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The Two Daves

June 29, 2009 3 comments

(I almost broke this story into 2 parts.  It tells so much better as one, so I couldn’t help but keep it intact.)

Gather ’round, kids!  It’s time to hear the story of The Two Daves!  Before I introduce you to Dave (and Dave), let me give you a little bit of the story before he (and he) came along.

I was out running errands with Claire this evening.  Our plans were to get some iced drinks from Sonic and return a Redbox DVD at a local grocery store.  The Sonic part of it went off without a hitch.  The service was good, if even a little too good.

As an aside, it seems to me that no matter what you put in italics, it sounds ominous.  It’s the old-fashioned case of “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”.  Compare:

“What’s in this casserole?” and “What’s in this casserole?”

“That guy’s a machine!” and “That guy’s a machine!”  (With an implied “RUN!!!“)

“Thanks for the mincemeat pie.” and “Thanks for the mincemeat pie.”

“Do you feel me?” and “Do you feel me?”  (Also with an implied “RUN!!!“)

Since a fast-food restaurant chain that owns 51% of Redbox, serves Big Macs, recently brought back McRibWiches, starts with “McDo”, and ends with “nald’s” that shall remain nameless had a Redbox that would not accept returns, I had to make the drive to Price Chopper (a local grocery chain that specializes in poor service and cockroaches) to utilize their Redbox.

I pulled into the parking lot without incident, and shut off the car.  I grabbed my drink, and we exited the car.  We promptly locked the doors and closed them.  There was maybe a 100th of a second between the time I pushed the door to the time it closed where I said to myself, “ohmygodiforgottotakethekeysoutoftheignitionandnowi’llbelockedoutofthecarbecausei
neverhadasparemadeformyselftoputinmywalletsoicouldavoidthiskindofcatastrophe”.  I was talking fast, I admit.  My eyes popped squarely out of their sockets and rested on my cheeks.  That’s what it felt like, anyway.

I immediately looked to Claire.  “You have your keys, right?” I said.  She replied, “No, I just grabbed my purse when we left the house.”  And yet, despite knowing very well that the doors were locked and that no keys were to be found in that black hole of a purse, she started digging in every fold of the bag (I think she did this so I would calm down enough to put my eyes back in my head).  I checked every handle on the car, as if this one time (there it goes again), the rear passenger door would choose not to completely lock.

No such luck.

Men do crazy things in this situation.  I, being a man (last time I checked), looked at Claire and said, “Why don’t you have your keys with you?  You should always have your keys with you!”  She smiled and said, “You locked the keys in the car.  It’s not my fault.”  Checkmate.  If I were holding a helium balloon by the string at that moment, it would have entirely deflated and landed at my feet.

I called “Dave’s Service Involving Locks, Handles, and Other Assorted Keyables” (name changed to protect price gougers) to see if they could drive across the street with a slimjim, a crowbar, and a blowtorch.  I was willing for them to do whatever it would take to get my keys out.  Since it was 8:00 PM, I thought they might be closed.  A gentleman picked up.

He: Hello?  Dave’s Service.

Me: Are you still open?

He: No, we closed at 5.

Me: I locked my keys in my car.  Not that it makes any difference, but how much would it cost for someone to come out and unlock my car?

He: $60.00

(That made ALL the difference.)

Me: Alright, let me call you back.

I would not be needing Dave’s services today.  Claire then suggested that I go inside and ask someone inside the store for a coat hanger and a doorstop.  Apparently, she’s been the victim of trapped keys herself (more than a few times).  Begrudgingly, I walked into the store, first returning the Redbox DVD, then approaching the Customer Service counter.  My conversation with the Customer Service Lady was as follows:

Me: Excuse me, I have a strange request.  I have locked my keys in my car, and I was wondering if you have a doorstop and a metal coat hanger I could borrow.

She: I have a coat hanger, but no doorstop.

Me: How about a screwdriver?

*She disappeared into a side room for a moment and returned with a hanger and 3 screwdrivers*

Me: Not to be picky, but do you have any in a flat-head?

