In which my day is foretold by prophecy

rs-242887-prophets I walked into the building this morning, dropped my bag off in my office, ate whatever sausage thing I had brought for breakfast, picked up my coffee, and headed down to the gym/cafeteria area to monitor the kids before the first bell rang.  In the gym, I saw our security guard, a guy I know from one of my previous buildings.  We chatted for a moment.

“I’m about to say something I’ve never said in a school before,” I said to him.  “As of right now, I don’t really have anything to do today.”

He knows me, so he laughed.

“Someone will come in and drop something in my lap in the next five minutes,” I predicted.  “This isn’t gonna last long.”

It took, in fact, less than one minute before the principal summoned me to the office, and then we were off to the races for the rest of the day.  Yesterday was calm and sedate.  Today was not.  It was productive, don’t get me wrong, but holy shit I did not stop moving once all day long.

(Checks, discovers he walked four miles at work today)

(Is surprised it’s that low)

So it’s the end of the day and we’re shoving the very last of the stragglers out the door and to their buses.  I am closing the doors behind them so that they can’t decide they have something Very Important That They Need Right Now and dash back into the building.  Someone tugs on my sleeve.  I turn and see someone who is much too young to be at my building looking up at me.  She is, maybe, in third grade, and I’m guessing probably second.

“Do you have a student named Aaron at your school?” she says.

oh god what did I do to deserve this

“We probably have a lot of Aarons at this school, sweetie,” I say.  “What is his last name?”

“She’s a girl,” she says.  I wait.  She does not elaborate.

“Do you know Erin’s last name?”

She thinks carefully and says a last name.  I repeat it.  She thinks about it some more and says that that’s not the right name.

“What’s your name?”

She answers me.  I ask if Erin has the same last name as her and she says no, but she can’t remember Erin’s last name.

“Who brought you here, sweetie?”

“My te-te.”

“Okay.  Can she come into the building and then we can go to the office and look for Erin?”

“She can’t come in.”   Note that this response comes immediately.  She doesn’t have to think about it at all.  It’s at this point where I realize I don’t have a radio and can’t buzz the office about this conversation.

“Why can’t she come in?”

“She’s not wearing any pants.”

I blink, slowly, a couple of times.  I notice that there’s a teacher standing behind me, just inside the building, and that that teacher is listening to the entire conversation I’m having and is laughing her ass off at me.

“Did you just say that she wasn’t wearing any pants?”

“Yeah, she just drove me here but she can’t come in ‘cuz she’s not wearing pants.”

I am not going to ask you can’t make me ask nope no way I am not asking

“Okay.  Let’s try one more time, real hard, to remember Erin’s last name.  I can have the office call for her to come out this door.  She’s supposed to be out by now anyway, so she’ll probably come out soon anyway.”

She thinks and gives me a name.

“Are you sure?”

She nods vigorously.

“Okay.  I’m gonna go to the office and tell them to call for Erin to come out, okay?  Where’s your te-te’s car?”

She points.  I don’t see a car. Auntie apparently didn’t figure out not to pull up by where the buses were.  At that moment I hear an all-call behind me for the name that this little girl has given me, so apparently Auntie got tired of waiting and just called the school.  I point out that they just called for Erin and the little girl runs away.

All right then.

Glad I could help.


too-many-emailsToday was the first day in the new building where I didn’t spend the entire day running my ass off.  I spent the first teacher day and the first two days of school putting out fires and solving problems as quickly as I could– and, when necessary, that’s pretty fast— and today was the first day that felt calm.  Honestly, there were points where I was almost fishing about for something to do.

Or, at least, I would have been, were it not for the fact that I get a hundred goddamn emails a day now. There are about sixty staff members and associated personages in my building and thirty-some-odd people who have my job, and a few of us need to sit down and have a talk about what emails 1) do not need to be sent to everyone on a mailing list and 2) do not need to be sent at all.

For example: the next person to send me an email that just says “thanks” is getting smacked.  Because I just archived that email thread, goddammit, because I dealt with whatever you needed and I’m done with those emails now.  Probably 10% of my email is just “Thanks!” or something similar, and sometimes that “Thanks!” is sent to fifty people, and … goddammit, stop.  Say “Thanks in advance!” at the end of the first message.

