Forklift Fantasies, Atlas is Invincible

I really thought that a golden opportunity had knocked on my door the other day. I was sitting at my work computer reviewing some secret agency documents when my text alert sounded. I get very few text messages—in fact, the only person who texts me regularly is the comedian Jim Gaffigan. Somehow, I got on a list to receive texts from him, and while I’m sure he’s a very nice man, I wish I wasn’t on his list, because he texts me at least twice a day. I’ve written in the past that I have a very sensitive startle response, so every time the notification goes off, I just about jump out of my chair, only to discover that it’s yet ANOTHER clip of Jim doing stand-up or Jim forcing one of his many children to eat liverwurst. Random? You bet. I suppose I could text him back with “New phone, who dis?” but I don’t think he reads any of the replies, at least not any that I’ve already sent. Plus, I don’t want to hurt his feelings because what if I’m the only person who hasn’t dropped him by now, and then he’s like “Not you too, Mydangblog! I thought we really had something special! Oh, WHAT’S THE POINT?” and then he never does stand-up again and it’s all my fault? You know who’s a GOOD celebrity to have on text? Jeff Goldblum. He texted me once and I’ve never heard from him again, but he’s in my contact list so I can show people and be a little braggy without having to suffer through clips of him in The Fly or whatnot.

Anyway, my text notification went off, so I sighed and braced myself for Jim but it wasn’t him. It was potentially a dream come true. You may remember that I have waxed poetic on a number of occasions about driving a forklift. And why WOULDN’T I want to drive one? A forklift is like a golf cart with arms, and you should all know by now that the only reason I have EVER golfed is so I can drive the golf cart, and a forklift is just one step better. It’s like being a human transformer. If you’ve ever seen that Alien movie where Sigourney Weaver wears the forklift suit, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The only thing more badass than a forklift suit is in the final installment of The Matrix where Captain Mifune wears the human machine gun suit. They call it an Armoured Personnel Unit, but if it was me, I’d just be yelling “Get me my damned human machine gun suit—Player One’s got a dock to defend!!”

And what did this magical text message say? It said, “Urgent Requirements! Forklift Operators needed! Long hours and long term possible. Text TPI!” and there was a number to text back. Also, UNLIKE Jim, there was also the sentence “Text STOP to opt out”, but in this case, I would NEVER want to opt out. I was momentarily thrilled and was about to text back, “Yes! A resounding yes!” when I read it again. Long hours? Long term possible? That didn’t sound like much fun to me. I mean, 45 minutes would be good—that would give me a chance to tool around the neighbourhood, go to the park and rearrange some picnic tables, you know, the normal sh*t you do with a forklift (in this scenario, I’m obviously wearing a cape and a Spanish Inquisitor hat because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, particularly on a forklift). But anything longer than that might become more like a job than a pleasure, and I already have a job. So I texted back, “Ooh, I’ve always wanted to drive a forklift. But I don’t think I could do it for hours, more just like around the block or whatnot. Thanks though!” That was the end of it, and I was a little sad, thinking I would never hear from them again, but about ten minutes later, my text notification went off again. I didn’t look right away, assuming it was Jim talking about manatees AGAIN, but no—it was from the forklift people. The text read, “Thank you!” So now I don’t know if that means they’re considering me and one day this week a forklift might pull into my driveway, but I have my cap and hat ready to go.

In other news, my new puppy is fearless and also has a huge ego:

Atlas: Ma! I will defend this abode from all intruders!
Me: Dude, I think you mean “commode”. You’re barking at the toilet.

Atlas: Watch me harness the power of electricity!
Me: Stop chewing on that electrical cord!

Atlas: Whee, I can fly!
Me: Do NOT try to leap into my arms from the top of the stairs.

Atlas: I have a gourmet palate!
Me: Well, that rug IS an antique.

Atlas: I’m a savage predator!
Me: The garden hose certainly agrees with you.

Atlas: I’m a hat!
Me: You aren’t allowed to sleep on my head!

