Thursday, October 23, 2014

Assume the Worst!

I've been seeing a psychotherapist, on and off, for about five years. It's gotten me through various ruts in my life, most notably this recent "I thought I was only going to be doing this job for a few months, and, fuck me, three years later..." crisis. My current therapist has been a blessing, as they've all been. She's been drilling one thing into my head every time I go on one of my tirades about the disrespect I take on a daily basis at work: 

You have to understand- you're just doing your job. Maybe it's something going on with them that they're projecting onto you. 

I've done my damnedest to apply that to my daily routine. Every time a cabbie picks a fight with me, every time a town car driver tells me to fuck off, or just people being shitty in general, I tell myself that I'm trying my best to do the right thing. That I'm just doing my job, and if someone is being an asshole, it's their projection onto me. I'm just a uniform to them. I can't take it personally. 

That mentality has carried me through the last few months. With the exception of a few minor slip-ups, I've managed to keep from completely losing my shit on people. New chapter in my doorman career: assume the worst from people, because that's what I've grown accustomed to, and I'll be delighted when I see the best in them. 

The mantra - Assume the worst, and you'll never be disappointed.

It's a sad thing - to have your faith in humanity completely eroded over the course of three, long years. But it's what's getting me through the day now. And you know what? It's working. I assume that I'm not going to get tipped, or the cabbie is going to tell me to fuck off, or that my boss is going to come from his office and tell me I'm not holding the door open correctly. Then, when it happens, I simply shrug my shoulders and go on with my day. 

Assume the worst, and you'll never be disappointed. It's not me, it's them. 

So, what happens when you assume the worst? That time a guest slips you a ten, or when the cabbie says, "yes sir, I can take the old lady ten blocks out of my way right before my shift ends", or when my boss comes down from his office and says, "your positioning while holding the door open for guests has been stellar this week, keep it up!"... it's a pleasant surprise. 

Taking that attitude and flipping it has been ironically healthy for me. Keeping a positive mindset, hoping that it'll generate more positivity, then repeatedly being let down simply wasn't. Now, I assume the worst, and am uplifted when proven wrong. Instead of perpetually being let down every day, I'm consistently having my faith in people restored! 

Most people in the service industry can relate to the feeling you get when being summoned to wait on a notoriously non-to-low-tipping group of people. I don't have to say who. I don't have to specify. If you've worked in the industry, or if you've watched a few movies, you know the culprits. How glorious is it when you anticipate the stiff from these people, only to be proven wrong when they take good care of you? Don't you feel like a little bit of an asshole? Don't you regret all of those inappropriate, borderline racist thoughts that zipped through your head while waiting on them? But, at the same time, aren't you so fucking relieved that you didn't have to experience what you've played out in your head since the moment they sat in your section, or, in my case, pulled up in a taxi? 

Isn't it nice to be pleasantly surprised? Try having this feeling several times per day. 

Do I live the rest of my life this way? No. Well.. sort of. But I'm a fucking actor. I learned after my first few dozen "great" auditions that keeping positive thoughts generates dick and does nothing but get your hopes up. I've had a decade of great auditions, close calls, friends who offered to show my scripts to "network people", "sure things", "great opportunities", potential big breaks, life-changers, career-makers. I've called my parents, bragged to friends, posted boisterous, "100+ like" Facebook status updates, showed off, and ultimately shut up. Hell - I ENDED THIS FUCKING BLOG A YEAR AGO BECAUSE I THOUGHT I WAS ON THE VERGE OF GETTING A NETWORK DEAL. 

Maybe turning 30 has fucked with me a little more than I'd thought. Or maybe I'm just becoming a cynic. Or maybe turning 30 made me a cynic. Fuck if I know. 

Shit, that was some digression. I actually sat down to write a story. Something that happened at work tonight. Are you still with me? Good. Here goes: 

It was a frigid, rainy night. The wind was blowing downward towards the hotel, as it usually does, with resulted in icy, beady drops of rain pecking at my face as I stood in the middle of the avenue getting taxis for people. After three years, I'm fucking shocked that I haven't been killed yet. The way cars come zipping down, weaving in and out of traffic, and me just standing there, dressed in all-black after the sun goes down, casually stepping to the side and barely avoiding cars as if it were nothing. One day, someone is going to distract me, and the next thing I know I'll be a floating entity, watching my corpse being scraped off the front of a tour bus.  

