Twenty-two Bucks, Two Large Pizzas, And My Innocence.

April 29, 2006 at 11:41 AM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 5 Comments
  I guess it’s time for this one. I had been meaning to tell this story since I started the blog. In fact, this story might be the reason I started the blog in the first place. That, and vanity.
  I started at Domino’s about 1986. Through luck or misfortune, in 1987 I was "promoted" from driver to second assistant. Second assistant was a bone they would toss you in the old days when employees could still be duped into believing that management was a desirable place to be. "We don’t think you’re ready to be a first assistant (read: "real assistant manager") because we would like to maintain the illusion that we have very high standards and all of these things that you witness operationally are actually aberations and not the status quo, but if we can squeeze more work out of you, we will, and here’s how."
  So this rank of second assistant was established as a baby-step to real management. It did come with a substantial raise, though. From 3.60 per hour to 3.85. I was more likely (but not guaranteed) to get the hours I wanted, subject, of course, to the preferences of everyone who had been there longer than me. Thank God for turnover: I was moving up the seniority list.
  So, in keeping with my usual writing style, I will preface my story with another story. I had been making 3.45 per hour, and doing a good job. The manager called me into the office about 7:30 on a Saturday night for a quick meeting. He thought I was doing a good job, too, and told me I was getting a raise. Fifteen cents–
  In 1987, at Domino’s, in a driving position where you got tips, fifteen cents was pretty good. At least, they made it sound good, and I bought.
  Later in the evening, around 9 pm, he called me in the office again. This time he closed the door. He said, "I need to ask you to not get high while you’re delivering anymore, okay? We can smell it on you, and we got a call from a customer."
  You know pot makes you paranoid, right? Imagine how busted I felt at that moment, and yet–I was being let off with a warning and a mild scolding. I answered, "I understand. No more. Sorry."
  And I did understand, too. I was going to have to be much, much more careful from now on.. ..

  A few months later, I was a second assistant. None of the prestige of being an actual manager, I was instead a special grunt, a go-to. Need something done that no one else wants to do? Here I am. Deliver a free pizza for no reimbursement? Here. Clean the bathroom? Oh, oh, pick me, pick me. Busy, and need help? Pull me off the road (where I was making money) and let me help inside, because you didn’t schedule or plan correctly, so I can watch all the money go out the door without me. Then piss on my face, apparently I asked for it.
  This was all part of "paying my dues." When I think about how incredibly stupid and naive I was. . . .
  Another thing I got to do was be obligated to come in if they called and needed help. Domino’s Pizza had the 30 minute guarantee at that time, and in fact, instead of 30 or 3 bucks off, we were 30 or free. Time, in a very literal and stress-inducing sense, was money. It was also your lifeblood, your career, and your eventual downfall. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that in 20 years I have seen several *hundred* managers and assistant managers come and go.
  Try this. Start at your house. This works best in a subdivision or suburban area. Drive randomly to four different houses, the last being 2.5 miles from where you started. Doesn’t seem like far, does it?  Pull into the driveway, or just stop, at each one, for 30 seconds.  (And that, by the way, is giving you the benefit of the doubt, saying you can do what I do.  Despite the ridiculous length of some of my essays, I really do know how to be brief.  I can get off the phone with the customer in less than a minute without making them feel rushed.  When I show up at your door, 30 seconds is enough time to make the transaction and make a little bit of small talk, cut it off, and head back to the car.  The idea is to be in control of the transaction and the conversation.  I have been doing the shit for 20 years, I better be good at it.)
  How long did it take you, from start to finish? How about, instead of random houses, houses that you had a address to, and had to find? Do that in 12 minutes. The speed limits, by the way, vary from 25 to 35 miles per hour. Now do it in a neighborhood you’ve never been to.
  I did, on a regular basis. This is how you get to know an area really well. I swear, on more occassions than I can recall, I would pull up to the door of the store. The manager would be waiting outside for me with a stack of hotbags, 3 or 4 of them (In theory, under the rules, two at a time was the max). He would open my door, throw them in, and tell me what the first one was (just the street name) so I would know which direction to turn out of the parking lot, and that was all. I did not have a street map in my car. I just knew. And he would tell me how old they were, too. "First one is 25. 22 and 17." I would make them all before their 30 minutes was up. This is my skill.
  Domino’s had this thing called "HTA": heightened time awareness. They used it in the store, to get the pies made and in the oven as soon as possible. But we had it on the street, too. I knew how long it took to get anywhere, depending on the time of day. Right now I know that it takes a minute forty to get from my house to the end of the subdivision (which seems like forever; we live in the back of the subdivision, secluded.) I know the difference between the two routes to Walmart is .7 of a mile and four minutes. I know it is 8 minutes from when I leave in the morning and drop the kids off at their two different stops to when I get to the highway.
  My whole point in laying this out is to explain how the 30 minute guarantee and the culture around it related to my robbery.

