Junio 13, 2003
No Comeback

Twenty minutes ago I stopped at the Starbucks on College St. after dropping filion off at work. Usually I go to T Ho's in the morning, but yesterday I drank a nice coffee at Starbucks and was looking to repeat the experience.

Since yesterday I've been wearing a communist chinese hat around; an army green Mao cap with a red star on it. I was wearing it this morning when I bought this coffee at Starbucks. Can I just say that I fucking hate using the word "Grande" (pron:Grond-day) when I order coffee. I do. I mean, if they want to use the original names of certain beverages, fine. I'm not opposed to the word "latte" I'm not even opposed to the phrase "non-fat caramel brownie mochaccino", though I am opposed to that drink. But why the fuck do I have to say Grande when I'm ordering black coffee? I'm not Spanish, I'm not Italian, and neither is Starbucks. You know why I have to say it? Because Starbucks is a bunch of sneaky fucks. if you say "Large" they don't even hesitate, they bring you a venti, which is way too big. I've got enough stomach problems after a Grande. Grande means Large, and Venti means Twenty. So when you say "Large" you don't expect a grain silo full, you expect a large. And when you say "Small" you don't expect them to always confuse this with the word "Tall" which is their medium. You want a "Short". The Short isn't even the same diameter as the Tall, so these two sizes defy logic.

Anyhow, back to my story. I ordered a Grond-day, and then I saw that they were selling newspapers at the cash so I bought one of these too. The guy behind the counter had a thin, nasally voice and he repeated back to me, "One grond-day and one newspaper" and I said "That's right" and he started ringing it through. Then he stops, and with a smug look and ear-piercing whine, he lisps: " I must say, it surprises me that someone with red star on their hat is buying the national post."


I froze. I had no comeback. While he was grinning at his own cleverness, I was thinking, what the fuck is he talking about? It took a while for my brain to make the connection. As far as Toronto papers go, The National Post is considered Right Wing, and I'm wearing an iconically Left Wing hat. He's still grinning.

In all honesty the first thing that came to my mind was: "Well it doesn't surprise me that I'm being served coffee at Starbucks by a pretentious gay man."
But I couldn't say that.

I so wanted to burn him, but I couldn't. My mind just started cataloguing the facts: a) It's the only paper you fucking sell you dumb shit. b) I'm not a communist c) There's a story I want to read on the front page: "Ontario Legislature Debates Strip-Club Dwarf-Tossing d) I'm not right wing, and I like The Post.

While I'm waiting on Brain for some words, the old woman behind me in line starts laughing at this barrista's remark. Then, oh god, then, she adds some sass: "Which begs the question, why do you have it?"

I didn't know if she was referring to the hat or the newspaper. Nor could I begin to figure out which wing they were coming at me from. Were they anti-communist? Anti-fascist? What? It's not like I was buying Meinkampf -- it's a fucking national newspaper. And it's a decent paper, fuck.

I spun around quick, ready to verbally destroy the snickering sextuagenarian, but again, I froze. All I could think of was : You Fat Retarded Old Cunt. And it almost leaked out.

Instead, I left, in total silence.

Posted by King at Junio 13, 2003 10:30 AM

Dunno, king. The Post is pretty gross.*

*Not defending the snotty goons in your story

Posted by: tv on Junio 13, 2003 01:43 PM .

Man, this story is the best.

Posted by: ˇ on Junio 13, 2003 01:48 PM .

The Post is fine. It's barely right wing. And wearing a Mao hat in the West in the year 2003 hardly implies one is a Communist. Starbucks makes excellent coffee. The company makes lots of money. The Starbucks culture, however, is pathetic.

The paradox of you being a Communist and reading The Post. Wow. How about: I like to see myself as enlightened and left-wing but I need a job so I'll gladly work at a giant American company.

My advice: stay away from gay men that work at Starbucks, older women who hang out at Starbucks, and Communism.

Posted by: Gene on Junio 13, 2003 01:52 PM .

BTW, I skimmed the Globe's coverage and I think I may have ended up in favour of the right of the dwarf to be tossed. Tripod's just trying to make a name for himself yo!

And where did The Post leave you on this most pressing issue of the day?

Posted by: ˇ on Junio 13, 2003 01:54 PM .

If he's a willing participant, who really gives a fuck? Tripod says in the article: "I'm doing this because I want to, I'm an adult and can make my own decisions."

I don't really think this needs government legislation -- whoa, is that a right wing sentiment?

The best part of the article:

"Event organizer Renaldo Agostino dismissed suggestions the contest was exploitative. 'This guy is a dwarf...He's looking to make his mark in the entertainment business," he said."

I love that.

Reporter: Hey Renaldo, don't you think this event is exploitative?

