Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Frequently Deflating, Not Too Tragic, Overly Dramatic, Cringe Inducing Telerecruiter Blues

On a nearly daily basis I can reach heights of bliss at enticing another donor to save a life, or fight my urge to withdraw from the annals of humanity because I've been splashed with obscenities once again.

That's right. You guessed it. I'm the few, the proud, the abused.

I'm a telerecruiter. Part-time. To supplement my income. And pay for my pepperoni pizza addiction.

If you have a queasy constitution or are currently, or have been on, any heart medication, you may want to wander to the next article. This isn't going to be pretty.

9:02am

It's only my first call out of the gate and I'm already up to my belt buckle in vulgarity.

"You guys (bleepity, bleep) call too (bleepin' bleep) much!"

I'm on minute three of my shift and already my "faith in humanity" needle is dancing on "e".

9:55am

Decibel levels that would wound most normal humans is blaring through the phone.

That's right. Another donor that won't turn their TV down.

"I'm calling from the...blood...bank!"

"What? Huh? I can't hear you."

Sigh.

10:34am

Let's check that time again, 10:34 in the morning. I do this to illustrate that, for most working citizens of America, it's probably a little too early to be bone stinking drunk.

"Uh, donate what?"

"We were hoping you could give a blood donation."

"I"m too drunk to give."

Wasn't that a country song from the 70's?

11:05am

I don't mind talking to children, my nephew's a children, but sometimes they drive you crazy.

"Can I talk to your Mommy or Daddy?"

"No, they're not here."

"Can you take a message?"

This is when it gets tricky. Some kids are bright enough to grab a pen and scribble down all the information.

Others make me weep for the future.

"I'll call back and leave the message on the machine. So don't pick up, ok?"

"Ok." Click.

I invariably call back and they pick up again. This can go on for ten minutes if you're not careful.

11:57am

Time now for everybody's favorite donor (sarcasm intended)...the Uh-Huh donor.

Regardless of what you say, or how much emotion you put into it, this individual will just respond with...

"Uh-huh." Over and over and over again. It's frustrating, irritating and usually a complete waste of time.

Sigh. The sequel.

12:32pm

Every once in a while the roulette wheel of calling lands on a winner. The donor is pleasant, engaging and interested in what you have to say. They've asked intelligent, important questions that relate to making the donation process as easy as possible.

And then they tell you they just got a tattoo.

12:56pm

Four hours, six appointments. By the time I leave I feel like I've just stumbled out of an eight round boxing match and my psyche is all bloodied and bruised.

The point of the preceding is this: recruiting donors is an incredibly difficult job and not for everyone. Telerecruiting is, thankfully, just a part-time job. The blood bank doesn't even hire people full time for this position. I imagine the last person that did went clinically insane.

Your Local Blood Bank Telecruiter...Calling Donors So You Don't Have To.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Buttered Popcorn

I devoured the #7 Chicken Nugget Extra Value Meal at McDonalds before heading to dialysis this evening.

That's probably why I fell asleep, and awoke in the middle of my own movie.

It was completely dark when I opened my eyes and the floor was sticky. I could hear high up above this clicking sound and then a bright, focused light sprinkled the wall behind me with it's startling illumination.

I darted my head around to see the outline of a classic movie theater. All the chairs were pristine and reminded me of movie houses of old.

But I was still on the floor.

I would have arisen, but an old newsreel began to play, with the announcer speaking like those of the 30's and 40's.

"News flash, Santa Rosa, California. Young Stacy, sans an 'e', is given the ability to live in his own movie. Will he choose the comedy of Laurel and Hardy, the drama of Michael Corleone or the romanticism of Audrey Hepburn?? We can only wait and see."

Then the movie projector halted it's screening. The house lights came up and standing at the top of the aisle was a tabby cat. He meowed once, then once again and then left through one of the theater doors.

I had nothing pending on my immediate schedule, so I arose and followed.

The exit door creaked with a high pitched moan as I made my way to the lobby. It was extravagant, a movie lover's dream. High ceilings with art deco from movies of the past. No blasphemous arcade or annoying movie cutouts littered this area, it was incredible. In the front was a small door, leading to the ticket booth centered between two sets of outer frosted doors.

