April 25, 2008

Like ummmm

I do my banking on Fridays in a Publix Branch. The bank opens at ten A.M. Since the branch is only a mile or so from work I try to get there just as it opens, usually I get lucky & can make the entire trip in fifteen to twenty minutes. Dealing with the general public in retail situations while standing in line is not one of my favorite things to do. My wife can tell you, if I could run an internet business & never go beyond our property line I would get along just fine. Face it, people suck & the less I have to deal with them the better off I am. When I walked into the grocery store, I noticed that there were two tellers on duty at the bank. Each teller had a customer and there was one person in line, ok, not too bad. I went around the register on the end & came in the back way to stand behind the girl already in line, that way I didn’t have to walk right by her & could avoid eye contact or not give her the opportunity to speak to me. I really hate idol queue chatter. I stopped about four or five feet behind her & began to stare at the magazine rack. After a few minutes it became clear that the people at the bank counter were obviously doing their annual account reconciliations thus I could see the death of the fifteen minute trip looming in front of me. Girl then proceeded whip out her cell phone and begin a conversation with her mother. How did I know who it was? She was talking so loud everyone in the entire front section of the store was looking at her.
“Hey Mom!!! What? OHHH I am just here at the bank… it’s taking soooo long these people are soooo slow, its like ummm just sooo slow here so I thought I would call you to find out why Daddy didn’t give me my full allowance…… uhh huhhh, but Mom that was only 500 dollars why is he STILL pissed about it???? That was like ummm almost a month ago…. You know I am supposed to meet Kendra at Six Flags tonight…..Well can I come by there and get some more money?????? MOMMMM PLLLEAASSSE…”
I then noticed the check she had in her hand, it was for $977.49
“But how am I going to pay bills AND go to Six Flags?!?! And don’t forget I have to go to the mall in the morning too…… COOOLLL MOMMMM I will come over as soon as I leave here, if they ever hurry up….” Click & redial “Hey!…. sure I can be there,…. OH I KNOW!!!!!! My Mom was being such a bitch, she wasn’t going to give me the rest of my money so I just told her like HELLLOOO I need the money MOM……………...."
The conversation continued as I began to look around frantically for a plastic fork to begin jamming into my eyes. I openly prayed for the tellers to please hurry up with the people at the counter to get this raving idiot away from me. The temperature was rising quickly as the nasal droning continued, my pulse quickened, my breathing became shallow. Sweat began forming on my face. My eyes were darting from side to side rapidly looking for a way out. Someone else had gotten in line behind me, Damn!!!!
“I wish you would tone it down some!!!”
Oh, hell no. Not only do I have to hear the nasal drone of the clueless, now I have to deal with a line nazi…
“It is sooo very rude to be sooo loud on a phone in a group of people!”
The situation was now beyond desperate, now all I needed was for a terminally internet addicted twenty something pseudo intellectual cynic to show up and start making vague references to what the situation here was like…
“Look I’ve got to go, there is some BITCH trying to tell me what to do here!”
I never heard the end of the statement. I broke into a dead run for the counter, taking the pull rope queue boarder with me. Tossed the paper work in my hand to the astonished teller & yelled “Deposit Please!!” While trying to hold myself up on the counter. I was hyperventilating, sweating, tapping my fingers on the counter, and about to pass out. When I looked at the teller she was just staring at me. I then did a hand roll while making a tss tsss noise trying to get her to hurry. I said through clenched teeth, “Just put the money in the bank.” With the same tone as the guy from Silence of the lambs telling the girl to put the dog in the basket.. I then slapped up the receipt from the counter & race walked out the door.
It took almost five minutes of super inhalation of nicotine to get the scene out of my mind. By the time I got back to the office I had calmed down enough to get on with the day. I wonder if you can do just a “general” restraint order against an entire populace?

April 24, 2008


You know how your mind wanders when you are driving. I began to play a game a few days ago in the car and now I am addicted to it; try to set up your memory in snapshot form, picking “glimpses” of your most profound memories and set them up in a “photo album” for easy access. Here are some of mine:

The sight of my first son curled up under the heat lamp after he was born.

My first son’s eyes peering just over the buckle of the car seat when we took him home.

The sound of my second son’s first cry after he was born.

The feeling in the car I had when we were on our way to the Bed & Breakfast & I said to myself “You just got married.”

The conversation that took place while trying to coax coffee out of a vending machine at the Funks Grove rest stop in the middle of Illinois during a snow storm that went like this –
“So do you want to get married?”
“OK… let’s get back in the car, I’m freezing.”

The sight of white caps frozen in place on the lakefront in Chicago.

A drug dealer doing an exchange on the corner while we waited for the light to change in Savannah.

Sitting on the end of the pier on Tybee Island watching the sunrise.