(Note that compared to literally every other gripe I’ve had about a job ever, I recognize that this is minor.  But still.  Stop it, people.)

The last two books I’ve read have both been one-day reads, both because they were good and because they were really short.  You could do a lot worse than checking out The Armored Saint by Myke Cole and The Descent of Monsters by J.Y. Yang.  They’re both novellas, and while Yang wrote their book specifically as a novella the one weakness of Cole’s book is that it feels more like the first third of a long book rather than an entire book by itself.  It’s a minor gripe, though. Check ’em out.

Speaking of books, N.K. Jemisin won another Best Novel Hugo last night– I need to reread the Broken Earth trilogy soon– and you should read her acceptance speech, which is awesome.

In which something is a bitch

4309I don’t believe in karma.  The universe doesn’t care about me (or you) one way or another, and there is no balancing force or supernatural intelligence out there looking to balance any sort of scales, especially with regard to my specific life.

That said, sometimes shit happens and makes you wonder.

Monday afternoon sometime I had a guest come into the store.  It became immediately apparent that the guest was Not Quite Right in some way or another; either impaired on some sort of substance or simply, for whatever reason, not in possession of a surfeit of social skills.  She had a problem of some sort; there’s no need to go into the details, but it was immediately clear to me– as in within a sentence or two– that I was not the person to solve her problem, but that the person who could solve her problem was in the store, and I could take her to that person in mere moments, if she would shut up about her interminably long, ridiculous, boring story long enough for me to get a word in edgewise.

You have probably had this conversation at some point, right?  Where the person takes forever to explain something to you, you provide the information they need in less than a sentence, and then they go “Yes, but” and repeat the entire story again?

It happened three times in a row until I simply walked away, assuming that either she would follow me or I would collect the person she actually needed to talk to and bring them to her.

At any rate, at about the halfway point during this conversation I noticed that this woman had her shirt on inside out.  And I went into one of those stupid mental calculation things, where my desire to be done and away from this conversation and my additional desire to not do or say things that cause embarrassment to other people went to war with, well, let’s call it “basic fucking human decency” and leave it at that.

Basic human decency did not win.  I did not point out the condition of her shirt to her, having no desire to poke the bear any further, and eventually got her into the custody of someone who could actually help her.

That 382-word short story exists as a preamble to this:  this morning I did the following:

  1. Took my dog to the vet;
  2. Took my son to breakfast at McDonalds, and ate inside the restaurant;
  3. Went to the post office;
  4. Went to the bank; and
  5. Went to Target;

and only at that point, halfway through my shopping trip at Target, did I notice that the shirt I’d thrown on that morning, a shirt that I’d pulled out of dirty laundry because I was planning on mowing the lawn after all the errands and there was no point to taking a shower (one of the advantages of being bald) or putting on clean clothes if I was just going to sweat them all up; only after all of that did I notice that I’d been out in public for two and a half hours and my shirt was– wait for it– inside out.

The end.

REPOST: MOAR BUTTZ, a tale told with pictorial accompaniment.

Context: my day has been long and tiring, and yesterday was largely consumed by dealing with my now-six-year-old son’s ass and the various horrifying products it was creating and dispensing.  I am not in the mood to write a post, but I have always felt like this one didn’t get enough credit.  And most of you haven’t seen it.  So therefore: enjoy.


So for the last couple of days the boy has been all


and, frankly, it’s starting to look really unpleasant.  He’s clearly not terribly happy with the situation either.

My wife gets home from work today and tells me she has a mission for me.  I’ll be honest: I was tired (again) and hungry (again) and more than a little aggravated already for reasons that I don’t plan to go into and the thought of a mission was not entirely pleasing to me.

“Describe the nature of this mission,” I requested.

“I need you to get butt paste,” she said.


“Butt paste.” I replied.  I made sure to phrase it in such a way that she heard the period at the end of the sentence.

“Butt paste,” she says.  “I’m hoping you can get it at Martin’s.”

