Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reasons I Don't Like End of Year Lists

Still Dead

  • They are tedious. Do you really want to relive the entire year as told to you by morning "news" show bimbos?
  • They are often subjective, as in 'The best songs of 2014'. To a fourteen year old girl, Bang Bang, by Ariana Grande is the best song of the year. To me, for all I know, an Ariana Grande is a drink at Starbucks.
  • The rehashing of all the news stories. I'm pretty sure I was awake and I watched the news this past year. You don't have to repeat it all again since the cable news network's have already beat these stories into the ground.
  • The death lists. For some reason Mark loves the death lists. I was watching some show the other day and they started running a 2014 'Remembrance' segment. Mark came running into the room and demanded I go back to the beginning so he could see all of the dead people listed.  The problem is that many of them were unknown to me so I didn't care and those I did recognize I already knew about. But Mark likes those death lists. In fact the death hunk is one of Mark's favorite parts during the Academy Awards Show.
  • The best movies list of 2014 might actually be a good thing though. Since I do not go to movie theaters and I wait until they come out on DVD, the movie list reminds me that I haven't seen some of them and in some cases, haven't even heard of them.
  • Mostly I hate end of year lists because they are simply rubbish that news shows use as filler for the second and third tier newscasters who are filling in for the A list during the holidays. We've already lived through it all. I really don't need to relive some of the horrifying crap that has happened this past year... like the November elections.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chicken Crashers

I've mentioned before my fondness for Popeye's Chicken, so it isn't so strange that on Sunday when Mark asked what we were going to do for dinner I went with the Popeye's. As is my usual custom I sent Mark over to the ghetto alone to pick some up. Not because I have anything against going over there, I just hate driving with Mark. Forty five minutes after leaving on the chicken run, Mark came bursting into the house, his mouth running on overdrive.
"Oh my god, you should have come with me. It was terrifying. I was waiting for our chicken and you could hear this crunching and crashing coming from across the street. Everybody in the place ran over to the front window to see what the hell was happening. It was like in slow motion. An exterminator's truck filled with those tanks of poison gas was slamming into other cars. It jumped the median, plowed through some bushes, and then somebody yelled to get out of the way. I jumped on top of a table. Alan, I didn't even know I could still jump. So anyway, everybody managed to clear away just as the truck slammed into the big glass window. The whole building shook."
Having finished his narration of the incident at Popeye's, Mark took a breath and opened up his bag of chicken.
"I can't eat this shit!" he screamed. "This isn't what I ordered. Goddamnit, I have to go back."
"Mark, if what you just told me is true, they aren't even going to let you near that place much less let you go in there."
"Oh yes they will, and you're coming with me this time."
So Mark and I got in the car, and by taking side streets we were able to get into the Popeye's parking lot. We got out of the car, marched right past the police, right past the EMS people, right past the truck leaking poison gas, over the shattered glass and into Popeye's. The lady behind the counter listened to Mark's complaint, looked into the bag of chicken, and said, "Oh yes, this is that white lady's food. She probably got yours in all that confusion."
So the nice lady behind the counter made the order right, and even threw in an extra chicken thigh for me. Like I said, I love that Popeye's Chicken.

Friday, December 26, 2014

I Refuse

The hours are swiftly ticking down to doomsday, to that moment in time I dread. In just around ten hours I turn sixty five years old. In just around ten hours my life will change. I'll stop being a human being and suddenly I'll be nothing more than a senior citizen. I'll be a target for insurance scams, Medicare hucksters insisting that I need a HurryCane®, Life Alert ®, or one of those little go-kart things to get around my house (Okay, the little go-kart thing isn't so bad). I'll have to watch baseball games with my eyes closed while snoring in my big fluffy chair... Oh, wait, that already happens. What I won't do is start listening to Andy Williams and vacationing in Branson, Missouri. I won't start yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn. I will not confuse the accelerator for the brake pedal after fifty years of knowing exactly where they are located (Brake's on the right.. right?) In fact what I will do is the complete opposite of what is expected of me. I will move out of Florida, and back up to the frozen north country, because I can't stand the smell of mildew, toe jam, and old people who think deodorant isn't necessary because they can't smell themselves. Yes my friends, that is exactly what Florida smells like.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Circle of Life

I got a job at the Jewel Food Store as a bag boy when I turned sixteen. I still remember my first day on the job. It was a Saturday and it was busy. It seemed that the line of shoppers at the checkout aisle would never go away and their whining would never stop.
"Double bag that young man. Make sure you don't put those eggs on the bottom. Don't mix the meat with the soaps. That's not my corn, get that out of there."

"Would you like me to help you to your car ma'am?", I'd cheerily ask every customer, hoping the answer would be yes. It gave me a little break in the drudgery of shoving groceries into paper bags. It didn't bother me that there were large signs all over the parking lot that said, "No Tipping The Bag Boys". I was just happy to get out into the fresh air. On those rare occasions that a customer would try to tip me, I'd tell them that I couldn't possibly take a tip, that It was my pleasure to help them as I slyly palmed the quarter they proffered. There was one lady who drove a gigantic pink automobile. It was generally understood that she was the richest woman in town and she tipped the bag boy every time, one dollar. A bag boy's hourly wage was one dollar and twenty five cents, so when the pink car lady would show up, the bag boys would literally shove each other out of the way trying to bag her groceries.

Twenty five years ago, when I first moved to the town I live in now, I started patronizing the Publix Super Market a few blocks away. It was very much like the old Jewel I used to work in as a kid, right down to the pimply faced teenage boys bagging groceries. Lately, when I go up to the Publix, I've noticed that there are no teenage boys bagging groceries anymore. Not even a teenage girl. All the people bagging are old, some older than me. I'm not sure exactly when it all flipped, when jobs that were traditionally for teenagers became jobs for old folks, but I'm just about to turn sixty five and I'm scared. Is that my future? Is that how I'll be making up for the income that I will lose as of next year? I might have to be a pimply faced grocery bagger again. One thing had better have improved since 1966. The tip had better be bigger or the eggs are going on the bottom.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Didn't See That Coming

I wanted to start painting the fascia boards on the house this week, but I discovered that a couple of them had been attacked by insects. Either termites or carpenter ants, it didn't matter, there was no evidence that the bugs were still there. However, I would have to pry those bad boards off the house and replace them. So I went next door to my neighbor and asked to borrow his big crowbar.
"Are you sure you can do that by yourself Alan?" He asked.
"Oh sure, I don't think it's that hard to do."
"I'm not going to hear you screaming in pain, no ambulances pulling up, or a limb impaled on nail I hope. I know you Alan, be careful."
I was very sure of myself and took it on. First I positioned the ladder under the eaves, then I jammed the big crowbar into the small opening between the eaves and the board that I needed to pry off. After great effort I finally popped it off and it came crashing to the ground. The board and the piece that it had been attached to were bristling with large, sharp nails. I disposed of the board, removed the nails from the backing lumber, and I was done with that part of the job. I had not injured myself in any way. There were no nails through my hand, no debris in my eyes, and there was no ambulance out front loading my broken body into it. I was done and still in one piece, so I casually walked over to the neighbor's house to return his crowbar. I got to his gate, pulled the latch to open it, and walked into his yard, crowbar in hand. Before the gate even closed behind me I could feel pain shooting through my right arm. I looked down to see a large dog chomping down on my hand. It was Star, a dog that I have encountered before with no problems. As blood trickled down my fingers and the dog continued to snarl and snap at me, I did maintain my composure. There was no cursing, no screaming, just a lot of blood and regret.