Thursday, December 31, 2009

Much Adieu

Ten years ago today the world was consumed by the huge Y2K paranoia. In honor of that I'm going to share another postal story with y'all.

Remember Cliff Claven on Cheers. What about Newman from Seinfeld? Both of those fictional characters were a few stamps short of a full book. But guess what? I've worked with far crazier people in my years at the Ol' PO and perhaps the strangest of them all was a fellow named California Jim.

Now most Texas consider anybody from California a little bit off, but Jim was out there by any standard of the definition of crazy.

He dressed like a 60s sitcom star. Think Ward Cleaver. He wore thick black Buddy holly glasses and drove an old beat up 1960 something Ford Falcon. He had a mail order bride from I believe the Philippines and five or six kids. He also swore that drinking a shot of Hydrogen Peroxide every day would ward off both cancer and AIDS. And sure enough I witnessed him down a shot from the brown bottle of the solution every time he sat down for lunch.

California Jim worked evening 3:30 to midnight and for quite a few years so did I. I hadn't worked at the post office more than a few weeks when one day he sat down at the break table and enlightened me with this knowledge.

"Did you hear they are reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone?"

Now I'd never spoken to this man before so all I knew was the fact he appeared to be stuck in the decade of peace, love, and protests. Nodding, I said, "Yeah I heard that."

Casting a suspicious look to the left and then right Jim lowered his voice to a whisper, "Know why?"

I shrugged.

"These wolves have been trained to protect a secret NATO compound buried in the center of the park. They attack anyone that gets to close." And with that California Jim got up and walked away.

Over the years via similar conversations he told me about black Helicopters, Israeli double agents, and Government crop dusters that flew over cities at night spraying all of us with mind altering chemicals.

So it came as no shock when on December 31st 1999 he showed up to work all in a dither about Y2K.

By that time I was on the day shift, so when Jim arrived a half hour early at 3 PM I was outside taking my final break before I clocked off at 3:30. I was not alone as four or five other guys were sitting around the smoking area in anticipation quitting time.

Jim walked up to us, sat his lunch box down on a picnic table and announced, "In two hours we'll all be dead."

There is one idiot in every crowd so sure enough someone piped up and asked, "Why is that?"

Jim needed very little encouragement so being asked why set him off like New Years bottle rocket. "That's when the clock strikes midnight in Moscow. They still have thousands of nuclear warheads pointed right at America and since we have Pantex (A nuclear facility located just East of Amarillo) you can bet several of those babies are aimed right at us. Yep. When their computer malfunction that will be the end of the world."

"You really believe the world is ending at 5 O'Clock today Jim?" Somebody asked.

"Damn right I do," Jim folded his arms across his chest proud to finally be receiving some attention for theories.

"Then how come you brought your lunch when you don't go eat until 5:30?"

We were all laughing too hard to hear his mumbled answer, but California Jim grabbed up his lunch box and stomped away. Just before he turned the corner he said, "Y'all just wait and see."

Things went bad for Jim after that. Turns out he ran up over a 100K on his credit cards in anticipation of either the world ending or the banking computers malfunctioning and wiping off his balances. In debt his mail-order wife decided to leave him. She filed restraining orders on behalf of herself and their kids.

But California Jim was a true rebel to the end. He quit the Post Office and abandoned his 20 some odd years to avoid being forced into paying child support. A few years ago he sent a postcard from Malaysia describing his perfect life in paradise where a man can live on less than twelve dollars a day.

No doubt he is preparing for the next doomsday 12/21/2012.

Here is hoping each and every one of you has a safe and Happy New Year. I got a feeling 2010 is gonna be a great one.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hammer Time

Warning those with delicate sensibilities might take offense to the crass and vulgar nature of this post, so if you fit that description please come back to visit another day.

Okay now that the prudes are gone, let me tale you a little tale followed by a Riddle Me This rant.

