Back at Borders for another encounter with a book buying patron (see my first entry ever for the original Borders encounter). This time I was in the travel section planning a trip to a far off land. While perusing a book on Peru – a perfectly clean looking gentleman walked halfway down the aisle and began looking at some domestic travel guides. The man emitted a most foul and unpleasant odor that could only be described as mutant B.O. I did not meet this man, but here is the conversation we had in the travel section at Borders.

ME: I’m trying to find a diplomatic way to tell you something, but I am struggling to come up with a non-offensive way to tell you about your dubious offense.

BO: What if I said you could tell me and I wouldn’t get offended?

ME: Can you give me a guarantee?

BO: I can. But how good is a man’s word if you’ve never met the man?

ME: It’s not very good at all.

BO: I don’t know what to tell you then.

ME: OK. I’m just going to say it. If you hit me in the face then I guess my face will get hit. Just warning you though – I am a bleeder.

BO: Duly noted.

ME: You do not smell pleasant. In fact you smell terrible. Like you haven’t washed for an extended period of time and perhaps have been participating in athletic activities.

BO: I’d first like to say that I am not going to strike you.

ME: Whew!

BO: Secondly, I’d like to thank you for pointing out that I have offended you with my odor. And thirdly, I would like to let you know that I know that I smell.

ME: You know you smell?

BO: Of course. What am I hard of smelling?

ME: If you know you smell then why don’t you do something about it?

BO: I am conducting a sociological experiment. I stopped showering 19 days ago and was waiting until someone was kind enough or perhaps mean enough to tell me that I smell. Today I will go home and wash because of you.

ME: Wow. I’m the first one to tell you? Is that a good thing?

BO: That’s for you to decide. Did you tell me out of intolerance for the smell or to help a brother out and let him know what he might not know?

ME: I don’t know really. I almost vomited when I smelled you. So I suppose it was more selfish.

BO: It would seem. Although you could have just walked away. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

ME: Thanks…So what other experiments have you conducted?

BO: Oh I just keep doing this one over and over again. Been doing it for about 10 years now. I do it for the research. But mostly because it turns my wife on. She loves the stench. Gets her horny like a rhino.

ME: Holy shit. Really? And you’re ok with that.

BO: That’s love man. Smelly kinky messed up love.

ME: That’s beautiful.



Standing on the west side of the avenue upon which I live, there is an older gentleman who is perpetually smoking a cigarette. It does not matter what time of day or what type of weather – he is ALWAYS there. And he is also always standing just barely in the street. Not so far that you have to swerve around him, but close enough where you think you might clip him. I have not met this man, but here is the conversation we had on the side of my street.

ME: Nice day huh?

SMOKER: No nicer then any other day. Every day is about the same. Adequate.

ME: It’s good to have a steady outlook like that. What’s that they say? “Keep your expectations low and you will never be disappointed.”

SMOKER: Never disappointed. Always disappointed. No difference.

ME: I live just down the street. Don’t know if you’ve ever noticed me. But I have noticed that you are out here a lot.

SMOKER: That is a true statement.

ME: I always see you out here smoking is what I’m saying. And I was curious as to how many cigarettes you smoke in a day.

SMOKER: Just the one.

ME: You’re out here like 24 hours a day. You’re telling me you only smoke one cigarette.

SMOKER: 22 hours. And yes.

ME: Is that humanly possibly?

SMOKER: I light it once every hour. Take a puff. Extinguish the flame. Hold the smoke in my mouth for 45 minutes or so. Exhale. Wait 15 minutes. Then repeat.

ME: Why on earth would you do that?

SMOKER: Got to think about my health. Don’t want to be getting lung cancer now do I.

ME: That is a tremendous amount of restraint. I am thoroughly impressed sir.

SMOKER: Not as impressive as killing a man with your bare hands.

ME: Interesting response.

SMOKER: Interesting is the most useless word in the English language. Second most useless word in Korean.

ME: Were you in Korea? The war I mean.

