In which I defend myself against something no one accused me of, and other bits of nonsense

510Cy7ZwEHL._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_I watch a lot of Hulu, right?  Lately we’ve been binging all of Scrubs, which means that generally if the television is on in my house and there isn’t some sort of childrens’ programming on that’s probably what we’re watching. Hulu’s been promoing this program lately that appears to be about a fat old rich white guy who gets accused of rape.

Be it known to the world at large: at this particular point in my life I find it really fucking difficult to arouse any sympathy for old rich white men accused of rape, and I sure as shit am not interested in watching television programs that cast said old rich white men as the victims.  Can I just fucking watch Scrubs, please?  Maybe advertise other light comedies?  And not this show, like, ever again?  Thanks.


A warning: this part of the post is going to be kind of ill-formed and unfinished, as it’s still a work in progress in my brain and I’m not at all sure how I feel about any of it, so don’t expect me to come to any  conclusions.  I had a dream the other day where a former student (and I am one hundred percent certain that she will both see this and know who she is) sat across a table from me and lectured me about representation and cultural appropriation in my work.  I’ve been reading a lot about both issues lately (the recent spate of articles about the whitewashing of Nnedi Okorafor’s The Shadow Speakers is only the newest example) and as someone who has actually written a science fiction book and deliberately made sure to get the black woman on the cover it’s kind of an important issue to me.

So, yeah, here’s the thing: I’ve got two books in the works right now featuring women of color as the leads.  The lead race in my fantasy series is matriarchal.  And my short stories tend to feature non-stereotypically-western cultures.  I’m not good enough about writing LGBT+ characters but when you come down to it there are precious few straight relationships in my books either for some reason.

I do not write this to be awarded cookies. I don’t want cookies.  In fact, I’m starting to wonder if I’m approaching all this the right way at all.  Do me a favor, and go read this, and then read this.

I’m torn as hell on this and still thinking about it.  But it’s on my mind at the moment.


I leave for Denver in, like, three days.  I am still not looking forward to it.  At all.

Just checking, pt. 2

200w.gifOccasionally I have reason to call customers that have been in my store but I haven’t actually sold something to.  Sometimes it’s because they’ve asked me to keep an eye out for something for them and I’ve seen a piece I think they’ll like.  Sometimes it’s because something they were thinking about buying has gone on sale and I’m hoping I can convince them to come in and buy.

Actually it’s pretty much just those two reasons.

So this guy came in two weekends ago with his two kids and his wife.  He’d been in at least twice with one of the boys previously, and I’d talked to him both times pretty much by pure coincidence.  He and his son picked out five thousand dollars worth of bedroom furniture.  Five thousand dollars of fairly ridiculously ornate furniture.

For a fifteen-year-old.  We’ll lay that aside for the moment.

At any rate, they didn’t buy.  Dad said he’d be back “tomorrow” with cash and I sent them with a quote.  And they didn’t show the next day, which isn’t entirely surprising.  It happens.  But I had his phone number, so when we had an “everything on sale” thing going this weekend I called him and let him know I could save him some money.  Left a message.  Today was the last day of that sale, so I thought I’d leave one more message for him.

He answered the phone.  I said who I was and where I was from.

“I’m with a patient right now,” he said.  “I’ll have to call you back.”

252-word leadup to this question: what the fuck kind of doctor keeps his cell phone on while he’s meeting with patients, much less answers it when he doesn’t recognize the number?  Have any of you ever had a doctor answer a goddamn cell phone while you were with him?  That’s fucked up, right?  I’m not crazy here?

He didn’t call me back, by the way.

On overthinking things

vFZ9eminem-hi-my-name-is-slim-shady-name-tag-design-4-x-2.jpgSo technically we’re supposed to wear nametags when we’re at work.  In practice this almost never happens unless there’s a corporate visit coming; sometimes someone will put theirs on for the hell of it and then it tends to spread virally; if a shift starts with one person wearing a nametag, everyone will have theirs on by the end of that shift, but it usually doesn’t happen.

