Life Lessons

Winners Never Quit

Mom:  What's wrong, Honey?
Me:  My baseball team stinks.  We never win!
Mom:  Well, you're just trying to have fun.
Me:  It's not fun!  I hate losing all the time.  I should just quit.
Mom:  Winners never quit!
Me:  Of course they don't.  I wouldn't quit if I was winning, either.  But if they did quit, then maybe I could win!

Hard Work Builds Character

Dad:  Go pull some weeds.
Me:  Why?
Dad:  It builds character.
Me:  I have character.
Dad:  You need to build some more character.
Me:  My younger brothers should go build some character.  I have enough character!
Dad:  You can never have enough character.  Now go pull weeds before you get a spanking.
Me:  Are you coming with me?
Dad:  Nope!
Me:  But you need to build character!
Dad:  I have enough character.

Don't Take Advantage of Others

Drunk Old Guy in the small town cafe my family was eating lunch in:  Oh, there's the kids!  I see the kids!  God loves the kids!
*Stumbles over to our table*
Drunk Old Guy:  Hi kids!  Do you want somethin' ta eat?  Here's a dolla...a dollar for each of you's!
*My older sister and younger brothers timidly accept the bills.  Mine has already been transferred to a safer spot, hidden under my plate.*
Mom:  All right kids, give the nice gentlemen his money back.
Siblings:  Ok, here you go.
Me:  What money?
*The old guys' friends are helping him to the door*
Mom:  The dollar he gave you.  Give it back.
Me:  I don't think he gave me one.
*Mom points to my plate.  She never fell for my magic tricks, either*
Mom:  Now.
Me:  But he gave it to me!
Mom:  Give.  It.  Back.  Now!
*I grudgingly follow the Drunk Old Guy to the door*
Me:  Here you go, Sir.
Drunk Old Guy:  It's the kids!
Drunk Old Guy's Friend:  Here, take this.  The kid's giving you your dollar back.
Drunk Old Guy:  Such a sweet kid.  Hey everbody!  The kid's givin' me a dolla!

Working Like a Dog

What's worse than bringing your dog to work?

Bringing BOTH your dogs to work!

Especially when they make more noise than a pig going through a woodchipper.

We work in an office.  The same reason you have to wear clothes and refrain from scratching yourself during meetings is the same reason you should not bring your pets to work.  It's not professional, so you don't do it.

And if you have the audacity to bring both your dogs to work, please refrain from placing the yappers on the front desk!

And if you have the lack of brain function to stop yourself from placing them on the front desk, please don't let them eat the flowers and visitor sign-in sheet!

And if you lack the self-control needed to protect our office from your mutts' tiny jaws, then please don't forget your poop baggie!

As your system administrator, I sincerely wish you the best of luck logging in tomorrow.

What happened to your account?

My dog ate it.

Passive-Aggressiveness For Fun and Profit

We have a neighborhood association, although we're not entirely sure what for.

They send out newsletters telling us how much they're going to be doing during the upcoming quarter. We get the same updates the next time around.

There's rules regarding parking in the street, keeping trash out of your yard, and curbing your weeds. If you were to print out all these rules, you'd have to change your profession to "Lumberjack" when you filed your taxes next time around.

None of these rules are enforced, which isn't really a huge issue as most people follow them of their own free will.

My next door neighbor, however, seems to think his side yard is just an uncovered garage. If you'd see it on the Beverly Hillbillies, you'll find it here.

This neighbor is a very nice man, and I'd hate to have any sort of disagreement between us. This is the only issue we've ever had with him. He seems to keep everything forever, just in case, although we were sad when he finally threw out his Christmas tree in late April. It had been the most festive item in his collection.

The latest addition to the side yard garage is a camper shell for a pickup truck. I would just handle this myself and put it on his truck, if he owned one.

However, I am a colossal wuss. I hate confrontation. My mind goes blank and I try to hide behind my wife whenever I'm in a jam. For instance, if you're my waiter and you spit in my food, my most likely course of action would be to apologize to you immediately and run away after leaving a big tip.

A great example of my wussitude was this weekend when my wife and I were running errands. I was waiting in the car, chatting with my brother on the phone. A lady opened her car door into mine, hitting it several times as she was loading her purchases into the back seat. While this was happening, another lady hit me on the other side as she got out of her car! I sat there and smiled at each of them. I didn't even get out of the car to check on the damage.

So what's a wuss to do with a collector of all things unsightly living right next door?

Help him clean up the collection, of course.

I'm thinking of putting it on Cragislist. I'll just post a picture of the camper shell and my neighbor's address. It'll be free to whoever picks it up in the middle of the night.

If this plan works, I'll start charging nominal fees for the other items.

I'll have our neighborhood cleaned up in no time flat!

The User Virus

There's a reason I'm in the information technology field.

I like computers.  I enjoy helping folks use computers.  I like to work my way through complex problems and look like a genius afterward.

But mostly I just don't want to get dirty.

I'm especially squeamish regarding anything to do with bodily functions and/or fluids, specifically your bodily functions and/or fluids.

If I'm walking down the road and see you lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood, gasping "Help me!", I'll be glad to call 911.  Otherwise you're on your own, buddy.

This sort of situation has yet to happen in my office full of accountants, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't get hazard pay.  My coworkers will come to work no matter how sick they are.  Some of these folks could give birth after being decapitated in a car wreck on the way to work and still manage to get here in time.

Here's how it plays out:

*Phone rings*

Me:  This is Ricky, can I help you?

Sick and Stubborn User:  My combuter is acting ub.  Can you come check it out?

Me:  Sure, I'll be right there.  Are you sick?

Sick and Stubborn User:  No, it's just allergies.

*A couple days go by*

Me:  You sound awful, are you sure you're not sick?

