please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Letter, part 2

A quick piece of background: when we left our narrator last time, he had run afoul of a violent piece of shit boss, who worked for a far more powerful piece of shit boss, lorded over by a husband-wife team, pieces of shit both.
Although I didn't delve into the personalities of John and Lucy Buchanan, I really should. They're incredible character studies, though in need of their own blog post; this one is long enough as it is.

I've said before that I've run three labor actions in my lifetime, two of them successfully. This is the one that didn't work. All three happened long before it ever occurred to me to join a union, and all were caused by employers who just failed to observe extant law. Do I think unions necessarily provide safeguards against this? My jury is out.

Funny thing about Rob Bearden; he influenced my writing in ways I hadn't considered until recently. He shows up in my fiction writing as pretty much any piece of shit savvy operator: "He smiled. He always smiled." Yup.
Even more so, whenever I meet people like him, I always make sure that they know I understand and appreciate their cunning. The fact that I'll never, ever trust them goes without saying, and therefore doesn't need to be said. I say so as a fellow Professional.

So back to the letter:

I suggested to interested parties with valid complaints that perhaps we should get together and discuss our grievances outside of work, off of museum property. Maybe even draw up a definitive list of complaints.
(The problem, of course, is that I was writing to an audience I couldn't necessarily gauge. So I didn't know how to frame arguments in a way they would find pleasing. If they saw it at all.)

As the time approached, I found myself considering that I was being asked by some to be a spokesperson of sorts, and that I wasn't really comfortable elucidating other people's problems. Especially the guards with legal reasons to fear reprisal for stepping forward. So I decided that it was everyone for themselves. Unfortunately, it had already been reported to Mike Sumpter that I was a "ringleader" of some nascent rebellion.
(And I knew who told him, too. That guy hated me because I had sex with his girlfriend long before he ever showed up. He really needed to grow the fuck up, and I told him so. Again, that's another story.)

Now, Mike and I had already tangled about appearance and job related issues. As far as appearance went, I was more than willing to comply, but he insisted on debating the reasons why one should look the way he felt we should. Many of the reasons were invalid to my mind, but again, I was willing to comply, and the fact that he kept bringing the subject up again and again felt much like harassment.
(Such drama over my habit of wearing nail polish, in those days. Really.)

There were also concerns of his regarding my job performance. This , coming from someone who seemed to be paid to smoke and talk on the phone (personal calls) for much of the day, this seemed a tad disingenuous. But I was willing to take his suggestions to heart. Again, he stayed after me for a week, restating his position, which I understood quite well the first time.
And again, in restating his opinion, he made a lot of what I would consider to be fallacious arguments, undermining much of what he had to say and confirming to me that I was merely being "rode" by my immediate supervisor.

(Who the potential audience for this letter could be, then or now, I couldn't tell you.)

So my identification as the "ringleader" of something potentially damaging to him must have seemed unsurprising. At this juncture, I was now beginning another solid week of harassment. This time, the charade I was asked to participate in, instead of doing my job, was extended debate about why I should not lose my job, what with me being the "ringleader" and all. I had it pointed out to me that complaint of any sort against one's employer, no matter how valid, was inappropriate, and reason for dismissal. I pointed out that this wasn't true in any legal sense, and furthermore had never been told such a thing at any other business or private organization I had worked for. This particular week went by slowly, as Mr. Sumpter seemed to have noticed my propensity for debate, and had decided (it felt) to argue me out of a job.
(I wrote all of this with Little G, who had just been fired by this asshole, looking over my shoulder.)

At the same time though, he was claiming to be my only protection against summary dismissal by Rob Bearden. On one hand, my appeals to Nolan Hibbard regarding Mike's behavior had been met with Nolan's usual response (which was, "Well, there's plenty of other jobs out there." True. But there are also laws on the books saying that if one is being harassed on the job, steps at least need to be taken to remedy it). So I knew that Mike essentially answered to a higher power in the museum structure.

Yet I strongly doubted that Rob Bearden devoted that much though to me in particular. Mike took pains to point out how much Mr. Bearden disliked me. I told him I suspected as much, but had never had any idea why. Again Mike asked, "Okay, what can I go next door and tell Rob so he won't fire you?"