Renaldo: Exploitative? This guy is a dwarf.

Posted by: king on Junio 13, 2003 02:44 PM .

Wearing a hat like that and buying the National Post is setting yourself up for at least a raised eyebrow. Your hat could be construed as a neocon jibe against the failed resolve of Chinese revolutionaries whose idealism has been vanquished first by the famine and then by the West's demand for cheap, low-quality merchandise when considered in the context introduced by the newspaper buying. Or something. Like how pictures/statues of Mao are kitsch now and all sorts of trust-fund student types put them on their wall. That shit's like giggling about Stalin. I'm not saying it's wrong to wear the hat, I just think you have to acknowledge that it's a heavily politicized hat, even more so than a beret. The point is would you have been so angry if the cashier had just pointed out the political disparity between hat and newspaper in a neutral tone of voice? People who hang out or work in Starbuck's feel uneasy about it and jump at any opportunity to try and make other people look stupid or beneath them, which is understandable (but not at all excusable) because working at Starbuck's is probably the worst and smugfuck barista(!) was probably eager to demonstrate that he was well-educated because what else good is his degree for which he's working at Starbuck's to pay off his student loans. The old lady was probably lonely and jealous of youth in general.
Guy, you've clearly forgotten your retail glory days now that you're all media upwardly-mobile or whatever.

Posted by: TheDiscourse on Junio 13, 2003 05:21 PM .

Shut the fuck up Discourse.

Posted by: king on Junio 13, 2003 06:29 PM .

Hey, by the way, do you remember an Irene from the cafe? Or a Johnny, with long hair?

Posted by: king on Junio 13, 2003 06:31 PM .

Do you mean irritating-as-fuck-in-the-way-only-theatre-students-are-irritating-and-why-aren't-you-just-working-at-mountain-equipment-coop-and-not-bothering-me Johnny, with long hair?

I'd have maybe pointed out (starbucks/mao/post-wise) that if you go far enough to the right, or far enough to the left, the most extreme elements of society are frighteningly similar to each other, so there's no real contradiction. Also, better a Mao cap than the newly ubiquitous hipster trucker cap, and better the Post than some new york fascist style mag.

Either that, or chucked my excessively hot grande Verona into his face, shouting "How do you like that, you smug fuck? Are you surprised now?" Then I'd trip the nonagenarian on the way out. And kick her. Kicking old ladies is a do. No, it is. I read it in vice.

Posted by: adHominem on Junio 13, 2003 07:28 PM .

All right I will shut up. I was just trying to help you avoid looking like an ass. Next time you'll be fucking goose-stepping into the convenience store decked out like Himmler and buying The Nation or Adbusters. Who's going to help you then? Ass.
I only remember Johnny, not Irene. What a fucking chump.

Before I shut up, I'm going to fucking lose it over those fucking mesh-back caps adHominem mentioned. What the bitching shit is that? Fucking poor people are hilarious, eh? They're all ignorant drunks right? They don't have time to primp their fucking hair in their parents' bathroom to make it look like they just got up right? Their hats are like so totally like out of fashion right? OOOOOoooooohhhh, I get it... They're so out of fashion that they might as well be IN fashion! Wicked! I feel so cool when I'm dressed like a sleazebag in my fine art history classes at university!

Posted by: TheDicourse on Junio 13, 2003 08:24 PM .

Oh and make your own fucking coffee in the morning if you can't deal with someone """BENEATH YOU""" pointing out that your hat clashes with your newspaper. I saw some hammer and sickle thermoses in the window at Urban Outfitters last week.

Posted by: TheDiscourse on Junio 13, 2003 08:29 PM .

I would have fixed him with a piercingly serious stare and said quietly "always know your enemy". Then I would have flashed him a super-saccharine smile -- but only for a second.

King, that College St. starbucks must be some kind of mecca for the special-funky-term-using gurus of the barista world. I once had one of their workers tell me that if I didn't want to learn the terminology, maybe I shouldn't shop at Starbucks! the only thing worthwhile about that place is sitting on the patio and listening to the aerobics instructor in the gym across the street scream at the top of her lungs at all the hipsters as they try to work off the chocolate-caramel-brownie-or-someshit-frappuccino they just had.

Oh, and wearing a commie hat is about as political as a Che t-shirt, an Anarchy symbol button, camouflage army pants, or a peace-sign nose ring, especially in that super-fashionista-look-at-me-look-at-me neighbourhood. Hell, you can walk through that area dressed as the pregnant Virgin Mary and the only thing you get is a thumbs-up and riotous laughter from a few old Italian men outside the church. I know; I did it.

Posted by: marijke on Junio 14, 2003 06:42 PM .