There I was in Walgreen's. Waiting for the young woman behind the counter to find my son's prescription. While the clerk helping me looked for the antibiotics, another young woman stepped up to the register. This second gal happened to be sporting a low cut vee neck blouse and being a red-blooded hetero male my eyes were drawn to her cleavage. Yeah I know it's sexists but damn it, some things -- like the ocean tides, Donald Trump's ever sinking comb-over line, and man's inability to look away from cleavage -- are simply too powerful to stop.

Now while I cannot always control these momentary urges I do try and maintain some form of dignity by not letting my peepers linger too long. I don't want to be the creepy guy with his hands in his pocket who can't stop leering at the valley of the dolls.

But this particular cleavage wasn't of the garden variety some I'm afraid my gaze did linger. No the woman wasn't of Pamela Anderson stature or anything substantial like that. This gal had a stud, complete with a shiny pink gemstone of some sort decorating her cleavage. Her CLEAVAGE!. Not a bellybutton, ear, lip, nose, or tongue, but the skins between her girls. The tight skin right in the center of her breastbone was puckered around the metal stud.

My first thought why?

To call attention to the area? Really ladies there is no need. As I said the vast majority of we men are gonna look anyway. And at least most of us are content with the way nature has decorated your frame so we do not need shiny gemstones to say ooh and aah.

But that got me to thinking about piercings in general. There are all kinds some more accepted than others with ears being at the top of the social pyramid. Bellybuttons and maybe noses fall next and then perhaps noses, tongues and brows.

Then there are those you find pleasure by jabbing metal through their nether regions. The storyline is a medal rod through your nipple or genitalia enhances the sexual experience. that it heightens every sensation.

Now no way am I going to verify this for myself so fine and dandy ... I'll take your word for it.

My question is who was the first man or woman who said, "I like sex and all but I just have to wonder how much better it would feel if I took a shard of stainless steel and drove it through my uh-uh."

Now that person had no real idea if it was going to heighten the experience or not. Talk about a pioneer.

But you know what I think. I think it was some drunk dumbass who did it first. Probably he was imitating his favorite cartoon character Quick Draw McGraw with a pneumatic nail gun while downing shots of Jaegermeister when suddenly things went horribly wrong. But an inebriated cool cat like that wouldn't scream out in pain just so his buddies could laugh, no siree ... he would nod his head slowly and sneer. He would point at his impaled penis and say, "Wait till momma gets a load of that tonight. Ribbed for her pleasure my ass. I'll show her pleasure. Me and my ten penny nail."

And thus a tradition was born. The rest sprang from there. So the next time you are at the airport in some long line waiting to go through the metal detector keep in mind the hold up just might be some dude with an itchy nail gun finger.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Meaty Christmas To All

There I was yesterday tooling along a farm-to-market road just west of Amarillo. Like a good Texan I was behind the wheel of my Ford pick-up with my family along for the ride. This is the conversation that ensued when my 9yo spied a dead cow laying in the bar ditch.

"Dad, did a car hit that cow."
"No," I answered. "I'm sure it died out in the field and the rancher just drug it outside the fence so the truck could pick it up."
"What truck? Why would a truck wanna pick up a dead cow?"
"They use dead cows for stuff like bone meal and dog food, " I answered.
"Gross," said my 9yo. "I didn't know they made dog food from dead cows."
"Hamburgers are dead cows too," I answered. They just kill the cows at the packing plant instead of picking them up from ranchers.

My 7 year old son who had remained quiet until now pipes up and says, "The TV commercials say dog food tastes like meat, but really dog food just tastes like cereal."

And yeah, he is my son, so he said this with noticeable disappointment in his voice.


Doubt I'll get another post up before Christmas so let me say Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. May your holiday season and the upcoming year be blessed. And unless you happen to be one of those crazy vegetarians may you table be stocked with plenty of meat. After all I wouldn't want your kid to snack on the Alpo in hopes of finding meaty goodness.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Everyone is a Cynic

In lieu of a new post another visit to my days in the red suit ...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I'll Tell You What To Believe, another Saga of the Second Rate Santa

I don't want this blog to become All Christmas ... All the Time, but I did say I would get another Second-Rate Santa Saga up this weekend. But this will be the last one until late next week or even the weekend, because I'd hate for my readers to require insulin after too many tales of sugar plum fairies. In another couple of weeks we'll all be so sick of hearing Jingle Bells and All I Want for Christmas is a Hippopotamus that the only way to make our spirits bright is to mount a giant hippo head above our fireplaces. But I digress.

