LISTS

Lists are fuckin’ hilarious, man! I don’t know why exactly - but lists freak people out. I mean, fairly sane, logical people - or so you would think. In any case, when people find their names on a list, no matter how random or nonsensical - they often react in pretty strange ways.

I remember once, while working at Integral Yoga Natural Foods back in the 80’s - I introduced this completely random ‘nut list’. Hysterical results. It all started innocently enough. Me and my co-worker/friend were in the warehouse stacking up dried goods to bring around the corner to the store, and to pass the time, we start talking about who the ‘nuttiest’ people in the store were. It was just for laughs, you know? That was it.

Or so I thought.

So, a couple of nights later, we’re closing up the store, and somehow, the nut list comes up. As if it’s something very OFFICIAL. I’m enjoying people’s reactions to it, so I just randomly start assigning ‘numbers’ to people.

“Oh, I’m sorry, Ananda, you’re number one.’

“Hate to tell you this, Shiva, but you were number 2’’…and so on.

I’m very somber about the whole affair - and people just start going CRAZY, man! People storming off in a huff, others becoming depressed and despondent. The whole gamut of emotions. There is a spectacular uproar, in particular, when I inform the increasingly hostile crowd that, Fumilaya, this very regal African woman who worked the register, was exempt from the list - because she was ‘well dressed’.

“What?! Because she is well dressed?! What the -”

It’s like a mob mentality now - even thought none of this MAKES any sense. When I blame the whole thing on Rob, my coworker, who actually knows nothing of this ‘list’, the crowd becomes even more bloodthirsty and defiant - galvanizing to flood the streets, wanting to string Rob up in an act of vengeance.

Now, fast forward to 1998, at a particularly monotonous catering job somewhere in upstate New York. I’m even more bored and numb than usual, so during dinner serve out, I start somberly going up to random waiters, and informing them:

“You’re on the list.”

Their faces drop, but we can’t talk anymore until dinner serve out is finished. Immediately afterward, a group of them gather around me - fear in their eyes and hearts.

“What list?”

“Waiters who love catering too much.” I reply.

“What?! I don’t love catering!! What do you mean?!”

“I HATE catering! Where is this list?!”

Again - an outraged uproar. As if there actually is an ‘OFFICIAL list.’

Hahahahahha.

Finally, I inform Sarah, ( this rather nutty girl who probably really does love catering) that, much to my dismay, she is #1 on ‘the list.’

“What?! Why should I be number 1 on the list?! James loves catering much more than I do!! This is SO distressing!!”

“I’m sorry, Sarah, I didn’t create the list - I’m only the messenger…”

No matter. She is BESIDE herself with anger and resentment. She was never very fond of me in the first place, but now she can’t even LOOK at me.

The most hilarious aspect of this whole debacle, though? It’s when the two buses that brought us up from the city, pull up to bring us back. Within minutes, however, our bus breaks down - and we have to wait for the other bus to rescue us. As fate, or horrifying coincidence, would have it, the only seat left on the bus for me is right next to - Sarah. Thoroughly inebriated at this point, I then proceed to fall asleep on her shoulder!! Her face is a mask of incredulity and torment - and there my head lays for the entirety of the trip back home!

I kid you not!

Joe Montaperto

Writer, murderer, bon vivant par excellance - I pay the rent as a catering bartender, and sometimes shoot poison darts at white people from trees in Hoboken, while shouting UUUMMMBBAAAAGGGGAAAA!!