Our previous work nametags are pretty utilitarian; they’ve got the corporate logo on them and a space for your name (printed on a laser printer and slid into a little hole on the side) and that’s it.  Recently for some reason corporate has decided that our nametags need to be more “fun.”  And we have a visit coming by a Lord High Muckety-Muck next week, and so the new, fun name tags need to be at least ordered if not actually on everyone’s shirts.

They require that, in addition to our names, we reveal our hometowns and, and this is the kicker, a passion.  Like so:

NAME:
Luther

HOMETOWN:
Chicago, IL

PASSION:
Butt stuff

Only it can’t say “butt stuff,” because, I dunno, reasons, and I also have to admit that I grew up here in Somewhere in Northern Indiana, which I find vaguely annoying.  I should have just put Chicago and dared someone to correct it.

The problem is that “passion” part.  One, I’m philosophically opposed to it.  I’m a goddamn furniture salesman.  I know that connecting with customers is supposed to be a great help in making sales and blah blah blah, but goddammit I’m at work and I’m doing my job and the fact that you want a chiffarobe does not entitle you to know shit about my life.   

Plus, it has to be something that’s not intrinsically alienating to any substantial percentage of our customer base, and it has to be something that doesn’t lead to conversations with customers that I don’t want to have.  So, for example: I could say politics!  I am, in fact, passionate about politics!  Only no, because the last fucking thing I want to talk to any of my customers about is politics for a wide variety of reasons.  I could say writing!  That is also a true thing!  The only problem with that is that it leads to talking to people about my writing, which I really don’t want to do at work, and even if they happen to be sci-fi/fantasy people who might enjoy my work, handing them one of Luther’s cards would lead them back here, and that opens all sorts of potential cans of worms that I don’t really want open.  I don’t badmouth my customers all that damn often and it’s incredibly rare (I can’t think of any examples, in fact, although I’m sure there are some) that I tell stories about specific individuals but still.  I don’t need those worlds mixing.  Books?  Okay, but I don’t want to get into talking about reading (or the fact that my customers don’t read) with every jamoke who reads my name tag.

The other possibility is to make it a joke.  I spent a long time considering just putting “Apples” as my passion, because hell, who doesn’t like apples?  Another one I considered:  extispicy, which is fortunetelling using the entrails of sacrificed animals.  My manager shot that down for some reason, and pointing out that another staff member had chosen “charcuterie” did not gain me any points.

I ended up picking astronomy, which means that I’ll be explaining the difference between astronomy and astrology a lot.  But it’s true and will probably not lead to obnoxious conversations.  Fact of the matter is, once the muckety-muck is gone I will go right back to not wearing the nametag, so any amount of thought past the first five minutes that I put into this is probably wasted time anyway.  But what the hell.  I gotta do something when I’m not selling furniture.

On single daddery

41.jpgDon’t panic.

It’s already been a maddeningly long week– Presidents’ Day weekend is apparently a big thing in the furniture business– and Monday was a full staff day, meaning that everyone in the store had to be there on Monday whether it was their day to work or not and everyone got an extra five hours of work this week on top of our normal 46.

Everyone but me, that is.  They didn’t actually announce the full-staff thing until, like, Friday, and by that point I was already pretty damn sure that there was no way I was going to be able to spend a single second longer at work than I absolutely had to today.  My wife was at work until 8:00 on Monday and nearly 9:30 on Tuesday, meaning that my parents had to watch the boy all day Monday and pick him up from school and watch him afterwards on Tuesday until I could pick him up after I got off work at 8.

And today she fled town altogether to spend the next three days in Des Plaines (I think?  I should probably know what town she’s in) and leaving me at home with the boy.  Which in the overall scheme of things isn’t any sort of big deal– I am not actually the sort of father who panics at the thought of being sole caretaker for his kid for a few days– but it has rather increased my desire for sleep.  Lots of sleep.  And the extreme business of the last few days have already cut into my blogging time, so we’ll see if the next couple of days are the same way.

Long story short, I’ve got tons to do and don’t panic if I disappear for a couple of days.