Archive for July, 2005

I’m not Nice

There is something I need to admit: I am not always the nicest person. Sometimes I see things happening, and for some reason, I just have to make them worse. In fact, sometimes I can be downright evil. The following is a confession about some things of which I am not incredibly proud, but which you may find entertaining.

Puppy Love

When my cousin’s golden retriever was a puppy, it could not control its bladder. Every time the puppy would get excited, and I mean every time, it would automatically pee all over the place.

One day, it just so happened that my cousin brought her puppy to a family outing. At one point of the outing, I was playing with the puppy when I noticed my cousin, sitting peacefully in a lawn chair, chatting with some of our relatives. It was then that an evil thought popped into my mind.

I picked up the puppy and walked over beside my cousin’s lawn chair. I then carefully aimed the puppy at her and said, “Hey Beth!”

My memory of the scene is in slow motion; she slowly turned to look at me while I began to furiously tickle the puppy. I will never forget the look of surprise and disgust on her face as the over-stimulated puppy liberally peed all over her shirt.

This incident ranks both as one of the funniest things I have ever seen and something I feel pretty bad about. Luckily, my cousin has a good sense of humor and eventually began speaking to me again. Not right away, mind you, but eventually.

Hello!

One day during the winter of my sophomore year in college, I was sitting in my friend Sean’s third floor dorm room watching Magnum P.I. reruns. We were having difficulty hearing the dialogue, however, because there were two children shouting obscenities at a high volume outside Sean’s open window.

I need to take a moment to explain. The dorms at UMass-Lowell were a consistent 85 degrees. We didn’t have access to the thermostat, so we kept the windows open throughout the winter months.

Sean and I were unhappy about the disruption. I, living up to the high standards of language generally expected of college students, stuck my head out the window and suggested that the children might want to consider being quiet.

They, being children in the City of Lowell, responded with rude gestures and commanded me to perform physical impossibilities upon myself.

I, expecting to end the argument, invited them to come up into the dorms and repeat their requests. To my surprise, they each scooped up large handfuls of snow and began sprinting for the dorm entrance.

As they marched into the dorm, Sean and I began hurriedly filling buckets with water. We did not want our young guests to feel that we had not prepared anything for their arrival.

They tromped up the stairs while we waited in giddy silence behind Sean’s closed door. When they reached our floor, we heard them roaming down the hall, calling out, “Hello…Hello?” We waited patiently.

When they were directly in front of his door, Sean tore it open and the little miscreants stared in disbelief as I shouted “HELLO!!” They stared at me with open mouths (probably in the middle of a “hello”) as the water from my bucket completely soaked both of them.

They dropped their snow, began screaming, and ran for the stairs. I chased them, also screaming (think Han Solo chasing the storm troopers down a Death Star hallway). They had just begun to run down the stairs when I unloaded the second bucketful of water down on top them. I watched from above as the two small, dripping figures practically broke down the door in their attempt to escape the building.

Pleased with myself, I turned and almost ran over my RA (uh-oh), who had been standing there with his arms crossed, watching the entire episode (For those of you not familiar with RA’s, they are sort of like the babysitters of college).

I stared at him in shock, my mouth agape. The realization hit me that this could go on my PERMANENT RECORD. My future would be ruined because I had soaked innocent children with buckets of water. I quickly looked at Sean for help, but he had retreated into his room and shut the door (Bok, Bok!! I think I saw feathers floating in the hallway outside his room).

I waited in silence for the RA to dole out my punishment. He looked at me very seriously for a time, as if he was pondering the best way to best torture me. After what seemed like 10 years, he suddenly exploded into a fit of loud guffaws, in the process showering me with waves of spit. I think I might have preferred the mark on my permanent record.

He didn’t punish me in the end; I just had to mop up the water on the floor. I also never saw, or heard, those kids again. In retrospect, I’m fortunate that they didn’t return to our floor armed with automatic weapons.

In the years since these incidents, I have worked hard to reform myself. It has been years since I have covered someone in dog urine or water, so I think that I have become a better person. Or perhaps I just haven’t had the right opportunity…

The Day to Day Grind Tim 29 Jul 2005 No Comments

Chamber Golf

I recently played in the annual Wachusett Chamber of Commerce golf tournament at beautiful Sterling Country Club. I decided to keep a running diary of everything that happened.

As a disclaimer, it should be noted that I play in this tournament not because I am a good golfer, but because my wife is the Executive Director of the Wachusett Chamber of Commerce. I should also mention that she does a great job on the tournament and that she is radiantly beautiful.

11:00 am: I arrive at Sterling Country Club. They have a nice system where you drive up to check in, and someone takes your golf bag from your trunk and carries it to your cart for you. I did it last year, and it’s very convenient. Of course, this year I forget all about the system, park my car in the far end of the parking lot, and lug my own bag to the golf cart.

It is approximately 90 degrees outside with about 143% humidity, so I break into a sweat.

11:03am: My shirt is now completely soaked with sweat. As a certain Chamber Director would say, “Stand back ladies, he’s all mine.

12:15pm: The format of the tournament is a “scramble”. This means the 4 golfers on my team – my teammates are my brother, my brother in law, and my father in law – will each hit a drive. We will pick the best drive and we will all hit from that spot. We will take the best of those shots and continue in that fashion until the ball is in the hole.

On our first hole, I hit a solid drive…into a tree. It ends up on the fairway, however, so our team ends up using my shot. That is the last tee shot of mine that the team will use today.

