The Donut Heist

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Tim and I strolled into the Multipurpose room and scooched our way through the audience into the back row seats. Tonight a Guest Speaker from the Center of Leadership and Engagement (CLE) was here to talk about….Public Speaking? Leadership? Honestly, I have no clue. The key words highlighted on the event flyer were “Free Food.” Oh, and I needed to do this to win a bet against Tim.

“Yo! What’s with these seats? Why are so far away?” Tim complained loudly.

“This was YOUR idea. You said, ‘we should sit in the back’. Look, the front row is completely empty if you want to move.”

Tim’s face grew red at the suggestion, “Nahh chill man! I’m not sitting where everyone can see me!”

Ugh. What a child.

The small assemble room lights dimmed as Mrs. Presenter Lady began presenting the workshop. Still no sign of free snacks yet. Mrs. Presenter Lady began with a question, “What is leadership? How can students become role models and leaders on this campus?” Mrs. Presenter Lady communicated with a powerful lyrical cadence in her voice. Before I long I found myself invested in the presentation.

“Pssst! Yo!” Tim whispered loudly.

Just ignore him. Pay attention.

Since we were sitting right next to each it was hard to fully ignore him. I could hear Tim fidgeting around in his chair. Finally, I turned to him, “Would you relax? It’s almost over.” From the outside, we must have looked like an old married couple. Mrs. Lady wrapped up her PowerPoint with the lights flicking back on soon afterwards.

“Told you it was almost over.”

He let out a salvo of yawns before finally standing up. “Hey man, wait!” The excitement in his eyes pointed to the discovery of the snack table. As students slowly filtered out of the Multipurpose room we closed in on the snack table. After devouring 6 cookies chocolate chip cookies each Tim notices something incredible.

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“Look! A whole 8 pack of donuts! And they aren’t open!”

“Oh yeah, too bad no one opened it yet”

Just then Tim flashed me a sinister grin, whispering “We should just take them!”

Alarm bells immediately sounded off on my ethical conscience, “What! Are you crazy?! How would we even do that?”

Tim turned his back and reverted to a oddly calm demeanor. “Oh? Sorry, I didn’t realize this you were a coward.”

The blood in my veins thickened with anger. Damnit! This is oldest trick in the book, yet somehow it was working! Ego can lead a person to do stupid things. A stupid decision is guaranteed if that Ego mixes with male testosterone. I turned around to do a quick sweep of the room. Including us, only a few people still lingered around.

My eyes narrowed back at him, “Take the damn donuts! I’ll cover you.”

Without missing a beat Tim quickly began stuffing the rectangular box of donuts into the inner left pocket of his jacket. The donuts box stuck out comically underneath his jacket. I stood to the left of Tim in an attempt to avoid any suspicion. My heart pulsed quickly, with my emotions becoming a cocktail of excitement and anxiety. I feel like I landed in a real-life scene of Ocean’s Eleven.

Okay, steady now. Just stay cooool.

We reached the double doors to exit the room when I made the mistake of turning around one last time. In that instant, I locked eyes with Mrs. Presenter Lady who was beaming a chilly glare in our direction.

It was almost as if she witnessed two dumbass kids awkwardley stealing a box of donuts. – Barry

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Random Encounters – Tijuana Tales

Over Thanksgiving Break I found myself in the Stroud Mall. Strange creatures masquerading as humans love to roam freely in the Stroud Mall. I do my best to avoid them. Always. Who knows what attracts these extraterrestrial fedora-wearing teenage beings into that tiny shopping complex?

Probably Auntie Anne’s pretzels.

Susanna followed me all the way into the Men’s department of Sears. She stood in the aisle waiting as I drowned in a sea of jeans. Slim fit jeans, Boot-cut jeans, stretch fit jeans, Extra-blue jeans, black jeans, ripped-jeans, gene jeans- the variety can be dizzying. Vertigo outright smacked me when I saw the price!

$70!!! For jeans!! They better shave off a few pounds for that price!

Sadly, the tag did not indicate weight loss features for the jeans. Maybe I’m just cheap.

“So what are your plans for after Grad School?” Susanna asked

“Umm? Move to San Diego is my only plan right now,” I replied hastily. “Why are jeans so expensive?”

Susanna ignored my second question completely, “San Diego? That’s cool and you could even visit Mexico too.”

“MEXICO?”

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Cue spontaneous Mariachi  band

Susanna and I looked at exchanged confused looks. The mentioning of Mexico brought in an uninvited participant to the conversation.

