Friday, March 30, 2007

Happy 100th Murder Philadelphia!

We're at 99 and counting! Being that tonight is Friday and the weather is really nice, I'm guessing we get to 103 sometime around 2:15 a.m. tonight. Way to go everyone! It takes a true team effort to have that many people killed before the end of March.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


The next edition of BEDTIME STORIES AT THE SHUBIN is this Wednesday evening.

SHUBIN THEATER (4th and Bainbridge)
8 p.m. $5

This month's theme is PARTIES. Everyone has been to a party. (Or if you haven't, that's a good story.) Some parties are good. Some parties are bad. Sometimes, stupid things happen at parties that must be recorded for all of eternity. Share your party stories!

I have the panel for the first half of the show set. But the second half is an OPEN MIC NIGHT! As long as it's about parties! Our first installment, POOP STORIES, was one of the most insane, best nights I've ever had. Absolutely hilarious. This will be even better!

We will also have cake, alcohol and door prizes!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Sixth Borough

EDIT: I'm rewriting this from its original post, if you saw this before. I wrote this after the show Saturday night, where I drank nearly 1/4th of a bottle of Sapphire gin straight. This resulted in me using the word "ridiculous" 98 times.

My head is spinning from this weekend's events.

In January, I signed up to take a sketch comedy writing class at this new theater in South Philadelphia that opened up and started hosting some comedy shows. The guy hosting the event was a former writer for Saturday Night Live. I wasn't sure if this thing was going to be any good, but I at least thought it would be interesting and potentially socially awkward and uncomfortable

Well, the class wasn't just good, it was great. And from there, a bunch of people in our class started e-mailing each other sketches. And then one girl from the class (Tabitha) was incredibly motivated and got as many people as she knew who were interested in doing a sketch comedy project together.

I never acted in my life. I never tried out for any plays or musicals. The only acting experience I have is limited to A) doing "Darryl: The Life And Times Of Darryl Strawberry" for my stoner friends in college and B) that ridiculous acting class available in the May archives. Any comedy writing that I've done has been limited to stuff I've put up on my blog and then performing a few (like six) times in NYC or in Philly.

I was leary to join a sketch comedy group, but after our first night together I was really happy that I did this. If you're a big baseball nerd like I am, you know that there are two schools of thought about the cliched word of "chemistry." People who are stats-oriented sabermatricians deny that "chemisty" can alter the outcome of a baseball game. Traditionalists believe that "chemistry" does indeed exist and help teams win games. I usually believe in the first -- that teams win baseball games by having the best baseball players.

Sketch comedy is completely different then a sport, naturally. But my experience the past few weeks has led me to rethink the entire concept of social chemistry.

It's pretty inane to just click with a group of strangers as well as we did -- the last time this happened to me was probably the first weekend in college, when I ended up in a dorm room in Neumann Hall with a group of degenerate weirdos who called themselves "The Crack Den," the entire group of whom I still consider to be my best friends to this day.

(In our sketch group, all of us have all of these weird connections with each other, which might explain how we connected so well. My friend Pat in the group went to college with this girl Sara I'm friends with. Tabitha and Emily both worked at Eastern State Prison with my friend Fran. Melody knows my brother really well. And Jason grew up with an ex-girlfriend of mine. I described us as the sketch comedy version of Lost.)

So we worked our asses off, writing sketches, rehearsing sketches, rewriting sketches and then eventually coming up with a completed project. None of us (to my knowledge) had any tangible experience perfecting a comedy show before. And, to be honest, my nerves were wracked from this because I didn't think I was any good.

We had two shows, one on Friday and one on Saturday. We also had no idea what to expect crowd-wise. The general consensus it that it would be limited to friends and family of everyone in the show, with 30-40 people at each show, with everyone politely telling us how good we were afterwards even though several skits had little-to-no laughter.

Friday, right before showtime, someone looked outside. Connie's Ric-Rac (this new theater that opened up at the Italian Market in South Philly that is quickly becoming the best venue for outsider music/theater/comedy in the city) was PACKED. It was Standing Room Only. We guessed that about 90 people came on out -- way more than any of us expected.

I have no idea as to how this is possible. Our publicity was limited to flyers, MySpace, e-mails, a sketch we performed at another comedy night in town and one listing in an alt-weekly. We spent no money on advertising, since we had no money to spend for anything. Backstage, we were all nervous wrecks to see if the first bit (which was really risky and the bit we rehearsed the least) worked.