Walking down my driveway & nearly having a heart attack when a deer that was bedding down in the brush about a foot away from me jumped up & took off.

The first time I heard a bobcat scream.

The sight of my grandfather covered in bees when he was getting honeycomb out of a stump.

The sinking feeling when I realized that my mom had moved my stash of dirty magazines that I thought was well hidden.

My grandmother asking if we had enough to eat.

The respect I felt when shaking a man’s hand after listening to him speak about crawling through 700 yards of dead bodies in Cambodia just live in freedom.

The desperate look in a child’s eyes that was sitting on the check out counter when he told a store clerk that he knew he didn’t have that long to live because of his disease.

The devastated look on that same child’s mother’s face when he said that.

The thank you I got after I gave a soldier with massive face wounds ten dollars at Ryan’s steak house when walking out, saying to him “Lunch is on me, thank you for your service.”

The sigh of relief I gave after my wife told me she was pregnant & I realized that it was hormones and I wasn’t going to have to have her committed.

The few hours I spent alone in the woods damming up a creek during Christmas vacation when I was in elementary school.

The feeling of fear I had as we watched an arrow hit the ground just a couple of feet behind a guy cutting his grass after my cousin shot it straight up in the air.

Saying to myself, “I’m sure he’s following the two-pump limit on those BB guns.” After getting hit in the cheek from about 60 yards by Dean during a BB gun war.

The “oh shit” realization that we had left everybody tied up to trees when we ran after the gunfire started when a guy was shooting down through the woods because we were trespassing.

The sound the green ghost game made.

Smashing in the face of the Johnny west guy after it had melted from lying in the sun all afternoon.

The pain I felt after nose diving into the ground the first time I went over a ramp on a bicycle. (I didn’t know you had to pull up on the handlebars)

Trying to walk straight when passing my father after my first round of gin.

The hysterical laughter after I asked the good looking girl at church if she would go to the prom with me.

The look of fear in the guys eyes after I beat his ass for knocking all my books out of my hand while going up the stairs in highschool.

Looking down and seeing the speedometer pointed straight down about an inch past the last number, after the blue lights appeared behind me.

The smell of the salt marsh.

Watching the bicycle lock attached to four feet of chain fly through the air just before it took out my brother. (Perfect headshot)

Digging the BB out of my scalp after getting hit right on the top of my head.

The feel of the worms still attached to the fishhook stuck in my head, after my cousin hit me with it while casting.

The sound & feel of handcuffs being put on me.

The smell of Mark’s cigar the night my Dad passed away.

The look on my niece’s face after I told her to put urine on the jelly fish sting, then the look on her face after the life guard said I wish I had some urine when she ran up to him for help.

The girl in the backseat of the Malibu saying, “It’s a boob” trying to break my stare.

The smile on my son’s face after hitting his fourth straight bullseye once I had zeroed in the scope.

The look on the cops face when we woke him up in the cul de sac by pulling straight up to the side of his car with our lights on bright.

The smell of the wood smoke from the barbecue pit.

My great aunt saying "He comes ta easin' 'round the coner"

The Irish guy saying "Aye, Johnathon Patrick is a good strong name"

The intermingled skeletons of the snake that died while eating the 'possum.

The trick is to make the memories flow nonstop without interruption, you should try it, its fun.


I paid $3.60 per gallon for gas… I bought just over eight gallons & three packs of smokes spending $41 & change. Twenty one years ago when I started smoking the same thing would’ve been less than ten dollars… I guess I need to stop driving….