Most people I hail taxis for couldn't give a fuck about this. They stand under the heat lamps, watching me risk my life so they could get five blocks down to the theatre district with their discount tickets to Phantom of the Opera. They don't care that I could be killed at any moment, or that I'm going to have a consistent cold from November-March due to getting soaked to my balls every night.  

The guests stiffing me is one thing, but there's something I cannot tolerate. (See how I used "cannot" instead of "can't"? That's how you know I'm serious.) It's the scumbag who isn't a guest, who sees me, already wet schmuck out in the middle of the street, and treats my like I'm some public servant, generating available taxis for the people. They duck under the marquis, warm and dry under the heat lamps, get in line, and let me do all the work. Then give me nothing. 

Seriously, how fucked up is that? Abuse a service that you're not paying for, then, on top of that, not take care of the guy going out of his way for you? 

In the past, I've seen people sneak over and try to pull this shit, to which I'll yell, "Ok, folks, if you're waiting for a taxi, please have your room keys out." 

The clueless people will leave. The savvy people will stick around, though they know they have to pony up some dough. Instead of presenting me with a room key, they say, "I don't have a room key to show you, but here are some dead presidents instead." 

Sometimes I'll take a flyer on people whom I think know the deal. It's usually business people, or sharply dressed couples on their way to the theater. I can always spot a gentleman from New Jersey whose wife doesn't want to get her dress wet. Those guys will always throw me a few bones.

So, when three older gentlemen in suits came out of the high-end restaurant on the corner and under my marquis to get a taxi, I greeted them with the initial question: 

Doorman - "Hi, guys. You guests at the hotel?" 

The leader, probably the boss, answers for everyone. 

Guy - "Yeah." 

I recognized the "yeah" in his voice. It wasn't, "yeah, we're guests." It was, "if that's what you want to hear - sure thing, stupid." 

Fine by me. They look like they've been around the block. They look like New Yorkers. I'm not going to push it any further. A cardinal rule in working for tips is to never insult a potential big-tipper. I'm a great tipper, and I find it irritating when someone no-so-subtly drops hints, insinuating that I might not take care of them. 

I stand there for about five minutes, dodging cars while having my face assaulted by the menacing little micro-drops of frozen rain. 

A taxis finally pulls up. 

Here I was, assuming that these guys were going to take care of me. Generating a positive assumption, hoping for a positive outcome. These guys, these fucking suits, these cunts, who had just spent their evening downing whiskeys and eating one of the best meals in the city, likely on the arm while they "entertained clients", who couldn't be bothered to get a little wet and hail their own taxi, scampered into the cab without tipping or saying thank you. A cab that, I'll bet my life on it, will be expensed at the end of the month. They let me - a working man, who pays his own way home and for all his meals, stand out in the freezing rain for them, like I fucking owed them something. 

The last guy gets in. I wait for someone to say something. Anything

Guy - "Could you close the door, please?" 

In addition to never being killed by an on-coming vehicle, I'm continuously surprised I haven't committed some sort of violent crime yet. Because all I wanted to do was take a blunt object to all three of these assholes. 

Doorman - "Are you fucking kidding me?!?" 

They all turn to me. Hello, audience. 

Doorman - "It's one thing that you're not guests, but I fucking work on tips!" 

I slam the door shut and give them the finger. 

Doorman - "Fucking lowlives!"

The three at them stare at me for a brief moment, the simultaneously turn their attention forward and continue on with their evening, unflinched by my verbal accosting. 

What did I expect? Did I think I was going to change the way they treated the common working folk? Do I believe that they treated their server at the restaurant, or the cabbie they're about to get driven by, any better? Did I really think I was going to teach these fifty-something year-old men any fucking manners? 

No. I assumed the best, and was let down by the worst. I went against what had been working for me for the past few months, and look where it got me?

Would I have flipped out on those guys had I'd been in my "assume the worst" mindset? 

Yeah, probably. Because I'm a lunatic. 

But, as my therapist said - It's not me. It's not anything I'm doing wrong (besides not getting a new job, but that's not the point here), it's them. Those guys are scumbags. And they're projecting their "rulers-of-the-universe" mentality on me. I can't take it personally. I won't take it personally. 

But that's easier said than done. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The World's Dumbest Doctor

A German guest with a stupid mustache approaches me with a map, which he's looking at upside down:

Guest - "Ehhhh... I need to go to Double-U Four Street. Which metro will I take?"