Well, it killed. The crowd got super into it and by the end all of us would have fought at Iwo Jima we were so pumped. Rehearsals were difficult, especially for me since I'm naturally unsure of myself to begin with and have no experience doing these things. We'd just rehearse these bits in front of just each other and there is no way to determine if an audience will find this funny or not. Our dress rehearsal before the show, we all felt really good coming out of it. But none of us expected this.

I know I had all kinds of energy for my scenes -- I wasn't worried about flubbing a line or if I was going to look stupid or not. It was like this for everyone -- we just flew through these scenes, hit all of our lines and had these amazing reactions from the crowd. Afterwards, people gave us this huge ovation and we were like... WTF? It seriously felt like we were Van Halen circa 1984. We were debating whether or not to do an encore, but we had absolutely nothing planned or rehearsed. Who could have expected it?

Saturday night was even crazier. We were expecting the Saturday show to be our big show, with maybe 50 people coming. We had at least 120 come on out. People were sitting in the aisles, behind the bar, out near the street.Our second show was even better, because we knew it worked from start to finish so we could just really go with it.

After the show ended, I met up with my friend Sara from high school. She was the star of all the plays in high school, lives down here now and is part of The Waitstaff, which is probably Philly's most professional and best sketch group. (To my knowledge, I haven't seen everyone, but I've seen them a bunch of times and they're tremendous.) She told us how good she thought we were, etc. And then she said that being funny on stage is the best adrenaline rush a person can have.

It's completely true. I was backstage when we performed one of the sketches I originally wrote. At one point, a line was said by one of the characters that reveals the premise of the sketch and the place went nuts. I had goosebumps from that moment, something I'm always going to remember.

So we're not sure what the next step is going to be yet. Another run of this show? New sketches? Who knows. All I know is that it's not every weekend that about 200 people somehow find out about your little experiment in South Philadelphia and laugh at something you helped create.

No time to relax though -- this Wednesday is BEDTIME STORIES, the night I host at the Shubin Theater. This is where I did POOP STORIES last week. Hope to see you there.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, March 23, 2007

My favorite You Tube Clip of the Day

If that works, you should be seeing make-up wearing KISS on the Jerry Lewis Telethon in 1979 as they take the fight to Muscular Dystrophy.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Most Pathetic Mix CD of All Time

Hey there. If you've been reading my blog, or if you actually know me, you know that I'm more than just a tad pathetic at times. My most pathetic moments came before I met my now-wife, when I was in the dire search for a girlfriend. I was always very clingy and gapingly lonely in my hunt for female companionship, which meant that I put every girl I had a thing for on a pedastal that no person could possibly live up to. I was a stalker with a Smiths soundtrack.

High Fidelity is one of my favorite books and movies (and I'm trying my damndest to not sound like a cliched 20-something, but you can only go so far) because it's so fucking relatable. It's like an auto-biography or something. One of my favorite things to do in pursuit of the opposite sex was to make a mix tape. I did this before I saw the movie and I did it many times after.

I've been with Ilana for over four years now. The mix CD's I've made since then have had a different take to it (including a mix CD we made for our wedding present.) So I've come up with a challenge.

I want to make a 12-song mix CD from a slightly more exaggerated version of my 22-year-old self. The loneliest, saddest, most desperate songs put on a CD in hopes to impress a girl I met at the Willowbrook Mall food court or something.

Give me your suggestions for this CD!

Here are some early sketches:

1. "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys: The best pop song ever written. But in terms of giving this to a girl on a First Date Mix Tape, I couldn't think of anything more psychotic.

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I'd be without you
If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on, believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me?
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you

2. "Silly Girl" by The Descendents: One of the all-time best punk bands, the first punk band to really capture teenage suburban heartbreak in all its angst and agony. This is a pretty perfect song for the pathetic 22-year-old music geek/socially awkward maniac. This is a pretty perfect song for the occassion -- the boy only hears the "I'm in love with you" line in the verse, but the girl would hear the clinginess and pleading involved. (Thanks George!)

Started on a summer Sunday
Your pink dress on the setting sun
You were going to Grandma's house, I was too scared to come

My silly girl, I'm beggin you
Tell me all the things that I want to hear
My silly girl, I'm in love with you

3. "Across The Sea" by Weezer: The definitely awkward pining song, perfect for the guy who thinks a girl is the answer to all his problems. It maquerades itself as a sweet, timeless anthem but is all about uncalled for possessiveness.

