I was born. I suffered.
I suffered some more, and hopefully,
I won't die a painful death.
This is my life.

The Target Spirit-Killing Chant

Why am I always surrounded by shiny happy gung-ho sheeple?  At The Red, there are little meetings called Team Huddles.  They are impromptu gatherings in various aisles during the shift.  Huddles are meant to gather up the Borg drones and disperse orders and other store information.  If you come across one of these while shopping for toys and patio furniture, please, try not to stare.  There are bound to be at least two worker drones that are not yet fully assimilated into The Red Collective.  If you make eye contact with this version, you may get in tune with their brutal inner-mind screaming and your ears may start to bleed.

Occasionally, one of the life-long "retail work is the greatest job ever" managers, will do something in the huddle that makes me want to tear open one of the cutlery sets and wield a serrated steak knife around.  At the end, we all must thrust our fists into the center of the huddle circle and one worker chants.  My inner ear lid automatically shuts at this time, for my own mental safety, so I do not recall what is actually said.  I'm usually quite adept at reading lips, but at this point my eyes are filled will red and I can't see a damn thing.

This brings me to a quandary.  What is the exact purpose of this fisting-chant thing?  Is it really to drain every ounce of chutzpah left in The Red's drone workforce?  Is it really meant to club the baby seal of thought out of the mob?  Is it... come on I could go on forever.  Or maybe it is that the average Target worker is completely devoid of any longing for a better life.  Maybe they have never uttered something like:  "Hey, there has to be something more to life than straightening shelves for 9 hours a day with only a federally mandated 45 minute break."  I reckon that in the manager's mind, all the fists together and the lone drone chanting is designed to brainwash the thinking-challenged in a cult-esque manner.  I don't need to be part of some collective team spirit bullshit to make me all warm and fuzzy inside.  That's why I hate organized sports.  I'm a lone wolf baby.  I maybe over analyzing, but I don't think so.

So please, when you are wandering around The Red with your little toy aisle destroying asshole of a kid, rest assured, that somewhere in the back room, there is drone unhooking his head clamp from the pod and is happily ready to straighten the Lego aisle.  Yay! Target.

After a while you don't really notice the pee smell.

You know, the thought of moving to the Big O is like buying a scratch off lottery ticket and the prizes are: Flesh-eating bacteria, getting knee-capped, or drowning in your own vomit.  So I've decided to make a Pros and Cons list. Oh sure, I have a couple of different options, and one really good one, but that would require medical intervention to treat someone's OCD and sex addictions.  So unfortunately, the old estate is probably the, gulp, cry, only one.

Get to save some money
Get to be with my parents in their last remaining wretched years of life
All the snow I can possibly stomach
Hearing the phrase: Nazi bitch 10 times a day
Three elegant upstairs rooms in which to plan my death
Get to quit The Red

Get to be with my parents in their last remaining wretched years of life
All the snow I can possibly stomach
Undoubtably, some drunk will sideswipe my car on the street
The TV is on at 600 decibels
45 minute ride to and fro to the salt mine everyday
Four words: Frank and Marie Barone
Dog pee
No Wegman's 
Knotty pine
Not a Panera in sight
Hearing the phrase: Nazi bitch 10 times a day

As you can plainly see, the near future is going to be agonizing.

FOR SALE: Quaint country farm house/portal to Hell.

This is the first in my three part series outlining the luxury rental properties of The Old Man. Like an in-ground pool, having rental properties in the old hometown is also a sign of "making it." The best known and all around coolest was affectionately known as the Funhouse, or The Ponderosa. It was a great white farmhouse way out in the country. Its sprawling grounds and gorgeous Georgian architecture were beloved by the locals. Well, this is what The Old Man thought when first laying his eyes on the property. The Old Man and his son, let's call him Al Jr. purchased the white beauty in hopes of cashing in on the rent the multi-room building would bring. Plus, it was in the perfect location. About two miles away was one of the areas nuclear power plants. Surely, contract workers from other parts of the country would love to live that close to their work.
Soon, The Old Man's work force (i.e., his kids), were indentured into getting the Funhouse ready for tenants. Upon entering the dwelling, an overwhelming sense of fear and dread smothered you. Maybe it was just that I was young, but I don't think so. One time, I happened to be in the dinning room alone with my sister, let's call her Jennifer, suddenly I heard: "Hello Eric", emanating from all around. Jennifer also heard something say: “Hello, Jennifer" to her. We both high-tailed it out of the house screaming.