I've had a hard time deciding which Santa tale to go with next. There is my personal favorite,which I think will be titled Midnight Meat, - but I have special plans for that one later on in the month and besides, I need to set up a few things through other stories first. There is one highlighting the immaturity of grown men, myself included, that I'll call, Ye Olde Yuletide Log, but since I described the three kinds of adults that visited Santa in the last post, I think I'll do the same with kids in this one. Again most of the kids fit in one of three categories.

The Awed - These were the kids that approached wide-eyed with mouths agape. To them I was a mystical hero capable of fulfilling all their dreams and wishes. The would climb up on my lap and speak their hearts desires in whispered tones. And they would listen with rapt attention as I instructed them to listen to their parents and not fight with their brother's and sisters. I'll tell you there wasn't near enough of these kiddos, but they were the ones that made it fun.

The Scared - Again these kids were wide-eyed and their mouths were open - screaming at the top of their lungs. "No! I don't Want to! Please Mommy, please!" Nothing makes you feel better than to instill raw terror into small children. I know what Quasimodo felt like. But it could have been worse. The parents could have gathered up torches and pitchforks. Instead, they handed me their squalling and bawling offspring and then stepped back and said, "Smile, pretty for you picture honey." Ever try to get a terrified kid to stop crying and smile? It ain't easy. Especially when the very thing they are afraid is holding onto them.

The Skeptical - These are the kids who walked up with narrowed eyes and smug grins. The IRS should hang around Santa's throne at malls and recruits these little doubters cause once they get on your case they can't be dissuaded. And is there really much difference in these two questions? "If you're really Santa then where is you Reindeer?" "Mr. Erwin, do you really expect me to buy into your claim that you traveled to Las Vegas solely for book research?"
They have the same ring to them huh? Yep, and it is about as joyous as the racket those Salvation Army Santas make out in front of Wal-mart. And here is a little tale to prove my point.

There I was sitting on my throne, well not my throne, the mall's throne they built for Santa. My throne is made of porcelain and doesn't have a stitch of red velour in sight, but at least there is always a good book near my throne. But back to Santa and the mall. The line was fairly long as it was a weekend afternoon. In times like that I fell into a routine. Welcome the next group in line, ask them what they want for Christmas, smile for the picture, and then tell them to be good little boys and girls because my elves were watching. In between I'd try to wave to the kids that gathered around the little white picket fence.

For a long time I noticed this one little girl about eight or nine standing there. I'd wave but she wouldn't respond. Finally, a small boy of about five joined her at the fence and finally the two of them along with a man and woman got in line. A good fifteen or twenty minutes went by before they made their way to the front. Here is the scene that followed.

"Merry Christmas," I shouted.
The boy smiled. She did not.
"And what would you like for Christmas?"
The boy said, "A new bike and a hamster."
I turned to the girl. "And how about you."
"I know you're not the real Santa Claus, and my mom won't let him have a live animal cause he squeezed our parakeet until it died."

At this point Galen, said smile and the flash went off, but the girl wasn't done.

"The real Santa doesn't have time to sit around all day taking pictures."
"So what does the real Santa do all day?" I asked.
"He builds toys."
"I have elves to do that." Yeah I now. I was arguing with an eight-year old over something she was right about and I was wrong, but I had to have fun somehow.
"And he has to feed the reindeer."
"They fly around and find their own food," I countered.
She rolled her eyes, "Right."
I appealed to her little brother who I decided was an easier sell. "You be a good little boy and Santa will leave you a surprise Christmas morning."
"Will you bring me a hamster?"
"I'll have to ask you mommy first. Santa can't bring you something unless your parents say it's okay."