Fuck shutting the fuck up. So you're saying that a Che shirt or an Anarchy button aren't pregnant with precedent meanings? You can't just shrug that shit off. Che shirts are a different beast. King, anyone who tells you you can't wear a fucking hat with a red star on it or questions your reasons for wearing it is full of shit and anxious about their own double-standards. But at the same time dressing up like Himmler isn't really that far-fetched an analogy if you don't acknowledge that the red star has some nasty historical connotations or that it's inextricably linked with the extreme left, which is why you buying a decidedly right wing newspaper warrants at least an acknowledgement of the ideological disparity between your hat and your newspaper. You can't just dismiss an iconic political signifier; that's half-assed and fraudulent no matter what neighbourhood you're in.
Today I was on the other end of the hostile service clerk vs. customer clash.... At the store I work at you have to leave your bag at the front of the store; it's not my policy but I have to make sure that people do it or else I'm not doing my job properly. This makes me uneasy but pretty much everybody's nice about it. So this guy marches into the store; he looks all angry and volatile and shit- like full of geek hate. He had a bowl-cut and teenager's sunglasses- iconic signifiers of above-mentioned geek hate. He saw the big fuck-off sign at the door that says you have to leave your bags at the front of the store and walked right by it. I said 'sorry, excuse me' like three times before he turned around. He barked "what?!". I said "Sorry, you have to leave your backpack at the front of the store if you want to browse.." He said: "Oh yeah? Why's that?"
I said: "It's the store policy- we have to ask everybody."
He shouts: "Fuck that!!" and storms towards the door.
There were a bunch of kids within earshot.
As he got to the door I said, in an admittedly snarky way (because I don't like people swearing AT me for doing my job, especially when I'm polite and genuinely apologetic about it): "Oh, you have a lovely afternoon."
He turns around and says in a really threatening, tensed-shoulders sort of way:
"I said 'have a lovely afternoon'"
He comes right up to the counter: "FUCK YOU YOU FREAK!"
what the fuck- 'freak'? Is this fucking highschool? how old are you? Why are you so angry?
Well I was really angry and instead of being at a loss for words like I normally am in this sort of situation, I spat the first obscenity that came to mind:
"Fuck your face."
I was really pleased with how rude that was.
He was already on his way out after he said "fuck you you freak", cheating his way into getting the last word in. But he heard me.
I think that may be the rudest thing I've ever said to a stranger. I still felt really shitty about it. Working in retail implicitly requires a forfeit of some dignity because you're at the customer's service. Whenever a customer takes advantage of that dynamic it feels like shit, even if you get to be rude to a stranger. So King, maybe it's better that you were at a loss for anything to snipe at the barista(!) and maybe it was your conscience preventing you from proverbially/verbally shooting fish in a barrel. The old lady was fair game but she's old and lonely so you win anyway.

Posted by: TheDiscourse on Junio 14, 2003 10:03 PM .

King's problem is only that he lacked a zippy one-liner, not that he wore the hat. You can wear whatever good-looking yet politically distasteful garment you like as long as you have snappy retorts on hand. Or, an elaborate story that justifies your clothing choice. Suggestion: "Well, I'm actually very right wing, and I used to be part of a Chinese fascist militia called the Black Fang, but I was taken prisoner and tortured by the Red Army, who gave me this hat as an attempt at reprogramming. I hate it, but because of all the brainwashing they performed on me I need to wear it to get an erection. I have an erection right now."

Posted by: D on Junio 15, 2003 12:20 PM .

Good lord, stop tearing your hair out people! Our late "great" Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau rode around on a motorcycle dressed up as Himmler during the Second World War, and he was about as BBC 2 Left-Wing statist as you can possibly get in this part of the world. Idealogical contradictions are what Canada is all about. I reckon King is well on his way to political office in fact based on precedent. Keep it up my man although please do use D's retort as often as possible.

Posted by: Sparrow on Junio 16, 2003 09:07 AM .

Iím with Discourse Ė fuck him shutting the fuck up. Come on, King, you totally would have said that yourself to someone back in the day, which is probably why you didn't have a witty comeback. Just because coming from you it wouldnít have been lisped and just because people in that neighbourhood fucking sucked doesnít mean you should get uppity about it, even if you do understand irony better then some do.

Point Discourse. Yay T!H!E!DI!S!C!O!U!R!S!E! And point D., because talking about erections is *always* funny.

However! I live about five feet away from that particular Starbucks (although I don't think I have anything to do with the "super-fashionista-look-at-me-look-at-me" crowd) and am willing to offer my services: Iíll go in and spill my coffee on that smart-ass for you, with a "This is from Mao!"

Iím all about the violence, especially since few expect it from a five foot tall girl.

Posted by: A.B. on Junio 16, 2003 12:45 PM .

