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7-12-01 - Shortcuts

Got a haircut today at one of those Supercuts places.  I love them.

In and out of the chair in about four minutes.  To call these people 'hair stylists' would be like calling the guy who presses together your McChicken Sandwich a chef.  Sure, technically it's food, and technically, they do prepare it.  It is digestible.  Technically.  But they won't be getting a write-up in Zagat's anytime soon.

Supercuts reminds me of those guys in the lumberjack competitions on ESPN2, hacking through a log in twelve seconds.  Real lumberjacks go lug elaborate equipment out in the woods, plan their approach, scale the trees, etc.  These guys just have a section of log set in front of them and HACK-HACK-HACK-HACK-HACK-HACK they're done.

(Note:  I didn't do any research on lumberjacks, and I don't really know what lumberjacks do, kids, so don't use this information for a report!)

Supercuts is all about speed, and I can certainly play along.

Them:  "How do you want it?"

Me:  "Shorter."

There's no time for uncomfortable conversation, which is what I'm really trying to avoid.  They don't care where I work or if I have big plans for the weekend or if I can believe this weather.  I'm just a head to them.  Less than that, really.  I'm a scalp.

Meanwhile, I don't have to stare at my reflection, unhappily scrutinizing my receding hairline, while they spend forty-five minutes making the back even.  There's no time to ponder the snippets of gray hairs, a few more each visit, accumulating on my lap.  There's just no time.  It's all over in an instant.

Generally.

Tonight, I went in for my haircut at about 8:25pm.  They close at nine, so I figured it wouldn't be a problem.  It was.

There were only two cutters working (again, I won't call them stylists), and one took me, the other took another guy who had arrived at roughly the same time.

HACK-HACK-HACK-HACK-HACK-dingle!

The 'dingle' was the door chime as another customer arrived.  He was no ordinary customer, either, but an escaped Nazi wanted for crimes against humanity, judging from the way my cutter glared at him.  It soon became apparent what the real deal was:  my cutter didn't want to take another customer that evening.  I was to be her last.

Unfortunately, the other cutter seemed to have the same idea, and it became a contest to see who could take longer to finish cutting the hair on their respective imprisoned scalps.

It dragged on and on.  At one point I swear she was just snipping the scissors in the air over my head.  She and the other cutter kept exchanging dirty looks, while I, the other dude, and the new guy just sat in our chairs being miserable and wondering how long it would be before someone caved.

After almost a half-hour, the new customer finally gave up and left, and the plastic sheet fastened around my neck was jerked free so quickly I was nearly decapitated.  A few slaps on the back of the head with a brush, and I was free to return home, to phone my loved ones and tell them to call off the search for my remains.

Anyway, today's my birthday, so there probably won't be an update Friday, owing to vast amounts of alcohol and cake that I'll be pouring and shoveling, respectively, into my craw tonight.  See you Monday!

e-mail: temp@notmydesk.com 

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7-10-01 - The Quotable Temp

How often do you hear someone mention temping in passing?

Not often enough for my tastes.  I mean, sure, every once in a while the subject of temps or temping will come up, but it's usually just a quick mention and then on to other things, like sports or politics or the fact that Webvan went under (dang, I had placed an order on Friday and everything).

So, I'd like temping to invade the social consciousness, and I figure the best way to do this is through a popular catch-phrase.

Just think about it for a second.  If you hear someone say "WHAZZZZZUUUUUPPPP!!!", what immediately pops into your head?  The desire to brutally murder them, correct.

So... maybe a popular catch-phrase isn't the best way to invade the social consciousness.  Perhaps a saying, a motto, an aphorism might be in order.

Just this morning, for instance, as I was peering down the road, hoping to spot my morning bus, I made myself stop and instead stare at a woman sitting on a bench.  Why?  Because, 'a watched pot doesn't boil.'  (Also, because the woman on the bench was wearing sandals, and she had pulled her feet out of them, and was playing with the sandal straps with her toes, and her toes were really, like, dexterous and weird, it looked like she could probably use her feet to fold intricate origami birds or defuse complicated bombs, it was just freaky and kinda gross, but sometimes you just can't look away).

'A watched pot doesn't boil.'  A simple saying that everyone knows and will never forget.  I think temping needs a saying like that, and I've determined that I shall not rest until it has one.  Sure, sure, you're all saying, this from a guy who swore he'd bring down Spencer Johnson (well, he's rich and powerful and I'm lazy), and who promised a new Henchman of the Week every Wednesday and hasn't produced one in over a month (well, I'm just lazy on that one)... but I think I can accomplish this task, or at least pretend to start to accomplish it and then never mention it again and have everyone forget I mentioned it and not bug me about it.

