In September of 2005, You Learned:
HOW TO THANK PEOPLE.
Thanks to everyone who came to How to Kick People last night. I'm always happier when the show is funny. Also, thank you to Luis Guzman for hanging out at the restaurant with his posse while I hung out with my posse. (I think, though I am not sure, Luis G is one of the venue's investors. However, I would not be surprised if he walks into every room looking like he owns the place.) Mr. Guzman, you have a marvelous head of hair; we all agreed.
Here are some photographs from last night's show. I think they will make you ask yourself, "why did I miss this?" but they could just as easily make you ask yourself, "why don't you two grow up?"
In other news, tomorrow afternoon I leave for Los Angeles City. And then, a few short days later, I'm leaving there for San Francisco. Approximately four days after that, I'm leaving for New York City again. I feel tired just from writing that, honestly.
I'm trying to see if I can line up a comedy show in San Francisco but, since I don't know any club owners and I don't yet have an agent to recommend me, the chances of me pulling this off are pretty slim. If you'd like me to come over to your apartment and perform stand-up comedy for you and 25 of your closest friends, maybe I can arrange something.
HOW TO KICK PEOPLE: "THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE".
Please come out to Mo Pitkin's for this month's installment of this nation's greatest comedy reading show, HOW TO KICK PEOPLE. Tonight's theme is "The First Day of the Rest of My Life," so you can definitely expect a lot of promises made that will never, ever be kept. There's also a Bob & Todd slideshow, containing mild sexual content and also containing Entenmann's Original Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies.
HOW TO KICK PEOPLE
Wednesday, 9/28 at 7:30pm
with Bob Powers & Todd Levin
and featuring the talents of:
Dan Kennedy - McSweeney's favorite, author of LOSER GOES FIRST
Leo Allen - wrote for SNL for 3 seasons; as seen on COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS and Conan O'Brien
Roger Hailes - comedian/writer, has appeared on VH-1, MTV, and COMEDY CENTRAL'S CHAPPELLE'S SHOW
Upstairs at Mo Pitkin's
34 Avenue A, b/w 2nd and 3rd
advanced tickets available here
HOW TO WAVE YOUR ARMS AROUND A LOT.
I consider myself a busy person, and I do a pretty good job of convincing others of just how incredibly busy I am. We all do. "Ugh, I'm so busy lately! I'd love to but, you know – BUSY!" And I guess I'm busy. Maybe I'm busy. If I were to make a list of things I am "doing" right now, it would be long and impressive and possibly even make you wonder how a man of my size living in a universe of such constricted physical laws – 60 seconds in a minute, 24 hours in a day, etc. – can get it all done. Well, here's the answer: I don't.
That occurred to me on the way to work today. I don't get it done. Really, I don't know how anything gets done because I don't do it. It's been a very long time since I remember writing anything substantial. In fact, it's been a while since I've even written a short joke that I can remember, or commit to long enough to polish into something beside a vaguely funny premise. (Instead, I have a notebook's worth of these strange sorts of half-finished jokey thoughts. For instance, "Humiliating forms of exercise with a personal trainer: NON-CONSENSUAL PUSH-UPS, ASSISTED SUICIDE DRILLS, TAMPON RELAY.")
Last night, before performing at a comedy show (busy!), I was speaking with another comic about being distracted to the point of paralysis. She was explaining that, individually, she loves all of the ways technology has helped her communicate – the Web, email, cell phones, text messaging, stuff like that – but, combined, they represent a great threat to her sanity. Each piece of technology becomes a small invasion on anything you might do in solitary, like write. That's definitely been the case for me. For example, here's what a typical hour of writing looked like for me five years ago:
think write write write write write write write cookie write write write write pet cat write write save.
And here's what it looks like for me now:
stare think stare stare peck write check email write email check myspace check email think write google image search play frogger check email check myspace take cell phone call think think touch cat's nose put cat on top of other cat laugh play with stuffed monkey buy album on itunes check email write email write google old friend from college who recently got divorced cookie save forget.
I'm doing so much more, and getting so much less done.
HOW TO VIOLATE THE 'NO BACKSIES' RULE.
Every now and again I'll make one of my posts disappear. I have a reason for this: sometimes I even bore myself. Sorry.
HOW TO FAKE YOUR CREDITS.
From now on, my credits on every show will read, "Todd Levin (Writer, New York Times; JUGGS, JR.)" and only one of those credits will be made up.
