We are the TOXIC Group:
Our meetings typically consist of 30 seconds of clever xylophone-related banter followed by 48 minutes of unbroken claptrappery (occasionally punctuated by a sneeze or self-important cough that reminds folks in the group of their own flimsy mortality). The list of covered topics is indeed long and tedious; an indeterminate amount of talking points is covered multiple–sometimes numerous–times, with very little ceremony.
The talking points typically meander around with little consequence, and our staffers have learned to endure them long enough to get to the meat of the meeting: attempting to reach a quorum on where to go for pizza afterwards. There’s been a glut of new “artisanal” pizza joints in the area, not to mention the existing restaurants who need gimmicks to keep up.
Gino’s Northeast: an old school pizzeria with a hint of sports bar (now with 25% more sass back)
Donnie’s Bunker: war hero’s spot with authentic Vietnam War memorabilia
Skip’s Dugout: retired baseball star’s spot with authentic ’60s and ’70s memorabilia
Gugliotti’s: Sicilian-themed ristorante
Chunkster’s: Most Toppings Around!®
Steggo’s Dino-mite Pizza: self-explanatory
Jeffrey’s Tamborine: adults-only gaming and entertainment-related eatery (wine allowed in the ball pit)
This particular installment of the TOXIC Group (#373) eventually ended with a near-unanimous selection of kofta kebab, since there’s only one local option for that cuisine and we were rapidly running out of time. For the record, a good portion of the group rallied for the adult play place, but Susie’s new around these parts, and we want her to stick around for a month or two before we test her patience with a drunken happy hour.
The very first horse-drawn carriage must have come as a shock to the ants taking their time crossing the land that at one point had never been designated specifically for human travel–and subsequent travails.
Now the unattached heel of a wayward boot has come across my plane of vision, and all of a sudden, horse-drawn carriages and ant opinions have no bearing over my perception as a red-blooded artist keen on taking over the world several well-placed poems at a time.
A long-suffering server has come to understand–a solid number of years ago, mind you–that people have no rhyme or reason when it comes to leaving their shit behind at a bar (even if they haven’t imbibed enough to lose their conception of personal property and the detriment of ignoring the objects directly surrounding them). Perhaps that very basic principle just isn’t present in their conscious minds in the same way as the long-suffering server–we’ll call him Frank.
Perhaps, just perhaps, they’ve transcended the idea of personal property entirely, to the point where everything is everything and nothing, and a backpack or purse or boot heel are inconsequential in the grand scheme of their lives. And bully for them.
The freeloading, lance tossing, hand jiving, bank robbing, heavy lifting, double dipping, chain smoking, dry heaving and life-living individual spent his time in the service of other people, content to take a backseat to the callous know-it-alls who tossed their rhetoric around the block in bite-sized snippets designed to appease the masses and challenge nobody while making a big stink about absolutely nothing.
Our hero (of little merit other than existing and rubbing noses in their various messes) felt that no awkward position could upend his potential as a beacon for human improvement in the face of an ever-widening fissure that threatened to wreak havoc on the lives of those who’d become uncomfortable in their mundane rituals, and his efforts would pay off sooner than later, believe it or not. Monetary compensation would be nice, but he understood that his reward would be more significant in the grand scheme of creative endeavors, a lasting mark on the face of what would soon be called the Canon of Collective Creation, curated by none other than the forlorn dish jockey who spins yarns to pass the time while he hardens his hands under scalding water in the kitchen of a high-volume restaurant on a Saturday afternoon just after the brunch rush but right before the dinner rush, where there’s still a decent contingency of people streaming in but even more making their way out because it’s no longer fashionable to sit at a dirty table twenty minutes after the server dropped the check.