For the uninitiated, he means the West 4th St station, which drops you off in Greenwich Village. I take a pen out of my pocket, click it, and attempt to take the map from him to turn it right-side-up. He pulls away. 

Guest - "No!" 

Ok, weirdo. Fine by me. I un-click the pen and drop it back in my pocket. 

Doorman - "You need to go two blocks to-"

Guest - "This is to Double-U Four Street?" 

The map is still upside-down. 

Doorman - "Yes, so you walk two blocks to 53rd-"

Guest - "I take which metro?" 

Doorman - "I'm trying to tell-" 

Guest - "Double-U Four Street?" 

I point down the block. 

Doorman - "You walk two blocks down to 53rd and take the D or E trains downtown-" 

Guest - "Orange." 

Doorman - "Sure." 

He stares at his upside-down map. 

Guest - "Where is orange?" 

Doorman - "Two blocks down, at the corner of 53rd and 7-"

Guest - "Orange goes to Double-U Four Street?" 

Doorman - "Yes." 

A pause. The map is still upside-down.

Guest - "Where do I get the orange?" 

I consider if reaching over, pinching my fingers on his mustache, and ripping it off in one, fluid motion would be worth losing my job and going to jail over. 

Doorman - "You get the orange at the corner of 53rd and 7th-"

Guest- "And the blue?" 

He places his finger on the map and guides it in the opposite direction of where he's going, because the fucking map is still upside down. 

Doorman - "You can get the blue, yes, but let's focus on the orang-" 

Guest - "Where do I get the blue?"

He looks at me like he's about to teach me something. 

Guest - "The blue goes to Double-U Four street!" 

Doorman - "Yes, I've been trying to tell you that. Now, if you'll just pay attention to me-"

Guest - "Ah, okay! I can take blue and orange?" 

Doorman - "Yes. Yes! The D or the E!!! You got it!" 

A pause.

Guest - "Ehhh... What is 'D or E'?" 

Oh, come on. 

Doorman - "Orange or Blue. It's the line of the subway. Take either one. It doesn't matter, because they go to the same place." 

Another hideously long pause. 

Guest - "Ehhhh... D. Goes which way?" 

I attempt to take the map from him again. He slithers away. 

Guest - "No!" 

Doorman - "You have to take it downtown."

He runs his middle finger upwards on the map, because the motherfucking map is motherfucking upside down. 

Guest - "Ehhh... Uptown." 

Doorman - "No, downtown. Downtown. You have to take it downtown." 

He runs his finger along the orange line. Upwards on the map. AGAIN

Doorman - "NO! The map is upside down! You're supposed to take the D or the E  train, orange or blue line, I don't give a fuck, downtown to West fourth street. You can get the train two blocks down at 53rd street. Please, have mercy, let this be the last thing I say to you!" 

Another eternal pause. 

He looks up from the upside down map and observes the street. He points towards the downtown direction. 

Guest - "Ehhhh... uptown?" 

Doorman - "Sure." 

He walks that way without looking up at the map or saying thank you. To his credit, if he continued on that path with the assumption that he was headed uptown, he would have at least made it to the correct train station.

Note: I'd started writing this post on Monday night with the intention of titling it "A Scene from Behind an Open Map" and ending it there, but I fell asleep about halfway through, then had to work a morning bellman shift the next day. I didn't think I'd interact with him again, but as fate would have it...

At 10:05am, I get a phone call from room 77. 

Doorman - "Good morning, Bell Desk!" 

Huffy mouth-breathing on the other end. 

Guest - "Ehhhh... I make the shuttle bus. 12:20... P! M!" 

My heart sinks. It's him. I see a man waiting patiently with a suitcase, waiting for it to be stored. An American man. A tipper. 

Doorman - "Okay..." 

Guest - "We want to leave the room and eat the breakfast, but we don't know where to leave our four big bags." 

I gesture "one minute, please" to the American man who had tipped me $5 on the way in, who had another five in his hand. 

Doorman - "Yes, I'll come up and get the bags and store them for you till 12:20pm so you can go eat the breakfast."

Before I can hang up the phone and tend to the tipping American, he interrupts:

Guest - "Ehhh... I think maybe getting the bags at 12... P! M!... would be better while we wait for the shuttle bus, no?" 

Doorman - "Sure. I'll be up in about five minutes to get you-"

Guest - "Because the shuttle bus comes at 12:20... P! M!" 

As he's saying that, another bellman emerges from the elevator and approaches my tipping American. 

Bellman - "Good morning, sir? Like to store some bags? Will you need a car service later on?"

