to get back at them, (and maybe impress me, a kid he just met in the Laundromat) he would have wild sex with his girlfriend, who apparently shrieked louder than Axl Rose and slammed headboards harder than your mother last night.

I'm genuinely sorry about that last part.

The Lonely Guy

Here’s another wildly fascinating tale from my movie theatre job. (If you’re getting sick of these stories, I’m sorry. I work there a lot and have to try to pick some kind of humor out of my meaningless time there.) Years ago, when I wasn’t being a bo$$ in upper management and people were still not yet using dollar symbols in place of the letter S, (she used to just be “Kesha” until those music industry fat cats corrupted her) I was a teenager working ten hours a week if I was lucky, sweeping up popcorn.

One shift, while I was assigned to a wing of theatres designated for late-run movies, independent films, and anything not expected to perform solidly; I was approached by a gentleman inquiring information about one of the films.

The film he was seeing was The Quiet, which if you haven’t heard of it (and we all know you haven’t) stars Camilla Belle as a deaf mute and Elisha Cuthbert as a girl getting sexually abused by her father. So basically, it was a hot movie for a lonely guy to turn into masturbation fodder later on, right? That’s what this guy thought I guess.

Being an indie movie lover and a kid with a lot of free time, I made it a point to use the one privilege I had and see as many free movies as possible. The Quiet was something I’d seen in an empty theatre its opening weekend. No more than a few moments into my plot description, I was saying how this girl’s parents just died, and The Loner cuts me off asking, “is she hot?”

I was visibly shaken by the question and could only fumble over my tongue in a slur of uh’s. The Loner, perhaps noting that he was treading on uncomfortable grounds, retracted claiming he was only kidding. So I continued about the story to which The Loner wondered if there was any nudity.

“Surprisingly no,” I said in retrospect of how many awkward sex scenes were laced through the movie but none of which featured nudity.

“Eh I’ll check it out anyway,” he replied. “Thanks anyway.”

The Loner turned and vanished into the dark depths of the vacant movie house, probably to use his buttery fingers from the fistfuls of popcorn he was feasting on, to relax his mind in privacy with his images of Cuthbert and Belle.

I stood there for a moment, staring at the theatre door, taking in what had just happened. As I continued sweeping up popcorn, I knew that a little piece of my adolescence had slipped away.

Bow-wow-now…doo doo.

Love and Admiration in an English Class

           Day one of college left a lot to the imagination. Day two, was squashing any lingering notions that these classes might make a turn for the better. Then I walked into my final class for the day, Creative Writing. I’m greeted by a desk full of books, a large sheet of drawing paper, and a small pirate figurine.

The teacher stumbles in. He’s obviously the man in charge. A crop of stringy grey hair sits atop his head and his button up shirt is sloppily tucked into his slacks. He takes a seat in the circle and wants us to draw a mask. Just a mask. Something we want to aspire to or see ourselves as. That’s when I note the Radio Flyer red wagon, missing a wheel, full of crayons in tow, sitting in the middle of our circle.

I grab some crayons and am hit with panic as I’m not sure what to draw. The last thing I want is to look uncreative in my creative writing class. Before the class started I spent time in the courtyard reading through Hunter S. Thompson’s Hell’s Angels and was ecstatic to have an idea. I doodled a quick, horrendous caricature of the Man, cigarette holder perched out of his lips, aviators on nose, and cabana shirt on shoulders. My mismatched colored crayons didn’t do the sketch much justice. But when my time came to place my mask in front of my face and introduce myself, I got a nice laugh from the class.

As the other members of the class took part in this soul soothing ice breaker, I was smiling ear to ear. I was enjoying myself more in the first ten minutes of this class than I had all day. It reminded me of all of the great English teachers I’d had through high school. I was also reminded of how they were rescuers from the mundane. Stepping into their classes was a break from the tedious school day. And I will forever be appreciative of those men and women. They are heroes for a specific batch of kids who need a different set of rules.

When our teacher spoke he had this whiny, crackling voice that seemed to break and unhinge in parts of his sentences. He regularly ran his hands through his hair and squeezed his palms to his eyeballs when trying to find the right wording. You could tell he was the kind of kid that might’ve gotten picked on decades earlier. But here now, he was the coolest guy in the room. He was somebody to be respected and looked up to. Even if those feelings might make him feel uncomfortable.

He set quite the atmosphere. We are free to be anything and to be as creative as we want. There’s a letter of disapproval from a student about his class posted at the beginning of a booklet of papers on our desk and he mentions outright that he wants everyone to know nothing is taboo in this class. Whatever gets our creative juices flowing is allowed and there will be no judgment. This seems almost pornographic for a class to have such laws…and I love it.

Midway through the class he relocates us to the faculty building which is a free standing stone hut in the middle of the courtyard. He frequently reminds us that we’re in there illegally but he enjoys the intimate setting and finds it a good place for the latter part of class.