  Monday, December 18th, 1987. Exactly one week before Christmas. It snowed about 2 inches, the first snow of the season. I got a call, can I come in tonight. Crap. Well, okay. I have a personal policy of not turning down any work. Extra hours, extra cash, hopefully tips would be good in the snow, and it should only be through dinner rush, about three hours.
  This is December, so it’s almost dark by the time I get in at 4:30. I’m taking runs, making decent money, making drops like I should. (For the lay people: Drivers (typically) carry less than 20 bucks. After each delivery, drivers drop their excess cash in a lockbox. It’s a habit. Every time.)
  I remember the deliveries. Our supervisor, Scott Wilson, all gung ho and trying to help, was taking a few runs for us also. He was actually "up," in a sense, but he saw the direction they were going and casually sauntered over to the makeline to "help" inside for a few rounds, until a good run came up. 10427 Hallwood, and 2223 Knoll. Knoll would be first, on the way up to Hallwood. I made a drop, grabbed my slips (this was before computers), checked for sodas, and hit the road.
 This particular Domino’s delivery area is shaped like a triangle, point at the bottom, straight line of the interstate across the top. The north-south bisector, hwy 367, also delineated the good area from the bad, dark from light, tips from stiffs. We were the first towns north of the St Louis metropolitan area, which is the rougher part of the area, and the poison seeped north with a generational capillary action that slowly, albeit *not* imperceptibly, affected property values and crime statistics inversely. I passed under the hwy and into the abyss.
  Go ahead and judge me, I know the truth of what I am. I make no apology. I pull up to the first house, and it is dark. No lights on, no porch light, no car in the driveway. My training taught me that, in theory, you don’t go up to a door like this, you go to a payphone and call. But time and experience had worn me down. In just a year, I had dealt with so much of this, that I called it for exactly what I thought it to be, what I had seen so much of before. My exact thought was, "Another dumb fuckin nigger who won’t turn his porch light on."
  I pull the car in the driveway at an angle and turn the high beams on the door. I get out, look around, and I’m up at the door. Knock, wait, knock, wait some more. Knock again, each with increasing volume. Check the address to make sure I’m at the right place. Knock one more time, then turn to leave, shaking my head. They are wasting my time and cutting into my money. I was engaged, and we were doing our own wedding. Every dollar was precious.
  Just as I cross the driveway, a young black man came out from around the side of the house. I was initially startled, but he had is hands in his pocket like he was reaching for cash. He had his head down. He mumbled, "How much is it?"
  Oh, good. I raised the bag to get a look at the price, and as I did, I heard a slight rustle behind me. Before I could turn, I was tackled, low and illegal, into the garage door. Pizza bag went flying, glasses came off my face. I tried to sit up, and got pummelled by several black fists on the top of my head and face. All I could do was cover.
  Voice above me said, "Give me your money!"
  In one quick movement, I had it out of my pocket and over my head. It was grabbed, and I was hit some more, and kicked in the stomach.
  "That ain’t all of it!"
  From under my arms, I said, "Yeah it is!"
 They hit and kicked me again quickly, then took off. I looked up, could hardly see. I heard a voice say, "Not the car! Grab the pizza, grab the pizza!"
  I think I pissed myself.

  I sat there, but not for long. I looked around, found my glasses in the snow. I got up, got in the car. What to do now? I knew a drug dealer around the corner, Rodney lived in this neighborhood. I drove to his house, he let me use the phone, but then asked me to go outside before the cops came. I was so indoctrinated by Domino’s Pizza about what was important, that I called Domino’s first. The manager, Tom, answered the phone.
  I remember the words I spoke exactly: "Tom! This is Bubba. You need to remake Hallwood, I just got robbed on Knoll." Am I a company man, or what? After the initial questioning, I asked about what to do next and what would happen. I called the police, and they came out. I rode in their car to the scene, where tracks in the snow indicated that there had been three of them.
  I then followed them in my car to the police station, made a report, was asked to describe them. I just looked at them. "I didn’t even know how many there were." After that fruitless endeavor, I drove to the nearest hospital to get checked out, on the cop’s recommendation. I had to call Tom again from there so they could talk to him and verify Worker’s compensation information. .. . I waited and waited, and then finally they "saw" me, in the loosest possible sense of the word. They took some X-rays, and then the doctor says, "No concussion. No damage. You’re fine." I was dismissed.
  But I got a look at myself in the mirror. Bloody cut from eyebrow to forehead, black eye, bruised and bloody lip, bruised forehead, bloody nose. Bruised cheek.
. . . .Bruised soul. . . . . .
Did they give me a band aid, or a towel to wipe off with? Not so much as a "kiss my ass," and they turned their back on me. I guess I was free to go.

  I go back to the store, where I report to Tom what happened and clean up in the bathroom. I check out my cash. I had 22 bucks on me, plus the two large pizzas, plus the hot bag. I was reimbursed 20 of the 22, and as an added bonus, not charged for the pizzas or the hotbag. I clock out, also. I got to stay on the clock for the duration of the ordeal, but Tom got to fill out an exemption form so that the the three and half hours I was on the clock at 3.85 an hour, but not actually delivering, didn’t count against his labor goal for the month. In the meantime, he had also called my fiance, against my wishes, but probably a good idea.
  A few weeks later, I got a call from Rodney’s brother, Jerome. Remember Rodney, he let me use the phone?  Jerome called me while I was at work. He said he knew who did it, he knew who robbed me. And he would tell me. But first, he wanted to be properly *compensated.*  After all, he was putting himself out there, putting himself in danger by narcking. He wanted 20 bucks.
  I threw the phone against the wall.


