Emotional Vibrator

Emotional vibrator is a phrase I used in my last post in regards to Gigi, the most recent lady of the online night to take her leave of me. And really, who can blame her, right?

I thought it quite clever myself, although I’m not sure I coined the phrase. In any case, it seemed to me what Gigi wanted me to be for her, an emotional affirmation machine to help soothe her through her most recent break-up blah blah blah. But of course I was unwilling to do that because it seemed a one-sided and ultimately losing proposition for me. I don’t expect a sure thing – although I did like that 80s movie with John Cusack;

but let’s face it I dig any movie with John Cusack in it (and a chick like Nicollette Sheriedan), man I can’t wait to see the new movie with him about Edgar Allen Poe….wait, what was I talking about.

Oh yeah, vibrators, of the emotional variety.

Of course, this is not just a woman thing. Men do it too (though in a slightly different way I suppose), they seek out women to soothe them emotionally, and when they are done being soothed, they clean up, dispose of their emotional self-healing toy and move on.

I’ve been called out for doing something like this, being told – no, not just told but literally chastised: “I can’t fix you!” All for expressing the fact that I was feeling sad and missed my family. I didn’t expect this particular woman to fix me. In fact, the very notion was laughable; she was so fucked up herself.

That’s part of why my date the other night was so cool. I could actually talk about my ex – good and bad – and was not punished for it – some women will come right  out and tell you they are not interested in hearing about it, others will simply glaze over and check out, others will get an irritated look on their face, still others will pretend to listen and simply disappear later. But that was not the case. My date spoke of her ex, in both good and bad terms. And really that should be allowed, up to a point. And I think because I was allowed to express a few things it was easy to simply shut up about it…more or less.

But that is not where I was planning on going with this. No. My intention was to bring up the phrase Emotional Vibrator (you know, even though  I may not have coined it, I wonder if I could still copyright it? Is that possible?) because it gave me an idea for an App.

The App would of course be called: Emotional Vibrator. Or perhaps even better  Your Emotional Vibrator. And it would work like Siri on the iPhone 4. You could lament and complain and bitch and piss and moan and whine an gripe to it all you wanted and all it would ever do is offer you positive affirmation and support, agree with you, soothe you. And it would never get tired of your pathetic bullshit like everyone has.

There could even be a PlusVersion of it that has an actual vibrator attachment that you can…..

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Back to work

It’s been a busy month and a half.

Since the beginning of September I have taken two road trips. The first to Indiana to visit my brother and his family — daughter Addy came along on that one. The second was over Labor Day weekend to visit my relatives in West Virginia, a solo trip. Then I moved out of my apartment and back in with my folks. And, I collected my final unemployment check, not because my stipend had run out but because I started a new job. I was on unemployment for only 8 weeks. Don’t think I don’t know how lucky I am, especially when you consider all the people who have been out of work for months and and years, especially here in Michigan. I got lucky, I know it.

Speaking of my job, it is pretty cool. I’m not going to name the place, though. It’s an office job with all the Dilbert-esque accouterments that that entails, like cubes and copy machines and daily meetings, but the people are really cool. I like it there. Hey, we get free slushies (made from Faygo) and popcorn daily. Coffee too. This week’s slushy flavors are Lemonade and Rock n Rye. Last week it was Grape and Red Pop.

Recently JenX67 posted on her blog an entry that is, in part, about Generation X in the work place. My office is full of GenXers. I’d say mostly GenXers, from what I can gather. But there are plenty of Gen Yers/Millennials as well. In fact, my immediate supervisor is one. He’s maybe 24 or 25 years old. I heard someone ask him where he went to high school and he said Fitzgerald, graduated in 2006. I stood up at my cube and, speaking over the half-wall, said, “Hey. I went there.”

“What?” he said. “You taught there?”

I said, “No. I graduated from Fitz…twenty years before you did.” I graduated in 1986. He laughed.

My supervisor is very cool, very hip. And very good at his job. I like him a lot. I was asked by someone if it bothered me to be “taking orders” from someone so much younger than myself. But you know, it doesn’t. I could really care less. I’m there to work and to learn and he has plenty to teach, so my ears are wide open. You know, I think I’d rather have this young guy than some aging Babyboomer. At least with my boss I don’t have to listen to droning nostalgia about the 60s or The Beatles or anything like that. My boss digs JZ.

