Friday, March 12, 2010

People are strange

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that people are strange. They get married by Elvis in Las Vegas, take baths with their cats and then enter them into cat shows and they rock mullets for real.

There’s a man in the small South Carolina town where I work who walks up and down Main Street all day and night dragging a 10-foot-tall wooden cross on his back. When it gets dark, he plugs in Christmas Lights to it so you can see the illuminated cross from the road.

Some people considered the French Quarter “duck lady” in New Orleans strange, as she would talk to her pet duck as if it were a person, giving it commands normally reserved for dogs like “stay” and “speak.”

Some weirdos even order nacho cheese as their salad dressing at Applebee’s.

The Doors figured out that People Are Strange in 1967. Here, take a listen while you read on….

Now, I’m sure you have your own “people are strange” stories, perhaps I am even included in them (so, what, sometimes I like to dance by myself in the kitchen. And separate my cereal and milk. And, yes, that is a sleeping mask I wear to bed. Sometimes.)
But, enough about me. Let me tell you about a few standout weirdos I have encountered:

In late 2005, two months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed my hometown of New Orleans, I was at a party in South Carolina and began talking to some people about the terrible disaster.

"Yes, my parents are OK, they evacuated even though that in itself was a nightmare.
No, we don’t know if their house was flooded or not. They can’t get back in the city and Google Earth hasn’t updated yet."

Naturally, Hurricane Katrina was the most devastating thing that I’ve ever experienced and it quite literally broke my heart.

I was living in South Carolina at the time and felt helpless 800 miles away. I was glued to the TV for updates, frantically calling my parents even though the 504 area code for cell phones was spotty for weeks.

As I was discussing Hurricane Katrina with fellow party-goers, out of the shadows came a weird, sweaty guy wearing all black who I had noticed earlier standing by himself in the corner.

“You know,” he said in a soft voice, interrupting me mid-sentence. “The government makes hurricanes.
I immediately spun around on my heels to look at him face to face.

“WHAT did you just say?” I asked firmly, loudly.

“The government makes hurricanes,” he said. “My uncle is in this really secret part of the military and said there’s this base in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico where they make the water really, really warm on purpose so hurricanes gain strength.”

I kind of lost it.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” I sort of screamed at him. (We were outside on the porch, so I didn’t make too big of a scene.)


He backed off a little, and the other people on the porch took over berating him for that nonsense.



I was at a Wal Mart in McComb, Mississippi and I was wearing a T-shirt with a gargoyle-like face on it. As I was walking down the main aisle, an old man came right up to me, and pointed to my chest.
“Is..that…man….sticking…his tongue out at me?” he asked in his Southern Mississippi drawl.

I looked down at my shirt. Yes, I suppose the gargoyle is indeed sticking his tongue out, I didn’t think anyone would take it personally but, yes.

I politely smiled and walked away, feeling his eyes on me until I got to the sporting goods department.
What a weird dude, I told myself.

Another weirdo I encountered I had never actually met. But he did wreak havoc on my email account.
I was logged on at a “shared” computer at the college library, desperately sending out my resume to any newspaper that was hiring: South Carolina, New Orleans, Las Vegas (seriously, haha) New York. And I didn’t log off when I was done.

I continued to send out emails with resumes and cover letters to professional newspaper editors and publishers.
Then I sent an email to my twin sister, Joy, who called to tell me that there was something….odd at the end of my email. I suddenly had an email signature, on the bottom of every email I had sent out, she said.

“What?” I asked. “What does it say?”

Horrified, I looked in my sent folder and saw an email I had sent to a business publication.
Written at the bottom of the page, underneath my long list of qualifications and credentials was:

“I kept my email logged on to a public computer and I’m lucky this is the only thing that happened to me: Quimby for Mayor.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed so loud my roommate woke up. “Who the F*CK does that?????”
Clearly a nerdy Simpsons-lover, my roommate pointed out. What a freak.

And aren’t there just some real weirdos on Facebook now, too? I’ve got a “friend” who constantly posts photos of what she ate for lunch….a burger? With ketchup? Really?? Get. Out.

Another person on Facebook posts suicidal status updates daily. To make it more bizarre, no one ever comments on them, not even her husband, who is also on Facebook. Let’s call her Samantha Smith.

Samantha Smith I wish I had a happier place to work. I can't stand the sterility so quiet you can hear a cricket fart.

Samantha Smith I am five fuckin seconds from telling them. where to stick this fuckin place -- hate it hate it

Samantha Smith when in doubt -- the good old standby * TRUST NO ONE* so true. could anyone remove the fuckin knife in my back ??

Samantha Smith I hate my life and I wish I were dead. !!! maybe I should just pull into oncomig traffic.

Samantha Smith my new Mantra. DIE bitch DIE. and don't touch me. I am NOT your friend or even frienemy. DUH

Samantha Smith gonna pull out the OUJI board and see if I can contact my dead life

Samantha Smith crapfuckingtastic.

Samantha Smith I have decided b-days suck. I haven't had a good one since I was 7.

Woah now. Weirdo. Would you like to borrow my sleeping mask?


1 comment:

  1. Hey Jen,

    I read this the other day, but didn't get the chance to comment as I was at work. I love the Vote for Quimby story. Truly he is a man who embiggens my soul.

    What do you mean? Embiggen is a perfectly cromulent word. What's wrong with you?


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