“Me and my buddies went to Mexico a few years ago, beautiful country…”

Um who are you?

The stranger in question was a short middle age man in a dirt splattered black sweatshirt and grease stained jeans. His appearance resembled that of a homeless person, not someone who could afford to go to Mexico. Giving him the benefit of the doubt I continued to listen. Susanna did the same.

“Yeah my buddies decided to take me to a cathouse in Tijuana. They said ‘listen here man, we’re going to get you laid’…”

“Oh? That’s umm….” Leaving the sentence, I unfinished I tried to think of a means of escape. A cloud of unease rested around me. I did not expect a story about prostitution while jean shopping. I’m officially uncomfortable.

“… and everything is so much cheaper down there. I bought a Sombrero for $3 USA, hell I could have bought a house! I had $15,000 in cash!”

I threw glances and every nonverbal signal in the book at Susanna to get us out of there. She caught none of them. In fact, she seemed to be enjoying this stranger’s tale. Why does this always happen to me?! With no way out I let him drone on for 10 more minutes.

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Still didn’t get the hint

“And also the Tequila there is no joke! None of that watered down American bullshit! I drank a shit ton of Tequila and blacked out. To this day I refuse to drink Tequila…. And another thing”

Finally, Susanna intervened, “Well I think we need to get going now!” In the parking lot I could help but to be annoyed by the fact that we left the mall with no jeans and oddly personal anecdotes about a strange man’s adventures in a foreign country.

Maybe I should buy jeans from Mexico – Barry

It Could Happen to You

November in Pennsylvania. I could begin this story by conjuring sensations of the penetrating effects of cold. How it cracks the skins seeps straight down into the marrow of your bones. Bundling  Maybe describe the howling winds that banish away warmth on impact. Maybe. I could fill your mind with images frost scarred students strutting around in thick wool beanies, heavy black Timberland boots, and puffy insulated Patagonia coats. I could do all these things, but I won’t.

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Also not going to include a picture

Somehow, I found myself walking outside in the cold. A lapse in memory made me forget why I left my apartment in the first place. I strolled along for a few blocks until the cold forced me to retreat back  towards home. Logic says I went outside to go somewhere, but where? Think. Think. Think. My fingers shivered in my jean pockets. Only another block before I was back inside.

“HEY! BARRY!” a loud voiced echoed from a distance. My neck immediately swung around to answer. Scanning up, down, and all the round. Still don’t see anybody. My frenzied head movments earned me a dirty look from a scrawny old lady leaning on a parking meter. Someone called out my name! I’m not crazy!

Maybe I was just hearing things?

Later that evening I lounged on my sofa ruminating. I wonder who shouted out my name? Maybe they actually said “Harry” not Barry? It’s a simple mistake to make. No I feel like it was directed toward me. No one else was outside on the sidewalk beside that strange old lady. Maybe her name is Barry too? What if that old woman shouted out my name just so she could pretend not hear anything and give me a dirty look!? That scoundrel! Is this step one is kind of convoluted conspiracy? How far up does this thing go?!

Investigating this incident produced more questions than answers. Evidence has dried up and I’m fresh out of leads. The trail has gone cold. I will go my entire life not knowing who shouted out my name.

Let this be a warning: it could happen to you – Barry

How To Be a Good Student: A Complete Walkthrough

Pursing an education takes a lot a work. It can be even more difficult if you feel uncertain about what it takes to be good student. As a recent college graduate and first semester graduate student I can walk you through the intricacies of learning to become an excellent scholar.

The First Assignment – Getting Started

Hooray! You received your first homework of the semester! I glanced over the rubric, the assignment looks straightforward. The due date is a week from now. I have a crazy idea: let’s get it done early!

Sounds awesome!

Great! Now just get out your laptop and we can get started.

*Pulls laptop out of bag. Shakes the cookie crumbs out of the grimy keyboard. Sets laptop down.*

Alrighty, so open up Microsoft Word and we can get this party started.

Okay…… I just need to check the internet for something first. It will only take a sec.

Alright keep it brief.

Yeah yeah, I will. *Opens Google Chrome* Another Star Wars movie? Cool. That reminds me, is Rogue One still on Netflix? Better check just in case I want to watch it again. *Opens Netflix* Looks like it is! Oh look at that! New season of Supernatural!

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What the hell do you think you’re doing?!

Come onnn just one episode. Last season ended on a cliffhanger! I just need to know what happens and then I’ll focus. Promise.