As if I could live on words and dreams and a million screams
Oh how I need a hand in mine, to feel

Why are you so far away from me?
Why are you so far away from me?

4. "Sweet Thing" by Van Morrison: Another timeless pop song, but completely misguided and inappropriate for the First Date situation. Also lets the girl recieving the tape know that the guy giving it already knows where she lives.

Oh sweet thing, sweet thing
My, my, my, my, my sweet thing
And I shall drive my chariot
Down your streets and cry
'Hey, it's me, I'm dynamite
And I don't know why'
And you shall take me strongly
In your arms again
And I will not remember
That I even felt the pain.

5. "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel I think this is the perfect song for this situation. The big song in "Say Anything" where John Cusack holds up the boom box to try and win back Diane Court. The first time anyone in the history of the world was emo. Naturally, the guy in this situation would think this is the best movie ever made. And the girl in this situation would like this movie, too, but would certainly not want some dude holding up a boom box outside of her house.

6. "Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me" by The Smiths Arguably the most pathetic song by the most pathetic songwriter who ever lived. The video down below is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for right now.

7. "The First Cut Is The Deepest" by Cat Stevens 1. If all you've heard is the Sheryl Crow abortion of this song, you're missing out. The original (and a few other cover versions) are terrific. 2. Being that I established that I met this girl at a mall food court, I'd imagine the Sheryl Crow version has come on the radio. And I make a snarky comment about the song and how much I love the original. She's never heard it. Perfect mix tape material. 3. Whenever I was fixating on a girl I just met whom I had a first date planned with, I usually just assumed that I already messed something up (or would soon.) So this is a pre-emptive apology. 4. I'd spend the entire date depressingly talking about Stacy, the girl who broke my heard 3 summers earlier when we worked at Chuck E. Cheese.

8. "Love Song" by The Cure
whenever I'm alone with you you make me feel
like i am home again whenever i'm alone with
you you make me feel like i am whole again

whenever i'm alone with you you make me feel
like i am young again whenever i'm alone with
you you make me feel like i am fun again

however far away i will always love you however
long i stay i will always love you whatever
words i say i will always love you i will always
love you

whenever i'm alone with you you make me feel
like i am free again whenever i'm alone with
you you make me feel like i am clean again

however far away i will always love you however
long i stay i will always love you whatever
words i say i will always love you i will always
love you

9. "Everywhere I Go" by The Muffs Criminally underrated garage/punk band fronted by a girl. I always like to put a girl fronted band on a mix tape for a girl. This is really good because it's another song that sounds day dreamy but this one is written from the perspective of a girl being stalked by a loser.

It's not what I can see
It's not what I can hear
It doesn't trouble me
But still it's around

You know what I'm thinking
And when I'm celebrating
I feel your eyes on me
But I can't see you

You understand I'm not afraid
Of your complete devotion now
But if it ever gets out of hand
I'll bring you down

Everywhere I go you're there
Everywhere I go you're there
Everywhere I go you're there
Can't you see you're driving me insane?

10. "You Are The Everything" by REM Another song waaaay too deep in romantic sentiment for a first date. Title's pretty explanatory.

11. "Paper Lanters" by Green Day After a bunch of slower songs, time to break out a rock song. This is still my favorite Green Day song. It sounds kind of sweet and sentimental at first but is actually about a guy pining for an ex-flame. You think I could get over the girl from the art school who wouldn't return my phone calls that quickly?

Now I rest my head from
Such an endless dreary time
A time of hopes and happiness
That had you on my mind
Those days are gone and now it seems
As if I'll get some rest
But now and then I'll see you again
And it puts my heart to the test

So when are all my troubles going to end?
I'm understanding now that
We are only friends
To this day I'm asking why
I still think about you

12. "Am I Wrong" by Love Spit Love The dude from the Psychadellic Furs' post-Furs project. This is the song that starts the movie Angus. Really great, delicate power-pop song. The chorus is perfect for a pathetic mix tape.

Goodbye, lay the blame on love. (Repeat a bunch of times.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Two Upcoming Comedy Shows

Hey everyone. I've got two upcoming comedy gigs coming up.

1) THE SIXTH BOROUGH. This is a sketch comedy thing I've been working on since January. Think of it as watching a live taping of Saturday Night Live. Only actually funny. You'll also get to see me partially naked and cross-gendered!
SAT., MARCH 24 (Both shows are the same show, so don't think you have to go to both. Or any.)
Connie's Ric Rac, 9th and Ellsworth (Right smack dab in the Italian Market.)

