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5:32 a.m. - 2003-09-03


This may be hard for some of you to believe ... but in real life, I try really hard to be nice to everyone that I come into contact with.

For instance, let's take the guy that cleans our building every morning.

He's a janitor. That's his title. If he had a business card, it'd say "Henry...Janitor" on it.

A lot of people don't have the time to say "Good morning" to Henry as he's cleaning out the toilets or hauling trash bags full of coffee filters and snot rags around the building.

I do.

Every morning.

It's always "Good morning, Henry! How's it going?"

Henry always smiles and says "Goin' good sir! How're you doin'?"

I always counter with "Fine, Henry, fine. Keep up the good work!"

Sometimes I will substitute the phrase "Keep up the good work" with something more topical. Like mentioning the weather if it's particularly stormy or hot out.

That keeps Henry on his toes.

So as you can tell, I have a stellar relationship with Henry the Janitor.


Yesterday, I walk in the building and Henry's vacuuming the hallway.

"Mornin' Henry!" I say. "How was your Labor Day?"

"Fine sir," he says. "We had some barbecue and had the family over and blah blah blah."

(Seriously, I don't have time to listen to all the details. I have email that needs checking and deleting)

So I'm walking away while listening to him and he says "Sir! Can I ask you a question?"

I stop dead in my tracks.

I figure he wants to ask me how to properly clean a window or something.


He wants to give me a catalog of crap.

It seems his little nine year-old girl has to sell some shit out of this catalog so that her class can raise enough money to go to a neighboring state's botanical gardens.

Suddenly, our friendly relationship has taken a new twist.

I'm now supporting his daughter's gardening hobbies.

I smiled and took the catalog out of his hands and told him to give me a few minutes and I was sure I'd find something.

I turned around, stomped off to my office, plopped down in my chair and started flipping through this catalog o' crap trying to find something that didn't scream "CHEAP TAIWANESE SHIT!!"

They had tins of popcorn. Carmel corn. Cheese corn. Chocolate covered popcorn.

$12 a tin.

First off, you're eating stale popcorn. Popcorn that was popped several months ago.

Then it's laced with God knows what in order to keep it semi-fresh.

Then they pour various types of goo all over it to get your mind off the fact that you're eating stale popcorn.

And they want you to pay $12 for it.

No thanks.

They had tins full of pecans and cashews and peanuts.

$15 a tin.

A little more expensive because it takes a while longer for nuts to get stale and there's a slim chance that by the time the janitor's daughter gets these tins full o' nuts to you, they may still be somewhat fresh.

I hurriedly flipped through the food items because if I WANTED carmel corn, I'd go to the store, buy the Orville Redenbacher crap for $2.99 and pop it FRESH.

I don't need no stinking tin with a little girl and a kitten on it.

But the crap in this catalog was worse than the actual food items.

Pages and pages of gift wrapping.

Gift wrap.

I don't know if you knew this or not ... but I'm a guy.

And I'll be honest, guys don't buy gift wrap. And if on the slim chance they DO buy it, they don't put a whole helluva thought into the process. Oftentimes we'll just purchase the cheapest giftwrap available because that gives us more money to spend on bootleg Asian porn.

I zipped through this entire catalog and didn't see a damned thing worth buying.

Had there been some bootleg Asian porn in there, the janitor's daughter would have been eating a prime rib dinner at the botanical gardens.

But you can't just give the catalog back to the guy without buying anything.


Because that's UN-AMERICAN.

It is our American duty to fund other people's kids' field trips by purchasing cheaply made crap from cheesy catalogs.

I rifled through the pages and finally found something that wouldn't end up in our next yard sale.

It's a little chalkboard with Santa on it.


Honestly, I have absolutely no use for a chalkboard with Santa on it.

I guess I could scrawl "There's No Such Thing As Santa" on it and hang it in Andrew's room.

Cruel yes. But think of the money I'd save every December!

So then I have to write my name and check the box with the Santa chalkboard on it and write that I'm spending a total of $12 on this crap.

I see that he's already hit up every other person in the building before me.

And they're all spending an average of like $200 apiece on this plastic crap.

I go down the column...$150...$210....$180....$230...

And there at the bottom ...$12.

I guess that starting today, the janitor is going to be snubbing my cheap ass in the hallway.

You know you've sunk pretty low when the janitor turns his back on you.

I liked "Joe Schmo" last night.

It wasn't what I was expecting. I expected something mean-spirited and it was more an experiment in television to see how long you could get this guy to believe everything was real around him when it was really fake.

But I liked it.

I especially liked it when the asshole guy forced Joe Schmo to admit he masturbated on television.

I expected more of that kinda stuff.

But I wasn't disappointed.

I'm really, really, really tired this morning.

I'm falling asleep as I write this and cannot concentrate on anything.

I'm going back to bed for a few minutes.

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