Monday, September 28, 2009

Toddlers: Best Audience for a Smart Alec

This Sunday was my turn to work the nursery during services. It's always a whiff of burning sulfer, designed better than any sermon to keep you on the straight and narrow toward heaven, if you know what I mean.

My special challenge this week was Isaac, who is not yet two and going through his separation anxiety stage. Which is a fancy psychobabble meaning, "cries for his mommy until you do, too."

Now this is not the first crying toddler I've rocked, held and comforted by a long shot. So I know the drill. You try to talk to him, distract him with toys and Cheerios, and if that doesn't work, you simply spend your hour and a half carrying a sobbing child on your hip. A few pats on the back now and then and it's all good.

Except I couldn't just stop there. I gave in to the temptation to carry on an adult, smart-alec conversation with him that went something like this: "If you want to cry the entire time Isaac, that's what's going to happen here and I can't stop you. But I will insist that we walk over here to the Kleenex and wipe your snotty nose on a regular basis before I get that on my sleeve. It skeeves me out and I don't like to pay dry cleaning bills."

At this he took a shuddering breath, and said, 'O-tay" while nodding his head in agreement. Geez, since when did the diapered set start taking me so seriously?

Friday, September 25, 2009

My NYC Terrorist Plot Connection

I can't believe how small the world is.

Yah, yah, I've spent 24 years as a journalist, so you'd think I'd get used to having lots of contacts. But typically, that translates to occasionally calling the same business consultant twice to help me with different stories. (My number one source: a tossup between Tax Mama Eve Rosenberg and Donald Moine, both of whom I've called at least 7 times now).

It doesn't usually mean you start reading about an arrest that stopped a terrorist attack in NYC and stumble across this:

At Beauty Supply Warehouse in suburban Denver, Paul Phillips said a co-worker told investigators he had sold chemicals to Zazi. Company president Karan Hoss said the firm turned over security video of a man matching Zazi's description to the FBI. A check of sales found that someone bought a dozen 32-ounce bottles of a hydrogen peroxide product in July. More was purchased in late August, Hoss said.

Get outta here! I profiled Karan for Beauty Store Business. I redialed him for inventory advice in the same magazine. I'm connected to him on Linked In, one of the only 70 people in his network.

Now if that doesn't make you feel important before noon, I don't know what will.

Nor is this my only connection to terrorist-stopping heros. Remember Kwame James, the guy who subdued Richard "Shoe Bomb" Reid and prevented him from blowing up American Flight 63? He was a basketball player my brother coached. And I have yet to connect the dots, but someone on a scrapbooking chat board with me was also behind the NYC arrest this week.

Now if I could parlay all this into a chance to meet Mel Gibson, I'll consider it a life well lived.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not By the Hair on Her Chinny, Chin Chin

Friends know me as the one who is always trying something new ... and it is usually has a business/monetary slant.

So this fall, I've started working for CSC, which many Hoosiers know as "those people in the red jackets and yellow shirts at the Colts game." Let's see, a job where I tell them when I want to work, and entails being friendly to people, checking their tickets and giving directions while I get to see a professional football game. What's not to like about that?

Apparently, my co-workers. In the first few events I covered, I met folks like Melvin, who has to be the happiest guy on the planet, and Andy, a construction worker by day who has helped guard the locker room area on game weekends for 5 years now. Last week, I spent the afternoon checking tickets in the suites alongside a couple married 50 years — which anyone could have guessed by the way she told him how to wear the pager system and the patient way he ignored her.

A good friend, on the other hand, kept running into strangers who bummed money off of her in the break room. I figured that was just bad luck of the draw for her.

But then there was Linda. She started out as a very considerate co-worker who even bought me a hot dog on her own initiative during her lunch break, and hesitated to accept my dollar in repayment, even though an earlier conversation had revealed money is tight for her right now.

It was a delicious hot dog, but I'll forever wonder what hers was laced with because after that meal break, Linda asked me out of the blue how long my fingernails were. Thank God I reverted to an old habit and chewed them down to the quick the night before, because if I'd had my usual claws, the next few minutes could have been even more uncomfortable.

It seems Linda had a hair on her chin line that was driving her crazy -- would I please pull it for her? I pleaded that my nails were too short. I told her I couldn't see it. And still she insisted. "Just feel it, right here. You don't have to see or anything. It's very rough, I'm sure you can get it."

Get outta here. Since when do I look like a pair of tweezers from CVS?

She pouted for a minute or two, then went back to a normal conversation. My mind was spinning with ways to excuse myself and find another post when a fellow CSC employee strolled by, spied the men's room door behind Linda's head, and asked if he could duck in. "Sure," she told him, "but you have to pull this hair out of my chin first."

He, too, tried to get out of it, but all I can guess is that the urge to piss finally won. This man reached out, felt up her face and yanked the hair out of its follicle just before he crashed through the bathroom door.

I think he'd have preferred that she hit him up for money.

Photography: anselm (Flickr)