Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stories from Ghetto Kroger #6: The Restroom

I've seen a lot crazy sights at Ghetto Kroger.

Fights in the parking lot.

Tranny's sticking T-Bone steaks in their underwear.

The occasional drunk college kid passing out in the store.

Even the restrooms had some crazy sights.

One particular night when I was wrapping up my daily bagging duties, I ran into the men's room to take a quick piss. As I pushed open the door, my eyeballs focused on a bum, standing next to the sink bathing himself. He was naked all the way down to his dirty, brown skivies.

"Oh, my bad," he said. "Excuse me."

"No big deal," I shouted out. "I just have to take a piss."

In reality, I was a bit freaked out.

After doing my business, I zipped up my pants and headed to the door.

The bum looked over his shoulder, stopped his bathing and politely asked, "You want to use the sink to wash your hands?"

I looked at his peppered beard. It was slathered in brown soap.

I looked at the sink. It was an awful shade of brown.

"Naw, I'm good," I said as I exited the restroom.

I should add that the Kroger restroom was employee-only. But that didn't stop anyone from using it.

Two more stories then I'm finished. I promise.

Another day I left the breakroom to head back to the front of the store to continue my bagging duties. Before I could exit the backroom, this enormous man hobbled through the swinging doors.

I had to actually move out of the way so he could fit through. He had to be about 400 pounds.

And, wouldn't you know it, he made a beeline straight for the unlocked restroom.

"Wow," I thought to myself. "That's a pretty big man." And that was that.

It wasn't until after about an hour or so of bagging groceries that I would begin to hate that mother fucker.

"Eimer," my manager approached me as my mind was completely lost staring at yet another beautiful blonde cashier's ass. "Can you come over here a minute."

I noticed the odd look on his face and presumed I was going to be fired. I should note that whenever a higher authority wants to talk to me, I always assume that I'm being fired.

"Ummm, I don't know how to put this, so I'm just going to say it," he said.

"What?" I asked. I was truly intrigued.

"Well," he paused. "Some fat guy shit in the men's restroom and left a pretty big mess. I need you to go clean it up."

Being head bagger, I figured this type of nonsense should be delegated to the last man on the totem pole. Restroom clean-up was definitely not on the head bagger's list of duties.

"What about Phil?" I said referring the store's new bagger/cart getter. "Or how about Jonas?"

"Oh we asked Phil. But when he found out he had to clean up someone else's shit, he quit," said the manager rubbing his head. "And Jonas just left for the day."

I probably looked like a zombie at this point.

"So can you take one for the team and help me out here?" the manager asked. "I won't forget it."

I tried to say "Fuck that shit. I quit too!" But, on the journey from my brain to my mouth, the wiring got all messsed up and instead I said, "Okay, I'll do it."

Armed with every cleaning product known to man, I entered the restroom and...let's just say it was a battle of epic proportions. Poop stains were everywhere. I'm not sure, but it almost looked like the guy just walked into the stall, backed up until the back of his knees hit the toilet. Then dropped his pants and took a shit without even sitting down. Or looking.

I should also note that this was, by far, one of my most degrading times at Ghetto Kroger; cleaning up a fat man's blowout.

However, another story came out of the entire poop-cleaning process. Last one I promise.

As I was cleaning up the chunky-man's shit, I started to read some of the writings on the bathroom stall. While making their brown sacrifice to the porcelain god, co-workers were scribbling a war of words with other co-workers. Some were dirty. Some were crude. Most of them roused some giggles from my shit-stained face.

Than I wondered, 'Was this the way early man communicated with each other?' Going from cave-to-cave, scrawling crude 'fuck you' and 'your penis is small' jokes for other cavemen to be entertained after a day's sabretooth hunting?

One particular quote caught my attention. Hmm, it wasn't really a quote. More of a poem.

No. Let's not say a poem.

Sort of, almost, like a rap.

It went like this:

Moody Mas is teaching class.
Ya'll suckas are on my level.
Sicker than the Son of Sam I am.
I slam. I'm worse than the Devil.

No, it wasn't William Shakespeare, Cormac McCarthy or F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hell, it didn't even come close to Run DMC. But, somehow this rhyme found a spot in the gray matter of my brain going on 15 years now.

I just can't seem to shake it.

So, after I cleaned up the poop. I thoroughly washed my hands in the restroom sink.

Then I thought about the naked bum who, more than likely, probably washed his testicles in the same sink. I stopped mid-wash and instead opted to wash my hands in the sink located in the meat department. More sterile I figured.

On my journey, I couldn't help but recite that stupid rap over again. And, during my rap, I wanted to add a little flava. I decided to put a little thug into my newly remembered restroom rhyme...

