Fuck the stars. Not the pretty ones on TV, but the big gaseous ones in space. The ones who turn hippies into Fortune Cookies. The ones who, long after their implosion kills off several planets' worth of life, still interfere with Earthers.
While I'm not a firm believer in astrology, I do believe that a bunch of people in the world went spaceshit crazy at approximately the same time as the horoscope said they would. Mercury. Retrograde. Motherfucker.
My first hint that The Universe had gone awry came one night at the Cantab. The bar was so crowded downstairs, that i had to go up the back steps, through the upstairs, and down the front steps to get orders from the front of the room. Granted, there's no food being served since the kitchen closed in November, and no one has given a consistent reason why. Still, it involved a lot of walking.
During one trip, the doorman, a huge but friendly (particularly if you own a vagina) cowboy, was talking with one of our off-duty bartenders.
"Hey, Safey, I don't believe you've met Shitlicker (not his given name, but it's what people call him). Safey works Wednesday nights during the poetry. Shitlicker works---"
"Fuck him." Shitlicker said. "Listen, asshole. I don't care who the fuck you are, where the fuck you work. I fucken hate you. I'm going to kick your fucken ass."
This is not a response either I, or the doorman, were expecting. Usually, I'm a very patient, calm, rational, person. On this occasion, however, I chose to reply by saying "Swing. Please." Maybe because I was bigger than him. Certainly because I was more sober than him. And possibly because I was just having a crappy week.
He didn't swing. He staggered away to harass some of the band members, while I went to talk to the owner, the other bartenders, and the other wait staff. I am determined to get Shitlicker fired.
At my other job, slinging comics to the geek squad, I have been accosted at least once a day by a non-comic reading vagrant (a different one each time) who wanders in, asks for a job, and then launches into a tale of woe about how their kids were taken away from them, how they've just been beamed down from their home planet, or how the only way to save this country is to elect Lyndon LaDouchebag.
My favorite was a guy who smelled like last millenium's urine, who staggered into the store with a copy of our help wanted flyer. We're not hiring store employees, but looking for someone to help manage our computers, which are run by a series of blind parakeets and heroin-addicted tortoises. I wish I were exaggerating when I mentioned that all of our really important documents are printed on dot matrix printers. Or that our registers are run by a dos program.
"You need a computerer?" He asked, thus assuring me that our conversation would be memorable. "What programs?"
"Uhh...many different programs. They're looking for someone to work with Excel, Wor---"
"Never heard of it. I know everything about Winders, Line X, and Max."
"Ah. Well, all of the programs we use are Windows based."
He pounded his fist on the counter.
"Winders? Winders sucks. No wonder you can't find anyone willing to work. Nobody uses Winders no more. Max. Max. Max. Everybody's got the Max Fever." God, I wish the tool who made those annoying Mac vs. PC commercials could have met this guy. "I don't like Winders, but I'll do it. How long before I kin werk?"
"Well, I'm not the one doing the hiring." I said, smiling. I then scribbled my least favorite manager's office number on a post-it note, and passed it to Mr. Max Fever. "Here's a number you should call for more info."
"Kin I use yer phone?"
"Uh, no. The office is closed right now." Not true. "And I just tried to call it, and their voicemail is full. You should try calling them..." I checked to see when my least favorite manager was working next. "...tomorrow afternoon."
"How bout I get behind the counter there and check out---"
"No, you'd be working on office computers which run entirely different programs than this one. It wouldn't be helpful." And, by providence, the phone rang just then, and I stood between Max Fever and the register, investing myself heavily in a conversation with a recorded voice that was trying to sell the store timeshare in Mexico. I like to imagine the robot blushed a bit at some of the things I said.