(Context: Martin’s is our local grocery store; it’s a chain but I’m pretty sure it’s limited to north-central Indiana and maybe lower Michigan.)

I look up Butt Paste on the Internet, which sadly is probably not the oddest search I’m going to perform on the Internet this week.  It turns out that there is a product specifically called Butt Paste.  Check the URL:  you find it at, which should not be a website for medical supplies.  However, frighteningly, that is not the Butt Paste that I’m looking for.

UnknownWhat I’m looking for– what the pediatrician apparently explicitly suggested my wife try to locate– is actually called Dr. Sirlin’s Bottom Ointment, which still sounds inappropriate.  Dr. Sirlin’s Bottom Ointment is, near as I can tell, only sold in one place on Earth, but more on them later.  Needless to say, that place isn’t Martin’s.  My wife calls Martin’s anyway, just to be sure, and asks the pharmacist who answers the phone if they carry, no shit, this is a direct quote: “Dr. Sirlin’s butt paste.  For butts.  Baby butts.”


I consider protesting the use of the phrase butt paste for this query, because we aren’t looking for butt paste, we’re looking for bottom ointment, which is clearly very different.  I do not actually voice the query.  The person on the other line comes back quickly with an affirmative.  We have butt paste!  Go for butt paste!

Unknown-1And I’m off to Martin’s.  It’s not far away from home, which is the reason we’d rather go there.  Once I get there I arrive timed perfectly with a car leaving a very choice parking spot, which I wait for.  The driver of the other car, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to get that I want her parking spot, and keeps trying to wave me on past her, thinking she’s being polite, and no amount of flailing and pointing at the empty goddamn parking spot on my part convinces her otherwise.  So instead I park here:

Unknown-2And into Martin’s I go.  To be greeted with a conundrum!  Cute Cashier Girl is for some reason working at the pharmacy counter.  Cute Cashier Girl, I hope to God, is in her early twenties.  She’s a cashier, though!  She’s not supposed to be at the pharmacy!

I cannot ask Cute Cashier Girl for butt paste.  I’m gonna try and be all suave, like


but I know me.  It’s gonna come off all


I cannot do this.

I spend a moment considering other options and can’t think of any.  I approach the counter.  She smiles cheerily and asks if she can help me, with no idea of the horror of the request I’m about to make of her.

“I’m looking for something called Dr. Sirlin’s Ointment?”  I omit the word bottom, because I cannot say bottom to this lovely young lady.  “I understand it’s supposed to be behind the counter for some reason.”

She looks quizzically at me, then looks around for a minute.

“I don’t see it.  What’s it for?”

Don’t say butts.

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“Diaper rash.”  Ha!  I win!

She lights up, smiling again.  “Oh!  You’re the butt paste guy!”


Oh hell no.  I am a lot of things, Cute Cashier Girl, but I am sure as hell not butt paste guy.  No.  Uh-uh.  No goddamn way.

The butt paste, apparently, is not behind the counter.  It is actually in the baby aisle.  I swallow what is left of my dignity and head for the baby aisle, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt what is about to happen.  And my worst fears come true:


God dammit.  That, you will notice, is not Dr. Sirlin’s Bottom Ointment.  That’s fucking butt paste.  I don’t want butt paste.  I want bottom ointment.

I pick up the box, cursing God and all creation, and return to the pharmacy counter.  She’s still there, of course, it’s not like the goddamn baby aisle is that far away.

“I have a, uh, follow-up question?”

“Oh, okay!”  oh god she hates me so much she’s actually got her bright cheery smile on her face, and a bit of a twinkle in her eye that suggests to me that she’s enjoying my pain.

“I assume you are the one my wife talked to.”


“She asked for Dr. Sirlin’s… (makes a face) Butt Paste.  The stuff we want is actually called


Bottom ointment.  I thought this might happen.  Do you have the ointment?  This isn’t actually what I’m looking for.”

She looks around again and then signals the actual pharmacist, who has been hiding behind a rack of drugs and trying her damnedest to keep a fucking straight face.  The pharmacist confirms that, no, they don’t have Bottom Ointment.  Just Butt Paste.  So I have to go to the other place.