This teacher will go on to save this semester for me. I’m not good at doing anything out of necessity or that takes away from things I’d rather be doing. Work and school have always been battlegrounds. Having this class once a week to anchor my mind will easily be the deciding factor in carrying on through the semester and ones after it. I feel, for the first time in years, blown away by my instructor. I am ready to explore my mind and have it leak onto the page for his assignments.

This entry doesn’t even due the class justice. I can never get to my writing when I am inspired. I am often left sitting at the computer at a convenient time trying to rekindle the fire that was previously burning through me. Nevertheless, this one is for the English teachers that have always kept me writing.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trailer is Awesome

An ongoing theme in my blogs happens to be my occupation as a manager at a movie theatre. This is perhaps because, in an attempt to escape the boring reality of my boring job, I am constantly day dreaming and thinking about more important things I could be doing; like writing.

About a month ago I was wandering around, closing theatre doors after the show starts, all the while thinking. As I closed the doors to one house, a thumping roar caught my attention from a nearby theatre. The bass was hypnotic and I quickly rushed into the theatre, fearing the end of the wild beat. If sirens were real, this cover song would be the tune they’d use to lure my ship to its destruction. I was greeted not by a mythological beast but an excellent techno base riff accompanied by a certain decibel of wailing that my years of Guns N’ Roses loving have taught me to savor like an aged wine.

Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover for Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” was a feast for the ears. But it was this forward momentum camera angle that captivated my eyes. What could be going on in this vile sounding, gritty looking bit? As the camera moved towards this perfectly symmetrical white winter mansion, the words “Feel Bad Movie of Christmas” plastered on the screen periodically with the beat. And as my mouth fell open I was immediately caught by the gaze of the pierced woman I’d been drooling over. Rooney Mara’s face disappeared as fast as it came followed simply by the word “coming.”

I stumbled out of the theatre awestruck, forgetting I was on the clock and probably needing to divert my attention elsewhere. I knew immediately just by the feel from the trailer that this was the same movie a friend of mine mentioned I should check out a week previously. Time passed, and last week I found myself watching the trailer over and over again in between research of the film as well as its book and Swedish predecessor. I was hooked to the point that I couldn’t take another second of not knowing what happens. Netflix instant saved the day once again and I watched the original.

It lived up to all of my hype. I appreciated the perfect performance from Noomi Rapace and the sweet damsel in distress role of Michael Nyqvist. The film managed to tackle dark themes and sexually violent scenes with great taste.

I’m still just as pumped for the American remake. David Fincher has the perfect pallet for this film and judging by the trailer he captured the material brilliantly. When all is said and done I wouldn’t be surprised if Fincher’s version outshines the original.

And since I have to wait until Christmas 2012 to have a very Tarantino holiday (Django Unchained) I’m looking quite forward to “feeling bad” in the theatres this winter.

Fast Times During Slow Pitch Softball

The sun was merciless today. I’ve always liked the term “heat wave” even though I’m not too keen on sweating all day, nor the constant possibility of heat exhaustion. But “heat wave” always seems perfectly cinematic when the weather lady utters it. My world was plunged into the sticky ninety-degree weather again in this series of hot days.

Complaining isn’t a preferred method in life or in journalism. Nobody cares and it is not the least bit therapeutic as it only drives me deeper into annoyance. But in truth, I have no place to complain for most of the day I sat in a cozy desk chair, tinkering through reports while lovely arctic breezes pushed through my hair. But throughout the hours at my movie theatre prison, I stumbled through the dark and dreary booth, threading films for the viewing pleasures of a dozen or so lost souls, trying to shake the grogginess from a night of insomnia and consistent days of Jack and Cokes, and all the while thinking forward to my night on the field.

It was Monday, and Monday’s in the early summer, as of last year, meant it was game day. The life of a movie theatre manager gives few luxuries, but I can say one of them has been active roster status in the Greater Philadelphia Area Movie Theatre Softball League. Since my graduation from high school I have searched for bridges between the days of state required physical activity and the long years of declining health ahead of me. After a failed attempt at starting the FM14 Party Express, I later switched movie theatres and instated the Jungle Beasts. This being our second season in, we were well on our way to working out the kinks in our playlist that kept us in a non-victorious prior season. Currently, we have yet to raise our own dirty, glove sweat hands victoriously.

Due to the sweltering heat, I swapped my regular summer time sports drink, (a pint of Lynchburg Lemonade) for a more nourishing jug of water. Today would be a rare un-inebriated day on the softball fields. The sacrifice was easily made. For the days preceding, I’d posted shop unintentionally in a glass of whiskey while giggling with my closest of droogs at such bar room entertainment as the lovable oafs singing karaoke. And not to say the two are linked, but I had been experiencing a pain in my pumper for going on three days. An episode of aching and pressure would hit my heart randomly. I chalked it up to not getting my weekly exercise at softball since the previous Monday was a bye week for the league.