2) BEDTIME STORIES AT THE SHUBIN. This is my own comedy night! Each month, I have a selected theme and a group of panelists to talk about said theme. Then, afterwards, the floor opens up to the general public to share stories about this theme.

This month's theme is PARTIES. Listen to funny stories about parties! Tell one yourself! Then celebrate as we have a birthday party for my lovely wife Ilana! Door prizes, BEER, cake and more! Last month's event was seriously one of the most fun nights I've ever had in my life. And you know my nickname of Mr. Fun Pants!

WHERE: Shubin Theater, 4th and Bainbridge (right near South St.)
WHEN: Wed., March 28. 8 p.m.

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Mom Enjoys Bathroom Grafitti

As I stated a few days ago, my parents are a post-modern Ward and June Cleaver. My mom is very tiny, under five feet tall, and was mostly a housewife when I was growing up. She's also unfaillingly polite and never curses. If there was one rule that me and Chris knew absolutely never to break, it was the rule banning foul language in the house.

Comically, Chris enjoys sidestepping this rule. He always says things like "What the f" and "F this s" in the house, using the letters in place of the actual curse word, which drives my mom up a wall in frustration.

I've often wondered exactly how it is that I've grown up to be the way I am, since my family is like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. But every now and then, my mom says or does something that confirms that I am indeed the product of my parents seed and loin.

We used to vacation nearly every summer at Lake George, a timeless vacation destination in New York's Adirondacks. Our family was eating dinner one evening when my mom went to use the facilities. On her way back, she was cackling ilke a mad woman.

"I just saw the funniest bathroom grafitti," my mom said. "There was an eye drawn over the keyhole and underneath it someone wrote 'I saw you take that shit. Now put it back where it came from.'"

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Honestly, what did I do in a previous life to lead the one I lead today?

So, I have a class that meets on Saturday once a month. And all day Friday and into the wee hours of the morning, Philadelphia and its surrounding area was hit with one of the worst storms I can remember. It didn't have blizzard like snow, because that would be a bit normal. Instead, we were hit non-stop with ice and sleet. There's a few inches of just pure frozen substance on the ground.

Last night, class members and our professor were negotiating what to do because this weather is so retarded. Our professor was coming in from Harrisburg, which is like two hours west of here. He said he would call us if the school cancelled class.

My alarm wakes me up at 8. No phone call. I then confirm on my school's website that classes will be held as regularly scheduled.

I knew this was a bad day when I stepped outside and actually slid to my car. The ground is so solid with ice that it doesn't even crack underneath my body weight. It's completely, 100% solid. I reached my car and put my textbook on top of it so I could open the door. My textbook flew off the top of my car without any assistance from the wind. It slid off and then slid down our driveway even further.

I managed to clear off the car and went down our driveway, which is used by everyone on our side of the street. I zigzagged down the driveway and made it out to our road. At the end of our block, I became completely stuck. I almost got out but soon my wheels were just spinning.

I got out of my car to see if I had something in the trunk which could provide assistance -- a few years back, when my car was stuck, I diug out a copy of The Rock's autobiography and stuck it under the wheel of one of my tires and got out scott free. I put my key in the trunk and turn.


That's the noise that is made when a key snaps in the lock of your car door.

I traipsed back home, hoping that I had an extra copy of the key made. But I knew what the answer to that was already.

My car is now stuck in the middle of an intersection at a block, where at any given second it can be totalled. A helpful red and white rag is attached to the car antennae, at the suggestion of a local Philadelphia Park Ranger (don't ask), which will mean that when my car gets sideswiped in a few hours that there will be a red and white rag amongst the wreckage.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dad Rage

I don't think I've really written too much about my parents on this thing. This is largely for two reasons: a) my parents are pretty awesome people who are pretty much the Ward and June Cleaver of their era and b) I didn't want them to know I was writing a blog, but my brother ratted me out to my mom after a certain "unintentionally caused highly public incident" we had with an athlete.

This tale is one about my dad. My dad, as stated before, is just awesome. He's a walking cliche about "putting his kids first" -- he'd do (and has done) absolutely anything for us, he's the hardest working human being alive and has managed to get two master's degrees (and currently going for his doctorate) and advanced really far up in his industry while not once missing a Little League baseball game, middle school orchestra concert or high school journalism awards night in his parental life.

