Category: True Life Adventures

Jackass on a plane.

Happy Saturday.  Here’s a recent true story about a fun travel experience.  You can listen to it via the player below or just read it.  The choice is yours.  If you want to hear more stories (some of which aren’t on this blog) subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Enjoy!

Jackass on a plane
By Grant Baciocco

It had been a long weekend. I had travelled to Atlantic City to film the second season of The Ultimate Nerd-ament. Traveling with me were fellow puppeteer Russ and our director Dave. There had been a lot of headaches leading up to the trip, just in the planning of the trip and making sure we would have everything we needed for the production once we went got to Atlantic City. It had been a bumpy road.

The filming had gone well. We got the footage we needed, and we even got to do a cool guest puppet appearance with director Kevin Smith. As good as it went, however, the travel plan mess ups were kind of outweighing the good of the trip, no matter how hard we tried to remain positive. So, at the end of three long days, we were sitting in the Philadelphia Airport waiting for our flight home to Los Angeles.

The first warning that things were not going to go well, came when we were told that the inbound plane was going to be late. About an hour late. We weren’t too worried because out path was taking us from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. then on to LA. We were scheduled to have a one hour and thirty minute layover in D.C., so we’d just be having the layover in Philadelphia instead. But then they announced even further delays that would make our connection in D.C. pretty tight. Finally, the inbound plane arrived and everyone worked together to board quickly and be ready to go.

The plane we were flying to D.C. on was a small plane. Each row only had three seats and you had to gate check any bags bigger than a backpack. Everyone complied with this rule. Except for The Jackass. The Jackass was this guy, probably in his early fifties, loud, brash, everything going wrong in his life was everybody else’s fault. When we were boarding, he couldn’t call his boarding pass up on his phone. This was, somehow, United’s fault. When he finally got on the plane, he was determined to bring his carry on suitcase on, even after being told repeatedly that it would not fit in the overhead bins.

“Sir, that bag is not going to fit in the overhead. You’ll have to gate check it.” The flight attendant said politely.

“I have a 5 minute turnaround in D.C.!” The Jackass said loudly. “You have to let me bring it on.”

“Sir, it’s not going to fit.” She replied.

“At least let me try!” he shouted and pushed past her.

“Fine.” The flight attended said, resigned. “You can try. It’s not going to fit.”

Well, The Jackass marched to his seat and those who had already boarded watched as he tried to cram his roller bag into the overhead bin that was, plainly, far too small for the bag. He pushed and shoved and, to his credit, got most of it in. Enough of it, that he tried to close the bin. The moment he started to try and close it, the bin started going off the tracks because the bag was not letting it close right. I leaned over to Russ, who was sitting across the aisle from me and said, “He’s going to break the door.”

Russ, whose wife worked for Jet Blue, loudly said, “If he breaks it, this flight is going nowhere because it’ll be a service issue.”

The Jackass heard him, but was determined to get the bin closed.

The Flight attendant, seeing the bin warping, came down the aisle, “Sir, if you break the bin we’ll be stuck here because we’ll have to call maintenance.”

The Jackass, determined, continued to pull, as hard as he could, on the door. There was a pop and the door came off the track and wedged tight. At this moment, The Jackas says, angrily, “Fine, I’ll gate check my bag!”

He sat in his seat as the flight attendant took his bag off the plane to gate check it. Then she calmly walked down the aisle to the bin and tried to close it. Of course, it wouldn’t budge. She walked to the cockpit and, a moment later, the captain came down to try and close it. The Gate Agent boarded the plane and tried to help as well. Finally, The Jackass got up and tried to assist. The captain walked back to the cockpit and the PA system clicked on.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a small maintenance issue and will be unable to take off until it is fixed. We will be delayed here in Philadelphia a little longer until it is fixed.”

Russ was furious, “You broke the door, now we’re all going to miss our flights!”

The entire plane hated The Jackass. So, what did he do? He just got up and left the plane. No apology to the rest of us, he just got up and walked out. About 15 minutes later we saw the Gate Agent retrieving The Jackass’ bag from the plane’s cargo hold and return it to the terminal. The coward was running away, leaving us to deal with the delay.

We got to Washington D.C. to watch as our flight to Los Angeles pulled away from the gate. We were now in Washington D.C. for the night. No luggage. No change of clothes or toiletries. Just our carryons. United did give us hotel and meal vouchers. But we are left to wonder what The Jackass got.