I thank her for her time and apologize for my own nonsense.  Off to the car!


There are two reasons I don’t want to go to this other establishment.  One I’ll get to later.  The other is that they are a million miles away.  They are literally not in the same town I’m in.  I don’t want to go to another town for butt paste or bottom ointment.  I want to be home, eating dinner.  In my town.

But I love my wife, and I love my son, at least the non-butt parts of him.  So off I go.  I drive past this place on my way home from OtherJob all the time, so I know where it is, and I head there– to OtherJob, not quite realizing until it’s slightly too late that I drive past it on the way home from OtherJob, and for reasons that are not interesting I generally drive home from OtherJob via a different route than I take to get to OtherJob.  So I’m going the wrong way.

Once I realize this and correct my course, I still manage to make two fucking wrong turns before successfully arriving at Pharmacy Two.  On the way over to the pharmacy, it occurs to me that I am so fucking blogging this shit when I get home.  I take a moment in their parking lot and compose an entertaining Tweet to that effect.  Then I get out and go inside.

Well, I try to.  As I’m reaching for the fucking door, an employee locks the fucking thing from the inside and points at a sign next to the door.  The sign cheerfully informs me that this fucking place closes at six, as pharmacies do oh wait no they fucking don’t, ever.

I look at my watch.

It’s five fucking fifty-eight.

At this point my mood somewhat transitions.


I was entertained with this bullshit up until this exact fucking second.

You did not just LOCK A FUCKING DOOR IN MY FUCKING FACE TWO FUCKING MINUTES BEFORE FUCKING CLOSING AT A FUCKING ***PHARMACY***.  It ain’t goddamn 1983 anymore.  My fucking watch ties into a goddamn satellite that tells it what time it is.  I can’t even adjust the motherfucker.  It ain’t goddamn 6:00 yet, which means your ass isn’t fucking closed yet.

Listen, bitch, this ain’t fucking Barnes and Noble and it isn’t fucking Applebee’s.  I am not fucking here to browse.  You’re a pharmacy, motherfucker, and no fucker anywhere goes to a fucking pharmacy unless they motherfucking need to. I am there to get my shit and get the fuck out, and don’t you dare fucking thing for one fucking second that I can’t see that there is at least one motherfucker in there who isn’t dressed like he’s at fucking work.

I have two fuckin’ choices here.  One is to go home.   The other is to go to jail.  Jail will no doubt feel better but either way there will be no fucking Bottom Ointment.

Not.  Happy.

I went home and had dinner.  A bit more research after dinner indicated that Dr. Sirlin’s Bottom Ointment is apparently produced by this pharmacy.  It’s literally the only place you can get it other than the Internet.  Well, fuck them.

Butt Paste it is.  I return to Martin’s.


I collect my Butt Paste.  I go back to the pharmacy counter, because I’m buying this with a damn flex account and it’s easier if we just use the pharmacy counter to buy anything medical-related.  She’s still there, naturally.  And she, I swear to God, says:

“There’s a story here, isn’t there.”

Oh sweetie.  You have no idea.


(ADDENDUM:  I didn’t include this in context because it kinda kills the tone of the piece, but the other reason I don’t like this pharmacy?  They tried to kill my dog.  My dog in high school/early college developed epilepsy, and rather than try to get a canine version of the drug they needed the vet just contracted through them to produce his medicine– which happened to be in liquid form.  He was on the stuff for quite a while, and at some point we went in and got a bottle that was a radically different color and consistency than every other version of the medicine we’d gotten.  The pharmacist not only argued with my mother about whether the medicine was different, at one point he actually said the words “Look, it’s just for a dog.”  So this is the second time this place has nearly resulted in a member of my family going to jail.  Merrill Pharmacy in Mishawaka, Indiana?  Go fuck yourselves.)


(FINAL NOTE:  As I was finishing this post up, my wife, who has been bathing our son, sticks her head into the office.  “Hey, babe?  There’s poop in the tub.”  Because of course there is.)

The End.