Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What’s in a name?

 I am notorious for never carrying cash. So I pay for everything with a credit card or debt card. After some time of using my credit card I began to realize that no one ever checks to see if what you sign on the receipt is the same as what’s on the card. Most of the time they never even ask to see an ID. So I have had cards that were not signed on back or I have written “Please ask for ID” on the back and nothing. Sometimes they will flip it over but even when they do they are just going through the motions.

What got me started on this whole signature thing is that I used to have a friend named Kevin whose legal signature is a capital K with three circles around it. It was on his drivers license and everything. One day we were at lunch and he signed the receipt the way he always does and the waitress was giving him a hard time about it. He made the comment later that they usually don’t even look. So I decided to test this.

I started by writing my name really sloppy, this got no response. Then I signed my name where it looked like a heart monitor and they still took it. Then I decided to have some fun. I have pretty good handwriting so the next time I signed a credit card I signed it “Richard Roundtree”. That’s right “Shaft” signed for my gas that day. Not even a second glance. And I don’t know what I felt if it was shock or surprise or disgust or what but I had an emotion and I thought surely this didn’t just happen. So I went to another store and went in to buy a drink, this time I signed the slip “Richard Nixon”, nothing. So I thought maybe I’ll try this one more time. The next time I used my card I signed very clearly “Richard Pryor” thinking that surely the name would jump out but I was wrong again.

So I was thinking that maybe I am signing a little too close to my name and thought maybe I need the signature to be a little more different than my name. So the next time I signed a credit card receipt I signed it “Mama Cass”, that’s right a very large female singer who died in the 70’s bought some fertilizer at the Lowes by my house. And she bought it without question.

Now the a-hole in me comes out and I decide to start signing all kinds of things. I signed one “Tommy Lee” and got not even as much as a glace. Then “Dale Ernhardt” bought dinner for my family one night. Vicente Fox, that’s right the former president of Mexico, bought me lunch one day. As did John Holmes (why not right?), Luke Skywalker, Muammar Gaddafi, Napoleon Bonaparte (yes, the French leader who died in the 1800s) and J. G. Wentworth.

Matter of fact, Harry Potter picked up a prescription for me at a local drug store. That’s right a fictional character picked up my drugs. You would think that would set off some red flags with the DEA or something.

One time I signed “Billie Jean King” when I bought a baseball cap. Yes, apparently I am a female tennis player too!

The list goes on and on. Being in Texas I thought that when I signed “Troy Aikman” that I might get a look, nope. Then I started to mold my signatures to someone I thought the people behind the register would know. There was a very country looking woman checking me out at the mall one day and never noticed that I signed my name “Hank Williams Jr”.

Then I just said the hell with it and went nuts. First it was “Peter Paul and Mary”, yes all three of them. Then “Peter Pan” didn’t even get a chuckle. And then “Ozzy Osbourne”, “Babe Ruth”, “Lightning McQuenn” (from the movie Cars), “The Man from Uncle”, “That Guy” and even “Harley Davidson” got no response. From there I signed my name as “Roscoe P. Coletrane”, “Santa Clause”, “Jumping Jack Flash” and “James Bond”. I was sure that signing “Michael Jordan” would get a raised eyebrow at the least but it didn’t. Who know that I could be confused for a 6’6” African American man?

I continued with “Hulk Hogan”, “Philmore Butts”, “George Washington”, “Buzz Lightyear”, “Mr. T.”, “Tiger Woods”, “Rocky Balboa”, “Edgar Allan Poe”, “Uncle Fester”, “Count Chocula”, “Humpy Hump”, “Humpty Dumpty”, “Axl Rose”, “Mr. Brownstone”, “Eddie Van Halen”, “Darth Vader”, “Jason Bourne”, “Felix the Cat”, “Monty Python”, “Monty Hall”, “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Bill Gates”, “Papa Roach”, “Papa John”, “Flava Flav”, “Elvis Presley”, “Michael Myers”, “Jason Voorhees” and just to change it up a little bit “Fred E. Krueger”. And nobody said a damn word.

I even signed “Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor”. The freaking Queen of England didn’t even get a second look.

But today had to be the worst, today I picked up some lunch and signed the receipt “Jesus Christ”. Has to be the most recognized name in the world and the guy never even looked up to see what I looked like.

I think next time I am just going to take off my shoe and sign with my foot.

Don’t get dead.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Things that you can kiss good-bye when you have children

Recently a few other guys around here and I have had children. For some of us (me) it is not a first child. And since it’s not a first child I thought that I would share a few things with other new and new again dads that they will need to know.

