Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cow Mama and her three girls!

What is more important than to laugh and be delightful as the earth is rolling up the curtain and welcoming the year of 2012. May Cotton Boy wish everyone to reach the realm of Cotton World in which we are allowed to dream, to float and to be free!

Last October, I wrote a humorous story about a Cow Mama and her three little girls. If you have read it, please laugh again. If this is your first time to experience Cotton Boy’s humor, please be nice and laugh. If you are numb and think you have many better ones, why don’t you send me one and I will disseminate it to my fans.

Here is the story …  

One sunny morning, a Cow Mama and her three baby cows were out grazing in the green pasture. The first baby cow asked Cow Mama, "Mama, why is my name “Daisy”?"

Cow Mama replied, "Well sweetie, when you were born, a daisy fell on your head."

The first baby cow was satisfied, bounced back and continued relishing the grass.

A moment later, the second baby cow came up to Cow Mama and questioned "Mama, why is my name "Pansy"?

Cow Mama happily chimed "Well, honey, when you were born; you were surrounded by many colorful pansies."

The baby cow reveled and was very invigorated, “Thank you, Cow Mama”. She continued gazing.

Then, there came the third baby cow. She was confused and inquired Cow Mama, “Mama, why didn’t you name me as some sorts of flowers? Why do I have the name, “Shitty”?”

Cow Mama gulped down an enormous air and said, “Sweet heart, I thought I was going to the bathroom, but you came out!”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What the heck is "Bake a Cake"? (Part II)

The story continues …

Cotton Boy: Willie, you didn’t bake a cake, did you? I mean a real cake! This jargon or idiom must mean something else.

Willie: (weeping…) God kill me please! I was so confused and so eager to be employed. Working for the financial industry is definitely a dream job for me. Now, everything has been ruined; everything was destroyed because of my stupidity.

Cotton Boy: Willie, we, Chinese, in general, don’t know how to bake cakes or cookies. We don’t grow up with this tradition. Who taught you? And what sort of cake did you make by the way?

Willie: I called friends to help, watched Youtube videos and searched for on-line recipes of how to make a blackforest cake with cherry icing on top. I spent hours to learn, to mix all the ingredients and to bake it. Though the bottom of the cake was burnt a bit, it is still delicious. Cotton Boy, I am eating the cake now.

Cotton Boy: Are you alright? Didn’t they take your cake? What is going on? What is the true meaning behind of “Bake a Cake”? Tell me the entire story, please stop eating your cake while talking to me and quit whimpering! Be a MAN!

Willie: Yes! Yes! Yes! In financial world, “Bake a Cake” means as follows:

“This term is mostly used on public companies which have a particular stock index in the market. Before any companies release a quarter or an annual financial report to the public whether it is a surplus or deficit, the companies will try to minimize any sudden fluctuation affecting the price of a stock. They will be seeping the news to the market bit by bit. This act is called “Bake a Cake”. For example, if a company's earnings are large for a particular quarter, the company or its financial consulting firm may leak the information so that investors bake it into the cake, reducing the pressure for an unsustainable jump in price when the earnings are actually announced. This allows the markets to gradually adjust before the announcement. It is more formally called discounting the news.”

Willie: The secretary, the manager and the VP were speechless when they saw the cake. I even carried a plastic knife and some paper plates to serve them. The VP said he was impressed and claimed that I was very nice and authentic. They laughed; I laughed. All became mocking. The VP hurriedly wrapped up the interview and walked me out to the meeting room with a statement, “We will contact you after the decision is made.” I was holding the half uncut cake disappointedly, entered the elevator and punched the “G” button. Fortunately enough, there was not an open window. If I had found one at that moment, I would have surely jumped out of it to kill myself.”

Cotton Boy: What the heck? I am so sorry to hear that, Willie. It is their loss not to hire you. Forget everything and be prepared for the next one. At least, you know how to bake a cake now.

Willie: COTTON BOY!!! (yelling, screaming and shouting … blah, blah, blah)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What the heck is “Bake a Cake”? (Part I)

My mobile phone rang at 3:30 p.m. as the snow began falling. A few of snowflakes were descending at first; then millions followed. From the size of sesame, snowflakes gradually enlarged their cubic feet to become multi-petal white roses hailing down to the ground. An instant later, naked trees, the sleeping lawn and the steeples of chimneys were shrouded by a thin layer of white scarf.

I picked up the phone; the caller ID displayed, “Willie” who has been a friend of mine, Cotton Boy, for more than two decades and coincidentally he has migrated and rooted in the soil of America in the era of Bill Clinton. Since the financial tsunami paralyzed the U.S. economy in 2008, Willie’s working hours had been slashed. He became a part-time worker and lived under the umbrella of unemployment benefits. He searches for jobs, and has been sending out hundreds of resumes to various companies. He was invited to attend some interviews, but the outcomes were mostly the same, “We are still in the process of interviewing candidates. We will contact you once the decision is made,” he was told. Willie is a smart, organized and diligent man; he never expected he would be spun and spiraled downward in the employment world. He patiently waited and waited, they never called back. Instead, emails stating his background of knowledge was extensive and impressive, but someone with better qualification had filled the position. One after the other came of these similar responses from prospective employers, Willie was upset, then pent-up with anger and resentment. I consoled him, “Just keep trying and be resilient. Tomorrow will be better!” He sounded grumpier each time on the phone.

The mobile phone continued ringing and vibrating. I hesitated to answer it as I was planning to have my late lunch and I know Willie too well that he wouldn’t call me during the day time unless very shitty things happened. A song, “That’s What Friends Are For,” by Dionne Warwick emerged. I blatantly chimed, “Cotton Boy is here always for friends no matter if it is a good time or bad time. That’s what friends are for.”