You Mean Like The Back Of A Volkswagon?

April 27, 2006 at 10:21 AM | Posted in Personal | 4 Comments
  Each new day is a startling revelation for me.  Usually, that startling revelation is along the lines of "What day is this?  Is this a weekday?  Shit, I have to pee really bad!"  These revelations and their consequences are what get me out of bed each day. 
  As I evolve as a writer (Wow.  Try to say that without sounding egotistical)–I go back and forth between these two things:  am I writing for myself, or for the reader?  From what I have read about writing, these are the two schools of thought.
  If I am writing for myself, I have no basis, no frame of reference, to determine if what I am writing is any good.  There I am, writing, keeping it all to myself, surrounding myself with my own creative work, not caring what others think–It is allegorically related to masturbation in that sense, and it makes me uncomfortable.
  If I share it with everyone, I open myself up to a lot of things.  Criticism, for one.  And the ever-changing dynamic that is listening to the feedback from critics and changing my writing style.  Where is the defined line between what I want to create, and what I have to do to appease the reader?  Is it growth and compromise, or is it caving?  This, too, makes me uncomfortable.
  I have often said that government funding for the arts is a way to make whores.  If what you create cannot be sold because it cannot be understood by the common man (i.e., the buyer), then maybe you no fucking good.  Misunderstood in your time?  How about stupid?  Perhaps these are broad generalizations, and I hope they don’t make anyone. . . uncomfortable.
  But I have accepted the fact, for the time being, anyway, that what I have created is not salable, at least not currently, or in it’s current form.  This is my lament, my cross to bear, but also my carrot.  Something to work towards, something to strive for.
  I have so much in me–some might say bullshit–that I freely pour out what I have here, in my private journal, for all to read.  These essays, these stories in my life, I try to make them creative and entertaining, but they are also practice for me, for writing.  The actual creative writing that I do, the fiction, I don’t put up on here, because I expect, or at least hope, to try to sell it.
  And when you write to sell, you write, and rewrite, and edit, and get outside opinion and input.  You try to streamline it, perfect it, go over it and over it, making it good.  And also checking the spelling.  All of that work sounds like it would make me tired, or at least very uncomfortable.
  Meanwhile, these essays here, they are stream of consciousness first drafts, with little or no correction.  So when I write about my colonoscopy, and try to use the most delicate phrasing possible, and concentrate more on my emotions than the actual act, I thought people would be more comfortable with that, and yet–
  Not much commenting going on. 
  What I thought would set people off everyone thought was hilarious.  Then I write a seemingly innocent piece, and and get nary a bite in reaction.  But I feel that, personally, my perspective has shifted from where it was originally.  I was concentrating on the "me" in my writing, and now I care more about the reader.
  I don’t know if that is good or bad.  But it is different.  My fiction should be more reader oriented, because they will pay for it, if I’m lucky.  The journal should be more me oriented, because it is about me. 
  So hopefully you will notice a change in my writing, back to my early days, when my art was pure and untainted.  Innocent.  And if you don’t like it, I will fuck you in a very uncomfortable place.  If you know what I mean.

