Joe

#355: “The man’s hot piss warmed my freezing cold hands”

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#355: “The man’s hot piss warmed my freezing cold hands”

Once upon a time, in a Record Store not far away, there was a manager named Joe. Some people call him “Big Nose”. Some people just call him Joe. Two things about Joe you must understand: 1) Joe doesn’t give a crap about what anybody thinks, and 2) Joe doesn’t really know boundaries. Joe is the one who told me he had a crush on my mom. Joe is the one who introduced me to the Open Door Piss. I like Joe, don’t get me wrong.  He was pretty much the only one at the Record Store that I could confide in towards the end.  He is trustworthy, 100%.  A solid individual.  He was the best support I could have had.  But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that Joe is different from just about everybody you know.

The Tale goes like this:

Joe and Uncle Meat were driving from Waterloo to Windsor, to go and visit Tom who was attending teacher’s college there.  It was December, and a cold one it was.  By this time, Tom sold his own branch of the Record Store, so he could continue his education and become a teacher.  Joe and Meat were travelling in Joe’s old beat up piece of shit.  It was the quintessential “old man car”.  It was huge, ancient, and nothing worked.  I’m amazed it made to Windsor and back, honestly.  One of the features that no longer functioned was the heat, which is a pretty darned important thing during a Canadian December.

Sometime during the three hour tour, Joe had to piss.  Pulling off highway 401 to pee isn’t Joe’s style.  Instead, he re-invented the piss jug, but with a large Tim Horton’s coffee cup.  After relieving himself in said cup, he passed it to Meat!

Meat, all this time, was freezing his ass off in the passenger side.  His hands and fingers in particular were as frigid as icicles.  Although being passed a cup of piss in most situations isn’t a position you want to be in, this time it wasn’t so bad.  The cup “felt like a hot double double in my hands,” says Meat.  Still warm with Joe’s body heat, the piss-cup helped Meat regain some of the sensation in his digits.  “What’s the greatest gift you can give?  The warmth from inside of you.  The man’s hot piss warmed my freezing cold hands,” according to Uncle Meat.

After warming his fingers, Meat rolled down the window.  He carefully prepared the cup for ejection.  He managed to throw it while only getting a surprisingly “minimal amount of piss” on his arm.

Neither Uncle Meat nor I condone littering, but sometimes life hands you a warm cup of piss, and you have no choice in the matter!

PISS CUP

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Part 203: Bitchin’ About Staff Meetings

east-side-mario-s

RECORD STORE TALES Part 203:  Staff Meetings

I used to enjoy staff meetings.  When we were a small  chain, we’d gather all the employees up after work at one of the larger locations.  If memory serves (and Lord knows we’re talking about 18 years ago now), the boss even brought a case of beer to the first one.  We’d go over ideas, improvements, problems, shoot the shit, it was informal and it was great!  It was one of the only times we’d have everybody together in one room.

As we expanded, that became impractical.  We started having meetings with just the managers.  These were a bit more serious in nature, sometimes heated, but we held them at a restaurant.  The boss would pay for everybody’s beer and food, which was really cool.  We’d have a good time, it was for social purposes as well as practical.  We usually held these “Manager’s Meetings” in the closest East Side Mario’s.  Decent, not the greatest food in the world, but I liked it.

MOTHERSIt’s a shame this wasn’t the 1980’s.  Then we could have had the meetings at a place like Mother’s Pizza!  Mother’s Pizza was the best pizza place in town.  I went there for every birthday.  It was co-owned by Ernie Whitt, the catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Later on, Cito Gaston bought in as well.  Mother’s.  Now that was a pizza.*

Ahem.  Sorry.  I tend to lose my train of thought when I talk about food.

We’d mess with each other.  I remember my boss had one pen that he just loved.  Loved it.  Freaked out when he misplaced it.  He’d run around the store yelling “WHERE MY PEN!” in a funny voice.  So somebody sneakily stole his pen just before the staff meeting.

We went to Mario’s for the meet.  Upon arrival, he complained a bit about misplacing his pen, but got on to business.  A short while later, one of the store managers was casually writing with it, nonchalant.  His pen.  His precious…waiting for him to notice it in someone else’s hands.

Suddenly, he saw.  He pointed.  “MY PEN!  MY PEN!  YOU HAVE MY PEN!” he yelled in that funny voice again.  Kids at the table next to us stared, wondering who this guy was!

Yeah, those were good times.  But as George Harrison said, all things must pass.  I’ve talked before about “The Great Change”, when CD sales started to slump.  Budgets got tighter, things got more serious.  Staff meetings were moved to a stuffy boardroom in the back of one of our stores.  We started receiving extensive emails with the “minutes” from the meeting, the mind-numbing minutiae.  This was a long way from beer and pizza.  The atmosphere was dour and the meetings sometimes dragged on for 2 hours.

After the meetings, I’d sometimes shoot the shit with one or two of the other store managers.

“What was that?” I would say.  “I could have said all that in one email!”

“Was there anything said in that meeting that couldn’t have been covered in one email?” someone asked rhetorically.

It was at one of these staff meetings that Joe dubbed me with the nickname Señor Spielbergo because of my thick beard.  But in the later days, that was one of the few moments of levity.  For me these meetings were just a stagnant waste of time.  Hours upon hours of time that I’ll never get back.

* I hear they opened a new Mother’s Pizza in Hamilton.  Maybe, for future record store kids, the dream of a staff meeting at Mother’s Pizza is alive again?  I hope so.

NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…

Fuckin’ sHEAVY!

Part 196: Happy Rockin’ Mother’s Day!

 

RECORD STORE TALES Part 196:  Happy Rockin’ Mother’s Day!

I’m hoping I don’t embarrass my mom too much with this post.  I love my mom.  My friends love my mom.  Everyone loves my mom, they always have.  It used to drive me nuts, actually.  Particularly with my friend Bob, it drove me nuts.  My friends would come over and spend more time talking to my mom than to me!

Joe, who ran one of our stores, was one friend that always enjoyed seeing my mom in his store.  Unfortunately for me, Joe really used to tease me about it, too.  Long time LeBrain readers will remember one story in particular.  Here’s the pertinent text from that tale:

One morning I was opening the store, and my computer beeped the sound that told me, “An order just arrived, please read me!”  So I did.  Only the order looked something like this.

ARTIST:  I’m totally going to

TITLE:  bone your mom.

I was digging through boxes of stuff, as Mrs. LeBrain and I prepare to move to a larger place this year.  In a closet I found a card from the record store.  Joe had signed it.

For my mom…happy Mother’s Day!

 

Next time on RECORD STORE TALES…

What’s on the menu?