The following are the dialogues between Cotton Boy and Willie on December 27, 2011:

Cotton Boy: Hey Shot Gun Willie, what’s up? (That’s the nickname I address him since middle-school)
Willie: Cotton Boy, they tricked me. It is the third interview that I had with this financial consulting company within this month. I thought I would be hired. I was so close but the interviewer gave me a same reply, “Will contact you once the decision is made.” I am exhausted!
Cotton Boy: What had happened? Perhaps, they will call you shortly. Don’t be disappointed too soon! Think positively.
Willie: I totally screwed up. A few days ago, a secretary notified me the VP of the firm would like to schedule another interview with me right after Christmas. At the end of the phone call, she said I should prepare and “Bake a Cake”. I was exhilarated and overjoyed to receive this invitation and didn’t pay much attention to the true meaning of this idiom, “Bake a Cake”.
Cotton Boy: What is it? Bake a Cake? Not a “Piece of Cake”? What does it mean? Oh…..No! No! No! Willie, you didn’t bake a cake and bring it to the interviewer. Did you?”

***Did Willie bake a real cake and present it during the interview? What is the true meaning of “Bake a Cake” behind? How did the interview end up? Come back to by December 30th to reveal the rest of the story.***

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I can't wait the year of 2012 to begin!

Cotton Boy is getting lazy and is slacking in his snowflake dream. Before the beginning of 2012 is knocking at our doors, I would love to take this wonderful holiday times to deliver my warmest regards to my dearest Cotton Boy's fans, "Happy New Year!"

**A new story of Cotton Boy will be released by the end of Dec. 28, 2011. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

“I care and Santa cares, Cinderella!”

Cotton Boy doesn’t live amid the clouds nor in a castle; Cotton Boy lives in one of the buildings clustering on the edge of Lake Erie, Ohio. Half of my apartment directly faces toward the sapphire lake. I usually love standing by the windows, sliding them open, laying my hands on the sills and leaning forward to catch the fresh crisp breeze in the morning to revitalize and reenergize every moving cell in my body. I, instantly, feel like I was buoying and floating in the air and awaiting my Merry-Go-Round castle to transfer me to a gigantic piece of cotton cloud. Angels hymn in the mid-air; humming birds hover in the sky, sun rays shine and glitter everything. I do nothing but am solely eating giant cherry cotton candies and polishing my crown. This is my favorable daydream of my last summer and autumn since I settled here in the U.S.

When the winter arrives, “Oh, no! Everything is becoming naked. Plants and caterpillars perish. Rodents are hibernating; sparrows submerge close to the bottom of the scrubs and cloak themselves underneath the fallen leaves. All the interactions of our universe seem to be gradually frozen,” I aspirated.

I intentionally pushed through the window, but heard the wind was howling outside. “It is a blustery cold day. I should find something else to do at home besides daydreaming,” I murmured. I pelted a quick glance to the laundry basket by the door. It was forming a little mountain; clothes were spewing out of the basket and carpeting the floor. I collected and pinched them back to the basket. I whistled “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle All The Way …”; I gripped the handles, lifted it up and waddled down to the laundry room which was at the ground floor of the building.

“Hey, Cinderella! How are you? Merry Christmas!” She glanced at me and muttered, “Fine … No one care! No one care!” “Are you alright, Cinderella? Tell me who is being mean to you? I will kick their butts for you!”

Cinderella is employed as a cleaner of the property. She told me her name one time, yet I did not catch it exactly. I only remember the first letter of her name is, “C”. Since then, I called her “Cinderella. She never opposes how I address her; perhaps she likes this fairy tale name. Cinderella is Romanian and is in her mid 50’s, short and plump, but she moves agilely and works diligently. She informed me that she doesn’t have any relatives here. She got married with an American 20 years ago; then divorced and now she is by herself. I questioned if she ever wanted to move back and be close to her family. She screeched and shouted out words heavily accented from the region of Eastern Europe in hopes of explaining me in details. I was attentive, but honestly, I didn’t understand. Her face turned red and became impatient. She kept blowing words out of which I couldn’t recognize. I hurriedly said, “Slow down. You can tell me next time.” After that, I never ask her again. That’s what we call, “language barrier”. I admire her and find she is so brave to live alone in a foreign land with limited language skill. She is fighting against all the uncertainties to accomplish her American dream(s).

Back to the “Scene”:

“See, see, see! Very dirty. I clean every~day and every~day dirty,” she protested and showed me the rag a few inches away from my nose of which she just finished wiping the top of all the washing machines. I fell back a bit and I proclaimed, “It is not me! I am a good tenant.” She mocked and said, “Whatever! No one care! No one care!”

I spoke with a heroic voice, “I care and Santa cares, Cinderella. Merry Christmas!”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

“Where am I? India or Philippines?”

The sound “Dou, Dou, Dou” from the price scanner; the greeting “Hey, Hi and Ho” from the customers and the “Ring, Rang and Rung” sounds from the telephone drive me nuts! The noise, the scuffle and the skirmishes of price annoy me while I am performing my job as a cashier at the drugstore. Scanning the merchandises is fine; making sure I collect and discharge the correct amount of money are understandable; welcoming and assisting customers are bearable; however, I just can’t answer phones and conduct all the aforementioned tasks at the same precise moment. I cry; I collapse and I have no shame to speak to the receiver, “I surrender! Cotton Boy is defeated. Please let me go. Be kind and merciful, Merry Christmas!” I clicked; I clunked and I hung up the call.

The below is part of the extract that I remember during the phone conversation.

Scene: It happened on a dark cloudy early evening yesterday. I was a cashier at the drugstore and was assisting customers to check out their products. There were three customers waiting in line; the paper in the cash register machine was jammed. While I was opening it to re-feed the paper, the phone rang. I was told to answer it within the first three rings. I picked it up and said professionally:

Cotton Boy: Thank you for calling XXX drugstore. This is Cotton Boy. How can I help you?
Caller: Yeah. Whatz up, bro? Do you still hafs the 12-inch Minkie Mouse doll on sale?
Cotton Boy: Excuse me? Did you say Mickey Mouse?
Caller: Nope, I said, “Minnie Mouse”.
Cotton Boy: Do you mind if I put you on-hold? Someone will assist your call, Sir.
Caller: Wait, wait, wait … Where am I now?
Cotton Boy: I am sorry, what you do mean?
Caller: I’m saying you are in India or Philippines? Jesus Christ, this country even outsourcing this job to overseas. No wonder we don’t have no job here.
Cotton Boy: Sir, I am in Ohio, USA. Your call didn’t route to India or the Philippines.
Caller: You have accent!
Cotton Boy: Sir, I have “AN” accent. It doesn’t mean I am not in the U.S. Could you please hold?”