At this the girl gave a hearty, "Huuumph," and hopped off my lap. She grabbed her brother's hand and drug him off with her. As she left I heard her say, "See, I told you he wasn't the real one. The Santa can do anything he wants. as long as Mrs. Clause says it's okay."

I couldn't help but laugh, but deep down I already felt sorry for the poor guy who would end up married to her.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Revisiting My Ho Filled Past

I've been meaning to write up a post but I just don't seem to get it done. So for those who missed it the first time around Here is a recap of my days as a mall Santa. I am including my first two posts. The first explains how I came to be a mall Santa and the other should help explain why I'd never do it again.

That's right folks, that is me lurking beneath those snow-white whiskers and red hat. And here is the real story of how I became a mall Santa and happened to have a six foot plus two hundred and something pound red-headed man sitting on my lap.

The years was 2001. I was just shy of my 29th birthday, far too young to make a good Santa but then again I never claimed I was a good Santa. The previous spring I had agreed to play the Easter Bunny at the mall so the Santa gig was my second stint for the company. Who ran the company -- the red headed man on my lap, who also happened to be my boss at the Post Office. He knew I had a new family and could use a bit of extra money so he hired me for nights and weekends.

The Easter Bunny was easy. Ten bucks and hours plus commission if we met our goals of getting so many pictures. Later, I will share some Bunny stories, which are actually funnier than the Santa ones, but y'all will have to wait for spring for those. The good thing about the Easter Bunny was I just had to sit there in my suit. No talking, no Ho, Ho, Ho'ing. Just wave and sweat in a gimongous fur covered suit while the sun beat in through the mall's atrium windows. Easy money.

There was nothing easy about being Santa. First, because I was young and my eyebrows are black, I had to get this wax pencil and color my brows white each time I donned the suit. Also the middle part of my mustache bled through the fake beard so I'd have to use the pencil to color what I'll call the Hitler portion of my 'stache white as well. Then, despite having a fairly ample gut of my own, I'd have to tie this big poofy pillowed girdle around my torso. Then I'd slip into the red velour trousers and shirt, hoist up the black suspenders, and then slip into the leather boots. Did you know Santa's footwear isn't much different from a Hell's Angel's?

Last, I'd slide the beard into place. It itched like hell and those little fine grey hairs constantly found their way inside my mouth and nostrils. They tickled like hell and over the course of a night spitting out the hairs and keeping them out of my nose proved to be nerve racking. For all I know they gather that crap my the backside of Polar Bears so who the hell knows what kind of germs I was ingesting. Of course every sick and snotty nosed kid in town ended up on my lap, so it didn't really make a difference.

So after a half hour of getting dressed I'd wait for the Santa on duty before me to come back so I could take his place on the throne. Then the fun would really start.

At Easter you might get three or four people in line at the busiest time. The parents are calm and relaxed for the most part since they haven't spent all day running around from store to store maxing out their credit cards in the name of good cheer.

Christmas was an entirely different story. After a ten minute break the line would be twenty screaming kids long. Parents would be eyeballing their watches and scowling like constipated elves forced to eat prune-laced fruitcake.

Between now and Christmas I'm gonna tell y'all many a tale of what went on after that. From sad, to funny, to head shaking, people- are-crazy. But I just might have been the craziest of them all. I also might have been the worst mall Santa the world has ever witnessed, but my pain, and the scarred memories of many a child is y'alls gain. So get ready to read all about, The Saga of a Second Rate Santa.

** a couple of notes**

The man on my lap's name is Galen, As I said he was the boss at the Post Office at one time. I took a good amount of flack for working for him on the side. Things like Santa's nose is supposed to be red, not brown. This picture was taken to really give them something to talk about and to prove I could take anything they wanted to dish out. Don't worry I paid them back. If there is one thing I'm good at it is getting even, or even better getting ahead.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Second Rate Santa and the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ... but mostly the Ugly.

When you mention mall Santa's, most people think of kids, and probably 90% of the people who stood in line and came to sit on my lap were under the age of twelve. Then you had the older kids who hated to be there but their parents still wanted that yearly picture so they forced them to shuffle up and plop down beside Santa in the over-sized chair. There was no way those 'tweens and teenagers were about to sit on my, or any other Santa's lap.