Just one episode you say? Promise?

Yeah just one and done. Promise.

Okay, one episode couldn’t hurt.

TWO DAYS THREE HOURS TWENTY-SEVEN MINUTES AND ONE FULL SEASON OF SUPERNATURAL LATER:

WOW! What a great season! I can’t believe Dean did that!

….. What happened to just one episode!? That was a whole season! 22 episodes!

Look that was my fault. I didn’t think there would be so many cliffhangers. You know I don’t do well with uncertainty.

Ugh. Whatever let’s just close out of Chrome and open Microsoft Word.

*yawn* Would you look at the time? Almost midnight. I can’t do my best work if I’m tired. I will definitely start tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes and goes. Another tomorrow comes and goes. A string of tomorrows come and go.

Night Before Deadline

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Bloodshot eyes strain to stare at the blinding white glow of the computer screen as I type feverishly. Is easeability a word? I feel like it is. Shakespeare invented words, why can’t I? Oh jeez, I should done this sooner! Damn you Netflix!

This is what happens when you don’t listen to me! – Barry

Witness Protection

The second end credits scene rolls and the theater lights turn up to full brightness. My fellow movie goers escape into the hallway buzzing with their reviews of the movie. Meanwhile, I linger in my reclined seat for a moment. Thor: Ragarnok? Not sure how to feel about this.

Hmmmmm.

This is a side effect of writing movie reviews for three years. My mind is not allowed to form a definitive opinion until I’ve mentally sifted through the all merits and flaws of the film. I continue developing my list on my way to the Men’s restroom. That is a side effect of drinking a large blue raspberry ICEE during the movie.

I liked the tone I suppose. Very different from the previous Thor movies…

Someone is already using the urinal to the far right. Naturally I move to an open one on the far left. AMC decided to do without the urinal dividers, so now I need to use extra precautions to hide my man tentacle. Great.

*Whooosh*

Out of my peripheral I see the guy on the far right flush the handle and brush the residue onto his jeans. He heads toward the sink, checks the mirror and exits.

Something feels off . *Whoosh*

I finish up soon after and release the pee water to the sewers. I walk over to the soap dispenser next the sink and nearly empty the entire container into my left palm. Jets of water stream out of the automatic faucet. After methodically scrubbing my hands I reach for a paper towel. That when the flash back hits me. Oh god! I replay again just to be sure. A wave of disgust slams into me like a full body tackle.

HE DIDN’T WASH HIS HANDS! What’s worse is I am the only witness to this gross violation of hygiene! What if he touches someone!? What if he shares a popcorn with someone?! They would know he didn’t wash his hands! He has man tentacle germs on his hands! Ew!

shame

What’s that famous saying again? “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.”

I can never un-see that heinous act. Maybe I should go into witness protection? – Barry

A Not-so-big Revelation

Cluelessly wandering the aisles of Weis supermarket is a cherished pastime of mine. I never leave that store without discovering something new.

Balsamic ketchup? Ooooooo that sounds interesting! Maybe I have a coupon for it. What’s this? Chocolate scented soap? Hmmmm…..

Yes, my hobbies resemble that of a retired elderly woman, but no one asked for your judgement. This is my story. OK?

Ummm take it easy man.

Without any clear direction or purpose, I drifted along some more. I ended up among rows of fresh colorful produce. Walking very slowly, I pretended to seriously consider purchasing something healthy. Oh, wait- that requires money. Nevermind!

My eyes casual glazed over the price stickers until one snagged my interest:

MACINTOSH – $6.99

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HUH? Weis sells computers now? And for that cheap? This deal sounds too good to be true.

Directly beneath the sign lay a bunch of greenish-red apples.

Ohhhh a Macintosh is a type of apple.

Of course, Weis doesn’t sell computers. Yet another question remained:

Why are those laptops called a Macintosh?

Mental gears slowly churned to solve this conundrum. The chance at an epiphany felt imminent. Finally, it happened! The light bulb turned on at full brightness! Everything became crystal clear

“Apple makes a computer named the Macintosh……….because a Macintosh is a type of apple! Wow!”

Clearly, I’m a genius – Barry

Random Encounters – Priorities

Interacting with random Bloomsburg Townees is always an interesting experience. These moments typically occur in a few seconds, but they are definitely worth sharing.


Close your eyes for a moment.

Focus.

