The “green apple” drink




Some people, you just wonder: What is WRONG with them??

I drop into this little hole-in-the-wall on Center St. to get a quick bite to eat. “Fry Zucchini” it says on the menu, deep-fried junk food, but at least it has an alleged vegetable in it, 5 bucks out the door.

This high school kid, probably 15 or 16, is ahead of me at the cash register. And he orders some kind of “green apple” drink. Then I order my “fry zucchini.” It comes to 5 dollars and 19 cents. So I give the cash register guy a 10 and 19 cents so I can get a 5 back.

But before we can finish the transaction the kid rushes back up to the register and says, “I got it wrong. I don’t want the green apple drink. I want the strawberry drink.”

“What?” says the cash register guy.

“I don’t want the green apple. I want the strawberry.”

The guy checks behind the counter to talk to the guy making the drink. Comes back shaking his head. “No its too late. He already made the drink.”

“I don’t care. I don’t want the green apple. I want the strawberry.”

“Sorry dude. Too late.”


“I said sorry.”

“I don’t care if you’re sorry. I don’t want the green apple.”

“Well you ordered the green apple. So that’s what you get.”


But the kid keeps whining over and over in this bratty voice. “I don’t want the green apple!! I don’t WANT the green apple!!” (I want to slap the kid in the face)

The cash register guy finally gives me my change, four ones and some change.

“No I’m supposed to get a 5 dollar bill back,” I said. But its impossible to make myself clear because the kid keeps whining in his face about the “green apple” so its impossible for the cash register guy to concentrate. So I just figure fuck it, and go sit at a table to wait for my order. Meanwhile the kid and the cash register guy keep arguing back and forth.

“You ordered green apple you get the green apple,” he said offering him the drink.

“You try and give me that I’ll throw it at you,” says the kid. So now its escalated to the point of possible violence.

The thing that really gets me is the sense of ENTITLEMENT that some people seem to have. I mean HE’S the one who fucked up his order. Or maybe he just changed his mind on a whim. But now they supposedly owe it to him to dump out the drink he ordered, and make him a whole new drink for free. Sure.

I take out my cellphone and try to block out the whole stupid scene. Finally I guess the idiot kid realized it was green apple or nothing. So he takes the drink to a table behind me and sits down with a friend of his, this big kid at least as big as me. So now there are TWO potential assholes to deal with me.

Then he starts pestering me. “Scuse me sir Scuse me sir Scuse me sir. Would you gimme 5 dollar would you gimme 5 dollar would you gimme 5 dollar,” he repeats over and over (I guess he thinks if I give him the 5 dollar he can get what he wants, the strawberry drink, which is ALL that some assholes ever think about, what they WANT.

“NO!” I said firmly. And proceeded to ignore him, and just hoped that he didn’t decide to throw his drink at me.

Finally. My order was ready. And i grabbed it and split. The end.


Hate Man Superstar

Last Sunday BAMPFA (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive) had a screening of the documentary “Hate Man Street Philosopher.” The film was shown outdoors on this big screen in the back of the BAMPFA building. So it was sort of like going to a drive-in movie, except without a car.  And it was surreal to see Hate Man’s gigantic head, 20 feet tall, staring down at us from the silver screen. Needless to say I give the film a big thumb’s up, and a hateful time was had by one and all.










A Top Dog story


I don’t know if it’s the two days of rain that’s put people in bad moods.  But I just had a weird scene.

I just went to Top Dog near Shattuck Ave. to buy a hot dog (Calabrese, 3 bucks, loaded with sauerkraut).  So I order my dog at the cash register and take a seat at the front window, putting my backpack on the counter right in front of me.  Five minutes later the clerk calls out my order, so I trot up to get it, load it up with mustard, relish and kraut.

But when I return to my seat I notice some guy has taken my seat.

“Excuse me, you’re in my seat,” I said.

“Oh,” he said. And then he went back to looking at his cellphone.

“That’s my seat,” I said.  “That’s my backpack right there on the table in front of my chair.”

“Oh, I didn’t realize the seat was taken,” he said.  And  goes back to looking at his cellphone.

“Give me my seat back,” I said.

He continues to ignore me.

So now I’m standing there, sizing him up.  It’s obvious I’m dealing with a Grade A Asshole. He looks about 30.  About my size.  A little on the burly side.  Beard.  Just a bland, generic white guy.  The kind of guy you’d see hanging out at Starbucks.  So I’m considering my options as to how to handle the situation.

Now in my younger years, I would have pulled the chair out from under him, watched his fat ass plummet to the floor, and then, as they say, IT’S ON.  (you have to improvise from that point on, things happen quickly)

But I’m nearly 60 years old now.  And it’s not so much that I’ve matured. But there’s this little voice in the back of my head that says:  “Is this really worth it?”  Plus. I’m more tired nowadays.

So I just rather sternly, and trembling slightly from rage, say to him:  “SOME PEOPLE HAVE VERY POOR MANNERS!”

“And some people think they own the place,” he says.

The other Top Dog patrons are now fidgeting nervously in their seats, like the scene in the Western movies where two cowboys in a saloon are getting ready for a shoot-out, so everybody is ducking for cover.

I decide to take the path of least resistance.  I grab my backpack and walk over to another seat.  Eat my hot dog in sullen silence.

But then I’m thinking:  “OK.  When he gets up to get his hot dog I’ll take my seat back. See how he likes a taste of his own medicine.  See how he reacts to that.”

But by this time, I’ve finished my hot dog and I’m ready to leave.  So I’d just be doing it out of spite and to get cheap revenge (and there’s a lot to be said for spite and cheap revenge but . . .)

So instead I just walk by him, giving him a very stern look as I pass (he’s not ignoring me now).  And walk out of the place and head down the street.

Part of me is pissed at how I handled it.  Because I ALWAYS want to get in the last word.

But if you want to know the truth.  The main reason I didn’t escalate the situation and risk getting into a fight is because I’m wearing these very dorky looking black plastic bags on my feet.  I still haven’t gotten around to buying decent shoes, and this is the only way I can keep my shoes and socks dry.  But I look ridiculous.

If you’re going to get into a fight, it’s always important that you look your best.