I responded, "For one, that I am not the ringleader of anything. Second, even if I were, that is not adequate reason to fire me. And third, what does he expect from someone paid so little for so long, who is constantly being promised a raise if he only does one more little thing or two? No. I'm only now even within spitting distance of receiving the first cost-of-living increase I've seen in two years. I'm not leaving."

(This is more or less what was said, although I think what I said was far more brief. Along the lines of, "That I've done nothing that I can be fired for, that's why," or something.)

It was announced that the guards would be meeting with Rob Bearden the next week. Despite our obvious mutual dislike, Mike continued his pattern of long conversations with me while I was Duty Guard. I asked what Rob had to say about the guard force in general, and he replied that Mr. Bearden thought we were all crazy. I suppose so, if he only had Mike Sumpter's impressions to go on. He said, "I mean, I'm glad I'm not on a plane with all of you that crashes in the desert. The way you all complain about a little raise like this, you'd probably all (sit there and whine) in the sand, and I'd have to take a shovel and kill you all."
I replied that that's probably the
first thing he'd do anyway. The above is an example of how Mike chooses to view issues.

(He's hardly the only idiot I've met who does, of course. But this asshole was my boss. It was around this point that I started wondering if maybe more than just my job was being threatened.)

The meeting did not go well for the guards. In a nutshell, we were told that our raises were finally coming, in the next paycheck. We were also told that we would be expected to do a great deal more in order to "deserve" it. One guard, who is manic on the days when he's so depressed that he can't get out of bed, was put up to us as an example of the ideal guard.
(Larry also barely ever made it into work, but anyway...)

I attempted to express my concerns about Mike Sumpter's behavior to Rob Bearden, only to have him respond with unrelated material about appearance. I pointed out that he hadn't answered my question. He then dismissed the rest of what I'd said as "garbage". Mr. Bearden then emphasised the point that what Mike Sumpter said was not to be questioned...After what I have written above, it should be clear why some of us found this to be a less than comforting prospect.
Also broached was the legality of advertising a higher wage for guards than was actually being paid at the time. What we got back was evasion at best, and in one particularly uncomfortable moment, Mr. Bearden said he was "offended" by the implication that he was playing some sort of 'carrot and stick' game. I reflected to myself that I had never even heard that phrase until a year previous to this, at a similar meeting, where Rob described what we had to do to earn our upcoming raise (which never came), saying, "Okay, there's the carrot, now here's the stick."

(I love that.)

After this meeting, I called Rob Bearden twice, in order to receive a real answer to my question. To wit: did I really hear him say that everyone's job was subject to the whims of this rather unstable security chief? And furthermore, simply he felt I might have intended him harm, he saw fit to harass me for three weeks, and this was considered appropriate by the management? I never received a reply, which was all the reply I needed, of course.

After this comes an even longer laundry list of shady doings around the museum, all of them seemingly perpetuated by Rob Bearden's hires.

A couple of weeks later, I was fishing in the donation bin for coffee money (something everyone did, as the museum hadn't been donation-only for some time, and it was never clear where this money went), and was caught by Mike Sumpter. I was fired, as was the sixty-year-old guard who failed to stop me.

A week after that, Mike was accused of sexual harassment several times in the same week by the same guard, causing him to get fired. After this, I heard he was working security at a local mall.
I wish I could find the discussion thread I stumbled upon a few weeks ago. All the local news affiliates have terrible websites. But the discussion seemingly all was coming from people who actually knew the unlucky couple who had tased, beaten and pepper-sprayed the poor dude. There was lots of "...she was doin' just fine until she took up with that Mike..." type comments.

I note too that Rob is still chief of operations at the musee. Hm.

Pity I didn't attend his sentencing. I gladly would have been the voice from his past: tripped over your dick, didn't you, little man? BWAHH HAHH HAHH HAHH!!!
You know, but I didn't.


Rob Bearden Hired This Man

Hey, this is interesting: a guy who used to be my boss is on his way to jail. Wouldn't have happened, as I often say, to a nicer guy.