I started right there at the bus stop today.  I thought, 'a watched bus doesn't arrive.'  That could be a good one.  Just like the 'watched pot', only lamer, because it doesn't quite work, 'cause it's not really a 'watched bus', but instead a 'watched-for bus', since you can't actually watch the bus, it not being there, and if you can watch it, it's because it's there, because it's arriving.

So, 'a watched-for bus never arrives' might have a chance, except the lady with the feet started grossing me out and I started watching for the bus again, and the bus I was watching for arrived right after that, and besides, it's not just temps who take the bus, but also people with weird, highly prehensile feet, and I don't want to share an aphorism with them.  Or a bus, for that matter.

Some other ones I came up with during the ride:

'The temp that rocks the cradle is the temp whose supervisor doesn't know the difference between an administrative assistant and a personal assistant.'

'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, plus that the agency will find out about that time I started a fire at that one job.'

'I'd rather light a candle than search through that disgusting supply closet for a light bulb.'

'Life is what happens while you're making other plans, especially travel plans for your supervisor, who gets to go lots of cool places you'll never go.'

'Ask not what your company can do for you, and ask not what you can do for your company.  You ain't gonna be happy with either answer.'

'A friend in need is a friend indeed broke from low-paying temp jobs.' 

See?  It's easy to come up with them, and it's easy to see how badly they all suck.  But I'll work on it.

e-mail: temp@notmydesk.com 

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7-9-01 - Stupid Bug!  You Go Squish Now!

Diversions this week:  Something BHart posted on the message board  a while back:  Poke Alex in the Eye!  It's a fun game with three different skill levels:  Autopoke, Java Poke, and Poke Pro!  Also, need a witty sig line for your e-mails?  Check out Coolsig and be the envy of all your friends, or at least the easily impressed ones.  Links can be found down... and to the left.  Down... and to the left.  Down... and to the left.

---

I've been thinking a lot lately about forever imprinting temping upon the cultural consciousness of the public.  That, and bugs.

Bugs first.  This weekend, a huge insect flew into my apartment and became trapped.  Bugs, as you may have noticed, have the ability to fly in through the tiniest gap of an open window, then lose all flight precision, and spend the next few hours throwing themselves against walls, doors, your head, and panes of glass.  Even opening the window nice and wide for them doesn't seem to help, as they will bounce off the window trim just millimeters away from freedom.

This, I believe, is the insect equivalent of whales beaching themselves.  I mean, the best way for an insect to survive is to not come anywhere near me, as I, like most Americans, am constantly filled with murderous rage.  So, it would stand to reason that if a bug flies into my window, he's looking for a way to end his disgusting little life.

Still, I usually try to free them before resorting to violence, and generally, the bigger they are, the less I want to kill them, just to avoid the clean-up.  Big bugs make big splats.

Well, the bug on this day was gargantuan.  Just a huge mass of long skinny flailing legs and vibrating slender wings and, no doubt, googly eyes (if this were a cartoon bug, it would probably be named Poindexter: intelligent yet forgetful and clumsy, possibly voiced by Peter O'Toole).  It bounced around the room for about an hour, despite my attempts to direct it out the window.  Finally, since I was trying to get some writing done, and since I had finished reading the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly, I decided to squash it into oblivion.

As I stood on my desk, magazine in hand, I suddenly remembered a story I had to read in school, The Sound of Thunder.  The story involves a man who goes back in time for the purpose of dinosaur hunting.  He panics and steps off the designated trail, and when he returns to the present, he finds the world has been completely altered from the reality he knew... all because he had stepped on a bug while in the past.  This set off a subtle chain reaction of events that had an impact on history as he knew it, with disastrous results... and here I was about to squash an insect?

Sure, I certainly would not notice the effects of my actions... but wasn't I still altering the as-yet unwritten future?  What consequences would there be?  What empires might fall, or perhaps not even rise?  What civilizations might perish, might flourish, might never exist?  What distant event, thousands, millions, even billions of years in the future might bear the imprint of the death, at my hand, of this creature?

Shit, who cares.  I ain't gonna be around.

Splat.

Umm... oh, yeah... I was going to talk about forever imprinting temping upon the cultural consciousness of the public.  Guess I'll do that tomorrow.

---

A correction:  last week I posted a bit of reader art, attributing it to Doctor X.  This was an error, Doc's picture is this one:

And his link is right here.

As far as the picture of the dingo, I'm not sure who sent that in, because, being a huge suck, I up and lost the original e-mail.  Sorry about the mix-up, and if whoever created it could please write in again, I'd like to give you credit.  And, thanks to Doctor X for his picture!

e-mail: temp@notmydesk.com 

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