I am quoted in the New York Times Style section today in an article on something about which I am something of a certified expert: baby strollers. The journalist was really nice, and had seen something I'd written on Tremble a few years back, which she felt illustrated a central NY debate kind of nicely. And, going back and reading that little post, I'm actually pretty happy with it myself – not an easy thing for me to admit.
When the journalist asked if I knew anyone who might have a strong opinion on this subject, I immediately responded, "You should talk to my friend, Ophira. She hates babies!" She took my advice, and got a very funny quote from Miss Eisenberg. I expect that I'm going to be walking along the sidewalk in my Park Slope neighborhood very soon, and suddenly feel the presence of headlights behind me. When I turn around, the last thing I'll see is a heavily-illuminated Bugaboo Stroller. Just like Silkwood.
HOW TO IMPROVISE.
[The following story is entirely true, except for the parts I made up.]
You know that feeling, where you're awakened on a Tuesday by daylight instead of public radio and your initial sense is that something has gone terribly wrong? And then you look at your alarm clock on and discover you've just overslept by three hours because last night at 3am, in a lull of exhaustion, you set your alarm clock for 7pm instead of 7am? And the first words out of your mouth are "shit shit shit shit shit," and then, without warning, seventeen separate but equally important things rush into your brain at once and pile up there, confused, like 100 unnumbered, out of order index cards containing your notes for the day? That very moment – right before you begin to sort out those notes and remember to call work first, then feed the cats, then give yourself a hobo's bath, etc. – where you're stunned, angry, overwhelmed, and unsorted: that's how I've been feeling every waking minute for the last several weeks. Whether I'm seated at my desk or running from one appointment to the next, I constantly feel like I've been shocked into consciousness and I'm completely unprepared for what's to follow.
So it was interesting to return from North Carolina and have the ice water shock of work, writing, comedy, relationships, impending visitors, social obligations and a filthy apartment dumped on my head. And it was especially interesting to attend a very important meeting, in which I was expected to pitch television show ideas to a network executive, in this completely addled state.
I had one idea that a friend and I have been kicking around for quite some time, and I was more or less prepared to talk about that at length, in whatever detail was required of me. It's an idea I've been pretty excited about, for quite some time. However, I knew I wanted to present another semi-solid idea – one I've developed on my own. The only problem is, all of the ideas I've developed on my own seem kind of insane to me. Not the sort of thing you'd want to approach network television with. Additionally, these ideas currently exist as notes written in moleskine notebooks, on the backs of business cards, inside book jackets, and on my skin. (I actually had a fairly elaborate structure for a one-hour drama about a prison escape sketched out on my skin in a full-torso tattoo. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the pilot for PRISON BREAK. Fortunately, I know a doctor who laser-erases and alters tattoos. I had the whole thing covered-up and changed, so now my tattoo is just a long proposal for a half-hour comedy about an incorrigible alcoholic and his zany adventures. The show is tentatively called, "WINO FOREVER.")
I finally cobbled something together, the aggregate of some old ideas that all had a common theme: extremely specialized professionals who are not very good at their particular career choice, for one reason or another. The idea didn't really click until my subway ride over the meeting, and it kind of rose out of the panic I was feeling during the commute. (i.e. I am also one of those specialized professionals who, at least in this moment, might not seem to be very good at his job.)
Because the idea was still so fresh to me, it had a two-fold effect on my meeting. The first effect was positive: I was incredibly excited about the idea, and grew more excited about it as I continued to speak. The more we talked, the more I realized this really was the product of a lot of good but disparate ideas that have preoccupied my creative thoughts for many years. I was a little giddy, in fact, which formed a nice chrysalis around my sweaty nervousness.
The second effect was perhaps a little less positive. It became very clear, very quickly, that I wasn't able to answer some really basic questions about the show. I knew what the show was about – the style, the format, the characters' psyches, all of those large sweeps – but I had not even considered most of the details. This occurred to me when I was asked for the central character's name. I had no idea. None, really. Hadn't even thought about it. Until that moment, he existed in my brain as The Guy Who Does These Things And Might Have A Mustache I Think. Horrible name for a character, really.
Faced with miniature crisis, I began to improvise. I became Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects, using the interrogation room itself to color his own fabricated history.
"Sounds like fun, Todd. What's this character's name?"
"Um...his name. His name is...Macintosh. Mac. He's Mac. His name is Mac Whiteout. It has layers of meaning!"
