The Scary Guy in the Red Suit

 

15029D67-0795-44C0-915A-6F01FC23364F

 

I don’t know how many of you ever had the distinct privilege of sitting in Santa Claus’ lap to tell him what to bring you for Christmas, (yes, tell, don’t ask) but trust me, it is an experience you will remember all your life.

Unfortunately for me.

 

Let’s face it, meeting Santa Claus is a bucket list event for any kid. I mean, we all write our letters to him, asking for what we want, (or maybe, email these days, I don’t know) but to get to meet the Big Kahuna in person??

Oh…WOW!!! Makes me nearly faint just thinking about it.

Just go to the mall, and spend some time around Santa, and you watch how many kids stand in line, accompanied by their harried, stressed-out parents, waiting for their turn with the Big Man. I mean, who knows when he’ll get around to reading your letter; here’s your chance to tell Mr. Claus directly. Big time-saver.

So, here I was, on my way to Leonard’s Department Store, in downtown Fort Worth, for my close encounter of the Santa kind. To describe me as excited that day would be an understatement. I was charged up, folks. I was ready for this; I had waited for this day my whole life. (I think I was about five.) I was even dressed up for it, in my finest gift-begging suit. With my hair perfectly combed, wearing my best cologne, breath mint in pocket, I knew I had this.

Claus, you’re mine!

 

So, I stood in line with the other kids, waiting patiently (not) for my turn. As I waited, I enthusiastically recited to Mom and Dad my entire request list. I don’t recall how long it was, but come on, I was a kid; you think it was just gonna be two or three items? No, sir, no Toy Express Lane for this guy.

But as I stood there, a curious thing happened. My parents noticed, the further up I moved in line, the less talking I did, and my excitement seemed to morph into trepidation, which then crossed over to fear. 😬😲

I don’t really have an explanation for what happened. I can only speculate in hindsight, the closer I got to the man, the more intimidating he looked to me. After all, I was meeting him for the first time, and we weren’t even properly introduced. I was simply picked up and set in the guy’s lap, for Pete’s sake. This scary fellow with the long hair and the long beard and the red suit and the prominent gut. I didn’t care that he was probably some poor store employee who got roped into this gig, and would rather have been off somewhere else, hitting the eggnog with an elf or two.

No, all I knew in that moment was, I don’t like this person. And so, from the time I was placed in his lap until the time I was removed from it, Santa Claus might as well have been sitting there holding a stuffed animal.

I didn’t speak. I didn’t move. I may not have even breathed.

I was frozen solid, a Rock of Gibraltar. You could have busted up concrete with me.

There’s photographic evidence somewhere of this incident, but ain’t none of you ever gonna see it, that’s for sure. Let’s just pretend it looks like this:

 

89CDE0B3-B501-4DB5-982E-D9DF47A3A12F

 

So, I rode back home with my head hung in shame. I had my shot and I wasted it. A tragic event, one that would undoubtedly keep me in therapy for life.

You know what, though? Turns out, I didn’t need to tell him a thing.

Because, come Christmas Day, I still got what I wanted. Cool, right? 😏

Now, kids, I’m not saying that’ll happen to you, too. You’d better talk to Santa, if you get a chance, just to cover your bases.

He’s probably not really that scary.

They Listen

 

Interesting thing happened to me recently. I know, go figure, right?

Well, I got a text from a guy named Will, who was a client of mine last year, when I was still a chauffeur. Turned out, Will was a musician, in town for some huge, weekend-long wrestling event. He loves music, and he loves wrestling, and we joked about him maybe making a career combining the two, like being a musical wrestler. Or a wrestling musician.

Anyway, we talked some about the kinds of music we like, and he said he likes stuff with a jazzy vibe to it, so I asked him if he’d ever heard of Steely Dan, whose specialty is just that. He said he hadn’t, which was understandable; Steely Dan was a little before his time. So I suggested he check ’em out; he might like them.

Hadn’t had any correspondence with the guy since.

Until this text he sent me. He said, when he heard recently of the death of Steely Dan co-founder, co-songwriter and guitarist Walter Becker, I was the first person he thought of.

(!!!!!)

Mind you, I drove this guy once.

Over a year ago.

He still remembered me, and our conversation. He said in his text, he couldn’t believe it. I texted back, “Neither can I!”

 

This was a story about how you never know what you’re gonna say to someone that stays in his mind long after you said it. Good thing for us all to keep in mind.

Will, thanks for the reminder. Great to hear from you, even if it did freak me out just a bit. Hope you’re a successful musical wrestler, now.

Sour Apples

 

Okay, so now we have a brand-new phone that is available to Joe T. Consumer for the incredibly low price of $999.

(At least it isn’t $1,000; that would just be outrageous.)

Let me tell you something. If I pay $999 for a telephone, it better connect me to somebody on Saturn, understand? Furthermore, it should cook all my meals and wash the dishes afterwards, wash, dry and hang up my clothes, change my oil, mow my yard, and service me satisfactorily in bed.

Otherwise, it ain’t worth it.

Of course, I know there are some folks out there who will buy, or have already bought, this phone. To you, I say:

Could I interest you in some oceanfront property in Iowa?

Eclipse His Nails

 

Then, you flew your Lear jet to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.

“You’re So Vain”, Carly Simon

 

Okay, who do I talk to about getting a refund?

‘Cause I didn’t see no dadgum solar eclipse.

Where I live, we should already have seen it by now.

Nope. Nothing. Zero.

Maybe because I’m not in the “Path of Totality.” More like the Path of, “Ehhh, maybe.”