*She disappeared again and returned with a flat-head screwdriver*

Me: Thank you so much!  I will return with your tools.

She: I trust you.  Good luck!

To be honest, she was as friendly as could be.  Price Chopper ought to be proud to have such a helpful employee.  I don’t know why I would speak so poorly about the place (as I did above).  My working for the competition across the street for over 10 years may or may not have played a part in that.

I sauntered back out to the waiting car, which was being leaned on by a waiting Claire.  (Okay, so this story has already clocked in at over 850 words.  Let me speed this thing up.)  I went straightaway to work on wedging the door open with the screwdriver, and using a manipulated coat hanger to try and press the “unlock” button.  It was far too weak to press the button with any force.

I worked in this manner for about 20 minutes as approximately eleventy gazillion gawkers passed by.  Some were kind enough to offer helpful comments.  “That stinks,” they would cheerfully remark.  One woman really did help take everyone’s eyes off of me by yelling at her crying child while forcing him into their van.  I maintained Zen-like focus as I heard his little feet kicking the van windows from the inside.  Come to think of it, I may have been witness to a kidnapping.  No matter; my keys were trapped, and only I could retrieve them.

One enterprising youth offered his help, and I graciously accepted.  He said, “Let me see if I have any tools in my trunk.”  After rummaging around for a minute or so, he said, “Do you want to just break the window?”  “No, thanks anyway,” I replied, slightly smiling at the audacity.  (As much as I would have preferred to pay $150 for a broken window instead of $60 for a locksmith, I had to politely decline.)

Out of nowhere came Dave.  I knew his name was Dave, because it was sewn into his shirt.  Was this Dave from “Dave’s Overpriced Lock Service Center”?  I had no idea.  He also offered to help, this time without suggesting taking a hammer to the window.  He didn’t have any tools, but he seemed to know his way around a coat hanger and a screwdriver.  With a Marlboro Menthol Light hanging out of his mouth (I know this because the rest of the pack was in his shirt pocket), he happily accepted the hanger from me, and went to work as I propped the door open with the screwdriver.  Since he didn’t have tools, I pretty well figured he wasn’t a lock professional.  In the distance, I spotted his truck.  It read: “Dave’s Trusted Auto Repair”.  If he were to accept anything from me, his conscience wouldn’t allow it to be 60 bucks, that’s for sure.  He was too kind for that, I could tell.

As I pulled with all my might (the strength of two 7-year-old girls), he maneuvered the hanger deftly.  He uttered few words, and yet he spoke so much with the unintelligible language of men: The Grunt.  Within 15 minutes, the shared testosterone swirling above our heads shook the car so violently that the door lock could not resist such a masculine presence.  The familiar *click* resounded throughout the parking lot, deafening several bystanders and shattering windows of nearby businesses (by some accounts).

(That’s the competitive nature of men kicking in again.  It doesn’t matter what he was competing against–in this case, a Red Grand Am–it was that there was a battle to be won.  I, likewise, would let no man come and unlock my car for an ungodly profit.  But that might just be the case because I’m cheap.  At least there’s honor in being cheap.)

I shook his motor oil-stained hand gratefully and said, “Thank you, sir.  I really appreciate it.  What do I owe you for your help?”  His blue-collar, American pride kicked in.  “Don’t worry about it.  If you’re ever in Grandview, come and see me for a great deal on an oil change.”

With that, he walked off into the sunset.  More accurately, he walked off into the Price Chopper, likely to buy beer.  Gosh-darn it, he earned it.

~~THE END~~

That was a great story, wasn’t it kids?  The moral of the story is: Go see Dave at Dave’s Trusted Auto Repair if you’re ever in Grandview and need to get a great deal on an oil change; you can reach him at 778-6205 to set up an appointment.

Now that we’ve hit the 1500 word mark, it’s time to call this story officially told.

Drug-Seeking Behavior

June 14, 2009 4 comments

I’ve had the distinct honor of working in a pharmacy for a year of my life.  That was about 6 years ago.  I was a fresh-faced teenager in my first year of college.  Within that year, I successfully lost every bit of my faith in humanity.  When you see what lengths people go to get their hands on controlled substances, the world looks a little different.  The most hilarious ones were those who had somehow stolen a prescription pad from his or her doctor’s office, and started writing fake scripts (prescriptions).  Maybe this will include a little inside pharmacy humor, but you should be able to catch on quickly.