Then there were the older people, women mostly, but a few men as well. They were a mixed bag. Some were all too eager to sit on Ol' Saint Nick's lap and reveal their heart's desire and then ran the gamut from ...

The Good - An entire shift of Hooter's girls, a couple of shapely twins, and pretty young woman who only wanted to ask Santa for her fiance to be sent back stateside from Croatia in time for their planned Valentine's day wedding.

The Bad - An obviously gay man in a trench coat, no I can't say for certain that he had on anything else, the women who obviously had some kind of Santa fetish and delighted in making my cheeks rosy, and the plethora of hacking, wheezing flu ravaged people who thought I as a mall Santa had the magical ability to ward off disease.

The Ugly - The ugly took many, many forms and will be fodder for this series throughout. When I say ugly I don't just mean physically though Frosty knows there were plenty that filled that sleigh. Along with the aesthetically challenged I had to deal with the hygiene deficient, the personality perplexed, and the downright delusional that actually thought I could fulfill their wishes. Then, there were those who fell into all of those categories and then some. Like the couple from today's installment.

It was early on, in that first week after Thanksgiving, before I'd become completely jaded against the entire legend of Santa Claus. I'd already encountered a few weird things, but I chalked those up as anomalies. The night had been steady but far from the hectic madhouse it would become in a few short weeks, and with less than an hour to go until the mall closed I was feeling rather jolly. (A couple of weeks alter the mall started staying open til midnight and then with an hour to go I was just trying to sane.) Most of the elves had gone come so it was just Galen and me. He took the pictures, I smiled and took the kids list.

But our next customers were far from being kids. And as they walked up Galen whispered out the the side of his mouth, "Get a load of these two."

They were in their early twenties. She had on a pair of ratty red sweat pants that were two sizes two small and with her rotund build the overall package looked sort of like Santa's gift bag. If it were overstuffed with about two dozen Christmas hams. The woman's hair hadn't seen a brush since Prancer was nothing but a twinkle in his mother's eye, but she wore enough make-up to make Rudolph's nose seem dull.

In stereo-typical fashion her boyfriend was as skinny as she was large. His body was all angles and bones, like a broken up candy cane. And there was a smudge above his upper lip that could have been a moustache or a smudge of soot. A chain hung from his grease-stained jeans and the cap on his head said something like, Truckers Do It For The Long Haul.

I made room for them to sit one on each side but of course she plopped down right on my left knee. With a pat on my right, she said, "Bobby you sit here."

He shook his head. "I don't think so." His filthy hair hung stiff like icicles. Though I'd never seen icicles made of oil. But just because I'd never seen it didn't mean 10w-40 didn't freeze.

Like I said, I still had a bit of holiday cheer in me so I gave Jack Sprat and his girlfriend a hearty, "Merry Christmas!"
He mumbled something that might have been " F ... off and die," but I can't say for certain.

Next as was customary I asked what they wanted Santa to bring them this year.

She giggled and said, "An engagement ring would be nice."
"Dream on," he answered.
"Maybe a puppy then."
He cast her a dirty look. "What are you stupid?" You know my mom is allergic."
She returned his nasty expression with one of her own. "Then maybe we could move to a place of our own."

At this point Galen said smile and the flash went off just as the boyfriend said, "This is bullshit. I ain't made of money."
He grabbed the girls hand and yanked her down from my lap. My knee thanked him.

Galen said to them," Want to have a look at your picture?"

"Hell no. We ain't buying no effin picture."
"The girl stopped walking. She crossed her arms across her chest and stuck out her bottom lip like a two year old. "I want a picture."
"What for?"
"I just do."
He hauled out his wallet by tugging on the chain." Okay, but this counts as part of your present."