I felt rusty during my first inning as I was thrusted into the role of pitcher. I was a laughable mess, throwing tall arcs that slowly landed in any direction other than the strike zone. My nervous laughter bellowed out after every failed attempt as if in my mind I was watching the latest viral epidemic. After two batters and about two dozen Parkinson’s-infused throws I retired from pitching for the night and took over third base.

From that base, my mind routinely wandered. My heart would ache after a brisk run around the plates leaving me to think about my declining physique. It had been years since I’d competitively played sports. Not since my unfulfilling high school wrestling career had I known intense dedication, regular training, or the life-ensuring triumph and earth shattering sadness of victory and defeat respectively. Looking back, I may have chosen my high school field as the Jungle Beasts’ home turf for the excuse to stroll through old stomping grounds. From my third base vantage point, I gazed upon the extravagant multi-million dollar gym the school had recently finished constructing. The impressive structure was to replace the old gymnasium where I had gone undefeated at home for two straight varsity seasons.

It’s times like this when even a person’s barely legal drinking age is not assurance enough against feeling old. Luckily, I look across the field at the overweight, backwards cap clad, goatee sporting Fred Durst caricature waddling up to bat and am immediately elated. My teammates are the youngest in the league by a decade or two. Every game I see wives sitting in lawn chairs behind the benches tallying scores while their kids take our softball day as an excuse to run wild in the adjoining fields.

It always surprises me to see one of these thirty-something year olds losing their cool on one of the teenage girls playing for the Jungle Beasts over a close call or foul ball. As the pudgy Durst fellow I mentioned earlier stumbled onto the field arguing with one of our female players over a second base play, I noted that fire churning in my stomach that I believe only happens to men when seeing a woman in distress. Ready to make a scene on the field, I began to step forward from third base until the girl silenced the lethargic fellow with a few normal volume, but recognizably hostile snaps that sent him trotting back to the benches with his palms held to the sides of his head as if he didn’t expect such a reaction with his ignorant and inaccurate play calling. I stepped back to base with a smile realizing that women aren’t always tied helplessly to rail road tracks.

As I mentioned, our team has yet to win a single game. That being said we know what it feels like to have our backs against the wall. But I’ve noticed a regular notion I feel when playing (and losing) against these older-in-age-and-softball-experience teams. I often feel like these games are between Young and Old the way kids’ games are between Shirts and Skins. I feel like we have things to prove because we’re much younger and much more agile than the other teams with their bad knees and mortgage problems. The Jungle Beasts are routinely the under dogs partly due to our record but also because who thinks a pack of kids can prosper over grown men? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I take great pride in my youth. I feel older people are constantly attacking the young out of jealousy. My music isn’t too loud you’re just too old. My hair isn’t too long you just can’t grow any. And I’m not an alcoholic because a friend once told me that illness can’t set in until you’re at least forty.

There is only one exception to the age gap on the Jungle Beasts and that’s a wily senior citizen named Jim. Where the Jungle Beasts are the youngest team, Jim is the oldest player in the entire league. He’s a silver haired, mustache sporting, lean built guy with a pair of crazy bugged out eyes that live as proof that eyes are the windows to the soul. I have a certain admiration for any person that stands out from the norm. I’d say I particularly like people that are less unique and more so insane. Jim is a man with a lot of years on him and a lot more time punched in at the Psycho Mill. It’s easy for me to relate to Jim. He’s a wild card with a certain set of manners not easily found in people these days. He’s a harsh talker, doesn’t think anymore about telling a priest and an altar boy joke to an unsuspecting female than he does telling a chum the Phillies’ score.  At the same time he’s a respectable guy who demands the same respect out of anyone else around him. A handshake from a guy like Jim always carried a special form of gratitude.

With Jim, I never got a whim of that willingness to suck the blood right out of a teenager’s neck for a few more hours of erectile functioning that some older guys give off. To Jim, he did his time on this earth and he did it the way he wanted to. He had a certain walk about him; the strut of a truly self empowered man. I have a theory that Jim avoided all the stigmas that come with old age by avoiding a lot of the chains that bind most people. He’s divorced, estranged from his kids, and has seemed to live many years as a perennial bachelor. He smokes his cigarettes, drinks his beers, plays his softball, and never answers to anyone whether it’s a boss, a wife, or an equal aged grandfather walking his granddaughter across our outfield during game play.

I’m proud to call Jim a friend.

But this day, Jim left early as the game wound down and the Jungle Beasts suffered another tight loss. Like always, I lined the team up and shook the hands of a few overzealous softballers. And with the sun falling and a cool breeze chilling our sweaty foreheads, I thought these were good days. Softball days kept those old men feeling young again. It was like this looked over, uneven field with its grass needing mowing was a fountain of youth. Players could come and bask in its life and energy while the kids ran around behind the benches. Softball is an excuse to go out on a nice day and play in the grass. The inner child in us all is calling and it’s saying softball.

Put In A Good Word For Me.