Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dollar Store Douche

"A good scare is worth more to a person than good advice."
 ~Edgar Watson Howe

Most of the time, it seems that this job was made specifically for me. My fascination/amusement with bizarre human behavior coupled with my compulsive need to make all things right for the people around me led directly to a career in which I hear the outrageous stories and confessions of those who have gotten themselves into a pickle and then search the psychic landscape to find the "fix". It helps that I have developed massive reserves of patience and good humor as well as an understanding that frequently, people don't really want help, they just need someone to listen.

Sprinkled in with the legitimate concerns of folks struggling their way out of life's emotional sandpits are the incredible situations and questions that seem to defy the science of rational thought.

Go directly to fail: worst ideas ever

Drama #1
Client and her female roommate engage in three-way sex frolic with a shady stranger they pick up at a downtown San Diego bar. Afterwards, they offer him a ride home, but once he's in the car, he becomes threatening and demands that they take him across the border to Mexico so that he can "do business" with someone named Julio. In a moment of what can only be divine intervention, they manage to ditch this thug at a gas station when they go in for snacks.

Drama #2
Fiftyish married male client brings twenty-something chick he's having an affair with to our session (unannounced) in hopes that I will help him break up with her on the spot. 

Drama #3
Common sense takes yet another holiday when middle-aged idiot husband of client decides to add some spice to the old sex routine by hooking up a car battery to metal nipple clamps and jolting himself into a heart attack. Paramedics arriving on the scene seem unfazed as they load yet another jackass onto the gurney.

Drama #4
Forty year old client wants to know which man at the swingers party knocked her up. None of the men were using protection that night, and she really hopes it's not the overweight fellow in the Darth Vader t-shirt.

Drama #5
Florida client's fiancee incurs horrific injuries taking selfie with alligator who blunders into kitchen through the doggie door.

Drama #6 (a personal tale)
Where haircuts are concerned, red wine and enormous sewing scissors should never mix, as my elementary school photos clearly illustrate. Proud of her ability to save a few bucks on things that were better left to the professionals, my mother would get excited about trimming my bangs after a few glasses of wine (poured from a gallon jug over ice) and reach for whatever cutting implement was handy. The terrifying dressmaker shears and a black plastic comb with missing teeth were her go-to barber tools, neither of which could facilitate a decent trim once the wine was working its magic in her brain. When I miraculously survived until middle school, I took control of the situation and began cutting my own hair, leaning over the bathroom sink and washing the evidence down the drain before my mother got home from work. I can't say that the results were significantly better, but at least I felt as though the destiny of my appearance was in my own hands and not shaped by someone else's blurred vision and unrelenting determination that I resemble a mortifying hybrid of Shirley Temple and Beaver Cleaver.

We put the "no" in innovation

Somewhere along the line, people started engaging me as a one-woman focus group with the alleged ability to discern the success or failure rate of new products, ideas, businesses and and investment schemes. Some went on to have international success. Here are a few that didn't:

~Entree and dessert-flavored sex enhancers. Taking the old adage "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" to a peculiar new place, innovative female client with an oral fixation envisions passionate romps with curious partners who wish to experience a buffet of taste sensations. Her feeling is that once he's gotten a taste of the bacon douche, he will want to come back to dine on the blueberry pie body paint and won't mind wearing a chocolate truffle condom.

~Foam board with which to hit others (and potentially self) "upside the head with a 2x4". Client imagines lively mock battles in which friends whack one another while viewing football games on t.v. or during rambunctious cocktail parties.

~Interactive spider farm (like an ant farm but with frightfully aggressive wolf spiders). Purchase price includes six months of live cricket shipments so you can be sure that your precious companions are getting adequate nutrition.

~Battery-operated "purring" cat carrier. Female client modifies a baby carrier in an effort to keep her elderly, disabled cat with her at all times. Bonus points when client discovers that the vibrating "purr" function can provide sexual stimulation (for her, not the cat) when worn in just the right position.

Good luck getting that visual out of your head.

~Disposable-yet-fashionable adult bibs in a plastic carrying case for those who tend to slop tomato sauce and gravy on themselves while dining out.

~Musical dog leash. No explanation on that one.

~Female client has a dream in which the Virgin Mary shows her an electric tablecloth which keeps food warm during the meal. Problems arise when the prototypes set fire to the dining room table and people continually trip over the cord. Client speculates that Mary was just messing with her and refuses to attend church after the fifth prototype fails and her husband leaves her for the receptionist at his urologist's office.