"And his job? Well, he...um...designs tote bags for public television fundraisers. At a company called...now get this...you're gonna love this...his company is called THAT SWEATER MAKES YOU LOOK GAY, INCORPORATED. I know! It's a little out of left-field, but FUN! You know? Quirky! Not Wild Palms failed-TV-show quirky but safe, delightful Malcolm in the Middle quirky. Ha ha ha ha ok?"
"The pilot? Well, in the pilot, Mac has a big meeting you see? And, um, he's so nervous he shits his pants right here on his boss' couch – what? Did I? No I meant RIGHT THERE on his boss' couch and yes, what is that smell? Only in New York, right? Ha ha ha can is it OK if I just sit here for a little while?"
The good news is, the show has already been picked up. I guess my enthusiasm was like a steamroller. So, please, watch UPN in September, 2006, for my new series, CAN I GET YOU SOMETHING TO DRINK NO THANKS I BROUGHT A SNAPPLE.
HOW TO SQUISH A DREAM.
Last night I found a ladybug in my apartment. I discovered it resting on a ceramic drink coaster and initially mistook the ladybug for a smear of pizza sauce. When I touched the pizza sauce, expecting it to cling to my fingertip instead of the coaster, I felt not the soft wet give of tomato paste, but the rigid, crackly shell of ladybug ass. I did not eat it.
I gently lifted the coaster/ladybug and carried it to the open window employing the most humanitarian techniques possible, even though there were no pretty girls watching me. "You are free, m'lady," I cooed. "I am freeing you, like a unicorn sheds its horn or a serial killer frees his tortured prey when he realizes maybe she's just a little too into it all. Like those things, I'm gonna set you free. Oh, and hey, ladybug: All creatures great and small. I'm just saying, is all."
The ladybug did not want to leave the coaster, and stubbornly clung to its edges. If I'm going to be totally honest here, she was kind of being a bitch. But I'm totally in support of women's rights so I was all, "hey, ladybug. I am totally in support of your rights. Please don't freak out, even though, from where you're sitting, that statement probably sounds ridiculous coming from a huge and scary giant with 300 foot-wide pores. The fact is, I am here to help you with a gentle flick." And so I flicked her. I flicked her off the coaster, believing it was what she would have wanted. It was such a well-meaning flick. So supportive. As my finger flicked away, nudging at her shell, I pictured her taking flight and landing on a cloud and drinking nectar from a rainbow and circling back for a second to wink at me fluttering her long ladybug eyelashes and two really pretty girls on the sidewalk witnessing all of this and my beaming face with flawless and glowing skin all framed in the window and the girls on the sidewalk are giving me the thumbs-up and writing a craig's list missed connection ad in their heads right now and the subject line is something like 'to the kind-faced man who sets ladybugs into the wild i want to nest in your curls (park slope) and maybe there's an old man who saw all of this and thought my god my existence hasn't been a cruel meaningless joke i can see that now.
I guess what I'm saying is, I had no idea the ladybug would forget to spread her wings and just plummet three stories to her death when I flicked her. If that ladybug's boyfriend happens to be reading this, I'm sorry. I had the best intentions.
[I am off to Confederate State of North Carolina, until Monday. I expect I will have eaten an entire hog before my trip is through.]
HOW TO ASSERT YOUR INNOCENCE.
My left arm smells faintly of cheap percolator coffee. Today, I collided with another man on the subway platform, and his deli coffee popped its top and tinkled on me. I only got a small taste of it, which is lucky, but I'm surprised this has never happened to me before. It just seems like, with so many people jammed into such a tiny little slab of geography, my number should have been called up long ago for an accident like this.
As the coffee-carrying gentleman backed away and reorganized his beverage, I just sort of stood there, gently brushing my arm, not sure whether to curse, throw a fist, or exchange insurance information. I think I have a natural tendency to expect that any human contact, particularly one as aggressive as this, will come to a very natural resolution. In this case, I believed the appropriate resolution would have been a heartfelt apology FROM HIM.
But as soon as he straightened himself out, he kind of shot me a look that seemed to suggest – and I'm no behavioral scientist but I'm going to give this a shot anyway – a little bit of "F You" was coming to me. Now I understand, in situations like this, it's often difficult to determine the source of the collison, but I felt like this one was pretty cut-and-dry. I put it to you, the reader: Who was at fault? Was it the coffee-carrying gentleman wearing sunglasses on an underground subway platform, with headphones in (no doubt playing the latest Pussycat Dolls album), walking forward with his head craned nearly all the way behind him in order to afford a better view of the businessman and pair of MTA workers trying to fish a cell phone from the train tracks with a large claw-ended pole? Or was it the other guy, who was brimming with awesomeness and had finished reading a book about the art of ninja?
