Archive for October, 2007

Hot Flashes

Quick hits: 

“I hear you’ll eat anything,” my friend’s Dad said to me, holding out a jar full of greenish liquid and staring at me with a bemused grin, “try this.”  I was a little apprehensive (who wouldn’t be given that lead-in?), but I took what turned out to be a pickled onion and found that it was quite tasty.  Then I tried another one, and it was just a bit more powerful than the first.  It felt like some onion juice had spilled onto my brain, and I’m sure that my breath was just lovely. 

Now, the only reason that my friend thinks that I will try any kind of food is that he enjoys about three kinds of food:  steak, chicken, and steak.  I am an “adventurer” who tries things like Indian food, sushi, and Vietnamese soup.  Ok, so the Vietnamese soup I like has tendons and tripe in it, but those are just good tasting and good for you. 

One case where even I wasn’t a willing adventurer was recently when a bunch of us went to a Chinese food restaurant in Boston late one night.  We immediately noticed that one of featured items on the menu was “frog.”  Not frog’s legs, mind you, just frog.  I have to admit that the menu might have been a bit blurry after our night out, so I might have misinterpreted it, but when my friends suggested that we try a different restaurant, I didn’t argue.  Call me a wimp if you want, but I mean, come on.  Frog? … 

…In other, somewhat gross, news, I walked into a public men’s room the other day while chewing gum and absent-mindedly blew a bubble.  I looked at the bubble for a moment, considered all of the germy-type particles that were, at that very moment, adhering themselves to my gum and spit the gum out onto the floor.  I stood there for a minute, with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, but decided to be a good citizen and scrape my used gum up off the men’s room floor and throw it away.  I then went home and boiled my hands… 

…I was cruising along on the highway, on my way to Newport, for a wedding when I noticed that an expensive sports car had crept up behind me.  He got to within an inch of my bumper and then gave me the flashed headlights.  I looked in the rearview mirror and noticed that he had tinted windows, a vanity license plate, and it wasn’t difficult to imagine the running suit and gold medallions. 

Now, I am generally cranky when people get on my bumper, especially when there are a line of cars in front of me that literally prevent me from going any faster.  In that case, I will sometimes slow down, or pull over to let the car pass me, then pull behind him and ride his bumper for a while.  Bumper riders seem to hate that. 

But, in this case, since there was no traffic ahead of me, and since he had so politely asked in Morse code for me to move, I pulled over into the middle lane. 

Mr. Tinted Windows then accelerated very quickly and blew by me just as we went past a billboard on the left side of the road.  Behind the billboard was, naturally, a Rhode Island State Police car.  Tinted tried to pull the “pull into the middle lane, slow down to 50, and blend in” trick, but it didn’t work (does it ever?).  Soon enough, there were flashing red lights; Tinted was busted and I was safe. I waved my thanks to him in my rearview mirror, but I don’t think he saw me… 

…I was riding in an elevator the other day, watching the video screen that flashes news at elevator hostages, when the stock quotes appeared on the screen.  Above the quotes was a splashy ad that said, “VEGAS!”  Hmmm… 

…And finally, one of my clients at work was spelling his name phonetically for me the other day and said, “O for Oscar; L for Lima; N for Nancy, wait, no, that’s not right.  I for India.”

The Day to Day Grind Tim 19 Oct 2007 No Comments

Big John

One of my closest friends, let’s call him “John,” is getting married this weekend.  He’s a big guy, with shoulders as wide as any I’ve seen, and he has incredible hand-eye coordination.  There is no doubt in my mind that, had he chosen, he could have played at least Division 1 football. Instead, he became a golfer, got a scholarship for it, and continues to play about 6 times a year with a handicap that hovers around 8, but I digress. 

I went to college with John and lived with him for a time in our fraternity house, and then lived with him for about 7 years after college.  John and I lived together long enough that the “common law marriage” joke got to be pretty common, and his impending nuptials has brought back a bunch of memories I have of the lad over the years. 

John had a Chrysler LeBaron that has become legendary among my group of friends, possibly because the thing cornered like it was on rails, but more likely because in college most of them had a set of keys for it.  For John’s comfort, the driver’s seat was locked all the way back, with the seat tilted so that the driver was almost laying down.  Essentially, you were driving from the prone position from the back seat; anyone who was not able to reach the pedals from that distance and angle was not allowed to borrow the car. 

The LeBaron was more than just a community vehicle; it was a rolling science project.  When one of the exhaust pipes gave out, John replaced it with a pipe made from empty soup cans.  When one of his CV joints stopped working, it was repaired with a plethora of duct tape and a whole lot of axel grease.  Note:  I have no idea what CV joints are, or how they work, but this stuff sounds dangerous.  It worked for John, but my lawyer has advised me to tell you not to try any of these things at home. 

One night, John parked the LeBaron down the street a ways, and came walking up to our fraternity house at about 3am.  As he approached the house, he saw that there was a guy standing on the back porch of the house, trying to jimmy open one of the kitchen windows.  John never broke stride, he simply picked up a metal trash can from the street, walked up behind the would-be burglar, and walloped him over the head with the can.  John then dragged the man’s limp body to the curb, walked into the house and went to bed; no big deal.  As a side note, the back door of the house, two steps from the would-be burglar, was unlocked. 

Later, after college, a bunch of people were standing around at a house party, having the sort of dumb conversations that come up at house parties, when a group of people began to wonder how much John weighed.  The conversation escalated and a pool was created.  Before long, quite a bit of money had been thrown into a pile on a coffee table and everyone at the party watched with anticipation as John, an incredibly good sport about it, stepped onto the scale and revealed his true weight.
 

The guy who had guessed correctly began dancing around in celebration, whooping and hollering.  He then leaned over the table to grab his pile of loot, but stopped when a large hand came down onto his shoulder.  As the guy turned, John moved past him and swept half of the money from the table. 

The winner was incredulous.  “But…but,” he said, whimpering slightly, “I won the pool.  That’s my money…isn’t it?”  He didn’t look like he wanted to tangle with shoulders that large over a small thing like money. 

John barely cracked a smile and said, “Yes,” he said, “that’s true.  You did win. But it was my weight.”  Everyone at the party seemed to agree that it was a fair point, and John walked away, happily counting bills.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 12 Oct 2007 No Comments