Social repulsion

I'm a world-class introverted recluse who does not enjoy wedding receptions, drumming circles, barbecues, Bible studies, clambakes or shindigs. I feel anxious at Pampered Chef/Mary Kay/Tupperware parties and make naughty, inappropriate comments in an effort to be the funny person everyone likes. I dread shopping at Costco. Crowds drain me. I'm the person who cheerfully agrees to attend your event and then finds a way to back out of it at the last minute. There. I've said it.

Against my better judgment, I occasionally consent to engage in group activities, telling myself that I'm turning a new leaf...opening myself up...fully participating in life and all of its glorious festivities.

And then shit happens.

Ladies who lunch

~ Invited to lunch with a client who claims she would like to connect with me as a friend. I arrive at the restaurant about five minutes early, but see that she is already sitting at a booth, eagerly waving to me. As I approach the table, I notice that she has a tape recorder set up and a yellow legal pad with a list of questions that she must have been working on as she waited for me to arrive. She quickly assures me that lunch is on her if she can just ask me "a few questions" while we eat.

~ Join four other women for lunch at a lovely new restaurant overlooking the ocean. As we wait for one of the women to arrive, we chat pleasantly while drinking iced tea and commenting on the view. It's all very civilized. About fifteen minutes later, "Pam" wobbles in completely drunk, her boozy breath wafting over the table like an incoming fog bank. Nearly falling off the chair as she sits down, Pam frantically signals to the waiter and orders a bottle of wine for herself. She asks if we would like to do some shots before lunch and we decline. The mood at the table is tense as Pam talks loudly about how shitty life at home is with her asshole husband. We all get it. Times are hard. Our lunch progresses with Pam tearfully disintegrating over her tuna salad. She keeps her phone on the table so that she can text various people to tell them what a cocksucker she's married to. We hurry to finish our meals, but Pam is using our gathering as a group therapy session. This is no longer a lunch...it's a hostage situation.

Nightlife nightmares

~ After a lively meal and a few Margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant, eight of us make our way to our cars, assessing which of us is most able to drive the rest home (this usually turns out to be me). One of the women in our group thinks she sees a man she dated briefly who stopped returning her calls. There are few things more unsettling than hearing a 65 year old woman holler across a parking lot, “suck my dick, you asswipe!” Any idealistic preconceptions about senior citizen gentility fly right out the window and one is left with a vague sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think back to my own limited experience with my grandmothers and try to recall a similar scene in which they cut loose in a public place. With the exception of my bipolar (called “manic-depressive” in those days, assuming that a medical exam and diagnosis had actually taken place) grandmother, Alice who was prone to over-the-top theatrical behavior at unpredictable moments, there was nothing much to draw from in terms of relatability. I do not believe that Alice ever called anyone an “asswipe”, or requested that someone pleasure her phantom phallus, but who knows? I only saw her twice a year.

~ While out of town attending a bachelorette party I couldn't get out of, we pay a visit to a popular local bar called The Caboose, but after three minutes inside, I mentally rename the place Whiskers and Tits. As I slowly suffocate on the stench of cigarettes, piss and desperation, it is obvious that I am out of my element and I begin imagining ways to abandon this putrid purgatory. Until I can come up with a convincing exit strategy, I observe my surroundings:

1. Hairy, dwarf-height dude with a “Bunghole” t-shirt making the rounds asking women if they would like a mustache ride…and then quoting prices based on attractiveness.
2. Lead singer of 80s cover band botches the lyrics to Beast of Burden and heated argument ensues among those on the dance floor attempting to sing along. Someone hurls her Lemon Drop at the drummer, which does not seem to impede the band’s laborious march through the Rolling Stones catalog of hits.
3. Sixtyish woman wearing a cowboy hat giving a vigorous hand job to a man barely able to keep his eyes open in a shabby vinyl corner booth.

It seems as though the entire population of the local trailer park had agreed to converge upon The Caboose tonight, and I am the self-conscious interloper completely at odds with my surroundings. I pull out my phone, pretending to text a nonexistent friend and successfully avoid the advances of Mr. Bunghole who is shouting encouragement to the classy dame pleasuring her drowsy date in the corner.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma
Bewildering questions and statements:

~ Client who has apparently relinquished all ability to think for herself calling from the produce department of the grocery store: "should I get the red or the green apples? And while I have you on the phone, which brand of tampons is most in harmony with my chakras?"

~ “There’s a horsefly in your bathroom. I know it’s the ghost of my father because he liked horses and worked for United Airlines.”

~ "Is it wrong that I keep my mother's ashes in a root beer bottle?"

~ "I'm worried that my dead father is watching me have sex with my husband."

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