Me: So let me get this straight–your doctor wants you to take 6 Vicodin every hour and “as needed”?

Them: Yeah, he said he’d start me off on a low dose.

Me: Riiiight. *dialing the police*

The most awkward time working in a pharmacy has to be when someone drops off a fake prescription, then leaves.  The pharmacist calls the doctor to verify that he or she did not actually prescribe “opium chewables”, then calls the police to get the offender arrested when he or she comes back to pick up the medicine.  The waiting game is absolutely nerve-wracking.  The person comes back in, and gives his or her name to pick up the drugs.  The exchange usually goes:

Them: I’m here to pick up a prescription for (insert name)

Me: Oh, it was almost ready, but we started having computer problems.  It should be just a minute.

Then the standing around staring at one another begins.  It’s hard to tell who’s more nervous; us or the person committing fraud.  Usually, the criminal gets wise and leaves before the police arrive.  (I think the police in my city drive Power Wheels to the scene of a crime, based on the response time.)  The best is when, just as the perp is trying to exit, the police walk through the door and catch the drug addict.

I’m honestly surprised that people who are hooked on these prescription drugs don’t at least try to look respectable.  He or she might as well walk up to me and say, “Don’t worry, these sores were on my arms BEFORE I started taking, producing, and distributing meth!”  Oh, all my fears have been put to rest.

And for goodness’ sake, if you’re going to forge a prescription, don’t get greedy!  It really insults a pharmacist’s intelligence to think they wouldn’t know that your doctor doesn’t prescribe “a gallon of any cough syrup with codeine in it”.  You have to wake up pretty early in the morning to fool a pharmacist (before 4:18 a.m., to be exact).

Have you ever heard of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996?  No?  Perhaps if I abbreviated it as “HIPAA”?  Still not ringing a bell?  Have you ever had to sign anything at your doctor’s office or pharmacy?  You didn’t even read it, did you?  That signed statement says that you are aware of your rights under HIPAA.  You have no clue what your rights are, do you?  That’s okay; for all you know, you could have been signing a Denny’s placemat with a human finger.  You just wanted your antibiotics so you could get rid of the cough that had you up all night, even though you were supposed to wake up early the next morning to give an important presentation, but then you overslept, you went into your presentation looking like a homeless guy who just so happens to own a briefcase, and you coughed something resembling escargot into your boss’s coffee cup.  THAT’S why you don’t care what you just signed.  I totally understand.

Basically, HIPAA allows your doctor, his staff, the pharmacy, your insurance company, the Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Interior, and your grandmother (God rest her soul) to access your medical records in order to provide medical services to you.  In order to protect your rights, it also places harsh punishment on anyone in the above listed group (even Grandma) who uses your information for personal gain, profit, or just for kicks.

Let’s be honest: most so-called “diseases” are actually the fault of whoever has it.  Most can be avoided by taking simple steps, such as hand-washing and living in a sanitized, vacuum-sealed home where you only eat unprocessed organic walnuts and carrots.  All diseases can be broken into 2 categories: “Non-communicable Diseases That Are Your Fault”, and “Communicable Diseases That Are Your Fault”.

Examples of “Non-Communicable Diseases That Are Your Fault”:

–Heart Disease

–Stroke

–Type 2 Diabetes

–Skin Cancer

–Rockin’ Pneumonia

–The Boogie-Woogie Flu

Examples of “Communicable Diseases That Are Your Fault”:

–Mono

–Head Lice

–Ringworm

–Swine Flu

–Tiger Measles

–Ostrich Meningitis

More than drug-seeking behavior, there’s something else that really made me lose respect for society as a whole.  I remember it, for sure, was a Tuesday (or maybe a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday), and I was working in the pharmacy.  A nicely-dressed young girl, probably 14 or 15 years old, came into the pharmacy with her dad.  They dropped off the daughter’s prescription  for a medicated cream.  After I had typed it into the computer and prepared it for the pharmacist to verify, a co-worker leaned over to me and whispered . . .