Back Door Man

April 25, 2006 at 10:38 AM | Posted in Journal | 2 Comments
  I lay on the gurney and sighed a nervous sigh.  So.  This is it.  I looked up at the stark white ceiling tiles, the florescent light fixtures.  Outside my own curtain, I could hear the scratching of other curtains opening and closing, the murmuring of nurses and doctors and patients.  I had an IV in my arm.
  I was waiting.  Waiting for my turn.  I had time to reflect that I had been waiting for this for actually two years, although the first year and a half or so didn’t actually count.  By the time I actually got serious about it was right before Christmas.  I had the chance to get a head-start on all of the New Year’s Resolutions that I wouldn’t fulfill.
  But this one, this was mildly important to my future health and well-being, as well as my current state of mind.  As much as I didn’t want to do it, feared the unknown and every horror story associated with it, my still-developing sense of grown-up responsibility pushed me forward even while my feet dug into the pavement.
  I had finally called and made the appointment.  Then I called and changed it.  My wife broke her foot, and I needed someone to drive me to and fro for this, they had explained, and my wife was not able to drive right away.  So I had put it off for a month.  She was still in a cast, but able to limp around.
  In the meantime, I grudgingly did the other things required.  I filled the prescription.  I watched the timetable for when I had to perform certain activities, like stop taking aspirin a week before.
  Saturday night, by midnight, was the last time I could eat solid food.  Sunday morning, I mixed a solution of Gatorade and the powdered medicine.  At the appointed time, I took the pills, then began drinking the solution.
  These memories seemed distant as I mused on the here and now.  My stomach rumbled; it had been a day and a half since I had eaten.  My system, in theory, was entirely cleaned out.  I had spent the previous afternoon alternately sitting on the bed drinking the solution, and sitting on the toilet.
The medicine had not even been that bad.  I had heard that it was the worst part of it.  Mixed with Gatorade and water, and chilled, it was.  .. drinkable.  By evening I was done.  And hungry.  My daughter asked me what was for dinner.  I said, "Whatever you want to make," and went in the bedroom and closed the door.  Even the smell of potato chips was intoxicating.
  But I held out, I was a good soldier.  In the morning, I even made her lunch and got them off to school, then came back, got the wife, and drove in.
  But that’s not all.
  I was in the room, behind a curtain, on a gurney.  My wife was in the waiting room, waiting for me to take me home when I was done.  Broken foot, in a walker, prepared to try to help me–warned that I might be groggy–into the truck.  She’s in a cast and using a walker.
  And she has our recently-turned-four-and-out-of-control grandson with her.  This had the potential for real comedy.  The child is typical of any four-year old, meaning that a psychiatrist would want to diagnose him with ADHD and drug him rather than deal with him.
  (–sorry, I’m dragging my soapbox out.  While Tom Cruise is a complete nut-bag, he is right about a great deal of psychiatry.  They want to drug our children, and keep them drugged, and change society in that way.  Over 80% of children on Ritalin or other psychotropic meds shouldn’t be.  There are some kids with legitimate problems that need to be addressed.  But most of it is bright, inquisitive kids who want to learn and explore who have parents who are incapable of parenting.
  (A good friend of mine who is a special ed teacher had a class where some speakers came.  A psychiatrist and a psychologist.  A fist-fight almost broke out.  The psychologist accused the doctor of drugging up the kids.  He plead guilty, but said this:  "I have seen the kids, I have seen the parents.  The parents are the cause of it.  If I could drug the parents I would.  But I can’t.  So I drug the kids to get them through their childhood, and then I can fix them later."
  (So if you have a kid on Ritalin, I want you to know I am not accusing you of being a bad parent.  I am asking you to evaluate the need and get a second opinion.  Please.  For their sake.)
  So the kid is not bouncing off the walls, but he is running around a little, talking, looking at things, asking questions.  This is normal behavior in a toddler, wouldn’t you think?  But he is a good boy, the youngest of my grandchildren, and my favorite right now because he’s not talking too much.  This will all change as he gets older.  He listens to my wife, and he helps her (as much as a child can.)  She brought a few toys for him, and some paper and crayons.  I was told it could be a couple of hours, total.  For a child with his whole life ahead of him, that is an eternity.  For me, a couple of hours is nothing.  For my wife watching him, a couple of hours in a waiting room with him is two weeks in a timeshare in hell.  Time is subjective.
  I was in relative comfort, for now.  But soon… 
  I filled out forms, I answered more questions than I asked, then waited.  Then went in the room, and waited.  Then took off my clothes and put on the stylish backless skirt, and waited.  And now I was being rolled into the THE ROOM.  THE ROOM is different from the room.  The room is where I wait.  THE ROOM is what I had been waiting for.
  I rolled in, and the doctor greeted me, and looked at the chart where all of my information had been, and asked me a question.  "Why are you having this test?"
  I paused.  I pondered.  I thought.  I weighed and measured.  Why?  Why were they asking me yet again?  this was the fourth time in an hour I had been asked this question.  The answer had been written down and read by each person who asked it, before they asked.  And yet, again, they ask.  What manner of psychological torture was this?  Or what interrogation technique?  What new information did they hope to trick me into divulging?
  Warily, I answered.  "Family history."
  He nodded, my answered matched the secret written answer.  I was told to turn on my side, and while a hot chick was talking to me, her breasts near my face, she secretly slipped a Mickey Finn into my IV.  I was about to ask her to show me her breasts, and suddenly I was out. 
  I was dreaming.
  I dreamt about our yard.  The builder had just finished it, a year and a half after the fact, and seeded and strawed it.  I dreamt that we now had grass growing.
  Pretty mundane thing to dream about.  I mean, in the dream, I did have an aquarium in the garage with a whale in it, and I could fly, and I had sex with a supermodel, but other than that, yeah, pretty normal.
  Soon, I felt I was waking.  I felt a. . . something, in my butt, pulling out of my butt, and a towel wiping my butt.  All-in-all, much like a bad date.
  I was about to say something, let them know I was waking and shouldn’t feel this, so I opened one eye.
  The hot chick was there.  She smiled.  "There you are!  All done now."
  I may have answered.  Hard to flirt with a woman after she has seen a tube shoved up my ass, but I was going to try.  They threw the sheet over my butt and wheeled me out.

No Post Today

April 21, 2006 at 11:00 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
I just noticed that after telling everyone that I couldnt post as often, or as much right now because of school, that I did just post everyday for the last five days, if not more.  So I’m not going to post today. I need a break.  I–oh, wait.  Shit.
Never mind.

What the–?

April 20, 2006 at 8:23 AM | Posted in Notes on Society | 8 Comments
Yeah, notes on society, all right.
How can MY blog show up as a top three result for 86 Pontiac Cutlass Sierra?  I mean, yes, I mentioned in the drivel about my cars, but number 3?  Christ.  And I was also numbered 3 or 4 in "oral sex," which, to be honest, is probably not a bad place to be.
Nevertheless. . . I hope this is all time-related, maybe, and just because it was new. . .
I’m not sure how popular I really am, but I don’t think I’m that popular.
If I am, somebody better start sending me money or groupies.