And who came up with that title, anyway? Sounds like something a guru would say.

My children, I am here to lead you all to the Path of Totality. Everyone, remove your clothing.

Totality of a bust, I say. At least, I didn’t waste any money on those dopey glasses.

Guess I should have just gone to Nova Scotia.

Those of you that did get to see it, I hope it burned your eyes out.

Course, then, you couldn’t read this, could you, so that was kind of a wasted curse.

 

Okay, well, I hope your privates fell off.

Driven to Insanity

 

I drive a motor vehicle for a living. A shuttle van. 🚐

Bigger than a car or SUV, but not like a big 18-wheeler. 🚛

The point is, I’m a driver. Which is okay; I enjoy driving. Always have, I suppose.

I got to thinking about that lately, and had to chuckle a bit. Because my classmates in Drivers Education (along with the teacher) (and maybe, my parents) would have probably told you back then I should be banned from the road for life.

 

524596747008

My sophomore year of high school, I got to take Drivers Ed. This was a big deal. I was so ready to get my license and be out on the open road.

But the first step was getting through this class. The classroom portion was pretty straightforward and simple, learning rules and regulations, defensive driving, watching that driving film, stuff like that.

But then, there was the actual driving part. Getting behind the wheel and taming that beast!

That gave me a bit of trouble.

For example, my first time to get out on the highway, I thought I was doing pretty well. My teacher wasn’t yelling at me, he maintained a calm demeanor the whole trip, just writing things down occasionally on some kind of form on a clipboard.

Then it came time for me to pull over and trade places with the other student, in the back seat; it was his turn. The teacher got out of the car to stretch for a bit. While he was out, I noticed, in the front seat, the form he had been writing on.

It was a driver evaluation.

At the bottom of the page was a blank section designated “Comments.”

In the Comments section, he wrote: Scared hell out of me.

Hmmm. Guess I didn’t do so great, after all.

Wasn’t exactly perfect on the practice course at school, either. I remember one particular session where I started to slowly drift into the path of an oncoming car. (I mean, 5 MPH slowly, if that.) I didn’t hit the car; I corrected my course in time, but the other people in my car and in the other car all reacted as if we narrowly avoided a fatal head-on collision, blood and scattered body parts and everything. When it was time to switch drivers, the one in the other car got out and, clearly perturbed, asked me, “What are you trying to do, kill us all?”

OK, so I had my moments.

Then, there was the whole ordeal of learning to drive a car with manual transmission. All I have to say about that is: I HATE manual transmission. Please, may I never have to use it again!

 

The first time I took my on-the-road driving test was great fun. (That, ladies and gentlemen, is sarcasm.) For one thing, I took it in our Chevrolet Kingswood Estate station wagon.

Now, if you’ve never seen one of those, I invite you to Google it and check out the images. The thing measured approximately 50 feet long. You could eat breakfast in the front seat while the guy in the back was having dinner.

Now, try to imagine parallel parking that bad boy.

Needless to say, that’s why I had to take a second on-the-road driving test. Took that one in Dad’s not-much-shorter Pontiac Grand Prix. (Welcome to History of Automobiles) This time, fortunately, I had a younger examiner. The first guy, you could literally break pieces of crust off him.

Anyway, I passed the second time. Yaaayyyy!!

Now I could drive on my own, and start scaring the hell out of my friends, too! Which I did, poor souls.

 

Through the years, I’m happy to say, I’ve gotten better. Now, I’m a more conscientious driver, and I can even communicate with other drivers in fluent sign language.

524596300193

 

No Merit Badge For This Guy

 

“Think of  it, Dave, a generation of twisted Boy Scouts, it was all your fault.”

from “The Booking Agent”, by comedian Shelley Berman, from the album, “Outside Shelley Berman,” 1959

 

The Boy Scout Motto is, “Be Prepared,” but I’m pretty sure they weren’t prepared for this.

President Orange Crush delivered a stirring speech at the quadrennial Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia on Monday. I would like to share with you just some of the unforgettable highlights:

“Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. — you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. (Applause.) We’re going to put that aside… I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right?

“You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp. And it’s not a good place. In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer.

“Secretary Tom Price is also here. Today Dr. Price still lives the Scout Oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our Secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully, he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us, folks.

“I have to tell you our economy is doing great. Our stock market has picked up — since the election November 8th. Do we remember that date? (Applause.) Was that a beautiful date? (Applause.) What a date…that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn’t know what to say?

“So I have to tell you what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for Make America Great Again.” (Um, Donnie, none of these kids were old enough to vote…)

“And by the way, do you see the billions and billions and billions of additional money that we’re putting back into our military?”

And that’s just a sample, folks.

Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?

Except for one long, rambling, utterly irrelevant story about a former business associate who failed because he “lost his momentum”, his speech was pretty much all about politics, including yet another reminder that (gasp) he won the election!

trump’s supporters, of course, lauded his inspirational words. Meanwhile, thousands of Boy Scouts were left saying, “HUHH???”

This guy’s a riot, really. Good thing he’s not President, or anything.

Oh, yeah…

Space Invader

 

Once upon a time, Izzy, my spoiled rotten cat, was content simply to lie up on the back of our couch, like so:

 

image

 

Lately, however, that no longer seems to be good enough. If my or my wife’s spot on the couch is vacant, she has no problem with taking up residence there:

 

20170524_210722_resized

 

Notice, she has the remote handy, in case she feels like binge-watching.

All this, of course, is just to drive home the point that this is her and Lizzy’s house, and we are merely the caretakers.

But, we’re good with that.