Your life has changed and as far as I can see it will never be the same again. As I said before this isn’t our first child but we had just pushed some of these memories out of our brains just in time for them to come flying back.

Remember when you used to just pick up and go somewhere? Oh well, that wont be happening again. Nope, even a trip to the drug store now requires an event coordinator and if you think you are going to go on a long trip on a whim you are sadly mistaken.

Speaking of travel, every trip you make now requires luggage. Going to see your parents? Pack a bag. Going out to eat? Pack a bag. Going to the mall? Pack a bag. Going to get gas? Pack a bag. And this bag isn’t for you, well indirectly it is. You now need a bag that rivals what paramedics carry to a crash scene. This bag, the diaper bag, will have everything from diapers, creams, pastes, changes (plural) of clothes, back up pacifiers, blankets, bottles, first aid kids, medicines, anti-gas medicine, teething aids, toys, socks, garbage bags and on and on and freaking on.

Something else that just hauled ass out of your life is quiet. Quiet just took a one way trip to as far away from where you are as possible. And when you think it is back it does a 180 with absolutely no notice. If you are reading this and even thinking about starting a family I suggest that you go home tonight, turn off everything that makes a sound and anything that emits light and just sit in the dark and quiet. After you have done that, cherish it because you will NEVER have that experience again.

Are you one of those people who like to walk around in your house barefooted or in socks? That’s a damn shame. That’s gone too. Kids love to drop stuff but could care less about picking up anything. I hate the man who invented Legos, just sayin. Do you have any idea what it feels like to step on/kick a baby toy? Trust me, it’s not gellin like a Dr. Scholes shoe insert. And if it’s not something hard, it’s something liquid in some form. I quit trying to guess what I stepped in because the answer usually gave me the quivers.

Remember when you used to be able to walk around your house at night with the lights off? It’s just a distant memory now. If you children are like mine they like to booby-trap every room in the house. It’s like they can see where the carpet is wearing down and they strategically place things there when I go to bed. I have no idea if they can tell exactly where I put my feet or if they are just playing the odds but they are good.

Have a rough week and think you are going to sleep in a little on Saturday? You would be wrong. You are going to be damn lucky to sleep at night, hell you are going to be lucky to sleep at all.

Do you have a favorite TV show or a fan of watching movies on TV? You better go buy a TiVo then or you won’t be watching them. At least not with out many, many, many interruptions you won’t. I have to TiVo the news if I want to see it.

After about six weeks or so the washing machine won’t stop running either. I have no idea how they get something on everything that you put on them but they do. Oh and one word of advice, if you aren’t absolutely positive that something is clean, wash it. You know what, even if you are sure it’s clean, wash it anyway.

Try as you might, even with all of the washing that you are going to do but staying healthy just isn’t in the plans any more either. You kid will get every cold, stomach bug, infection that is out there. And since they are kind and giving little soles, you will get it too!

Along the lines of being a 24 hour laundry mat and getting to know your local medical staff very closely you might as well take what savings you have now, make paper airplanes with it, open a window and throw them right out of it. At least that way you get to have some fun with it.

If those bills weren’t enough, if you happen to have a coupe car or single cab truck, I hope you aren’t emotionally attached to it. You should probably start calling it the trade-in now.

Years ago it was my Friday ritual to cook out when I got home from work. Nothing felt as good as drinking a beer while grilling a steak as the potatoes are baking in the over. Now you are going to have to crack open a side of strained peas or vegetable medley with that steak and in a couple of years it will be Spaghetti-Os. If you think you are going to cook one meal for everyone you are the supreme optimist.

But the most important thing that you can send a “Thinking about you” card to is privacy. Once they get mobile they WILL be everywhere. Remember those nights of untamed passion that lasted for hours? I sort of remember them too, distantly. Man you will be lucky to get a quicky while making absolutely no noise at all ,in complete darkness because the sound of your child's voice crying “MOMMY!!!” outside the bedroom door is the ultimate mood killer. I swear they have a sixth sense. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I have not had a shower without an audience in four years. Our bathroom door doesn’t lock and no matter what time I try to get a shower when I get in I am alone but at some point during the shower my bathroom got transferred into a toddler art museum. I swear I am not trying to scar them but I got to get a shower.

I know that there are others that I am forgetting but I think the kids are asleep so I am going to…. never mind.

Don’t get dead

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

This place has atmosphere like a mofo!