I, then, immediately page someone to help him find “Minnie Mouse”. I frowned and was distraught. It is stressful and even dreadful to answer calls similar to this every day. I need some oxygen, “Let me breathe!”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cotton Christmas "Ho-Ho-Ho"

To all Cotton Boy's Fans,

Cotton Boy is Chinese and was raised in a traditional Chinese family which doesn't celebrate Christmas at all. Christmas is only a day of no work, no school and lots of food to eat. My friends call me Cotton Grinch as I don't know anything about Jesus and the Christianity. I said, "Whatever!" They sang the Grinch song on and on ...

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch. "

I protested and decided to make a Christmas card for everyone who celebrates Christmas becasue of fun, food and a day of no work, not because of Jesus or any religons upholdinging the Christmas spirit.  

I declare, hereby, that anyone who has no religious background deserves a Merrrrrrrrrrrry Christmas, too!

Have a Cotton Christmas!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Ninja and The Fleas!

She pulled up both of her fleece sweater sleeves, twisting her arms 180° degree several times. I was astonished with an “O”-shaped mouth once I saw hundreds of red needle marks  scattered all over her finger tips up to the bottom of her chin. I stammered, “Wow!” She sputtered, “Told you! I am going to kill all these bastards! Not a single one will live after tonight. They have to be annihilated or at least be expelled from my house. No more haunting and annoyance!” Her left arm was scratching her right arm and her right arm was holding an ATM card, swiping through the machine ruthlessly. The transaction   completed. She had paid another $15.80 for two cans of insecticide spray.  As soon as the cash register spat out the receipt, she nabbed it, sprinted out and disappeared in the dark momentarily like a Japanese Ninja jumping up the roofs to slaughter all her enemies. I, then, scrutinized the cashier counter to inspect carefully if she shrugged off some of her foes, fleas, without my realization.

This story began at 1 p.m. Friday, December 16, 2011. A ruffled hair lady, wearing a pink fleece blouse, used her elbows to pinch two cans of insecticide spray and laid them on the counter. I said, “How’s going?” She flatted her lips and reluctantly replied, “Alright!” I scanned the items; the total came up to $15.80. She grabbed the plastic bag with one hand, stringed her falling pants upward with another hand and armed out the door in a quick instant that she didn’t even give me a chance to say, “Have a good day!” She disappeared in the mist.

I pondered, “The Raid (insecticide) is not on sale. What is the heck of reason for someone to purchase two cans at the same time? There must be many cockroaches or ants crawling in which she lives.” I hate cockroaches and they love coming out at night to scavenge for food in the kitchen area. I remember when I was very little, around 8-10 years old. I would tiptoe at midnight toward the kitchen with my older sister. She hissed and signaled me, “Are you ready, Cotton Boy?” I nodded and sprang open my 10 stout fingers. She switched on the light. We ran into the kitchen and declared a genocide to the cockroaches by using our thumbs or palms crushing and tweaking their bodies. A minute was the time limit for each stampede, we competed and counted. Approximately, 20-30 smashed dead bodies would be left behind. My sister always excelled me; she probably had bigger fingers at that time.  

At 4 p.m., this unkempt lady returned and appeared in front of me. She looked very impatient and rushed me to help her check out another can of insecticide spray. I did it promptly; she snatched the receipt with one hand. Meanwhile, she was scraping her neck harshly, leaving lengthy red marks and vanished again. I was stunned and flummoxed.

Another 4 hours had gone right before I was closing my cash register. The Lady Ninja whom I addressed emerged once again. She looked desperate, but infuriated. She placed another two cans of Raid. This time I could not shut off my curiosity. I courageously inquired, “You just bought three cans of Raid. Now, you are buying another two. They are expensive! What is going on?” “Son, I know. There are too many fleas in my house. The premise was bigger than I thought. Tonight, I am having a dead or alive battle with the fleas.” She swept away some hair from her mouth and lifted up her sleeves. The bug bite marks were numerous. I was horrified. She looked like the demon in the 1987 renowned movie, Hellraiser.

Once she left, I senselessly scratched my neck as well. “Fleas! Shouldn’t they only exist in the Third World countries? Many Americans are living in substandard living condition now due to this bad economy time. I am blessed I have a cozy warm bed with no fleas waiting me at home.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Interview Time: Talk and dress like a Peacock

Cotton Boy’s piggy bank is on diet. The gold coins are dribbling out from the slot with no control. Bills, including the health and auto insurance, mobile phone, cable TV, car payment, student loan, credit card are continuously flooding into my household. I squinted my eyes tightly, wiggled my nose and trembled my shoulders, emulating myself as if I were “Harry Potter” who was making a spell to eradicate all troublesome, worrisome and unpleasant feelings. When I re-opened my eyes, “Damn, all the bills are still there. I can’t ignore making payments. The consequence is fatal to my life. My credit score will be ruined. Purchasing a castle will be a fractious dream to reach as no one will lend me money for a mortgage loan.”  I need to find ways to gasp for air before I am suffocated and am about to be flushed by the deluge. Someone has to construct a floodgate to stop the water coming in. “Who is my superhero?” I questioned with two hands cupping my face while I was sitting on the toilet.  I look around and the only reflection from the mirror is me. I am distraught first, but a minute later, I realize I am the true rescuer.   

Yesterday was a big day for Cotton Boy. I got an interview for a full time job in an auto rental company. Throughout the last three months, I have filled out over 60 applications electronically and have gone to at least 5 employment agencies. I solely received 4 replies. Fortunately, three out of four offered me the work, but they are part-time work. I seriously need a full-time job which guarantees a 40-working hour per week, paid vacation, health, dental and vision insurance and a reliable pension fund. This auto rental company is a perfect match to cover all my bubbly dreams.

A day before the interview, I toiled the whole day digging out all the relevant information of the company, studying and rehearsing all the common questions that an interviewer will inquire, such as, “Tell me about yourself! What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why do we hire you?” At the end of the process, interviewers usually ask, “Do you have any questions?” Hahaha, Cotton boy had done all the preparations and was ready to pierce through the bloody battlefield.