Highway to Heck, Part B

April 19, 2006 at 3:11 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 2 Comments
I’m giving it a guy’s name because he is a guy, because I expect him to:
a.   not get pissed and leave me stranded for some unknown breach of protocol
2.   not give me the silent treatment and not tell me why
d.   not ask me what I’m thinking
E.   not ask me to share my feelings
IV. not demand that I pull over and ask to be let out, and then when I do, get into this whole big discussion about respecting her as a person, blah blah blah.
Much like A Boy and His Dog, or any buddy-cop movie, or the Lone Ranger and Tonto,  I expect good-natured ribbing, occasional banter, and one of us always gets the girl (we’ll take turns at that.)
That’s why I didn’t call it Highway to Hell.

Highway to Heck

April 18, 2006 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 4 Comments
  I love my new little car.  I wonder if I ought to name it.  It’s sporty, but not so cute.  If it was cute, I might have name it Aurora. . .
  But he is ugly, and scarred, and a little terror on the road.  Terror?  I like the name "Aziz."  I’m trying to be multicultural here.  I think I will go with a real foreign sounding name.  After all, the car is Japanese.  I believe I shall name him. . . . Nigel.
  So now I have five vehicles.  Five.  Four of them are running, and none are up on blocks, none are in the grass.  It’s the small victories.
  And the funny thing is, we have only two drivers in the house.  One right now, in fact, because with my wife’s broken foot, she can’t exactly maneuver behind the wheel.  My son should have his license, but doesn’t yet.  He’s a good driver, but has flunked his test twice.  I think he gets nervous.  But once school is out for the summer, we will take care of it.  One of the cars is his, the Grand Am, which is running but not licensed yet.  I have to take care of that this month.  I just didnt want to have to deal with the insurance yet.  And once he is driving, I might as well sign my paychecks over to State Farm.
  The one car that doesn’t run is the Grand Caravan.  Let’s see, how long have we had that?  What year did my daughter get married (the last time)?  1998 or 1999.  So it’s been paid off for a few years.  Plus, it took some hail damage several years ago, which we got an insurance check for.  The value was actually close to what it was worth at the time, and we just took the money.  The hail dings eventually worked their way out by hteirselves, almost all of them.  So the van is either free or worthless, depending on how you look at it.
  The van has a broken axle.  Last year, about this time, when I hit a deer, the van was the extra car.  I drove it for a few weeks while the truck was getting fixed.  It has a bigger engine and more power, and is quicker, too.  If it wasn’t a damn big-ass van it would be fun to drive.  The day I pick up the truck, and then have someone take me back and get the van, the van breaks down one block from our house.  I pushed it home (by hand) and put it in the driveway.  It’s been there for a year.
  Maybe I should do something about that. . . .
  Ny wife’s car is the Grand Prix.  I don’t know, she likes it.  I think it’s a dog.  It seems terminal to me.  150 thousand miles, and the main seal leaks oil.  This is not a cheap and easy fix.  My older son, the mechanic, has assured me that it will not get any worse, but I fear it blowing all the way.  It also has a lot of electrical issues, which I have worked on with limited success.
  And then there is my truck.  ’01 Ranger.  124k miles.  I like it, I like it alot.  This truck replaced another truck.  When I get rid of this one, I’m going to replace it with a bigger one.  There was a song:
 I love my truck
 It’s right outside
 Don’t have much love
 But I sure got a ride
  Few non-living things mean as much to a man as a truck.  Few living things, too.  A truck is more than a vehicle, and more than a phallic symbol.  It is a tool, a companion, a guide.  A way of life.  A spiritual essence that- – — 
  Okay, maybe I’m laying it on pretty thick.  A truck is many things to many people. 
  And yet–and yet I seemingly have betrayed the trust and bond I have with my truck by  buying this little car.  Or have I?
  I have a few logical reasons for buying the car.  Gas is going higher and higher.  I tried to dig my own oil well in the back yard, but I only got, like 8 feet deep, couldn’t find any oil, and when my wife finds that hole .. . . she’s either going to be pissed at me or scared of me, because it is suspiciously shaped like a grave.
  And why let a perfectly good grave go to waste. . ?
  Where the hell was I?  Oh, digging a grave.  I mean, mileage.  I did a little math for ya, and here it is:
20 miles per gallon. 600 miles is 30 gallons. 30 * 2.50 = 75 bucks.
 Hmmn.  30 gallons is 2 tankfuls, with a 16 gallon tank.  Seems like I need to put more in than that.  20 highway, less in town, and so some of what I get is in town?  No, because I generall fill the tank with 15 gallons right at 300 miles.  So maybe I’m driving more?  But lets go with this figure, for comparison.
36 miles per gallon.  600 miles is 16.66 gallons.  17 * 2.50 = 42.5 bucks.
So, I’m saving 32.50 a week, 130 bucks a month, off the top.  And I may be driving more miles than that, definitely not less.  Gas is probably going up, definitely not going to go down much if it does.  Actually, gas right now where I am is 2.69.  That makes the figure of savings per week 35, not 32.  Every little bit. . . .
  Not only that, having the car to put miles on will make the truck last longer, and, give us an extra vehicle if one breaks down.  Or when. 
  Plus, it is just plain fun to drive.  It is a tiny, tiny car.  I don’t have much trouble getting in and out. But it ain’t that easy.  Actually its not too bad, its just not the truck, where the seat is at butt-height and I just slide in and out.  In this car, the seat is about a foot off the ground.  It’s really funny to see my son get out and slide onto the ground.  I have become surprisingly nimble, like a Mercury astronaut.  Luckily there are lots of windows and a sunroof, so I don’t get claustrophobic.
Aside from the fact that it looks like it has been rode hard and put away wet (it has 175,000 miles on it) it is pretty sound, mechanically.  No oil or antifreeze leak anywhere.  It does make a lot of noise on the highway, the guy said it’s a bad bearing, back right.  Best bet is to go to the junkyard and get the entire spindle, that way I can do it myself and not have a machine shop press in the bearing.  We shall see.
  It’s aquamarine, with a white left front fender.  Has some other body damage, back left.  If I get a part from the junk yard to replace it, I want a different color, like red.  So that it all matches.  I have a sense of style, after all.
  I have this thing that I’ve done a few times.  For those of you who are new, or in denial, or have forgotten, I am reminding you now that yes, I am a dick.  The first time I did it, I just thought of it on the spot, and went with it.  This young girl we had working for us, came into work, into the restaurant a little wet.  She asks me, "Are your windows up, ’cause it just started raining?"  With that, it just started raining harder and thundered.
  I said, "Oh, shit!" and grabbed my keys right there on a side table, toss them to her.  "Quick!  Can you go close my sunroof for me?"  She turns and runs outside to my little truck.
  I don’t have a sunroof.
  She was soaked when she came back in.  Hair stringy.  Makeup running.  Is that a smile?  No, that is most decidedly not a smile.  She looked like second place in a cum-shot contest.
  I have done it three times since then, but none was funnier than the first.  It requires the unique combination of someone knowing what I drive, but not knowing I don’t have a sunroof, plus the added fixture of me being in a position where it is more practical for them to go than me.  Plus, the position of trust which I wantonly betray.
  But my whole point is, the new car has a sunroof.  This is so much funnier if I don’t have one.
  But, yeah, I was really impressed with the mileage.  the first tankful, I got 32 out of, and this last one I got 36.  It does have a lot of miles on it, but honestly, for what I paid, I have nothing to lose.  I could fix it up, do some high-performance mods to the engine, get a new exhaust, get some nice tires on it, fix the body and paint it.
  Or I could just drive the piss out of it.  Think I’m gonna go with "B." 