Moody Mas is teaching class.
Ya'll suckas are on my level.
Sicker than the Son of Sam I am.
I slam. I'm worse than the Devil.

Fred, the cashier, was walking by and suddenly stopped in his tracks.

"What did you just say?" he asked me.

I recited the rap again.

"Dude," Fred said with a big smile on his face. "I wrote that!"

Other Stories from Ghetto Kroger:
Story #1: Intro
Story #2: Magic
Story #3: Big Head
Story #4: Goldilocks
Story #5: Jonas

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A theory on My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

Don't call the police on us, but 'yes' my wife and I let our kids watch cartoons in the morning.

[Enter Psycho murdering music here]

To be honest, I could give two shits about either side of the Is-cartoon-watching-good-or-bad-for-your-kids? spectrum. I grew up on Tex Avery, Chuck Jones and Disney and it really didn't hurt me too much. Plus, I think that's what sparked my creative juices to think up such brilliant pieces of artwork including Murder Hill, Retchie Retch and FUCK!.

But, I also understand the fact that too much of anything is a bad thing. Even cocaine.

So, anyway, it was Saturday. It was 8 a.m. And my daughter just finished breakfast. We decided to turn on the TV, chill out for an hour or so in the playroom and watch some cartoons.

But, instead of watching what I thought was going to be Little Einsteins, we were bombarded by the sights, sounds and images of My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

We both let out a collective groan.

This past weekend the show came on again. For the next 27 minutes, I sat there with my daughter trying to figure out why it was so damn weird.

Then it hit me.

Darby is, in fact, a very old lady living in a mental hospital called the Hundred Acres Woods Mental Facility.

She met a guy called Christopher Robin (acute schizophrenia), who introduced Darby to all the great creatures he'd met while at the Hundred Acres Woods. As it turns out, all of the characters such as Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Tigger and the elephant are also humans playing out this weird, psychotic theater of the mind at the facility.

Even Pooh, who is a 60-year old male suffering from early-stages of dementia, is in on the action.

And although it appears that all of Darby's adventures are taking place in the Hundred Acres Wood. In reality the hijinx are being orchestrated in a 12' x 12' padded room with the entire motley crew strapped in straight jackets.

Robin, who was released from the facility prior to the start of the show, returns in a couple episodes to visit Darby and the rest of the 'patients' at the facility. Under the doctor's order, he humors them and plays along with their little adventures although he's totally cured of his condition through meds.

So what do you think? Am I totally off or what?

I think not.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Blindness Movie Trailer

When I was living in Columbus, I was part of a book club.

Someone in the pack picked the 1995 novel Blindness written by Jose Saramoga, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.

The novel is about a society suffering an epidemic of blindness, which completely shuts down commerce, manufacturing and even (gulp) advertising agencies.

Imagine a world without copywriters?

In any event, a lot of people in the book club seemed to like the book.

Personally, I was not one of them.

For starters Saramoga uses an experimental style often featuring long sentences like the one youre reading now Sometimes they are more than a page long He also fails to use periods and instead connects thoughts with commas Oh yeah he uses no quotation marks to express dialogue He also fails to announce which character is talking or which character is doing a specific action In this particular novel Saramago sometimes abandons the use of proper nouns as well which can be very confusing to a person that simply wants to relax when reading a book Whew

When I was reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, zero quotation marks around the dialogue didn't bother me at all.

When I was reading Blindness, the above style was very tedious and very annoying to me. More often than not, I would lose my train of thought. Instead of picturing characters and words in my mind, I would daydream about what I was going to eat for lunch the next day. I just couldn't get into the book. And I'm 100% sure it had a lot to do with his writing technique.

Like I said, some people in the group weren't bothered by his style. Instead, they enjoyed a very deep, engrossing, thought-provoking book. Or so I'm told. Maybe they were lying.

In any event, when I found out Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) signed on to direct a movie adaptation of the book starring Julianne Moore, Danny Glover and Mark Ruffalo among others, I was extremely intrigued.

No, not intrigued enough to read the book again. But intrigued nonetheless.

Check out the trailer below:

My first opinion of the trailer: it reminds me of the movie Children of Men, starring Clive Owen, Michael Caine and, ironically, Moore.

It also feels a little bit apocalyptic zombie like 28 Days Later or even George Romero's underrated Day of the Dead. Perhaps it's because of the bleak, overexposed cinematography from C├ęsar Charlone - who was also behind the camera for both Gardener and God.

Don McKeller adapted the screenplay from Saramoga's book. Coincidentally, he also co-wrote two of the most underrated art-house flicks I've ever seen in Highway 61 and Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould,

I dunno. Much like my hesitation to see Perfume based on it's title alone, I'm not really psyched to see a movie about blind people called Blindness.