Him: “Do you know what that cream is for?”

Me: “No, I don’t have to fill that medicine too often.”

Him: “It’s for warts.”

Me: “What kind of warts?”

Him: “Not the hand kind.”

Goodbye, faith in humanity.

The Price of Fame

June 10, 2009 26 comments

Fame can really put a burden on any relationship, especially marriage.  We see it every day in Hollywood newspapers and tabloids.  I personally witnessed it with my wife today at a local Target store, as we were walking in the parking lot, preparing to leave.

Me: That was David Cook that just walked by us with his entourage.

Claire: It was not.

Me: I’m telling you, it was!  I used to work with the guy at H*-V*e (business name withheld).

Claire: Then let’s go back in and say hi.

Me: I don’t want to bother him.  He probably wants to be left alone.

Claire: That’s not him.  He’s not even in town.

Me: I don’t know why he would be here right now, but he is!

Claire: Then let’s go back and see him.

Me: I personally don’t care to bother a famous person.

Claire: Then it must not be him.  You’re lying.

Me: Fine.  You know what?  Let’s go back in.

We walked back through the front doors of the Target and made our way toward the back of the store.  In the distance, I spotted David’s brother Andrew .  I said, “See, there’s his brother.  I worked with him, too, at Hy-V**.”  (Business name withheld poorly.)  To the right of me, two pre-teen girls resembling Shrek in miniskirts stood in a side aisle, giggling and squeaking about “ohmygoditsdavidsbrotherwhatifdavidshereohmygawd!!!!” Passing by such silliness, we pressed on.

As we turned the corner, there was the man himself: David Cook.  He was wearing athletic shorts, a white v-neck t-shirt, and a Royals hat backwards.  You can tell fame wears heavy on a person when he’s willing to be seen in public wearing a Royals hat.  I envy that beard, I’m going to be honest.  He was with a group of about 6 guys.  We made the first pass by them, just to quadruple check and make sure it was really David Cook.

Claire, filled with audacity, turned around and said, “I’m going to get my picture with him.  Get your phone camera ready!”  She galloped across the back aisle of the store until she found where David’s group was meandering toward the checkout.

Claire: Are you David Cook?

David: Yes, I am.  Who are you?

Claire: I’m just Claire.

David: Well hi, Just Claire.

*He extended a hand out to me in masculine respect.  I shook his hand firmly, and he reciprocated.*

Me: I’m Paul.  It’s funny, we used to work together at Hy*Vee (OK, I’m not even trying to withhold it any more).

David: Yeah, I thought you looked familiar.

Claire: Can I get a picture with you guys?

*David and Andrew stood on either side of Claire, and I took the picture.  We walked away.*

Us: Thank you!  See you at “Red, White, and Boom”!

David: Yeah, seeya!

I would have gotten a picture with him, but he looked exhausted.  Not in a sissy way.  Like an over-exerted lumberjack.  I feel like an idiot for saying “hey, we used to work together”.  I’m sure he gets that all the time around here.  “Hey, we went to high school together!” or “Hey, I cleaned up your vomit that time you threw up in Wal-Mart when you were 6!” or “Hey, I dream about you every night when I’m alone in my bed!”  The way he has come up with to deflect further questioning is: “Yeah, you seem familiar”.  I’m sure I didn’t.  At all.  Oh, well.

Oh, I see.  You want me to just shut up and post the picture?

ClaireWithDavidAndrewCook

The point of the story is this: that’s how strong our marriage is.  We withstood the pressures of being around someone famous.  We even bothered that someone famous for a picture.  And then left.

Engaging the Enemy

June 10, 2009 Leave a comment

There’s nothing more magical than getting engaged.  All the fevered energy spent going into the perfect proposal, the time spent shopping for the perfect ring that says “I love you so much that I chose to spend way too much on your ring, and had to get a second and third mortgage on my life insurance policy”.  And that’s saying a lot, because mortgages on life insurance policies do not technically exist.  What a truly glorious experience!

