Sunday, November 22, 2009

Witz Pickz: Best Supporting Cousin

When I agreed to see my cousin's high school production of Romeo & Juliet, I assumed I would be playing the role of Supportive Cousin. In fact, the thought crossed my mind that I might even end up nominated for a Best Supporting Cousin award, which would be great, because while I probably wouldn't win, I'd get to say those magic words that I've dreamed about ever since I was an underachieving teenager: "It's just an honor to be nominated." Unfortunately, the director (i.e. Life) decided that, while my Supportive Cousin audition was decent, I was way better suited for the role of Creepy Potential Child Molester.*

As the play approached, I received an email from my aunt, telling me that she and my uncle would not be attending the play. This, coupled with the fact that my cousin was the Assistant Stage Manager, meant that I would be a twenty-seven year old guy, going to see a group of high school strangers perform Romeo & Juliet-- and I'd be all alone. Don't worry though, as my aunt pointed out, "a lot of the audience for today's 4pm show will be students." Perfect!

Thus, I found myself, at 3:45pm, in a high school hallway, waiting to be let into an auditorium, surrounded by high school kids, some teachers, and a few scattered parents, staring at me with confused, guarded frowns. I immediately thought about my clothing-- t-shirt, jeans, jacket. A child molestor wouldn't wear a ringer-tee would he?...After a couple of genuine attempts at self-delusion, I admitted that a ringer-tee is probably the number one item a child molester WOULD wear. Dammit.

That's the real problem: the more you try to NOT look like a child molester, the more you end up looking EXACTLY like a child molester. Realizing that I was just a guy standing in a room of high school kids, I tried to play it cool. I pretended to text on my phone and realized that it looked a lot like I was taking pictures of the kids around me. I attempted to look over the crowd as if I was searching for one person in particular, but soon acknowledged that I appeared to be scanning the crowd for the special someone I intended on molesting. I even talked on the phone for a few minutes, but as I stood in the corner, every sentence I spoke probably looked like, "Pull the van around," to anyone watching.

When the auditorium doors opened, I waited until most people had gone in and then looked for the least molesty place to sit. Most of the middle seats were taken, and sitting down in the lone open seat next to a high school student was out of the question. There were plenty of seats open in the front, but that seemed like a pretty flagrant place for a pedophile to sit. Should I sit in the front simply because it was so obviously creepy and therefore I couldn't possibly be a creeper? No, better to play it safe and sit towards the an open row...IN THE SHADOWS...shit. I took my seat and waited for the seats to fill in-- and fill in they did! Students and teachers continued to pour into the auditorium as 4pm approached. The middle filled up, the front filled up, and the back filled up-- except, of course for my row of ten seats, which remained COOOOMPLEEEETELY EEEEEMPTY! I was either creepy or very uncool, and neither seemed like a win.

Being alone in my row with a filled row behind me and across the aisle from me meant that I, too, had an audience. When the lights finally went down and the play started, a whole slew of new issues arose that I hadn't even considered: do I laugh at the sexual innuendos? How do I react when the teenagers kiss? Where would a not-child-molester look when the bare-chested boys and busty girls prance around on stage?** There's the problem: when you start to worry about these things, you are no longer NOT a child molester, you ARE a NOT-child-molester. The difference is subtle, but vast.

Now I know what you're thinking: "It could be worse. At least he doesn't have condoms in his jacket pocket,"...So, here's the thing about that: you know that whole thing about a butterfly flapping its wings in China and a tsunami destroys California? Well, it's like that. Remember my post on Trojan Ecstasy Condoms? After that post, I bought a pack to pass out to my friends, both to acquire multiple reactions to the product, and to further illuminate my sad sad life. My last weekend in SF, I placed two in my jacket pocket to give to Nitro and Turbo, only to fail at passing them out. The condoms then traveled to LA, San Diego, Austin, DC, Brooklyn, and finally, the 4pm high school performance of Romeo & Juliet. The tsunami had reached the shore.

I felt like I had a bomb on a plane; drugs at the border; a...Rapist Club Card in a high school auditorium. They knew. They all knew. I sat through the rest of the play, which was actually really well done, and waited for my cousin to appear at the front of the house. I realized that the longer I waited, the creepier I seemed, but that when she appeared, all would be explained and I would be vindicated. So I waited...and since I was waiting anyway, what harm was there in using the bathroom?