12:35pm: Finally, the beer cart arrives. There is nothing like a frosty cold beer on a hot day on a golf course. When we try to buy beer, however, the girl driving the cart tells us that she can’t actually sell us any beer. We think that she’s kidding, but she explains that the hole we are playing is actually located in the Town of Lancaster, and we can’t buy beer until we cross the line back into Sterling on a later hole.

Have you ever seen a grown man cry?

Later, I wonder: Why drive the beer cart into Lancaster at all if you can’t sell any beer there? Sure, she had candy bars and soda and stuff, but COME ON!

2:35: I line up to putt, after carefully considering the height of the grass, the slope of the green, the distance to the hole, and the direction of the wind. I blow the putt 15 feet past the hole. “Tough greens,” I say.

I think I hear my brother giggling softly.

Everyone else proceeds to miss the putt and we bogey our fifth hole in a row. The giggling stops.

2:00pm: It has been raining off and on all day long. We are big and tough, so we play right through it. It actually feels nice to get a little rain on such a hot day.

2:35pm: It begins to RAIN. The rain advances as a literal wall of water down the fairway. The raindrops are so big that they dent the earth. We are big and tough and hiding in our golf carts.

3:30pm: The sun finally breaks through the clouds. Just as it does, a golf course employee rides up and asks us if we heard the warning horn a while back. We had thought it was just a really loud car alarm.

He tells us that, despite the sunshine, there are thunderstorms in the area and that we should join everyone else in the clubhouse for our own safety.

We debate the point for a few minutes. My brother wouldn’t leave the course if there was a tornado trying to play through, so he votes that we ignore the warning. He is outvoted.

3:35pm: We are just approaching the clubhouse when we run into a bunch of carts headed in the other direction. They tell us that the all clear has been given, and everyone is headed back out to the course. I’d punch my brother for the smug look on his face right now, but he’s the only one of us playing well. Punishment will have to wait.

4:15pm: It starts to rain again, and the air starts to get cool. During one swing, my club dredges up a piece of sod about an inch thick and sends it flying through the air. It lands about 10 feet in front of me. I look down and see that I have completely missed the ball. More giggling.

5:15pm: The temperature is in the mid 50’s as we finish the round at 4 over par. My shirt is still wet from the rain, so I’m big and tough and shivering like a little girl as I head into the clubhouse for the awards dinner.

Overall, it was a successful day of golf. The course was great, my team didn’t finish in last place, I managed not to break any clubs, and the weather transitioned from mid-summer to late fall in the course of 18 holes.

As they say, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait 5 minutes and it will change.” As the stylishly dressed Chamber Director said to me after the dinner, at least it didn’t snow.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 22 Jul 2005 No Comments

Homeland Security?

The man with the Homeland Security logo on his baseball hat and golf shirt held up his hand as he boarded the commercial airliner.  The line of people behind him obediently halted as the man peeked into the cockpit and asked the pilot, “Are we going to have a good flight tonight?”

The pilot smiled.  “You bet.”

The man then gave the inside of the airliner a once over and, finding it satisfactory, said, “Looks good.”  He motioned for the line to continue and made his way to his seat, where he settled in for the trip to Chicago.

What’s interesting here is that the man was not an employee of the Department of Homeland Security at all.  He was my friend Robert.  Robert is not his real name, but this is his real story.  The Homeland Security hat and shirt were purchased while Robert was on an Army base in Ohio.

“They were on sale at the Post Exchange.  The shirt was, I think, $25 and the hat was $16.  I ended up wearing them to the airport on a dare.”

When he got to the airport, he was printing out his ticket at the self-help kiosk when he noticed two airline employees rushing over to him.  They nervously introduced themselves and took Robert’s bag to the front of the line and had it checked onto the flight.  They then escorted him over to the security checkpoint.

On the way to security, the airline employees asked him why he was going to Chicago.  He told them that he was going there for extensive training, but that he wasn’t at liberty to explain what type of training.  The airline employees nodded their understanding.

“I was going to a training seminar for work,” Robert told me.

While in the security line, he was asked to remove his shoes.  He replied that he would really prefer not to remove them.  The security guard gave him a conspiratorial grin and whispered that it was ok if he left his shoes on.

“I didn’t want to take off my shoes because my feet get all sweaty and stinky and I didn’t want to gross anyone out,” Robert explained to me later.

At the gate, Robert’s presence became a point of curiosity.  He saw that he was being carefully observed by his fellow passengers.

“I made the most of it.  I took out my little notebook and jotted some things down while pretending to examine the exits and the security doors.  I wasn’t writing anything about the doors, but the other passengers didn’t know that.  I could hear them whispering to each other about me.”

Robert then used his cell phone to call one of his friends.  The other passengers were practically falling into his lap in an attempt to listen in.

“I told my friend that everything looked good and that my flight was a go.”

He had just hung up when a number of uniformed security people, including a state police officer, began to stop by to say hello.

“These officials kept coming over and introducing themselves.  They would tell me their names, and I would shake their hand and say in my best professional voice, ‘It’s nice to meet you.’  I never told them my name, though, which I guess was rude.”

The uniformed visitors made Robert think that he might get in trouble, so he tried to act like a regular passenger for the rest of the trip.  He almost did.

“I couldn’t help myself when I boarded the plane.  I’m a nervous flyer, so I just had to talk to the pilot.  No one behind me in line seemed to mind at all.”

Will you do it again Robert?

“Probably not, I’d be too nervous about getting into trouble.  Besides, it’s not like they upgraded me to first class or anything.”

The Day to Day Grind Tim 22 Jul 2005 1 Comment