HOW TO BE THE CHERRY BEST.
I purchased several sheets of Scratch-N-Sniff stickers today because I needed a treat. Bonus for me! I’m such a big kid!! Later I’m going to jump around in the diseased plastic ball cage at Chuck E. Cheese until they ask me to leave because I’m scaring the real children and no my “inner-child” does not count unless my inner-child weighs less than 80 pounds DOUBLE SUPER FROWNY FACE!!!!
The stickers were not designed for kids to place in their sticker albums, in the “scented” section, sandwiched between special sections designated for “puffy” and “Garfield.” Instead, they were made for teachers who wish to reward their students’ excellence, and also enjoy a good laugh watching them smell their own book reports.
Each sticker – 18 scents in all! – features a picture of something smelly and some clever words of encouragement that double as “tells” to indicate what you’re about to smell. Sometimes the text is a cute little pun, like “Berry Good” (for extraordinary academic achievement, and mixed berries) and “Orange Ya Great.” (for a possibly sarcastic back-handed compliment, and oranges.) The best puns are unfortunately exhausted quite quickly, and some of the stickers are a real stretch. How would you like to receive a spelling test, and find out your score was “Pear-Riffic?” And what student would feel comfortable gloating to classmates that "I did my [lemon] Zest on my test?" (I would have been incredibly confused by that one if I were a kid.) In fact, it was one of those half-hearted puns that made me pick up the stickers in the first place: a sticker featuring a bunch of grapes with the ridiculous exclamation, “Grape Job!”
I like items like this because they cause me to wonder how long the creative staff of Sticker Corp had to come up with the slogans of odor-oriented positive encouragement on these stickers. (As long-time readers of this site know, this particular curiosity has been a long-running motif. Yes, motif. See “How To Get Half The Job Done” – January, 2005.) I think it's pretty obvious that Sticker Corp's writers were given a list of approved scents, and then told to go to town. And I'm sure at least one of the writers complained about the presence of both "strawberry" and "mixed berries," worried that there was going to be some obvious overlap, and that his job to separate the slogans into two distinct thoughts, one for strawberries and another for regular berries, was not going to be an easy one. And, naturally, everyone surely groaned when they saw "orange" on the approved list, which is probably why their solution for this sticker feels more like a sign of fatigue or, more likely, immediate surrender: "Orange Ya Great!" Sigh.
But it gets worse. Here are some of the other lame slogans from the scratch-n-sniff collection I purchased:
MANGO - "Go, Man-go!"
CANTALOUPE - "Way to use your melon!"
KIWI - "You're an acquired taste!"
PERSIMMON - "Persimmon-fect! Or something."
GRAPEFRUIT - "This is a grapefruit!"
WATERMELON - "Steppin' Fetch-an A++!"
FIG - "You're the biggest Fig in the fourth grade!"
PAPAYA - "Don't Hate the Papaya' Hate the Game"
MANDARIN ORANGE - "CONGLADU-RATIONS!! (SFX: GONG)"
APRICOT - "Whatever, Dick. Why Don't You Go Brag to Grandma?"
LONGAN BERRY - "TBD!"
PINEAPPLE - "I Attended the Iowa Writers Conference for this Bullshit? (SFX: gun barrel being placed in mouth)"
HOW TO DISREGARD FASHION.
Every five years or so, I trick myself into trying on pants at The Gap. (I am showing my age by insisting on calling it "The Gap" and not "GAP." And when I say "The Gap" the words that come out of my mouth are shaped like that old, all lower-case logo.) I'm not really sure why. I rarely walk into Gap stores and when I do, it's usually for totally utilitarian purposes. I'll need a new t-shirt because the shirt I'm wearing makes me feel weird, or is covered in blood. Or I'll need a pair of boxers because I'm anticipating a short-notice slumber party, or the ones I'm wearing are covered in blood.
But every once in a while I'll get lulled into The Gap out of some irrational belief that there's something cool and young and fun going on in there and I am somehow missing out on it. I guess it's the same kind of feeling a 45 year-old man gets when, out of the blue, he decides to thumb through an issue of SPIN. And, like that 45 year-old man, the episode ends in furious disgust and a snobbish affirmation that I am right and the youth of America is wrong-headed and has VD.
