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.

My Week 261: And Now For Something Completely Different

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about watching a woman walk up to the front of a train, hitting everyone in the head on her way by, and I remarked that it was like something out of a Monty Python sketch. For those of you who don’t know, Monty Python was not a person; it was an absurdist comedy troupe that formed in the late 60s. Over the course of the next couple of decades, they had a TV series, live concerts, and several movies including Monty Python and The Holy Grail and The Life of Brian. If you’ve never heard of them or seen any of their work, then I don’t even know what to tell you. But if you ARE familiar with Monty Python, you’ll understand when I say that it has occurred to me on more than one occasion, and more so recently, that my life is pretty much one long Monty Python sketch. They’re well-known for numerous hysterically surreal scenarios, and below you will find the parallel circumstances of some of these moments in my own life. There are five below—4 are slightly exaggerated for comedic purposes and one of them is absolutely as it happened. See if you can guess which one.

Pet Shop

Late afternoon. The 11th floor.

Me: I’m having an issue with my computer.
IT Guy: Ah, yes. The Lenovo. What’s the problem?
Me: I’ll tell you what the problem is, my lad. It’s broken.
IT Guy: Broken? Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Me: Yes. It’s definitely broken.
IT Guy: It’s probably just doing updates. Remarkable machine, the Lenovo. Lovely keyboard.
Me: The keyboard doesn’t enter into it, mate! It’s broken! (*bangs laptop against desk*)
IT Guy: There, see? It’s fine—the screen flickered.
Me: No, it didn’t! (*opens and closes lid rapidly*) Cortana! Oh, Cortana!! See, it’s not working. And don’t tell me it’s pining for the fjords.
IT Guy: Fjords? In Canada? Give it here. Right—it was just a password problem. I’ve unlocked it for you.
Me: I wish I was a lumberjack.
IT Guy: You’re ok.

Argument Clinic

Early morning. Alarm goes off.

Me: Ergh. I’m so tired. I wish I could just call in and take the day off like some people can.
Ken: Dan’s not coming into work?
Me: Who’s Dan?
Ken: Isn’t he the person who’s not coming into work?
Me: No, I said ‘Like people can’.
Ken: Was he off yesterday too?
Me: Who?!
Ken: That Dan guy.
Me: What the f*ck are you talking about?!
Ken: What are you trying to tell me?
Me: I’m tired and I don’t want to go to work! Why don’t you either follow along or go back to sleep?!
Ken: Be like Dan.
Me: This argument has gone on way too long.
Ken: Are you staying home today?
Me: This is futile.

Michelangelo and the Pope

Via email

Literary Magazine: Greetings. We really enjoyed your short story and would like to publish it. We just need you to make a few minor revisions.
Me: I can do that. What were you thinking?
Lit Mag: Get rid of the family next door. They’re not important to the plot and they push the word count up.
Me: Get rid of them? But they add a bit of colour to the setting. Plus, the father’s presence allows the reader to infer a lot about the way the town perceives the main character. He’s like an Everyman.
Lit Mag: All right. We can live with the family, but we need you to lose the last paragraph. Just end it with the boy and the woman eating watermelon.
Me: Lose the last paragraph?! That’s where you find out the husband is dead all along!
Lit Mag: The husband’s DEAD?! Thanks for the spoiler. Regardless, it’s not necessary.
Me: NOT NECESS—look mate, you don’t want a writer, you want a bloody stenographer!
Lit Mag: We’re a bloody small university press, we are! We may not know writing but we know what we like!

Four Yorkshiremen

Lunchtime. Jack’s Office.

Jack: Who’d have thought we’d be sitting here using “Teams” on our Iphones. I miss the old days. Do you know, they’re not even making laptops with CD drives in them anymore? I remember my first computer—it was a Commodore 64.
Me: Commodore 64? You were lucky. I typed my honours thesis on a Vic 20.
Jack: I remember doing a lot of my high school essays on an electric typewriter.
Me: Electric? Ooh, we used to DREAM of electric typewriters. I learned to type on an old manual that weighed more than you did.
Jack: At least with computers, you could save everything on diskette instead of having to use carbon paper. Remember those floppy discs?
Me: Floppy discs? You were lucky. Back in my day, we had to save all our data on CASSETTE TAPES. And when the data was saved, we had to go outside and lick the road clean with our tongues.
Jack: What?
Me: Nothing. Remember when we all had Blackberries?
Jack: Blackberry? You were lucky. I had a flip phone for years.
Me: Flip phones?! You were lucky to have one of THEM. Back in my day, we had car phones the size of a laptop bag that plugged into the car. And they were RADIOACTIVE. We DREAMED of flip phones.
Jack: But you try to tell the young people of today that–
Me: And they won’t believe you.

 The Spanish Inquisition

9 pm. The front door opens.

Me: Oh! It’s you!
Ken: Who were you expecting—the Spanish Inquisition?
Titus (*flies into room*): NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Me: Nice cloak.

Our chief weapon is the element of surprise…

I’ve linked each title to the corresponding Python sketch, and here’s the link to all the Monty Python scripts from A-M here and from N-Z here in case you want to see how life imitates art.