But it does look interesting and compelling to say the least. Plus, it's got a great cast, great director, great writer and great cinematographer. Eventually, I think I'll check this one out just to give these guys some money to continue to ply their trade. More than likely, though, it will be on DVD.

Regardless, I can assure you that it will garner some kudos come 2008 movie awards season.

So...what do you think?

NOTE: Every year, I go on a hiking trip to unknown parts of the nation. Tomorrow, I'll be heading out to the wild-blue yonder of Tennessee to tackle 45 miles of the Appalachian Trail with five other hell raisers pushing 40 years old. Later.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Winning One-Word Presidential Campaign Speech.

I was in sixth grade history class and our teacher Ms. Myers (a dinosaur of a woman who always wore these big, flowery sundresses) was discussing the various American wars of the world.

As I scanned the room, you could just tell that no one was paying any attention to her.

Some were doodling. Some were drooling. Others were picking their nose. Some were even flicking their nose. I, however, was scrawling EIMER FOR PRESIDENT on my brown paper grocery bag history book cover.

No, no one was paying attention to her stupid presentation. Because all thoughts (at least my own) were firmly focused on the upcoming class presidential elections scheduled to occur right after history class.

The three candidates (myself included) were going to read campaign speeches in front of the class in hopes of persuading potential suckers to vote for us.

I practiced my speech all night and couldn't wait to take the stage. It was funny, yet sublime. Poignant, yet loosey-goosey. It was perfect.

Without being too cocky, I knew that after my speech was over, I was destined to be President of Steeple Valley.

My thoughts of conquering the world were rudely interrupted by Ms. Myers' scraggily voice.

"My oh my," she said in a high octave that woke up the class. "I've been through a lot of wars."

Then she looked up in the air, deep in thought, and started counting the various wars on her fingers.

"Vietnam...World War 1...World War 2....Korean," she put a finger to her mouth and started tapping her lip. "Mmmmm?"

Suddenly this kid Jason (who was also running for class president) yelled from the back row.


The class started to laugh.

Ms. Myers, however, got pissed.

She gave Jason one of those Marty Feldman, angry teacher glares. Then, without saying a word, held out her skeleton-like finger and pointed towards the door.

With a big shit-eating grin on his face, Jason shuffled off to the principal's office; an inevitable detention was in his foreseeable future.

More importantly, he wouldn't be able to deliver his campaign speech to the masses.

Oh yeah!

But, it really didn't matter.

Much to Ms. Myers chagrin (and my own), his one-word pre-election campaign speech cemented his legacy as our Sixth-Grade Class President.

It was a landslide victory.

Kudos to you Jason. Kudos to you.

As they say in the news; there's no such thing as bad publicity. Especially if it's funny.

Click here for another childhood story involving Jason.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Quick Links: Camacho 4th of July Edition

Below are some thoughts, observations and links for your enjoyment before the Fourth of July Weekend.

  • BONUS POST: Remember the movie Pump Up The Volume with Christian Slater? Remember when he put that cool Beastie Boys track on and said "Now here's a song from my close personal buddies, the Beastie Boys...a song that was so controversial they couldn't put it on their first album." Well, click here to listen to The Scenario. Although not the best quality, it's still nice to find a jewel like this on the Internet.

  • After reading this link about early detection of Alzheimers, I thought to myself. If this test was sitting right in front of me, would I use it? I'm a constant worrier, so probably not.

  • If you like funky illustration, you'll like Mitch O'Connell's tattoo site!

  • Behold, the late, great Stan Winston and his 10 Greatest Creations. Personally, I would consider the special effects for The Thing as #1.

  • The only negative review of Pixar's WALL-E that I could find comes courtesy of comedian Michael Ian Black of Wet, Hot, American Summer, STELLA and THE STATE fame. Don't shoot me all you Pixar nerds, but I kind of agree with him.

  • One of my buddies sent me this picture of Stanley Kubrick on the set of his opus 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although I can't pinpoint exactly why, this photo is awesome.

  • I came across Tom Whalen's art while perusing If you're intrigued, check out his website His talent makes me jealous. And I usually don't get jealous over this type of stuff. Beautiful, beautiful artwork that I would be proud to hang on my wall. Or in my office. Or have sex with.

  • Want to try to capture the Loch Ness monster, but not so sure you want to travel to Scotland? Click here for an official Loch Ness webcam.

  • And finally, people have been posting this for a week or so now, but I thought Jerry Seinfeld's tribute to George Carlin in the The New York Times was outstanding. Well-written, tactful with a touch of humor, Seinfeld created a textbook example of how to write a eulogy: Tell a story. Make it personal. Make it funny. And end with a bang. I can only hope someone will write a eulogy this awesome for me.