As he paid Galen, the girl said, "Gawd, Bobby you can be an asshole."
He shrugged. "And you can be a bitch."
Smiling, she draped an arm across his skinny waist and slid her hand into his back pocket. "I know, but that's why you love me."
Galen handed the happy couple their photo and they walked away, arm in arm. Just before they rounded the corner he grabbed a handful of her ample sweatpant covered ham.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Throw Me A Rope

One example gone awry and there I was, neck deep in quicksand.

I've mentioned before that I have undertaken the pleasurable task of guiding a literature club for the Catholic School where both my boys attend and my wife teaches. The club is made up of forth and fifth grade students and we split our time between discussing the craft of writing and discussing books. This first semester we have been discussing Erica's fantastic YA novel, Magickeepers.

Yesterday we finished up our discussion of the novel as well as my planned talk about the craft. So I opened up the floor for questions.

Several inquiries in, one little girl asked, "Why do some authors change their names?"

I explained that some people wanted to keep their true identity secret and others changed it because maybe their name was too hard to pronounce or even another famous writer shared their name.

The same little girl then said, "But what about the lady who wrote Harry potter? She used her initials but everybody still knows who she is?"

"Well," I explained. " I have read that she went by her initials because someone, an agent, editor, or maybe marketing person thought young boys would be more likely to read the series if they did not realize a woman had written it."

At this point several of the little girls chimed in, "That's dumb. Boys are babies. they should know girls can write good books as well as they can."

I agreed but said it goes both ways. "Sometimes men who write romance books have to change their name so people will think a woman wrote it."

And then, I really blundered.

Pointing to a sweet and innocent looking little girl in the front row I said, "What if Mackenzie (name changed to protect the innocent) here wrote a book about spies or serial killers? no one would ever believe a young girl like her could write a good novel on those subjects so she would have to pick a pseudonym.

Thinking I had sufficiently answered the question I said, "Next question."

A blond little boy raised his hand so I called on him. "What's a serial killer," he asked?

I cringed, not wanting to try and explain this to a group of other people's children.

"That's not really important" I said trying to sweep my blunder under the rug. "I was simply trying to make a point that an author might need to disguise their gender to draw in their readers. Next question."

This time a girl stuck up her arm. She looked extremely pleased when I called on her. With a smile she announced, " a serial killer is a person that kills lots of people. isn't that right?"

Taking a deep breath I nodded. Yeah, but let's stick to talking about writing. Next question."

"Do serial killers cut off people's heads?" Came the next inquiry from a very eager young lad.

"If you want to know anymore about serial killers you are going to have to ask your parents," I answered. "It's not really my field of expertise."

"Why would anyone want to read a whole book about people getting their heads cut off?"

"How come they are called serial killers? Do they like to eat cereal?"

"Have you ever wrote a book about a serial killer?"

"Do you know any serial killers?"

No matter how hard I tried they questions kept coming, so finally I said, "Guys, we are supposed to be talking about writing and books you can read. I can hear it now, When class is over y'all are gonna run out to your parents car and when asked how was books club, the first words from your mouth will be, WE LEARNED ABOUT SERIAL KILLERS FROM MR. ERWIN. and guess what? That will be the end the end of me as your teacher, so unless you guys are trying to get rid of me let's please talk about something else.

One bright little girl threw up her arm and shouted, "Can I ask you about a book idea to see if it's a good?"

Pleased to talk about anything but serial killers I said sure.

"What if I wrote a book about a fat kid at school that ate all of the cereal in the cafeteria and all the other kids started calling him serial killer. Would that make a good story?"

I did the only thing left I could and called it quits for the day.

On the way home I thought man, do I respect teachers, not only for their wisdom and patience but their ability to avoid getting drug smack dab into a huge pool of quicksand.

To read more about the literature club please check out my other blog, here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Write On!

Back when I first got serious about writing I subscribed to Writer's Digest magazine. But after a few years of reading I became cynical or realistic, depending on your take.

Articles with titles such as, Write That Best Selling Novel In Only One Weekend and Ten Step Guide to Becoming the Next J.K. Rowling lost their appeal as I discorved the true odds of the business.

Okay I made those title up, but back 8 or 9 years ago Writer's Digest did crank out some sensationalized articles.

