Friday, January 26, 2007

Don't Lump Me In With Your Poor Factory Skills

1) I admit to making tattered jean shorts with a box cutter. But, man, it was hot as dick that summer and I still lived in the attic with kinda shitty air conditioning. The shorts were definitely awful. But it's not like this dress code was ever told to me. I simply made shorts because I was hot. Not as a sign of rebellion. To rebel, I wore one of those Devo-ish jump suits the day I had to clean garbage bins with some maniac.

2) While I freely admit to thinking that job sucked, I've actually had much worse. And I had decent factory skills. I was beloved on the Unisom Sleeping Pills line. My duties were pretty crazy: cleaning out glue hoppers, making sure the bills were in blisters properly, quality assurance, a little bit of maintenance here and there and also pouring 50-pound boxes of sleeping pills into a hopper while standing on a rickety step ladder. And also I was an "intern" so I had to perform "technical writing" and write down the operations for their updating. You were just some hopeless Line 1 trash.

3) Tell your story of how you worked as a hotel bus boy for one day. I've never even worked a job for just one day.

Embarrassing Fact About Gregg

Our dad used to force us to spend our summers and winter breaks working as grunt labor on the floor of the factory at his branch of Pfizer when he worked there. It was miserable, it was all paranoid housewives, repressed homosexuals, and terrified immigrants. It was really, really weird. And most of the jobs were backbreaking or mindnumbing.

Gregg decided to rebel against the strict dress code one day by wearing shorts. Inexplicably, he also felt the best option for shorts was to hack apart a perfectly good pair of khaki pants using a razor blade.

Gregg also has partial blindness in one eye, so he has no depth perception. So his view of well tailored homemade shorts was one leg halfway down the calf and the other hugging his nuts, with both ends uneven and tattered.

It was awesome.

To be fair, I was the first work stoppage on Line 1 ** at the Pfizer plant in over 40 years, when I foolishly tried to clear a piece of industrial machinery clogged with Visine bottles by reaching in and removing them with my hand while the machine was on. This was a foolish decision on my part, but to be fair, I had been sound asleep while standing at my post when I woke up and saw the machine clogged, so I groggily reached in and grabbed the bottles, hacking apart my left pinky and necessitating stitches.

** Line 1 has been known for decades as "The Women's Line," since the only people who work on it are frail old women and, apparently, my father's sons.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Five Things You Don't Know About Gregg Gethard

1. Childhood obsession with Canada.

Most kids are obsessed with comic books or whatever, my brother was inexplicably obsessed with the nation of Canada. He had every fact about Canada memorized. It was a burning obsession through most of his childhood, which I hypothesize didn't fully go away until we went to the Summerslam at the Meadowlands featuring the Bret Hart led Canadian bad guy team getting beat. To this date, to my knowledge, Gregg has never been to Canada.

2. Threw his own ticker tape parade when he was 3 years old.

I was too young to remember this, but my mother loves to talk about it. When the Iranian hostages were freed in the early 80s, my brother ran to our bathroom, grabbed a roll of toilet paper and without any prompting or anyone having any knowledge that a toddler was aware of the customs of a ticker tape parade, threw his own ticker tape parade. Gregg also read the newspaper every morning when he was three, cover to cover (genius). Seriously, no one knows how as a small child he knew about reading and ticker tape parades and Canada, he just did.

3. Is a terrible fighter, but has thrown a couple straight rights that were gifts from God.

Gregg is a bad fighter, a really bad fighter, and the only times he won in fights as a child were when he fought dirty, which was advisable in our neighborhood of constant fights. BUT, a few times in his life, he has summoned a straight right which has immense KO power that makes no sense if you know his skinny sickly frame and generally non-confrontational demeanor. He once knocked me completely unconcsious with one punch in our kitchen in West Orange. It came out of nowhere, right on the button, it was like textbook boxing, his feet were framed right and he turned his whole body into it, I was fucking pissed. I remember another time he knocked a dude out of a speeding bicycle by sending a straight right, right into his face at Otter Lake, a campground in the poconos we used to frequent. The kid was the grandson of the owners and was douchey and messing with us, and Gregg summoned his superhuman punch. There have been a few other occasions where it has happened - it really is like Arthur pulling the sword from the stone in its unexpectedness and mysteriousness.