©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media

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What happens in Vegas…

Here is another story that I wrote out and also recorded for an episode of my podcast.  You can listen via the player below or just read it.  The choice is yours.  If you want to hear more stories (that aren’t on this blog) subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher. Thanks!

What happens in Vegas…
By Grant Baciocco

The following story may contain topics that might not be suitable for everyone. It’s completely work safe.  The name in this story has been changed.

At the end of my junior year of college, I decided to apply for job as a resident assistant for the dorms for my senior year. I went through the the application process and was accepted.
During the summer before I was going to start, I got a handwritten letter from a girl named Karen. Karen wrote that she was a current RA and that the overall housing coordinator had asked current RAs to write to new RAs just so the newbies would know someone when they came down for orientation. Karen then went on telling me a bit about herself.  Sort of a ‘get to know you’ type letter.
I replied with a letter of my own and, weirdly, we really hit it off. We continued for the rest of the summer writing letters back and forth. Her first letter arrived in late June and we had to report to school in mid August. In those few weeks, we probably wrote each other about ten letters or so.
On the first day of orientation for the RAs, I remember looking around the group of about 40 other RAs wondering which one was Karen. I saw this really cute girl sitting across the room and I instantly thought to myself, “If that’s Karen, I’m going to be in Trouble, because I’ll be smitten immediately.” Turns out, it was her.
I went over and introduced myself and was greeted with a huge hug.  Karen and I picked up right where the letters left off and, over the next few weeks, became closer and it wasn’t long before we were a couple.
As an RA, you had to be on call one weekend and have the next weekend off. Karen and I were on opposite schedules so when I had to work, she was off and vice versa. This wasn’t too big of an issue because we would just go hang out with each other when one of us was on duty. It did make it difficult to go anywhere else but the dorms though, and our dorm buildings were not in the same location.
We made up our mind that we wanted to take a road trip together and it was decided that we’d go to Las Vegas. I made all the arrangements, hotel, travel, etc and she worked to switch a weekend so that we could have a weekend off together. It worked out and one Friday evening, after she got off duty, we were on our way.
We didn’t make it all the way to Vegas that night, we got a room in Baker and then continued the rest of the way to Vegas on Saturday. Now, I’m not going to go into any details other than to say we were two college kids in Las Vegas on our own with our own hotel room. It was a very fun trip.
On Sunday night, we drove back home and I was absolutely ecstatic about the whole deal. About Karen, how well we got along, how great our relationship was, how great the trip had been. I was really happy. We got back to Long Beach, gave each other a kiss and got back to our rooms before we had to go back on duty.
On Monday morning, Karen called me and ask if she could come down that evening.  I, of course said, “Yes.”
She came down that evening and her demeanor had completely changed from the day before.
“There’s something I’ve got to tell you.” She said softly.
“What?” I asked.
“I think I am a lesbian.”
“What?! A lesbian? But, what, huh?  What about? Just yesterday, we… What?!”
Of course, I didn’t say that. I don’t remember what exactly where the conversation went after that, but I know I didn’t say that.
That was the end of me and Karen. I’m not a hundred percent sure what happened, but apparently I’m really good at helping ladies decide where their preferences lie.
©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media
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Christmas coffee.

Here is another essay I wrote and recorded as part of The GrantCast.  The audio is below.  If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast you can do so in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Thanks for reading.

Christmas Coffee
By Grant Baciocco

As a kid, I used to get way too excited for Christmas.  Actually, if you know me, I still get way too excited for Christmas (hello, Advent Calendar).  But this all started for me, as a little kid.  As said in the movie A Christmas Story:

“Lovely, beautiful, glorious Christmas, around which the entire kid year revolved.”
I think part of the reason Christmas is such a big deal to me is because my mom and dad made it a big deal.  Heck, they still do.  They started traditions that still carry through to this day.  One of those traditions is new pajamas.
Actually, it was my Grandma Donny, my mom’s mom, that started that tradition.  She would send down presents every year, or we’d bring them back with us from Thanksgiving.  We’d get to open one present on Christmas Eve, sort of a sneak preview of what was to come the next morning.  We were never allowed to pick the present we opened and it took me several years to realize that the present was always from Grandma Donny and it was always pajamas.  It took me several more years to realize the reason it was pajamas was so that we looked nice in pictures on Christmas morning!  No ratty old pajamas were allowed!
The fatal flaw here was that as a kid, I used to get so excited about things, so worked up and nervous, I would make myself sick and throw up!  There were several Christmas mornings where I wasn’t able to make it down the hall to the presents.  I got myself so excited, I’d barf all over the place and usually over my new pajamas.  In later years, my parents would wait to make me wear the new pajamas until they were sure I wasn’t gonna blow chunks.  Luckily I have grown out of this habit.  I haven’t barfed on Christmas in at least, two or three years.
Another tradition that we had starting at a very young age is that on Christmas morning, my great grandmother, Noni and my great aunt, Auntie Dorothy would drive down from San Francisco to be there as we opened presents.  It would go like this, I would wake up first, early, usually around 6 am because I was so excited and I’d get my parents up.  They would call Auntie Dorothy and Noni and they would get up and drive the 20 minutes or so to San Bruno (or later Burlingame) to join us.  Now this did nothing to help calm my excitement!  I’d have to wait, patiently, in my room as they made their way down the peninsula from San Francisco.  And Noni was an older lady so it took her a little longer to get moving!  I’m actually sure they got down to our place as fast as they could but when you’re little and you know there’s presents out in the living room for you under the tree, every minute is an hour.
I would wait patiently in my bedroom, a bundle of nerves until I heard our front door open and I heard the exchanges of “Good Mornings” and “Merry Christmases” being made.  They were here!  It was time to open presents right?  Wrong!
“Can we open presents now?”  I’d yell down the hallway
“Not yet.” my mother would reply.  “We have to make the coffee.”
Make the coffee?!  “Why did’n’t you make the coffee while they were driving down?!”
My parents were literally trying to torture me.  No wonder I barfed all over the place.
©2015 Grant Baciocco/Saturday Morning Media
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I don’t drink.

Here is another essay I wrote and recorded as part of The GrantCast.  The audio is below.  If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast you can do so in iTunes, or by using this feed in your favorite podcatcher.  Thanks for reading.

Jason on the Train Track
By Grant Baciocco

I don’t drink alcohol. I had to stop when I was a kid I would take sips of my dad’s beer and then go into my room and beat my toys.

That’s just a little joke.

But if you know me fairly well you know that I actually do not drink alcohol. I never have. Well that’s not entirely true. When I was a kid I do remember taking sips of my dad’s beer course refreshing. I can actually remember how it tastes outside of those quick steps though the only other time I’ve had alcohol was around the time I was in fifth grade and I went on a three day weekend trip with my family. My great grandmother, my great aunt, my grandparents (my dad’s parents), and both my dad’s sisters and their families. The Baciocco side of the family.

Now the Baciocco’s, most of them anyway, do not miss cocktail hour. They like their before dinner drinks and their during dinner drinks and I’m in no way saying that they were all a bunch of drunks. In fact, I can’t recall any of them getting plastered or anything or if anyone did the worst that ever happened was they fell asleep on the couch. Anyway, everyone had before dinner cocktails. It was all very, Mad Men.

We we’re staying in Carmel, California and it was the early afternoon, maybe three or four, and the kids were playing in the grown ups were serving cocktails. Now, being the oldest kid I was always a little bit more interested in what the adults were doing and seeing them all with drinks in their hands, I began begging my dad to mix me a drink as well. Eventually, I wore him down and he did.

Now, before you think of my father as a horrible parent, what he gave me was not much of a mixed drink. It was mostly water with, I believe, a tiny splash of scotch in it. I remember sipping it, thinking it tasted horrible, and then leaving it on the counter and going back and playing with the kids. That was my last direct contact with alcohol. I’ve never had a sip of the stuff since, but that was not the last time I would encounter alcohol because I was entering that time when, seemingly, all kids try it out for the first time if they haven’t already: high school.