I also subscribed to The Writer for a few years after playing host to one of their editors at our local conference, but over time I let that one drop as well.

So it's been a good long while since I've picked up and read a writing magazine but earlier this week one of my critique partners, the oh-so-talented, Caron Guillo, gave me a recent copy of Writer's Digest.

Knowing that I am writing a memoir she gave it to me so that I could read an interview the magazine did with Mitch Albom. Caron knew some of the struggles I was having in writing my Feedstore Chronicles and she correctly guessed that I would appreciate Mr. Albom,s answers regarding his notable memoir, Tuesdays With Morrie.

Odd as it sounds I think there are some parallels between my story and his so now I am eager to finally reading the memoir and study it for structure. But the thing that stuck with me most about the interview was when they asked Mr. Albom the secret behind his being successful as a sports writer, a memoirist, and a novelist.

His answer was that he could his skills lay not in writing so much as they did in storytelling and he said regardless of what you are writing every author should have the same goal -- make the reader constantly ask the same question ... WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Yeah I know that statement sounds so simple, but for whatever reason it struck a chord within me. Perhaps I've been trying too hard shape and bend my story to fit within the standards and guidelines. Perhaps I should simply tell these tales the way I have countless times over the years. maybe I need to forget I'm writing at a computer desk and start imagining I'm pontificating over a few beers.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Little Dark Humor

A good while back I posted a blog about a friend of mine who'd been given only a short time to live by his doctor. Of course I can't find the post now, but in it I told my favorite story about my friend. Both then and now I will call him Joe.

I'll retell the short version for those that missed it. Joe came into work one night looking like someone had decided to grind his face into hamburger. His nose was bleeding, his lip swollen and busted, and the skin on his face was battered and red. When someone asked Joe what happened, he matter-of-factly stated, "I stopped at Toot and Totum on the way into work. While I was pumping gas I spotted this old boy I owed an ass whooping."

Before anyone could say a word, Joe piped in with, "Now I owe him two."

Shortly after that original post a miracle happened when Joe's cancer suddenly went into remission. The doctor's couldn't explain it, but the three months they had given him turned into better than a year of cancer free life fro Joe.

Three weeks ago those same doctors confirmed what Joe's body had already been telling him. The cancer was back.

Joe's stomach tumor grew five times in size in less than a month and now Joe is in yet another round of chemo in a battle for his life. Of course I'm pulling for him to win this battle, but given our usual banter is one of harassment and good natured ribbing I'm not going to put on satin gloves and treat him as a frail sickly invalid.

Joe would never want or expect me to do that.

So that brings us to my story. Last night while watching my beloved New Orleans Saints, under the stellar leadership of their QB Drew Brees, dismantle the Tom Brady led, almighty New England Patriots, Joe says, "Brees is okay but he's no Romo."

Joe like most folks here in Texas bleeds Dallas Cowboy blue. No one in their right mind would ever claim Dallas QB Tony Romo is better than Drew Brees but in the nature of our fun, Joe threw that statement out."

I countered with the truth that the sweat dripping from Brees's balls has more talent than Tony Romo.

So today Joe calls me up and says, "I can't take the risk of you being a pall bearer at my funeral and having you lean down and say Romo sucks just as they close the casket. So I'm gonna scratch your name off the list and add Tony Romo's."

Not about to give in I said, "Don't do that. Romo will miss the hole in the ground and dump you out right there on the hard cold earth."

Joe was admitted into the hospital tonight, but just a few minutes ago he called to tell me not to get my hopes up, he's not going anywhere until the Cowboys ruin the saints perfect season in a few weeks. I can only hope and pray that Joe will feel up to watching the game with me on December 19th, because despite his poor choice in football teams, he truly is a hell of a friend.

I almost feel bad for the beat down the Who Dats are gonna put on his beloved 'Boys. I said almost. I've been a Saints fan for far too many lean years not to thoroughly enjoy this shining season.

Geaux Saints!

The original Joe story can be found here. I owe the location of the link to the sleuth work of Hilary. Thanks Hilary.