The final morning had arrived. I took out the nicest suit, wore a sparkle sleeky white shirt, slipped into the shining leather shoes and put on an immaculate blue and red strip tie. (Hey, red and blue are the colors of USA’s spirit. I, as a new immigrant, should be given some credit to be a copycat.) I arrived the premises, switched off the car keys, inhaled and exhaled an enormous amount of air and loudly commented, “I am now dressing like a peacock, will speak like a peacock and have to act like a peacock. This is my moment to deliver a deep-rooted colossal impression to the questioner(s). No mistakes are allowed to be committed. I need to get out of working at the drugstore (where I am working now). Please, Jesus, give me the power!”

I was placed in the conference room. 10 minutes passed, the manager welcomed me; I greeted him back. I was set he would ask me this popular question, “Tell me about your background!” Instead, he said I looked very nice and asked me a series of questions, “What nationality are you? What brought you to Cleveland? Have you experienced how brutal the winter here yet?” Then, he continued, “Let’s do some role plays!” He pointed at several objects in the room and demanded me to sell them to him. “It is as easy as flipping my hand,” I grinned. I love to sell and I am an excellent salesperson. I swung as if I were a peacock launching my beautiful feather to stick up in the air.

He praised me, “Very good! Do you have any questions for me? I replied, “Certainly, what do you think is the best part of working here?” He contemplated deeply for a while, stuttered a few disorientated words and was agape. I wrapped the questioned up nicely by asking him another query.

45 minutes later, the whole process was done. I jumped back to my car, and looked up the sky, “I wonder if this place is really the job to fulfill my bubbly dreams as he couldn't even point out what are good here!”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Be Strong, Crack-Baby! (Part II)

“A “Crack-Baby” refers to a baby of a woman who uses cocaine during her pregnancy. Her fetus is exposed to the drug. Cocaine slows fetal growth. When the babies are born, they tend to be smaller with smaller heads,” he explained literately. I glimpsed at him from head to toe. He does have a tiny head; my head is one and half of his size. Since the term, “Crack-Baby”, was so interesting and invigorating, I went home and conducted some research the same night after work. You may be wondering if “Crack-Babies” have any defects in cognitive, developmental and language problems.  Studies claim as these “Crack-Babies” grow, their brain and body size, indeed, catch up like others. The effects of cocaine on a fetus are thought to be similar to the usage of tobacco and less severe than those of alcohol. In a nutshell, there is not much difference except, “Crack Babies” generally have a smaller head.

I started thinking, "huh, I have a bigger head, but it may actually contain a smaller brain." This explains well why I am anchoring my life at the drugstore with all these education that I have invested. I can’t even compete against a high school graduated “Crack-Baby. “I am doomed”, I moaned. My heart sank and wept not because Jacob has a meager life; I sobbed silently because I am striding on the same career path along with Jacob.

I looked at my iPhone. There was a 10-minute left for my lunch. I gobbled up the sandwiches and finished my Mountain Dew. I wiped the crumbs on the table and readily made a visit to the bathroom before returning to work. I signaled him that he may finish his story one day, but he couldn’t terminate the conversation. He continued standing in front of me with his two hands griping on the table. “I was born prematurely. My mother left me. I was placed in a foster home. My grandparents claimed me back. I lived with them until I graduated high school. My Dad showed up a few times throughout a year at my grandparents’ apartment, but no one knows what he was doing, where he lived and how he sustained his life. Until two years ago, Dad asked me to move in with him. Everything starts crumpling down.”

I had no idea why he was making this confession to me; as a matter of fact, I had heard enough, but it was rude to abandon him alone in the pantry. I wish someone would come in to dissolve his tense and my awkwardness.

“My girlfriend is living with us for a year. She wants to get married and have babies,” he chuckled softly. “Jacob, did you say, “BABY” or “BABIES”? Are you planning to have more than two? You are still young. The world is waiting for you. What is the rush? You need to plan!” solemnly I responded.

“Oh, Cotton Boy, in China, I heard you guys are only allowed to have one baby. Here in America, we can have as many babies as we want,” he tried to convince me. “Jacob, it is not what I was implying about One Child policy. It is all about a “PLAN”. My lunch time is up; I should go,” I retorted.

I understand I have no right to criticize anyone; as a result, I had better leave the discussion. He has dreams and Cotton Boy has dreams too, but our dreams are not on a same orbit.

***According to the latest figure from an article, Report: Child homelessness up 33% in 3 years written by Marisol Bello and posted on USA Today on December 13, 2011, one in 45 children in the USA — 1.6 million children — were living on the street.***

Monday, December 12, 2011

Be Strong, Crack-Baby! (Part I)

A flaring dragon with a pair of oversized wings, flapping in the mid-air ferociously, created deadly turbulences. Tree leaves, squirrels and hummingbirds were swirled into an eddy of dust. The dragon roared and discharged fire against my castle. I screamed “Stop” and hurled myriads of thumb-sized pebbles at his ridiculous undersized tail. He flung me a scornful look but continued the evil act. My castle burnt in flames and turned into ashes. I was aroused in my dream with fear; I sat upright on the edge of the bed with a hand rubbing the cold sweat off my face. My mouth was so dried. I paced to the kitchen and gurgled half bottle of distilled water and sighed, “Life in America is tough. I can’t even dream peacefully to wait for a mighty God to pull me out of the quicksand. Tomorrow is another crazy day in the drugstore.

Jacob is one of my co-workers, who is almost 20 years old a month from now; in fact, he and I share the same month of birthday. He is a very energetic, enthusiastic and devoted worker. His smiles shine and make everyone smile back to him even though he has countless acne on his up-side down triangular face. His body is much smaller than his own specie, Caucasian; he is even tinier than many Asians. His both lengthy skinny arms are awkwardly dangling in the air as if he was released after being crucified on the cross. I don’t often ask personal questions unless someone wants to share. Today afternoon during my lunch break, Jacob has revealed some of the myths about him.