In my immediate area there a few other  GenXers. And few a Gen Yers as well.

The other day 0ur supervisor, in response to something someone else said, replied, “Awesome blossom.” He said he didn’t know why he said it.

I asked him if he was referring to the 80s TV show “Blossom.” The other GenXer’s near me just laughed and said that could not possibly be the case, he, our boss, was way too young. I’m pretty sure he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Although strangely enough he was singing that Sade “Smooth Operator” today. So….

Maybe this is an opportunity to blog about GenX in the workplace. Gen Y too for that matter. We’ll see. I’ll be working long hours soon, 10 to 12 hours a day some day. This new schedule means I don’t see my daughter as much. She stays with her mom more, not an ideal situation or one that I want but one has to do what one has to do. Addy and I will just have to make the time we do have together count.

Sideways

Watched the movie Sideways last night, one of those movies that I have seen countless times and would watch again and again and again given the opportunity. I love it. I’d say it falls into the category of perfect movie. If there is a flaw in it I have not found it…yet.

For those who don’t know this movie it is about two buddies, Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), who go away for a week to California wine country in order to celebrate before Jack gets married. Miles is a divorced suffering writer — and boy does  he suffer. While Jack is a carefree actor who is the epitome of the power of positive thinking. He’s also a playboy hell bent on getting laid during this  his final week of bachelorhood. And he does, much to Mile’s chagrin.

I loved this movie when I first saw it, before I was divorced. I even read the book, which was descent, but I prefer the movie. However, now that I am divorced it appeals to me even more. I understand Mile’s suffering in ways that I don’t think I did before. How could I?

I’ve been thinking particularly about one part in the movie. It’s the part when Jack is going to ho0k up with the chubby waitress after Stephanie (Sandra Oh), the women he not only has sex with but decides that he might be in love with, discovers that he is getting married and bashes his nose in with her motorcycle helmet. Jack and Miles are standing there. Miles is lamenting to Jack, wanting to know why he has to hook up with this stranger after all that has happened, that is going to happen, i.e. his impending marriage. And Jack explains to Miles that he, Miles, does not understand his, Jack’s, plight. What is his plight exactly? He does not say. Only that there is a plight. Made me wonder if Jack’s optimism is merely a mask for a deeper angst, that he feels the need to sleep with strange women, in spite of the fact that he’s about to get married, to prove something, fill some void, to what? It strikes me as a jab at the whole phoniness of “staying positive” attitude, that there is something inherently shallow about. It is disingenuous, dismissive. And that Miles, the sullen, miserable man, is the more authentic human being, the more admirable one.

Japecake

What’s a Japecake you ask? Excellent question inquiring reader. Japecake is a new blog by a friend of mine. And as it’s subtitle indicates it’s focus is: HUMOR & POP CULTURE & DESIGN & AMPERSANDS

You read right — & Ampersands (doesn’t that just sounds like a trendy college band populated by a bunch of snobby, contemptuous English majors). Japecake is now your official source for all things ampersand. It’s about time someone filled that niche.

Anyhoo…check it out. Now dammit!

The Book of Joe…

…is a novel that I’m reading.I suspect that title is a take on The Book of Job from the bible. That is if there is a Book of Job in the bible. Is there? Or is there just a story about Job? I don’t know. I’m not a bible scholar. Just a Catholic. In any case, the guy in the book gets shit on a lot. Although unlike Job, it is not entirely without reason.

Joe is a 34-year-old author who, when he learns that his father has had a stroke and fallen into a coma, returns to his home town of Bush Falls after being away for some 17 years. And the kicker is, he’s not really welcome there because he wrote a bestselling novel about said hometown in which just about everyone ends up looking pretty bad, or so they think anyway.