Atlas: I’m Aquaman, Ma!
Me: Get away from the pond—you’re scaring the fish.

Atlas: I’m a very good boy.
Me: Yes, you are. Especially when you’re asleep.

Spoiler Alert

One of the bonuses of not being able to go anywhere for the last few months has been the ability to binge-watch TV shows without feeling guilty. Did I do a Tiger King marathon, becoming increasingly more disturbed and fascinated over the course of one delightful evening? You’re damn right, and I did the same thing with the Criminal UK/Spain/Germany series, Sex Education, Better Call Saul, Queer Eye, Picard, every Rupaul’s Drag Race episode available to humankind on a variety of platforms, and a myriad of other shows. And I did it all on WEEKNIGHTS as well as weekends. No remorse whatsoever. One thing I struggle with though, like many people, is that there are SO MANY shows out there to choose from that I quite often end up scrolling through lists relentlessly looking for something that catches my eye. Because more often than not, the titles make it very difficult to judge what a show is about. Tiger King was simple—it’s actually called “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”. All three of those things are very enticing as far as I’m concerned. Same goes for The Haunting Of Hill House. There’s a house on a hill and it’s haunted—watch to find out what happens next! Then there’s The Witcher which is about a dude who’s a witcher—fairly self-explanatory if not a little derivative. And if you’re like “Hey! It was very original, dammit!”, let me summarize the premise for you thusly: a nearly immortal lone wolf-type who is very attractive to the ladies and has a relationship with a magical woman travels across a fantastical land with a group of dwarves. He and the dwarves skirt around a mountain containing their old mine looking for a dragon who is killing villagers nearby. Sound vaguely familiar? Of course, there are differences too—there’s a bloody and violent race called the Nilfgaardians who are kind of mutated elves—oh wait, that’s just like Orcs…anyway, it WAS a great show, and sorry for the spoilers, but if you’ve read Lord of the Rings, you already have a pretty good sense of the plot.

Speaking of spoilers, Ken and I were watching TV a while ago, and a commercial came on for a 6-episode mini-series about a female doctor who kills people with a hypodermic needle. The show was called “Mary Kills People”.

Me: Way to give away the ending.
Ken: Well, the whole commercial showed her killing people. It’s not like the title was the REAL spoiler here.
Me: Couldn’t they leave just a little bit to the imagination and call it “Mary May or May Not Have Killed People”?
Ken: At least we don’t have to watch it now.
Me: It’s such a dumb title. Can you imagine if the first Star Wars movie was called, “Luke Blows Up the Death Star”? What would be the point of seeing it? Why would anyone read Pride and Prejudice if it was called “Elizabeth Marries Darcy”? I like the trailer for Cardinal better.

Cardinal is another series I want to watch, but I have no idea what it’s about , except that there are two detectives investigating a murder in a cold town somewhere. The trailer doesn’t show much, except the one detective says to the other, “I’m happy to be working this case with you,” and then a block of ice containing what looks like a body is pulled out of a frozen lake. See, THIS is how it’s done, because at the end, I was like “What?! I need to watch this show and find out what happens. And who the hell is Cardinal? Is it a guy? Is it a bird? I need to know.”

It’s a certain fact that people HATE spoilers. Have you ever just seen a fantastic movie and you want to share it with a friend, so you only tell them the beginning? And then they say, “So what happens at the end?” and you have to first confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will NEVER see it themselves, because you don’t want to be the one who spoils it for them? Have you ever accidentally given away the end of a book, and had people look at you like you bought the last remaining rolls of toilet paper in the store?

