"A lot of things aren't worth doing, but almost anything is worth telling."
Ursula K. LeGuin, "Shroedinger's Cat"

Monday, December 31, 2012

Strategy: FAIL

I had a great holiday with my family at my sister's house in Battle Creek, Michigan.  My nephew, the oldest grandchild, came down from Canada where he lives.  He and I have bonded over video games over the past few years.  We both enjoy role-playing games, and this year I gave him a copy of my all-time favorite game Dragon Age: Origins.  (My current picture for this blog is my DA:O avatar, in fact.)

My nephew also really enjoys strategy games, but I can't bond with him over those.  I've never been good at those kind of games because I don't plan ahead.  Risk, chess, even checkers.  I never won them as a kid growing up because I didn't have the capacity to see more than one move ahead.  And I still don't.  My life has been a testament to a lack of forethought.  Just call me Epimetheus.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Take That, Mr. Newhart!

Not too long ago I had another celebrity misadventure right here in Memphis.  I was picking my parents up from the Memphis "International" Airport.  I had gotten a late start and then was running even further behind because construction at the airport had made the parking utterly incomprehensible.
When I finally arrived at baggage claim, my parents told me that they were just about to call a taxi.  I was vehemently explaining my tardiness while wildly gesticulating my hands, as I tend to do when I get excited.  Suddenly I realized that Bob Newhart was walking behind me, and I had almost smacked him in the face with one of my gestures.  I felt as if I should call out an apology as he was walking away, but I got the impression he preferred I just let it go: no harm, no foul.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

Thanks to my friend Marty for forwarding this picture!  It was created by a talented artist named Adam Sidwell, and truer words were never said as to why I'm alone today.
I didn't post last week because I was working my ass off at work to make up for a complete fuck up at my job.  I honestly thought I was going to be fired last Monday and have to crawl back to my draconian former employer.  So bad decisions still abound in my life.  I'm still amazed at how understanding my boss was and thank all that is holy that I now work for such a level-headed firm!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Psychic Celebrity Stalker

The ugly truth is that I often come across as creepy.  I don't mean to be creepy.  I don't try to be creepy.  But I have creeped out more than my fair share of people in my time.  Even my good friends sometimes find me creepy.  The morning after spending the night over at my friends' place, I quietly made my way to the master bedroom to see if my friend was ready to go.  We were planning to drive into work together since we worked in the same building downtown.  I was being quiet because I didn't want to wake up his wife or his son who slept in his parents' room.  But when my friend walked out and was startled by my presence, he accused me of "lurking" in the hallway.
Another episdode of "creepy" happened while I was living in Hollywood.  I was looking around my local video store when I saw a guy wearing a baseball cap.  I was sure that I'd seen him before, and so I just kept staring at him 'cuz I knew if I only stared at him hard enough, then it would come to me.  (Actually, at the time, I didn't realize I was staring, being too caught up in my thoughts at trying to remember who he was.)  Anyway, I finally placed his face.  It turns out it was Eddie Kaye Thomas, the actor who plays "Finch" in the American Pie series of films, whom I didn't know personally and only recognized from his movies.

After staring at this poor man for heaven knows how long (creepy), we ended up leaving the store at about the same time, and I think I gave him a weak, nervous smile as is my way.  (Again, creepy...)  I got into my car and got ready to leave when I heard him tear out of the parking lot like a bat out of hell.  I realized later that he must have been thinking, "I've got to get the fuck out of here before this nut job adds me to the 'collection' in his basement!"  At the time I didn't think much of anything about it and went along my merry way.  On my way home, I stopped by my local mini-mart, and guess who happened to be walking out of the store as I was heading in?  I figured he was thinking that I had planted some kind of tracking device on him, and I'll bet he activated all of his security when he got home that night.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why Don't You Love Me?!?

Although I didn't have a lot of say in the matter, going to an all-male Catholic high school as a closeted gay in the 1980's was a really bad idea!

By my estimation, I was in love with about half of my graduating class and a handful of the teachers as well. Considering all that I was going through—a stranger in my own family and no one to talk to about the confusing and complex feelings I was experiencing—I'm amazed I didn't just snap one day and climb to the top of my school's bell tower, gibbering like a monkey and screaming at my classmates to love me.

I still don't know if my fellow students had clocked me as gay or not.  I didn't play the game of fake girlfriends, but I tried to hide my "secret" all the same.  I do know that one d-bag at the school asked my best (and straight) friend Marty, "Are you still hanging out with that faggot Michael St. John?"  Marty just shot back, "Yeah, we get it on every weekend," which is, of course, just one of the reasons why I love him so.

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Smell Fear on You!

I have always been a procrastinator.  Between my low-grade depression and congenital laziness, it always took last-minute panic for me to get any of my school work done.

It finally caught up to me with my final English paper my sophomore year of high school.  Keep in mind that this was 1986.  I had to type my paper on an electric typewriter with footnotes (not endnotes!) which means I had to judge how much space to leave at the bottom of each page through luck and guess-timation.  (A couple of of kids in my class were using computers, but I wasn't what you'd call an early adopter.)
It was only a five-page paper, but I had done almost nothing until the night before.  I knew I was going to be pulling an all-nighter.  What I didn't anticipate is that I still wouldn't be finished by the time I had to leave for school the next morning.  English was my first period, and I wasn't old enough to drive myself yet.  Basically I had managed to finish my entire paper except for the bibliography.

I went to a Catholic high school taught by an order of "brothers."  Brother Stephen was my sophomore English teacher, and he could be demanding at a school that was strict to begin with.  He personally collected the papers from each student, and when he got to me, I could sense he could sense the fear in me.  We watched a video about Emily Dickinson as an "easy" period for the day our big paper was due.  Brother Stephen must have read through my paper during the film, looking for the source of my deer-in-the-headlights terror, because as the end of class, in front of everyone, he booms out, "Mr. St. John, did you turn in a bibliography with your paper?"  And all I could do was croak out a meek little "No" as my face burned in humiliation.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What Not to Say at Work

A few years ago I re-invented myself as a paralegal so I wouldn't have to continue as an unemployable temp going out on shitty assignments with no benefits.  The thing about law firms, however, is that they are generally more conservative than the average place of business.  I've always been a square peg of barely-contained neuroses trying to fit into the round hole of professionalism, but sometimes I even outdo myself.

The following are actual quotes that went straight from my professionally-challenged brain and out of my mouth without passing through whatever centers control reasoning and judgment:
  1. When your supervisor asks how you're doing, don't say, "I'm not dead.  Supposedly that's a good thing."
  2. Don't tell half of the office, including a number of the attorneys, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."
  3. I maybe shouldn't have told one of the partners that I was going to move in his nice new office with him and that I'd bring drapery swatches around later.  (Fortunately he just laughed.)
  4. When an attorney is crowing over his success in court and says "I should be playing 'We Are the Champions' by Queen," don't sardonically say to another co-worker, "More like 'The Bitch Is Back' by Elton John" within earshot.
  5. Don't ask the managing partner of the entire firm (who works out of a different office) if he has a pass to be in our office.
  6. If an attorney offers you an old desk clock from his office but then changes his mind, don't call him a "clock tease."
  7. Don't try to encourage a prickly attorney with insecurities about his own masculinity by saying, "You go, girl!"  (I was threatened with termination over that one...)