The Real Reason

April 17, 2006 at 8:30 PM | Posted in Personal | 7 Comments

I’ve had it with the cute and cuddly. I’ve been hanging on to this essay for over six months, wondering when, wondering if, I should post it. Much like Daffy Duck when he blew himself up, I can only do this once. The comments I’ve gotten recently where everyone praises how sweet and sensitive I am–that’s the last straw. Prepare to have your delicate sensibilites bruises slightly.
"I’ve had all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!"  

   So the wife says, like she has on numerous occasions: "you need to be more romantic." Swell. What does that mean? If I ask her what it is or what it means or what the hell should I do, she says, "If I have to tell you, then it’s not romantic; you have to figure it out." Great. Just what I need, another fucking mystery to solve. Who am I, Scooby-fucking-Doo?
   So if I bring home flowers, that’s part of it. That’s about all I know at this point. Do we go out, just the two of us? Is that romantic? Then what? Expensive, does it have to be? At home, is it music and candlelight? Whispering sweet nothings? What the hell is romance and romantic?
   The fact that it is a complete mystery to me means that "to be romantic" is the complete opposite of how it is in a man’s nature to be. In other words, to them, it’s “I love you, but I want you to act like you have split personality, and behave completely differently from how you normally behave.” Basically, to act like a woman.
   Why on earth should I?
   Well, you want to get laid, don’t you?
   That is a valid point.
   My whole point is, if a woman wants to be treated like that, she needs another woman to do it.
   She needs—a lesbian.
   No, actually, a man needs a lesbian, to teach him how to treat a woman in that very unreachable "romantic" way. In fact, if men could learn this, there might be fewer lesbians.
   Because I have a theory about why gay men are gay and why lesbians are lesbians. I am not going to get into the whole argument about born that way or made; I am neither a scientists nor a philosopher. Well, maybe I am a philosopher.
   But according to my theory, why people are gay, in general, comes down to oral sex. Specifically, sucking dick. Men like to have their dick sucked. Men love it. Most have an unnatural preoccupation with it. At least I do. Just the hope that I could be on the receiving end is enough to make me harder than Chinese algebra. Few things in this world get my very specific attention like a woman’s lips, full, red, slightly pouty, partially open, a hint of warm, red tongue . . . . . give me a moment. . .. .
   And that is why I understand the allure. Some men love to have their dick sucked so much, that they are willing to do anything to get it, even–and here is the demarcation point–suck dick themselves.
   Now, I like oral sex. I like it a lot. I don’t quite like it that much, although there have been times when I wished I were more flexible, to reach it myself.
  I’m not really sure if I could be gay, or try it, or maybe be bisexual. I . . .just.. . I don’t know. While the thought of two women together is sensual and sexy and the plot of 90% of the porn that doesn’t involve animals, the thought of two guys is just kinda gross. Maybe cause I am one? There aren’t a lot of guys out there that would do it for me, not really.
. .. . Okay. There is one. Morrissey. The singer. Yeah. He is supposed to be gay, so that’s half of it. He has a beautiful voice, and he looks pretty good. I don’t believe I shall delve further into the attraction.  Plus, if you are familiar with his songwriting, he obviously has a lot of emotional baggage. That is something I look forward to in all of the women I’ve ever been with, so why should it be different with a man?
   But that may not be what it is with most guys. Not some “attraction” to men, but just a common “knowing,” like a secret club, that if you are on the same wavelength as another guy, you know that if you giveth, you too shall receiveth—cause, let’s face it, guys are easy. And we will stick our dick into just about anything if it holds still long enough.