That's him over there. You can't see it represented here, but on the news tonight I could see his smug, sadistic smile, and knew immediately that it was him.

He was, briefly, the Assistant Chief of Security for the Portland Art Museum. I met him during this time, some ten years ago.
And I ain't one bit surprised that this is where we meet again.

So what happened? Well,

"Authorities arrested two people believed to have impersonated police when they broke into a man's apartment, robbed and assaulted him...While there, they allegedly took a cell phone and perhaps drugs, police said earlier."

Uh huh. Why?

"trying to get revenge for a dispute (the victim) had with a his former roommate..."

Sounds like cranked-out kinda activity. However, 'impersonating a police officer' is classic Mike Sumpter. I mean, he'd always claimed he'd been one, but who knows? He alternately claimed that he was fired for growing pot, or that he'd 'been shot too many times'. He was also fond of the story of where he beat the shit out of a man in front of his child, over a parking dispute.
He told me that he 'got tired of sending kids to prison for having a little pot.' It's clear that he shaped his story to fit the perceived predjudices of the listener. I wonder if he was ever actually a cop.

I have a letter here that I wrote to the board of directors of the museum. It was never sent, and it's probably for the best; it's not the best-written thing I've ever done. Besides, a week or so after I wrote it, he was out of his job anyway, having been accused of sexual harrassment several times in the same week, by the same guard.
At which point I called up his voice mail and shrilled, "Tripped over your dick, didn't ya', little man? BWAHH HAHH HAHH HAHH!!!" I could do that, as I was no longer employed there either.

His hiring was directly related to a turf war that had been brewing between Curatorial and Operations, which is to say the Art end of the business versus the Business end of the business. Business always wins in cases like this, but you're locked into it regardless and play out your role, no matter how stupid. Thing was, it didn't have to get as bad as it did.

Rob Bearden (on the left) was head of operations. Always kind of a shadowy figure, he seems to have been part of that weird gang of inept criminals who did all the booking at local rock clubs in the Seventies and Eighties. Exactly how he came to hold his current position is a mystery.
He really hated me, too. I'm not certain why this was. I applied for a position as his receptionist, back when I had no idea who he was, and was more or less told that I lacked the proper "game face". I think that the large cadre of frustrated artists who tend to comprise the staff of any museum bothered the shit out of him, and he determined to fire them all.

Rob had also promised us (the guards) that we would receive a raise and benefits, if we only met such-and-such conditions. The conditions were met, and two years later, we still hadn't recieved what we'd been promised. Also, more and more paid positions were being replaced by volunteers.
Museums are a fantastic example of how one can get rich running a non-profit. You spread the money around to all your other crooked friends in this crooked-est of businesses, while putting a minimal amount back into the museum and the community it serves.

So the guards, who as usual were misfit art people who just needed jobs, were being replaced by ex-military/law-enforcement personalities. This was not a job where violent conflict was much of a possibility; more of a public-relations, please-don't-touch-that, the-bathroom's-over-there type gig.
However, Rob Bearden was always hinting darkly at how the guard staff really needed some hard cases in charge, seeing how...Well, from the letter:

When Mike Sumpter was first hired, he quickly began speaking disparagingly of Denise Marsden, his predecessor. This struck many of us as an early bad sign, but Ms. Marsden's departure was still pleasing to many of us, as she had generally let her personal vendetta against the homeless and family issues with "people like" many of the guards get in the way of actually doing the job. This, Mr. Bearden has characterized as "being too good at her job".

'Being too good at her job' included at least once when she left a busy, packed museum on a Sunday -when only she and I were there- to go harrass a homeless man across the street, in the park. She would also cheerfully ask things like -while watching an elderly man slowly making his way up the stairs- "Don't you just wanna kill 'em?"
No, no I didn't, I said, and suggested that maybe she needed a different job. Back to the letter:

Soon, complaints arose against Mike from some of the female guards. They felt that they were being approached by him in an unprofessional manner, and he was all too open about muttering darkly to the rest off us that anyone who had a complaint, no matter how valid, was a "whiner" and didn't have "any business being a security guard".