American - "Yeah, I need a car to Newark at 2pm."

Aaaaaaand there goes another $7 in car service commissions. Cock sucker

Doorman - "Yes, sir. We can have you retrieve the bags whenever the fu- whenever you need them. I'll be right up to get your suitcases." 

Guest - "Ehhhh... but-" 


I open the log book, which tells me that I'm next to do a bags-down. Fantastic. I can't even pass the buck to someone else. 

I grab a luggage cart and head to his room, which, of course, is located in the East Wing of the hotel. If you've read my Bellman Shift Breakdown, you'll know that there's an extra, pain-in-the-ass staircase that I have to deal with, which doubles my workload. 

I get to room 77 and knock. He opens the door, and a wretched stench immediately assaults my nostrils. It smells like the meat section of a supermarket, six months after a zombie apocalypse. He's been farting in here, and judging by the big, dopey smile on his face, he's proud of his own filth. (I'd find it funny if I didn't already hate him so much.)

I observe his four, big suitcases. Enough to fit on the one cart that I brought. 

Doorman - "Ok, sir. So you need these stored till 12:20pm, correct?"

Guest - "I think 12pm is better." 

Doorman - 'That's fine. I'm going to give you a claim ticket, and you can come pick up the bags whenever you want." 

Guest - "But I think 12pm is better." 

Doorman - "Whatever you want. Just bring this claim ticket to the bell desk, and we'll retrieve the bags for you." 

I take out my pen and a luggage claim ticket. 

Guest - "But I think-"

Doorman - "Last name, please?" 

Guest - "Klause! Doctor Klause!" 

Doorman - "Doctor?" 

He suddenly becomes serious. As if I offended him for inquiring that someone so savagely stupid and aloof could have survived so much schooling. I have a brother in medical school, and believe me, I want to believe that every doctor in the world is at least a tiny-bit smart. This man was not a tiny-bit smart. 

Guest - "Yes! Doctor Klause!" 

Doorman - "Ok... so bring down this claim ticket whenever you're ready to go. At 12, 12:02, 12:05, 12:20. Whenever!" 

Guest - "12:20 is not good, because we are making the shuttle bus-" 

Doorman - "Yeah, I got it." 

I begin to collect the luggage before he could utter another asinine redundancy. 

Guest - "What is your name? So I can thank you later?" 

He looks at my name tag.

Guest - "Chris." 

He annunciated the "Ch", like you would when you say "cherry". 

Guest - "Ok, CHris! Thank you!" 

No tip. It's not common that people give you a tip when putting the bags in storage, especially for idiot foreigners like this one, so I didn't think too much of it. Also - I've been living by a motto lately that's kept me from losing my shit at work: "If you assume the stiff, you'll never be disappointed." It's been sort of my "Hakuna Matata" the past few months. If I assume everyone is going to stiff me, I'll always be delighted when someone breaks the trend. It works. 

Fast-forward to 11:50am, when I see him talking to fellow Germans. The 12pm rush is about to happen, so I don't want to get stuck doing this while I could be making money booking cars for people. 

I interrupt him: 

Doorman - "Excuse me, doctor. Would you like your bags now?" 

He looks at his watch. 

Guest - "No, I think 12... P! M!... would be better. Because the shuttle bus-" 

Doorman - "Right, right, right. But it'll take me a few minutes to bring them down, so I was just going to get them so you're not waiting for them later."

He looks at his watch again. 

Guest - "No, I think 12... P! M!... would be better. Because the shuttle bus-" 

I immediately want to pull his head off to see if he's really a defective robot spy. It was like talking to the fucking "two weeks" lady from Total Recall. 

I walk away from him mid-sentence and head right to the storage room to get his bags. If he has to deal with his fucking bags sitting next to him while he yammers away to his friends, then, well... I don't know. Worse things have happened. 

I stomp up the stairs to the storage room, where I left the doctor's bags on a cart to be wheeled right down and out of my life. Grab the cart, wheel it to the elevator, wait five minuted for a car that isn't full, exit elevator, wheel cart across the lobby, nearly plow into an over-caffeinated Brazilian kid, who's swinging from bell cart to bell cart like Tarzan while his oblivious parents plan their Woodberry Common Outlet tours with one of the other bellmen (another commission I could have gotten, had I not been dealing with this schmuck), get to the doctor, and begin unloading his bags. 

The doctor checks his watch. I check mine - 11:57am. 