Then the wedding planning starts.

From then on, just hold on and try not to get “disengaged”.  This requires a lot of understanding from the groom.  He must remember:

–Men are lucky if they think far enough ahead to set out what they’re going to wear the next day.

–A woman will spend the months leading up to the wedding telling her fiancé the wedding colors she picked out while she was still in the womb.  (Typically the color she picked is red, but that’s because red is the only color swatch available within the uterus.)

–Most scientists believe that the ionic combination of gold and diamonds applied to the left ring finger of women alters their brain chemistry and causes them to become raging lunatics.  (This phenomenon is similar to those “cure-all magnetic bracelets”, only this isn’t a scam to steal money from the sick and the elderly.)  Women, in their delusional state, will speak entirely false statements, even tricking themselves.

Just for giggles, let’s compare what she says during the wedding planning against what she really means.

Most brides will absentmindedly say something like, “I really want you to be involved with our wedding.” This is especially curious, because she really means, “When I tell you what I want for my wedding, you had better agree with enthusiasm, or I will accuse you of trying to ruin my day.”

If your bride happens to suffer a major head injury, leading to bleeding of the brain, she might slip and say, “I want you to pick out a Groom’s Cake.” The whole family can look back and laugh (20 years later) when you realize she really meant, “I’ve been dropping subtle hints for months about what choice you had better make about the Groom’s Cake.  Pick the cake I want, and no one gets hurts.”

The true test of a man’s deciphering skills comes when she says, “I want your honest opinions about the decisions for our wedding.” A skilled interpreter will faintly detect that she, in reality, meant to say,  “You are not allowed to say ‘whatever you want, dear’.  This is unacceptable.  Agree wholeheartedly and convincingly to anything I have decided we will enjoy.  Do not attempt to insert any of your own hair-brained ideas.  They are all stupid, and will ruin my day.  I will resort to tears, screaming, and involving my parents in the ‘discussion’.  Either find my plans appealing, or find a new bride (I will keep the ring).  I have been thinking about this day my WHOLE LIFE, and I will be gol-darned if some CHUMP with a LOUSY JOB comes into MY LIFE and tries to mess with MY WEDDING.”

To my engaged brethren, I say: do whatever she says with enthusiasm, and I swear she will snap out of it.  Again, scientists have found that by adding more gold (say, the weight of a wedding band) to the woman’s left ring finger, the balance of diamonds will be offset, and her brain chemistry will revert to its normal (whatever that means) state.  When the whole ordeal is done, she will look back and realize what a horrible person she’s been through the planning process and beg your forgiveness.  I’ve been married 2 years, and I still hold it over her head.  Take THAT, equal rights!

In her defense, I wanted my Groom’s Cake to be in the shape and design of Hulk Hogan.  I’m a quirky guy, and I think that would have been hilarious.  I think (almost) every man in my audience would agree.  However, I was quickly and effectively overruled by my Bride, the Mother of the Bride, and the Wedding Planner.  This is known in most wedding planning circles as the “Estrogen Trifecta”.

During this important time (wedding planning), you must always share with your betrothed: your love, your life, your experience, and your Prozac.

A Source of Inspiration, Part 2

June 8, 2009 8 comments

Before you watch this, go back to the original “A Source of Inspiration” to be able to sincerely appreciate what you are about to see.

I’ve had such an overwhelming response to the first inspirational video that I couldn’t help but reach out to you, my audience, again.  In these uncertain economic, social, and vegetarian times, you can use every advantage you can get.  And, my friend, advantage is what you’re going to get here.  Some even it’s an unfair advantage, because my inspirational videos work so well.  They compare it to:

–Using steroids when training to play baseball

–Putting a nitrous oxide system in your car before a NASCAR race

–Killing everyone else’s horse before the Preakness

–Taking Gas-X before going to eat Indian food

I’ll let you decide for yourself.  Like everyone who has ever lost an eye after trying balance a knife on his nose, I say to you: “Watch this!”

I am still proud at how I can go 5 minutes, 8 seconds without blinking.  Feel free to try it at home.