Before long, the complaints were being logged, both on paper and otherwise, not only from guards but from women in several departments. Some of these are on file with Rob Bearden. Nothing seems to have been done about any of them.

Then, six guards all quit in one week. In two years of being a guard, despite the low pay and generally demeaning treatment of others
(sic), I have never seen that many guards quit at once, especially since several of them had not passed their probationary period, and would have had to pay back their $200.00 certification fee.
(I had forgotten that nasty little detail.)

The museum was now faced with not nearly enough guards to adequately cover the needs of a large scale exhibition like 'Egypt'. As the exhibit progressed, the understaffed guard force was in an understandably dark mood. Massive overbookings of poorly chaperoned school children made their jobs tenfold more difficult, and the official line was "we like the numbers".
(This was a direct quote from Rob Bearden.)

This struck many of us as dangerous thinking. "The numbers" drove up the incidence of injuries, almost certainly packed the museum with crowds exceeding the fire capacity, and the damage to the permanent collection continued apace.
(Layin' it on kinda thick there, but it was true.)

Amidst all this, we noted that our Assistant Chief had been hired merely to spy on us, generating a decidedly adversarial relationship with him, and the rest of his time was spent smoking cigarettes and talking on the phone. The level of complaint rose sharply. One of Mike's hires, a would-be police officer, had a bad habit of both arguing with visitors and making sexually inappropriate comments to female staff. When said staff members asked security personnel about who to complain to, they uniformly were told that Mr. Sumpter certainly wasn't. In the end, that particular guard left us.

So, as a guard with some experience at the museum, a number of people approached me with complaints about Mike Sumpter. Generally speaking, they were from women feeling sexually predated upon by him. But a few of them were about seeming entrapment ploys by Mike. One guard being offered drugs, another asked to buy drugs for Mike,

(And those highly varied stories I mentioned earlier about why he was no longer in law enforcement.)

This put me in an awkward position to say the least. I had listened to so many complaints at this point, and knew from experience that (Chief of Security) Nolan Hibbard wouldn't act on them, that I had to do something, but had no idea what.

(Oh, indeed. I'm gonna come back to this.)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fun With Friday: Foreigner! Inspired by...Foreigner! (and Reege!)

"Hey guys, great idea! I got us these coats! No, no hear me out..."

"We have come here for two reasons: to stand in front of some panelling while wearing leather and fur, and chew some gum. And we're almost out of gum."

(The Voice of Purnell Roberts:) "Martika is forced to live in a bathroom, surrounded by menacing, English classic rock musicians. The Christian Groupie's Charity Fund is hoping you'll help. Martika doesn't know the heart that beats in you. Not yet."

"So...Whaddya think we should name our fourth album?"


And...AAAH! It was indeed Regis time, out at Spirit Mountain, last Saturday.
What, you may ask, does someone with Regis's skill set do, when on tour? Pretty much makes shitty jokes, sings songs that had whiskers when my grandparents were in their twenties. Pretty much, he'd like to be the next Bob Hope.

I don't quite see it, though. He's too much of an asshole, and his voice is really annoying. This doesn't prevent him from having what seems like a pretty devoted fan base, though.
Said fan base would buy anything, if I had to say for certain. It takes a certain amount of willful ignorance not to get creeped out by this guy singing "Calendar Girl" (with the unfortunate line, 'I wanna take you to the junior prom') to you. Also, that number was a sing along: he had dragged five women from the audience up on stage, and when this was done, he sang "Miss America" to them.

Good clean fun, I suppose, but also the kind of fun only a devoted Reader's Digest reader can appreciate. 'Humor', for instance, is represented by a tiny man with a shrill voice ("They cracked me open like a LOB-STAH!", he said, referring to recent heart surgery. This got huge laughs).
He'd like to be Dino, but he's not even Joey Bishop. I bet Norman Fell got better service from the cocktail waitresses, back in the good days. He's always had questionable amounts of talent, and I think might very well be famous for being famous. Not going away. Something.