I can really identify with the main character. I mean, I was once 34. And my dad had a stroke during open-heart surgery. True, he didn’t fall into a coma but he was pretty dazed and confused there for awhile. He kind of still is in a way. Also, I’ve always wanted to write a novel that would piss off my friends and family, but so far I’ve only managed to do the latter. Not entirely mind you but my life isn’t over yet, so…

The Book of Joe (for some reason retitled as just Bush Falls, according to amazon.com) is by Jonathan Tropper and I’d classify it as a GenX novel. I think that whole coming back home after fleeing and staying away for a long time has become something of a GenX staple. Or if it’s not, it’s on it’s way. Also, it’s funny. Joe is quite sarcastic, which gets him into trouble more than a few times. And there are plenty of pop culture references. And author is definitely a member, born in 1970. So…

But this novel isn’t just funny. It can also and grim and serious. In fact, it is just such a passage with which I identify most:

Loneliness is the theme, and I play it like a symphony, in endless variations. I’ve lived more than a third of my life, and am more alone now than I’ve ever been. You’re supposed to make your way through life becoming more substantial as you go, the nucleus of your own little universe, your  orbit overlapping the orbits of others. Instead, I’ve shed all those who cared about me like a snakeskin, slithering angrily into my small solitary hole.

Whether it is exactly true or not, that is precisely how I feel these days.

Tropper has written several novels. I’m looking forward to reading more of his stuff.

Am I an Omega Male?

When your life is in transition, major transition in my case, it only stands to reason that you’d engage in some serious self-examination and self-reflection, asking yourself some hard questions.

So today I’m asking myself the question: Am I an Omega Male?

What is an Omega Male, you ask? A most appropriate and excellent question. For an answer let us turn our attention to slate.com, which has an entire article on the subject.

The short definition is that an Omega man “is having trouble being a man,” like the Ben Still character in the Noah Baumbach film Greenberg.

The Omega male ranks below the Alpha male who wants to dominate and the Beta male who just wants to get by. Omega man has opted out or given up.

This idea is not a new one. Susan Faludi addressed it in her book Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Male in 1999, which the slate.com article references. But with the recession it is apparently this trend is becoming even more, well, trendy…

The article holds up Don Draper and character from Tom Hanks war films as examples of the Masculine Ideal.

The article goes on to define subcategories of the Omega male. If I am one of these types, it is most likely the Liberal Arts Layabout, whom “…are usually failed artists of some sort, often surrounded by more successful friends and relatives.”  With my MFA in Creative Writing and not a damn thing to show for it plus the fact that I’m underemployed and underpaid, working a library job that one only needs a  high school education to do, it’s difficult to refute the comparison.

I’m  not really refuting the comparison.In fact, I pretty much accept it, not with any pride but hopefully not with complete resignation either. The question now is can I do anything to change my status. I know I’ll never be an Alpha male, I just don’t have it in me, unless I’m playing dodge ball then I’ll kill your ass, make you eat gymnasium floor buddy. But I could at least bump up to Beta male, that would be something. Don’t you think?

Of course, one has to wonder: is an Omega male up to such a change? Or is he, by his very nature, incapable of this sort of positive change?

The 40-year-old Freshman

No. That’s not a new Judd Aptow movie although….

It is my new featured blog, which came to me in a dream. No. Not really. Unless, of course, you consider JenX67’s blog a dream. And you know what, I kind of do…<sigh>

Anyhoo…. JenX67 has a post about GenX men and how, because of the economy, GenX men are heading back to school — college/university not beautician, although…. (NOTE: post also brings up how GenX men have gotten the shaft [my word not hers] in the workplace)

That’s what I’m doing come winter semester. And I, as you know, am a GenXer. If you don’t then you’re NOT PAYING ATTENTION! Wake up dagnabit!

I’m taking an Environmental Science course. Thought I’d see what all the hubbub/ballyhoo/tom foolery is about. Who knows where it might lead. And, like the rest of Generation X, I aint getting any younger; don’t want to be back in school at 50-plus. Plus I’d like to be ahead of the curve or at least on the first wave of this new job market.

Actually, I had thought I might return to school once I was in my dotage but it would be for leisure not out of necessity. Silly GenXer, leisure learing is for Boomers!

Anyway, maybe I’ll blog about returning to school at age 42 (my age when class begins). It could kind of like that new TV show, Community, since I’ll be taking my class at a community college, the one I started at when I graduated high school and after I dropped out of two universities — sorry about that Mom and Dad. I’ll be the funny/snarky/cynical GenXer and I can poke fun at the graying Boomer (portrayed in the TV show by Chevy Case). I’ll call the due Pierce — he won’t know where I’m coming from.