Brian Fuller - Author

From Life Can't Be Explained ...

Life can't be explained with a trust seminar

In business, they hold seminars that teach employees to learn to trust each other.  The seminars consist of games like falling backwards and having the employees catch each other, thus invoking trust.  I wouldn’t recommend this exercise at home.  Your family’s trust can’t be built with a seminar.  It takes you proving it to them every day with things like giving them the freedom to make their own choices, believing that they can reach their goals and having a strong conviction that they will do the right thing.  These actions will produce real results that will last a lifetime, not just the length of a seminar.  But let’s really face the truth.  Do you really think your teenager is going to catch you when you’re falling backwards?! 

From The Art of Idiocy

Bring & Brag

Ah, the good old grade school days of Show & Tell … or as we called it, Bring & Brag. Yes, it was a time for you to get up in front of class talk about your stuff and how cool it was. It was also a time for everyone else to decide if your stuff was really that cool and worth stealing on the way home from school. Hey, I’m not saying it was right; I’m saying it was public school. Therefore, you had to think twice before you brought something to Bring & Brag.

I brought a hand grenade. Settle down, it wasn’t a live grenade, as all the explosives had been taken out of it sometime during the Korean War. But it was a real grenade that my father owned. Now you might wonder why my parents would let me take a genuine, disabled hand grenade to Bring & Brag. Well, they didn’t, they wouldn’t, and they made that very clear a bit later on — but I’m getting ahead of myself.

You see, Bring & Brag was something of a pissing contest. I mean you had some pretty heady stuff to compete with. There was one girl that brought her little brother. That’s a whole ‘nother person!  There was Trey Barklay who got up there and started armpit farting. Granted, not much on the Bring portion, but he was a helluva showman, so he made up for it on the Brag. Then there was Warren Kox and his boa constrictor, Petunia. How do you compete with that?!  With the aforementioned genuine, disabled hand grenade … and a choreographed floor show. That’s how.

Now you might be wondering what would possess me to bring a hand grenade … even a disabled one, to school. Did I mention that Trey armpit farted the theme to The Flintstones?  Not enough reason?  Okay. Did I mention that Petunia ate a live mouse?!  You need more?  All right. Did I mention that I was a complete idiot who didn’t really think things through until it was too late, and then I couldn’t turn back so I just kept going hoping that … well, I guess you get the point that I was/am an idiot. Well, now that we’ve established that, we can move forward. With the stakes in mind, I had to hone my act.

First off, I had to get the grenade into my room at home so that I could practice. It was always on my dad’s desk, right next to a disabled Howitzer shell. How he got these, and why, I’ve never asked, nor cared. I was just glad they were there. In all honesty, my folks weren’t all that weird about me playing with the grenade and the shell. They just limited it, so as not to turn their son into some sort of grenade-obsessed psychopath, which I did not become. I did become a grenade-obsessed smart-ass, but apparently that distinction was only clear to me, as you will see.

After I got the grenade into my room and locked the door, I waited to make sure that my mom wasn’t going to come knocking. I could have waited forever, as my mom was probably waiting in the den hoping that I wouldn’t come out of my room and interrupt her soap. I guess that’s what you call a win-win. 

I practiced what I wanted to do with the grenade as if I was going on the Ed Sullivan Show. For those of you that don’t know what that is … I feel sorry for you. I put together a routine that would rival Abbot & Costello’s “Who’s on first?”  For those of you that don’t know what that is … I feel even more sorry for you. I rehearsed to the point that I knew I could pull this off like a waltz on the Lawrence Welk Show. For this reference … I feel sorry for myself.

The big day came. It was time to put the action into play. First, get the grenade out of the house. I wrapped it a paper bag and stuffed it in the pocket of my windbreaker. The only problem there was the fact that it pulled my whole windbreaker down to one side. To make up for that, I had to zip it up all the way, ride sitting very straight on my banana seat, while balancing the grenade on my lap. This made it hard to keep up with my friends, as they were standing up and peddling. I had to act like I was too cool for that, which would have worked … if I were cool. So instead of looking cool, I looked like the guy that was trying to stop some diarrhea from hitting. Sad part is, none of my friends noticed any difference.