SMOKER: I have not killed a man with my bare hands if that is what you are asking. I am not impressive in that respect.

ME: That is not what I was asking. I was just curious because you seem about the right age of a veteran and you mentioned the Korean language.

SMOKER: I once loved a Korean woman very passionately. We did not understand what each other said. But we understood what we felt.

ME: That’s very beautiful. Poetic.

SMOKER: Poetry is for greeting cards and pricks with typewriters.

ME: Well I would call that right there poetry. But I would not put it in a greeting card.

SMOKER: You know I can see you when you shower.

ME: There is no window in my bathroom.

SMOKER: X-ray glasses are real.



Sometimes on my way to work I cut down Robertson Blvd to get from Santa Monica to Olympic. This is an area of high-end boutiques, restaurants, and salons. One morning, standing outside one of these yet to open establishments, was a man dancing in front of his boombox. The boombox was blaring some Van Halen circa 1984, and the gentleman was dressed appropriately in David Lee Roth style tights and a headband. I did not meet this man, but this is the conversation we had on Robertson Blvd.

DANCER: (singing) Might as well jump. JUMP!

ME: Van Halen. Nice. I know people say that David Lee Roth is far superior to Sammy Hagar. But to be completely honest – I don’t mind the red rocker at all. I think he gets a bad rap.

DANCER: Who’s Sammy Hagar?

ME: You know. The guy that took over as lead singer after David Lee Roth left the band.

DANCER: That never happened.

ME: Oh. You never heard about that? It was like 20 years ago. Or do you mean you just deny that it ever happened because you are such a Roth fan? You don’t want to acknowledge that the band even existed after that?

DANCER: (singing) Got it bad. Got it bad. Got it bad.

ME: Right. Nice boombox by the way. Is that a cassette player? Can you still get cassettes any more? Remember cassingles?

DANCER: Can I help you with something? I need to start practicing my high leg kicks.

ME: You better stretch out before you do those. Don’t want to pull anything. The groin muscle is a very sensitive thing.

DANCER: Thanks. I stretched earlier. Plus the tights help to hold it all together.

ME: Don’t you feel kind of exposed in them though? Like it’s all out there for everyone to see.

DANCER: Maybe you’re just too self conscious.

ME: Oh I definitely am. I used to wrestle in high school and we had to where these spandex one piece outfits called singlets. Many times I considered the aid of a sock. If you know what I mean.

DANCER: I do know what you mean. And no I don’t stuff.

ME: See I wasn’t even implying or looking. Although now I feel compelled to look at your crotch. That’s a weird feeling. Not completely unnatural. Just weird.

DANCER: (singing) Runnin’ with the devil!

ME: I like the headband. Sometimes I wear a bandana when I work out. Keeps the hair and sweat out of my face. I go with black. I have a red and blue ones but I fear gang violence.

DANCER: Do you wear it over the whole head or as a headband or backwards like Tupac?

ME: Headband. I’ve done the Tupac thing in the past. Usually gets a good laugh.

DANCER: I can see that.

ME: Alright then. I’ll let you get back to it. Rock and/or roll.



Recently I was selected for jury duty at the Hollywood courthouse and became known simply as juror #5. The case presented to me was that of indecent exposure and a lewd act. We were a hung jury – deadlocked at 9 to 3. The defendant (we’ll call him Jesus because that was his name) did not take the stand and I never heard him speak one word. Therefore, I did not meet this man, but here is the conversation we had outside the courthouse after the case had ended.

ME: I’d just like you to know that I voted not guilty. Not because I necessarily believed that you didn’t do it. But because I didn’t feel that the prosecution proved you were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

JESUS: Thank you

ME: Now I know what you’re thinking. But I’m not going to ask. In fact, even if you wanted to tell me, I wouldn’t want to know.


ME: Seriously. Not asking.

JESUS: Alright.



ME: So did you do it?

JESUS: I did it.