The biggest laugh of the evening, by the way, went to a tiny lady wearing an enormous coat. Reege asks, "Why doncha take off your coat, stay a while?" Big laughs for a line that any first grade teacher knows, and she says, "I'm on blood thinners." The house came down.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Goin' Galt

So you might have noticed that what constitutes conservative thought has utterly collapsed, and is currently gnawing off its own leg. In a beautiful piece of triangulation, within a few news cycles we went from coverage of Rush Limbaugh being his usual fat fucking drug addict bigot self -the 'I hope he fails' thing- to a full-blown crisis of conscience for the Republican party.
The people who like Rush and listen to him will continue to do so. However, the only other major party in The United States has an awful choice ahead; try to stay on the good side of this idiot that represents its base, or denounce him and try to please...Who, exactly? It's nice to see the cows coming home on this one. That'd be the whirlwind you're currently reaping.

So why don't we all just...Leave? The whole "goin' Galt" thing is fascinating. To sum up: fans of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged occasionally start chirping with drooly satisfaction about what if? What if we really did it? Took our brilliant ideas and just left this society that has shunned and ridiculed us so?
Yes indeed; what if you ceased your torment at the hands of those with no economic power whatsoever, and moved to a place where there is no one to work for you, putting your Earth-supporting notions into practice? A brief piece of introductory economics for you: employers need employees. Employees need employers. Without this very basic dynamic in place, nothing ever happens. Talk all you want about the self-made man, the rugged individualist, but you're full of shit, and even you know it. No one has ever become rich without lots of not-rich people below toiling away to make it happen. Even Mister White admits this.

Besides, seems to me that the greater lot of American industrialists have already done a truncated version of this: moving their manufacturing base overseas. Now all that's left is a bunch of idiots who wish they were Jack Welch, moaning eerily about how maybe their brilliance is underappreciated here, and clearly Socialism is on the wise, and...Hey?
So yeah, hey? Since it has been made abundantly clear that your top one percenters don't care about the country that gave them this fantastic opportunity, and apparently don't particularly care if they have any consumer base to buy their products, what do the rest of us whiny brats do? Start a Don't Buy American movement? No idea.

Atlas Shrugged, though so clearly written by someone with a crippling addiction to speed, and in dire need of an editor, is nonetheless a fantastically eerie picture of a possible systemwide economic breakdown of this country. It is nice how the whole thing is presided over by clueless politicians -yes- but also by a passel of venal business types with adorable names like 'Tinky' and 'Kip', who know what side their bread's buttered on. Even a weirdo libertarian must admit: only by joining forces can these two twin aspects of Mediocrity truly begin to destroy everything.
And it's not even that they want to: they just have many, many attractive bad ideas, and the people who implement them aren't all that bright, to put it politely. Something akin to Atlas Shrugged has already happened/is happening right now, and The Misunderstood Industrialist Genius ain't gonna save us, because it was largely his fault.

On the other side of the pool from Rush Limbaugh is David Brooks. He represents what is left of thoughtful conservatism, and is not only everybody's punching bag, but often his own punching bag: he's kinda self-hating. As the longest-serving token conservative for The New York Times, he oftentide has to walk an interesting line of being scholarly while still pimpin' the same story that he's paid to pimp: The Self Made Man Will Save Us All!

"We are now in an astonishingly noncommercial moment. Risk is out of favor. The financial world is abashed. Enterprise is suspended. The public culture is dominated by one downbeat story after another as members of the educated class explore and enjoy the humiliation of the capitalist vulgarians."

No, no, no David; we are not enjoying this. We are wise enough to understand that as the fortunes of Jackass Up There fall, so do ours. Worse yet? Jackass Up There never seems to have learned the conversant lesson. It is fine to break contracts with workers, with entire unions. It is unacceptable to break contracts with Management.
This is why the management sector is currently a figure of ridicule. They aren't helping us, and yes- their policies did get us here. Brooks also notes: "The stagflation of the 1970s didn’t discredit capitalism. It gave rise to the supply-side movement and the apotheosis of the entrepreneur."