Last week, I had one of those episodes again. It's not hard to see a Gap store during your day. I happened to walk by the Gap that's in my kitchen, and saw all those lifeless jeans hanging in the window. The pants weren't on mannequins, so there was no way to determine their fit; instead, it was just a tempting buffet of denim rinses, all loosely hanging on hooks, clinging together. I wanted that. I thought what I always think whenever I'm about to make this particular mistake – Maybe The Gap has learned how to make pants for men with regular-sized thighs and a conservative distance between their navels and scrotum. MAYBE!
This time my curiosity was piqued by a pair of pants in The Gap's new "1969" style. This is supposedly a vintage style, named after the year The Gap first opened their doors. I figured they were trying to design clothing the way it looked and felt in 1969 – slimmer, boot-cuttier, softer. The pants felt really great, too. They were soft, thick, and just barely textured – like a hairless cat. I believed them. I trusted things would be different. I drank so much of that Gap Kool Aid that I grabbed two pairs and grooved into the fitting rooms, because The Gap requires that you groove through their store; walkers are shunned, ignored.
I slipped them on over my smooth, muscled legs and buttoned them around my waist, letting them hang right below my "Wolfin' It" tattoo. And guess what? They fit exactly like every other pair of pants designed by The Gap over the last 15 years. Which is to say, they looked like the only person they'd ever fit is The Iron Giant. These are chinos for robots. Boxy, thick-legged, long-crotched robots. I have never seen a human being shaped like this. Looking in the mirror, they were so perfectly formless that it was as if I wasn't even wearing the pants; more like they were just being held up on a hanger in front of me.
I skulked out of the fitting room because my groove had been grounded, and the fitting room employee – the person who collects all of the clothing that can't be worn by "normals" – handed me a card, as some kind of consolation. The card entitled me to one free song from iTunes, for enduring those few moments of humiliation. However, when I went home and tried to redeem the scratch-off card for a hot track by the delightful Young Jeezy, I discovered that the card had been rigged so, when the silver lotto box was scraped away with a nickel, the paper beneath was scraped off right along with it. Therefore, no coupon code at all. Hey, The Gap – more like THE GYP, right????!?
HOW TO MAKE SEVERAL UNSUPPORTABLE STATEMENTS.
Gossip! Gossip! We want gossip!
REGARDING THE CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED FOX DRAMA, 'PRISON BREAK'
Great premise, burning question: why hasn't this guy been raped yet? I want to be clear – I do not advocate rape, in any situation. However, one of the realities of prison is that guys get raped. A lot. Ugly guys, too. And this guy is decidedly not ugly. It is not hard to see that Michael Scofield has a very pretty face, plus he's the new fish in the joint. Everyone seems to be acutely aware of his presence, but these crazy convicts just seem to keep missing the boat vis a vis raping his face.
Prison Break seems to be operating under the misguided assumption that a long backstory or complicated chain of events is required in order to justify a prison rape, and that the rape must be preceeded by a very thoughtful monologue in which the rapist makes many cleverly-veiled allusions to an impending rape, sprinkling his speech with expressions like "let's get to the lovin'" and "I'm gonna enjoy the hell out of this" and "you're about to ride the R Train, and it's making all local stops – destination Your Heinie-hole, U.S.A." The truth is, prison rape tends to unfold more organically. And this guy – let's face it – should have been raped 45 seconds into Episode One. (While I do think this oversight required a lot of restraint on the part of the writers and producers, I take solace in the fact that right now, in the Prison Break writers' room, someone might be looking at a large episode grid hanging from the wall, and trying to find a place in the narrative arc for episode 4 or 5 where he can pin a small index card printed with the words "Scofield Rape Scene.")
REGARDING NEW DIET COKE® WITH SPLENDA®
I have heard some disparaging comments made about this beverage but now, having actually tasted it myself, I can safely say Diet Coke with Splenda should be called "Diet Awesome with Fuck Yes!!"
REGARDING MY NEW VIDEO CAMERA
I recently came into some money, for a freelance assignment. (Thank you, American Bear magazine) As with all money I receive unexpectedly, I spent it immediately. I consider this progress, as I never used to wait for the check. Instead, I would purchases in anticipation of what I called "bonus" income – impending money that was outside of my expected salary, such as a writing assignment or a $15 check from my grandmother.