Everyone is entitled to have a 30-minute lunch as long as you complete a 6 hours of work. I was at the pantry eating my turkey and cheddar cheese sandwiches with one hand playing “Angry Bird” on my iPhone 4. Jacob walked in and said, “Hi, Cotton Boy. What are you playing? I wish I had an Android or iPhone. My piece of crap is worse than a Nokia.” I gave him a quick glance and replied, “You will soon! Are you going to school now?” “I wish I could. I have to work. I am in debt around $20,000. I can’t even earn enough to clear the monthly minimum payment.” My mouth stopped chomping. I asked, “What the heck? You are only 19. How did you get yourself into this mess?” I surprisingly questioned. “My dad is a crack-head. He stole my credit cards and spent on drugs. I can’t report him to the police and put him in jail. He is still my Dad. In fact, he is living with me and my girlfriend now. He is unable to work. He stays home all day and is a bum,” he remarked. “Wow, really! He is living under your roof. You didn’t kick him out after he sabotaged your life” I re-started munching my sandwiches and gave him 100% attention. “My mom was a crack-head too. She left me after I was delivered. I was born a “Crack-Baby”? Do you know what a “Crack-Baby” is?” I shook my head as my lips quivered, “No, can you elaborate more?”

***Crack-Baby (Part II) will be posted by 6:00 p.m. tomorrow (Eastern Time). Stay tuned and come back to explore the world of Jacob***

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Are you serious?

Cotton Boy may be sort of delirious and is a person who has too many bubbles of dreams floating in the air. I am working diligently and juggling them as fast as I can to assure they won’t crush and shatter on the ground. I have dreams; I am deliriously funny but I am logical, sensible and practical as well. I certainly understand what I should be conducting in life though the outcomes, perhaps, are occasionally different than I expect to receive. “That’s life! We can’t all be a winner, huh?” I roar at myself often to boost up my falling determination. I dare to say I am a sane living creature; I am a damn good civilian because I don’t trick people!

The following story once again happened at the drugstore in which I work. Each day before I step in the entrance of this “San Diego Zoo”, I know something weird and odd is about to occur. Yesterday, a highly delusional lady dressed in pitch black with a gigantic Christmas catchy red flower up above her left ear stalked at the store aimlessly. She asked many, I was one of the inquisitors, “Where is the mirror?” She blurted. I said, “Mam, you are standing in front of the mirror. It is the biggest we have at the store.” She twirled, tittered and winked at the mirror.” A moment later, she raised her voice again, “Where is the mirror?” I decided to grab my restocking stuff and hustled out of the aisle because her behavior was way too difficult for Cotton Boy to fathom.

Later, I was at the Christmas aisle of the store to replenish and tidy up the mess on the shelves. Christmas is a joyful season; I was immersed in the spirit while listening to all the Christmas Carols.  While I was humming “Let it snow; let it snow; let it snow,” I heard a young lady next to me with a basket on her elbow, first weeping, then sobbing, later bawling on her mobile phone. I thought this embarrassing moment wouldn’t last long and I pretended I was attentive only to stock the shelves. She burst out and slouched on the floor as if her life was destroyed by a brutal tornado. I mumbled, “Time to go before getting into trouble,” I wrapped up and pushed my stocking cart away.

An hour later, I was assigned as a cashier to release someone to have lunch. A dark curly hair dude, with a big pair of light brown eyes, in his 30’s, medium size and clean cut emerged and requested the following:

“I need two packs of Marlboro Lights; one regular Camel Lights and two Winston's Lights,” blatantly said by him. “This comes to the total of $31.54,” I stated. He swiped his credit card. I was courteous and claimed, “Sorry Sir, the transaction didn’t go through!” (If you have some extra time, go back and read one of my posts, “I got money; you guys are wrong.” It is a slightly similar story to the one I am telling now.)

He excluded the 2-pack of Winston’s and indicated me to adjust the total. I replied, “It is now $20.30.” He swiped it and the screen displayed the word, “Declined” again. He looked jittery, but his hope was still high. He reduced to One Camel Lights and uttered, “Can you take the two Marlboros off?” “Sir, you total is now $6.14,” I firmly confirmed.

The order, the cancels, the voids and the adjustments consumed more than 2 minutes; the waiting line was thronged with customers. I began getting impatient. He swiped once more time. Guess what? It was declined! Before I tended to ask if he could pay by cash, he was dismayed and walked away with a qiuck response, "Oooops, Sorry".

“What a fuss and waste of my time! This guy craves for cigarette badly. He is totally addicted by nicotine. It is a shame to have credit card that cardholders don’t even have a $6.00 credit but still use it to search for luck!”

By the way, do you know which State in America has the most smokers and which State has the least?

According to the latest Smoking Prevalence in the U.S, Kentucky is ranked first, 28.6% of the population are the smokers. Utah is ranked last with 9.8%. The State of Ohio where I am residing is ranked 12th out of the 50 States with 22.5%. (Figures are extracted from

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Where is my 12-can pack of Pepsi?

Standing at the kitchen this Thursday morning, looking around to see if there was any bread and milk left in the refrigerator, I was disappointed with the rummage of food because it was negative. My body was dragging my soul and demanded that I needed some sugar or caffeine substances so as to infiltrate my bloodstream and lift up my spirit. I opened the refrigerator door again and searched for a can of Pepsi. “What? They are all gone?” I groaned. A home without Pepsi rarely happens in any ordinary American family. I live in America now; I should have restocked plenty of Pepsi whether it is regular, diet, caffeinated or non-caffeinated. If any guests stop by and discover that I can’t even serve a glass of Pepsi full of ice, I will be mocked that I fail to meet the minimum requirement to become an American.

I, immediately, took a quick shower and put on some facial lotion before my face began to crack by the dry frigid air. The supermarket which I usually visit is called “Giant Eagle”. Every year during this time of holiday seasons, someone from Salvation Army is always lingering outside at the entrances of many big stores, swinging a Christmas bell to signal shoppers that it is time for sharing. I fumbled in my pocket and wallet to see if I have any coins or small bills. “Darn, Cotton Boy, when was the last time you used cash? Mostly everyone pays by credit cards in America. I only have two $10 bills and I am not as rich as Donald Trump,” I murmured to myself and rushed away from the Salvation Army guy with an apologetic face.