The tabby was heading toward the ticket booth and the door slipped open to allow him entrance. The mumbling continued, and it was coming from the little booth.

I made my way in that direction and peeked inside.

"Oh, come on, you can come in. It's ok."

Inside, sitting on a small stool, was Vito Corleone.

He was dressed in a tuxedo and his hair was slicked back. Considering his lifestyle, he looked fantastic.

That's right. Just like in "The Godfather."

The cat jumped on his lap as he continued to invite me in.

"So you watch, oh, a lot of movies, don't you?"

"Yes sir," is all I could manage.

"Enough with the 'sir'. Call me Mr. Corleone or Don, I'm a working man."

"Ok Don Coreleone, why am I here?" It was the question that had been baffling me since I arrived.

"You use movies to escape your present existence, isn't that right?"

"I don't think I watch that many movies. Not really."

"Ok, let me test you. What year was 'Sixteen Candles' released?"

"1984." It blurted out like a reflex.

"Why did Winona Ryder drop out of Godfather III?"

"She had the flu and had to fly back to the states with her then fiance Johnny Depp." The question I wanted to ask in return is why didn't he SAVE "Godfather III?

"Who came in to polish up the scripts for Empire and Jedi?"

"Lawrence Kasdan. He also wrote 'Grand Canyon' and 'Raiders'."

All the answers snapped back in his direction just as quickly as he asked them.

Maybe he had a point.

"So you use movies to escape the painful existence you've carved out for yourself, don't you?"

"I guess," was all I could muster.

Vito reached over and pressed one of the many colorful buttons on the operating board in front of him. He let out a small chuckle as numerous engines could be heard skidding to a stop in front of the theater.

"I do you this favor because you need a refresher on how to truly live. Do you think you're ready?"

I wanted to say no, but who says no to the Godfather? Only those who want to sleep with the fishes.

"Ok," is all I could finally mumble.

"Then follow me." Vito lifted from his stool and allowed his pet cat to disappear into the lobby. I followed him as he opened one of the frosted doors and waved for me to exit.

I wasn't completely ready for what was outside.

As I stepped toward the curb I noticed some familiar vehicles filling the red zone. Marty McFly was waving from the DeLorean time machine. I meekly waved back. I didn't want to be rude.

"We have to get back to 1955!"

"What?"

"The Doc's waiting. 1955."

"Um, what about 1955?"

He seemed really convinced that 1995 is where we should both be at this very instant.

"You know, Chuck Berry, racism, Elvis' hips, the Cold War...1955!"

Luke Skywalker was parked right behind him in his speeder from 'Star Wars'. He seemed to be whining heavily about something.

"Fucking Lucas wants to add Jar Jar to Episode IV, what is he, a fucking lunatic."

I agreed with his comment, but didn't feel the need to join in. He seemed to be doing alright on his own.

And parked just ahead of the DeLorean was Herbie the Love Bug. He opened and closed his door a number of times and I could see his front headlight winking.

I couldn't tell if he was flirting or giving me one of those cool 'hey, good to see you' winks. Either way, I was kinda creeped out.

As I was attempting to recuperate from the VW flirting, an Alfa Romeo drove right up on the curve, blocking my view of all the other vehicles. The door flew open and inside was James Bond.

"Ready to get shaken, not stirred."

I cringed at how cliche that line was. I was also unsettled by the fact that it was the Roger Moore Bond, not Sean Connery.

"Thanks, but I'm fine."

He toasted me with his martini, took a sip and then thankfully flew off.

I turned back to ask Don Corleone a question, but he was gone. I thanked everyone for their hospitality, but I felt safer just taking a walk at this point.

Before I headed off I looked to my left. The entire street looked like a studio backlot, the entire street lined with non-descript brownstones. Off in the distance I could see a snow capped mountain with a circle of stars over it and the cursive lettering of the Paramount logo high above. The sky was bright with a beautiful blue sky and puffy white clouds. But instead of a sun, the Warner Brothers logo shined brightly in its place.