Once at school, I had to sit through two excruciating hours of lessons before it was show time. That wasn’t any different than any other day, except that today I had a real reason for not paying attention. Finally, the moment of Bring & Brag arrived, and the teacher asked if anyone had something to share. I looked around to see who my competition was. To my surprise, it looked like I was going solo. So I finally shot my hand up and told her that I had something. The teacher said to come up and take my time, since I was the only one today. She didn’t know that I was going to take my time regardless, as I was a professional.

Once in front of the class, I removed the brown sack from my windbreaker.“What I brought today is a real, live…” I said as I reached into the bag and pulled it out,  “… hand grenade.”  And with that, I had everyone’s undivided attention.  It was show time.

As I started waving the grenade around and really working the room, I said, “Now you see, these grenades were used in World War II, the Korean War and are still used today. But no one needs to worry, because as long as the pin is in the grenade, nothing will happen.”  I shouted this just like a carnival barker as I waved the grenade around, holding it in my left hand, with my index finger of my right hand curled through the ring attached to the pin.

I reiterated,  “You are perfectly okay, as long as the pin is in the grenade.”  And with that, I stumbled and “accidentally” pulled the pin out of the grenade. Needless to say, I was commanding the crowd.

“No worries, no worries. I still have my hand on the metal piece that attaches to the top.” I turned the grenade sideways to show them and said, “All I need to do is to get the pin back in the hole we’ll be fine.”

“That’s right. Just get the pin back in the hole and we’ll be fine,” I said, as I struggled to get in back in the hole. “Just get it back in and …we … will …” and with that, I let my thumb slip off the metal piece, which sent the piece flying off the grenade, like a propeller flying off a plane.

The room was so incredibly quiet, you could actually hear the metal piece making a whooshing sound every time it made a rotation. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Every eye followed the metal piece. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Yes, every eye followed it right until it hit the floor with a resounding clang. It clanged on the floor, bounced and clanged a few more times, then came to halt. At that point every eye went from the metal part up to me.

I stood there with the grenade in one hand and the pin in the other. I looked at everyone and calmly said, “We’re all gonna die.”

With that I dropped the grenade and pin and turned towards the door. I was going to act like I was running towards the door to get everyone moving, but I didn’t need to. My classmates bolted for that door like it was three o’clock on the Friday before summer vacation. Kids were banging off each other, banging into the doorsill, pushing each other out of the way, screaming and yelling.

The scene was perfect. It was exactly as my little demented mind had envisioned. It was perfect and I was laughing my ass off. It was beautiful and I howled as I screamed out, “It’s a fake grenade!  It’s not gonna blow up!”

All the kids stopped at the doorway and turned around.

“It’s not real, there are no explosives in it,” I said as I reared my head back with laughter. Then as I tried to pull my head forward, I realized that it wasn’t the laughter that reared it back. It was the teacher’s hand grabbing my shirt collar.

She was yelling at such a high pitch, I’m pretty sure that only dogs could hear her. I could see veins popping from her neck, her forehead, even from her lip. I’d never seen veins pop up from someone’s lip. It was at that exact moment that I realized what had gone wrong with my plan.

It wasn’t grabbing the class’ attention, which my plan had accomplished. It wasn’t creating havoc, which I had. It wasn’t laughing my ass off at seeing everyone bolt for the door. No, the problem with my plan was that I had actually stopped planning at the exact moment in my mind when I thought about pulling this off. If I were smart, I would have envisioned the rest of the scenario.

I would have been able to see the teacher yank me by the scruff of the neck to the principal’s office. I would have seen my mom come to school, with a vein popping out of her lip. I would have seen myself getting suspended from school for three days, seen my dad paddle me like he was trying to make the paddle go right through me. I would have seen me writing apology letters to every kid’s parent in my class. I would have seen me apologizing in front of the whole school. I would have seen the looks that all the parents picking their kids up from school gave to me.

No, it wasn’t that my plan was flawed; it was that I hadn’t thought it through all the way. But let’s face it. If I had thought it through all the way, I wouldn’t have done it.

And therein lies the true nature of being a kid—doing stupid stuff because you don’t have extended vision. That doesn’t make my taking the grenade to Bring & Brag any better, as it was an incredibly stupid thing to do. In fact, it’s a little hard for me to grasp what possessed me to do it. Then I remember that Petunia ate a live mouse and it all becomes very clear.  