Guest - "It is not quite 12:00pm." 

I ignore him. 

Guest - "But I guess better early than late!" 

Shut up, stupid. 

I plop the last bag next to him, and prepare to walk away from this empty-handed. I turn with the cart. He calls after me:

Guest - "Excuse me, CHris!" 

I turn back. 

Guest - "For your troubles!" 

He holds a twenty dollar bill out. 

Every bit of color returns to my sweaty, flush face. My frown unfreezes and morphs into a mouth-open smile. My hunched shoulders jolt back up, and my back returns to a confident posture. Mr Klause turns from "World's Dumbest Doctor" to "World's Greatest Guest" in an instant. 

I snatch the 20. 

Doorman - "Thank you, doctor! Ohhhhh thank you!!! Ohhhhh you have a wonderful day! Have a safe trip! We'll see you next time! Thank you thank you thank you!!! Thank you, sir! Thank you, doctor!" 

He unflinchingly goes back to speaking German with his people, forgetting about the grateful little bell boy who retrieved and stored his luggage. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Doorman Reflects on Sports-Fan Fuckery

The other night, I went to the Rangers-Islanders game at Madison Square Garden. Living with rabid Blueshirt fans over the past three years, along with their recent title run has cemented their place as one of my favorite teams to follow. I consider myself something of a causal sports fan. I love playing fantasy football, will root passionately for the New York Football Giants and have been getting my heart broken by the New York Mets since I jumped up and down in my little orange and blue onesie the night Mookie Wilson tapped a little dribbler through the legs of Billy Buckner.  

My energy when watching my teams live is usually limited to a few exasperated groans and the celebratory high-five with the stranger sitting behind me. This is something that's changed tremendously over the years. I remember the days when I used to scream bloody murder at the television, or in the ears of the people in front of me at the games. I used to smash furniture, punch walls, scream outlandishly inappropriate things about the players, wish death upon them. I'd cry, yell, pray, plead, beg, fold my hands in front of my face, pound my fist against the bar, stand on stools, start rallying cries and chants, twist my hat into all sorts of contortions in hopes of starting a rally. I'd insult people wearing opposing jerseys, pick fights, swear in front of women and children, take my shirt off and write obscene things on my chest (seriously) - anything and everything to cheer on my favorite teams. 

This was predominantly from the ages of 14-21, when it meant a lot more to me. Sure, I'm still a fan, but I did this thing us human beings do called "growing up". Those days of me writing "Fuck the Yankees" on my smooth, puffy-nippled chest and drunkenly running around the upper deck of Shea Stadium screaming "Let's Go Mets, Fuck the Yankees" (when they weren't even playing the Yankees. Seriously) are long behind me. 

Which is why, the other night, when I witnessed some of the fans around me at Madison Square Garden belligerently fighting over a game, I couldn't help but feel embarrassed for them. 

The Rangers were playing the Islanders, which, as a crosstown rivalry game, brought in a mixed crowd of fans. The first two periods were fairly even, with the Rangers taking a 2-1 lead going into the 3rd. There were some jabbing amongst the fans, though nothing I'd hadn't heard at a game before. But when the Islanders went on a run, scoring four goals in a ten-minutes stretch, the Islander fans began speaking up, with the Ranger faithful slumping in their chairs, getting more and more pissed off. I was one of those Ranger fans, bitterly sipping my beer as my row of friends got quiet. This is the fan I am now, at 30, who will simply slump in my chair and turn to my friends with a shrug. Oh well. Better luck next time. 

That's when I saw a brand-new Rangers jersey, tags on it and everything, sail over our heads and onto the shoulder of a young woman about three rows ahead of us. 

Apparently, to express his disgust for Henrik Lundqvist letting a few pucks go through his legs, a you man, about my age or a little older, decided to throw the $300 jersey he'd just purchased ten rows down. To prove what? I'm not sure. It didn't take very long to realized that he'd made a bonehead move, so he immediately began yelling down to have the jersey passed back. 

It wasn't that easy. 

The father of the young woman who'd been hit with the jersey turned, in a rage, and began screaming at the man: 

Father - "You wanna throw jerseys, you fucking loser? Now, I'm keeping it! It's mine!" 

The father gives him the finger and turns his attention back to the game. 

The Islanders score again. The father shares his displeasure for his team.

Father - "OH, FUCK YOU!!! FUCK YOU!!!" 

Islander fans begin taunting Ranger fans. Fingers in faces, other fingers being returned. 

