Thursday, August 26, 2010

Strange Things Are Afoot at the Circle K

I have a Circle K near me. Or did…they were bought by some other fuel chain and renamed, but it’ll always be the Circle K (I feel sorry for anyone trying to find my house that is told to “turn left at the Circle K”).

One of the regular employees is a very nice, but very weird man with probable mental issues. He had brain surgery. I know this because every time I see him (about every month when I gas up there, or buy ice or propane), he manages to work into the conversation that he had brain surgery. Thus it was on Saturday morning when I went there to buy 2 bags of ice (for a soccer tournament in which I was coaching).

Me: Hi, I’d like 2 bags of ice.

Guy: Hummuna mumbla somethinga mumbla hummuna.

Me: Excuse me?

Guy: Hummuna mumbla somethinga mumbla hummuna.

Me: Umm…come again?

Guy: Hummuna mumbla somethinga mumbla hummuna.

Me: *Blank stare*

Guy: Oh, sorry! I was speaking Spanish and didn’t realize it. I do that every now and then, go back and forth between English and Spanish, on account of my brain surgery. I had brain surgery and I do things like that every now and then.

Me: *Uncomfortable smile*

Guy: So are you doing alright today?

Me: Uh…huhhh.

Guy: Good. That’ll be $5.08.

Me: *Hands crazy guy $20*

Guy: Alright, out of $20…hey, do you know what year Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue?

Me: What?

Guy: What year did Columbus sail the Ocean Blue?

Me: Uhhh…..Fourteen….Ninety…Two.

Guy: Very good! $14.92 is your change, here you go and have a great day!

Me: Thanks! *got the hell out of there quickly*

Here’s the really crazy part….when he was mumbling to me, I was absolutely positive he was NOT speaking Spanish. I know enough Spanish that I know when it’s being spoken around me, and he was not speaking Spanish. He was speaking some crazy language, like speaking in tongues. He almost sounded like Robert De Niro at the end of “Cape Fear,” when he was going under water and speaking in tongues.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Australian Over-The-Shoulder-Boulder-Holder

As anyone who's ever read more than 2 or 3 entries here knows, I can sometimes be a tad obsessed with vanity plates. This is primarily because I am an avid people watcher, and while seeing a person in the mall can often reveal nothing about their character, seeing their vanity plate reveals so much more. You might find that the driver has a keen sense of humor, or the driver lacks any creativity or originality, while others reveal the driver to be a flaming douchenozzle. And still others make you think, "I want to meet this driver just so I can find out why they chose this particular plate."

Such was the case on my way home from work on Wednesday night, and I was following this vehicle:

The question is not, "what kind of person is this," but rather, "WTF is an Oz Bra?" Is it a brassiere worn by an Australian woman? Is it a response to a question in Hawaii? "Where you want to surf next, bra?" "Oz, bra!"

Or perhaps it is a brassiere specially designed for Australia and all of its deadly flora and fauna. Imagine a bra that can repel green ants and redback spiders. Or a bra that creates a forcefield around the wearer that makes one impervious to the bites from taipans or death adders. Or a bra that drives box jellyfish from the shore, or can't be punctured by the teeth of a crocodile.

Maybe it's a specialty line of bras from Elle "The Body" MacPherson that hides aging lines. Or maybe something Phil Mickelson wears when he plays in the Australian golf open. Maybe an Oz Bra is what helped Nicole Kidman pretend to love Tom Cruise for several years.

As you can see, many a question has been generated by something so simple as a 5 letter vanity plate. He undoubtedly has people scratching their heads all the time. I personally would get a vanity plate, but I would crack under the pressure of trying to find something that would not make someone think I was an incredible feminine hygiene product.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Time To Get Some Protection

My older daughter, Thing 1, by starting 6th Grade, is now in Middle School, and is about to embark on a right of passage that kids her age all over the country have been doing for generations. It's something I myself did when I was her age, and her reaching this point in life fills me with nostalgia.

Covering text books.

Now that she's in Middle School, and has assigned text books, she is of course responsible for their long-term care over the next 9 months, and every school system across the country has kids at this same age take their books home and cover them. This ensures the cover of the book has that nice bright sheen to it for years, which is important when you're researching the capitals of Czechoslovakia and the USSR.

When I was this age, the standard was to use cut-up brown paper grocery bags, measured to fit, held together with tape, and would often last until the second to last month of school. In the interim, the book cover would get covered with doodles of all sorts. Favorite book quotes, favorite rock lyrics (I think anyone who looked at my books would have seen a strong belief in the ideal of not getting fooled again), names of girls, and of course the subject of the book (History for the boys, and History with a little bubble heart over the i for the girls). The extremely hopeless would buy store-bought book covers (usually covered in pictures of Strawberry Shortcake and other girly images). Well, the hopeless and those who had no older siblings to teach them how to cover a textbook (I had 2 older brothers, so I became an expert quickly). Basically, if you were cool, you had the brown paper cover. If not, you had store-bought. Every September, when we would go back to school, our parents would set aside a bunch of paper grocery sacks from the store and the dining room table would become a slaughterhouse of cut up brown paper, like some craft project gone seriously wrong.

Flash forward 27 years, and now it's Thing 1's turn. Her teachers have informed her that her books will have to get covered. Personally, I was excited over the prospect to teach Thing 1 the same skill my brothers taught me decades ago, and that I taught to my younger brother. It was a this point though that it was pointed out to me that this product is available in stores: Book Sox. Socks for books. Stretchy fabric covers that slip over the books and held in place with some sort of elastic, I guess. As the website says, "no measuring, no cutting, no taping." What the hell fun is that??? If we've lost the ability to cover our own textbooks, what will we lose next? The ability to defend our own borders?

This of course brings up the big question.....since Thing 1 is our oldest, we have no idea if other kids actually buy these, or if they're only purchased by the insanely hopeless like in my day. If we cover her books in brown paper bags from Kroger, will Thing 1 be elevated to the ranks of "cool kids"? Or will she be forever labeled as a "poor kid"? If we buy the Book Sox, will she be seen as some helpless geek that can't figure out how to cover a book? Or will she be at the same level as someone wearing a Twilight t-shirt from Hot Topic? These are the things we need to know to avoid getting our daughter branded as something negative.

I figured Middle School would be easy for Thing 1, since I knew which mistakes to avoid. Unfortunately, after so much time has passed, they probably changed the rules, and the mistakes are completely different than the ones I made. Somehow, it doesn't seem fair.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Talking Hypotheticals

OK, men: Let's say it's about 95 degrees Fahrenheit outside. *checks thermometer* Yup, 95 degrees. Not quite "Hotter than the hinges of Hell," but certainly in the "hot as balls" category.

And let's say you're with your wife/girlfriend/baby mama in a car, with two kids in the car seats in the back, and the lady is driving.

Let's say you need gas, and pull into a gas station.

Do you:

A: Get out and pump the gas?


B: Let the woman get out and pump the gas?

While I recognize that in this modern society, women are just as capable of pumping gas as men, isn't it a little bit of a dick move to sit in an air-conditioned car with the kids while the fairer sex gets out and gets her hands dirty from gasoline and germs pumping gas?

Or should I just simply count my blessings that she was kind of hot and exotic-looking in a Mediterranean sort of way, and gave me something to look at while I pumped gas into my own car?