Off the Clock: Public enemies

When it comes to doing stupid things in front of an audience, I’ve had some practice.

When it comes to doing stupid things in front of a lot of people, I’ve had some practice.

I once peed my pants on stage in front of my entire elementary school. My advice to you is: don’t drink two cartons of chocolate milk before your next spelling bee–or maybe just don’t go to elementary school.

Another time, I came in last place in a karaoke contest. Scratch that, I tied for last place with a woman who was so drunk that she vomited on stage. The only thing I vomited was a sub-par rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”. When the rain washes my memory clean, I’ll know.

Just recently, I declared in front of my 443 facebook friends that I was becoming a vegetarian, only to eat an extremely rare steak an hour later. What can I say, I panicked. As soon as I fully realized the implications of no meat, any more, ever, I went full carnivore.

Then, well, then there’s this column.

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Despite my heap of fully-visible faux pas, I’ve got nothing on some people.

For instance, a man identified in this video only as “Alan” or “Alvin”, a homeowner in Staten Island, is accused of turning away a woman and her children who came to the door during Hurricane Sandy. The woman, Glenda Moore, claims that she banged on the homeowner’s door, after being stranded while trying to escape the flood waters with her two boys, Connor, 4, and Brendan, 2. Glenda also claims that the homeowner turned her away, refusing she and her boys safety, saying “I can’t help you. I don’t know you.” Both boys were washed away and found dead in a nearby marsh, soon after.

Now, Alan or Alvin claims that a woman never came to his door. He says that a man came to his back door, instead, and didn’t knock, but just tried to break in. Glenda, who’s approximately 5-foot-3 and 130 pounds according to her sister, admits that out of sheer desperation she did try to break into his back door when he wouldn’t answer the front one.

But, whatever happened, that homeowner is now immortalized on video, saying “What could I do to help him (still claiming it was a man at the door)? I’m wearing the same clothes, I had these shorts on, this is my brother’s jacket, I had a pair of shorts on with flip flops, and I was going to come out?” and, when the reporter stated “You must feel terrible for this woman and her two children, right?”, he responded “Did they find the children? I don’t even know” then “Of course, it’s a tragedy. She shouldn’t have been out, though. She shouldn’t have been on the road.”

Oh, Alan or Alvin. Blaming the mother of dead children? On camera? No, no, just no.

Then there’s Denise Helms, a 22-year-old California woman who was recently fired from her job over a social media gaffe. Denise, like many people, was upset about the results of the recent presidential election, and took to Facebook to express her displeasure.

“Another 4 years of this (N-word),” Helms wrote on her Facebook Tuesday night. “Maybe he will get assassinated this term.”

That facebook status was somehow posted to twitter (with Facebook friends like that, who needs enemies?), then a local television news crew came calling, asking her to clarify.

“I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal,” she said. “The assassination part is kind of harsh. I’m not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don’t think I’d care one bit.”

Instead of contrition, Denise went back to Facebook (never a good idea):

“So apparently my post last night about Obama got onto Twitter and Fox 40 came and interviewed me cause apparently a lot of people in Sacramento think I’m crazy and racist. WOW is all I got to say!! I’m not racist and I’m not crazy. just simply stating my opinion.!!!”

Denise’s boss responded to the substantial public outcry by firing her from her job at Coldstone Creamery, stating “We found her comments to be very disgusting.” She is also being investigated by the Secret Service for her comment, which could be construed as a threat against the President.

Denise, I know you’re young, but you’ll learn to take those second chances. And ease up on the exclamation points. Trust me on this one.

My point is, we all sound like idiots, sometimes. Whether it be evil, ignorance, or just plain coming across wrong. With the entire population, essentially, being media, we have to be careful what we say and do. But it seems we’re all destined to learn this lesson the hard way.

After all, today’s elementary schoolers have iPhones and you do not want your pee-pee Instagrammed.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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