Well, thank you, Stagflation! You enabled a bunch of whiny Sun Belt assholes who didn't want to pay their taxes to run the government into the ground! Well done! And the 'apotheosis of the entrepreneur'? If I have to go back and show examples of how often these Self Made Men do so with help from the government, we'll be here all month.
Every libertarian I've ever met is a stickler for individual rights, as long as the rights in question are his own.

And Jim Cramer? Really? "Somewhere there’s probably a TV producer thinking of hiring Jim Cramer to do a show to tell story after story of unapologetic business success." Yes, because once you're famous or rich, there's some unwritten law that says you must remain so in perpetuity.
(How else do you explain Donald Trump? If he'd been left to the laws of basic capitalism, he'd be digging through my garbage right now.)
Mister Cramer is experiencing this brief bit of discomfort because he nicely sums up what went wrong: his seemingly no-nonsense approach mixed with Goofy Morning Crew sound effects distracted the easily-distracted from the fact that all he was doing was feathering his own bed. There is no reason whatsoever to view him as any sort of expert; just a very successful criminal. And yes, he'll never go away.

The 'gospel of success' (it is a nice little thing that he quotes a preacher named "Conwell" for an example of this actual sermon, titled 'Acres of Diamonds') is indeed that; a comforting lie. The idea that because you can get rich, you will get rich has indeed diverted generations worth of us. It has given us some good things, but ultimately it gave us Wal-Mart.

No one's asking business to apologize for success. We're asking for it to please maybe try to alleviate its massive failures. As always, Jackass Up There is suddenly feeling somewhat less self-made, and is asking the Nanny State it often decries in its fatter moments for help. I Am Jack's Utter Lack of Surprise.

So, a funeral song for the Bullshit Engine is wayyy premature, Dave. It has nothing at all to do with hatred of prosperity, either. We'd all like some, and it seems that even in the best of times, we don't get nearly enough.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Driving around, looking at things

The guy is sitting at the entrance to Smith & Bybee lakes with an entire drum set, rocking out. Better still, there is no rest of the band, no camera crew. He's just having a not-entirely-private moment on Columbia Way, providing music to bikers and joggers, providing a puzzle to passing motorists. I should have taken a picture, but I also didn't want to bother him.

As often happens when I get bored, I have started taking the long way to get to anywhere I need to go. "It's so wasteful and weird," as I pointed out to a friend I ran into, "but it's what I'm in the mood for." He laughed.
I'm always in the mood for lookin' at things n' considerin'. I took a completely meaningless detour into southwest Portland the other day, simply for the purpose of driving the entirety of Boone's Ferry Road, from start to finish.

The journey is beautiful at times, from the Tryon Creek woods around Lewis and Clark college, to ugly as hell (most of the rest of it). It only has value if you can envision what it looked like a hundred years ago. Here's what it took for you to get across the Tualatin river, if you lived in Burlingame.
Rolling through twisty curvy hill roads, across railroad tracks, through the woods down by Day and Coffee creeks, eventually down the central valley that eventually would house Interstate Five (matter o' fact, Boone's Ferry spends its last ten miles paralleling that road, separated by a fence). What I'd never done, despite driving this road a million times, was follow it to its terminus.

Wilsonville, Oregon is another one of its conservative capitols. It at least was home to the Oregon Citizen's Alliance, a vocally anti-gay lobbying concern that put up a number of potentially terrible bills in their day, though ultimately lost due to their clear stupidity, lack of legal knowledge, and failure to file any taxes.
It also is a long drag of strip malls and little else that I'd ever seen, until last week when I finally discovered old Wilsonville. And right there, at the end of what had once been main street, the road ends, and descends into the water. Here's where it ended.

Train trestle above, concrete remnants of where Mr. Boone put his landing, houseboats and marina across the water. Like Taylor's Ferry Road and Scholl's Ferry Road, this road doesn't lead to an extant ferry, and hasn't for a long time. But all the same, with the eyes I've always had to see these things, I could stand there and see exactly how good it would feel to finally get there, after a day of driving your wagon.