The man who'd throw the jersey continues to yell and plead to have it passed back up. Eventually, he makes his way down the aisle. 

He gets to the father and daughter. In a swift move, he pulls the jersey off the father's shoulder without him looking. The father immediately grabs it back, stretching it out and revealing the "30" over "Lundqvist" on it's back. A tug of war ensues. 

The young man yanks the jersey out of the father's hands. The father grabs the young man's arm and pulls him towards him, showing teeth under his thick mustache. The young man smugly laughs as he tries to get out of the father's clutches. 

Father - "You hit my daughter, you fucking asshole!" 

Security runs down and breaks up the scuffle. The Islanders score again. More booing, more yelling, more taunting and finger-pointing, more cursing and screaming, more beer being spilled. 

No one is ejected because the security guard "didn't see the jersey being thrown" despite half the section coming to the defense of the father. The young man is ordered back to his seat, where he jarred with the father over the course of the next fifteen minutes. They swore at each other, while children with half-eaten hot dogs and uncomfortable parents looked on. 

The Islanders score again. 

Half the section, mostly Ranger fans, get up and head toward the exit. Amongst the sad blueshirt faithful who had given up on the game was the father, with his wife and daughter. The young man watched him head toward the exit, smug smile on his face: 

Young Man - "Hey! Where the fuck are you going?!" 

The father ignores him. The young man springs up, and climbs over six or seven people to follow the father in the concourse. All I saw next was the young man giving chase, disappearing into the crowded exit. Several moments later, the security abandoned his post and sprinted into the concourse area, likely breaking up another altercation between the father and young man. 

I can't think of a more asinine story to tell, from either end. Think about getting arrested for something like that. It's very possible that the two of them got ejected from the area and right into police custody. And for what? Because some thirty-something dickhead wanted to throw his Henrik Lundqvist jersey to show that, after allowing a few goals, he's no longer pledging allegiance to this player or the team he plays on? Or the father, who after seeing his daughter get hit with a weightless piece of fabric, wanted to show the people of his section that he's not to be reckoned with? 

This is all over a game. All the tension, all the temper-flaring, all of the confrontation, all the bad vibes - it's all over a few goals in an early-season hockey game. 

One of the things that changed the way I behave at a sporting event happened when I was in high school. From 1999-2001, my family had partial season tickets for the New York Mets. It was during the Mike Piazza/Bobby Valentine years, when the Mets were reasonably relevant. We always sat in the same seats, surrounded same group of people, tucked away in the first baseline section of the darl-green chaired mezzanine.  Everyone got along well and no one ever really showed up drunk and caused a scene. It also helped that the Mets won often, so spirits were always high. 

The pleasantness and lack of people screaming obscenities was a good thing, because my Old Man doesn't stand for that shit. It's ironic that he raised me, a well-renowned potty-mouth, considering he won't let anyone say so much as "god damn" in front of his wife and kids. Whenever someone in our section, usually a guest of one of the regulars, would scream "you fucking suck" at one of the visiting players, the Old Man would politely lean over and say, "Hey, buddy, you mind? I'm here with my family." 

The gentleman approach always worked. Now, for all of the foul words I've concocted over the years in this here blog, it's been embedded in me to respect those around me and not swear in front of women and children. I strayed from that a bit as a youngster (see: running around Shea Stadium with "Fuck the Yankees" written in Sharpie on my chest), though got with the program after this particular incident: 

2001, the year after the Mets lost to the Yankees in the World Series, would be the last year my father took us to games. Having the Subway Series the year before only ignited the crosstown rivalry even further, and ticket demands for the following regular-season series at Shea were sky-high. This caused our section of faithful, low-key fans to be moved into the upper deck for the lone Yankee game that was part of our ticket package. On that Friday night game, my family was luck enough to be seated right in front of where the Yankee's infamous "Bleacher Creatures" had bought out a large block of tickets. If you're unaware of who these guys are, check out this video. It pretty much sums it up - a band of loud, drunken assholes who chant terribly obscene things and taunt people who have to balls to go to the game rooting for the opposition. 

Of all the games we went to over those three years, this was the only one I sat out. I had a sweet sixteen that night, and I spent the evening working up the courage to ask a girl I'd had a crush on to dance with me. The DJ played N' SYNC's This I Promise You first. I chickened out. After doing a few shots of 99 Bananas in the bathroom with my friend, I came back out, mustered up all my courage, and asked her to dance to the tune of KC & Jojo's All My Life. 