Now I was not a “goody-goody” type kid in high school, not even remotely, but I did have some beliefs that I adhered to strongly. One of these beliefs was you’re not supposed to drink alcohol until you are twenty one. No exceptions. So it drove me crazy that kids in my high school lived for the weekends where they could go out and get drunk. It, to me back then anyway, the art of drinking expression we how I heard people did it seem so boring. So we’re all just going to go to someone’s house or Coyote Point, which was a small recreational area near the San Francisco Bay, and drink? And then what? I didn’t see the point. I’d rather be going to a movie or exploring San Francisco or doing just about anything else. Sitting around drinking just had no appeal to me. I wasn’t however vocally militant about it I didn’t go around saying, “You aren’t old enough to drink!” Even back then I felt people are free to do what they want to do. Of course this is the time in your life when peer pressure is super-super high and I felt when someone offered me alcohol me just saying, “No, I’m not into that.” was not enough. I felt I needed a reason why I didn’t drink. So, I invented an imaginary friend.

Now sitting here thinking about it I can’t quite remember what my imaginary friend’s name was. Possibly Jason. But he was a kid about my age who supposedly lived in Oregon near where my grandparents lived. This story was that I had met Jason while visiting my grandparents in Oregon when I was a little kid. Then, since I would go up there for two weeks every summer, we had sort of grown up together. Then when we were both freshman in high school, we had gone to a party and he had been drunk and passed out in the backseat of the car on the way back.

On the way home, the car stalled on…wait for it… some train tracks. Me and another friend, the driver, had started to walk to get help when we heard the train whistle. Jason was still in the back seat of the car when the train hit and that is why I don’t. Now, I don’t know if anybody believed that crap but that was my excuse and I stuck to it and I told everybody about it. Maybe, I thought it would convince someone else not to drink.

You know, I got so good at telling that story it even got me a good grade once. Once in my junior English class, we were given a writing test and the topic was: Write about someone who influenced your life. I wrote out the story of Jason on the train tracks. Our grades were posted and it was just a single sheet of printed paper with a grade next to our student numbers. Now, next to my student number, was the grade, I think it was like an A minus or B plus, because I don’t proofread or anything, so no straight A’s for me. But then, handwritten on the piece of paper, now this was the only thing handwritten on the paper were the words, “Powerful story is it true?” Anyway Jason on the train tracks became my excuse in high school.

When I got to college just about everybody drank and I found out that people don’t really care much if you don’t drink, so I didn’t. I had much better things to spend my money on in college comic books and Disneyana merchandise from when I worked at Disneyland. I was a dork.

I was a theater major and the theater department threw parties all the time and I would always show up with a big gallon jug of water. I’d happily drink from it throughout the rest the evening and that became I think people just expected me to show up with this big gallon jug of water.

After college I realized more and more that out in the real world people don’t really care if you drink at all. When I started doing comedy, I was around alcohol a lot, playing in bars and clubs in San Francisco and later in Los Angeles. But no one seemed to bat an eye when I said I just wanted to water.

The only time since college I found a large amount of pressure to drink was one time in the early 2000’s when I went on a road trip to Canada with two friends to follow the band the Barenaked Ladies on their Canadian tour one year. After one of the shows, the former lead singer Steven Page invited all three of us to go out to a bar with him and fellow band member Kevin Hearn. When we got there Stephen bought us all a beer. I took the beer but I passed it off to my friend Lisa. Who gladly accepted it because she knows that I don’t drink.

Another funny drinking story came years later in 2003 when I went to Tokyo to play some shows as part of the N.F.L. World Bowl. One night we went out to Roppongi, which is the nightclub district of Tokyo. At the time I was pretty much broke, and even though I was being well paid for this trip, I was not going to be paid until after I got back to the United States. Now Tokyo is expensive, very expensive, so I was on a super tight budget. Well, we walked around and we finally found a club to go into, the cover was twenty dollars, American. Ouch.

Once inside, I ordered a water. A bottle of water. Ten dollars, American and they brought me out the tiniest bottle of water you’ve ever seen. One of those real little ones in the plastic bottles. Well, it was pretty much gone immediately. A few minutes later the waitress comes by and says, “What can I get you next?”

And I said, “I’m fine thank you I had my water.”

She smiled and pointed at a sign on the wall, which read, “If you’re here, you need to be drinking.” So I sighed, ordered another water, and that tiny bottle of water lasted a good hour and a half.

To this day I still don’t drink. Not sure it’d be wise to start now. I certainly don’t mind if other people drink and I’ve hung out with lots of people who do. My biggest pet peeve in regards to drinking is when someone does something stupid and uses the excuse, “Oh excuse me, I’m sorry I was just drunk.” To me that’s not an excuse. Other than that, bottoms up!

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