Searching

I’m going to cut straight to the point here.  My blog shows me what search terms people use to find it.  These are actual searches, and not just something I made up because I have too much time on my hands (that’s every post other than this one).  Some of them are completely outrageous and worth mentioning/explaining.  It makes me wonder what people meant to find when they stumbled across this crazy mixed-up blog.  Let’s begin!

–“site:z.about.com black men fashion” I consider myself an expert on “black men fashion”, but I can’t remember discussing it here.  It’s like someone is reading my mail and finding me with it.  Come to think of it, the person reading my mail is probably my wife.  She opens my mail all the time, which I’m pretty sure is a Federal offense.  I should probably sue her.

–“yo mama chello player” There’s several things wrong with this search.  “Chello” is not a word, unless you’re talking about “the brand of internet service provider-activities of Liberty Global Europe (formerly UGC), the leading provider of broadband internet access via cable in Europe, with estimated 1.3 million customers across its markets“, which I can be fairly certain they’re not.  I think the person searching forgot the word “a” and a comma.  This should read “Yo mama a chello, player”, in which the speaker is casually mentioning to an associate that his mother is a “chello”, whatever that is.

–“glassy eyes cocaine” One can only assume that whoever typed this is looking for a brand of cocaine called “Glassy Eyes”.  There’s even a little jingle:

When you’re feeling tired
And your strength starts to wane
Kick the tires and light the fires
Reach for Glassy Eyes® Cocaine!

Or, as was popular in the 1980s, you have to scare kids into not doing drugs.  In any number of Public Service Announcements, Mark-Paul Gosselaar would walk across the set of “Saved By The Bell”, telling you the repercussions of doing drugs.  “If you use cocaine,” he’d say, “your eyes will boil out of your head, and you’ll have to live the rest of your life with glass eyes.  Refrain from cocaine!”  There was always a rhyming catch-phrase at the end.

–“gun nose piercings” I can think of at least ten better ways to pierce your nose other than firearms.

–“stunted growth mold” In a previous post, I discussed the effects of consuming orange mold on my cat.  Wait, that came out wrong.  That makes it sound like I consume orange mold that grows on my cat.  I meant to say “the effects on my cat from his consumption of orange mold”.  It’s obvious that someone else’s cat has the same problem.  Or, they may have mold that has had its growth stunted after eating an orange cat.  I could totally see that happening.

–“word equation for car battery” Finally, one that makes sense!  I’ll break it down very quickly:

Car+Battery=Car Battery

–“why are men so competitive in video game” I find this insulting.  Men are competitive in everything.  Every competition ever invented by men is like Mad Libs.  Just fill in the blanks! “I’ll bet I can (verb) more (plural noun) than you.”  The more absurd the competition, the more prestigious it is.  For instance:

“I’ll bet I can eat more hot dogs than you.”

“I’ll bet I can kill more spiders with my cowboy boots than you.”

“I’ll bet I can stuff more midgets into a compact car than you.”

See?  Now you try one!

–“piercing cat butt” Two words: NO!  I’m hoping the government is scouring the Internet looking for searches like this so they can find the people at the animal shelter who are giving away the cats with tail rings.

–“to be a man you must be fat” Can’t argue with that logic.

–“flea markets + kansas + lawn darts” Sounds like someone has an interesting weekend planned in the Plain States!  There’s no greater thrill in life than finding pre-owned lawn darts in Kansas (the “Boring State”)!

–“where should a nose piercing go” I thought this was a no-brainer, but then I thought back to the time I met a girl who had a nose piercing between her big toe and the one next to it.  (Would that be called the “index toe”?  Is the nomenclature the same for feet as it is for hands?  I mean, I don’t call my thumb my “big finger”, though I might start.)  Big mistake.  I tried telling her, “No, your nose piercing is supposed to go in your nose!”  She felt pretty silly after I explained it.  She replied, “I wish I had taken the time to research it on the Internet!”

Thanks for your participation!  Remember to tell all your friends about the wonderful time you spent at the Kyle Baxter Project.

I’ll bet I can waste more of your friends’ time than you.