ME: Ah man. Why? Why did you do it? Why would you do that? Why? Why? Whyyyyy? Couldn’t you have lied to me at least? Jesus Jesus (first one with a hard J, second one with an H sound).

JESUS: I felt you deserved the truth.

ME: You’re a very honorable man.

JESUS: Thank you. I pride myself on my honor.

ME: No! You’re not honorable! Come on man. You pulled your thingy out in front of that woman. An unwanted thingy is not honorable.

JESUS: Do you think the court reporter would like to see my thingy?

ME: Let’s just – let’s talk about something else please.


ME: Ummm…Did you happen to use the coffee machine in the waiting room?


ME: Isn’t that thing awesome?! It’s one of those old school ones that shoots the cup out and then fills it up automatically right in front of you. Really makes you feel like your in a classic crime drama or something.

JESUS: And it was only 45 cents.

ME: I know! And you can get it with sugar and whitener. Like they can’t even legally call it non-dairy creamer or something like that. What the hell is that stuff made of anyway?

JESUS: I have no idea



ME: You know I can’t do this. I’m sitting here trying to have a conversation with you and all I keep doing is waiting for you to pull ou-


ME: And there it is.



While sitting with some friends at the bar in the SLS Hotel this past weekend, the people watching nearly made my head explode. There were slutty women in tiny dresses, old dudes with young girls, guys with white pointy shoes, even Captain Awesome. The list goes on and on. But one man caught my eye. He was wearing a white scarf and had his shirt unbuttoned 2 too many buttons. He was casually leaning against the wall, “reading” a book that was on display next to him. I did not meet this man, but this is the conversation we had at the bar.

SLS: Would you mind terribly not talking to me?

ME: I didn’t even say anything yet.

SLS: Yea I know. But I can tell you want to talk to me. You look needy.

ME: Wow. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t think an insult from you would hurt so much. But apparently I crave your acceptance.

SLS: Alright alright. Don’t start crying. You can talk to me. Just don’t make it look like you’re talking to me. And don’t block the view. The ladies need a clear sightline so they can soak it all in.

ME: What ladies?

SLS: All the ladies. Let me guess. You don’t come here very often.

ME: Me? This is my local watering hole. I’m here all the time. 3 nights a week at least.

SLS: Really?

ME: No. I’m usually at home watching House Hunters or playing Rack-O about now.

SLS: You don’t have the style. You don’t have the money. You don’t have the abs. Let me guess – you drove here a compact car? Possibly American?

ME: Well…uhhh…yea. Ford Focus. But it’s only because my other car is in the shop.

SLS: And your other car is?

ME: A 1997 Toyota Rav4.

SLS: Barbie’s SUV.

ME: You know I think maybe I should have taken your advice and not started talking to you earlier. If you don’t mind I’m going to go sulk away in shame right now.

SLS: Look. This scene isn’t for everyone. Just try hanging out somewhere further east.

ME: I almost forgot. I came over here to give you something.

SLS: Look. I am flattered. But I don’t want your number. Not unless you’re about to get DD implants.

ME: Oh it’s not my number. The people over at my table over there – well, we all chipped in and bought you a few buttons.

SLS: Buttons?

ME: You know, for your shirt. We figured your buttons had fallen off, which is why we were being forced to look at your belly button. Oh and the book your “reading” – it’s upside down.



While driving home on Little Santa Monica Blvd the other day, I passed the Peninsula hotel. Just past the hotel was a man wearing an all white bellhop uniform. In his hand he held 2 leashes. On the end of each of those leashes was a small puffy white dog. I think they were bichon frise. I did not meet this man, but this is the conversation we had while he walked the dogs.

ME: What are their names?

BELLHOP: I have no idea.

ME: You don’t know the names of the dogs you are walking? Don’t you want to know their names? You have to pick up their poop. It’s kind of a personal thing. I would want to know their names.

BELLHOP: I have no idea.

ME: Am I correct in assuming that you are a bellhop at the Peninsula?

BELLHOP: What gave me away?