By the way, did you ever come up with a suitable comeback for "If it's not scanning it's free"? A better one than "Is your wife?", anyway?

Posted by: A.B. on Junio 16, 2003 12:53 PM .

You lost me there A.B.

Posted by: king on Junio 16, 2003 08:40 PM .

Meh, never mind. It was never all that funny in the first place.

Posted by: A.B. on Junio 17, 2003 09:38 AM .

I just wrote a huge response that got deleted cause of rogers Hi Speed internet.

I can't redo it now. Maybe later.

Johnny. How did I forget Johnny.

Posted by: king on Junio 17, 2003 12:04 PM .

But the real question is how could anyone forget Younger? I did, until Saturday.

Posted by: A.B. on Junio 17, 2003 12:59 PM .

I would like to have a conversation with you.

Posted by: Younger on Junio 17, 2003 01:45 PM .

So later that day -- the same day I dropped the political bomb on that barrista -- I wandered into a small accesories shop on Queen st. I was looking for a specific type of woman's hand bag. I described it to the sales girl as a bag with a picture of a woman carrying a bag on it.

The girl said, "That's kind of ironic." and I said, "Well....is that really irony? Because..."

"Oh Christ," she moaned "You're a fucking irony nazi."

Posted by: king on Junio 17, 2003 02:28 PM .

This reminds me of Godwin's Law: "As a discussion grows longer, the probability of someone calling someone else a Nazi approaches one." At which point, all meaningful discussion has ended.

It doesn't make you a nazi, nor do I consider it too much to ask, that people USE THE FUCKING LANGUAGE PROPERLY.

She's just pissed because people pointing out the correct meaning of irony remind her of every single time someone's made fun of her for liking Alanis Morrisette. Don't sweat it, King. She's got it coming. Fucking Alanis fans.

Posted by: adHominem on Junio 17, 2003 11:34 PM .

Sometimes it best to just walk away King, some people are just not worth it. I probably would have called her a fat cunt, but thats me.

Posted by: Sassy on Junio 19, 2003 03:40 PM .

I thought up a good retort (days after reading this, of course). Just look up, as if only mildly interested in his observation and say "actually, I'm a free-market communist." If pressed, mumble some of the following buzzwords while backing out: "radical anti-statism... classicist anarcho-libertarianism."

To the woman, point out that her use of "begs the question" is improper. "Begging the question" means circular reasoning.

If all this fails, use the Ninja Smoke Bomb™.

Posted by: D on Junio 19, 2003 09:57 PM .

Definitely a good use for Ninja Smoke Bombģ. Perhaps we'll see it yet? When's Thority gonna finish that anyway. Looks like they're not up to too much over there. Sars maybe?

Posted by: king on Junio 19, 2003 10:59 PM .

Man oh man this must have been running over and over in your head for days afterwards. Tough position to be put in. What is one really to do? Now I am hoping this is the Starbucks located near the bunker in which I reside, as I already have the characters distinctly clear in this noggin o mine. King, I must say a titch disappointed in your lack of anything other than scrambled thoughts as being your meager contribution to the story. Think of how much deeper this could have been had you opened that infected mouth (remember demand the gas, scared of the needle, freezing just not enough etc etc) of yours and hit him with that grande/tall/wet/tazao chay kind of King we know and love? On a side note how could you lose face with your wardrobe you seemingly just put on not long before this encounter? I would KILL to be put in such a situation and would ride that one for all it was worth. If only, it rarely happens to me but when it does boy oh boy how sweet. I understand taking it easy on the lady behind you but buddy behind the counter??? Come now. He is supposed to be saying Good Morning, "How may I service you to get that ever so fabulous day of yours off to a jumpstart?" Mouthy prick, not interested. You have to set that type of shit straight King. Nobody needs a Starbucks monkey whistling that sort of tune. No excuse King, get on the ball, you are so much more than that. Give us something that ends with the slightest impulse of satisfaction, I know it would give me something wary of thinking about while waitning for the eternity that is the Grande Wet Cappucino. Happy Holidays.

Posted by: Monster on Junio 20, 2003 05:06 AM .

i'm onil 16 but i have a deep resentment and hate towards all multicultualism in Australia.
I recently completed an assignment on the Vietnam war and although i worked hard and better then all the other students i knew i would get an unsatisfactory mark because of my conflicting views conveyed in my essay.
1.The teacher that marked the assignments was a socialist.
2.Was a hippie and marched in all the protests during the war.
3.I dislike socialism
4.i condemn hippies and protesting

you can guess my marks can't you.

Posted by: on Junio 20, 2003 06:43 AM .

Interesting predicament. What are your views. Or at least, what did you write in the essay?

Posted by: king on Junio 20, 2003 01:01 PM .
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?