As I pushed my gaze to the right, it seemed to be nighttime. The sky was darkened and a sliver moon was all that could be seen peeking through the clouds. Sitting at the edge of the crescent was a young boy fishing into a lake that couldn't be seen, the letters of Dreamworks occasionaly making their way out of the clouds.

Hoping to maybe find Winona Ryder's character from "Girl, Interrupted" or Audrey Hepburn's from "Breakfast with Tiffany's", I decided the rest of the universe was worth a visit.

As I made my way past the first brownstone I noticed a phone booth. Standing next to it were three non-descript people speaking the same phrase over and over, with very little enthusiasm.

"It's a bird."

"It's a plane."

"It's..."

I interrupted the third individual because I knew where this was going.

"Excuse me. Would you happen to know..."

He interrupted me in return.

"Don't bother us."

"But who are you?"

"We're extras. I'll never get my SAG card if you keep interrupting."

I backed off and they returned to their mantra.

"It's a bird."

"It's a plane."

"It's..." They all said the next line together, but with little or no emotion.

"...Superman."

Out of the phone booth came Chrisopher Reeve's Superman. It was good to see him back on his feet again.

He quickly looked around and then flew off toward the WB logo. I wondered if there were any trouble in the vicinity of the other logos if he would actually help.

Just then a beautiful convertible pulled up. Rain Man was in the passenger seat and Charlie Babbett was behind the wheel.

"We need a K-Mart. Definately, definately we need a K-Mart."

Charley then turned his head toward me and smiled that Tom Cruise smile. I was blinded.

"Listen man, my brother needs a K-Mart now or he's gonna go, I don't know, nutzo, so can you tell me where the nearest K-Mart is?"

I covered my eyes but it was as though the reflection from his teeth was eating through my fingers.

"Listen, uh, you're killing me here. I just arrived. I don't even know if there is a K-Mart in this world."

Charley was not happy.

"Lot of frickin' help you were." He sped off, leaving a pack of playing cards flying in his dust.

As I contined to walk, fatigue began to take over. I muttered to myself how nice it would be if I could catch a quick nap.

Out of nowhere, and for no apparent reason, the Bates Motel appeared. Just above it was the ominous Bates home. Norman Bates exited from the office and waved.

I waved back, but with a little less enthusiasm than Mr. Bates.

"Could you do me a favor?" he asked.

"Uh, sure."

"Tell them, no more remakes. Mother hates remakes."

"Ok, sure."

"Thank you," he politely responded as he entered one of the vacant rooms.

"Mother! Oh God, mother! Blood! Blood!"

I knew how this scene ended, since I'd experienced the film over a dozen times. As I passed by I swore I could see Hitchcock's shadow on one of the doors, but then again, I could have imagined it since I was pretty tired.

A loud motorcycle roared up behind me and The Terminator turned his head slowly in my direction. I tried not to laugh. I find most of Arnold's film performances hilarious, especially when he's attempting to emote.

"It's not a tumor."

"Excuse me."

"My gubernatorial effort. It's not a tumor."

I really didn't have time for this, but I wasn't sure if he was the Terminator from the first or second film. If he was from the third, I was really screwed.

He looked slowly in both directions and suddenly a baby exploded from his belly. It was the thirteen old version of John Connor. He smiled and jumped on the back of the hog.

"I want McDonalds, let's go."

The Governator looked slowly from side to side again and I knew exactly what he was going to say, you know what he's about to say, so let's just get it over with.

"I'll be back."

Sigh.

Even though this was supposed to be a movie world, I was still feeling fatigued from a lack of dialysis. I dropped inside one of the buidings that appeared as though it could be a clinic. A leather jacketed fellow brought me into this dilapitated rooms with wire and plumbing visible in the walls. It seemed familiar, but I just couldn't place it.

They sat me down in what appeared to be a dialysis chair, but instead of placing needles in my arm, they were about to shove this ice pick looking device in the back of my head. I was about to stop them, when a bus stopped right in front of the clinic door.

Keanu Reeves' Jack Traven flew into the room and yelled, "55, don't let him drop below 55!" Sandra Bullock's Annie smiled and waved from the open bus door outside as the DeLorean drove up.