ME: The all white outfit. The long coat with gold buttons. The circular hat, complete with chin strap. It was either that or you were headed to one of P. Diddy’s famous white parties. But I am pretty sure those only take place in the Hamptons.

BELLHOP: That was a sarcastic and rhetorical question. I knew the outfit was the reason you knew I was a bellhop.

ME: Do they have other color parties besides white? Seems kinda racist if you ask me. Plus, who wants to party in white clothes. I’d just spill salsa on myself and then everyone would see it. You keep your uniform immaculately clean by the way.

BELLHOP: I usually have to change at least 4 times a shift because I get something on it.

ME: Where does the term bellhop come from?

BELLHOP: When a customer or the concierge rings the bell at the front desk, we have to hop to their service.

ME: Literally hop? Like a bunny or a Kangaroo?

BELLHOP: Yes. It is rather embarrassing.

ME: More or less embarrassing then having to pick up someone else’s dog’s poop, when you don’t even know the dog’s name.

BELLHOP: I would say it is about even.

ME: Do you hop when you hear bells in your personal life? Like a Pavlov’s dog kind of thing. Or does that only work with drooling and dogs?

BELLHOP: I have a fear of bells.

ME: What is that called?

BELLHOP: Ringadingaphobia.

ME: NOOOOOOO! That is freaking awesome.

BELLHOP: Awesome? It is a crippling condition that is threatening to end my illustrious career in the hotel service industry.

ME: No I didn’t mean the fact that you had the fear was awesome. I meant that the name of the fear was awesome. Sorry about that.

(awkward silence)

ME: Dog just pooped.



While eating a pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese, a young man entered the Manhattan Bagel in Studio City. He was wearing a plaid shirt with suspenders and had super cool hipster hair. He began talking to the purveyor of the establishment and the two obviously knew each other quite well. They spoke for a while until the young man said, “I’ll have the regular.” He was himself a regular at this bagel shop. I did not meet this man, but this is the conversation we had while he waited for “the regular.”

ME: What exactly is “the regular”?

REGULAR: Jalapeno cheddar bagel. Half toasted. Half untoasted. The toasted side gets peanut butter and tomato. The untoasted side gets hummus and a fried egg.

ME: Nothing to drink.

REGULAR: Strawberry Yoohoo.

ME: That is an amazing breakfast. Is that some sort of hangover recipe?

REGULAR: On the contrary. That little concoction will get you as high as a kite.

ME: No shit?

REGULAR: I shit you not.

ME: How did you come across this combination?

REGULAR: I was backpacking through the Ukraine and stumbled across this gathering in the middle of the forest. Bonfire. Black robes. The whole nine. Some sort of secret society. They caught me and force-fed me this little recipe. Best night of my life.

ME: (jaw on floor – no response)

REGULAR: Got to have to strawberry yoohoo though. Do not try to substitute chocolate. That is not a good scene.

ME: Good to know. So how often do you eat it?

REGULAR: Few times a week. I’m a musician. So it helps me write.

ME: How long would you say you have to come to the same place and order the same thing to be a regular?

REGULAR: Depends on the frequency of the visit. If you go to place 5 days a week, then it only takes 2 weeks. If you only go once a week, it could take 6 months or so. But if you go once a week, you have to go on the same day. If you go randomly, it is very hard to be a regular. Even if you go often.

ME: I’ve always wanted to be a regular. But I also always want to order something different.

REGULAR: Regular is regular. You can’t be a regular unless you are regular. It takes some dedication. It’s much easier if you live close to the place and if it’s a mom and pop type establishment. Also, it should be easy food - bagels, coffee, sandwiches. Stuff like that.

ME: I’m semi-regular at a Chinese place.

REGULAR: Chinese is good. But it’s actually easier to be a regular if you order take out and then go pick it up.

ME: Yea. Yea. I see that.

REGULAR: Hey I got to run. Been a pleasure. If you ever want to get high, you know where to find me. I’m here all the time.

(Regular leaves)

ME (to the bagel guy): I’ll have his regular.