Monday, May 26, 2014

Uncomfortably old

As a plucky, young sophomore in high school, my friends and I practically begged our theater director to let our school perform the stage production of Grease for our spring musical.   It all seemed like a good idea.  After all, a play about high schoolers in the late 1950's fits a high school play perfectly.  The characters are relatable, the songs are catchy, and we could wear leather jackets and jeans.  All in all, Grease kicks Oklahoma's ass.

Our crusty director never let us perform Grease, citing that it was too risque for a bunch of kids to perform.  He asserted that the language and theme would make parents and grandparents uncomfortable.  We retorted that any movie that starred Olivia Newton John cannot be that bad.  She sang songs about summer love and exercise.  Why would Olivia Netwon John put her name on anything inappropriate for high school kids?  With the way they talked about Grease, you would have thought that it's all about sex.

That's because Grease is all about sex.  I know this because I just sat through a rather uncomfortable high school rendition of the play.  It started making me squeemish when a bunch of teenagers started singing about screwing in the sand.  My stomach clenched a bit after Grease Lightning made chicks cream.  And my soul died a bit when I witnessed my nephew honking some girl's adolescent knockers.  Now I know why Mr. Baird made our class stick to playing ruthless, singing gangsters instead of horny teenagers.

For those who never seen the play or the much tamer movie, let me give you a little snippet of a song without all the alluring music:

We'll get some overhead lifters, and four barrel quads, oh yeah
Keep talkin', whoah keep talkin'
Fuel injection cut off, and chrome plated rods, oh yeah
I'll get the money, I'll see you get the money
With a four-speed on the floor, they'll be waitin' at the door
You know that ain't shit when we'll be gettin' lots of tit in greased lightnin'
Go, greased lightnin', you're burnin' up the quarter mile
Greased lightnin', go greased lightnin'
Go, greased lightnin', you're coastin' through the heat lap trials
Greased lightnin', go greased lightnin'
You are supreme, the chicks'll cream for greased lightnin'

We'll get some purple French tail lights and thirty-inch fins, oh yeah
A palomino dashboard and duel muffler twins, oh yeah
With new pistons, plugs, and shocks, I can get off my rocks
You know that I ain't braggin', she's a real pussy wagon - greased lightnin'
I seem to recall watching Grease at nine years old.  My sister watched it so much by the time she turned 13 that we had to buy a new VHS tape.  Perhaps I was distracted by the Hand Jive and all that leather, but the idea that every single scene revolved around sex never entered my fragile little mind.  The only thing that really bothered me was that Sandy felt like she had to change and start smoking in order to get her man.  And that the car flew at the end.  Perhaps these teens putting on the play are as clueless as I was at that age.

But there's a difference between watching and acting.  With acting you need to digest the lines and derive meaning.  When you're watching a play you might gloss over lines about how "horny" the characters say they are, but when you rehearse the lines over and over, you can't miss what's going on.  Even for the audience it's different.  There's a bigger separation from reality when watching 30-somethings pretending to be teenagers on screen and watching actual teenagers on stage, especially in close proximity of parents and grandparents.

And the worse part...the kids acted superbly.  They sang fluidly, acted believably, and looked like they were having fun every step of the way.  I don't know how a northern suburb of Indianapolis amasses such talent, but they really knocked it right out of the park.  The kid who played Sonny might even make it big!

Anyways, I'm probably being a big prude.  No one else seemed uncomfortable as the crowd erupted in a huge ovation at the end of the song about how Rizzo would rather be pregnant than a tease.  Perhaps I'll just have to accept that sex and teenagers go hand in hand, or that today's youth have absolutely no clue as to what's going on.

Besides I'm kinda looking forward to their next performance--I hear good things about The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Working for ghosts

I know, I know.  It's been a while since I had time to sit and write on Losing the Internets, frustrating my fan to no end.  I missed it too.  The writing; the lack of response; the endless criticism from my editor of my grammer and speling.  (Don't worry Queen, I misspelled those words on purpose for comedy's sake.  I know that grammer is really spelled with a o.)

The reason for my absence is that I've been busy with work.  In the last month, I created a database of over 5,000 grocery stores where I had to look each one up individually, and that takes an extraordinary amount of time banging away at a computer.  On top if that I had two conventions where I acted as a knowledgeable exhibitor and a 100-foot sandwich to promote.  By the time I have a chance to write, I'm so sick of the computer that I mostly just close my eyes and dream of bunnies.  Horrible, horrible bunnies.

Not that I'm complaining.  If there is one thing I really like, it's working.  And after I stepped down from being an unpaid Executive Director at a local non-profit, constant work has been spotty at best.  I have a few clients that I help with their social media outlets, but after the platforms are built, it's just a matter of keeping them updated.  That's enjoyable, but not always at the constant, unrelenting pace that I like.  I guess I could clean the house and teach the Princess some morals, but the house will just get dirty again and Princess keeps threatening to move out, get her navel pierced, and join an unregulated, underground circus specializing in monkey acrobats.

While I welcome this spike of activity, and anticipate it will continue to spike until August, I'm looking for a more constant state of employment.  I especially am targeting one organization in particular, even though I have a better shot at creating a cat out of spare hair found in couch cushions than landing an interview.  At least I probably won't get one by going through the traditional online portal.   

The problem: Five of my past jobs have been with companies that no longer exist.  Any HR director will tell you that having multiple positions in theoretical companies can hamper your employment opportunities because there isn't any way to corroborate that you actually worked there.  Having five on the resume isn't just a red flag, it's a red tapestry that covers the entire North wall -- the tallest of all the walls.

Here's what I'm talking about.  The names of the companies will be held private (but if you're curious, just look at my LinkedIn profile).
  • Job #1--Insurance advertising copywriter: Company merged with another local company and assumed their name.  The merged company was bought by a national conglomerate which renamed the entity again.  For the two phone numbers listed, one is disconnected and the other is for a Kosher deli.
  • Job #2 --Insurance advertising copywriter: Company decides to keep two sets of financial books, which as it turns out, is illegal.  Company folds and is broken up into different subsidiaries that all have different names.  Building I used to work at is now home to a college preparatory school.
  • Job #3--Middle School/high school teacher:  Private school closed down for various non-criminal reasons.  The website is still up if you want to enroll for the 2008-2009 school year.
  • Job #4--Middle School/high school teacher:  School shut down because of various non-academic scandals.  Their story becomes more sordid and unbelievable the more I read about it.
  • Job #5--Non-profit executive director: Don't start a non-profit during the worst recession since the Great Depression.  After grant money dried up, board didn't want to restart under new leadership.
I've been told that I'm the type of employee that sees his work as an extension of his life.  That no task is too large or too small to undertake.  I work hard and smart, and bring unbridled creativity and heart to the workplace.  Unfortunately, these organizations couldn't stick around, making me look like a confidence man trying to shake down old ladies for their Social Security checks.

Now, before this devolves into a pity party (one that serves pathetic punch and hopeless hors d'oeuvres), I understand this isn't the end of the world.  It isn't even the end of the city block.  I just now understand why it may be impossible to go the traditional wait and see route and find more unconventional in-roads to my dream job.  And if I never get there, so what.  I have a lovely wife, a great kid, a somewhat ok dog, and glitter all over my couch.

What more can a guy want.