4. Is a kingpin of the little known world of fantasy wrestling.

When Gregg and I first got the Prodigy online service in about 1992, we quickly discovered a world of other geeks obsessed with wrestling. We thought we were the only ones, besides a few other dorks in our town. We used to watch every second of wrestling on TV and read magazines about it whenever we could. Prodigy gave us all kinds of information to read. It also introduced us to the world of fantasy wrestling, where you make up your own character and basically play D&D but with wrestlers in a wrestling world instead of elves in a fantasy world. The first character we came up with was an African king named the Mighty Impala. Then we became feuding brother characters named Famine and Pestilence. I did this from about seventh grade to ninth grade *. Gregg did this all through high school and college, and became one of the most sought after character players and match writers in the entire world of e-wrestling. It's a really small subculture and all those dorks know each other real well, and Gregg was like one of the Beatles in their world. He doesn't do it anymore but is still legend among them - when you google his name, you occasionally find dorks writing blog posts about some feud some weirdo character he had six years ago was in, and how it was like the Citizen Kane of online wrestling.

* Full disclosure - I briefly returned to this game when I was super depressed in college, but quit after about two months when I realized it really wasn't helping my horribly low self esteem to play fake wrestling online.

5. Used to think it was cool to rock a bright orange corduroy jumpsuit.

It wasn't. He got it from our neighbor's garage, our neighbor was a pack rat who gave Gregg all these garbage bags full of clothes. Gregg thought it was hilarious to wear an orange corduroy jumpsuit he found to high school, many times. It was kind of hilarious, but in a really specific lack of dignity way, which Gregg is sort of the king of. I myself stole a Guinness sweater from the pile and it's still in my warddrobe, it's classy and gets tons of compliments.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

5 Things You Don't Know About Chris

Rosemary Stevens is a NYC-area comic type who also grew up going to low-budget punk shows in New Jersey. She has "tagged" me and my brother for us to reveal 5 things about each other that the general public does not know. I will gladly tell the world five things about my brother that the world probably does not know.

1. Chris Gethard was pretty good at basketball.
We grew up in an Irish-Catholic jock dickhead neighborhood, where basketball was king. Most of the kids from our neighborhood went to Seton Hall Prep, which usually contends for the state basketball championship and has even produced a few NBA players, most notably Brevin Knight, who was an All-American at Stanford and is now a NBA journeyman.

On the playground, Chris wasn't so good. This was because he was significantly younger and a lot smaller than the kids we balled with. But if you've every read my brother's entries about his training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or have dealt with him, you know the dude has some major pathological rage issues, possibly related to being smaller than the kids we hung out with.

When Chris played in leagues against kids his own age, he more than held his own on the basketball courts of the prestigious Mountain Top League. He was a steady point guard, capable of hitting an outside shot and also had a nasty head fake. In one game, Chris made a last-second shot to tie the game against Jeremy Slazack, one of his friends/rivals on the court. Chris' steady leadership then helped secure victory in overtime. I was a little bit dissapointed that he didn't try out for the freshman basketball team.

2. Chris played cello.
And well! I think he started playing in 1st grade. Maybe later. But he was in all the various orchestra and band stuff. I'm guessing he was good at that, too.

3. Chris peaked his junior year of high school.
On top of being involved in all kinds of acting type stuff, Chris was the president of our school's chapter of the Junior Statesmen of America, which was a fancy way of saying "debate club." This position was probably the most elite, powerful position one could have in the after-school life of West Orange High School. In addition, Chris was the editor-in-chief (or close to it, I forget exactly) of the high school newspaper. But it was all for naught -- personality conflicts with both faculty advisors caused him to lose these positions headed into his senior year. Chris' brief trappings of power were soon gone, and it was back to a life of nerdish mediocrity.

4. Chris had a letter published in the back of an X-Factor comic book.
I forget the exact name and title, but it's true. Chris being a comics geek probably shocks no one. But Chris writing a letter to express his emotions after the death of Jamie "Multiple Man" Madrox probably does.

5. Chris once was a professional wrestling manager.
Professional wrestling has been a big part of the lives of the Gethard Brothers since our childhood. It has long been a dream of ours to become "heel" managers like Bobby "The Brain" Heenan or the infamous James J. Dillon. Chris managed to live out his dream at a wrestling show held at Seton Hall University, which resulted in him botching his cue to interfere in a match. Post-match, he nearly killed wrestling legend King Kong Bundy after he was Irish whipped into a table.