I have been obsessing over this particular purchase, researching various online sites, reading message boards, watching tutorials long before the camera ever landed in my greedy hands. And now that it's here, I'm terribly frightened of it. You see, while I was waiting for it to arrive all I could think about were the wonderful short films I'd make, one after another. And how I'd have loads of time to work on them, in between doing stand-up, readings, a monthly show, a movie project, a TV project, and a book I've left languishing in a state of 75% completion longer than I care to think about. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I hope you like cat videos, because you'll be seeing some very expensive ones on this site, soon-like.
REGARDING MEGA M&MS
Pretty big, guys, but not necessarily huge. Not sure why you went to all the trouble, honestly, but I have no complaints. As you were.
REGARDING DINO-SOUR EGGS
I miss you.
HOW TO DO THE BEST THINGS WITH THE WORST INTENTIONS.
I am the very reluctant, slightly disappointed sponsor of a small dog that can't stop shaking. Her name is Ellie and I must confess, though I feel for her they way one might feel for something that is pathetic, helpless, and nice and soft for the purposes of petting, my relationship with Ella is a purely transactional one. But I cannot in good conscience say no to a puppy – even a blurry photograph of one, behind plastic sheeting, inside a binder. If homeless people had sad puppy faces and liked to have their bellies scratched, I would be bankrupt.
In a way, I brought this upon myself. I was waiting for a friend, and chose the worst possible meeting point – leaning against a wall near the entrance of PetCo. (A colder, more impersonal name for a pet store would be difficult to imagine. Amalgamated Whiskers? FurCorp? Animal Factory?) I was positioned directly next to those pet carriers housing all sorts of blind, tick-ravaged pit bulls with trench mouth up for adoption. Obviously, someone was going to ask me for something at some point. I might as well have suggested a meeting place on the steps of the Hare Krishna temple.
Within seconds, a woman with a three-ring binder and "VOLUNTEER" pin on her tennis shirt pounced on me. She looked like the kind of girl who embroiders pillows for her cats and believes the soundtrack to the Broadway musical RENT is "edgy." She was thick around the ankles, loud, and aggressive – an amateur musical theater actress-turned-activist, and she got very close to me, then propped the binder open to a single-page spread featuring two clinically depressed-looking dogs, ELLIE and STELLA.
"Sponsor a dog! Sponsor a dog!! Awwwwwww!!! Wook at 'em!!! AWWWWWWW!!!" The volunteer pressed the open binder around my head as if she were using it to create a life mask, totally eclipsing my peripheral vision. She told me about Stella, a mini-Pinscher with deformed legs and a very stunning head shot. I remembered another friend of mine telling me she was sponsoring a dog named Stella, and I assumed this was her. Honestly, going by photos alone, it was easy to see why someone would want to invest in Stella over Ellie. Stella had star power, and seemed like she wasn't in a terrible amount of pain. By comparison, Ellie, was hopelessly pathetic. She was one of those MD kids Jerry Lewis hides in the back row at his telethons – the poor kids who can't control their wild muscular fits long enough to ask for help. Stella was the kind of dog that brings in sponsors – a $500 a day breadwinner – and Ellie seemed like the kind of dog that most of that money would go to, behind closed doors.
The volunteer emphasized the importance of tossing money Ellie's way. "She can't stop shaking! Check it out!" Then she jostled the binder a bit, making Ellie's picture double and triple up, to simulate the effects of a chronic neurological disorder. I was somewhat disgusted by the presentation and pitch of this sale, but not half as disgusted as I would have been had I said what I was thinking, which was, "I'm really more of a cat person."
I had already been feeling karmically imbalanced because earlier that day I had terribly inconvenienced a friend. And, because I'm a superstitious person instead of a spiritual one, I decided instant karmic payback was manifesting itself in the shape of a wobbly Jack Russel with more malfunctions than the HAL-9000.
So I handed over my credit card, and signed my name, while the volunteer danced around and high-fived one of her cohorts – perhaps meant to demonstrate this high energy activity was something Ellie would never be able to do, were it not for my generous donation. At the end of the transaction, I was handed Ellie's press kit, and informed that now Ellie will receive $20 a month from me, to be applied to her incurable shakes. (At my request, 5% of my monthly donations would be allotted for wardrobe and hair.) And, since this is a big city and other people must be equally conscience-stricken, particularly when it comes to dogs with the shakes, Ellie could be pulling in up to $200 a day – about as much as night manager at Taco Bell.