If you listen closely you can hear the air currents swooshing with the flow of traffic. A low of active machinery rests in the background. Pistons firing, while engines madly churn with raw horse power. Your heart jumps at the piercing screech of a sudden stop, at the obnoxious honking of a horn, and the whining scream of a modified muffler. Without looking you can picture the black sedans, red SUVs, and gray mini-vans endlessly streaming through the road.

My apartment overlooks a busy four-way intersection. The scene above describes my current reality. Watching traffic drive by can be incredibly mesmerizing. This day I left my window open to let in the autumn breeze. Down below two women attempting to cross.

Jodi: “Should we go now?”

Vanessa: “No, not yet.”

Few seconds pass.

Jodi: “Okay, what about now?” Continue reading

Stolen Pizza

*Squawk* “Your order is almost ready!” *Squawk*

“Yippie! Did you hear that Barry! The pizza is almost ready!”

“Mm”

Cecelia only orders from Domino’s because they have the annoying online pizza trackers with the sounds. Her favorite order tracker is the tropical theme with the squawking parrot. After breaking up, Cecelia and I decided to stay friends. We made a tradition out of ordering a strange combination of toppings and cheeses on a large pizza from Domino’s. Sure, it’s expensive, but that’s where the emergency credit card Cecelia’s parents left her comes in handy. When your hungry everything is an emergency.

“Cece why do you like that parrot so much? He’s pissing me off.”

“I don’t know haha. Don’t judge me!”

Too late. Wayyy too late.

*Squawk* Your pizza is here! *Squawk*

YES finally!

Cece’s cell rang short after. A brief exchange later she hung up and stared at me. Continue reading

Rough edges

“Mom where are you going?”

13-year-old me felt serious separation anxiety when it came to Mom. Seventh grade sucked and we relocated back to Brooklyn so my sister could start school earlier.

“I’ll be right back. Your Aunt Rein will watch you.”

Noooooooooooooo!

“MOM! NO! Why Aunt Rein?” I whined loudly in protest.

Mom turned in her office chair to look at me before defensively asking, “What’s wrong with Aunt Rein?”

More like what isn’t wrong with her! She’s mean, she makes fun of me, she yells a lot, she has an attitude, and she scares me.

“I don’t like her! She’s mean!”

Mom paused a moment to think. I knew she agreed with me. I saw it in her conflicted facial movements.

“Patrick don’t be like that. She’s just……. rough around the edges.”

WHAT!

This sugar-coated euphemism throw me into a bigger temper tantrum.

“MOOOOOM! No! Rough around the edges?! She’s rough around the whole perimeter!!!”

Basic geometry at work – Barry

Hot chocolate

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A low chitter-chatter of socialization hummed throughout the hallways. The outside windows of the second-floor social lounge showed me a handful of people gathering in excitement. Pretty unusual for a Monday night.

I wonder what’s going on there? Doesn’t matter. Need to do homework.

Curiosity superseded responsibility, so I cautiously entered the social lounge. Packets of facial cleansers, moisturizers, and cucumbers neatly dotted every round table. An orange sampler box of herbal tea filled the window sill.

Karen greeted me immediately, “Hey! Glad you could make it!”

“Hi! What’s going on here?”

“It’s a spa night!”

Oh jeez. I’m in the wrong place.

Karen continued, “Do you want to try a face mask?” Continue reading

Mr. Nice Guy

Irony.

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Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash

Not goldie.

Not platinum-y.

Not stainless steely.

Not Iron Man.

Irony.

I find it ironic that the people say, “I’m a nice person” are usually not. Oh, not at all. Genuinely nice people never feel the need to self-identify. There’s no official membership card that says, “licensed and certified to practice niceness”.

Story Time

A few days ago, I mentioned possibly selling my desktop and monitor for money. I changed my mind last minute and decided to give the computer to my brother. My brother arrives in the late afternoon to pick up the monitor. Sudden he recalls something urgent and yells, “I gotta buy something! I’ll be right back!”

Okay. Weirdo.

Fifteen minutes stroll by and my brother reappears in my living room. He stands there awkwardly staring at me in silence. At this point I feel something is up.

What do you do?

He must of heard my thought because he suddenly blurted, “I bought a computer monitor.”

*Insert momentary silence*

You did what?!

“Why the f-, WHY? Why would you buy a computer another monitor?!”

His face twirled with guilt, “You said you were going to sell it!”

I shut my eyes to avoid fully erupting.

Shit, I did say that. But that still doesn’t make any fucking sense! Why would I give you a desktop and no monitor!