Of course, there are people who deliberately give away the endings of movies just to be a dick, and they’re hated almost as much as racists. And they probably get punched in the face more frequently, even though the racists deserve it more. Seriously, I think the only way Donald Trump’s supporters would ever turn against him is if he finished every press conference and Nuremberg-style rally with “And by the way, the head in the box was Brad Pitt’s wife. Such a great movie.” So the people who decided to call the series Mary Kills People are not very astute, in my books. Unless…maybe the series isn’t really about a female doctor who kills people. Maybe it’s just a ploy to get people who’ve exhausted all other options to watch it, and then those people will be like, “OMG, it was SO good! I can’t tell you what happens, but it’s not what you expect…Oh god, I wish I could tell you! Are you sure you’re never going to watch it?!” And maybe the body in the lake in Cardinal was put there by a female doctor named Mary. Don’t tell me. Don’t spoil it.

In other news, my puppy’s a ho.

Oh, he’s as sweet as pie most of the time, but he has two teddy bears. One is name Blue-beary, the other is named Thurston, and he is regularly having relations with both of them. Indiscriminately. It’s simultaneously hilarious and horrifying. We play a PG version of a certain game that we like to call Marry, Make Merry, or Murder. He decided he wanted to marry me (he demonstrated this by licking my face, rolling over on his back and waving his paws at me), make merry with Blue-beary, which he did with incredible gusto for such a tiny thing, and murder poor Thurston by attempting to rip his furry face off. And then he made merry with Thurston right after, and murdered Blue-beary. But he still wants to marry me, which I suppose will wear off when I tell him that not only am I his Ma, we’re not even the same species. Spoiler alert.

My Week 196: Four Vignettes, or Whuh?

Four Vignettes

1) Last weekend, Ken and I pulled into our driveway just as two very small boys about 7 years old walked past our house. They were each carrying a puppy. Neither puppy was wearing a collar or had a leash. I’m going to let that sink in for a second. By the time we had gotten out of the car, they were down the road. I stood there, mouth hanging open, watching as they disappeared into the distance.

Me: Um…there are puppies.
Ken (unpacking groceries): Looks like it.
Me: I want to carry one too.
Ken: Who knows where they came from?
Me: From a magical place in town where there are puppies that people are allowed to CARRY, KEN!
Ken: I—
Me: They’re going towards the park! You know, I forgot to get…(mumbles) you know. I’m just gonna hop back into the car and go to the store.
Ken: I could use some help with the groceries.
Me: I’ll be right back!!

I drove slowly down the street as the two boys seemed to meet up with an older man who was pushing a baby carriage and walking a dog. I drove up and as they started around the corner into the back entrance to the park, I rolled down my window and called out to the guy, “I like your puppies!” in the hope that he might reply, “Why, thank you. Would you, perhaps, like to pet one?”

But he turned to look at me and smiled. “Oh, they’re not mine. I don’t know those kids.” And then the two boys and the puppies disappeared into the park. I drove around the block to the park’s front entrance and went in. It was super-crowded and I was hoping that was because there was some kind of Puppy Petting Zoo, or a Puppy Cavalcade, or a “Puppies on Parade” thing, but it was only a stupid softball tournament. Dejected, I made my way home, convinced that I would never see the puppies again. But then, in a strange twist of fate, I was weeding the garden after dinner when the same two little boys carrying the same two puppies walked by the house once again. It was a golden opportunity and I wasn’t going to let it go by.

Me: Hey!! Are those your puppies?!
Little Boy 1: Yes.
Me: Can I pet them?
Little Boy 2: OK.
Me: What kind are they?
Little Boy 1: They’re a bulldog and sharpei cross. We have lots.
Me: Are you selling them or something? How much are they?
Little Boy 1: One Thousand Dollars.

But I got to pet them for free. Suckers.

2) On Wednesday, I was at a high level meeting at work, with all the directors and the CEO, discussing a new policy. I was doing what I normally do, which is trying to pay attention and not think about puppies, or the fact that “Sugar, How’d You Get So Fly?” is my new favourite song for absolutely NO undiscernible reason, or how I’d had too much green tea AGAIN but there was no way I was using the bathroom during the meeting, when suddenly the person leading the meeting said, “Is there anyone else?” and my director looked at me and said, “Don’t forget ours.” So I shook myself out of my reverie and replied, “Oh right, there’s also that,” to which the person running the meeting said, “OK, guide me through it.”