In elementary school, there was a short-lived, ill-advised period of time when they installed a stop light in the cafeteria to monitor noise-level. When the noise got too loud, the light would go to yellow, and then to red, which would set off a loud alarm. Every lunch, the light would inevitably turn yellow, and we would all start yelling to get the alarm to go off, which would, in turn, set off a round of cheers from all of us kids. All day at that play, the light had been yellow. Walking into that high school bathroom was like screaming at the yellow light.

The minute I walked in and discovered the under-sized urinal, I knew I'd made a mistake. The kids in the bathroom got quiet. A flood of kids walked in after me laughing, and the chatter stopped as they spotted me-- "Who's the old guy?" you could hear them think. I wanted to shout out, "Billy Madison 2!" or, "21 Jump Street, bitchessss!" but I knew they wouldn't even get the references. I finished up, washed my hands, and quickly walked out of the bathroom. The few remaining students and adults in the waiting area stared at me as I exited. I looked around, lost, not sure what to do to show that I wasn't Creepy Potential Child Molester-- that I was playing the role of Supportive Cousin. I grew flushed, started sweating, looked around desperately-- an innocent man only too aware of the circumstantial evidence against him.

That's when my cousin called my name and appeared out of the thinning crowd like the governor granting me a stay of execution. "That's right, people," I wanted to shout. "I'm not Ringer-Tee Boys Bathroom Guy, I'm WITZ! Respectable Twenty-something hugging--..." --well, just some teenage girl as far as they were concerned, but it didn't matter. The tension in the room eased, eyes were averted, and I was me again-- Supportive Cousin Witz.

"How are you?" my cousin asked.
"Great, how are you?" I replied, but what I was really thinking in my head, as she gave me a hug, and we began to chat about the play and life and being cousins was, "It's just an honor to be nominated."

High School Musical 4: Megan's Law,

*While debating how to spell molester/molestor, Jezter and I decided that Molestor sounds like a child molesting robot. As Jezter said, "Molestor: the child molesting robot. Nobody knows why Molestor was created, and even fewer know why we continue to manufacture them."

**And would a not-child molester use the word "prance"???

Monday, November 16, 2009

Witz Pickz: Goin' Nuts - Today's Project

Let me preface this by stating that the reason I haven't posted recently is because I have been doing a number of very cool things and seeing cool people in New York City, a cool place that I have moved to via a cool road trip. Having said that, let me explain what I have spent the last twenty minutes doing.

I have spent the last twenty minutes sorting through nuts and cranberries in an attempt to create a quality trek mix out of assorted materials from Trader Joe's. Don't worry-- it's worse than it sounds.

You see, I have one big ziplock bag which was filled with two bags of Trader Joe's "Just Almonds, Cashews, and Cranberries," which is so named because it doesn't have any fucking chocolate in it and they don't want you to have any misconception of what you are getting yourself into for $4.49. Over the last couple of weeks (read: over a couple of hours two weeks ago), I have eaten the contents of the ziplock bag to "Casual Completion." "Casual Completion" means that I have eaten enough of the cashews and almonds that they are not easily discovered in the overabundant sea of dried cranberries which are in the aforementioned abundance either because dried cranberries are really cheap or because Trader Joe's dramatically overestimated their appeal. In other words: There are too many fucking cranberries.

Having given up on my big ziplock bag, I bought ANOTHER bag of the same mix along with a bag of Trader Joe's chocolate chips so that I could make my own badass trek mix. I poured the mix and the chocolate into a smaller ziplock bag, and quickly realized that there was way too much chocolate in the mix to still refer to it as "trek mix" and not "dessert." In order to keep my self-delusion alive, something had to be done. This is when the other bag caught my eye.

Yep. For the past twenty minutes, I have been sifting through dried cranberries in order to salvage almonds and cashews that I can take from the larger ziplock bag and place into the smaller ziplock bag until the "Trek Mix" ratio is restored. I have been doing this to the point that my palm is now slightly red from the berries, a condition I call "Cran-Hand" which is not only sticky and annoying, but makes your hand look like you've been putting in overtime hours at the Fluffer Factory.*

It's important to note that I am not clinically insane, nor do I have OCD. At the same time, it's important to note that I'm partially color blind, especially red/brown/green, and so distinguishing an almond from multiple cranberries is not as easy as it might seem. I think the MOST important thing to note is that I have other things I could do to occupy my time, I have $4.49 to buy another bag of trek mix, and yet there isn't a particularly good reason not to do what I have been doing. At the end of the day, I have a pretty badass bag of trek mix and you don't...and that's pretty cool.

Wapner At Five,

*And I don't mean this place...