"55! Did someone say 1955!"

In unison, we all replied, "No!"

Marty McFly seemed disappointed by this.

"Alright, you're the Doc, doc," and then he sped away.

I was trying to get out of my chair, but then the ice pick looking device was in Sharon Stone's hand. She was about to complete the thrusting device into the back of my head when a lasso whipped it from her grasp.

Indiana Jones had just saved my life. But then, it suddenly wasn't Indiana Jones. It was my dialyis tech.

I had presumably dreamed the whole affair.

This was pretty disappointing, because I never did get to kiss Winona Ryder, or Audrey Hepburn, or even Claire Danes.

I finished dialysis, grabbed my duffel bag and headed out to my truck. I stopped a few feet from the cab when I saw a cat on the hood of my truck taking a bath.

It was the exact same cat as Vito Corleone's.

I drove home that night with visions of my dream replaying over and over in my mind. And when I finally drove up to my apartment, a great quote from one of my favorite films came to mind:

"That's part of your problem: you haven't seen enough movies. All of life's riddles are answered in the movies."

--- Steve Martin in "Grand Canyon".

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Fill-In Blogger: Stacy's Nightstand

(Stacy Without an E isn't feeling very well today. He's mostly been on the floor of his office begging for a nap. When he does rise to sit behind his desk, everything gets blurry and dizzy and then nausea comes to play. Since Stacy Without an E abhors his blog becoming a vacuum, he has decided to allow his Nightstand to speak it's mind.)

Hello everyone, I'm Stacy's Nightstand. I used to be part of a set, but Stacy Without an E couldn't really afford my brothers and sisters, so I'm an only child now.

I remember when I first met Stacy Without an E. It was Xmas morning about 7 years ago and Stacy's sister decided he needed something more than milk crates for furniture.

(whispering)

Truth be told, milk crates have a bad attitude and have awful, filthy mouths, so my arrival was for the best.

(normal vocal volume)

Stacy was going to put me together for the first time, but his sister didn't trust him. She thought he might assemble me incorrectly and I'd end up being a really incomplete coffee table. I despise coffee tables too. They think they're so high and mighty sitting there as the centerpiece of the living room. If I had a finger, I'd flip off every coffee table I ever met. Snooty bastards.

Anyway, his sister assembled me and I travelled to his sparsely furnished studio apartment in Long Beach where he was going to school. He had just graduated and owned very few pieces in his bedroom. It was mostly milk crates and cardboard boxes. It was hell every day. Once Stacy would leave, the milk crates would start talking about my mother and my family. Sometimes the microwave would stick up for me, just to shut them up, but it rarely succeeded.

My fondest days are when Stacy actually used me for what I was supposed to be used for, an accessory to the bed.

I felt bad for Stacy Without an E sometimes because he would come home night after night, appearing more and more tired and weak. It had gotten to the point when I couldn't remember the last time he had brought someone home, opened my singular drawer and pulled out a condom.

They were pretty loud that night, so I tried to distract myself by imagining I was in the jungle on safari and we stumbled upon a primitive tribe who could only communicate in moans and yells.

Later that evening I did have some fun because when the bed shook, so did I. It was like a carnival ride for free.

Those days are long past, but I'm still here. We haven't even had an earthquake here lately so I haven't had any fun. Now he fills up my drawer with old Altoids containers filled with screws and keys to furniture and doors he doesn't even recognize any more. There's also some playing cards in here, a number of medication containers and some old gum way past it's prime.

Lately I've been feeling rather bad about myself. Every few nights I see Stacy Without an E looking through catalog's of bedroom sets he wants to save for. They look fantastic, all smooth and polished. I'm chipped and my drawer doesn't close correctly. And he's always piling my shelf with Entertainment Weekly's and Playboy's. I don't care what anybody says, but you place two or three Playboy's on a shelf and said shelf might just give in. Those suckers are heavy.

I shouldn't complain. He's treated me well. He never takes me apart when we move and he always tries to be careful when he places me next to his bed.