From The Art of Idiocier

Temp Job

At various points in my life, I have worked temp jobs.  When I’ve mentioned this to some folks, they’ll say something like, “That sounds exciting.”  Yeah, exciting like hitch hiking’s exciting.  And it’s about the same concept as well.  ‘Cuz temp work and hitch hiking are something you do as a last resort. 

Hitch hiking you only do because your car’s broken down in the middle of nowhere, you’ve been walking forever, there’s nothing in sight.  But, off in the distance, you see a vehicle coming.  So, you desperately stick out your thumb and watch it approach. 

Your mind starts racing with all sort of great scenarios.  Maybe it’s a convertible full of hot cheerleaders gonna come up and flash some side-boob.  Maybe it’s an old, rich couple that’s gonna give you all their money.  Maybe it’s KITT from Knight Rider gonna come up with a drunk Hasselhoff behind the wheel.  Who knows?  I mean, they’re all great possibilities … and then you see what’s actually coming down the road. 

No cheerleaders.  No rich people.  No Hasslehoff.  No.  What comes screeching to a halt is a rusted out van, being driven by some carneys, with corn nuts for teeth, snorting biker crank off each other’s cock, and a bumper on the van that says “Ass, Gas or Grass.  No on rides for free.”  And as that van door slides open and you know you’re broke and you ain’t got no kine bud, you reluctantly get in that van and pray that bumper sticker is all show, no go … cuz if it ain’t, you’re gonna be crying like a little bitch … and that’s exactly what temp work is like.  Which brings me to my weirdest temp job. 

I received a phone call at ten in the morning on a Friday, telling me to be at this job by one thirty that afternoon.  They informed me that I was to learn this person’s job, since it was their last day.  That’s just great.  You know this person is really going to be into teaching you their job, as we all know that you work the hardest that you ever have the last afternoon of the last day that you’ll ever be at the job.  I think we’ve all been guilty of saving it up for that last dash to the finish, haven’t we?

When I got to the job, I met the boss.  I can’t remember his name, as I’m not sure that he even told me.  He was too busy bragging about how he eats his lunch at his desk every day, which he was doing while he told me this.  He said that he likes to work through lunch, as this job is that important to him. 

As if to emphasize the point even more, he informs me that, “I’ve been through three marriages, but I still have this job.  So, the important things are still here.”  As he said this last part, he knocked his knuckles on his desk.  Then he stared at me, without blinking his eyes.  I got a bit uncomfortable, until I realized that he needed some acknowledgment to that statement.  So, I had to nod my head before he released his gaze. 

He then said, “This is a temp job, but I have a good feeling about you.  I see a lot of me in you.”  (Me in you?  Does Human Resources need to get involved here?)

He continued, “If you play your cards right, this could become permanent.”  He paused and then said, “And who knows.  Maybe you’ll move up in the company like me.”

“Move up?” I blurted out, as this caught me off-guard.

“Oh yeah!” he shot back.  “Why just three years ago, I was at that desk right there.”  He pointed to an empty desk that was five feet from him.  I looked at it, then turned back to him.

He must have noticed my face, which was a combination of confusion and WTF, as he said, “I know that it’s only five feet away, but in here-  (which at this point he made a whistling sound and moved his left hand upwards, all the while intently watching his own hand rise)  whhhhheeeeeesssssshhhhhh – Yeah, I’m moving up like a rocket!  That’s why they call me Rocket Man.”  He savored that last moniker for a moment, then said, “Or they will after my next promotion.  But why don’t you go ahead and start calling me Rocket Man.  Get this ball rollin’!  Am I right?”  And he stared at me again, without blinking.

Okay, first the “I see a lot of me in you”, then he’s quoting Elton John lyrics.  I was beginning to think this job wasn’t the reason for the dissolution of his three marriages.  Thankfully his concentration was broken by some noises coming from the office. 

“Oh, hey, there’s Tammy” he said. 

I turned around to see a lady sit as her desk, with her back to us. 

He yells out, “Tammy, come in here and meet the temp.”

Tammy doesn’t budge.

“Tammy, Tammy.”

Tammy still doesn’t budge.

Exasparated, “Just go out there and meet her.  She’ll show you the ropes”.  And with that, Rocket Man went back to chowing down on his working lunch.

I got up and walked out to Tammy’s desk.  When I got to her desk, I started to introduce myself, but before I could, Tammy turned around and interjected, “I an drunk!”  (No typo there, as this was said in a slurred manner.)

If I didn’t believe her from her slurred statement, these doubts were put to rest with the smell of teqilla permating her skin and, more importantly, the fact that she was wearing a small sombrero that had CUERVO stitch in red yarn across the front of it.

She noticed me looking at the sombrero and said, “You like that?  They gay that ta me ‘cuz I drank five shots of Cuervo in a row.  Didn’t cost me nothin’!”  Apparently, Tammy wasn’t factoring in her dignity and self respect … assuming that she had those.

About that time, Tammy’s cohort from lunch, who happened to sit right next to Tammy, pipes in, “Itsh true.  Didn’t cosht her nothin’.”  

Her statement was understandable, as I’m sure that she mistook the look on my face as that of disbelief, when in reality it was one of me questioning my path in life that lead me to this freak show.  Now this girl, who was never officially introduced to me, wasn’t as drunk as Tammy.  She just had a lisp from the braces that she was sporting.

Tammy finally settles at her desk and starts running through her job exactly the way that you figure a pie-faced drunk looking at their last three hours at a job would run through it.

Tammy starts with, “Ya need to check thish account to make sure it has money, then look at thish other account to make sure it’s got, you know … money and check this other bank account, cuz … cuz, you jusht check it.”

The boss interjects from his office, “Tammy, you need to tell him to transfer money between the accounts.”

Tammy yells back, “Yeah, yeah.”  Then she mutters, just quiet enough for him not to hear, “Shithead.”

Then she looks at me and says, “Did you get that?”

“Yes.  I need to transfer money between the accounts.”

Tammy purses her face, “Not that.”  Then she points, “That he’s a shithead.”  She then points to the tablet that I’m taking notes on and says, “Write that down.  He’s a shithead.  s-h-i …no wait, wait!  That’s capital S-H-I … you know the rest.”

Tammy’s cohort then reinforces with, “He really ish a shithead.  And it ish in all capsh.”  Then nods and lifts her eyebrows, to really emphasize this information.  Once again, I believe she misinterpreted the expression on my face.

Tammy kept plugging through her job and I’m taking as many notes as I can, figuring that she might pass out at any moment.  She culminates the job with a report that she prints out seven copies of and tells me to follow her as she distributes them. 

As Tammy starts walking around the office, I can see people starting to tense up.  I thought maybe it was because she was drunk and stumbling into things.  But as soon as she delivered the first copy of the report, I knew why her co-workers were tensed up.

You see, Tammy would walk by the desk of someone who was to get a copy and say, “Give one to him!”, and then she would whip this ten page report at him like she was throwing a ninja death star.  Because of the velocity, the papers would fly apart and knock things off the person’s desk.  As this destruction is going on, I’m running behind Tammy trying to introduce myself, get the person’s name, while Tammy keeps stumbling along, using the wall as her safety net.  Finally, we get to the last report, which brings us into this guy’s office. 

Tammy stops and informs me, “You give thish guy one report.”  Then Tammy stops, sticks her lips out, exhales, kind of drunk burps, and adds, “But that’s all you give him.  Because I gave him two years of my life, but would he leave his skanky-assed wife for me?!”  With this, Tammy points to the picture of said skanky-assed wife that is sitting on his desk.  Tammy goes on, “Hell no.  So screw him.  Better yet … don’t!”  With that, Tammy chunked the report at him, turned, bounced off the door frame and veered back towards her desk.

I stood there for a moment, highly uncomfortable, feeling the sweat starting to form on my upper lip.  I could see this guy was as uncomfortable, as I could see sweat forming on his lip as well.  I’m not sure, but I think I even saw sweat on the lips of the picture of said skany-assed wife.  As the guy bent down to pick up the report, I kept waiting for Tammy’s cohort to jump in with, “Hish wife really ish shanky-asshed.”  He finally got the report and looked up at me.

I said, “Hey, uh, my name is Brian and I’ll be taking over Tammy’s job.”  With that, I paused and said, “Well, not all of her job, if you know what I mean.”  Then I looked at the picture of said skanky-assed wife, then back to him, and finished with, “Unless you really will leave that skanky-assed wife of yours, because you are one good looking piece of man-meat.”

I then turned, bounced off the same door frame as Tammy, since I think I had a contact drunk from smelling the booze on her breath, and went back to the weirdest temp job that I ever had. 

But you know what the weirdest part of that job was?  It was that guy left his skanky-assed wife for Rocket Man!