My dad is consistently a very nice, straightforward guy who is completely easygoing.

But beneath all of this is a hidden, explosive rage that is absolutely terrifying to watch unfold on the rare occassions that it does.

Usually, this rage unmasks itself when one of his asshole kids does something completely stupid -- it usually came out the four times a year in high school when I got a report card (usually weeks late due to unpaid library book finds) which had nothing but D's and one C-.

Those days, I'd be forced awake by my mom who was already warning me of what awaited me. Then I'd go downstairs and for 30 minutes I'd be met with my dad sitting on his chair, looking at me like how a lion eyes up a wildebeast in a Nature Channel show, and then would just unleash on me.


Keep in mind that my dad is also incredibly large. He's 6'3"/6'4" and weighs about 250 pounds. So on top of his towering rage is this pure physical intimidation from a man who has the build of your average NFL linebacker.

My dad's anger is usually managed by his choice of movies. His favorite two actors are Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal and he proudly boasts of owning the entire Under Seige series on DVD. He's constantly asked why he loves these movies, considering that he's a really intelligent guy who should know better. His answer is consistent: "Because they get to do what I dream of doing all day long."

One day, my dad was able to live out his dream of swift martial arts justice. I was about seven when all of this happened. (And I swear to you, all of this happened exactly as I am about to tell you. I admit to the people who've been with me since this thing started that I tend to embellish a little here and there. But honestly, this story is probably the most ridiculous sounding but it is absolutely accurate.)

At the time, my parents lived in an average house with a postage stamp front law. This was the first house they ever owned and they took a lot of pride in owning this and were really into home improvement. One of my dad's biggest accomplishments was installing, on his own, a vinyl door in the front.

One night, when we were all home, we were shocked when there was all this loud noises out front -- banging, glass breaking, etc. A group of teenage hooligans had come up our street and did a lot of petty vandalism to the houses in the neighborhood. Eggs, smashing a car window and they dented my dad's beloved vinyl door with a series of kicks. Now, it was easy for my dad to undent the vinyl door but it was still messed up looking and dissapointing to my dad, who became outraged.

The next night, the same exact teenagers came down the street and did the same exact thing to the block, including attacking our vinyl door. And this happened for a third night. Phone calls to the police did not stop this from happening. The police kind of brushed this aside and said there was nothing that could be done about this. And all of this just completely made my dad lose it.

On night four, my dad decided to take action. My dad put on an all black outfit, including a black knit ski cap. After assembling this outfit, he then went outside and lay in wait by hiding in our bushes. The entire time my dad was assembling his outfit and laying in the dirt, my mom was trying to talk some sense in to him. (My mom is nothing if not sensible and an eternal voice of reason.) She was pleading for him to come inside, to not do anything. But my dad continue to wait and wait and wait. About two hours elapsed, and then after about the 98th time my mom yelled at my dad, my old man came inside.

About three minutes elapsed when we hear WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP WHAP. The teenagers came and were trashing the block again. This sent my dad apoplectic. He sidestepped my screaming mom and stormed up the block in his outfit.

The kids had a bit of a head start and were going to Colgate Field, two blocks away, the customary home for down-the-hill beer fests. The kids (your textbook mulleted/jean-jacketed 80's burnouts) were up on the hill where all of a sudden they see this maniac clad in black come storming at them. They all started hightailing it, screaming and running at this incredibly large man filled with rage.

They were about to get away when my dad jumped and managed to shoestring tackle one kid to the ground. Then he leapt to his feet and hovered over the 15-year-old kid.

"You... motherfuckers... have... fucked... up... my door... every night... this week."

The kid started frantically apologizing.

"You... touch... my door... one more time... I... will... find you... and crush... your arm... with a lead pipe..."

The kid was now completely freaked out and was now crying and begging. My favorite part of this is the exactness of the threat -- it's not a random thing like "I will kill you." Or something generic like "crush your skull" or "beat the shit out of you." No. It was "crush your arm with a lead pipe." The specificity of this is what made it real -- I mean, you don't say that without actually thinking it through first.

My dad let the kid go and then walked home where he told us, very calmly, about this conversation. And not calmly like serial killer calm. Calm like how he was for 99.9% of his life. Like this was something he saw on an episode of Barney Miller.

But wouldn't you know it? The next day, two kids and their parents approached my dad and offered to pay for any needed repairs to the door.