I was at a complete loss. Not because I’m incompetent (REALLY), but because I was thrown by his turn of phrase and I had no idea what he meant. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have a very poor sense of direction, and certainly can’t be counted on to guide ANYONE ANYWHERE. Last weekend, I took Ken for a beer tour, but he had to navigate. At the second last place, I asked how to get to the next brewery and the brewery owner said, “Take this street to the main road, then go North.” My response was, “Is that left or right?” North means nothing to me except “UP”. I’d be the best sherpa on the planet ie: “We go North!!” but otherwise, I’m pretty useless.

So I did what virtually NO ONE would do—I looked at the dude leading the meeting and I said, “Whuh?” Not “Pardon?” Not “Certainly.” Not even “What?” I said, “Whuh?” He kind of looked at me askance, then my director jumped in and ‘guided him through it’. Let me clarify. I am a 52 year old professional, both well-educated and well-groomed. I have several degrees and I’m a published novelist. Yet my go-to is “whuh?” It’s a damn good job that I can write up a stellar business case with secondary sources in under half an hour or my ass would be grass.

3) I saw an ad on the internet for writers who could create interesting posts about clipping their dog’s toenails. It paid 20 pounds, which is the equivalent of around $50 Canadian dollars. So I thought about applying, but I’d never clipped a dog’s toenails before so it occurred to me that I should practice first.

Me: Hey, do you want a pedicure?
Titus: What’s that?
Me: It’s when I gently massage your legs, and rub lotion into your paw pads…(whispering) and then I clip your nails…
Titus: No f*cking way. But nice try seducing me with the massage and whatnot.
Me: C’mon. It’s for fifty bucks. I’ll split it with you.
Titus: Split my toenails more like.
Me: I’ll be careful. Wouldn’t it be better for ALL of us if you didn’t gouge our faces when we asked for high fives?
Titus: It’s the chance you take.
Me: Seriously. Let me try.
Titus: Well, OK. Wait—what’s that?!
Me: Those are the clippers. Hold still.
Titus: They look really sharp—I—Nope!! Nope nope!! Stop it—I said No!!
Me: YOU’RE. BEING. A. BABY! Hold still! Don’t pull away—that will only prolong things! There. All done.
Titus: You’ve made me very unhappy.
Me: I’m going to write this up. I’ll buy you some cookies with my hard-won earnings.
Titus: They’d better be liver-flavoured. Get me my squeaky hippo, you sadist.
Me: For fifty bucks, I’ll buy you a new one.

Be gentle with me.

4) Ken and I are going on vacation soon, so I rented a car through Avis. I hadn’t received a confirmation number so on Thursday, I called their rental centre in Calgary. Unbeknownst to me, that number sends you to a central location somewhere in the United States. After screaming “Speak to a representative!!” several times at my phone, I was finally put through to Jeremy:

Jeremy: Hi there! My name is Jeremy. I’m here to help you. What’s your name?
Me: Suzanne.
Jeremy: OK, can I have your confirmation number?
Me: That’s the problem. I was never sent one.
Jeremy: OK. Can you spell out your last name for me?…Great—I see it in the system. Just to verify—what’s your first name again?
Me: Suzanne.
Jeremy: Can you spell that for me?
Me: Sure. Ess—You—Zed—Ehh—Enn—Enn—Ee
Jeremy: What?
Me (spells it again).
Jeremy: I’m sorry—your name is Su-zed-anne?
Me: What? NO. It’s Suzanne. With a zed.
Jeremy: Su-zed…I don’t understand.
Me: ZED is the last letter of the alphabet. THE 26
TH
LETTER.
Jeremy: Oh, you mean like Zee?
Me: Ah, you’re American. Yes. Just like Zee, only the RIGHT way to say it.
Jeremy: Pardon?
Me: Whut?