As I was attempting to hide my erection in a hideously awkward slow-dance with a girl whom, as I found out later that evening, had a crush on one of my friends, my Old Man's temper was burning up in the 4th inning at Shea. For the past hour, he's sat there an listened to these animals chant things like, "Shea Stadium, burn the motherfucker down!" Knowing he was out-numbered by about 20 to 1, and not having his eldest son there to help him should things escalate (not that I would have done anything productive in a brawl), he sat there and took it. 

It wasn't till a couple of innings later, when the Bleacher Creatures sang their rendition of "YMCA", replacing "Y-M-C-A/It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A" with ""Why are you gay?/ I say you sucking some D-I-C-K", he looked at his then-four-year-old daughter, his nine-year-old son, and his wife. My mother pleaded for him not to go, but it was already too late. He sprinted up the steps, confronting every last one of them for ruining his night out with his wife and children. This immediately let to fists being thrown, beer bring poured, and more filthy profanities being hurled, all at my father. 

My Old Man fought till the bitter end. My mom instructed my brother to go get security, and the melee was eventually broken up with my father being pulled, bruised and bloodied and covered in beer, out from underneath. It's sad - having gone to a place for so many years, all the memories and great times had - to have the last thing you experience in that building be a beating in front of your wife and kids at the hands of a pack of drunken animals. 

No arrests were made that night, despite everyone in the section witnessing at least ten men pummeling my defenseless father. My family left right away, filing a police report at the nearby Queens precinct. Nothing ever came of it. Shea Stadium was torn down seven years later, with my father vehemently refusing to ever return. 

I still went, yet my behavior and attitude about attending games, hell, about sports in general, changed. It made me think: 

Do people honestly think that Derek Jeter would be happy that they're cursing out someone who comes to the ballpark wearing a Boston Red Sox hat? 

Do they believe that getting to a fistfight, followed by a night spent in jail is really what the New York Jets need to win the Super Bowl? 

Do they think that screaming "Fuck you! You suck, you fucking fag!" at an athlete, in front of children is going to help their team win? 

Does Eli Manning stay up at night wondering how many hands were broken by guys punching walls following a costly interception he made in the 4th quarter? Is he grateful for those people, because they're obviously "true, loyal fans"? 

Do players look up in the stands, see a rumble between guys wearing opposite team jerseys and think, "man, I'm glad we have fans that will fight for our honor!"? 

What the fuck is wrong with these people? 

It's a game. These guys are getting paid no matter what. It's not life-altering, and it's, at the end of the day, not remotely worth fighting over. 

And as far as swearing at a game in front of women and children - one can argue that it's a hazard of the environment. That if you buy tickets to a night game, one can expect to hear a few crass words being yelled from time to time. That people get drunk and yell. It's happens. 

That's bull shit. 

A six year old kid, enjoying his first ball game, doesn't need to be subjected to some drunken asshole screaming "Jason Bay, you fucking cock sucker!" as his dad tries to have a little father-son time. People can yell and be fans without being disrespectful. 

I curse a lot on this blog. Watch - cock, shit, fuck, balls, asshole, uncle, pussy, taint, cunt, turd, twat! 

See? But there's a thing you can do if it offends you - exit out of this tab, open a new one, and find something else to read on the internet. There's plenty of stuff, I assure you.

If I spend hundreds of dollars on tickets, food, and beverage, I shouldn't have to be subjected to some baboon who takes the game a liiiiitle too seriously, especially if I want to bring my children to enjoy the festivities. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Doorman Goes to Fuerza Bruta

I haven't posted anything in the past few weeks because I've been working on few different things, namely post-production on the new Doorman webisodes. We're doing an NYC screening of the entire first season next month, so stay tuned for updates on that. In the meantime, check out this little excerpt from my short-lived "Chris Russell Blog" spinoff. I'm posting it on here because no one fucking read it when it was originally posted. Now that I've taken it down, it's just sitting on my hard drive collecting cyber dust.

It's funny - ending this blog and starting a new, completely uninspired one last year was one of my more misguided decisions, yet I just recently snoozed when GoDaddy sent me an email warning me that the automatic renewal for the domain name will be processed. So, Chris Russell's of the universe who want to start their own blog - you're gonna have to wait another year, or pony up for the domain name. 

Anywho, enjoy my venting about stupid tourists. 