I shopped for this and that, and 3 twelve-pack of Pepsi to assure that I didn’t have to make another trip at least a week. The cart was full. I was ready to check out at the self service cashier lines as these are always open and I can hasten the process of scanning items. The only disadvantage is normally that no one will do the packing. You have to do it yourself. This morning the store perhaps was busier than usual, an ostrich shape female store employee wearing a light yellow sweater helped me stuff the items in bags while I was scanning. By the time I was finished, all my merchandizes were in bags. I said, “Thank you very much!” She nodded and replied, “Have a good one.”

I unloaded the bags into the car trunk and realized there were only 2 packs of Pepsi. “Where is the third pack?” I examined everywhere and looked around the parking lot. Nothing! “I shouldn’t have let anyone touch my stuff. The ostrich must have misplaced my Pepsi,” I begrudged. I stomped back to the store and looked for her. She was assisting another customer. I waited my turn and asked her politely if I had left some Pepsi behind. “I don’t think so. I packed everything,” she coldly replied. I showed her the receipt to demand they should give me back the Pepsi. She scowled and moved her tweety beak, “You may have dropped your Pepsi on the way to the parking lot!” I resented and shouted at her, “Excuse me? Do you think I would miss hearing the dropping sound of a 12-can pack soda on the concrete ground?” She sprinted to the Lost and Found Department which was behind us. A much slimmer lady handed her my Pepsi and told her the Salvation Army guy found the soda and brought it in a minute ago. She was smug and arrogant. I uttered my apology and left with my Pepsi.

I approached the Salvation Army guy and showed my appreciation. I dropped my $10 bill into the donation box. Then, I drove home!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The 7 (Seven) Cents Nail Polish Girl

The sky was dark and damp. The rain had been drizzling all day yesterday as the mammoth cold air mass was pushing towards the Eastern part of America from the Rocky Mountain Range, forcing the idle warmer air to elevate to the higher sky and forming an enormous piece of charcoal blanket covering the entire space.

My work at the drugstore started at 4 PM. I, Cotton Boy, thought the harsh icy rainy weather would hinder many shoppers from going out to run their errands. When I arrived at the parking lot, I was surprised and screamed, “Damn, almost all the parking spaces are occupied. People should stay home and watch “Two and a Half Men”. I entered the store, clocked in, put my name tag on and confiscated my territory as a cashier once again. The sun flower seed size raindrops were still descending. Americans, in general, do not have the habit to carry umbrellas even it rains torrentially. People drive their own vehicles to reach anywhere at any time. The cash register machine is next to the entrance. I stood there and watched people running in and out of their cars with their tiny hands sheltering their big heads.

I believe after the clock hit 8 PM, business began slowing down bit by bit. I caught my breath and looked around to tidy up my region, such as filling up the cigarettes on the rack, returning the baskets in which they should be located. At the cosmetic area, a young girl around at age 12-14 was holding several bottles of nail polish. I realized she was there at least around 8-10 minutes and assumed she must be dazzled by all colors that she could select.

She approached me with a bottle of pinkish red nail polish and asked, “Do you mind telling me how much it is?” I verified and told her that the price was $1.99. She gaped in bewilderment, “How much is the total after tax?” (Here in America, everything is about tax, tax and tax. If you purchase goods besides food and non alcohol beverages, everything automatically attaches 7.75% sale tax in Cleveland, Ohio before you can check them out from stores.)

I replied the total was $2.14. She frowned and re-started counting her coins; some are quarters, but mainly nickels and pennies. She was much abashed and whispered, “I only have $2.07. What can I do?” She looked like she was falling into a black hole. I wanted to rescue her by giving her 7 cents, but I was not in a position. First, have you ever heard of a cashier paying his client’s merchandize? The answer is obvious “NO”. Second, if you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it. Third, many surveillance cameras were installed on the ceiling. If I pull out my wallet, I would be on the cameras. I really pitied her but said, “I am sorry!”

I judged she would place back the item, go home and return with sufficient funds. Instead, she stayed and looked at me with a pair of sparkling begging blue eyes. A shooting star flashed through my mind. I said, “Just give me few seconds.” She froze herself on the floor with her hands praying.

At that precise moment, a middle aged lady was ready to check out her merchandise and overheard the conversation between the purple dress girl and me. “How much does she owe? I will pay for her,” she stressed candidly. “7 cents if you can,” I informed her. The girl instantly was in high glee, “Thank you so much, both of you”. She grabbed the nail polish and ran out with her little two hands on top of her head. The rain was still dropping.

I praised the lady as a heroine. She said, “Don’t mention it. Everyone deserves a better Christmas.” She walked out and disappeared in the rain with her both hands on her head too.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

A "Hen" can tell how intelligent you are! (Part II)

***May I have your attention! Here are the final answers***

Imagine this is an interview question that your interviewer is about to ask you.  If your answer is one of the below. You should know how intelligent you are!

1. Gained $2.00 – You are rational; you math skill is only fine, but not good! You are great to be a regular customer and a follower. You won’t be hired.

2. Break even or earned $3.00 – You are quite subjective and always neglect details. Be patient and you need to think more. You won’t be hired.

3. Gained $38 or had 4 more hens – You have great imagination and are creative. You definitely can be an excellent politician or philosopher because they love to dream and they always lie without solid evidence. You won’t be hired.

4. Gained $1.00. You are good. You know the basic of how to make businesses work and you can be an entrepreneur. You may be hired.

5. Lost $2.00. Congratulations! You are a genius and you are hired. (Originally, you had the hen at $8.00; you could sell it at $11.00. If you had done it, you would have made $3.00. However, you didn’t. You only made $1.00 instead. As a result, you lost $2.00.)

Cotton Boy didn’t have the best answer. No wonder he is still working at a drugstore! May Santa come to rescue him!

A "Hen" can tell how intelligent you are! (Part I)

"Hey, Cotton Boy! Are you interested in testifying how smart you are? I have an IQ question for you,” my friend said with a big grin on his face. “Certainly, I maybe look like I am daydreaming all day; in fact, I am super sophisticated and intelligent. Go ahead, what is the damn question?” I declared.

Here you go!