Over the weekend I was making some fried rice and as I am standing in the kitchen listening to the oil in the wok sizzle and cutting up some food I was reminded of something.

Years back I lived in the Washington D.C. area. One day my roommate and I where going to a local 7-11 store to pick up some frosty cool beverages to toast a Friday night with. This particular 7-11 was in one of those strip centers and right next to it was a Chinese food restaurant named “The Myoung Dong CafĂ©”, I shit you not. Regardless of how it is spelled, to me, that reads my young dong. So as we are getting out of the car to go into the 7-11 the doors of the restaurant come flying open and two women literally come rolling out of the doors each with a handful of the others hair. It looked like something out of a movie, it was just too perfect. So of course we stopped to watch. After bitchslap-o-paloosa was over my roommate and I decided that we had to check this place out sometime. Come on, who could pass up something like that!

A couple of weeks or so later we went in on a Saturday to have lunch and after we got seated we started making small talk with the hostess. During which we mentioned the fight we saw. To make a long story a bit shorter it turns out that fights on the weekends at this place are fairly common. Talk about great advertising! Food and entertainment at any given moment, hell yeah we told our friends about this place. But anyway, back to the story. So while talking with the hostess she tells us that it is a family owned, run and staffed place which sometimes is catalyst for some of the fights and so on, ex-girlfriends/boyfriends and so on come up to make a scene. She continues and points out her relatives and tells us that only a couple of people, mainly busboys where not family. So her mom and dad run the register, her cousins and an older brother are the cooks (who you could see through these big windows in the kitchen), brothers and sisters and an aunt or uncle or two are the other wait staff and so on.

A short while later our waiter brings us our menus, takes our drink orders and pours us some hot tea. The roommate and I start to shoot the breeze and check out the place. There was a bar in the back, the cooks are chopping up meat and people are coming and going and so on. All of which sort of faded into the back ground as we began to look at our menus. But I do recall the fait sound of the cooks cutting up meat in the back ground, it sounded like the drum line for Guns N Roses’ “Paradise City”. You could hear it, boom, chop, boom chop, boom, chop, boom chop over and over again. Then it happened.

The next thing I hear is this loud primal grunt followed by some barking and more grunting. Remember earlier I told you about the family who worked in the place and how you could see the cooks through the windows? Well what our hostess didn’t tell us about was her cousin who is a cook also has Turrets Syndrome.

He let loose with all sorts of noises, my roommate and I looked at each other with silver dollar eyes, decided that it was time to bounce and hauled ass. I had to have the biggest “oh shit” expression on my face and I’m not sure but I might have actually said “feet don’t fail me now”.

Now I am by no way making fun of anyone with this illness but you either have to let people know that ahead of time or don’t let him cook or something. Look, I am from a small town where the rumor mill runs wild and people believe EVRYTHING. And it just so happens that the first Chinese food restaurant in my home town happened to be back door to back door from one of the oldest vets in town, I’m just saying. Rumors get around.

Later we found out that they moved him into the kitchen because he had an episode where he barked at a couple of women while taking their order.

Every weekend that place was packed with all of our friends.

Don’t get dead

Friday, May 01, 2009

Chick Magnet

You know how some guys always have women around them? And how some guys meet women everywhere they go? And how some guys seem like they can’t get women to leave them alone? Well I am one of those guys. Yep, I am a chick magnet. Except that they are all crazy! Okay, maybe not ALL of them are crazy but a lot of them for sure.

Maybe I should change the name of this post to “Crazy Magnet” because it’s not just women. But for the most part it is.

I don’t know what it is but there must be some pheromone that I release that attracts wackos. Like the other day, I was leaving a parking lot with my ticket and money in hand. I hand the ticket to the lady in the little booth, she tells me how much I owe her for parking, I give her some money and as I am waiting for my change she says, “Can I ask you a question?” while she is tugging on her shirt. So I am thinking hell yeah, I am about to get to see some boobs so I say “sure” and she proceeds to ask me a thousand questions about why some dude earlier in the day would bitch her out about having to pay to park. And she goes on and on about how security at the place wouldn’t help her and she didn’t know if she should call the police and on and on. All the while I am holding my hand out waiting for my change. After telling her “I dunno” about 733,232,883,382 times I look in the rearview mirror and see a line of cars waiting to get out of the parking lot behind me. I am trying to be nice because people because if I am an a-hole to everyone all the time someone is going to gut me. Finally I just wish her good luck and say that I am holding up the other people wanting to get out and that I should go. I started to tell her to just keep the damn change and drive off but she hadn’t let the arm thing up so that I could drive off yet.