  And that goes a long way towards explaining why some women are lesbians.

"I swear, if he sticks that damn thing in my face one more time–I’m going to go lesbo."

Night Of The Living Walmart II: Revenge of Wally World

April 16, 2006 at 1:09 AM | Posted in Humor Me | 2 Comments
April 15th.
    Another day, another innocuous trip to Walmart.
    Or so it seemed.
    The wife wanted to go this day.  She had been shut in the house for the last
three weeks, except for a precarious outing to a wedding reception, and the
other day on her follow up visit to the orthopedic surgeon.  But Easter is tomorrow, and she had stuff in layaway—the
poor man’s credit card—that had to come out for our daughter.  Okay, she’s a big girl. Don’t have crutches, doc
recommended a walker instead.  And we
have her brother’s electric cart thingy, too.
  That’s fine for in
the house, not so good for going places. 
Can’t fit the fucker anywhere to take it with us.  But we take the walker, and we know, we know, that Walmart has these electric
carts for disabled shoppers and disaffected youth. 

  So I pull the truck
into the yard next to the front porch, and she makes it out and gets in.  We get to Walmart, and I pull up near the
door and go in, and get a cart.  Thought
I was getting a cart.  It wouldn’t
go.  The old woman at the door,
ostentatiously deemed “the Greeter,” explained that you sometimes have to
jiggle the wire on this one—there!  Okay,
go ahead.
  But wait.  Where are you going with it?  I show her where I am parked.  She thought that was too far away from the
front of the store, where she could keep an eye on me.  I guess she thought if I got too far away, I
would ditch my wife and truck and just escape into the wild countryside on this
ridiculous cart.
  Occasionally that
thought crosses my mind, and now I wonder if I missed a golden opportunity.. .
  I get the cart to my
wife and she gets on it.  It won’t go
again.  I dick with it for several
minutes, and it goes.  She goes in, I go
park the truck and catch up to her.  It
wasn’t hard, because she made it to the inside of the store, near the first set
of aisles, and there it stopped again, and stayed stopped.  She was stranded.  I make several trips to and fro.  I go ask the ancient woman if there is
another cart, she says no, not till someone brings one back.  Did you jiggle the wires?
  I go and check and
walk around, and I am on the exit side of the registers, and there is an ATM
machine, and a woman on a cart.  I ask
her, if she is just arriving or leaving, explain my situation.  She says, oh, I am about to leave.  Not wanting to invade her privacy at the cash
machine, I said, okay, I’ll wait over there. 
I go and tell my wife, and then walk back to the appointed exit.  As I stand and wait, the woman on the cart
finishes her business at the cash machine, starts up, hangs a u-turn, and bugs
out on me!
  I stand and watch,
and then, almost curiously, I start to follow. 
Was she paranoid because I confronted her at the ATM?  I try to follow, but the crowd is thick—this is
Saturday afternoon at the only Walmart In the entire fucking county.  People dress up to come here like they are
going to the goddamn Grand Ol’ Opry.  She
makes a turn somewhere, and I lose her. 
She fucking ditched me!  The bitch
ditched me!
  I go back to my wife
to report in, she still can’t get it to go. 
I go to customer service and get some help.  And by the way, have you ever seen a manager
at Walmart?  I’m beginning to wonder if
they exist.  It’s a sweet gig if you can
get it.  So far as I know, they never
talk to a customer.  Ever.  But a nice young woman comes to help.  She goes and gets a wheelchair, which is too
narrow in the ass for her.  (Her
words.)  And my relief, because then I would
have had to push her around the store.
 The old woman is gone from greeting, now there
is an old man there.  Maybe they use them
up . .
  Anyway, the girl
helping us asks the guy to save her the next cart.  He says he already has some old fucker on the
bench waiting for one.  Maybe not in so
many words, but that’s what he meant, and I looked at the guy, and he was a
sour looking fucker if there ever was one. 
Then we hit paydirt.  Right by the
checkout we were at, some one was in line in one of the carts.  She went up and talked to them, asking if she
could get it when they were done, and they said, sure, no problem, and the guy just stood up out of it with no
What the fuck?  Was he just on a fucking joyride?  Christ in sidecar.  But we had a cart.  So we made the switch, and got her in there,
and I see the old sourpuss fucker on the bench waiting for one giving us dirty
looks.  If we hadn’t intercepted, that
would have been his.
  Well, too fucking
bad, for a couple of reasons.  We were
there first, because we had a (defective) cart, so we are in front of him.  I have to go to work later today, and I am
running out of time, while he is almost certainly retired, with completely unlimited
time on his hands.  Until he, you know,
   In which case he
wouldn’t need the cart anyway.