April 22, 2008

Bacon and eggs

On the way home a while back I had to stop for a bag of ice. Being pure white trash we have a refrigerator that we picked up for two hundred dollars that doesn’t have an ice maker, but has been working great for eight years. (Just ignore the crayons and dog hair that hangs out near the door at the bottom). I had passed the usual stores that I stop at on my commute, all owned by people from India for some strange reason. I remembered that there once was a store up a little side road I had stopped at for RC cola on my way to play Frisbee golf. That was twenty plus years ago, but I decided to give it a shot. I hadn’t been down this gravel road since that trip and wasn’t sure where I had seen the place so I took it easy and kept a sharp lookout. About half a mile down the road sitting in a left hand curve was this little cinder block building painted white with a rusty sign hanging on it that said live bait. There was a pond beside the building with a huge weeping willow, under which was a large grill chained to a concrete picnic table where several older gentlemen were sitting. I pulled up to the store, parking just a few feet from the table, and climbed out of the car. All of the guys at the table began a chorus of hello young fellow, what can we do for you and sporadic questions about what type of motor my car has in it.
The strange thing about this was that it wasn’t the typical convenience store conversation you encounter in any given parking lot. These guys looked relaxed, peaceful and felt genuine. They all looked like a mix of junior samples from hee-haw (if you can remember that) and my grandfather. The easy manner and kindly speech of these guys put me at ease at once. I told them I was looking for a bag of ice. The oldest looking one of the bunch pointed toward the store and reported that “Miss Adelle is in there and she can fix you up, come on back out and get you a samich when you’re done”. He pointed over to the grill where I noticed that there was a frying pan and baking sheet sitting on the grill. They were cooking bacon and eggs. Over to the side there were several pieces of bread toasting. I responded with “I might just do that.”
When I went into the store the first thing that hit me was the smell of onions and pinesol. There were several racks of goods lined around the walls, but the center of the place was empty except for a table. On the table were a deck of cards, a coffeepot, several dollars worth of change and a jar of pickles. The floor was bare concrete with a light dusting of sand and dirt. The doors were flung open with screen doors closed over the entrance. There was a counter to the left with a cash register. Next to the counter was a stand of vegetables in wooden baskets. Over the counter I could see the top of a graying head of hair pulled tightly back in a bun. As I walked over to the counter I noticed it was a little round lady sitting in a chair watching a small black and white television. I leaned over and asked her if she was Miss Adelle. She bolted up out of the chair; I had obviously interrupted her, and said, “Yes sir I am, what can I get for you?” I told her that I needed to get a bag of ice. She picked up a small paper cup tucked full of kleenex and spit into it, it was then that I noticed a can of snuff on the counter. She pointed to the other side of the store and told me that “The ice would be in the freezer, where else?” How could I argue with that? I looked around and saw a deep freezer sitting against the far wall. When I opened it there were several bags of ice with no labels at all on one side of the freezer & several of what looked to be hams on the other side, with small white containers spread throughout with things like ‘chicken livers’ written on them. I looked up and down the shelves against the walls as I stood there. There were things like potted meat, loaf bread, and beanie weenie covering the space. I carried the ice back to the counter and asked how much. She said two dollars. I replied with, “That is fifty cents more than most stores.” She cut her eyes up at me and said, “What’s your point? You’re here, it’ll cost you more than fifty cents in gas to go to another store.” I laughed and handed over the two dollars, which she promptly stuffed into her apron pocket. I thanked her and started back to the door, when I opened it she called out and I turned back to her, only to see the top of her head over the counter again. She said, “Tell buddy and them that if their gonna sit out there all evening they need to get back in here and clean up this mess.” To which I said a humble “Yes ma’am.”
I put the ice in the car and walked over to the table to relay Miss Adelle’s message. One of them, Buddy probably, hopped up and started back in the store muttering under his breath, I think I caught the phrase ‘old coot’ but can’t be sure. They had made me a ‘samich’ and had it on a plate waiting for me, with a couple of pickles. I sat down and had the most entertaining conversation I've had in quite a while. After the sun had began to set a group of kids appeared and started throwing rocks into the pond, they all had bare feet and walked a little way into the water to get the best skipping stones. When the lightening bugs started to show up they began chasing them down and smearing them on themselves so their shirts would glow. A few minutes later Miss Adelle came out with a bag of ice and said, “If you’re gonna sit there and wag your jaws your ice is gonna melt, here’s another one, you better get home or you’re gonna get in trouble.” It was then that I had noticed that I had been there for over two hours, eaten three samiches and had several cups of sweet tea. I now stop by the store a couple of times a week to catch up on what’s happened to who, and pick up any odds and ends we may need around the house. It costs more to stop there, but then I ain’t paying Miss Adelle for the goods I get as much as I am the fun I have…

April 21, 2008

Coming Around

I recently sent out several emails to get a feel of the political situation. I am going to write an article for a local free magazine and was interested in what people had to say when asked about the state of things and opinions of the three leading candidates... this is a response I got, it seems to be pretty much what most folks had to say..

received email:

I've become a political agnostic. I believe it might be possible that common-sense government could exist, but all the evidence I can see doesn't add up to any kind of real proof. So I just do what I can (which ain't much in these rabidly partisan times), and hope things will work out somehow in the end.
My opinion on the three candidates? I get the distinct impression that they're all full of shit, and what's worse, none of them seem to care that it's so obvious. The pandering is blatant. This is the first time since I turned 18 that I'm probably just going to sit out. I just don't care who wins this one. I've banged my head against the wall for years with little result but a bloody headache, and as hard as it may be to weather, I think maybe it's just high time all the self-serving voters of this country got exactly what they bargained for.
I've stopped blaming the politicians.Sure, they're a bunch of greedy, power-tripping bastards. But they're only there because a bunch of greedy, power-tripping bastards put them there in exchange for some expected favoritism. They're just doing what we allow them to do, and they know that there isn't going to be any revolution, unless we can schedule it so that everybody can get home in time for American Idol or Dancing With The Stars. We have the ultimate tool to communicate and demand better government, and we use it for Facebook and I-tunes. We all love our Two Minutes Hate on the radio and TV. (We are winning the war against Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia.)
If you held a gun to my head and made me vote, I guess I'd vote for Obama. What the hell. If we're gonna shake things up, we might as well go all out and see what happens with a Magic Negro in the White House. I can't imagine him fucking things up any worse than either of the other two, and I can listen to him talk just a tad longer without feeling an overwhelming urge to hurl. I have to admit though, it's a sad state of affairs when 'least likely to cause projectile vomiting' becomes a serious consideration.
On the other hand, it might be entertaining to see Bill Clinton become the First Bitch. "Today on C-Span, live coverage of the 2nd Congressional Blowjob Committee..."
(Unfortunately, since I'm pretty much reduced to looking for entertainment value, I can't imagine any reason I'd like to see McCain win.)
It's going to be at worst an 'antichrist administration', ushering in the time of weeping and gnashing of teeth, or at best a 'null administration' of Business As Usual for another 4 years....or 8....or 12....until we do have the 'antichrist election'. Either way, it's too late to do anything about this one now. I've just resigned myself to the fact that things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better, and it's going to happen soon. The odds of 200 million people simultaneously coming to their senses without a cosmic bitchslap are pretty thin, and the average American has no idea how much worse things can get, so they just pretend that things can't get worse. All they know is that they got an income tax refund (that's a good thing, right?) and they heard that some politician was promising to make the doctors stop charging them so they can finally get those DVD players installed in the backs of their headrests in their cars. You know, the list is endless...
Want a glaring indictment? It's a damned shame how Ron Paul was crucified. The Democrats hated him because he wouldn't promise them free shit, and the Republicans hated him because he wouldn't promise to lock up all the Democrats for aiding and abetting The Enemy. Nobody listened to what he said for five minutes. Just goes to show that people don't really want to govern themselves. They all want a nanny-state. The only thing left to argue about is who gets to run it so we can punish those other guys for being Not Like Us. Those of us in the middle? We're just shit out of luck. We have about as much leverage in this clusterfuck as Switzerland. All we can do is hang on for the ride, and hope the war with Eurasia ends soon. (We have always been at war with Eurasia.)


One of the storms that passed a few weeks ago brought some hail with it. I got a call from my wife on her cell phone telling me that the power was out at home. She wanted me to call the power company to report it. So, the waiting on hold game began, you know what I mean, we have all been there. I had been sitting there, listening to the propaganda about services they provide, for several minutes when she called back to tell me that electrical connection had been reestablished. She then put our thirteen year old on the phone so he could tell me the horrifying story of having to run down six hundred feet of driveway while being pelted with golf ball size hail. His biggest complaint was the pain. I was trying to get out of the office, as it was now time to go, so I just told him that he would be fine. Leaving him feeling slighted, as if I didn’t really care about what he had been through. Little did I know what the kid had really dealt with. I mean come on, a little hail? During the drive home I saw little storm damage, until I got closer in. A few miles from home I was going to stop at the gas station I use, one of the few that doesn’t force pre-pay, but the power was out there. It was then that I began to notice large amounts of debris covering the road. Leaves, Limbs, pinestraw, various bits and pieces of nature were all over the place. When I turned onto the road that we live on it looked like a dirt road running through someone’s back property. It is a mile long dead end road so it doesn’t get the amount of traffic the other roads do. At this point I began to notice that trees were down here and there. There was a tree in a neighbor’s yard that was split, half still standing and half lying very close to their porch. I began to get nervous. When I started down our driveway I saw that the eeriest looking fog I had ever seen had crept in. When I got out of the car I noticed how cool it was. It felt ten degrees cooler here than when I had left the office. I saw that some trees had been knocked down by wind, but luckily none were close to the house. On the walk to the porch I began to notice that there was hail piled everywhere. Ranging in size from penny to baseball size, it was laying up in drift formations against everything. Thus the ‘fog’. I saw several things on the porch had been dented pretty badly. The porch light had been smashed, only bits of the bulb hanging loosely from the socket. When I walked through the door the floor in front of the door was soaked. I saw my thirteen year old sitting on the couch holding a wash cloth full of ice to the back of his head. I asked him if he was going to be ok and he said sure. My four year old began to excitedly tell me about having to hide under a desk at the sitter’s house and my wife was cooking something at the stove. What I wanted to do was run to my son and check his head for wounds, tell him that I was sorry for brushing him off earlier, then gather everyone together for a group hug and moment of silent thankfulness that we were all ok. But that wouldn’t fit the tough redneck who cares attitude I have to display right? So instead I just asked what was for dinner…