Then there was this girl that I used to hang out with some, she held the crazy crown. To give you a little background, I like to cook and I was talking to her at work one day about making something that needed flour but I didn’t have any and I wasn’t going to the grocery store just to pick up flour, because I am lazy like that. Well I went to the bar after work and came home to my apartment, in a very large complex, to find a nice bag of white powder on my door knob. Do you have any idea what a big Ziploc bag of white powder looks like? Yeah, it looks like I got friends in Columbia. WTF was she thinking?! Like I need problems with the cops. And then one time she was calling me to see what I was doing and I told her some BS excuse and that I was about to head out the door. A couple of minutes later she called back and I told her I was leaving very soon. A third call later I decided that I wasn’t going to answer it and let my voicemail get it. Want to take a guess who it was? Yeah, she was calling me from the parking lot of my apartments. That’s the day I got caller id! But the icing had to be the day that she was telling me that she had to take pills to go to sleep. Okay, that happens to lots of people. Then she told me that she had to take pills to wake up in the morning….. yeah, I had to distance myself from that one.

One night I am hanging out in a pool hall/bar with a buddy of mine and I started chatting with our waitress in an effort to try to get good service. Hey look kissing up = good service and I don’t want to wait a half hour for a beer I ordered. So I say to the waitress “Aww, your dimple is cute” because it looked like she had one dimple on her cheek. She replied to me with, “It’s a scar.” Ok, point taken, don’t talk about it. So I give her a nice tip and she is on her way. Not two minutes later she comes back to the pool table we were on and says “I got into a fist fight with my boy friend and he hit me in the face with a rose bush”. Let’s examine this statement for a minute. You said boyfriend, not ex-boyfriend, which means your retarded ass is still with him. And you said a rose BUSH? Not a rose, but the whole damn plant? And it was fist fight? Dayum! That’s a nutty broad if ever there was one. But she kept coming back to me to tell me more and more about it. I couldn’t get her to stop! She was like the wikipedia of domestic violence.

And then there was the late night visitor.

While in college I used to work at a bar, one night this chick came in and was drunk off her ass, shocking I know. We started talking and she asked me what time I got off work. I told her not until after closing. She gives me her number and tells me that I should call her if I want certain favors but that it would have to be that night because her kids where home already asleep and the next day was visitation day at the prison that her husband was in. Well give me the phone! That’s sarcasm people.

But there are tons of people who come up to me and just start to tell me crazy shit.

Once in my younger days and while riding around with this girl at the beach she yells, “STOP!” not knowing why I did. She jumps out of the car, runs over to this other car and beats the shit out of this girl in another car, runs back to my car and says, “Okay, let’s go to the hotel”. How about F-You honey. I am not going to be an accomplice to your nutty ass.

But possibly the best was while living in Tampa. I was new to the area made friends with some people who I THOUGHT where normal. They kept telling me about this girl that they thought would be perfect for me. They tell me that they want to give her my number and I didn’t care if they did. The next day I get a call from this girl and we are chatting and things seem normal when the phone call gets interrupted with this recording that says something like this call is coming from a state correctional facility and is subject to monitoring. Do what?! Come to find out she was in the looney bin because she liked to cut herself. She said it felt good.

Oh and this one girl said that she wanted to die to see what it felt like, but I shouldn’t worry because the paramedics would bring her back.

Another girl walked up to me in downtown D.C. and said that she would pay me $5k to go kill her boyfriend. I had never seen this girl before in my life. She was talking to me like we had known each other forever.

A girl I used to date was telling me how she was possessed and the very detailed story that came with it. Let me clarify this, she told me it then we broke up! She also used to put mayo in her hair and layout in the sun because somebody told her it would make her hair blond or was good for it or something. She also used to “attempt suicide” for attention.

Then there was the girl who was with a group of friends at Applebee’s one night and thought that the Jackalopes where real animals. Same girl went to the bathroom but came right back because she didn’t have change. Apparently she saw a wooden sign that had “Pay Toilet 5 cents” painted on it. She saw it on the back wall of the stall. You see she thought you had to pay to get out. Okay, maybe that’s more dumbass than crazy, but it’s very close!

The list goes on and on. Crazy homeless people-o-plenty!

And it’s not just women. So dude wanted me to help him jumpstart his car one day, it was flooding. No, you see water and electricity are not friends.

Don’t get dead
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