** **
We crossed Scholl's Ferry Road a few days later, on the way out to the casino. As usual, some of my stagehand friends were talking about the various conspiratorial things they had learned. The latest? Those FEMA camps we're all going to be locked up in.
Conspiracy theory is a tough one with me. I feel it's helpful to include the phrase "...and here's what some people thought happened..." in any history lesson. I also acknowledge that in most things, the official version will fail to cover a lot of the important nuances, generally to the benefit of those Officials whose version it is. The tendency to dismiss distaff opinions of tragic and catastrophic occurrences with "I won't dignify that with an answer," only confirms the suspicions that I, and many others have.

But, there's also plenty of equally bad things happening in the full light of day, and they are fully reported. They continue, and no cry is raised, since those who generally would are wondering about the camps where the New World Order is no doubt planning on putting your family, or how Satanic interests control global finance. The Masonic imagery employed in street gangs' imagery.
"Of course, so does the Klan," I couldn't help but think; the Masonic imagery, that is.

My fellow employee who brought all this shit up is a tiny guy, though a badass. He is nice as pie, but he believes terrible things, because like most people I work with, he's an undereducated fuckin' cracker. In this way, he gets the rest of their asses riled up.
He listens to Alex Jones, who I feel is a complete tool, in a literal sense. In the sense that while there's so many actual crimes out there that get shovelled under by the sheer weight of undifferentiated bullshit, and are no secret whatsoever, he'd like you to think that The Masons are gonna kill us all, or that the fat cats who gather at Bohemian Grove each year are actually worshipping Satan. Or that Communism was dreamed up by John D. Rockefeller, and a bunch of other tycoons who felt the need for a worthy opponent to Capitalism.
"He kinda sounds like one of Them, doesn't he?" I always want to ask.

No; instead I opt to tell the smarter half of the vehicle that deep down, I don't think there's any cost-effective reason for locking all of us up, when it's so much easier to make us Stupid. And so begins the day.
We are here to build a boxing ring. Although the ring itself -we have been told- is not to be touched by us; a separate crew is doing that. So much for that whole other boxing ring my boss rented (true story).

And on the way back home that night, further uneducated shit about the trannies in the local stage community. There's at least three transsexuals I've noticed in the Local, and they're both good and bad, as is the case with people.
But that doesn't stop the outrage, I tell ya' on the part of these...Look, I know that your dad was (closely associated with a hugely famous band we've all heard of) all those years, and I can be excused for finding you to be a shrill, delusional hippie chick gone to seed in middle age. But the fact that you're a bigot, too? Un-for-give-able. The fact that our business manager is gay? No, no you're not getting it; we hate him because he's a sociopath and a bad business manager: his sex life is surprising to me in that he even has one. So: Not The Point. You're off again.

I? I just keep on using the phrase "this person" over and over, while talking about the individual things that might annoy me about each. This Person. I don't like to start fights any more about this sort of thing, in a crowded van full of people I expect to work with for years. But I don't let 'em poop all over the discourse. The rest of us are trying to have a Civilization here, y'know...
But scapegoating is real, and it pops up the worst when everyone's poor, and having a bad time.

The next night, I introduce everybody to Nannerpuss.

Again, we all kind of live inside of each others' heads, and joke about how easy it is to get a song stuck in someone else's head for the next three hours. I'd been on the Nannerpuss thing all night long, with some people starting to sing the song without any idea what it was from.

This took away from the earlier unpleasantness, where our production office had been invaded by violent folk of all sorts. A boxer's girlfriend had punched another boxer's girlfriend in the gut, and the one who had received the punch was pregnant.
Suddenly the back hallway is filled with stupid fuckin' boxers and entourage. The office holds we who are trying to get out onto the stage to do our jobs, two security guards, the punched one, and her boyfriend who is still in trunks and covered with sweat.

Security is trying to pacify the situation, saying, "We'll take care of this," and the boxer says what tradition and a million bad movies tells him to say; "No, I'll take care of this!", dancing around and pounding his fists together like the trained monkey he is.
I, for my part, want to say: dude, this is a casino. Everything you do in here is caught on camera, and will be used when this goes to trial.
But above all else, I'm also just not wanting to get my ass beat simply for being there. I say, "We're out of here," and we take the stage.