Sick and Stubborn User:  It's just allergies!  *Achooooo!*

*A couple days go by*

Me:  How's your allergies?

Sick and Stubborn User:  The doctor said I have bronchitis.  And pneumonia.  And the hauntavirus.  And the flu!  I'm not contagious though.

Me:  Of course not.  Why don't you take a few days off?

Sick and Stubborn User:  I don't want to use my sick days.  Gotta save 'em for when I need 'em.

Me:  You're insane.  Go home.

Sick and Stubborn User:  Why are you wearing gloves and a SARS mask?

Me:  It's standard network anti-virus equipment.

Sick and Stubborn User:  I see.  What are you drinking?

Me:  Hand sanitizer.

When I'm Seventy

When I'm seventy, I think I'll have all kinds of fun.

I'll have a cane whether I need it or not. I'll hit people with it. I'll steal people's newspapers and mail and flowers. Then I'll redistribute them to complete strangers.  I'll be like the unwanted, grumpy Robin Hood.

I'll go jogging, or better yet - speed walking! I hear it's all the rage with the oldies. Then, when I'm nice and sweaty, I'll go ride elevators for fun. And I just might forget to use Old Spice. Oops!

While I'm busy stinking up the elevators, I'll hit all the buttons so no one can make a quick escape. I'll tell them how it was in my day. Then I'll complain about music, technology, and disrespect. Then I'll mix all three and gripe about teenagers.

I'm looking forward to being seventy.

Flights to Kansas City, Part 3

I always get to sit next to the interesting folks on the flight to Kansas City.  I've done it fourteen times now, and I've had an adventure almost every time.

The return flights are usually normal.  I attribute this to the fact I'm headed home.

Once, on a connection from Dallas, I was late to board my flight.  They'd held the plane for us.  I hastily found the only empty seat on the plane, and sat down with a sigh.

There was an older lady next to me, looking out the window.

She turned to me and smiled sweetly.  I smiled back.

"How are you today, young man?"

"Just fine, ma'am.  And you?"

"Oh, I'm doing wonderfully.  Can't complain."

I put my bag under the seat and offered her some gum to relieve the ear pressure during the flight (Offering a piece to the strangers in my row is a regular custom of mine.  If one of them turns out to be a terrorist or a hijacker, I want to be on their good side).

"No, thank you.  I'm never bothered on planes."

I put the gum away and leaned back to endure the flight.

"I do have one thing you should know, son."

I turned to her attentively.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"I broke my elbow two days ago, and if you bump it one more time, I'm going to scream in your ear as loud as I can."

She smiled at me sweetly.

I wrote this series of posts on the plane back from Kansas City.  This was my last trip.  As we taxied up to the gate at home, the quiet lady next to me spoke up.  Turns out she's lived in Kansas City for the last 25 years and is sick of it.  She's moving to New Mexico.

Welcome to Normal, ma'am!

Flights to Kansas City, Part 2

I always get to sit next to the interesting folks on the flight to Kansas City.  I've done it fourteen times now, and I've had an adventure almost every time.

The return flights are usually normal.  I attribute this to the fact I'm headed home.

One time, I was kept company by a gentleman whose last name was Pigg.  I won't use his first name, because Darryl seemed nice and I'd hate to embarrass him.

He had a red mullet and thin pigtail.  His left eye wandered around, looking for adventures his right one couldn't take.

He was fidgety, and talked faster than I could listen.

We talked about work for a bit, and then about Kansas City.  He'd lived there most of his life, and knew the town like the back of his hand.  He asked where I was staying and how long I'd be there.

I lied, of course.  Something in the back of my mind told me to be careful.

Darryl told me where I was staying was too expensive, and he could find me somewhere cheaper.

"No thanks.  We're getting a good rate and work pays for it.  It's close to where I need to be."

"Then you should stay with me, man."

"Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll pass."

"Well, if you change your mind, then you should call me.  Here's my name and number."

"Um, thanks.  I'll keep it in mind."

"You should call me anyway.  What are you doing tonight?"

"Uh, I think I have to work tonight."

"What's your number, man?  I'll call you tomorrow and we can hang out.  You can come over to my place."

"Ooh, sorry - tomorrow's the big meeting.  Can't make it.  Thanks, though."

"No problem.  What was your number?"

"Uh, I don't have one."

"What's your problem, man?"

*I don't want to end up on a meat hook in your basement, Darryl.  THAT'S my problem!*

"What?  I can't hear you.  Music's too loud!"

*I hastily plop in my headphones and pray for the landing.*

Flights to Kansas City, Part 1

I always get to sit next to the interesting folks on the flight to Kansas City.  I've done it fourteen times now, and I've had an adventure almost every time.

The return flights are usually normal.  I attribute this to the fact I'm headed home.

This time, I noticed he smelled funny, and so of course he picked the seat next to me.

"I used to do crack, but now I just smoke pot."

"Um, hi."

I was fishing around in my bag for my headphones, but it was too late.

"I'm a musician", he continued.  "And a stand-up comedian."

"That's cool."  Where were my headphones?

"Wanna hear some of my stuff?"

"Actually, I was just going to, um..."


And then he proceeded to tell me dead Haitian jokes.

Lots of them.  After each joke, he asked me what I thought.


"No, not really."

"I see.  Is it too soon?"

"Well, since they're still finding the bodies and digging through the rubble...yes."

"But other than the timing, they're funny?"

"Sorry, no."

"That's OK.  I'm going to my girlfriend's house tonight.  She lives in a mansion and grows pot in the basement.  We're going to smoke it tonight."

"I figured."

"I used to be an electrical engineer."

"What happened?"

"I'm free, man, I'm free."

"That makes sense."

"Maybe when I'm fifty."

"Yeah, I'd wait until then."

"For what, man?"