My dad's dream came true.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Mediocre School

Yesterday, I recieved a phone call from a very upset nursing student in a panic. She missed one of her clinical rotations. This is a huge deal and can result in termination of the program. She said she wasn't sure of the date. I asked if she had her syllabus. This drew a blank. There was a pause in the conversation.

"Man, if I knew it was going to be this hard here, I would have just gone to a real mediocre college."

The student is now sitting right near me today, talking to someone about her son who repeatedly sets fires in both the home and school.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Where You Been?

* We bought a house about a month ago. So there's been all kinds of related nuisnances/turmoil/drama with that. Nothing too serious, except for a lot of negotiations and trying to come up with the down payment, etc. But every day there's something new with it. I find myself having conversations like "Yeah, that's a great armoire" or "that shade of blue will be great in the back bedroom." And these TLC shows are now much watching.

* I also am in the process of looking for a new job. It looks pretty good. I don't want to give any details about this for fear of violating some sort of anti-blogging policy. But I can say this: I hope to become in charge of security and asset protection for a big department store. You may ask yourself how the fuck this has happened in my life. I do myself. The pay is great and one of the job requirements asked of me was "Do you have the ability to secretly listen in on conversations of people as they plot shoplifting attempts?" Do I ever!

* In addition, I am in a sketch comedy group. Our show is on March 23/24. I'll plug this later on. It has been a retarded amount of fun. A few months ago, I took a sketch comedy class that I thought was going to be awful. It was the exact opposite of this and I kept in touch with a few of my classmates. We decided to take our sketch comedy class, write more sketches and now perform them. We rehearse a few times a week and it's a lot of work. but a bunch of fun.

If I have learned one thing about myself in this group, it's this: I am the worst actor in the history of the world. I am pitiful. So it's great.

* More later, particularly about the great trip I took a few weeks ago that the legendary undiscovered comic genius FROG requested that I write about via MySpace. Will do, son. Will do.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Long Distance Callers Make Long Distance Calls

The usual doubt about your first college roommate was doubled through me. I had talked to my roommate on the phone twice before the movie in date. His name was Richard and before moving to Philadelphia the year before he lived in Ghana.

"You like girls man," he asked me about 15 seconds into our first phone call. I confirmed that I did, and that was pretty much all I understood the rest of the conversation due to the thickness of his West African accent.

Even though I was a pretty smart and well-read kid, I had no idea what to expect living with an African would be like. I was sure there would be no sacrificed animals or anything like that in the room. But being that I was going to a Catholic college, I had a feat that this kid was going to have been recently converted by a missionary, which meant that I'd be innundated with both slogans and pamphlets until I gave my soul to Jesus.

What I got was a normal kid who wore jeans, listened to Shaggy and Naughty By Nature and played a lot of video games. I liked Richard a lot, even though he sometimes got (justifiably) mad at me since I was a big slob and he wanted to keep the room pretty neat.

His friend Bernard, however, was a dick.

Bernard was from Kenya and attended some fancy-pants boarding school in New England. His dad had some sort of diplomatic job of dubious background which changed depending upon whom was in the room and needed to be impressed. But Bernard, and this will shock absolutely no one, fancied himself as an extra in a Dr. Dre video and tried to act like this hardcore street thug.

Bernard was constantly in my room with Richard, where he would watch "Charles In Charge" reruns and different music shows on BET. I largely ignored him, just casually walking by his room and giving him a "hey, what's up" before going about my business.

One night, I was in my room and decided to call my parents up in Jersey. To use long distance, we had to use an access number which was on a card provided by AT&T. I called and the line was busy. This made no sense to me, since my family was incredibly wealthy and had call waiting. I tried a few more times and kept on getting a busy signal. I figured there was a problem with the account, so I called AT&T.

There, I was told my account was closed as there were $632 in charges that were unpaid.

This sounded pretty insane since I stopped calling 1-900 party lines way earlier. I asked them for a detail of the charges.

I had apparently made over 75 calls to Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and a few other nations which I don't even think exist anymore.

"Who the fuck called Africa using my phone card," I asked the operator.

And that's when Bernard started laughing harder than he ever did at one of Buddy's zany adventures. I started screaming at Bernard about him doing that to me and taking my shit. He started to blame me because I left my card out on my desk which anyone could have used. I called him a thief and he threatened to beat me up (which he could have done.)

I ended up not having to pay for any of the phone calls. But I learned an important lesson that night. Don't keep personal items on your desk if you don't want privlidged, thuggish Kenyans to call home on your dime.
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