Hopefully when he's ready, he'll sell me with some of his other furniture to some college student. That'll give me a chance to have a little excitement at the very least.

This concludes my first ever blog. I wasn't as angry as the toaster oven or as interesting as a milk crate, but at least we had a chance to spend some time together.

If I can leave you with any thought for the day, that would simply be: varnish stings.

(Stacy Without an E hopes to return this weekend. He's not really used to working full time after seven days off. He should have taken it easy by working part time for a few days, but that just wouldn't do. He's a born and bred workaholic, and lately his work is all that distracts him from the soulless life he has been burdened with. Lambada.)

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Day in the Life of Miserable Stacy

Sigh.

I've only been back to my normal schedule for two days and I'm already completely and utterly miserable.

Let's take a look at a Day in the Life of Stacy:

(Be warned: A Day in the Life of Stacy may cause your eyes to burn in horror, your soul to fill up with despair and you may have a general feeling like you're about to vomit. Don't worry, Stacy Without an E feels like this everyday...)

8:52am

I wake up before my alarm because I never sleep up until it awakes. I do remember the previous dream though as it quickly seeps out of my memory.

I was on this small, floating raft and I've been sailing for days. I'm barely clothed and skinnier than usual. For the first time in I can't remember, I see land. I jump off my raft and try as I might, the island just will not join me. I do manage to make out figures on the island. Some are from college and they're giving me the finger. Others work with me presently and they're telling me to fuck off.

Suddenly, and without warning, I turn my head back to the ocean to see a small raft with a beautiful raven haired temptress on board. She smiles, then grimaces when she realizes it's me. Then she rams her raft into my head and I drown.

The end.

It's now 9:10am and I'm late.

I'm in the shower now and I'm leaning my weary body against the tub wall. I've already washed and conditioned my hair and cleaned every nook and cranny. Now I'm just enjoying the hot water as I wonder if it can wash away the impending doom I feel toward the remainder of my day.

If I had any brains I'd towel off and climb right back into bed.

9:27am

I'm obsessing over my hair. Before dialysis, I had a pretty good shag of dark brown goodness on my scalp. Now, especially when it's wet, it's embarrassing. Although I still have a thin layer of hair remaining, dialysis is stealing the rest. I talked to a woman who was a cancer patient and she swears by these products from Nioxin. She said after two months of using them I would be very happy with the results. Or impotent. I'm not really sure which is supposed to come first...

9:50am

I've been making my own lunch and placing it in a plastic Safeway bag to save money. Steps from the Stacy TruckMobile the bag splits and my PB&J, along with my dignity, spills all over the parking lot. My Lemon yogurt sails under the fence dividing my apartment complex from our neighbors.

"Ya want your yogurt back mister?" asks the young girl who should be in school.

"Yes, thank you."

"Too bad fucker," she spits out as she giggles back to whatever spawn of Satan created her.

Like I said earlier, shoud've stayed in bed.

10:12am

I finally arrive at work, a little late with a little less lunch, but at least I arrived. As I pass by the conference room, I see a bunch of the cool clique at my work talking. As I pass by the conference room door, their words morph into whispering. One of them rolls their eyes at me while the others look away giggling.

I haven't been invited, for the 457th consecutive time, to go to lunch with my peers.

Most of them are having sex with one another or blazing alcoholics, so I don't believe I'm missing all that much. That gene pool doesn't need my toe dipped in, if you know what I mean.

It's kinda sad because I was invited to lunch once. Just once. All everybody talked about was about all the drama going on here. I was surprised and disappointed how much crap everyone was talking about everyone else.

Sigh...the sequel.

12:34pm

The highlight of my day, lunch by myself. I decided to splurge and tossed my lunch in the fridge, instead treating myself to mexican food at the local Taqueria. I'm such a bore, I order two chicken tacos with cheese. They fill my belly and remind me what it's like to be human, so they go down easy.

1:15pm

We just upgraded our entire on-air system at work, so I'm still trying to figure where all the audio I saved for the last five years went. All the station production, all the little dealies of audio you hear between the songs on the radio (if you still listen to terrestrial radio) seems to be missing on the network. I compose a highly congratulatory and hopeful e-mail to our IT guy. He's also the morning host on the AM station in our cluster. And the boss of that station. So any time I need any help, I have to forward the same e-mail to my boss so I can get something accomplished around here.