Originally written: January 13th, 2014

I went and saw Fuerza Bruta last Friday night with my family. I always try and give the gift of theatre, mostly because I possess the present-wrapping skills of a fingerless chimp, but also because I truly enjoy being able to provide a memorable evening for my loved ones. And while I understand that nothing says “I love you” like a $50 gift card for a fine culinary outing to Applebee’s or Buffalo Wild Wings, I prefer to bond over the arts than a “2 for 20” deal. 

When the show started, I realized that the “art” experience was less art and more 65 minutes of booming techno music and redundant flying stunts. Everyone I spoke to who has seen the show beforehand liked it, save for one or two people who don’t appreciate the bane of being required to stay on their feet for more than an hour. My family seemed to enjoy it, or were just putting on a clinic on how to be polite when receiving a gift they don’t like. Personally, while I appreciate the agility and energy of the performers, I found the show to be a steaming, tourist-trap turd. 

But that wasn’t my biggest gripe about the experience. 

For all of the moving around, changing of viewpoints, and impressive herding of the clusterfuck of foreign mouth-breathers and drunk Americans by the highly efficient stagehands, they missed one pivotal no-no in the theatre world: 

Cell phones. Cameras. Recording devices. 

The second the show started, a fanny-pack wearing man who towered over me in height took out a digital camera the size of a bar of gold and began filming. He was a tourist, and a Brazilian one at that. I cannot fucking escape these people. Being that this was my day off from getting into altercations with these shopping outlet mongers, I opted to wait for an old-reliable New York City usher to intervene. After all, there was a “no flash photography announcement” at the top of the show. 

Five minutes went by. Nothing. 

My view of the first five minutes of this show was through the screen of this son of a bitch’s digital camera screen. What the fuck? 

I turned to look for a staff member, and they were busy doing other things. I know this because I had to search really hard to find one through the ocean of little mini-screens projecting the live show that these people paid to see, and were funneling through a four inch screen. 

Assuming this was acceptable by the show and it’s staff, I told the fucking ogre in front of me that I can’t see the show with his tree-trunk arms elevated over his oddly-shaped dome. He looked at me as if I were asking him to expose his wife’s breasts so I could sketch them. In a huff, he lowered his arm angle and continued on filming the show, eyes still glued to the standard-definition screen of what had to be a digital camera from the early 2000’s. (I guess his "rite-of-passage" US shopping spree hadn’t reached Best Buy yet.) 

But it wasn’t just him. The more I looked around, the more I saw people realize it was okay to take pictures and record the show. After twenty or so minutes, nearly half the fucking audience had their phones out and were watching through the screen. 

Think about that - these people paid a decent penny to see live theatre and couldn’t pry themselves away from their cell phone screens for a mere sixty minutes. They had actors and acrobats performing dangerous stunts before them and it was more important to record the moment than actually experience it. 

Maybe the reason I didn’t care for the show was because I spent the entire hour detesting my fellow audience members. I just can’t fathom this thought-process. There were a handful of people, fanny-pack toting troglodyte included, who filmed the entire show show, top to bottom. 


Why the fuck should I be forced to pay money to watch an event through the lens of your future little home movie that NO ONE will ever want to see?!?

Seriously, WHY?!? 

Are you really going to go home and watch it again?!? 

No, you will never watch it again. Ever. You may think you will, but you’ll go home continue on with your meandering life and delete the file the moment you need space on your hard drive. There’s nothing more dry and boring to other people than a shitty recording of live theatre. Trust me, I have about ten DVD’s from my college stage years to prove it. 

Are you going to show your friends?!? 

"EHHHH… Look at this clip that I filmed on my phone from this techno circus I visited in New York City!!!!"

If someone proposed that to me, here’s how the conversation would go: 

Doorman - “Does a performer fall due to a snapped flying cable and break their spine?”

Asshole - “No.”

Doorman - “Is there an accidental boob slip? “

Asshole - “No.”

Doorman - “Does a violent melee break out in the audience?” 

Asshole - “No.”

Doorman - “Not interested. Get the fuck out of my house.” 

Seriously, unless you’re capturing the last out of the World Series, put your fucking phones away and appreciate the experience that you paid good money to have. And even if you are lucky enough to be present for the last out of the World Series (as I was in the year 2000, no big deal), put your fucking phone away and take it in, because there will always be another schmuck sitting near you who will post it on YouTube. 

That version of Fuerza Bruta closed the following Sunday, but, luckily for you, here’s a high-resolution clip provided by one of their expert audience cinematographers!!!