You were at the market, purchased a “Hen” at $8. Then, you sold the “Hen” to someone in the market at $9. Later on, you wanted the “Hen” back at the cost of $10. At the end, you sold the “Hen” at $11.

How much did you make? You have ONE (1) minute to think!
Your answer will be a good indicator telling you who you are and what you should be ! I will reveal the answer with a very funny but truthful and logical explanation at 11:30PM (Eastern Time) tonight.

See ya all later!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"I got money; you guys have problems!"

"What are you talking about? I got money! You guys have problems," she slammed her palms on the cashier desk; a huge thud resonated in the air waking up the nearby customers. A dozen pairs of eyes instantaneously were gazing towards me and imploring to find out what was happening. “Sorry, mam. Your cards were declined,” I reinstated. She vehemently and angrily uttered some words to condemn me for not giving her the merchandizes. I reinforced my statement, “I am sorry!” She walked away and exited the store. A few minutes later when the crowd had dissipated, I pondered over the entire incident. “Why am I always the one apologizing? I didn’t do anything wrong. She initiated all the dramatic occurrences.” She had better not come back to the store. I will definitely confront and slap her sorry face before she sputters another cussing word from her witchy mouth.

It happened at 5:40 PM yesterday while I was being a cashier at the drugstore. A lady pushing a shopping cart with around 10 items questioned, “Please check these items’ prices.” I verified. She hesitated and said, “I thought they were on sale.” “Yes, the prices have been reduced. They are on sale.” I replied. She glared at me and said, “Alright, I will take all.”

I scanned the items one by one and it came up the total of $35.25. She searched her purse and took out a credit card and swiped it. The transaction failed. I politely claimed, “I am sorry. Can you swipe your card again? The transaction did not go through.” “What?” she exclaimed, but she tried again. The result was the same. Repeatedly, I apologized and asked her, “Do you have another card or other payment methods, such as cash or check?” She frowned and exhibited her two other credit cards to me. She wiped one-two-three-four more times. The screen only displayed the word, “DECLINED”. I repeated my statement, “I am sorry!” She shook her wrathful head and spat out, “What? I just paid the bills. Each card should have a thousand dollar. You are wrong” “I am sorry. If the transaction cannot be completed, I am not able to give you the merchandizes. I can hold the items for you until tonight.” She reiterated and yelled back several times, “I had money. You guys are so wrong!”

To stop the fiasco, I no longer made any comments and grabbed the goods into the basket and placed it behind me. I certainly had no more energy to listen to all these fabricated bullshit stories. Does she think I was born yesterday and kind enough to allow her to take anything without paying? I don't feel sorry for her, but I absolutely feel sorry to myself of saying sorry so many times!

Here in America. No free lunch! That’s what we call, “Captialism”.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Do you want some "string" to hang yourself?

Life is tough; Cotton Boy’s life is even tougher. You may call me a whiner or address me “What a loser! You are in America; everyone works their butts off. You can’t just stay at home, imagining yourself on top of the clouds and sucking your cotton candies. Suck your fingers instead as eventually you will empty your last dollar in your pocket. Be productive and be a man” These were the ruthless statements which my friends kept nagging or even yarning at me once in a while in the past.

“Enough is enough! Alright! I will show you all that I am not a couch potato or a single cell parasite”, I retaliated and despised each remark. Now, I have jobs; I even have three part-time jobs and a web blog to write. All of the sudden, life is such as a rush. A day of time lapses before I can take a deep breath and introspect what I have accomplished each day. I guess all the tasks I am given to complete are not memorable enough but are sufficient to feed my hungry piggy bank.

I worked yesterday at the drug and pharmacy store. I was so glad that I was not assigned working at the cashier desk, scanning items and greeting customers with a big innocent smile. I remember by the end of the previous shift, my lower jaw hurt as I curved my lips upwards and squinted my eyes too much.

“Cotton Boy, you will be replenishing the inventory and fill up the shelves today,” my supervisor claimed. I was euphoric at first that I didn’t have to deal with customers and my task was just restocking. “Nice! What a piece of cake!” I tittered. My thought was naïve; in fact, I received many more questions than standing at the price scanner. When customers finish their shopping, all they want is to get out of the store hurriedly. When they are roaming inside the store and can’t designate their desired items. They come to me. I pretend I don’t hear and see anything, and keep stocking the goods on the shelves until a man with a brushy mustache, wearing a torn blue jean and pointed cowboy boots asked, “Do you have strength?” “Strength?” I murmured and clarified, “Sir, do you want to find something to brace your hands or feet and increase the strength?” “No! It is not [strength]; I want [string]”, he spoke back. “What kinds of strings do you want? Strings for sewing or strings for tying?” I answered. (I really want to say “String for hanging yourself up?” Of course, I dared not speak it out.) “No! I want some strings for flying kites,” he responded

I was so smart and witty to deliver a quick reply without thinking much, “Sorry Sir, we don’t sell kites’ string now. We only have it during summer!” He thanked me and walked away.

Come on, people! Don’t be so lazy to construct a proper question! I don’t deliver unclear or ambiguous questions. Think before you ask. If he had elaborated clearly by saying, “Do you sell strings for flying kites?” All the misunderstandings wouldn’t have occurred and he may have gotten what he wants.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a big deal? It is just a "Lighter".

Cotton Boy loves money, loves dreaming and loves to be rich; he prefers just floating up in a clear blue sky and letting the wind blow him along with the snow white clouds restlessly. The mild breeze, the spectacular sunshine and the chirping sound from birds are the adorns and garnishes while Cotton Boy is laying on top of a vast piece of cuddly cotton clouds, lapping his cotton candy with his eye close harmoniously. In contrast, Cotton Boy hates working hard with tiny rewards and hates toiling all day for just a few dollars. 

Yet a dream is a pure dream, reality is always cruel and merciless. When you turn your piggy bank upside down, shake it crazily to trickle every single gold coin out of it. I get panic when the piggy is losing weight progressively. “I have to find a solution. Get a job, maybe two or even more whatever I can sustain,” I declared with my head held high.