The Little Things

April 14, 2006 at 12:57 PM | Posted in Personal | 8 Comments
April 14
Good Friday
And I must say
It was a very Good day
I didnt even have
to use my A-K
  It’s the little things in life that make me happy.  I generally have low expectations.  I guess it’s because I believe in balance in the universe.  If I fix something in the house, something on a car will break.  I’m not paranoid; the universe is just like this.  God has a twisted sense of humor.  In fact, if someone started a church based on that divine truth, it would be a hot seller.
  But back to me.  There are big things I want.  I want to be a published author.  (working on that one.)  Want to be a published cartoonist.  (ditto.)  Want to be an astronaut.  (back burner on that one.)  Then there are things like, I want a pool table.  I want to build a deck onto the house.  More realistic, but still, seemingly big and out of reach right now.
  But some of the small things that give me pleasure, the things that make me personally fulfilled, or at least–as long as I have these few simple things, I don’t have to kill anyone?  I guess that is the right category.
  I like to read before I go to bed.  It’s practically an addiction, worse than the internet.  No matter what I have already been doing, how tired I am, how late it is, I need a few minutes, at least, and usually half an hour, with a book.  It’s a very personal thing.  Often it’s a book I’ve read before.  It’s easier than starting a new one, sometimes.  I don’t need that kind of stress late at night.
  I like to have a little snack before bed, too.  Nothing big,really, but something that goes good with milk.  A bagel, some cookies.  Pop tarts.  Buttered toast.  If I plan things right, I can have this while I’m reading, and I am much happier.
  I enjoy for to drive very much.  I got a lot of miles on me, many professional, most with a purpose, but a decent percentage of just–miles.  For pleasure.  When you’re young, you just go cruising, and listen to music.  I don’t get a lot of cruise time, but I make the driving I do cruise time.
  I really like my new little car, this Mazda MX-3 that I bought for 300 dollars.  Not since my Celica, fifteen years ago, have I had a car that was this fun.  It’s like a go cart.  It’s so tiny, sits low to the ground, and it just gets up and goes.  I think it has faster acceleration than my truck, which has a V-6 and an automatic.  Listening to music while I drive is a pleasure I am starting to get back.  I like it very much.  I like music very much, a wide variety of things.  That is a topic for another day.
  I enjoy this blog very much.  When I first got into it, it was all for me, just to write things down.  I never knew or expected to find people, find friends, and have them be a part of my life.  How strange is that?  To care so much about people whom you have never met?  In person, I mean.  Although with many of you, I feel like we have met.  It’s a . . . comfortable thing, and yet, something new and exciting always around the corner.
  Along with that, or because of it (the blog), I found that I enjoy writing.  I have wanted to be a writer, I knew I could do it, but it always felt like a chore, like homework.  Or milking cows, except without all of the awkward xenophiliac-related sexual tension.  Now, because of the daily practice this blog has given me, and the outlet as well, has allowed me to spread out to other things as well.  I am making my dream to be a writer come true.  I have about 50 stories, novels, that I want to write.  I have about half a dozen of them started.  Two or three of them I am actively working on, or at least thinking about.
  I mean, published author–that is a kettle of fish of another color entirely.  But just the fact that I am writing, I can call myself a writer.  You don’t have to be published to call yourself a writer.  This doesn’t apply to every profession.  You have to have rolled in order to be a bowler, for instance.  Patti (uphoto2) hasn’t helped, telling me I should get paid for what I write.  My head already won’t fit in my car unless the sunroof is open because it is so big, and then she makes it swell even more.
  Among other little things. .  .when I spend time with my children.  Individually.  When they are together, it is a neverending battleground of loudness.  Alone, each one of them is smart, creative, and interesting.  My daughter is developing into an artistic talent.  She draws, she sculpts, she creates crafts.  These things she makes have, over this last year, developed beyond her nine years.
  We constantly have a pile of paper and crap at the dining room table constantly, where she is working on various projects.
  I bonded with my son last summer when the rest of the family went on vacation.  He is a home-body, oddly enough for a 17 year old boy.  I was too, I recall.  I had few friends, but I hung out with them, but I also spent alot of time at home.  He is smart and creative in alot of ways too.  They both get really good grades, and, like Miranda, Mitchell makes and creates and designs lots and lots of things.  I get to see these things, they show me and it’s like show and tell, and I remember–
  I remember showing my dad stuff I made, when I was young, and the smile on his face.  Just beaming with pride and joy, over the simple pleasure of watching his child create.
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