I mentally repositioned myself after inhaling a deep breath, “Listen, you could have just asked me if I was going to sell the monitor. That was a really stupid of you to just run out and buy one.”

I didn’t want to make my brother feel too bad about his stupid decision so I offered a solution, “Look we can see if we can return this stupid thing tomorrow.”

Tomorrow

I google Arcus Bros phone number and wait for an answer.

Arcus Bro: Hello?

Me: Hi, I just had a quick question.

Arcus Bro: Go ahead.

Me: What is your return policy?

Arcus Bro: What’s the problem?

Me: No problem, my brother bought a monitor and didn’t realize we already have on-

Arcus Bro: Listen NO REFUNDS, I’m a pretty nice guy but business is business! *click*

Me: Wait I had another ques, that bastard hung up on me!

Oh yeah totally a nice guy – Barry

Random Encounters – Tricks are for Kids?

Interacting with random Bloomsburg Townees is always an interesting experience. These moments typically occur in a few seconds, but they are definitely worth sharing.


Every year in September the Bloomsburg Fair rolls into town.

Image of the Bloomsburg Fair

Fun times

My mom, brother, two sisters and I stopped by to bask in the fair festivities. The allure of assorted fried foods could by smelt just outside the entrance gates to the fair. My sisters hopped and bounced excitedly as my mom paid for our tickets. The Bloomsburg Fair experience was new for everyone except me. Wiggling thorough the swarms of people gathered at the fairgrounds always raises my anxiety level to ten.

Our group participated in all the fair traditions: Curiously observing the showcase farm animals, riding the many amusement attractions, and reducing our life expectancies with dangerously delicious fried food. If you make it to the fair Bessinger’s Apple Dumplings with Ice Cream is a MUST. After overindulging and overspending I decided to head home.

Well that was fun!

I took Leonard street to walk back to my apartment. I walked two blocks before stumbling upon a trio of young boys were pushing a rack of Bloomsburg t-shirts. The oldest of them looked close to 11.

Look at that! A couple of young business men haha.

Still progressing slowly in their direction, I overheard their business strategy:

Kid 1: “How are we going to sell these shirts?”

Kid 2: “Say we’re raising money for breast cancer.”

Kid 3: “Don’t be stupid. That’ll never work! Say we’re raising money for Nana’s breast cancer.”

Kid 1 and Kid 2: “That’s a great idea!”

Oh. My. God! Did I just?…. Those kids!……. What!

Those little hustlers! I didn’t know whether to be appalled or impressed.

Damn kids! – Barry

How to Lose Friends and Interrupt People: Chapter 3

In the last two chapters in this guide I share fundamental strategies for losing friends. To get the best results apply these principles in everyday life. If uncertain takes a grip of you take a moment and ask the following question, “What would Barry do?” This simple question will help you to become more anti-social with repeated practice.

This section pivots into techniques for infuriating people. A seasoned anti-socialite knows that the best way to lose friends is not to make any. This philosophy is apparent in the following principle: Continue reading

A Barry Fly Scene

After fighting with procrastination, I finally arrive to a decision. I will start writing now. My computer is fired up and a blank page of Microsoft Word is open. Nothing can stop me now.

So, what do we want to write about today? Hmmm…

While brainstorming ideas my eye catches a teeny little fly dancing in the air around me. The impulse to get up and kill the critter is suppressed immediately.

Just ignore him, we still don’t have an idea for today. Continue reading

Questions for the First Secret Society Meeting

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As many of you know, I recently became the newest member of a secret society (The Initiation). A few weeks of gone by since I’ve heard anything for them. My paperwork must be in the processing stages. Before becoming a full fledged secret organization member I have some questions for the first meeting:

  • Is there a new member orientation?
  • Do we get training manuals?
  • Are there membership fees?
  • Do we get cool uniforms or just robes?
  • Also, where can I buy a robe?
  • If no robes, can we get matching t-shirts? We could secretly match.
  • How secret is this secret organization? Can I put it on my resume? Can I induct friends? Do I get bonus points for recruiting more people? Wait, why are we secret?
  • Why do tiny sandwiches have toothpicks in them? Can we get rid of the toothpicks? Do people still use toothpicks? Toothpicks are kinda nasty and accidentally prick myself all the time.
  • Okay, last question: Do we get cool nicknames? Can I be “Spicy blue” or something like that?

I’m not picky, but “Spicy blue” is a pretty cool nickname. – Barry