After couple months of frenzied search, I obtained 3 part-time jobs. One of the jobs which I am conducting is being a cashier at a nationwide drugs and pharmacy chain store. It sells everything as if I was amidst a flea market, surrounded by hundreds of people looking for laurels. I greet customers robotically, scan the check out items and listen to all the bullshit matters from numerous insane people. Yesterday at around 7 pm, a brawny woman in her 40’s stood in front of me, demanding something with a deep coarse voice, “I need a Big lighter.” First, I thought what a weird request she had. Any sizes of lighters can ignite a cigarette, right? However, as the old proverb states “customers are always right”, I kept my mouth shut. I turned around, found and handed her the biggest lighter in the store. She was speechless first, then opened her hippopotamus mouth with a front tooth missing, “No, Big! Big! Big!” Her dark grimed second finger was pointing at the location where we displayed various kinds of lighters. I swiveled instantly and grabbed a bunch of different sizes of lighters and enabled her to choose. “No, no, no. Big! Big! Big!” she exclaimed. I was clueless and in a split second, I got it. She wanted to purchase a lighter produced by the manufacturer, called “BIC.” I scanned the item, collected the money and said, “Have a good night!”

As soon as she waddled out the door, I sighed. “Why don’t they make things a little bit easier to a foreigner by saying, “May I have a lighter which its brand name is “BIC”?” Then, all the misunderstandings can be resolved. Amen!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"World Peace" with a response of "Hell No"

Thanksgiving was last Thursday, four days ago. I was invited to a family in the farm which is about 50 miles away from where I live, Cleveland, Ohio. You may ask the question, "Hey, Cotton Boy, haven't we entered to the metric era two decades ago? Why are you still using miles instead of kilometers?" The answer is not complicated because Americans don't want to change, I believe. Let's make it simple, 1 "Mile" is equal to 1.60934 "Kilometer" (km). I will not be able to currently provide you the total km that I had maneuvered; you have to do the math on your own as I am still quite confused and dazzled by constantly converting the length, weight, area, speed and more between the metric system used in Asia and the imperial system traditionally well-adapted in the U.S In conclusion, it took me slightly more than an hour to reach the destination by driving.

While I was on the road, both sides were covered thousands acres of corn fields. The acute dwindling temperature perished the lengthy leafy corn stalks. Many of them were still attaching ears but they all looked deceased with the lifeless color of light brown. I pondered when the farmers will return to the land, cut the dry stalks, bundle them and plant new baby corns. For your reference, 37% of the United States acres are corn fields and the State of Ohio has a big share of the figure.

My friend’s family’s farm house is gigantic. The size of her property is bigger than a leisure park in Hong Kong. If I take a walk around the parameter, it will probably consume at least 45 minutes to return the point where I began. I won’t be going into details of this farm in which chicken and goats are outnumbering to the residents.

During the Thanksgiving dinner, we prayed and chatted. I, as a Chinese, in fact, have had no tradition practicing the celebration of Thanksgiving. Who do I thank? Many Chinese don’t believe in god as Communism ridded him out; or god, in fact, never exists according to our teachings. “Wait a minute, to assimilate and immerse correctly to the culture, I need to make a toast to thank God for what we have. I loudly presented, “WORLD PEACE” before the meal was served.

The direct response from one of the home owners was, “World peace? Hell No, who cares about it? Let’s put the world economy as the first priority. We are not holding a beauty pageant competition.” I looked down and rubbed my fingers; all these countries were emerging gradually in my mind; “Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Congo, Somalia…” I thought I did a good job of showing my caring side during these festive seasons. I guess from now on, “World peace” should be replaced by “World economy”. Does it sound better? Please don't say “Hell No” to me.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cold Sore and Herpes are not the same.

Is Cotton Boy too ignorant or, perhaps, too innocent that I don't have a clear definition between "Cold Sore" and "Herpes". I thought they were the same. If I have to specify the position whether I have it on my top or my bottom. (Of course, I never have it to appear at my down under to nurture). I address them as Type I which is on the top position; Type II is on our private part, genital that how we differentiate in Hong Kong.

However, it is not the case of how we define these two terms in America. Yesterday afternoon, I had an outbreak. A red spot started tingling and prickling under my right nostril. First, I scratched and pinched as I thought they were just a bunch of  pimples coincidentally clustering at one spot. A couple hours later, it became swollen and hurtful. I felt that particular area of my skin cells were mutating, expanding and blistering. I went directly to the mirror, and distressly gulped an enormous breath of oxygen, and sighed out with a deflated lip the words, "I have Herpes!" I rampantly fumbled to look for some ointment to put on the affected spot, stopping  them  from growing or crawling to other areas. I muttered, "Why do they choose me again? I hate having them. I am going to a party tonight ; I have to look decent and pretty. The day after tomorrow I will be starting a new job and surely don't want to scare my new co-worker away from me."

I put a layer of "Abreva", a wet creamy medicine which supposes is the best curing medcine to speed up the healing process. I waited and waited but it seemed the hateful group of blisters was ready to erupt into a brutal explosion before a few hours before the party started.

"Should I call off? Am I too self conscious? No one really care, right? I am not in my 20s anymore." These thoughts ran through my mind repeatedly. I entered the party and my first thing to conduct is to inform my good friends that I have, "Herpes". My friends stepped backward and their eyes were enlarged as twice as big as normal. "What? Cotton Boy, you have herpes? Where is it?", they furrowed their brows and asked. I pointed at my mark under my nose. "Hey, Cotton Boy, it is not "Herpes". We call it as "Cold Sores" or "Fever Blisters". Never mislead anyone that you have "Herpes". Others will think you have bubble blisters around your gential or arse area. They are lethal sexaul transmitted infection (STI). Many Americans have cold sores. No big deal and calm down."

I went home and checked the wikipedia and discovered, " Cold Sores affect 57.7% of Americans tested in a 1999-2004 study. By age 50, 80%–90% of adults have the virus.  More than 50 million adults in the U.S. develop symptomatic episodes every year. Cold sores have a rate of frequency that varies from rare episodes to 12 or more recurrences per year. Most sufferers experience one to three attacks annually." (Source from Wikipedia)

Wow...having cold sore just part of our lives. I am just one of the many Americans. Welcome to USA.