Not long after that, we found out that the previous owner had died outside in the front driveway. Apparently, the dead owner, seemingly pleasant by saying hi to us, still felt the need to smother us with his ectoplasm. I never could walk through that place without feeling scared beyond all reason.
Well, remember I told you about how prospective tenants would love the place? They did. In particular, Tennessee hillbillies. They all flocked to the Funhouse. Something about flake-board covered walls just attracts hicks like a moth to the flame. With that, the house filled to the brim with hillbillies.

Unfortunately, for The Old Man, and his sons, hillbillies are a dirty lot. Soon the Funhouse required some cleaning and maintenance. The best crew The Old Man had was then dispatched. To protect the innocent, I will call them, Robert, Chris, and Craig. Now I do not have first-hand knowledge of the following, but it comes from a trustworthy source. In the movie Salem's Lot, the Marsten House was the set piece for most of the action. Its' walls and floors were covered with an evil black chalky-like substance. This too is how the inside of the Funhouse looked-covered in black filth. You know, those hillbillies can really drink too. I'm not talking about bottled water. And, what is every rebel's drink of choice? That is right! Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. There were two five-foot high cardboard boxes overflowing with empty Jack Daniel's bottles. It was truly an awesome site. Praise the Lord. With little bitching, the fantastic crew made quick work of the cleanup.

But all was not right with the The Old Man’s rental property. In fact, the Funhouse was a big steaming pile of shit. Also, something sinister seamed to be going on. As you can imagine, the Yankee ghost didn't like having all of these southern gentlemen around and he wanted them gone. The Old Man was constantly at the Funhouse fixing things that mysteriously would break. What could be wrong with this place? thought The Old Man. Then the Funhouse was struck by lightning, not once, but twice. It was time to unload the satanic country estate. Finally, after an excruciating amount of time The Old Man and Al Jr. were able to sell money pit. Interestingly enough, the man who purchased the Funhouse, struck oil out in the back shed and is now a billionaire.

Next time friends, a building near and dear to all of our hearts: The Tanning/Hair Salon/ and possible brothel.

Official Death Becomes Me Movie List

This week I will be unleashing my list of recommended movies. Each of them will have some sort of horrible gut-wrenching life is a mess type of plot to them. In no particular order of course. I will update this list as I see fit.

A miserable accountant working in a cube farm finds out that he has special powers. (James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Thomas Kretschmann)

An aspiring Irish actor moves his family to the slums of New York City in the 1980's. Get out the tissues for this one. (Patrick Considine, Samantha Morton)

Normally, I'm all for gratuitous sex in movies, but this one makes me want to put a knife in the nearest woman. (Diane Lane, Richard Gere)

A lonely butcher living with his mother tries to find someone to marry in 1950's New York City. (Ernest Borgnine)

German soldiers freeze to death in Russia. If you find this, get the German version with English subtitles. The dubbed version is god-awful. (Thomas Kretschmann)

Der Untergang (Downfall)
Marvel as Nazi fanatics poison, shoot themselves and their families in the last days of WWII. This is the movie with the original scenes of Hitler yelling at his generals in various spoof viral videos. (Bruno Ganz, Thomas Kretschmann, Alexandra Maria Lara)

Falling Down
An unemployed defense worker goes postal on LA. Hilarious really. (Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall)

Leaving Las Vegas
A down and out movie executive goes to Las Vegas to drink himself to death and he meets the hooker of his dreams. Uplifting trust me. (Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue (booyah!))

What Dreams May Come
After the death of their two children in a car accident, a couple grapples with the loss. Brutal to watch. (Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra)