Valium Vickie

Sunday, April 26, 2015

11 Things That Got Me Through The Most Difficult Valentine's Day Of My Life

If you're reading this right now because you were hoping to enjoy a nice uplifting tale about the tactics one brave, heartbroken man used to get through the first Valentine's Day following the untimely -- not to mention gruesome -- death of his wife and soul mate, well, I'm afraid you'll be terribly disappointed with this post. I'm sorry to have deceived you, but it's good to know that sentimental click-bait headlines do work as advertised.

My first Valentine's Day as a married man was supposed to be spent telling tasteless jokes like these to a bunch of strangers at a sold out fundraiser event. Unfortunately, weather concerns led to the event being canceled. That left me with a choice. I could either:

  • A.) scramble to pick up another spot at a comedy club to fill my insatiable need for approval and acceptance from people I probably wouldn't like if I got to know them, or
  •  B.) put together a romantic dinner to surprise the wife who was expecting to come home to an empty house after a 12-hour shift caring for burn victims.
I chose the latter.

For dinner, I prepared a lemon-seasoned chicken breast topped with a caramelized onions, Monterey Jack cheese and strips of greasy bacon; tomato basil couscous; and a huge Caesar salad. This sounds like a good husband adjusting extremely well to his newly married life, right? On the surface, I guess that's true. But in between preparing an artery-clogging masterpiece for my own true love, I was furiously firing off break-up texts to random phone numbers.

The White Knight

 I hit a home run with the first random text I put out there. Not only did this righteous man respond to my ridiculous message, he -- or possibly she, but I think it's a he -- also felt compelled to engage in a conversation and criticize my actions.



 

  

'Good luck with whatever your going through'


Of course, not all of my random texts were successful. I probably sent more than a dozen messages without getting any type of a response from the random number. Many of these messages were the "I hate to do this is this way but ..." intro that got the white knight to bite. But I did try a few variations, such as:

  • I just can't do this any more ... I can't pretend that everything is ok just because it's fuckin Valentine's Day.
  • Happy Valentine's Day baby! Guess what I know all about Steven the Twink! So you can just cut the shit about working late. I'm gonna make your life miserable you lying piece of shit.
  • Happy Valentine's Day ... It's not your baby! How does that feel you lying piece of shit!?
And here are some of the other brief interactions I had with random numbers:

Me: I hate to do this in this way but I think we both know this is going nowhere. It's over ... I'll cancel the reservations. I hope you didn't get me anything, cause I didn't ...
Random Number (RN): What
Me: Please don't make this difficult ... Neither of us has been faithful

RN: I think you have the wrong number ...
Me: Oh Jesus Christ ... I'm so sorry I knew I should've just called her
Me: Hope you're having a better Valentine's Day than me.

RN: No problem ... Good luck with whatever you're going through
Me: Thanks man! I gotta stop dating hos and find a girl I can introduce to my mom

CONVERSATION ENDS

Me: I hate to do this in this way but I think we both know this is going nowhere. It's over ... I'll cancel the reservations. I hope you didn't get me anything, cause I didn't ...
Random Number (RN): Who is this?
RN: ??

Me: Please just be an adult ... Neither of us have been faithful
RN: Listen I think you have the wrong number
Me: Wait ... shit!
RN: Yeah .....
Me: So sorry ... I took some MDMA happy valentine's to me
RN: K
Me: Hope you had a better day than me bro ... My fucking arm is numb

CONVERSATION ENDS 

Me: I hate to do this in this way but I think we both know this is going nowhere. It's over ... I'll cancel the reservations. I hope you didn't get me anything, cause I didn't ...
Random Number (RN):
Who is this?
Me: What?
Me: You mean that philosophically ... Like who is this person?

CONVERSATION ENDS




Monday, March 30, 2015

Melatonin: It's Natural, So It Can't Be Bad For Me ... Right?

When asked about their extreme schedules and lack of sleep, motivated, type-A people tend to say "I'll sleep when I'm dead!" That statement has always bothered me. "I'll sleep when I'm dead" How can you be so sure? What if you can't sleep at all when you're dead? What if when you're dead, you're just dead? Or, worse yet, what if when you die, some foreman/general/afterlife liaison immediately approaches you and says, "Hope you got enough sleep on earth, because you've got a lot of work to do, and we don't do the whole sleep thing here ..."?

The point is, people don't know what happens when you die. If people actually knew with 100% accuracy that you could indeed sleep when you're dead, I think two things would happen:

  1. A lot more insomniacs would commit suicide, and 
  2. People would be a lot more understanding about suicide.
When people heard about a friend taking his own life they'd say things like, "Makes sense, Steve looked like he could really use some sleep."

While we're on the subject, here's something that really bothers me: Suicide notes. Isn't this final message important enough to warrant being called a suicide letter? Note sounds like some origami-type thing that high-school girls pass to one another. Like the person who discovers the body is going to find a neatly folded triangle of notebook paper that asks the reader to check the appropriate box: "Did you notice any of the warning signs?"
Yes No Maybe

 As someone who's had trouble sleeping since high school, I will never take sleep for granted. I'll never subscribe to the I'll-sleep-when-I'm-dead mindset because I value sleep more than virtually any of the activities I do when I'm awake. There's actually a brief moment right before I fall asleep at night where I consciously think, "It's going to happen now; I'm going to fall asleep!" That instant right before drifting off into unconsciousness is more enjoyable to me than sex or drugs or sushi or anything else I can think of, probably because it's been so inconsistent for such a long time. If heaven actually exists, I imagine it has to be something like that pre-sleep recognition moment.

In Catholic school, my teachers always used getting left out of heaven to scare us kids into following Catholicism's long, detailed set of seemingly meaningless rules -- Go to church every Sunday, never take the Lord's name in vain (e.g., "Jesus Christ" or "Goddammit" or "Jesus H. Fucking Christfucker FUCK!"*), don't eat meat during Lent, don't use birth control even if you're super fertile and the only chance you have of taking care of all of the kids you shit out is by landing a reality show about you having a football team worth of kids because your religion won't let you use birth control, etc.

Heaven was always sold as a place where you were reunited with all of your dead family and loved ones for all of eternity. That sounds nice and all, but it was never quite enough to convince me that following all those ridiculous rules was worth it in the end. Now if I'd been told heaven was like that moment right before you realize you're about to fall asleep, well, then, it may have been a different story. Instead of spending my Sundays wandering through WaWas hungover, I may have strung together a Ripkenesque streak of Sabbath masses by now. Instead of using "Jesus Christ" as my go-to expression of anger, incredulity, joy, surprise and disappointment, I may have rushed to confession every time I uttered those words in a non-reverent way.

The truth is, I consider sleep more sacred than any aspect of the Catholic faith. If sleep is my religion, then Melatonin is my savior ... but I'll get to that in a second.. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I've had varying degrees of Insomnia (both not being to fall asleep and waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back to sleep) for the better part of my teenage and adult life.

What didn't work

Starting in high school, I've experimented with a number of sleep-inducing remedies including, but not limited to:

  1. Tylenol PM: Monday through Friday for about two semesters -- worked until I built up a pretty ridiculous tolerance.
  2. Ambien: Prescribed to me during my sophomore year of college. I'd take a pill, pick out a short story from the Norton Anthology and, within 15 minutes, I wouldn't be able to tell if I was asleep and dreaming or really zoned in on the story. Ambien is beautiful product, but it's just a bit pricey.
  3. Lunesta: What can I say about the butterfly pill. Lunesta is to getting sleep what Coors Light is to getting drunk. It can do the job, but it takes massive quantities to get it done.
  4. Caffeine reduction, deep breathing exercises and consistent pre-sleep routine: BORING. Actually, I gave this an honest try, and it just didn't work for me.
  5. Clonazepam: During my junior year of college, I was prescribed a small dosage of this anti-anxiety drug in the morning and a larger dose at night. Penn State has this free, public transportation system called The Loop. True to it's name, The Loop circles the campus all day and a good chunk of the night. The first morning I took this drug, I became so non-anxious I passed out before I reached my stop. Conservatively, I did six loops on The Loop before I came to. By then, I'd already missed the class. I didn't take clonazepam for very long.
  6. A little Bourbon right before bed: A short-lived exercise I tried Junior year of high school until my dad noticed the missing whiskey.
  7. OTC sleeping pills: If Lunesta is the Coors Light of sleep aides, then over-the-counter pills are the Malt Liquor. Sure, you'll get some sleep, but you'll feel so shitty the next morning you'd may as well have gotten none at all.
  8. A brainwave-altering CD: It was a series of sounds set to some frequency that was supposed to alter your brainwaves until you drifted off into a peaceful sleep. What is actually did: Made me lie around like an asshole for a half hour going, "Wait, I think I can feel that ..." until I finally gave up. It reminded me a lot of the time Vance (name change) bought some fake mushrooms and sat in a park for an hour and a half smoking cigarettes and asking each other if we felt anything yet.
  9. Benadryl: Works pretty well on its own, but works even better with wine.
  10. Red wine: I love this sleep aide, but getting the dosage right can be tricky. Too much can have the opposite effect. Just a few too many ounces of this Dionysian elixir can mean the difference between an early, restful night and the decision to have another three or four glasses and watch Stone Temple Pilots' YouTube clips well into the morning hours.
  11. Trazodone: Technically, trazodone is an anti-depressant, but in many cases, doctors prescribe it as a sleep-aide for geriatrics. Unfortunately, it didn't work as prescribed for a 26-year-old me.

My sleep savior

The search for the perfect sleep aide seemed hopeless, but then along came Melatonin. I didn't discover this beautiful product until my late twenties. I won't bore you people with the complex details of the staggering amounts of information I've amassed from reputable medical sources like Wikipedia, labels of Melatonin bottles and insomnia sufferer messaging sites (like Tinder, but with the objective being sleep), but here's the gist: Melatonin is hormone that animals (like humans and dogs and vegans) manufacture to control sleep and wake cycles. The greater the amount of melatonin your body produces, the easier it is to fall asleep and stay that way.

A creature like Judith Weiland, my Boston Terrier, must produce an inordinate amount of melatonin because I've actually seen her fall asleep while taking a shit. A person like me, on the other hand, has so much trouble producing this hormone that I have to regularly purchase the 'All Natural' pill version that is sold in any grocery store or pharmacy. As you get older, you generally produce less melatonin. So I'm guessing my melatonin production will be virtually nonexistent by the time I hit 65. It's just as well. That gives me yet another reason to start shooting heroin the moment AARP begins mailing information to me. I've always said I can't wait until I'm old enough to use the senior-citizen discount for a Fish-a-majig sandwich at Friendly's -- and to do heroin.

For right now, though, I have to sleep -- and that's where my melatonin ritual comes in. Virtually every night, I'll take a "natural" pill, climb into bed, read a few pages of some book and wait for that heavenly recognition of sleep to flood my body. This has been the most consistent and effective sleep routine I've had since before the problems started more than a decade ago. Is it healthy? I'm not so sure. I've heard a lot about the virtues of melatonin -- it's safe, natural, non-habit-forming chemical that your own body actually produces! That may be true, but I can also buy it at Acme -- and I don't believe anything in that store is completely natural.

Plus, natural or not, I'm way too dependent on this product. It may claim to be non-habit-forming, but there have been plenty of late nights I've spent frantically rummaging around my house for melatonin screaming, "Liz! Where are the mels*? Where are my goddamn mels?!" I've even run out in the middle of the night to score a new bottle of mels when these searches proved fruitless. Nothing seems safe or natural or healthy about a grown man in pajamas rushing out to a 24-hour grocery store at three in the morning and walking up to the supplement aisle with the same look of relief as an addict who sees his dealer approaching moments before withdrawal symptoms kick in. But it's better than any of the alternatives I've tried so, as long as this ritual keeps allowing me to sleep as much as possible before I'm dead, I'll keep riding this thing out.

*Mels are how we refer to the Melatonin in the Bilski household.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Transcript of my chat with a unique flask company

 I'm a lucky guy. My wife doesn't expect me to spend money I don't have on fancy, shiny, unnecessary, expensive gifts. In fact, her favorite Christmas present this year was a flask. Granted, the flask I gave her wasn't the standard silver thing guys give to their groomsman as a token of appreciation for being in the wedding. This flask specifically designed to avoid detection in any situation. How? On the surface, this alcohol receptacle looks exactly like an ordinary tube of sunscreen. Thanks to this clever device, my wife can avoid paying outrageous prices for captain and gingers at upscale bars, sporting events and rest assured knowing she'll never have to endure another tedious jury duty session completely sober.

When I thought this Christmas gift wasn't going to arrive in time for our gift exchange, I took to the company's useful chat feature. Below is a word-for-word transcript of the conversation:



Get live personalized customer service

[Venessa] Welcome to ATG Stores. How can I help you?
[Jared Bilski] Last Page Visited:

Hey how are you?

[Jared Bilski] I placed an order yesterday
[Venessa] Can I have the order number please?
[Jared Bilski] Are you there, Ven?
[Jared Bilski] #XXXXXXXX
[Venessa] Yes , I am here
[Venessa] I will look up your order
[Jared Bilski] I kind of have an emergency
[Venessa] I have the order up now and how can I help you ?
[Jared Bilski] Well, here's the thing. When I ordered I accidentally hit 2-day shipping
[Jared Bilski] By the way, is that your pic in the right corner or is that a stock photo?
(Note: Regarding the above question, I was referring to a stock photo of a customer service representative that appeared with the Chat function.)

[Jared Bilski] So here's why it's an issue
[Jared Bilski] U there?
[Venessa] I see , I can see if I can change the shipping and refund the expedited charge. No that is not my photo , I am much better looking :-)
[Jared Bilski] Hahaha ... Good to know
[Venessa] Would you like me to change the shipping method if possible ?
[Jared Bilski] No I actually meant to hit next day shipping, but I have a question
[Venessa] Ok , what is the question?
[Jared Bilski] When do you think I'll receive the flask
[Venessa] One moment
[Venessa] You should receive the item by Friday
[Jared Bilski] Oh, that's what I was worried about ...
[Jared Bilski] Can I be real with you for a moment
[Jared Bilski] ?
[Jared Bilski] Please don't judge me, OK, Val?
[Venessa] I can see if we can upgrade to next day shipping for you
[Venessa] Would you like me to do that and follow up with you ?
[Jared Bilski] Wait ... just wait on that for one sec. How much will that run me?
[Jared Bilski] Can I just explain the situation?
[Venessa] It looks like the charge for next day shipping is $20.34 altogether and you have already paid $11.62
[Venessa] Yes Sir , what is the situation?
[Jared Bilski] OK, OK... here's what's going on, just bear with me:
[Jared Bilski] I ordered the flask because I'm going to a concert on Christmas .... it's a completely dry concert -- No booze, not even wine or shots
[Jared Bilski] See, I'm an atheist; organized religion makes me ill. But I met this girl ...
[Jared Bilski] And she asked me to go with her. She very Christian.
[Jared Bilski] She's I mean. I also know Christian women tend to be anything but if you humor them, and go to their little events. But the thought of sitting through a 3-hour Christian Rock show without booze, is disheartening to say the least ...
[Jared Bilski] Are you still with me, V?
[Jared Bilski] ?
[Venessa] I cannot advise either way . I can only advise that the order as it stands now should be delivered on Friday as Fed Ex does not operate on Christmas. I can see if there is anyway to expedite the delivery to have the item received by tomorrow . I would need to do this before the item ships this morning .
[Jared Bilski] Oh this is a tough call, V. Money's tight, you know? And I do have a few leftover Vicodins from a recent Triathlon injury. That should get me through the concert, but what if I can't perform that night because of the pills?
[Jared Bilski] If you were in my situation, V, what would you do?
[Jared Bilski] ?
[Jared Bilski] Are you looking something up or serving multiple customers?
[Venessa] I am sorry Jared I cannot advise you either way .
[Venessa] The Christmas concert sounds like a wonderful event
[Jared Bilski] But sober?
[Venessa] Yes sir .
[Jared Bilski] Maybe, you're right ....
[Venessa] It may be odd with sunscreen flasks at a winter Christmas concert
[Jared Bilski] V, I'm going to tell you something that I've never told anyone before OK ...
[Venessa] The flasks are very neat though
[Venessa] Will the delivery date as it is now work for you ?
[Jared Bilski] I NEED this Christmas concert to work for me. It's been a full year since I've been with a women.
[Jared Bilski] Last year, around Christmas I walked in on my Ex
[Jared Bilski] She was in full coitus with Giuseppe "Gyp Bada-Bing" Rosetti, a semi-famous New Jersey EDM DJ
[Jared Bilski] You've heard of "Gyp Bada-Bing" Rosetti, I'm guessing, right V?
[Venessa] I am sorry Jared, I do need to confirm how you would like me to take care of the order.
[Venessa] Please let me know what you would like me to do .
[Jared Bilski] Yes, I'm working my way toward that. PLEASE be patient
[Jared Bilski] You're the only person I've ever told that story too
[Jared Bilski] My parents till think my Ex left because she got a job on the West Coast
[Jared Bilski] You've heard of "Gyp Bada-Bing" Rosetti, haven't you, V?
[Venessa] Our chats are monitored sir and I cannot help you with the other questions.
[Jared Bilski] I understand that, V. But monitoring should affect you letting me know if you've ever heard of "Gyp Bada-Bing" Rosetti
[Venessa] I have not ,
[Jared Bilski] It's just like me asking you, "What do you think of this weather?"
[Jared Bilski] Are you just saying that, V?
[Jared Bilski] Nevermind, I'll believe you ... even if you're only saying that to make me feel better.
[Jared Bilski] Anyway, I think I've made my decision
[Venessa] Great , what would you like me to do with the order shipping arrangement please?
[Jared Bilski] You convinced my that I'd be better off to go to the Christmas Concert without the flask ... that the Vicodain should be enough
[Venessa] I will leave the order as it is and you will be emailed with the tracking and carrier information once the item has shipped.
[Jared Bilski] I REALLY just needed to talk this out with someone. And you're right, V, Vicodan shouldn't affect my performance if I'm truly into this woman -- and, of course, provided I don't overdue it
[Jared Bilski] overdo (Freudian slip)
[Jared Bilski] I can't thank you enough ... These people are lucky to have you?
[Jared Bilski] What are you doing for the Holidays, V?
[Jared Bilski] Can you do one last thing for me?
[Venessa] You are welcome, thank you for chatting in and for the very interesting chat . I will be enjoying Christmas with my family . Can I help you with anything else today ?
[Jared Bilski] Can you just say: "The Christmas Concert Will Be Better Than You Ever Imagined"
[Venessa] We wish you well and a Merry Christmas. Hope you have a great Holiday
[Venessa] I must disconnect our chat now if that is all I can assist you with today for your order.
[Jared Bilski] WAIT
[Jared Bilski] Can you just say this: %u017Byczymy weso%u0142ych %u015Awi%u0105t Bo%u017Cego Narodzenia i dobrze. Mamy nadziej%u0119, %u017Ce jeste%u015B wielkim %u015Bwi%u0119tem
[Jared Bilski] It's what you just said in Polish
[Jared Bilski] Oops, sorry that's a message for the rep in the other chat that I'm having
[Venessa] Have a great day Jared! Thank you for shopping with ATG Stores.
[Jared Bilski] You too, V! You've given me the confidence to get laid with just Vicodan and not booze!
[Jared Bilski] I'll never forget that
[Jared Bilski] So how do we end this thing? This is starting to get a little awkward, V?

The Agent has left the conversation.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Top 5 Valiums of 2014


On a personal level, 2014 was one of the most exciting years of my life. I got married; went on a honeymoon to Hawaii; bought a new puppy; got an airline credit card and learned about the insidious and addicting world of Miles-hunting; found God, lost him, found him again only to discover "he" was actually a "she," which was cool at first but ultimately caused me to abandon the omnipotent deity because of my inherent misogyny and deep-seated insecurities; and secretly recorded my wife while she was watching "Wheel of Fortune" (Blog post coming).

Despite all that was going on in my personal life, I somehow found a way to update this thing on a sporadic and infrequent basis. Why did I do it? Why did I take on the monumental burden of sitting alone at my laptop (Dell during the early part of 2014, MacBookPro June through now) and forcing myself to churn out what amounted to nearly a post per month (a heroic feat for even the most prolific of apathetic bloggers)?

I did it for you, Dear Reader. I did it for you, Pakistan. Your lone pageview, which I know about only because I check my stats obsessively, could represent the key to rebuilding the fractured relationship between our two countries. And I did for you too, Germany. Sure, the three pageviews I received last month could've been one random Kraut who stumbled onto this blog, poked around and decided Comcast transcripts weren't his cup of tea or, more appropriately, his stein of beer. But odds are it's three beautiful Frauleins who will be lifelong readers because of this post about a naughty German couple. I didn't forget about you either, China. Of course, this is for you. I just don't know how you found me with all that Internet censorship. Unless of course, it's you, Xi Jinping. In that case, thanks for reading -- and we will pay you guys back ... eventually ... I think.

And the most viewed post is ...


Based on pageviews alone, here are the top-five Valium Vickie posts of 2014. If you've already read any of these, read them again or, better yet, share this listing with the many, many people who would never see this blog otherwise. Who knows, with your help I may be able to double my German readership by next year ...

5. Transcript Of My Talk With A Comcast Rep: Volume 3 ('Footprints In The Sand'): The lone "prank" post on the list, the third addition of the Comcast transcripts centers around me telling a customer service representative about the extraordinary origins of the religious poem, "Footprints in the Sand."

4. Why Is The Iron In The Refrigerator: The title of this post is about an iron, a tool for straightening wrinkled clothes that I have unknowingly placed in our refrigerator on more than one occasion. But that's not even close to the most ridiculous item to wind up in a food-storage unit. One time I scooped our cat's litter and placed the contents in our freezer. How does something like this happen? This post is my attempt at explaining what it's like to live with me and why things like irons and soiled cat litter keep ending up in our refrigerator/freezer.

3. The Obligatory Proposal: Part 1: I have two very different proposal stories: The one I told the people who created the custom engagement ring for my wife, and the one that actually happened. This post is the true story of how I proposed to my wife. I included it to provide contrast for the series about emails I exchanged with Seattle-based Green Lake Jewelry. Because the sequels to my 500-or-so-word blog posts take about as long as a multimillion dollar Hollywood action movie to put together, Part 1 of this two-part series was released in January of 2014 -- and readers can expect the second edition of this American love story sometime during the first quarter of 2015.

2. How To Start A Bar Fight In Frederick, Maryland, Without Getting Hurt: Most people only know Frederick, Maryland, as the birthplace of Justin Wilson, the famous Southern catchphrase creator. But it's much more than that. In fact, Maryland's second-largest "city" is a place where, when one out-of-towner jokingly punches another out-of-towner in the face, the entire town gets involved -- or at least every patron of the Old Town Tavern. This is the true story of how my friends and I started a "Roadhouse" style bar fight without sustaining so must as a scratch in the process.

1. The Best Way To Start A Marriage Is By Not Actually Getting Married ... Legally Speaking. For most people, getting a marriage license is a minor inconvenience. For my wife and I, it was an ordeal that involved multiple trips to the Register of Wills, a lie about the Service-Dog status of my nine-week-old Boston Terrier, a confused security guard, a happy gay couple and a few pointed questions about incest. Because of all that, it's not surprising to me this was, by far, the most-viewed Valium Vickie post of 2014.




Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DJ Wanted for a 'Nontraditional Event': Volume 2

The first time I sought out the services of a reliable, professional DJ for a "nontraditional" event it was for a fictional organization called CHANGE -- or Challenging Homosexuals to Accept a Non-Gay Existence -- and I was pleasantly surprised by the response I received from one interested Jockey of the Disc. So I tried it again, with a different fictional organization and an even more absurd acronym. What follows is the word for word email correspondence I had with one highly rated professional DJ.

As usual, the names have been changed, and the actual email addresses, phone numbers and websites have been removed.

The Conversation


From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:25 PM
To: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
Subject: DJ Wanted For Unique Event

Hi Dickie,

I'm new to the Central Somewhere in the United States area, and I'm looking for a DJ for a unique event my organization will be holding. Your company was at the top of the Search list and had excellent reviews, so I figured I'd start here. We're very flexible on DJ style, price and date, so what is your booking process?

Sincerely,
Kenneth Larson

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
To:
XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 12:11:17 -0400
Kenneth,
Thanks for reaching out to us. Please give us a call at your convenience to discuss your event details and we will be happy to give you pricing and information.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891
www
.
XXXXXentertainment.com
From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:35 AM
To:
XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
Subject:
RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event

Dickie,

Thanks much for getting back to me. As promised, here are a few details on the organization and the event:
Here's some background on our association: We're an organization comprised of men of all ages (our youngest member is 26 and our oldest member is 77) with two common interests: 1) Our unadulterated love of the most beautiful machine ever created -- the corvette, and 2) our shared hatred of the unfounded stereotypes associated with the men who share this unadulterated love.

Our organization is called ACOAASP, which stands for the Association of Corvette Owners with Average- and Above-Average Sized Penises.

Since the birth of the Corvette, jealous individuals have been perpetrating the flat-out lie that the vast majority of Corvette owners purchase these vehicles not because they're superior machines and drivable works of art, but because we're overcompensating for our undersized members. That's simply not the case. In fact, almost a quarter of our members are above average in size, and our treasurer even dabbled in amateur porn before joining the association.

But that's besides the point.

ACOAASP's mission is simple: To raise awareness that owning a Corvette has absolutely nothing to do with some crazy preoccupation with penis size and hopefully enlist a few members in the process.

Because we're a new organization, we're holding a Beef 'N' Beer to raise some funds to get the word out about ACOAASP (we don't even have our website up and running yet!). So we're looking for a DJ for this event.

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
To:
XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2014 13:16:43 -0400

Kenneth,

   Thank you for the information. This sounds like a great organization and a great event that we would love to provide services for. What date are you looking at for the event and where will it be held?

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891www.XXXXXentertainment.com
 
From: Kenneth Larson (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Sent:Tue 7/08/14 12:56 PM
To:XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com

Dickie,

I'm so sorry for the delay. I was traveling in Europe and had limited access to email. Have you ever been to Brussels? It's a beautiful place.

Anyway, thanks for the kind words and your interest in our event. I have to admit, our organization isn't for everybody and some people find it downright strange. However, it's something we're very passionate about. While there are definitely stereotypes more hurtful than Corvette owners and their members (e.g., the stereotype about all Asian people being late for everything and talking loudly through movies), all stereotypes are wrong.

So we're looking to hold the event either on any of the Saturdays in September, and we're considering holding it at a local American Legion or VFW Hall. Any suggestions are welcome. Are you available.

Sincerely,
Kenneth

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
To: XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:38:37 -0400

Kenneth,

   So sorry for the delayed reply. Yes, we are available for any of them.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891www.XXXXXentertainment.com

From: Kenneth Larson (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Sent:Thu 7/17/14 1:24 PM
To:XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com

No need to apologize, Dickie. As you can tell, I'm a bit slow on the email lately. Would Sept. 27 work for your schedule?

Kenneth

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
To:
XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:44:15 -0400

Kenneth,

   No problem at all. We are definitely available for the 27th of Sept.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891www.XXXXXentertainment.com

From: Kenneth Larson (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Sent:Sun 7/20/14 7:24 PM
To:XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com

That's wonderful news, Dickie! We were hoping for a reliable and popular DJ and, based on the reviews, that's you my friend!

We have one activity we were planning, and we wanted to see if you would be willing to MC it or if we would be better off going with an ACOAASP member?

Age is just a number ... yeah right, and a Corvette is just a car!
Kenneth Larson
ACOAASP founder and president

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
To:
XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:46:19 -0400



Kenneth,

   We can certainly MC the activity as well for you. Or we will have a wireless mic so that one of your members could speak as well if you like.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891
www
.
XXXXXentertainment.com

From: Kenneth Larson (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Sent:Sat 7/26/14 11:24 AM
To:XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com

Dickie,

Sorry for the delay. Like I said, I've been traveling a lot this summer. Ever since I got over my shingles, I told myself, "Kenneth, you've got to see the world, my friend." Let me ask you, Dickie: Have you ever sat on a beautiful woman's lap and basked in the glory of an Alaska sunset?

Anyway, I regress. So I talked to the organization, and we're set to book this event.

As far as MCing goes, would you be willing to judge a contest? Like I said, we're all about poking fun at the myths associated with Corvette owners. It's so ridiculous how obsessed people are with penis size and Corvette owners, you know?

So we're holding a "Best Penis Contest," where our members present themselves on stage to see who has the best member. It's based on audience votes, but here's the catch: Audience members have to pay to see the contest -- and all of that money goes right back to our organization.

So, as the MC, we'd just need you to make sure the contest runs smoothly and make a few announcements. You know, standard things like, "Wow, who knew Salvatore was packing like that?" Would you be willing to MC this -- or should we get one of our members?

Please let me know ASAP,
Kenneth

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
To:
XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:40:28 -0400

Kenneth,

  In order to proceed at this point I’m going to need you to give me a call to verify that this is a legitimate event and you are serious about booking with us.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891
www
.
XXXXXentertainment.com

From: Kenneth Larson [mailto:XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:21 PM
To:
XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
Subject:
 RE: DJ Wanted For Unique Event
Dickie,

Of course, I'd be willing to verify the legitimacy of our event over the phone; however, it appears as though you only have a fax number listed in your email signature. So I'm not sure what direct number I should use to reach you?

Also, I'm a bit taken aback by your question,
Dickie. I've tried to be as honest as possible about our organization right from the start. If my memory serves me correctly, I let you know that the event AND the organization were unorthodox starting with the very first message I sent to you. Like I said, we're not for everybody. However, we're very passionate about our organization and this inaugural event. If you don't want to MC the "Best Penis" contest, like I said, I completely understand. It's no problem whatsoever to have one of our members do it. In fact, we have a member who dabbled in Improv during this tenure at Arizona State, and I'm sure he'd be thrilled with the opportunity.

If you're getting cold feet about the event for moral or other reasons, however, I only ask that you be upfront with me; I won't hold it against you. But please don't hide behind some fake claim that you're questioning the legitimacy of our event, because that's just not right.

Please let me know how you'd like to proceed with this.

Regards,
Kenneth
From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com This sender is in your safe list.
Sent:Tue 8/05/14 12:12 PM
To:'Kenneth Larson' (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Kenneth,

  Please do not take offense as none was implied. I am more than willing to host the event and any contests therein and have no moral or ethical opposition to the contest or your organization. I actually think it would be a cool event. I simply have picked up on a few red flags in your email that make me cautious and just want to speak with a live person and get some security that this will be a real event i.e. contract request and or deposit. If you could call me at this number 123-456-7891 to confirm, that would be appreciated.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891www.XXXXXentertainment.com
Author's Note: At this point in the conversation, I was at a crossroads of sorts. See, I didn't want to call the DJ because then I wouldn't be able to post our conversation on here (I don't have the technology to record phone calls, and I'm not as good as I used to be at transcribing conversations ). So, in my mind, my only play was finding fault with the number the DJ had given me ...

From: Kenneth Larson (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Sent:Thu 8/14/14 1:22 PM
To:XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
Dickie,

I gotta hand it to you, you got me good! Well done, my friend, well done. I have to be honest, when I dialed that number you gave me and got the Chinese restaurant with the guy with the heavy accent (no hard Rs!), I was a little bit peeved. But then when I thought about everything, I have to admit, your whole prank was kind of brilliant.

You strung me along through all of those emails and made me think that you were interested in DJing our event, even though I sensed some hesitation right from the start. Then, at the last minute, you switched it up and started dropping hints that you were skeptical about the whole thing. Finally, to put the icing on the cake so to speak, you give me a fake phone number with instructions to call and verify the authenticity of the event/organization. And what do I get when I call? A harried Chinese man trying to take my order! (I was starving at the time, so I ordered -- and the place isn't half bad.)

I wish that you pulled the trigger a little soon (we did exchange a lot of emails!), but I'm a guy that has a great sense of humor so I don't hold any ill-will toward you, Dickie. But just a little advice: Some prospective clients may not find this type of thing as funny as I did, so I'd tread carefully with the pranks in the future. But who knows, you got it right with me!

Anyway, best of luck to you in your professional (and pranking) career moving forward. You really got me good, you crazy SOB!

Kenneth

Author's Note
: Following this message, a few days went by without any contact from this formerly interested DJ. I started to fear the worst, so I sent this message: 



From: Kenneth Larson (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Sent:Thu 8/21/14 10:32 AM
To:XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com
Dickie,

Listen, I understand you're not interested in the event and, like I said, I hold no hard feelings. But when I told my wife about your epic prank, she thought it was so funny that we should send it in to the Ellen show. Ellen is a day-time talk show that's hosted by this zany lesbian comedian named Ellen DeGeneres -- and it's hilarious! It's kind of an under the radar show (really big in Canada though I think), but I would highly recommend it.

Anyway, my wife thinks your prank would be perfect for the show. So I was wondering if you'd mind if I sent Ellen (aka, Ellen's people) our emails? (I'm guessing no, but I figured I'd ask anyway!!) On top giving people a good laugh, it'll probably be some good exposure for both of us.

Let me know what you think!

Kenneth

Author's Note: And then I received this response:

From: XXXXXX@XXXXXentertainment.com This sender is in your safe list.
Sent:Thu 8/21/14 11:14 AM
To:Kenneth Larson (XXXXXXXX@hotmail.com)
Please do not email me again.

Best Regards,

Dickie Grooves
Grooves Entertainment
Ph: 123-456-7891
Fx:
123-456-7891www.XXXXXentertainment.com

The End.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Transcript of my chat with a Capital One Rep

Capital One is always asking, "What's in your wallet?" Of course, the answer they're looking for is:  "A nearly maxed-out Capital One card with a criminally high interest rate. Thanks you guys!" A question you'll never hear from the Financial Giant is, "What's in your mailbox?" That would be silly because the Virginia-based company with a 2013 annual revenue of $22.4 billion and the most complaints of any credit card issuer between 2011 and 2013 already knows the answer to that question. Lots and lots of unsolicited offers from Capital One are in my mailbox.

That company must spend more than $100 in postage each year on me alone -- and I'm already a customer! I have a Capital One card in my wallet; it's been in there since 2005. And I don't even have any complaints about the card or the service. The mailings are another story. That's why I contacted the company recently. What follows is the conversation I had with a very helpful rep.

Note: Based on my completely arbitrary policy, I've changed the rep's name and rated my chat experience highly via the survey given at the end of the conversation. Also, I left the time stamp to show everybody just how long this thing actually took.

The Introduction


Secure Chat in progress
Welcome to our Capital One secure chat service! This chat will be monitored and recorded.
 Hi, this is Rondo. Whom do I have the pleasure of chatting with today?

You
12:49 PM
Hi Rondo, this is Jared Bilski
Rondo
12:50 PM
Hello Jared! 
Rondo
12:50 PM
How may I assist you today?
You
12:50 PM
Well, I'm a bit nervous about something
Rondo
12:51 PM
Please go ahead with your questions, I'd be happy to help you today. 
You
12:51 PM
OK, I'll try to keep this short ....
You
12:52 PM
I'm an amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, and recently I suffered a fairly traumatic head injury
You
12:52 PM
As a result, I've been doing things that I'm not accustomed to doing and I can't explain why
You
12:53 PM
Are you with me so far, Rondo?
Rondo
12:53 PM
I'm sorry to hear that. 
You
12:53 PM
Part of the job, my friend.
You
12:54 PM
No reason to feel sorry ... I never feel more alive than when I've in that cage ..
Rondo
12:54 PM
Okay.

The problem


You
12:54 PM
Anyway, here's where Capital One comes in ...
You
12:55 PM
Recently, I received a letter from Capital One, and on the envelope it said "The information you requested is enclosed."
Oliver
12:55 PM
OKay.
You
12:56 PM
When I opened the envelope, there was a letter letting me know about my Quicksilver credit card with a number to activate it
Rondo
12:57 PM
Okay.
Rondo
12:57 PM
Are you with me so far, Rondo?
Rondo
12:57 PM
Yes, I'm with you.
Rondo
12:58 PM
Just to clarify, have you applied for a new Quicksilver card online? 
You
12:58 PM
So, after receiving the letter, I start freaking out .. I'm 99% certain I never requested a credit card from you
Rondo
12:59 PM
Thank you for clarifying that for me.
You
12:59 PM
That's the thing, Rondo. I never did nor do I have any online record of doing so ...
Rondo
12:59 PM
Let me quickly access your account and check that for you. 
Rondo
12:59 PM
Please verify the following information to access your account: name (exactly as it appears on your credit card), zip code, date of birth and last four digits of your Social Security Number.
You
12:59 PM
Sure thing, Rondo.

Note: I removed the part where I give out the highly sensitive personal info -- like my zip code ...

You
01:00 PM
Do you think you can help me, Rondo?
Rondo
01:00 PM
Could you please provide me with the last 4-digits of your account number?
Rondo
01:00 PM
Let me check what best can be done to help you.
You
01:00 PM
Oh ... you mean of my capital one account
Rondo
01:01 PM
Yes, that's correct. 

And this part with the account number.

Rondo
01:01 PM
Thank you for verifying that information. Bear with me for just a moment while I review the account.
You
01:02 PM
I will check on my CAT-Scan results
Rondo
01:03 PM
I appreciate your patience, Jared.
You
01:03 PM
And me your help, Rondo.
You
01:04 PM
Rondo, this may sound strange, but I'm in therapy ...
You
01:05 PM
And my therapist said that, to help me in tense moments, it may help to refer to people by a name I feel comfortable with
Rondo
01:05 PM
After reviewing your account, I'm glad to see that Capital One upgraded your non reward card to Capital One Quicksilver card.
You
01:05 PM
Would you mind if I call you Reginald for the duration of this conversation
You
01:05 PM
?
You
01:05 PM
That was my grandfathers name
Rondo
01:05 PM
Sure! Go ahead.
You
01:06 PM
Thank you, I know it's strange, but it helps
Rondo
01:07 PM
Now you can go ahead and earn rewards of 1.5% on your net purchases.
You
01:07 PM
I have crippling anxiety most days
Rondo
01:07 PM
I do confirm you that there is no cap for earning rewards on this card.
You
01:08 PM
OK, now I'm really confused, Reginald. So I did request the new credit card? And that letter was a result of my actions
You
01:08 PM
There's no record, so I must've called you guys in a fugue state following my head injury
Rondo
01:08 PM
No, your existing card was upgraded to Quicksilver card due to which you have received a  new card in the mail. 
You
01:08 PM
But that's highly unlikely because I'm generally terrified of talking on the phone
You
01:09 PM
Why was it upgraded?
Rondo
01:09 PM
I do confirm that upgrading your account will not impact on your credit scores.
You
01:10 PM
OK, bear with a moment, Reginald. First things first. You're telling me that the upgrade has nothing to do with my actions, correct?
Rondo
01:10 PM
Yes, that's correct. 
Rondo
01:10 PM
This upgraded was from Capital One.
You
01:11 PM
When then why did the letter say "The Information you requested is enclosed."
You
01:11 PM
?
Rondo
01:12 PM
I'm sorry, the each letter you will receive in the mail will be written same on a letter.
You
01:12 PM
I meant, "Well, then why ..." Sorry, my hands are trembling
You
01:13 PM
I'm sorry I didn't quite understand that last comment, Reginald
Rondo
01:13 PM
Let me clarify that for you. 
You
01:13 PM
I'd appreciate that!
Rondo
01:15 PM
The information you have received in the mail is only a general disclosure sent to all customers whose cards are reviewed and upgraded.
You
01:16 PM
Ah, no I get it. So in other words, the "you" in "The Information you request is enclosed," wasn't specific to me, was it Reginald?
Rondo
01:17 PM
Yes, you are right.
You
01:17 PM
In fact, the "you" meant everybody and it was part of a mass communication effort
Rondo
01:17 PM
Yes, that is correct.
You
01:17 PM
Hmmm ... well, can I offer one small criticism
You
01:18 PM
It is only meant to be constructive in nature, Reginald
Rondo
01:19 PM
I understand.
You
01:19 PM
Shall I speak freely then?
Rondo
01:20 PM
Please go ahead if you have any comment regarding this proactive upgrade.
You
01:21 PM
Here is my only point of contention: When I receive a letter specifically stating, "the information you requested is enclosed," I always believe the company is being 100% honest with me ...
You
01:22 PM
Therefore, I was under the impression that I was the one who contacted your company ...
You
01:23 PM
And that I requested a new credit card. Do you see what I'm saying?
Rondo
01:23 PM
I completely understand the point you are making in this regard.
You
01:24 PM
And based on the head injury, I was worried that I'd opened a number of credit cards in a fugue state, and this fear cause me great anxiety and led to added therapy sessions
Rondo
01:25 PM
As per the terms of the Credit Card agreement, it is an agreement with our customers that any changes in terms or upgrade with the card will be notified to customers well in advance so that you are well aware of the change.
You
01:25 PM
I know what you're thinking Reginald, "Well, this case is an exception, this could never happen to anyone else." Am I right?
You
01:25 PM
Yes, I have terms in my safe, it's the language I'm referring to Reginald
Rondo
01:26 PM
We appreciate your feedback. Please be assured that your comments will be forwarded to my manager to ensure that it is passed on to the appropriate parties.
You
01:27 PM
Listen, I'm not trying to be harsh here ... I just have a few more things and then I have a back and bicep workout scheduled
You
01:28 PM
All I'm saying is this: Maybe telling people the information they requested is enclosed is misleading when they never actually requested anything
Rondo
01:28 PM
Jared, we highly appreciate your time for providing us with your feedback. We always appreciate hearing from our customers about the services that we provide.
You
01:29 PM
I know successful banks care deeply about their customer and would NEVER want to mislead them
You
01:29 PM
So here is my suggestion. You can pass this along to your managers if you'd like, Reginald.
You
01:29 PM
Are you there, my friends?
You
01:29 PM
friend
Rondo
01:30 PM
Yes, I am waiting for your response.
You
01:31 PM
Instead of writing "The Information you request is enclosed," perhaps you can instead write "The information we really want you to see is enclosed" What do you think?
You
01:31 PM
A small but significant difference, don't you agree, Reginald?
Rondo
01:32 PM
I have took your comment and noted on your account so that this will be considered by my superiors.
Rondo
01:33 PM
Do you have any other questions for me today regarding your account, Jared?
You
01:33 PM
You have been very helpful, Reginald! Please tell them to let me know their thoughts. Also, I'd be happy to let your supervisors know how stellar your service has been
You
01:34 PM
How can I do that, Reginald?
Rondo
01:34 PM
It is my pleasure assisting you today with all your questions.

The resolution


You
01:35 PM
Well, if there's any way I can pass along my pleasure with your service, please let me know. Finally, one last thing:
Rondo
01:35 PM
You can send the feedback after you end this chat which will help us to serve you and improve the customer support. 
You
01:36 PM
I shall do just that! Now can you do one last thing for me?
Rondo
01:37 PM
Please go ahead.
You
01:37 PM
Can you end this conversation with the phrase, "Til next time, kid, just keep swinging -- eventually you'll hit something."
You
01:38 PM
?
Rondo
01:38 PM
If you need any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Rondo
01:38 PM
We appreciate your business and look forward to continuing to serve your financial needs.
Rondo
01:38 PM
It has been my pleasure assisting you. Happy Merry Christmas!
Rondo
01:38 PM
My goal today was to provide you with outstanding customer service. I hope I was able to meet that goal for you. If you'd like to provide feedback about your experience with us today, please click here to end the chat and answer a few quick questions.
You
01:38 PM
And ...
You
01:40 PM
You still there, Reginald?
Rondo
01:40 PM
Yes.
Rondo
01:40 PM
I noticed we are still connected. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
You
01:41 PM
Yes, Can you end this conversation with the phrase, "Til next time, kid, just keep swinging -- eventually you'll hit something"?
You
01:41 PM
It's an OCD thing
You
01:42 PM
Reginald, I can't tell if that last part was received?
Rondo
01:43 PM
I will be right with you.
Rondo
01:44 PM
One moment please. 
You
01:45 PM
A moment's just a note in the song of life.
You
01:45 PM
I'll wait
Rondo
01:46 PM
Thank you for your patience.
You
01:46 PM
No, thank you!
You
01:47 PM
So shall we end this now?
Rondo
01:48 PM
Sure. Also I do not have an option to type the above statement you had requested as per the chat etiquette on this professional chat. So I will be sending my standard closing statement. 
Rondo
01:48 PM
I regret for the inconvenience. 
Rondo
01:48 PM
My goal today was to provide you with outstanding customer service. I hope I was able to meet that goal for you. If you'd like to provide feedback about your experience with us today, please click here to end the chat and answer a few quick questions.
You
01:49 PM
Can you at least say, Is has been my pleasure assisting you today, Vito?
Rondo
01:50 PM
Is has been my pleasure assisting you today.
You
01:50 PM
Vito, can you add the Vito, part?
You
01:51 PM
As in, "It (not is) has been my pleasure assisting you today, Vito."
You
01:51 PM
Does that breach the etiquette policy?
Rondo
01:52 PM
Is has been my pleasure assisting you today, Vito.
You
01:52 PM
Sorry, Roid Rage is creeping up on me here.
You
01:52 PM
Thanks, Reginald. You provided great customer service -- and you were one hell of a grandfather
You
01:53 PM
See ya on the other side
Rondo
01:53 PM
Thank you and take care.