Those taco's aren't riding easy in my belly. In fact, they feel like they're protesting their new locale.

2:45pm

I have to be on the air in fifteen minutes and my boss is panicking because our new production for our cash giveaway promotion isn't in the system.

"I'll download it into the system right after the show."

"You don't give a damn about this station, do you?"

"What? Where did that come from? I've been in the hospital for three days, I need a little catch up time here."

"Your attitude is really distressing."

Wow, I didn't know my boss knew the word "distressing". Must be in one of those "How to Be a Manager" books that don't help anyone.

"Did I just step into a Dilbert cartoon? I'm down to twelve minutes and I have to get focused for the show."

"We'll need to talk about this later."

I stand there momentarily, staring into my boss' eyes, wondering what his incredibly hot wife ever saw in him. I'm also trying to use my less than developed telepathy to tell him to get the fuck out of my office.

Hmm. Whatdoyaknow. It worked.

It's showtime.

3:25pm

I've really reached a point in my career where I can do the entire show with one vocal cord tied behind my back. That's a good and bad thing.

Good: I'm very comfortable behind the mic and I have everything under control. I'm energetic, occasionally witty and play off my traffic gal pretty well.

Bad: I should either be making thousands of dollars more or working in a bigger market.

4:20pm

My boss calls on the hotline to discuss what happened earlier. I ask him, overly politely, if we could disuss this, oh, after the show.

He splashes a few heated words my way and then hangs up. I glance over to the digital phone recorder to see that it's on and I just recorded the whole conversation.

I begin what I like to call "flash editing", which is editing on the fly as quickly as I can. Content is a little low today due to Paris Hilton being good and Asheee Simpson not embarrassing herself somewhere, so I decide to do a little "Behind the Scenes" segment with out wacky traffic reporter.

This is the best and worst decision I've made all day.

It was pretty damn funny to hear my boss go off on what my problem is, edited for broadcast of course.

The bad part will come later when one of his spy stooges will report on what I've done.

Let's check my "do I really care" needle.

Just as I suspected, it's running on "e".

5:47pm

This happens just about every freakin' day about this time. Somewhere in the vicinity of 5:30-6pm my energy just nosedives. I'm usually pretty charged from spending three hours on the air, but then my will to live just evaporates.

It's time for another dialysis treatment.

This is how Dialysis controls me, much like the Devil manages the lives of others. She drops by just around the time I'm feeling good and enjoying myself and overtakes me like a cold, soaking wet blanket.

It's at this time that Dialysis wins. I will not skip a visit with her; I will not brush her off. She is an evil, twisted, manaical abuser of those with a lack of kidney function, and I hate her for it.

7:14pm

The only saving grace of my treatments lately is I can watch my Netflix movies because no one else brings DVD's. Tonight I've decided to be a masochist and try to sit through dialysis AND my second viewing of "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace."

Well, I'm a certified, 100%, all-American geek and I need a recap before standing in line for the last Star Wars.

You may mock me...right here, staring now --->______

10:13pm

It's a solid debate which hurts more, the needles entering my arm, or leaving to their untimely death. Usually the Simpsons is on so that takes a little of the edge off. Tonight I'm not getting off easy because my blood pressure is low AND my pulse has skyrocketed.

They stole too much fluid again.

Kind of like the little girl stole my yogurt earlier.

11:35pm

I toss my latest copy of Entertainment Weekly in the corner and grab my comforter. My bed envelopes me, my best friend in the world. I close my eyes in an attempt to slumber, but my mind never wants to shut off.

How am I ever going to get out of debt???
Will I ever find my true love???
Is my life ever, ever going to improve???
Would anyone notice if I just disappeared???
Is happiness just a figment of my imagination???

Eventually, and thankfully, all my questions and concerns dissolve into the night.

And my last thought for the day, before sleep completely overtakes me, is one that I will remember for weeks to come:

"Too bad fucker."